Are You Ready for the 2014 MLB Draft? And Other Bullets

mlb draftThe cumulative effect of several consecutive late nights and early mornings (thanks MLB activity and children, respectively) is taking its toll. I’m just not a coffee guy. But I think I’m going to have to be soon.

  • If you’re looking for an very early preview of the 2014 MLB Draft, you can get it here from MLB.com, which describes the draft as the deepest in recent memory. It’s a good year to be drafting high, I guess – though it would be an even better year to have multiple first round picks. Unfortunately, the Cubs don’t have any qualifying offer free agents walking, and won’t be eligible get any competitive balance picks (unless they trade for them).
  • MLB.com also does a lolwaytooearly mock draft for 2014 because people love mock drafts. Jim Callis has the Cubs taking Vanderbilt righty Tyler Beede fourth overall, while Jonathan Mayo has them taking NC State shortstop Trea Turner. Good picks? Go nuts! (And then remember that draft boards will look hilariously different come April and May, save perhaps for the dude at the top – NC State lefty Carlos Rodon – who will stay there unless he gets seriously hurt. Which can happen. Because it’s December 2013, and the Draft is in June 2014. Six months away.)
  • Having a Q&A with Kris Bryant was the thing to do this offseason, and The Score did the trick, too.
  • The Cubs agreed to terms with lefty reliever Wesley Wright last night, and Wright immediately sent out the love:

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

88 responses to “Are You Ready for the 2014 MLB Draft? And Other Bullets”

  1. CubFan Paul

    “influx of new money into the game is playing a major role, emboldening teams to make moves more quickly (because they’ve got the cover of more money)”

    If only the Cubs weren’t sending signals (thru Mooney) that the extra money doesn’t exist and they only have enough for one significant upgrade.

  2. mdavis

    **ridiculously early prediction/speculation** i think this is the year the cubs will break their mold of drafting a hitter first. there’s just too much top end pitching talent, and collegiate talent to pass up. at some point they have to take a shot on one of these guys. like Beede a lot. June yet?

    1. EB

      I saw Beede pitch in person last spring. He has some control issues and isn’t consistent with his delivery every time. His stuff looks good, and if he can figure his control out, he will be dangerous.

      1. mdavis

        doesnt hurt that DJ works for the Cubs now. Familiar with Beede, of course.

  3. Jono

    Nope, im not ready. Sorry, brett. And Im still mad at you for delivering the message that bradley is (most likely) off the table. C’mon, man.

  4. X The Cubs Fan

    It’s early and all, but I really see the Astros drafting a position player, probably Alex Jackson. The Marlins can’t afford to pass on Trea Turner whith hall the pitching in their system hey need his upside at SS. Hoffman to the Sox. Rondon to the Cubs.

    1. Isaac

      LOL. It’s nice to have dreams.

  5. Dumpgobbler

    Been speculated on PSD that McLeod has a mancrush on Alex Jackson.

  6. Mayhem

    You all need to chill. The Cubs are going to suck for the next two years and there is nothing we can do about it. Whether it was the right plan or not is debatable, but we have no choice in the matter. If you feel that Ricketts are hoarding money, you can cancel your Comcast sports channel and not go to any games this year and next.

    On the bright side, if you watched Theo’s interview yesterday, he literally said that he expects the Cubs to be capable of a top 3 payroll. That would lump us in with the Yankees and Dodgers, which is fine by me. Theo sounded believable this time and yes Ricketts are probably paying down debt and make huge profits now, but what the hell, he paid a billion dollars for the Cubs and he can do whatever he wants. Take that you little peons.

    Hopefully, we get more news on the draft and minor league stuff this year to keep us happy. If we don’t expect any big news from the Cubs and just accept it, we can move on and focus on the future. As a bonus, I felt from watching Theo’s body language, he is going to go after Tanaka hard. And if we don’t get Tanaka, no big deal, next year we will draft one, sign one and trade for one.

  7. Mike S

    As much as I want the Cubs to take a college arm, those high school arms look really good. Kolek or Toussaint anyone?

    1. mdavis

      i think if one of rodon (ha, no way) hoffman or beede are on the board you have to take them. they are advanced college guys, and that puts them on the fast track right in there in the same time frame with the arrival of most of our other guys.

      1. mdavis

        and isn’t kolek the big texan kid? he concerns me, that he’s already a big dude. hows he going to age and develop as he gets older? food for thought anyways.

        1. X The Cubs Fan

          Toussaint has the highest ceiling in my opinion, needs control and to further develop his changeup, but with that plus fastball/curveball combo the sky’s the, limit.

