2014 MLB draft: 25 options for Chicago Cubs at No. 45
I recently wrote an article exhausting all options for the Chicago Cubs with the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft. This time, I decided to look at who might be available when they pick again in the second round at 45. I realize it’s impossible to know who will be there — especially in this draft — but below are 25 guys who appear to be in that range right now. I went with mostly high-upside guys, which is why you will see more high school players than college players. I also went with players I think will be good fits in the organization, as far as what the front office typically looks for.
Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Stone Bridge HS (VA)
I’ll start by saying I don’t think Bukauskas will be on the board by this pick. When you touch 100 mph with very good secondary stuff and command, you don’t hang around for long. Having said that, with so many prep arms in this class, some are going to spill over to the second round, and I’m hoping he will be one — for selfish reasons. Through his first seven starts, Bukauskas has a mind-boggling 82 K/3 BB over 36.2 shutout innings, allowing just 10 hits. The 6’-1”, 200 pound right-hander is generating a ton of buzz right now and is committed to North Carolina.
Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)
Like Bukauskas, there is a good chance Kopech might not be here. The 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander can touch 98 mph and he adds a nasty slider with hard bite. The knock on him last year was his mechanics but he cleaned them up over the fall and has been dominating his opponents this spring. Through 52.2 innings, he has 107 K/11 BB and has allowed just four runs on 26 hits. He has the size, arm and command you want in a frontline starter. Committed to Arizona.
Alex Faedo, RHP, Alonso HS (FL)
Faedo is a kid I have been high on all year. At 6’-5” and 210 pounds, the right-hander has a lot of projection and can touch 94 mph with his fastball. His slider shows plus potential and his easy delivery promises for more velocity. His change-up sits 77-80 mph and he already has a good feel for it. Over 48 innings, he has 68 K/8 BB, showing good command of his stuff. He’s a tall, loose arm that won’t be around when they pick in round three. Committed to Florida State.
Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (GA)
Adams is a 6’-5”, 190 pound right-hander who keeps getting better and better and still has a lot of projection left. He has been touching 95 mph this spring and has showed the stamina and arm strength to maintain velocity deep into games. He adds a mid-80s slider that flashes plus potential and his low-effort delivery bodes well for future progression. His change-up, like most prep arms, is still developing, but also shows plus potential down the line. With three potential plus offerings, along with his size and easy delivery, there is a ton to like about him. Committed to Georgia.
Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Osceola HS (FL)
With his three-quarters arm slot, and 6’-4”, 200 pound frame, Weisenberg generates a lot of velocity on his fastball and can touch 94 mph with room for more. His mid-80s slider already shows plus, and his change-up is headed in the same direction. With three quality pitches, along with his size and low-effort delivery, he has a lot of upside. Committed to Stanford.
Alex Destino, LHP/OF, North Buncombe HS (NC)
I love two-way players because you are usually getting a great athlete, as well as a fallback plan. Destino is one of the best two-way players in the 2014 MLB draft and may have equal value as both a pitcher and hitter. On the mound, he offers a lot of projection due to his size, arm speed and power arm from the left side. His fastball can touch 92 mph, and he adds a mid-70s slider and low-80s change-up. Over 46.1 innings, he has 79 K/25 BB, allowing 26 hits. Offensively, the 6’-3”, 220 pound left-hander offers tremendous power and has an advanced approach at the plate. Through 19 games, he is hitting .515/.595/1.030 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and just three strikeouts. Committed to South Carolina.
Alex Verdugo, LHP, OF, Sahuaro HS (AZ)
Like Destino, Verdugo is a legit two-way prospect and a great athlete. Offensively, he has an advanced approach at the plate and plus bat speed that generates a lot of power from the left side. Through 23 games, he is hitting .525/.603/.918 with 16 extra-base hits, 13 stolen bases and has struck out just four times. On the mound, the 6’-1”, 200 pound left-hander has one of the best curveballs in his class with late bite and power. His fastball sits 89-92 mph and he should add more velocity if he continues to work full time as a pitcher. He adds a solid change-up to round out a three-pitch mix. Through 40 innings, he has 69 K/21 BB, allowing just 18 hits. Committed to Arizona State.
