javier baez daytona cubsKeith Law is now projecting that Colin Moran will be the Astro’s choice as the first overall pick in the draft next week. His mock draft is locked up behind the ESPN paywall, but his chat is not. Reading the chat it looks like he has the Cubs taking Appel at No. 2.

First of all, this is the absolute dream scenario for the Cubs. If Houston cheaps out at the top of the draft (again) and gambles on guys with over slot demands falling into the second and third rounds (again), then the Cubs will be more than happy to pick between Mark Appel, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Gray. The front office could literally flip a (three-sided) coin and they would get a right answer. There is no obviously bad choice between those three.

There is a lot of time before the draft for these projections to change, though, and they are only projections. We do not yet know what Houston is planning. As a result of that uncertainty, I find it odd that my draft planning has to handle more scenarios this year than it did last year despite the Cubs picking several slots higher. Houston’s apparent fondness for passing on the best players in the draft to gamble on sliders is certainly making things interesting.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – I write nice things about Iowa and they promptly lose twice to the worst team in the league. The Cubs went down 6-1.
Tennessee – Tennessee, on the other hand, beat the best team in the league again. The final in this one was 5-1.
Daytona – Once again, a late rally comes up short. The Cubs lose 5-4.
Kane County – The field was too wet for a game, so Kane County got an unplanned day off.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins had two hits and a stolen base. Surprisingly, it was just his 5th steal of the season.
  • [Iowa] Blake Parker struck out three in his one inning of work.
  • [Tennessee] With a single, a triple, a walk, and some pretty good defense Matt Szczur had himself a very nice game.
  • [Tennessee] Anthony Giansanti also had a nice night with “2” doubles. One of those was a popup into shallow right that rolled off the second baseman’s glove, but the scorer said double so a double it is.
  • [Tennessee] Alberto Cabrera struck out 7 over 6 innings and picked up his fifth win. His ERA is down to 3.70. Tony Zych and Zach Rosscup also pitched very well in relief.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez homered (his 8th) and struck out three times. Regression? Too selective? Hard to say based on one game. In fact, as one game it is fairly meaningless. Set it into the context of the rest of his season, though, and a small feeling of dread can be excused.

Other News

  • The only reason Giansanti was able to reach second on his quasi-double yesterday was because he was running full steam as soon as he left the batters box. That type of all-out attitude seems like it is showing up more often across the farm system. That is a very good thing.
  • If the Cubs do wind up with Houston handing them their dream draft scenario on a silver platter, my preference remains Bryant. High level hitters are the safer pick over the similarly ranked pitchers to such a degree that I can’t see passing on Bryant for any arm in this draft. It would be different if a pitching prospect like David Price or Gerrit Cole were in the mix, but neither Gray nor Appel project that high. I’ll pass on a shot at a very good No 2 starter for shot at a potentially elite slugger any day of the week.
  • abe

    Kinda like Rizzo for Cashner (elite slugger for ok pitcher).

    • On The Farm

      Or kinda like taking a guy like Strasburg (Gray projects as an ace and like Strasburg has an elite fastball) or taking the bast college bat Dustin Ackley. I am not saying Ackley is a bad player and everyone knew when he was drafted that his floor was making the show, but because of that high floor, usually that means there isn’t much room for a ceiling.

      I realize this a stretch of comparisons because Boras called Strasburg a “50 year player”, but come on Theo’s MO has been taking guys who are prone to TJ, Gray fits that mold.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Theo’s MO has been taking guys who are prone to TJ, Gray fits that mold”

        That’s worked out so well.

        • preacherman86

          Strasburg had the surgery too lest we forget

      • Timothy Scarbrough

        It’s nothing like Strasburg. If Gray could immediately join the big team and be a top of the rotation starter, then it would be like Strasburg. There isn’t a team that is cheap enough in the league to let a Strasburg fall.

        • JulioZuleta

          Sure there is. The Twins passed on Mark Prior, who was right on par with Strasburg, in favor of Joe Mauer because he was much cheaper. Damn Twins.

