The Cubs certainly put the attention on themselves with their first pick in tonight’s draft, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. As they made a selection which many consider to be a reach, by drafting Southern Arkansas Right Handed Pitcher Hayden Simpson. To give you an insight on to why the Cubs botched their pick with the selection of Simpson, he was not even ranked on anyone’s top 200 prospect list for player entering this years draft.
At first glance, you would see that Simpson actually has some impressive college numbers as he was 13-1 with a 1.81 ERA, 131 SO in 99.1 innings pitched for Southern Arkansas. But here is the catch to those numbers, Simpson did it in division II baseball, not the more prestige division I baseball. Which is yet another reason why the Cubs made a mistake by taking Simpson with the 17th overall selection.
"“He’s putting together about as good of a college career as you can. I think he’s 28-1 or 29-1 in college now. I’m not sure what year he lost a game, I know it wasn’t this one. I haven’t seen him a second time, but I saw his first start of the year and. . . they left him in a little longer than you’d like to see—I think he threw 115 pitches in his first start—but he was sitting 92-94 and touching 96 for the first couple innings. It fell off a little bit but he can spin a curveball too. He’s not a big guy—I would say he’s about 5-11, 175—but he’s got a good arm and his numbers are backing it up. His delivery gets out of whack every once in a while and he struggles throwing strikes, but he can usually put it back together. His stuff is just overpowering at that level. I think he’s striking out 13 or 14 per nine and guys aren’t making solid contact off of him at all. I think he’s a bullpen guy. That first outing, he fell back down to 90-92 late in the game. He never dipped below 90 on my gun and he reached back a couple times when he saw the finish line. BASEBALL AMERICA"
There is not one possible reason, or explanation I can see the Cubs giving that warrant them to take a 5th round talent in the first round. Talk about a drop-off, the Cubs over recent years have made brilliant selections that have included Jay Jackson, Brett Jackson, Andrew Cashner, Starlin Castro, and Tyler Colvin. But now, they make one of the dumbest decision drafting wise, that I have ever seen a MLB team make.
Now, some of course, would argue that Cubs writers like me are over-reacting to this selection just like we did with Tyler Colvin. The only problem is Tyler Colvin was not nearly as big as a reach as Simpson is for the Chicago Cubs. Colvin actually played in a D-I school, and Simpson has not, and that is where the comparisons need to stop.
Tim Wilken, Cubs Scouting Director, is credited for being one of the best scouting directors in the game, so maybe he is seeing something that none of us have yet to see out of Simpson. After all, Wilken was the one that decided to take Roy Halladay back when he was part of the Toronto Blue Jays front office, but I would not get your hopes up Cubs fans. The Cubs passed on a solid option in high school catcher Justin O’ Connor, for a guy in Simpson, who they could of had in later rounds.