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Cubs select RHP Trevor Megill from Padres in Rule 5 draft

The Cubs also lost two players in the major-league phase.

It wouldn’t seem likely that a team expecting to contend for a postseason spot in 2020 would make a Rule 5 selection, and the Cubs are presumably such a team.

But here we are. The Cubs selected righthanded reliever Trevor Megill, a 26-year-old righthander who has been in the Padres organization for the last three years after being San Diego’s seventh-round pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2015. He’s had Tommy John surgery that kept him from making his pro debut until 2017. Here’s a long interview with him from our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball, done last July.

Megill is 6-8, so he’ll certainly stand out in spring camp, presuming the Cubs don’t trade him to another team before then. Last year, combined between three levels of San Diego’s minor leagues, he posted a 3.86 ERA and 1.401 WHIP in 39 appearances covering 60⅔ innings. He had an excellent strikeout rate, 12.9 per nine innings, with 87 strikeouts. His walk rate, 3.3 per nine, was also very good.

The Cubs lost two players to other teams. As forecast by Josh in this Rule 5 preview, infielder Vimael Machin was lost to the Phillies. Machin, also 26, hit .294/.390/.412 in 129 games split between Iowa and Tennessee last year. And righthanded reliever Michael Rucker was selected by the Orioles. In 36 games split between Iowa and Tennessee in 2019, the 25-year-old Rucker posted a 4.18 ERA and 1.318. He was the Cubs’ 11th-round pick in 2016.

It is, of course, possible that the above three players won’t make 25-man rosters out of spring training and will be returned to their original teams.

In the Triple-A phase of the draft, the Cubs were busy, selecting four players.

They picked up Brock Stewart, a righthanded pitcher from the Blue Jays organization. Stewart has some big-league experience, pitching for the Dodgers and Jays from 2016-19. The results haven’t been good: 6.05 ERA, 1.599 WHIP in 46 big-league games (11 starts). Stewart, an Illinois native (Normal) who played college ball at Illinois State, is 28 years old and likely chosen for organizational depth.

The Cubs also selected outfielder Jerrick Suiter from the Pirates organization. Suiter was the Pirates’ 26th-round pick in 2014 and overall in 576 games in the minor leagues has hit .264/.339/.358.

And, the Cubs selected Vance Vizcaino, an outfielder from the Rockies organization who was originally drafted by the Royals in the 11th round in 2016. He hit .266/.341/.408 in Double-A last year in Colorado’s organization.

Lastly, the Cubs selected David Masters, an infielder out of the Nationals organization, originally selected by the Nats in the 14th round in 2013. He’s 26 and in 2019 hit .256/.345/.466 in 82 games split between A ball and Double-A.

The Cubs lost two players in the Triple-A phase. Faustino Carrera, a 20-year-old righthander from Mexico, was selected by the Rays. Carrera posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.214 WHIP in 22 appearances (21 starts) for South Bend in 2019. Carlos Sepulveda, a 22-year-old infielder, was selected by the Dodgers. He hit .243/.342/.285 with 14 stolen bases for Myrtle Beach last season.

The Cubs’ minor-league selections also appear to be designed for organizational depth. The conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft also concludes this year’s Winter Meetings. Theo Epstein was quoted as saying he had laid some groundwork for things that might happen next week, so stay tuned.