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MLB Draft Tracker: Cubs hoarding arms again on Day 2

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MLB Draft Tracker: Cubs hoarding arms again on Day 2

Since Theo Epstein took over the Cubs' front office, the organization has drafted four straight position players in the first round.

And except for Albert Almora in 2012 - the first draft under Epstein - those position players have been elite college hitters.

[RELATED - Cubs keep loading up on hitters, drafting Ian Happ with No. 9 pick]

Epstein and his staff believe the risk of gambling on a college bat in the early rounds is much lower than taking a pitcher. They also know pitching - historically speaking - can be found anywhere in the draft.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that the Cubs started off Day 2 by selecting pitcher Bryan Hudson in the third round.

Hudson is an Illinois product, coming from Alton High School near the southern tip of the state. The lefty is listed as a whopping 6-foot-8, 220 pounds and has been heralded as the state's top pitching prospect since Mike Foltynewicz was drafted in 2010 (Foltynewicz is currently in the Atlanta Braves rotation, where he has gone 3-2 with a 4.29 ERA in seven starts).

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Hudson was expected to be drafted sometime in the first three rounds and features a fastball that sits around 86-90 mph, but there is some growth there and he could be throwing his fastball in the mid-90s with some professional coaching. Hudson's best pitch is a curveball - which he commands well - and he is working on a changeup.

Round 4: OF Darryl Wilson

Wilson is a left-handed hitting outfielder out of Canton South High School in Ohio. Standing at 5-foot-8, 177 pounds, he's most known for his speed, drawing comparisons to Ben Revere. Wilson has a compact stroke, but has almost no power. He profiles as an above-average defender in center field thanks to his speed.

Round 5: LHP Ryan Kellogg

Kellogg is a big left-hander (listed at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds) from Arizona State University with a fastball that sits in the low 90s and has some decent life. His breaking ball and changeup are about average and profiles as a true pitcher, not just a thrower. Kellogg was 28-6 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 48 games (47 starts) over three seasons at ASU. He doesn't walk many (only 62 in 321 collegiate innings) or allow many longballs (18 total, 0.50 per nine innings), but he also doesn't strike out many, compiling a 5.94 K/9 at Arizona State.

Round 6: RHP Dave Berg

The Cubs continued to stockpile arms by selecting a record-setting college closer. Berg had a sparkling 1.11 ERA and 0.84 WHIP over his four years at UCLA, allowing only five homers in 267 innings. He set an NCAA single-season record with 24 saves in 2013 and is one of only five players in UCLA history to earn All-Pac-12 honors three years in a row while also becoming the first reliever to win Pac-12 Pitcher of the year in 2013. Berg, who turned 22 in March, was 7-1 with a 0.67 ERA and 13 saves this season.

Round 7: RHP Craig Brooks

Brooks is out of Catawba College in North Carolina, where he played both shortstop and pitcher. He's projected to be a pitcher at the next level after going 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 99 innings in 2015, starting 14 games and making five relief appearances. He allowed just 54 hits and 17 extra-base hits in 99 innings.

Round 8: RHP Preston Morrison

The TCU product has been a staple in the rotation over the last four years, making 60 starts to go with 12 relief appearances. Morrison was 11-3 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 2015, numbers slightly higher than his career ERA (1.85) and WHIP (0.93) totals. He struck out 317 batters in 462 innings and allowed only 11 homers, though seven of those longballs came in 2015.

Round 9: LHP Tyler Peitzmeier

Another pick, another college arm for the Cubs. The southpaw is the closer for the Omaha-bound Titans and recorded 16 saves in 30 games this year (tied for third most in a single season in school history). He boasted a solid 5.27 K/BB ratio and 1.10 WHIP in his final collegiate season. He allowed only one home run and 11 walks over 57.1 innings in 2015. 

Round 10: SS Vimael Machin

The Cubs finally broke the trend of taking pitchers with the selection of VCU's Machin to wrap up Day 2 of the MLB Draft for the North Siders. Machin only played in 16 games during his senior year but in his junior year, the Rams shortstop showed an ability to get on base, posting a .421 OBP. He was also a major run-producer for VCU that year, knocking in 52 runs over 57 games. 

Forget 2015, the Brewers are more like 2016 Cubs

Forget 2015, the Brewers are more like 2016 Cubs

With the Milwaukee Brewers about to kick off the NLCS, many Cubs fans and pundits have taken to comparing them to the 2015 Cubs.

At first glance, it's easy to see why — they're in the playoffs for the first time as something of an underdog and "surprise" team — but that's not the recent Cubs squad we should be comparing the 2018 Brewers to.

This Milwaukee team is a lot more like the 2016 Cubs.

Here's why:

1. They're not a surprise.

Nobody expected the 2015 Cubs to win 97 games and wind up in the NLCS. They were expected to compete very soon, but everything went right in a red-hot August, they rode Jake Arrieta's right arm to the NLDS and then toppled the Cardinals to get to the LCS, where they ran into the brick wall that was Matt Harvey and and the Mets pitching staff.

