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Friday

7

June 2013

44

COMMENTS

Day 1 – Draft Recap

Written by , Posted in General

Did you sit through the MLB coverage of the draft last night? Two thoughts: 1) compared to the NFL and NBA drafts, the production value of MLB is, well, er, not as good; 2) Harold Reynolds can go away now, thank you.

Speaking of comparing drafts – Twitter exploded after the Cubs’ first pick with complaints about the Cubs not filling a need. Well, this is where we have to remind ourselves that, unlike players drafted into the NFL and NBA, players drafted by major league teams almost never make immediate impacts on the big league club. It’s about acquiring assets – many of whom will be traded and eventually play for other teams (or never make it to the big leagues at all). Smart teams don’t worry about who is already playing a certain position in their minor league system; they take the best player available – especially if it’s an early pick in the first round. As Jason McLeod said, the Cubs were never going to select a player based on need, and that is the right strategy in MLB.

#2 Kris Bryant

For several weeks now, many Cub fans in the blogosphere have debated whether the Cubs should select Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, or Kris Bryant with the second overall pick, with many (most) assuming that it would be one of the two pitchers. Before the draft, I felt that I would be happy with any of those three, although I guess I was rooting for Appel just a bit (I suppose the Stanford thing swayed me somewhat). With Appel going off the board to the Astros at #1 overall, the Cubs had their choice between Bryant and Gray. The Cubs elected to go with Bryant, the powerful third baseman out of the University of San Diego. Subsequently, ESPN’s Bruce Levine reported that Appel was #1 on the Cubs’ board, with Bryant at #2 (Jason McLeod said that Gray’s positive Adderall test didn’t cause them to pass on him, although we’ll never really know). Even though the Cubs may have preferred Appel if they had their choice, you can’t be disappointed that the Cubs selected the biggest power bat in the draft – at least the Cubs didn’t make the choice based on signability or other external factors.

In 62 games this season with San Diego, Bryant hit .329/.493/.820 (that’s an OPS of 1.313, folks) with 31 HR, 62 RBI, 66 BB, 44 K, 80 R, 7 SB. I’m going to pause here for a moment so you can read that line again. This is my favorite ridiculous Bryant stat: he personally out-homered 228 of the 296 teams in Division I baseball. The BB/K ratio is excellent. Although we can’t read too much into college stats (especially since he wasn’t playing in an elite conference), all the scouts seem to agree that his power is legit. Read this report from Mike Rosenbaum and allow yourself to drool a little:

“Epitome of a power hitter; presents plus-plus raw power to all fields; chance to boast elite power at maturity with improvements; loose hands and wrists; quick trigger and reaction time; outstanding bat speed; power should always be there even if average isn’t; showcases impressive barrel control through the strike zone; excellent hip rotation creates extension through the baseball; favorable point of contact off a firm front side; generates backspin carry to all fields; power will translate with wood.”

Some scouts have commented that he may hit around .260-.270 or lower in the majors, but, as we all know, if he can walk and hit for that kind of power, he’ll be a great player to have.

Jason McLeod said that Bryant has the attributes of a middle-of-the-order hitter in the major leagues that can play at a high level for many years. Although Bryant’s power would play at any corner spot, he’ll be even more valuable if he can stick at third base. He’s 6’5″ 215 lbs. with room to grow, so I’m skeptical that he’ll stick at third once he matures fully. However, the Cubs will play him at third to start, and he’ll be given an opportunity to stick there – let’s hope he does!

After the Cubs selected Bryant, I got the feeling that they would repeat last year’s strategy of drafting a high-profile position player with the first pick (Albert Almora last year) followed by a tidal wave of pitching selections. It looks like the wave got rolling with their second round pick.

#41 Rob Zastrynzny

With the 41st pick (the second in the second round), the Cubs selected Rob Zastrynzny from the University of Missouri. I really thought that the Cubs would go with Hunter Green out of Warren East H.S. in Kentucky with this pick (Holden did a great overview of him), so I was surprised to see Zastrynzny go here (by the way, Zastrynzny is going to make all of us use copy-and-paste a lot). At first, I was a little bummed – Baseball America had him ranked 76th, he was ranked 81st by Perfect Game (at Baseball Prospectus), and he wasn’t ranked in the top 100 by MLB.com. (Were the Cubs hoping to sign him way under slot in order to pay Bryant over slot, or were they trying to save money for later picks?) However, after reading the Baseball Prospectus (Perfect Game) write-up, I feel much better. Here’s a portion:

“…Zastryzny has seen his draft stock steadily rise through the course of the spring and could hear his name heard as early as the second round. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw was undrafted out of Corpus Christi, Texas high school despite going 17-1, 0.20 with 198 strikeouts his senior year. He stepped into the Missouri rotation early in his freshman year and has built his upper-80s fastball into a pitch that now tops out at 94 mph with excellent sinking and running life at times. Zastryzny’s best secondary pitch is a low-80s changeup that has very good arm speed and matches his fastball in life and in his ability to spot the ball low in the zone. His third pitch is a curveball that is a workable offering in setting up hitters, but it is not currently a swing-and-miss pitch.”

