Day Three of the 2018 MLB Draft is here, which means it’s time for Rounds 11 through 40, and that means RAPID FIRE PICKS. There will be no meaningful wait time between picks today, so it’s go go go.
It also means it’s once again time to brush up on the rules of this portion of the draft.
While the slots and bonus pools came into full-focus yesterday, things will be a little different today, even if the general premise is the same. If you recall, each team has been assigned a “pool” of dollars that they can use to sign players. The pool is based on the “slot” value of each of the team’s picks in the first 10 rounds (each pick in the Draft is given a certain value, and each of a team’s picks’ values are added up to determine the pool amount). You can sign the players for more or less than their individual slot value, but the total of your bonuses has to stay under the bonus pool amount, lest you incur penalties.
Picks after the 10th round, however, have no slot value attached to them. And while the amount of a bonus over $125,000 for a pick in those rounds does count against the team’s overall pool, failure to sign a player does not eliminate any money from that pool (like it would in rounds 1-10). So after taking a few “under-slot” guys and saving some of the bonus pool in the 1-10 round range, the Cubs could take a couple of Hail Mary’s on some high-upside, tough-to-sign youngsters today. In fact, I’d expect it, given how many reaches, seemingly undervalued, and college-level players they selected yesterday.
The Total Bonus Pool for the Cubs is $7,491,700 (20th highest in MLB; also, remember that the Cubs can exceed that figure by up to 5% without risking future draft pick loss penalties … so they will do that/continue to do that).
Of course, it’s impossible to know, at this point, how much of that pool they’ve already committed, but, again, I think it’s fair to say they’ve saved plenty of powder for these later round picks. Our gut read on the Day 1 picks is that the Cubs might’ve already “saved” some money (though they may also have to spend over slot on a couple high school picks), especially on their first rounder, and I think some of their picks yesterday will follow suit (obviously, some will be over-slot types, too, but I think, on the whole, the Cubs are probably comfortable with their expected pool usage through 10 rounds).
Generally speaking, not everyone the Cubs draft today will eventually sign and become a member of the farm system. In fact, the younger and better the player is, the less likely the Cubs will be able to peel them away from their prior college commitments. But the Cubs will try.
Earlier today, Luke discussed some of his expectations for Day 3, with a little bit of context tacked onto the end:
The Cubs are still missing some key pieces of their annual draft bouquet. They haven’t picked up a catcher yet, or a very tall pitcher (6’4″ is borderline I think). Or a left-handed pitcher. They’ve only taken one shortstop as well. Look for all of that to change by the end of today.
We should also expect today to produce some legitimate prospects. Some familiar prospect names drafted on Day Three in recent years (round number after the name):
From 2017: Rollie Lacy (11), Austin Upshaw (13)
From 2016: Michael Rucker (11), Wyatt Short (13), Zack Short (17), Matt Swarmer (19), Connor Myers (27), Tyler Peyton (29)
From 2015: Matt Rose (11 – traded for Jose Quintana), Casey Bloomquist (17), Ian Rice (29)
From 2104: Kevonte Mitchell (13), Chesny Young (14), Jason Vosler (16), Brad Markey (19), Zach Hedges (26)
We’ll track today’s Cubs picks below when the draft gets going, adding commentary and context as possible, but you can also follow along yourself using MLB’s live draft tracker right here. Away we go. [Ed. Note – Michael helped write up a lot of the above post, but I’ll be handling most of the draft picks. Apportion your chiding accordingly.]
Pick 338 – Riley Thompson, RHP, Louisville. This is a small zig to what the Cubs like to do in the 11th round, when teams start getting out of senior signs and start taking big swings. The Cubs are usually more conservative, and prefer to take simply a good college player that they really like, and believe they can sign. Thompson isn’t quite that guy – he’s more of a big-time talent that has slid this year for health reasons. He’s huge and can bring serious heat, but he’s also already had Tommy John surgery (2016) and shoulder issues, per MLB Pipeline. He appeared in only 33.0 innings this year with middling stats. This is a pure scouting pick on a guy that everyone knows is super talented, but who has been injured and lacks command.
