Draft Notes: Pitching Dominating the Talk at the Top

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Draft Notes: Pitching Dominating the Talk at the Top

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

tyler kolekIt’s the last day of April, which means we’re just a day away from being in the month before the month with the draft! How about that stretching effort right there?

  • Not that you needed to hear it again, but Theo Epstein reiterates that the Cubs will be taking the best player available at the top of the draft this year; not just taking a pitcher because they need pitching. (Cubs.com) Increasingly, however, most believe the clear best talents at the top of the draft will all be pitchers.
  • Speaking of which, Jim Callis writes about the wealth of pitching talent in this year’s draft. One scouting director told Callis that as many as eight or nine of the top ten picks could be pitchers, which is pretty incredible, particularly in light of expanding fears about pitcher injuries and how futile our efforts to prevent them.
  • In tandem with the piece, MLB.com has updated its top draft prospects list, with the top ten now looking like this:
    1. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (Calif.)
    2. Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State
    3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
    4. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
    5. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
    6. Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
    7. Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (Fla.)
    8. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
    9. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
    10. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
  • Aiken’s ascent up virtually every secondary source’s top draft prospect list is nearly complete. Interesting that Hoffman, despite his recent “arm soreness” that has him missing at least a couple starts, is still in the top five. Odds are good that, whatever player the Cubs end up selecting, he’s on this list of ten players. And I could come up with a convincing argument for just about any of them – but we’ll get more into that as the draft gets a little closer.
  • Taking the pitching preference stuff a step further, Jonathan Mayo polled nine scouting directors and national scouts, asking whom they’d take if they had the top overall pick: four said Aiken, four said Kolek, and only one said Rodon.
  • Speaking of Rodon, he was dominant in his most recent outing, but once again, he was allowed to throw more than 130 pitches. The exorbitant pitch counts this year are not, alone, a reason to be scared off of one of the best arms in the draft (very few think he could slip to four), but it’s a shame that he isn’t being better protected.
  • In a recent BA chat, John Manuel offered his thoughts on the Cubs’ first round pick: “[T]here is not a [Kris] Bryant in this draft, and this pitcher class is stronger than it was last year. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were all in town last week to see both Jeff Hoffman and Carlos Rodon, so both are in play, as potentially are Aiken and Kolek as you said. I can see Aaron Nola being in that mix, though he’s more in the Mike Leake mold, and I believe Kyle Freeland, Erick Fedde and Brandon Finnegan also could be in that mix at No. 4. None of those guys would stun me at No. 4, though I would at this point be a bit surprised by Beede at that spot.”
  • For his part, although Jim Callis says Alex Jackson is a possibility, he thinks the Cubs wind up taking one of Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, or Hoffman.
  • Dan Kirby writes about some of the theoretical possibilities for the Cubs in the second round at pick 45.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.