Chicago Cubs

Players signed indicated in Bold

Round Overall Player Position School State Bonus
1 6 Albert Almora OF Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla. Fla. $3,900,000
Almora is a latter-day A.J. Hinch in that he has become a go-to player for USA Baseball national teams from a young age. Almora was USA Baseball's 2011 athlete of the year after being MVP of the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Colombia in November 2011. He tied Hinch's USA Baseball record by playing on his sixth national team, and scouts love his grinder approach and in-game savvy. What's more, Almora has outstanding tools. The Miami signee, in one scout's words, "has no issues. He's got above-average tools everywhere, and they all play. He has tools and he uses them." He doesn't turn in blazing times when he runs in showcases (generally he's a 6.8-second runner in the 60), but his game instincts help him steal bases and cover plenty of ground in center field. Scouts consider his defense major league-ready right now, with plus grades for his accurate throwing arm. With natural hitting rhythm and plenty of bat speed, Almora is a line-drive machine with a loose swing who stays inside the ball, relishes velocity and handles spin. He should have 20-homer power down the line, sufficient if he slows down and can't play center, and a definite bonus if (as expected) he stays in the middle garden. He plays the game with both ease and energy and may have some projection left in his athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. The Miami signee is considered one of the draft's safer picks and could sneak into the first 10 selections.
1s 43 Pierce Johnson RHP Missouri State Mo. $1,196,000
Few colleges can match Missouri State's recent track record for producing pitchers. Since 2001, the Bears have had three hurlers drafted in the first or sandwich rounds and sent a total of seven to the big leagues. The next in line is Johnson, who started to come on at the end of his sophomore season a year ago and ranked sixth in NCAA Division I in strikeouts per nine innings (11.5) in mid-May. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder misses bats with a lively 92-93 mph fastball that reaches 96 mph and a hard three-quarters breaking ball. He'll mix in an 86-87 mph cutter a few times per game and has improved his feel for his changeup. While scouts have no quibbles with Johnson's stuff, they do have some concerns, most notably his health. He missed two starts this spring with a forearm strain, an issue that also cropped up in high school and during the fall of his freshman year. He wasn't as sharp in his first three starts after his layoff, which could drop him from the first round to the supplemental first. He also dislocated a knee while warming up in the bullpen last summer in the Cape Cod League, and missed much of his high school senior season after breaking his hand on a comebacker. Johnson has just decent control and command, though he has improved in both regards this year. He also can fall in love with his breaking ball a bit too much.
1s 56 Paul Blackburn RHP Heritage HS, Brentwood, Calif. Calif. $911,700
Blackburn stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 180 pounds. He is a good athlete and shows a clean delivery that he repeats well. His fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range and tops out at 94. Scouts can still project on Blackburn. His curveball and changeup show promise and he could eventually have three plus pitches. Because of his athleticism and smooth mechanics, scouts believe he will also eventually pitch with above-average control and command. He shows good feel and poise on the mound, too. Blackburn has consistently pitched well throughout the spring and is interested in professional baseball, so scouts don't believe he'll wind up at Arizona State, where he has committed.
2 67 Duane Underwood RHP Pope HS, Marietta, Ga. Ga. $1,050,000
A Georgia signee, Underwood has plenty going for him. He has a quick arm and athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and if he winds up in Athens, he has a chance to contribute as both a hitter (he's a solid-average runner) and on the mound. He's young for the draft class as well, as he turns 18 in July. Pro scouts see him as a pitcher and a potential first-rounder on the right day, but that had not happened often enough in his senior season. Underwood at his best has a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and touches 97-98. He has shown the ability to spin a breaking ball, though his curve often is soft in the 73-75 mph range and he tends to overthrow it. He has a firm but effective changeup, and this spring it has been his best pitch, in part because it's the pitch he controls the best. Underwood's fastball command has been erratic this spring, and his velocity often drops off quickly into the 87-92 mph range, and he hasn't shown much feel for pitching this spring. His mechanics are sound, though at times he loses his tempo and rushes his delivery. Scouts also want to see him handle adversity better. Scouts like Underwood and he had some supplemental-round buzz, but his inconsistent spring could knock him back a bit.