      • Jp3

        What’s funny is that Boras probably makes that claim about one of his players every year… A 50year player? Does that mean another player with the name Stephen Strasburg won’t make the MLB show for another 50 years, sure, I’ll buy that

      • JBarnes

        Saying that scenario is a “stretch” is a stretch in itself. Bryant and Ackley are in no way the same type of player and outside of the fastball comparison Strasburg and Gray aren’t either. Strasburg had at least two other “plus” to above average pitches, Gray (and I’m not a scout obviously) seems like a thrower to me compared to Strasburg who had a better feeling for pitching.

  • Cheryl

    I agree Luke. Bryant seems the best choice if that scenario works out.

  • CubFan Paul

    “I’ll pass on a shot at a very good No 2 starter for shot at a potentially elite slugger any day of the week”

    Ditto. Plus Bryant may accept a little under the slot to go #2

    • Rich H

      Bryant is junior and also a Boras guy. He has all the leverage. He will not go under slot no matter where he is drafted.

      • MikeW

        If Bryant is drafted #1, you dont think he’ll take less than the 7.9? I do. Because if he goes back to school, he risks a TON, especially with the 2014 draft looking a lot better than this one.

  • On The Farm

    Luke I know you are high on Vandy’s Ziomek and I read a story on him not too long ago and it got me interested long before I knew he could be in play with the Cubs second round pick. Would you give your brief assessment on him?

    • SenorGato

      Not Luke but as far as how Ziomek throws the ball the first name that came to mind was David Cone. He has excellent command of breaking ball and can bury it or throw it for a strike.

      Not a big guy but like all Vanderbilt pitchers recently (it seems) he is in excellent condition, repeats his delivery well, and is a strong athlete.

      Fastball is in that 89-94 range. He uses that pitch aggressively as well and throws to both sides of the plate.

      It would be mighty convenient if he could turn into a LH David Cone.

  • Die hard

    If its Appel then wouldn’t waste any time- bring him up in Sept call up at latest

    • Rich H

      For some reason I keep seeing a Chris Sales scenario with Gray. Get him and his 2 plus pitches into the bullpen this year and work on his 3rd and 4th pitches for year 2 or 3 when he steps into a starting role.

    • SenorGato

      Why? Whats the point of having him up in September?

  • Mike

    I think Bryant would be the “wrong choice” in this particular situation because they need pitching much more than they need infielders. I know they have no 3B coming up through the system, but there have to be guys throughout all levels who can be converted to a 3B. I realize the move isn’t easy, but it’s much easier than turning someone into a pitcher on the level of Appel or Grey.

    • MichiganGoat

      You can’t just say “Don’t draft this player because we have a bigger need at another position” most of these players are 2-3 years from the majors (Appel might be the exception but he doesn’t project to be much better than a 2 and a 3/4 is more likely if he is rushed to the majors). You should always draft the best player on the board and right now many believe that person is Bryant (that 80 power ranking is hard to ignore) and you can’t ignore him because right now the Cubs need pitching (although RIGHT NOW the Cubs strength IS pitching (well starting pitching)). Draft the player that has the highest ceiling regardless of positional need. Bryant is that player.

      • SenorGato

        I get that the Internet has cheapened all scouting talk to penny prices, but what is wrong with a #2 starter? I have seen this a couple times here where it’d written as some kind of negative.

        Not to mention that Appel’s ceiling is that of a high innings #1.

  • Dynastyin2017

    We need to take it easy on Baez. He’s obviously working on things. Two of his K’s were against a guy that was no hitting Daytona through 5 innings. Let’s see how June goes before we say he’s regressed.

  • http://Www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Who has Bryant “similarly ranked” to Appel/Gray? Not Law, not BA, does Mayo at MLB?

    • CubFan Paul

      Bryant’s 80 power and polished hit tool should have him similarly ranked with Appel (#2 starter ceiling) and Gray (high ceiling but probably a reliever longterm w/ those mechanics & no plus 3rd pitch). That’s why I like Bryant (over those 2).

