Javier Baez, welcome to the club.
The Chicago Cubs went the high school route with the first pick in the draft, and went with the bat over a number of high quality pitchers that were still on the board.
Baez, out of Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla., hit a ridiculous .771 with 22 home runs, 20 doubles and six triples during his senior year. He plays in the same league that a certain Larry Jones dominated when he was in high school.
You might know him as Chipper.
We arenâ€™t going to dump that much weight onto Baezâ€™ shoulders just yet. After all, the kid is barely 18 years old. But he was considered one of the top two high school prospects in the draft so you canâ€™t blame the Cubs for going after him.
Much like the kid who currently plays short for the Cubs, Baez can hit.
Some fans lit up message boards blaming the Cubs for taking another middle infield kid, but they need to back off. If they would read the scouting reports, they would see that Baez likely isnâ€™t long for the shortstop position.
Then again, Starlin Castro might not be there forever either.
Keep in mind that the best athlete on most high school teams plays at short stop. That is where you are going to find the hitters, and the fielders.
The skinny on Baez has him either staying at short stop in the mold of a Hanley Ramirez, or moving to third base and hitting for decent power. How long has it been since the Cubs actually groomed one of their own on the hot corner?
Baez is a good solid pick, and wonâ€™t be causing all of the draft pundits to scratch their head much like the selection of Hayden Simpson in the first round did last year.
In other words, Chicago didnâ€™t screw this one up.
That said, would a strong college pitcher have been nice? Sure. But this draft is deep in pitching and short on strong hitters who can become real impact players in the majors.
So I will take passing on Taylor Jungman. Not that he was at all linked to the Cubs, but almost every team picking around them had some interest in the Texas hurler.
And we will likely all be slapping our foreheads three to four times a year in a couple of seasons when Jungman is dealing for the Brewers.
But it is too early to second guess anything related to a pick that at least is a consensus smart choice.
The rest of the draft:
2nd round (68th) â€“ Daniel Vogelbach, Bishop Verot High School: This kid is a big boy, and has the power that goes along with it. The â€śofficialâ€ť size on this kid is 6-0, 250 on MLB.com, but search around a little and the kid goes anywhere from 240 to 280 in the scouting reports.
The best comparison for him has been a Prince Fielder-type kid, but with a more work needed to come close to what Prince shows on the field.
He was originally being rumored as a late compensation pick for Tampa Bay, based on power needs, and you have to wonder if the bonus rumors attached to him scared away the Rays.
Hopefully the signability wonâ€™t be a concern with the Cubs.
3rd round (98th) â€“Ezekiel DeVoss, Miami: Another speedy outfield/middle infield selection for the Cubs. DeVoss went .340/.491/.456 in61 games for Miami this season, including 32 stolen bases in 42 tries. In two years with the Hurricanes, DeVoss has 56 steals. Given his speed and the renewed focus on defense up the middle in the majors, this appears to be a good fit for a team that has had trouble developing the combo of hitting and defense in center. He was close to signing with the Boston Red Sox out of high school, so you would think the Cubs could throw enough money at him to pry him away from Miami.
After the third round, it is harder to pick and choose where the talent is, and it gets harder to sign high school kids because the money just isnâ€™t there to lure them away from college. Still here are a few highlights from the first 10 rounds, plus a blast from the past in the 11th:
4th round (129th) â€“ Tony Zych, Louisville: Right-handed junior reliever from Louisville is a local kid who starred at St. Rita. Over his first two seasons with the Cardinals, had 81 strikeouts in 104 innings while only walking 29. This season, the ratio is down to 2-to-1 (30 and 14) in 30 innings on the mound.
7th round (219th) â€“ Trevor Gretzky, Oaks Christian High School: Yes, it is the great oneâ€™s son, so you canâ€™t doubt the pedigree. But according to a Kevin Goldstein tweet, it might be tough to pry Trevor away from a commitment to San Diego State.
8th round (249th) â€“ Taylor Dugas, Alabama: Baseball America loves this kid and he was an All-American for the publication last season. He is a 3-time all-SEC selection which is nothing to sneeze at and he is reported to have the best plate discipline in the conference (at least for 2010 when he hit .395). In 2011, he hit .349/.455/.564 in 63 games with the Tide. Based on scouting reports, he looks like a corner outfielder in the bigs.
9th round (279th) â€“ Garrett Schlecht,Waterloo (Ill.): This kid transferred schools at the high school level and it looks like the move was totally baseball related. He was originally committed to South Alabama but pulled that after a coaching change and is now headed to Middle Tennessee State. Based on the focus on improving his baseball, you would almost believe this kid will sign and skip college. At 6-2, 190 and with a left arm clocked at 84-88 mph, he looks like a right fielder in the making. It will be all about improving the power in the minors. Cub fans can get a sneak peak at him this weekend in Joliet (also online) when he plays in the state finals.
10th round (309th) â€“ Danny Lockhart, Hebron Christian Academy: Son of a Cubs scout. Isnâ€™t the tenth round a little early for nepotism?
11th round (339th) â€“ Shawon Dunston, Jr., Valley Christian High School: If this kid has inherited any of the tools of his father, he will be playing in the big leagues one day. I remember watching his dad just fire the ball to first base and wondered how it didnâ€™t break Leon Durhamâ€™s or Mark Graceâ€™s hand. My guess is that he will go to Vanderbilt, because if he is this raw and good, he could earn some big money in three years with the right coaching.