Quantcast

tyler kolekIt’s the last day of April, which means we’re just a day away from being in the month before the month with the draft! How about that stretching effort right there?

  • Not that you needed to hear it again, but Theo Epstein reiterates that the Cubs will be taking the best player available at the top of the draft this year; not just taking a pitcher because they need pitching. (Cubs.com) Increasingly, however, most believe the clear best talents at the top of the draft will all be pitchers.
  • Speaking of which, Jim Callis writes about the wealth of pitching talent in this year’s draft. One scouting director told Callis that as many as eight or nine of the top ten picks could be pitchers, which is pretty incredible, particularly in light of expanding fears about pitcher injuries and how futile our efforts to prevent them.
  • In tandem with the piece, MLB.com has updated its top draft prospects list, with the top ten now looking like this:
    1. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (Calif.)
    2. Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State
    3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
    4. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
    5. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
    6. Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
    7. Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (Fla.)
    8. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
    9. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
    10. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
  • Aiken’s ascent up virtually every secondary source’s top draft prospect list is nearly complete. Interesting that Hoffman, despite his recent “arm soreness” that has him missing at least a couple starts, is still in the top five. Odds are good that, whatever player the Cubs end up selecting, he’s on this list of ten players. And I could come up with a convincing argument for just about any of them – but we’ll get more into that as the draft gets a little closer.
  • Taking the pitching preference stuff a step further, Jonathan Mayo polled nine scouting directors and national scouts, asking whom they’d take if they had the top overall pick: four said Aiken, four said Kolek, and only one said Rodon.
  • Speaking of Rodon, he was dominant in his most recent outing, but once again, he was allowed to throw more than 130 pitches. The exorbitant pitch counts this year are not, alone, a reason to be scared off of one of the best arms in the draft (very few think he could slip to four), but it’s a shame that he isn’t being better protected.
  • In a recent BA chat, John Manuel offered his thoughts on the Cubs’ first round pick: “[T]here is not a [Kris] Bryant in this draft, and this pitcher class is stronger than it was last year. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were all in town last week to see both Jeff Hoffman and Carlos Rodon, so both are in play, as potentially are Aiken and Kolek as you said. I can see Aaron Nola being in that mix, though he’s more in the Mike Leake mold, and I believe Kyle Freeland, Erick Fedde and Brandon Finnegan also could be in that mix at No. 4. None of those guys would stun me at No. 4, though I would at this point be a bit surprised by Beede at that spot.”
  • For his part, although Jim Callis says Alex Jackson is a possibility, he thinks the Cubs wind up taking one of Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, or Hoffman.
  • Dan Kirby writes about some of the theoretical possibilities for the Cubs in the second round at pick 45.
  • Darth Ivy

    I’m most likely going too far with this, but I hope they pick a hitter based on the amount of injuries and increased uncertainty that come with pitchers.

    After 3 guys are taking off the board, and the best pitcher is far and away better than the best hitter, then I’d go with the pitcher. But if it’s at all close, I’d go batter

    • Thiscantbegood

      I agree, I would prefer if the Cubs went for a Catcher, I think Wellington Castillo is good but if they could get a guy that resembles a Buster Posey (yes I know I’m dreaming) but id prefer that over a pitching. Event though the Cubs lack pitching, I would like them to spend big on pitching if they need to than hitters. Theo and Jed do well acquiring pitching MLB ready, exception to E-Jax. Jason Hammel, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm all did well with the Cubs with their short stints.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        You don’t draft based on needs of the MLB club. The only catcher at the top is Alex Jackson and there are serious doubts that he will stick at catcher.

        • Thiscantbegood

          No I’m saying if they go after a hitter I would prefer it to be a catcher. But if there aren’t any good ones available than the Cubs need to go after best available player regardless of position.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Gotcha, agreed on that. The only catcher they’d be looking at with the 4th pick is Jackson

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              And I don’t think Jackson will stay behind the plate.

