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Top pick Simpson signs $1.06M deal

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs No. 1 draft pick Hayden Simpson officially signed a $1.06 million deal with the Cubs Saturday, and threw a bullpen session for the team’s front office at Wrigley Field.

Simpson, drafted No. 16 overall in the first-year player draft, is 21 years old . He pitched at Southern Arkansas University, going 13-1 in 2010 with a 1.81 ERA.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Simpson, recommended to the Cubs by veteran scout Jim Crawford, threw 42 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings last season, and in three years was 35-2 with a 2.39 ERA.

The Cubs No. 1 draft pick mentioned a couple of future Hall of Famers as his favorite pitchers to watch in his youth.

“I liked Roger Clemens growing up,” said Simpson. I liked his attitude on the mound. He took control. And I also was a [Greg] Maddux fan. I liked watching Tom Glavine pitch.”

Maddux, who is an aide to general manager Jim Hendry, will most likely be involved in helping Simpson get his game on the way.

“He’s going to have to keep me away from him, because I’m going to be bugging him.” said Simpson.

The Cubs will send Simpson to the team’s complex in Mesa, Ariz. before he starts his professional career at Class-A Boise.

“Boise is my final destination this summer,” Simpson said. “Then the instructional league after that.”

Simpson has a fastball that tops out at 97 mph and throws both a four- and two-seam fastball, along with a curveball and a changeup.

Simpson was asked his first impression of Wrigley Field.

“It’s great,” Simpson said. “Walking through the tunnel, walking on the field, it’s fun. Wrigley Field is so historic. To be a part of the Chicago Cubs organization is a great feeling.”

Simpson was a surprise pick by the Cubs. Baseball America, the information source for many baseball fans when it comes to the draft, had over 150 players ranked higher than Simpson before the June 6 draft began.

-- The Cubs won seven of eight games without making an error from June 6-June 13. Going into Saturday’s game they had made nine errors in their last four games. Their 55 total team errors are the second most in the National League.