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Happy Draft Day!

The First Round and the Comp A round of the draft takes place tonight. Before the the night is over the Cubs will have made selections at No. 6, No, 43, and No. 56 over all. Current projections have the Cubs selecting high school outfielder Albert Almora with their first overall pick, but that is not decided yet. In the past forty eight hours there have been more rumors swirling around pitcher Lucas Giolito. It is possible that his price tag has come down to the point where teams at the top of the first round would consider drafting him, and that could throw everything for a loop.

That’s not all. I’m also seeing some speculation that the Big Three of college pitchers (Appel, Gausman, and Zimmer) are starting to slide down the draft boards of some teams near the top. It is not impossible that only one of those three pitchers is off the board when the Cubs pick. It is also not impossible that Almora himself is gone when the Cubs’ turn comes. This draft is starting to get a little unpredictable.

And when you factor in that Houston has yet to make up their minds and that no one knows for sure what Seattle is thinking, not to mention the still unknown effect of the new CBA, suddenly we have the potential for a wild evening of unexpected events.

Sounds like fun to me.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 25 – 31
The Cubs put up a fight, but fell in a close one 6-5.

Brooks Raley struck out eight in his five innings of work, but he also allowed five runs on nine hits (including two home runs). Keep in mind that this game was played in Oklahoma City, where the wind came sweeping out to left field. It did not bother Manny Corpas, though. He allowed just one hit in his inning on the hill. Jeff Beliveau gave up a solo home run (and took the loss), but he struck out the other three batters he faced. Rafael Dolis walked two in the eighth but escaped without any further harm.

The Cubs’ offense was unable to take advantage of the breezy conditions with any long balls, although Ty Wright, Brian Esposito, and Diory Hernandez all doubled in the game. Wright also had the Cubs’ only two hit game. Brett Jackson singled and stole his 11th base of the season.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 24 – 33
The Montgomery Biscuits have the most garish hats in baseball. Look at those things. You could land airplanes on a foggy night in a dust storm by using those hats for runway markers. In any event, the Montgomery Bright Hats beat Tennessee 3-2.

This game was all about the pitching. Nick Struck gave up just two hits in his five and two thirds innings, but they were both home runs. He also struck out seven and walked two as he endured his sixth loss of the season. Casey Harmon struck out four in his two and a third innings of hitless relief.

The Smokies were similarly shut down on offense, although they did have their chances. Even though Tennessee managed just five hits, thanks in part to six walks they did get enough men in scoring position to go a mere 1 for 8 in those situations. Jae-Hoon Ha and Michael Burgess both doubled. Those were the teams’ only extra base hits.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 23 – 31
Another well pitched game, and another game in which the Cubs came up short. Daytona fell 4-0.

P.J. Francescon allowed all four Miracle runs to score in his five innings of work as he lost his second game at the High A level. A.J. Morris threw two shutout innings in relief, and Jeffrey Lorrick finished the game off in similar fashion.

Meanwhile, the Cubs were one hit. Greg Rohan had the teams’ lone single. Thanks to five walks and an error, though, the Cubs did manage to get seven opportunities with runners in scoring position. They went 0 for 7 in those situations.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 25 – 32
Peoria picked up another ten hits in this game, but that was not enough for the win. The Chiefs lost 6-5.

Felix Pena and Hunter Cervenka both worked two innings of scoreless relief in support of starter Kyler Burke (who has had better starts), but Starling Peralta could not nail things down in the ninth. Peralta took his second loss of the year.

In a move suspected of being disciplinary in nature, Javier Baez was on the bench to start this game. He did step into the lineup in time to hit a home run in two at bats, and to make two sparkling defensive plays at shortstop. Oliver Zapata also homered in this game. Taiwan Easterling and Anthony Giansanti both doubled, and Pin-Chieh Chen hit his third triple of the season.

Yasiel Balaguert, in addition to his base hit, had two assists from left field. In both cases he cut down a runner at home.

