Southern Arkansas pitcher Hayden Simpson, on the Cubs taking him last night with the 16th overall pick:
It came as a complete shock. We were hearing second to fifth round. I don’t see any problem with me signing.
No, when you’re a Division II player expecting to go in, say, the fourth round and the Cubs pick you in the middle of the first round, I imagine negotiating an agreeable signing bonus won’t be an issue.
Simpson has been by far the most-criticized pick of the draft. Baseball America had him ranked as the No. 191 prospect available and according to editor-in-chief John Manuel “many scouts had Simpson in as a middle reliever.” ESPN.com’s Keith Law noted that representatives from other teams were contacting him after the Simpson pick, saying stuff like “are you kidding?” and “not in our top 200.”
Maybe the Cubs just liked him for the cool-sounding name?
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.