Early Look at 10 Prospects for Chicago Cubs to Target in 2014 MLB Draft

10 Prospects for Chicago Cubs to Target in 2014 MLB Draft

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The Cubs have the No. 4 pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and the consensus is that they will select a starting pitcher. Starting pitching is certainly the strength at the top of the draft and the Cubs will likely have their choice of one of the top two pitchers from both high school and college. However, as we have seen with recent drafts, the Cubs have shown a propensity to take a position player as they offer less risk than pitchers.

10. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis High School

Jacob Gatewood
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10. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis High School

Jacob Gatewood
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At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds Jacob Gatewood is a rare shortstop with 30-plus home run potential in the big leagues. Sound familiar? The Cubs recently have loaded up on power prospects and they would not hesitate to take Gatewood if they believe his propensity to swing and miss can be corrected. While Gatewood shows the skills to stick at shortstop, he has struggled with off-speed pitches and may have to move to third base due to his size.

9. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco University

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9. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco University

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Bradley Zimmer has the potential to be the rare center fielder who also hits for power, and that kind of commodity is coveted. However, at 6-foot-5, Zimmer may eventually have to move over to a corner outfield position. Zimmer generates his massive power with plus bat speed and also features a strong, accurate arm in the outfield. So far this season Zimmer is hitting .430 with a .497 on-base percentage and seven home runs in 128 at-bats.

8. Nick Gordon, SS/P, Olympia High School

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8. Nick Gordon, SS/P, Olympia High School

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Nick Gordon is a two-way prospect and is the son of Tom (Flash) Gordon. While Gordon can dial up his fastball to 91 with a hammer breaking ball, his prospect status is a shortstop. Gordon excels in the field with great range, soft hands and a cannon arm. In addition, Nick Gordon shows power from the left side of the plate. While the Cubs are loaded in the infield, they will not hesitate to take Gordon if they believe in his potential.

7. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina

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7. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina

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Jeff Hoffman raised his stock last summer by dominating the Cape Cod League, but the results have not been as spectacular so far this spring. Hoffman is athletic at 6-foot-4, 192 pounds and can reach 98 on his fastball, combined with a true 12-6 hammer curveball. However, opposing batters have squared him up too often this year as Hoffman has a 3.40 ERA in 53 innings pitched with 52 strikeouts to 19 walks.

6. Grant Holmes, RHP, High School

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6. Grant Holmes, RHP, High School

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Grant Holmes has a fastball that touches 97 and combines that with a plus power curveball. Holmes struck out 16 batters in his most recent outing and would be in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick if he was a bit taller. Standing at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, some scouts feel like Holmes’ ceiling is as a No. 2 starting pitcher.

5. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo High School

Alex Jackson
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5. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo High School

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Alex Jackson is potentially the best prep hitter in this year’s draft class and his bat will carry him to the Major Leagues. Jackson is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and scouts question whether or not he will stay at catcher in the pros. However, if the Cubs draft Jackson they will most likely have him stick at catcher for as long as possible as this is a major area of weakness in their minor league system.

4. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd High School

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4. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd High School

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Tyler Kolek stands at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and he uses all of that bulk to its fullest potential with a fastball that hits 100 mph. Kolek uses Nolan Ryan as a model for his delivery, and the gas comes easy as he comfortably sits at 95 with the ability to dial up the fastball at any time. Kolek also features a potentially plus curveball, a slider and rarely mixes in a changeup.

3. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

Tyler Beede Vanderbilt
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3. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

Tyler Beede Vanderbilt
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Tyler Beede has some of the best stuff in the draft with a fastball that can touch 96 and a potentially plus curveball. However, Beede needs to improve his command after walking 64 batters in 101 innings last year. So far in 2014 Beede has been solid, with a 2.81 ERA and 52 strikeouts to 16 walks in 48 innings pitched.

2. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic High School

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2. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic High School

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Brady Aiken has surged up draft boards and is now considered by some to be the best prospect in the draft. Aiken has 40 strikeouts in 24 innings so far this season and potentially has three plus pitches in his arsenal. Aiken sits anywhere from 90-94 with his fastball and has a sharp-breaking curveball in the low 80s. Aiken’s best pitch, however, may be his changeup which he consistently throws with the same motion as his fastball.

1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State

Carlos Rodon North Carolina State
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1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State

Carlos Rodon North Carolina State
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Entering 2014, Carlos Rodon was considered a slam dunk as the No. 1 overall pick. However, Rodon has simply not been the same pitcher in 2014 that he was a year ago. His formerly plus-plus slider has been just average, while his fastball has been solid, but unspectacular sitting at 93 mph. Despite his fall from the guaranteed No. 1 pick, Rodon would likely not make it past the Cubs as an advanced left-handed pitcher with ace potential.

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