You know the backstory. Last year, the Chicago Cubs shocked the baseball world (to say nothing of the blogoverse) by selecting Division II Southern Arkansas Mulerider Hayden Simpson 16th overall in the 2010 draft. Most teams reportedly had him as a third or fourth rounder, though there were whispers that a couple teams were considering him in the supplemental round between first and second. Still, the pick was either incisive genius on the part of so-far successful scouting director Tim Wilken, or an incredible reach designed to save some cash. Simpson’s debut was, perhaps, the most heavily-anticipated Cubs’ prospect debut since Mark Prior was Stephen Strasburg.
And then Simpson came down with mono. He didn’t pitch at all last year. The wait was excruciating.
Finally, Simpson made his professional debut last night for the A-ball Peoria Chiefs, and it was a good one. Simpson went three and two thirds, giving up just one earned run (on a solo home run), one walk and three hits. He struck out seven, and threw 67 pitches. All told, a really positive start to his professional career. He’s almost been a forgotten player when discussing the Cubs’ system, but if he’s as good as the Cubs seem to think he is, they could have another top pitching prospect.