The deadline for signing draft picks is this Friday, well the Cubs got their number one priority taken care of today. Per multiple reports from Jim Callis, Peter Gammons, and Paul Sullivan the Cubs have agreed to terms with Kris Bryant for full slot, meaning $6.7M. It seemed like the Cubs would be getting Bryant signed all along, he is a Boras client so I’m not surprised it took this long. The money is a record in the slot era, but again, Bryant got slot so it’s not like the Cubs went over, but some were hoping he would go for under slot. Expect the Cubs to make it official shortly then we get to see where Bryant will start his Cubs career, wouldn’t be shocked to see him start at High A Daytona right off the bat.
With how bad the Cubs have been all year and the promise of a bright future, yesterday was like Christmas morning. Well, I guess it was more like what we might get on Christmas morning 3-5 years from now. Still an exciting day for fans as right now it’s one of the few things we can get excited about.
The draft kicked off with a surprise as Carlos Correa was selected number one overall by the Houston Astros. In fact the guy most, if not everyone thought was going number one, Mark Appel, didn’t get selected until number eight by the Pirates. The concern with Appel is his sign-ablity because he is represented by Boras. Before the draft started if you would have told me that the Cubs would have a shot at Appel at number six I would have thought you were crazy, but there he was. The Cubs however went a different direction, and I think the correct one.
Cubs 1st pick, number 6 overall: Albert Almora
I love the pick, the kid is pure character not to mention an elite talent in the outfield.
Scouting Report from Baseball America..
Almora has tools, game instincts and makeup; his lone weakness is his fringe-average speed, which some scouts describe as below-average. Scouts give him 60s across the board otherwise, with some giving him higher grades for his arm strength. His instincts allow him to play center field at a high level; one scout said he was a 40 runner with 80 range and said he played center field like some players do shortstop, being instinctual rather than reactive like almost all outfielders.
Almora has played for team USA six times already, he’s only 18. I’m very excited to see this kid progress through the system.
Here’s some video of Almora…
Interview with Jonathan Mayo
Cubs 2nd pick, number 43 overall (Supplemental): Pierce Johnson
Here is Jonathan Mayo’s take on Pierce Johnson…
Johnson has a good three-pitch mix starting with a fastball that is plus at times, touching 94 mph. He’s more successful when he keeps it down in the zone, which he does when he repeats his delivery well. Johnson throws a hard curve that works as an effective out pitch, missing more bats than he does with the fastball. He doesn’t use the changeup as much, but it has the potential to be at least an average pitch in the future. He throws strikes and competes very well on the mound.
Assuming he’s healthy, Johnson should join a solid group of college starters who could go off the board shortly after the top tier, profiling well as a No. 3-type starter at the highest level.
The Cubs got a quite a bit of value with the 43rd pick overall, and it could turn out to be a great pick if Johnson proves to be healthy.
Pierce Johnson draft video..
Cubs 2nd pick, number 56 overall (Supplemental): Paul Blackburn
Here is Jonathan Mayo’s take on Paul Blackburn
After a big performance at last summer’s Area Code Games, Blackburn has continued pitching well this spring to keep him firmly on the prospect map.
The NoCal high schooler has a good fastball that hits 92 mph consistently and will touch a tick or two higher on the radar gun at times. His two secondary offerings – a curve and a changeup – both have the chance to be very effective pitches. He’s generally around the strike zone and thanks to his athleticism and sound delivery, his command should only improve with experience.
The Arizona State recruit has some projectability, meaning his already pretty good stuff has room to get even better. That should get him off the board early enough to keep him from heading to Arizona.
Good command and a ton of room to get better, sounds good to me. The Cubs will be hoping that they grabbed Blackburn early enough to break his commitment to Arizona.
Paul Blackburn draft video…
Round two starts today at 11 AM CST, get ready for more draft coverage as new names will start pouring in very soon.
Thanks for reading!