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gray appelWe are just three weeks away from the 2013 MLB Draft, which is among the most important singular moments in the Chicago Cubs’ present rebuilding process.

  • And who will the Cubs take with their number two overall pick? Well, the weight of discussion still focuses on the top college pitchers, Stanford’s Mark Appel and Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray. Keith Law just released his latest mock draft (insider, so if you want the nitty gritty, ya gots ta pay), and he’s got the Cubs taking whichever of Gray or Appel is still on the board. If they’re both on the board, Law says the Cubs prefer Appel, which is my preference as well. Gray probably has upside that Appel does not, but as a helium guy with a shorter track record, I suspect he also has a lower floor than Appel. The Cubs can’t afford to miss on this pick, and Appel feels like the safer bet. And it’s not like he’s not a big-time pitching prospect. He is.
  • Even Phil Rogers, who had recently been pushing San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant as a possibility for the Cubs, says the Cubs are “expected to take” either Appel or Gray. Bruce Levine concurs that it appears to be a “sure thing” that the Cubs will take a pitcher.
  • That all said, Bryant just hit his 30th home run, raising his season line to .338/.496/.876(!). I think it’s fair to question the level of competition he’s facing, but the performance is certainly matching the scouting opinions. It’s becoming less reasonable to be irked if the Cubs end up surprising and taking Bryant, especially if they believe he can stick at third base, rather than being forced into the outfield.
  • Luke mentioned it in a Minor League Daily piece, but it’s worth highlighting here: Jim Callis says there are just three “80” tools in the Draft this year, marking the elite of the elite. It’s Jonathan Gray’s fastball, Matt McPhearson’s speed, and … Kris Bryant’s power. That last one is exceedingly high praise when you consider that even guys like Javier Baez or Jorge Soler or Dan Vogelbach, for example, don’t have 80 power. If the Cubs grade his power out at 80 as well … it could at least become a discussion at that number two spot. Elite power like that is rare and very hard to find. At last check, though, Callis was mocking Mark Appel to the Astros, and the Cubs taking Jonathan Gray thereafter.
  • Dave Cameron at FanGraphs digs into the Astros’ draft strategy last year – take underslot at the top, spread out the savings to overslot types thereafter – and examines when it makes sense to take that approach.
  • BA has ranked the top 100 draft prospects as of May 10, and the top three read Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel, and Kris Bryant, in that order. The list is useful, too, to start familiarizing yourself with some of the prospects we might see the Cubs considering later in the draft.
  • Keep in mind: last year, the Cubs elected to take positional player Albert Almora with their first pick, before proceeding to take seven straight pitchers. The Cubs have indicated that they were pleased with that approach, given the slightly higher bust rate you see among pitchers in the first round. Even though guys like Appel and Gray are top talents, and even though the Cubs clearly need pitching in the organization, I still don’t think you can rule out them taking another positional player first, and then going nuts on a high volume of pitching.
  • Fastball

    I would like to draft Bryant and pray the FO has scouted aggressively for pitching in the ensuing rounds. Pitchers have to much risk at not making it. I like an everyday 3b who is very offense oriented. We have some guys like Lake and Vitters we can package in trades for pitching outside of the draft.

  • Chief

    USD doesn’t have that much of a cakewalk schedule… We play some halfway decent teams…

    • Cubbie Blues

      That much of a cake walk is still partly a cake walk.

      Playing some halfway decent teams means the rest aren’t decent at all and the ones that are halfway decent are still halfway not decent. By all reports, the schedule is that of a weak one.

      • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

        His scout line is as follows hit 55/65 power 80/80 run 40/35 defense 40/55 arm 65/65.

        • Kyle

          I’m going to be pretty skeptical of that 55 present hit tool. He’s hitting 270 if he’s in the majors today?

          • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

            That is what about 3 scout, Todd Gold of PG and myself have him rated at right now.

            • Kyle

              If true, then I want sooooo bad. Screw the pitchers.