The 2018 Brewers are not — and should not be — a surprise. Anybody who was caught off guard by this team being so good hasn't been paying much attention. The Brewers were leading the NL Central in 2017 for much of the year before a late-season fade that coincided with the Cubs' late-season surge.

This Milwaukee squad was always supposed to be one of the top teams in the NL in 2018 and they really hit their groove in September to chase down the Cubs. Still, it took a Game 163 to force a changing of the guard atop the division.

2. They greatly improved expectations with a big free-agent OF signing over the winter.

The Cubs had Jason Heyward in between 2015 and '16. The Brewers had Lorenzo Cain.

Cain has provided quite a bit more offense in the first season of his 5-year, $80 million contract but both Cain and Heyward provided leadership in the clubhouse and elite defense in the outfield in the first years with their new teams.

3. The Brewers have the NL MVP.

This one's an easy comparison to make, though Cubs fans will hate it.

Christian Yelich is this season's NL MVP. Sorry, Javy Baez fans. "El Mago" had a great season, but it's impossible to give the award to anybody but Yelich.

Yelich winning the league's most coveted accolade would be another perfect tie-in to the 2016 Cubs, who had Kris Bryant take home NL MVP.

4. They have a dominant LHP out of the bullpen.

Josh Hader has been doing his best Aroldis Chapman impression in 2018 as an absolutely dominant southpaw out of the bullpen. Unlike Chapman, Hader's spent all season with the Brewers, but like Chapman in '16, Hader will be leaned on heavily for multiple innings throughout the rest of the playoffs.

5. They picked up some valuable in-season assets.

The 2016 Cubs dealt for Chapman, but they also traded for reliever Joe Smith and called up Willson Contreras in the middle of the year, who provided a spark for the offense.

The 2018 Brewers have acquired plenty of valuable assets along the way this season from Mike Moustakas to Jonathan Schoop to Erik Kratz (more on him later) to Gio Gonzalez. But one of their most important additions (especially in October) was the promotion of top prospect Corbin Burnes, a flame-throwing right-hander who posted a 2.61 ERA in 30 regular-season games and allowed only 1 hit in 4 shutout innings in the DS.

6. They're on a mission with a chip on their shoulder.

The 2015 Cubs had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder as they attempted to take down the divisional powerhouse that was the St. Louis Cardinals. But again, they were a surprise contender - even within that clubhouse (especially early in 2015). But after falling short in the NLCS, the Cubs retooled over the winter and came back with one goal in mind - to win the World Series.

It was a goal they accomplished. We'll see if the Brewers will be able to do the same, but they certainly came to play in 2018 with a chip on their shoulder and the ultimate goal of winning the final MLB game of the year.

The Brewers didn't lead the division from Day 1 and weren't able to coast into October, but they still wound up with homefield advantage throughout the NL playoffs.

7. They have journeyman catcher who is winning over fans' hearts.

This is a fun one.

The 2016 Cubs had David "Grandpa" Rossy who still elicts deafening cheers whenever he's shown on the giant video board at Wrigley Field. The 2018 Brewers have Kratz, who has become a fan favorite recently and was mic'd up for the final out of the NLDS.

Ross was 39 when he helped lead the Cubs to the 2016 World Series and Chicago was his eighth stop (seventh different team) along his MLB journey. Kratz is 38 and on his ninth stop (seventh different team) along his MLB journey.

In fact, Ross and Kratz are so intertwined, they've already been compared to each other by MLB.com.

But the major difference is Kratz has zero postseason playing experience until a week ago. Will he be able to ride off into the sunset with a championship ring on his finger the way Ross did?

We'll have an answer to that over the next few weeks in the final chapter of the Brewers' 2018 season, though Cubs fans surely wouldn't be too happy to see their division rivals celebrating with a World Series parade just 90 minutes north of Wrigley Field.

Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde interviewed for Rangers' manager opening

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USA TODAY

Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde interviewed for Rangers' manager opening

The Cubs just lost one coach with hitting coach Chili Davis getting fired. Another opening on Joe Maddon's coaching staff could also open up.

According to report from MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, bench coach Brandon Hyde interviewed with the Rangers on Thursday.

Rangers farm director Jayce Tingler was the first candidate the club interviewed, but Hyde and Astros bench coach Joe Espada were also interviewed.

The 45-year-old Hyde has been with the Cubs since 2014. He was a bench coach in 2014 under Rick Renteria before moving to first base coach from 2015-17. This past season he moved back to his original role as bench coach.

He played four seasons in the minors for the White Sox.

The Rangers job opened up when Jeff Banister was fired on Sept. 21. Banister won AL Manager of the Year in 2015 and guided the Rangers to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016, but couldn't get out of the ALDS either year. A 78-84 season in 2017 was followed by an even worse 2018, which led to his firing late this season.