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Kris BryantOn the 20-80 scouting scale, 80s are very rare. Typically 80s are reserved for the best of the best tools, the kind of tools that you will be talking about for years to come. Junior Lake‘s infield arm is an 80, but that might be the only 80 in the Cubs farm system. (Ok, if we count intangibles as a tool then we need to Albert Almora to the list. Some scouts say he has the best attitude and personality they’ve ever seen. But that’s really it). That is not a shot at any of the Cubs’ prospects; 80s are really that rare.

And according to Baseball America, the Cubs are likely to draft an 80 tool in June. Jim Callis of BA sees just three grade-80 tools in the entire draft: Jonathan Gray’s fastball, Kris Bryant’s power, and Matt McPhearson’s speed. Gray and Bryant are squarely on the Cubs’ radar.

Gray’s fastball is described as having plenty of velocity, a late sink, and best of all, he can command it. That’s not a bad weapon for a potential future ace to have.

But the one that was a real eye opener was Bryant. The conventional wisdom on Bryant was that the Cubs would only take him if they felt he could stay at third. Put that idea to bed. If the Cubs agree that his power grades at 80 and they feel he can make enough consistent contact to leverage that power (I think he can), then they’ll consider him no matter where he plays defense. The key line from Callis’s take on Bryant is this:

His combination of bat speed, strength, pitch recognition, discipline and barrelability give him elite power.

In other words, cross B. Jackson with J. Baez, add some more power (Baez grades 65-70), and you almost have K. Bryant. (Brett: So he swings and misses a ton? I kid.)

I honestly hope Houston takes Mark Appel and forces the Cubs to choose between these two. And of the two, believe it or not, I’m leaning towards Bryant. I love the idea of a 100 MPH sinking fastball at the top of the Cubs’ rotation, but there is a high level of risk involved with any pitching prospect. I’d rather re-sign the current rotation, bulk up on high upside arms later in the draft (rounds 2 through whenever), and let a lineup anchored by Rizzo, Bryant, and Soler power the Cubs to the playoffs in a couple of years while the pitching pipeline develops in the farm system.

But if the Cubs take Gray over Bryant, I won’t be complaining. Well, not very much.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs were out hit by five, but they still won 6-4.
Tennessee – Tennessee pulled back to .500 with a 6-4 win on the road.
Daytona – Daytona dropped to .500 with this 3-0 shutout loss.
Kane County – Kane County was also shutout. The final was 4-0.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] By allowing just one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings of relief, Esmailin Caridad dropped his ERA down to 5.74.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Szczur stayed hot with two more hits, including his fourth double of the season.  He also swiped his 13th base.
  • [Tennessee] Speaking of doubles, the Smokies came up with five of them. In addition to Szczur, Rafael Lopez, Tim Torres, Anthony Giansanti, and Rubi Silva all collected a two bagger.
  • [Tennessee] Progress from Trey McNutt? Maybe. He struck out the side in a hitless eighth, but he also walked two.
  • [Daytona] The Cubs had little offense in this one. Jorge Soler and Chadd Krist account for both of the two walks; Zeke DeVoss and Ben Carhart enjoyed the only two multi-hit games. There were no extra base hits.
  • [Daytona] Frank Del Valle had another strong performance in relief. He fanned two in the seventh and allowed nothing.
  • [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya might be coming around. The young second baseman had two hits and a steal in this contest.
  • [Kane County] The Cougars struck out 11 in this game (six in six innings by Pierce Johnson, and five in two innings by Jeffry Antigua).

Other News

  • Strikeout watch: Brett Jackson did not have one yesterday. That’s two starts in a row with no strikeouts, leaving him with just two strikeouts in his past five games. Meanwhile in Florida, Javier Baez had just one strikeout for Daytona. That is his only strikeout in his past two games. Progress? Jackson is starting to convince me, but I need a few more games before I start to buy into changes from Baez.
  • Low sample size lines are fun. Anthony Giansanti is currently hitting .444/.545/667 for Tennessee. Even though he has appeared in 8 games, he has just 9 official at bats. We should probably let those numbers stabilize before we nominate him for MVP.
  • ETS

    I’d still rather have a gray or appel. Isn’t Miguel Sano considered an 80 power type of hitter?

