baez almora solerThe Cubs’ first round draft pick will draw the headlines, most of the analysis, and an extreme amount of criticism and praise. At the end of the day, though, it will all boil down to this: the Cubs are going to draft a very good prospect in the first round. No matter which way they go, they are getting a good one.

Round Two, on the other hand, is where the amateur scouts will really start to earn their paychecks. The Cubs second round pick last year, Duane Underwood, did not come until pick number 67. That actually means last year’s first supplemental pick (Pierce Johnson, No. 43) is probably a better comparison for the Cubs second round pick this year (No. 41). And just like they did with Johnson, I expect the Cubs to draft a college pitcher in this slot.

Which one? That gets harder. There will be a lot to choose from. If we use Baseball America’s Top 250 draft prospects as a guideline you will quickly see what I mean. Because of the high level of uncertainty in baseball’s amateur draft, we need to look at a wide range of players for candidates who could be on the board at No. 41. If we consider everyone from No. 31 to No. 51 on that list, we have a catch of potential draftees that includes 12 college pitchers. That rich a crop in the range of the Cubs second round pick just reinforces my suspicion that college arm is the direction the Cubs will be taking with that pick.

As for Round Three? That gets trickier still. With the possible exception of Byant in the first round I think the Cubs will call a steady string of pitcher names through the early rounds of the draft. I suspect Round Three will go to the best high school arm on the board, but another college arm would not be too surprising.  And you never know, they might surprise us with a bat in that slot. That’s part of the beauty of the draft. It’s like Christmas every round.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa lost 9-4.
Tennessee – The Smokies were off on Wednesday.
Daytona – Daytona scored six times in the first three innings and coasted to an 8-4 win.
Kane County – Three errors did not help as Kane County was clobbered 9-2.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Brian Bogusevic homered for the third straight game, and he also walked three times. Right now he is about as hot as it is possible to be.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson tripled (his third), but he also struck out twice. That is only his second multi-strike out game in a week. After 24 Ks in 19 games in April he has just 10 in 13 games in May. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a transformation like this (assuming he can keep it up, of course).
  • [Iowa] Casey Coleman padded his resume a bit with three innings of two hit relief.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez doubled. Jorge Soler singled and walked twice. Neither struck out.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli had a three hit game for the Cubs. Dustin Geiger doubled as part of his two hit outing.
  • [Kane County] The long awaited Albert Almora Kane County debut did not disappoint. Almora finished 3 for 4 with a double.
  • [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya tripled again. That is his second in three games. Last year triples were a big part of his game (he finished with 12). He is up to four already this season.

Other News

  • Is Bogusevic for real, or is he another LaHair style illusion? You can make a strong case for this being a bit of an illusion. Even though his walk rate (14.5%) and strikeout rate (17.6%) are both quite good, and despite his OPS of 1.064 being the highest he has posted since he spent part of the 2008 season in the Texas League, there is one number that just sticks out. Bogusevic currently has a BABIP of .442. That is over a hundred points higher than his career average. The odds of him maintaining this level of production is slim to none. Even so, I think the Cubs could do a lot worse than Bogusevic as a platoon guy or fourth outfielder in Chicago. He should get that chance when the Cubs start dealing outfielders later this summer.
  • The Tennessee Smokies are hosting a Peanut Free night at Smokies Park tonight. I think this is one of the smartest promotions in the minors. Peanut allergies are no joke, but for at least one night those who aren’t too allergic can hopefully relax a little in the stadium. Those in attendance should get to see Kyle Hendricks pitch. Lately he has been one of the pitchers to watch.
  • Rock Shoulders is hitting just .219 in May, but thanks in part to a high walk rate he still has an OPS of .787 for the month. He walked twice in this game, and five times over his last two contests.
  • ssckelley

    I am hoping the Cubs use one of the early rounds to grab a catcher.

    • fromthemitten


  • BluBlud

    Another day, another good game for Baez. Yes he only went 1-5, but you can’t have multi hit games every game. He has a 9 game hit streak, 6 SO in his last 10 games, 3 SO in his last 8 games, no double digit strike out games in his last 8, and he has not struck out in 5 of his last 8 games. Luke, I think this is better then Brett Jackson’s transformation, though I’m happy about both players.

