Frustration About the Draft, Disappointment About Cubs IFA Efforts, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Frustration About the Draft, Disappointment About Cubs IFA Efforts, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Wife made cinnamon rolls this morning, which is a serious problem for me. I ate one. I managed to eat just one. Just one. But the rest of the damn things are just sitting there. Looking at me. Calling to me. Desiring to make my stomach their next home after the blissful experience of being chewed and tasted by my mouth. I have a cinnamon roll problem.

•   News that this year’s MLB Draft will be reduced to just five rounds, with undrafted players eligible to sign thereafter for a maximum of $20,000, has me feeling awfully frustrated about the short-term decision-making of this sport (and, since it was an agreed-upon issue, you can direct your beef at both the owners and the big league players – more the former than the latter, but the players aren’t blameless). I won’t rehash my frustration.

•   Instead, I wanted to point out this Jon Heyman tweet, which starts to answer a question a lot of folks had about this decision (and this doesn’t even include future inner-circle Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who was famously a 13th rounder): 

•   Among current Cubs, in addition to Anthony Rizzo (6th round), you also have David Bote (18th), Zack Short (17th), Alec Mills (22nd), Kyle Hendricks (8th), Colin Rea (12th), James Norwood (7th), Casey Sadler (25th), Jharel Cotton (20th), Trevor Megill (7th), Ryan Tepera (19th), Rowan Wick (9th), Dan Winkler (20th), Dillon Maples (14th), Brad Wieck (7th), and Kyle Ryan (12th). 

•   That’s 16 players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster who were drafted after the 5th round. When you account for the 7 players who arrived via international free agency, you’re left with 33 drafted players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster … which means that NEARLY HALF of the Cubs’ BIG LEAGUE drafted players came AFTER the 5th round. You want to tell me that the later rounds don’t matter or produce big league talent? 

•   They’ll say it’s a one year thing, driven by the pandemic, but I think it’s fair to be dubious about how much further shrinking will occur. It’s already the plan for next year’s draft to be no longer than 20 rounds. Would you really be shocked to see that pared back even further when the rubber meets the road?

•   Meanwhile, Jordan Bastian looks back at the other amateur pipeline for big league teams, and it’s also got me feeling awfully critical:

•   Big Z, Willy, Starlin, and Marmol strike me as a perfectly good top four IFAs for the Cubs – all were homegrown stars/significant contributors – but obviously that fifth slot is a bummer. And I don’t mean because it’s Gleyber Torres, who could wind up a long-term star for the Yankees. I mean because there isn’t another longer-term in-house guy. It doesn’t get enough attention because of the draft failings, but the reality is that the Cubs of the current era have really done a poor job overall on the international scene, signing and developing top prospects. Torres was great, as was Eloy Jimenez, but they were the consensus top two prospects in that class – how much “credit” do you get for paying top dollar to the two top players? Some, yes. But it’s not quite the same thing as finding and developing lesser guys, which the Cubs have failed to do – and which you MUST do right now because you have hard-slotted pools.

•   For 10 years now, the Cubs have developed virtually no significantly impactful big league contributors internationally. I mean, you could argue Willson Contreras is the last one, and he was signed over a decade ago by the previous front office. To be sure, it can take 5+ years for your 16-year-old signings to really show up on the radar, but even granting that … where are the top international prospects? It’s Miguel Amaya (who was a top guy before he signed) and Brailyn Marquez, and that’s about it. There are guys we hope on – Chris Morel, Ronnier Quintero, Richard Gallardo among them – but they are all very recent signings, which means there’s still a long road of development to go. By overall results, the Cubs’ efforts on the IFA front the last 10 years have been abysmal.

•   Who knows what ultimately happens with this and when, but the Field of Dreams site for MLB is under construction:

•   Fanatics and MLB/NFL/NBA teamed up to make masks, with the proceeds going to charity:

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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.