First, the news.
The Cubs have reportedly all but finished a deal with fourth round pick, reliever Tony Zych out of Louisville. Some have called him a second-round talent, with a fastball that approaches triple digits. No terms have been disclosed, but it was likely overslot. Zych was expected to sign all along.
The Cubs have also agreed to terms with fifth round pick, high school pitcher Tayler Scott. Only been playing baseball for a few years, Scott is considered one of those “raw, athletic” types. He can chuck it, though, and folks who follow this stuff are pretty excited about him. Scott was not a lock to sign, so this is a win. He received $280k, which is almost double the slot recommendation.
And, another: the Cubs have signed 17th round outfielder, John Andreoli out of UConn. Andreoli, 21, is an athletic outfielder, who just finished his junior year.
Now for the rumor side of things.
Two high school picks, at previous times thought to be near locks to sign, now appear to be wavering. Or, they really are treating this like the lead up to “Signing Day,” and are having some fun with the process.
Yesterday, 11th round outfielder Shawon Dunston, Jr., and 37th round pitcher Ricky Jacquez took to Twitter to say things like “as of now, heading to school” (Dunston) and “Texas bound!” (Jacquez). More unnervingly in Dunston’s case, Baseball America’s Jim Callis, who’d previously said Dunston was going to sign, recanted, and put Dunston in the “maybe” category.
I asked Callis the reason for the change, and both he and Dunston responded. Callis said he simply “misread the certainty.” Based on Dunston’s comment to me, though, it sounds like Dunston reached out to Callis to ask why Callis was listing him as a guy who was going to sign. Dunston said he “just thought he should know the reason” for Callis’s guess, and Dunston suggested that he’s still on the fence about his decision.
As has been noted here previously, both Dunston and Jacquez are pretty active Twitter users. And, what do you know? So am I. Given how excited we all are about the prospect of them signing on to become Cubs’ farmhands (and how frequently and openly they’ve discussed the decision process on Twitter), I thought it would be nice to tell them on behalf of Cubs fans (Bleacher Nation does have 8,000+ followers, so I figured it was fair to speak on your behalf – apologies if I was wrong) that we would love to see them join the Cubs, but we wanted to wish them the best luck whatever they choose to do.
So, I did that. Dunston didn’t respond to me further beyond the comments above, but Jacquez said, “I would love more than anything to start my career and become a Cub, but it’s a tough decision.” Truly, I can only imagine.
For better or worse, I didn’t feel right about asking either one what their decision was going to be or which way they were leaning. It’s one thing to read the tea leaves and report rumors (and wish them well), but these kids aren’t looking to tip their hand this close to the deadline. I can only imagine being an 18-year-old ballplayer with this level of attention and excitement about your decision, and far be it from me to take that excitement away from them by trying to pry an answer out of them early.
So, again, I say: best of luck to both, whatever they decide to do. Here’s hoping that they end up Cubs sooner or later.