    As for Almora, the guys has a 0% walk rate this year. This is just pitiful. OK, I’m joking. Glad to see the guy back and playing well right out the box.

    As for Andreoli, the guy now has 684 PA’s at Daytona. I know the crowded outfield and all, and it’s been discussed before, but he get a bump already.

    • Norm

      So you say to pretty much ignore the 30% K rates in 150 plate app’s but get excited about his last 8 games?
      Remember how Anthony Rizzo didn’t K in about 32 plate appearances? Now he’s K’d in like 7 of his last 12, or something like that.
      Anything can happen in 8 games.

    • Luke

      Making radical improvements at Triple A is more unusual and more difficult than doing it in A ball. To some degree, that’s what is supposed to happen in A ball.

    • D.G.Lang

      I just listened to an interview of Almora on the Kane County club’s web site. He said that the doctors told him that he had actually broken the bone a year ago and was playing with the broken bone in his hand for the past year.

      I guess that it must have shifted on the swing he thought he broke it on. It’s very interesting that he was able to play for so long with a broken bone in his hand and not feel it.

  • Jp3

    I think I’m on board with drafting Bryant if they feel he’s the real deal even though I wouldn’t scoff at either Appel or Gray. I know we need pitchers but an 80 power? Like you mentioned there are only a handful of guys in the majors with an 80 power tool, I feel like at worst he would be mark Reynalds or Ryan Harvey **ducks**. I feel you can’t afford a miss at #2 which either pitcher is TJS away or one too many towel drills away from being a flop I guess

    • Cheryl

      I agree about Bryant. If there are a lot of pitchers availabl for the cubs on their second pick, like Luke says, go for the bat.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Love the peanut free promotion. It really does create a bit of stress when you have a kid with allergies at a game.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Any chance Almora gets a September call up?

    • BluBlud

      Maybe a september call-up to Daytona(though at the point, the season would be over, or close to over), even though I highly doubt that. I doubt he would have spent the whole season in KC if he hadn’t got hurt, but now that he missed 7 or 8 weeks, he’ll probably be in KC all year.

    • Brett


      In 2015/2016.

      • Luke

        This looks about right.

        The only one of the Cubs top three with a realistic chance at a September call up is Soler, and that’s in part because he’s already on the roster. Calling up Baez or Almora would just create more roster crunch issues for a very, very minimal (if any) gain. It makes no sense.

    • Jp3

      Omg, I think he should jump straight to Chicago, he’s slash line is .750/.750.

      • BluBlud

        Yeah, but did you see that 1.000 slugging and that 1.750 OPS. This guys is all-world. Why wait to September, call him up now.

        • Jp3

          Yeah, I saw last night that he went 3-4 and knew this morning would be over reaction central. It’s not been bad as I thought it would be😜. Those able to go see Kane County tonight or tomorrow would be in for a treat with that lineup plus Maples is on the hill tonight and Pierce J is up tomorrow.

          • @cubsfantroy

            I love all the over reactions to a question. lol

          • Rcleven

            Been trying to catch Johnson at KC. Seem to miss him on every home stand. Don’t think he has had a start at home all season so far.

  • BluBlud

    Casey Coleman is getting quite lucky this year. His 1.57 WHIP and his .295 BA allowed before last nights performance, don’t scream very impressive for minor league competition. His ERA was 4.70 and his FIP was 4.50. Last nights 3 SO innings lower all these things, but still not impressed.

  • ETS

    I was at the iowa game yesterday. Zack Wheeler looks good. A nice, effortless 96 on his fastball (according to the stadium gun), and he just looked smooth.

  • mdavis

    I don’t think I’ll be upset with any of the 3 considered top guys (Appel, Gray, Bryant) and I’ll throw another name in there too, Moran. The UNC kid. He’s not quite as “jump off the paper” or whatever, but still think he would be a nice pick. #2 may be a little high for him though.

  • http://Noclue SenorGato

    Anyone else not worried about Almora at this level of ball? I want to see him in Daytona and beyond.

    Appel or bust. For the second round I saw that BA had Kevin Ziomek at 51. It would be convenient for him to be there at 41. Polished lefty who, like Pierce Johnson, has the kind of breaking ball that can be devastating out of the bullpen if he fails as a starter. Unlike Pierce Jounson, I like Ziomek as a starter coming out of college.

