The 2014 MLB Draft is just three weeks away …
- Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo took on the Cubs’ fourth overall pick in light of the presumptive top three in Carlos Rodon, Brady Aiken, and Tyler Kolek. Assuming those three go first, whom do the Cubs take at four? Well, Callis says the Cubs should go with high school catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, who’s got the best overall bat in the draft. From Callis’ perspective, the drop-off at pitcher after the top three is sufficiently steep that the Cubs shouldn’t just grab a pitcher to grab a pitcher. Something I like in Callis’ analysis? Even if Jackson can’t stay at catcher, Callis believes his bat profiles well enough to be worth a top four pick as an outfielder.
- For his part, Mayo agrees that the Cubs should go with a position player if those three pitchers are gone, but Mayo says it should be high school shortstop Nick Gordon. Mayo likes that Gordon is a sure-fire long-term defensive shortstop, and his bat has taken a big step forward this year.
- And, for those worried that Gordon doesn’t offer any upside, note that Chris Crawford says if he had to choose who he liked better, Gordon now or Francisco Lindor as of the 2011 draft, he’d choose Gordon. We know how well things turned out for Lindor, so that’s some serious praise.
- Baseball America released its top 100 draft prospects list, and it’s a very interesting take at the top, with both Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde staying in the top 10, despite their Tommy John surgeries. The top three remain the top three, and they are followed by Jackson, Evansville lefty Kyle Freeland, Hoffman, Gordon, Fedde, TCU lefty Brandon Finnegan, and LSU righty Aaron Nola.
- Among other things, BA’s John Manuel notes that the extreme volume of potential first round arms in this draft has made it difficult for teams to effectively scout them all. It makes you wonder if a team that prioritizes the draft, in terms of resources in the run-up to the draft, could be in a position to get a first round talent in the second and/or third rounds. If the Cubs do end up going with a position player at the top of the draft, I really like their chances to wind up with a very good pitcher in the second and/or third rounds.
- For me, by the way: if the Cubs believe there’s at least a 50/50 shot that Jackson can stay at catcher long-term, he’s the guy I’d want them to pick. Catcher is as much of an organizational need as pitching (by which I mean, it’s not like the Cubs absolutely have to get a pitcher in the first round), and, when you factor in the lower risk and weaker pitching options (behind the top three, I mean), Jackson’s the guy. He’s the top bat in the draft, even if it’s a weaker draft for bats.