    • Dynastyin2017

      It’s hard to tell with Mayo. He has Bryant at #3. The only player in the draft he gives an overall grade of 7 is Appel. He rates Gray and Bryant at a 6 overall. Rankings are for the players ceiling.

      I’d be fine with it if our FO thinks Bryant was the best player and takes him, but I agree with you, Norm, not many of the so-called experts put him in the same class. I’ve heard best bat, but never best player.

      • BluBlud

        If it was believed that Bryant could stay at 3rd, he may be the #1 prospect in the draft on everyones board. As is, it a lot easier to find slugging corner OFers then Slugging 3rd basemen, so his value drops. I think Bryants bat is legit and I would take him over Appel, and back to leaning Bryant over Gray.

        • Dynastyin2017

          If he truly has 80 power, and his hit tool is good enough to allow his power to play in the majors, he’s elite no matter what position. No one would argue against getting Stanton, would they? I mean, he’s just a corner outfielder, right? Is his hit tool good enough?

          • MichiganGoat

            that is the great question: IS THE 80 POWER RANK CORRECT?

            • The Dude Abides

              I’m sure they have watched him play wooden bat summer games but his college numbers are with a BBCOR which is different than wood. The pitchers are putting up their numbers with a very similar baseball against BBCOR bats.

              Competition everyone faces aside, but to that point they are all from Dl programs and have faced top notch talent every summer as well for years.

          • hansman1982

            Nope, but if Stanton could play third he’d be twice as valuable.

            • Dynastyin2017

              My point is if a guy has an 80 power tool that actually plays, it doesn’t matter where he plays. You take him.(and the twice as valuable thing is probably a more accurate statement for Fantasy baseball).

              • preacherman86

                Don’t forget in this argument of tools we had two potential 5 tool guys in cf not long ago, cpat and pie, neither of which could pass for an average everyday player on a mediocre team today. Tools are great, but I would rather have gio Gonzalez or max scherzer than Adam Dunn goin number 2 pitchers versus elite power only or mark Reynolds for that matter

  • curt

    Luke maybe you can help me understand this how does one come up with projections such as why can’t Appel or gray be as good as cole or price what makes Appel or gray less appealing .

  • BluBlud

    I stated this last week. It seems when Baez homers, it’s in a 1-4 or 1-5 type day with 3 SO. This is why I said I could careless about the homers. I’d prefer the Baez we have had over the last few weeks who didn’t homer much, but made very good contact. He has natural power, so the homers will come. It’s seems now when he hits one, it’s because he is trying to hit them. doing it that way, you might hit one, but you are going to strike out a lot in the process.

    • Jp3

      I agree BluBlud. I feel like when Baez gets the itch for a homer he comes to the ballpark thinking, “F it, I’m going yard today”. No matter what the cost is he’s going up to the plate swinging for the fence…

      • andoalex

        I’m not really sure that is it. After his walk-off in the 11th he didn’t have a strikeout the next game. Daytona had 15 K’s last night. DeVoss had 3 and several others had 2. My thinking is if there was a day Baez would be swinging for the fences it would be after he hit that walk-off. Maybe I’m just too hopeful.

    • Spriggs

      I sort of agree, but I am of the opinion that “trying to hit a home run every at bat” is not the heart of the problem for Baez. The problem is more in “trying to hit a home run on EVERY PITCH”.

      Mickey Mantle once said he tried to hit a home run every time he batted. He struck out a lot, but he also walked a good deal. He was swinging at strikes for the most part and could differentiate a hittable pitch to one that was not. Now, Baez will never be The Mick, but if he could recognize strikes, I would have absolutely no problem with him trying to hit a home run every time at bat.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That might suggest that it’s not Baez, but how teams pitch to him. When they go for pitches that get him to swing and miss, they run the risk of a bad pitch being extremely hittable. For example, if they think that they can get him out on high heat, then a fastball that misses low might be in his wheel house. Alternatively, if they think that they can get Baez out with particular breaking pitches, then the one that doesn’t break is a batting practice fastball that Baez can hammer.

