2013 MLB Draft Prep Gets Kicked Off The Team

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This week's edition touches a bit on the candidates for the second pick... but not very much.

When I write, odd as it may seem, I'm writing for me. While the concept of a "runner's high" isn't truly an accurate comp, it gets the sentiment across. I get pleasure out of taking a blank computer screen, writing 1,000 or so words on it, and having people read it. That some are driven to respond is icing on the cake. That said, I prefer my writing to usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end. A list of names of people, with mainly links to other people's opinions isn't what I like writing. While it might make for meaty reading, writing comprehensive lists isn't compelling for me.

So, while I know many of you would like lists of a dozen high school pitchers the Cubs might take with the No. 41 overall pick (also termed '2.2', or 'with their second round pick'), there are a few problems, regardless of my expectations in February. College games are fine when the only competition is NBA games. Even a Cubs game in Mesa can be followed online if a Charleston Southern at Coastal Carolina game is also online. However, once the minor leagues get going, the likelihood of a solid college match-up not going opposite a Cubs affiliate match-up lessens to a significantly insignificant number quickly.

So, I usually end up parroting something like "Kris Bryant is still mashing out west", "Jonathan Gray just embarrassed a very mediocre college team", or "Mark Appel struggled in an outing that won't really matter in his talent analysis". Not very snappy, though in this week's case, all of them are true. With the second pick in June's draft, the Cubs figure to get a really good player, and we'll see who they prefer then.

This Draft Prep runs a bit contrary, though. I've been sitting on this one for two weeks, waiting for something to break. It hasn't, and probably won't very soon. Nonetheless, the premise is a great article. I'm going with it, as I'm very intrigued by the potential discussions, as the responses could be all over the map. And none are wrong. And no Cubs blog has gone there yet.

The next few paragraphs will be scant on linked facts. There are two ways I could do this, and I went with the one less likely to be construed as muck-raking, since I don't know most of those said facts. There are some facts here available online, as you'll see. I haven't seen anyone else doing a full-length feature, but I'm more intrigued by your responses than blowing up someone's career. And comments elsewhere have been deleted as inaccurate or incendiary, so please keep yours civil.

****

A few weeks back, a powerhouse high school program took a travel trip to a prestigious tournament. When they returned, their school was on spring break. In the interim between the tournament and their next game, word broke that 'some of the players' had been suspended. One player on the team is a two-way threat that has taken to using wood bats in games to show off his stuff. Since the tourney in question, he has not played, either pitching or hitting. Someone commented off the record that, had this happened almost anywhere else, the punishment would have probably been a game, not the season.

Here's one story about what happened; here's another, and yet another. As you can see, no one's saying much, and I have no idea what the offense was. The school doesn't have to say. One of the players on the team is still being included in some mock drafts, but he has never been in consideration for a Top-10 pick.

With all the talk around for drafting 'best player available', should the Cubs' brass consider drafting a high schooler that sounds serious about being a pro ball player, but did something that may well have gotten him kicked off his high school team? That is the question.

Some of the front office likely has a bug in the ear of the head coach of the team. Depending on the severity of the situation, he certainly could have already had his dossier shredded. Depending on his level of involvement, and the infraction, he might not be a fit for the system. By the draft, you will probably know who I'm not naming. That is the nature of the intelligence game. Writers don't want to name names without verified sources. The sources linked above made me confident enough to float the premise.

Do you want the best available talent? Or do you want best available that hasn't been kicked off his team? Again, please keep your comments to these questions, rather than speculation about who this might be.

***

Two weeks ago, I listened to the Oklahoma Sooners' game at Baylor instead of the Daytona game on a Friday night. Jonathan Gray was the reason. The big right-hander struggled mightily with his control early, though he wasn't getting hurt by it much. Gray was well over 50 pitches through three, but had only given up one run. Gray was getting a bit of mileage from his change-up, but was off a bit with his high-90's fastball, hitting 100 a few times. As with many top-shelf pitchers, if you want to finish him off, you might want to early.

Baylor didn't. From the fourth through the eighth innings, Gray had only one long at bat against, as a lower-end hitter fouled off some pitches before fanning. It was largely a 'status unchanged' effort. If you already liked him, it wouldn't spike his value, despite a slow start. He finished eight, and left with the game tied. His relief help surrendered a walk-off homer in the last of the ninth. Baylor won 2-1.

Gray strikes out 10 of 20 versus New Orleans in this win.

Appel fans six in a mediocre outing.

Bryant has 20 homers.

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