There it is! The Chicago Cubs’ first undrafted free agent signing of the year. It wasn’t clear that they were going to have any, given the extreme depth in the system, but they must’ve found a guy they liked.
Kipp, 22, is a big righty (6’6″ 220 lbs) who just finished his senior year at Yale, posting an unsightly 6.78 ERA, but with pretty strong peripherals (makes you wonder if there were some defensive issues on that team). Probably more impactfully for the Cubs, Kipp pitched this summer in the Cape Cod league, and was dominant over his three appearances and 6.2 innings. Maybe the Cubs saw something in those short bursts that they felt they could work with.
Also, there’s a little Yale connection there with Cubs AGM and VP of Pitching Craig Breslow, a fellow Yale graduate who pitched in the big leagues before joining the Cubs front office. That is to say, I’m sure there was a lot of communication between the Cubs and the Yale coaching staff to figure out what kind of upside Kipp has if he does X, Y, and Z in his development.
Note what the very fact of this signing says about the Cubs’ opinion of Kipp: they must really like him. Recall, Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz explained after the draft, in which the Cubs took 17 pitchers out of 20 picks, that part of what had to inform their selections this year was the depth of the system and the roster limits. They did not want to draft anyone that they weren’t sure would slot in as better than some of the other players in the system who might be bumped out.
In other words, the Cubs must feel they have a roster spot and innings to give Kipp, which I suppose speaks not only to them loving him, but also the continued desire to accumulate/try out more pitching. That part’s not all a good thing, I suppose, but boy have the Cubs loaded up on additional pitching this year.