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2013 mlb draftAh, at long last, MLB’s answer to 90 days of Mel Kiper barking at you has arrived. It’s the 2013 MLB Draft, and it starts at 6pm CT. My anticipation was too great to wait until then to throw up this post.

Although the MLB Draft doesn’t come with the same energy or immediacy as that NFL Draft (or the NBA Draft, which I’m told is still a thing), it is as important to each of MLB’s teams as the NFL Draft is to its teams.

And, when you’re in the middle of a deep rebuilding process, pick second overall, and have the second largest bonus pool to spend in the Draft, the importance is further amplified.

So it is for the Chicago Cubs, who pick second this evening. Will it be Stanford righty Mark Appel? Oklahoma righty Jonathan Gray? Which one will be left by the Astros, who pick first overall? Will they both be there? Will the Cubs go for third baseman Kris Bryant either way? The scenarios are surprisingly plentiful, given that the Cubs’ draft board need only be two names deep at the top.

Tonight’s first day of the Draft will cover not only the first round, but also the competitive balance rounds (after the first and second rounds), and the second round. The Cubs don’t get any competitive balance picks (you know, because the competitive balance system RAWX), but they do have the second pick in the second round. In other words, tonight, you’ll get to see the Cubs select second and 41st, overall. Don’t sleep on that 41st pick – last year, the Cubs got Pierce Johnson (a first round talent who is pitching quite well in A-ball right now, and who is a consensus top 10 prospect in the Cubs’ system) at number 43.

The Draft, itself, gets underway at 6pm CT, and you can watch on MLB Network, or a stream at MLB.com.

We’ll cover the picks here live in this post, and I reckon there will be a steady stream of salient thoughts dropped in the comments, on the Message Boardon Twitter, and on Facebook. So join in, wherever your preference for chatting might lie. (Last year, this post got almost 600 comments. We can beat that this year, right?)

Enjoy the night, friends.

***

A little pre-Draft update from Dave Kaplan, who says he’s hearing buzz that the Cubs are planning to take Kris Bryant.

And Jim Callis just released one last mock draft, which still has the Astros taking Gray at 1.1, and the Cubs taking Appel (over Bryant) at 1.2.

The pre-Draft show on MLB Network makes sure to drop the Mark Appel – Mark Prior comparison. There is some modest similarity (other than the obvious superficial stuff), but using that comp is about riling folks up. Ignore it. In fact, ignore almost all player comps.

We’re just 10 minutes away from the Draft, and everyone is admitting that they have no idea what the Astros are going to do. Because no one knows that for sure, no one can project the Cubs’ pick. If this winds up going Kohl Stewart at one and Kris Bryant at two, all prognosticators are going to have to hang their head a little bit.

In the final pre-Draft update, reports – including Keith Law, most prominently – have the Astros taking Appel. We’ll see.

Away we go with the picks …

1. First overall, the Houston Astros select Mark Appel. So much for that late surprise buzz. I’m a touch bummed, as Appel has been the guy I’ve wanted since day one. But you can’t blame the Astros for taking him, and it’s not as if there aren’t still very talented options on the board for the Cubs (ones that maybe they’ve wanted all along). Odds now favor the Cubs taking one of Gray or Bryant here, and I’m not going to be angry either way. I want the guy that the Cubs want, and that’s who they’ll take. Convenient, eh?

2. The Chicago Cubs take third baseman Kris Bryant. They took extra time with the pick, which makes me wonder if Bryant pulled the trigger on what the Cubs were offering, or whether Gray declined. There’s no disappointment here, as Bryant is a legit top pick, and there were a lot of risks with Gray. I suspect the Cubs wanted Appel, and they simply couldn’t get him. So Bryant is a very nice consolation prize, and could be a great one. I’d expect to see the Cubs now go pitching-heavy in the next several rounds like they did last year after taking Albert Almora in the first round.

– Some further thoughts on Bryant while we wait on the next set of picks. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal Bryant gets. After setting records in his junior year, I don’t think he risks going back for his senior year, and may very well take an underslot deal.

