When people assess this year's high school class, some gurus like to claim the class is weak, which it may well be. The problem I have with the assessment is they like to use Albert Almora as an example, which I believe is rather foolish. Almora was heavily scouted, though not as much as Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier will be this season. Frazier seems far ahead of the rest of the class, with Meadows having a four-length lead approaching the club turn (yay, horse-racing humor).
The problem with comparing Almora to either of those two, or anyone else, is that Almora was very late to the top 10. I was obsessing over the topic (imagine that!), and it was mid-to-late May before Almora became a Top-10 likelihood. It took an injury to Lucas Giolito and a few other injuries to get Almora there. Now, everyone pretends that they knew he would homer in his first game at two different minor-league levels. I'll say this, I'm glad we will have a shot at (at least) one of the top two preferences from the front-office this year.
Before I get to my short list, though, here is part 4 of Ben Badler's hopefully seven-part series on international signings. I trust I'm not the only one who feels smarter for reading these.
The list below compriese 25 guys, with at least one from each position. From there, though, it flies off the rails. The sole qualification is: "players I want the Cubs to draft this time around". This will lead to some curious omissions, such as Carlos Rodon from North Carolina State, who can't be drafted this year. Austin Wilson, from Stanford is also right out as he will almost certainly be gone by the team's second selection. I don't want him to "waste" a valuable "roster spot."
General qualifications for the squad include very high character (any mention of "was kicked off the team for" is probably a disqualifier), willingness to draw walks, defensive value, and anything else that makes the player so very Theo-y. For almost every player on the list, I'll have their particulars, with a link to further information; there's video for quite a few of them. Add your recommendations, as I will have a post-season team as well.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford Video
Aaron Blair, RHP, Marshall Video
Nick Ciuffo, C, High School (SC) Video
Andrew Dunlap, RHP, High School (TX) Video
Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
Kent Emanuel, LHP, North Carolina Video
Dominic Ficociello, 2B, Arkansas Video
Clint Frazier, OF, High School (GA) Video
Stephen Gonsalvez, LHP, High School (CA) Video
Marco Gonzalez, LHP, Gonzaga Video
Austin Kubitza, RHP, Rice Video
JaCoby Jones, 2B, LSU Video
Nick Longhi, 1B, High School (FL) Video
Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal State Fullerton Video
Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State Video
Andy McGuire, SS, High School (VA) Baseball America article
Austin Meadows, OF, High School (GA) Video
Chris Oakley, RHP, High School (NJ) Video
Chris Okey, C, High School (FL) Video
DJ Peterson, 3B, New Mexico Video
Adam Plutko, RHP, UCLA Video
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas Video
John Sternagel, 3B, High School (FL) Video
Rowdy Tellez, 1B, High School (CA) Video
Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt Video
I haven't run blotter checks on these guys to eliminate any. I have decided to treat Vandy's ace, Ziomek, as a bit of a Ringo to the John, Paul, and George of Appel, Manaea, and Stanek, posting his outing fourth every weekend, following the other three.
Despite the snow and slop I see out my window, college games start on Friday. "Play Ball!"