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I’ve still never had a fried Twinkie. The family went to a local fair/carnival last night (we’re in Cincinnati visiting The Wife’s parents), and I fully expected to finally get my first fried Twinkie (or at least a fried Oreo). The place was a legit carnival (including help wanted signs for carnies), but there were no fried Twinkies. I was beside myself, and settled for a corn dog (which, yes, I know isn’t a dessert).

  • The first round of the Draft is just two days away, and there is sudden consensus about the Cubs’ first round pick: high school outfielder Albert Almora. He’s expected to be there at six, and all three of Jim Callis, Keith Law, and Kevin Goldstein have the Cubs taking Almora in their latest mock drafts, which came after conversations with front office types (not necessarily Cubs front office types, though). Law goes so far as to call Almora to the Cubs “the closest thing we have to a lock in the top 10.” Clearly, word is traveling around baseball that the Cubs are going to take Almora, which might even suggest some kind of pre-Draft understanding (pre-Draft “agreements,” you’ll note, are not allowed). Does that mean the Cubs are definitely taking Almora (whom Goldstein says is a better prospect than Javier Baez, by the way)? Not necessarily. For one thing, a team ahead of the Cubs could take him. For another, a player whom the Cubs don’t expect to be there at six could slip, and maybe they can’t pass that player up. But, surprisingly, Callis has Carlos Correa on the board when the Cubs pick in his mock, and still has the Cubs taking Almora. Further, Goldstein was on the radio last night and said an executive told him that if the Cubs were picking first, they might pick Almora. That’s how much they apparently like him.
  • You can read more about Almora (and nine other possible picks) here. The short book on him is that he’s polished for a high school player, could play excellent center field defense, is very good at everything, but maybe not elite at anything.
  • Dale Sveum described yesterday’s addition of reliever Jairo Acensio perfectly: “Just another arm. Someone to pick up and see what happens.”
  • Sveum also had a firm reaction to the rumor that Starlin Castro was being made available in trade: “I think it’s absurd for somebody to even write something like that. Some of it might be warranted and some of it isn’t even close to what we’re going to do with this organization. You talk about the ultimate skepticism, that’s what it is. I think Theo [Epstein] took care of that himself.” (And, about Castro’s no-slide in last night’s game, the 22-year-old says he thought he heard a foul ball, so he stopped running. D’oh. Come on, kid.)
  • Does Tony Campana have more value as a starter, or a late-inning pinch runner (with the advantage of a virtual guarantee that you get to have Tony Campana on base, where he’s most valuable)? Doug Padilla raises the question we’ve been debating for weeks.
  • Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals. Ha. Ha. Santana threw 134 pitches, by the way, on a shoulder that some thought would end his career. He might have a rough second half. Just sayin’.
  • Some great old-time photos from the Tribune. Really beautiful. There are times when the existence, and preservation ability, of the Internet shines.
  • Mesa’s Mayor is already defending that the unconstructed new Cubs’ Spring Training facility will not be cheap-looking or feeling, which risks me thinking he doth protest too much. Drawings of the project released last month were very unimpressive, but they were just drawings. I’m not too worried, but I don’t care for the idea of the Mayor having to defend the place a full two years before it’s finished.
  • Bud Selig scolded Hawk Harrelson for being unprofessional in his rant the other day. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Blitzenjohn

    Brett, I have a question about the draft. Why, oh why, is it in the middle of the season? Just curious…

    • Eric

      I have a question for you. Why not? :)

    • BluBlud

      Because its near the end of the college/high school seasons.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, it’s after the players’ seasons, so it’s really the only time it works. I’d prefer it were in February (from a coverage standpoint), but that isn’t feasible.

  • Cub Style

    Here’s hoping Almora goes before we pick.

    • Eric

      Yeah I dunno man, the whole “cubs def taking almora” doesn’t coincide with McLeod recently saying “impact”. The kid is polished but maybe doesn’t have an elite ceiling. I just don’t think Cubs take Almora unless their scouting collective really feels he has elite potential.

      • Cub Style

        I’ve been a bit skeptical about pretty much everything that comes out of this front office. Seems like everything that’s a done deal isn’t going to happen.

