This headline works both ways. In a draft sense, and a more literal sense. I don’t especially like anything carbonated. Because of the carbonation. And, I’m not a fan of the Cubs drafting Clemson right fielder Seth Beer at 1.24. I’m not a fan of Beer.
A college junior, Beer has had an OPS over 1.000 all three seasons. Including this one. He has prodigious power. However, he is quite a bit of hype tied up in a less-productive package, so far.
Beer hits college fastballs with not much movement. He hits them really well. Especially from right-handed pitchers.
However, as to how well he hits lefties, or against pro-level pitching? There’s part of the mystery. So is this: What does he do the rest of the game when he isn’t swinging?
In effect, he’s a bit Sammy Sosa-like. When he’s hitting the ball 425 feet, he’s ideal. When a liner is sent up the right-center gap, and he’s chasing it down, and lobbing a throw into the cutoff man, while a medium-speed runner takes third, that’s less impressive.
As difficult as it is to get an “acceptably believable” defensive layout on a professional prospect, it’s tougher in college. Especially for faux scout-types like me.
Regardless what number I look at, or what announcer I listen to, the view will be skewed.
Is Beer a good baserunner?
Is he an above-average defender?
Are the rumors of plugging him in at third as a professional valid?
If he can do the “invisible things,” his current .286 average can be overlooked. However, if his defense will be a drag at any spot but left field in MLB, he’s a very aggressive risk for any National League squad.
Beer isn’t the only one in this range of debate.
North Carolina State’s Brett Kinneman has been better than Beer this season. However, his strikeout and walks are flipped the negative way, a bit. Kinneman seems a decent defender, but is a left fielder-only, most likely.
With little base stealing ability, center field seems unlikely. Right field wouldn’t seem a strong possibility, either.
However, he’s gone Kizmet with a few homers recently. Including against lefties.
I love the bat. However, that’s where it stops.
Since I’m going there, Bren Spillane merits a mention as well.
The Illini slugger has three stats you will almost never see at the same time.
12 stolen bases. 14 home runs. .494 batting average.
He hits and runs, and has 16 walks to 29 strikeouts.
With Spillane, the question is his defense. He started the season at third base, but was moved elsewhere shortly after the season began. He’s a first baseman now, and good luck getting a straight answer on how well he plays there.
Perhaps he could play a passable left field as a pro. However, if burning an early pick on Spillane, having a degree of defensive quality would help.
As would showings against better pitching staffs than you find in Evanston or Iowa City.
However, I want you to think for yourself.
Would you want the Cubs to draft Beer, Kinnemann, or Spillane early? If so, how early?
My lean would be to get a quality defender early, as the Cubs expect some defense from their offensive players. (Remember that Kyle Schwarber was drafted as a catcher. With discussion, and a degree of dissonance.)
Writing a draft piece isn’t about discounting players, only, though. I’m failing if I’m not mentioning incoming names.
Jonathan India is among a nice class of third basemen. The Florida Gators third sacker has been climbing, as have Wake Forest’s Johnny Aiello and North Caroina’s Kyle Datres. India is getting ink in mocks in the teens. As a valid defender, I’m buying him there.
The other two have numbers that pale in comparison to the other sluggers mentioned here, but the gloves will play.
The Cubs value defense.
Gage Canning is Arizona State’s center fielder. Canning is reaching base over half the time, and has eight triples. Which form a nice little combo.
You give me a player who’s on-base that often, and obviously can hit and run, I’m at least interested. Canning’s in. Beer still fizzy.
I listened to Ryan Rolison pitch on a Thursday night. (The SEC usually has an early game Thursday night for TV purposes. Sometimes it includes the Friday aces. Sometimes not.) Rolison wasn’t sharp, and was up to 81 pitches after three innings. Yikes.
Even though he struggled. part of it was his defense. I have no expectations of him still being available at 20, unless the floor drops, like at that amusement park ride.
The names are mostly the same. Please ask questions if you have them.
Brady Singer, RHP/Florida
Casey Mize, RHP/Auburn
Nick Madrigal, IF/Oregon State
Shane McClanahan, LHP/South Florida
Jackson Kowar, RHP/Florida
Ryan Rolison, LHP/Ole Miss
Travis Swaggerty, CF/South Alabama
Jeremy Eierman, IF/Missouri State
Logan Gilbert, RHP/Stetson. Here is a recent article on the Stetson righthander.
Joey Bart, C/Georgia Tech
Alec Bohm, 3B/Wichita State. I dig articles on possible draft picks.
Sean Hjelle, RHP/Kentucky
Tim Cate, LHP/Connecticut
Konnor Pilkington, LHP/Mississippi State
Trevor Larnach, RF/ Oregon State
Gage Canning, CF/Arizona State
Jonathan India, 3B/Florida
By the way: A little bit of Chocolate Tequila in my cocoa on occasion. Though not very often.