Oooooh, Tim's going to give us a mock draft.
No, not yet, at least. But I will look a bit into the future, June and beyond.
I think most of us are agreed on the top seven in the pecking order as of now. While Team Theo may go 'off my board' of Appel/Buxton/Correa/Gausman/Giolito/Zimmer/Zunino, I think those seven set an awfully high standard. I would imagine at least four will be gone when we select at 1.6. If our medics sign off on Giolito's arm, then I'd be pleased with any of them. My only flag (it isn't red) on Buxton is that he would be so-o-o-o-o far away from Wrigley. So much can go wrong with HS players, like curve balls. But really, I'd be good with any of them.
Beyond 1.6, I expect Theo will try to work on the pitching and hitting early. I won't call 2 pitchers and 2 hitters, but his rep in Boston was to give them both their due. We need pitchers. The best will be gone by Round 3, so look for Theo Inc to get some arms (and hitters) in the first four tries.
So who? I think 1.6 will be a pitcher. Probably Zimmer or Gausman, but maybe someone else. The draft is a bit deep in catching, and our people know that. Miami has a catcher named O'Brien, and Buffalo (really) has one named Murphy. Both are solid behind the plate, draw walks, and have big league power. They strike out too much, but so does Zunino. I would be not at all surprised if we draft (and quickly sign) one of them early. I would expect another hitter type early, position borderline trivial.
I think teams will start getting used to drafting more college guys. That isn't entirely true, as the number of college signees will be about the same in the soon-to-be-current 40 round draft as the former 50 round version. There will be more UDFAs (undrafted free agents). But there will be far fewer HS signees.
I had a brief chat with Josh in a separate spot about the possibility of adding another Low-A Team. Presently, all 30 clubs have a team in the South Atlantic League (SALLY) or the Midwest League (Peoria Chiefs are in that). The SALLY recently reduced from 16 teams to 14, with two jumping to the MWL. Since Theo and his peeps can't buy prospects through large bonuses, the team will have to out-develop prospects. One potential way to do that would be to (find a partner and) get the SALLY back to 16.
Why would that help? Or be more applicable now? Extended Spring Training (which is in progress now) is principally for four types of players. Guys rehabbing injuries, ones adjusting to the states from Central/South America and points beyond, high schoolers not ready for full season ball, and guys learning a new position. While all four groups will represent into the future, with massive overslot bonuses going away to a large extent, so will some of the HS talent in EXST. Shawon Dunston, Trevor Gretzky, Dillon Maples, and Daniel Vogelbach might be playing college ball this year if not for aggressive bonuses.
If a player has learned the basics of baseball and being a pro ballplayer, the best place for him is full-season ball. There would be an added expense to having another full-season (or even short season) team. Two cities would need to be found, and The Commissioner's Office may balk at teams trying to gain an edge in this fashion. That said, I think a 21 year old kid with designs on the bigs would be better served by a road trip to Greenville and Kannapolis than another game in Fitch Park. Extended Spring Training may be great at teaching The Cubs Way, but guys who will represent in Wrigley in a couple years would probably benefit more from stiffer competition. Out-development through more teams in competition.
Especially since we'll draft fewer high schoolers going forward. And we will continue to have a positive glut of middle infielders. I'd rather they all get 450 at bats or so per season than have to guess which ones to protect on the 40 Man Roster.
I have the MiLB package this year. I've been watching college games here and there. But I enjoy watching Greenville Drive games from outside the system. Why? Theo/Jed drafted most of them. June can't get here soon enough.
Questions welcomed if you have them.