vogelbach amayaThis is going to be a busy day in the Daily. In addition to all the regular minor league news, we have a draft to talk about. There will be more comments on the draft as well as some stories to watch out for tonight below the “Other News” section of the Daily, but first we have some more All Stars to talk about.

The Midwest League has unveiled their mid-season All Star roster, and a strong contingent of six Cougars made the cut.

Rock Shoulders, the DH/OF/1B who leads the league with 12 home runs, tops the list. Shoulders surprised a lot of people with his hot start to the season. He cooled off some in May, but his patient approach and prodigious power still led to an OPS of .737 for the month.

Unsurprisingly, Dan Vogelbach also makes the list. This lefty first baseman is a pure hitter who lets his bat do all the talking necessary. The projections say he can hit for both power and average, and so far he is living up to that.

Outfielder Bijan Rademacher also made the cut. This lefty has consistently put up nice numbers all season. His OPS of .779 is nice, but my personal favorite are the 16 BB and 16 K in about 150 PA. If he can keep that up he will have plenty of opportunities to make more All Star teams.

The Cougars also have three All Stars on the mound. Nathan Dorris, a lefty, has struck out one batter per inning pitched while walking about a third that total. His GO/AO of 2.62 is nice as well.

Felix Pena has been one of the most effective starters on the team. His strikeout numbers are not flashy, but he still has more Ks (26) than he has allowed hits (24).

Tayler Scott is the final Kane County pitcher to make the list. Scott has had some rough starts this year, but when he can keep the walks down he has pitched some great games. Even with the occasional wildness, though, he still has a GO/AO of 2.35.

There is one omission from this list I find a little hard to understand. Where is Pierce Johnson? Pena and Scott are both worthy entries on the list and I can understand why the league managers voted them into the festivities. But Johnson has simply out pitched them both.

That is a debate for another day. Today the spotlight shines on the six who made the cut, and they deserve their accolades. Congratulations to Kane County’s Mid-Season All Stars. Here’s hoping it is the predecessor to a second half division title.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa Cubs had the day off, but they play at home tonight. That would be a great spot to watch a game, follow the draft, and see a post game fireworks show.
Tennessee – Bad weather scratched the Wednesday game in Tennessee. There is a doubleheader scheduled for today.
Daytona – And rain postponed the Daytona game as well. There will be a double header tonight.
Kane County РThe Cougars, at least, got a game in. They beat Burlington on the road 8-6.

Performances of Note

  • [Kane County] Reggie Golden led the way with a 3 for 4 performance.
  • [Kane County] First baseman Dan Vogelbach celebrated his All Star selection with his 9th home run. He also doubled and walked twice.
  • [Kane County] Oliver Zapata (with two doubles), Jeimer Candelario, and Rock Shoulders also all enjoyed two hit days.
  • [Kane County] It was not his best start and was marred by two home runs, but Pierce Johnson still allowed just five hits while striking out five over five innings.
  • [Kane County] All Star Felix Pena struck out three in his two innings of work as he picked up his first save.

Other News

  • Can’t get enough minor league All Star goodness? Then vote for the Triple A All-Star team! There are a few Iowa Cubs deserving of a vote this year. Logan Watkins would not be a bad vote, despite his recent struggles at the plate. Brian Bogusevic should be an obvious choice in the outfield. And on the mound you could toss a vote at Chris Rusin or Blake Parker.
  • Junior Lake is scheduled to make his Triple A and season debut for Iowa tonight. Yet another great reason to head out to the ballpark.

