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The June draft is rapidly approaching and that means mock drafts are appearing all across the internet. Since Baseball America is one of the foremost publications covering amateur baseball and the minor leagues, it should come as no surprise that their mock draft is always one of my favorites. Version 1.0 was published yesterday. Two of the college pitchers I would most like to see in the Cubs’ system were drafted just ahead of the Cubs in this mock draft. Fortunately, if this scenario holds except for Seattle taking Correa over Zunino, one of those two pitchers taken fourth and fifth likely falls to the Cubs. Even if Baseball America is exactly right, though, Albert Almora will be a very nice addition to the farm system.

Just for contrast, here’s another mock draft published by the Fansided network (for whom I used to write). I have serious doubts about their guess at the Cubs’ first round pick; I’m not convinced Smoral will even go in the first round, let alone the first six picks. It is very hard to imagine a scenario in which the Cubs would pass on Gausman to reach for a lefty with a history of foot injuries, but that is the projected pick. Like all mock drafts, these will likely be updated fairly frequently before the big day arrives.

And regardless of how those first five picks go, the Cubs should take the best player on the board regardless of what position he happens to play. I’d love to get an advanced college arm with front of the rotation potential, but only if that happens to be the best player available.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 14 – 19
Iowa likes to win big. Once again the hitters came to play as the Cubs blew out Fresno 10-1.

Randy Wells has pitched a little better since he went to Chicago for a start. He threw six innings of one run baseball to earn his second win of the season. Nate Robertson and Esmailin Caridad yielded absolutely nothing over the final three innings.

Fresno managed to shut down the Cubs’ two best prospects, Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson, by holding both to just a walk apiece. Fortunately, Josh Vitters (3H, 2 doubles), Luis Valbuena (2H, HR), and Dave Sappelt (2H, double) were ready and willing to pick the slack. Jonathan Mota added a triple and the starting battery of Wells and Juan Apodaca both hit a double in the game.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 15 – 20
Tennessee rode some very good pitching to their fifteenth win of the season. The final score was 4-1.

Dae-Eun Rhee scattered four hits across seven and two thirds innings on his way to his third win of the season. The promising right hander gave up one walk and struck out four in his 92 pitch start. Fourteen of his outs came on ground balls; that’s a great trend for a young pitcher.

Brian Schlitter finished the game with a walk and two strike outs to earn his first save of the season.

Thanks to five walks Tennessee was able to score their four runs on only six hits. Logan Watkins continued his exceptional play by reaching base three times with two walks and a single, a feat matched by Matthew Cerda. Nate Samson‘s double was the lone extra base hit for the Smokies.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 12 – 22
No sooner does Daytona string a few wins together than they erase that progress with a few losses. The Cubs fell again by a score of 8-3.

Frank Del Valle was roughed up in the first inning, but pitched decently after that. Larry Suarez did not pitch well in his inning of work. A.J. Morris and Anthony Zych put zeroes across the board in the final two innings.

Arismendy Alcantara and Elieser Bonne both stayed red hot with a double apiece. Sergio Burrell earned two of the Cubs’ nine hits, but as a whole the team was unable to put together any sustained rallies. Daytona was just one for eight with runners in scoring position.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 13 – 21
Peoria kicked their home stand off with a thud as they lost to Beloit 6-5.

None of Peoria’s pitchers were particularly good on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean we are without good news. On the contrary, Gerardo Concepcion pitched his best game of the season. He did have his typical first inning troubles, but this time he limited the damage to just two runs (one earned). Despite the five walks that helped keep him in and out of trouble over the next three innings, those two first inning runs were all he allowed. With his ground ball inducing stuff, it is easy to imagine him moving up the system fairly quickly once he refines his control a bit.

Willengton Cruz pitched one inning and gave up a two run homer. Benjamin Wells pitched the final four innings and allowed two more runs of his own. That resulted in Wells earning his second loss of the season.