  • Hebner the Gravedigger

    For the 2nd round: Tom Windle out of the U of MN. The local paper describes him as a 6’4″ lefty starter with a 90-94mph fastball and a wipeout slider. Currently ranked as Baseball America’s 46th best prospect…

    • Marc.N

      I saw Windle against Manaea earlier this year and came away really impressed with Windle. The basics are definitely there for a good looking lefty starter.

  • Nick Nesler

    I saw that Manaea was scratched before his last start. I don’t know if this will cause him to slip to the second or if having the same injury twice in a year would cause us to pass on him if he did. However he could be an impact talent.

    • Marc.N

      Manaea sounds like a candidate to sacrafice LEVERAGEZZZ (sorry, it was a thing for Appel last year) to stay for his senior year and repair his stock.

      The talent is worth the flyer if he were gifted to 41.

  • IlliniBone

    “I suspect Round Three will go to the best high school arm on the board, but another college arm would not be too surprising. And you never know, they might surprise us with a bat in that slot. ”

    Think you might have all your bases covered with that one.

  • Marc.N

    Jacoby Jones, probably the most athletic college player from a major program, is a bat I would like to draft. He sounds to me like a guy every Cubs fan seems to love – Watkins – but with better upside as a starter. Comes from the program that gave the pro baseball world THE DJ Lemahieu.

    • Dynastyin2017

      Funny you feel Watkins comp. From what I’ve read, it see Jr. Lake all over again. Tools all over the place, not so good at baseball. I’m not sure this FO goes for that type, but if he’s available later (round 4-5), he may be worth the flyer.

      • http://Noclue SenorGato

        Just by the nature of the beast – for instance Jones has probably owned a glove his whole life – he will be ahead of Lake.

        Beyond that it’s a bad comp because:

        – Jones can play 2B. Lake can’t.
        – Jones takes walks.
        – Jones has seen better coaching than Lake in total.

        My guess is you’re remembering the poor start that got press and then the mediocre 2012 (heavily highlighted by the .253 BA).

        I think 4-5 would make him a coup and would love it. Since its the draft I guess a coup should be the goal at every pick through that range. Not an ideal pick at 41, but at 77 or 108 I am down.

  • SenorGato

    Reading up on Moran has me thinking he and Bryant might be me more close than reading 80 power might make it seem. He has the better glove, better contact skills, growing power, great plate discipline, better level of competition…Appel or bust.

  • Patrick G

    That’s it, Almora needs to be called to the majors and he needed to be called up yesterday

  • Michael

    I really like high school catcher Jeremy Martinez. He comes from that same u18 background as Almora. He also has experience catching really good Prep high school arms. Wondering if you guys had any thoughts on him if we could grab him in the 3rd

    • Dynastyin2017

      Was a favorite of mine before the year started. Some early, like last year early, mock drafts had him in the first round. Apparently, he did not look good at the plate this spring. I also get the Almora comp. Read his baseball acumen and leadership abilities are off the charts good. So yes, he’s worth a shot. BTW, there seems to be a few college catchers slotted around the 3rd round that may not be bad choices, either.

    • http://Noclue SenorGato

      I am also a fan of Martinez. Coming into the year he was a very highly ranked guy.

      I’m watching Jonathan Gray right now. I still see more Papelbon than Schilling/Clemens/Verlander in his body and mechanics. I obviously concede to the FO and there’s always some hope that with pro training he really takes steps forward physically, but I just have not been able to get on the bandwagon.

  • Austin

    Anyone hear of Michigan State Pitcher David Gardner? He was drafted by the Reds in the 33rd round out of HS and is currently a JR. Any idea on what round he is projected to go? I haven’t had a chance to look at the larger list of players but of the few top 100 players he wasn’t on them. Thanks if anyone has some info on him. I know I wouldn’t mind the Cubs taking him. He has a good arm.

  • willis

    (Containing excitement) Almora’s start to his KC season has been stupid. 7-10. Not a bad way to get rolling.

    • SenorGato

      He’ll catch up to Baez in Daytona in no time, and I’m not sure how crazy optimistic that really is.

      Candelario with a double, single, and 4 RBIs.