The Rule IV Draft, better known to you as simply, well, the Draft, starts today at 5pm CT, with the first three rounds live on MLB Network. Thereafter, the Draft shifts to Wednesday.
The Chicago Cubs pick 31st in the first round, and their next two picks are 79th and 109th overall.
Last year’s top pick, fireballer Andrew Cashner is working his way through the low minors right now, and ditto for the Cubs top pick in 2007, third baseman Josh Vitters. Both a great looking prospects – Vitters in particular is developing into one of the best in baseball – but they won’t be along to Chicago for some time. So while it’s fun to get excited about the Draft, unless you’re into prospects like I am (nerd), you’re unlikely to hear about these guys again for at least a year or two.
Well, except that Strasburg cat.
The Cub Reporter has an excellent Draft preview up, and it’s worth a read. A selection:
Last year, the Cubs signed 32 of their 51 selections, including 26 of their first 27 picks. Of the 32 who signed, two have subsequently been released, and one retired. Only eight of the Cubs 51 selections in the 2008 Rule 4 Draft were high school players, and the Cubs signed three of them (4th round pick C-IF Matt Cerda, 21st round pick INF Logan Watkins, and 22nd round selection RHP Tarlandus Mitchell). The Cubs also selected only eight high school players in the 2007 draft and signed only two (#1 pick 3B Josh Vitters and 12th rounder RHP Ryan Acosta), so obviously the trend under Scouting Director Tim Wilken is toward drafting college players. The Cubs have also given $3M+ in signing bonuses to amateur players from Korea, Australia, and Taiwan over the past couple of years, making the First-Year Player Draft somewhat less important than it would be if the Cubs were not actively pursuing players in Asia and Australia.