Cubs

MLB Draft: Running down the Cubs' 4 picks on Day 1

MLB Draft: Running down the Cubs' 4 picks on Day 1

In a change of pace from the last couple years, the Cubs were very active on Day 1 of the MLB Draft.

They entered Monday holding 5 of the Top 98 picks, 4 of which came on Day 1.

Theo Epstein's front office kicked things off by selecting Stanford shortstop Nico Hoerner with the 24th overall pick.

Hoerner hit .304 in his three-year college career, including a .349 average and .894 OPS in his junior season in 2018. He only had 3 collegiate homers, but still managed to slug .498 this spring thanks to 16 doubles and 5 triples.

The Cubs followed that up by taking a high school outfielder Brennen Davis with their second-round pick, 62nd overall.

Davis is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound native of Chandler, Ariz., which is roughly 10 minutes from the Cubs spring training complex in Mesa.

Davis hit .444 in his senior season in high school with 12 extra-base hits (7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers) and walked 17 times against only 5 strikeouts. He also stole 13 bases in 23 games.

Here's a glimpse at Davis:

The Cubs also owned the 77th and 78th picks in the draft as compensation for Wade Davis and Jake Arrieta signing contracts in free agency over the winter. The compensation picks come before the third round.

With the first of those compensation picks, the Cubs again went with a high school outfielder, this time taking Cole Roederer, an outfielder from Hart High School in southern California (where current Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery also attended).

Roederer is a 6-foot, 180-pound left-handed hitter/thrower who hit .361 over his high school career, including .392 his senior season. He also hit 7 homers in 2018 while walking 13 times compared to only 8 strikeouts and posting a 1.439 OPS in 18 games.

In 79 career high school games, Roederer stole 40 bases in 43 tries.

Here's a brief glimpse at Roederer:

With the 78th pick — and the final selection of Day 1 of the MLB Draft — the Cubs took right-handed pitcher Paul Richan out of the University of San Diego (Kris Bryant's alma mater). 

Richan — 6-foot-3, 200 pounds — also hails from Hart High School, just like Roederer and Montgomery.

In college, Richan posted a career 4.53 ERA in 44 games (25 starts). He was 4-6 in 2018 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.25 WHIP across 13 starts. He also struck out 101 batters in 89.2 innings.

How Cubs stack up according to WAR from 2015-19

How Cubs stack up according to WAR from 2015-19

The Cubs made the playoffs four times in five seasons under Joe Maddon, receiving contributions across the diamond from All-Stars and role players alike.

Some players, of course, had bigger impacts for Maddon's Cubs, even in smaller sample sizes. Jesse Chavez and Cole Hamels weren't Cubs for long, but the two 2018 trade deadline pickups helped the North Siders reach the postseason for a fourth straight year.

These are the top 25 players by WAR (wins above replacement) from the Maddon era, according to Baseball Reference.

Top 25 Cubs, according to WAR, from 2015-19

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How Ian Happ promotes mental health and other things to know about Cubs outfielder

How Ian Happ promotes mental health and other things to know about Cubs outfielder

It's kind of hard to believe 2020 is only Ian Happ's fourth season in the big leagues. The 25-year-old burst onto the scene with 24 home runs in 2017, and since has been through trials and tribulations, getting demoted to the minor leagues in 2019.

Whenever the 2020 season kicks off, Happ is in line for the starting center field job. Until then, here's a few things to know about him.

1. Happ attended University of Cincinnati from 2012-15, where he studied finance. He was a star on the field (2015 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year) and an exemplary student in the classroom (3.68 GPA, 2015 Academic All-American).

2. Happ is an avid golfer and is a 2 handicap, according to Golf Digest. He competed in the Straight Down Fall Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the last two Novembers.

3. Happ serves as an honorary ambassador for First Tee Greater Chicago, which strives to introduce the game of golf to young people. The organization raised $23,000 at a January fundraiser Happ participated in.

4. In 2019, Happ and artist Patrick Vale started “Through My Eyes” — a three-piece artwork series capturing Wrigley Field from different perspectives. Proceeds go to the Happ Family Charitable Fund, which promotes mental health and wellness.

Happ lost his father, Keith, to brain cancer in 2015.

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