          • Cory

            I do not believe Kevin is refferig to present/future tools. It looks more like Low end projection/High end projection. If the guy was a 55 hit, 80 power, 40 run, 49 fielding, 65 arm RIGHT NOW there is no way he would go anywhere lower than first overall. It would not be a discussion.

            • Cory

              40 fielding*

            • Kyle

              That would make more sense, thanks.

            • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

              No that is present and Future.

          • Dynastyin2017

            Not sure on this, but isn’t a 55 slightly above average? Isn’t hitting .270 slightly above average?

      • King Jeff

        I was thinking that USD played a fairly tough schedule that isn’t that far below top level college competition. They plays SDSU several times a year, Michigan, Coastal Carolina, CS Northridge, UC Irvine, Kent St, Pepperdine, and Oregon St among others. Many of those teams are CWS teams. Some of the preseason reports I’ve read have their schedule as top 25 most difficult in the country.

        • Kyle

          I have absolutely no real evidence backing this up, but it feels like “level of competition” issues almost always turn out to be non-existent in amateur baseball. Scouts can see the tools and the abilities regardless.

        • Chief

          Go Toreros!

      • mudge

        You only get to do the cakewalk after you’ve won the dance contest.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and attended the same h.s. as Bryce Harper. He plays all his college ball in S.D. & says the reason he chose the school was for the weather. This kid has never had to play in cold conditions and this should be considered before drafting him.

    • King Jeff

      Bryant went to Bonanza HS in Vegas, Harper went to Las Vegas HS.

    • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

      Where the hell are you getting your info? From Kris Bryant’s Parents he choose USD because it was easier for his parent to come see him. He had offers from Vanderbilt and other schools but his parents to cone see him.

      • Dynastyin2017

        It may have been said tongue in cheek, but on Kris Bryant’s profile (on the USD website) it does say he choose SD for the weather. And he likes to golf. And since I love San Diego, and love to golf, I say we pick him.

        • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

          What is he going to said I want to be close to mom and dad?

  • sdcoddi

    I’m hoping that Stanek’s stock has fallen enough that he’ll be available for the 2nd round pick. It wasn’t that long ago that he was being considered for e top 5 pick. BA stills ranks him 11, so maybe his stock hasn’t fallen THAT much. I could be good with a draft of Bryant and then Stanek.

    • On the Farm

      Keep dreaming. Someone will take this kid, if not, he is a college JR and will go back to college. With the #2 Pick no way the Cubs have enough money to sign Bryant-Stanek and have enough money left for everyone else.

    • hansman1982

      That will be a portion of the FO calculation for who they pick in the first round. A tiny portion, but it will be there.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    After watching a bit and mulling over each of the big 3s stats and scouting reports, I think I’ve come up with my top 3. Starting from the bottom at #3, I’ll go Appel. I love the fact that Appel could be ready within a few months, and immediately be one of our top pitchers, but as its been stated, he may only have a ceiling of say a Matt Garza. I may be sounding greedy but I don’t feel like the Cubs would be getting enough potential in Appel with the #2 pick if those projections are true. Now for #2. This one was truely difficult but after flip-flopping a few times I decided to put Bryant at #2 which would put Gray at #1. First of all, let me say that to me, Bryant is more then worthy of being my #1. Having graded out at 80 power while putting up the numbers he’s putting up, it’s hard to not put this kid at #1 on my list, but I do have my reasons for Gray at #1. First thing I looked at when comparing Bryant to Gray was the Cubs need. Obviously the need for an ace type pitcher is the bigger need on the north side and I definitely think Gray has the potential to be an ace. Nod to Gray. Then I looked at the potential of busting. In a landslide I gave the nod to Bryant who being a positional player should have the much higher floor. The third and final thing(most important to me) I looked at was the past success of the Cubs. (No I don’t count the 08 season as a success even though 97 wins is not easy to come by) Anyway, looking all the way back at the last time the Cubs won a playoff series(03) they truely had dominant pitching… At least out of Woody and Prior. Now for me it all starts with the pitching. The Giants won 2 World Series behind great pitching staffs. The Nationals are building a dominant team that’s carried by a very good, very young pitching staff. Obviously I’m trying to say that in my opinion, if the Cubs ever want to win it all they have to build a dominant pitching staff that can carry a team when it’s slumping. I believe the Cubs already have the base for that staff in Shark, Wood, and maybe Garza depending on health. Putting a top free agent pitcher or two, and then Gray into the rotation would immediately give the Cubs one of the best rotations in all of baseball.(that’s assuming Gray reaches his potential which I see as that of a Felix Hernandez) All in all I would be happy with any one of these 3 being picked at #2… I just prefer Gray or Bryant.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Splitting up your comment into separate thoughts/paragraphs will make it much easier to read, and therefore increase the likelihood that people will actually read your comment.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        I didn’t realize how long that was until after I posted it. It definitely could of used seperate paragraphs. My fault… Thanks Dynastyin. It just has to happen in my lifetime! 2017 would work. :)

