Early Afternoon Draft Bits: Mocks Aplenty, Cubs (In)decision, and the Flawed Slotting System

gray appelI’d forgotten how much I enjoy these kind of “buzzy” days, where rumors are flying fast and furious, and everyone in the baseball world is talking about the same thing. I suppose it hasn’t been like this since the Winter Meetings, which were kind of uneventful last year. At least today, we *know* some stuff is going down.

  • The final mock drafts are filtering out, and Keith Law has the Astros stepping up to take Mark Appel. The Cubs then take Jonathan Gray, whom Law says the Cubs rank almost even with Appel (the only difference being money). If true, then the Cubs really don’t care who goes first, and might even prefer this scenario, as Gray is likely to come more cheaply than Appel, especially if the Cubs can still plausible say they’re considering Kris Bryant (which they might be).
  • Jim Callis’ mock was discussed earlier, and has the Cubs getting Appel after the Astros take Gray.
  • Jonathan Mayo’s final mock follows Callis’s, with Gray going 1.1, and Appel going 1.2. He mentions Bryant as a possibility, but his best guess remains Appel to the Cubs.
  • Speaking of Bryant, he’s getting a lot of late love both nationally (long, interesting profile here from Scott Miller), and locally (Bruce Levine pushes for the Cubs to take Bryant here). For Levine, it isn’t just about the risk associated with pitching prospects; it’s a matter of at least one talent evaluator telling Levine that Bryant is the best player in the Draft.
  • Scott Boras – advisor to both Mark Appel and Kris Bryant, among others – still couches Appel’s refusal to sign last year as a problem with the current slotting system. ”[The failure to sign] had nothing to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it had to do with the system,” Boras told Jon Heyman. “When they drafted a player at a slot grandly below the value of the player, the system did not allow them to sign the player.” I’ve never blamed Appel for holding out for more money, and he’s going to get it this year. But, like I’ve said before: woe be to the team who takes him if he slides out of the top five. I certainly hope that Boras doesn’t use any of his young clients to make a point about the current system (i.e., by telling them not to sign because the slot at which they’re taken is too low) at the expense of that player. It worked for Appel, but it wouldn’t work for everyone.
  • Patrick Mooney writes about the Cubs’ tough decision, and says that it’s really down to Appel, Gray, and Bryant (meaning Colin Moran isn’t really in the mix). Reading Jason McLeod’s quotes in the piece about Gray putting together a great year – in contrast with the other big names who weren’t necessarily late risers like Gray – I can’t help but sense that he’s not gaga about Gray. That, of course, could mean that McLeod isn’t gaga about Gray, or is just playing it close to the vest, … or it could mean that you can’t really take a whole lot out of a black and white quote. It’s probably that one.
  • Dale Sveum has offered his thoughts on the top four options (Bryant, Appel, Gray, and Moran), and said it’s win-win-win-win. “As far as picking one guy, there’s so much involved in that,” Sveum said, per Carrie Muskat. “You’ve got a position player who has out-homered 200 Division I schools [in Bryant], and you’ve got a starting pitcher who maybe can step right in your rotation right now [in Appel], and you have a guy with a dominating fastball who can throw the ball by anybody at any time [in Gray]. You have Moran, who’s a professional quality left-handed hitter who knows the strike zone.” Which praise sounds the most effusive to you?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

85 responses to “Early Afternoon Draft Bits: Mocks Aplenty, Cubs (In)decision, and the Flawed Slotting System”

  1. Rich H

    I think Sveum is screaming for Appel in that little bit Brett but he seems to be on board with anyone they are going after ( I know some people are going to say he is highest on Bryant but the step in RIGHT NOW comment seems to speak volumes).

  2. Rebuilding

    Sveum really covered his bases there lol. I said it last night in the game thread, but if I were Bryant or Appel I would have a real problem with the same guy representing us both. Even if he is the best. If he knows that if the Cubs don’t take one of them than Appel would fall only to #3, but Bryant would fall to #5, doesn’t he have more of an incentive to get Bryant signed at #2? Doesn’t that disadvantage Appel? It’s just a flat-out conflict of interest. But hey, they signed up for it

  3. Jim

    I think I am getting on the Kris Bryant bandwagon. Gray kind of scares me …

    1. Jay

      Cubs need pitching.Period. Bryant’s college career hasn’t come against the cream of the crop, from what I understand.

      1. Austin

        We needed pitching last year too. Which is why we took Almora at 6, and then drafting pitching with the following 6 picks.

        Position players are generally the safer bet at the top of the draft. Generally.

        1. Whiteflag

          I have to agree. However, there is probably a reason I am not a GM.

          1. DarthHater

            You don’t have enough belly fire to be a GM. ;-)

            1. Whiteflag

              I’ve got the fire running through my veins not just my belly.

              1. Will

                I’ve got ice.

          2. Internet Random

            “[T]here is probably a reason I am not a GM.”

