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Draft Preview

Postby ensanimal » Fri Jun 04, 2004 5:03 pm


Is there another Mark Prior out there? Or a Corey Patterson? Or a Kerry Wood? The Chicago Cubs will have to wait until the second round of the June 7 draft to find out.
The Cubs would've had the 25th pick in the first round of this year's amateur player draft. Instead, the Cubs' first pick won't be until the second round, or 66th overall.

The Minnesota Twins get the Cubs' 25th pick as compensation for losing free agent LaTroy Hawkins. A team that loses a Type A free agent such as Hawkins gets the first-round pick of the team that signs the free agent and a supplemental pick after the first round. A team that loses a Type B free agent receives only the signing team's top pick.

The Elias Sports Bureau determines whether a free agent is a Type A or Type B. Hawkins, whom the Cubs signed last Dec. 3, was a Type A free agent.

A Type A free agent is ranked among the top 30 percent of Major Leaguers at his position, while a Type B free agent is ranked among the top half, but not the top 30 percent, of Major Leaguers at his position.

However, if the Cubs were selecting in the first half of the draft rotation, they would not lose their first-round pick, and would've lost their second-round pick. Complicated? You bet.

What it boils down to is the Cubs will not have a pick until the second round. Chicago has taken pitchers with 10 of its last 15 first-round picks, although last year the Cubs chose outfielder Ryan Harvey of Dunedin, Fla., High School.

Past five No. 1 picks
Year Player
2003 Ryan Harvey, CF
2002 Bobby Brownlie, RHP
2001 Mark Prior, RHP
2000 Luis Montanez, SS
1999 Ben Christensen, RHP

Of their selections in the last 10 years, No. 1 picks Wood (1995), Patterson (1998) and Prior (2002) all are on the big league roster.

Cubs scouting director John Stockstill won't tip his hand. His approach is to take the best player available. And Stockstill may choose a player in the second round whom the Cubs feel is first-round quality.

For example, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was the team's scouting director in 1998 and he picked David Kelton in the second round. The Cubs had ranked Kelton among the top 15 players in the country. Other teams might have graded Kelton lower, but the outfielder is now with the big league team, his career slowed by injuries.

"Hopefully, we'll get a guy who maybe slipped through the cracks," Hendry said. "Always in the second round, whether you're right or wrong, you get somebody on draft day that you had higher than some other teams. I'm quite confident that John will get somebody at 66 that he might have in his top 30."

Baseball America projects the Cubs will select 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher Grant Johnson, who was 9-5 with a 3.46 ERA his freshman season at the University of Notre Dame and pitched for Team USA. Johnson missed last year following labrum surgery, and his fastball has registered 89 to 93 mph.

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