3 101 Ryan McNeil RHP Nipomo (Calif.) HS Calif. $425,000
The athletic McNeil started slowly this spring after playing basketball into mid-February, but his stock has been on the rebound. Early in the spring, his mechanics, command and fastball velocity were off and his slider was flat. His velocity picked back up down the stretch, sitting at 90-91 mph and touching 93 at times, and he has a chance to pitch with a solid-average fastball as he adds strength to his 6-foot-3 frame. He has done a better job staying on top of the ball lately, lending his fastball more life and improving his command. His slider shows flashes of being a solid-average pitch with good shape, but other times it gets slurvy or flat. He also has improved his feel for a changeup, though it's still a work in progress like the rest of his repertoire. Some clubs soured on McNeil early in the spring, but a team that likes his frame, athleticism and arm strength could take him around the fifth round and try to buy him out of a commitment to Long Beach State.
4 134 Josh Conway RHP Coastal Carolina S.C. $280,000
Conway was on his way to being an early-round pick before leaving a start against Liberty and needing Tommy John surgery. Against the Flames, scouts were buzzing as Conway was sitting 94-96 early with a nasty slider, but he left in the fourth inning and his fastball was down into the high 80s. Signs point to him being a reliever because of his slight, 6-foot, 175-pound frame and inverted elbow, but when he's healthy he has the makings of two plus pitches. He was 4-1, 2.14 with 50 strikeouts and 18 walks in 55 innings.
5 164 Anthony Prieto LHP Americas HS, El Paso Texas $200,000
Prieto barely pitched in high school until his junior season and joined his first travel team last summer, when he reportedly reached the mid-90s at a tournament in Phoenix. Scouts haven't seen that kind of velocity out of the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder this season, when he missed the first six weeks with a forearm strain. Since returning, Prieto mostly has dealt fastballs at 88-90 mph. Though he's not physical, he generates his heat with an effortless delivery that allows him to throw strikes with three pitches. Both his changeup and curveball show promise. He has signed with Howard (Texas) JC.
6 194 Trey Lang RHP Gateway (Ariz.) JC Ariz. $165,000
Lang played both ways at Skyline High in Mesa, Ariz., and at Northern Illinois before transferring closer to home at Gateway CC. Head coach Rob Shabansky saw Lang as an outfielder with power potential, but when he ran short on pitchers during fall ball asked if Lang wanted to take the mound. His first pitch was clocked at 93 mph, and Shabansky knew that's where Lang belonged. Lang has a sturdy, muscular build at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, after trimming down from 260 pounds at Northern Illinois. Lang has continued to play both ways for the Geckos and served as their closer this year, so he was sometimes tough for scouts to see. His fastball was in the 92-94 mph range and topped out at 96 at its best, and his slider was a wipeout pitch, but his stuff faded down the stretch. His fastball was in the 87-90 mph range and his slider wasn't as firm. That's understandable given his inexperience on the mound and the fact that he was also spending time in the outfield and at DH. A team that is patient with Lang could wind up with a quality bullpen arm. He is committed to New Mexico but most scouts think he'll sign.
7 224 Stephen Bruno 2B Virginia Va. $150,000
At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Bruno doesn't look like a typical middle-of-the-order hitter, but he was the Cavaliers' leading hitter heading into regionals with a .362/.418/.549 line. His size is his biggest detractor as he isn't overwhelmed by velocity and is a solid runner. He's capable of playing third base, shortstop and second base so he could be a solid utility player at the pro level.
8 254 Michael Heesch LHP South Carolina-Beaufort S.C. $10,000
Heesch has a big frame and a fastball that sits around 90 mph, but his slider and changeup are fringy pitches.
9 284 Chadd Krist C California Calif. $10,000
Krist is a senior who shows good athleticism and agility behind the plate. He has a strong arm, but his bat is light, which makes him profile best as a backup in pro ball.
10 314 Chad Martin RHP Indiana Ind. $10,000
While Martin has size (6-foot-7, 240 pounds), arm strength (he can hit 95 mph) and the ability to spin the ball, he has yet to parlays those assets into consistent success. He'll pitch at 90-93 mph with his fastball early in games but dip quickly into the low 80s. His curveball and slider have their moments but lack consistency. His control and command regressed in 2012, and scouts wish he has more deception in his delivery and fire in his belly. He spent his first two college seasons at Vincennes (Ind.) JC.
