CHICAGO -- The Cubs continued to add pitching with their 12th-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, taking prep right-hander Trevor Clifton, who is committed to Kentucky.
Clifton displayed a high-velocity fastball and solid curve and changeup at Heritage (Tenn.) High School as a senior, striking out 79 batters in 39 2/3 innings. He also had a 3.35 ERA and .226 batting average against.
The 6-foot-4, 170 pounder's fastball sits in the low 90s, but has touched as high as 97 mph. He has room to add strength, good arm action and a good feel for pitching, though his delivery still needs to be cleaned up.
College infielder Hankins set to move behind plate
CHICAGO -- The Cubs opened the final day of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday by selecting catcher Jordan Hankins of Austin Peay State (Tenn.) in the 11th round.
Hankins, a college infielder, will shift behind the plate. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder is a solid left-handed hitter with a patient approach. He put up a .352/.452/.545 slash line as a junior, hitting 11 home runs and 14 doubles with 54 RBIs in 62 games.
He struck out only 25 times in 244 at-bats.
"Striking out is my biggest pet peeve," Hankins told Clarksville (Tenn.) Online. "My whole approach is to put the ball in play somewhere and be as productive as possible."
Hankins spent last summer playing on USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team.
Cubs take college righty Graham in 13th round
CHICAGO -- The Cubs selected college right-hander Trevor Graham in the 13th round of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday. Graham, from Franklin Pierce University (N.H.), stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 220 pounds.
The righty went 10-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 16 games (15 starts), tossing three complete games as a junior. He struck out 123 batters in 110 1/3 innings, walking only 21.
Graham transferred to Franklin Pierce after two years at Florida Tech. His fastball velocity fluctuates, but scouts believe he'll develop an average fastball. He also has a curve and a strong changeup that sinks down on the third-base corner. He has a hard-nosed mentality and is projected by some as a reliever.
Raw Poncedeleon impresses scouts with pure stuff
CHICAGO -- The Cubs used their 14th-round pick in Saturday's First-Year Player Draft on Houston right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty was 7-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 15 starts for the Cougars, striking out 62 batters and walking 34 in 86 2/3 innings.
Poncedeleon has plenty of raw arm strength that lets his fastball stay in the 90-93-mph range. He throws a downhill four-seamer and sinking two-seamer, along with a 12-6 curveball. His stuff is flashy, but he needs to improve his consistency.
Top 100 prospect Wagner falls to Cubs in 15th round
CHICAGO -- The Cubs selected the college roommate of Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick, with their 15th-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, taking San Diego right-hander Michael Wagner.
Taken 438th overall, he was ranked as the 58th-best Draft prospect, according to MLB.com.
Wagner was dynamite in the closer role for San Diego as a sophomore a year ago, saving 19 games with a 2.58 ERA, earning second-team All-American honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and third-team honors from Baseball America.
He moved back into the rotation as a junior, going 2-5 with a 4.55 ERA in 23 games (11 starts). He struck out 84 batters in 89 innings, but was bit by the long ball, surrendering eight home runs.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty has a three-pitch mix with a sinking fastball and legitimate changeup. His breaking ball, while raw, has the chance to develop into an average Major League pitch. Those tools make him an intriguing starting pitching prospect, with his proven ability to perform in relief a solid fall-back option.