Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

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.

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