MLB Draft Tracker: Cubs hoarding arms again on Day 2


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. 

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020


Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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