Chicago Cubs Draft Report

The Chicago Cubs are in the midst of negotiations with the Tampa Bay Rays trying to get Matt Garza in a Cubbies uniform, so the top prospects may change, but none of the draft picks can be moved yet. That means you have some really nice players to follow from the 2010 season.

The Draft: 

5. Reggie Golden, OF

Golden is a stocky, strong right handed hitter. The comparison to Ron Gant gets mentioned frequently, and he has a similar build and swing. A Raul Mondesi comparison may not be too far off as well. He can really run, he has a lot of raw power and has a pretty solid arm. He is quite raw right now but he has a good work ethic. He has all the tools to be an all-star outfielder.

11. Micah Gibbs, C

Gibbs was one of the best catchers available in the draft. He's a switch hitter with a solid swing from both sides. He doesn't have a lot of power for a guy that is 5'11, 210 LBS. He is a 15 HR kind of guy at his peak but he is a good receiver and has already caught big league stuff with several of the pitchers he's caught in his career. He has an average to slightly below arm but he has good instincts and has a quick arm. He should at least be an average starting catcher in the majors. 

12. Matthew Szczur, OF

Szczur was a two sport athlete at Villanova. He was the top wide reciever and was an off the field star as well, taking time off from his baseball season to undergo a painful procedure to donate bone marrow to a little girl with lukemia. You have to respect that. Speed is his best asset but he doesn't use it really well yet. He's a good hitter but won't hit for much power. He has a good approach at the plate and did well in his short time in pro ball.

14. Hayden Simpson, RHP

Simpson wasn't on my radar when the draft happened. He's a 6', 175 LB righty that may not gain much velocity and could wear down with a long season in the minors. He has a mid 90's fastball at his best, a nice curveball and good command. His stats look good, but the competition wasn't great in Division II ball. The fact he went as high as he did means he was on other teams' radar and may have went before the Cubs' second round choice. We'll just have to wait and see on him but the talent is there.

25. Cameron Greathouse, LHP

Greathouse was a two way player the last two seasons but he can throw in the low 90's but works mostly 85-88. He has really nice tight spin on his curveball and it can be devastating. He showed it is an outpitch in his debut this season. I am excited to see what he can do when he focuses on pitching and devotes an entire season to it. He could move up this list quickly.

31. Pierre LePage, 2B

LePage is a small 2B with a sound bat. He makes good contact but he won't hit many homers but will hit enough doubles to make up for it. He is a speedy player with average defensive ability. He won't be a special player but could be a major leaguer.

36. Aaron Kurcz, RHP

Playing for the same team as Bryce Harper helped scouts find this hard throwing righty. He is a bullpen arm but only has the one pitch. His breaking ball is nothing special. He looks like a reliever with potential to be a solid set up man if he can tighten up his breaking ball.

41. Dustin Fitzgerald, RHP

Fitzgerald is a 6'4, 210 LB righty who sits in the upper 80's. He showed good control in his pro debut but seemed needs an out pitch. He has the build to be a workhorse and if he gained a couple MPH's on his fastball, he could be a back end of the rotation guy.

42. Benjamin Wells, RHP

Wells may be better than the 42nd prospect. He may be the best RHP they drafted this season, even better than Simpson. He has a low 90's fastball with a hard slider and a hard splitter. He may be a power bullpen arm but I look forward to seeing what he can do as a starter next spring.

43. Austin Reed, RHP

Reed is raw mechanically and needs to learn a repeatable delivery but he is pretty athletic and he should be able to do it. He had one of the best changeups I saw out of the high school pitchers this season. That is always a positive. He did very well in his rookie league debut but he needs to work on a slider. If he tries to throw a curve from his arm angle, it will be too slurvy. I really like him as a sleeper and it will be interesting to see who has a better 2011 season, Austin or his brother Addison, the 3rd round pick of the White Sox. I smell a rivalry brewing.

44. Kevin Rhoderick, RHP

Rhoderick is a thrower, not a pitcher. He just goes out there and wings it at 90-94 MPH. His fastball has some movement and his slider is like a wiffle ball pitch. It could be off the charts good. If I were the Cubs, I would use him as a starter next season to get some innings and gain more command. Even if he only averages 4 IP a start, it could really help him in the long run because he does have a lot of potentail.

International Signings:

Dan Sanchez, SS

Sanchez, who was signed out of the Dominican, has average speed and decent arm for SS.  I would bet he moves over to 3B and that should work because he has plus raw power.

Jin Yeong Kim, RHP

Kim signed out of Korea this season for $1.2 million. I don't have much information on him at all. I haven't seen him but he is an 18 year old who can throw 92 MPH. I hope he has better luck than fellow Korean bonus baby Jae Kuk Ryu.

A few others to watch:

Hunter Ackerman, LHP

Ackerman seemed like an overdraft in the 4th round to me. I see him similar to Harman, who I write about below. He has 3 average to slightly below average pitches with solid control. I want to say something good here, I'm just not sure what.

Eric Jokisch, LHP

Jokisch popped up on my radar when he was 12th on my Cape Cod League pitching prospect list in 2009, right ahead of another lefty Rob Rasmussen. He doesn't have great stuff, but knows how to pitch. He got lit up in his pro debut, but he should do better when he's fresh in spring.

Casey Harman, LHP

Harman is a control oriented lefty with 3 average to slightly below pitches. I have seen him half a dozen times and I just like to watch him pitch. He keeps hitters off balance and should do well, at least in the low minors.

Best Unsigned Players from the Draft:

Ivan DeJesus, OF

DeJesus isn't a future star but he is a solid outfielder who can play all 3 OF positions. He could be a future CF with gap power and decent defense. He is very raw right now and will have time to refine his skills at University of Alabama Birmingham.

Clayton Crum, RHP

Crum comes from the same high school as top prospect in the 2011 draft, Matt Purke. He had Tommy John surgery a little over a year before the draft and wasn't completely recovered by draft time. He didn't sign and will get a chance to be a top 5 round talent after 3 years of pitching at Texas.

Overall Top 50 Prospects:

1. Brett Jackson, OF
2. Josh Vitters, 3B
3. Jay Jackson, P
4. Hak Ju Lee, SS
5. Reggie Golden, OF
6. Chris Archer, P
7. D.J. Lemahieu, 2B
8. Logan Watkins, 2B
9. Kenneth McNutt, P
10. Matt Cerda, SS
11. Micah Gibbs, C
12. Matthew Szczur, OF
13. Chris Carpenter, P
14. Hayden Simpson, P
15. Darwin Barney, SS
16. Kyler Burke, OF
17. Tony Campana, OF
18. Ryan Flaherty, SS
19. Junior Lake, SS
20. Austin Kirk, P
21. Tony Thomas, 2B
22. Wellington Castillo, C
23. Justin Bour, 1B
24. Brooks Raley, P
25. Cameron Greathouse, P
26. Brandon Guyer, OF
27. Robinson Lopez, P
28. Jeffrey Antigua, P
29. Rafael Dolis, P
30. Dae-Un Rhee, P
31. Pierre LePage, 2B
32. Chris Rusin, P
33. Jake Opitz, SS
34. Larry Suarez, P
35. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
36. Aaron Kurcz, P
37. Matthew Spencer, 1B
38. John Gaub, P
39. David Cales, P
40. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
41. Dustin Fitzgerald, P
42. Benjamin Wells, P
43. Austin Reed, P
44. Kevin Rhoderick, P
45. Steve Clevenger, SS
46. Aaron Shafer, P
47. Nelson Perez, OF
48. James Adduci, OF
49. Blake Parker, P
50. Ryan Searle, P

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