Here we go with the close of the 2015 MLB Draft.
Because picks today are not tied to specific bonus slots that a team loses if they fail to sign a player, you see a lot of home runs taken today. Teams can sign a guy taken in these rounds for up to $100,000 without any bonus pool impact. Anything over $100,000 counts against the pool, however, so if you want to take those shots today, you need to have saved up a little bit in the first ten rounds. (More on the rules here.)
To that end, the Cubs … maybe saved some pool space? Maybe not?
We know that they took senior signs in rounds 6 through 10, as Luke discussed this morning, and we also know that the Cubs’ first rounder, Ian Happ, might afford them a small amount of savings under the slot for the 9th overall pick. Beyond that, it’s actually been surprisingly mysterious this year with respect to how much the Cubs’ 2nd (Donnie Dewees), 3rd (Bryan Hudson), and 4th (D.J. Wilson) round picks will cost to sign. I could see Dewees command close to full slot in the second, and I could see Hudson and Wilson – as high upside high schoolers with quality college commitments – commanding over slot. How much over slot? I’d assuming not a ton over slot, since it would be quite a risk to take them that high and have a real chance at not signing them.
In other words, I’m not really sure what to expect today. Taking chances today has no cost associated with it, other than the opportunity cost of a lost pick. But, as we know, there are still some very good players available to be drafted and signed for $100,000 or less, especially in the early rounds today. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs wait on their tough-to-sign hail mary types until later today, and instead opt for signable, quality potential prospects in rounds 11 through 20 or so.
But I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Cubs were able to save more under slot on days one and two than expected, and they could take some serious shots today early. It’s just a lot harder to predict this year than in years past. I guess that makes today even more fun.
So far, I’m pleased with the Cubs’ draft, but it’ll be a little more reasonable to evaluate after today when we can see the whole package. And then it’s even more reasonable to evaluate after players actually sign. It’s easy to draft players that the pundits like, but it’s a lot trickier to sign them all. (And then develop them, etc.)
I’ll have the picks and whatever analysis I can muster down below, live as they happen (with a small break somewhere in the middle to record a podcast with Sahadev).
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Listen live here:
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11th Round (323): Matt Rose, 3B, Georgia State. A junior this past year, Rose was ranked 274 in BA’s top 500 list, and comes with big power (his 16 homers this year were fourth in the nation) from the right side. He also pitched at Georgia State, but, given that Rose was announced as a third baseman, the implication there is that that’s where he would start with the Cubs. Rose won all kinds of awards for his performance in the Sun Belt this year, hitting .289/.391/.613. He struck out 43 times in 204 at bats, and he walked 31 times.
This is exactly the kind of pick the Cubs have taken here in recent years, bucking the trend of over slot reaches in the early going on day three. Instead, the Cubs take a more typical draftee that they really like and actually want to sign, and don’t want to be gone later on in the draft.
And Chris Crawford seems to agree:
@BleacherNation A nice value selection there.
— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) June 10, 2015
Cubs 11th-rounder Matt Rose is a solid performer with a great arm who would have pitching pot. if he could stay healthy.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 10, 2015
12th Round (353): P.J. Higgins, 2B, Old Dominion. Another positional college junior, and another ranked prospect (474 to BA). While he played a variety of positions in college, BA thinks he’s a catcher at the next level, though the Cubs announced him as a second baseman. He hit .335/.402/.452 this year, with 25 walks to just 16 strikeouts. This is clearly another college guy the Cubs simply like, and his versatility could make him an intriguing player going forward.
(Note: Taking a brief pause to record a podcast. Back soon.)
(Ok. Podcast over. Catching up.)
13th Round (383): Kyle Twomey, LHP, USC. And yet another junior, Twomey is 172 to BA and was a 3rd rounder back in 2012 as a quality prep prospect. He didn’t sign, and has trended the wrong direction since then. Still, he’s a lefty who can throw in the low-90s and has developing secondaries. He had a 2.88 ERA over 93.2 innings this year, striking out 68 and walking 38.
A quick scouting take on him from MLB.com:
14th Round (413): Jake Kelzer, RHP, Indiana. Yup, another college guy, and Kelzer is a redshirt sophomore. He’s a big dude at 6’8″, 230 lbs. He threw 73 innings this year mostly as a starter, posting a 3.95 ERA and struck out 57. He walked 31, so there are obviously some refinements to be worked out. He would have been caught by Kyle Schwarber last year, so you’ve got to figure that the Cubs saw him plenty. I like the body (only in the draft and prospecting world do you get to say that), so there’s something to dream on.
