Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

NorthSidersReport takes a look at the Cubs last five drafts since Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod took over operations.

Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Ian Happ headline the Cubs recent first-round picks.

First-round pick Kris Bryant made the play at third for the last out to clinch the Cubs World Series. First-round pick Kyle Schwarber led off with the tenth in Game 7 with a single. First-round pick Albert Almora pinch-ran and scored the go-ahead run in Game 7 for the World Series. First-round pick Ian Happ made his MLB this spring and has already made an impact. Not a bad haul of bats for the North Siders.

Cubs have hit homers with those four picks and hope to continue that trend with pair of first-round picks on the first day of the draft on June 12. And while you could rest on your laurels with the fruits of those labors, the Cubs front office is still fretting about the lack of pitching the minors has developed.

Here’s your draft primer for the past five years, who’s left, who’s gone, and all kinds of names from the past for the Cubs minor league gurus.

2012—42 Picks—29 Signed—8 Left with Cubs

The Cubs grabbed Albert Almora with the sixth overall pick and then tabbed pitchers Pierce Johnson (43rd), Paul Blackburn (56th) and Duane Underwood (67th). Almora has proved himself as a big league centerfielder and Johnson hasn’t lived up to his billing but did make his MLB debut this year in Chicago. Blackburn was sent to Seattle in the deal that brought Mike Montgomery to Chicago and Underwood, 22, is still in AA, battling injuries the past two seasons. Ryan McNeil (3rd round), 23, had Tommy John surgery after signing and has slowly moved up the ranks, recording 22 saves last year in High A Myrtle Beach.

Infielder Stephen Bruno (7th round) has been slowed by injuries but is hitting .283 in 44 games at AAA Iowa this year. David Bote (18th round) was the Mills Cup MVP as Myrtle Beach won the Carolina League title last year and was just named a Southern League all-star for Tennessee. Bijan Rademacher (13th round) has climbed the ladder to AAA, and is batting .252 in 48 games in Iowa. RHP Stephen Perakslis (21st round) has made 148 relief appearances and is currently on the disabled list after splitting 2017 between Tennessee and Iowa.

Rashad Crawford (11th round) was sent to the Yankees last July as part of the trade that brought Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.

The Cubs also drafted two current coaches back in 2012. A catcher in the Cubs organization for three years,  Lance Rymel (28th round) was released and is now the head coach for Cubs 2 in the Dominican Summer League. C Benjamin Carhart (35th round) was an all-star in the Midwest League and after ending his five-year playing career, was hired by the Cubs and is serving as the rehab coach in Mesa this season. 

Other players signed and then released were RHP Josh Conway (4th round), LHP Anthony Prieto (5th round), RHP Trey Lang (6th round), LHP Michael Heesch (8th round), C Chadd Krist (9th round), RHP Chad Martin (10th round), RHP Justin Amlung (12th round), RHP Corbin Hoffner (14th round), C Carlos Escobar (15th round), RHP Michael Hamann (16th round), LHP Nathan Dorris (17th round), RHP @Eddie Orozco (22nd round), RHP Jasvir Rakkar (26th round), OF Isaac Garsez (30th round), and IF Tim Saunders (32nd round), 

2013—40 Picks—24 Signed—9 Left with Cubs

Instead of taking RHP Jonathan Gray, the Cubs grabbed third baseman Kris Bryant, not a bad choice as he’s already been named NL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player during the Cubs World Series title year. Likely the best Theo and the Cubs will make. 

The Cubs found a pair of prospects that they took out of high school in 2013—RHP Trevor Clifton and OF Charcer Burks. Clifton (12th round) was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and is off to great start in AA. The right-hander has fastball in the mid-90s with plus secondary pitches. One of the few prep position players the Cubs have drafted in the early rounds, Burks (9th round) continues to improve at every level. He earned a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove last year and was just named to the Southern League All-Star team for AA Tennessee.

LF Rob Zastryzny (2nd round) made his MLB debut last year and became the first pitcher drafted during the Theo era to make it to the majors with the Cubs. Zastryzny earned an early season promotion to Chicago but is back on the DL in Iowa. A football player at BYU, Jacob Hannemann (3rd round) has been educated in the minors and was added to the Cubs 40-man roster last fall. A good defender, Hannemann is still learning the game at the plate and was recently promoted to AAA. David Garner (7th round) has made the slow rise through the system and is currently in AA Tennessee after his college career at Michigan State.

