The Cubs today reported signed the first of their two first-round picks in the recent MLB Draft, left-handed pitcher Brendon Little from the State College of Florida. The deal is for a reported $2.2 million bonus, which is just slightly below the slot value of $2,373,000 for the 27th pick in the draft.
As a reminder, Little is a 6’2”, 195 pound left-hander who originally enrolled at North Carolina, but he transferred to the Manatees because he got very little playing time in Chapel Hill as a freshman. In 15 starts in junior college, Little threw 85.1 innings and struck out a whopping 135 batters while posting an ERA of 2.53. He has a fastball that sits in the 91-93 mph range, but he has been clocked as high as 97 mph on occasion. But his fastball might not even be his best pitch. Little has a tight 12-6 curveball that can make hitters looks silly when he’s throwing it right.
Little is also considered to have good control, even if he needs to work on his command in the professional ranks. (Remember: control is the ability to throw strikes consistently. Command is the ability to locate the ball within the strike zone.)
Although the Cubs have not yet confirmed Little’s signing, it is safe to assume that he will start his professional career sometime in the next week or so. The Cubs general procedure with first-round picks is to give them a game or two in Arizona under the close supervision of the coaching staff in Mesa, and then ship them out to Eugene to finish out the year. That’s what happened with Pierce Johnson, who was the highest-drafted pitcher by the current Cubs front office before this year.
The other first-round pick, LSU’s Alex Lange, is still pitching in the College World Series. Negotiations with him will start after his season ends.