The 2013 Draft

  • We still do not know who the Cubs will pick, but rumor seems to be centering on Mark Appel or Kris Bryant. Fortunately, Bleacher Nation is right whichever way the Cubs go; Brett prefers Appel and I’m still backing Bryant. Whoever the pick is, even if it is Jonathan Gray, the Cubs are getting a very good player.
  • Notice I did not list Colin Moran on that list of candidates. He is still lurking on the edges of the conversation, but he ranks a clear notch below the top three candidates. Reaching for Moran would, I think, be a mistake for the Cubs.
  • The Cubs also make their second round pick today. I still suspect the Cubs will aim for a college pitcher in that slot. To get an idea who might be on the Cubs radar, look at the candidates ranked between 31 and 52 on the Baseball America Top 500. There are a lot of college arms in that bracket, and I would be happy with just about any of them.
  • One thing you should not expect – the Cubs to reach for a prospect based on organizational need. The Cubs badly need left handed starting pitching in the farm system, but if the best pitcher on their board in the second round is a right hander, they will take that right hander. The same goes for catching talent or slugging outfielders. Those are also areas of weakness that I think the Cubs will address before the end of the draft, but the top few picks are not the time to reach for a need pick.
  • One (potentially) non-Cub story to watch will be the saga of Sean Manaea. The southpaw began the college season as one of the best starting pitchers on the board. He settled out of the conversation for the top over all pick by misdeason, but it wasn’t until fairly late in the year that he was sidelined with an injury. Now it is possible that he will fall out of the first round altogether. Possible, but unlikely. Should he fall that far, I think the Yankees will snag him at No 26.
  • And that brings up another story to watch. The Yankees have three of the Top 33 picks in this draft. As you may know, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement imposes harsh penalties on any team that exceeds their slot money pool. If a team goes over by more than 15%, for example, they lose their first round pick in the next two drafts. In the case of the 2013 Yankees, though, I think they will at least consider accepting those penalties and spending tremendously on this draft. The Yankees are not likely to have a great pick in either of the next two seasons anyway. There will be some talent that slides because of signing concerns, and if the Yankees choose to ignore the penalties they could walk away with a large quantity of very good talent. I don’t know that New York will take that gamble, but it would not surprise me.
  • The draft begins at 7 PM ET. There will be quite a crowd here on the main page of the website as well as on the Message Board and on Twitter. Make sure you’re ready for tonight by following @BleacherNation and @ltblaize on Twitter. It should be a long, fun, and exciting night.
  • Awakeape

    I really hope Appel is there for us. As much as I want to like grey the failed drug test makes me very leary considering how fast his evolution was this year. More focus and energy which could be attributed to the substance. Excited to see how everything unfolds tonight!

    • Stevie B

      Again, I am saying Bryant. Or Hayden Simpsons cousin, who ranks 256th and should REALLY throw the MLB staff for a loop when the Cubs get crafty….

  • fivetoolmike

    Good write-up, as always; I really appreciate reading it every morning. Would you consider putting up the next day’s schedule for each team? I think I’d find it useful, but nice work either way.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I am always looking for ways to improve the Daily. That one is on the list. I’m not sure if I’ll adopt that change, but it is one I’ve experimented with a time or two.

      In the meantime, I always link to each team’s homepage. One extra click will get you today’s game as well as the starting pitchers (which sometimes are not announced with write these the night before). That’s not an idea solution, but it isn’t a bad one for the time being.

  • mdavis

    i still am with you Luke, lets get Bryant., That power is special. And pitchers are such a toss up, you never know. Our last #2 overall pick who was a pitcher was great…until he flamed out 3 years later. Go for the hitter, and find some quality in the later rounds like last year (see: Pierce Johnson, Blackburn, Underwood, etc.)

  • jacob w

    Anyone know much on Jason hursh?

  • rbreeze

    Bryant should be our guy! Get that special position player first. He wants to play 3rd base. He has a great attitude and he is a smart kid. I don’t think that Appel and Gray are going to be special players. This kid could be special. Then just like last year go ahead and load up on arms. I heard an old time baseball scout say that teams are lucky if 1 of every 10 pitchers that is signed ever make it to the major leagues. And that stint in the majors may be a brief one. Bryant can be a figure head for an organization for many years.

  • itzscott

    Seems we know that the Cubs will pick either Appel, Gray, Bryant or Moran tonight….

    Does anyone know how these four grade out in comparison to Almora, Baez and Soler?

    On a par with, better, worse???

    • Kyle

      Whoever we pick will belong in the same group as those three at a minimum. Personally, I’d lean toward putting them on top of the list.

