The final day of the MLB Draft is at once arguably the biggest, the least important, and the most intriguing.
While the vast majority of top talents – future significant prospects and big leaguers – have been selected by the time the second round concludes on Day One, you can look at any roster in baseball and find contributors who were drafted in the 11th round and beyond. Heck, Carl Edwards Jr. was drafted in the 48th round! That round doesn’t even exist anymore!
Today, the Chicago Cubs will dive back in the task of restocking their farm system, drafting steady college bats and high upside high school arms, and everything in between.
The structure of the draft has a great impact on how today plays out. Recall, through round ten, draft picks are subject to bonus slots, the sum of which create a team’s bonus pool. Overspend that pool by more than 5% and you lose a first round pick next year. So we’ll see if and how the Cubs save some cash from their picks through round ten, and how that impacts their selections today. In rounds 11 through 40, any player you pick can sign for up to $125,000 without it counting against the pool. Any amount over that, however, does count against the pool. But, unlike in rounds 1 through 10, any player you select today but don’t sign has no impact on your pool. In other words, today’s picks are total free shots. Thus, it’s not at all uncommon to see hail mary’s taken in the early rounds today, with teams wanting to get the rights to, for example, a top high schooler who slipped, knowing that they can take a risk free shot at signing them.
In recent years for the Cubs, however, they’ve used the early rounds on Day Three to take solid, signable talent – perhaps preferring to get quality players into the system rather than take too many swings and misses that early in the draft. It’s not as if there isn’t still some very good, signable talent on the board. Not every team is willing to give these players the full $125,000 to sign, either. The Cubs are. Don’t underestimate the value of that money, plus the offer of a chance to begin a player’s professional career in an organization like the Cubs’.
That is all to say, whether over slot gambles or not, I expect the Cubs to land some interesting talent today.
If you missed anything yesterday, catch yourself up on the Cubs’ picks right here.
Things get underway today at 11am CT, with the picks taking place in relative rapid-fire succession. You can listen at MLB.com.
We’ll keep this post updated throughout the rest of the draft, and I’ll pop in the picks, as well as whatever quick-hit information I’m able to scrounge up on the fly.
Away we go …
Round 11: Rollie Lacy, RHP – Creighton. A 6’3″ junior starting pitcher with very solid results (2.54 ERA over 88.2 innings this year, 83 Ks and just 18 BBs) sounds about right for the Cubs in this range of the draft.
Round 12: Ben Hecht, RHP – Wichita State. Get those Midwest college pitchers! Another 6’3″ junior, Hecht actually pitched as a reliever this year, striking out 41 over 30.1 innings pitched. I can’t claim to know the particulars just yet, but he was a dominant starting pitcher in 2016, so perhaps the Cubs are eyeing him for a move back to the rotation.
Round 13: Austin Upshaw, INF – Kennesaw State. The kind of pick we’ve become so accustomed to this front office making. A smaller college bat at a smaller college, who has put up huge numbers in his three college years (.361/.416/.515, nearly identical walk and strikeout rates). Sometimes it’s hard to know which of these types of guys will transition well to pro ball because of the metal bats and the scale of competition … so get ’em in the door. They’ve had success before, maybe that will continue.
Round 14: Luis Vazquez, SS – Puerto Rico (high school). There’s a true scouting play, because, for the moment, I’m having trouble finding a ton of info on Vazquez besides his Perfect Game profile.
Round 15: Jared Young, 2B – Old Dominion. More silly college offensive statistics at a smaller school from a middle infielder: .367/.441/.580 this year.
Round 16: Brandon Hughes, CF – Michigan State. Hughes shows up as the 240th ranked prospect to BA, who notes in his scouting report that he is a good runner who can stick in center field, but he lacks power at the plate and some scouts question whether he’ll hit enough in professional ball.
Round 17: Peyton Remy, RHP – Central Arizona Junior College. Looks like Remy was a solid prospect coming out of high school, was set to start his college career at New Mexico, but then wound up going the junior college route (which is often what prospects do when they’d rather be draft eligible sooner than the three year wait they’d otherwise have if they don’t sign out of high school.
Round 18: Casey Ryan, RHP – Hawaii. A tall senior, Ryan transferred to Hawaii halfway through his college career, and converted from the field to the mound as a reliever. Interesting path. Not much of a track record on the mound, so I’m guessing scouts liked what they saw. Wonder if it was premium velocity.
