2012 Draft Report Cards: Chicago Cubs




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See also: Draft Report Card Index
POSITION PLAYERS


QUICK TAKE
The Cubs desperately need pitching in their system but couldn't pass up Almora with the No. 6 overall pick. After that, they focused on the mound and used their next seven picks on arms.
Bonus Spending: $9.2 million
Best Pure Hitter: OF Albert Almora (1) has a quick bat and repeatedly makes line-drive contact with ease. The Cubs had their eyes opened by the bats of three lower draft picks—INF Stephen Bruno (7), SS/3B Tim Saunders (32) and 3B Ben Carhart (35). Best Power Hitter: Power might be the least obvious of Almora's tools, but he has the hitting prowess to produce 20 homers annually once he gets stronger. 1B Jacob Rogers (40) has the most strength in this draft crop. Fastest Runner: OF Rashad Crawford (11) has plus-plus speed that also served him well on the basketball court. An above-average runner, Saunders stole 17 bases in 49 pro games. Best Defensive Player: Almora has impressive tools and even better instincts, and he has all the ingredients to be a Gold Glove center fielder. C Chadd Krist (9) is a solid defender.

PITCHERS

Best Fastball: RHP Duane Underwood's (2) velocity fluctuates, but at his best he can get to 98 mph. RHP Pierce Johnson (1s) has more consistent velocity, sitting at 92-94 mph and peaking at 96. RHP Josh Conway (4) maxed out at 96 mph before having Tommy John surgery during the spring while still at Coastal Carolina. Best Secondary Pitch: Johnson's hard curveball gives him a second strikeout pitch. RHP Paul Blackburn (1s), who has the best overall feel for pitching among Cubs draftees, has the makings of a plus curve as well.

ODDS AND ENDS

Best Pro Debut: Bruno led the short-season Northwest League in batting (.361), hits (91) and on-base percentage (.442). Saunders outhit him while reaching high Class A, batting a combined .381/.431/.536 between three stops. Best Athlete: Crawford is the most explosive athlete, as YouTube clips of him dunking from the foul line will attest. Almora is the best baseball athlete, with the chance to have solid or better tools across the board. Most Intriguing Background: 3B Rustin Sveum's (39) father Dale manages the Cubs and played in the big leagues for 12 seasons. Sveum didn't sign and may play both ways at Dixie State (Utah). Closest To The Majors: Johnson, who could start his first full pro season in high Class A. Almora's instincts make him a good bet to be the first prep position player from the entire draft class to get to the big leagues. Best Late-Round Pick: Saunders, the 2012 NCAA Division III College World Series MVP in June, has versatility to go with his plus bat and wheels. LHP Nathan Dorris (17) has the makings of a solid fastball and above-average curveball. The One Who Got Away: Chicago never got close to landing OF Rhett Wiseman (25), a quality athlete with a raw bat who could have gone in the top three rounds if he could have been signed away from Vanderbilt. The Cubs thought they had a deal with LHP Jake Drossner (23) but ultimately lost him to Maryland.