Editor’s note: A few of the Cubs’ recent draftees have plied their craft in front of the watchful eyes of BP’s prospect staff. Here are their notes.
Tyson Miller, RHP: Miller was one of the best small-school pitchers in the draft this year, and he was a solid get for the Cubs in the fourth round. He’s not overpowering, but there is still some projection left in his body, and his fastball is close to above-average at 90-93. Both the slider and change have a chance to be average, with the slider flashing more on occasion. It’s not your typical “hard throwing small school” guy, but his ability to throw strikes with those pitches gives him a chance to start. — Chris Crawford
Chad Hockin, RHP: No-doubt relievers don’t make for the sexiest of draft picks, but they’re people too, damn it, and Hockin’s a good one. He has both the stoic mound presence and nasty two-pitch arsenal to work in high-leverage situations at the highest level some day. The fastball sat 92-94 and touched 95 in both of my looks this spring, with some tailing action and life that can play up in the zone. It’s a tough pitch to square, as he gets downhill with extension from a higher arm slot that leaves batters less time to pick it up. They can’t sit on the gas either, as he pairs it with a two-plane slider in the mid-80’s (87 at the top) that can miss bats. The arm action works well, and none of the present inconsistencies in his delivery were huge red flags, to where it’s possible to project solid future command as well. He did miss a couple weeks this spring with a mild elbow injury, but he has the potential to move through the system fairly quickly if his health permits it. I liked this pick in the sixth round. —Wilson Karaman
There’s no doubt Hockin is a reliever, but there’s no doubt he’s a pretty good one, too. He can get his fastball up to the high 90s, and he has a wipeout slider that has flashes plus-plus, though plus is the safest grade to give him. There are some concerns about whether or not he can get left-handers out because of his arm slot, but his floor is a middle-innings guy who can give right-handers fits. —Chris Crawford