Jake Godfrey, RHP, Providence Catholic HS (IL)
You have to think the Cubs are scouting Godfrey considering he plays about an hour away from Wrigley Field. The 6’-3”, 215 pound right-hander is a workhorse-type pitcher who can touch 94 mph with his fastball and should add more as he matures. He also has the ability to spot it wherever he wants. His curveball sits 75-77 mph and is considered one of the best in his class showing great depth and spin. He adds a solid 78-82 mph change-up that he has a good feel for but doesn’t use it often. He has great mound presence and solid command of his stuff, although the weather in Chicago has made it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm. Through four starts, he has 31 K/15 BB over 20 innings. Committed to LSU.
Joseph Gatto, RHP, St. Augustine Prep HS (NJ)
Gatto is a 6’-5”, 210 pound right-hander who tuned heads when he gained nearly 10 mph on his fastball and has been touching 95 mph with explosive life. He adds a potential plus curveball and has a good feel for his change-up. He still needs some refining, but with his size and fast arm, there is a lot of upside here. Committed to North Carolina.
Carson Sands, LHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)
The 6’-3”, 215 pound southpaw has a low-90s fastball with arm-side run and there is still room for more velocity as he matures. He has great mound presence and looks like a polished pro. He also shows two solid secondary offerings in a change-up and curveball. Sands has played in all of the big tournaments and is an alumni of Team USA Baseball. Through 40.2 innings, he has 71 K/17 BB, allowing two runs on 16 hits. Committed to Florida State.
Jack Flaherty, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Word is Flaherty is going the pitching route. Although he has upside as a power hitting third baseman, the upside is much higher on the mound where the 6’-4” right-hander has been touching 93 mph this year and he adds a potential plus/plus change-up. Still a bit raw on the mound, he has a great feel for it and has great command of his stuff. He has gotten better with each outing and could be a steal if the Cubs landed him at 45. Committed to North Carolina.
Trey Supak, RHP, La Grange HS (TX)
At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, Supak is your typical big Texan. He may not throw quite as hard as Tyler Kolek, but he has been hitting the low-90s with his fastball this spring and should continue to add velocity as he matures. He adds solid secondary offerings and has been showing great command of his stuff this spring. Over his last six starts, he has 74 K/7 BB over 40 shutout innings, allowing 17 hits. For the year, he has 118 K/23 BB over 63 innings, allowing just one run on 27 hits. He isn’t ranked this high by anyone right now, but as the draft nears, he could sneak up due to his size and upside. Committed to Houston.
Luke Bonfield, OF, IMG Academy (FL)
One of the purest hitters in the 2014 MLB draft, Bonfield makes hard, consistent contact to all fields and more power will come very soon. He has excellent bat speed and should hit for a high average, as well. The 6’-2”, 190 pound right-hander has above-average speed (6.83/60), a strong arm and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. Committed to Arkansas.
Chase Vallot, C, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
Excellent bat speed is one of those things you can’t teach and it gives you such an advantage over others as you can easily make up for mistakes. Vallot has plenty of bat speed, and he also has some tremendous power because of it. At 6’-0” and 210 pounds, he generates it from a strong lower half and puts on clinics during batting practices. He also has a plus/plus arm and all of the tools to remain behind the plate, but his offensive upside could force a move to the outfield. Through 28 games, he is hitting .519/.626/1.038 with 11 doubles, nine home runs and has drawn 23 walks. Committed to Mississippi State.
Jakson Reetz, C/OF, Norris HS (NE)
Reetz is an athlete who can play just about every position on a baseball field. His versatility makes him intriguing because of all the options he has. As a pitcher, he can hit the low-90s to go with an upper-70s slider. He can play the outfield where his arm would play well, third base where the arm and bat would play well, but catcher may be his best position, and he has all the tools to stick there. He is crushing Nebraska pitching, hitting .526/.667/1.158 over 15 games with seven doubles, five home runs and 10 stolen bases. While he may be playing against inferior competition right now, Reetz has always starred at top events and tournaments. Committed to Nebraska.
Greg Deichmann, SS/2B, Brother Martin HS (LA)
With some of the best power in his class, the 6’-2”, 190 pound left-handed hitter has been raking all year. Through 29 games, he is hitting .408/.580/1.053 with nine doubles, 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He has also drawn 29 walks, showing a combination of patience, as well as opposing pitchers wanting nothing to do with him. His bat is loud and he can hit to all fields. He plays shortstop now, but will most likely end up at second base where his defensive abilities would play well. Another player with a lot of upside. Committed to LSU.
