Chicago Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken took an unheralded kid out of Clemson in his first draft with the Cubs in 2006. The young outfielder had played pretty well for the Tigers, but no one saw him being drafted earlier than the late second or third round. The pick was roundly criticized.

Today, he’s playing in the outfield for the Cubs – his name is Tyler Colvin.

So you’ll allow me to give Wilken the benefit of the doubt when he selected D-2 right-hander Hayden Simpson out of Southern Arkansas 16th overall in tonight’s draft. Simpson was ranked the 191st player by Baseball America going into the draft, making him a projected 6th round type player. Clearly, the Cubs felt he wasn’t going to last nearly that far (the Cubs don’t pick again until number 65), so they pulled the trigger.

The kid was so unknown that MLB Network had to scramble to put together a name plate to get him up on the big board.

Something to bear in mind – when the Cubs took Colvin in 2006, many saw it as a way to save some money in the first round to be used in later rounds on guys who weren’t expected to sign unless they got big cash (Jeff Samardzija being the notable example). This could mean the Cubs plan on spending some big money in later rounds, which could make the draft as a whole very exciting.

More details on Simpson tomorrow and beyond.

  • Brydon

    Like your article mentioned earlier, Wilken likes his ballplayers athletic…maybe a bit too much in this case but hopefully Hayden will ‘pull a Colvin’ (is it too soon to start that?)

  • Kevin G

    Ok my first reaction was what the F***. So I went trying to find info on him and couldnt so, I got even more pissed. Then I found some He has excellent control a fastball in the low 90s, good curve, excellent slider, and an above average change. I cant wait for Maddux to get his hands on this kid. I do think he would have been there in the Second round though.

    • anthony

      I played against Hayden for 3 yrs in the Gulf South Conference. He throws hard, and coming from that relatively small frame it makes it seem even harder. His slide by far was the best I have seen in my playing career but the most important and under rated thing I believe when looking at a professional pitcher is mound presence. He goes out there and believes he will win and win in dominating fashion. Call it little man’s disease or whatever you like…but this kid will be pitching for a major league ball club some day and I believe he will be successful.

  • KB

    Ace, did BT get you a job with the Cub’s PR department?

    • Ace

      Sorry Kabes, but if there’s one guy who has earned my trust so far in his tenure with the Cubs, it’s Wilken.