2017 MLB Draft Tracker: Cubs add to stockpile of young arms

2017 MLB Draft Tracker: Cubs add to stockpile of young arms

After selecting three pitchers in the first two rounds Monday night, the Cubs continued their run on arms on the second day of the MLB Draft Tuesday.

Southpaw Brendon Little was the Cubs' first pick (27th overall) before a run that saw Theo Epstein's front office nab four straight right-handed pitchers. Alex Lange (30th overall) and Cory Abbott (67th) headline that group.

The Cubs have spent their last five first-round picks on hitters and have had no issue developing talent in that regard, watching as Javy Baez, Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber helped end a 108-year championship drought while 2015 first-rounder Ian Happ is now up in the big leagues playing almost every day.

But Epstein and Co. have yet to find an impact pitcher in any of their five drafts under the Cubs umbrella and hoped to change that with a "volume game" mentality, which continued with the selections of Auburn right-hander Keegan Thompson (105th overall) and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo pitcher Erich Uelmen (135th) in the third and fourth rounds Tuesday.

Thompson is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and boasts a good curveball. The 22-year-old missed all of 2016 due to injury but started 15 games for Auburn this spring, going 7-4 with a 2.41 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 75 strikeouts in 93.1 innings.

He surrendered just 12 homers in 253 career collegiate innings.

Uelmen — 6-foot-3, 195 pounds — enjoyed a dominant season at Cal Poly despite a poor record (4-8), posting a 2.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and striking out 100 batters and allowed only one homer in 98.1 innings.

Round 5: OF Nelson Velazquez

The Cubs took their first position player with the 165th overal pick — a 6-foot, 190-pound outfielder out of PJ Education School in Puerto Rico. Velazquez, 18, is known as an impact defender with good bat speed.

Round 6: RHP Jeremy Estrada

After taking five straight collegiate players, the Cubs have gone two straight picks with preps players. Estrada is the latest, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound pitcher who throws his fastball up to 92 mph, but has seen a dip in performance and effectiveness this spring after a strong showing in his summer showcase last year.

Round 7: LHP Ricky Tyler Thomas

The Cubs select their seventh pitcher of the draft in the college left-hander from Fresno State. Thomas threw 104 innings for the Bulldogs, compiling a 2.16 ERA with 108 strikeouts and just 16 walks.

Round 8: 3B Austin Filiere

The Cubs spent the No. 255 overall pick on someone who went to school in Epstein's old neck of the woods. Filiere is a power-hitting third baseman out of MIT. He smashed 39 homers in three years with the Engineers, posting a jaw-dropping .414/.543/.809 slash line, driving in 151 runs and swiping 44 bases in his collegiate career.

Round 9: OF Chris Carrier

Taking just their third position player of this draft, the Cubs went with their second straight college hitter in Carrier, who hit .330 for the Memphis Tigers in his senior season with 16 homers and 50 RBIs. Carrier had a frightening situation a couple years back that led to surgery, a removed rib and a collapsed lung. But he played better than ever as a senior, his numbers taking huge leaps from his junior season. He reached base at a 43.8-percent clip and slugged .641 this year.

Round 10: RHP Brian Glowicki

A Downers Grove native, Glowicki's selection marked the sixth time in the first 10 rounds the Cubs chose a college pitcher. Glowicki worked as a reliever during his senior season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, picking up 16 saves, posting a 2.20 ERA and striking out 39 hitters in 32.2 innings of work.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of


Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: