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A Look Back at the Cubs 2004 Draft

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  • A Look Back at the Cubs 2004 Draft

    When the draft goes down in June, teams, players and fans are filled with for the future. That someday those players will grow up and help contribute to the parent club’s success and turn into superstars. Three full baseball years is about the earliest one can start judging the return and how a draft shaped out. Now is that time to look back at the 2004 where Hendry had just completed his first full season as a major league General Manager. Yet he still did not relinquished his death grip hold on our drafting process and worked with John Stockstill in the draft process, John has since left the organization and is an assistant GM in Baltimore. The Cubs had lost their first rounder to the Twins for signing reliever LaTroy Hawkins, with that pick Minnesota took college righty Matt Fox and got a supplemental pick at #39 and took a high school pitcher in Jay Rainville, neither have made it past High A ball yet but Rainville looks like a future stud. Here’s a look at what Scouting Director Stockstill and Hendry drafted that year:

    2 Grant Johnson, rhp
    3 Mark Reed, c
    4 Chris Shaver, lhp
    5 Adrian Ortiz, of
    6 Tim Layden, lhp
    7 Mitch Atkins, rhp
    8 Eric Patterson, 2b
    9 Ryan Norwood, 1b
    10 Sam Fuld, of
    11 Jon Hunton, rhp
    12 Sean Gallagher, rhp
    13 Ryan Moorer, rhp
    14 Eli Iorg, of
    15 Alfred Joseph, of
    16 J.R. Mathes, lhp
    17 Jerry Blevins, lhp
    18 Jake Marsello, rhp
    19 Micah Owings, rhp
    20 Trey Taylor, rhp
    21 Will Fenton, rhp
    22 Walter Diaz, ss
    23 Chris Gaskin, 1b
    24 Jeff Culpepper, of
    25 Casey Erickson, rhp
    26 Paul Cinder, rhp
    27 Jason Kosow, rhp
    28 Jonathan Douillard, c
    29 Mike Svetlic, 2b
    30 Russ Canzler, 1b
    31 Jesse Estrada, rhp
    32 Cody Gilbert, 3b
    33 Randy Brown, of
    34 Dustin Bamberg, c
    35 Drew O’Connell, rhp
    36 Colby Wark, rhp
    37 Michael Hyle, rhp
    38 Kurt Eichorn, rhp
    39 Trent Luyster, lhp
    40 Marcus Crockett, of
    41 Kenn Kasparek, rhp
    42 Ryan Morgan, 3b
    43 Adam Daniels, lhp
    44 Zane Green, of
    45 Christopher Dunkin, c
    46 Greg Fudacz, rhp
    47 Andrew Liebel, rhp
    48 Olin Wick, c
    49 Brandon Harmon, rhp
    50 Gerald Miller, of

    As one can see that draft has not been very fruitful. We’ve only had three players reach the MLB so far, and all have been on limited roles with all projected as borderline starting players. Hendry’s fingerprints are all over this draft especially in the team’s first selection of Notre Dame righty Grant Johnson. The 6′6 Johnson was considered a top talent back in his high school days but made it known to scouts that he was going to college. In his freshman year as a Fighting Irish, he helped guide them to the College World Series going 9-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 18G and 101 IP. In that span he gave up 94 hits, 39 ER, 0 HR, 44 BB, and 86 K. Yet shortly after his run, Grant was having shoulder discomfort that eventually led to an extensive shoulder surgery done by the Cubs’ physician and cost him his entire 2003 season. In 2004, his velocity was down much of the year but he flashed some brilliant moments going 6-0 with a 1.87 ERA. In 14 G, he only went 57 IP, while giving up 39 hits, 12 ER, 2 HR, 26 BB, 51 K. As the season progressed, he definitely got stronger. His coach Paul Manieri, who’s good friends’ with Jim, gave rave reviews on Grant’s makeup and abilities. When Hendry and Company saw him still available in the second round they felt like they had to take him.

