30 Picks In, Cubs have a youthful flavor…
Over the years, the Chicago Cubs have made it clear that during the Rule 4 First Year Players’ Draft, they will pick the best available player on the board. In 2011, that was definitely the case – even if the parent club of the Boise Hawks strayed away from their recent trend, selecting high school players with 12 of their first 15 picks.
Ninth-overall pick, Javier Baez, a high school shortstop from Florida, hit a gaudy .773 during his senior year of high school and many think he has the best bat of all the prep stars on the board. It is interesting that the Cubs would take a shortstop – considering Starlin Castro could play the position in the friendly confines for the next 10-15 years – with the pick, and the fact that Josh Vitters, the third-overall pick in 2007, looks to be the heir apparent to Aramis Ramirez at third. Throw in either 2008 picks Ryan Flaherty or D.J. Lemahieu at second and the question as to where Baez will play in 2015 has to be up in the air.
Now, for second-round pick Dan Vogelbach – also a high school product of Florida, he was a necessity. A big slugger at first-base, hammering 17 homers in high school this year – many comparing him to Prince Fielder. With just Rebel Ridling and Justin Bour ahead of him in the organization, he has the chance to rise quickly through the organization.
Two other prep standouts have familiar names – Trevor Gretzky and Shawon Dunston Jr., as the California athletes’ dad’s are well known (NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and former Cubs’ first-round pick, Shawon Dunston). If and when the players make the trek to the City of Trees, many will wonder if “Pops” will follow. Another interesting pick was fifth-round selection Tayler Scott – hoping to be the first big league player from South Africa.
Of the college players – Tony Zych of Louisville looks to be a clone of former Hawk Andrew Cashner, boasting a 94-97 MPH fastball and a power slider. Also Paul Hoilman, a first-baseman from East Tennessee State, ranks second at the Division I level in homers this spring with 22.
A pair of local players from the Boise metro were selected as well, as former Bishop Kelly star Josh Osich was picked in the sixth round by the Giants and former Capital star Tyler Barrett was picked in the 20th round by the Tigers.