This Week In The Minors: The Draft That Was

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This Week In The Minors: The Draft That Was

Chicago Cubs

albert almoraThey say it can take four or five years before a baseball team really knows how well it did in a given draft. And that is probably true. We may have a pretty good idea in as few as two or three years, but the point is that it just takes time.

That doesn’t mean we can’t take a look before then, though.

And that is exactly what we will do this this pre-draft edition of the This Week In the Minors. After the weekly team summaries we will run down the entirety of the Cubs 2012 draft. There are a few names on that list that have probably become familiar to you, even beyond the obvious two at the top.

Iowa Cubs : 24-30

Just when you think the Cubs are putting it all together, they run off and have a disappointing road trip in Nashville. I honestly thought the Cubs had a chance to sweep the Sounds. Nope. However, despite their mediocre week and abysmal road record (8-20), the Cubs are just three games out of first place. Against all probability, this is a team in the hunt for the postseason.

Tennessee Smokies : 28-26

The Smokies played pretty well this week, but they remain 6.5 games behind first place Birmingham. Tennessee is very unlikely to catch the Barons in time to claim a first half title and lock up a spot in the postseason. They should be one of the favorites to claim the second half title, though, so post season baseball is still very much a possibility for the Double A affiliate.

Daytona Cubs : 27-26

The Cubs are in fourth and are just three games back of first. It will take a quite a run to push them over the top and into a first half title, but when this team is clicking they have the potential to put up wins in bunches. Oddly enough, the Cubs still have a better road record (15-11) than they do a home record (12-15).

Kane County Cougars : 24-29

Kane County has fallen out of the first half race. A disastrous week left the Cougars 10.5 back of first place Cedar Rapids.

The Chicago Cubs’ 2012 Draft Revisited

There are a lot of draftees to cover, so I am not going to spend long time talking about any of them. If that player has appeared in a real game for the Cubs, the name should be a link to their page on Baseball Reference. And away we go.