The key there is that he has increased his fastball velocity to 94 – Zastrynzny definitely seems like a prospect on the rise. A tall lefty who has a moving fastball at that velocity sounds intriguing. I’m legitimately excited about this pick now (as excited as an Illinois grad can be about a player from Mizzou), and I’m looking forward to following his progress. After all, none of the players chosen in the second round are sure things, so this is where the front office guys earn those big salaries.

It will be interesting to follow the rest of the Cubs’ draft starting today. I expect a torrent of pitching selections, with a few position players thrown in here and there (I wouldn’t be surprised to see a catcher selected sometime early on). Although we’ll never hear about most of these players again, it’s a fun time of year for those of use that follow prospects. Enjoy!

  • Eddie Von White

    Very informative. I think you hit the nail on the head – the reason the MLB draft is not as good is because (like you said) the players do not have an immediate impact on their team, thus much less hype and interest.

    • BLPCB

      This. Plus you can’t trade draft picks either. That’s one thing that makes the NFL draft fun. You never know what trades will be made. Like the Rams already have a franchise QB, and then they get the #2 pick in a draft that has 2 franchise QBs in Luck and RG3. So what do the Rams do? They trade the #2 pick and get 3 first round picks out of it.

  • Eddie Von White

    Very informative. I think you hit the nail on the head – the reason the MLB draft is not as good is because (like you said) the players do not have an immediate impact on their team, thus much less hype and interest.

    • AC0000000

      This. Plus you can’t trade draft picks either. That’s one thing that makes the NFL draft fun. You never know what trades will be made. Like the Rams already have a franchise QB, and then they get the #2 pick in a draft that has 2 franchise QBs in Luck and RG3. So what do the Rams do? They trade the #2 pick and get 3 first round picks out of it.

  • Chuck

    The MLB draft is usually a snoozefest unless there is a Harper or Strasburg to take. 99% of the time it is a “who dat?!” fest. I, generally, ignore the MLB draft and only start to care about prospects when they hit AA or AAA. Otherwise it is just too much energy to invest in a player most likely to never make an impact at the MLB level. It is kind of like the second round of the NBA draft when your team takes a euro guy who is under contract over there for the next 3 years.

    • BLPCB

      Except the NBA Draft is only 2 rounds, and you can find impact players in the 2nd round. Big deal if they have to play in Europe for a few years for seasoning.

  • Chuck

    The MLB draft is usually a snoozefest unless there is a Harper or Strasburg to take. 99% of the time it is a “who dat?!” fest. I, generally, ignore the MLB draft and only start to care about prospects when they hit AA or AAA. Otherwise it is just too much energy to invest in a player most likely to never make an impact at the MLB level. It is kind of like the second round of the NBA draft when your team takes a euro guy who is under contract over there for the next 3 years.

    • AC0000000

      Except the NBA Draft is only 2 rounds, and you can find impact players in the 2nd round. Big deal if they have to play in Europe for a few years for seasoning.

  • Doc Raker

    Theo was out scouting Kris Bryant last week, one of my employee’s daughter goes to University of San Diego and knows Bryant. Kobe was there also and they all went out for a meatball marinara with ranch dressing. Kobe forgot his wallet so Theo pick up the check and kept the receipt saying he would deduct the costs from Bryant’s signing bonus. This business of baseball can be ugly, I will try and get some info on where Theo takes Bryant for dinner when he visits Chicago, let’s hope it is Gibson’s, Ditka’s or at least Al’s Beef, I just don’t see a need for eating at Subway once back in Chicago.

    • I agree. The Subway in Lincoln Park really hoses you on cheese triangles (three.)

      • BLPCB

        One for each corner of the triangle

    • BLPCB

      What about a place that has Kobe Beef? Kobe’s parents named him after that.

    • Jedi

      Raker were you at either of the Blackhawks games at Staples this week?

      • Doc Raker

        I was not, wanted to but we are just to busy with our schedule. We even passed on the opportunity to have my son on the ice for the national anthem. He plays for the Jr Kings and they invite the kids to go onto the ice for the per game. Were you there?

      • Jedi

        Yeah – Jeremiah and I went to the game last night – couldn’t go on Tuesday since we were in Anaheim at the Cubs game…last night was fantastic.

      • BLPCB

        I’m with you, hockey is so much fun to watch. I can’t believe what I’ve missed out on in my first 25 years of living. Curse you Bill Wirtz for never televising a game! I went to game 3 of the Bruins-Penguins series on Wednesday. Such an intense game. It went 2OTs, ending with less than 5 minutes left in the 2nd OT. To risk missing my train and a ruptured bladder so I don’t miss the walk-off goal was totally worth it. Thankfully I was able to go and I just barely caught the final train. The T held the trains because the game went long.

      • Doc Raker

        The skate off goal you mean?

      • BLPCB

        Yes you would be correct. Sorry I just call the buzzer beater/sudden death score a walk-off in any sport. It’s still a walk-off in football and basketball, but it’s a skate-off in hockey

      • Doc Raker

        Old Man Wirtz was a horrible owner, the son is doing a much better job at running the team. When Old Man Wirtz passed away I got an email from a friend. “Bill Wirtz passed away, all assholes move up one square.”