      • Jeremy

        Almora has a Carlos Beltran ceiling. He would be a great pick.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Where did you hear he had a carlos beltran ceiling? I’m hereing more of a brett jackson from a talent level standpoint

    • Dumpgobbler

      Why? You wouldnt want a RH Brett Jackson with a better hit tool?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not sure I get the skepticism on Almora.  The only hitters in the draft who might have a higher upside are Buxton (who will be gone when the Cubs pick), and  Correa (who is a riskier, but still a good, pick).

      Also, scanning through the Almora scouting reports on Perfect Game, I noticed that he’s often referred to as an OF/C.  I assume, like Szczur, the Cubs would be throwing away the C part of that making him a pure OF.

       

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I feel like there is more hype about Correa. Why would he be riskier? I feel like Correa has a higher cieling. I just don’t know about almora, because I don’t want another Brett Jackson. A guy who can do it all but not do anything at an elite level. If I’m drafting at #6 I want a star not just a pretty good player. Correa has been compared to A-rod, with his projectable body and projectable power. i just dont know if this guy has star quality. All I hear about this Almora is that he’ll just be a good player but not a star. Thats not what I want out of the #6 pick. Thats why I don’t like the catcher out of florida, good but not elite.

        • nkniacc

          Correa is riskier because no player from PR has been drafted that high, and he is more projectable. Almora is a guy who has played for team usa since he was 14 so hes been challenged and people have a good idea what he has for tools and what he could/can do

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          If Correa can’t stick at shortstop (his size suggests he’ll wind up in the OF or at 3B), his stock drops a bit.

          On many reports I’ve seen, Almora projects even with or better than Correa in hitting, arm, fielding, and speed.  Correa consistently wins only on power.

          For example:

          Correa: http://baseballprospectnation.com/2012/03/16/scouting-report-carlos-correa-ss/

          Almora: http://baseballprospectnation.com/2012/05/11/scouting-report-albert-almora-of/

          I’d be very happy to have either, but because he is the more polished player and has a good track record against higher end competition, I think Almora is the safer pick.

          • Webb

            Almora also has five months more of development. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but some of Correa’s skills may not be as ‘projectable’ because he is about 2% younger than Almora. I’m glad I’m not drafting, this seams like a difficult game to play with children who are quite young.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Two things. I can’t stand Bud Seigal and I’m a former carney at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, ID.

    • Cub Style

      Cool story bro

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Awesome. Traveling with a carnival is one of those things I wish I’d been able to do (in another life, perhaps).

      • JulioZuleta

        Only two things scare me in this life… cabbage, and carneys.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          ditto with the latter

  • EcoGeek

    Not saying Callis, Law, and Goldstein are wrong, but I’m half-amazed they’d say the Cubs are so high on an outfielder now with Jackson and Szczur (despite their recent difficulties) working their way up and the possibility/likelihood of Soler. I’ll be amazed if they don’t pick up Fried or one of the big 3 college pitchers. Perhaps intentional misinformation leaked by JedStein?

    • mul21

      I think this is more likely than not. There’s absolutely no reason to tip your hand when you have the 6th pick.

      • djriz

        Since you can’t trade draft picks, not sure tipping your hand on picks is all that important.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      What the Cubs have or don’t have in the system or on the major league roster will have absolutely no impact on who they take with their first pick.  Even Hoyer said they would not be picking based on need.

      If all the prospect pan out and the Cubs have a giant log jam at some position, then they can trade their way out of it.  That’s a fantastic problem to have.

      • nkniacc

        If they are going to take a HS position player in their top 4 picks I prefer it if they take Correa or Almora with their first pick and take 3 pitchers after that as long as atleast one of those 3 is a LHP

  • djriz

    According to most scouting reports, Almora also has a very high floor relative to the other High School prospects. For many reasons, this FO really, really needs this pick to make it to the bigs, and can see why they would go for a safer pick. I know they have stated a desire for ‘impact’ talent, but (except for Appel) this draft doesn’t have impact talent, on the High School level, that doesn’t come with a high risk (except, maybe, Almora). So I am okay with this pick. But Brett is right, if ANY of the big 4 college prospects fall, I can see them changing.

    • Cub Style

      Why not take Zunino or one of the college pitchers then? They’ll probably be up in 2 years or less.

