The 2023 MLB Draft concludes this afternoon with picks 11 through 20, starting at 1 pm Central. The Cubs have ten more chances to add talent to the system and hopefully help build their next Championship team.
You can follow along with the draft at MLB.com. Be forewarned, however, that Day 3 of the Draft is a conference call and the picks will come fast and furious.
Unlike rounds one through 10, there is no bonus pool attached to picks in rounds 11 through 20 and there is no penalty for not signing any Day 3 picks. However, there is a cap of a $125,000 bonus offer for every pick made today. Teams can give bonuses larger than that, but they have to be able to “cover” it with bonus money left over in their bonus pool from Days 1 and 2. For example, the Cubs have a bonus pool of $8,962,000 to sign all of their picks in Rounds 1 through 10. If they sign all 10 players for $8,862,000, they would have an extra $100,000 that they could spend on players in excess of the $125,000 for each player.
(Teams can spend up to 5 percent more than their bonus pool and just pay a 75% fine on the overage. Any more than that and teams lose draft picks.)
Handing out a bonus under $125,000 on Day 3 picks will not give a team any extra bonus pool money to spend on other players.
The eight picks the Cubs made on Day 2 were:
3. Josh Rivera. SS. Florida.
4. Will Sanders. RHP. South Carolina
5. Michael Carico. C. Davidson
6. Alfonsin Rosario. OF. P27 Academy (SC)
7. Yahil Melendez. SS. B You Academy (PR)
8. Brett Bateman. OF. Minnesota
9. Jonathon Long. 1B. Long Beach State
10. Luis Martinez-Gomez. RHP. Temple College (TX)
Josh Rivera is a 6’2” senior who struggled through his first three seasons at Florida, although he did get better every year. But everything clicked in his senior season when he hit .348/.447/.617 with 19 home runs in 70 games. He also walked (46) more times than he struck out (35).
Scouts praise Rivera’s bat speed and his ability to make contact, although they do think he swings a bit too often at pitches out of the zone. Defensively, he’s considered good enough to stick at short, although he won’t be plus there. Rivera was previously drafted in the 22nd round by the Padres in 2019.
Will Sanders is a big, 6’6” 230 lb. right-hander who was projected to go in the first round before the 2023 season, but he struggled this year and he missed a month with a “lower body injury” that had his foot in a walking boot. But he did have a career-high 11.1 strikeouts per nine, despite a career-high 5.46 ERA.
Sanders has a 92-95 mph fastball along with good 12-6 curve, a mid-80s slider and a solid change. Most of his problems this year, besides the injuries, is that his fastball was catching too much of the plate. He’s certainly a project for the Pitch Lab. His size and arsenal give him a pretty big upside if they can fix him.
Michael Carico is another player who would have been drafted higher if not for some injuries this past season. He led all Division I players in on-base percentage (.559) and OPS (1.402) in 2022. He was almost as good this year, but injuries limited him to just 21 games. However, he didn’t face much velocity in the Atlantic 10 and there are some questions of as to how he will handle it.
Carico has the strength and bat speed to hit for power and the eye to make a lot of contact, but his swing has been described as “stiff.” Carico is slow and there is some worry that he’ll won’t be able to stick behind the plate, although his arm is strong.
Alfonsin Rosario is a big, 6’6” slugging outfielder whom MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis described as a “showcase monster.” He hits the ball hard and far. He runs well and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. His arm is plus.
At least in practice. In games, he’s not nearly as impressive or he’d have been drafted a lot earlier. His swing is busy with a large leg kick. He gets fooled a lot and will swing at pitches way out of the zone.
Obviously Rosario is a lottery ticket. Most likely he amounts to nothing, but there’s a really high ceiling here if the Cubs can get him straightened out.
Rosario’s brother Eguy Rosario is a second baseman and is the 11th-ranked prospect in the Padres system, according to Baseball America.
Yahil Melendez is a tall (6’3”) and thin (165 lbs.) shortstop who has a contact-oriented left-handed stroke. He probably has the skills to stick at shortstop, but he’s so young and raw that it’s hard to really say at this point. But clearly the Cubs believe in his potential. Certainly his height and his ability to make contact impressed them. They always say that it’s easier to teach a contact hitter to hit for power than it is to teach a power hitter to make more contact.
Brett Bateman is a left-handed hitting speedster with elite contact skills but absolutely no power. He also walks more often than he strikes out with the Gophers. It’s only 13 games, but he’s hitting .500 in the Cape Cod League this summer. He’s a good defensive center fielder.
Jonathon Long is the first announced first baseman drafted by the Cubs since Tyler Durna in the 15th round in 2018. He was a late-bloomer, walking on at Long Beach State and earned a scholarship in his sophomore year. He hit .315/.404/.603 with 18 doubles and 15 home runs over 56 games. The Cubs believe those power numbers, put up at a difficult home park to hit in, give him some real upside.
Luis Martinez-Gomez has been called a “lean and loose” right-hander with a 92-97 mph fastball, a slider and a “split-change.” In 62⅔ innings this year, Martinez-Gomez struck out 56, walked 29 and had a 2.83 ERA. Callis called Martinez-Gomez a “deep sleeper JUCO pick.”
It would be a major upset if any of the Cubs first 10 draft picks didn’t sign. I’d expect 1 or 2 picks today won’t sign.
This is an open thread.