#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.
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.”
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