      • djriz

        I agree!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        It is very likely that Zunino and all three college pitchers are off the board when the Cubs pick.  If Correa goes early, then Zunino may still be around, but I’d take Almora over Zunino anyway.

  • djriz

    Oh, one more thing about Almora.

    Coast to Coast has a bunch of scouting reports, but one thing they do is give comparisons to current players. (Note: player comps are dubious at best, but always FUN).

    The comp on Albert Almora will either make you laugh, or make you weep uncontrollably.

    The comp: MARLON BYRD

  • Cubs1967

    OK; Ricketts basically extorts money out of the city of Mesa; which has to sell undeveloped land(which is like a junk bond now) to payoff the bonds for the 100M project to build the new Ho Ho Kam and the 1st look is causing him to defend it?? WTF!

    the current facility is a dump; been there and it needs to go just like the other dump Wrigley. that’s unreal for Ricketts to threatened moving to Florida and not have a great new facility like you hear about the dodgers and sox have at camelback ranch or the rockies and d’backs have………….

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Hey cubs1967, let me guess your a white sox or cards fan. Sucks to suck
      1st: I could careless about Arizona. I live in chicago. If they want to give us free money I’m all for it. Not my tax money because its getting paid by the city and state. I’m sure in 40-50 years when I retire and move down there it won’t affect me.

      2nd: How dare you call wrigley a dump! It will be updated in the next couple years and as long as chicago doesnt get screwed in the deal I’m fine with public funding because what its sounds like is that the city will just be letting the cubs keep some amusement tax money.

      You are probably someone who thinks US cellular looks nice. The cell has nice amenities but it looks like crap. Ugly field

      • Glotzbach

        You are right, but please dont feed the beast of ignorance in Cubs1967

        • Cubs1967

          not sure who you are, but do not call others names. do you have a mirror; look at it before you call others ignorant. any coward can sit behind a computer screen and call someone else names. i’ve been watching baseball since the early 1970’s-You??

          • MichiganGoat

            You do have tendency to get overly aggressive in your responses, keep it civil and everyone else will follow.

      • Cubs1967

        i’m a cubs fans since the early 1970’s………what the fuck is your point?
        wrigley field is the best park to look at; great old school atmosphere; but the park itself is a dump……..urinals with troughs; smells like urine and no walkways. still the best place, but needed to be updated 20 yrs ago.
        i’ve been to half the new parks in baseball……….go somewhere else and you’ll see my point.

        2nd, ricketts agreed to build “wrigleyville west”; hotels and restaurants around the new ho ho kam, he has not re-nigged on that deal wiating till the economy gets better? who is to say when that will be? and that’s now what was discussed when he threatened to leave for naples, FL. give a billionaire public money; he should be able to hold up his end of the bargain; I think that is fair. instead the chicago fans with money will continue to go to tempe, scottsdale and old town. mesa has higher unemployment and lacks the development of the nearby towns.

        the Cell is the worst new park since the 1990’s.

        it would help you if knew want the fuck you were taling about before you opened your mouth………if you do not understand what happened in mesa, don’t comment on it.

        just because i’m not drunk on team theo kool-aid does not make me ten times the cubs fan you are; funny how someone else can have differeing opinions, so then everyone thinks let;s call him or her names; is this third grade?

        • King Jeff

          I’m not really sure what your concern is with the new facility from reading your comments, all I can tell is that you are angry about them. The Cubs needed a new facility, and their lease at HoHoKam was coming up. It was an antiquated park that should have been replaced 10 years ago. The Cubs got offers from Florida that would have taken care of the entire bill and given the Cubs a huge break on taxes. Mesa decided that they didn’t want to lose the Cubs, and potentially other teams from the area that would have followed to the riches of Florida, so they agreed to fund the stadium I don’t know of any owner in sports that wouldn’t have done the same.

        • Njriv

          Hey easy on the F-bombs

        • CubFanBob

          I love the troughs. Easy in easy out plus it’s like comedy hour in there. Way better then waiting in a single file line you see at most parks.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Haha slow down buddy. Dont be so negative. Your reaction to things makes it sound like been watching cubs baseball with a stick in your @*s since the early 1970’s. I get you are big cubs fan, just chill. I give you this that you obviously know your shit. Sorry if ruffled your feathers

  • Idaho Razorback

    I’m not the normanl carnie. I have all my teeth and never had a cavity and I have all my fingers and toes.

