Draft Signing Tea Leaves: Schwarber, Cease, Sands, Steele, Norwood, Griggs, Mitchell, Depperman

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Draft Signing Tea Leaves: Schwarber, Cease, Sands, Steele, Norwood, Griggs, Mitchell, Depperman

Chicago Cubs

tea leavesAlthough we’ve had just one solid report of an agreement thus far, it looks like the Cubs have several other deals lined up after last week’s draft. Here are some of the tea leaves (but remember, a deal isn’t official until the agreement is signed and the physical is passed – agreeing to terms is not the same thing as officially signing):

  • Top pick Kyle Schwarber was not expected to be a difficult sign, and, indeed, is likely to have already agreed to terms on an under slot deal. Supporting that speculation, according to his Twitter feed, Schwarber is in Chicago (which could be tied to a physical and signing some documents).
  • Second round pick Jake Stinnett out of Maryland also figures to sign, given that he’s a college senior who was drafted in the second round. Those guys don’t walk. The only questions with Stinnett are how much he’ll be under slot, and when his college career will end (he just pitched this weekend in the NCAA Tournament).
  • If the top two picks do net some under slot savings, you can figure that it’ll be used to sign, among others, the trio of high school arms the Cubs took in rounds 4/5/6 – Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Dylan Cease. Each was a highly-ranked high school arm, projected to go higher in the draft, but for their college commitments and expected bonus demands. The good news is VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod sure makes it sound like the Cubs knew what they were doing when picking those three, and had a pretty good idea of whether they’d be able to get deals done (ESPN): “These are kids that were rated very highly and had strong college commitments. But, through the due diligence of our scouts – communication [is important], certainly in this system of the draft, you have a pool of money, you have to work hard to make sure it fits within the parameters. And we did and we feel like we got three talented young players that we think we’ll be able to sign.” Getting all three of those pitchers to sign, in addition to the rest of the guys at the top of the draft, makes the draft extremely solid. And that’s before we even get into Rounds 11 through 40.
  • As for Sands, individually, he’s already putting signals out there that he’s going to sign. In a Tallahassee-Democrat article, Sands says that he spoke with his would-be college coach about being drafted, and said, “He said he supported me and was happy for me and told me good luck. I’m always going to be a ‘Nole, so it’s good. It really just came down to signability and what I wanted.” That sounds like a young man who will be signing.
  • Similarly, Steele has told local media (example: GulfLive.com) that he won’t comment on the draft or his commitment to Southern Mississippi “until a contract is signed.” Kinda sounds like he expects to sign eventually, although you can’t quite say that’s a lock.
  • As a senior in the 9th Round, it wasn’t too much in doubt, but it sounds like James Farris will sign (AzStarNet). Because the Cubs need him to sign in order to keep his slot in their bonus pool, it’s important that he signs. Typically, college seniors in this range sign for well below slot.
  • 7th Rounder James Norwood, a junior out of St. Louis University, sounds likely to sign as well (StlToday). He was ranked quite a bit higher than where he was picked, and may have slid in part because of an elbow injury from which he just returned this past year. If he does sign, his bonus will be very interesting.
  • 12th Rounder Tanner Griggs seems to be under the impression that he’ll be with the Cubs this Summer.
  • 13th Rounder Kevonte Mitchell is reportedly going to sign:

  • I don’t have much on Mitchell, who is a very big high school third baseman out of Missouri, but he did take BP at Wrigley.
  • As I mentioned in the article on Joe Martarano earlier today, the Boise State linebacker seems like a decent bet to sign and play this Summer in the Cubs’ organization before heading back to BSU for football in the Fall.
  • 31st round high school pitchers who are ranked in the top 200 to Baseball America tend to be extremely tough to sign (not because of where they’re picked mind you – it’s just that, if the ranking is legit and the player is at all signable, he typically goes much earlier), but Brad Depperman (192 to BA) hints at a future with the Cubs:

  • Keep in mind: he didn’t say he’s signing. He simply said the Cubs gave him the opportunity to go pro (and they did by drafting him), and he’s excited to see what his future holds (which could be pros or college). Just sayin’.
  • To the extent you want to follow draft signing rumors obsessively, Yagyu of the PSD message board has created a draft tracker site with all kinds of updates. So long as you don’t presume everything there is a guarantee – it’s a source of information to add to your bowl, so to speak – it’s a fantastic resource.

Author: Brett Taylor

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