  • Ben

    I live in Mongomery!! The Biscuits hat is hugely popular….It is one of the best selling minor league hats in all of baseball….you should also certainly come to the stadium here if it is ever convenient for you as it is very nice

  • Ben

    I will be attending the Smokies game tomorrow. if you would like me to share my observations ,I will.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Most definitely.

  • cjdubbya

    Luke – I read somewhere last night that Houston announced already it was taking Appel, you heard this? (obviously this is a moot point in the next 10 hours or so, as we’ll know who the Astros selected!)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The ‘Appel to Houston’ rumors have been locked in for awhile, but doubt has appeared over the weekend.  I’m not sure if it is a smokescreen of some time, or if Houston really is reconsidering.  As of yesterday evening, the best info I could find said they had not yet made up their mind.

  • Ben

    The prognosticators keep flip flopping on whether Appel to Houston is a done deal

  • Ben

    I hope somehow Correa falls in Cubs lap but I doubt it happens…..I bet he goes to Baltimore

    • Boogens

      I’m with you. I really hope that Correa’s still available when the Cubs draft but I doubt it. I even think he won’t make it to Baltimore. I think the Mariners take him at #3.

      I keep telling myself to be happy with whomever the Cubs select because this is the reason we have Theo, Jed & Jason. Dafting & player development is what they do so I have to keep telling myself to just let go and trust that they know what they’re doing. Sounds good on paper but I still want Correa. :-)

      • CubFan Paul

        Why Correa over Almora or Zunino? ..If all 3 fall to the 6th pick?

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Correa is the better prospect according to draft guy’s like Law, Goldstein, Baseball America, Mayo at MLB.com, John Sickels…

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Any of the three would be a good choice.  This isn’t a case of the Cubs trying to find a diamond in a coal mine.  This is more a case of the Cubs choosing from three different flavors of cake.  The Correa cake might be a little thicker than the Almora cake, but the Cubs (and Cub fans) should be more than happy to eat either one.

        • Boogens

          That’s a good and fair question. Just to be honest, I’m only going off what I’ve read about each player. I haven’t seen any in person, although I did see a few clips of Zunino.

          The reason I don’t particularly want Zunino is that he’s had a little bit of a down year and while he’s projected to be a decent major league catcher, he seems like a higher-floor, lower-ceiling guy. Don’t know much about Almora except my concern is that he could be a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. The reason I like Correa is that, at least offensively, he appears to be a genuine impact type of player, the kind the Cubs are severely lacking at the moment.

          I’ll be the first to admit that none of my opinion is scientific or stat-driven, just based on what I’ve read and caught from interviews of guys like Kevin Goldstein. Can you imagine an future Cubs infield that could have guys like Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Lake and possibly Correa? Someone would have to go to make room for all of them and that would be an awfully nice problem to have.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            I think both Zunino and Almora fit into the potential impact player category along with Correa.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Let me just say now, so that I don’t get slapped with hindsight-20-20 stuff: if the Cubs take Almora while Zunino is still on the board, and the latter becomes a solid regular big league catcher while the former flames out, I’m going to be pretty pissed.

              … in six years.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                I’m guessing the same will be true if the Cubs take Zunino with Almora on the board and Almora goes on to become a solid big league outfielder and Zuninio never gets out of Double A.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Not me. I’m saying only the reverse is true for me. If the Cubs take Zunino, knowing what we know, and Almora blows up while Zunino busts, I won’t be pissed about the pick.

              • JulioZuleta

                I want no part of Zuninno. His ceiling is way to low for a 6th overall pick. I don’t think he’s a top 10 talent. If both are available, I prefere Correa to Almora unless he is demading significantly more cash. If we can save a quarter to a half million dollars on the pick, it could do wonders for the rest of the draft.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Zunino’s ceiling is Jason Varitek. That’s not high enough for you? For me, here’s thing thing: Almora’s ceiling is much higher. No doubt about it. But he’s less likely to reach it than Zunino is (more advanced, less projection, more value by virtue of being a good defensive catcher (so that if his bat doesn’t blow up, he still has value)).