              • jeff1969

                I heard from a White Sox scout that the WS love Jackson, and they would let him try catching if they picked him, but didn’t think his major league future was behind the plate. They love his bat & his makeup & his physical ability, but fear he might even turn into a 1B/DH type down the road.

  • Karl Groucho

    I’ve been a huge fan of the quantity over quality approach the FO has taken w/r/t pitchers so far. Offense-first, with an army of good-enough pitchers in the pipeline, looks to me both a way to beat Wrigley and to dodge the risk of spending your first pick on a position as risky as SP. Here’s hoping a position player kicks it up a notch between now and June. That said, I could get used to a second T100 pitching prospect in our ranks.

    Either way, would be glad if BPA was a college athlete.

  • itzscott

    Because it seems that college pitchers aren’t being protected by being allowed to throw 120-130 pitches (!) for some reason…. I’m wondering if the safer bet wouldn’t be to draft a pitcher out of HS where a professional team would be more likely to limit his pitch count and provide better care than a college pitcher is offered and is thus less likely to have the arm problems a college pitcher may have already begun to develop.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      College arms have always been abused by their coaches and they have always been safer bets to make the pros.

      HS arms are riskier than giving nuclear lauch codes to a bumblebee.

      • itzscott

        Thanks for clearing that up, Chief. I’ve always been suspicious of bumblebees.

      • Justen

        Why would a bumblebee want nuclear launch codes?

        • Funn Dave

          Mutually assured destruction in the event of an attack of the hive.

        • DarthHater

          If killer bees obtain nuclear weapons, well, one shudders to think about it.

      • CubFan Paul

        I’d draft the safe bet. Bumblebee herding is not fun

  • Javier Bryant

    If they take a hitter it more than likely would mean they’re not taking BPA. I think Houston goes Kolek and depending on what Miami decides to do, Rodon could fall to the Cubs at 4. Whitesox won’t take him because he’s a Boras client

    • Norm

      If they take a hitter its because that hitter WAS BPA on the Cubs board. They will not take someone they don’t think is BPA.

      • Javier Bryant

        Good point. Either way, I trust the front office will select the right guy.

    • Isaac

      This isn’t as preposterous as it once seemed. While I still don’t believe Rodon will fall, there is plausibility to it.

  • David
    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I can dream that Aiken will make it to the Cubs at 4, but it just ain’t gonna happen

  • CubFan Paul

    “four said Aiken, four said Kolek, and only one said Rodon.”

    Interesting that they’re high schoolers

    • Isaac

      That fact makes them a terrifying proposition, in my mind.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Picking up good athlete at SS is safe bet- Gordon

  • Jon

    If Rodon fell to the Cubs and they took him it would be interesting to see how they handled him. I’m guessing he would be on a strict innings and pitch count for a while

    • CubFan Paul

      Depends on what the Docs say about that arm. He’ll be examined thoroughly, I’d imagine

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I suspect he’d make a token appearance somewhere, and then be shut down for the year.

  • Edwin

    I wouldn’t mind them drafting a high profile arm. It’d be nice to have that kind of arm in the system to dream on.

  • bnile1

    assuming Aiken, Lolek and rondon are gone

    Beede anyone??

    • Javier Bryant

      Or Hoffman

  • Jon

    The good news is the Cubs will hold all the cards next year when they are picking #1.

    • JakeMac

      Don’t be too quick to count out Houston or Arizona. They’re both contenders for that crown.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, they both are in much better shape for that (dis)honor than the Cubs. The big difference is that those two teams don’t just lose: they lose big a lot. You’ll accidentally win close games at some frequency, but you cannot accidentally win blowouts.

  • Funn Dave

    The only position player ranked by most publications in the top 5 is a catcher, so that works out well for the Cubs. However, the pitchers at the top of the draft are so talented that I think it makes more sense to draft one of them & just cross your fingers that he pans out.

    • JB88

      Except that there are few people who actually think Jackson will (or wants to) stick at catcher. His bat is great, but his positional value will take a tumble when he is playing LF in a few years.

