A month out, normally mock drafts start coming into focus. This time around, not so much. The player one opinion has at six goes 16 in the next. It's really difficult figuring out what the consensus is. Beyond that, guessing preferences for specific general managers isn't any easier. Jon Harris is a somewhat inconsistent starting pitcher for Missouri State. He has, at his best, a four-plus-pitch mix. Sometimes, he goes top five. He went at nine, and he has lingered until 20. This is with guys with sources. I'm clueless on what to think on the ninth pick.
To run with something that hasn't been overplayed, I'm going to look at potentials for the second and third rounds. One of the major follows in the industry is Baseball America, and they recently came out with their Top 100 draft options. As the Cubs select 47th and 82nd, I want to look at a few options in those range.
42. Andrew Benintendi is a hitting-first outfielder from Arkansas.
43. Mitchell Hansen is a prep outfielder from Plano, Texas.
44. David Hill is the Friday starter for the San Diego
45. Chris Shaw is a first baseman for Boston College. He celebrated hitting three homers in a game for the Eagles by suffering a hamate injury. He is back, and has as much power as any college bat. He is listed as an outfielder, as well. However, I'm not necessarily buying it.
46. Joe McCarthy is a well-thought-of outfielder. He missed time this season with a bad back. He'd be a nice pull at this spot, regardless who gets selected in the first round.
47. Austin Smith is another right-handed pitching option from Boynton Beach, Florida.
48. Picking Peter Lambert early might help convince Bill and Ted to be Cubs fans. He is from San Dimas High School in California.
49. Jake Woodford is a pitcher from Plant City, Florida.
50. Juan Hillman is a lefty who has more column inches than most in this range. I'm not sure if it's because he has slipped, but he has been viewed quite a bit by most teams, probably.
51. Triston McKenzie sounds like a completely legitimate pitcher. The name just oozes good pitcher, whether he's any good or not. In reality, he's a 6-foot-5 option from Florida.
52. Lucas Herbert is a catcher from San Clemente High School in California. In past years, drafting a catcher for need may have been a consideration. That's probably less of a concern than before.
And for the third round.....
77. Christin Stewart is another offensively-minded outfielder from the University of Tennessee. He usually gets mentioned a bit behind DJ Stewart when noting hard-hitting outfielders.
78. David Thompson is not a 6-4 shooting guard from NC State, but he is a third baseman from the Miami Hurricanes.
79. Chandler Day sounds like a prototypical Cubs prep selection. He is a right-handed pitcher from Pataskala, Ohio. I have no idea where Pataskala is.
80. Cole Sands has a friend in the Cubs system already. His brother figures to be a starting pitcher for Eugene this summer. Getting Sands if available at 3.9 would be no surprise at all.
81. Josh Staumont is a hard-thrower from Azusa Pacific, which i have been alternately spelling correctly and incorrectly since Christian Okoye played there. As the Cubs drafted Zach Hedges from Azusa last draft, I'm comfortable in the brass having a good idea on Staumont.
82. Parker McFadden is a prep lefty from Yelm High in Washington. (When I say Washington, you can take that to be the state in the northwestern USA.)
83. Kyle Cody was much higher on this list earlier this season. Apparently, he hasn't been very impressive in Lexington for the Kentucky Wildcats this season. He has been clocked as high as 98.
84. Jonathan India would be a blast to write articles about. He is a prep shortstop in Florida. Power seems to be a large part of his game.
85. Mac Marshall was considered a realistic first-round option in this draft. He attended Chipola Junior College in Florida this year, and would be a very reasonable selection in the third round. I'm not entirely sure what happened with him to spike his value downward, but he certainly isn't the only one this time around.
86. Tyler Nevin is a prep third sacker from Poway high in California. Yes, his dad is Phil Nevin, former big-league player. He's coming back from an injury, and is displaying power late in his season.
87. Kep Brown is from Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Kep Wando sound like a bad name for a punk band. The power hitter blew out his Achilles about a month ago.
My perception is this: It sounds as if the Cubs should have pitching options, and offensive outfielder options. Both of these make me happy. Given a few options on the mound or in the outfield, the brass ought to find a viable selection. YouTube video exists for many of these guys. I'm confident that the leg-work has been done on these and many more. Which angle they choose in rounds two, three, and beyond will be swayed by which way the Cubs go in round one.
With so much uncertainty at the top, it's refreshing to know that the entire amount will be spent. Probably, most will go on players who have been fully researched on and off the field.