It’s time to track another portion of a draft class. I have fun writing these, and know that many of you appreciate the information, However, some of you want “something else.” And, yeah, I understand why you want me to spell out clearly how well this guy will do in MLB complete with a traditional grade. Except, it’s really difficult to divine how well a player will do in MLB based on information limited to how he’s done in the Midwest League. My looks are more about noting what has happened. I’ll leave the “50” grades on the 20/80 scale to those who like writing that way. Here is my look a part of the 2016 Draft Class.
When I last did one of these, my plan was to do an entire draft. However, I doubted you wanted a treatise much more than I wanted to write one. As I do these, the top ten rounds will compromise one group. The next group will consist of Rounds 11-21. The 22 and beyond will be the part three.
I expect to talk a bit about each of the players, regardless his decision or level of success. This helps me remember who ended up where, and gives you a look at “what might have been”. I am unaware of contract numbers that were unsuccessfully exchanged.
Michael Rucker, right-handed pitcher (Current placement/Double-A Tennessee)
Drafted as a junior from Brigham Young, Rucker “took what was left” of the Cubs draft pool that season. He’s made 22 starts in Double-A, and has an ERA of 3.59. In years gone by, it would be a safe assumption he’d move to Triple-A the next season with numbers like that.
I expect him as a starter next season in Iowa. However, with Duane Underwood, Trevor Clifton, Jen-Ho Tseng, and others already there, you get to witness a concept not seen in the Cubs system before. I call it pooling. The Cubs may soon have enough pitching depth to makes some trades from it.
Trey Cobb, right-handed pitcher. Did not sign.
Wyatt Short, left-handed pitcher (Current assignment/Double-A Tennessee)
Short is a LOOGY in training. However, minor league games are about player development. Not LOOGYness. The split difference is negligible due to two homers lefties have hit off of Short. Development takes time.
Parker Dunshee, right-handed pitcher. Did not sign.
Off of nothing specific, I’m guessing Rucker’s bonus sent Dunshee back to school. That Dunshee is doing well shouldn’t say the Cubs screwed up. What it should hint at is how much college pitching each draft provides.
Jed Carter, right-handed pitcher. (No longer in system.)
Not all draft picks work out as pros. Carter was released after peaking in the Northwest League with Eugene. He walked six in 7⅓ innings.
Holden Cammack, right-handed pitcher. (No longer in system.)
As with Carter, Cammack has been released. That he walked eight in less than six innings for Eugene likely sealed the deal. (See, you can explain a release without being dismissive.)
Zack Short, infield (Double-A Tennessee)
After an interlude of two players that somewhat whiffed, Short has 14 homers in Double-A already. His batting average isn’t what you’d want, but for a third day choice, Double-A in 26 months is rather impressive.
Marc Huberman, left-handed pitcher (No longer in system.)
As a first-full year pro, he was better than the Midwest League. He struggled mightily a level up in the Carolina League. He styled a 2.00 WHIP in 24 innings for Myrtle Beach, and had nine wild pitches, as well.
Matt Swarmer, right-handed pitcher (Double-A Tennessee)
Much more at home with this placement in a second go-around, Swarmer adds to the pooling going on in the upper minors in the system. The Cubs could have traded Swarmer, Tom Hatch, or Duncan Robinson for a marginally better reliever in July. However, nobody is quite sure yet which will emerge as the best of the batch.
None are Rule 5-eligible yet, so the Cubs delayed the decision awhile.
Colton Freeman, left-handed pitcher (No longer in system.)
Freeman was one of the more quickly released options recently. Despite being a college lefty reliever, he struggled in the Arizona League. Better coming from Round 20 than Round 4.
Sam Tidaback, catcher (No longer in system)
Released after a season in the Northwest League (mostly) with an OPS of .571, the Rockies (who opposed him in that league) signed him. The Cubs used to be the team signing talent other squads had released after a slow start to pro ball.
Overall, a few more whiffs than preferred. However, as much as the push of the Cubs system being weak gets repeated, a weak system gives a few of these players more chances. The Cubs pipeline is deep. It isn’t top-heavy.
Getting Rucker, both Shorts, and Swarmer on the third day mutes pretty much any complaints from me on this group.