Baseball America's Jim Callis joined David Kaplan on WGN Radio Sunday afternoon to discuss Cubs draft storylines.
This is Theo Epstein and Co.'s first draft with the Cubs and they will be selecting sixth overall on Monday.
"I think they'll get a player comparable to what they got last year at No. 9," Callis said, referring to the Cubs' selection of Javier Baez ninth overall in 2011. "Last year was a deeper draft, but they should get a good player. Even in a down draft, you're better off picking at the top, even with the new rules in spending. At least you get to pick the cream of the crop."
In a best-case scenario, Callis thinks Kevin Gausman, a right-handed pitcher out of LSU, would be the ideal choice for the Cubs, but Callis doesn't see him getting past Baltimore at No. 4 or Kansas City at 5.
Callis believes the Cubs will wind up taking Albert Almora, a high school outfielder out of Florida.
"He's less toosly than projected first overall pick, outfielder Byron Buxton, but he still has a lot of plus-tools and he's more polished," Callis said. "The ceiling is not quite as high as Buxton's, but the floor is higher. There's less risk. He's a player with a lot of tools and a lot of aptitude, which is a tremendous combination."
Some other options for the Cubs include shortstop Carlos Correa and high-school left-hander Max Fried.
"Gun to my head, I might take Correa," Callis said. "If you dream on him, you could see Troy Tulowitzki with Correa. Max Fried is the best high-school pitcher in the draft and he's left-handed...It's a tough call, but that's a pleasant problem to have. At least you have three very attractive options there. If you were picking 11th or 12th in the draft, you'd be looking at a totally different type of player."
Jason McLeod and Tim Wilken have been running the show for the Cubs in terms of scouting and development and Callis heaped praise down on the duo.
"That's a tremendous combination," he said. "I really think Jason is one of the best scouting directors in the league. You look at his track record in Boston, his two years in San Diego, I think you're looking at a guy who's gonna be a GM someday.
"And then you're talking about Tim Wilken. If you're looking for scouting directors to put together resumes, Tim probably has the best resume of anyone. He's been doing it for a awhile. He had a ton of success in Toronto. He had some success in Tampa Bay when he ran some drafts there. That's a dream team pairing."