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by alex ciepley
In his latest edition of Ask BA for Baseball America, Jim Callis provides an update on some of the players the Cubs drafted but were unable to sign:
The Cubs wanted to sign fifth-rounder Adrian Ortiz, a Puerto Rican high school outfielder, but lost him to Pepperdine. Most of the other players they've lost the rights to were late-round gambles who slipped in the draft because of signability and/or disappointing performances in the spring. This group includes Massachusetts prep righthander Ryan Moore (13th round, now at Maryland), Georgia Tech righty Micah Owings (19th, now at Tulane), Baylor lefty Trey Taylor (20th), Miami high school shortstop Walter Diaz (22nd, now at Miami), Gonzaga outfielder Jeff Culpepper (24th), Texas prep righty Kenn Kasparek (41st, now at Texas) and Eastern Oklahoma State JC lefty Adam Daniels (43rd, now at Oklahoma State).
Pursuing these types of prospects with later picks is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. The Cubs just didn't get any of those players signed, though they did get deals done with Florida high school righty Sean Gallagher (12th) and Pennsylvania prep third baseman Russ Canzler (30th), both of whom show promise.
Ortiz is the one major loss, as he's the only player the Cubs really expected to sign. Callis mentions that the Cubs still had a strong draft, and even have nine draft-and-follow players (who will be attending community colleges) that the Cubs will have a chance to sign later next spring.
I still don't like the Cubs' top choice, Grant Johnson, a righty who has a history of labrum problems (not a good injury!), but then again I'm not a prospect guy, know jack about scouting, and base this entirely on the theory that it isn't a good idea to draft damaged goods. I am excited to see how both Mark Reed (an offense-first catcher and brother of Seattle uberprospect Jeremy) and former Stanford outfielder Sam Fuld (an on-base guy) perform in the system.