15th Round (443): Scott Effross, RHP, Indiana. Hey, it’s Kelzer’s teammate. He’s a junior, and he was dominant last year as a sophomore, again, when the Cubs would have been seeing him plenty. Pitching mostly as a reliever this year, Effross posted a 2.35 ERA over 61.1 innings, striking out 51 and walking just 9.
An MLB.com scouting report:
Another video, thanks to calbert40 in the comments:
16th Round (473): Michael Foster, CF, Northeastern. As a redshirt junior this year, Foster hit .343/.426/.490, and stole 10 of 12 bases, so he’s got a little speed. Although he played in the infield at Northeaster, the Cubs listed him as a center fielder for the purposes of the draft.
17th Round (503): Casey Bloomquist, RHP, Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. At 6’3″ 190lbs, Bloomquist has just about ideal starter size, and he was ranked 382 to BA. He looked like a potentially big-time prospect after his sophomore season, but didn’t progress this past year, according to BA. Still, he could be a future back-of-the-rotation type, with nice sink on his low-90s fastball. He had a 2.84 ERA over 98 innings this year, striking out 78 and walking 29.
Cubs are on a bit of a run of pitcher, eh?
18th Round (533): John Cresto, 3B, California (HS). The Cubs’ first high schooler of day three, Cresto was ranked 364 by BA, and is committed to Santa Clara. He’s a really big kid at 6’3″ 210 lbs, and projects to have some power, according to BA.
MLB.com has a short scouting video:
19th Round (563): Kyle Miller, RHP, Florida Atlantic. Another college junior, he posted a 3.62 ERA over 82 innings, striking out 62 and walking 18. Miller is 6’2″ 170 lbs.
2oth Round (593): Blake Headley, 3B, Nebraska. The senior lefty-batter hit .271/.345/.425 this season for Nebraska while manning the hot corner. He struck out 39 times and walked 26. He won the Big Ten Sportsman Award this year.
21st Round (623): Jared Cheek, RHP, Georgia. As a senior reliever for the Bulldogs, Cheek posted a 2.34 ERA over 34.2 innings, striking out 31 and walking 16. Must be a guy with good stuff, but needing to clean up the control. Looks like he was Georgia’s closer for the most part this year.
22nd Round (653): Alex Bautista, OF, Lindsey Wilson College. As a junior, Bautista hit .265/.336/.469 with 10 homers in 55 games. Walked 14 times, struck out 29 times.
23rd Round (683): John Williamson, LHP, Rice U. A two-way player at Rice, it doesn’t look like Williamson was a standout on either side of the ball as a senior, but perhaps focusing on pitching will bring out the best. Williamson is listed at 6’1″ 195 lbs.
So far, the Cubs haven’t taken any really obvious over slot swings. Once you get past about this point in the draft, pretty much every team will take a swing or two, but it’s with guys they know are going to be exceedingly hard to sign.
24th Round (713): Sutton Whiting, SS, Louisville. An undersized middle infielder, Whiting was a senior this past season for the Cardinals. He hit .302/.407/.369, so he doesn’t have much pop, but he does walk a lot – 38 times in 63 games. Without much in the way of power, but lots of walks (and a fair number of Ks – 54), I’d say this is a guy who really works counts.
BA ranked Whiting at 439, noting that he started switch-hitting again this past year (which upped his stats significantly) after giving it up post-high school. They say his defense is questionable at shortstop going forward, but he’s a possible utility infielder down the road.
25th Round (743): Marcus Mastrobuoni, C, Cal St. – Stanislaus. The MLB Draft Tracker has died, so there’s only the auditory conference call, and, man, it was impossible to understand both the name of this young man and the college. Did some sleuthing using “Marcus,” “Cal State,” and “baseball,” eventually finding the Cubs’ 25th round pick. He’s a senior catcher who hit .357/.425/.522 this year.
26th Round (773): Jared Padgett, LHP, Florida (HS). The first long shot of the day for the Cubs, as Padgett is one of the top lefty high school pitching prospects in the draft, and a Mississippi State commit. He’s ranked 120 by BA, who describes him as a great athlete, but raw as a pitcher. He can hit 94mph on the gun, though, and he’s 6’3″ 190 lbs. MLB.com likes his curveball better than his fastball.
