Draft week is here! Do a dance.
- MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo is out with his second mock draft, and he goes very much against the prevailing trend with the Chicago Cubs’ first round pick (and, incidentally goes the way I’ve been suggesting the Cubs will probably go all along (pending the picks before them)): that is to say, with Carlos Rodon and Brady Aiken off the board, but with Tyler Kolek still on it, Mayo has the Cubs taking Kolek. Recently, we’ve seen mock after mock with Kolek on the board for the Cubs, and the team passing in favor of high school shortstop Nick Gordon or and under slot deal with Max Pentecost or Michael Conforto or Aaron Nola. In Mayo’s mock, the Astros, Marlins and White Sox go Aiken-Jackson-Rodon, as many other mocks have had them, and the Cubs go ahead and take Kolek, the enormous, hard-throwing righty out of Texas. The risk is clear – he’s a high schooler who throws over 100mph, is a bigger guy, and has questionable secondary stuff (relative to his fastball and typical tip-top pitching draftees) and fastball command – but the upside is huge. If Kolek is on the board for the Cubs, and Aiken/Rodon are gone, my guess is it’s Kolek. Just barely.
- But, speaking of those mocks that don’t have the Cubs taking Kolek, Jim Callis is also out with his second mock, and he doesn’t even give the Cubs a choice here, because the three big pitchers go one-two-three. So Callis – like Keith Law last week – has the Cubs cutting a deal with Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto. He says, with the arms off the board, the Cubs are likely to go for someone like Conforto or Pentecost, to save some funds for later in the draft, or they could go after Gordon (which would be my guess if all of the arms are off the board (the Cubs could be playing Conforto/Pentecost off of Gordon to get a slightly – but only slightly – under slot deal from the high school shortstop)).
- Interestingly, Callis says the Cubs don’t appear to be in on high schooler Alex Jackson (who could go anywhere in the top six or so picks). Jackson has flown up draft boards, and frequently appears in the top three picks, but you almost never seeing him go to the Cubs anymore, even when he’s still on the board. So maybe there’s something to it.
- Sahadev Sharma reports something pretty significant: he hears that the only pitchers the Cubs are considering in the first round are Aiken, Rodon, and Kolek. That means no Aaron Nola (or Kyle Freeland, or Brandon Finnegan, or Jeff Hoffman, etc.).
- So, then, if you were best-guessin’ the Cubs’ board, it would be something like this:
1a. Carlos Rodon
1b. Brady Aiken (I have no idea whom the Cubs prefer)
3. Tyler Kolek (?)
4. Nick Gordon (?)
5a. Max Pentecost (could jump to 4 on the right deal)
5b. Michael Conforto (could jump to 4 on the right deal)
7. Alex Jackson (? could still be higher, and everyone is just getting smoke-screened)