                  I just really, really don’t want the Cubs to bust at this pick in this Draft.

                  (I also happen to think the Cubs might be able to sign Zunino for a hair less than Almora.)

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Don’t get me wrong, though: I won’t be grousing if the Cubs take Almora. Sounds like a fine pick to me.

                  • JulioZuleta

                    Ceiling is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I don;t expect him to be a Varitek 2.0. And to be honest, a top 6 pick’s ceiling should be “superstar”. I don’t think Varitek qualifies.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I don’t *expect* him to be Varitek 2.0, either. But that’s his ceiling…

                    • JulioZuleta

                      Yeah, our pick is really a crapshoot. I think some people are starting to undersell Almora. Goldstein, who said Baez has to potential to be a rare 70/70 power/hit combo (he said the only two guys with those tools in the last few years are Pujols and A-Rod), says that Almora is the better prospect. Everyone says Almora is more polished than Correa which is good and all, but to me it also means that Correa has more room to improve/grow.

                      I can go back and forth all day on it, but at the end of the day, I’ll be happy. Macleod, Jed, Theo, and Wilken are some of the best drafters in the world. They obviously have a much better feel for it than I do.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Who has the higher floor between almora & correa?

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      This is where the WAR concept is potentially valuable.  Varitek’s numbers were solid but unspectacular for an MLB player.  They were, however, great for a catcher.  If this guy projects to stay a catcher, then a Varitek ceiling might be a much higher WAR ceiling than that of a CFer who’s raw numbers will be better.

                      Similarly, when comparing Almora and Correa, there is the issue of whether Correa can stick at SS . A SS with slightly worse numbers than a CF still contributes more to winning because the SS will represent a bigger plus relative to the other team’s SS than will the CF.

                      Add caveats about projections, Ouji boards, horoscopes, chicken entrails, etc…..

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Julio – Does Baez have anything like the batting eye that Pujols and ARod had?  (Both were great from the word go: for some reason, I thought that Baez swung at everything.)

                    • JulioZuleta

                      I would say Almora has the higher floor, but slightly. It’s not a good idea to consider the floor of a high schooler. Appel for example (probable #1 overall pick, Stanford pitcher) has the floor of a #4 starter in the MLB. The floor of ANY high schooler, is a guy who can’t hit .220 at Low-A.

                      Doc, as of right now it certainly doesn’t look like Baez has the same eye. However, it’s not really fair to judge him yet; he has never faced competition that is on his level. He hit .771 in high school with 22 home runs in 80 ABs, he dominated EXST, he’s clearly more talented than the competition at Peoria…Once he gets to a level where he can’t just get buy on 100% natural talent, I expect him to work counts, take more walks, and just overall become a more rounded player.

            • Boogens

              “I think both Zunino and Almora fit into the potential impact player category along with Correa.”

              Can you tell me what you base your opinions on? I’m not being argumentative; it’s more that I’m looking more for a reason not to be disappointed if one of them is our pick.

              • King Jeff

                All are currently being projected as potential top 3 picks by a lot of experts. If either falls to the Cubs, we should be happy about it. It seems that the top 6 or 7 guys in this draft are pretty interchangeable and any one of them slipping to the Cubs isn’t going to be a major shocker.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Keep in mind that impact is a subjective term.  Some only define Babe Ruth in that category, and others apply it to Tony Campana.

                Between the three, though, the biggest difference among them is power.  Correa likely projects to have the most, then Zunino, and then Almora.  That, I think, is what leads to people not considering Almora to be impact.  However, he projects to hit for a higher average than either those, is faster, and plays better defense than Correa (Zunino is also well thought defensively).

