Chicago Cubs Draft: They Want Pitching In the Draft; So Why Draft Almora?

The Chicago Cubs have put out a statement after selecting 2 pitchers in the supplemental round.

“As we have been saying, pitching will be a point of emphasis,”  Jason McLeod said. “We’re not going to force it, but we are definitely going to try to infuse the organization with pitching.”

If that’s the case, why did the Cubs select high school outfielder Albert Almora?

The Chicago Cubs draft has started I dunno. I don’t think I have a good answer for that because I flat out disagree with the pick. I agree with the Cubs- they need young, high ceiling pitching. Yet, they select an upside outfielder that is years away from contributing. Great move.

Why am I so upset with that statement? The Cubs had the opportunity at landing the best college pitcher on the board, Mark Appel. They passed him up and he eventually went to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They also had the opportunity of drafting the top high school arm, Lucas Giolito, and they passed him up too. I had wanted the Cubs to draft Giolito for awhile since I didn’t think Carlos Correa would be on the board at that time, and I didn’t think Appel would fall. Giolito throws 100 mph with a hard breaking ball, and I have him as a future ace. He of course fell to the Washington Nationals at 16.

The Cubs selected college right-hander Pierce Johnson (No. 43 overall) and high school righty Paul Blackburn (No. 56) with their next two picks, neither of which stand out to me as a future top of the rotation guy. Johnson throws around 94 mph with an above average breaking ball, but that’s it. In fact, I could see him being a late inning reliever. Blackburn is a young kid that’s 89-91 with an above average breaking ball and developing change up. He’s got a ride to Arizona State so I could see him not signing.

All in all, I’m not impressed so far with the new management team. Seems a lot like the old one.

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  • Bochedda

    I think its pretty clear why the cubs didn’t select Appel. He wants a ton of money and with the new draft rules limiting how much you can spend he would have eaten up nearly all of the Cubs budget. The Cubs need alot more than one pitcher and had they selected Appel they wouldn’t have any money left to sign other players from this draft. Also if they went over budget they would forfeit their #1 pick next year (which is looking like it will be the 1st pick overall).

    Giolito is enticing but you neglect to mention the whole reason he dropped to 16, Elbow injury!

    Sounds like you should do a little more research.

    • gilgerard

      Dear Bochedda (which is the dumbest name i’ve heard, not surprising),

      I wrote a few articles about Giolito over the last few months about how the Cubs should draft him. I talked about the elbow injury he had in those (sprained UCL).

      I know more than you do.


      Gil Gerard.

      • Bochedda

        Sorry to hear you don’t like Bochedda.

        Your response is about what I expected based on how poorly written your articles are. No consideration of the facts and throwing out wild random statements. Keep up the good work.

        • gilgerard

          I know it’s tough to comprehend, but the Chicago Cubs are a big market team. This is a bad draft compared to past classes, so going with a high school outfielder who is 3-4 years away over the best starting pitcher in the draft is a cop out, and a bad move.

          I don’t care if they would have had to slot him a little more money and that means not signing a 12th and 13 round pick. This is about drafting needs and you pass up on the biggest need over a little more money.

          Like it or not, but selecting an athletic outfielder 4 years away is awful when you need top of the rotation talent. The PIRATES seem to think they can afford Appel, but the Cubs can’t?

          Nice. Sorry you can’t comprehend a good move vs a bad move.

    • gilgerard

      Albert Amora is rumored to want more than the 3.25 slot, and is being advised by Boras.

      Nice theories about Appel wanting more money, Jim Hendry.

      • Bochedda

        Appel is also represented by Boras and claims are that he wants 6-8 million. With the new draft rules the Cubs are only allowed to spend 7 million on their 1st 11 players drafted or forfeit a 1st round draft pick next year. It has nothing to do with the Cubs being a big market team and you don’t seem to understand that. Read about the draft cap rules and I think the reason the Cubs and 6 other teams passed on Appel will be more clear. Pittsburgh’s draft pool is 6.6 million. THey could end up being screwed by drafting Appel.

        • gilgerard

          Almora is also represented by Boras.

          I’m WELL aware of the draft cap rules. I know how much the cubs have to spend, but it doesn’t change my mind. The Cubs should have taken Appel and gave him a little more than slot and rolled the dice with later in the draft. Appel is an impact guy sooner IMO.

          I think Appel would be incredibly dumb to not sign (Aaron Crow), becuase A) he’s a pitcher and that carries major risk if he has shoulder issues next year) and B) it’s guaranteed millions no matter how you cut it.

          This is Scott Boras’s game. When teams don’t give into his demands, he lowers them and gets him signed last minute.

          Either way, we won’t know anything about this draft for 4-5 years so at this point- it’s a moot point. You think it’s a good pick- your opinion. Doesn’t make you right or wrong. I think it was a bad pick with who was on the board. My opinion- doesn’t make me right or wrong either. Opinions is what makes sports fun.

  • Dan

    I keep reading reactions like this. I’m very thankful that people like you aren’t running the Cubs. For one, who knows if Appel will be the impact guy that you suggest. His ERA was over three in college baseball this year. His great stuff simply did not translate into dominating pitching performances. If you think the Cubs need guys who quickly make impact, you just don’t understand how poor of a system the current executives inherited. If you followed the news leading up to the draft, Almora was the guy the Cubs wanted all along because the organization thought that highly of him. I believe if the Cubs had the first pick, they would have chosen either Almora or Correa. None of the top pitchers in this draft were comparable to recent top picks such as Strasburg, Bundy, Bauer, Bradley, and Cole. The Cubs did draft a ton of pitching which is what they needed to do. Even if Appel ended up being an elite pitcher, he still doesn’t solve their bullpen troubles, and he only pitches every fifth day. I am really excited about the direction the Cubs are headed. I know we probably won’t see progress until 2014 or 2015, but I’m okay with that because the organization is finally going about it the right way. In a matter of a week, the Cubs added two of the top five prospects in the organization provided Almora signs.

    • gilgerard

      Funny. I’m very thankful people like you aren’t running the Cubs.

      I believe the Cubs need impact players, no matter their age. They need impact pitching and it doesn’t matter how close or far they are.

      Drafting a high school outfielder was drafting within a position that likely won’t be needed nearly as much as their pitching in 3-4 years. (Jackson, Matt Szczur).

      Just to be fair, I wanted the Cubs to take Lucas Giolito from the beginning, and if you do some research on what I’ve said- you’d find a few articles. I was convinced they were going pitching based on what management has said- so when Appel fell- I thought it was a pretty simple decision.

      To also be fair- I’ve written multiple pieces on how I believe the Cubs are going about this the right way. I’ve been a major defender of the new direction, and was VERY against spending money last offseason when many wanted too.

      I disagree with this pick, and that’s my opinion. I’ve seen Appel and Giolito pitch live and I believe both would have been more of an impact player for the Cubs than Almora.