With Hannemann, Cubs see draft class coming into focus

With Hannemann, Cubs see draft class coming into focus
June 19, 2013, 9:30 pm
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ST. LOUIS – Leading up to the draft, the Cubs stressed the idea of not focusing only on the No. 2 overall pick, pointing out how the St. Louis Cardinals have found hidden gems in the later rounds and kept their assembly line of prospects rolling.  

No one really knows which ones are keepers yet, but the 2013 draft class is coming into focus. The Cubs have reached agreements with nine of their first 10 picks, sources said Wednesday, and formal announcements are expected in the coming days. 

That group includes Brigham Young University outfielder Jacob Hannemann, a 22-year-old scholarship football athlete with leverage who will receive a $1 million bonus as a third-round pick.

University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant is still unsigned, and the expectation is that advisor Scott Boras will steer those negotiations right up to the July 12 deadline before finalizing a deal. The slot value for the No. 2 overall pick is around $6.7 million.

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Hannemann, an Eagle Scout who served his Mormon mission in Arkansas and took two years off from baseball, was projected to compete for a starting job as a 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back on the BYU football team this fall. 

The West Coast Conference’s freshman of the year hit .344 with five homers and 29 RBI in 51 games, piling up 16 doubles, seven triples, 24 walks and 14 stolen bases.  

“It’s an interesting story,” team president Theo Epstein said last week. “He’s kind of a rare combination for a college player – tools, athleticism, speed and then also pretty polished hand-eye coordination and the ability to make contact.”

The Cubs tried to stockpile arms and address the organization’s biggest need, knowing that the odds say they’ll hit on at least a few pitchers. 

They’ve struck deals with: University of Missouri lefty Rob Zastryzny (second round); Kent State University right-hander Tyler Skulina (fourth); Texas Tech University right-hander Trey Masek (fifth); Pepperdine University right-hander Scott Frazier (sixth); Michigan State University right-hander David Garner (seventh); Lamar Community College lefty Sam Wilson (eighth); and University of Tennessee right-hander Zachary Godley (10th). 

Ninth-round pick Charcer Burks, a high school outfielder from Texas, has also reached an agreement, adding to what figures to be a deep pool of position players in the system. 

Baseball America first reported the deal with Hannemann, who was personally scouted by Epstein and visited Wrigley Field for a pre-draft workout. The Kansas City Royals had selected Hannemann in the 48th round of the 2010 draft. 

“He’s a really good kid, outstanding athlete and baseball’s coming back to him really quickly,” Epstein said. “That was enough for us to look past the age. He’s a little bit older than we expect for a player with only one season of college experience.”