Cubs Select UCLA 2B Chase Strumpf in Second Round

After taking pitcher Ryan Jensen in the first round, the Cubs went back to their familiar formula of taking polished college bats. They took advantage of the depth of this year’s class of position players by adding second baseman Chase Strumpf from No. 1 ranked UCLA with the 64th pick in the draft.

Here’s how Strumpf responded to the news:

Basic Info
Age – 21
Height – 6-1
Weight – 191 lbs.
Bats – Right
Throws – Rights
School – UCLA
Likely 2019 Affiliate(s) – Eugene/South Bend 

I had pegged Strumpf as a possible first-round pick earlier in the draft cycle, so he’s a solid get at No. 64 overall. He’s had a nice two years playing in a high quality program and hit .363/.475 last year before dipping a bit this year at .289/.431. He did had eight homers this season after hitting 12 last year.

MLB Pipeline has the following to say about Strumpf, who has the kind of hit to the Cubs have long prioritized.

It’s Strumpf’s hit tool that stands out. He can flat out rake with excellent strike zone discipline, showing the ability to barrel up the baseball consistently. While he doesn’t have huge raw power, there’s some definite thump from the right side of the plate and he can punish mistakes. While he was a shortstop in high school, he doesn’t have the arm or speed to play there, but he should be a reliable defender at second base.

Here he is in action:

4 Things to Like About This Pick

1. I like his swing. It’s short, to the point, and doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. He can sit on pitches and go the other way easily.
2. He used to play shortstop. In fact, he played there in front of Royce Lewis, who went No. 1 to Minnesota a couple years ago. Anyway, he’s got pretty good footwork around the bag. He could probably move around the infield or even to left if needed. It will be interesting to see where all he plays in the field.
3. He a young 21, by which I mean he just had a birthday in March.
4. He did very well last summer in the Northwoods wooden-bat league hitting .335 with a .425 OBP and six home runs
 in just 44 games. That’s close to a 20-homer pace for a season.

Big Picture

Strumpf comes across as a mature hitter who could sneak onto a top 20 prospect list very soon. But the way UCLA is playing, he’s going to be busy for a while. He’s got an advanced enough hitting approach to move pretty fast this summer. Because he’s so advanced, he may notneed a lot of seasoning at Mesa and Eugene before landing in South Bend by late July or early August.

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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. You can always find him on Twitter: @cubscentral08

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