How Have Previous Drafts Shaken Out?

With the draft approaching in just 8 short days, I thought I would review some of the past drafts the Cubs have had, focusing on the prospects taken in the top 10 rounds, to see what impact they've had.

1st Rounder-The Cubs picked Luis Montanez with their first pick. He was a SS out of high school who struggled for a number of years in the Cubs farm system. The Cubs attempted to convert him to an OF with some success, but he elected free agency after 6 years.

Made it to Chicago-The Cubs had a couple of guys reach the majors with them, in 2nd rounder Bobby Hill and 5th rounder Todd Wellemeyer. After being dubbed the second baseman of the future, Hill would famously be the centerpiece of the trade that netted the Cubs Aramis Ramirez.

Made it to the Bigs-The other famous name in this draft was the Cubs 9th round selection, Dontrelle Willis. Ironically, the Cubs also sent their 8th round selection Ryan Jorgensen in that trade for Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca.

Weirdest Story-Gary Banks (6th Round) left the organization after three years to play college football.

Overall Grade: B The Cubs only had one guy that played in Chicago for any extended length of time, but being able to move your second rounder for Aramis Ramirez is a victory in my book. And while it seemed like a huge blunder for the Cubs to have traded away Dontrelle a few years ago, he has yet to regain the form that made him a star early on, while the Cubs were able to get to the postseason behind Matt Clement.

1st Rounder-With the 2nd overall pick in the 2001 draft, the Cubs selected a right-handed starting pitcher out of the University of Southern California-Mark Prior. 7 years later and putting aside Geo Soto's success this year, it looks like the Cubs would've been better off with the Twins forking over the money for Prior and Joe Mauer "falling" to the Cubs at #2. But, with the success Prior had early on, it's hard to say this wasn't a good pick.

Made it to Chicago-The Cubs also had success with their 3rd round pick, a guy who finally has been able to put to rest the tired statement "the Cubs farm system hasn't developed a position player in X years." That player is The Riot. Interestingly, The Riot was never considered a serious prospect, in part because he was overshadowed by the likes of Bobby Hill and Brendan Harris, but also because he struggled with the bat. He was a career .252 hitter heading into 2005, with most of that time spent below AA. But he turned the corner in 2005 and made this pick work for the Cubs.

The Cubs had one other player reach the majors for them out of the first ten rounds in 7th rounder Sergio Mitre. Mitre was one of three players the Cubs traded for Juan Pierre.

Made it to the Bigs-While those three all made it to the Bigs with the Cubs, the draft also produced three other MLBer's. Brendan Harris (5th round) was traded to the Expo's in that monster four team trade that brought over Nomar and Matt Murton, Ricky Nolasco (4th round) went along with Mitre for Pierre, and Andy Sisco (2nd) was left unprotected and was picked by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft a few years later.

Weirdest Story-Alan Bomer (9th Round) stayed in school and was a 2nd round pick of the Yankees in 2002.

Overall Grade: A+ It's hard to dispute a draft that resulted in the top 5 picks all being in the Bigs.

1st Rounder-While 2001 was a huge success, the Cubs couldn't repeat that success in 2002, despite a draft that was set up for them to give them huge returns. The Cubs had 4 first round picks (thanks to supplemental 1st round picks for David Weathers, Rondell White, and Todd Van Poppel) and 2 each in the second, third and fourth rounds. The Cubs focused on pitching in the first round, getting Bobby Brownlie, Luke Hagerty, Chadd Blasko, and Matthew Clanton. None of them reached the Bigs and all have been released.

Made it to Chicago-The Cubs biggest success was their second fourth round pick in Rich Hill. Billy Petrick made his MLB debut last year after being selected in the third round. And 9th rounder Adam Greenburg played in one game for the Cubs.

Made it to the Bigs-NONE

Weirdest Story-Greenburg had one AB for the Cubs. He was called up by the organization because they didn't feel Pie was ready (I'll leave out any commentary), got to bat, and was promptly hit in the head. He ended up on the DL, and wasn't the same player after he came back. He was eventually released by the Cubs.

Overall Grade: D- It's hard to imagine that a team with 16 picks in the first ten rounds would end up with 3 guys in the Bigs, including one who only got one AB. The Cubs were able to trade Justin Jones (2nd round) in the Nomar/Murton deal and they still have Matthew Craig (3rd round) in their farm system to go along with Petrick and Hill, but getting absolutely nothing out of 4 first rounders is terrible.

1st Rounder-The Cubs used the 6th pick overall on a 6-5 outfielder who was fast enough and talented enough to play centerfield. And it looked like Ryan Harvey's career was going to take off, as he was an all star in '04, '05, and '06. But since then, things have gone down hill. Harvey opened the season in AA, where he hit .216. He was demoted to Daytona, where he is currently hitting .212. I have a feeling that he may be on his last leg with the Cubs.

Made it to Chicago-The Cubs didn't have a second round pick, so their second overall pick was used in the 3rd round to take Jake Fox. Fox toiled for many years as an average to above average hitter but a poor catcher who had spent most of his time working on his catching. But when the Cubs started moving him around the field, his hitting improved and his versatility allowed him to become a member of the Cubs for a brief time. In the 6th round, the Cubs selected Sean Marshall.