3. The Rockies ended up taking Jonathan Gray, so the top three prospects went in the top three picks, even if the order was wonky. The Cubs certainly got the safest of the three top picks, and one with arguably as much upside as Gray. Maybe that makes Bryant the best possible pick? Maybe I’m just doing some ex post facto’ing.

4. The Twins took high school pitcher Kohl Stewart, to whom they’d been attached for weeks before the late Astros rumors today.

– A reminder here – the Cubs next pick at number 41. Seems a fair bet it will be a pitcher.

5. The Indians take high school outfield Clint Frazier, and this was about as high as anyone thought he’d go. Arguably the top high school bat in the draft.

– Bruce Levine tweets what I’d suspected: the Cubs’ board read Appel then Bryant. To be clear, I’m perfectly happy with Bryant, but I’m bummed the Cubs didn’t get their top guy.

6. The Marlins take UNC third baseman Colin Moran, and immediately trade him for salary relief.

7. The Reds Sox take high school pitcher Trey Ball, a lefty who also has some positional skills.

8. The Royals take Hunter Dozier, a collegiate bat who was not expected to go in the top 30. Looks like a money-saving move for later overslot signings. Maybe they grab Sean Manaea in the competitive balance portion.

9. The Pirates take Austin Meadows, the high school outfielder who’s been up there with Frazier all draft season. I’m sure they’re happy to get him at nine. This was the pick the Pirates got for not signing Mark Appel last year. I’m sure they’re not happy about that part.

10. The Blue Jays take high school pitcher Phillip Bickford.

11. The Mets take high school first baseman Dominic Smith, who was the subject of late Rockies rumors.

12. The Mariners take New Mexico third baseman DJ Peterson.

13. The Padres take Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

14. The Pirates take high school catcher Reese McGuire, the best prep catcher in a long time, and a borderline top 10 pick. Pretty nice back-to-back picks for the Pirates.

15. The Diamondbacks take Nevada pitcher Braden Shipley.

16. The Phillies take high school shortstop JP Crawford, who wears a lovely bow tie.

17. The White Sox take high school shortstop Tim Anderson.

18. The Dodgers take Jacksonville pitcher Chris Anderson. Cubs took him in the 35th round back in 2010.

19. The Cardinals take Gonzaga pitcher Marco Gonzalez, who looks pretty good. But now he’ll become an ace.

20. The Tigers take Florida starter Jonathan Crawford, and we’re starting to see a little bit of a run on pitchers. Hopefully that stops for about 20 more picks.

21. The Rays take Nick Ciuffo, a high school catcher who had quite a group of fans with him at the Draft. They screamed.

22. The Orioles take high school pitcher Hunter Harvey.

23. The Rangers take Oral Roberts pitcher Alex Gonzalez.

24. The A’s take high school outfielder Billy McKinney.

25. The Giants take high school shortstop Christian Arroyo, who was not generally thought to be a top 100 prospect in the draft. The Yankees come next, and I wonder if they finally pull the trigger on Ryne Stanek or Sean Manaea. We’re definitely reaching “tough to sign” territory on those two.

26. The Yankees take Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo.

27. The Reds take Samford outfielder Phillip Ervin. You just know the Cards are going to take Stanek or Manaea …

28. The Cardinals take high school pitcher Rob Kaminsky.

29. Wow, it’s the Rays who take Ryne Stanek, one of the better college arms whose stock fell far this year. I guess the Rays are ready to pay a little bit.

30. The Rangers take high school shortstop Travis Demeritte.

31. The Braves take Oklahoma State pitcher Jason Hursh.

32. The Yankees take Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge.

33. The Yankees take high school pitcher Ian Clarkin, one of the top high school arms in the Draft who slid a bit.

– That wraps up the First Round of the Draft. Now we move on to the Competitive Balance A section.

34. The Royals take Sean Manaea, which had become expected. They saved big money on their first rounder, and they clearly did so in order to grab the best player that slipped to this point. It was Manaea, and now we’ll see if he’s healthy and will sign.

35. Andre Dawson announces the Marlins’ next pick, high school righty Matt Krook, who would have been a nice pick for the Cubs at 41.

