stanford mark appelI hope you’re enjoying a relaxing, reflective Memorial Day weekend …

  • Dale Sveum was complimentary of Travis Wood’s outing yesterday until that 6th inning got away from him, per In particular, Sveum pointed to the walk to Joey Votto, which led off that 6th inning. That certainly didn’t help, but the elevated pitches thereafter didn’t help. (I’d argue, by the way, that Derrick Robinson’s perfectly-executed suicide squeeze probably was a net loss to the Reds, even if it scored the go-ahead run. The Reds went on to score two more with two outs as Wood struggled to make his pitches, and I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out if he hadn’t handed the Cubs an out. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t like the suicide squeeze in virtually any situation, particularly the 6th inning.)
  • Sveum says his pitchers have to remember to keep the scouting reports in mind, and not try to take a hitter out with whatever pitch they feel like making. I kind of wonder which pitchers he’s talking about (and, obviously, some of it is on the catcher, too). Pure speculation: might it make sense for Edwin Jackson, new to the staff and currently struggling, to take a little longer to trust the Cubs’ efforts in scouting and developing a game plan? That could explain some of his uneven performances in the early going, which, in turn, might actually be a good thing in the long-term (as he’s certainly going to trust them now)? I’m probably just being hopeful.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the leash is off Matt Garza today, who will be allowed to throw as many as 110 pitches, depending on how stressful those pitches are.
  • BN’er Andy helpfully passes on confirmation that, at a minimum, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod (I’m guessing also Jaron Madison) were on hand at Stanford ace Mark Appel’s most recent start. Given that the same group met with Jonathan Gray this week in Oklahoma, I’m guessing they met with Appel while they were in Palo Alto. The Cubs also took in a recent San Diego game, presumably to watch third baseman Kris Bryant, and they probably met with him as well. It will be interesting to hear if that’s it for the Cubs, of if they also make their way down to UNC at some point to see/meet with third baseman Colin Moran, the only other player that’s reasonably being considered for their number two overall pick at this point.
  • Ian Stewart has been seeing some time at first base at AAA Iowa, and may also even see some time at second base. It’s all part of an effort to get him some more at bats and increase his versatility since the Cubs have committed to giving the bulk of the third base starts to Josh Vitters right now.
  • BN’er Liam is doing the Wrigley Field Road Tour bike race in August, and with that comes some charitable fundraising, which he’s doing here. Good on you, Liam.
  • Die hard

    Given the draft is heavy on pitchers and light on sluggers one cost effective strategy may be to go after best hitter ( not necessarily Bryant) first and then best available pitcher second

    • Jp3

      I surprisingly agree with this if there was a better hitter. I’m shying away from Bryant a bit, not sure I can handle another prospect K-Ing all the time. I hope we just take whichever prospect the Stros pass on of Appel Gray… We can’t afford a miss at #2.

      • Blublud

        Bryant has a very low, respectable SO rate. Not sure where people are getting he strikes out a lot.

        • Jp3

          He struck out twice last night and hit a swinging bunt against a kid that was barely hitting 85 mph… I’m not saying he k’s a lot I’m just questioning the level of competition he’s facing at San Diego in general… He could be a stud in the future but I also think he has a huge question mark

        • Norm

          College stats don’t mean much more than Low A stats.

          • Kyle

            College is a little closer to high A. That is why most College players start off in High A. If you look at the ages low is 18 to 20 for the most part. High A is 20 to 21 for the most part.

          • Kyle

            Low A K rates mean a bit to me, as do college.

        • http://Noclue SenorGato

          I think there’s some question about his hit tool. He’s been pitched around a lot, which is part of why the raw K numbers look so good.

          I think he’ll be a power/BB/K type of offensive player. I thought he showed some ability at 3B, bUt the standout play I saw did not require a throw to 1B.

          • TayTay

            There were some people calling Paul George a possible bust because of his school and level of competition. He slipped in the draft all the way to 10. Good thing the Indiana Pacers ignored those critic.

            • TayTay

              In other words, good scouts don’t pay attention to stats, or competition level. They look at the individuals skill level.

            • TayTay

              Also, this was meant for JP3.

            • Jp3

              I hear you on what good scouts do and completely agree. All the reports I’ve read from good scouting services say 80 power tool not 80 hit tool. NBA is another ball game literally but I get your point. I’m not saying he won’t be a stud but you can’t deny the possibility that he is much more of a risk to bust than Gray or Appel. We can’t swing and miss at #2 (pun intended). Senorgato is correct in that another thing that helps his BB and K ratio look significantly better is the fact that on U of San Diego he was pitched around a lot..