      This often gets left out of the discussion about the “steroids era” but a big reason why HR rates were high is that many teams took the tactic of trying to prevent HR by K’ing guys. That was great when it worked: but mislocated “swing and miss” pitches tended to be flyball, and frequently were very long flyballs indeed. So, K’s went up, but so did flyballs, and thus the homers stayed high.

    • JB88

      Not sure how much last night helps this argument as two of his Ks were looking. When you couple that with his argument with the ump on another strike, it may have been a case of an inconsistent ump with a problematic strike zone.

    • SenorGato

      Have to admit I kinda agree with this. The three Ks ruins the HR for me. Still, I thought there was some progress in May. Need moar.

  • Die hard

    Theo legacy riding on this choice… make or break

    • http://Isa Voice of reason

      Theos legacy is not riding on one draft pick. Don’t go overboard here.

      • Jp3

        You’re hilarious Voice of Reason thinking that Die Hard wont go overboard and be irrational about one move

      • Rich H

        Wow the VoR actually says something that is reasonable. WTG.

    • MichiganGoat

      Die hard here we agree to a certain level but not about how this pick will make or destroy Theo. If this pick becomes a solid MLB starter (or is used to trade for a solid MLB player) it will solidify the Theo legend. If the player becomes a bust it will be a dent in the armor and that dent will be even worse if the player we pass on becomes a MLB star. It might be the most important draft the Cubs have had in quite sometime but the only way it destroys Theo is if last years draft, this year, and next year produces no useful talent.

  • http://Isa Voice of reason

    The cubs have more holes than Swiss cheese.

    The cubs just need to pick the player they feel is the best.

    We’ve been down the road where the hitter is a can’t miss… That’s when we took Gary Scott and Ty griffin. We’ve also been down the mike Harkey road.

    That’s why I don’t care if we have another third base prospect or a better ranked pitcher than the two that are available, the cubs simply need to take the player they feel is the best.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, Ty Griffin was considered to be an aluminum bat (“ping”) hitter by a lot of scouts. That is, he was great at getting his bat on the ball but not good at getting it on the “sweet” spot. With an aluminum bat, that’s still good for soft liners; with a wooden bat, that’s good for a shattered bat slow-roller. I think that Griffin’s stock was temporarily inflated in some people’s minds after he hit a big late-inning HR to beat Cuba: that showed that he was “clutch” or something.

      Scott was never in the “can’t miss” category, either. He was a reasonably high pick out of college (2nd or 3rd round, I think), but the “can’t miss” guys are first round picks. There was a really depressing article about him on ESPN a while ago (maybe 10 years by now!): the life of a near-miss seems pretty awful.

      The Cubs bigger problem when it came to drafting players was the Trib’s corporate mentality regarding drafts (i.e., don’t spend big $$$ on unproven amateurs) and many, many years of using the wrong information when evaluating players and ignoring the right info.

      • TWC
        • DocPeterWimsey

          Ah, right. Now I know why it had “10 years ago” in my head: it was written in the aftermath of the 2003 playoffs, replete with the Bartman reference.

          Re-reading it, it’s funny about all the excuses Scott’ family & friends offered for his lack of success: and how familiar looking they are! The fact that no other team gave him a shot doesn’t seem to be evidence that, well, maybe Scott really just could not hit curveballs!

          • TWC

            “[I]t’s funny about all the excuses Scott’ family & friends offered for his lack of success: and how familiar looking they are!”

            No kidding! Some of those could have been lifted from last week’s comments on this site.

            “The fact that no other team gave him a shot doesn’t seem to be evidence that, well …”

            Ben Klafczynski? Tony Campana? Ryne Sandberg (managing)?

  • JB88

    If you have Baseball Prospectus, one of their writers is not as high on Bryant as others. It is worth a read, but the 40000 foot view of the article is that when you look at his numbers versus starters vis-a-vis against relievers as well as his numbers against midweek starters (apparently usually a weaker starter) versus weekend starters, the numbers regress substantially. Based on that, the writer slots Bryant as a Tier 2 prospect. Interestingly, in addition to Gray and Appel as Tier 1, he’s got Frazier there too. It’s an interesting read.

