The Path to Pick Seven: Not a College Arm To Be Seen Near the Top of the MLB Draft

Let’s talk real, actual baseball! There is SOME happening right now! Here’s your draft update in anticipation of the Cubs’ 7th overall pick this summer …

Previous Big Board, and Noteworthy Things They’ve Done Lately

1. Druw Jones

What a great moment this was.

2. Elijah Green

Here’s a look at Green’s newer two-strike approach swing, and here’s a really good scouting report that Ian Smith wrote of Green for Prospects Live. My thoughts match up exactly with Perfect Game’s Brian Sakowski.

3. Termarr Johnson

4. Chase DeLauter

Credit to Chase for really turning things around since the Florida State series we profiled last time. Now hitting a ridiculous .459/.543/.811 in 10 total games. While I think the question about his viability against tough left-handed pitchers is going to stick, he’s going to profile good enough against right-handed pitching to warrant a top 10 pick. Showing a phenomenal opposite field approach this year.

5. Gavin Cross

Didn’t get the first home run until yesterday, but just two strikeouts in 38 plate appearances so far.

6. Jace Jung

Up to 16 walks in 12 solid-but-quiet games so far.

7. Jacob Berry

LSU went just 1-2 in the fantastic Shriners Classic event this weekend, facing great competition with Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor as their opponents. Berry got better in each game, with a big home run on Sunday the highlight of his weekend.

8. Brooks Lee

9. Dylan Lesko

I love the look that Kiley McDaniel got at Lesko’s elite changeup, and this hype video from his last start is fantastic as well.

10. Cam Collier

Quiet last week, but showed that he’ll stay committed to taking walks even when the hits aren’t falling, which is a great sign for a 17-year-old against advanced junior college pitching. Noteworthy that Jim Callis mentioned him as a potential top 5-10 pick in his last mailbag.

A Potential New Name for the Top Ten?

Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech

I have previously ranked Arizona backstop Daniel Susac as the best catching prospect in the Draft, but that is by no means the consensus across the industry. I think Susac is definitely the better defender right now, though Parada’s arm grades at plus. However, it’s impossible to ignore what Parada is doing with the bat right now. The Yellow Jacket is now hitting .480/.559/.940, showing really fantastic bat control and power to all fields. I mean, coaches of any baseball level will drool at this piece of hitting:

In Arizona, Susac has yet to hit a home run and has just two walks in his 12 games. I think the raw power grade might be better with Susac, but you can’t deny that Parada is accessing it a lot easier these days. I’m putting the Georgia Tech product just ahead of Susac in this week’s ranking, but it’s pretty variable between those two right now. I’m sure the Cubs will be getting plenty of eyes on both players this spring.

Scouting the Middle Rounds

⇒ Three college outfielders that, two weeks ago, I’d have loved for the Cubs second-round pick that now seem like they won’t make it there: Florida’s Jud Fabian, Cal’s Dylan Beavers and Tennessee’s Jordan Beck. Mason McRae touched on Fabian, who I loved entering last spring but fell amidst concerns of his hit tool, showing signs of fixing some of those problems. Joe Doyle and Kris Dunn touched on Beck, the standout of the Shriners Classic, in their weekly draft show. Beck is big and strong with really quiet hands and an all-fields approach.

⇒ Beavers is probably my favorite of the three, a 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter with plenty of projection left in the frame. Beavers starts in a crouch with his hands high, features a lot of movement pre-swing (hands and front leg) that I think probably gets quieted down in pro ball, and then has a nice flat attack angle. He was 3-for-7 in the Friday and Saturday games this weekend against Florida State, who throw out two of the best lefties in the country on those days. He’s an interesting profile, with the track record you’d like to see from a college pick, but also with enough long-hanging developmental fruit left to grab to project extra upside. Plus a great name.

⇒ Without knowing how many opportunities I’d have to see him, I had to check in on 2021 Cape Cod League ERA leader Trey Dambroski when Monmouth University appeared on an admittedly-mediocre ESPN+ feed. Dambroski is a 6-foot-5 lefty that sits at #141 on the current Prospects Live top 300 prospect list. He reminded me a bit of Matt Dermody (an All-Time difficult Name That Cub), and the intrigue is Dambroski as a guy that pitches with his slider as his primary offering. He is very comfortable with the pitch, and plays around with it, changing arm slot and arm speed to achieve different outcomes. The fastball reads fairly mediocre, but I do wonder if pitching coordinators will project a velocity bump when he receives pro instruction.  There was a pretty solid show-me curveball and previous reports indicate a decent changeup, so there’s a starter offering here with a reliever floor. I’d probably evaluate him as a sixth-rounder right now but could be talked into it higher if my pitching experts loved the profile.

⇒ A little ICYMI: Tennessee has a junior college transfer throwing well over 100 mph that I’d think will get some Round 2-3 consideration, I evaluated Gonzaga ace Gabriel Hughes on Twitter (I might save his sidearm-starter teammate William Kempner for another time), and potential top 10 pick Landon Sims suffered an injury on Friday that does not look good.

New Ranking

1. Druw Jones

2. Elijah Green

3. Termarr Johnson

4. Chase DeLauter

5. Gavin Cross

6. Jacob Berry

7. Brooks Lee

8. Jace Jung

9. Dylan Lesko

10. Kevin Parada

11. Cam Collier

12. Daniel Susac

written by

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

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