    • SamuraiJock

      Have you seen what Sano is doing to high-A this year?

      Batting Average – .376
      OBP – .463
      SLG – .704

      If the Cubs could add a hitter with that kind of thump, then they have to at least consider it in the draft.

      • ETS

        Oh I’d love to have Sano. My point was – isn’t Sano the only 80 power guy I can currently think of.

    • BluBlud

      Yes, I can tell if thats a knock. If Kris Bryant has that kind of power, but strikes out less, and can hit for a decent average, I would love to have. I have Gray and Bryant as 1 and 2 on my board, and would take which ever one is not selected by Houston. If Houston takes Appel, I would probably take gray, but I wouldn’t be mad at Bryant. I have been screaming Bryant since the end of last season when I knew we had the #2 pick, but Gray has inched ahead of him just ever so slightly IMO. Both will be studs. The only 2 studs in the draft, IMO.

      • BluBlud

        *Can’t*

  • mdavis

    I don’t really want Appel. I don’t know why, but he just doesn’t excite me like the other 2. maybe its Boras, who knows.

    • BluBlud

      Hype train. Appel is not an ace to me. He has great experience at the college level, but projects to be a mid rotation starter, IMO. He is probably the most sure thing in the draft, but not the best, and definitely doesn’t have the most upside.

      • mdavis

        agreed. i think i look at appel as more of a finished product, while gray and bryant i feel still have growth and potential. and that potential of the both of them makes them worth the pick imo

    • ETS

      What excites me about appel is how fast he could be a part of our rotation.

      • Kyle

        Me too. Not just because I want my shiny new toy now, but because of his age and how he’s already almost out of the highest-risk years for pitcher injuries.

        • ETS

          I just like shiny new toys. Plus, I would think that our window of competitiveness might come a year sooner.

        • cubmig

          Kyle—-What are the highest risk years? …….and if you know, what makes them so? (a link to read would do just as well if you choose)

          • King Jeff

            Anything before your body is fully matured(21-24?). Any kind of teenage pitcher is going to be a high risk for injury, especially if they throw breaking balls with any kind of regularity.

            • cubmig

              Thanks KJ.

          • Kyle

            http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1658

            Up through 22 is the injury nexus. By the time you reach 23, you are relatively in the clear. Which is very relative for pitchers, who are always a high risk for injury.

            • cubmig

              Kyle—-Thanks very much for the link. Interesting reading. I noticed Dr. Mike Marshall’s name mentioned in the article. Good to see that. Do you know if he’s ever been offered a contract to be a team’s pitching consultant? I wish the Cubs had him on the sidelines when Dusty was overworking his pitching staff.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Isn’t Appel the same age as Gray (and Bryant for that matter)?

          • Kyle

            Appel is six months older than Gray.

  • Random Cubs Player

    I do like the idea of drafting a player with an 80 grade tool. What players have 80 power in the big leagues currently?

    • bbmoney

      It’s a short list from what I’ve seen analysts say. Stanton and Harper.

      Probably other guys you could argue, most agree on those two.

  • cubchymyst

    Anyone have a clue how quickly a college bat can move through the system or were they typically start off (low A or high A)?

    • Edwin

      I’d assume similar to college pitchers. Probably start at A+, maybe AA by the end of the season. Ryan Braun was a college bat, and he started in A+/AA, his first year, AAA/MLB his second year. That’s best case scenerio.

      Obviously a lot depends on how the player is performing, and how much season is left. But I’d guess most college players taken in high rounds start at A+, with better chances of fast progression than a HS prospect.