    • Jp3

      I know it’s hard to do find but someone in the scouting department has to be breaking down his numbers against decent competition and not against “a guy that’ll be bagging groceries in a couple weeks”. I hate to say level of competition is in question but damn… scouts question Gray’s level of comp in the Big 12 so why does Bryant get a pass? I’m sure somebody knows on this site how Bryant faired on the USA team, how did he look? I like Bryant, I just haven’t seen him that much.

      • JB88

        The article I mentioned on BP discusses that also. He faired okay. Another item I thought was particularly interesting in the article was the analysis on Bryant’s OBP and walk rate when you take out the intentional walks. It is really an interesting article and made me start to consider my leanings toward Bryant.

        • BluBlud

          You can’t really take out intentional walks. Barry Bonds great OBP years were due to the opponents fear of pitching to him, so he collect IBB. If Bryant’s bat is so good that he’ll recieve a lot of IBB, that’s is more reason to draft him, not less. His ability to force the other team to intentionally walk him add value to his team. Clearly he is not going to recieve as many as he has in college, but with his power, I’m sure he’ll collect his fair share.

          • Jp3

            I think yes and no of your point Blu. You’re right in that you have to respect his bat and and that’s why he gets IBB but he is probably so much better than the next person on his team I would almost never let the guy get an AB against me. He’d have 4 or 5 PA and 4 or 5 IBB or unintentional intentional walks…I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have great protection behind him and that could explain a lot of those IBBs

          • WGNstatic

            You are certainly correct about the IBB, but, the decision to give a guy an IBB is as much about the guys batting behind him as it is about the player himself.

            Case in point, who leads the Cubs in IBB this year? Darwin Barney.

            The point is, that IBBs really do need to be stripped out of the total BB count to get a clear picture of how good a hitters eye really is.

            • Jp3

              Nice stat, that was def my point. I don’t know how much Bryant’s bat scares his opponents vs how good the bat is behind him, I’m guessing the disparity between Bryant and the next bat as far as skill level is quite substantial.

          • JB88

            I think you miss the point here. Due to the competition level and Bryant’s teammates, the idea is that the IBB are unsustainable against better competition and so his walk rate, while good, is not as gaudy as it appears at first blush.

            The article was just interesting to me. It parsed out Bryant’s success and offered some context as to what those numbers might mean and why his success might not be as gauranteed as other sure-fire prospects.

            As another aside, the writer of the BP article also only projects Bryant to have 65/70 power and that was surprising to me. I’m sure that also plays into Faleris ranking Bryant as a top 10 pick but not necessarily a top 5 one.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Yes you can take them out. This isn’t MLB, this is Big 12.

            • JB88

              Actually it is WAC (I think), so it is even less than the Big 12 …

              • Jp3

                Actually it isn’t even the WAC right? It’s like the WCC? West coast conference? I think this should at least be telling in that who the hell knows what sort of comp is in Bryant’s league since we are having trouble naming it…

    • BluBlud

      I’m pretty sure Bryant’s numbers are no different then any other player’s numbers. Any hitter’s number are going to be down against the better competition. That probably at every level. So you can’t look at one player’s number and determine his projections. You have to compare his drops to everybody else’s drops, then determine who has played more games against good and bad competition and make a judgement. I’m sure this has already been done, and Bryant has still maintained his higher ranking..

  • Saving grace

    I’ve been reading there’s a bit of differing opinions at the top for the Cubs brass in regards to the top pick.
    The struggle is with Theo favoring Gray over Appel with the rest favoring Appel over Gray.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
    It appears Theo likes the promise of two plus pitches and upside of ceiling of gray.Coupled with his signability over the better complete pitcher in Appel.
    Depending which way they go would also completely change the draft strategy for later rounds

    • WGNstatic

      I have to say, I am pretty skeptical about this notion that Theo’s thoughts on Gray v Appel leaked out (with the possible exception of a planned leak to manipulate signing price or other teams drafting, but that is a bit conspiracy theory dense for me).

