Could Cubs Draft The Next Bryce Harper?

February 26, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) during spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

I read on a fan forum a Cubs’ fan proposing the question would you trade starting pitcher Matt Garza for Washington Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper? Harper has been highly touted by everyone within the baseball industry, and there is an outside chance that right fielder could break camp on the Washington Nationals Major League roster. My answer to the question would be “Yes!” The whole reason why the Cubs are considering trading Garza is to improve their farm system with the top young prospects they would receive in return for trading their top starting pitcher. While the Nationals are using Harper as an outfielder, he played most of his junior college career as a catcher. This is the part where I say that the Nationals are not going to and never will trade Harper to the Cubs for Garza.

But that does not mean that the Cubs will not add a player in 2012 that compares similarly to Harper?

While it may not be as highly regarded as the National Football League’s or National Basketball Association’s draft, the Major League Amateur draft holds much significance to teams that are in the same position as the Cubs. Go back to when President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer joined the Cubs’ front office, both said the key to turning around the Cubs’ fortunes is to develop a stream of talent going from the farm system to the Major League team. Trading short-term assets for long-term assets will only take the Cubs so far. The other way the Cubs will develop that stream of talent will be through the amateur draft. With Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod joining Tim Wilken and Oneri Fleita on the Cubs’ draft team, the Cubs’ stand to continue their success that have had in recent seasons with the draft.

Fellow FanSided site, Seedling to the Stars, constructed their first Major League Baseball mock draft of the 2012 season. The Cubs have the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Seedling to the Stars’ writer Robbie Knopf suggests that the Cubs will draft high school catcher Stryker Trahan out of Los Angeles. Knopf says that Trahan is not on the same level as Harper, but that is the best comparison:

Bryce Harper is a once in a generation type prospect. Stryker Trahan is not at that level- but Harper is still his best comp. Trahan is 6’1″, 215 and has the type of athleticism unheard of from a catcher. Trahan has a nice line drive swing and great (if not prolific) raw power, and he could be a threat to his .310 with 30 homers. He combines that with excellent ability at the catcher position, showing great motions and a quick and accurate release, although his arm is about average. But what makes Trahan really stand out a la Harper is his speed. Seedling To The Stars

The Cubs may not have their catcher of the future in their organization. Geovany Soto has yet to prove that he can establish sustained success on the Major League level, and to be honest, 2012 may be the final opportunity that he gets to be the Cubs’ starting catcher. Steve Clevenger is nothing to write home about either, though, he could be a dependable backup on a Major League team. I am not sure what to think about Welington Castillo. Castillo definitely has the offense to succeed on the Major League level, but he has yet to fully develop the necessary skills to play catcher at the Major League level. It is likely, however, that either Clevenger or Castillo will be given the chance to start on a regular basis for the Cubs at some point this season.

Nonetheless, Trahan sounds like the type of prospect that the new regime covets. With that in mind, it is entirely possible that Trahan will be the team’s primary target in the draft.

Topics: Bryce Harper, Chicago Cubs, Geovany Soto, Jason Mcleod, Jed Hoyer, Steve Clevenger, Stryker Trahah, Theo Epstein, Welington Castillo

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