Cubs also inked three catchers that are still with the organization. Cael Brockmeyer (16th round) has homered at all four full seasons affiliates since signing, and has 27 homers in 329 minor league games, starting 171 games behind the plate. Will Remillard (19th round) was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month in April of 2014 but has missed the last two season with a pair of arm surgeries and is currently rehabbing in Mesa. Tyler Alamo was drafted out of high school and after two yearssin the Arizona Rookie League has made great strides. Adding weight to his 6-foot-4 frame, the 22-year-old slugged a career-high five homers last year in South Bend and has already clubbed seven this year in Myrtle Beach.

The Cubs sent Zack Godley (10th round) to Arizona as part of the deal that brought catch Miguel Montero to the Cubs. Godley became the first pitcher drafted during the Epstein era that reached the majors, making his MLB debut for the Diamondbacks in 2015.

Signed and already gone from the organization are RHP Tyler Skulina (4th round), RHP Trey Masek (5th round), RHP Scott Frazier (6th round), LHP Sam Wilson (8th round), C/IF Jordan Hankins (11th round), RHP Trevor Graham (13th round), RHP Michael Wagner (15th round), 1B Kelvin Freeman (17th round), IF Giuseppe Papaccio (18th round), IF Zak Blair (20th round), OF Kevin Brown (22nd round), LHP Tyler Ihrig (23rd round), RHP Brad Renner (28th round), and RHP Zak Hermans (30th round ).

2014—40 Picks—28 Signed—20 Left with Cubs

The pundits let out a collective gasp when the Cubs drafted Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick. Not only did the Cubs get the top college bat in the draft, they saved money and were able to sign three prep arms to million dollar deals—Carson Sands (4th round), Justin Steele (5th round) and Dylan Cease (6th round). Schwarber set a Cubs post-season home run record in his first season and then battled back from a knee injury in 2016, just in time to help beat the Indians in the World Series. 

Sands had surgery during the off-season and is expected to return for the second half of the season. Steele is having his best season as a pro in Myrtle Beach while Cease has recovered from Tommy John surgery and is firing high 90s fastball—mowing down hitters in the Midwest League for South Bend.

The Cubs used their second pick on Jake Stinnett, a right-hander out of Maryland. Stinnett’s been rehabbing in Mesa since the start of spring after after tossing 116 innings with Myrtle Beach in ‘16. Mark Zagunis (3rd round) has worked his way to AAA Iowa and is considered one of the Cubs top outfield prospects. 

Drafted in the 14th round, utility man Chesny Young has hit his way into the Cubs prospect rankings with a Carolina League batting title and finishing second in the Southern League last year. Zach Hedges (26th round) is on the fast track to the majors, and began the year in AA as the opening night starter. No pitcher from the 2014 class shot up the organization faster than Ryan Williams (10th round) but he’s expected to miss the rest of the 2017 season with a rotator  cuff injury. Jason Vosler (16th round) has developed into a AA All-Star third baseman and has improved his power and defense.

Other 2014 draft picks still in the organization include James Norwood (7th round-Myrtle Beach), LHP Tommy Thorpe (8th round-Myrtle Beach), OF Kevonte Mitchell (13th round-South Bend), Michael Knighton (17th round-South Bend), Brad Markey (19th round-Tennessee), Joe Martarano (22nd round-Mesa), Tyler Pearson (25th round-Myrtle Beach), Andrew Ely (32nd round-Tennessee), LHP Jordan Minch (35th round-Myrtle Beach). 

During the off-season, the Cubs sent relief pitcher James Farris (9th round) to Colorado for Eddie Butler, currently in the Chicago’s rotation.

Signed and released are Jordan Brink (11th round), Tanner Griggs (12th round), Jeremy Null (15th round), Austyn Willis (17th round), Alex Tomasovich (20th round), Charles White (21st round), Calvin Graves (27th round)

2015—40 Picks—24 Signed—23 Left with Cubs

For the third straight year the Cubs took the top bat on the board and it didn’t take long for the switch-hitting Ian Happ to smack his way through the minors and into Wrigley Field. The ninth overall pick already has five homers in his rookie season, including a pair of long balls against Cardinals.

