Brock Wilken – Pic via 247 Sports
It’s been a while since I wrote about the draft. I’ve been busy traveling around Iowa and Wisconsin with the South Bend Cubs. The only thing I’ve written since June 7 about the draft were just some reports on several mock drafts in Sunday’s “The Weekly” posts. But with the MLB Draft being tomorrow, I thought I would get down some final thoughts on who I think the Cubs should take tomorrow at number 13.
In my 10 round mock draft that I did back on June 7, I had the Cubs taking Wake Forest third baseman Brock Wilken. On most boards, he is ranked in the mid to low 20s. But based on his performance in the College World Series, he’s been rising a little, but not enough to make it into the top 15. He’s currently sitting at number 25 on MLB Pipeline.
What I like about Wilken is that he has a lot of power in his 6-foot-4 frame as well as huge bat speed and loft. He finished third in D1 with 69 walks and he has what MLB Pipeline calls a plus-plus arm at third. He also could play first base in a pinch.
It’s rare that I selected a guy to zero in on in March and he is still there in June. That almost makes me wonder if I am honing in on the right guy. I trust that bat, though. I really do. If the Cubs don’t get him, some other team will get a good one!
The Cubs have been linked to a lot of different names in the past couple weeks, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the upcoming draft. And most of that uncertainty has to do with the five picks in front of the Cubs starting at number eight with the Royals and then going to the Rockies, Marlins, Angels, and Diamondbacks. I’m not so sure that they are going to look for players that they can sign to a full slot value or even come close to going over. That means we could start to see some players fall to the Cubs that they may not have foreseen. Tennessee Pitcher, Chase Dollander comes to mind as well as Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez.
Depending on the mock draft that you look at, we’ve seen the Cubs linked with Miami 3B Yohandry Morales, Florida pitcher Hurston Waldrep, Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw, TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor, prep third baseman Aidan Miller, and high school shortstops Colin Houck and Arjun Nimmala.
And to be quite frank, I would not have a problem with the Cubs taking any of those players, I just prefer it would be Wilken.
The only players that could knock me off the Wilken hype train would be Nimmala, Wake Forest pitcher Rhett Lowder, Tennessee’s Chase Dollander, and Mississippi’s Jacob Gonzalez.
One thing that could also influence who the Cubs take is the fact that they don’t pick until 68 again, and then they turn around and pick at 81 and 113. Who knows, the Cubs may try and save some money at 13 to save for 81 and 113 as this prep draft class is really good. Those are just two options I’m throwing out there.
But when it comes right down to it, I am not moving off of Wilken.
So based on our discussion today, here is who I am ranking for my selections for the Cubs to take a number 13.
1. Wilken – I have made myself clear as to why.
2. Chase Dollander – If he is available, I don’t know how you pass on him because the Cubs probably think they can fix him if he has slid a little to this point.
3. Aidan Miller – Big bat, might have the highest ceiling of the prep infield bats.
4. Tie – Colin Houck, and Arjun Nimmala are a tossup here for me at number three and four. Both are young prep shortstops with a lot of potential and potential for power, Nimmala probably has a little edge in the department.
5. Tommy White – He is a 6‘5“ left-handed pitcher whose former coach, Kevin Graber, happens to be the manager of the Tennessee Smokies. Whether that connection will help the Cubs reach an agreement with the Vanderbilt commit is unlikely. But I would not be shocked if something happens later.
The first five picks of the draft should be pretty straightforward and then the surprises should start to come at number six when Oakland picks.
I will be on North Side Bound’s draft show tomorrow night along with Greg Zumach, who will be hosting. We will be joined by Rich Biesterfeld, who will be talking about the draft combine that he attended out in Phoenix. I am really looking forward to hearing about that experience. And we have a couple of surprises for you!
We’ll see what happens!