Baseball America ranked Thompson 219, and says he’s got two 70 grade pitches (whoa) and a usable changeup, but hasn’t been able to translate them to success on the field.
A couple rough looks at Thompson:
Pick 368 – Cam Sanders, RHP, LSU. Another college pitcher for the Cubs, after they were atypically light on them through Day Two. Sanders was drafted last year by the Padres in the 18th round, but did not sign, and then transferred from junior college to LSU, where he mostly pitched in relief and racked up huge strikeout totals (and also huge walk totals). He’s another big-time arm that is all about the scouting upside. He’s also the son of former Cubs pitcher Scott Sanders.
Pick 398 – Ezequiel Pagan, CF, Puerto Rico (HS). Not yet even 18, Pagan is currently sign on to attend Broward Community College in the fall, but the Cubs will take their chance at signing him. From my read at Perfect Game, this is another speedy outfielder, something of a particular target for the Cubs early in this draft.
Pick 428 – Riley McCauley, RHP, Michigan State. Another righty college junior, and another Riley, at that. And another guy who split time between the bullpen and the rotation with only modest success in the results department. I get the sense that he was on the cusp of being a significant prospect after two good first years at MSU and a good Cape Cod League performance, but a down 2018 left him to slide. I’m just guessing on that based on the numbers available, and I’m not aware of any injury issues.
Pick 458 – Tyler Durna, 1B, UC San Diego. A lefty batter who hit .333/.469/.547 this year, with more extra-base hits (27) than strikeouts (25). He also walked 45 times, so it’s clear he’s a disciplined hitter and he’s got some pop. You don’t see a ton of true first basemen going in this range of the draft unless there is a serious belief in the bat, so there you go.
Pick 488 – Josh Sawyer, LHP, Texas. Hey, it’s a lefty! But other than that, the profile is gonna sound really familiar: middling statistics pitching mostly in relief this year, has had multiple injury issues in college (including rotator cuff and biceps tendon surgery), but has a really big mid-90s type arm.
Pick 518 – Jake Reindl, RHP, Arkansas. All right, a college pitcher with a slightly different profile this time. Reindl, a junior, is simply a very good relief pitcher, who has put up very good numbers in his college career. True college relief prospects are a rare thing, but the Cubs took one early in this draft in Ethan Roberts (though he may be viewed as a starter), and now another in Reindl. Usually, if you’re good enough to be a competitive pitcher at a major college and then drafted, you’re good enough to be starting. But there are *some* college relievers who wind up as legit relief prospects in the minors, and/or transition into a starting job in the minors. Either way, it’s worth a shot on a guy who was at one time considered the best reliever in the SEC.
Pick 548 – Jake Slaughter, INF, LSU. Interesting pick here, as Slaughter is a draft-eligible sophomore (which means he has plenty of leverage to just stay in school for another year) who struggled to start the year and then started raking. His final line was .254/.346/.432, with 8 homers, 20 walks, and 39 strikeouts. Given his trajectory and two years of remaining eligibility, he might be a tough one to sign.
The Cubs drafted Slaughter a couple years ago out of high school, so clearly this is a dude they like. The Cubs also drafted Slaughter’s teammate Cam Sanders earlier today.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) June 6, 2018
Pick 578 – Layne Looney, RHP, Richmond. Another pure reliever. Interesting. Looney, whose name will come in handy if he proves to be crazy good, put up silly numbers this year, striking out 51 in 30.0 innings, while walking 13. He allowed two earned runs.
Pick 608 – Chris Allen, LHP, Marin Community College. Allen turns 20 next week, and has posted good results at his level, albeit with a fastball that is mostly in the 80s. He seems to be a “pitchability” type, as folks like to say. You take a chance on a guy who gets results, has shown improvement, and has a tall projectable frame. More on Allen here.
Pick 638 – Carlos Vega, RHP, Southeast Missouri State. Another good name. Sounds like he came right out of a Quentin Tarantino flick. The senior righty was the top starting pitcher on his club, posting a 2.45 ERA over 73.1 innings this year (85 Ks, 24 BBs). He also wrestles and throws the javelin.