            The mere fact that you recognize this makes you more qualified than many.

    2. Stevie B

      See everybody…Even Jim is with me on this …..

      “With the 2nd selection in the 2013 First Player Draft…The Chicago Cubs select University of San Diego 3rd baseman Kris Bryant…”

      Kinda has a ring to it….

      1. Danny Ballgame

        Dig it

  4. The Dude Abides

    either pitcher works, hopefully Houston takes a position player so we have our pick…

  5. Hack Wilson

    Did you miss the word “Maybe” inserted before “step in?” Its a crap shoot and everyone is playing it close to the vest.

  6. Brian Myers

    Question: Since the Cubs quality 3B history over the last 50 years has been ARam and Santo (and that’s about it) would it be a bad selection to go for Bryant instead? I suppose I’m asking: in the NFL draft there was an assigned “score” to the value of each player. Does baseball have a similar stat and if so, how much lower would Bryant be?

    1. Mike Taylor (no relation)

      Problem with that is he would be the ARAM-type. Someone who projects to be a sluggish Outfielder defensively or corner infielder type with little range.

      1. Austin

        I hope you’re not saying that Bryant has “little range”. By all accounts, he has a fantastic arm.

    2. Tennessee Cub

      You forgot about Luis Salazar. hahahahaha

      1. Brian Myers

        :-)

        Actually, you could make an argument for Keith Moreland, but he was better known as a catcher or OF… or there was also Ron Cey. We forget that they had reasonable bats because their foot speed left something to be desired (let’s not forget, Cey was known as the Penguin which says a lot about how he looked when running… :-) )

  7. Hack Wilson

    Bryant may grow out of the 3B position.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Take adderall away and Gray may grow out of pitching.

      1. demz

        or just get him a prescription.

      2. Patrick G

        or grow out of his pants

  8. SenorGato

    I really, really want to meet Scott Boras one day. Screw the slot system indeed, though it might work in the Cubs’ favor.

    I’m pretty confident that the Cubs are in <3 with Appel but will wait until after to go.nuts.

  9. John

    I just hope the Cubs pick Appel or Bryant and out of those 2 hopefully Bryant. You can find all star pitchers later on in the draft but its much harder to find players later on that has as much homerun power as Bryant.

    1. Jay

      Homers a lot easier to find in free agency than front-of-the-rotation arms.

      1. DReese

        I agree

  10. Fumy

    I think the biggest questions for Bryant seem to be if he can stick at 3B long-term. If he truly were a Ryan Zimmerman-type like they say he is, then pull the trigger.

    1. Fumy

      Brett– could you delete this comment? I didn’t mean to post my email address. Thanks.

      1. Coop

        You posted it twice – which time did you not intend?

        1. DarthHater

          Why don’t you ask him in an email?

          1. Jimbo

            Good times!

          2. Internet Random

            That’s A+ work.

      2. DReese

        I signed you up for a few dozen news letters already

        1. Internet Random

          Daily Pics from PicsThatMakeJohnWayneGacyQueasy.com.

    2. SenorGato

      Nobody is confusing Bryant for Zimmerman, unfortunately. Zimmerman was a top defensive 3B and very young for a college kid at 20.

      If Bryant was a Zimmerman type prospect then I would be all in on him and not Appel. Instead Bryant is a fallback option if disaster hits.

  11. Tyron

    I think Astros take gray an cubs get kris Bryant

    1. ETS

      I don’t think that.

      1. Will

        No. Astros take Gray, Cubs take Appel. Astros take Appel, Cubs SHOULD take Bryant.

  12. EricR

    It sure seems like Sveum gave us his list in order of preference.

  13. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I don’t believe the Cubs will pick Gray. One of the “recreational” uses of Aderrall is for concentration (i.e., most kids get their hands on some to study before finals week). The large leap that Gray has taken this year, going from under-the-radar to top 5 draft pick is concerning. Another reason to take Bryant.

    1. Luke

      Under the radar, in this case, means middle of the first round. He started the year as one of the top half dozen or so college arms (arguably behind only Appel, Manaea, and Stanek). He moved up, but he didn’t come out of nowhere.

    2. DReese

      Yes but look much better Appel has gotten from year to year (ERA wise). Gray might just be normal progression. Aderall didn’t give him 4 MPH on his fastball.

  14. SenorGato

    Speaking of Gray as a fast riser – how can you not love that Appel saw three contenders for the top spot and beat them all for the top prospect spot? Its pretty badass to pull that off.

  15. Whiteflag

    Sean Manaea 2.0?

  16. Voice of Reason

    The Cubs will take Gray or Appel, period.