Here’s a scouting video from MLB.com:
MLB.com had Padgett 195th, while Keith Law had him all the way up at 89. Kiley McDaniel had him in the middle at 158. Wherever you put him exactly, this is a quality lefty arm, committed to a quality college, picked in a round where you figure he’s highly likely to honor that commitment. We’ll see if the Cubs saved some funds and can sway him.
UPDATE: Looks like Cubs previously talked to him about third round money (unclear where they would have selected him), but Padgett declined. That suggests he’s either unsignable, or at least wants more than $700,000 to make it happen. Not sure Cubs will have the room to pull that off.
27th Round (803): Angelo Amendolare, 2B, Jacksonville U. Another undersized middle infield college senior, Amendolare hit .366/.441/.480 this year with 27 BBs and just 28 Ks. I really like these picks in this range – guys who’ve probably never been trusted to break out because of their size, may want to continue their career to see what they can do as pros, and are relatively easy to get into the org. See what they’ve got, see if they’ve been unfairly doubted, and see what happens.
28th Round (833): Delvin Zinn, SS, Mississippi (HS). A Mississippi State commit, Zinn does not show up on BA’s top 500, but here’s a video of him committing to MSU:
And here’s a stray thought:
Cubs pick Delvin Zinn is an excellent defensive SS. Questions all revolve around how much he'll hit.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 10, 2015
29th Round (863): Ian Rice, C, Houston. A junior, Rice hit .255 and slugged only .364 … but he walked 46 times in 55 games. He struck out just 34 times.
30th Round (893): Tyler Payne, C, West Virginia St. A senior, Payne hit .354/.413/.571 this year. His favorite movie is ‘Commando.’
31st Round (923): Daniel Spingola, OF, Georgia Tech. The Cubs drafted Spingola last year in the 24th round, but he did not sign. His senior year, Spingola hit .259/.341/.346 with 17 walks and 27 strikeouts. A speed, left-handed hitter, and we’ll see if he’s ready to start his professional career this time around.
32nd Round (953): Fitz Stadler, RHP, Illinois (HS). The second high school pitcher long shot for the Cubs today, Stadler is ranked 145th by MLB.com, which indicates that he’s a pure projection type (6’8″, 215 lbs) who is likely to honor his commitment to ASU. Still, it’s worth drafting these guys, establishing a relationship, and maybe even trying to sway them with an over slot offer.
And MLB.com scouting video:
33rd Round (983): M.T. Minacci, School Not Listed. Minacci was drafted two years ago by the Rockies, and I’m not exactly sure where he’s been between then and now. Looks like he was a Florida State commit, but didn’t play? Not sure what’s up.
34th Round (1013): Cody Hawken, OF, Washington (HS). The high school player of the year in Washington, Hawken is currently committed to play at Portland.
35th Round (1043): Taylor Jones, 1B, Gonzaga. The Cubs’ first first baseman of the draft. A two-way player, Jones broke out with the bat in 2015, hitting .358/.414/.545 as a junior.
36th Round (1073): Al Jones, SS, George (HS). One of the top prep positional prospects in the draft, according to BA (64th overall) and MLB.com (58th), it’s unlikely Jones is signable for the Cubs. BA says he may be the fastest player in the draft, but he broke his hamate bone in the Spring, cutting his season short. That probably turned teams off from his expected asking price, because he’s otherwise committed to Vanderbilt. Might as well draft him, but I don’t expect anything to happen other than the start of a relationship.
37th Round (1103): Donnie Cimino, OF, Wesleyan. A senior, Cimino was the captain of both the football and baseball teams (Wesleyan is a smaller athletic school). That’s where Cubs GM Jed Hoyer played his college days, by the way.
38th Round (1133): Rayne Supple, RHP, Vermont (HS). A 6’3″ pitcher who was Vermont’s player of the year as a junior and as a senior, Supple is committed to Wake Forrest.
39th Round (1163): John Kilichowski, LHP, Vanderbilt. A draft-eligible sophomore, Kilichowski has two more years left at Vandy if he wants, and given how far he slipped in the draft, teams must presume he intends to return next year. BA had him ranked 256, and MLB.com had him at 146.
40th Round (1193): Domenic DeRenzo, C, Pennsylvania (HS). BA has DeRenzo at 233, so this isn’t a Mr. Nobody selection. While raw with the bat, apparently DeRenzo is great with the glove, and is committed to Oklahoma.
And that’s the 2015 draft. More thoughts on it soon, and a live stream here at BN at 7pm CT.