Pick 668 – Jamie Galazin, CF, St. John’s. A senior with a good slash line and not a lot of strikeouts, Galazin is yet another outfielder for the Cubs in this draft.
Pick 698 – Hunter Taylor, C, South Carolina. A mini run on seniors, as the Cubs take their third senior in a row (seniors pretty much always sign). Taylor’s numbers from this year don’t jump off the page, but you’ve gotta have a steady stream of capable catchers throughout your minor league system, so it was only a matter of time before the Cubs plucked one or two.
Pick 728 – Black Whitney, RHP, South Carolina – Upstate. Another senior pitcher, like Vega, with great numbers and good size. That’s about the range we’re in right now. Sometimes these guys turn into legitimate prospects, sometimes they don’t get out of rookie ball.
Pick 758 – Dalton Hurd, CF, Seattle. Senior? Check. Center fielder? Check. Hit well? Check. Runs well? Check. The team’s website lists him as a utility man, so he may be more in that vein than a true center fielder.
Pick 788 – Julian Boyd, OF, California (HS). The Cubs go back to high school for the first time in 13 rounds, and I don’t have much on Boyd at the moment beyond his Perfect Game profile.
Pick 818 – Niels Stone, RHP, Indian River State College. A junior college pitcher, Stone is just 19, but was draft eligible.
Pick 848 – Mitchell Parker, LHP, Manzano HS. A 6’3″ southpaw out of high school, Parker actually has a perfect game under his belt, which is pretty cool. Also pretty cool, he finished the 2017 season with a 1.82 ERA and 117 strikeouts in just 57.2 IP (LOL). According to Baseball America, Parker was supposed to go within the first 10 rounds, so he is one of the “shoot-for-the-moon” picks for the Cubs. He’ll likely require a big bonus if he’s to sign. Via Baseball America: “Parker certainly intrigued scouts during last fall’s WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, Fla., when he struck out 15 batters in five innings. Parker gets swings and misses on an 86-92 mph fastball and he should be able to add velocity as he matures, although his command of the pitch has been inconsistent. His 12-to-6 curveball has good shape and spin to it, but the 73-74 mph pitch could be more effective at a higher velocity.”
You can get to know him a little more right here:
Pick 878 – Levi Jordan, SS, Washington. Another senior, Jordan is a smaller middle infielder who has hit reasonably well (.300/.364/.498), and was an all-conference player this year.
Pick 908 – Drew Wharton, OF, Clemson. It had been a while since the Cubs took a college senior outfielder. Unlike some of the others, though, Wharton has been fighting for playing time at a tip-top college program, so it’s a little harder to gauge him from the numbers (which are only so-so). He is obviously talented, but just hasn’t shined in the way a guy would who was drafted last year or drafted much higher this year. Get him in the door, and see how it plays.
Pick 938 – Clayton Daniel, 2B, Jacksonville State. A senior infielder who hit .325/.397/.443 this year with TEN STRIKEOUTS in 255 at bats.
Pick 968 – Jack Patterson, LHP, Bryant U. A 6’0″ lefty who struck out 101 batters in 82.0 innings this past year.
Pick 998 – Tyler Ras, RHP, New Jersey (HS). Another shoot-your-shot pick for the Cubs, Ras is a top 200 prospect with a commitment to Alabama. He is also a switch-hitting outfielder. You can presume he will be very difficult to sign.
With a hat tip to Andy on Twitter, it looks like Ras came in for a workout at Wrigley Field at some point. Could be a helpful bit:
(Pausing detailed updates for The Little Boy’s wiffleball game.)
Pick 1028 – Miguel Pabon, SS, Puerto Rico (HS)
Pick 1058 – Edmond Americaan, OF, Chipola College
Pick 1088 – Jacob Campbell, C, Wisconsin (HS)
Pick 1118 – Henry Vilar, SS, Florida (HS)
Pick 1148 – Chase Hanson, OF, California (HS)
Pick 1178 – Pierson Gibis, C, No School Listed
Pick 1208 – Steiner, Itamar, RHP, Illinois (HS)