Overall the Cubs draft was a “success” but I use that word loosely because we will not know how good the draft was for some years to come. From a directional stand point the Cubs took several guys who are easy signs and also some that are over the top, hard to sign, high risk guys. They also addressed their main need early and often in the first two days of the draft using 11 of their first 15 picks on pitchers. So without further ado the Cubs draft picks-
- Albert Almora, OF: He was the Cubs pick all along and even if the Cubs had the first overall pick they would have taken him according to sources. IF and when he signs he will be the best prospect in the Cubs system maybe behind Baez and Rizzo. He is a genuine 5 tool player with such good defensive skills he can play CF right now in the ML. He has been compared to Adam Jones, Ryan Braun, and Carlos Beltran which is nice to hear. One scout said he would not be shocked to see Almora start for the Chicago Cubs as early as 2015.
- Pierce Johnson, RHP: Injury issues knocked him out of the top 20 picks but this guy has 3 great pitches including a fastball that touches 95 MPH. One thing that is nice to hear is the guy is a strong competitor and throws strikes (unusual for a younger guy). He is thought of a number 3 starter at the highest level and the Cubs got a steal at number 43 for him. He is likely to sign.
- Paul Blackburn, RHP: A guy that is going to be a tough sign because of his strong commitment to Arizona State. He is a good pitcher with decent stuff that has his fastball around 92 MPH throughout a game. He offers a nasty curveball and his change is really consistent. Projected as possible number 2 pitcher in the majors.
- Duane Underwood, RHP: One of the youngest pitchers in the draft is extremely raw but has good upside. He is a nice size kid at 205 lbs and standing at 6’2”. He has a nice low 90’s fastball and his other pitches are un-polished but his curve has the makings of a dynamic pitch in the majors with its 12-to-6 break. He is very inconsistent but should grow into his body and become a nice back of the rotation pitcher in the majors.
- Ryan McNeil, RHP: He is your regular big kid who throws hard and he actually worked out for the Cubs so they must have liked him. He is an example of a unknown guy with good stuff that is likely to sign early.
- Josh Conway, RHP: A former two way player who just had Tommy John surgery so he could be an easy sign as well for stability. He is pretty small for a pitcher but has three decent pitches that include a fastball, slider, and change up. He has the chance to be a Roy Oswalt type pitcher before his injury according to some scouts.
- Anthony Prieto, LHP: The first lefty in the draft for the Cubs. This is a head-scratching pick to me because he barely made Baseball America’s top 500 and he is really undersized at 6 foot 170 lbs. The only thing that would make sense to pick him this high is he is expected to draft under slot.
- Trey Lang, RHP: Why scouts and other sources are not excited about this guy I do not know. Lang actually hit 98 MPH in a couple games for Gateway Community College and he is a top 200 draft prospect. Not only that but he has a cutter he has been working on and is unpolished as an pitcher so he has a “young” arm. This is a guy I think will surprise everyone in the Cubs system.
- Michael Heesch, LHP: He is a local kid who is a college senior so he is almost a lock to sign. Not much to say besides his slider is really nice he is 6’5” 220 lbs so he is not small by any means. Not a high risk or high reward guy so he diverts the Theo plan thus far in the draft.
- Chad Kist, C: This guys is a “depth” signing and will likely not be a major league catcher. If I have one beef with this draft it is this pick because there were several good players on the board the Cubs should have taken here. Guys like Joe Bircher, Grady Wood, or even Joel Hutter.
- Chad Martin, RHP: A reliever and starter but not really all that impressive. Just like Kist, I don’t like this pick.
- Rashad Crawford, CF: Now this pick is nice because he is a high school kid who has a commitment to Tallahassee Community College so he is still likely to sign given he is taken in the 11th round. He has been compared to Lorenzo Cain and Angel Pagan so he has that.
- Justin Amlung, RHP: He has decent stuff but the Cubs are taking a gamble given he has a year left at the University of Louisville. There are several scouts that say he reminds them of a young Bobby Howry.