The rest of the 2015 class isn’t that close to the majors. Second-round pick Donnie Dewees was shipped to Kansas City for pitching prospect Alec Mills while Bryan Hudson (3rd round) and Darryl Wilson (4th round), both drafted out of high school, are in South Bend. Hudson started ’17 at extended spring training but has pitched well in his recent starts and cut down on his walks. Wilson got off to slow start in the MWL and is currently on the DL with a leg injury.

LH Ryan Kellogg (5th round) is part of the starting rotation in Myrtle Beach and logged over 100 innings last year at South Bend in his first full season. C Ian Rice was a 29th round pick, but has excelled with his approach and power, recently earning all-star honors at AA Tennessee. Preston Morrison (8th round) has worked his way in the rotation to AA and has made 10 starts (0-5, 4.67 ERA, 54 IP ERA). 

Other draft picks in the 2015 class include RHP David Berg (6th round-Tennessee), RHP Craig Brooks (7th round-Tennessee), IF Vimael Machin (10th round-South Bend), 1B Matt Rose (11th round-Myrtle Beach), C P.J. Higgins (C-Myrtle Beach), RHP Scott Effross (15th round-Myrtle Beach), OF/P Michael Foster (16th round-Eugene), RHP Casey Bloomquist (17th round-Myrtle Beach), RHP Kyle Miller (19th round-Myrtle Beach), RHP Jared Cheek (21st round-South Bend), C Marcus Mastrobuoni (25th round-South Bend), C Tyler Payne (30th round-South Bend), OF Daniel Spingola (31st round-Myrtle Beach), and RHP M.T. Minacci (33rd round-Mesa). 

The Cubs have already parted ways with signees LHP Tyler Peitzmeier(9th round), LHP Kyle Twomey (13th round),  3B  Blake Headley (20th round), OF Alex Bautista (22nd round), LHP John Williamson (23rd round), IF Sutton Whiting (24th round, IF Angelo Amendolare (27th round), and OF Donnie Cimino (37th round).

2016—38 Picks—26 Signed—25 Left with Cubs

The Cubs didn’t pick unit the third round and their first pick, RHP Thomas Hatch didn’t pitch at all after getting drafted. Hatch (1-6, 4.23 ERA) has made his debut at Myrtle Beach and recently fanned 13 in a start. 

A handful of draft classmates have joined Hatch in the Carolina League. 2B Trent Giambrone (25th round) skipped High A and started the year in Myrtle Beach. OF Connor Myers (27th round) is in the Carolina League and has played a stellar defensive centerfield since signing. RH Michael Rucker (11th round) has pitched his way to Myrtle Beach and recently made his first pro start, tossing five shutout innings. LH Marc Huberman (8th round) earned an early season promotion to Myrtle Beach but was recently sent back to South Bend. The Cubs 10th round pick, RH Dakota Mekkes has excelled in the South Bend, earned all-star honors, and was recently promoted to Myrtle Beach, making his debut on Sunday.

Duncan Robinson (9th round) has taken the MWL by storm, earning all-star honors and posting a 5-3 mark with a 1.36 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Tyson Miller (4th round) started the year in the SB-Cubs rotation but was recently sent to the bullpen after struggling. 

RHP Chad Hockin (6th round), C Michael Cruz (7th round), LHP Wyatt Short (13th round), IF Zack Short (17th round), RHP Matt Swarmer (19th round), RHP Tyler Peyton (29th round), and OF Zach Davis (32nd round) have all seen time at South Bend this year.

Still back at extended spring training to start the year are RHP Bailey Clark (5th round), RHP Stephen Ridings (8th round), RHP Jed Carter (15th round), RHP Holden Cammack (16th round), LHP Colton Freeman (20th round), IF Delvin Zinn (23rd round), RHP Nathan Sweeney (33rd round), and CF Tolly Filotei (38th round). C Samuel Tidaback (21st round) signed and has been released.

 


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