    • Dynastyin2017

      Well said…well thought out…but 2017 not 2015. :-)

  • Saving grace

    I’ve been reading a lot of people saying the group of lefties once projected as first rounders and supplementals are dropping.
    This leaves some interesting prospects in the Cubs range with the high second rounder.
    Also makes Kansas City’s sandwich pick more valuable

  • Bilbo161

    That would be nice gettin that CB pick from KC, but there isn’t much time to complete that trade. I’d like to see it though. Maybe DeJesus and a starter for that pick, one I their top two pitchers and a kid named Mondesi? Not sure he is tradeablemlb yet though.

    • praying the cubs get ready to win

      I like the trade, Feldman and DeJesus for the pick

  • Bilbo161

    Wow not proof reading sorry.

  • muley

    Why does anyone consider draft prospects based on a preceived need when this front office has stated they draft the best available player period.. It may be they feel one of Gray or Appel is the best available but don’t look for them to draft based on need.. There are other ways to fill a need..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For me, at least, my comments about him sticking at third have nothing to do with the Cubs’ need there, and everything to do with the fact that a big bat at third is much more valuable than a big bat in the outfield.

      • DarthHater

        A big bat is a big bat. A big bat at third is worth more than one in the outfield only because it’s easier to find a second big bat in the outfield than it is to find one at third. But if you put a guy like Bryant at third and end up with guys like Bogusevic and Schierholtz in the outfield, you’re probably not much better off than you would be putting Bryant in LF and trying to find a 3B that hits as well as those guys.

        • Rebuilding

          ^^^Well said, Darth. Yes, a 3b is more valuable than an OFer because it is harder to find a good hitting one, but if you have a Ryan Braun type bat he is more valuable than every 3b in the league even if he plays first. The positional value argument is a valid one, but sometimes a guy’s bat is so good it doesn’t matter where he plays

          • Cub2014

            Vogelbach!

        • Eternal pessemist

          I think that misses the point. If Bryant can legitimately play the position (3rd base) that gives you one more big bat in the lineup. Otherwise you will probably need a power hitting outfielder pretending to be a third basemen, or a weak batting, legit 3rd basemen (see Barney at second base as an example of what is lost)

          • ssckelley

            No way, we got a log jam in the outfield as it is. The Cubs already struggle to find Borbon playing time plus they have guys like Sweeney, Jackson, Sappelt, Bogusevic, plus Soler and Almora coming up. If Bryant cannot play 3rd then pass on him.

            • Castro to Barney to Chance

              Sweeney, Sappelt, Bogusevic, and Borbon are far from long-term answers; they shouldn’t block any player, let alone a potentially-elite player who would arrive in two years.

              Jackson/Soler/Almora offers the potential to do this, but I believe it would be foolish to choose against a player on two flimsy grounds (i.e. 1) that he won’t stick at his position and 2) all three of these will pan out so well as to block a potential monster — including one who really seems like he won’t get out of AAA).

              Last, the draft is all about building up assets. If the best player on the board for a team every year is an OF, take him! Having too many potential MVPs on the farm at a certain position is a great problem to have — you can flip them for high quality products. To choose against the best talent because there isn’t an organizational need hurts you in the long run, as you have a lower amount of assets in terms of absolute value. Sure, you avoid a transaction and/or position switch (and potential accompanying diminution in value), but you *have* less. To my eyes, a team should always look to acquire as much as possible and figure out what to do with it later.

