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An Unpredictable Draft Is Upon Us, So Who Will the Cubs Take?

Welcome to Draft Day. In the early years of the Theo Epstein regime, the draft played a major role in acquiring some of the talent that helped the Cubs win the World Series. This year, the Cubs have two first round picks at number 27 and number 30, selections that could go a long way to refurbishing the Cubs in the coming years.

Even though the Cubs tend to go with college bats in the first round, such a pick is just not there this year. This could be the year they select a pitcher or two in the first round. In recent days the Cubs have been bringing in players — mostly pitchers — and working them out at Wrigley Field. In fact, Jason McLeod said the other day that the Cubs were going to again focus on pitching. Last year they selected 26 pitchers and were able to sign 16 of them.

There has been a lot of movement over the last few weeks when it comes to where players are ranked and where they have been taken in mock drafts. To be honest, I don’t think that movement is over. 

We’ve been looking at some possibilities over the past few weeks, but here are six more brief previews of players who the Cubs could possibly pick tonight.

Fast Risers

Heliot Ramos – OF – The 6’2” and 195 lb. outfielder is a physical specimen and was the star of the Under Armour game last year at Wrigley. At this point, there is still a lot of projection to his game. The native of Puerto Rico struggles in batting practice, but shines like a star in games.

Blayne Enlow – P – The 6’4” and 180 pound right-hander had a decrease and then an uptick in his velocity this spring and is known to have a plus curveball. He declared to go to LSU, so it might take more money to get him to forgo that commitment in order to sign. Then again, he is rising in most rankings.

Mike Mercado – P – At 6’6″ tall, he appears to be all arms and legs and has a lot of physical projection left. This spring, he’s been throwing in the mid 90’s, which gathered a lot of attention for the young man from San Diego. I think he is the type of player of the Cubs like to take. Baseball America had a great piece about about Mercado’s training regimen and how he’s stuck with the process.

Matt Sauer – P – At 6’5″, Sauer is still growing. The young man from Santa Maria, California is moving up most draft lists pretty quickly. He tends to touch 94 or 95 with his fastball and has a plus slider and a deceptive delivery. He might be an easier sign than Enlow, but he does have a commitment to the University of Arizona.

Couple of Fallers

Alex Lange – P – LSU – He has a lot to offer and he could become a back-end starter quickly. While he may be a number one starter in college, he does not project to that in the pros. I think if the Cubs are going to take him, it would be in conjunction with them taking a more projectable pitcher at number 27.

Trevor Rogers – P – I don’t know why this kid has slipped into the bottom of the first round. Part of it might be that others have risen, but there is nothing wrong physically with Rogers. He is already 19, which is old for a high school senior, but the 6’6″ lefty has a fastball that can sit in the mid 90’s. At 195 lbs., there is still some physical projection left to this kid from New Mexico.

The odds of these players staying where they’re at now is slim. I think Ramos is on the way up much more than any of these other prospects. Once area scouts and GMs get in and start talking money with these kids, it really starts to determines where they are going to be selected. Players like Enlow and Sauer could price themselves right out of the first round.

With only a handful of prospects who have separated themselves from the pack, this draft is pretty even. The player taking at eight could very well be equal in talent to a player taken at number 38. It is not a necessarily deep draft, but it should be a very unpredictable one because of the lack of separation. 

My Prediction:

The Cubs take shortstop Nick Allen at number 27 and then they go with either juco pitcher Brendon Little or prep arm Mike Mercado.

Here are the profiles of other prospects from the past six months

Jake Burger
Nick Allen
David Peterson
Nick Pratto
Redrafting from Last Year
Colton Hock
Brendon Little
Hagen Danner
Garrett Mitchell
Nick Storz and Mitchell Stone
Mark Vientos and Ricardo de la Torre
Ricky Tyler Thomas
Alex Scherff

About Todd Johnson

During the day, Todd teaches US and World History in a small town in northern Illinois. As a Cubs fan, his first baseball memories are of Ernie, Billy, and Fergie. Baseball cards, Strat-O-Matic, and fantasy baseball eventually followed. The summer of 2017 will find him spending most of his days watching the South Bend Cubs throughout the Midwest and Great Lakes. You can always find him on Twitter: @cubscentral08

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