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2014 mlb draft featureI’d say that, in 48 hours, I’ll be on pins and needles, but I’m pretty much already there …

  • With a tiny uptick in Tyler Kolek chatter for the Cubs at four, it’s interesting to read Matt Eddy’s piece at Baseball America about how unique Kolek is. No, not just his huge fastball: his huge size. At 6’5″ 250lbs, Kolek would be the biggest prep righty taken in the first round since … ever. OK, but is that an issue? Eddy’s work suggests it might be. Generally speaking, teams have had more success with prototypical 6’2″, 185lbs pitchers, as opposed to much bigger (or smaller) guys. In fact, as first round picks approach Kolek’s size in high school, their career track record thereafter is much less likely to be noteworthy than if they were more typically sized. Is this a reason to pass on Kolek? No, not alone. But it does make you wonder: why do guys his size have big-time success much less frequently than smaller guys? And, all other things equal, does it concern you enough to pass, despite the obvious talent?
  • Sahadev Sharma remains open to the possibility – the possibility – that Carlos Rodon could slide to the Cubs:

  • A thought-provoking piece from BA’s J.J. Cooper on last year’s number one overall pick Mark Appel – remember how safe he was considered? But with tons of upside? – brings focus back to the question of whether Carlos Rodon (relatively safe and huge upside) is a good risk for the Astros at 1.1, or even the Cubs at 1.4. I still think the Cubs would be ecstatic to have that chance, but it’s tough to see how rough it’s been for Appel this year. And when it’s rough for top college pitchers in the early going professionally, it tends to turn out poorly for them long-term. Does this directly translate to Rodon? Of course not, because lots of college pitchers have had huge success. I guess it’s more just to point out: even “safe, high-upside” college starters can struggle. (And, hey, it’s still a little too early to say on Appel.)
  • MLB.com offers up a draft preview for the Cubs.
  • Mark Gonzalez offers up some general thoughts on the Cubs’ first round plan, but the interesting nugget comes in the form of a stray comment that the White Sox’s scouting director told reporters this weekend that his team would “likely” take a pitcher. That isn’t necessarily a surprise, as the Sox have consistently been connected to the top three arms in the draft, and are very rarely mentioned with any of the positional draft prospects. Still, it’s rare to see a team be open about their plan like that. If you want to see the Cubs get a chance at Rodon or Brady Aiken, here’s hoping the Astros and/or Marlins grab a position player, and/or the White Sox really like Kolek.
  • Dan Kirby offers his rankings for the Cubs at four, going Rodon-Gordon-Jackson-Kolek-Nola-Pentecost-Freeland-Conforto. Kirby, you’ll note, takes Aiken out of the mix, because the consensus is that there’s no chance he falls to four. Kirby believes there’s a fair chance that Rodon could slip to four, and rightly points out: “It appears his asking price may be high, which could sap money for other players in an extremely deep draft, but if you have a chance to get a frontline starter with his stuff, you have to jump on it.” Agreed. Totally worth it to have to skimp later on in the draft, if the Cubs believe in Rodon.
  • Still feels like the draft is going to go Aiken-Jackson-Rodon in the first three, setting the Cubs up for a really tough choice at four. (*Cubs quickly contact all of Kolek, Gordon, Pentecost and Conforto, and say: first of Kolek/Gordon to accept $4 million, or first of Pentecost/Conforto to accept $2.5 million, that’s the guy we take … GO!*)

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