    2. Soda Popinski

      Exactly what I was thinking, Mike. A lot is going to change by next June, though. I’m already surprised how much the rankings have changed since this last June.

      1. On The Farm

        Really? I was actually thinking the opposite. As much as people talk about the changing Rodon (most were talking about him before 2013 draft as good enough to be the #1 pick last year), Hoffman, and Beede were considered to be top ten picks taken in that order. Trea Turner is considered the top College bat. Alex Jackson is considered a top 5 pick, and Tyler Kolek is probably the best HS arm.

        1. Soda Popinski

          I just took a look at the old rankings. My memory fooled me- they are pretty similar. I couldn’t remember seeing Hoffman anywhere back then. And I remember Turner being ranked number 2 and I think it was Law (?) who has him ranked around 15 in his most recent top 30.

    3. Mrs. Howell

      Kolek please.

    4. TK

      I like what they said about Toussaint. Only played 4 years but THAT good?!?!? CRAP!!!!! How good could the kid end up being? Specially if he happens to be a late bloomer.

      I also get a good feeling about Sean Newcomb. I have to wonder, based on the write-up, why he’s only ranked 17. He seems like he could end up being something really special.

      Same for Grant Holmes at 18. Signabilty perhaps?

      I like SP with CONTROL. We’ve seen way too many come through with great “stuff” . . . that consistently misses the plate. I’d really like the Cubs to shift their draft criteria to pitchers with good control moreso than highest possible velocity.

  8. Kyle

    I’m really hoping some bats emerge the way Kris Bryant did last year. Really not in love with a pitching/HS heavy class.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Who was the last advanced/polished bat drafted? Besides Harper..

      1. Rebuilding

        Bryant

        1. college_of_coaches

          Interestingly, Bryant and Harper grew up together in Las Vegas.

        2. CubFan Paul

          Besides Bryant too..

          1. Rebuilding

            Colin Moran

            1. CubFan Paul

              Evan Longoria & Xavier Nady are two that pop out to me that we polished/advanced bats that proved it.

              There hasn’t been a lot, so Bryant is even more special

    2. Dumpgobbler

      I know I’ve said it before, but I really, really believe the way to go is big bat first, load of arms later. Arms are so volatile, and Power bats tend to be gone early. Power is worth a lot right now as well. It’s clearly a ton too early to speculate, but I’d prefer Jackson / Gatewood then arms later.

      I really think we’ll find some arms in Johnson, Underwood, Zastryzny, Blackburn, Skulina, Frazier, Masek, ect ect. I really like this model for drafting.

      1. X The Cubs Fan

        If the Cubs draft a position player, its Trea Turner, as of now.

        1. Rebuilding
        2. Dumpgobbler

          I’m not trying to sound smart, but do you know that for certain?

    3. Isaac

      Agreed, Kyle. So far the draft looks deep, but underwhelming in the top 5 outside of Rodon.

      1. Soda Popinski

        I don’t think it’s underwhelming at all- especially with the prepsters. Toussaint and Kolek have hit 97mph and 99mph respectively. That’s gas, my friend.

        1. Kyle

          Gassy HS pitchers are just begging to be wasted picks. For every Verlander or even Wood you get a dozen blown arms.

          1. aaronb

            I thought Verlander was a college pick?

        2. Norm

          How many high schoolers that have hit 97 and 99 have went on to productive big league careers? Seems like they bust more than someone *only* hitting 94/95.

    4. college_of_coaches

      What if another Jonathan Gray emerges during the year?

      1. Professor Snarks

        That would be Cederoth out of San Diego.

    5. Mrs. Howell

      Turner could be your guy then. Good bat and top of the batting order speed, which we lack.

  9. Cheese Chad

    So you’re saying NC State is going to be pretty good this year?

    1. Blublud

      As the biggest State fan on this site, there is no doubt that my Wolfpack will be very good next year. Anything short of a Chip will be a disappointment for me. Oh, and sorry boubt last night to all the NorthWestern fans.

      1. Rebuilding

        I’ll never forgive you for beating my Phi Slamma Jamma in ’83

        1. Rebuilding

          Only sporting event I’ve cried after – but I was only 10 so I didn’t know any better

          1. Jono

            2006 super bowl for me

            1. Jono

              I guess, technically, it was the super bowl in 2007. But from the 2006 season

            2. Rebuilding

              I came close after Game 6 of the ’03 NLCS. But then I just felt stupid because I had called everyone I know to turn on the TV and watch the Cubs go to the World Series

  10. ssckelley

    At this point with as deep as the pitching class looks the top 3 picks could be pitchers, so I could see the Cubs grabbing the top position player on the board at #4. Remember Bryant came out of nowhere and the early projections had Appel and Gray as the top 2 picks. Then Bryant kept hitting home runs and it turned into a 3 headed monster of Appel, Gray, and Bryant.

