Ian Happ Leads Draft Class as They Begin Play Out West
Since June 1, 2015, the Chicago Cubs system received a large infusion of talent. Almost 30 draft picks signed contracts and some began play in rookie and short-season A ball. Two draftees remained unsigned in John Cresto and Jake Kelzer. Several others draftees (9) announced they would either be going back to school or honoring their college commitments.
Ian Happ has been playing for two weeks now, but many of the signees began play this past week in Arizona and Eugene. Some had better debut weeks than others, but you can’t overreact to what they have done so far when most of them have had as much as six weeks off.
Late on Wednesday night, it was announced that third round pick Bryan Hudson had signed. I was quite relieved and pleased! It’s not every day you can find a 6’8” lefty with a plus curve. Hudson will likely pitch sparingly in the Arizona Rookie League this summer. On Thursday night he got his first action as the bat boy in AZL Cubs vs. A’s game.
3rd-rder Bryan Hudson signs w/@Cubs for $1.1 mil (slot 82 = $731k). Illinois HS LHP, projectable 6-ft-7, VG curve, hits 92 w/FB. @MLBDraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 2, 2015
Another surprise this week was the signing of Indiana University closer Scott Effross. The news in the signing is that Effross will be developed as a starter. It’s a pretty cool story on @Savermetric ‘s Twitter timeline.
#Cubs signed 15th round #MLBDraft pick @sefrosty32: “They like the way I pitch as a SP, so they’re going to start me off as that.” (5/5)
— Wes Saver (@Savermetrics) June 29, 2015
Also, the Cubs signed pitcher Heath Dwyer from VCU. He is a lefty, 6’3”, and 200 pounds, and was a workhorse in that program the last four years.
Ian Happ – OBP is almost 150 points higher than his average (.271 to .419) – he gets pitched around and doesn’t get much of anything good to hit. Last night he was on base four out of five times. Then, he just crushed a game-winning home run to straightaway center over a 15 foot batter’s eye. It was his fourth home run in two weeks.
Ryan Kellogg – 1 inning, no runs
Dave Berg – 3 innings, no runs, no hits, 1 save, 1 win – I watched him on Thursday night and everything he threw had a lot of movement even though it was in the low to mid 80s from a submariner arm slot. Balls, broke, left right, and down – it has to be so hard as a hitter to guess where his pitches are going.
Donnie Dewees – doubles machine, lots of speed, I can see why the Cubs picked him as he gets his walks too.
Matt Rose – got off to a great start and quickly cooled going 1 for his last 11 – he got pulled for a pinch hitter last night. Still hitting .292.
Ian Rice – 2 for 9 in 3 games – catches a good game
Alex Bautista – hitting .263 in 5 games with 2 RBIs
Jared Cheek – 2 innings, 1 run, 1 save
Stuff to Work On
Sutton Whiting – Played some LF in addition to 2B and SS. Like Rose, hot start, quickly cooled – hitting .200.
John Williamson – only pitched one horrible outing in which he gave up 3 runs and didn’t get any outs in a relief role
Vismael Machin – hitting under .200 – he was 2 for 2 last night – promoted to South Bend this morning
Blake Headley – 3 for 19, but he did have a game tying RBI last night – does have a nice glove
Heath Dwyer – 1 inning, 2 runs allowed
These are small sample sizes with minimal data. Try not to judge too much. There are a lot of games left in both Arizona’s and Eugene’s seasons.
I think you could see Happ, Dewees, and Berg move up to South Bend in the next week to ten days. Happ doesn’t look challenged at all. Rather, he looks perturbed at how he is being pitched.
I am looking forward to seeing more of these players in action in the coming weeks.
Tonight will be the last night for a while I get to see Eugene on MiLB.TV at Hillsboro. It has been fun watching them rather than listening to the radio online.
Draftees Signed but Have yet to Debut
Bryan Hudson, DJ Wilson, Preston Morrison, Craig Brooks, Tyler Peitzmeier, PJ Higgins, Kyle Twomey, Scott Effross, Casey Bloomquist, Kyle Miller, Marcus Mastrobuoni, Angelo Amendolare, Tyler Payne, Daniel Spignola, MT Minacci, and Donnie Cimino.
I am most interested in seeing how Hudson, Morrison, Brooks, Twomey, Effross, Bloomquist, and Miller do pitching. Most will be used sparingly, especially Hudson. Bloomquist intrigues me the most, as I am not sure what he can do. I find Morrison interesting if just for his arm slot, and I wonder how Effross transitions into a starting role.
As for the hitters, Wilson most interests me just for his speed. I likely will not see him this year unless he somehow makes it to Eugene. Like Hudson, he will be at Arizona all summer. As for college bats, I wonder if Higgins and Amendolare are in the Chesny Young mold – good control of the zone, hit-for-high-average type of guys. I don’t really know what to make of Spignola, who was solid his junior year at Georgia Tech but had an off senior year.