The Cubs did not drift at all from their draft strategy on Day Two of the 2015 MLB Draft. Just like previous years, the Cubs went after pitching, pitching, and more pitching. And not just any pitching – left-handed and senior pitching. It began with giant prep lefty Bryan Hudson in the third round and continued through the ninth round pick, Tyler Peitzmeier.
The Cubs also continued stocking up on left-handed-hitting outfielders in speedster DJ Wilson out of Canton, Ohio in the fourth round. They began dipping into the college ranks for pitching with lefty Ryan Kellogg in round 5 and side-arming reliever David Berg in round 6. Also, starting in round 6, the Cubs began selecting college senior after college senior in order to save some money for a possible big signing (seniors have no bargaining leverage and teams can sign them for as little as $10,000) .
Maybe the strategy it is to sign Hudson or D.J. Wison for more money, or it could be to get Cole Sands and/or Isiah Gilliam tomorrow. We shall see. High profile prep names like pitchers Donny Everett, Joe DeMers, and Kyle Molnar are still out there. On Day Three, the Cubs would try and snag one or more of them early in the day in Rounds 11-15.
Today on Day Two, the Cubs did well by getting three probable starters for the minors for next year in Hudson, Kellogg, and Morrison. In addition, Berg’s and Peitzmeier’s roles as closers are interesting elements to add to the collection of bullpen arms the Cubs are stockpiling in the lower part of the system. Prep pitcher Craig Brooks is a bit of an unknown, as is tenth rounder Vimael Machin. The one wild card to me is Wilson because he may or may not sign; his speed is something the Cubs lack in most of the system.
Below are profiles for each player.
Third Round – Bryan Hudson – LHP – Alton HS, Alton, Illinois
The first thing you notice about Hudson is his size – 6 foot 8 – and his stature – he looks like he is all arms and legs at only 220 pounds. Jim Callis and Johnathan Mayo both talked about his projection and that he could easily throw in the mid-90’s in a couple of years with just a few more pounds.
Here is what Baseball America said about his skills:
He’s learned to leverage his size and has the body control to repeat his delivery, gaining confidence as the spring progressed. Hudson’s calling card is his hard breaking ball, a curveball that scrapes the low 80s. His arm action is clean and he throws plenty of strikes, especially for a tall pitcher, with a fastball consistently in the upper 80s that reaches 92-93 mph consistently. Hudson doesn’t throw a changeup yet, as he has dominated prep competition with just two pitches.
Here is an interview he did about the attention he received:
This is the MLB pre-draft video:
He will likely be in Arizona in rookie ball all summer.
Fourth Round – D.J. Wilson – Outfielder – Canton South HS – Canton, Ohio
With their fourth selection, the Cubs got themselves another center fielder in D.J. Wilson of Canton, Ohio. A Vanderbilt recruit, Wilson is 5’8″ and 170 pounds and his game is all about speed.
MLB.com said this of him:
He uses a compact left-handed stroke to put the ball in play and use his quickness to beat out hits. His size and approach result in very little power, however, and he struggled at times against better competition on the showcase circuit last summer.
Wilson has all the ingredients to be a quality center fielder. He reads the ball well off the bat, covers plenty of ground, has average arm strength and makes accurate throws.
Like Hudson, Wilson will go to Arizona to spend this summer in rookie league if the Cubs can sign him.
Fifth Round – Ryan Kellogg – LHP – Arizona State
The Cubs went left-handed pitcher again. This time it was Ryan Kellogg from Arizona State. The 6’5″ lefty is known for pitching to contact but has solid numbers across the board when it comes to his pitches. As a Freshman, he was highly thought of, but slumped a little his last two years.
I think he was overused late in games which happens a lot in college as starters go every seven days. So, the managers tend to let them pitch deep into games.
#Cubs 5th rounder: LHP Ryan Kellogg, Arizona State. 3-time 1st-team All Pac-12. 62 career walks in 321 innings, fewest in school history.
— Cash Kruth (@cashkruth) June 9, 2015
Here is MLB the predraft look:
As a college junior, he could be in Eugene as a reliever depending on how many innings he has thrown this year.
