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2017 MLB Draft Prep Quits Guessing

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This week, hone your skills on what the best question is to ask about possible draft picks.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Once spring training starts, my nuggets will get less in-depth, likely. The draft remains important, but the time committed to listening to games gets reduced. Baseball fans of my ilk have a distressing habit. We like to ask professionals rather un-answerable questions, and get a bit bent when they don’t answer us promptly. I hope to have outgrown a bit of that. However, asking a silly question still happens.

Hudson Belinsky went as far as to tell his Twitter list “...I won’t guess which player each team will draft.”

That kinda crystalizes it.

We have no problem educating people. We have no problem with looking at trends. However, “Who’s going at pick 14?” seems rather mentally lazy. There are other ways of doing it.

For instance, with the Cubs sitting at 27 and 30, if you’re asking an expert (or me) a question, how can you make your question sound less..... like a rube?

Show some awareness on your part. Do as much homework as you expect the person you’re treating as an oracle to do.

For instance, “Since the first choice in the first round by the Cubs has tended to be a hitter, which bat of interest might fall to 27?”

You’ve come close to declaring trump in the verbal game of bridge. You’re asking if Jake Burger will be available, or if a lesser bat might be expected.

Or...

“At the Cubs Convention, the brass noted that it might be time for the Cubs to select a prep pitcher. Which prep arm at 27 figures to have the best change-up?”

Not only have you declared which suit, you’ve noted you have a good hand in the suit. You jumped right over fast ball velocity, and gotten right to the basic tenet of the importance of the change-up to the Cubs.

And, as it happens, you’ve possibly trapped the data point in a rather small box. Asking the appropriate question might get the answer you wanted, anyway.

***

A bit of an added assignment, should you wish to take it, for the week.

Which recent Cubs draft pick has surprised the most (for better or worse) over the last few seasons, and why?

Again, I’m expecting you to do a bunch of the thinking here.

For instance, a reasonable answer might be that... “Kris Bryant surprised the most, because his defense and contact were far better than commonly advertised. He has also improved both quite a bit since being drafted.”

I didn’t say “Bryant, because he’s a really good player.”

I specified what the misconceptions were, and that he has gotten better every season.

On the weak side, I’ll use one that gets overplayed.

“Hayden Simpson because (Blurgh, blurgh, really bad, blurgh.).”

Simpson underperformed, in large part because he was never healthy when in a Cubs uniform. He developed mono shortly after signing. The next season, he pitched through an injury, making it worse, and permanently sapping some of his velocity, which was his calling card.

You go with your choice.

And, if you can’t assess a recent player’s development, fathom Belinsky’s above comment.

***

I’m taking Al up on his offer a bit more literally this week. My draft piece (“On the Clock” is the new working title) is a bit lengthy. And, I don’t want to plagiarize myself. Draft-wonky stuff alert.

For my latest draft musings, check the Twitter hashtag #2017CubsDraft.

***

As you monitor your side for the season, it’s entirely valid to note guys that are having good seasons—- even if the Cubs likely have no interest in them.

The Cubs love to overdraft smart catchers, as well as RF/CF types. They will likely underdraft 1B and LF options. The Cubs slough those spots rather often. And use 3B/C types at first regularly.

As far as pitchers, the Cubs will overdraft the 88-90 MPH starting pitcher types. Particularly if they have valid speed-changing potential. While those types might bore the “5 WAR At The MLB Level Or Nothing” fan, when a full time athlete commits himself to his profession, the topic of a “player ceiling” is often grossly misused.

***

After an 18-4 loss midweek (The score was a much close 3-0 into the sixth inning.) when the Arizona State Sun Devils bullpen gave up thirteen runs in the latter portion of the game, they headed to Fort Worth to play TCU for three.

Eli Lingos helped the Sun Devils start their road trip against the top-rated Horned Frogs. Lingos pitched six strong frames, and neither bullpen was a mystery in a 13-9 Sun Devils victory.

Freshman Nick Lodolo, who spurned a Pirates draft offer last summer, moved to 2-0 for the Frogs after a solid five inning outing.

The Sun Devils led early on Sunday. The bullpen, including former Cubs draft choice Fitz Stadler, was grisly again. TCU won the series 2-1, and ASU was 1-3 for the week.

How did your side do this week?

Anyone jumping out at you as far as an interesting draft option?

Have you had any really bad beats, yet?

Until next time, think for yourself. Ask questions. Be nice to others.