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Cubs Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: SS Luis Montanez (1) was MVP and the top prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League after batting .344-2-37 with 11 steals in 50 games. LHP Mark Freed (9) led the short-season Northwest League with nine victories, while OF Antoine Cameron (12) topped the AZL with 48 RBIs.

Best Athlete: OF Gary Banks (5), who moved from shortstop because he was on the same team as Montanez, won two Alabama state football championships as a high school quarterback. OF Nic Jackson (3) has solid average tools across the board.

Best Hitter: Montanez or 3B J.J. Johnson (6), who batted .316 in the AZL.

Best Raw Power: Johnson.

Fastest Runner: Banks runs a 6.6-second 60-yard dash.

Best Defensive Player: Ryan Jorgensen (7) was the best defensive catcher in the Southeastern Conference during the spring, but he was also a backup to Division I home run and RBI leader Brad Cresse at Louisiana State. He’s an advanced catcher with good receiving and throwing skills. As a bonus, he hit .300 in the NWL. If he can continue to hit, he might be the catching prospect the Cubs have been seeking for years.

Best Fastball: RHP Todd Wellemeyer (4) throws 93-94 mph. He also has two other above-average pitches with his splitter and curveball.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Jason Szuminski (27) may be the first player ever drafted out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He throws 90-93 mph with life on his fastball, and he posted a 3.38 ERA at Class A Lansing. SS Enrique Cruz (49), who didn’t sign, is the son of former Astros all-star Jose and the brother of Blue Jays center fielder Jose Jr.

Closest To The Majors: Throwing a 90-93 mph sinker to go with a nice curveball and changeup, LHP Aaron Krawiec (3) went 6-4, 2.54 at Eugene. He’ll begin 2001 at high Class A Daytona.

Best Late-Round Pick: Cameron is a lefthanded hitter who can bat for average and power. LHP Carmen Pignatiello (20), who pitched well for the Team USA junior team in 1999, has command of three pitches and reminds the Cubs of Kirk Rueter.

The One Who Got Away: SS Bobby Hill (2), who has leadoff skills, spent the summer in the independent Atlantic League despite being drafted in the second round by the White Sox in 1999 and the Cubs in 2000. Chicago is confident it will sign him before spring training. If that happens, the best player that the Cubs lost will be 3B Chad Corona (16), who turned down $150,000 to go to San Diego State.

Assessment: The Cubs got the guy they wanted with the No. 3 overall pick (Montanez) for the price they wanted (a prearranged $2.75 million). If they can get Hill, they will have addressed one of the organization’s biggest weaknesses by adding two quality middle infielders.

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