Chicago Cubs: 5 Options With the No. 2 Pick of the 2013 MLB Draft
2013 MLB Draft: 5 Options for the Chicago Cubs with the Second Pick
Make no mistake about it, the Chicago Cubs are in the middle of a very long rebuilding process. When President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer came to Chicago, they made it obvious that they were going to pretty much start from scratch to rebuild this team. So this is a very important time if year for the Cubs, as the 2013 MLB Draft begins on Thursday.
Last season, the Cubs selected high-school outfielder Albert Almora in the first round (No. 6 overall) and spent their next six picks on pitching. Although the Cubs have greatly improved their minor league system since Epstein and Hoyer arrived, there is still a need for front-line starting pitching.
The obvious top three prospects for the Cubs are Almora, OF Jorge Soler and SS Javier Baez. There is no doubt that they are lacking in the starting pitching department. Guys like Pierce Johnson and Dillon Maples are good pitching prospects, but neither really have that bone fide ace potential.
Because of the lack of pitching in the organization, many people think that the Cubs will take either Stanford pitcher Mark Appel or Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray with the No. 2 overall pick. While I do think one of those guys are the most likely to be selected by the Cubs, I am sure the front office is doing their homework on a handful of prospects that they could take with the second pick.
More than likely, the Cubs will take one of the two stud college pitchers. That being said, I am not ready to count out a position player. Epstein and Hoyer have said many times that you have to draft based on the best player available and not by need. "History does show that there is a better probability for impact up high in the draft with position players, but if the right arm is there, we'll take him. You cannot dictate the draft. You have to go through the process and see what's there," Epstein said in an interview with Comcast Sports Net's David Kaplan. "At the end of the draft, we will have attacked pitching with volume and you can get pitching all over the draft. If you want elite position players, you have to be willing to pop that guy up top."
After seeing that and many other quotes by Epstein, I know that the Cubs will have taken plenty of pitching by the end of the draft. As far as the first pick goes, I do not think it 100 percent certain that they will take a pitcher. Only time will tell as we find out for sure on Thursday when the Cubs make their first round selection. Until then, here are the top five options for the north siders with the No. 2 overall pick.
5. Clint Frazier, OF, High School
I would be surprised if the Cubs take Clint Frazier, but if they decide to go the high school outfielder route again, I think Frazier is the guy. He is a legitimate five-tool type of player with his power probably being his best asset. Frazier has as much talent as anybody in the draft, and the question is if he will ever reach his full potential.
4. Colin Moran, 3B, UNC
Colin Moran is one of the safest picks in this draft. I would be fairly surprised if he does not make it as a major league regular. That being said, he does not have the upside of the other players that are being talked about high in this draft. Moran has great plate discipline and is a very good contact hitter; he does not currently have huge power, but many scouts project his power to grow as he gets older. Defensively, he is solid and should be able to stay at third base in the majors.
3. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
When you see Kris Bryant play, there is one thing that jumps out at you and that is his elite power. Many scouts have said that Bryant has more power than any prospect who has entered the draft in a long time. His plate discipline could use some work and he is not great defensively, as many think he will have to move to a corner outfield spot or first base. That being said, his power is legit and if the Cubs take a position player in the first round, I think Bryant will be their guy.
2. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel is the safer pick out of the two college pitchers. This guy has been an elite college pitcher over the last few seasons, and many think that he is on the fast track to the big leagues. Appel has a great fastball that sits at 94-95 mph and can reach 97-98 at times. He also throws a slider and change-up, both of which are a bit inconsistent, but very good at times. If the Cubs select Appel, he instantly becomes the best pitching prospect in their system.
1. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The same can be said for Gray. If the Cubs select Gray, he will instantly become the best pitching prospect in their system. Gray is a little bit riskier than Appel as he is really just coming off of one dominant season. That being said, the upside is greater on Gray, because his pure stuff seems to be better. Gray has a fastball that consistently sits at around 98 mph and reaches triple-digits at times. His slider is also very effective and many people think he will get much better with more coaching. On Monday, it was reported that Gray tested positive for Adderall. It is unknown how this will affect his draft status. Personally, I think his upside is huge, and teams will still strongly consider him at the top of the draft.