The MLB Draft starts tomorrow! Since I know a number of people on this site are interested in the draft, but don't follow amateur baseball very closely, I figured a primer would be a good way to generate some discussion and provide useful information to interested posters.
When is the Draft?
- First Round: June 6 at 6:00 PM CT
- Rounds 2-30: June 7 at 12:00 PM CT
- Rounds 31-50: June 8 at 12:00 PM CT
While some teams stop drafting prior to the 50th round, the Cubs usually use all their picks.
Who has been connected to the Cubs at #9?
Unexpected surprises aside (and you can never discount those), this is one of the most loaded and deep drafts in recent memory. While Wilken and company very well could pick a relative unknown, the availability of top-end talent at #9 should discourage the Cubs from taking a guy expected to go in the third round. Here are five names who could be available at #9 which have been connected with the Cubs:
OF Bubba Starling (HS, Kansas) - One of the premier athletes in this draft, Starling also has a commitment to Nebraska as a QB. Starling offers an upside of a five tool package as a CF, with prodigious speed and power. There are lingering questions about how strong his commitment to Nebraska is and whether he can make consistent contact with his swing, but his upside is good enough that he might go at #2 to the Mariners.
RHP Archie Bradley (HS, Oklahoma) - Another top-shelf athlete, Bradley has a commitment to Oklahoma as a QB. Bradley is a large bodied RHP who offers two potential plus pitches in his fastball, which reportedly hit 101 on the gun in a recent outing, and curveball. His mechanics are smooth and clean. Like Starling, there are questions about whether Bradley will go to college. Moreover, Bradley's change needs quite a bit of work and his curveball is inconsistent thus far. Regardless, Bradley's got a ton of helium and would be a justifiable selection in the Top 5.
OF George Springer (UConn) - Speed and power are Springer's calling cards; he offers both in spades. Springer doesn't get cheated when he makes contact. He's a very good athlete and should be able to stick in CF. There are concerns that Springer has some holes in his swing, but he's shown the ability to recognize and adjust in college ball. He might end up being a streaky hitter, but it's hard to pass up his combination of speed and power. Springer figures to go around where the Cubs pick.
RHP Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) - The Cubs previously selected Gray and attempted to buy him out of his college commitment, but ultimately did not succeed. Gray has been a work horse for Vanderbilt, with two excellent pitches in his fastball and slider. His changeup is a work in progress. Gray's shortish stature, delivery, and mechanics have led people to wonder if he has the durability to start. If he does and his changeup develops, he could be a #1 starter. If not, his stuff is good enough to be an elite closer. Gray will likely go around #9, possibly earlier to the Indians at 8 or the Diamondbacks at 7.
OF Mikie Mahtook (LSU) - Despite starting his college career as raw as an uncooked steak, Mahtook improved every year he was at LSU. Now, he's polished, he's a legit five tool guy, and he's probably the second most major league ready hitter in this draft after Rendon. He'll stick in CF. Plus, he should sign for around slot relatively quickly. He has pretty good power and speed, but none of his tools really jump out. Like Springer, he also has some concerns about holes in his swing. If the Cubs don't take him, Mahtook likely will go somewhere in the 10-20 range.
Got any useful links?
Here's a slew of them for all your research purposes.
Twitter is also a handy way of following the latest draft rumors. These are the accounts of some notable people who provide good information:
So, which player/s are you hoping the Cubs will take with the #9 pick? Are there any guys you like in the later rounds?