Cubs Draft Update


Two potentially significant tidbits regarding the Cubs 2011 draft have already come out this week. Two of the more notable names the Cubs chose are either reported to have signed already or are expected to sign soon. Both guys were thought to be strongly committed to college prior to the draft.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Trevor Gretzky has been signed away from his commitment to San Diego State University. Gretzky was taken by the Cubs in the 7th round out of high school and plays first base. Fellow 1B Paul Hoilman (19th) has already signed with the Cubs and is currently playing in the minors, and 1B Dan Vogelbach (2nd) is thought to be close to signing.

With three first baseman likely to be under contract soon, including two from the first ten rounds, the Cubs may opt to not go much over slot to sign 1B Rock Shoulders (25th). That’s not to say that the Cubs won’t try to sign Shoulders, just that they may not be as willing to spend to get him since they will already have three first basemen from this draft.

The Gretzky signing has not yet been announced or made official. Once it is, I think we will see Gretzky report to the Arizona Rookie League. If memory serves, Gretzky shows the promise of developing a fair amount of power as he fills out, but is still considered rather raw.

Meanwhile, in his weekly chat on Baseball America, Jim Callis made this comment.

Jim Callis: I’m hearing they’ll get Dunston done. Maples will be the tougher sign.

The Dunston referred to is Shawon Dunston Jr., taken by the Cubs in the 11th round. Dunston was thought to be very strongly committed to Vanderbilt, so if the Cubs can bring him into the farm system it will be a bit of a coup for the team. Dunston is a center fielder who is said to have a good arm and plenty of speed. If he signs in time, he will most likely report to the Arizona Rookie League as well.

The Maples that Jim Callis referred to is Dillon Maples, a right handed pitcher taken by the Cubs in 14th round. Maples was an absolute steal in the 14th round. He was rated highly enough to go as as a supplemental first round pick, but fell due to fears that he would not sign. Maples could be playing football for North Carolina if he passes on the Cubs.

The Cubs have a good history of signing players away from football commitments. Logan Watkins is one fairly recent example. It will no doubt take second round money to land Maples, and that means we likely won’t hear about a deal until very close to the August 15th deadline. Ricketts has shown repeatedly that he is willing to spend in order to sign talent into the Cubs organization, so I don’t think money will be an issue. It will just come down how badly Maples wants to play football.

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Tags: 2011 Draft Chicago Cubs Cubs Farm System Dillon Maples Minor Leagues Shawon Dunston Jr Trevor Gretzky

  • mixandmatch

    Of Gretzsky, Hollman and Vogelbach who is the closest to being with the cubs? My guess is Vogelbach. He may only be able to play first though. Since Vogelbach is a second rounder will he have the edge among the first basemen if he signs? Can Gretzky or Shoulders play other positions? It looks like it is going to really be a battle at first base for the cubs in the future. And, although it may be a few years away before we see any one of them, will the cubs hold off on bidding for Fielder?

  • mixandmatch

    Of Gretzsky, Hollman and Vogelbach who is the closest to being with the cubs? My guess is Vogelbach. He may only be able to play first though. Since Vogelbach is a second rounder will he have the edge among the first basemen if he signs? Can Gretzky or Shoulders play other positions? It looks like it is going to really be a battle at first base for the cubs in the future. And, although it may be a few years away before we see any one of them, will the cubs hold off on bidding for Fielder?

  • Luke Blaize

    @mixandmatch Since he came out of college, Hoilman is likely to be more advanced than Vogelbach or Gretzky. Should Shoulders sign, he also will have had some college experience and could be more advanced.

    Hoilman is in Boise already. If all goes well there, he should be in Peoria to start 2012.

    The Northwest League allows the use of the DH, so should both Gretzky and Vogelbach be ready for Boise next year, they can rotate in and out between first base and DH. That is if they both ready for Boise of course.

    If Shoulders signs and is ready for it, he and Hoilman can rotate between DH and first in Peoria.

    The most likely to reach Wrigley eventually would be Vogelbach or Gretzky. Vogelbach projects to have enormous power… Fielder type power perhaps. I’m not sure what the ceiling on Gretzky is, but I doubt he will develop the type of power we can project from Vogelbach. If either of them is able to move to a new position, it would almost have to be Gretzky. I can’t see Vogelbach being able to move to any other position on the diamond.

    As for bidding on Fielder… good question. I doubt they will decide not to as a result of Vogelbach or Gretzky. Vitters could move to first and Ridling is playing pretty well at that position, both in Tennessee. But I doubt they Cubs would pass on Fielder for either of them, either.

    But the Cubs could still decide to stay out of that bidding war and settle for a lower profile candidate… James Loney maybe. Or Chris Davis (though I hope not). Really, it comes down to how fast the Cubs think they can compete. If they expect a rebuild that takes two or more years, they may decide to pass on Fielder for now. If they think they can be back in contention by 2013 at the latest, then Fielder (and other high end free agents) make more sense.

    I do not expect the Cubs to try to spend their way back into contention like they did when the signed Soriano. This time, I think they are committed to building from within. And in my opinion, that is a good thing.

  • Luke Blaize

    @mixandmatch Since he came out of college, Hoilman is likely to be more advanced than Vogelbach or Gretzky. Should Shoulders sign, he also will have had some college experience and could be more advanced.

    Hoilman is in Boise already. If all goes well there, he should be in Peoria to start 2012.

    The Northwest League allows the use of the DH, so should both Gretzky and Vogelbach be ready for Boise next year, they can rotate in and out between first base and DH. That is if they both ready for Boise of course.

    If Shoulders signs and is ready for it, he and Hoilman can rotate between DH and first in Peoria.

    The most likely to reach Wrigley eventually would be Vogelbach or Gretzky. Vogelbach projects to have enormous power… Fielder type power perhaps. I’m not sure what the ceiling on Gretzky is, but I doubt he will develop the type of power we can project from Vogelbach. If either of them is able to move to a new position, it would almost have to be Gretzky. I can’t see Vogelbach being able to move to any other position on the diamond.

    As for bidding on Fielder… good question. I doubt they will decide not to as a result of Vogelbach or Gretzky. Vitters could move to first and Ridling is playing pretty well at that position, both in Tennessee. But I doubt they Cubs would pass on Fielder for either of them, either.

    But the Cubs could still decide to stay out of that bidding war and settle for a lower profile candidate… James Loney maybe. Or Chris Davis (though I hope not). Really, it comes down to how fast the Cubs think they can compete. If they expect a rebuild that takes two or more years, they may decide to pass on Fielder for now. If they think they can be back in contention by 2013 at the latest, then Fielder (and other high end free agents) make more sense.

    I do not expect the Cubs to try to spend their way back into contention like they did when the signed Soriano. This time, I think they are committed to building from within. And in my opinion, that is a good thing.

  • mixandmatch

    Basically the cubs have one more week for signings. How do the rest of the signings look?

  • mixandmatch

    Or, do they have until Aug. 15?

  • mixandmatch

    Basically the cubs have one more week for signings. How do the rest of the signings look?

  • mixandmatch

    Or, do they have until Aug. 15?

  • Luke Blaize

    @mixandmatch I think the deadline is August 15.

  • Luke Blaize

    @mixandmatch I think the deadline is August 15.