The Major League Draft will continue today, but the Chicago Cubs have already drafted a few players in the first three rounds, which took place last night.
Super quick recap: the Cubs drafted outfielder Brett Jackson out of the University of California in the first round (reading his scouting report sounds like a carbon copy of Tyler Colvin’s, the Cubs’ first round pick in 2006), infielder David LeMahieu out of LSU (infielder out of LSU? Sound familiar?) in the second round, and high school pitcher Austin Kirk in the third round.
Some of the buzz on the Cubs’ first round pick, Brett Jackson:
A leadoff hitter and center fielder at the University of California, Jackson is a left-handed hitter with above-average speed. He’s the third position player taken in four Drafts by Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken. Last year was the only time the Cubs and Wilken switched gears and chose a pitcher, taking Andrew Cashner from Texas Christian University in the first round.
“We’re thrilled to be able to acquire a player like Brett Jackson,” Wilken said Tuesday. “He plays the game hard and has a chance to be a true center fielder.”
Jackson batted .326 with a .416 on-base percentage, .568 slugging percentage and 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts over 46 games in his junior season at California. He went 4-for-16 in a recent series against Oregon with a triple and double.
“He has quite a few attributes that I like,” Wilken said. “First of all, the ability to play center field. We feel he has an average or above-average throwing arm. He’s an athletic center fielder, and we feel he’s a guy who’s a plus runner and has a chance to have some power down the line.” cubs.com.
The Cubs’ system could use more left-handed bats, and more outfielders, and I generally prefer using higher picks on college players, so in those regards, I like this pick. However, I don’t know that I’m crazy about “athleticism” being the dominant trait for which the Cubs are looking in this draft. Athletes are great, but this isn’t football.
Quick hits on the next two picks:
Round 2 — David LeMahieu, IF, Louisiana State University: The Cubs already have two LSU players on the 25-man roster in Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, who may have provided a scouting report for this Tigers sophomore. According to scouting reports, LeMahieu has a solid approach at the plate and good baseball instincts. The 79th player taken overall, he has primarily played shortstop. This season, LeMahieu hit .360 in 35 games with a .456 on-base percentage and .520 slugging percentage. “I’ve met him before,” said Fontenot, who worked out with the LSU infielder in Arizona. “We’ve been keeping tabs on him over the last few years.”
Non-descript, solid college middle infielder. Sounds like the Cubs’ second pick last year: Ryan Flaherty.
Round 3 — Austin Kirk, LHP, Owasso High School (Okla.): Kirk had a stellar senior season for Owasso, which has ranked among the nation’s most consistent baseball programs. In early May, he threw his second no-hitter of the season, striking out 13 of 17 batters in a regional game over Jenks. Kirk went 9-1 with an 0.45 ERA on the mound and batted .408 with 50 RBIs. He worked through the winter with former Ram Cory Patton, who plays in the Blue Jays’ organization, on improving his offense. He also worked with Dallas Trahern, another former Ram who is playing in the Minor Leagues.
Did you memorize his name? Good. Because even if he’s awesome, you won’t see him again for at least three years.