LIVE: The 2018 MLB Draft, Day One - Rounds One and Two (Picks: Hoerner, Davis, Roederer, Richan)

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LIVE: The 2018 MLB Draft, Day One – Rounds One and Two (Picks: Hoerner, Davis, Roederer, Richan)

Chicago Cubs

The MLB Draft is here!

No, it’s not quite the spectacle for fans of the Cubs as it is for, say, fans of the top-picking Tigers, Giants, Phillies, White Sox, or Reds, but at an organizational level, it’s no less important to the club. And that’s especially true this year, when the Cubs have four of the top 78 selections, each of which will be made tonight.

More on the structure of the draft, the dollars available for the Cubs’ picks, and the timing/coverage, here in the primer. The first round will start tonight at 6 pm CT. You can watch right here when the live stream kicks in:

The Cubs’ top pick is number 24 overall, their highest selection since they took Ian Happ 9th overall back in 2015. There won’t be a sure-fire, can’t-miss guy there on the board at 24 for the Cubs, but there will be a big-time prospect available for the picking.

As we saw last year with the Cubs’ (slightly later) first round picks Brendon Little and Alex Lange, you’re looking at huge talent with minor flaws or limitations or health questions or upside concerns there in the first round. The college bat who’ll definitely hit and can contribute well enough defensively? Not gonna be on the board. But the high upside high school bat? Or the great college defender? Or solid college bat without an obvious defensive home? Or the very solid college arm who missed a little time last year? All types that’ll be there.

And yes, high school arms with significant upside will be there, too – lots of “top ten talent” types. To be sure, you can get an ace in this area if you (1) have the stones to risk a nothingburger in the first round, and (2) correctly select AND develop the one guy in 10 from that group who’ll break out in four years. I’m not saying I’m opposed to it at some fundamental level if the Cubs are really convicted they have found that guy and he’s on the board. But I am saying I think it’s very unlikely, and that’s just fine with me.

You can watch along on MLB Network tonight, or on a live stream at MLB.com.

We’ll update this post with the Cubs’ picks as they roll in. Let’s party.

ROUND ONE

24. Chicago Cubs – Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford. Hey, it’s a college bat! The last time the Cubs took a college bat in the first round, it was Ian Happ in 2015. Hoerner, 21, is an All-Pac 12 performer, and a guy most of the rankings services had in the 35 to 50ish range. It looks like a safe and possibly under-slot pick, leaving funds to go deep on high schoolers later on. More to come. UPDATE: Here’s a short write-up on the pick, and some video to get you started.

ROUND TWO

62. Chicago Cubs – Brennen Davis, OF, AZ HS. There you go with a high school pick. Davis is a raw, athletic outfielder with a commitment to Miami. He was a basketball player in high school (and he’s a lanky 6’4″ right now), who dealt with hamstring issues his senior year. It’s unsurprising then that there is far from a consensus on what kind of talent he is – and that’s how it is with prep players sometimes. You can “win” a scouting competition if you’re right on an 18-year-old that other teams haven’t seen as much, or don’t have as much conviction in. You can also totally whiff. I like that the Cubs are taking a chance here. UPDATE: Here’s a short write-up on the second round pick, and some video to get a look.

COMPENSATORY

77. Chicago Cubs – Cole Roederer, OF, Cal HS. Another high school position player for the Cubs, Roederer was ranked 161 at Baseball America and not in the top 200 at MLB Pipeline or top 130 at FanGraphs. That’s not to say the talent isn’t there for a smaller but powerful outfielder with a strong commitment to UCLA (and, again, sometimes there’s just not enough consensus and time on high schoolers for services to confidently rank them higher, except for the really elite guys). I tend to think, like with Davis, the Cubs don’t go this route this early unless they had a very good sense that they could afford Roederer. The slot value at this pick is about $775,000. We’ll have to dig deeper on him soon.

78. Chicago Cubs – Paul Richan, RHP, San Diego. The first pitcher of the draft for the Cubs, and it’s a college righty. Unlike with the high schoolers, there’s a lot of consensus on Richan’s ranking, which is right around the 150 to 175 range. You could say that makes him a reach for the Cubs here, but it could also be a matter of getting a high floor college pitcher in under slot. Apparently Richan, who was a weekend starter, has a good fastball and slider, but also works with a changeup and curveball. As far as non-first-round-type starting pitchers go, Richan looks like as safe as a bet gets to emerge as a real prospect, which is a starting point. Whether he emerges as a big-league-caliber starter, of course, is a matter for the next few years.



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.