              NB: I know nothing of whether Bryant is in fact the more valuable asset; just lobbying against the notion of drafting (esp. in the first round) in light of need.

              • ssckelley

                hook, line, and sinker! :D

                • Castro to Barney to Chance

                  I really should read these threads from the top before responding.

        • hansman1982

          It’s about ease of finding an above league average bat at each position. There are only X number of players that can capably play 3rd and provide above average offense.

          Take a look at the most recent FA class. You were able to get 3 above-average bats for the OF and 0 for 3rd base.

          Here is the breakdown of wOBA by position:

          [img]http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2011-wOBA-by-Position.png[/img]

          As you can see, a guy who can provide a .320 wOBA is below average at 1st, average in RF and fantastic at SS. Regardless of what the FO acquires elsewhere, if Bryant can play 3rd and put up a .320 or better wOBA he will have far more value than if he has to move to the OF or 1B.

          • hansman1982
            • Rebuilding

              I agree with you, Hansman. My only point is that if the Cubs truly believe this guy has a 55 hit tool and an 80 power tool then it really doesn’t matter what position he ends up playing because that bat is more valuable than any positional adjustments. Obviously, if it was certain Bryant could stick at 3rd permanently that positional adjustment would probably make him #1. I think we take Bryant because even if the FO likes the pitchers a little better, let’s say 10% better, there preference of positional players in the first round might be greater than the perceived difference in talent. Not to mention, given their MO the fact we are hearing Appel and Gray points to someone else. I think if they wanted one of those two we would be hearing Bryant/Frazier

              • Eternal Pessimist

                If batting is equal, the position they are able to play still make the difference: ss > 2b>3b>1b>outfield (not sure where catcher fits in there).

          • mudge

            You could take the best hitters and put them at third and short regardless of how well they field. Vogelbach would have more value at shortstop, certainly, than he would at first base.

            • Kyle

              The runs he gave up on defense would outweigh that.

              Positional adjustments are just a convenient shortcut because we like to measure defense against other players at the same position despite some positions having more more value than others.

              We could eliminate positional adjustments if we measured defense relative to all other players.

              It all adds up to the same thing.

        • Kevin B

          You think anyone in Milwaukee is complaining about them taking Braun even though Braun wound up moving to LF? A big bat is a big bat!

    • Dynastyin2017

      Well, lucky for the Cubs, their needs and the top of the draft align perfectly.

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    Appel reminds me a lot of Mark Prior , That is why I rather have Grey. I think Houston may shy away from Boros and leave Appel to the cubs.

  • Die hard

    Bryant as have predicted for one reason — Jumbotron will stop wind blowing in and thus make hitter friendly on all days

    • Carew

      We get it. You want a jumbotron.

      • Die hard

        Contrary – hate it

        • Carew

          My apologies then

          • Die hard

            Not needed — we are all adults here — well almost all

            • mudge

              speak for yourself, poopyhead.

              • Hansman1982

                Shut up fart face.

              • Cubbie Blues

                [img]http://www.rcsinnovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/poopy-head-guy.jpg[/img]

  • Dumpgobbler

    If the majority of scouts think Bryant has 80 power he will be with Houston.

    • Kevin B

      Why you think Houston is going to draft based upon what a majority of baseball scouts think? Or are they going to draft based upon what THEIR scouts think! The fact is Gray, Appel and Bryant are all worthy of the #1 pick, so Houston must choose what they think is best for them and of the three. I am fine with the #2 pick and if I was Colorado I would be thinking they are sitting pretty too.

  • Saving grace

    I’ve seen some scouts say Bryant doesn’t project the same as he moves up the ladder.He has faced no real top level pitching and they think he’ll be a 260 – 270 hitter with the raw power plus a lot of k’s. And that he projects to play the of.
    Sounds a lot like Adam Dunn when he was young

    Also heard rumors circulating the Astros will pick Colin Moran with the first pick.
    His analyticals are what Astros seek

    • Rebuilding

      Moran is interesting. His control of the strike zone is ridiculous. I’ve read that some scouts think he has a hitch in his swing. If the Astros do take him it will leave us with a great problem to have

      • praying the cubs get ready to win

        Who picks third and fourth?

