Once the draft was over yesterday, I closed my laptop and relaxed a little bit with some pizza and pop. Over the next few hours, I began to think about the totality of the Cubs draft haul. And then I began to wonder how non-drafted free agency is going to fit with it to complete a bigger picture. And then my brain went into overdrive thinking about the fact that the trade deadline is less than two weeks away.
When this whole talent acquisition season, as I like to call it, is over, the organization will have been remade. The draft was only one part and I’m just wondering how much different the system is going to be on August 3 than it was on July 16.
Here are 10 things I’m thinking about the Cubs’ draft class.
1. With the Cubs getting a mix of high school and college players, they are sort of hedging their bets a little bit. They’re taking both a short term view with guys like Horton and Birdsell and then they’re thinking about the long term collection of young pitchers like Mule, Ferris, Rujano, Wheat, and McGwire.
2. Right now, it seems the Cubs are all in on the position players they already have. I really like the group they have down in Mesa in terms of hitting. I like several players at Myrtle Beach that are still there and the few who already went up to South Bend. And I just love to watch the Tennessee ball club hit. The Cubs saw no need to clog that up. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs add to the hitting side of things at the deadline or will they go for arms? Or could it be a mix?
3. Risk seems to be a common theme over the past three days. And it wasn’t that they took high risk-high reward players, it was a ballsy move to select Horton who basically had a 5 game sample size with the slider. The results were real and they thought that small window of data was proof enough for them to spend $40-45 million on his arm. That’s a huge risk!
4. When asked about Nazier Mule playing both ways, I thought it was cool that Dan Kantrovitz was open to the idea. This kid is quite the athlete on both sides of the ball. I am interested to see how this is going to work and if it will work.
5. I got most excited about the Brandon Birdsell pick just because he’s a college arm with a track record and he’s already been through some adversity in high school and in college. He’s a bulldog out there and I just love that. That type of makeup is what you need to get to the majors.
6. The drafting of Brody McCullough is pretty much a scout’s and prospect nerd’s dream. The scout went out and found this kid who throws well at a D2 school and the Cubs get to coach him up. Never underestimate the impact that pro coaching can have on junior college and D2 players.
7. I would’ve liked to see more left-handed pitchers across-the-board. You can never have enough. Cubs only picked up three this week.
8. There seems to be a distinct lack of back stops taken (1) and I don’t think that’s by design. The Cubs think they have enough already. As a result, I wonder if McGreary ends up there or somewhere else. If his bat plays, he will…somewhere.
9. We all know that Kantrovitz is the Director of Amateur Scouting, but you can see the fingerprints of Carter Hawkins all over this draft in the types of pitchers that they took and what those pitchers have in their arsenal that they feel the Cubs can build around. Whether it’s McGwire’s split finger change (what a great story that is) or Nick Hull’s slider, it’s going to be fun to see them actually face minor league hitting.
10.. There are only going to be a handful of guys that make it to full season ball this year. And being that most of the players Cubs took are pitchers, we’re not really going to get a full look at this class until next year and several might not play until June in the ACL. Most will only throw 10-15 innings this year and no more than 2 innings at a time.
We will try and keep you updated as best we can on signings and non-drafted free agency in the coming days. It kind of happens when it happens. There’s no rhyme nor is there a reason for how information flows. Sometimes it comes from the player, sometimes it comes from the college, and sometimes it comes from the agents.
Being that the signing date for the draft picks is August 1 and that Arizona Complex League ends play in about a month, the Cubs need to get the draft picks signed and a little bit acclimated to the pro life, depending on where they go. The ACL ends play in a month. South Bend and Myrtle Beach play until the middle of September. Don’t expect too many of them to play above rookie ball.