                Zunino is probably the safest of the three, but I have some concerns about his ability to hit for average in the majors.  He should have power and do well behind the plate, but I’m not convinced he’ll hit much better than .260 or .270.  Correa has the highest ceiling of the three, but I also think he has the highest potential to bust.  His swing is very much a work in progress, and I strongly doubt he will stay at shortstop (some of his value is due to his position).  Almora is more polished, and therefor less risky.  He still projects to have enough power to play a corner outfield slot while having all the defensive tools necessary to play in center.  Of the three, I think he is the only one who has a chance to be a 25+ steals / 25+ HR guy in the majors.  (Notice I said chance… not certainty).

                And in my book, that’s impact.

                • djriz

                  Very good analysis Luke.
                  Something everyone should remember is that this draft has always been one that was not considered to be loaded with impact talent. (bad luck, i guess, to have the 6th pick).
                  So there is a possibility the best we can do is a solid player. That’s okay.
                  Saying that, Zunino and Almora seem to be players with that higher ‘floor’, and therefore would make solid picks.

                  I have never been as high on Almora as others, but if the Cubs FO feels he’s the best fit for the organization, I could live with it. If they pick him because of easy signability or saving slot money, bypassing players they like more, then, well, we’re no better off than we were before.

  • Steve

    I want to reiterate, my pick is Wacha. He’ll sign under slot and allow us room to over slot in a deep yet unspectacular draft

    • Cedlandrum

      He might sign underslot, but he isn’t the 6th pick talent. He is a mid teen selection and maybe the 8th or 9th pitcher off the board. I like him too, but you can’t go there. You have to go best available talent.

    • Dumpgobbler

      Not a terrible strategy if you think you can get two really good picks in the comp round. I do think that the guys will draft whoever they think will be the biggest impact talent left at 6 though.

      • King Jeff

        How did that work out with Hayden Simpson? Now every Cubs fan that thinks that they are draft experts ride the Cubs like crazy for taking that pick. What do you think would happen now if they went on the cheap with the first pick? I can only imagine the level of trolling we would have to deal with.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Taking Simpson freed up the cash to go overslot on both Golden and Szczur.  If you flip that draft around so Szczur is in the first round and Simpson is in the fifth, I don’t think too many Cub fans would have a problem with it.

          • King Jeff

            You could also say that Cubs fans would be happy if they took Sczcur in the first and didn’t take Simpson at all.

            I absolutely hate that we are already back to talking about money limitations for draft pick signings, don’t you? Last year was such a breath of fresh air, and now Selig pushes us right back down into the stink.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Can’t argue there.  I’m not a fan of the CBA’s limitations.  I was looking forward to a $20 million draft this year until that thing hit.

              • hansman1982

                The interesting thing will be to see if we can get $20M in talent for $7M now or if we will be getting $7M in talent now.

                This CBA was at the absolute wrong time considering the recent plight of the NFL. Think parents will push their kids into baseball if they think they can get a bigger payday in football plus a free ride to college? Had baseball been able to still dole out mega-buck contracts all over the place we could have seen a HUGE transfer of talent back into baseball. Now, just hope safety concerns are enough.

            • Boogens

              “I absolutely hate that we are already back to talking about money limitations for draft pick signings, don’t you?”

              I agree whole heartedly with you. More of my anger / frustration is directed towards Reinsdorf because I can’t help but feel that he was the one pulling Bud’s strings.

              Now we’re stuck with a system that’s going to cause more talent to go to college or possibly another sport. Plus we’re stuck with the back-end where the excessive spending on major league free agents is going to accelerate. It’s just plain stupid. The Cubs are paying the price now of getting out from under bad contracts like Zambrano, Soriano, etc. and all this new system does is potentially put us back in the same situation if we’re not careful. It just shifts the spending from amatuer talent to the big leagues talent. It’ll screw everyone because the high-water contracts will have a trickle down impact on the other contracts and arbitration.

              • hansman1982

                The worst part is there is no guarrantee that Reinsdorf will even field a respectable minor league system under the new CBA.

