The Cubs' 2019 Draft Class is (Mostly) in the Bag

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The Cubs’ 2019 Draft Class is (Mostly) in the Bag

Chicago Cubs

Deep in the low minors, the Cubs’ 2019 draft class is trickling into box scores and showing up on video, giving us our first impressions of the newest entrants to the farm system. The draft class will be complete as of Friday’s signing deadline, but as we wait on those last few decisions, here are some notes on what we’ve seen or read about so far.

First Round – Ryan Jensen – Signed Under Slot

We’re still waiting for Ryan Jensen’s debut in Eugene, but it’s coming soon.

While we wait on that, Patrick Mooney at The Athletic wrote about Jensen’s selection and bulldog mentality:

Second Round – Chase Strumpf – Signed for Slot

Strumpf is the hottest hitter in the system, having reached base in 8 of his last 11 trips, scoring 5 runs in 3 games, with two doubles and a home run during that time. Expect the Cubs to bump him to South Bend soon, with an eye on starting him in Myrtle Beach next year.

Third Round – Michael McAvene – Signed Under Slot

We last saw him in Omaha, which ended in a bit of disappointment, although it did provide McAvene with his high moment:

After the tournament, Jim Callis reported McAvene’s official signing.

Fourth Round – Chris Clarke – Signed for Slot

Fifth Round – Josh Burgmann – Signed Under Slot

These two signed early, went through Cubs orientation in Mesa, and debuted quickly in Eugene. Here were my thoughts seeing each.

Sixth Round – Ethan Hearn – Signed Above Slot

Seventh Round – Brad Deppermann – Signed Under Slot

Eighth Round – D.J. Herz – Signed Above Slot

Ninth Round – Tyler Schlaffer – Signed Above Slot

All these deals are official, but none of these 3 pitchers have thrown yet. We might not see Deppermann for more than a few innings, given that his 95 innings this season for North Florida led the draft class. High Schoolers Herz and Schlaffer could see some regular action in the AZL in August.

Tenth Round – Wyatt Hendrie – Unsigned

Eleventh Round – Mack Chambers – Unsigned

The signing deadline for the MLB Draft is end of business Friday, and these are the only two names that remain a question mark. The Cubs signed the rest of their top 32 selections, and they will let their final 8 go unsigned. The question is what happens with these two names.

Right now, The Cubs have about $24,000 in overage left before reaching the allowable 105% of bonus pool threshold (before you lose a future draft pick – Cubs are not going to exceed that). Should Hendrie not sign, the Cubs would lose his part of that overage, meaning they would have just over $17,000 to spend. The first $125,000 of a hypothetical Chambers bonus wouldn’t count towards slot (that’s how it is for picks after the 10th round), so if Hendrie doesn’t sign, the highest the Cubs can go with Chambers is about 142K. Perhaps it’s more of a staring contest with these two than was anticipated.

Day 3 Picks

It’s noteworthy the Cubs have already given six bonuses right at that 125K mark: 12th rounder Hunter Bigge, 14th rounder Ryan Reynolds, 15th rounder Zach Bryant, 16th rounder Johzan Oquendo, 19th rounder Adam Laskey and 23rd rounder Manny Collier. I think it’s safe to assume that 13th rounder Porter Hodge, a big high school right-hander from Utah, will join that group. The fact that his deal is agreed to but not official suggests he might be allotted some of that overage if Hendrie and Chambers don’t sign.

Hunter Bigge hit 96 on the Eugene gun in his debut last night, striking out five in two innings with good command of his curveball into the dirt with two strikes. Getting Collier was a nice hit for the draft class, he was an underscouted Arizona high schooler most assumed would go play junior college football.

In terms of on-field play, the star of the draft class so far has been a former Illini:

In fact, a lot of the late-round college bats – Taylor, Grayson Byrd, Nelson Maldonado, Jacob Olson – are hitting like crazy in their first few games in Eugene. That’s not all that uncommon at the low levels, but it’s also the case that the Cubs have had a lot of success getting one or two of those types to break out into the upper levels (David Bote, Zack Short, Trent Giambrone all quickly come to mind as recent examples).

One thing I like to do each year is put the draft class and IFA class together in one bucket of amateur acquisitions. Instead of looking at draft position, arranging these guys by bonus might give a better idea of how to manage expectations with these guys.



Author: Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.