36. The Diamondbacks take Washington pitcher Aaron Blair, who was the “other” player who tested positive for a banned stimulant this year. Was a possibility for Cubs at 41.

37. The Orioles take high school outfielder Josh Hart.

38. The Reds take Cal State Fullerton pitcher Michael Lorenzen.

39. The Tigers take Texas pitcher Corey Knebel. And that’s the end of the Competitive Balance A round.

– The second round begins with the Astros, and it looks like the Cubs will have plenty of quality arms to choose from if they decide to go that route. The Cubs’ pick – number 41 overall – will be the last pick I cover live this evening, as it is the Cubs’ last pick of the day.

40. The Astros take UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Thurman. And here we go …

41. The Cubs take left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny out of Missouri. Baseball America ranked Zastryzny (wow, thanks, by the way, for the typing) 76th, and MLB.com did not have him in the top 100. He was 81st to Perfect Game. So, his range seems to be that 70 to 100ish ranking, which isn’t the end-all be-all, but you could argue the Cubs went off board a bit here, particularly given the better-known lefty options available. Here’s what Perfect Game (at Baseball Prospectus) had to say about Zastryzny: “Missouri’s first season in the SEC has been rough going, as the Tigers have posted a 7-17 conference mark and are 15-28 overall. Despite having a 2-9, 3.93 record (75 innings, 79 hits, 21 walks, 71 strikeouts) as Missouri’s Friday night starter, Zastryzny has seen his draft stock steadily rise through the course of the spring and could hear his name heard as early as the second round. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw was undrafted out of Corpus Christi, Texas high school despite going 17-1, 0.20 with 198 strikeouts his senior year. He stepped into the Missouri rotation early in his freshman year and has built his upper-80s fastball into a pitch that now tops out at 94 mph with excellent sinking and running life at times. Zastryzny’s best secondary pitch is a low-80s changeup that has very good arm speed and matches his fastball in life and in his ability to spot the ball low in the zone. His third pitch is a curveball that is a workable offering in setting up hitters, but it is not currently a swing-and-miss pitch.” Friday night starter in a major conference is always a good signal, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be a tough sign. I like the Cubs taking a college lefty here, and I expect many more pitchers on the way in the early going.

Small update on Zastryzny, whose name I’m desperately practicing: reports floating around Twitter that he was sitting in the low-90s on his fastball this year, while hitting 95 mph. If true, it’s a big step up from previous velocity, and makes him a whole lot more enticing as a possible steal.

We’ll have much more on Zastryzny and Bryant tomorrow. Also, don’t forget: tonight’s just the beginning of the Draft. Rounds three through ten go tomorrow, starting at 12pm CT, and rounds 11 through 40 go on Saturday, starting at the same time.

  • josh ruiter

    who the heck did we just take?

  • ssckelley

    That pick must be to give Bryant more money.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    Maybe they wanted Shark to have some company in the unspellable last name category.

    • Adam11

      I wish Harry was still announcing… Would love to hear him try to pronounce these names.

  • Cheryl

    Left handed pitcher. beyond that what do we know about him?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      He has a name I can’t pronounce.

  • Blank

    FUCK IT THEO TRIO

    • PcB

      DIAF.

  • mudge

    He who Zastrnynzny, laughs last. 600 comments well within reach now!

  • sclem21

    I asked Craig Goldstein of Draft Insider about him (I wanted Hunter Green) and got this:

    ‘Zastryzny has a plus fastball with some good movement. Up to the mid-90s and a solid change to boot. Could be plus in time. Issue is the breaking ball, but if he develops a workable one, it could pay off handsomely’

    • wvcubsfan

      So best case we get a left handed 3/4 starter, average case we get a LOOGY, worse case he fails like the majority of the players drafted in this round.

      • Bt

        You realize you’ve scouted him for all of 5 minutes, right?

        • PcB

          That’s not all you need?

          • Bt

            I thought it was much more dire

        • Bt

          Scratch that. I misread your comment on my iphone

          • PcB

            You are the BT I know right?

      • hansman1982

        for a 2nd round pick, that’s not bad…

    • Jp3

      YES!!! We have another player we can refer to as BIG Z!