  • Blublud

    Take Bryant. If Gray is not available, then it becomes a no brainer. Take Bryant, keep Baez, Soler and Almora, give up on trading for Price and Stanton. Keep Wood, Jackson, Shark, trade Garza and Feldman. Turn Vizcaino in a closer, and keep developing Johnson and company for rotation depth. In a year or 2, Vogs will be good enough with a couple other prospects, Alcantara, Candelario ext. to bring in a couple good not great MLB players to make this team extremely competitive. First time I felt this way.

    • Kramden

      Wow! My jaw dropped reading that blueprint. Agree with everything laid out with the possible exception of rushing Vizcaino into a closer without first giving him the chance to show if he can be a starter or not.

  • Stevie B

    I am with the crowd that says pitcher with our #2 pick. Combine that with a high pick next year that shod net us an Appel/ Grey type,along with Shark, Vizciano, Wood, plus minor league kids developing and you are ready to add some big name FA

    • Oswego chris

      You have to take one of those two pitchers…the system lacks power arms…the Cubs have plenty of position prospects…

      2014 will mark year 3 already for Jed/Theo…Gray or Appell may be able to contribute by then

  • http://Noclue SenorGato

    Watched Kris Bryant last night and came away impressed. I think there’s real hope he lasts at 3B through the first half of his career.

    Appel or bust obviously, but I guess since I have no real choice in the matter that I would not mind Bryant.

    Appel was awesome against UCLA. I thought his slider looked the best it had all season as far as throwing it for both a strike and burying it. One of the nastiest sliders he threw came in the 8th inning when he dropped it in like a hard curve for a strike against Shane Zeile. His fastball was holding strong even then. He finished with 122 or 123 pitches.

    • Kevin Gallo

      The funny thing is that is one of the worst ABs I have seen him take all year at least until the 4th AB. The thing I really like was the ball he hit his double off of was in the same place and the same pitch that he Ked on the 1st 2 ABs. It shows his ability to adjust.

  • Die hard

    Say McGuire C or Moran 3B first round ? And best available pitcher next?

  • curt

    does this draft remind anyone of the 2003 draft I think that’s the right year when the cubs agonized over picking between mark prior and joe mauer , prior seemed like a great pick at the time.

    • Die hard

      Good point as College pitchers have already have a lot of mileage on arm– so if take college pitcher then he’s got to be on 25 man immediately cause will be toast in 5-7 years– that’s why take good hitter now and find decent HS pitcher 2nd round

      • http://Noclue SenorGato

        Disagree with this completely.

        If you check out Appel rather than run with the hysteria of 149 pitches last year, he has been a starting pitcher for three years. There’s less wear and tear than most think based on the stereotypes of the position, and theres just no reason to force them onto the 25 ASAP.

      • Alex

        Mauer went first though, which made it a easy pick. Cubs have a few choices if they don’t get they’re guy.

  • Cubbie Blues

    I will abstain from making a pick between the 3 so that in a few years I may gnash my teeth at who we selected without being a hypocrite.

  • Adarecub

    There’s a serious need for ready to contribute bats. Lowest RBI in the division. Think trading for price should be a no no. Agree with blublud re his plan with one change. I would re sign garza. Vizcaino for closer is a good call

  • SenorGato

    Is this healthy?

    I have fallen prey to this multiple times during the pre-draft stuff. Bryant turns into Troy Glaus, Castro turns into Cano-lite offensively at SS, Baez is the RH Cano at 2B, Rizzo is a top all round 1B, Almora is the Derek Jeter of the 2020s, and Soler becomes the greatest Cuban player in major league history by a mountain gap.

    It’s such a ridiculous fantasy but easy to get all giddy over.

  • Jeremy

    I’m all for Gray or Appel, I understand the want for Bryant because of the 80 power rating, but the Cubs have no front line starting pitching in the minors. One should look down I-55 and see how the Cardinals are build they are loaded with pitching in the minors that when one starter goes down they call a kid up who steps in and does the job, Cubs just don’t have that and we need to load the system with quality pitching.

    • Kevin Gallo

      There are very few 80 it is the hard tool to get an 80 in. The second hardest is power. He is most likely a 55 to 60 hitter when all is said and done. Which would make him a 285 to 290 hitter with 35+ HR player.

    • Dustin S

      I think we’ll all be left guessing and trying to read between the lines until draft day. The front office has been complaining about the lack of pitching in the system since they got here, so that points to Gray or Appel. But they’ve also recently said that the failure rate of high 1st round pitchers is a lot higher with pitchers than position players and that they can’t afford to miss with this pick, so that points more to Bryant. I don’t see them going with any but one of those 3, even though a few other names have been mentioned.

      It would be a whole lot easier if Houston just announced who they were taking, but I suppose there are negotiation reasons they don’t. MLB probably wants to keep draft day drama high too.