Is Marco Hernandez finally heating up? He had two hits yesterday, including a double. After an absolutely horrible start to the season the young switch hitter has rebounded to hit .300 so far in May.

Rafael Lopez also had two hits and a double. Paul Hoilman kept his record setting hitting streak alive with yet another base hit.

  • Brian

    Hey Luke, thanks for the in-depth analysis. Do you have any new news on any of the big time prospects in extended spring training? Has Javier Baez taken a walk yet? Is Dillon Maples Pitching? Always a pleasure to read the minor league report.

  • tim815

    No, on Baez walking. Not as a pro, at least.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    My personal draft preference list goes:

    Buxton
    Correa
    Gausman
    Zunino
    Appel
    Fried
    Zimmer
    Almora

    Giolito is the wild card, could be as high as #1 or completely off the radar at #6.

    I think I would be disappointed if the Cubs took Almora over Correa (like Baseball America showed)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’d be happy with either Almora or Correa (assuming one of the top college pitchers isn’t available).

      I think Correa has the slightly higher upside (and does play a more premium position), but I get the idea that Almora is more polished.  I can see the argument for the Cubs taking Almora.

  • Deer

    Nice to see Vitters come back to life and do something worthy of a mention.

    • Kyle

      And he didn’t even mention his walk :)

  • Dick

    Matt Cerda is a walking machine. He seems to draw 2 walks per game.

    • AB

      yep 250 BA 440 OBP, career 178:180 K:BB ratio

      pretty impressive

  • Jeremy

    God I don’t get Jackson. One day he is tearing it up and the next he strikes out four times. Drives me crazy.

  • mark

    Jackson and Szczur are, I think, the Cubs’ consensus top OF prospects. It’s interesting to note that the lefty Jackson can’t seem to touch right handed pitching but is killing lefties. By the same token, the righty Szczur is struggling against lefties. The bad news for Jackson is that he doesn’t see that much left handed pitching.

    It seems 2B would be the most obvious place for an offensive upgrade for the Cubs–much harder to move Soriano or get a great hitting 3B–which probably explains why they stocked up on so many middle infielders before, during and even after Spring. Cabreras, Valbuena–if they can’t displace Barney, is that the position the Cubs will be looking to do something about?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      They might have the second base help in the farm system.  Logan Watkins is impressing in Tennessee right now.  If he can keep that up, he’s an option at second next year.  So is Matt Cerda.

      And really, if you check the numbers league wide, the Cubs aren’t in bad shape with Darwin Barney and Adrian Cardenas.  Given all that, I don’t think the Cubs will looking to spend any significant amount on second base this winter.  There are other areas of the team more in need of investment (front of the rotation starting pitching, for one).

  • mark

    Jackson is only tearing up lefties. If it weren’t for astronomical numbers against a few lefties, his numbers would look very bad. As it is, I don’t care how many times he walks, if he continues to SO 1/3 it’ll be a cold day in hell before he plays in Wrigley Field.

  • morgan

    like to see cubs take a college arm, so we dont have to wait 4-5 years down the road, but looks like we will need some luck for one of them to drop

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I know Fried has struggled in May, but man I like that kid’s potential. With a draft this weak, would it be out of the question to take a chance on Giolito? That kid could be the Matt Moore of this draft. This is a weak draft, and if there was ever a draft to take a chance, it would be this one. Imo

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Giolito is supposed to start throwing soon.  If everything looks good and he isn’t asking for the moon and seven stars as a signing bonus, I think he’ll go in the first ten picks.  I’d not be opposed to the Cubs taking him, depending on who else is available.

  • Senior Lake

    I’m headed to Peoria tomorrow night for the Chiefs game. With my luck I will be fan #1001 through the gate and it will rain (Chiefs umbrellas to the first 1,000 fans). It looks like it may be Francescon’s turn in the rotation. Hopefully Hoilman will be going for #24.

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