11 344 Rashad Crawford OF Mundy's Mill HS, Jonesboro, Ga. Ga. $100,000
12 374 Justin Amlung RHP Louisville Ky. $100,000
After an all-star summer in the Cape Cod League, Amlung agreed to terms as a 39th-round pick with the Reds only to have the deal fall apart over the club's insistence that the contract begin with the 2012 season. So he returned for his redshirt junior season at Louisville, where he ended the regular season ranked second in career wins (23) and ERA (2.74). Not bad for a player who didn't get a chance to walk on with the Cardinals until they lost recruit Jake Odorizzi to the Brewers as a sandwich-rounder in the 2008 draft. A catcher in high school, Amlung redshirted in his first year on campus. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder's fastball has improved a tick or two in velocity this spring, sitting at 91-92 mph and touching 94. He backs his heater up with an average slider and a so-so changeup. His arm action is short and stiff, but it doesn't prevent him from commanding his pitches. He relishes pitching inside and does a nice job of missing bats.
13 404 Bijan Rademacher OF Orange Coast (Calif.) JC Calif. $100,000
A Cal State Fullerton bounceback, Rademacher had a strong spring with the bat for Orange Coast, and he is a legitimate prospect as both a pitcher and position player. While he has pitched sparingly for OCC, he is most intriguing to pro scouts on the mound thanks to his 92-94 mph fastball. He has little feel for pitching at this stage and needs to develop secondary stuff as well as command. As a position player, he has athleticism and strength in his lefthanded swing, but his arm is his most intriguing asset. Rademacher is committed to Oral Roberts.
14 434 Corbin Hoffner RHP St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC Fla. $100,000
15 464 Carlos Escobar C Nevada Nev.
Escobar has a sturdy, 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame and his calling card is his defense behind the plate. He receives and blocks well. His pure arm strength is just average, but he has a really quick transfer that allows it to play up. Escobar needs to work on his pitch calling, but unfortunately that's true of most college catchers these days. He has a quiet setup and a simple hitting mechanics, but his swing can get long at times. Escobar hit just .284/.371/.467, though with 14 doubles. Escobar did well with wood last summer in the Northwoods League, batting .345/.433/.533 with 16 doubles and seven home runs over 197 at-bats. Escobar was a 41st-round pick by the Astros out of Chatsworth (Calif.) High in 2009, where he was teammates with Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas two years prior.
16 494 Mike Hamann RHP Toledo Ohio $100,000
Hamann is more attractive as a prospect than his 5.80 ERA might indicate. He was slow to regain his form after arthroscopic shoulder surgery truncated his breakout sophomore season in 2011, but he recorded a 2.12 ERA over his final five starts as Toledo won the Mid-American Conference Western Division. When he's at his best, he can sit at 90-93 mph and touch 95 with his fastball deep into ballgames. At times, he'll work at 87-92 mph and not hold his velocity, so he needs to add strength to his 6-foot-3, 163-pound frame. He throws a pair of inconsistent breaking balls, with his slider ranking ahead of his curve and showing some late action when it's working well. His fastball command wavers as well. Though Hamann will get a chance to start in pro ball, his future may be as a reliever.
17 524 Nathan Dorris LHP Southern Illinois Ill.
Dorris ran his fastball to 91 mph and threw his breaking ball for strikes when he was one of the state's top high school prospects in 2009, earning a scholarship from Vanderbilt. He lasted one semester with the Commodores and spent 2010-11 at Rend Lake (Ill.) CC, where his stuff and command regressed. Scouts still see him as a tease, but he pitched better down the stretch this spring, flashing some 90-91 mph fastballs and effective curveballs.
18 554 David Bote SS Neosho County (Kan.) JC Kan. $100,000
19 584 Damek Tomscha 3B Iowa Western JC Iowa
The most dangerous hitter on an Iowa Western team that made its sixth straight trip to the Junior College World Series, Tomscha batted .446 with nearly as many homers (15) as strikeouts (18) through the regional playoffs. He's a strong 6-foot-3 and 223 pounds, though some scouts question whether the righthanded hitter will provide enough offense for third base when he faces better competition. He's a fringy runner but not a bad athlete, and he has improved defensively at the hot corner this spring. He has been clocked at 90-92 mph off the mound and 95 across the infield, and a number of clubs would like to try him on the mound, but he has had no interest in converting to the mound. Catching is another intriguing possibility. Drafted in the 50th round by the Phillies out of high school and in the 36th round last year by the Marlins, Tomscha will get selected again this June. If he doesn't turn pro, he'll transfer to Auburn.
