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Cubs Draft Report

By Jeff Vorva
June 4, 2002

CHICAGO--The Cubs' first round pick in the 2001 draft was Mark Prior. Their top pick in the 2002 draft is Bobby Brownlie.

Both were drafted as college juniors who have had their share of hype in their careers. Both are 21 years old. But that's about where the similarities end.

Brownlie wants Chicago fans to know that he is no Mark Prior. And he doesn't expect to be called up to the parent club as quickly as Prior did after just nine minor league appearances.

"I don't think you can compare me to Mark Prior," Brownlie said. "He's an unbelievable pitcher. I don't know if I will progress as quickly as he did. But I shouldn't be compared to Mark. He was something that college baseball probably has never seen. Ever."

But after Brownlie's sophomore season at Rutgers, he dazzled major league scouts as well. He was 16-4, 2.46 with 44 walks and 175 strikeouts in 186 innings. After the college season, he was 8-0, 0.84 with Team USA in the summer. There weren't Prior-like expectations heaped on him, but people were buzzing about the Edison, NJ native.

A bout with shoulder tendinitis helped to slow his progress in 2002: He was 6-6, 3.50 in 13 games (12 starts) with 19 walks and 66 strikeouts in 80 innings for the Scarlet Knights.

That was enough to keep him ranked as the sixth-best prospect in this year's draft, but he fell to the 21st overall pick in the draft as some teams may have been scared off by the shoulder problems.

"I wasn't shocked, but I was somewhat surprised he was still there," Cubs director of scouting John Stockstill said. "Bobby was at the top of our list, and we knew we might get somewhere close. But you never know.

"He had a three- to four-week period during the season in which he had some slight tendinitis in which his velocity tailed off. But it came back at the end of the season."

If healthy, Brownlie possesses a mid-90s fastball and an excellent curve. And Brownlie insists he's healthy.

"For my own peace of mind, I had an MRI performed (May 28)," Brownlie said. "It was just tendinitis. That's what I thought it was all along. Maybe a week here or a week there with a little bit of rest will really calm it down.

"I thought I would be selected higher, but I think Chicago is going to be great fit for me. I feel things worked out for the best."

The Cubs also had three sandwich picks between the first and second rounds, and they selected three more college pitchers. They were lefthander Luke Hagerty of Ball State, righthander Chadd Blasko from Purdue and righty Matt Clanton from Orange Coast (Calif.) Junior College.

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