Cubs Likely To Draft Appel Or Gray

Major League Baseball's draft is still about six weeks away, but Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the Cubs are likely to draft either Stanford right-hander Mark Appel or Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray with the No. 2 overall pick. Wittenmyer spoke about the draft to multiple team sources, including manager Dale Sveum who told him:

"Obviously, the two big boys, Appel and Gray, if those guys keep the velocity where it is and everything’s going good, I think it’s hard not to take one of them guys."

Appel and Gray are widely considered to be the top two pitching prospects in this year's draft, but other names such as high school outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, as well as San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant and Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea have garnered attention as potential Top 5 selections.

The Cubs will have a bonus pool of roughly $10.6MM, Wittenmyer notes, with around $6MM allocated to the No. 2 overall slot. There has been some question as to what it will take to sign Appel, a Scott Boras client, after he fell to the Pirates at No. 8 last year but refused to sign for their $3.8MM offer.

If the report holds true, this would mark the first time the Cubs have selected a pitcher in the Top 10 since Mark Prior back in 2001. Since that time, the Cubs have had a Top 10 selection on four other occasions. Those picks were used on high school outfielder Ryan Harvey (sixth overall in 2003), high school third baseman Josh Vitters (third overall in 2007), high school shortstop Javier Baez (ninth in 2011) and high school outfielder Albert Almora (sixth overall in 2012).

The Cubs have taken college pitchers Hayden Simpson, Andrew Cashner and Bobby Brownlie in the first round since drafting Prior, though each came in the second half of the first round.

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