    Who knows who could emerge next year and drafting pitchers with the #1 pick is a big gamble. So perhaps the Cubs stick to their strategy of grabbing the top position player and then go mostly pitchers 2-10.

    1. kscubfan

      I agree, if the draft is heavy on pitching good to get the best postion player and go heavy after pitching later. Actually this sounds like a good idea to do most of the time : )

      1. ssckelley

        Yep, take what the market gives you, this seems to be the FO strategy. Which would you rather have the #4 pitcher or the #1 position player?

        1. Norm

          Depends on if the #4 pitcher is better than the #1 position player.

    2. Luke

      The early projections – the ones this early – had Appel and Manea at the top. Gray was down in the teens or low twenties somewhere.

      Both Gray and Bryant shot up the board a bit once the season started.

      1. Soda Popinski

        What happened to Manea? I haven’t heard anything about him…

        1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Royals, 34th pick.

      2. ssckelley

        I was not talking this early projections, I am going back to last spring when Brett was posting Appel or Gray blogs. It was not until May and up until the draft did it seem like the Cubs were attached to Bryant.

        At least that is how I remember it.

    3. Blublud

      Kris Bryant did not come from out of no where. Gray was the one that emrge. I was calling for Bryant right after the draft in 2012 and only started leaning the other way when Gray emerged. But Bryant was always at thge top of the draft board from the end of the2012 draft.

      1. On The Farm

        I was thinking he was near the top ten before his monster season, does that sound right?

        1. Blublud

          i’m pretty sure he was top 5. Like I sid, he was my pick all along last year until Gray emerged. At that point I started going back and forth. But Bryant was never outside the top 5 that I remember.

          1. On The Farm

            Okay, I am fine with that. I was thinking I remembered seeing him #7, but then I started second guessing myself that he was low teens. Either way if it was #7 or #5 he really didn’t explode to the top as much as you would think.

            1. Luke

              In February I was backing Bryant or Manea, and eventually dropped Manea. So as of February, anyway, he was pretty high on the boards.

  11. Mayhem

    I would trade back Rizzo for Andrew Cashner yesterday and take back Garza for Archer. I would think the original Garza trade for the Cubs is a very good comp for what we should receive in value as trade for Shark. One top pitching prospect, another top 100 prospect and two decent secondary pieces. But minor league production is being valued at a premium now.

    1. On The Farm

      “I would trade back Rizzo for Andrew Cashner yesterday and take back Garza for Archer.”

      Really so now that you know that Archer is emerging as a SP with big potential you would take the trade back? The thing with prospects is you never know if they are going to pan out, so to look at a trade that happened three years ago and wish it never happened isn’t very fair. You are forgetting the MLB production Garza gave the Cubs for the last two seasons while Archer was hanging out in the MiLB.

      1. Mayhem

        Hey bro, gimme a break. I was just fantasizing.

        1. On The Farm

          Sorry, just getting to my coffee now and am a little on the grumpy side without it. Anyway while it would have been nice to know what Archer was going to become, the FO thought they were holding on to the right pitcher (rumor has it that the Rays wanted McNutt). Some times those things pan out, sometimes not.

          1. Mrs. Howell

            Problem is Hendry was trying to save his by sacrificing the future. We weren’t going to win with Garza alone. It set us back.

            1. Mrs. Howell

              Sorry, save his JOB.

            2. On The Farm

              I was pretty happy when we traded for Garza. Maybe I am in the minority, but I saw it as a positive (although I did like Archer better than McNutt back then) I was fine letting him be the center piece for a guy with three years of control with Ace potential.

              1. Kyle

                It was a positive. We got excellent value from the deal and still managed to get most of the value in prospects back at the other end.

          2. Stevie B

            Awwww….you boys worked that out really quick and played nice.

            Kudos.

    2. hansman

      I don’t think prospects are being grossly overvalued right now. There have been a lot of big time trades involving good prospects in the past 12 months and the Cubs have done pretty well considering they haven’t traded away any stud players (part of the reason the Cubs have been so God-awful the past 2 years is because the system was completely devoid of guys posting (or capable of posting) 5+ WAR every season).

