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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.

  • another JP

    Seriously though, it’s OK not to like the pick because we don’t know him or have favs, but to label the Zas as a finesse lefty when he can chuck the ball up to 95 isn’t really fair. Let’s take a look at the other 38 picks we have before jumping to conclusions. I’m happy today… that Bryant pick made the wait for today worth it for me.

  • Blank

    http://www.mutigers.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/rob_zastryzny_747839.html

    Read up. Next person who tells me to die in a fire will find my schlong in their mouth.

    • wvcubsfan

      GDIAF

      • Blank

        hahgay.com

    • mudge

      Be kinda like a char dog at that point.

  • #1lahairfan

    Could he be Tony Cingrani like? If that is where he is at, this is a good pick.

    I need to stop overreacting.

    • PcB

      You need to change your handle.

  • mjhurdle

    interesting that both DJ and Dustin Peterson (brothers) were drafted in the same draft, and almost exactly 1 round apart. Seattle could have drafted both.

    Must be a pretty awesome night for that family.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m not a huge fan of the pick but he seems like a solid talent, plus one positive is he will probably sign underslot (at least crossing my fingers)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Money which would probably be spent later in the first 10 rounds. I really don’t see Bryant demanding overslot.

  • ssckelley

    Must be signing issues with Denney, Knapp got picked before him.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Sounds like a solid pick to me. Not too flashy but his HS senior season was phenomenal.

  • Vinestal

    So much for drafting impact talent. This guy has 5th starter written all over him. I kinda hoped they had agreed with Bryant for underslot so they could overslot this pick. Apparently not.

  • TheDondino

    Keith Law has Zastryzny at #58, 4 spots ahead of Ziomek at 62. Not much of a reach from KLaw’s board.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Thank you.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    Couldn’t MLB get Billy Crystal or a Keith Hernandez/Walt Frazier combo to MC this thing? It’s painful to watch some of these guys talk. The more I read about Zastryzny the I more like what I’m hearing.

  • Ron

    A 21 yr old lefty that hits 95 with two plus pitches and above average control. Souds likehe has a pretty high floor with a lot of potential.

  • Die hard

    If successful may be nicknamed ‘double Z ‘ … Branding those hitters with his heater … I like it…

    • Matt

      I’d say that Zas, or something like that would be a good nickname, but it sounds too much like a Hawk Harrelson nickname.

    • Cooper R

      How about Z Styng?

      • Cooper R

        Z Stryng*

  • LEO R.

    So far so good i’d say. Real good first rounder and a good possibility in the second. I’ll trust Theo and Co. on it for now. Looking forward to the next three or four rounds. Excellent coverage Brett! Thanks.

  • mjhurdle

    no matter how upset anyone is with the draft so far, just remember, it could be worse. You could be the Brewers.
    Might be losing your franchise player to a suspension, last place in the NL Central, and your first pick is #54 overall.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      That makes me feel even better and I love this draft.

  • Die hard

    Kris ‘Boom Boom’ Bryant maybe? Hitting bombs away over that Tron… Like that too

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Classic. It is already nickname time.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    “On full rest in the postseason, Zastryzny has a 1.49 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched (four games).” -Mutigers.com

  • Fastball

    How many better players can the Dynamic Duo sign with the money saved on the first two picks. I wouldm like to see who else the highly paid scouting team has found in the weeds. This is okay so far. I wanted Bryant. Maybe they like pitchers with last names nobody can spell.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Damn I was hoping Hunter Green would fall to 75th

    • Ralph

      Me too Serious. Perhaps Alex Balog out of SF will still be there. Otherwise, the Florida High School Catcher, Chris Okey would be okay too.

  • Die hard

    If Cubs don’t like my 2 nicknames they should have a fan contest to settle on one for each and can announce winner on Jumbotron with prize being 2 box seat seasons tickets

  • Alex S

    Right now I’m just hoping for Salazar with number 75…

  • Melrosepad

    Brett and Luke, here is a video from Mizzou about Zastryzny.

    http://www.mutigers.com/allaccess/?media_id=387348

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      I like how he talks about bringing energy to the game.

  • Cheryl

    From what’s been dug up on this guy so far I’m feeling better about this pick.

    • Ralph

      Yeah. He seems like a good “make up” guy. Confident dude.

  • mjhurdle

    Really like our first two picks. Hopefully more goodness tomorrow.
    Great job on the coverage Brett and Luke!

  • Willrust

    Can Bobby Wahl go ahead and fall into the Cubs lap for round 3!!!!!!

  • ssckelley

    Ok, how about Denney at #75

    • Rich H

      I agree but I think we will see our wave upon wave of pitching at this point. Maybe even 10 strait again.

  • josh ruiter

    putting in my vote for one of Stephen Tarpley, Kent Emanuel, Dylan Covey or Bobby Wahl! Eye on tarpley or covey, two surpreme talents, one lefty and one righty.

  • North Side Irish

    I feel like the guys on MLB Network referred to Zastryzny as a finesse guy when the pick was announced which I think impacted some people’s thinking. Plus Mayo said he didn’t have him in his Top 100 which didn’t help either.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Law and Mayo both have said they don’t do anything outside of the players they feel are around or in the first round. Too much for them to keep an eye on. They like the players firmly in. That is why Mayo says very little since the 2nd round began outside of a few.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      The more I look at it, the more I like the pick.

    • Kyle

      First rule: Never, ever care about anything Mayo says. He is terrible.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Watched what video I could on Zastryzny. The school website had a pretty cool player profile on him. He seems like a kid that has a lot of energy. Seems very amped up when he is on the mound. Works with a very fast pace. Quick delivery for a lefty with runners on. Good move to first. I then watched a few games he pitched. Easiest ones to find were ones against better teams (Florida, LSU, and Arkansas)… He seemed to attack the hitters. I liked his mound presence. His teammates seemed to feel he wanted the spotlight on him and didn’t shy away from it. All in all, I don’t know anymore than that on him and I know less on the people around that range. I personally feel there were probably pitchers with higher upsides available just on what we hear. But, it seems like from his teammates his velocity came up when the weather got warmer. Some upside?

  • Ralph

    Alex Balog is gone.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Denney and Wahl are still there!!! Probably overslot on both. We could be in a position to sign either and I would be more excited for both than our 2nd just because I know more about them. I wanted Denney in the 2nd.

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