I had an article largely done, but the more I read it, the more I disliked it. Fortunately, a rumor that didn't come to fruition gave me an idea for a replacement article. This will be the case for spiking, or deliberately drafting a player unlikely to sign, in the second round.
The buzz was that a team was going to deliberately draft a player they would most likely not be able to sign. While that seems entirely foolish, the draft set-up in 2020 made it worth contemplating. In other years, if a team doesn't sign a player despite making them a good faith offer, they lose the amount in their pool amount slotted for that selection. The Cubs failed to sign Wyatt Hendrie in the last draft cycle, and lost the amount slotted for that spot. However, this year, it doesn't sound like it applies. If a third-rounder passes, make sure the others don't with the extra space.
Which is where spiking could be useful. Imagine the Cubs select a player who is definitely going to play college ball. If they make him the 60 percent minimum offer, if the pick is in the first three rounds, the Cubs get a replacement pick in 2021 (one spot later). In effect, a team could bypass a second-round choice (or third) and get an added pick next year. Then, with the slot money not seriously pegged for the second-round player, the remaining choices could be more aggressive. In that fashion, a pick is added in 2021, but upside is added in 2020.
It makes sense, except for one gigantic problem. The talent available on the board on Thursday is worth seeking out. The Cubs select 14th on Thursday (51st overall), and a legitimate 20 players seem quite worth the effort. “Buying” that pick would be nice, but the players on the board are worth aggressively researching. Here are some of them.
When following Georgia games, I liked Cole Wilcox as much as top 10 choice Emerson Hancock. Wilcox is more velocity than secondaries, but so it goes. Mid-to-high 90s, and hope the secondaries progress. Wilcox is a draft-eligible sophomore and sounds interested in returning to school. Here’s some video of him from the 2019 Cape Cod League.
Ohio State's Dillon Dingler was expected by many to go in the late-twenties. He didn't. He might be a catcher, a center fielder, or maybe second base. The bat isn't entirely developed, nor is it hopeless. Dingler would be a heist at 51. This video profiles him as a catcher.
Arkansas' Casey Martin is on the board. He was ranked higher in March by some than Heston Kjerstad, who went second overall in the first round. He's quick, though a position isn't totally apparent. Here are some highlights from his 2019 season.
Florida State pitcher C. J. Van Eyk was an every week check in-season. Anytime a valid pitcher faces valid hitters, questions get answered, either way. Van Eyk didn't have enough weeks this year to answer questions, but he's still a 15 percent chance at being valid, on his ACC numbers. Here he is striking out 11 vs. North Carolina State last year.
LSU's Daniel Cabrera is an outfielder who can smash it. That remains a system need. He'd make sense. This is video of Cabrera from the Cape Cod League in 2019.
Blaze Jordan is a Mississippi prep with a fun name and offense to match. He's likely a corner infielder with a 15-20 percent chance of being very worth adding. Here’s video of Jordan.
Plenty of names have enough of a peak to be worth the slight risk. The case for adding a selection in 12 months would be nice. However, not enough to pass on players to get about filling holes now. I'd look for two pitchers and two hitters today, in any order. Draft quality, and as close to the best available as possible.
Here are the Cubs selections today:
Round 2: Overall pick 51
Round 3: Overall pick 88
Round 4: Overall pick 117
Round 5: Overall pick 147
Proceedings resume at 4 p.m. CT. You can watch on MLB Network, ESPN2 or MLB.com. MLB Network’s preview show begins at 3 p.m. CT, the posting time of this article. If you are not near a TV or a computer but have Sirius XM, MLB Network Radio (XM 89, Sirius 209) will simulcast coverage.
I'd still dig another outfielder that can play MLB right field or center, but at this point: Grab the best available. Any eligible player not selected in the five rounds this year can sign with any team for a $20,000 bonus, but not many likely top names seem interested.