  • nkniacc13

    Its always easier to trade pitching for hitting

  • LouBrown

    Is anyone else thinking of the Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf draft? Or even Derek Rose vs. Michael Beasely? Both players can either be busts or great. Thats a lot of pressure on the FOs, especially Houston’s. Then you have the highest probability of reaching the bigs in a college bat. So Bryant is a nice pick, and a punt on the decision at the same time. You can’t fault our FO for taking whoever of the two is left, but if you are Houston and you take the next Ryan Leaf…whooo boy. Rolaids sales must be through the roof.

    • nkniacc13

      im not so sure that Houston may not take a hitter leaving that decision to the Cubs

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    I love the suicide squeeze…except for the fact that the Cubs are susceptible to it being successful against them!

    I wonder, what is the success rate of suicide bunts? If the Cubs are batting under .200 with runners on third and less than two outs, they may want to consider trading an out for a run. Currently, they are giving three outs without getting a run! Have a good day All!

  • cubsin

    The Cubs’ front office and scouts have certainly done their due diligence on all of the prime candidates for the #2 pick. They could get lucky or unlucky on the future health and development of any of them.

    Nobody will know for sure which 2013 draft prospect will turn out best for 15 or 20 years. It might be a high school shortstop who will be selected in the 20th round. But the Cubs have certainly done their homework.

    • Dynastyin2017

      And that’s all you can ask (but it would be nice if WE got the SS in the 20th round).

  • nkniacc13

    If Houston takes a hitter and the Cubs have their choice of Appel or Gray and both are willing to sign for the same who would you want the cubs to go after at 41 if they cant make a trade with someone like KC or Balt for for a comp pick

    • Bric

      If Houston takes neither pitcher they’re either in worse financial distress then they admit, have insight knowledge about concerns (injuries, juice, whatever), or are just out their minds. Same can be said for the Cubs. These two first picks should be a no-brainer. Both teams need pitching and these two kids are the best overall on the board.

      • nkniacc13

        if Houston doesn’t take a pitcher it will be interesting to see how much underslot they sign for

      • DocPeterWimsey

        If the ‘stros take Bryant or another batter instead of a pitcher, then it will probably be because they think that they can go underslot on him and use the money on lower picks. That might fit your “just out their minds” slot, but some would consider it a sound tactical gamble.

      • BT

        There are also philosophical reasons to take a hitter instead of a pitcher in a draft. If they think Bryant has the higher floor than either pitcher, they may accept the lower ceiling as well.

    • Dustin S

      Denver Post article reporting today that “Buzz is growing” that the Astros will take Gray. Take it with a grain of salt, but it is one of the first grumbles of a hint in the press I’ve seen on which way they’re leaning so far.

  • nkniacc13

    Jonathan Gray named most outstanding player in B12 tourney

  • Die hard

    Reese McGuire C and Hunter Greene lhp could be decent first 2 picks for Cubs

    • Kevin Gallo

      I love both of those players but McGuire is a 5 to 10 pick. Green has a shoot at being available at #41 its an outside chance. Green is could go anywhere from 22 to 43.

      • nkniacc13

        what about Aaron Blair

        • Kevin Gallo

          If you go to we have a ton of players profiled and dome scouting reports for the draft. As for Blair I really like him but he has a 30% chance of making it to 41.

      • Die hard

        But this strategy nets HS players with tons of talent and upside that could be signed for combined same as one Appel or Gray or Bryant

  • nkniacc13

    What has caused K. Whitson to drop injury?

    • Kevin Gallo

      He had a shoulder injury. He will be back for his senior year.

  • BleedCubbieBlue

    Have we heard anything on Juan Carlos Paniagua? I think he is going to be one to watch as he comes up throughthe system. Where will he start? With Paniagua, Johnson, Vizcaino, Maples and whichever college arm we draft this year (Appel or Gray), we will have some good pitchers to watch and keep a close eye on.

    • Luke

      Visa issues was the last we heard.

  • Cheryl

    Who was it that called the draft to a T a year or two ago on the cubs? Has he said anything this year?

  • J

    Have any scouts commented on where these guys would fall relative to minor league prospects? Like, would Gray be a top 20 guy?

    • Kyle

      All three should fall somewhere in the 20-35 range, depending on who is doing the ranking.

      • Luke

        Baseball wide, not organization wide. Gray and Appel would easily be the top prospect, and Bryant would fight it out with Soler, Almora, and Baez for his spot in the Top 4. Right now I’d probably rank him second behind Soler, but I assume Bryant is moving to left.

        • Kevin Gallo

          If you want to see him at 3B go to WCC and replay the BYU games. Its the game Cubs FO went to.l

  • another JP

    Seems to me if Appel is ML ready as some folks believe he’d be a top 20 prospect. IMO Bryant = right handed Rizzo, so he’d be about 35. Gray would be interesting to rank