    Grant had a solid rookie year in 2005 for Peoria despite his 3-8 record. The next season, he started off in Daytona (High A) in the rotation but fizzled and endured some injuries. It wasn’t until he was put into the bullpen that Johnson started to put things together. To start the 2007 season, the Cubs had Grant back in Daytona and still in the pen. Once there, Grant’s star started to shine with his sinker/slider combo. Quickly he earned the callup to Tennessee (AA) where he continued his run in the pen. The Cubs’ made Johnson available this year in the Rule V draft, hoping that teams pass on him.

    The third round pick, catcher Mark Reed, has completely fizzled. The high school super athlete has not translated any of his offensive tools yet and behind the plate he’s still extremely wet and doesn’t look to stick there. The big lefty (6′7) Chris Shaver from William and Mary was on the fast track through the Cubs’ system. In 2006 for AA, he went 7-10 in 26GS going 150 1/3 IP giving up 146 H, 50 ER, 7 HR, 56 BB, and 120 K. Shaver was on his way to start for Iowa in 2007, that is until he needed Tommy John surgery which cost him nearly his entire 2007 season. Shaver is likely to start the year in either Daytona or Tennessee’s starting rotation. Like Johnson, he too was made available for the Rule V draft.

    Of the draftees’, eighth rounder Eric Patterson from Georgia Tech was the earliest pick to reach the MLB. Eric is unlike his brother, but still EP was a steal this late in the draft. Most projections had him going around the supplemental or 3rd round, and he had another year of eligibility. Still he signed for above slot money even if it was late in the signing process. Patterson tore up the minors offensively and climbed quickly. Patterson is definitely a MLBer whether it’s as a starter or utility player is yet to be determined.

    The hottest flavor of the month right now and the most recent callup of the 2004 draft is CF Sam Fuld. Sam was taken in the 10th round of the 2004 draft, after the Cubs took him in the 23rd round of 2003. The Cubs’ had Sam playing in the Arizona Fall League, where he’s arguably the MVP of the league leading hits (43), doubles (11), total bases (67), on-base percentage (.492), slugging percentage (.626), and OPS (1.118) and finishing second in average at .402. Fuld has unbelievable plate discipline, good contact abilities and plays the game with heart and determination the way it should be played. Last year, when I was asked on air about what Cubs’ minor leaguer that fans don’t know about but should, I replied simply “Sam Fuld”. Sam’s biggest problems the past few seasons have been due to unforeseen injuries due to his aggressive style of play. Last year, he lucked out and didn’t get injured yet pushed through the system and came up big down the stretch for the parent club in the field and on the bases. Sam is expected to be nothing more than a forth or fifth outfielder in the majors but with his grit, determination, and plate skills, he could surprise and become a legit centerfielder and leadoff hitter.

    The first 2004 draftee to reach the MLB was high school righty Sean Gallagher. Sean was a diamond in the rough when we drafted him, and he’s pitched like a first round pick. He’s the first 12th rounder pick to pitch in the MLB since Joel Piniero. For the time period, Gallagher is likely to be used as a long man out of the pen due to his versatile arm, quick recovery, and age The best thing it appears to be is for Gallagher to start the 2008 season in Iowa’s rotation not in the Cubs’ pen. That is unless Sean can win a starting rotation gig straight out of spring training which is a long shot.

    Other 2004 draftees to keep an eye out on for is Mitch Atkins, Tim Layden, and Ryan Norwood. Atkins is really the biggest threat we have from the 2004 draft to reach the MLB anytime soon. Mitch has great stuff and solid control, and he destroyed Low A in 2006 and High A in 2007. He saw some action in AA in 2007 but was hit hard in his seven appearances, four being starts. Atkins will start the season in AA rotation and will likely see some action in AAA before the 2008 season is up.