    • BluBlud

      I would assume if Kris Bryant is drafted, he would start in Tennessee. It depends on how Ransom plays, but I could see the Cubs trading or putting Ransom on waivers, promoting Vitters to Chicago, Villanueva to Iowa, and starting Bryant at Tennessee. He could possibly go to Daytona with possibly Geiger or Bruno getting a bump to Tennessee. But I don’t see him starting lower then Daytona as a college player this good.

      • Edwin

        I agree. I’d think it’s more likely that he starts at A+, at least just to get his feet wet before he makes the jump to AA.

      • Kygavin

        The jump from A+ to AA is the toughest in the minors. They wont start Bryant at AA no matter what. Harper didnt even start in AA

  • Ivy Walls

    If the Cubs have this choice it will reveal much to their strategy going forward. To win the WS Cubs must be an 80 in a team category, if it is power than fine, if it is pitching okay and if it is both great.

    Here is what I see going forward.

    What is happening at 3B, LF, & 2B?

    Long term is CF, RF and 3B?

  • brobots
    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Individual starts don’t matter at this point. It was against one of the top teams in the country. The scouts and GM are looking at his velocity and how he pitched when laboring. If a kid dominates all of the time how can you honestly suspect how he will do when he struggles? As weird as it sounds, I would prefer to see games like this once in a blue moon to see how he bounces back. He won’t dominate every game in the majors or the minors.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    80 grade is still pretty subjective. It’s not like its derived from hard science. That said, I really like Gray. Appel vs. Bryant would be a tough call. This is where depth in the draft is important. I would prefer to see a pitcher but you shouldn’t pass up the best player still in the pool.

    • Kyle

      Well, whether or not a player reaches it is subjective, but the level of “80″ is well-defined. It is three standard deviations better than the mean for MLB players in that category.

      • jt

        Kyle,
        I’m wondering of what are you taking the standard deviations to get to the 80 level? The mean of what measure?

        • Kyle

          Whatever tool you are measuring. Obviously, some of it is subjective.

  • ssckelley

    Good to hear Jacksons strikeout numbers are coming down, that could open up some doors for him to either get another shot at the mlb level either with the Cubs or another team if he is used in a trade.

  • Feeney

    If the Cubs draft Bryant it will be interesting to read this site in a year or two when he is striking out 20-25% of the time in the minors. Are the same people who worry about Baez the same people who want to draft Bryant?

    I know the risks involved in drafting a pitcher but personally I want Gray. I know I shouldn’t let it but Vitters spooks me still. And I miss the days of Wood and Prior. So I lean towards an ace type pitcher. Luckily I am not making the decision and the guys who are making it are smarter and less sentimental than I am.

    • BluBlud

      If the Cubs draft Johnathan Gray, it will be interesting to read this site in a year or two when he is getting knock around in the minors with a 5 something ERA and and the reports come out that he has lost all velocity on that 80 fastball. Are the same people who worry about Hayden Simpson the same people who want to draft Gray.

      I’m not knocking Gray as I love both Gray and Bryant, but dude, that’s the risk you take in the draft. You have to pick somebody, and at any moment, any of them could flop. If Bryant strikeout at a 20-25% rate, but hits .376/.463/.704/1.167, I don’t think anyone will be complaining.

      • BluBlud

        ^Sano’s numbers^

      • Feeney

        I understand what you are saying. Although a guy striking out in the minors at roughly the same rate he strikes out in college isn’t the same as a guy losing velocity on his fastball.

        Now, I am not worried about it at all. Strikeouts don’t really bother me when it comes to a slugger who is also drawing walks. I wasn’t really talking about the prospects or their potential to bust or become stars. I was talking about the fans reaction to prospect performance which I find almost as fascinating as watching the prospects themselves.

      • Kyle

        Yeah, none of that is true.

      • Kygavin

        Comparing Gray to SImpson is a horrible comp. Gray is an established top of the draft prospect while Simpson was a major reach. Also comparing Sano to Bryant is unfair for Bryant. Sano is one of the best hitters in the minors. (He also go screwed out of about 2 mil when he signed. Check out Pelotera on Netflix)

    • ssckelley

      The thing is few people on here would be complaining if Baez was only striking out 20-25% of the time, he was well over 30% until the last couple of games. Good hitters do strike out, heck Ryan Braun struck out 21% of the time back when he was in the Florida league. So no, I will not be complaining if the Cubs draft Bryant and he strikes out 20-25% of the time and is hitting for power.

