Day Two of the 2019 MLB Draft is here, which means Rounds 3 through 10 will kick off around 12pm CT. For the Cubs, who’ll pick near the end of each round, it’s going to be a very interesting day thanks to what they did in the first round last night.
There, the Cubs took a surprise college righty, Ryan Jensen, who likely will not cost the full slot value associated with his pick ($2,570,100). For what it’s worth, the 50th pick – the high end of where Jensen was otherwise expected to go – has a slot of $1,469,900. Could the Cubs save a million bonus pool bucks to deploy on high schoolers with strong college commitments today? They used that strategy well in the Kyle Schwarber draft, landing Dylan Cease and Justin Steele among a trio of high school arms taken on Day Two.
Today’s rounds wrap up the bonus pool portion of the draft, so you can expect to see the money side of things factoring into the considerations on whom to pick.
We’ll update this post with the Cubs’ Day Two selections as they happen, but you can follow along live at MLB.com, or watch right here:
Round 3 (103): Michael McAvene, RHP, Louisville. Another very hard-throwing college arm, but this one is actually currently a closer. This is as early as you generally would see a true reliever go in the draft, though McAvene has a chance to be groomed a starter. He’s a post-Tommy-John guy, so that’s a factor, but he seems to be past it at this point.
McAvene, 21, throws into the upper-90s, strikes out a batter and a half per inning, and doesn’t give up many walks. Basically, he’s an absolutely dominant high-level closer in college, which is what you have to be to get popped in the third round.
He recently just got ejected and suspended for taking issue with the strike zone, so he’s got some stones. Of course, the ejection was ridiculous:
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) June 2, 2019
Round 4 (132): Chris Clarke, RHP, USC. A huge guy – 6’7″ – who was not among the top 200 prospects in the draft, Clarke was another dominating college reliever, like McAvene. If the Cubs were risk-averse before when selecting pitchers in the draft, they have clearly thrown caution to the wind.
Round 5 (162): Josh Burgmann, RHP, Washington. A hard-throwing college righty? Yup, that’s the guy again. And it’s another upside-play based on the big arm and some warts – in Burgmann’s case, it’s that he’s only two years removed from Tommy John surgery. His numbers this year, as a starter, were ridiculous, though. Among them, 101 Ks in just 79.0 innings.
He’s not a big guy, listed at just six feet, but he throws hard and was rated among the better college pitchers in the draft who fell outside FanGraphs’ top 200.
As MLB.com describes Burgmann, “After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017 – his first year at the University of Washington – Burgmann returned to throw 31 innings last season and struck out 101 batters over 79 frames this year. A sturdy righty with a strong build, Burgmann can reach 95 mph with his fastball, and he throws his above-average curveball often. He also has a good feel for his changeup, giving him a solid three-pitch foundation, but he needs to add movement to his heater and decrease his reliance on the hook.”
So far today, the Cubs have not only taken three college righties, all three are guys who have very low mileage on their arms, relatively speaking.
Round 6 (192): Ethan Hearn, C, Alabama (HS). Theeeeeere it is, the over-slot high school selection. With the money the Cubs appeared to have been saving in early rounds, you had to figure they were gonna go after one of these types soon. Hearn is ranked in the top 75 at both MLB and FanGraphs, and is a Mississippi State recruit. Here’s how MLB.com describes him:
“[Hearn’s] talent and the relative lack of catching available this year is pushing him up boards. Hearn’s two most impressive tools are his raw power and pure arm strength, both of which grade as plus. He’s a left-handed hitter whose strength and aggressive, pull-oriented mindset give him plenty of pop to right field. He has a quick release on his throws and can record 1.9-second pop times to second base. A Mississippi State recruit, Hearn still requires some offensive and defensive polish. He needs to temper his approach at the plate because he doesn’t always make consistent contact against quality pitching. He has improved as a receiver but still has more work to do and loses concentration more often than he should.”
FanGraphs agrees on the raw power, something lacking in the Cubs’ farm system, but seems to be a little higher on his defense overall.
A reminder that, because the first 10 rounds have slots attached to them that make up your bonus pool, you can really throw things haywire if you draft a guy with a large slot and then fail to sign him. Odds are good the Cubs know they can sign Hearn, but that he’s going to cost a good bit more than his $247,000 slot value.
The Cubs just selected Ethan Hearn with their sixth-round pick. Here's some BP from the summer. pic.twitter.com/9caCtrz9ia
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) June 4, 2019
— MLB Draft Tracker (@MLBDraftTracker) June 4, 2019
Round 7 (222): Brad Deppermann, RHP, U. North Florida. If the name looks vaguely familiar, it’s because the Cubs drafted Deppermann five years ago out of high school, but he did not sign. Now they draft him as a senior, and likely will save a good bit under the $194,400 slot value for his pick.
— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) June 4, 2019
Round 8 (252): Davidjohn Herz, LHP, North Carolina (HS). Dude has the power of two first names in a single name, so he is definitely good. I don’t know much beyond that about the UNC commit. He’s listed at a good size for his age, 6’2″ 175 lbs, and sometimes the Cubs go for a scouting win at this range in the draft while everyone else is drafting senior signs. That is to say, this is not necessarily a big “over slot” swing type of pick. But it could be if he was a late-riser that perhaps wasn’t jumped on by the outside scouting world.
Round 9 (282): Tyler Schlaffer, RHP, Illinois (HS). A local boy! Schlaffer is from a suburb of Chicago, and is currently committed to pitch at UIC next year. He seems happy about the pick, though:
Round 10 (312): Wyatt Hendrie, C, Antelope Valley College. A junior college catcher wraps up Day Two for the Cubs, and also the bonus pool section of the draft. I don’t see a ton of under slot types in these later rounds for the Cubs, so perhaps they really will be saving a whole lot up at the top of the draft so they can sign the high schoolers in this stretch, and also take some swings in Rounds 11 through 40 tomorrow.