      I suppose it is possible that Theo was chatting up some guy while waiting for his latte at Starbucks, but…

      • Kyle

        I’m sure Theo’s true feelings have leaked out. They’ve just been covered up by all the other leaks and it’s impossible to tell which is which.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Every truth needs to be protected with a dozen lies and all of that…..

          • Saving grace

            Keith Law also states there’s an internal debate with Theo preferring Gray over Appel.
            So it seems another source has mentioned the same thing i mentioned earlier
            I just read the bit by Law

            • JB88

              It is possible that Law heard the same thing. It is also entirely possible that both of them are citing the same source. It is also possible that Law is citing the original author with credit or without. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Law is an additional corroborating source for this information.

  • Lance Dickson

    Moran may be the best pick at #1 period. By all accounts, he may be the most polished hitter in the draft. He is also very young for a college player. Moran won’t turn 21 until October. He is nearly 10 months younger than Bryant. Bill James and then later Baseball Prospectus evaluated age and projection in draft classes (the dataset was just highschool players so far). The younger players in the draft consistently had better careers than the older ones. Some of this was done in the context of “how did Mike Trout drop to 23?” He was the youngest (pretty sure) top highschool bat in the draft. So, back to Moran, with that 10 month difference he has much more projection than Bryant. If he slips to the second pick, the Cubs would be crazy not to get him.
    Everyone should try to find the article on player age at draft. It’s a great read.
    Dunston was one of the oldest highschool players ever drafted #1.

  • Dustin S

    I just hope the Cubs eventually can get their drafting and player development anywhere close to the Cardinals and Braves (and Washington seems to be on the road there). It seems like they both have and endless stream of quality guys they can call on. Free agents are hit and miss, and there is only so much filling a system by trading for prospects we can do. It’s really the only way to get to the point of being competitive year after year. So that’s why I’m paying such close attention to this draft and to seeing what direction the front office takes.

    Also, 2 interesting Iowa thoughts. Donnie Murphy started at 3B last night over Ian Stewart. He did PH and started Wednesday, but still pretty harsh to not start even with Vitters on the DL. It seems like he’s the equivalent of having been sent to the mail room.

    Also, it’s somewhat depressing but we’re about to the point with Brett Jackson of having to include him in the possible names to take off the 40-man when a spot is needed. It’s a third of the way through his 3rd year at Iowa and he’s at .234, with regressed stats across the board each year. I would think odds are high that he’ll either be included as a throw-in with one of the upcoming trades (probably the most likely scenario) or be taken off the 40. There may be a name or two ahead of him, but he’ll be 25 in August and I think he’s making his way onto that list.

  • Edwin

    I still prefer Appel. I know that Position players are typically a safer bet, but I also think it’s rare to get the chance to draft a pitcher of Appel’s ability. With a mid 90’s fastball, and some of the best secondary pitches in the draft, I think Appel has as high a ceiling as any other pitcher in the draft.

  • The Dude Abides

    No way Theo passes up a pitcher for Bryant, in fact if he passed on a pitcher it would be if Moran is available and that’s not happening either.

    Bryant has “80” power and average grades everywhere else. No way he is a near a five tool which is what you need to justify to pick over either of the top two arms that already exceed anyone we have at any level in our farm system.

  • Rizzofanclub

    For me its down to Bryant vs Appel and here is my thoughts: Bryant looks like he could one day turn into Jay Bruce as Appel looks as if he could turn into 2011 Matt Garza. I would take pitching any day of the week b/c if you look at upcoming free agency, pitching is about to get really really expensive. I know the experts always say never draft on need but if there is a legit chance Bryant could stick at 3rd, the cubs could keep him in the minors for the next 2 yrs to work on his defense then that would be a turning point. If Bryant can’t stay at third and what I have read he can’t you gotta go Appel.

  • Awakeape

    Has anyone heard of sean manaea possibly falling to the cubs 2nd round pick? Can you imagine if we got appel and a possible top 5 pick with our top two picks. I know he was pulled from his last start because of a hip injury but isn’t he worth a gamble at that spot if he falls?

