9:10 AM: I’ll update this thread as the day goes on. I don’t promise to update frequently, but I’ll try. GW and I have a friendly wager for $25 going to charity that if the Cubs take Micahel Conforto that it will be for no less than $100,000 under the slot value.
Baseball Prospectus and Perfect Game have a mock draft up. They have the Cubs taking SS Nick Gordon out of high school in Florida.
NICK GORDON – SS – Olympia (Fla.) HS
In an ideal world, the Cubs would have a chance to take either Aiken or Rodon, and they may have a chance at Rodon should the Marlins select Alex Jackson. Recent word indicates that they’ve focused their attention on Nick Gordon, which may indicate they know how the top of the draft is going to shake out.
I have a hard time believing that Alex Jackson wouldn’t be their pick based on the earlier picks. They don’t have Jackson going until 6th, but should he be available, and Rodon and Aiken gone, I think they take Jackson. I don’t think Jackson will be available.
***9:20 AM: Baseball America’s John Manuel has the BA Mock Draft 5.0 up now.
4. CUBS: This may be where the draft really starts. The Cubs want Aiken or Rodon to fall to them, and in a different draft system, they could make it happen with a giant bonus promise. In this system, they might be reduced to seeing who’ll take a cost-saving bonus at No. 4 that would allow them to pay above-slot bonuses later to high-ceiling high school pitchers such as Jack Flaherty, Michael Kopech or Joey Gatto. If Nick Gordon will take a haircut, he makes more sense than the college bats in the mix such as Michael Conforto and Kyle Schwarber. But Gordon would likely fall only one spot, while Conforto and Schwarber won’t go higher than eight if they don’t go at four.
Projected Pick: OF Michael Conforto
I’m not going to be too happy if the Cubs try to save money to spend in later rounds given the current system. I just fail to see how that can be advantageous. I’m not going to be unhappy with Conforto as Baseball America is quite high on the guy. I’ll take their word for it, but he’s also not a guy who is going to come at a huge savings. And even if he does and costs me $25 in the process, I’m guessing it just means that Ricketts isn’t spending a lot of money in this draft. My draft philosophy: spend every bit as much as possible on every single pick. Fuck saving money for later.
***9:25 AM: Also worth noting that Manuel has Alex Jackson going 6th. Surprised to see two mock drafts having him go that low in the draft. Wonder why.
***9:30 AM: It was published earlier, but mlb.com’s Jonathon Mayo lists the players who are strong candidates to go first. Brady Aiken and Carlos Rodon top the list (they’re ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively, by mlb.com). They list Alex Jackson as the next strongest candidate to go the Astros tonight.
Considered by most to be the best hitter in the Draft, with the ability to hit for average and a ton of power. The only question is if a team wants to slow down the bat to let him develop as a catcher.
Why he should go No. 1: See above about being the best hitter in the class. The power and hit tools are legitimate. He has an outstanding arm and could develop into a tremendous offensive-minded catcher, while having the bat to profile as a corner outfielder as well.
Why he shouldn’t go No. 1: Can he catch? If he can, is a team willing to wait for that part of his game to develop? If he can’t, is his bat special enough to be No. 1 as an outfielder, a la Bryce Harper?
Not sure why a couple others have Jackson slipping to 6th.