      My rankings would go:

      1) Appel
      2) Bryant
      3) Soler
      4) Gray
      5) Almora
      6) Baez
      7) Moran

      • Noah

        I’d go:
        1) Appel
        2) Soler
        3) Almora
        4) Gray
        5) Bryant
        6) Baez
        7) Moran

        I really have concerns that Bryant won’t be able to make enough contact to make great use of the power. He’s ahead of Baez because I have less concerns that he both won’t make contact AND won’t draw walks, but I have concerns a low batting average could prevent Bryant from ever being a really special. Plus, I don’t think Bryant is a guy who can just go to Double A. He’s been playing competition that arguably is on par with short season ball, as he has not been playing top notch college competition.

  • EricR

    I think I’ve made up my mind on Bryant. I think he will be the best overall player at #2 and the quickest to help the big team. I like Appel as well. I’ve never been big on Gray mainly because I hadn’t even heard of him until this year.

    • Rich H

      I like Bryant as well but he is not the quickest to help the big league club. Appel can probably go be on a major league staff in the spring and I still think you can probably do a Chris Sales with Gray and put his high 90’s FB and wipe out slider in the Bullpen soon and work with his 3 and 4th pitch for a couple years before he moves to the rotation.

  • Kevin

    We will be taking my older son to an Icubs game tomorrow evening. I am excited to see some of the players that have been talked about here play!

  • JoeyCollins

    I’m Still hoping we can take Appel at #2. I would be happy with Bryant, and agree that it looks like we can’t loose with any of the top 3, but getting a guy who could be in the rotation next year seems the way to go to me.

  • JBarnes

    As much as we need top tier pitching prospects in the system, I think I agree with most on here that the pick has to be Bryant. Won’t really be upset with any of the “big three” but at the worst we could be looking at a slugging corner OF in Bryant…Soler/Almora/Bryant in the OF a couple years down the road is exciting to think about if he can’t stick at 3rd.

  • Melrosepad

    Any chance this front office looks at Manny Ramirez Jr. at some point in this draft?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m sure they’d consider anyone. Might be more familiar with him than some.

    • Rich H

      If they reach for a legacy player I do not think it will be little Manny. He is not even ranked in the top 500 players and has the most to gain by going to college. Now one legacy player that could be available at out pick in the 3rd round is Biggio. If they think he can play 2nd at the major league level I could see Team Theo taking a chance on a signing a guy like that.

  • North Side Irish

    Jim Callis just posted another mock…he’s got Gray going 1.1 and saying there was buzz last night that the Cubs were closing in on a number with Appel. He also adds that he’s been told that Gray’s failed test was not an issue for the Cubs. So clearly they are taking Bryant.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha. Indeed.

  • Brian

    For the draft today, I’d be very happy with either Appel or Gray at #2. My hesitation with Bryant is his lack of a clear position.
    Looking further I want Kevin Ziomek from Vandy in the 2nd round (#51 on BA, 11-2, 1.92 ERA, 112.1 IP, 111 K, 38 BB). Potential #3 LHP for the future, we have NO LHP in the system for the most part, and we have the coach that recruited him in our system for the extra scouting report…

  • DarthHater

    I’ll bet the name “Pierce Johnson” made the voters so uncomfortable that they couldn’t even think about him.

    • Rich H

      You Sir are my idol!

    • D.G.Lang

      I’m glad you didn’t say ‘pierced Johnson’.

    • J M 1954

      Pierce “Prince Albert” Johnson

  • Saving grace

    The fact that Boros won’t release Manea’s medicals worries me.
    I think it’s pretty shady of Boros to hide the medical’s.

    I also heard Boros is possibly looking to package Manea with a first rounder of his who signs for under slot.Something to keep an eye on.
    Interesting idea if it floats with him manipulating the picks to get both(two of his guys nice contracts)
    A lot of what i’m hearing is people saying Manea would be better off to play his senior year like Appel did.So if he falls to far he could be a tough sign.Something to watch.

  • forlines

    I’m really hoping we get Bryant @ # 2. I’m just imaging what our IF would look like in 2 or 3 years, and it makes me drool.

  • jacob w

    Report on mlb network saying manea has a torn ligament in hip and could slip out of first round

  • Jon

    Is anyone planning on being at the KC/Cedar Rapids game this Sunday?