Cubs weighing options with third pick
Club won't shy away from drafting a pitcher despite depth
There is one good thing to come out of the Cubs' 96-loss season last year.
Because of their 2006 record -- the worst record in the National League -- the Cubs have the third pick overall in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
The draft will take place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The first round will be aired on ESPN2, beginning at 1 p.m. CT, and MLB.com will have every pick of the 50-round draft, start to finish.
This will be Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken's second draft for the team. He joined the Cubs in December 2005, and last year selected outfielder Tyler Colvin in the first round.
Wilken spent 25 years in the Blue Jays organization, and he had 11 first-round picks make the Major Leagues. Among the players he has signed and developed were Chris Carpenter, Carlos Delgado, Ryan Freel, Shawn Green, Roy Halladay, Orlando Hudson, Jimmy Key, Shannon Stewart, Vernon Wells and Michael Young.
Last December at the Winter Meetings, Wilken was named the 2006 East Coast Scout of the Year by the Scout of the Year Foundation.
In the 2006 draft, the Cubs seemed to favor college players, and used 31 of their 47 picks on college kids.
"I think it's a draft that's going to need time to show it, but you can see some pretty good results here anywhere from five to seven years," Wilken said of the 2006 group. "This one has a lot of long-term promise."
Who knows? Maybe it won't be the first-round pick who is the budding star. Sean Marshall, now in the Cubs rotation, was a sixth-round pick in 2003. Rich Hill was a fourth-round pick in 2002. And the Cubs are keeping an eye on former Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, who was pitching at Class A Daytona.
Even thought it's a cliche, the Cubs will take the best player available. Among the players the Cubs -- and probably every other team has looked at -- are left-handed pitcher David Price of Vanderbilt; right-handed pitcher Jarrod Parker of Norwell (Ind.) High School; third baseman Josh Vitters of Cypress (Calif.) High School; and catcher Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry did scout those players, as well as a few others on Wilken's list.
If it comes down to chosing a high school pitcher or a position player who could get to the big leagues in a few years, they may lean toward the latter. It will depend on what Tampa Bay and Kansas City do with the first and second picks overall.
The Cubs do have a lot of pitchers in the Minor League system, but that doesn't mean they won't select another. This draft isn't like football or basketball; players don't make an instant impact, and very few make the jump from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues in one season. Mark Prior is the exception, not the rule. He got to the Majors after nine Minor League starts.
The Cubs not only have the third pick overall, but three picks among the first 100 players. They have the 48th selection overall that will be in the sandwich round as compensation for losing free agent Juan Pierre. The Cubs do not have a second-round pick, but will select third in the third round.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Recent Cubs Top Picks
2006: OF Tyler Colvin -- Colvin was the 13th pick overall in the first round, and a bit of a surprise selection. He was ranked 170th among position players by Baseball America in its pre-draft literature. But the left-handed-hitting outfielder impressed the Cubs two days after he was selected when he hit a walk-off grand slam against Oral Roberts in the Clemson Super Regional. Last year, he batted .268 for Class A Boise with 11 homers and 53 RBIs. This year, Colvin was invited to Spring Training with the big-league team, and was bumped up to Class A Daytona. He's driven in four runs in two games, and batting .293 after 43 games.
2005: LHP Mark Pawelek -- Pawelek began this season with Class A Peoria, and appeared in two games in April but was then sent to the extended Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., to get back on a regular schedule. Bad weather in April kept him from being able to pitch. The lefty, who doesn't turn 21 until Aug. 18, was 3-5 with a 2.51 ERA in 15 games (12 starts) at Class A Boise last year, striking out 52 over 61 innings.
2004: RHP Grant Johnson (selected in second round) -- The Cubs did not have a first-round pick in 2004, and Johnson was the highest selection. He was 7-5 with a 4.70 ERA at Class A Daytona in 2006. This season, Johnson has been used in relief at Daytona.
2003: OF Ryan Harvey -- A right-handed hitter, Harvey batted .248 at Class A Daytona last season with 20 home runs and 84 RBIs. He set a Florida State League record with four homers in a game against Clearwater. This year, he's been slowed by a hamstring injury, and was hitting .250 in 11 games at Daytona with two homers and five RBIs.
Rising fast: Eric Patterson got a feel for the big leagues by hanging around his brother, Corey, who played outfield for the Cubs. Eric is a talented second baseman, and has been playing some outfield this year at Triple-A Iowa to improve his versatility. One thing is certain: Patterson can hit. He batted .263 in 121 games at Double-A West Tenn, and hit .358 in 17 games at Iowa. An eighth-round pick in 2004, Patterson also has played in the Arizona Fall League two straight years.
Cinderella story: A third-round pick in 2003, catcher Jake Fox has always been able to hit. He entered this season with a career .284 average, and reached Double-A West Tenn last season. Fox also is a little brazen. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This spring, he approached Cubs manager Lou Piniella about getting some playing time in Cactus League games. The rap on Fox is that he's weak defensively as a catcher. But he can hit. He backed up his talk by going 2-for-2, including a two-run homer. He followed that with a three-run, pinch-hit homer the next day against Milwaukee. Piniella will remember that.
In the show (from the 2004-06 Drafts): RHP Sean Gallagher (12th round, 2004).
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.