Made it to the Bigs-None

Weirdest Story-Matthew Lincoln, the Cubs 8th round pick, never signed with the Cubs. As far as I can tell, he never was drafted after that.

Overall Grade: B- The Cubs have had some success with Sean Marshall and still have their top five draft picks in the system, but this draft hasn't produced any major contributors.

1st Rounder-The Cubs didn't have a 1st round pick in 2004, thanks to the acquisition of a type A player in LaTroy Hawkins (ouch). The only good news is that the Twins pick was Kyle Waldrop, currently toiling in High A ball without proving much . So let's focus on the 2nd round pick and the Cubs first pick, Grant Johnson. Johnson is a full time relief pitcher who has risen steadily, but not spectacularly. He currently has a 3.38 ERA in the minors this year.

Made it to Chicago-Two guys have had cups of coffee with the Cubs...8th rounder Eric Patterson and 10th rounder Sam Fuld.

Made it to the Bigs-None

Weirdest Story-Adrian Ortiz was drafted by the Cubs in the 5th round out of high school, but never signed. 3 years later, he was drafted out of Pepperdine by the Royals, once again in the 5th round.

Overall Grade: C- It's hard to think of the draft as a good draft when you know you gave up your first round pick for LaTroy Hawkins. But the bigger issue here is that except for two utility players, the top ten rounds didn't produce much and none of the guys picked are considered top prospects.

Before I start 2005, I am going to reformat a little. At this point, there are no guys who have made it to the Bigs and most guys are still in the system, so I am just going to highlight the 1st round pick and some of the other notables.

1st Rounder-For the 4th time in 5 years, the Cubs used their top pick on a pitcher. This time it was Mark Pawelek. Pawelek's career hasn't gotten off to a really great start, as he tripped over his Playstation last June and broke his non-throwing elbow. His ERA was over 8 last year and he is currently at extended spring training, but it's also important to remember that he is still 21.

Other Notables-Mark Holliman is the only guy who has made it as far as AAA, making 5 starts but struggling with an ERA over 5. Donnie Veal is a top 10 prospect who was taken in the 2nd round. In the 5th round, the Cubs took Scott Taylor. 2 rounds later, they took Trey Taylor. Unfortunately, neither Taylor is playing right now, as Trey quit baseball and Scott is currently suspended for failing a drug test.

Overall Grade: D- Their is only one top ten prospect right now and there is no one on the 40 man roster. There doesn't appear to be anyone outside Veal with any potential to play in the Bigs, unless Pawelek starts figuring things out. Veal is the only reason they didn't get an F.

1st Rounder-Tyler Colvin was projected between the second and the fifth rounds by most experts. So it was a bit of a shocker when the Cubs took him in the first round. At the time, he was lighting up the College World Series. That rolled on and got him to AA this year, where things have slowed down. He's still thought of as one of the top 3 prospects in the system. When he'll get the chance to play for the Big Boys is yet to be seen...some predicted last year (before Fuku was signed) that the Cubs were only going to sign a guy to a one-year deal because they felt Colvin would be MLB-ready by 2009.

Other Notables-The Cubs didn't have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick thanks to acquisitions (two good ones in Howry and Erye, the 4th rounder was lost thanks to the acquisition of Jacque Jones), but made a huge splash in the 5th round by drafting Jeff ND. Then, they paid him a boatload of money to skip his shot at the NFL, but I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know. Josh Landsford, Son of former MLBer Carney Lansford, was taken in the 6th.

Overall Grade: B- If Colvin and Jeff ND project out, this will be a solid draft for the Cubs. People still think Josh Lansford has a high ceiling, so he could make it to the Bigs. This draft would be graded a bit higher if there were some picks between the 1st and the 5th.

1st Rounder-Someone was smiling on the Cubs when the rule was implemented that if you had one of the top ten picks in the draft and you were supposed to lose a 1st rounder due to a free agent signing, you would instead lose a second rounder, because that allowed the Cubs to keep the #3 overall pick, while losing their second round pick to the Nats for Alfonso Soriano. Enter Josh Vitters. Considered the top high school hitter, the Cubs have taken things slow with Vitters, who is currently at extended spring training. Vitters, the Cubs top overall pick since Mark Prior, is considered the team's top prospect in most circles.

Other Notables-The Cubs got a supplemental first round pick when Juan Pierre signed with the Dodgers and used that pick on Josh Donaldson. Donaldson, a catcher, is considered a top ten prospect. The Cubs 3rd rounder, Tony Thomas is also considered a top ten prospect, while Darwin Barney, their 4th rounder, is considered to be just outside the top ten.

Overall Grade: B It would be easy to say that this was a great draft because the Cubs got 3 top prospects, but the basis for those ranking are based on projection and the lack of talent in the '05 draft. None of them have lit the world on fire, although Barney and 7th rounder Ty Wright are the two team leaders in RBI's for Daytona.

Comment (1)


May 27, 2008 at 8:20 PM

Brah-vo Lionel. Bravo.