    • Kyle

      Maybe. Personally, I wouldn’t pick him. He’s already got inconsistencies with his velocity and some arm problems to go along with the hip. But I can see why others might disagree.

      • MichiganGoat

        I would really like them to draft like they did last year. Positional players with the early picks then stock up on pitchers. None of the pitchers have that “can’t miss” feel to them and I’m sure the FO can find pitcher that have the talent and skills they can develop latter in the draft.

        • JulioZuleta

          I think Mark Appel is “can’t miss” in the sense that, barring injury, he’s absolutely an MLB starter. His floor is probably a solid #4. I also don’t think he’ll ever be a true ace. I know what you mean though, neither pitcher is a “can’t miss” #1 or #2.

          I still prefer taking one of the pitchers though. Bryant himself isn’t can’t miss. If the FO isn’t sure he can stick at 3B, I don’t want them taking him. Power hitting corner OFs are not that hard to find. Also, I think he’s been pretttyyyy over-hyped by a lot of people. If a guy was 65/80 hit/power, which I’ve seen thrown around, he’d be an absolute hands down #1 overall pick. I don’t think he’ll ever even come remotely close to that. That’s in the .310-.315 range with 40+ home runs. I haven’t seen him a ton, but I just don’t see it. I think he’s going to struggle a lot with upper level off speed stuff. I’ve seen him get fooled by some pretty weak stuff to the point where he looked absolutely foolish and was wayyy out in front. I could be wrong on him, and admittedly I haven’t seen enough to have a great grasp, but I think people have gotten caught up in the pre-draft doldrums and have exaggerated his abilities a bit.

          I’ve gone back and forth all year but for me it’s 1. Appel 2. Gray 3. Bryant (distant third, but well ahead of #4). Gray has a higher ceiling to me but also greater injury/bullpen risk. He short arms the ball a tiny bit and puts extra stress on that elbow. 100mph heat and 88 mph devastating slider without perfect mechanics could mean disaster.

        • JulioZuleta

          Dream scenario for the Cubs: Gray willing to sign for less (as has been rumored) and Manaea falls, Cubs could land both Gray and Manaea.

          However, I think the Stros would grab Manaea with their second pick. I’d love to see the Cubs make a trade for an extra pick within the next 5 days.

          • JulioZuleta

            *Unless they can’t be traded anymore.

            • Jp3

              I’m with you, that would be the dream but Manaea would probably just go back to school if he fell that far right?

              • JulioZuleta

                Depends how much we could afford to pay him.

            • Dynastyin2017

              This years competitive balance picks CAN be traded.

          • Assman22

            Cubs board is currently 1. Gray, 2. Bryant…

            • TWC

              The Assman returns!

              • DocPeterWimsey

                woo hoo! It’s like the Cubs version of Deep Throat!

            • cubchymyst

              So it looks like it is going to be 1 of the 2 pitchers.

              • cubchymyst

                Just realized i miss read what was posted.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              I was wondering when you’d show up.

            • Drew7

              So much for draft-day suspense..

          • JB88

            Manaea’s season is all sorts of red flaggy for my tastes. I’d rather see them draft Appel in the first round 1 and grab one of the upper level HS catchers in the second.

            • Assman22

              Cubs out on Appel…

              • gocatsgo2003

                Wuh woh… the assman returneth!

                Reason given?

              • cubchymyst

                Does that imply Gray or Bryant?

          • BT

            If Manea falls to the second round, he will simply refuse to sign, and hope to rebound next next and improve his draft stock, since he is only a Junior.

            • Cedlandrum

              Well if the Stros can sign Moran for a bunch under slot and then draft Manea, they could persuade him to sign I bet.

      • Dynastyin2017

        Agreed. Let’s draft the ‘Best Available HEALTHY’ player. We’re not have luck with rehab prospects. And Manaea reminds me of Bobby Brownlie.

  • Farley Flash

    Do not over think this draft. Best player available, best player available, best player available!! The Cubs are far enough out of consistent competitiveness, year in and year out, that we take the best player available. Keep building and later piece it together.

  • Kramden

    Agree… Draft Bryant.