20 614 Blake Hickman C/RHP Simeon HS, Chicago Ill.
21 644 Steve Perakslis RHP Maine Maine
While his teammate Jeff Gibbs has the arm strength and size of a righthanded prospect, Perakslis was the one that had better results for Maine. He's solidly built at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, and has a solid fastball that gets up to 93. He didn't show a true breaking ball this year, but that may have been hampered by a blister he had this spring. His changeup is average.
22 674 Eddie Orozco RHP UC Riverside Calif.
23 704 Jake Drossner LHP Council Rock North HS, Newton, Pa. Pa.
Part of Maryland's strong recruiting class, Drossner did not have a good spring and is likely headed to school. In the past he has shown a high-80s fastball that touches 90 mph, to go with a curveball that is at its best when in the mid-70s but gets loopy at times. He also mixes in a changeup.
24 734 Jameson Fisher C Zachary (La.) HS La.
25 764 Rhett Wiseman OF Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS, Cambridge, Mass. Mass.
Wiseman caught the eye of scouts on the showcase circuit in 2011 with his premium bat speed, foot speed and athleticism, but he's far from a finished product. He stands at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds with a chiseled physique, and he's a tireless worker with exceptional makeup. His high school's academics are highly regarded and he has served as class president. While scouts love his athleticism and raw tools, he swings and misses too often. He hasn't dominated as expected this spring and needs to continue learning the game. He has already adjusted his stance by adopting a wider base and putting more weight on his back leg, and he needs to learn to use the whole field and keep his body under control. He is a plus runner so he could stick in center field. He has a below-average arm now, but could improve if he irons out his mechanics and gets on a pro throwing program. He is committed to Vanderbilt, so he figures to be a tough sign if he doesn't go in the top two rounds.
26 794 Jasvir Rakkar RHP Stony Brook N.Y.
27 824 Tyler Bremer RHP Baylor Texas
28 854 Lance Rymel C Rogers State (Okla.) Okla.
29 884 Austin Pentecost RHP Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Idaho
30 914 Izaac Garsez OF College of Idaho Idaho
31 944 Bryan Bonnell RHP Centennial HS, Las Vegas Nev.
32 974 Tim Saunders SS Marietta (Ohio) Ohio
33 1004 Tom Pannone OF Bishop Hendricken HS, Warwick, R.I. R.I.
34 1034 Christian Botnick RHP Notre Dame SS, Brampton, Ont. Ontario
35 1064 Ben Carhart 3B Stetson Fla.
Smallish infielder Ben Carhart was once again the team's top hitter and should be a solid organizational player with gap power and good arm strength.
36 1094 Sly Edwards OF St. Brendan HS, Miami Fla.
37 1124 Clayton Crum RHP Howard (Texas) JC Texas
Crum was the No. 2 pitcher behind Matt Purke at Klein (Texas) High before he blew out his elbow, had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and missed most of his senior season. He didn't get on the mound in his freshman year at Texas but emerged as the No. 2 starter at Howard this spring. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Crum lacks consistency after hardly pitching the past two years, but at his best he'll throw a 90-94 mph fastball and flash a good slider and an average changeup. His fastball dips to 86-89 mph at times and can get straight. He'll need to refine his pitches and improve his control and command, but some scouts believe he has more upside than any member of the Hawks' talented pitching staff. He has committed to Oregon.
38 1154 Hassan Evans RHP Herkimer County (N.Y.) JC N.Y.
Primarily a position player, Evans' pro future is on the mound. He resembles Edwin Jackson physically and has flashed a mid-90s fastball in the past, though he doesn't always know where it's going.
39 1184 Rustin Sveum 3B Desert Mountain HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. Ariz.
40 1214 Jacob Rogers 1B Mount Olive (N.C.) N.C.