Hours From the Draft


Draft Day is almost here, and the mock drafts are coming in fast and furious. I have three more for you to consider on the eve of the draft, but let me ruin the suspense early. They all project that the Cubs will take high school pitcher Archie Bradley.

And I still don’t buy it.

So let’s run through the latest mock drafts from Baseball America, MLB.com, and Fansided’s own Seedlings to Stars and see who the Cubs could go with instead of Bradley.

First of all, most of my expectations stem from the five draft trends I identified a few days ago. High on the list, and the reason I do not think the Cubs will pick Archie Bradley, is that the Cubs have not taken a high school pitcher in the first round under Tim Wilken. High school pitchers are the riskiest prospects to draft, and while the Cubs have no problems picking them up later on, they tend to avoid them when investing first round money. In a draft this deep, there is plenty of other talent just as interesting they could choose. I would be surprised if they opted for Bradley or any high school pitcher in this year’s first round.

However, with this many sources all linking the Cubs to Archie Bradley, I’m starting to wonder if an informal deal has been struck that has not been announced, and that the Cubs pick is already determined. That has been known to happen in the baseball draft. The only other reason I can see for everyone putting Bradley on the Cubs is because the Cubs can afford him. It will take a money truck the size of Texas to pry Archie Bradley away from playing quarterback at Oklahoma, and the Cubs have the money to spend have shown themselves to be willing to spend it. If he does slip past the Cubs, he could fall for awhile, all the way down to Angels at #17 or the Red Sox at #19. He is good enough to go Top 5, but he just doesn’t fit the Cubs draft profile. If anything, the Cubs have been slightly risk-adverse in the first round under Wilken, and dropping a team record signing bonus on a high school pitcher when there are fantastic college arms on the board is not the move of a risk-adverse team.

The Seedlings To Stars Mock Draft

This draft sent Bubba Starling to Kansas City, and that is starting to look unlikely. KC seems to be prioritizing a college arm that can get to the majors quickly with their first pick. The Royals are almost ready to win, and they want a guy who can help them do so now. Starling does not fit that bill. However, he won’t get past Washington in any scenario. Other than that, I think this projection looks pretty likely.

If it does break down this way, I think the Cubs would take any of the guys in spots 10 through 13 over Bradley. Francisco Lindor we have talked about before and makes a lot of sense in this spot. Matt Barnes, a RHP out of Connecticut, would be a top 5 or top 3 pick in almost any other draft. He would be a great choice at #9 and fits the Cubs drafting history almost perfectly. The guy I would take, though, would be LHP Jed Bradley out of Georgia Tech. The Cubs need left handed starting pitching and like to take college players early. This is looking like a perfect match. George Springer wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Jed Bradley is likely to get past Cleveland. Good lefties are just too valuable to fall very far.

The Baseball America June 3 Mock Draft

With both Sonny Gray and Jed Bradley off the board, Barnes, Springer, and Lindor look like the choices again. For some reason, though, Baseball America has dropped both Springer and Lindor deep into the first round, and coming off the board ahead of them is a really interesting player in Mike Mahtook from LSU. The Cubs have drafted well from LSU before (Theriot and LeMahieu) and I see no reason they would not go back to that well again. Add Mahtook to the list of possible picks for the Cubs.

I have to say, though, that if the Angels do get to pick Lindor at #17, their draft room may pass out from shock. True shortstops with a good bat don’t show up every year, and to get one that deep in the draft is pretty remarkable.

The MLB.com Mock Draft

I have a few issues with this one. Arizona’s pick at #7 is not protected. If they don’t sign that guy, they will not get a compensation pick in the 2012 draft in exchange. As a result, I do not see any scenario in which they draft a guy who will be tough to sign at #7 and a much easier signing with their protected pick at #3, and that is exactly what this draft has Arizona doing. Arizona has had private workouts with Lindor this spring, but I have to think that is because Arizona is considering taking him at #3, not #7. If they take a college pitcher, it just makes sense to do it at #7 since college pitching tends to be a much easier sign. This draft also sends Starling to KC at #5, which while it would be a great story, I think is unlikely.

If the draft shapes up this way, I think the Cubs take Sonny Gray. They took him out of high school, and that has been a bit of a predictor for the Cubs.

In just a matter of hours all the speculation goes away, and we get to see just how this thing will play out. One thing to be sure of, the Cubs will get a very good player. Not one name I have mentioned in this article would be a disappointed at all. Some might be surprising, but all would be great additions to the farm system.

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Tags: 2011 Draft Chicago Cubs Cubs Farm System Minor League Baseball

  • Luke Blaize

    I’m seeing a bit more linking the Cubs to Mikie Mahtook. He was one of the best hitters in college baseball this year, and his stats and scouting reports read a lot like a right handed version of Brett Jackson, on a little slower. With the outfielders the Cubs have coming, I think Mahtook would fit best into right field. Some scouts think he could stay in center, but Matt Szczur is probably the center field of the future for the Cubs.

  • Ashley

    What day is the draft Luke and what time? How many picks do the Cubs have early on?

    • Luke Blaize

      First round is tonight at… 7, I think. Check MLB.com for details.

      Cubs have one pick per round, and no additional or supplemental picks.

      Rounds 2-30 are tomorrow, and 31-50 are Wednesday.

  • http://www.thecubslist.com Tom Barker

    Luke, that was a concise and well thought out analysis of the myriad of mock drafts. I agree that Archie Bradley does not make historical sense with the current scouting regime. Mahtook and Lindor are fine players but this team is in desperate need of pitching. With Archer traded, McNutt and Whitenack on the DL, Carpenter and Coleman not advancing. We are counting on guys like Kirk, Simpson and Struck. None of them close. As deep as this draft is, the thought process should be pitching, pitching, pitching. In fact, if I was GM, I would find out who can’t afford to sign some of these players and trade a B level existing minor league position player to gain an extra pick in the first or supplemental round. Or simply try an obtain one of Tampa’s extra picks. This kind of strategy is used in football and basketball all the time but never in baseball. The thought process is, it is too hard to judge the talent. This is the type of the out of the box thinking that a confident scouting director like Wilken should have.

    Nonetheless, I will be watching at 5:00 with nervous anticipation. Maybe next year we could generate a buzz by setting up a draft party at some local establishment.

    • Luke Blaize

      You can’t trade baseball draft picks… yet. Keep an eye on the talks for the new CBA. That rule might change. For for now, what you have is what you get.

      • http://www.thecubslist.com Tom Barker

        Well, that explains it, I was not aware of that.

  • Luke Blaize

    There is a rumor that the Cubs will be going after a 23 year old Cuban left handed pitcher at #9. Check Baseball America for more details… but even those details are sparse.

    Remember what I said about expecting the unexpected? Stay tuned.