Cubs select seven college pitchers and a catcher on second day of 2016 Draft
The Cubs spent the second day of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft selecting one college pitcher after the other. The Cubs made eight picks Friday, seven were college pitchers and the lone position player is a left-handed catcher.
The Cubs executed a plan and while it might not have the razzle dazzle of Jason McLeod’s previous drafts, the front office selected big, hard throwing college pitchers that project as Major Leaguers, either in the middle to back of a rotation or late-inning relievers.
Thomas Hatch – Third Round – Pick No. 104
The Cubs selected RHP Thomas Hatch in Round Three with pick No. 104 from Oklahoma State (Junior). Hatch is the No. 1 starter on OSU’s staff.
Hatch is 6-foot, 190 pounds, throws and bats right-handed.
Hatch’s fastball sits in the 89-94 mph range and has topped out a 96 mph. Hatch is a groundball pitcher that does not miss a lot of bats. Hatch throws from a three-quarters arm slot with an above-average slider in low-80s. Hatch’s slider has been graded as a plus pitch and he can locate it to both sides of the plate. Hatch missed the 2015 season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow but it did not require surgery.
Thomas Hatch, 21, is in his redshirt sophomore season at Oklahoma State, pitching to a 2.16 ERA (27 earned runs in 112 1/3 innings) and a 7-2 record in 16 starts, including three shutouts. He has allowed just two home runs, walked 28 and struck out 102 batters, becoming the 13th pitcher in OSU history to reach the 100-strikeout mark in a single season.
Hatch, recommended by area scout Ty Nichols, was named the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and was named to the All-America Third Team by Baseball America. He shut out three-straight opponents – TCU, Texas and Prairie View A&M – to become just the 10th pitcher in Big 12 history to record three shutouts in a season.
Hatch was selected by Colorado in the 32nd round of the 2013 Draft out of Jenks (Okla.) High School, but did not sign. OSU this weekend plays South Carolina in the NCAA Columbia Super Regional.
Thomas Hatch projects as a back-of-a-rotation starter or middle-reliever according to Baseball America.
RHP Tyson Miller – Fourth Round – Pick No. 134
The Cubs selected RHP Tyson Miller in Round Four with pick No. 134 from California Baptist University (Junior). Miller is 20 years old (July 29, 1995) and is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds.
Miller went 9-3 with a 2.27 ERA (27 earned runs in 107 innings), two complete games, one shutout and one save in 16 games (15 starts) for Cal Baptist this season. Miller pitched for Brewster in the Cape Cod League in 2015, in which he recorded a 1.44 ERA (four earned runs in 25 innings) and a 0.88 WHIP. Miller was recommended by area scout Alex Lontayo.
Miller throws a lot of strikes with a 91-93 mph fastball that has touched 96 mph. Miller is a groundball pitcher that features an above-average slider in the low-80s. Miller’s changeup needs work but has the makings of an average pitch.
Miller threw in the mid-80s in high school according to Baseball America. And he could “still have a bit more left in the tank.” MLB.com agrees with Baseball America that Miller has “the potential for more once he gets into a player development system.”
RHP Bailey Clark – Fifth Round – Pick No. 164
The Cubs selected RHP Bailey Clark in Round Five with pick No. 164 out of Duke University (Junior). Clark is 21 years old (Dec. 3, 1994), 6-foot-4, 220 pounds.
Clark began the season, according to Baseball America, with an outing against California in which he hit 98 mph and flashed a “swing-and-miss breaking ball.” Clark was not able to sustain the first outing of the spring and after 10 starts was in the bullpen.
Clark has a complex delivery which projects him as a reliever in the big leagues and not a starter. According to Baseball America, “Clark’s long and deep arm action leads to inconsistency with his breaking ball and command.”
Clark’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and has touched 99 mph. Clark throws a slider in the 83-86 mph range that “can be overpowering at times” according to MLB.com.
Clark was 4-4 in 15 games, 10 starts, with a 5.61 ERA and 1.58 WHIP this season. Clark had 64 strikeouts with 26 walks in 59 1/3 innings. Clark had an 8-9 record with a 4.31 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in three years with Duke. Clark allowed 66 runs, 58 earned, on 125 hits with 120 strikeouts and 51 walks in 121 innings.
— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) June 10, 2016
RHP Chad Hockin – Sixth Round – Pick No. 194
The Cubs selected RHP Chad Hockin in Round Six with pick No. 194 out of Cal State Fullerton (Junior). Hockin is the grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
Chad Hockin is 21 years old (Oct. 7, 1994) and is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds.