    • Kyle

      20-25% is a wide range, and Baez isn’t in that.

    • Hansman1982

      A 20-25% K rate isn’t bothersome if it isn’t paired with a 3% BB rate. If Bryant can walk 10-12% of the time, he’ll be fine.

      • Kyle

        High K with high BB in the minors still bothers me a decent amount.

        If Bryant’s striking out 25% in his first minor league season, I’ll raise an eyebrow and be pretty concerned. But seeing as how he’s striking out 13.9% in major college baseball, I’m not too worried.

  • Edwin

    I think part of the backlash against Mark Appel is just prospect fatigue. He’s almost too much of a known quantity.

    Hearing about a prospect with an 80 tool, it’s much easier to dream on those prospects.

    I think any of the three would be nice to have, I don’t think anyone can say for sure which of the three will or won’t make it.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      This…his name has been around too long and he’s no longer the ‘shiny new toy’ to some.

  • Smitty

    Brett,

    Will you be writing about the new Depaul basketball stadium the city is going to help fund with public dollars and how hypocritical that is compared with the Wrigley renovation stuff?

    http://www.suntimes.com/20088232-761/exclusive-rahm-to-announce-300-million-depaul-stadium-plan-for-mccormick-place.html

    • ssckelley

      Why? Is DePaul wanting to take a historical stadium and put up a jumbo tron potentially blocking the views of roof tops as well?

      • Brian

        I really hope this is sarcasm.

        • ssckelley

          Not really, isn’t this a big reason why the Cubs offered to pay for the renovations themselves so they could get more concessions from the city? To me there is a huge difference between the City paying for renovations for Wrigley Field versus building a basketball stadium. Renovating Wrigley Field just mainly helps the Cubs while a publicly owned basketball stadium can benefit more people than just DePaul.

          • Kyle

            The Cubs offered to pay for it themselves because the city spent several years denying their repeated requests for public funding.

          • mdavis

            except by the cubs renovating and adding features they are creating thousands of jobs in the city, and revenue for the city. but other than that i guess it only helps the cubs.

            • Kyle

              But here’s the thing: It’s not the Mayor’s job to be fair. It’s his job to work in the best interests of the city.

              The Cubs were doing this renovation regardless because they needed to. The city knew that, so they had no reason to give in, and ultimately they’ll get all the benefits without having to pay for it.

      • deej34

        So in your opinion… Our hypocritical mayor has no money for public schools, No money to help RESTORE that “historical stadium” which is currently falling apart, but should still dictate how the facility is run…. and now should spend $300 mil. on a PRIVATE university?

        In a long stream of unintelligent comments on this site, ssckelley may have just taken the cake.

        • Kyle

          Well, first, he’s not spending $300 million on the project.

          • deej34

            I apologize, the full $300 mill isn’t coming from the city but I feel the point still stands regardless of the dollar amount….

        • ssckelley

          First of all I am not from Chicago so “our mayor” does not apply to me. Secondly my main point is that these 2 situations are completely different from each other. Is your mayor making better use of the publics money by building a basketball stadium or by renovating Wrigley Field? Try to ask that question to yourself as a resident of Chicago not as a Cubs fan.

          In reading that article it sounds like there are much bigger plans for downtown Chicago that will draw additional revenue to the city and building a basketball stadium at McCormick place is just the first step. IMO, from the outside looking in, it appears “your mayor” has managed to get both Wrigley Field renovated (without using public funds) AND improvements to downtown Chicago. Both moves in the long run should result in more money for your city.

    • bbmoney

      If we’re honest with ourselves….isn’t that a little different? Doesn’t mean I’m a fan of it still, but DePaul last I checked isn’t a for-profit institution.