    Of the the ones we didn’t sign, there are three that have a good chance of reaching the MLB (Owings already has) in OF Eli Iorg (14) , RHP Micah Ownings (19) and RHP Casey Erickson (25). The Cubs’ selected Iorg, who has a family pedigree of professional baseball experience. Yet the two sides couldn’t come to a financial agreement as Iorg’s advisor felt Eli should receive near first round money, something Chicago wasn’t willing to pay. Still the Cubs watched him during the next year and tried working on him, offering him third round money just before the 2005 draft. Eli didn’t bite after having an amazing Senior year for Tennessee and was drafted by the Astros in the 2005 draft in the supplemental first round (38th overall). He’s played amazingly so far in the minors starting 2007 at High A where he was pounding the ball and was close to a promotion to AA. Yet his season came to a premature end due to a freak elbow injury while sliding back to first on a pickoff attempt. Iorg’s on the fast track though as the Astros love his work ethic and abilities that they see as are MLB transferable.

    The Cubs’ 2004 19th pick, Micah Owings, has already reached the MLB and is starting for the Arizona Diamonbacks. When the Cubs’ selected Owings, they drafted one of the most versatile college players at the time. Micah could hit for average and power while throwing with velocity, control, and stuff on the mound. The Dbacks made the consensus choice and turned Owings into a pitcher and he blew through their minor league system and appeared in 29 games with 24 being starts. He turned out to be a big reason why Arizona made the playoffs, with his arm and his bat as hit 4 homers in 60 at bats. The 25 year old Owings is only going to get better with more experience, the Cubs definately missed the boat on this former Georgia Tech star and Eric Patterson teammate.

    In the 25th round of 2004, the Cubs took a lefty in Chatham (IL) High Schooler Casey Erickson. Casey was touted as one of of Central Illinois’ top pitchers from his junior high days, and he didn’t disappoint as a high schooler. Erickson demolished the Central State Eight teams like no pitcher before him. As a senior his fastball hit 90-92 regularly topping at 95 mph, he also featured a plus 1-7 curveball with nasty drop. Casey wasn’t stupid, he learned young how to throw a changeup and that was his second pitch before his started ripping off curveballs repeatedly. Erickson wanted to sign with the Cubs, even though he’s a lifetime Cardinals’ fan yet the Cubs never gave him a decent offer. Casey went on to pitch in 2005 and 2006 for Springfield College of Illinois which features no real competition yet scouts still followed Erickson and he was drafted in 2006 by the Yankees in the 10th round. Personally, I haved faced Casey before and despite the age difference, he made this lefty hitter look absolutely foolish with his mixing of inside curveballs and outside fastballs. Still Casey has some mechanical issues that more advanced right handed hitters have exposed and the Yanks have worked on it with him. Yet New York scouts envision him as a future MLBer, whether it’s with them or not.

    For more stories like this read at Cubshub.com
    What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
    Line Drive: .356
    HBP: .342
    Non-Intentional Walk: .315
    Intentional Walk: .176
    Outfield Fly: .035
    Groundball: -.101
    Bunts: -.103
    Infield Fly: -.243
    Strikeout: -.287
    It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

  • #2
    Bob, great article, I love the draft analysis. There is alot of debate how E-Pat projects, and I would like your thoughts. The Cubs seem convinced he can't play 2B, and if that is the case, are they definitively moving him this year? A shame, because his offensive talent looks good for a 2B, but middling for an OF. Do the Cubs think he can learn to play a good CF?

    I have never heard of Atkins, though easy to miss I suppose given he is a right-handed reliever. I don't know if it was planned or an accident, but it seems like the Cub system is VERY heavy in middle-relief prospects, and light at just about everything else, at least at AA and above. Makes you wonder if guys like Wuertz, who at his salary would definitely have value to other clubs but can be replaced in our system, should be trade bait.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jeff Pico View Post
      Bob, great article, I love the draft analysis. There is alot of debate how E-Pat projects, and I would like your thoughts. The Cubs seem convinced he can't play 2B, and if that is the case, are they definitively moving him this year? A shame, because his offensive talent looks good for a 2B, but middling for an OF. Do the Cubs think he can learn to play a good CF?

