Cubs Minor League Daily: Checking on Cubs Draft Picks, Prospect Pitching Performances

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Checking on Cubs Draft Picks, Prospect Pitching Performances

Chicago Cubs

tennessee smokies logoNot a lot has changed since we last checked in on the status of the Cubs’ 2016 draftees. Baseball America has confirmed that the Cubs have signed their picks in round six (Chad Hockin), seven (Michael Cruz), eight (Stephen Ridings), and nine (Duncan Robinson), and yesterday MLB Pipeline added fourth rounder Tyson Miller to their list. Outside of the top ten rounds, it looks like we know of six signings for sure (per Baseball America). I suspect the number is somewhat higher than that; the Cubs will likely save up a bunch of signings to announce in one lot, and that will be our first indication for some of the players taken deeper in the draft.

Scrutinizing the top ten picks again, there are two very key names that remain unsigned. The Cubs’ first overall pick, third rounder Tom Hatch, and their tenth round pick Dakota Mekkes. I don’t think we need to worry about either, even though each is a college sophomore with a little more leverage than usual.

Hatch was pitching in the College World Series until very recently, so it has only been recently that the Cubs will have been able to seriously engage in negotiations. I very much doubt that the Cubs would have drafted Hatch in the third if they were not very confident he would sign, and so I remain very confident he will sign.

The more interesting case, and the one that is harder to read, is Dakota Mekkes. This reliever, if he signs, might just be the steal of the draft. The Fangraphs statistics based minor league player projection system known as KATOH absolutely loves this hard throwing strikeout artist; it gave him the highest likely WAR through his age 28 season of any player in the draft.  That particular stat should not be taken too seriously, but it does indicate that Mekkes compares favorable to his fellow draftees in some key areas that correlate with success, and that he was probably better than your typical tenth round pick.

Rumors abound that the Cubs have reached a deal with Mekkes for something in excess of his slot amount and that they can’t announce it until they officially free up the rest of those dollars by signing the rest of the top ten, but we won’t know for sure until his name is on the dotted line. It is very rare for players taken in the first ten rounds under this Collective Bargaining Agreement to not sign, though, so I fully expect that we’ll see this tall reliever in a Cubs’ uniform before the summer is out.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs

Iowa had the day off.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 4, Jacksonville 2
Despite being out hit and committing three errors, the Smokies got the road win.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 1, Salem 0
That’s the Pelicans fourth shutout this month.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 8, Lake County 2
Part of their success in this game was that the Cubs did not allow a single walk.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 9, Boise 7
The Emeralds withstood a ninth inning rally and came away with the win.

Rookie: Arizona Cubs
Mariners 5, Cubs 4
Despite the loss, Cubs’ pitching struck out thirteen.

Other Notes

  • For more on Dakota Mekkes, see this lengthy Fangraphs breakdown.
  • I link a lot of baseball videos here in the Daily, but I don’t provide all of the highlight videos that the Cubs’ affiliates produce. If you want to see them all (and you really do want to see them all), then you’ll need to subscribe to those channels on YouTube directly. Each of those teams has a different flavor to their highlight videos, from the studio-style game recaps from Myrtle Beach to the game clip sequences produced by South Bend to the game highlights meets music video published by Eugene, and all are well worth watching. Here is a list of links to each channel to make it easy for you to get started.
  • Triple A Iowa Cubs
  • Double A Tennessee Smokies
  • High A Myrtle Beach Pelicans
  • Low A South Bend Cubs
  • Short Season Eugene Emeralds

Author: Luke Blaize

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