      • beerhelps

        Is DePaul a state school?

        • Kyle

          No. It is private but not-for-profit.

      • Smitty

        It isn’t even a public institution. It is a Private, Catholic, institution which means they are in it to make a profit. Their profits, I assume, go back into making it a better university.

        • bbmoney

          Yes since all non-public institutions are for profit…….

    • Kyle

      Why is it hypocritical?

      The city never took the stance “We’ll never help anyone ever again with a building project, or even a sports building project.”

      • deej34

        On several occasion the city said there was no money to be had… in many areas including public education and with the cubs. So yes, very hypocritical actually.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, I’ve written an “I’m being as calm as possible” piece about that, which will post later this morning.

  • Spriggs

    I’d like to see Rosscup and Del Valle promoted soon. And what’s gotten into Rafael Lopez? He’s been hitting a ton lately.

  • Die hard

    Wait a minute here!!!!!!! I argued for Bryant a long time ago and it was poohed poohed-/ he can’t take credit again for my ideas — Bryant is the second coming of Mike Schmidt who learned defense on the job while crushing the ball– you can learn defense but you can’t learn power

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The first two prospects I targeted for this draft – on Twitter in February – were Bryant and Manea. I’m still leaning towards Bryant in the first round, and I’m hoping Manea somehow freefalls into the second.

    • BluBlud

      Dude, I been screaming for kris Bryant, and have always wanted him until Gray came along. Gray’s potential as an Ace has intrigued me enough that I have elevated him into the #1 slot slightly over Bryant, but I have not lost any interest in Bryant either..

  • Rebuilding

    I’m all for drafting Kris Bryant. Even if he can’t stick at 3rd and has to move to LF. His line this year is 346/506/880 with 28 HRs and a 56/35 BB/K ratio in only 52 games. Playing at San Diego he is also playing against pretty good competition on the West Coast. Those numbers are much better than Braun’s junior year at Miami (arguably a little better competition). Aldo sure where the strikeout concerns come from as his BB/K has improved each year from 33/55 to 39/38 to 56/35.

    My concern with Appel is that until this year many scratched their head as to why his elite stuff gave up so many hits. He just wasn’t as dominating as he should have been. This year that has changed, but let’s not forget that he is 22 pitching against 18-20 year olds in a lot of cases.

    With Gray he really has burst higher this year on a jump in velocity. But those high risers make me nervous from an injury and development standpoint. Gray’s secondary pitches aren’t good enough where he can afford to lose 2-3 MPH on his fastball.

    I think Jed and Theo have shown this year that a new market inefficiency is injured or slightly older starters signed to short prove it deals. They have built a very good rotation through trade and FA. The new model of locking up guys early really makes more sense for position players anyway.

    Finally, I think all of the smoke that the Cubs want Appel and/or Gray points me in the opposite direction given this FOs penchant for mind games

    • mjhurdle

      I agree on Appel, especially about the age.
      Appel is good, but how good is he as an experienced, older pitcher going up against lineups with average kids straight out of high school?
      Having seen Gray pitch a few times, i am still pretty high on him. The guy is absolutely dominate. but i am not a scout, and the fact that he has come out of (relatively) nowhere gives me cause for concern.
      I don’t know a ton about Bryant, but the more i find, the more i like.

      Part of me is hoping the Astros take Gray, because then i think the choice is clear to take Bryant. If both Bryant and Gray are on the board at 2, then the choice would be hard.

  • JulioZuleta

    I just don’t think Bryant has played against strong enough competition. Combining that with the fact that he’s a likely corner OF and I just don’t think he’s worth the risk at #2. That said, if we don’t take one of the pitchers, it better be him. He’s pretty clearly the third best player in the draft, but also pretty clearly behind the top 2, at least in my opinion.

    • Cubbyboy13

      I played against Bryant in high school a few times, and when he was tearing up high school a lot of the concerns for him were he wasn’t playing against good competition because his conference was weak. He proved so far that, that was clearly wrong in terms of producing in college. I’m willing to bet he will prove people wrong again. And I sure hope he does.