  • ssckelley

    It is looking less and less likely the Cubs are even considering my favorite Alex Jackson at #4 so I better start warming up to these pitchers. Rodon remains my favorite if he slips that far.

    For the 2nd round I was surprised to see no mention of AJ Reed from Kentucky. Perhaps the projections have him going early but he is another lefthanded bat with a lot of power that I hope the Cubs look at.

    • Karl Groucho

      Unless they’re going in costume to see Jackson and blowing smoke about interest in a pitcher — it does seem as though they’re making their interest in a pitcher all too well known.

      • Karl Groucho

        And my friend snapped this at a Rancho Bernardo game a few weeks back. Is this Epstein and Hoyer in elaborate costume? You decide:

        [img]http://ww2.hdnux.com/photos/13/50/25/3048797/3/628×471.jpg[/img]

        • Karl Groucho

          I guess you won’t decide, rough.

        • ssckelley

          You tease!

          • Karl Groucho

            The punchline was a better picture than this, but at least there’s the SD connection:

            [img]http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/229/files/2013/10/6693768.jpg[/img]

            • Karl Groucho

              And so Karl Groucho swore off pictures forever.

              • itzscott

                ….and now we can all thoroughly understand why.

            • ssckelley

              That could be Hoyer…..

  • Jon

    Looking at the Shark trade market, here is a team that has emerged, the surprising Colorado Rockies who are just a 1/2 game out of 1st in the NL West. Their rotation however is awful. They have given up the 4th most runs in the baseball.

    How about a Shark for Cargo swap?

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Sign me up, but it depends on how much it would take in addition to Shark

      • Jon

        Cargo has knee issues so they would get nothing(else) and like it.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          I wish that were the case…

    • Q-Ball

      I can’t see the Rockies creating one hole in their roster just to fill another. Defeats the purpose. Cargo is still an important part of their offense.

      They should be interested in Shark, but they won’t be trading Cargo

      A better idea would be Jonathon Gray…..

      • David

        Ohhhhhhh man. That would be sweet. Would love to be in the room for that negotiation. I would add any of our current outfielders, as well.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        They can’t trade Gray. Its been less than a year.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          They can easily make him a PTBNL, but it doesn’t matter because there is zero chance they trade Gray

    • Jon

      SSS, but Shark also has insanely good numbers at Coors. I guess the question begs, what else would they give us in addition to Shark?

      • CubFan Paul

        After this year the Rockies won’t be able to afford him and Tulo both, so there will definitely be a trade of some kind

        • Q-Ball

          Why not? Together they make $36-38 mil per year over next 3, that’s not a crushing burden. Cargo is under what many consider a club-friendly deal for 3 more years. I don’t see that as being a factor. Plus, Shark is going to Arb out next year at $10 mil or so, so the savings is only $6 mil or so….and they would need to pay an OF

          • Javier Bryant

            Even Tulowitzki said they won’t be able to afford both

          • CubFan Paul

            “Together they make $36-38 mil”

            Up from 2014′s $26MM and 2013′s $17MM

          • modje03

            Tulo and Cargo make up more than 35% of the Rox payroll. Some complain about the Ricketts, the Monforts are cheap.

        • Crockett

          Yeah, you’re way off. They’re both staying in Colorado until absolutely necessary.

          I could see Cuddyer being shipped though.

          • Jon

            Cuddyer doesn’t give them a TOR which they desperately need if they want to make the playoffs and do anything. They also have some nice young bats in that OF in Barnes, Blackmon, and Dickerson.

            In fact their torrid offense so far this year has been in spite of Cargo who has gotten off to a slow start.

    • modje03

      The only way the Rox trade Cargo this season is if or when they fall out of contention. Which would mean Shark’s services will not be needed. Jonathon Gray is pretty close to untouchable, they love him, there are rumors he could be up later this season. It is not impossible, but I highly doubt Gray gets traded. Butler and Bettis might be more realistic options.

