I’m back. Whether that’s good or bad. The main reason I’m back is, regardless of your opinions, the MLB Draft is far underplayed in MLB discussions. Talking about the draft (and international developments) are considered either too obscure, or too frivolous, to merit column inches. I disagree. My efforts here will almost entirely be about draft, international, and pipeline discussions. Today, I start with a sibling, of sorts.
Cole Sands is a starting pitcher for the Florida State Seminoles. His brother Carson Sands is in the Cubs pipeline, and is still recovering from an elbow injury. The younger Sands has had a reasonably traditional college career. If that exists.
My best friend The Baseball Cube shows his numbers as a freshman were rather unimpressive. His numbers last season? Not much better. Maybe even worse. As a mild seasoning to that, he was the Seminoles’ Friday night guy much of the season. If the starting pitcher can’t really allow more than three runs in a game much of the time, “infield in” situations can lead to massive innings.
And really bad numbers.
This season, Sands’ numbers are much better.
My question for you, and a question few people ask from a Cubs perspective on any blogs I know of, “Where does he make sense as a draft pick come June?”
As I resume my writing here, I have three interests with my writing.
I want to Celebrate Achievement, Create Language, and Cultivate Expectations. If an article idea does none of these, I’m not remotely interested. If it accomplishes all three, it ends up as a matter of time.
Cubs fans don’t have expectations from the draft. Bears fans do. Bulls fans do. Blackhawks fans do. Cubs fans don’t, and there’s a reason. A television advert from my younger days rings in my memory.
No one has a vested interest in making it so.
If you choose to keep the draft as some unassailable mystery, roll with it. We all need limits. If avoiding awareness of the draft is part of who you are, be you.
However, Cubs fans need a place they can turn to “talk shop” about the draft.
Nobody else wants the ball. Until June, when names get announced. When bloggers who bask in the college game like poison ivy, highlight blurbs from Baseball America, and the like.
“He has a 60 Fastball.”
“Have you ever watched or listened to him play?”
“No, but what’s that matter?”
The reality is, every executive in the league knows that draft choices can be the best bargains going. The Cubs signed Ian Happ for a $3 million signing bonus. He figures to be an abject bargain through the 2023 season. With no league-wide competition on his salary, until then.
The Cubs don’t figure to get “Happ value” at 1.24 (First round, 24th pick), but they figure to have four picks in the first 80 choices, and five in the first 100. In a very deep draft.
I’m here so people can ask questions. Preferably here, but I will maintain my Twitter persona, and The Zygote 50 will continue, as well.
However, I want you to be able to run things through without having to ask an expert. Or me.
When will Sands get drafted? The Atlantic Coast Conference is solid this season. If his numbers continue to be anywhere near where they are now, he creeps into the first day of the draft (top two rounds). If he scuffles a bit, his 95 mile per hour fastball still likely piques interest in the third to fifth rounds. If he drops into the 4.00+ ERA range, he still makes sense in the 11th or 12th Rounds.
The Cubs have an extra affiliate to stock this season, in the Rookie League classified Arizona League. That means about 35 more players can wear Cubs gear every summer.
Look for plenty of quality college talent in June, so they can fill both rosters.
The college game has plenty of draft-eligible talent this year, with no end in sight.
College baseball games in March are more meaningful at the college level than in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. At least, from a win/loss perspective.
Pick a squad. Follow their conference journey, which starts soon. Or don’t. But many who have tried went back for seconds. And fifths.
And ask questions, by whichever platform, so you can push me into getting better at discussing college games, as a run-up to pro ball. On my terms.
Which is why I’m back.
Think for yourself. Ask questions. Be nice to others