The Cubs were busy yesterday, drafting three times between the first round and supplemental round. Today the Cubs were even busier, drafting rounds two through fifteen. Unfortunately, it sounds like the Cubs first-round pick Albert Almora wishes to go to college rather than jump-start his pro career (via Bruce Miles’ Twitter). However, it is likely that he is just trying to gain leverage as a Scott Boras client.
The draft is getting to the point where names are getting more and more obscure, so MLB.com does not provide scouting reports for all draftees, but they will be posted when available.
2. RHP Duane Underwood – Heritage HS, CA
From MLB.com: Underwood is everything you’d want from a high school pitcher: athletic with arm strength, a chance to have three at least Major League-average pitches and outstanding mound presence.The Georgia product will sit in the low 90s with his fastball typically, but he can reach back for 95-96 mph occasionally. His secondary offerings aren’t as good as the fastball, but both his curve and changeup have a chance. When he throws them right, his curve can have a very good 12-to-6 late break and his changeup can be very deceptive.He doesn’t throw either consistently right now and he does have some issues with command at times. His poise, knowledge of the game and athleticsm say he’ll continue to evolve as a pitcher, meaning he could start moving up charts this spring.
3. RHP Ryan McNeil – Nipomo HS, GA
BBProspectReport.com: Ryan McNeil is a strong young guy with a lot of upside. Fastball 88-92 with frequent heavy sink in this look, late life and tail to both sides – loose arm with that natural heavy ball. Throws a slider, 79-80, flashes tight rotation and late bite. Change-up 80-81, occasional sink. Arm works nice full circle. Young body, good arm, lots of upside. He has smoothed out quite a bit since I last saw him over the summer. Very solidly grounded, knows how to work, has more in there. Should be fun to follow as he learns to fully extend and gets a little more limber. Turns out I have seen him four times before the draft — I’m better than I thought I was.
4. RHP Josh Conway – Coastal Carolina, SC
From MLB.com: In the smaller Big South Conference, Coastal Carolina has built a pretty good program that saw four players get drafted and sign in 2011. This year, it could have been Conway’s turn before an elbow injury ended his season and required Tommy John surgery. Once a two-way player, Conway gave up hitting completely to focus on the mound in 2012 and it was paying off. Coastal Carolina’s Friday starter, he’s a bit of an undersized right-hander, but one with a pretty good three-pitch mix. A good athlete on the mound, he throws a fastball, slider and changeup, all of which have the chance to be solid average offerings. Without truly overpowering stuff, he’ll have to continue to improve his command and keep hitters off-balance. Pre-injury, he had the chance to join teammate (and 2011 second-round pick) Anthony Meo as a fairly early Draft pick. Now a team will have to be willing to draft him and let him rehab under its watchful eye.
5. LHP Anthony Prieto – Americas HS, TX
CubsDen on ChicagoNow.com: Prieto is small, as you can see from his profile, but he generates easy low 90s heat because of a very sound delivery. Injury issues caused his velocity to drop a bit. Combined with atypical physical stature for a pitcher, Prieto wasn’t going to go as high as his stuff would normally indicate. Baseball America reports that he touched the mid 90s that had scouts buzzing. Like a lot of McLeod/Wilken pitchers, Prieto is a good athlete who has potential for good command of all his pitches (fastball, curveball, change).
Interesting pick as you wonder how high a guy with his stuff and command would have gone if he was 6’3″, 190 lbs.
6. RHP Trey Lang – Gateway CC, AZ
CubsDen on ChicagoNow.com: Lang is a big bodied, hard throwing pitcher who was converted from the OF when Gateway CC found themselves short on pitching. They thought he had the arm for it…and they were right. Lang touched 96 last season and worked mostly in the 92-94 mph range. But that may not be his best offering. His slider was a big strikeout pitch for him. Despite his great size, he did lose strength as the season went on. That is probably because he wasn’t used to pitching. He has a fresh arm, but there’s also a lot of development to be done. Not just in terms of learning to pitch, but he he’s a big kid who will have to watch his weight. Intimidating size, two plus power pitches….Cubs have to be thinking this kid can be a force in the back of a bullpen one day.
7. 3B Stephen Bruno – Virginia, VA
Muskat: Bruno, a right-handed batter, played all over the infield at Virginia, hitting .370 with six home runs and 23 doubles doubles this season. A redshirt sophomore, he played only seven games last year because of an injury.
8. LHP Michael Heesch – Univeristy of South Carolina Beaufourt, SC
Muskat: Heesch, Chicago native who pitched at Illinois-Chicago before transferring to South Carolina-Beaufort two years ago, is a 6-foot-5, 245-pound lefty. He went 9-3 with a 2.21 ERA this season and had 118 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings while walking only 13.
9. C Chadd Krist – California, CA
Muskat: Krist is 5-foot-11, 190-pound catcher who hit .294 with four home runs and 19 doubles for the Bears this season.
10. RHP Chad Martin – Indiana, IN
Muskat: Martin is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound righty who posted a 4.79 ERA in 19 games (nine starts) this season.
Later Round Picks:
11. CF Rashad Crawford – Mundy’s Hill HS, GA
12. RHP Justin Amlung – Louisville, KY
13. OF Bijan Rademacher – Orange Coast Col, CA
14. RHP Corbin Hoffner – St. Petersburg Col, FL
15. C Carlos Escobar – Nevada, NV
It should be noted that the Cubs went underslot with their later draft picks in order to save cap room for the higher round draft picks, particularly Almora. Rounds 25-40 will be held on Wednesday. Only six of the first fifteen Cubs draft picks, and just three of the first ten were position players, 40% and 30% respectively.