There have been a few arguments as to whether the Cubs should take a pitcher or a hitter in the first round in June. If the team opts to add a pitcher early, the guy they likely will take had a great week. Details:
Mark Appel struck out 10 while throwing 97 miles per hour in Stanford's 3-0 win over Washington State. His slider and change were considered plus on the evening in the 4 hit complete game. Over his last five starts, he has a 0.6 WHIP and a 0.64 ERA, fanning 10 or more in all five.
Jonathan Gray fanned 12, walked none, and surrendered but two hits to Kansas in a 12-1 win In his last four starts, Gray has pitched 34 innings, he has a 22-1 strikeout to walk ratio, has allowed 15 hits, and just two runs.
Kris Bryant hit his 13th homer on Thursday for San Diego, going 3-5 against #2 Oregon State in a 7-4 win.
Sean Manaea's Indiana State Sycamores lost 3-0 in a match-up with Missouri State's Nick Petree.
Tennessee prep righthander Jordan Sheffield was pulled from a recent start and is having his arm evaluated.
If you are looking for a mock draft, this should qualify.
It's time to play Choose Your Illusion. I'm going to paint a picture, giving you percentage chances and numerous options. You decide which of the five options provided comes closest to your preference. I don't care which one you choose. After we're done, I'll give you more options, and some of you get to choose again. However, the poll won't let us go there
One of my pet projects has been to float trading David DeJesus in late May. (Hey, you, over there. I see you rolling your eyes. No problem. I probably deserve it. But keep reading, nonetheless. There's an option in this for you as well.) This draft has, for the first time ever, a few swappable picks. Commissioner Selig has marched boldly into the 1970s, and deserves credit for his forward thinking. Kansas City has the first tradable pick, number 34 in the draft. Jarrod Dyson, Jeff Francoeur, and Lorenzo Cain are three of their four outfielders. DeJesus, who started his career with the Royals, might be a good fit in KC if they are in the hunt before the draft.
Here is the situation. When Theo Epstein rolls out of bed on May 27th, he will be looking forward to four successive games against the White Sox. As he grabs his cell phone, he notices Dayton Moore has left him a message. The Cubs are a few below .500, and sit at an eight percent chance of making the playoffs. DeJesus has been having a solid season, and is on a hot streak. Moore's Royals are in an early fight for AL Central supremacy.
After a few pleasantries, Moore wants to trade for DeJesus and a pitcher in the Cubs pipeline, along the Tayler Scott/Michael Jensen/Starling Peralta line. Moore is willing to part with a pitcher in Venezuela that Epstein likes, along with the 34th pick in the draft.
Dealing DeJesus and calling up Brian Bogusevic would drop the Cubs to a six percent post-season chance, with the understanding that Brett Jackson will be up (for good?) in mid-July. Three of the five options are visible now. Option one is make the trade as offered before Moore has a cup of coffee and changes his mind. Option two is make the trade, but only by leaving out the pitchers to KC (and the one coming from KC). This may nix the trade, but you can never tell. Option three is ride it out with the current roster, at least through the White Sox series.
Options four and five involve increasing the playoff likelihood. Instead of dealing with Moore, Epstein instead calls another GM with an offer of his own. Since he is on record as not wanting to trade himself out of contention, he offers two of the three aforementioned prospects to a team that has a mild glut of starting pitchers. Since the three are in the three or four percent likelihood of producing a 5+ WAR career, he is able to talk his way to sending two of them for a Jason Marquis/Chris Capuano-type pitcher. While they won't clinch anything, they will limit the likelihood to trot out Chris Rusin every five days in a pennant hunt. That would be option four.
Option five would be to up the ante a bit more, with maybe a Gioskar Amaya (who has a possibility of being a starting second baseman in the majors at some point). By adding Amaya to the two pitchers, Epstein can pull in a pitcher that is a legitimate fourth starter.
Option four bumps the playoff odds to 10 percent, the fifth one nudging it to 14. There you have the five options, and I have no preference which one you choose. Feel free to defend it, or not.
As promised, I will now add more information, with more odds. Assume, for argument's sake, there are three viable options for that No. 34 pick. If you selected option one or two, which of these three options would you want at 34? Choice one is a college pitcher from a major conference. He projects as a middle-of-the-rotation type, with a 20 percent chance of being like a slight downgrade from a Ted Lilly or Edwin Jackson. He could do slightly better. He probably will be a big leaguer, though, even if he is a solid eighth-inning reliever type, or a fourth or fifth starter.
Choice two is a high school catcher. The draft is deep on backstops, and the available one has an eight percent chance of being 'the guy'. I'll say the eight percent puts him somewhere between A.J. Pierzynski and Yadier Molina. As a catcher, there is a solid whiff potential, but he could exceed that window (in a very remote chance) or pull up short of those two and be Jody Davis for a decade ten more percent of the time.
Choice three is a prep arm. He has a 10 percent shot at being Jeff Samardzija, a two percent shot at being better, but a 40 percent chance of never getting major league per diem. Now, all of your options are before you. I think about all the variables are accounted for. What would you want Epstein to do on May 27th, given those basic odds?
Last, off-topic, but not least. Congrats to Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State point guard and graduate of my alma mater, on helping the Shockers to the Final Four. Rockford Auburn proud. Keep it up, and do better against Boeheim's zone than the other guys did.