Taking a Big Swing in the Draft, Baez's Big Day, More Miller Dominance, and Other Bullets

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Taking a Big Swing in the Draft, Baez’s Big Day, More Miller Dominance, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife has been out of town for the past few days, returning tomorrow. I forgot that trip was going to line up with the draft, which is mostly fine, but whooooo baby I’m tired after the late night/early morning combo that comes with draft until past midnight and then solo with kids getting up early.

  • Speaking of the draft, the Cubs surprised folks by taking a college pitcher in the first round (the draft class is considered very weak on college pitching), Ryan Jensen, who was generally ranked in the back half of the top 100 (though Keith Law did have him pretty close to where the Cubs took him). But the Cubs were happy with there selection, despite rumors that there was another guy they wanted who wouldn’t accede to their price tag (Cubs.com):

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with all of you guys over the years,” said Cubs senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod, “about our development or our maturation, if you want to call it that, in terms of how we wanted to go about identifying and selecting pitchers in the Draft, especially at the top. Ryan Jensen certainly hits the nail on the head in terms of things that I’ve talked about that we probably avoided ….

“[Minor League Pitching Coordinator] Brendan [Sagara] was in our Draft meetings going through, not only Ryan, but a lot of pitchers that we were considering,” McLeod said. “I can say that Ryan was one of the guys that Brendan was most excited about the potential of having in the organization. And for us, we’re excited to get him in, get him into our system and start working him with pitch design and some mechanical things and see where we go from there.”

  • Like I said last night, given that Jensen was expected to go a bit later, it’s possible the Cubs grabbed him with an understanding that, even though they liked him as a first rounder, they could sign him for some slot savings, and then deploy that money later in the draft. I suspect we’ll get a sense of their expectations on that front as soon as today – remember when the Cubs took Kyle Schwarber early, knowing they could sign him under slot (despite loving him), and then picked a trio of top high school arms (Dylan Cease among them) on Day Two? We knew they were getting Schwarber under slot right then.
  • As for second rounder Chase Strumpf, he was projected more in the range where he was selected (or earlier), so I don’t think there will be slot savings to be had (though you never know – risk-averse juniors in college may not want to have to threaten to return to college as a senior and lose all leverage).
  • With yesterday’s win, the Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Angels … so I call that a series win. Hooray! The Cubs won a series yesterday, snapping their streak of three straight series losses! I can say that, right?
  • Everyone is expecting Pedro Strop to be activated today or tomorrow, so the bullpen should get a boost for the Rockies series.
  • Naturally, the day I point out how scary things have been for Javy Baez since his heel injury, he breaks out with his best day since. The double-and-homer day boosted Baez’s line from .298/.343/.556 (131 wRC+) to .301/.346/.572 (135). It also boosted his post-heel-injury line from the pits all the way up to .227/.292/.477 (99 wRC+). Hooray for small sample sizes and narrative extrapolation!
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

  • Tyson Miller had ANOTHER fantastic start for the Tennessee Smokies, striking out a career-high 11 over 7.0 innings, while walking just one. Miller – like Adbert Alzolay at Iowa, though through fewer starts – is not just getting good results, he’s dominating in the kind of way you see when a guy is too good for the batters he’s facing. That gets me giddy.
  • Cubs pitching prospect sticking up for his teammate, and he’s extremely right:

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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.