  • EB

    Brett, you need to come down to Evansville, IN for our Fall Festival in October. You can a deep fried Twinkie along with just about anything else you can think of deep fried including Oreos, candy bars, cookie dough, Klondike bars, Pepsi, and kool-aid

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I second this.

      Second largest street festival in America behind Mardi Gras, and the largest street festival in terms of food.  If it can be put on a stick and fried, it is sold in Evansville every fall.

      While you’re there, be sure to try the brain sandwiches.  They are a regional specialty that are famous at the Fall Festival.

      • EB

        Luke, are you from the Evansille area or have you just been to the Festival before? Glad someone knows about my hometown and shares the same sentiments about my favorite week of the year! Never been a big fan of the brain, though I never really gave it much of a chance. I took one bite and was done!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I grew up in Southern Indiana and went to college at UE.  I’ve only been to the Fall Festival a half a dozen times or so, mainly because I’m usually living ridiculously far away, but I hit it when I can.

          • EB

            Sweet! I was born an raised in Evansville and go to USI now and my gf goes to UE!

        • MichiganGoat

          As an Indianapolis native and IU grad I have been there a few times it is quite an experience.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs agreed to stay in Mesa without knowing what the new stadium looks like?

  • Kyle

    I would definitely consider Almora or Correa to be better prospects than Baez.

    I think Cubs fans have irrational expectations for Baez based on the idea that he was a “high” pick. No. 8 overall isn’t really all that high. In the history of the draft, the only No. 8 picks to have a huge impact in the majors are Todd Helton and Jay Bell. After that, it’s a lot of decent guys (mostly starting pitchers, including Paul Maholm) and nothings.

    Obviously, it varies year to year, but the improvement in prospect quality isn’t linear as you get closer to the front of the draft. It’s more like the extreme end of a bell curve. Give me one top pick over half a dozen No. 5-10 picks.

    • JoeCub

      Yeah, I wanna vomit whenever I think about those meaningless wins towards the end of 2010 that secured Quade his job & took us completely out of the running for guys like Bundy, etc. But “true fans” were soooo happy the Cubbies were winning!!!! Mehhhh

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The Cubs started September 2010 7.5 games ahead of the O’s.  The Cubs also had the single easiest month of schedule that they were going to get all year whereas the O’s were playing in the AL East.  Managers are hard pressed to cost (or gain) a team 7 wins in an entire season: doing it in one month would have been once-in-a-universe improbable…

    • ferrets_bueller

      Really.
      In theory, I completely agree, about the top pick vs half a dozen 5-10s. But in this case, I think Baez could be an exception. Arguably, he has the kind of talent that could have made him a higher pick, but his potential personality shortcomings dropped him down.

    • djriz

      Does rationality really play a role on how we feel about our top draft choices? Every year since the draft began, a teams 1st round draft pick is their new ‘BIG’ hope. The next Willie Mays or Sandy Koufax. The next Matt Kemp or Alex Rodriquez.
      We may KNOW that barely 1/3 of all 1st round picks make any contribution to the big league team, but until that pick flames out, we all have high hopes. Irrational hopes. But high hopes, none the less.
      It may be a bit different for fans of teams that have won (I wouldn’t know), but it’s what drives Cubs fans. HOPING for the next great star.

      And guess what. It won’t be any different with this year’s first round pick. He’ll be our next savior.

  • Dougy D

    Cool Tribune pics. Thanks for sharing those.

    • beerhelps

      Second that. I found years ago through the Smithsonian website a bunch of cool pictures of our last world series winning team (and a picture of Hack Wilson and Babe Ruth) that i printed and framed for the man cave. This internet thing can be pretty cool for stuff like that.

  • JulioZuleta

    Soler a FA per Rosenthal!!!!!!!!!

    • JulioZuleta

      Let the games begin.

    • King Jeff

      So he is real? All kidding aside, is it just coincidence that he becomes a free agent a day or two after his “handler” is charged with human trafficking?

