Cubs select pitcher Simpson with top pick

June, 7, 2010
6/07/10
9:47
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Hayden Simpson with the 16th pick in the baseball draft on Monday. Simpson, 21, concluded his season at Southern Arkansas University with a 13-1 record and a 1.81 ERA in 15 starts. He also contributed three shutouts and six complete games while striking out 131 in 99 1/3 innings.

"I feel Hayden is potentially a major league starter," Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken said. "He has four above-average to plus-pitches. He's a very athletic pitcher, and he has a good feel for pitching. We had really good reports and very good coverage on Simpson."

Wilken compared the delivery of Simpson, 6 foot and 175 pounds, to the San Francisco Giant's Tim Lincecum and the Houston Astros' Roy Oswalt.

"I'm so thrilled right now, and I'm extremely excited to be a Chicago Cub," said Simpson, who was 35-2 in his career at the Division II school. "This is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm ready to get started."

After Simpson signs, the plan is to send him to Mesa, Ariz., the site of the Cubs' training complex, and after a brief minicamp, the likelihood is he will be sent to one of their short-season A teams.

Simpson was not ranked highly in Baseball America's projections of the top 200 prospects. But Wilken said one other major league team drafting right after the Cubs was showing major interest in him.

Simpson was recommended by area scout Jim Crawford.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .284
HRA. Rizzo 29
RBIA. Rizzo 69
RA. Rizzo 80
OPSA. Rizzo .881
ERAT. Wood 4.91
SOJ. Arrieta 127