Round 19: Chris Singleton, CF – Charleston Southern. I’m not immediately finding a scouting report out there, but the college stats (I know, don’t scout the stats) suggest Singleton is a fast guy without much pop. More strikeouts than you’d want to see for a guy without power, too. So, again, based on a high stolen base total, the fact that he plays center field, and he’s being drafted out of a small school by the Cubs in this range, I’m going to guess he’s a fast, defense-first guy.
Oh, man, a horrible note about Singleton:
Charleston Southern's Chris Singleton (19th round, Cubs), had mom murdered in Charleston church tragedy https://t.co/KXrNL3NtLU
— John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) June 14, 2017
Round 20: Brendan King, RHP – Holy Cross. A senior who had a very good season as a junior, King had a bit of a down final year at Holy Cross.
Round 21: Sean Barry, RHP – San Diego. Another senior, and another mid-college-career transfer who moved to the bullpen (from the rotation).
Round 22: Skyler Messinger, SS – Colorado (high school). When he arrives in the big leagues and has a huge game in which the Cubs lose: “Don’t blame the Messinger!” Although not a top ranked prospect, Messinger pops up in quite a few prospecting circles of the internet, having participated in a lot of pre-draft activities.
Round 23: Brady Miller, RHP – Western Oregon. A junior with decent numbers this year – 3.50 ERA, 54.0 innings, 57 K, 24 BB, 45 H.
Round 24: Braxton Light, RHP, Wallace State Community College. An undersized (5’9″) reliever from a junior college, Light has huge strikeout numbers.
Round 25: Mitch Stophel, RHP – King University. Another senior, and another reliever with a healthy number of strikeouts.
Round 26: Bryce Bonnin, RHP – Texas (high school). And the Cubs take a swing at one of the top high school prospects who slipped. An Arkansas commit, Bonnin is a two-way player with a mid-90s fastball. He’s on the smaller side, and the scouting reports suggest he’s got some mechanical work needed. He’s ranked 73 to BA and 74 to MLB.com, so it’s going to take significant amount of money to sign him, and it’s questionable at this point if the Cubs have saved enough to make it happen (especially if sixth rounder Jeremy Estrada requires a big commitment).
Round 27: Darius Vines, RHP – Oxnard California Community College. A two-way player who has posted solid numbers, and comes with the side benefit of the last name Vines. *immediately searches for draft-eligible players with the last names Ivy and Bricks*
Round 28: Kier Meredith, CF – North Carolina (high school). Another shot for the Cubs, as Meredith is a true 80-grade runner according to BA, and he’s got a commitment to Clemson. He’s a young draft pick (not 18 until September), and hasn’t grown into his potential power yet. I’m thinking he’s a tough sign.
Round 29: Jake Steffens, RHP – Santa Clara. A senior who moved into the rotation this year after pitching in relief, Steffens put up some really good peripheral numbers (101 K, 20 BB in 102.2 innings).
Round 30: Cam Balego, IF – Mercyhurst. A senior with absolutely ridiculous offensive numbers: .367/.500/.698, 10 HR, 28 BB, 14(!) HBP, 8(!) K.
Round 31: Ramsey Romano, IF – Cal. State Long Beach. The 494th-ranked prospect to BA, Romano is a junior with an awesome name. He also spent a year on the Michigan football team before transferring back out west to play baseball exclusively.
Round 32: Hunter Ruth, RHP – Florida (high school). A top 150 prospect to both BA and MLB.com, Ruth had Tommy John surgery and may wind up going to Florida.
Round 33: Joe Donovan, C – Illinois (high school).
Round 34: Andrew Karp, RHP – Florida State. The 253rd ranked prospect to BA, and it sounds like there’s a lot of talent in the junior after an early-career car accident, but a lot of inconsistency.
Round 35: Ben Ramirez, SS – California (high school). Ranked 259 to BA, Ramirez is a USC commit.
Round 36: Tanner Allen, CF – Alabama (high school). Mississippi State commit.
Round 37: Alex Cornwell, LHP – California (high school). Another USC commit, Cornwell is ranked 498 to BA.
Round 38: Russell Smith, LHP – Texas (high school). Number 455 to BA. A TCU commit.
Round 39: Cooper Coldiron, IF – Houston. What a name. Sign him for that alone.
Round 40: Jeffrey Passantino, RHP – Lipscomb. Another great name – it’s Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, but also Tino. Solid collegiate numbers.