stanford mark appelThe 2013 Draft is just nine days away. I am getting excited.

  • According to multiple reports, the Chicago Cubs are down to four possible players for their top pick (No. 2 overall): collegiate pitchers Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray, and collegiate third basemen Kris Bryant and Colin Moran. That last one is a less-discussed name around these parts, though he’s been mentioned before. The UNC third baseman is thought by many to be the best pure hitter in the draft, but seems like a longshot for the Cubs. He’s in the conversation, though, and the Cubs may not have yet made a full and final decision on their top two players.
  • BA’s Jim Callis says he doesn’t know which of the two pitchers – Gray or Appel – the Cubs would take if both were still on the board for them at No. 2, but he leans toward Gray based on upside. The two are very, very close, though, and Callis says he keeps going back and forth. Obviously having both Gray and Appel on the board for the Cubs would be an ideal scenario, allowing the team to play one off of the other for the best value (assuming the Cubs don’t have a strong preference for one or the other). To pull that off, though, it would be best if the Cubs could somehow learn in advance that the Astros were definitely going to take Bryant or Moran … something they’re not likely to find out for sure.


  • Callis says he hears the Cubs haven’t made a decision between the two pitchers yet, let alone a decision on their top overall players. I’d imagine that decision will come very soon, and the Cubs can start getting their ducks in a row. Obviously pre-Draft negotiations are not allowed, but … well … there are ways of finding out how signable a guy is going to be. These guys know that they’ll generally make more money if they’re drafted at No. 2 versus No. 3, even if they don’t get the full slot amount at 2.
  • ESPN’s Christopher Crawford doesn’t think the Cubs will have that choice, though, and suspects Gray is on track to be the top pick for the Astros. If that happens, the safe money says the Cubs will take Appel, but the two third baseman remain lurking at the periphery.
  • Dale Sveum has been watching video on all four players, when he has a chance, and likes what he sees from all four. Sveum likely doesn’t have a great deal of input on the final selection, but I’m sure the front office is interesting in hearing his impression on each player as he watches the tape.


  • Appel’s Stanford team didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament, so his season is over. Each of Gray, Bryant, and Moran will be playing in the tournament, which begins on Friday.



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