The 2011 First Year Player Draft is in the books. For a full list of the Cubs picks, check out Baseball America's Draft Database.
Let's breakdown the Cubs draft picks and see what we've got.
First off, here is the split between high school, junior college (or community college) and (4-Year) college players:
High School -18
Junior College/Community College - 9
College - 19
High school players are generally considered riskier than college players, mainly because they need more time to develop and its harder to project them. Overall, the Cubs picks are pretty evenly split between high school and college, with some Juco's and foreign players mixed in.
However, a more telling stat is that 10 of the Cubs first 14 picks were high school players. This is the meat of the Cubs draft and tells me that the Cubs were willing to trade some risk for players with higher upside. Javier Baez is a perfect example of that. He has high upside, having drawn comparisons to Gary Sheffield and Hanley Ramirez, but he also carries some extra baggage, namely his attitude on and off the field.
Now let's take a look at the breakdown by position:
Catcher - 3
First base - 4
Second - 0
Third - 1
Short - 4
Outfield - 11
UT - 1
RHP - 21
LHP - 5
Again, a pretty even split between position players (24) and pitchers (26), however, the top end of the draft tells a different story. Of the Cubs first 20 picks, only 5 were pitchers.
With all the problems with the Cubs pitching this year, you would think the Cubs would focus on pitching in this year's draft, at least in the early rounds, but that was not the case. It appears that Cubs Scouting Director Tim Wilken and GM Jim Hendry went with the best talent available approach versus drafting for need.
Overall, I can't argue with this approach. Its usually easier to project hitters than pitchers and thus hitters tend to be a little less risky. Besides, as Hendry showed this past offseason, you can always trade your top prospects for the next Matt Garza.
Finally, let's look at the breakdown by state:
Florida - 8
California - 6
Texas - 4
Georgia, Tennessee, Canada - 3
Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina - 2
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington - 1
Once again, proof positive that the warm weather states of Florida, California and Texas tend to produce the best baseball talent. I'm kind of surprised that the Cubs selected only one of the 34 Illinoisan's who were picked in this year's draft, as I would think that the home state team would have an advantage over other teams in scouting those players. However, its probably just a sign that scouting has become increasingly global over the years.
The Cubs now have a couple of months to sign as many of the picks as possible. If the Cubs are truly committed to building from within, we should see a good chunk of the early picks signed before the August 15 deadline. For comparison purposes, here's how the Cubs have fared on signing their draft picks over the last five years:
2010 - signed 21 of first 25 picks, 29 of 50 overall
2009 - signed 19 of first 25, 29 of 50 overall
2008 - signed 24 of first 25, 31 of 50 overall
2007 - signed 23 of first 25, 33 of 50 overall
2006 - signed 22 of first 25, 34 of 50 overall
Average - 21.8/25 (87.2%), 31.2/50 (62.4%)
I'll provide an update on who signed (and who didn't) after the August 15 deadline.