      • JulioZuleta

        I’d love to have him, just not over the other 2 I don’t think. And I’m even willing to concede that he is a safer bet to be a major leaguer than Gray. I just think Gray has a chance to be a true #1, which is way more valuable than a 30-35 HR right fielder. If I thought he’d stick at third and not be a liability there, I’d probably take him over Gray, I just don’t think it will happen.

        • Cubbyboy13

          Right now, my number one choice is Gray as well. I was just throwing in my 2 cents about Bryant. Obviously, having played against him I think it would be cool to see him develop into a Cubs great, but with elite pitching hard to come by, I think the Cubs should draft Appel or Gray. I like them both unlike some.

  • Bilbo161

    Baez had plenty of time to get better at plate discipline. He is so talented that he hasn’t needed that skill until now. Bryant on the other hand seems pretty polished in that area. Darn near twice as many walks as strikeouts against better pitching than Baez has faced.

    • Cedlandrum

      Bryant has played a bunch of second tier competition this year. I am not knocking him, because he has crushed good(Oregon State) and bad pitchers this year, but in NO way has Bryant faced better pitchers then Baez this year. Maybe a few, but not consistently.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      People always say that, but the frequency of guys like Baez developing batting eyes is very, very low. It’s not that he hasn’t needed it before now so much as the lack of this tool has not been a problem before now. Guys with good batting eyes that are not challenged by their opposition put up numbers more like Almora’s: i.e., low BB, but also fairly low K’s. (Tony Gwynn was the paragon of this: but most of us will not see his likes again.)

      Recognizing that batting eye is a basic tool is one of the difference between the “new” and “old” schools: and if Bryant really does have a good pitch recognition, then the Cubs really must weigh this in his favor. Obviously, he’s a few years down the road: but getting out-walked is one of the things that has badly hurt the Cubs in recent years. Yes, net walks are “half” pitching: but the Cubs deficit comes much more from not taking walks than from surrendering them.

  • Bilbo161

    Baez has

  • Featherstone

    As much as I’d love to have Gray in this year’s draft, I think the Cubs stick to their philosophy of taking the best bat in round one and finding pitching everywhere else.

  • ruby2626

    Out of curiosity I googled Fowler Stadium, home of Kris Bryant. From left to right, 312, 370, 391, 385 and 327, not what I would call a large ballpark. Obviously I have no idea how many of his homers he has hit down the lines that would be fly outs in Wrigley. Boy this is a tough call between a guy like Gray who throws a 100 MPH with movement and a potential 40 home run a year guy. Isn’t there an old saying that pitching is 90% of the game, my vote goes to the pitcher.

    • Spriggs

      …and the other half is defense.

    • Drew7

      “Obviously I have no idea how many of his homers he has hit down the lines that would be fly outs in Wrigley.”

      Since Wrigley has the deepest corners in baseball, that could be said of any player.

      Conversly, how many of his flyouts to the power-alleys would have been HR’s at Wrigley (368′ – among the shortest in baseball)?

  • David

    I have some worries about relying on homers to score runs. If I were “building” an offense, I would have the first 2 batters be very high OBP guys with 25 stolen base potential. #3 guy as your best hitter, meaning .310 BA type with 25 HR and 90 RBI potential. #4 &5 guys to be clutch RBI guys. WE NEED CLUTCH HITTERS, not necessarily guys to hit 40 bombs. Bombs are nice, but I personally would rather have a #4 & 5 hitter batting .290 with 30 HRs rather than a .260 guy with 40 bombs. With that said, are we “running out of positions” for our lead off and # 2 hitter?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      If you look at the last 50 years, then the single biggest correlate with winning is out-homering the opposition. It explains over 33% of variation in winning percentage: and if you think about how many things happen in baseball, for one thing to explain over a third of winning percentage is huge. Out-homering the opposition is half pitching: if you don’t surrender homers, then you make it easier for your batters to outhomer the opposition. However, it is also half hitting.