      • BLPCB

        Okay?

  • Doc Raker

    Theo was out scouting Kris Bryant last week, one of my employee’s daughter goes to University of San Diego and knows Bryant. Kobe was there also and they all went out for a meatball marinara with ranch dressing. Kobe forgot his wallet so Theo pick up the check and kept the receipt saying he would deduct the costs from Bryant’s signing bonus. This business of baseball can be ugly, I will try and get some info on where Theo takes Bryant for dinner when he visits Chicago, let’s hope it is Gibson’s, Ditka’s or at least Al’s Beef, I just don’t see a need for eating at Subway once back in Chicago.

    • I agree. The Subway in Lincoln Park really hoses you on cheese triangles (three.)

      • AC0000000

        One for each corner of the triangle

    • AC0000000

      What about a place that has Kobe Beef? Kobe’s parents named him after that.

    • Jedi

      Raker were you at either of the Blackhawks games at Staples this week?

      • Doc Raker

        I was not, wanted to but we are just to busy with our schedule. We even passed on the opportunity to have my son on the ice for the national anthem. He plays for the Jr Kings and they invite the kids to go onto the ice for the per game. Were you there?

      • Jedi

        Yeah – Jeremiah and I went to the game last night – couldn’t go on Tuesday since we were in Anaheim at the Cubs game…last night was fantastic.

      • AC0000000

        I’m with you, hockey is so much fun to watch. I can’t believe what I’ve missed out on in my first 25 years of living. Curse you Bill Wirtz for never televising a game! I went to game 3 of the Bruins-Penguins series on Wednesday. Such an intense game. It went 2OTs, ending with less than 5 minutes left in the 2nd OT. To risk missing my train and a ruptured bladder so I don’t miss the walk-off goal was totally worth it. Thankfully I was able to go and I just barely caught the final train. The T held the trains because the game went long.

      • Doc Raker

        The skate off goal you mean?

      • AC0000000

        Yes you would be correct. Sorry I just call the buzzer beater/sudden death score a walk-off in any sport. It’s still a walk-off in football and basketball, but it’s a skate-off in hockey

      • Doc Raker

        Old Man Wirtz was a horrible owner, the son is doing a much better job at running the team. When Old Man Wirtz passed away I got an email from a friend. “Bill Wirtz passed away, all assholes move up one square.”

      • AC0000000

        Okay?

  • Appreciate the write-up SP…nice intro to these kids. Glad we went with the guy who can contribute sooner rather than later.

    Side note, fire your cartoonist. He took that mouth from Michael Jackson circa ’92. Giant triangles are the way to go.

    • Sean Powell

      Thanks JS.

      Yeah – I didn’t choose the picture they used for the cartoon. I appreciate that it was free, etc…but really, my ears aren’t that big in real life!

      • I understand completely. I’m not blonde, and while I do have a round face it’s not quite this round. I’m happy with my triangle-lips though.

      • Jedi

        You conspicuously didn’t mention whether or not you look like a man in drag.

  • Appreciate the write-up SP…nice intro to these kids. Glad we went with the guy who can contribute sooner rather than later.

    Side note, fire your cartoonist. He took that mouth from Michael Jackson circa ’92. Giant triangles are the way to go.

    • Sean Powell

      Thanks JS.

      Yeah – I didn’t choose the picture they used for the cartoon. I appreciate that it was free, etc…but really, my ears aren’t that big in real life!

      • I understand completely. I’m not blonde, and while I do have a round face it’s not quite this round. I’m happy with my triangle-lips though.

      • Jedi

        You conspicuously didn’t mention whether or not you look like a man in drag.

  • Holden Clark

    I was disappointed when Green was still on the table and they didn’t take with their 2nd pick. Of the couple players I profiled Wahl and Sandberg have slid. They will be available at the Cubs 3rd pick and Sandberg may go all the way to the 4th pick. Maybe the Cubs are saving some money to try and convince Sandberg its a better idea to play baseball professionally then get beat up in the SEC at Mississippi State. Both are listed by Ben Badler as top 5 remaining talents. Here is to hoping the Cubs pull a trigger on both of them. Great recap Sean!

    • Noah_I

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs were aiming with the number 2 pick with taking a college guy who they think can move faster and hopefully save some money on, and put that money towards higher ceiling high school talents in the 3rd and 4th rounds.

  • Holden Clark

    I was disappointed when Green was still on the table and they didn’t take with their 2nd pick. Of the couple players I profiled Wahl and Sandberg have slid. They will be available at the Cubs 3rd pick and Sandberg may go all the way to the 4th pick. Maybe the Cubs are saving some money to try and convince Sandberg its a better idea to play baseball professionally then get beat up in the SEC at Mississippi State. Both are listed by Ben Badler as top 5 remaining talents. Here is to hoping the Cubs pull a trigger on both of them. Great recap Sean!

    • Noah_I

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs were aiming with the number 2 pick with taking a college guy who they think can move faster and hopefully save some money on, and put that money towards higher ceiling high school talents in the 3rd and 4th rounds.