In my draft preview, I wrote that I expected the Cubs to focus on pitching, as well as pick up a catcher and maybe a corner infielder. I certainly got the pitching part right. With their eight Day 2 picks in the MLB Draft, the Cubs took seven right-handed pitchers and one catcher.
The newest Cubs are:
3rd Round: RHP Tom Hatch, Oklahoma State U. Hatch was the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year after missing all of 2015 with an elbow injury that did not require surgery. He has an 89-94 mph fastball and an above-average slider. He doesn't wow scouts, but he certainly could become a solid back-end starter. In a bit of humor this afternoon after he was drafted, it was discovered that Hatch grew up a Cardinals fan. Back when he was in high school, he made a few cracks about hating the Cubs. Today Hatch said that he was thrilled to now be a Cub, asked Cubs fans to forgive him for his youthful mistakes and said "Go Cubs Go" and "Fly the W." No problem, Tom. We're cool. Hatch is a redshirt sophomore so he has some leverage to go back to school, but from his reaction today I think he's eager to get to Mesa and Eugene and I doubt the Cubs would have drafted him if they didn't already know that.
4th Round: RHP Tyson Miller, California Baptist U. Miller is the highest-drafted player ever from this Division II school. He's a big, 6'5" pitcher who can hit 91-93, but some scouts think he could still add some velocity. He also has a promising slider. He was very impressive in the Cape Cod League last summer, striking out 29 in 25 innings. He's been more of a ground ball than a strikeout pitcher in college though.
5th Round: RHP Bailey Clark, Duke U. Clark also was impressive in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he didn't really continue that success at Duke this spring. He lost velocity and his starting job and finished the year in the Blue Devils bullpen. Bailey does throw really hard though and at the start of this season, at least, he was hitting 98 mph. Some scouts think his motion leads to poor command, so that might be something the Cubs work on fine tuning. He's someone with some upside if he can put it together.
6th Round: RHP Chad Hockin, Cal-State Fullerton. The biggest thing that came out about Hockin is that he's the grandson of the late Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. The Indians also took his younger brother out of high school in the 2nd round in 2014. Hockin has closer stuff with a fastball that can hit 97-98, although at the moment, he has trouble hitting those speeds regularly and is normally in the 92-95 range. He's also got a power slider that comes in at 85-87 mph. Although he is a good size (6'2", 200 lbs.) his durability has been questioned.
7th Round: C Michael Cruz, Bethune-Cookman U. Cruz is a product of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He's considered a good left-handed bat with power, but needs to work on catching to stay behind the plate. He lists Yadier Molina as his favorite player. So far as I know, he hasn't apologized for that. That's OK. We're still cool with him and welcome him to the Cubs family.
8th Round: RHP Stephen Ridings, Haverford College. A big 6'6" righthander who pitched for a Division III school. He can hit 91-93 mph with his fastball and his size was intriguing scouts late. Fun Fact: the only Haverford alum to ever play in the majors was Bill Lindsay, who played 19 games for Cleveland in 1911. He went on to have a successful career in the then still-independent Pacific Coast League.
9th Round: RHP Duncan Robinson, Dartmouth College. Another big 6'6" right-hander from Kyle Hendricks' alma mater, Robinson sounds a bit like Hendricks in that he makes up for average stuff with good control.
10th Round: RHP Dakota Mekkes, Michigan State U. Mekkes is another big (6'7" righthander) who led the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings as a reliever with 15 per nine. But Mekkes really puzzles scouts because his stuff, objectively, is pretty pedestrian. His fastball is only low-90s and his slider is below average, according to the scouts. But somehow, no one can hit him. The best explanation seems to be that he throws strikes and his delivery keeps hitters from picking up the pitch until it's too late.
Use this thread to discuss the next 30 players drafted today. I'll try to be around for as much as I can, but the picks come fast and furious on day 3 (Teams generally take about 15 seconds to make a pick). I expect that the Cubs will take more pitching today, but eventually they are going to have to take at least some position players or Eugene is going to have a very interesting season this summer.