It's very difficult to gauge properly who the Cubs will take in the middle rounds of the draft that starts tomorrow. In part, because I don't know who they will take first. Logic says "Take the best player available." That player could be Carlos Rodon, with his questionable command and moderate athleticism. And his likely hefty contract numbers, that take away money from other selections. I'm still not sold on Rodon, and I'm trying to be as honest and upfront as possible as to why. That said, when you see his slider, you tend to disregard his time in the 40 yard dash. This article is dedicated to a number of players you may hear the Cubs select on Thursday and Friday after 1.4... and why.
Erick Fedde, righthanded pitcher, UNLV. The Cubs pick at 2.4 won't likely be Fedde. Someone else will likely beat them to the plunge. Fedde recently had Tommy John surgery and won't pitch anywhere competitively for about a year. If he were to slip, he is a type the Cubs might have interest in. He was drawing a buzz for his pitching at UNLV until his surgery was announced. If you can get major league productivity from a second round pick, you'd take that in a heartbeat, and Fedde profiles as a big league arm. If he recovers. When a team other than the Cubs selects Fedde, a few choice curse words will be uttered. By the way, I have a "three stages of Kevin Bacon" familiarity with Fedde.
Alex Verdugo, outfield/pitcher HS (AZ). Verdugo could be a pitcher. He could be an outfielder. If he doesn't sign, he'll go to Arizona State. I'm not sure which way the Cubs would try him, and I haven't heard any Verdugo-to-the-Cubs rumors. However, if the Cubs like either aspect of his game enough, he'd make an interesting selection. I'd guess it would be as a pitcher, as the Cubs sound like they want to 'crush pitching', which is someone lelse's tag line, I think.
Scott Blewett, righthanded pitcher, HS (NY). There is buzz on Blewett-to-the-Cubs, and some of it was floated here by a reader of Draft Prep. He has some video, good size, and a mid-90's fastball. If he's still on the board at 2.4, he'd be my odds-on-favorite. Blewett recently responded well from reported "shoulder soreness."
Justus Sheffield, lefthanded pitcher, HS (TN). Probably not the guy, as he has a commitment to Vanderbilt. That said, he is planning on going to Vandy as a starter, so that should pique some interest. Mid-90's velocity, but, if I remember correctly, a bit of injury flags. Or maybe that was his brother.
Jack Flaherty, third base/pitcher, HS (CA). He's from Harvard-Westlake in Cali, so he is well-instructed on how to play baseball. I list third base only to show he isn't just a pitcher. He will be drafted as one, though. I was a fan of his ever since I heard he had a huge game in high school at a home game, but didn't leave until all the Junior Varsity kids had been picked up. He threw a no-hitter recently. Though the cheat sheet I'm using has Flaherty a bit low to be gone in the early second round, some teams don't use these lists as a pure priority list. Some will fly early, and some will remain far later. I'm an unashamed Flaherty fan.
Evan Skoug, catcher, HS (Libertyville, Illinois). I'm not sure if he's a Cubs fan, but realistically, there's no good reason to not have a good read on this kid. The Cubs ought to have a few scouts in the area, and he's as good as any highly local option. He's signed with TCU, and while that's a good baseball school, it's certainly by no means a Vandy as far as being an unbreakable agreement.
Nick Burdi, righthanded relief pitcher, Louisville. This kid throws really hard, and is from the Chicago area. I doubt he lasts until the third round, and I fully expect a prep arm to be selected by Round 2. Burdi could be in the majors by September.
Grayson Greiner, catcher, South Carolina. Catcher, anybody? Greiner is a two-way catcher, in that he is solid at the plate and behind it. He could move rather quickly, but his offense figures to be more along the lines of seventh or eighth in the lineup, not fifth or sixth.
Luke Weaver, righthanded pitcher, Florida State. He had some early buzz, but it has faded quite a bit. He is still a solid pitcher, but more of a mid-to-lower rotation type. If he develops, he could move quickly, but he won't figure to be the type you want to give the ball to for Game 1 or Game 7.
Sam Travis, first baseman, Indiana. The dude can hit. He won't be more than a first baseman. How much is that worth to you? As other systems wrestle with the same argument, he can hit.
Michael Cederoth, righthanded pitcher, San Diego State. He throws hard. He has no control at all. Someone will try him as a lottery ticket at some point.
Jakson Reetz, catcher, HS (NE). He has been mentioned before. His start seems to have slipped a bit, and will be happy to attend Nebraska if the numbers aren't right. If the Cubs get an underslot pick at 1.4, he might make sense in the fourth round.
Jacob Lindgren, lefthanded pitcher, Mississippi State. This guy has some helium going on. He is a power lefty reliever type, and might make sense as early as 2.4 if the Cubs pick Rodon. If they wait until 3.4, he'll likely be gone. Mostly a reliever-type, a team might want to slow him down, teach him a change-up, and turn him into a starter. Or, they can use him out of the pen until his arm needs surgery from overuse in the pen. The Cubs selected him out of high school, so he is a known quantity.
Chad Sobotka, righthanded pitcher, South Carolina-Upstate. Another guy getting some positives recently, he might be gone in the top three rounds as well. Theo Epstein tends to buy into guys who finish strong, and Sobotka fits that mold.
Patrick Mahomes, righthanded pitcher, HS (TX). He might play football. He might play both sports in college. Or, he might take a contract offer if it's solid enough. One of the reasons scouts are so important in baseball is to make sure key picks aren't thrown away. If you take Mahomes in the first five rounds, you'd better get him signed. If you think you might be able to reel him in, but aren't sure, you take him in the thirteenth round. The story indicates scouts know he exists. He is the son of former major-league pitcher Pat Mahomes, who pitched in 16 games for the Cubs in 2002.
Adam Ravenelle, righthanded pitcher, Vanderbilt. "Derek. Do we want this guy?" The answer to that might get his name called in the fifth round or so.
Cy Sneed, righthanded pitcher, Dallas Baptist. I'm really not sure of Sneed's repertoire, but DBU is becoming a good baseball school. I'd be good with this on school name recognition around Round Five or Six.
Sam Howard, lefthanded pitcher, Georgia Southern. This kid just upped his selection last week by about two rounds. He pitched a two-hit complete game shutout in Tallahassee, stunning the Seminoles. He fanned 10, walking four. Probably put himself in the top five rounds with that gem.
Kyle Marsh, righthanded pitcher, HS (FL). Two reasons on this one. Another prep arm, and South Park. Some things I can't pass up.
Dustin DeMuth, third baseman, Indiana. The Hoosiers have a good team, and if DeMuth is on the board around round 8, there would be worse options. He could probably play in Kane County right now.