Cubs Minor League Daily: What If Baseball Draft Picks Were All Tradable?

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Cubs Minor League Daily: What If Baseball Draft Picks Were All Tradable?

Chicago Cubs

The NFL draft started yesterday (and if you haven’t been reading about it on The Ten Yard Line, then you really should be), and in the NFL, a draft means a flurry of draft day trades that include trading picks.

Trading picks is not a thing in baseball. Even though it has come up in talk surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations in recent years, it has never really happened. There are two short rounds of special “Competitive Balance” picks that can be traded, but there are rules regarding when they can be dealt and most teams don’t bother dealing them.

But what if picks had been tradable when the Cubs were in their rebuild? Would it have made any difference?

One draft that stands out when pondering moving draft picks is the 2014 draft. The Cubs picked fourth and took Kyle Schwarber, but Schwarber generally was not expected to be drafted that early. The Cubs signed Schwarber to an underslot deal and spent the savings on a number of high dollar pitchers over the next few rounds.

In an NFL scenario, that would be an opportunity for the Cubs to trade back and pick up some extra draft picks. There were three standout prospects in that draft, but whoever picked fourth was expected to have their pick from three good college starters (Aaron Nola, Kyle Freeland, or Jeff Hoffman), or the best shortstop in the draft (Nick Gordon). Assuming the Cubs chose from that group, as they were widely expected to do by most all the way up until the afternoon of draft day, then the Blue Jays, holders of picks nine and eleven, would have missed out on that entire group. Instead, the Cubs surprised with Schwarber and Hoffman fell into Toronto’s lap.

Had picks been tradable, would the Blue Jays have worked a deal with the Cubs in which they got the Number Four pick and the Cubs picked at Nine and Eleven, or maybe Nine and also picked up the Blue Jay’s second rounder? That sort of a deal would make sense for the Cubs, and I’d argue would have been a pretty good idea for Toronto as well. The Cubs needed the picks to rebuild, and the Jays could have benefitted from a fast moving pitcher such as Nola who ultimately reached the majors the very next year.

So let’s say the Cubs had swapped No. 4 for No’s. 9 and 11, and then used No. 9 on Schwarber. Who might they have taken with 11? Knowing that the Cubs front office preferred to play it a little safe at the top of the draft and focused on college bats, there is one name that stands out. Trea Turner was still on the board at No. 11, and right now Turner has the highest bWAR of any player in the 2014 first round (at 7.0).

That doesn’t mean the Cubs would have walked away with Schwarber and Turner had picks been tradable in 2014, but it is a fun scenario to think about.

[Brett: OK, here’s my butterfly wings – even if the Cubs had pulled that off, it would have required so much bonus pool space to sign those guys that they couldn’t have signed Dylan Cease. Then, maybe the Jose Quintana trade doesn’t work out for some reason, so they wouldn’t have him now if picks were tradable!]

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Oklahoma City 4, Iowa 2
This time it was the starting pitching that was very good.

  • Duane Underwood: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K
  • Taylor Davis: 2 for 4
  • Chesny Young: 1 for 4, 3B
  • Duane Underwood: 1 for 2

Double A: Tennessee Smokies

Tennessee was rained out.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Carolina 8, Myrtle Beach 0
Myrtle Beach 8, Carolina 1
Between the two games, the Pelicans committed five errors yesterday.

  • Jose Paulino: 4 IP, 8 R (6 ER), 12 H, 4 K
  • Tyler Alamo: 1 for 2, 2 B
  • Aramis Ademan: 2 for 2
  • Game Two
  • Tyson Miller: 6 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Jhon Romero: 1 IP, 1 K
  • Connor Myers: 2 for 5, 2B
  • P.J. Higgins: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
  • Austin Upshaw: 2 for 4
  • Aramis Ademan: 1 for 3, BB

Low A: South Bend Cubs

South Bend was rained out.

Other Notes

  • Aramis Ademan was lifted in the sixth inning of the first game of the Pelicans’ doubleheader, but whatever the reason it must not have been serious as he came back out to start the second game.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ademan start moving up the lineup in the coming weeks. The Pelicans have had him hitting in the nine slot, probably so as to give the teenager time to adapt to the league without having to handle the added pressure of batting near the top of the order. And given that he struggled early, that was probably a good move. Lately, though, Ademan has been hitting much better. He has struck out only three times since April 15, walked three times in that same span, and currently has an OPS of .730. On the other hand, he hasn’t had an extra base hit since April 18. Still, with an OBP up to .343, I suspect he’ll get some chances higher in the order soon.
  • I cannot figure out Duane Underwood. Coming off a 2017 season that was decent but left many thinking he was headed for the bullpen, Underwood started the year in relief. In his first appearance he was not that great. In his second game, a start, he pitched very well against a tough Memphis team. Seven days later that same Memphis nearly doubled his ERA, but then he absolutely shut down an even tougher Oklahoma City team in his most recent start. I have no idea what to expect from Underwood at this point, but he’s very much back on my prospect radar.
  • Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser was at the Pelicans’ doubleheader, and he had some nice things to say about starter Tyson Miller as well as Ademan:

Author: Luke Blaize

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