  • Myles
  • gratefulled

    West Side Park > Comisky > U.S. Cellular

  • nkniacc

    I also wonder if Almora would be winning to sign for under slot and that’s why everyont thinks he is so locked into the Cubs pick

    • JoeCub

      Well, Boras is his agent…

      • JulioZuleta

        Theo has a fantastic relationship with Boras. If the Cubs draft him, they’ll get him for just about slot.

  • gratefulled

    This is not a joke. We had deep-fried sticks of butter at the Iowa State Fair last year. So, we’ll see you in August, Brett?

    • King Jeff

      How do you deep fry butter without it melting?

      • gratefulled

        They freeze it first. It eventually does kind of melt into buttery batter. mmm….buttery batter.

  • LouCub

    Guys per MLB trade rumor site, Soler declared a free agent!!!!!!! Get it done Theo!!!!

  • Juan

    Jorge soler is a free agent reported by mlb trade rumors.

  • Cubs#1

    Lets say the cubs sign soler does that affect who we take in the draft Almora is a OF too that could create a log jam of sorts I know you dont draft for need but….

    • Cub Style

      It might change their best available list, but I don’t think they’ll reach for anyone on account of Soler.

    • King Jeff

      I doubt it. Soler would probably be further along in his development than a high school position player, so they would be at different levels. I don’t really think this front office is so much worried about log jams at certain positions as they are about stocking the system with the best talent that they can.

    • JoeCub

      I doubt Hoystein would concern themselves w/ potential positional logjams for kids at the A level. We need talent in the system, period. Everything else will work itself out. IF the pick is Almora, I trust that our F.O. has solid reasons for the pick (whether it be their evaluation of him, or WRT to slot budgeting, or a mix of both).

  • http://bleachernation.com PattyP

    the mlb draft is all about taking the best player available no matter what the farm system or big league club has on their respective rosters. Say the Cubs had 12 #1 starter types in the whole system, when the Cubs pick you take the best player and if its a pitcher so be it.

  • nkniacc

    I doubt Soler will be signed by the draft. In fact Id be shocked that he signs with the Cubs by Monday because he has been associated with the Cubs an reportly had agreement Id be shocked if they sign him before that. I bet if they get an agreement soon they won’t sign him until June 15 or so

  • Goatbuster

    What is the deadline to get this deal before we are subjected to the new cba rules?

    • Cub Style

      July for IFAs

    • nkniacc

      July 2

  • Matt

    Don’t worry Brett if the Cubs take Max Freid, I’m sure they’ll be selling Freid Twinkies at Wrigley sometime in the future. (Lame joke I know.)

    • Cub Style

      Maybe they’ll use Soler power to fry them? I’m not sure what power source they use even Mathers though.

      • Matt

        Haha I was going to post a Soler pun as soon as I seen the story. You beat me by a LaHair.

  • clark addison

    The Tribune glass plate images are awesome. Hope they publish some more.

  • njriv

    What are some of your opinions on Jim Bowdens trade suggestions for the Cubs?

  • Pingback: Three New Mock Drafts Have Cubs Taking Albert Almora and Other … | Baseball News Report()

  • Gregb

    Good lord whats up with the hostility, this is the reason i stopped going to cubs.com people want to act all tough i love sports but starting shit over it really??? Its that serious? Ive never been scared to throw down with someone but if your online whats the point your not face to face and the way i grew up talk is cheap theres a saying dont sing it just bring it brett i love your site but man i get sick of some people who just instigate and dont have the balls to back it up and let me tell ya if and when you do get a chance to have a fried twinkie there a.azing and i dont even eat twinkies

  • Njriv

    I don’t want to get too excited about the draft. I mean it’s nice that we are getting more young talent into the system but there is such a big chance of these guys not making it and unless you are a Strasburg, Harper, Trout, Meek, it’s going to take three years minimum to get through the system. Harsh, but unfortunately it’s reality.

  • nkniacc

    anyone heard that Giolito’s asking price may have dropped?

    • Jeremy

      No, I believe he is still asking for 5-7 million last I heard. I’ve read nothing that would change that. I’ve also read that he will only sign if he’s picked 1-4 or by the Padres, but I haven’t seen any credible source to confirm that.

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