    • Rebuilding

      How about Dickerson and Eddie Butler or Dickerson, Ryan McMahon and Tom Murphy. I love Dickerson, who has raked at every level and has no place to play regularly with the emergence of Blackmon. Butler is really the only pitcher in the system (other than Gray who isn’t available) worth trading Shark to get

  • diamonddon

    Cargo would be a perfect fit for the Cubs! He could bat 3rd in front of Rizzo and Castro. I actually think the Cubs will get more for Shark like maybe Cargo and a top 10 prospect.

  • Sandberg

    Wonder if they are considering not signing their first round pick and getting pick 5 next year. You’d think it would have to cross their minds.

  • Jon

    No chance.

  • Spoda17

    I really don’t have a strong feeling either way on any of these guys. I will say, Strasburg had tommy john and is still pretty dominant. Would you take a risk, if it really is a risk, on Rondon knowing he could require surgery at some point with the thought he still may be very effective for many years after..?

  • Medicos

    Thankfully Hoystein’s Plan A centers around stockpiling a large quantity of possible MLB hurlers. 2/5 of the Athletics starting pitching staff have undergone TJ surgery: Jarrod Parker (12-8 3.97 ERA 1.22 WHIP) and AJ Griffin (14-10 3.83 ERA 1.15 WHIP). The A’s team ERA continues to be among the best in the AL despite these losses. One of the Oakland pitchers goes down to elbow problems and Billy Beane merely plugs another pitcher into the rotation. The Cubs definitely need to select a pitcher in 2014 draft.

    • Jon

      Hoystein is no Billy Beane

      • Medicos

        JON: You got that right. Someday maybe????

        • Jon

          Maybe in 5 years when they have a top 5 payroll, then they can be like Ned Colleti or Brian Cashman.

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            You really think Ned Colleti does a good job? As well as Cashman recently? Not sure I would agree with the thought they do a good job.

            • Jon

              Decent job. Nothing special(Not Ruben Amaro bad)

            • Edwin

              The Dodgers have finished 1st in their division 4 times since Ned’s taken over, and have won at least 80 games in every season Ned’s been the GM.

              Recently, the Yankees have finished 1st, 1st, and 3rd in their division the past 3 seasons.

              Cashman and Colleti both do good jobs.

              • Jon

                You could say “yeah, but it’s easy when you have that much payroll” which is fair, but if the Chicago Cubs are damned to being bad or mediocre for the rest of this decade until the “big money” kicks in, then what differentiates this FO if they need access to that payroll to put a winner on the field?

  • http://BleacherNation blewett

    I’m hoping we get a SP and a C in the first two rounds of this draft. A combo of 1) Jackson 2) Gatto or 1) Hoffman 2) Reetz would be nice. But I’d also be okay with a college arm/HS arm combo.

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    Callis and Mayo came out with their mock draft top 10′s today.

    Callis has the Cubs taking Hoffman and Mayo has Aiken falling to them at 4

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m suddenly a fan of Mayo, but I think Callis is more realistic here.

      Assuming those arm problems aren’t too serious, that is.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        O I fully agree, but it got me a little bit excited, no matter how unlikely it is. Personally I think Aiken and Kolek go 1-2, and then the Sox either take Hoffman or Jackson and Rodon falls to the Cubs, but that is pure speculation at this point.

    • Webb

      I think Rondon goes 2nd to Miami and Jackson 3rd to the Sox. That leaves the Cubs in fantastic position for whichever of Aiken or Kolek is available OR their preference for Beede or Hoffman. Whichever way you slice it the Cubs are in good shape (by way of being in bad shape on the diamond).

    • NorthSideIrish

      I’d be thrilled with either of those (assuming those arm problems aren’t too serious). I still think it’s Rodon-Kolek-Hoffman going 1-2-3 and Cubs take Aiken.

