The First Round of the 2011 MLB Draft is Tonight (UPDATE: Cubs Take HS SS Javier Baez)

The future for the Chicago Cubs (*crickets*) starts tonight with the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. The Cubs pick 9th, and then not again until the second round tomorrow, so you’ll want to tune in early. The Draft starts at 6pm CST (7pm EST) and will be televised on MLB Network. It’s not like there’s anything else worth watching at that time. Ok, ok, it’s worth seeing Matt Garza’s return to the rotation. But you can flip back and forth.

Feel free to use this post for Draft-related comments.

The Cubs have been attached to a number of names in the last few days, including high school studly positional player Bubba Starling, high school studly pitcher Archie Bradley, as well as a couple UConn players – pitcher Matt Barnes and outfielder George Springer. Truth be told, as long as the Cubs don’t reach for an unknown again this year, I’ll be happy. Stick to the book this time around – at least then if the kid busts, it’s much harder to criticize.

And, yet, now there’s late-breaking buzz that the Cubs are considering going “way off the board” to select a 23-year-old draft-eligible Cuban defector named Onelki Garcia Speck. He’s a hard-throwing lefty, but the experts hadn’t heard much about him until today, and they talk about him as a second-half of the first round prospect, at best. Even if the Cubs don’t go with Speck, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus says the rumor is that Tim Wilken is going to “shock the world” again this year. Fingers crossed it’s just smoke.

UPDATE: At 9th overall, the Cubs selected high school SS Javier Baez, who – what do you know – was actually roundly considered a top 15 pick! Hooray! By the book! The Cubs narrowly missed getting one of Starling or Anthony Rendon, which would have been awesome. But I’m not complaining. We’ll have a full write-up tomorrow, but here’s the short of it from MLB.com:

While the college bat scene is relatively thin, there are some very intriguing high school position players available. Baez is certainly one of them, and his name seemed to be moving up boards as the Draft approached.

Fellow Floridian Francisco Lindor will likely go off the board first, but Baez may not be that far behind. That’s largely because of his bat. He gets his money’s worth at the plate, and the ball jumps off his bat thanks to excellent bat speed. He doesn’t have the best plate discipline, but he should be an above-average hitter in the future. He’s got good power, especially to the pull side.

He’s an average runner who won’t be a basestealer, but he’s OK when under way. Defensively, he likely won’t be able to remain at shortstop, with some thinking he’ll make a good third baseman at the next level. He’s got the arm and good hands for it, and the lack of range at short won’t be an issue.

It also looks like he’ll have the bat for the corner spot, and that kind of potential production will likely allow him to be selected as early as the first half of the first round.

 

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

43 responses to “The First Round of the 2011 MLB Draft is Tonight (UPDATE: Cubs Take HS SS Javier Baez)”

  1. bapster

    Guys..I can imagine that being a Cubs fan has at it’s moments. Let me help you on the Baez kid. I have watched him for 4 years. You have the steal of the draft he is the best HS position player I have seen in 27 years and I live in Fl.. I saw Chipper..Baez a true 5 tool guy that has abetter skill set in every facet..Saw AROD who was bigger and maybe a tad stronger arm but Baez has a better glove..bat at the HS level he is light years ahead of Arod as a HS Sr with extreme power to all fields.

    You will see all kinds of BS on this kid by guys in the “Know” but here is the truth. He was introduced to the National Showcase Circuit last Summer and is the fastest rising prospect in the country. Pro Scouts like the term “Safe Pick” as Job Security and make-up BS to justify the pick. He is a quiet kid, leader on the field, and a Compeitor that hates to lose. He had interest from Pitt, Seattle, but in this Pitching talented Draft the bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. Coming into today Arizona at 7 , Indians at 8, Brewers at 12, Mets at 13 and the Dodgers at 16. Results Arizona knew Starling would fall to them, Indians “Pussed out” and went safe pick (I know for a fact they loved him and many w/ the Indians liked Baez better ) He was going to the Brewers at 12 with the others praying he would drop to them and he was @1 on the Dodgers board for awhile. Cubs seemed to jump in this late morning.

    He has the potential to be a 40 hr – 20+ steal guy just give him a little time. He played a National schedule this year in HS and his team played very good competition and won a National Private HS Championship. He has the potential to be the Face of the Franchise…He has no health issues and if he stays healthy the Cubs will leave egg on the face of those that passed for the Safe Pick. Rest assured he has a better bat than Rendon and being honest Lindor at this point is a hair better defensive skill set at SS but Javy plays 3rd, 2nd, and can catch as well.It is a great day to be a Cub..trust me!

    1. Jeff

      Nice scouting report Bapster. I’ve also read a couple of scouts have compared his swing and bat speed to Gary Sheffield. I don’t want to get too excited about this guy, but he definitely has more appeal than Hayden Simpson did last year.