Last year, the Chicago Cubs drafted heavily from the college ranks – a philosophical shift, seemingly brought on by Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken. Most Cubs fans, feeling burned by so many high school flame outs from drafts past, were encouraged by the shift.
This year, the team has gone back to taking a great deal more prep players – nine of the team’s first 30 selections are high schoolers, compared with just five of the first 30 last year.
“We thought the opportunities were better this year than in the past,” Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken said about drafting prep stars. cubs.com.
The draft continues today with rounds 30 through 50. The Cubs tend to use these picks, at times, to take “unsignable” guys, and then throw a bunch of money at them to get them to reconsider their college decisions. Education is for stupids.
Some tidbits from cubs.com on the Cubs first seven picks from the second day. For more on the remaining picks, head over to cubs.com.
Round 4, Christopher Rusin, LHP, University of Kentucky: He went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 104 and walking only 25 over 86 1/3 innings. A 2008 First Team All-SEC selection, he threw quality starts in nine of his 13 starts his junior year. He was a 23rd-round Draft pick in 2008 by Oakland.
Round 5, Wesley Darvill, SS, Brookswood (Canada) High School: A member of the Canadian Junior National team this past spring, Darvill is a left-handed-hitting shortstop. A rangy guy, he has a good swing from the left side and a chance to be a true shortstop.
Round 6, Brooks Raley, LHP/OF, Texas A&M: A sophomore, he was a two-way player in high school and college. Raley went 7-3 with a 3.76 ERA and gave up 80 hits while striking out 95 over 93 1/3 innings in 15 starts. As an outfielder, he batted .304 with one homer and 26 RBIs. he played corner outfield for A&M but most likely would be a center fielder in the big leagues. He was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2008.
Round 7, Blair Springfield, CF/SS, MacArthur (Decatur, Ill.) High School: He has signed a national letter of intent to attend Illinois State. Springfield would be tested at a number of positions, including third and second. The Cubs like his bat.
Round 8, Robert Whitenack, RHP, SUNY-Old Westbury: He was named 2009 ECAC Pitcher of the Year. This year, he compiled a 2.81 ERA and struck out 79 over 67 1/3 innings, holding batters to a .190 average in his just-completed junior season. In the last three seasons, he’s made 24 starts, including six complete games and three shutouts. On April 28, 2008, against Polytechnic Institute of NYC, he threw a 14-strikeout no-hitter in an 11-0 win. He is the school’s all-time strikeout leader (179) and earned back-to-back Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year awards. In the 34-year history of the Draft, 25 Division III players have been selected in the first three rounds.
Round 9, Richard Jones, C, The Citadel: He led the Citadel with 17 home runs in his just-completed junior season, which tied the school’s single-season home run record. He hit .378 with 69 RBIs, and his 95 hits tied teammate Bryan Altman for 12th in the nation. He’s the second Bulldog selected by the Cubs (Matt Matulia, 24th round, 2006).
Round 10, Joseph Thomas, 3B, Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Fla.: He had two four-hit games and one four-RBI game vs. Voorhees College. A third baseman/first baseman, he also dabbles as a pitcher. He has some power with his bat and good arm strength.