    The Cub pitching staff seems to be doing quite nicely without a former #1 draft choice in the rotation….

    But they sure can use a more potent offense.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Everybody’s stepping on my Draft Notes post that goes up later this morning, and which I drafted yesterday in advance because I knew I’d be taking care of The Little Boy today and couldn’t predict when I’d be able to write …

    *kicks dirt*

    • Dynastyin2017

      Don’t worry Brett.
      For the next 6 days, this will be THE focus. You wont need to write anything.
      Just a write a title. Appel, Bryant or Gray? We’ll take care of the rest.

    • Jp3

      Well Brett we as a whole, were bound to say something right about one of the prospects pros and cons eventually😝. We still look forward to you summarizing all of our posts to a couple of paragraphs

  • David

    I vote for one of the pitchers, even if is is a projected to be a “#2”. Who are the current #2’s in the league now? Gonzalaz from Wash, Garza in his prime, Sanchez from Detroit, Sheilds from KC????? Considering we’ll be getting Gray/ Appel in their prime years, that’s 5 or 6 years of a pretty damn good pitcher. I’d take it, pitching wins championships!!

  • Saving grace

    I agree with an earlier post.
    I think the Cubs will draft Colin Moran with the second pick if he’s available.
    I touted him as Houston’s first pick a long time ago before all the experts were on him.
    His analytics are incredible and he’s a sabermetrics darling.
    Polished hitter as mentioned earlier,will stick at 3b,many believe power tool will develop, and is very close to major league ready
    Unfortunately Houston will take him

    • Jp3

      Yeah I read a scout say he could be another Robin Ventura…. Unfortunately he could just be another Dave Magidan. A very slightly above average good but not great left hand hitting 3rd baseman. Go big or go home, I think take either of the 2 pitchers or take the boom or bust bat.

  • Tyron

    I want Bryant! An take the second pick a pitcher
    Resign Scotty fieldman

  • Diamond Don

    Prediction…If Houston takes Moran, Cubs take Gray. If Houston takes Gray, Cubs take Appel.

  • Jeremy

    I think we can all agree its a crap shoot with anybody the cubs select. We don’t know how they will play or if they make the big club. Appel could be the next Maddux and Bryant could be the next Bonds or they both could be bust, we just need to have faith the brass knows what they are looking for and drafts the right guy.

  • SenorGato

    #Appelorbust for me, still.

    Just not into Gray. To get into Gray I have to go.through this whole.thing.where.he takes extremely well to his conditioning program, tightens up his mechanics, sees both of his offspeeds take a step forward, and more.consistently commands his fastball.

    If the FO thinks Braynt really is another Troy Glaus thenyes please. Otherwise Appel has evrything you could.possibly want.out of a premium.pitching.prospect. There might even be some room.to gain a tick on his fastball and pitch at 95-96, up from 93-94.

  • SenorGato

    Oh and for the billionth time – I hope, nay PRAY, price has absolutely nothing with who they pick. Let the Internet cry about how many Duane Underwoods and Peirce Johnsons we will miss out on. I want the top guy and the Cubs wont run out of money if they pay slot + 5% to Mr. #2 Overall. Whatever it costs, pay for the premium talent. No one sat through last year for them to penny pinch at the tippy top of.the draft.

    The Cubs are one of.two teams to overslot last year.

    • Dynastyin2017

      You are correct. Unless someone flat out says he won’t sign with you, you take the best player. You don’t take the 5th best talent at #2 just to get the 30th best talent at #41. Doesn’t make sense.

      • JulioZuleta

        Agreed, but what if a team has Appel #1, Gray #2, and Manaea, say, #10. Manaea falls due to signability concerns, but the team thinks they can save enough by taking Gray that would allow them to sign Manaea at #41. So now you have, your choice of #1 and #41 best talents, or the #2 and #10. It’s not as clear cut.

        • Kyle

          I’ll take 1 and 41.

          • JulioZuleta

            I have no problem with that stance. I’d probably go the other way and take #2 and #10, unless of course #1 is someone like Bryce Harper.

    • Kyle


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