In my last poll, I gave a few options as far as what I should have done in that edition. The early leader was an eliminator poll. I may still do that, but the winner of the contest would be gone by the third pick, so we'd not have a shot at him. The poll winner was one that I am horribly unqualified to talk about. In fact, if any of Theo's superscouts know how to evaluate how well a player will develop regarding off-speed stuff, don't explain it here. I'd much prefer you scan video of a game involving a player you are assigned to and give our higher-ups a proper projection on him.
If any of the regulars have any thoughts on the topic, though, let us know. That said, our scouts haven't done this very well very often.Nonetheless, I will let you play scout today. Watching a bit of a college game, I saw an intriguing player. He is a leadoff man that represents the part. A recent stat check indicated 28 walks, and only 8 strikeouts. His slashline at first printing was .348/.464/.848. He has yet to homer in his three years in college. This season, he is 7-7 on the bases.
What you're looking at is a professional hitter with no power, and decent speed. He has started in all three outfield spots. Realistically, he doesn't represent a big leaguer. He certainly looks like a better player now than some of the guys in the system. They have better upside, he could show better plate discipline, which may be picked up by osmosis.
The player in question is Tanner Mathis from Ole Miss, and I see three entirely valid perspectives on Mathis. One is, don't draft him, as he'll never make the bigs. I tend away from this. While I agree with the prognosis, he could represent a pinch hitter/5th outfielder type. While you may foresee the Cubs not needing a player like that in the near future (by 2016), he could be Nate McLouth minus any HR power. That could make for trade bait at some point.
The second is grab him, but not too early. Taking a guy in the 12th-20th round that can be a coach-on-the-field type and provide quality at bats won't hurt anything. He seems to be coachable, and I'm assuming he'd be a decent clubhouse guy. There will be guys taken way before that that do far less in the minors.
The third option kicks in this year. If, as a scout, you give thumbs up on his character, here is Plan C. Ask him about his signability. He doesn't represent anything major as far as a big time prospect. He'll probably never see AAA. But, if he's a decent little ballplayer with proper 'makeup' (scout speak for character/integrity', should you offer Mathis 10th round money for a seventh round selection? All teams are going to be cap-conscious and Mathis wouldn't embarrass as a 7th Round Pick. Limited upside, but if you could get him 'at a discount', you could spend extra on the other picks.
As far as who the Cubs might reach for at 6 (meaning, anyone off of my traditional, rather unchanging list of Appel/Buxton/Correa/Gausman/Giolito/Zimmer/Zunino, two names loom. Max Fried is a teammate of Lucas Giolito. His numbers will be deceiving (if you see them), because he was pounded three days after Giolito was injured. Very understandable. A lefty with low/mid 90's heat, I don't remember his secondary stuff. He is impressive, and I'm guessing Theo might want a spycam at all of his starts.
The second is Michael Wacha from Texas A&M. Unless Theo is blown away by a high schooler, I think he will want a college guy with 1.6. Not only could he get a college junior for little above slot (due to a lack of player leverage), thereby saving money for later buys, he could use a starting pitcher in the pipeline. Soon. He would probably be to AA by late 2013, and has the requisite mid-90's stuff and proper secondary offerings. At least one scout thinks he would be an abject waste, and needs to permanently shelve his curve. In other words, I'd prefer to not reach for him
I'm putting together a list of 70 guys that I'd be comfy with through 2.6. More on that later.