The 2008 First-Year Player Draft was conducted on June 5th and June 6th. The Cubs drafted 51 players, 28 pitchers, 12 infielders, 8 outfielders and 3 catchers. A couple of names that jump out of the long list include Michael Brenly, son of Bob Brenly, and Chicago area prospects David Cales and Anthony Zych….as well as Sonny Gray.
The Cubs first round pick, 19th overall, was right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner….and they drafted Ryan Flaherty with the sandwich pick the Cubs received from the Brewers for signing Jason Kendall this past winter.
Scout.com gave Tim Wilken and his staff a grade of A- for overall talent they selected. Scout.com stated the Cubs “landed two of the best pure arms in the draft in Andrew Cashner and Chris Carpenter” and “a polished collegiate arm in Aaron Shafer.” Scout.com also liked the Cubs taking Ryan Flaherty, a player they described as “underrated.”
Here is the complete list, a few scouting reports and a couple of videos of the players the Cubs have taken more than a flier on…. Round 1 – 19th Overall
Andrew Cashner (RHP)
Cashner was successful as a reliever out of the pen for Texas Christian University. Throws a fastball in the upper 90’s (97-98) along with a good slider in the upper 80’s (87-88). Concern with control and amount of walks issued. Reports have indicated the Cubs might try to make a starter out of Cashner while other have suggested Cashner might be able to help the big league club this year.
Supplemental (Sandwich) Round – 41st Overall
Ryan Flaherty (SS)
Flaherty was described on MLB.com as “a strong, athletic infielder with a classic left-handed swing.” Offense has “drawn a comparison to Wally Joyner”….an average hitter with not much power. Defensively, a good arm and good hands but not much range and MLB.com said “a move to third might make more sense given his size”….6’3”, 200 pounds. Also, Flaherty is a junior at Vanderbilt….and it takes more than average intelligence to be a student/athlete at Vandy.
Round 2 – 65th Overall
Aaron Shafer (RHP)
Shafer had a back injury in 2006 and missed a month in 2007 due to stiffness in his elbow. Injuries have slowed Shafer and his velocity has been down but a report on Scout.com indicated he is regaining his “stuff”. Named the 20th best prospect in the Cape Cod League by Baseball America.
Round 3 – 97th Overall
Chris Carpenter (RHP)
Carpenter’s fastball ranges in the mid to upper 90’s (92-96) and has an above average slider at times according to a scouting report from 2007. Below average command and can be tentative on the mound. Has been compared to the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter. Had Tommy John surgery in 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season.
Round 4 – 131st Overall
Mathew Cerda (SS)
First High-School player taken by the Cubs in the 2008 draft. Cerda is listed at 5’9″ and 165 pounds and the left handed hitter has made a commitment to San Diego University.
Round 5 – 161st Overall
Justin Bristow (RHP)
Bristow transferred from Auburn to East Carolina University in the Fall of 2007 and can both pitch and play 3rd base. Defense at 3rd base has been described as outstanding. Offense has been described as advanced with power. On the mound, reports have indicated Bristow has “good stuff” with fluid mechanics and three quality pitches.
Round 6 – 191st Overall
Josh Harrison (IF)
Harrison was named the 2008 Big East Co-Player of the Year and was tabbed a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball for the second time in his 3-year college career. Harrison hit a team-high .378 with 22 doubles, 5 home runs, 54 RBI’s and 32 stolen bases. Harrison is the nephew of former big leaguer John Shelby.
Scout.com called this pick a smart one. Harrison “was impressive in the Cape Cod League, showing the ability to hit with the wood bat and play stellar defense.” Harrison has been compared to Eric Young.
Round 7 – 221st Overall
Luis Flores (C)
Flores’ two favorite teams growing up were the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs….so he must have had a really good day. Flores’ played his first two seasons at Houston before transferring to Oklahoma State. Was named a freshman All-American by Baseball America in 2006. Flores hit .288 with 8 home runs and 30 RBI’s while posting a 6-3 record on the mound with a 3.00 ERA.
Round 8 – 251st Overall
James Leverton (LHP)
Leverton posted a 2-3 record with 1 save and a 3.86 ERA for Texas Tech in 31 games out of the pen. He struck out 16 and walked 7 in 18 1/3 innings while giving up 13 hits.
Round 9 – 281st Overall
Randy Jackson “Jay” (RHP)
At Furman, Jackson was used as a starting pitcher, a starting outfielder and a late-game defensive substitute at first base. On non-pitching days, Jackson would start in either right or left field. On the mound, Jackson was the top starting pitcher in the Southern Conference. He was 9-1 with a 2.66 ERA and opponents hit just .211 against him.
At the plate, Jackson hit .317 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI’s. For his career, .298 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI’s in 3 seasons. Jackson was invited to play for the Hyannis Mets in the Cape Cod League.
Round 10 – 311th Overall
William Wilson “Alex” (RHP)
Wilson threw a perfect game in high school with 15 strikeouts. In 2007 posted a 6-4 record in 16 start with a 2.51 ERA in 111 innings of work. One prediction indicated Wilson would be a first round draft pick this year but Wilson had Tommy John surgery in 2007. Wilson threw a 90-94 MPH fastball with a slider in the low 80’s before the surgery. One report indicated Wilson might wait for the 2009 draft in order to get healthy and improve his draft status.
- Round 11 – (341st Overall) – Toby Matchulat (RHP)
- Round 12 – (371st Overall) – Jake Opitz (2B)
- Round 13 – (401st Overall) – Anthony Campana (CF)
- Round 14 – (431st Overall) – Dan McDaniel (RHP)
- Round 15 – (461st Overall) – Joseph Coleman (RHP)
- Round 16 – (491st Overall) – Ryan Keedy (1B)
- Round 17 – (521st Overall) – Jonathan Nagel (RHP)
- Round 18 – (551st Overall) – Jeffrey Beliveau (LHP)
- Round 19 – (581st Overall) – David Macias (UTL)
- Round 20 – (611th Overall) – Jericho Jones (RF)
- Round 21 – Vincent Watkins (SS)
- Round 22 – Tarlandas Mitchell (RHP)
- Round 23 – Ryan Sontag (LF)
- Round 24 – David Cales (RHP)
- Round 25 – Rebel Ridling (1B)
- Round 26 – Josh Witlock (RHP)
Round 27 – Sonny Gray (RHP)
Scout.com called the pick of Sonny Gray “possibly the toughest sign in the class.” Gray said before the draft he would not sign with a team and was going to college at Vanderbilt.
- Round 28 – TeWayne Willis (OF)
- Round 29 – Sean Buckley (3B)
- Round 30 – Mathew White (RHP)
- Round 31 – Kyle Wilson (3B)
- Round 32 – Kurt Calvert (CF)
- Round 33 – Sean Hoorelbeke (1B)
- Round 34 – James O’Donnell (RHP)
- Round 35 – Ross Vagedes (RHP)
- Round 36 – Michael Brenly (C)
- Round 37 – Erik Hamren (RHP)
- Round 38 – Sean McNaughton (OF)
- Round 39 – Jordan Brown (RHP)
- Round 40 – Jared McDonald (SS)
- Round 41 – Jordan Petraitis (SS)
- Round 42 – Derek Riley (RHP)
- Round 43 – Jesse Ginley (RHP)
- Round 44 – David Doss (C)
- Round 45 – Ashton Florko (LHP)
- Round 46 – Anthony Zych (RHP)
- Round 47 – Chad Cregar (RF)
- Round 48 – Dylan Moseley (RHP)
- Round 49 – Hunter Scantling (RHP)
- Round 50 – Peter Levitt (RHP)