The Draft starts tonight at 5pm Central on the MLB Network and on-line at MLB.com. The Cubs have the 31st pick in the first round, so it's going to be a while before they get a turn.
It's amazing how fast the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft has grown over the past decade. Some of us can remember when picks after the first round were secret for at least a week. (That's why Bob Brenly's story about him calling the commissioner's office to see if he had been drafted isn't ridiculous at all.) The interest in the draft goes hand-in-hand with a much greater interest in amateur baseball, although I couldn't tell you which one was the chicken and which one was the egg.
To recap, this is an extremely difficult draft to predict after the Nationals select Stephen Strasburg. We prepared reports on nine players we think the Cubs might select, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Cubs select none of those nine players. I'll also quote ESPN's Keith Law: "The Cubs like a lot of guys who aren't going to be on the board when they pick."
The final mock drafts were published this morning and three of the four agree that the Cubs are grabbing a collegiate center fielder, but they can't agree on which one:
Jim Callis at Baseball America projects Brett Jackson OF California
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus projects Tim Wheeler OF Sacramento State
Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com projects AJ Pollock OF Notre Dame
Keith Law at ESPN.com projects Andy Oliver LHP Oklahoma State
So you can see how difficult our task was.
If you wish to review, here are the reports on AJ Pollock, Eric Arnett, and seven others. Matt and I feel pretty good that Pollock and Arnett are in the Cubs sights. Although I was last week when Matt wrote up the reports, I'm no longer confident that either will still be on the board at #31. None of the mock drafts issued this week have Arnett lasting to #31 and only Mayo has Pollock falling to us. That's how quickly the draft changes.
So having said that: