#Cubs have 9th pick overall in Draft today

Can the Cubs find another Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber in the First-Year Player Draft? The 2015 Draft begins tonight and runs through Wednesday. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network’s Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m. CT, with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network.

MLB.com’s coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

The Cubs have the ninth overall pick.

“You’ve heard us talk about it being our Super Bowl,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs scouting and player development director. “It’s the one day of the year we can chose the players who come in and hopefully impact the organization. We’ve never been a team that drafts on the need of the Major League team. We’ll pick the best player for the organization, not the needs of the Major League club.”

Who will the Cubs pick? The best player available, executives say.

“It’s not as clear-cut at the top of the Draft this year,” Theo Epstein said. “Some of the higher profile talents got injured, and it’s just one of those Draft classes that’s a little bit all over the place, which makes it more difficult, but also creates opportunity.

“We surprised some people last year and we like who we got,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity to do that again. When the sort of standout talents aren’t as obvious, it frees you up to take some risks here and there, too, and trust your instincts.”

First round buzz:

In late December, MLB.com’s Jim Callis projected the Cubs would take left-handed pitcher Koby Allard while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo thought they’d go for Kentucky right-handed pitcher Kyle Cody. In recent mock drafts, Callis said the Cubs are leaning toward Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi, a left-handed hitter and Cincinnati native who ranked among the top collegiate home run hitters this year. The Cubs also have been following some prepsters, including outfielder Daz Cameron of Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.), outfielder Kyle Tucker of Plant High (Tampa, Fla.), outfielder Trenton Clark of Richland High (Texas), and shortstop Cornelius Randolph of Griffin High (Georgia). Mayo projects the Cubs may be more inclined to pick Vanderbilt pitcher Carson Fulmer, who moved from closer to starter last year and was named the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. Fulmer was a 15th round pick by the Red Sox in 2012.

Money matters:

Each pick in the top 10 rounds comes with an assigned value, and the total for each of a club’s choices covers what it can spend without penalty in those rounds plus any bonus money in excess of $100,000 given to an individual player selected in Rounds 11-40. The amounts rise each year in accordance with Major League Baseball’s revenue growth and increased by 8.8 percent last year. The Astros have the largest bonus pool this year because they are the first team in Draft history to possess two of the top five selections.

The amount alloted to the Cubs to spend on the first 10 rounds of the Draft is $7,236,100, which ranks 14th in the Majors. The value assigned to the Cubs’ first-round pick is $3,351,000.

“It will always come back to how much talent can we bring into the organization,” McLeod said. “Depending on what we do at nine and the pick, we’re always going to try to maximize our dollars through the first 10 rounds.”

Shopping list:

The Cubs have talked about a need to get more pitching, but the trend has been to stock up in later rounds. Since Epstein joined the team, they’ve picked a position player in the first round each of the last three years. If you look at the next 33 players taken in the first 12 rounds over three years, 28 have been pitchers.

The goal, McLeod said, is to take the best player available with each pick, and if they feel it’s a hitter at No. 9, they’ll chose that hitter. They can load up on pitchers later.

“That has been the plan to bring in as much [pitching] as we can,” McLeod said. “We’ll line our board up that way. We’ll always have an eye on getting stuff guys and guys we feel can be impact pitchers in the organization.”

The Cubs’ recent top picks:

2014: Kyle Schwarber, C, Double-A Tennessee

2013: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs

2012: Albert Almora, OF, Tennessee

2011: Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Triple-A Iowa

— Carrie Muskat

10 Comments

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It’s wide open on who we pick… If I had 3 guesses I’d say watch bentenditi, Aiken and nikorak….. Assuming jay and fullmer are gone

Aloha Petrey, Fulmer went right before the Cubs turn! And the Redsox took Benintendi with the 6th pick overall! I still like the Cubs pick with Happ and hope the team can get some more folks into the system via trades. Mahalo!

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Aloha k.g. I saved the May 26th issue of `USA Today` and Steve Garrity and Paul Doran of DraftSite.com ranked their `top 20` college draft prospects there. Benintendi is not included in that list. Happ is 8th. Says he`s a switch hitter, but is better from the left side, sprays the ball well and maintains a power stroke. States he`s recently moved from 2B to the outfield and has proved he can handle the position well. Many of the `top 20` will be on display at the upcoming CWS in Omaha, Vanderbilt`s ss Dansby Swanson, rhp Carson Fulmer, rhp Walker Buehler, Louisville rhp Kyle Funkhouser, LSU ss Alex Bregman, Florida ss Richie Martin, and TCU rhp Riley Ferrell. You`ll see Benintendi in the opening game Saturday as his Arkansas team will face Virginia. Virginia`s lhp Nathan Kirby is number 10 on that DraftSite.com list, but he`s coming off a long layoff due to injury, and his coach has been reticent to utilize him in the critical regional and super regional contests, given he may very well be rusty. Will be interesting to see if Kirby pitches in Omaha. It`s a minor miracle the Cavaliers qualified for Omaha, given all the key starters who moved on from last year`s club. Btw, there is a freshman on the Virginia roster from Tokyo. Justin Novak. His high school is listed as `American School in Japan.` He`s listed as a catcher/ infielder. Hasn`t seen a lot of action to date.

Excuse me; I may have `jumped the gun` when assuming that Louisville pitcher would appear. I see that club is in extras with Cal State Fullerton as I type, and indeed `fighting to stay alive,` if you like.

It`s official. Louisville was eliminated. Please do not look for Funkhouser in Omaha. His season is over. Perhaps he was drafted today, and can look forward to a possible pro career. We Cubs` fans can`t be too concerned, as we`ll have a full plate trying to keep track of all the Cub draft selections today, tomorrow, and Wednesday?

Aloha jhosk- very interesting about that May article you referenced. I like a switch-hitting person, even if stronger from one side. Most are not Mantle if you know what I mean. Also the fact that he can play other positions is great. I had classmates for one reason or another (military-job) who went to schools like the American School in Tokyo. That is neat. Again, I think the FO has done well picking these future players of course anything can happen but I for one am encouraged by who the organization is trying to pick/get for this team. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. It`s not a lock you`ll see that TCU hurler in Omaha either. That team is involved in an extra innings affair in Fort Worth as I type. Texas A & M is the opponent. It is the 16th inning and the game has taken close to 6 hours time and counting. I`m nodding off, and it is dicey if I can stay awake for the conclusion. Isn`t baseball compelling but unpredictable? As you were, TCU just scored in the bottom of the 16th. You will see the Horned Frogs and Riley Ferrell in Omaha.

Vanderbilt had three players chosen in the first round yesterday. How impressive is that? How rare is that? One of the analysts on the MLB Network commented you may never see that again in future drafts. If Vandy is not heavily favored in the 2015 College World Series, there should be an investigation. Is just one more reason I shall be rooting against the academically elite Nashville institution. The other major reason is because the Commodores were champions of the 2014 CWS. My philosophy is `share the wealth.`

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