Sixth Round – David Berg – RHP – University of California at Los Angeles
The only thing I wondered heading into this round was whether the Cubs would keep the left-handed theme going. The streak was broken when the Cubs took RHP David Berg, a drop-down pitcher who won a national championship as a closer for UCLA. Both Callis and Mayo loved the pick. I like it, too…a lot!
I like his intensity and sidearm specialty. He has one vicious slider that baffles right handed hitters. He was selected in the 17th round by the Texas Rangers but did not sign last year.
Here is what Today’s Knuckleball says of Berg:
Earning Louisville Slugger first team All-American honors, Berg became the fourth UCLA pitcher, and third in the last five seasons, to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. A semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Berg went 7-1 with a 0.68 ERA (3rd in the nation) and 13 saves over 43 appearances (1st in the nation). The Covina, Calif. native recorded 65 strikeouts and eight walks in 66.2 innings, posting the nation’s eighth best strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.13/1). In Pac-12 play, Berg allowed just one earned run, posting a 5-0 record with 0.22 ERA and eight saves in 22 appearances.
A finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award and Dick Howser Trophy, Berg set the new NCAA record for career appearances at 175 and finished just four saves away from tying the NCAA record for career saves.
Here is a video from UCLA that tells his unique story
As a reliever, Berg does not have a lot of wear and tear. It would not surprise me to see him show up in South Bend to begin.
The 5’11” and 185 pound senior got the internet going crazy when the Cubs selected him in the seventh round. Even Jim Callis and Johnathan Mayo on the MLB Network were scrambling to find more information on the mysterious Mr. Brooks.
Here is what his senior season was like according to the school’s athletic page:
For the season Brooks posted a 1.45 ERA with a 9-1 record. In 99 innings, he only allowed 54 hits and 34 walks for a .89 WHIP which placed him eighth nationally. His 158 strikeouts led the division and his 14.36 strikeouts per nine innings also topped the nation.
Brooks dominated opposition the entire season. Early in the year he threw a no-hitter against Brevard. In this final pitching performance for the Indians he struck out five of six batters against Cal Poly Pomona to earn the save which sent the Indians to the championship game.
Brook, who also played SS and 3B, could play as a reliever this year in Arizona and Eugene.
Eighth Round – Preston Morrison – Texas Christian University
The Cubs keep going with seniors and Morrison is a good one. He was a four year starter with good command, but does have hit-and-miss stuff. He was a Second team All-American and the 2014 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. He’s a quality kid from a quality program that develops good pro pitchers.
The weird thing about Morrison is his arm slot – it is almost a sidearm that he whips through the side of his body and the ball sneaks up on the hitter.
As a starter and the amount of innings he threw this year, Morrison may see limited action as a reliever in Arizona and Eugene.
Ninth Round – Tyler Peitzmeier – LHP – Cal State Fullerton
Tyler Peitzmeier is a closer and will be pitching in the College World Series soon. The lefty pitcher is known for his curve ball. He doesn’t have a big fastball, so he gets by on deception and changing speeds.
Here is a report on him The Baseball Draft Report
Cal State Fullerton SR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier is one of the country’s best relievers with the stuff (87-90 FB, plus CU) and deception to keep missing bats as a pro.
He does hide the ball well, but he also has a weird delivery as seen in this video.
Like Berg, Peitzmeier could go right to South Bend to begin.
Tenth Round – Vimael Machin – SS – VCU
And the Cubs end their string of pitchers with the shortstop. The 5’11” Machin is a patient hitter from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico who turned down the Padres in 2011 when San Diego picked him in the 29th round, choosing to attend VCU instead. He just finished his senior year where he hit .317 with a .377 OBP.
Here he is hitting a homer in his junior year.
Machin will likely start his Cub career in the Arizona Rookie League.
It will take a couple of days to sift through tomorrow’s fast paced action of picks.
The Cubs will select 30 players to join their organization with the hopes that half of them will sign with the first ten picked today.