Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com have chimed in with their choices for which player the Cubs should pick at number four in the draft, and unsurprisingly they do not agree. First, they assume that Rodon, Kolek, and Aiken are off the board; that seems like a safe assumption. Of the remaining players, Callis opts for current-but-unlikely-to-stay-there catcher Alex Jackson, a guy Callis labels the best high school hitter in the draft. Mayo opts for possibly the best high school defensive infielder in the draft, shortstop Nick Gordon.
I tend to think that, with high school players, the safer bet is the better bat, so of those two I would take Jackson without hesitation. But I do have to wonder if the high school bat is the safer call than the college pitcher options this year. Normally at the top of the draft a bat is safer than an arm, but this is a little bit of an unusual year. Nola looks like the safest bet to reach the majors of those likely to be drafted in the first round (Rodon included), Beede has arguably the best right handed stuff at the top of the draft when he can control it (and the Cubs have a couple pretty good pitching coaches hanging around), and Freeland is southpaw with two pitches that grade out at 60 or higher.
I can make a case that, in this draft, taking one of those pitchers (particularly Nola) is playing it safe when compared to drafting Jackson. When drafting a high ceiling pitcher, any age, in the fourth slot is arguably the safe choice over the best hitter in the draft, I have a hard time making a compelling argument for taking the hitter.
I suspect things will change again before draft day arrives, though. Gordon appears to be rocketing up the draft boards lately, and I would not be surprised if we start to hear that Nola is linked to a team in the top three at some point. And, though you hate to think about it, there is plenty of time for another injury to shake things up some more.
It looks like we’re in for an interesting month.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - Iowa was shutout 8-0.
Tennessee - Most of their runs came in a six run third as the Smokies won 10-7.
Daytona - The Cubs erupted for twelve runs and came away with the 12-0 win.
Kane County - The Cougars dropped their second game in a row with this 3-2 loss.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Chris Rusin allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits over 6 innings while striking out 6.
- [Iowa] Rusin also had one of the Cubs 2 hits on the day. Logan Watkins had the other, a pinch hit double.
- [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno doubled, tripled, and finished 4 for 5. Taylor Davis doubled twice and tripled in his 3 for 5 game.
- [Tennessee] Kris Bryant homered, his 11th, and finished with 2 hits.
- [Tennessee] For the 7th time in 6 games Jorge Soler doubled. Rubi Silva also doubled, his 5th.
- [Daytona] Albert Almora doubled 3 times and finished 3 for 5.
- [Daytona] Marco Hernandez and Zeke DeVoss both finished 2 for 4. One of DeVoss’s hits was a two bagger.
- [Daytona] Jeimer Candelario walked and hit his second triple of the season.
- [Kane County] Jordan Hankins and David Bote both finished 2 for 4 with a double. Will Remillard also doubled.
- [Kane County] Carlos Penalver finished 2 for 3 with a walk.
- [Kane County] Daury Torrez pitched 6 innings of 3 hit ball with a walk and a strikeout.
- Jose Veras and Arodys Vizcaino both pitched for Tennessee yesterday, but they pitched the first and second innings rather than later in the game as they normally do. Veras allowed nothing in the first while throwing eleven pitches, and Vizcaino needed nineteen pitches to allow one hit and otherwise strike out the side in the second.
- It was just a few years ago when the Cubs were in a similar draft position. There were lots of college pitchers on the board, the Cubs needed pitching in their farm system, and I was really hoping one of those arms would fall to the Cubs. That did not happen. Instead, the Cubs wound up with a raw, powerful high school shortstop named Javier Baez.
- If you missed Brett’s article on Alfredo Despaigne yesterday, or the original Ben Badler article Brett was talking about, I’d urge you to take some time to read both today. Right now this remains a case of informed speculation, but it is interesting speculation that could flare up into a headline grabbing story in about as much time as it would take Despaigne to walk up to a microphone.