The 2016 first year player draft has come to an end for each team. The MLB draft, unlike any other draft, is very long and very unpredictable. In the NFL and NBA, a lot of the players taken can make an impact within the first year. That is almost never the case with the MLB, as players can take up to several years before they even get an opportunity in “the Bigs”.
The Chicago Cubs, unlike the years of the recent past, didn’t have an early pick. In fact, they didn’t have a pick on the first day at all. The Northsiders wouldn’t be on the clock until the 104th pick, or in other words late in the third round. The draft, being as long as it is, could take a week to break down for each team. So this breakdown is only going to be the first three picks that Chicago made.
Throughout the entire forty rounds of the draft, the Cubs made thirty-eight picks. Of those thirty-eight, twenty-seven were pitchers. This is a complete switch of the previous Epstein/Hoyer drafts, as they usually selected the best available hitters. The Cubbies also took two catchers, three outfielders, and six infielders.
Chicago Cubs 2016 Draft Review
Round 3, Pick 104: Thomas Hatch, RHP, Oklahoma State
Hatch was a redshirt sophomore pitcher at OSU this past collegiate season. There, he won Big 12 pitcher of the year. His numbers were extremely good, as he went 7-2 with a 2.16 ERA. He threw 112 1/3 innings and struck out 102 batters.
Hatch missed all of the 2015 season with a sprained UCL, luckily avoiding surgery. Upon his return, the Cowboys changed his arm slot slightly to add some movement to his pitches. Hatch has topped out at 96 MPH, while staying mostly around 92-9 throughout games. This tweet from @MLBDraft stated that Hatch was ranked No. 81.
— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) June 10, 2016
The Cubs probably took the best available player with what they had to work with, Hatch isn’t going to blow any minds at the next level, but with the Cubs not getting a pick until round three, they did the best they could.
Way-Too-Early Grade: B
Round 4, Pick 134: Tyson Miller, RHP, California Baptist
Miller concluded his junior season with the Lancers. He pitched 107 innings during the year, with ninety-two strikeouts. He went 9-3 with a 2.27 ERA. He is tall at 6-foot-4, and has a good arm action. These factors combined allow him to throw his fastball at around 93 MPH.
He has a slightly above average slider with just a mediocre changeup, but he seems to be very coachable and may easily improve these pitches with help at the next level. He throws strikes and has good control of his pitches, never walking more than three batters in a game this season.
Way-Too-Early Grade: C+
Round 5, Pick 164: Bailey Clark, RHP, Duke
Clark finished up his junior season at Duke University. He pitched in just 59 1/3 innings in the 2016 campaign. He struck out 64 batters while walking 26. He was a little rocky this year, throwing for a 5.61 ERA. He sits in the low 90s but can put some extra zip on his fastball at times, reaching 95-97 MPH. He has a sinking fastball that shows signs of being a plus pitch, but he has trouble commanding it. His slider and changeup are below average. At times, his slider’s action disappears and just sits.
He doesn’t take a large stride on the mound, but uses his lower half enough to make up for it. He struggles repeating his delivery and release point, which throws off his command more often than not. He may get a chance at a starting role in the minors but, like he was the second half of his collegiate season, he will more than likely be asked to come out of the bullpen. With his good speed and sink action on his fastball, he should find success coming in late in games and shutting down batters with pure velocity, if he can tighten his slider.
Way-Too-Early Grade: C-
Chicago Cubs 2016 Draft Review Overall
The Cubs were the last team to make their first selection, the Royals coming in at second-to-last with the 67th pick. However, they did what they could with their situation. They went pitcher heavy, as their average starting pitcher age is over 30. Most of these guys may never see a start in the majors, but could be contributors out of the pen.
The Cubs already have some pretty decent pitching prospects in their system, plus a load of positional talent that could be used as trade bait to gain pitching. These drafted players could also contribute in trade value. We still haven’t seen Theo and Jed’s plan for these young talents that don’t really have spots on the field, so only time will tell what their paths will be.
Overall Grade: C