  17. Lou Brock

    For those on this site suggesting Balog from SanFrancisco at pick 41 I would say that would be a wasted pick. This guy was not even the best on his own team. 3.45 ERA and giving up mote than a hit per inning.
    Let’s go pitching & catching with this draft: 1-Gray/Appel 2- Ziomek LHP Vandy 3 – Knapp C Cal/Berkeley 4- Crockett LHP UVA 5 – Kubitza RHP Rice 6 – Savas RHP IL ST. 7 – Soto C Pitt 8 – Jackson C Citadel 9 – Radziewski LHP Miami FL. 10 – Weist RHP Cal St. Fullerton
    Your welcome Cubs

    1. Cubbie Blues

      You’re the first to mention him. That is besides Eno Sarris
      watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cTDYbr5Gvcc#action=share

      1. Cubbie Blues
  18. sven-erik312

    They should go for Bryant, then grab every pitcher they can after that.

  19. Willrust

    Can anyone explain to my how a college baseball player can be “advised” by an agent, but the second a football player is “advised” by an agent the world stops!

    Rather than hypocrisy can we just refer to it as NCAA?

    1. JB88

      They have different rules in baseball, plus baseball is unique in the sense that the draft takes place while many college and high school players are still playing in the playoffs.

      Plus, in football, you don’t have the option of declaring for the draft and returing or going to school. If baseball were restricted to college juniors (or players 3 years removed from their HS graduating class), you’d probably be more justified in your incredulity.

  20. DarthHater

    I’m rooting for the Cubs to select Moran, just because it gives me an excuse to re-post this:

    8961312964_f727be2e76_o.jpg

    1. Dude

      Love this.

    2. Will

      +1

  21. Voice of Reason

    I didn’t know you were a Cardinal fan, DarthHater. But, you do look good in that bandanna.

    1. DarthHater

      Thanks! And thank you for recommending your hair stylist to me!

  22. JJ

    Yep, Boras would never use a client to attack the system costing his client (well, maybe, Matt Harrington, the second and (I think) third time he was drafted).

  23. Patrick G

    I liked Bryant until people were questioning whether he would be able to provide anything at the plate other than power. Kind of reminds me of a Richie Sexon or Adam Dunn, which in there primes were awesome, but now prefer Gray or Appel

  24. Le Cubs

    I have been hearing a lot about this Kevin Ziomek and our 51st pick and I was wondering if Luke or Brett could elaborate on him. Seems very intriguing showed good numbers and is a lefty which is always a plus. Is he a possibility to be there at 51 or is he gonna be gone by then?

    1. #1lahairfan

      I’m a fan of John Sickels’s scouting reports; so here is his take on Ziomek, :
      http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/1/24/3901040/2013-mlb-draft-kevin-ziomek-lhp-vanderbilt-scouting-report

      I think he would be a great pick at 41.

      1. Featherstone

        It also helps that our Minor League pitching coordinator Derek Johnson was the pitching coach at Vanderbilt which may give us a little more insight on the player than other teams have.

  25. Wrigleyvillewest

    Wait, that hair isn’t attached to the bandana? I thought u were bald darth…

  26. Lou Brock

    Cubs have pick # 41 not 51. Ziomek is Vandy’s Friday starter and has pitched successfully in th tough SEC for three years. He also had a excellent record in the Cape Cod wooden bat summer league in 2012. He has a fastball that sits around 92, and a slurvy breaking ball. He is an excellent athlete and was coached at Vandy by the Cubs current director of organizational pitching.

  27. carmelo

    No way we should pick a 3B with #2 pick—Baez will be the 3B for years to come. Why pick a player who might not have the ability to stick at 3B when we have the top prospect in our system more than likely moving over to 3B in the very near future. Get pitching!!!!

    1. Ben

      I believe they have stated they aren’t drafting for need with the number 2 pick. They want the best player available.

    2. hansman1982

      You NEVER EVER NEVER draft for need in the first round. Rounds 20-30, sure, Round 1, no.

      1. Kyle

        Every time someone suggest using a first-round pick based on what the MLB team or farm system has in place, George RR Martin kills a beloved character.

        1. Rebuilding

          Ha. I read the books and knew what was coming and that ending was still shocking

        2. Featherstone

          No! Not Tyrion!

  28. Lou Brock

    There is a pretty decent chance he lasts till that pick at 41. A lot depends on what the Yankees do with their 3 picks and also if there is a early run on college arms rather than the HS arms.

  29. North Side Irish

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 1m
    I talked to a Scouting Director picking early in first round:his GUESS was Hou would take Gray;Cubs would follow w/Appel & Colo w/ Bryant

    FWIW…not a big Bowden fan, but I like any news that involves the Cubs drafting Appel…

  30. Lou Brock

    Cubs could have starting 5 in 2015 of Samardzija, Wood, Appel, Ziomek, & P. Johnson

    1. North Side Irish

      Still have two years left on E. Jackson’s deal…

    2. Kyle

      Or they could all have TJS that year simultaneously.

      1. hansman1982

        I’ll go with this prediction, if only because it’s the Cubs.

      2. DarthHater

        That would be a dream scenario. Think of the comeback potential!

      3. AB

        Yes, but then Hoyer can sign them for cheap one-year fliers for 2016

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