Cubs Strike Gold with Two Pitchers in the First Round
Jason McLeod wasn’t kidding when he said the Cubs would focus on pitching. Known for taking college bats early, the Cubs used the 27th pick to select lefty Brendon Little and the 30th pick to select righty Alex Lange. I really like both selections; they have upside but they also need some work.
Lange, to me, is a steal. A known perfectionist, he is not going to take long. I think with the coaches the Cubs have in the system, he could improve greatly. As a result, the Cubs may have gotten a top-ten talent at No. 30.
Both players have pitched significant innings this year, with Little at 85 and Lange at 111 so far. Little could pitch some in relief this season in either Eugene or South Bend, while Lange will probably be shut down after the College World Series, much like Thomas Hatch in 2016.
Here are some brief profiles and stats. Click on the link for previous articles about them.
Brendon Little – State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
6-2, 195 pounds
He can bring it at 97
Did I mention a 97 mph fastball?
Tight curve with projection
Areas of Concern
Starter or reliever?
Here is what MLB.com said of Little
Little pitched very well in the Cape Cod League this summer and has continued to show premium velocity in junior college this spring. He was touching 97 mph in fall ball and has kept that up during the regular season in Florida. He complements it with a true 12-to-6 power curve which flashes plus on occasion, and he’ll also show some feel for his changeup, though it’s behind the other two pitches. While he has a very quick and clean arm delivery, his command comes and goes and his fastball can be flat at times, though that hasn’t kept him from missing a ton of bats this spring.
The lack of track record, as well as the inconsistency with his delivery and command, might concern some, with scouts wondering if he’s a starter or a reliever long term. This kind of arm strength from the left side is hard to find, so teams won’t too long to take him off the board.
Alex Lange – Louisiana State University
6-3, 198 pounds
Areas of Concern
Here is what MLB.com said of the right hander.
Lange has two plus pitches in a fastball that usually ranged from 92-96 mph and a power curveball that stood out as the best on the U.S. college national team last summer. He has a strong build and repeatedly has demonstrated the ability to maintain his stuff into the later innings. Lange is showing better feel for his changeup after emphasizing the development of the pitch during his time with Team USA.
Lange sometimes gets himself in trouble by overthrowing and not staying online to the plate. Both of those bad habits cost him control, which along with some effort in his delivery has some scouts wondering if he might wind up as a reliever in the long run. Lange’s track record as a successful starter means he’ll get every opportunity to make it as a mid-rotation option.
More information will be forthcoming in the next few days about each prospect including thoughts from Jason McLeod.