  • Jason P

    Now that were done in the first round, I’m not gonna be disappointed by any pick we make. They know better than me.

  • Jono

    Clearly they saw something with the second guy that no one else saw

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Lol Teddy Stankiewicz… I wanted that dude in our system for his name. Put some stank on that shit.

  • nkniacc13

    Id hope that the cubs get Bryant signed for less than the 6-6.5 that Appel was reportly willing to take so if that’s true you have to think that this is to spend $ in rds 3-5

    • Kevin

      I hope you are right. The 1st 2 picks should get signed under slot.

  • Crockett

    Hate only having two rounds tonight.

    I WANT MOAR!

  • 5412

    Hi,

    Come on guys! Theo & co. Did not go from genius to idiots in two hours. Let’s wait a couple years and see how things pan out before we start bitching. Compared to the Tribune and their total lack of commitment, we are blessed.

    Regards,
    5412

  • #1lahairfan

    Damn. Couldn’t we have theoretically taken him in the 3rd round?

    I wanted Ziomek. Disappointing.

    He had better sign for a decent underslot AND prove everyone wrong in the next couple years.

    • #1lahairfan

      Must trust them…………………. No matter how much it hurts. They know more than me.

      Theo has not failed me yet. I just wish we took Ziomek.

      • Matty Ice

        An 85-134 record under his watch is a pretty big failure

        • PcB

          Yeah, because nobody was expecting that…

  • Kevin

    What are they doing

  • North Side Irish

    From BA: “Zastrzyny effortlessly adds and subtracts from his fastball, usually sitting around 90 mph but capable of dropping down to 86 or elevating four-seamers up in the zone at 95. The 6-foot-3, 193-pounder can locate his fastball to either side of the plate and gets good angle, which helps it play up further. His most reliable secondary pitch is his changeup, which shows flashes of being a plus offering. His breaking ball is less consistent, as he will switch between a slider and curveball. Zastryzny throws strikes but will need to refine his command in pro ball.”

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Just remember this guy pitched on the worst offensive team in the SEC and had terrible run support so do not look at his won/lost record. Nevertheless I am dumbfounded as to why they picked this kid at this point in the draft. He is probably at best a fifth to seventh round talent and with the Vandy lefty and the Minnesota lefty sitting there what were they thinking ?

    • Brian

      Baseball America had him rated as a 3rd round talent, so by their call we overdrafted him by 1 round at worst.

      • wvcubsfan

        and according to Brett, perfect game had him projected as a possible 2nd round pick. The sky is not falling no matter how long we scream.

        • The Dude Abides

          I would put much more stock in Baseball America & MLB over Perfect Game. Perfect Game is service that you pay for to get recruited and while reputable the more you spend for their services IE showcases, videos, camps, etc. generally the higher you get rated when compared to those who don’t spend.

          Looks like he was taken one to three rounds early and maybe most alarming is 18 decisions & 198 k’s as a senior in high school, maybe more than just about anyone I’ve heard of and if he’s at 195 now he was probably at 175 lbs. three years ago at best, lots of mileage on a young arm.

          • Drew7

            So what about Law having him at #58?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              A 94 MPH sinking fastball with some late movement and a good change up. He flashed two breaking pitches this year, but both need work.

              I think we’re looking at the best left handed pitching prospect in the organization. Depending on how the breaking balls develop, we could be looking at a No 3 starter.

              I’m intrigued.

              • hansman1982

                For a 2nd round pick, a #3 starter is nice.

              • Drew7

                I know it sounds like a cop-out, but you just have to trust these guys after the 1st round, I think. There’s just so little of a difference between the #30 and #100 pick historically.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyway Hunter Green falls to the Cubs at #75 in the third round? Probably a pipe dream. I really can’t stand our 2nd round pick. A finesse lefty? Really? Plus a reach

    • sclem21

      he hits mid 90s…not exactly finesse

  • another JP

    Haha- Kerry Wood was at the podium and couldn’t even say his name. Bet no player has ever had 2 ys & 2 zs in his last name. First there was Yaz and now there’s Zas…

  • X the Cubs Fan

    OK some info, he recently had a great outing against the Longhorns ace Cody Knebel. “Knebel never looked comfortable and struggled through his 4 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits, five earned runs, walking two and striking out one.

