I'm dialing back on my writing. Certainly here, and possibly elsewhere. It's a different universe out there, and I'm not as gung-ho as I used to be. While many people are trying to cut their teeth on writing through collaboration and data, I don't want to fight through hard. For some people, that's the goal. For me, I'm good with listening to a few games, and passing along what I can that might be of use to a few of you.
I'm really impressed with the uptick in writing on the Draft. People from blogs that didn't exist three years ago are taking stabs at who the Cubs should take with the seventh overall pick. I want much of my writing between now and the draft to be on the topic of the Cubs selections this cycle, be it in June (the team's preference, or so is being whispered) or July (the league's preference). To use a numerical, I have a 2/4/3 preference list for the Cubs' choice at 1.7.
The first two are preps, unlikely to be on the board at 7.
Andruw Jones, center field. Wesleyan High School, Georgia
His father is the former All-Star center fielder with the Braves. The speed and defense are there. The offense figures to be. I'm Team Druw (He often goes by the shortened moniker.) until he's off the board.
Termarr Johnson, infield, Mays High School, Georgia
Johnson has so-called elite bat-to-ball skills. Of the non-D1 names on this list, four come from the Atlanta area. About a year ago, the Cubs hired an Atlanta area scout, and they're likely still banking on Greg Gerard's sage advice, even after Seattle poached the area's Harry Ford last July.
Johnson's position is yet to be determined. Second and third seem most logical. If the bat is there, as expected, it shouldn't be a concern.
In the 2/4/3, the next four are the D1 college options. All are hitters. Should one fade, a few others will position to replace them.
Gavin Cross, right field, Virginia Tech
With Cross, the value and attraction are almost exclusively in the bat. This scares me a bit. Not only is it not how Dan Kantrovitz drafts, it seems a bit needy to want hitter at 1.7 in a solidly loaded draft "because left-handed." The bat seems legit, though, so he's in the nine for now.
Chase DeLauter. center field, James Madison
DeLauter shone on The Cape last summer. If you drink deeply from the "I believe in all things Cape Cod League," DeLauter makes perfect sense. I'm not sure if he's really a center fielder, or not. His series against Florida State is must listen, opening weekend.
Jace Jung, infield, Texas Tech
His brother Josh is the Rangers' second-ranked prospect, and is top-60 leaguewide. The younger brother hits from the left side, and tends to hit the ball where it's pitched. Toss it away, he'll bounce it off the left-center field barrier. Inside stuff pulls. A great 1,500-word article would be to compare/contrast the brothers.
Brooks Lee, shortstop, California Poly
Known and desired as a prep option, he laughed off the interest. He wanted to play for his dad in college. A switch-hitting shortstop, he best fills the default on the Cubs selection process. He figures to provide legitimate offensive and defensive value. Late-night Cal-Poly games figure to be a staple of mine, rather soon.
In the 2/4/3, the last three are the oddball, to an extent. None should be outright dismissed, or necessarily on the same level as the others.
Dylan Lesko, right-handed pitcher, Buford High School, Georgia
This is the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher. The guy that turns my throat to the size of a baseball any time the manager comes out for any unexpected reason. Like when Dylan Cease was in the pipeline. If the Cubs go for an arm at 7, it might as well be really aggressive, and Lesko would be.
Cam Collier, infield, Chipola College, Florida
Last season, Collier was a high school sophomore. Not only did he reclassify to graduate this cycle, he's a college freshman already. Instead of having a junior and senior season, he's playing major Junior College ball to prep for the draft. From Atlanta, it's likely that Gerrard has a reasonable read on Collier. Scouts ought to flock to his games until D1 season begins. I have no idea what should be expected.
Elijah Green, center field, IMG Academy, Florida
It's all here. Speed. Power. Throwing arm strength. Swing and miss concerns. Is Green a no-brainer top five choice? Or someone that will be prone to exposure against advanced arms? Brennen Davis and Owen Caissie, to name two, made adjustments shortly after becoming pros with the Cubs. Who a hitter is in high school isn't necessarily who he's destined to be.
Are the three wild cards worth investing in? One thing of note with Green is that Drew Gray, the Cubs third pick in 2021, was Green's teammate last year. One way to scout is to sign his former pitching ace.
Once D1 games jump, the games, and information in those games, will be my epicenter. I plan to have one eye on 1.7, one on a potential second-round choice (in a way you can assess the Future Value versus Current Value of Trevor Story, for instance), and my ears on live baseball games. Which I miss, terribly.
Presumed first rounders Peyton Pallette (Arkansas) and Henry Williams are done for the season, needing Tommy John surgery. As per usual, the question of "taking a relatively safe bonus" or "betting on himself" will apply in both cases.
As I post this on the day the Chipola season begins, I hope I get a few audio streams to listen to.