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2014 mlb draft featureThe Draft is less than 10 hours away, and the rumors/analysis doesn’t stop until the Draft starts. To wit …

  • Jed Hoyer says the Cubs, after a three-hour meeting yesterday, winnowed their list of players to about six. (Cubs.com) That sounds about right going into a draft like this, where you might need more than a four-deep in order to pick at four, because of the wide range of probable bonus demands. A guess on the six? Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon, Tyler Kolek, Nick Gordon, Michael Conforto, and Kyle Schwarber. If you don’t count Aiken, who is extremely unlikely to be there for the Cubs, perhaps you swap back in Max Pentecost.
  • Hoyer also says that the Astros haven’t tipped off their pick in advance of actually getting to the mic over the past couple of years, and that’s likely how it’ll play out today, too. Given the nature of negotiations, I can certainly understand why the Astros would hold it back to the last minute. Everyone *thinks* it’ll be Brady Aiken, but we don’t know for sure.
  • Speaking of the Astros, Jonathan Mayo goes over their options, and it still sounds like it’s Aiken at 1, and Rodon at 1a. If they pick anyone else, it will be a shock.
  • Yesterday, we saw a relatively new name – Indiana catcher/outfielder/big bat Kyle Schwarber – connected to the Chicago Cubs with their first round pick (fourth overall). From there, the rumor took off a bit, including a source of Kiley McDaniel’s mocking Schwarber to the Cubs at four.
  • By the way: I’m told by a scout who has covered Schwarber that he can handle left field, so those fears that he’s a pure 1B/DH down the road might be unfounded. If the Cubs actually take him at four, you can be certain that they’re convinced he can handle left field (and might play a little catcher, too).
  • With this kind of surge in late-in-the-game rumors, we can say one thing with confidence: this is a legit rumor making the rounds pretty widely. It is not, for example, just one rogue scout out there telling a buddy that he thinks the Cubs might go after Schwarber. This clearly has legs. HOWEVA, what we don’t know – and won’t until a name is called – is whether it has legs because the Cubs have some kind of “understanding” with Schwarber (if Aiken/Rodon are off of the board, we’ll take you at four if you agree to sign for $2.5 million); whether they’ve got some serious interest, but which depends on other things (if Aiken/Rodon are off of the board, we’ll take you at four if you agree to sign for $2.5 million … if Nick Gordon won’t take $4 million and if Michael Conforto won’t take $2.5 million); or whether this is a pure smokescreen designed to put pressure on another possible draftee (“You know, Nick, we’re completely comfortable taking Schwarber at four, haven’t you seen the rumors? You might want to re-think your price.”)
  • Speaking of Conforto, Sahadev Sharma hears that the Oregon State outfielder connected to the Cubs increasingly in recent days is very much a legitimate option, among other things:

  • BP’s Nick Faleris gets the sense that Tyler Kolek – who could be falling rapidly down the boards – was overhyped by the media, and won’t be a top pick. Then again, he admits that you never know to what extent teams are putting that stuff out there to try and drive down a kid’s bonus demands.
  • Perfect Game’s final mock has the top three going Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, and then the Cubs take Nick Gordon. According to PG, the Marlins are split on Rodon/Alex Jackson, but ownership prefers Rodon. And, on Kolek, PG says he’s been the pick for the White Sox for a month. I’ll believe that when I see it. (Aaron Nola and Jackson go after Gordon, in order; Conforto goes at 10, Schwarber goes 15, and Pentecost goes 16.)
  • Turning that all on its head: Bruce Levine hears that the White Sox have Rodon on top of their board, and that the Cubs are actually hoping for Kolek.
  • Early morning gut? If Aiken and Rodon are off the board, I think the Cubs go Gordon, and I think he winds up signing for slightly under slot (thanks, in part, to these plentiful Conforto/Schwarber/Pentecost rumors). I’ll leave open the outside shot of Kolek, but only if he’s willing to take a haircut on his price tag.

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