      Out-walking the opposition also is huge. That alone also explains almost a third of the variation in winning. (Walking and homering are correlated to some degree, so the two combined explain about 55% of winning, not 67%.)

      So, if Bryant can both hit a lot of HR and draw a lot of walks, then he’ll contribute a bit to some team out-homering and out-walking their opponents game out. If nothing else, then he’ll allow for just that many more mistakes by his pitchers.

      Do not worry about clutch hitting where Bryant or any other prospect is concerned. How a guy does in the clutch *relative to his overall performance* varies randomly from one year to the next. A big mistake Hendry’s regime used to make was using “clutch” stats when evaluating amateur talent. Unlike power or pitch recognition (or control) it’s not real: and thus drafting guys who did well “in the clutch” in their senior year didn’t produce a farm system full of “clutch” guys. It might be more relevant for pitchers: but then it is telling you more about how they do pitching frmo the stretch vs. a full windup.

    • hansman1982

      Just so many things “old school” about this post.

  • Rizzo 44

    I say take Bryant. I think he can play 3B well enough. Power, OBP, And OPS are more important at 3B than D in my opinion. If for some reason he has to move to LF so what. You can’t pass up a “80″ grade on power. How many of you if Stanton or Harper were there at number 2 would take them or either pitcher? Most would and I would for sure. Yes the Cubs need Pitching, but passing on a grade “80″ power is the wrong move IMO. I think the Cubs either draft Bryant or make a trade for Headley. I guess the waiting game has started to see how the draft and the trade deadline pan out.

  • Kramden

    Draft Bryant…. Then we can put all of those trading for Olt and Castellanos posts to bed once and for all.

  • JulioZuleta

    I say we get Gray and Bryant together one afternoon, and have them face off for 1 AB. Whoever wins is who we take.

    • Spriggs

      Who wins on a sizzling line out right back to Gray?

      • JulioZuleta

        If he catches it, it’s an out and Gray wins. Rules are rules. I realize it’s not exactly fair since even great batters only get on base about 38% of the time, so I’d remove one infielder and one outfielder to even the odds a little.

  • ruby2626

    I think people are reading Bryant’s strikeout total and perhaps misreading it a bit. From all accounts he is a very select hitter, select hitters take tons of pitches and thus strike out a lot. I’ll take the 125 strikeouts if it comes with 90 walks, 40 homers and a .275 BA. To me a more important stat would be the percentage of the time that he swings and misses, anyone on this board have that advanced stat? Boy who to take is a tough call, this could really define the Theo, Jed era. Just think of the backlash if we take a guy at #2 who does ok versus the guy at #3 who is a perennial All Star.

  • mdavis

    The more i think about it, the more i say go with Bryant. you take the elite bat and then add pitchers after. I was also hoping there might be a chance Bryant would sign for a little under slot compared to the two pitchers, but I just read he’s being advised by Boras, so maybe not.

  • another JP

    The only problem is just when the Cubs become enamored with Bryant the Astros will scoop him up. But choosing between Gray and Appel won’t be a bad consolation prize.

    • Spriggs

      I’m just glad another player has emerged (Bryant) who gives the Cubs a legit reason not to take Appel should the Astros not take him (Appel).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Are you anti-Appel?

        (For me, even after everything, Appel remains the pick. With how much the Cubs need to make sure they don’t miss on this pick, I like Appel’s high floor.)

        • JulioZuleta

          The only thing that gives me any pause with Appel is that he is already so polished. If I had a choice, I’d still take him #1, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gray ends up being more dominant. He already has more devastating stuff, and also his a good bit of rawness that can be refined that may allow for more improvement than Appel.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Mike Leake was also a polished pitcher who was drafted to go straight to the majors. He was selected at #8. I don’t know where I am going with this just that there is a comparison to be made for a pitcher who isn’t TOR and is selected high who has a lot of polish already.