Hockin is a reliever that has produced good results at the college level and has closer stuff. MLB ranked him as the 70th best player going into the draft, Baseball America ranked him at No. 104 in their top 500. The Cubs selecting him in the sixth round could turn out to be an excellent value for the organization. Hockin missed some time this season with elbow tenderness. And there are questions about his durability.
According to Baseball America, Hockin has “flashed” some nasty stuff, topping out at 97-98 mph. Hockin sits in the 91-95 mph range. Hockin’s slider is considered a plus pitch that sits in the 83-85 mph range with tilt. Hockin’s slider has been clocked in the 86-87 mph range.
Hockin did not have a record in 20 appearances this season. Hockin had three saves and allowed seven runs, three earned, on 15 hits with seven walks and 23 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings (1.05 ERA, 0.86 WHIP). In three years with Cal State Fullerton, Hockin was 0-2 with three saves, a 2.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP (60 hits, 17 walks, 52 strikeouts, 63 innings).
C Michael Cruz – Seventh Round – Pick No. 224
The Cubs selected catcher Michael Cruz in Round Seven with pick No. 224 out of Bethune-Cookman University (Junior). Cruz is the only position player taken by the Cubs in the organization’s first eight picks of the draft.
The left-handed hitter is 5-foot-11, 210 pounds and turned 20 in January (Jan. 13, 1996).
In 56 games this season, Cruz batted .325/.461/.605 with six doubles, a triple and 16 home runs for a 1.066 OPS. Cruz was hit by a pitch 16 times and had 38 walks with 25 strikeouts in 200 at bats.
RHP Stephen Ridings – Eighth Round – Pick No. 254
The Cubs selected RHP Stephen Ridings in Round Eight with pick No. 254 from Haverford College (Junior). Ridings is 20 years old (Aug. 14, 1995) and 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.
Ridings features a 90-92 mph fastball that has hit 95 mph with a “diving slider and a changeup with late drop” according to Baseball America.
Ridings was 6-3 in 11 starts with a 2.62 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Ridings allowed 23 runs, 19 earned, on 37 hits with 37 walks and 87 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings this season
During his three years with Haverford College, Ridings was 8-5 in 25 games, 15 starts, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. In 95 2/3 innings, Ridings allowed 46 runs, 34 earned, on 70 hits with 54 walks and 103 strikeouts.
RHP Duncan Robinson – Ninth Round – Pick No. 284
The Cubs selected RHP Duncan Robinson in Round Nine with pick No. 284 out of Dartmouth College (Senior). Robinson is 22 years old (Dec. 5, 1993), 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds.
Robinson features three pitches and a low-90s fastball with good mechanics.
Robinson made 11 starts for Dartmouth this past season and completed seven of them. Duncan was 4-6 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Robinson allowed 30 runs, 25 earned, on 71 hits with seven walks and 73 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings.
Robinson finished his four years at Dartmouth with a 17-11 record in 47 games, 24 starts, with a 3.07 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Robinson completed 11 of the 24 games he started while allowing 90 runs, 70 earned, on 198 hits with 41 walks and 174 strikeouts in 205 innings.
RHP Dakota Mekkes – Tenth Round – Pick No. 314
The Cubs selected RHP Dakota Mekkes in Round Ten with pick No. 314 from Michigan State (Junior). Mekkes is 21 years old (Nov. 6, 1994), 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds. The Cubs made a lot of noise with the pick. Mekkes features “an invisible fastball” according to J.J. Cooper.
Mekkes generates a lot of swings and misses, not with velocity, but with deception and extension. Mekkes throws in the low-90s (90-93 mph) from a low slot and features a slurvy breaking ball. According to Baseball America, Mekkes fastball plays as an above-average pitch because of the low slot “and his ability to change a hitter’s eye level.” Mekkes’ fastball was labeled a “rise ball because of his ability to elevate it up in the zone over a hitter’s hands.” Mekkes can locate his slider “and it plays well off his fastball.”
In 28 games, all in relief, this past season for Michigan State, Mekkes allowed 14 runs, 11 earned, on 26 hits with 41 walks and 96 strikeouts in 57 innings (1.74 ERA, 1.18 WHIP). Over two seasons, Mekkes appeared in 37 games, all as a reliever, and was 3-2 with seven saves, a 2.35 ERA and 1.22 WHIP (21 runs, 18 earned, 36 hits, 48 walks, 109 strikeouts in 69 innings).
Mekkes is more than a one-inning reliever. He completed three or more innings five times this past season. And he pitched six shutout innings in an extra-innings game against Maryland.