    Missouri’s starter, Rob Zastryzny, was in complete control, scattering four Texas hits, giving up no runs, no walks and striking out three over 8 1/3 innings”

  • josh ruiter

    What are the chances we can get Ziomek in the third? or Tom Windle or Austin Wilson?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      None

  • Die hard

    I like #41 …. Seems to be late bloomer with few more years growing into above avg starter with rubber arm… Cubs have a long history of decent lefties

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    This 2nd round pick reminds me of one Hayden Simpson. I know Hayden went to smaller d2 school and he was selected in the 1st round but just the disappointment in this pick, and the reach that the cubs made remind me of him. I hope they didn’t make a mistake with this.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I want to hear what Theo/Jed/Jason’s reasoning for this pick? They are probably going to spoon feed us the stereotypical, “we saw something special in this guy.” Well guess what so did the other teams and they saw 5th round talent!

      • PcB

        You should just sit this one out champ. Just shut it down for a while.

    • bbmoney

      Your first three words are precisely why this is nothing like the Hayden Simpson pick

  • wvcubsfan

    Days like this never cease to amaze me. Armchair quarterbacks how probably have only seen 5% or less of the players either live or on TV act like they know more about the projection of said players than the entire scouting department and front office of a professional sports team.

    • 5412

      Hi wv,

      Have not heard from you in a long time. Hope all is well.

      Regards,
      5412

      • wvcubsfan

        Doing well thanks

  • Cheryl

    Google entry says he’s had little run support and says he’d been a tough luck pitcher. He should fit in with the current cubs.

  • mudge

    Cubs have targeted Welsh flamethrower Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll for tomorrow.

    • Crockett

      I know how to pronounce that name. Learned Welsh 3 years ago.

      Boom.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Seeing several reports on Zastryzny reaching mid-90s this season. This isn’t a one scout on one night Hayden Simpson type thing.

    Still digging, but this pick is looking less like a reach by the minute.

    • Die hard

      Dick Ellsworth comes to mind

    • another JP

      The fact a guy who knows this prospect game like you do is digging on this pick tells me something– we either have some mental midgets drafting for the Cubs (highly unlikely), or these guys are as thorough and tuned into projecting success as any organization out there. I hope the latter is the case.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        It tells you I leaned too heavily on Baseball America draft rankings.

        • another JP

          Can’t blame you- it’s quite common for everyone to focus on “value picks” or looking for sliders to justify the wisdom of a pick. I’ve done the same thing, & in the end all that really matters is whether these picks have talent to be successful. Funny thing is that everyone will be talking about the great deal KC got by taking Manaea @ 34 (if he signs), but Zas might end up as the better pitcher in the end. Sure will be fun watching this guy and Bryant though- you’d figure they’ll each move up quickly as college players.

        • Kyle

          People rely *way* too much on those rankings.

          Outside of the first 30 guys or so, there’s a tier of about 60-100 prospects each year who are very similar. So you get people fapping over the difference between the 31st ranked guy vs. the 85th ranked guy, but it doesn’t mean much.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Exactly. I recommended people look in a 20 ranked bracket on BA for likely Cubs second round picks for that reason.

            Turns out I should have set a wider range is all.

            • Kyle

              Personally, I’d recommend people not care about anyone after the first round unless and until they have a great pro season, but that’s just me :)

  • mjhurdle

    Man, if only Theo and Co had access to all the prospect rankings that we did, then they would know how stupid that last pick was…

    Also, someone should share those rankings with all these other teams that are taking pitchers besides Green and Ziomek. They apparently are missing the boat as well.

    • annonifan

      You just made me crack up at work. Seriously. This is my favorite comment of the night.

    • bbmoney

      Glad it wasn’t just me

  • Diamond Don

    I wanted Sean Manaea in the second round. Can we trade Dejesus to KC for him?

    • PcB

      No.

    • bbmoney

      Can’t trade draft picks until 1 yr after signed or draft or something. So, no

  • cubchymyst

    Don’t lefties fair better at wrigley?

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