Chicago Cubs: Hayden Simpson

Top pick Simpson signs $1.06M deal

June, 19, 2010
6/19/10
1:55
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
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.

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.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .283
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 58
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .912
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104