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2014 MLB Draft Prep Has Its Fruitbasket Upset

Remember how nice and tidy the draft's first four picks looked recently? That's gone away now.


In the day, our youth group would play Fruitbasket Upset. The group would be separated into five or so groups, and each would be named after a fruit. Everybody but one would get a chair. The person in the middle would call out a fruit or two, and those people represented would have to find a new chair. When Fruitbasket Upset was called, everybody went for a new chair. With Jeff Hoffman facing Tommy John surgery, the fourth pick and beyond are a bit in flux; the draft has had its fruitbasket upset.

Obviously, nobody is tipping their hand as to who they want. It sounds as if the White Sox might not be sold on Texas prep Tyler Kolek. If Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon are the first two off the board, Sox general manager Rick Hahn could go elsewhere. If you want Kolek, the Cubs could still be in luck. Otherwise, it will be "someone else". Be it high school catcher Alex Jackson, pitchers Erick Fedde (UNLV), Aaron Nola (LSU) or Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt), prep shortstop Nick Gordon, or someone else, we shall see.

Except, now Fedde, too, is out as an option:

Right now, today, Gordon would be my choice. My metric would be: "Which player do I see as a having a 20 WAR career or better?" One mock I saw since the injury, from a learned scout, had the Cubs taking TCU lefthanded pitcher Brandon Finnegan. Yeah, there will be some options at 1.4.

Why Gordon? He answers most of the question affirmatively. He has bloodlines, has lead-off man skills. He even hits lefty, for those of you concerned about lineup balance. His bat is improving the last few months. Minnesota wanted him at 1.5 before the injury to Hoffman. His staying at shortstop won't be a problem.

As far as a timeline on Gordon, I doubt the team will have any huge hurry in the rush him/hold him back category. He figures to start in the Arizona Summer League, if drafted. If he crushes it there, he can move up to Boise. If he is struggling a bit, he can stay in Mesa, where the Mesa Cubs will need a shortstop as well.

As to the glut at shortstop if Gleyber Torres and Gordon are both ready to be in Boise? There are worse problems to have. Yet another reason, though, to consider a Rookie League team in the Pioneer or Appalachian League. It would be preferred to have them both be at shortstop every day, but rotating between second and short wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

Beyond the first few rounds, I imaging the Cubs will do two things: Bring in an amateur pitching camp full of arms, probably of all types and ages. Also, the hitters will probably be adequate offensive players going up the minor league food chain.

Carlos Rodon continues to stake his claim to the top spot. Aaron Nola is the best college pitcher this season.