Albert Almora, OF – If you don’t know who Almora is, you have not been hanging around Bleacher Nation enough lately. He’s ripping up the Midwest League for Kane County right now.
Pierce Johnson, RHP – Also in Kane County, Johnson is one of the more polished high ceiling arms in the Cubs system. Don’t let his low level fool you; when he is ready to move up, he could move up quickly.
Paul Blackburn, RHP – Perhaps the most polished high school arm the Cubs drafted, Blackburn appeared briefly in the Rookie league last year.
Duane Underwood, RHP – His fastball shows plenty of potential, but this guy is in need of a lot of polish. It may take a few years before the Cubs really know how good he can be.
Ryan McNeil, RHP – The fourth consecutive pitcher taken by the Cubs, McNeil is a another project with the potential to impress one day. Currently injured.
Joshua Conway, RHP – He fell due to injuries, but if he can manage to stay healthy he might prove to be as good as anyone on this list. Currently injured.
Anthony Prieto, LHP – Hey, look! A lefty! Some control issues here; Prieto walked 12 in 19.1 innings for Arizona last summer.
Carl Lang, RHP – The seventh straight pitcher taken by the Cubs also has yet to pitch outside the state of Arizona.
Stephen Bruno, Inf – As the first position player taken by the Cubs behind Almora, Bruno is a good name to know if you want to impress your friends with random Cubs trivia. He has an OPS of .914 so far this year with Daytona.
Michael Heesch, LHP – He’s currently pitching for Kane County. I like the GO/AO (1.55) but he needs to improve that 5.01 ERA against right handed hitting if he wants to remain a starter.
Chadd Krist, C – Someone forgot to tell Krist the Cubs don’t have any catching prospects in the system. Not only is this guy solid behind plate, he has an OPS of .829 following an early season promotion to Daytona.
Chad Martin, RHP – 17 K in 16 IP for Arizona is a nice foundation build on. At 6’7″, this Hoosier might be the tallest pitcher in the system.
Rashad Crawford, OF – One of the best raw athletes in the system, Crawford is an example that even this front office is willing to gamble on athletes as well as more polished baseball players, if only occasionally. If his Rookie League walk rate is any indication, though, this guy could be one to watch.
Justin Amlung, RHP – Another college arm, Amlung is earning his living in the Kane County bullpen. He’s getting in trouble with walks and home runs, but he has been stingy with the hits so far. Good GO/AO as well.
Bijan Rademacher, LHP – Some teams wanted him as a pitcher, but he wanted to hit. The Cubs agreed to let him try. He got off to a slow start, but hit .337/.402/.422 in May. He’s also gotten some work on the mound as a bullpen saver.
Corbin Hoffner, RHP – Posted an ERA of 0.71 over 12.2 IP in the Rookie League last summer.
Carlos Escobar, C – Escobar hit decently for Boise last fall, but he has struggled to get going with Kane County this summer. Then again, he only has 7 games under belt. It is way too early to form any conclusions.
Michael Hamann, RHP – He got knocked around a little as a reliever in Boise.
Nathan Dorris, LHP – A bullpen guy for Kane County, Dorris has a record of 2-2 and has struck out 22 in 22.2 innings. Remarkably, he has a GO/AO of 2.58.
David Bote, 2B/SS – Bote has played for both Daytona and Kane County this spring, and has more walks (14) than hits (9). Three of those nine hits have gone for extra bases (including one homer).
Damek Tomscha, 3B – Did not sign.
Blake Hickman, C – Did not sign.
Steve Perakslis, RHP – Also in Kane County, Peraklis has been pitching well in relief. His walk rate is a little high, but he is also doing a great job of inducing ground balls.
Eddie Orozco, RHP – And yet another Kane County reliever, Orozco has had trouble with left handed hitters this year.
Jake Drosner, LHP – Did not sign.
William Fisher, C – Did not sign.
Rhett Wiseman, OF – Did not sign. Had the talent to be drafted in the first three rounds, but was firmly committed to Vanderbilt. This is a name to remember for future draft conversations.
Jasvir Rakkar, RHP – Struck out 13 in 10 IP for Arizona last summer.
Tyler Bremer, RHP – Bremer struggled in relief for Boise last summer.
Lance Rymel, C – This guy is already in Double A (though perhaps just temporarily). He singled and walked in his one game at that level and as a result has a Double A OPS of .833.
Austin Pentecost, RHP – Did not sign.
Izaac Garsez, OF – Had 6 steals and 2 home runs in 38 games between Arizona and Boise last year. Strikeouts could be a problem.
Bryan Bonnell, RHP – Did not sign.
Tim Saunders, SS/2B – One of the biggest surprises of the draft for the Cubs, Saunders hit at every level as he climbed up to Daytona last year. He has not yet been able to replicate that success this season.
Thomas Pannone, OF – Did not sign.
Christian Botnick, RHP – Did not sign.
Ben Carhart, 3B – The Cubs surprisingly jumped Carhart all the way to Daytona from Arizona to open the 2013 season, and while Carhart is not tearing up the league, he’s not playing badly either.
Sly Edwards, OF – Did not sign. But his name really is Sly on the draft tracker.
Clayton Crum, RHP – Did not sign.
Hassan Evans, OF – Did not sign.
Rustin Sveum, 3B – Did not sign, despite being related to the Cubs’ manager.
Jacob Rogers, 1B – One of the oldest players drafted by the Cubs, Rogers appeared in 16 games for Peoria last year and posted the impressive line of .300/.493/.420 with 19 BB and 14 K.

And there you have it. Forty rounds (plus compensation rounds) of drafting drama compressed into one overly concise list. We can expect to see many names from this list open their 2013 season with Boise in a few weeks. Hopefully they will be joined there by a talent rich crop from the 2013 draft.

The 2013 Draft starts on Thursday night at 7 PM ET. Brett and I will be covering it here on the website as well as on Twitter.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.