The Chicago Cubs introduced first-round pick Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field on the last day of the signing period, and inked four more draft picks including high school pitcher Trevor Clifton.
Bryant took batting practice, fielded ground balls, met future teammates and handled the Chicago media in his day at the Friendly Confines. During the press conference he was asked about where he would start his career, and after getting permission from Theo Epstein to reveal the information, said he would head to Mesa to “knock off the rust” and then go to Boise.
Bryant, a third baseman from San Diego, was the consensus best bat in the draft leading the NCAA with 31 homers, 80 runs, 66 walks, and .820 .SLG as the 21-year-old hit .329. He won the Dick Howser Award, was named Baseball America’s Player of the Year and earned the Louisville Slugger Award. Selected in the 18th round by the Blue Jays in 2010, Bryant spent three years at San Diego.
With Bryant signing at the $6.7 million slot value, the Cubs had around $330,000 to spend on additional signing bonuses and inked 12th round pick Trevor Clifton ($370.000), 19th rounder Will Remillard ($150,000) and 24th round pick Tyler Alamo ($100,000). Almao’s signing does not count towards the cap as it wasn’t above the $100,000 limit.
The 18-year-old Clifton was the first high school pitcher selected by the Cubs and the only one to sign, forgoing a scholarship to Kentucky. Heading into the draft, the right-hander was ranked #148 by Baseball America after a senior season of 2-3, 3.35 ERA, 39.2 IP, 36H, 21BB, 79K at Heritage High School in Maryville, Tennessee. At 6-foot-4, Clifton has the frame to become a power pitcher and has already been clocked at 97 mph however most reports put his fastball in the low 90s. He also throws a curve and change-up and his ability to become a MLB starter will depend on the development of those two pitches. Clifton will have a familiar face when he gets to Mesa as former Team USA 16-U teammate Tyler Alamo has also signed with Chicago. With reports during the draft that Clifton wanted $1 million to sign, the Cubs looks like they were able to get 3rd-4th round talent in the 12th round.
The Cubs nabbed their second college catcher of the draft (Cael Brockmeyer 16th round) taking the 20-year-old Remillard in the 19th round. It looked like the right-handed hitting backstop would be heading back to Costal Carolina for his second season as he started the summer playing in the Cape Cod League for the Cotuit Kettleers. In 14 games, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder hit .297 (11-37) with a homer and nine RBI. The New York prep from La Salle Institute, attended Temple as a freshman hitting .321 with three homers and 26 RBI. He transferred to Costal Carolina sitting out 2012. He started 51 games for the Chanticleers this season hitting .280/.336/.392 with two homers and 39 RBI. He earned All-Big South honors and threw out 41 percent of base stealers. With the Cubs minor league system lacking a true top prospect at catcher, you can now add Remillard’s name into the mix as the Cubs didn’t want the youngster heading back to college and paid over slot to get him into the organization.
The Cubs lured Tyler Alamo away from his commitment to Cal-State Fullerton as the 6-foot-4 catcher has already reported to Mesa. Baseball America ranked the 18-year-old as the 348th best prospect in the draft and one of the top high school catchers in a deep draft at that position. He was a member of the 2011 USA Baseball 16-U team. Bat speed and a potential for power are the pluses of Alamo’s bat and he possesses an above-average arm behind the plate but is still raw. He could quickly develop into one of the Cubs top catching prospects but has plenty of work to do.
The Cubs also signed RHP Brad Renner, the 28th round pick out of Florida State Community College. The 6-foot-6, 22-year-old started 13 games going 4-5 with a 3.07 ERA recording 66Ks in 73 IP.
With the announcement of the signings, the Cubs inked 22 of their top 25 selections. RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (14th round-Houston) RHP Joshua McCauley (21st round-Shepherd College) and OF Marcus Doi (25th Round-Hawaii High School) were the only Top 25 picks not to agree on a deal. Of the Cubs final 15 picks only Renner and RHP Zak Hermans (30th Round-Princeton) signed contracts. The Cubs went over their cap allotment by just over $500,000 but stayed under the five percent penalty that takes away draft picks in 2014. They will be taxed 75 percent of their overage.
Here’s the the complete draft list, with signing bonuses and where they have been assigned.
Here’s a recap of the Cubs picks Day 1 Day 2 Day 3