          • djriz

            Luke,
            I’m going to respectively disagree with this theory. The first round pick HAS to be best player available. Always.
            There were five ‘top 100′ players drafted after Simpson. (would the Cubs have drafted them? who knows).
            I guess I’d need to see proof that doing this has added an EXTRA impact player to a team’s system.
            Take this year, for example. The Cubs should take who they think is the best player on the board. If they have targeted a player in the (let’s say) 6th round who they can sign overslot, is it worth taking the, for ex, the 14th best player in the 1st round? I’d rather see them getting the extra cash from passing in the 9th and 10th round.

          • Kyle

            I’d be pretty unhappy with that, but I’m not a huge Szczur fan.

  • Smitty

    Is the draft on the MLB network tonight?

    • North Side Irish

      Yep…6 PM CT. Hour long preview show right beforehand.

      • Boogens

        I don’t have the MLB network. Any other way that you know of where I can see the draft?

        • Gabriel

          mlb.com livestreams it i believe (I’m a subscriber to MLB.tv tho, so that might be the reason I can view it but I think its free for everyone to stream)

          • Boogens

            Thanks!

  • rcleven

    Any word on Anthony Giansanti’s health? Took a ground ball to his chest yesterday and went down to the ground and was removed allowing Baez to come in and play short with Darvill sliding to third.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Nothing yet.

  • mark

    Third game in a row that Szczur hasn’t played. Anyone know what’s up?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I can’t find anything.  He’s not on the DL, is apparently still with the team, but hasn’t played since Thursday. I’m assuming he has a minor injury or illness, but I don’t know what it is.

      • mark

        thanks. just curious.

  • Steve

    Brett, explain to me why you believe or would even suggest to write that the reason Baez was not starting Saturday was disciplinary. He ended Saturdays game by getting nailed with a fastball. I would have use the word precautionary rather than disciplinary.

    • hansman1982

      First: Luke writes this – not Brett.
      Second: Everyone and their mother could see that Baez not starting was a disciplinary move. The only reason he entered the game is because Giansanti got drilled with a hot ground ball.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, it’s been pretty widely accepted that the non-start was disciplinary. It’s possible that’s incorrect, but I suspect it’s right on.

  • BD

    So which of these tidbits are smoke-screens?

    The very-public tryouts with Correa/Fried?
    The fact that every writer has “heard” that the Cubs want Almora?
    The “take the best player” arguments all over the place, when we can’t figure out who they want out of 7 very closely rated players (obvioulsy 2 will be available at #6)?

    I wonder how many people are guessing, and will think they are right if the Cubs actually take the guy they guessed. I just think we can’t know until five teams have taken a player off of the Cubs board, and we find out who is left. For that #6 pick, they have to have 6 guys they want, in order, and they will take the highest one.

  • Steve

    My apologies Brett, ok Luke, again I like facts not percieved notions, if it is factual it was disciplinary in nature then write it. I don’t like when a player especially a kid is trying to make his mark which he has, and has someone tryin to hate on him. He’s intense a competitor and had a blow up a month back and has this so called bad attitude. Let’s write facts not “oh I bet it was disciplinary because he didn’t start bs

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think you’re reading too much into it if you believe Luke is “hating” on Baez. I’m pretty sure we’re all “loving” on Baez these days.

    • CubFan Paul

      Douche much?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Why do you have to go there? Can’t we all be above the name thing?

        • Drew7

          I feel like you’ve had to say that a lot more than normal lately

          • TWC

            So you’re saying Brett is abnormal? Can’t you be above the name thing, Drew?

            • Drew7

              Whatever TWC! Anyone can be a coward hiding behind a computer screen! Put down the Theo-lade…

    • Cedlandrum

      It wasn’t a far leap to come to that conclusion ya know.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      He ignored a “take” sign. Not much doubt about it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m hardly alone in thinking the benching was disciplinary.  Kevin Goldstein first made the claim on twitter last night, but several others followed up with the same thinking.  Today I’ve seen other articles that either assume it or confirm it.

