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jake stinnett featureThe Chicago Cubs surprised a bit in the second round tonight, selecting Maryland righty Jake Stinnett at number 45 overall. It was a surprise largely because many of us had been expecting them to immediately grab a high-upside high school arm – the draft is lousy with them – in the second round after picking an under slot type in the first round in Kyle Schwarber (albeit a guy who is probably the top college bat in the draft).

Instead, the Cubs went with a college arm. And not just any college arm – a senior college arm. It tends to be the case that most top draft prospects sign after their junior year in college, leaving very few high-end college seniors. Stinnett’s a slightly different story, though – he was drafted by the Pirates in the late rounds last year, but declined to sign for $70,000. His stock as a pitcher wasn’t terribly high, because his junior year was the first that he’d exclusively focused on pitching, after previously spending time as a part-time positional guy.

He returned to school, and the 6’4 215 lbs fireballer moved quickly up draft boards with an excellent senior season. He sports a fastball in the upper-90s, which undoubtedly helped his draft stock, too.

His Terrapins are still playing in the NCAA Tournament, mind you, but so far, Stinnett’s posted a 2.65 ERA over 112 innings, and has struck out 130 while walking just 27.

His profile moved up sharply, and he was ranked by most services right around where the Cubs picked him, or a little after that. In that regard, this wasn’t a “value” pick, even though the Cubs might be able to leverage his senior status into a slightly under slot deal.

A nice side bonus on Stinnett for you impatient types? As a 22-year-old college senior, he’s likely to move a bit faster through the system than your typical draftee. Reaching AA at some point next year is a pretty reasonable hope.

I’ll have, and I reckon Luke will have, more on Stinnett tomorrow, but one parting thought, as I mentioned in the Draft post:

If you thought there were going to be several tough signs in a draft, and you wanted to take a couple who you thought would be VERY tough to sign, wouldn’t you want to take them as close as possible to the 10th round (or even after the 10th, if you thought they’d still be there) so that if you weren’t able to pull off the signing, you’re not losing a huge chunk of your draft pool? (Recall, any guy you draft in the first ten rounds but don’t sign, you lose the slot value associated with that pick from your bonus pool – and losing a big chunk can really kill your draft.)

We’ll see what the Cubs wind up doing with their presumed savings tomorrow and Saturday.

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