  • bjcross42

    I’d rather take a pitcher, especially Appel. I was thinking though, if we take Bryant, it makes it easier to offer one of our position players in a trade for a pitcher or other major league level need. I’m not sure if anybody already mentioned it, but it’s something to at least consider

  • another JP

    First of all I think the Cubs will end up with Appel. Not only is he the top talent of the past two drafts, but he’s the safest pick available and the Cubs need impact pitching badly. But the obvious wild card is what Houston will do, and I don’t believe they’ll take MA because they already passed on him last year. I understand the monetary implications of taking Correa, but it’s difficult to imagine a positive atmosphere for negotiating between the Stros and Boras under those conditions.

    Now, if Houston were to pick Gray that would create a bit of dilemma since Theo is on record as preferring position players early in the draft and Bryant looks quite studly. I still think we’d take Appel in that case and hope to acquire an impact bat through FA, prospects, etc. If Appel is gone then the Cubs need to take Bryant. I’m not convinced that Gray will make an impact as a starter that Appel will and probably needs more time to develop his secondary pitches. Plus Bryant seems to have the type of talent that many successful college players (Longoria, Braun, etc.) have displayed over the past ten years.

    • Die hard

      What if Houston traded pick?

      • Ccunt

        Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. What?

        • Die hard

          For two above avg AA players?

          • Ccunt

            Shirley, you can’t be serious?

            • Jp3

              I am serious and…

            • Die hard

              2 birds in the hand is worth 1 in the bush

              • Ccunt

                Tell me…. when was the last time that somebody traded an MLB draft pick?

                • King Jeff

                  The Tigers and Marlins traded picks as part of the Anibal Sanchez deal. That was the first, and i think only time that there has been a trade of draft picks in MLB.

                  • Hansman1982

                    They also traded a competitive balance pick. That wouldn’t help anything at the top of the draft where pick trading is illegal.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Houston can’t trade the pick.

      • Jim L

        C’mon you know better than that, die hard.

  • Norm

    Has any of the mainstream draft guru’s besides Callis say Bryant has 80 power?
    Law said he sees him as a 260-270 hitter with 30 HR possibility.
    For a LF or 1B I would take one of the pitchers.

    • Die hard

      Who on the Cubs besides Rizzo maybe can you say same over next 5-7 yrs?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Mayo had him rated 5/7 in the preseason.

    • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

      I know of 8 SoCal area scouts, Todd Gold, Aaron Fitt and myself have him at 80 power right now. We all also have him at a 55 hitter which is a 270 hitter right now with no improvement. At the very least he turns into a very close version of Ryan Braun in LF. At the best he turns into Scott Rolen at 3B with a like more power.

      • Marc N.

        Not even on the same planet as Rolen when it comes to defense. Troy Glaus seems to be the most common best outcome comp for Bryant given the massive size, power, and passable but not particularly good 3B D.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        ” At the very least he turns into a very close version of Ryan Braun in LF.”

        I mean, this just sounds like nonsense.
        *at the very least*?!?!?
        His FLOOR is close to Ryan Braun?
        He can go straight to the majors and be a 270 hitter with 30+ homers?

        This isn’t a once in a generation player like that. That’s a guy would go 1/1 every year and he’s not even the consensus this year in a DOWN year. The hype has gotten out of control. Appel’s name has been around so long that the shine has worn off.

    • http://bigleaguefutures.net Kevin Gallo

      Law has a tendency to rank player at their floor.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        That’s better than ranking them at their ceiling considering what, 2%? 5%? Hit that ceiling?

  • 70’scub

    Take the Pitcher, it is a coin flip, take the one that is more major league ready for that type of money. Back it up by drafting 6-7 more pitchers. We need to arm up as I thought were playing for a roll that lasts ten years! Cubs have the money to buy position players that can thump once the pitching is in place.

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