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2014 mlb draft featureThe 2014 MLB draft is only a little more than a week away. Wow …

  • Keith Law released his latest mock, and has the Cubs going for another new-ish name: Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto. The junior lefty has helped lead OSU to the number one overall tournament seed this year, and is a Golden Spikes (think Heisman) semifinalist. He’s hitting .364/.518/.578 on the year, with 7 homers, 50 walks, and 35 strikeouts.
  • Believed by many to be the best college bat in a draft that is exceptionally weak in college bats, Conforto is projected to go in the top half of the first round, but going fourth would be far higher than most mocks project him. Keep in mind, Law was the first pundit to start the Max Pentecost chatter, which was later picked up by many other sources (and the Cubs’ top execs were revealed to be scouting him). It’s also worth noting that Sahadev Sharma reported two weeks ago that Conforto, among others, was still being considered by the Cubs at four – and that was at a time when very few were discussing Conforto at all. That is all to say: Conforto is a legit possibility, much in the way that Pentecost is a possibility. If the Cubs view Aiken/Rodon as a clear top two, and then there are a bunch of guys they value almost evenly from there, you can understand why they might consider taking one of the lesser-loved among that second tier, signing an under slot deal, and using those savings later in a deep draft.
  • Law has Brady Aiken going first, Carlos Rodon going second, and Tyler Kolek going third, by the way, with the Cubs also considering Evansville lefty Kyle Freeland or even Tommy John patient Jeff Hoffman (presumably on a way under slot deal). That’s the first time someone has suggested Hoffman is still in the picture, which I’ve heard is not the case. But, hey, with the draft approaching rapidly, stuff changes.
  • Baseball Prospectus shared Perfect Game’s second mock draft, which has the Cubs taking Carlos Rodon at four, after Aiken, Alex Jackson, and Kolek go 1-2-3. Even with the risks of overuse and lessened effectiveness this year, I still think Rodon falling to four is a dream scenario for the Cubs. Don’t bank on it, but you can hope.
  • Jim Callis writes about the top middle infield prospects in the draft this year, which is a reminder that many folks really, really love high school shortstop Nick Gordon. I know he’s viewed by some around here as a low-upside play, but that’s not really how he’s viewed by many in the game.
  • Peter Gammons writes, among other things, about the Astros’ choice at the top, and how nobody knows what they’re going to do. For a while it has “felt” like they’re down to Aiken and Rodon, but you don’t have to look too far back – 2012 with Carlos Correa – to see a year when the Astros reached a little bit, created under slot savings, and grabbed some talent later in the draft. (And they happen to look pretty good with that Correa pick, too.) Could they do it again this year?
  • Aaron Fitt is absolutely effusive in his praise for LSU righty Aaron Nola, who is likely also in the mix for the Cubs at four (and could even go higher than that).

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