Cubs Minor League Daily: Draft Day! Thoughts on Where the Cubs Go Today, and Still More Good Pitching

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Draft Day! Thoughts on Where the Cubs Go Today, and Still More Good Pitching

Chicago Cubs

By the time today ends, the Cubs will have four new prospects (once they sign, of course). Odds are good that all four will be candidates for the next Top 40. And I wouldn’t rule out that their first round pick could be in play for the top spot. The Cubs’ system is thin on players with impact potential, so the door is open (although current Number 2 Oscar De La Cruz is pitching well enough right now to slam it shut again).

FanGraphs has an updated mock draft that covers all four of the Cubs’ picks and is well worth reading. FanGraphs and Baseball America also maintain databases of draftable prospects; you’ll see plenty of references to both around here over the next three days.

So what will the Cubs do today? I think the key word for today will be upside. That often, but not always, means high school players. Look for the Cubs to take a high school player (or more than one) in the first or second round for the first time since they took Albert Almora sixth overall in 2012. Since Almora, their highest drafted highschooler was Bryan Hudson (3rd round, 82nd overall) in 2015.

Where will they look in the first round in particular? Thre are some whispers that the Cubs are scouting a number of high school bats fairly closely, and they are unsurprisingly linked to some college pitchers. I really think it will come down to how the draft shapes up. If there is an early run on college starters, they’ll take a high school bat. And vice versa.

So let’s call the odds 40% chance of a high school bat in the first round, 40% chance of a college pitcher, and 20% chance of a college bat. High school pitcher? You know better. Near 0% in the first round. The Cubs can’t afford to take that kind of a gamble with that pick. But I would not be surprised to see a high school arm with one of their three picks in the second.

My bet? The Cubs snag a slightly underslot deal with a college bat who is at risk of falling out of the first round and spend the savings on high upside high schoolers in the second round. I’ve been in on Steele Walker all year (and would be happy to have him in the system), but I’m now eyeing Stanford 2B/SS Nico Hoerner and Nevada-Las Vegas OF Kyle Isbel as well. Both have solid tools across the board, both project well defensively, both have played well in wood bat summer leagues, and both have shown a recent uptick in power.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa 6, Colorado Springs 2 in ten innings
The Cubs rallied for two to tie it in the ninth, then scored four times in the tenth to win it.

  • Zach Hedges: 5 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 3 K
  • Rob Zastryzny: 2 IP, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
  • Brad Markey: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
  • Alberto Baldonado: 1 IP, 2 K
  • Efren Navarro: 2 for 4
  • David Bote: 1 for 5, BB
  • Victor Caratini: 1 for 4, BB
  • Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 4, BB
  • Chesny Young: 2 for 5
  • Bijan Rademacher: 2 for 3, 2B

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 4, Jackson 0
Smokies pitching combined to strike out eleven.

  • Michael Rucker: 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K
  • Jake Stinnett: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Dakota Mekkes: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K
  • Vimael Machin: 3 for 5
  • Trent Giambrone: 2 for 4, 2B
  • Jason Vosler: 1 for 3, 3B, BB

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 3, Down East 0
The Pelicans’ pitching is proving to be every bit as good as we hoped it would be.

  • Tyson Miller: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
  • Erick Leal: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Wyatt Short: 1.1 IP, 4 K
  • Jhonny Pereda: 2 for 4
  • Wladimir Galindo: 2 for 4
  • Luis Ayala: 2 for 4, SB

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 14, Lake County 7
South Bend’s offensive onslaught included an eight run fifth inning.

  • Javier Assad: 3.1 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Garrett Kelly: 2 IP and a line of zereos
  • Yapson Gomez: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Zach Davis: 2 for 5
  • Jhonny Bethencourt: 1 for 5, 2B, BB
  • Jared Young: 1 for 4, HR, BB
  • Miguel Amaya: 1 for 2, 3 BB
  • Michael Cruz: 2 for 4, 2B, HR
  • Nelson Velazquez: 3 for 4, BB
  • Roberto Caro: 2 for 4

Other Notes

  • Iowa’s bullpen combined for five innings of 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K baseball to keep the Cubs alive. Of particular note, Dillon Maples made his third straight apperance without a walk.
  • Smokies pitching has produced four shutouts in May and June.
  • In that same time period Myrtle Beach pitching has produced six shutouts.
  • Five of the eight runs in the South Bend fifth were driven in by Michael Cruz. Miguel Amaya lead off the inning with a single, and then came home when Cruz homered. Nelson Velazquez, singled, stole second, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a bunt from Roberto Caro; Caro was safe at first. Rafael Narea walked while Velazquez was motoring around the basebaths, and Zach Davis flied out just after Caro bunted him home. Then Jhonny Bethencourt walked. And then Jared Young walked, scoring Narea. And then Amaya walked, scoring Caro. And then Cruz doubled to drive home three and finish off the scoring for the inning.
  • The South Bend highlight reel features all five of those Cruz RBIs (and his earlier home run). And below that, the highlights from Myrtle Beach’s shutout win.

Author: Luke Blaize

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