Forrest Wall, 2B/OF, Orangewood Christian HS (FL)
A quick-twitch athlete, Wall has tools galore and even power will come as he matures. At 6’-0” and 180 pounds, the left-handed hitter has a smooth stroke, an advanced approach, excellent bat speed and plus speed. Through 15 games, he is hitting .575/.661/1.000 with eight doubles, three triples, a home run and is a perfect 20-for-20 in stolen base attempts. He has drawn 16 walks to just four strikeouts. His arm has been the one knock on him but reports are it has gotten better and he should be able to hold down second base. He is an electric player with a ton of offensive potential. Committed to North Carolina.
Derek Hill, OF, Elf Grove HS (CA)
A gifted defender who should stick at center field, Hill is a 6.44/60 runner with a plus, accurate arm. He also is an exceptional route runner and can make the extraordinary look ordinary in the field. Offensively, he has an easy, fluid swing and makes consistent contact. He hasn’t shown much power yet, but with his size (6’-2”, 190 pounds), most feel it will show up due to his bat speed. Through 15 games, he is hitting .563/.644/.875 with five doubles, five triples and has stolen 12 bases. Committed to Oregon.
Chris Oliver, RHP, Arkansas
At 6’-4” and 185 pounds, Oliver is a fresh arm as he worked out of the pen his first two years at Arkansas. He is also a power arm as he can touch 97 mph with his fastball and he adds a mid-80s power slider. He adds a solid upper-70s curveball and change-up, giving him a four-pitch mix that he commands well. Through 10 starts, he has a 2.29 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 38 K/18 BB over 59 innings.
Jake Stinnett, RHP, Maryland
The 6’-4”, 215 pound right-hander split time as a starter/closer for the Terps last season and is the Friday night starter this year. His fastball can touch 95 mph and sits 90-93, and he adds a slider and change-up — both quality offerings. He has been able to maintain velocity deep into games and he has great control of his stuff. He also has a fresh arm as he played mostly third base as a freshman. Through 10 starts, he has a 2.68 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 84 K/19 BB over 74 innings, holding opponents to a .174 batting average.
A.J. Reed, LHP/1B, Kentucky
I’m not sure anymore where Reed’s future lies. While left-handed power arms are a rare commodity, the way he has been hitting this year makes a case for his ridiculous offensive potential. He is at, or near the top, in almost every offensive category hitting .375/.495/.783 over 41 games with 12 doubles, 16 home runs, 55 RBI and 27 walks. On the mound, he has a 2.15 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 46 K/18 BB over 71 innings. The 6’-4”, 240 pound southpaw features a fastball that can touch the mid-90s and he adds an above-average breaking ball. I’m placing him in the arms list, but his potential is scary either way.
Greg Allen, OF, San Diego State
A switch-hitter, Allen is a plus runner who projects to a leadoff-type hitter at the next level. He may not hit many home runs, but he has an advanced approach at the plate and can spray line drives to all fields. Defensively, he has the speed and arm to stick at center field. Through 41 games, he is hitting .321/.428/.385 with 21 stolen bases and 25 walks to 22 strikeouts.
Taylor Sparks, 3B, UC Irvine
At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has upside due to his raw power and bat speed. He has shown a lot of swing-and-miss this year, although his walk rate has improved. Through 39 games, he is hitting .320/.392/.547 with 10 doubles, six triples, four home runs and 16 walks to 42 strikeouts. He is a very good athlete but probably won’t be stealing many bases at the next level.
Mike Papi, OF, Virginia
While he may not have much upside, Papi is a polished hitter with a great approach and developing power. The 6’-3”, 210 pound left-hander is hitting .296/.465/.496 over 42 games with six doubles, seven home runs and a whopping 40 walks to 27 strikeouts. He isn’t going to steal many bases but he is a guy who could rise through the ranks fast and be a potent bat in the lineup while playing a solid left field or first base.
Grayson Greiner, C, South Carolina
At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, Greiner’s strong, accurate arm and athleticism have many believing he can remain behind the plate despite his size. Offensively, he has a good approach and the power is starting to come around. Through 40 games, he is hitting .319/.388/.461 with eight doubles, four home runs and has drawn 18 walks to 23 strikeouts. The key is the Cubs believing he can stick at catcher. One of the best leaders you will ever come across.
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