      Take this one from John Arguello, for instance: http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/06/observations-on-javier-baez/

      You may not like it, but there it is.  Teams do not typically announce any form of discipline publicly, so we may never know for certain.  And that’s why I referred to it as “suspected of being disciplinary in nature.”  He was benched, and it was suspected of being disciplinary.  I’m not sure how much more clear I could have made things.

  • CubFan Paul

    You’re right. Sorry. Just don’t get why he’s so butt hurt by Luke saying “a move suspected of being disciplinary in nature”

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      butt hurt?

      Lolz.

  • Njriv

    For me, I like Vitters and I like his ability to make contact, but I don’t really see him as the third baseman of the future. I see him more of a nice piece to add into a package deal to get a little more value back. I personally think Baez will be the third baseman of the future. As for Junior Lake I know he’s been playing more at third base but I do not know if he fits their either, I think if he makes the team he’ll be a second baseman, utility player or an outfielder. To me I think he would fit best in the outfield, but I would not mind if I was wrong as long as it all works out for the Cubs in the end.

    • King Jeff

      I think if you’ve seen Vitters this year, you might change your mind on him a little. It seems he’s been in the system forever, but he’s only 22, and it seems he’s turned a corner at the plate over the last month or so and his defense is not nearly as bad as advertised. At least in my opinion. Ask one of the Iowan’s on here who’ve seen him play recently for their thoughts.

  • Joe

    I may be in a VERY small group here, but is there ANY chance that the Cubs consider taking Lucas Giolito at 6. Even if this kid needs Tommy John surgery that isn’t the end of the world. The list of guys who have come back from that surgery to be excellent pitchers is VERY long. Heck, look at Strasburg this year. Plus the rumors about his asking price dropping may get him a slightly underslot deal for potentially the best arm in this draft. High schoolers that can hit 100 on the gun and already have two additional plus pitches and another two very good pitches are more rare than a prospect who COULD become a five tool player. Just wondering if anyone else has any interest in the Cubs getting him since I haven’t read much tying the Cubs to him. I would be devastated to see him get swooped up by the White Sox with the thirteenth pick.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Next to zero.
      And I think you’re overstating Giolito a bit..he’s got the fastball and curve, and needs to work on this third pitch, the change…he doesn’t quite have 2 other plus pitches and two other very good pitches.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      There is one mock draft I’ve seen that has the Cubs taking Giolito, but I don’t think there is much more to it than guesswork.

    • chirogerg

      I agree with joe. Giolito has everything a scout could ever look for in a pitcher. He’s 6-6 220, already looking like an MLB starter. He can hit 100 with good movement, a plus-plus fastball. He throws a sharp 12-6 curve and a change up with downward movement and arm side run. Both will be above-average. Also, he has above average command of all three pitches. Because of his body and stuff, he could move quickly through the minors. Earlier in the year, Giolito was a consensus top 2 pick, and I don’t think the Cubs should pass on his, especially with two compensation picks later on. The only concern I can see with Giolito is signability, as his UCL injury is something that would put a major league starter on the 15 day DL and ready to start on day 16.

  • Steve

    Paul, ur a real idiot. Brett, just so understand where I am comming from I understand Baez is a hot head at times I am just not a fan of percieved this and that and horrible rumors I tend to read on bleacher nation rumors which have been way off I.e. Jorge Soler news in the winter etc. I have been at the games at Kane County while the Chiefs have been in town and yes Baez is the best on the field for both teams and probably the best Cubs hitter through A and AA. He did swing through a take sign buy highly doubt he was benched for that if its my pitch and I’ve been hitting the ball all game I’m frickin swinging. Anyways I like facts that’s all looking forward in watching DeVise , Baez and the rest tear up the Cougars tonight.

    • Cedlandrum

      Well dude then stick to the papers. Because a rumor is just that. These guys aren’t trying to pretend that they aren’t rumors. As for Baez, you have your head stuck in the sand, if you don’t think he was benched for blatantly ignoring a coach. If he acts this way in Low A how do you suppose he will act in the majors? You take care of that stuff now and not then.

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