2013 Cubs Draft Preview

There are two major things to know in this draft:

  1. It is not a deep draft at all.
  2. The Cubs are guaranteed to get one of the two big prizes in this draft, if they so choose.

The two prizes I speak of are Stanford pitcher, Mark Appel and Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray.  San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant also has some potential to go at this slot because the Epstein/ Hoyer regime views pitching as an “anytime in the draft” possibility, while hitters are top of the draft players.  That remains an interesting thought as the draft approaches next week.

Photo: Larry Goren, Four Seam Images/ AP Images

Photo: Larry Goren, Four Seam Images/ AP Images

Who the Cubs Take at Number Two:  P Mark Appel, Stanford

Obviously, this will change if the Astros shock the world and select him first.  The consensus is that the Astros will select a player who they can sign at below the slotted value of the number one pick, however.   Unlike the Cubs’ approach, the Astros are taking the “quantity over quality” approach to rebuilding.  That’s not to say the Cubs don’t want a lot of good players, but the Astros are willing to forsake big time impact for good players at this point in time.  This means the Cubs will likely be able to select Appel with number two.  A number of prognosticators have the Astros selecting North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran number one, which gives the Cubs their pick of Gray and Appel.  While I think Gray has the higher ceiling, Appel isn’t too far below him, and his floor is higher.  The front office knows they can’t miss with this pick, and Appel is as “can’t miss” as there is in this draft.

Appel, himself has a great fastball and nice secondary stuff.  After turning down the Pirates last season, the over-whelming likelihood is that he does sign this year.  Because he is a senior this year, he is not bound to the same signing deadline as he was as a junior.  He has until the 2014 draft to sign.  I don’t see it taking that long.  I think he signs, and he’ll get every penny of the Cubs’ #2 draft slot money.  His polish and ability could have him pitching in MLB today, so he is exactly the type of guy the Cubs could add to their system, and he would be the undisputed #1 pitching prospect in the organization, and in my opinion, the #1 prospect in the organization.

In the interest of being thorough, Jonathan Gray would be a sweet consolation prize.  His ceiling is higher than that of Appel, and there have been low murmurs that Theo Epstein favors his 80 grade heater (according to Keith Law).  His fastball has been clocked at 100 and the he has a wipe out slider.  He needs to develop his change up, and is not as major league ready as Appel, but he would not be long to the major leagues when he is selected.

How the Rest of it Shakes Out:

Pitching, pitching, and more pitching.  This front office has made it crystal clear to anyone who’s listened that they are going to bulk select pitchers because they can be had from all over the draft.  With the organization being deficient in quality arms in the minor league system, this year will almost invariably shake out just like last season, when the Cubs took pitcher after pitcher.  Even with the probable selection of either Appel or Gray, that will not change the strategy for the rest of the draft.  They are going to go heavy on pitchers.

What it Means Going Forward:

Adding Appel or Gray would be adding the impact piece that the Cubs need to speed the rebuild.  Both would be top 4 prospects in the organization, with Appel claiming the top slot if he’s the guy.  With some depth in the infield and outfield in the organization, adding pitching to it would greatly improve an already greatly improved farm system going forward.

Organizational Top 5 Projections:

If Mark Appel is selected –

  1. P Mark Appel
  2. SS Javier Baez
  3. OF Jorge Soler
  4. OF Albert Almora
  5. P Arodys Vizcaino

If Jonathan Gray is selected –

  1. SS Javier Baez
  2. OF Jorge Soler
  3. OF Albert Almora
  4. P Jonathan Gray
  5. P Arodys Vizcaino

If Kris Bryant is selected –

  1. SS Javier Baez
  2. OF Jorge Soler
  3. OF Albert Almora
  4. P Arodys Vizcaino
  5. 3B Kris Bryant

One comment

  1. Pingback: Cubs Select Kris Bryant « Behind the Ivy

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