- Bijan Rademacher, OF: Hard to find much on him but he kind of small at 6 foot and 190 lbs and gives you the vibe of a Sam Fuld/Reed Johnson type of player. He is a senior year in High School he hit .435 with 6 homers and 33 RBI so he seems like a good pick in round 13.
- Corbin Hoffner, RHP: A college draftee at 18 years old so he is a nice pick for the Cubs. Has great numbers (71 IP, 73 SO, and a 2.52 ERA) and is tall at 6’5”. He is only going to get better at the ripe age of 18.
- Carlos Escobar, C: He is not going to blow you away with his offensive numbers but this is another nice pick for the Cubs. What is impressive is his pick off were at 6 which were 2nd most in the WAC and he caught 19 runners stealing which lead the conference in 2011. So he looks nice defensively.
- Michael Hamann, RHP: Not really good numbers but is relatively tall at 6’3” but nothing really special stands out.
- Nathan Dorris, LHP: I like this guy as a reliever striking out 80 in 82 innings but did post a big ERA at 4.17 so he has work to do.
- David Bote, SS: Small middle infielder. For more information see David Eckstein or Ryan Theriot.
- Damek Tomscha, 3B: Hard not to drool at this kid who has great raw bat speed, nice calm stance, with the ball jumping off the bat. He is very underrated and should sign with the Cubs and move up quickly within their system.
- Blake Hickman, C: Another catcher/pitcher taken out of high school in Illinois. He is ranked 212 nationally and 21st nationally by position. He is labeled at one of the top catching prospects in the Midwest and has big time potential according to scouts. He maybe better than the first two catchers taken by the Cubs. Tough sign because his draft stock can only go up as he gets more polished.
- Stephen Perakslis, RHP: Short pitcher with OK stuff. Nothing special.
- Eduardo Orozoco, RHP: Heard talk he could be a Juan Cruz type once he develops more pitches.
- Jake Drossner, LHP: Decent lefty which decent stuff.
- Jameson Fisher, C: Again this guy could have been taken in the 2nd round but fell to the Cubs in the third round. A high school catcher and maybe hard to sign just like Hickman.
- Rhett Wiseman, CF: He fell far because of his strong commitment to Vanderbilt (did it when he was just 15 years old) but he was labeled the 136th best prospect in the draft. He will stay in CF his entire career because of his build and athleticism. He is highly unlikely to sign with the Cubs given he is likely a first round pick next season.
- Jasvir Rakkar, RHP: Nice big reliever.
- Tyler Bremer, RHP: Drafted by the Cubs two years ago this time he may stick.
- Lance Rymel, C: He hit .318 last years but is otherwise unspectacular.
- Austin Pentecost, RHP: A senior that has nice size and put up OK numbers.
- Izaac Garsez, OF: Big bat senior outfielder from Idaho who hit .389 and a .467 OBP.
- Bryan Bonnell, RHP: Not likely to sign with the Cubs because he is just out of high school and is NV top prospect list. If the Cubs can nab him and Wiseman it will be a miracle.
- Timothy Saunders, SS: He is a college senior who can hit the crap out of the ball. He hit at an average of .441 and a .512 OBP.
- Thomas Pannone, OF: There is really nothing on this guy.
- Christian Botnick, RHP: A 17 year old pitcher. Good for the Cubs.
- Ben Carhart, 3B: Not good numbers on offense or defense.
- Sly Edwards, CF: The Cubs like high school outfielders I guess.
- Clayton Crum, RHP: Throws hard and has an attitude. I see comparisons to Kyle Farnsworth.
- Hassan Evans, CF: Juco CF with not much on him.
- Rustin Sveum, 3B: He is Dale’s son and will be going to college.
- Jacob Rogers, 1B: Yes the Cubs took a first baseman with Dan Voglebach numbers in 54 games he hit .392 with 17 homers 60 RBI and 13 SB.
That concludes the 2012 draft for the Chicago Cubs and it looks like they have some nice young talent. We will have to keep an eye out on these names to see if they do in fact sign but especially guys like Wiseman, Hickman, Tomscha, Lang, and Hoffner. Not to mention the big three of Almora, Johnson, and Blackburn.
Until Next Time….