Draft all the athletes.
That is an easy adage to say… when you know who the athletes are. Last night in the second round, the Cubs took three players (two in the compensation round) that raised a lot of eyebrows. All three were slated to go somewhere between the third and fifth rounds. More than likely, money and “signability” were mitigating factors for their selections.
High school outfielder Brennen Davis was taken at pick 62. He’s very athletic at 6’4″ and 175 pounds, with room to fill out his large frame. He’s very raw though, and Fangraphs’ Eric Logenhagen later reported it would take some pretty good change to talk Davis out of his commitment to Miami.
As for Davis’ skills, he’s been compared to other powerful, speedy, questionable-hit-tool guys, but he is far from a finished product. He is going to need a lot of polishing up to get there. If he signs, Davis will end up in Mesa to begin his career.
Paul Richan from the University of San Diego did a lot of pitching in a variety of roles the last three years. One thing the 6’3″, 200-pound righty did was miss a lot of bats, including over 10 strikeouts per nine innings this year. He can throw 91-94 with his fastball, has a workable change, and a plus slider as a strikeout pitch. He was taken at pick 78 in the compensation round and he should pitch some, but not a lot, for Eugene this summer.
Sometimes prospects fall and sometimes they rise. Cole Roederer did both this spring. The 6’0″ and 175-pound lefty outfielder shot up the boards after showing some huge power early in the year. Then he injured his shoulder goofing around with some teammates and missed the last month of the season. Luckily, it was his non-throwing shoulder.
Out of all four picks on Monday, I am the most excited about Roederer, as he has five-tool potential. He can hit for power and average, he has excellent speed and range, but his arm does need some work in CF. Like Davis, Roederer should begin his career in Mesa when healthy.
While the three players’ selections may have raised several eyebrows on draft night, they all have good upside, but it is going to take some work to get there. Being athletic, like Davis and Roederer, helps a lot. With that athleticism, it’s easier to replicate movements, change how one’s body does things, and, in general, become a little bit more polished. They are not fully formed MLB players. It will take some time for the toolsy outfielders.
In the future, though, people might raise their eyebrows for different reasons.