Post-Draft Cubs Notes: Early Signings, Top-Ranked Prospect for Cubs, Strategy, More
The 2016 MLB Draft has come and gone, and to much less fanfare around these parts. That’s what happens when you don’t have a first or second round pick, eh?
If you followed along on this past weekend, you’ll know that the Cubs employed a pretty clear strategy (or there were a heck of a lot of coincidences), which saw them mostly select tall, right-handed college pitchers throughout all 38 rounds of the draft. For a full analysis of the draft and the Cubs approach/strategy, I’ll point you to Luke’s wrap up here. In short, the Cubs selections broke down as follows:
High School: 10
Right-handed pitching: 22 (one player was listed as a RHP/OF)
Left handed pitching: 5
Outfielders: 4 (one player was listed as a RHP/OF)
But there’s a lot more to the Cubs’ picks and the draft as a whole, than what’s listed above. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting bits from around baseball, in a run down of some post-Draft notes.
- First, and most applicable to the Chicago Cubs, Chris Mitchell has performed a through age 27 KATOH WAR projection for all of the college players taken in day two of the draft (recall, KATOH is a purely objective, numeric system). Leading the entire pack is the Cubs’ 10th round pick Dakota Mekkes with 3.8 WAR. Mekkes, you’ll recall, is a big (6’7″) college righty who pitched exclusively out of the pen (with absurd numbers in the Big Ten for MSU), but often for more than one inning. In addition to having the most expected WAR, Mekkes has the highest percent chance of reaching the Majors (78%) of anyone on the board. Mitchell is surprised he fell this far in the draft and predicts that he can move quickly through the system.
- The Cubs’ third round pick (first pick overall) Tom Hatch shows up at 19th overall with 0.5 WAR, and he’s followed by the Cubs’ fifth round pick Bailey Clark at 68th overall with 0.1 WAR. Hatch, however, does have the 8th highest shot of reaching the majors (34%); by this measure, Clark (15%) is quite a bit lower. No other Cubs players taken on Day Two were eligible for this projection, though, based on where they played, so that’s all we get. Still an interesting take on the draft and definitely worth your time.
- At ESPN, Keith Law has a team by team breakdown of the 2016 MLB Draft for insiders, and this is another one you’re definitely going to want to check out. The content is premium, so I won’t share too much, but Law does like what the Cubs did on Day Two of the draft and acknowledges that the Cubs took some risk with some otherwise flawed pitchers. Just like Luke said, the Cubs are gambling heavily on their organization’s ability to fix some of these pitchers, because if they can, they may have done quite well for themselves. You can’t teach a 99 MPH fastball.
- Moving away from Day Two of the Draft for a moment, Neil K. Warner has a profile/interview/scoop on the Cubs 11th Draft pick Michael Rucker, who appears to be close to signing. According to Rucker himself, he expects to finalize a deal with the Cubs soon worth something over $100,000. “This morning the Cubs told me they were going to take me in the 11th round,” Rucker said. “They were able to move around some money so they could offer me over $100k. We still have some of the details to work out but it’s pretty much a done deal. My wife and I are really excited about the opportunity.” Rucker, a junior righty, was taken by the Cubs with the 344th overall pick in the draft. Last season, he was the ace of the Cougars’ rotation, posting a 2.73 ERA over 102 innings, allowing only 80 hits, walking 31, and striking out 94.
- And lastly, following the same path, it appears that the Cubs have signed 7th round catcher Michael Cruz, the first position player they took in the draft, for well under slot value. Cruz, you’ll recall is the left-handed, big-slugging, patient catcher, and the Cubs saved about 111,000 signing him:
.@Cubs ink 7th-rder Michael Cruz for 75K (pick value: 186K). @BCUAthletics C showed good power this year. @MLBDraft
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) June 14, 2016