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The Chicago Cubs have officially wrapped up “Signing Day,” locking up nine of their top 10 picks and 18 of their top 20. I’ll have a more complete rundown on the draft (everyone who signed, approximate amount, over/at slot, etc.) later this week.

For now, we can all be excited that the Cubs yesterday finalized deals for the four biggest outstanding names in their draft: first round high school shortstop Javier Baez, second round high school first baseman Dan Vogelbach, 11th round high school outfielder Shawon Dunston, Jr., and 14th round high school pitcher Dillon Maples.

Baez got $2.7 million, Maples got $2.5 million, Vogelbach got $1.6 million, and Dunston got $1.275 million. To put those numbers into perspective, the Cubs nearly outspent their 2010 draft on those four players alone. Yes, the Cubs made good on their promise to back up the truck this year, and no one would call this draft anything but a huge success.

The only big-time prospect the Cubs missed out on is 37th rounder Ricky Jacquez, who will head to Texas. It’s unclear if Jacquez’s demands were too high or whether the Cubs cooled on him over the Summer ball period. Either way, we can wish him nothing but the best of luck.

For more on Baez, see an earlier write-up here. He’s instantly a top five prospect in the system.

As for Maples, he’ll probably fall somewhere in the back-end of the top 10. He was a first round talent, and the Cubs paid him commensurately. I asked a professional scout about Maples’ ability and future.

“His fastball hits 96, but normally is in the 93 to 95 range with good downward action. It is a plus pitch, but could be a plus-plus pitch,” the scout said. “The curveball is a true hammer, and it is a plus to plus-plus pitch. He is a project, though; he has consistency issues, and needs his mechanics completely redone. But he does have the ability to be a very good to excellent starting pitcher. [It’s difficult] to project him until he spends time working on a new delivery, gains command and [works on the] development of a 3rd or 4th pitch. I will say he as the ability to be an ace if everything falls into place.”

The same scout also shared some strongly positive thoughts on Vogelbach.

“He has plus bat speed and great lift to his swing, and will hit more than his share of HRs. He hit a 508ft HR in ths same HR contest that [Bryce] Harper hit a 504 ft HR 2 yrs ago. But he isn’t just pure power. He continually makes solid contact, and would grade at about above to plus contact. There are no apparent holes in his swing.

He has good hands and is good around the base for a bad body player. He is not the most atheltic player, so he will have to stay at 1B. Does a good job with balls in the dirt, and has a good stretch for a smaller player.”

The scout also said that Vogelbach had the best power potential in the draft, and, from his interview, struck the scout as a hard worker and very coachable. Vogelbach worked hard in the summer to get his weight under control, so the Cubs must have been impressed.

As for Dunston, Baseball America says, “[u]nlike his father, Dunston Jr. swings from the left side of the plate. He is raw at the plate for the son of a big leaguer, but has above-average speed and scouts love his passion for the game. Dunston, who was committed to Vanderbilt, has a slender, 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame and it’s obvious that his best baseball is in front of him.”

So, based on talent and cash money, the Cubs essentially signed three or four first rounders yesterday. Not too shabby.

  • Fishin Phil

    Well that is a step in the right direction. Now let’s see if we can actually develope this raw talent into Major Leaguers.

    • Jim

      Yep, three potential position players, can this system which is notoriously bad at developing those type turn it around and produce a miracle?

      • MichiganGoat

        Just remember these HS players are at least 4-5 years away, let’s be patient.

  • Chris

    Warms the cockles to see this kind of haul.
    Now we can focus on righting the big boat.
    Also….. any ideas what this is going to be about:
    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/6864881/source-chicago-cubs-chairman-tom-ricketts-speak-team-future

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Only guesses. I’ll have a post about it later.

    • Andrew

      I like this from the article Chris linked to:

      “Ricketts’ personal public relations director, Dennis Cullerton, said that any reporting about the status of the Cubs front office right now is premature in nature.”

      In other words, Ricketts is still evaluating Hendry. Doesn’t necessarily mean Hendry is out the door (he wouldn’t say that before actually firing him), but there’s an implied vote of no confidence.

      • Chris

        The “100% Vote of Confidence” is corporate talk for “you best fix this.”

      • Jim

        How long does it effin’ take to evaluate Hendry? Two years is quite enough added on to the 3 years of negotiating and then Ricketts claim to be a fan; really the guy should have come into this organization with guns blazing from day one and cleaned house,

  • Jeff

    Dillon Maples got a bigger bonus than more than half of the first round picks. I’d be really excited for him, if I didn’t read the scouting report about having to change his mechanics and develop more. The Cubs minor league coaches don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to grooming young pitchers.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re not wrong, but keep in mind, that would be the same of almost every single high school pitcher.

      • Jeff

        So, who was the last high school pitcher that the Cubs developed in their system that actually made it to the majors and had success? I think it was Kerry Wood, but that might just be my jaded memory of the Hendry years. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I’ve seen and heard about Dillon Maples(I’ve read a couple of places that he already has two big league pitches), I just hold trepidation for an organization that continues to watch it’s top pitching prospects wash out year after year.

  • John

    Hey Brett, do you happen to know when Baez and vogelbach will be playing this year if they happen to play at all. Im really excited to see these kids in action.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A recent Vogelbach article said he was headed to Arizona (which is where the Cubs’ rookie league team is), but that could just be to do some conditioning and instructional work. It’s possible that neither will see true game action until next year, but they could also see some time in the Arizona League in the next few weeks.

  • John

    Thanks Brett! Keep up the good work I love this website.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, John.

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