            • JulioZuleta

              Good call. I just think he already looks so damn good that there may not be a whole lot of improvement left. While he’s dominant as a college starter, if you put him on a major league mound now he would obviously not be anything too special. Gray sits 97-100 as a starter. You can afford to dial that back to 94-98 and he could be an absolute workhorse. Also, it is pretty devastating to face a start throwing 95 to begin with. If he sits 95 but can dial it up to 100 if needed, its like having another pitch altogether.

        • hansman1982

          I’m Appel/Bryant at the top right now with big hopes that Manea still being there at 41.

          I’m not a fan of Grey “coming out of nowhere” this draft.

          • JulioZuleta

            I don’t think there’s any way Manaea drops that far. And if he does, I don’t think we’d be able to sign him unless we save about $3M on the first round pick. I think there’s a decent chance he goes back to school at that point.

            Also, I only saw Manaea pitch once, and it was on a bad camera from far away. I just looked him up, he…doesn’t look like I thought he did. Hah, I’m not saying that matters in the least, it’s just odd when you get a mental picture of someone and they end up looking completely different.

        • King Jeff

          Don’t know if you saw this, or you or Luke plan on touching on it later, but I saw an interesting article by Ben Badler about some guys that the Cubs might be considering when international free agency begins. It puts the Cubs in the running for several of the top guys, points out that the Cubs have one of the highest international signing pools, and points out that teams can trade/acquire money to increase/decrease their pool.

          http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/ten-international-prospects-to-watch-for-july-2/

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I did see it, and will be writing about it later. Thanks, though – never hurts to post that stuff.

          • Cubbyboy13

            Cubs Den also wrote a nice article about the international signings if you wanna take a look.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I’ll give you the high floor on Appel, but I’m just not buying the ceiling. I see a very good No 2/3 guy, but Gray has ace potential.

          I’m still leaning Bryant over either, though. I think he has as high a floor as Appel, but I like his ceiling even if only as a slugging corner OF.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            The level of Bryant’s competition concerns me.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              I think too much is made of this.

              Scouts don’t judge players based on who that player plays against, they judge players based on the player. Sportswriters like to trumpet stats, but amateur stats are like spring training stats – all but meaningless without a ton of context.

              But scouts are not going to be fooled by stats, or they won’t be scouts very long. Bryant is not said to have 80 power because he hit a ton of home runs, he hit a ton of home runs because he had 80 power.

              Really, the only people who talk about amateur stats like the matter in the context of draft decisions are bad sportswriters. Level of competition can pad (or reduce) those stats, but it has very little if any affect on how a player is actually graded. Elite is elite whether playing for a rural high school in Idaho or playing for Vanderbilt.

        • Spriggs

          I wouldn’t say anti. It’s just that I don’t think he’s as sure a thing as many other people do. He is maybe a sure thing to make someone’s rotation at least for a while, but I wouldn’t go much further. I am impressed with the way he’s improved on the K numbers this year, but how much of that is age related? What caused it? You have to be sure why the improvement happened before you take him and I am not. His stuff doesn’t scream ACE to me. I think it should for a #1 pick. His K rate before this year, was close to being low for a top pick and that doesn’t sit well with me. I would prefer to go with Gray’s potential and then the hitter.

  • cubmig

    I hope the Cubs select Bryant. They need hitter prospects that bring promise to performing well in the bigs. I know the data on him is all college ball, but from all we’ve been seeing of run producing—or rather lack of it–from our position players year in and year out, maybe it’s time to go with draft picks that fill that hole.

    Oh……..this quote: “His combination of bat speed, strength, pitch recognition, discipline and barrelability give him elite power.” uses a newly coined word; “barrelability” to describe Bryant. Anyone know exactly what that means in baseball lingo? Never heard it before.

    • cubchymyst

      Never saw it before but my best guess is it about the ability to get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

  • Bilbo161

    Means “squares it up”.

  • Bilbo161

    Hits it in the sweet spot with regularity.

  • Bilbo161

    Puts the barrel of the bat on it.

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