      One terrible return for Doug Fister does not mean that prospects are being hoarded.

      1. Mayhem

        Hopefully, you are right. But I still say, teams are hanging onto their prospects and draft picks for dear life. In any case, Theo is not going to trade away Shark without getting value, so no worries there. He might have to wait until the trade deadline next year though. Who knows.

      2. Kyle

        There was also a lot of talk of prospects being hoarded when there was relatively little activity at the trade deadline, both league-wide and Cubs-specific. A lot of our “flippables” couldn’t be flipped despite having good years.

  12. Randy

    I don’t understand how many of you are just satisfied with mediocrity. In life don’t we all want to excel. Why should we be OK with the shit club they are going to put out there next year. There is NO excuse to not rebuild and yet spend money. Do I want them to spend money on Cano- Hell yes its not my money and as a fan I want the Cubs owners to do everything in there power to win now and not later. If Ricketts couldn’t afford to have bought the team, then he shouldn’t. Not my problem. I want a winner. For those of you that are OK with a winner 10 years from now that is fine but why jump on us that aren’t satisfied with the crap on a stick they are serving you.

    1. Isaac

      The reason we don’t want them to egregiously dump money into aging free-agents is precisely what you described, we aren’t content with mediocrity. The only way to build a fantastic team is to first have cheap, young, home-grown talent. Does Cano make us a playoff contended next year? No. Did Cano take his (vastly superior to the Cubs) Yankees’ to the playoffs last year? No.

      Patience, sir. For the first time in my life, the Cubs are building a franchise the way it ought to be built.

      1. Kyle

        Are you 11 years old?

    2. Randy

      Kyle I am 50 years old. My family have been Cubs fans forever. I watched my dad pass away without a title and truly my dad lived for the Cubs. We deserve better and don’t give me the crap Isaac about just dumping. You take great players when they are available. You can and should do both build from within and buy talent SIR

      1. C. Steadman

        I think he was talking to Isaac

  13. itzscott

    Can’t get overly jacked about the MLB Draft right now….

    I’m surprised that there isn’t more speculation about what (if anything) will transpire at the Winter Meetings starting on Monday. All everybody is speculating about is a Shark (with possibly Schierholtz) trade and nothing more. Russell could be traded, maybe even Castro if the offer blows Hoyer away. What looked like a lousy contract last year maybe looks like a bargain this year and Jackson could be traded.

    A week from today, the Cubs roster could look a whole lot different than it does now and just about anything would be an improvement

    Just surprised that this board isn’t buzzing about what could be.

    1. mdavis

      Brett mentioned it yesterday, but I’d hold on to Jackson….at least at the start of the year. As you said, he’s a bargain at his price and I think we’ll see a lot closer to career norms for EJax next season.

      1. Jono

        At the very least, they’ll be able to trade him at some point. Even though he’s not awesome, a guy his age who is reliable should bring something back. Maybe bradley will have a rough couple years and fit well in that kind of trade….I kid, I kid

        1. Jono

          I think I wrote that comment without knowing enough about the context of your comment.

      2. Funn Dave

        I think I had a dream last night where we were midway through the 2014 season and EJax was killin’ it.

  14. JM

    Brett, I’d go with an ice coffee. Lots of different flavors, and the chill will help you wake up.

  15. Larry

    Interesting thought above I’d like to see fleshed out: Brett and Luke (and anyone else), would you trade Rizzo for Cashner straight up tomorrow if that deal was on the table?

    1. Luke

      Not even close.

    2. Kyle

      It’s close in value, but the riskiness of pitchers and the fact that we’d have no 1b makes me say “no.”

  16. Cubbies1234

    I think the Cubs should go Rodon/Beede/Hoffman with the first pick because any of them will be able to jump on the fast track to the MLB with all our other top prospects. I really hope that one of the high school arms stated in the mlb.com article can slip to the Cubs in the early second round.

  17. Lou Brock

    If we want a college power bat from the left side and a high slugging % and high OBP your pick should be Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber. His defense needs work but he was second in the country in HR’s to Bryant last year and had a great summer playing for USA baseball.

    1. daveyrosello

      #4 overall is probably a stretch, but he could be a top-ten pick in June with another strong spring. Can he stick at catcher, that will play a big role in perceived value.

      1. rockin' dawg

        At this point, wouldn’t we take Alex Jackson ahead of him? Especially if the 3 pitchers mentioned above are gone? Or we could possibly get HS Catcher Jackson Reetz with our 2nd round pick (after using the 1st round pick on a SP).

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