      Beede has really fallen off. Callis said on Twitter yesterday he’s dropping and could even fall out of the Top 10.

    • Chad

      I hope like none other that Mayo is correct, but would be very happy if Callis is.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I hope the Cubs don’t take Beede. Great arm but those command issue are terrible. I’m not a pro-scout or anything but I don’t see him being able to find consistency. I actually have seen pitch a couple times.

  • Willrust69

    I just don’t see why the Cubs would pass on Aaron Nola. I get it, he isn’t expected to be a #1 based on his mph and height, but the kid can pitch, and has pitched against good competition. Take a chance on high risk/high reward guys in later rounds.

    • Rebuilding

      I totally agree with this. If you have to take a SP in the 1st round, rather than take a HS starter who prob has a 50% chance of making the majors and a 10% chance of being an ace, I would rather take a more “sure thing” that at worst will be a solid 3 or 4. The kid knows how to pitch

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Give me Aiken or Kolek over Nola everyday of the week. Aiken is the “kershaw starters kit” and Kolek is Lucas Giolito’esk. Both of their true #1 starter potential is too much to pass on. I understand your point though. But when you pick in the top 5 you pick based on upside (& health) not by safe picks, IMO

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Problem is it’s not like the other guys available are all risk. Guys like Aiken and Rodon have much higher ceilings than Nola, but have similar floors.

      • Rebuilding

        I agree about Rodon – I think he’s the top player in the draft. As for Aiken – higher ceiling for sure – but his floor could really be anything.

        • Rebuilding

          And that’s got nothing to do with Aiken personally – it’s just that HS pitchers are such a crapshoot

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Aiken might be more polished than Rodon. Doesn’t throw quite as hard, but the command is better and is the only guy in the draft who has a secondary close to Rodon’s slider. He’s a high schooler, but he’s an incredibly advanced high schooler. Obviously the Kershaw comparison is best case scenario, but with the command and the plus curveball at that age, it is a pretty good comp.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            Isn’t drafting a guy with great stuff, but with command issues kind of similar to drafting a hitter with great power, but with strikeout issues? Is hoping a pitcher will develope command as tricky as hoping a hitter will improve pitch recognition? Isn’t it always better to draft guys that already show those attributes?

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              It depends on the guy. Sometimes while scouting, a team may notice that command issues may be a result of something small mechanically that they think they can fix.

              Don’t get me wrong, Rodon doesn’t have poor command, it’s just not his strongest attribute. I think it is a bit different than pitch recognition because while pitch recognition is usually more mental, command is something that can be physical in nature.

          • Rebuilding

            Yeah, obviously I’ve never watched Aiken pitch live, but I’ve read the same reports you have. I don’t think you totally stay away from HS pitchers – I just think you do so with the #4 pick. The track record is clear that they are just a huge risk that high – if we are going to tank a whole season for the pick I want more certainty that we’ll at least get a #5 SP. If we have to go pitching due to the makeup of the board at #4 I certainly hope we go with a college arm

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Ya i definitely understand your hesitance, and for most high school pitchers I agree (I wouldn’t take Kolek at 4). I just have really like what I have read and briefly seen from Aiken.

  • JWestfall

    You guys are crazy. Pitching is more important now than ever. Numbers don’t lie. Get a good arm, please!

  • Javier Bryant

    Mooney recently posted an article about the draft and mentioned Tyler Kolek, Jeff Hoffman, Carlos Rodon and Aiken

    • Soda Popinski

      There’s been a lot of that going around lately. Those seem to be the consensus top 4, with Alex Jackson a possibility.

      • Javier Bryant

        I used to be big on Jackson but not as much now. I’m sure the Cubs will end up with one of those pitchers, if that’s the route they decide to take

      • Chad

        If the cubs end up with Jackson I will not be disappointed, but I recall a lot of hype over a HS power hitter in 2007 with the 3rd pick. I would rather have a pitcher that has ace potential. I am hoping the WS take Jackson and Aiken is still available at #4.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+