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2017 MLB Draft Prep Is Back From Hiatus

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Updates on Cubs draft possibles with about two months to go.

Clarke Schmidt
South Carolina Athletics

Vacations are wonderful. And necessary. Despite that, the “being on the road” thing necessitates some, as Joe Maddon would put it, being uncomfortable. As such, my Draft Prep series took a hit. As it happens, it wasn’t a terrible time for that to happen. More on that later, but with about two months to go, taking another look at the draft scenario is appropriate.

My vacation took me to the back fields. Which is, but isn’t, draft-applicable. Knowledge is, to an extent, having awareness that can’t be succinctly put into words. I’m closer to that than I was before.

With more knowledge of what the Cubs are looking for comes better clarity on the draft board. It isn’t so much a case of who the Cubs are looking for, so much as what gets the Cubs to stop looking at a player.

In an age when teams often draft or don’t draft on the radar gun alone, plenty of pitchers won’t be on the Cubs draft board. That might stay on other boards.

In an age when 29-year-old first base options are starting in the lowest full-season level, the Cubs will have plenty of offensive options they don’t pursue.

***

Friday night, you were watching the opener of the Cubs/Brewer series. I was scanning through the minor league games. Michael Lannana was at the Vanderbilt/South Carolina game. This tilt included three likely first round selections. Vandy’s Friday night guy is Kyle Wright, and the Gamecocks countered with Clarke Schmidt (pictured above). The Commodores top hitter is outfielder Jeren Kendall.

I talk a bit about Schmidt today.

As I compartmentalize pitchers, I tend to use data nuggets on them. Schmidt was a pitch-ability guy to me. Until last night. I’m a velocity agnostic, but I knew he knows how to pitch.

I was thinking he was 92-93, which is the border on what I’d expect from an early choice. I could see the Cubs taking a guy in the 92-93 range at 27 or 30. Not happily, but I could see it. If everything else played out properly.

Lannana had him at 94 into the sixth inning. Considering he has a repertoire, and is successful at the SEC level, I’m now very good with Schmidt at 27 or 30. (For the record, I expect one pitcher, one hitter, one college, one prep, from the four. Unless the guy on the board at 30 is a partial mimic (same as the 27) on one or the other.

The Cubs like to be a bit balanced.

***

While on vacation, I attended a college game between Oregon State and Arizona State. If you’re more of a baseball fan than a Cubs fan, or it’s even close, take in a college game on occasion. I think my review is worth reading.

Especially if you like a good pitcher’s duel.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a college holding pattern. If missing a few weeks was the expectation, the last few were a good splotch to miss. Weather is getting baseball-like now. Attention should be increased.

***

Baseball America recently bumped their draft watchlist to 100. MLB.com should follow in suit soon, as well. When looking at the lists, it might make sense to clump them somewhat.

The Cubs aren’t likely to get “Top 20” talent on either list. Which is how it goes.

Schmidt is at 25. If he slips to 27, I might commence hyperventilation. MLB has him with a 50 change and 55 control. Knowing what the Cubs are looking for aids in limiting the options.

***

Regarding hitters, keep in mind how aggressively the Cubs run away from left field types. Having “the first opinion” isn’t particularly essential on the topic. However, the sooner the decision becomes accurate, the better the result figures to be.

For instance, when the Cubs added Billy McKinney, his arm was “in question”, as was his range regarding center field. Adding him was better than not adding him. Along the line, his right field/center field likelihood was reduced. As such, he was a left-field only guy. The Cubs don’t intend to collect those.

As such, he could be sent to the Yankees in the Chapman trade.

***

As to the current draft, Garrett Mitchell ends up “in the range” rather often.

That he is a Type-1 diabetic concerns some teams. Rightfully so, but that can be controlled. He’s considered a “good defender” (55 per the MLB site), but his arm isn’t as good.

If Mitchell looks like a center fielder or right fielder, he makes sense as a choice. If his arm limits him to left, the Cubs will likely look elsewhere.

This draft has plenty of talent through at least 40.

As usual, if you pluck the right players.

***

How’s your team doing? It’s okay to say, “Not very well.”

However, we’re training to find what looks of reasonable value. And how to prioritize that for draft evaluations.

My Sun Devils have left some things to be desired. Despite his comical delivery, Eli Lingos should be able to get out Midwest League hitters this summer. With that, bringing him in in the seventh round or so makes perfect sense. He might get better. He might not. That’s on coaching, the player, and the randomness of health.

Through 28 games, no Sun Devils have as many as ten walks. I don’t mind their younger players, but I’d be a bit surprised if the Cubs draft an ASU hitter.

Lingos (with 36) leads the pitching staff in strikeouts. Chaz Montoya (mainly a reliever) has a 24-9 K/W ratio. And his ERA is 4.63.

Lingos or nothing.

***

Vanderbilt utility guy Will Toffey has drawn eight walks. This weekend. Against Vanderbilt.

Draft-eligible, he makes sense in round four or five.

***

My homework for the week? Look at your roster/statistics. Of the draft-eligible players (Juniors are. Sophomores usually aren’t.), which would you most want to see the Cubs make a play for? Why them? Which round? (This last one begins as a guess. Whether you’re close isn’t as important as that you used that portion of your brain.)

Also, read up on my extra credit on the draft. I talk about a hitter that might give the Cubs yet another option at 27 or 30. Even though his 1.000 slugging percentage (in the Southeastern Conference) might not make much sense for the Cubs.

As usual, look me up on Twitter (@tim815) or Facebook (The Zygote 50) where I provide recaps of the night in the minors, and comment on whatever else I want to roll with.

Think for yourself. Ask questions. Be nice to others.

And don’t forget about Clarke Schmidt.