gray appelThe 2013 MLB Draft is just a touch under one month away …

  • Hoyer, to, on the Cubs’ plans for that pick as it relates to Houston picking in front of them: “We don’t expect to know until the name is called in New York [on June 6]. When you pick second, it’s a pretty short list [of candidates]. We’ll react to what [the Astros] do. At this time of year, you’ll get texts from friends thinking they know how things will fall out. The truth is, only two or three people in the Astros organization know how it’s going to happen. We don’t expect to know until the last minute. We’ll keep doing our due diligence.” Thankfully, there’s only so much “gaming” the Cubs can be subjected to. If they’ve got a list of two, they’re going to get one of those two, no matter what. The only rub is in pre-draft “discussions” (which aren’t exactly permissible) with players to determine who would be willing to sign for what. You don’t want to be used as a leverage piece, and wind up focusing all of your attention on a young man who isn’t going to be available to you. Again, that doesn’t appear to be an issue here. The Cubs will narrow their list to two, and they’ll take the top guy if the Astros don’t, and the second guy if the Astros do.
  • Jed Hoyer spoke to Jim Bowden and Casey Stern earlier this week on Sirius XM and confirmed that the Cubs aren’t missing any Gray or Appel starts these days, but that those aren’t the only two players the Cubs are considering at the top of the Draft.
  • Phil Rogers hears that the Cubs are still very much considering San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, as well as Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea, with their first round pick. The latter would require a very strong finish to his season to get back in the mix. As for Bryant, I remain of the mind that the Cubs could wind up taking him, but only if they believe he’s got a better than 50/50 shot of sticking at third base (at 6’5″ and without great defensive scouting reports, it’s a stretch). If he’s a corner outfielder at best, it’s going to be very hard to pass on one of the pitchers.
  • Here’s a question for you (and the Cubs): with a $6.7 million slot amount for the number two pick, it’s fair to estimate that each of Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray is going to demand full slot to sign, and they’ll probably get at least $6 million. What if the Cubs knew they could get Kris Bryant for, say, $4.5 million? Is it worth the savings there, which could be applied to overslot picks down the road, assuming the difference between Bryant/Appel/Gray is very slim in the Cubs’ mind? Maybe. I don’t think it’s a question we can answer, because we don’t know how many overslot/sliding types are interesting to the Cubs right now. If they know there are a ton of guys they expect to slide because of signability questions, well, then maybe they take the chance on Bryant (maybe they want him anyway).
  • (I still expect Appel or Gray, though, as of today.)
  • Jonathan Mayo talks about the possible top picks in the Draft – Appel, Gray, Bryant, Frazier, Meadows, Manaea – and why each should/shouldn’t be the top pick.
  • Conor Glassey looks at what might happen in the first round of the Draft.
  • Coop

    Just heard an interview with Kris Bryant on San Diego sport radio (Darrin Smith show on AM 1090 – they might have the interview up for listening at some point). He sounds like a good character kid – was talking about how he was pissed that he missed getting an A in one of his classes by a fraction of a point – scored 89.6, but the professor doesn’t round up. Apparently his parents really stressed work ethic and academics – he talked about taking pride is his work (both academically and on the field) and expecting the best out of himself. He loves the challenge of 3b and hopes to stay at the position – he thinks he doesn’t get enough credit for his athletic ability and believes he can be an above average defensive 3b. Overall I was impressed by him – well spoken; humble, yet driven to be the best he can be; thoughtful interviewee.

    I still rank my preference as Appel > Gray > Bryant. However, I think I will not be disappointed with any of the three.

  • North Side Irish

    Jim Callis posted his Mock Draft this afternoon as well…he’s got it Appel-Gray too. For the Cubs pick, he says “it will be an upset if they don’t choose whichever one the Astros leave on the board”. Seems to be a pretty common opinion.

  • Mark S

    Watched a video of Gray throwing 100 mph in the 9th inning against N’western. Really like his fastball and his ability to throw hard late in the game.

    • Alex

      Sounds like acertain MVP in Detroit. My money’s on him going number one.

      • Mark S

        Sadly. I have the same feeling as well.

  • Bilbo161

    I think Grey would be my choice had I one. Pay him slot, get on with it. But, what if the Cubs have a different board. Maybe they want a position player this high in order to not risk the odds that injury doesn’t make the pick worthless. Bryant may not sign for less but Frazier probably would. I like Kohl Stewart too, but he just doesn’t fit this scenario.

    • Cub2014

      Do they project Gray as a closer? only a few starters
      Have had a long career as a starter with that velocity.

      • Kyle

        Under professional starting conditions, he’ll probably be working in the mid-90s.

        • mudge

          The Clinton years?

          • Internet Random

            Cleveland years.

      • Marc N

        One comp I’ve heard for him is Papelbon, but the closing bridge gets crossed when they get there.

        Kyle’s guess is a pretty good one for velocity.

  • Alex

    Wish we could trade down and get extra picks. Try to grab one of the hs outfielders and a top catcher.

    • Cub2014

      For second pick I read about this lorenzen at cal
      Fullerton very good hitter plays all 3 outfield
      Positions and is the teams closer with 97mph
      Fastball? Pinch hitter and closer, hmmm?

    • ssckelley

      Even if the Cubs could trade the pick I would not trade it another team offered their entire draft for it. Either Gray or Appel would be ranked in the Cubs top 5 prospects. Baseball is not like Football where you can trade down and get a bunch of picks in order to fill a bunch of holes.

      • Bilbo161

        Don’t think I’ve seen him on any mock drafts yet. Sounds interesting though.

  • John

    Brett Jackson 2 for 4 ZERO strikeouts today. Hope he can keep that up. Has people pretty much written him off? I dont here much about him anymore.

    • Cyranojoe

      He was injured for a while, but most folks have given up most hope, I get the sense. Basically it looks like he might get one last chance to prove himself in the majors with the team.

    • ssckelley

      For me unless he cuts down those strike outs he is not much of a prospect anymore.

  • Marc N

    I’m prepared to throw a chair on draft day when the Astros take Appel. I’m not all in on Gray. I remember the Manaea hype just a few weeks ago when he was more super duper exciting upsided than Appel…That said, I do like Gray more than I liked Manaea when he was relevant to #2 overall discussions.

    After Appel the guy I like is Bryant, but ONLY if the Cubs think he can play 3B.

  • Marc N

    One thing I’ve heard about Gray is that he supposedly has this slider with so many plusses that they lost count (or really just two). I’ve yet to see it. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of him.

    I’m sure it’s a good slider when backed by 99 against college hitters (Big 12 right?), but plus plus is a rough sell.

  • Le Cubs

    Brett, heard Darvill got called up today. What do the Cubs have with him and what is his possible outlook?

    • Brett

      Called up to Daytona. He’s a utility type.

      • Luke

        Could be a little better than that. He’s one of the very raw players the Cubs have drafted in the past few years. It can take awhile to find out just what those guys can turn into. Dustin Geiger is another example of that type.

        His ceiling is probably that of a utility player, but I wouldn’t rule him out of the running for second or third tier starting infielder quite yet. Luis Valbuena isn’t a bad example of that type. Usually are good bench fodder, but sometimes you get lucky.