      I have never heard of Atkins, though easy to miss I suppose given he is a right-handed reliever. I don't know if it was planned or an accident, but it seems like the Cub system is VERY heavy in middle-relief prospects, and light at just about everything else, at least at AA and above. Makes you wonder if guys like Wuertz, who at his salary would definitely have value to other clubs but can be replaced in our system, should be trade bait.
      Good questions Pico. I'll tackle the EP question first, there are some SERIOUS questions about Eric's ability to field the ball well enough to be a MLBer at second. It's not his arm but more his footwork and ability to read hops and turn two. The Cubs want to give him a shot to a fulltimer because his offensive potential is just so high, especially at second, but with the presence of DeRosa that's not likely to happen. So right now and probably in the future, look for the Cubs to use EP kinda like the Angels use Figgins, as a utility player all around the field while still getting some good long looks.

      As for the Cubs' seemingly deep middle relief prospects, that happens alot when your team concentrates on drafting pitchers. Only a fraction ever turn out to be candidates as starters. With our over abundance of young cheap arms, it makes players up for arbitration increases very expendible. Which is great, because millions are wasted on free agency relievers that teams usually have someone comparable in house to.
      What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
      Line Drive: .356
      HBP: .342
      Non-Intentional Walk: .315
      Intentional Walk: .176
      Outfield Fly: .035
      Groundball: -.101
      Bunts: -.103
      Infield Fly: -.243
      Strikeout: -.287
      It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Bob, it does seem like the Cubs are changing the focus lately to more position players, because our track record lately in that department is so incredibly poor to be almost comical. In between Mark Grace and Theriot, I think Corey Patterson was the only regular we drafted (unless you count Doug Glanville or Erik Hinske as "regulars", which they were for a short time, or other players like Wilkins or Berryhill that are marginal and I may be overlooking).

        Terrible! Let's hope that changes.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jeff Pico View Post
          Thanks Bob, it does seem like the Cubs are changing the focus lately to more position players, because our track record lately in that department is so incredibly poor to be almost comical. In between Mark Grace and Theriot, I think Corey Patterson was the only regular we drafted (unless you count Doug Glanville or Erik Hinske as "regulars", which they were for a short time, or other players like Wilkins or Berryhill that are marginal and I may be overlooking).

          Terrible! Let's hope that changes.
          The last player the Cubs drafted that was an all-star was Joe Girardi (drafted in 1986 and allstar in 2000). In the past 10 years, the Cubs are one of the most successful teams in drafting players that reach the MLB and stay, but it comes nearly all in the form of pitching talent. Lately, we've been stressing offense in our drafts, we'll see in a few years how that turns out. Wilken had an amazing run with the Blue Jays where for 10 years or so, his first round pick reached the MLB.
          What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
          Line Drive: .356
          HBP: .342
          Non-Intentional Walk: .315
          Intentional Walk: .176
          Outfield Fly: .035
          Groundball: -.101
          Bunts: -.103
          Infield Fly: -.243
          Strikeout: -.287
          It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

          Comment


          • #6
            2004 Cubs Draft

            Other 2004 draftees to keep an eye out on for is Mitch Atkins, Tim Layden, and Ryan Norwood.
            Ryan was released by the Peoria Chiefs in late June....and as far as I can research, has not hooked up with a team.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by drichards3 View Post
              Ryan was released by the Peoria Chiefs in late June....and as far as I can research, has not hooked up with a team.
              nice pick on the mistype, it should be the other big corner IF, Russ Canzler.
              What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
              Line Drive: .356
              HBP: .342
              Non-Intentional Walk: .315
              Intentional Walk: .176
              Outfield Fly: .035
              Groundball: -.101
              Bunts: -.103
              Infield Fly: -.243
              Strikeout: -.287
              It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

              Comment

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