CHICAGO – Cubs manager Dale Sveum is well aware first-round draft pick Kris Bryant believes he is ready for the majors right now.
Sveum joked that as soon as he heard the comment, he looked for a flight itinerary to see when Bryant would be arriving at Wrigley Field. But, all jokes aside, Sveum is confident Bryant, a power-hitting third baseman, has the tools to be a great hitter in the big leagues.
“Watching all the video on him, I loved his mechanics hitting and obviously his strength and ability to hit the ball out of center field and right-center field is a plus,” Sveum said. “Whenever you get the best hitter in the draft, knock on wood, they hit in the big leagues.”
Based on the history of the top hitter in the draft reaching the majors fairly quick – Brewers’ Ryan Braun made his debut less than two years after being drafted while the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki spent only one season in the minors – Sveum said he wouldn’t be surprised if Bryant joins the Cubs faster than most players.
“He has pretty good mechanics that last and play well in the big leagues,” Sveum said. “It’s always nice to have a guy that out-homered 200 major college teams’ [players].”
The First-Year Player Draft continued Friday with Rounds 3-10. Among the players drafted by the Cubs was BYU outfielder Jacob Hannemann, a 22-year-old freshman who went on his Mormon mission after high school. The Cubs followed the Hannemann pick with four consecutive right-handed pitchers, all juniors in college including Kent State’s Tyler Skulina and Texas Tech’s Trey Masek.
Castro still hitting seventh: For a third consecutive game, shortstop Starlin Castro found himself hitting seventh.
Castro entered Friday’s game against the Pirates 1 for 8 in the No. 7 spot. The Cubs have been working with Castro to develop better plate discipline, but it hasn’t paid off yet. Sveum doesn’t have a plan as to when Castro will be moved back to hitting second in the lineup. Castro went 0 for 3 with a walk in Friday's 2-0 loss.
“I have no idea, there’s no timetable for it,” Sveum said. “Hopefully we get him swinging the bat and having quality at-bats and hitting the ball hard. It’s not even really seeing that he get hits. It’s more the at-bats and hitting the ball hard.”
Friday game times: With a city ordinance approved that in part allows Wrigley Field to host 35 night games a season, the Cubs also are able to schedule up to six Friday 3:05 p.m. starts.
On Friday, the Cubs announced they have scheduled four 3:05 p.m. starts this season: July 5 (Pirates), July 12 (Cardinals), Aug. 2 (Dodgers) and Aug. 16 (Cardinals).