Believe it or not, whom the Chicago Cubs select with the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft is going to be decided by the all-mighty dollar. Of course, the Cubs aren’t the ones wavering over spending cash on unproven players because they do it all the time: it’s the Houston Astros who are worried about financially crippling themselves.
Mark Appel is the consensus first overall pick, yet the price tag attached to to the Stanford Cardinal flamethrower is much higher than that of fellow pitcher Jonathan Gray. If Houston decides to bite the bullet and spend the entire allotted $7,790,400 on Appel alone, then they won’t be able to able to lure any of their later round picks. Gray, a junior with the Oklahoma Sooners, is going to command a lesser amount of cash which will give the Astros more money to use on other picks.
This is where the ball is thrown vehemently into the Cubs’ court.
Chicago’s general manager, Jed Hoyer, has no reason not to draft Appel in the second round if Houston passes on the Stanford standout. An ace like Appel is going to demand a lot of coin, but with Alfonso Soriano‘s contract coming off of the books after the 2014 season, the Cubs can definitely find room on the payroll.
Now, in the event that the Astros decide to pull the trigger with Appel, then Gray will likely be the newest Cubs project. Gray isn’t quite as pro-ready as Appel, but standing at 6-foot-4, the 240-pound pitcher shouldn’t have any issues being durable. It’s easy to call Appel 1 and Gray 1A, but the Northsiders still need to be weary of what the Astros do with pick No. 1.