We expected the Cubs to shift to senior signability picks late today, and they did (kind of). And we expected them to break their string of college players soon, and they did. On consecutive picks.
Round 9 – Charcer Burks, OF
We do not know much about Burks yet. He is a Texas high school shortstop who will be moving to center fielder as a professional, and he enjoyed some success playing high school football. He is a faster guy who is said to have good bat speed and fluid, natural athleticism.
And that’s about it. I do not expect that the Cubs will have any trouble signing Burks, and I strongly suspect they think he will sign somewhat under slot. To me this looks like a combination of a slot-saving signability pick and a high upside high school athlete lottery ticket. I suspect he’ll spend the summer in the Arizona Rookie League.
Round Ten – Zach Godley, RHP
A college senior who will almost certainly sign for somewhat under slot, Godley was a very reliable starter for the University of Tennessee. He does not have greatest stuff, but he makes the most of it by consistently attacking hitters and throwing strikes. For now I think we can list him alongside the Cubs army of interesting back of the rotation pitching prospects.
As with all college pitchers, I suspect the Cubs will limit his work for the remainder of this year. Look for him to spend some time in Arizona and then to ship out anywhere from Boise to Tennessee, depending on where innings are available. Next season I think he’ll open in Kane County and will advance as fast as his arm will let him.
The Cubs now have a nice stable of mid-rotation starter candidates that could arrive in a year or three. Some of the high school arms they took last year have a higher upside, but they also have more risk. The draft this year has featured few pitchers with No 2 starter upside, but more starters with a higher floor. In doing so the Cubs have likely injected some pitching prospects into the mid and upper ranks of the system where they are badly needed.
I am happy with the draft so far. The Cubs have done an excellent job finding quality talent in the middle rounds of the draft, and that is not easy to do. When other teams were taking cheap college seniors, the Cubs were still grabbing solid prospects who had fallen down the board. As a result, I think this may already be one of the deepest drafts out there.
Day Three is crucial, though. Players who sign for over $100,000 have the amount in excess of $100,000 count against the pool, but only the amount in excess of $100,000. And the failure to sign a player does not cost a team anything. That means we will see some high ceiling, tough to sign types come off the board in the first few rounds tomorrow.
After that the Cubs will start to flesh out some rosters. They need to field a team both in Boise and Arizona this summer, and many of the players who will appear on those rosters will be drafted late tomorrow. Some of them even may break out and become prospects worth noting.
Tomorrow’s draft coverage will probably be lighter on analysis. There is no time between picks on Saturday, so an entire round could go by in 10 to 15 minutes. We will continue to cover all the picks here on Bleacher Nation as well as on Twitter.