The Chicago Cubs, the Major League affiliate of the Eugene Emeralds, selected pitcher Ryan Jensen and infielder Chase Strumpf during the first day of the 2019 MLB Draft on Monday.
Picking near the bottom half of the first and second rounds, the Cubs targeted a pair or proven collegiate players that both hail from the Golden State.
Ryan Jensen, a right-handed pitcher from Fresno State, rocketed up mock draft boards this season after a stellar junior campaign. The Salinas, California native posted a 12-1 record with a 2.88 ERA, 107 strikeouts and just 27 walks.
Jensen has showed a knack for the clutch, too, most notably notching 8 strikeouts over 7.2 innings while allowing just 4 hits and 2 runs in the Bulldogs' 9-2 win over UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Regionals. The Bulldogs were eliminated from postseason play on Monday night after suffering a 9-7 loss to host Stanford in a winner-take-all game.
MLB Pipeline: "Jensen has arm strength to spare, with a fastball that sits from 94-98 mph. He's able to maintain his velocity deep into his starts, showing plenty of 97-98 mph heaters in the seventh and eighth inning of his starts. When he finds his arm slot, it can have plus life, but he often loses it, causing it to be flat and very hittable. His slider will show flashes of being an above-average pitch, but it's not consistent. He does have an upper-80s changeup with some fade, but he doesn't use it much."
The Cubs looked to the infield with their second round selection by taking Case Strumpf out of UCLA. Primarily a second baseman by trade, Strumpf is a two-time all-conference selection and a 2018 second team All-American selection by D1Baseball.com, Collegiate Baseball, and Perfect Game.
Strumpf helped guide the UCLA Bruins to 47 regular season wins in 2019, most in program history, along with the PAC-12 Conference championship and the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins will face off against Michigan in the NCAA Super Regionals. All three potential games between the Bruins and Wolverines will be aired on ESPN2 (June 7 - 6:00pm | June 8 - 6:00pm | June 9 - 6:00pm - if necessary).
MLB Pipeline: "It's Strumpf's hit tool that stands out. He can flat out rake with excellent strike zone discipline, showing the ability to barrel up the baseball consistently. While he doesn't have huge raw power, there's some definite thump from the right side of the plate and he can punish mistakes. While he was a shortstop in high school, he doesn't have the arm or the speed to play there, but he should be a reliable defender at second base."
Interestingly enough, if either Jensen or Strumpf get assigned to the Ems this season, it wont be their first apperances at PK Park in 2019.
Jensen led Fresno State to a 5-1 win over the Oregon Ducks on April 5 behind a strong outing that saw him toss 6.1 innings with 9 K's while allowing one run and no walks.
Meanwhile, Strumpf and the UCLA Bruins celebrated winning the PAC-12 Conference championship at PK Park after clinching the title in the regular season's final series less than two weeks ago.
The MLB Draft resumes on Tuesday with rounds 3-10 and live coverage is available via MLB.com. Tune in to see potential future Ems hear their name called.
The Cubs will have the following selections on Day Two of the MLB Draft:
- - Round 3: Pick #103
- - Round 4: Pick #132
- - Round 5: Pick #162
- - Round 6: Pick #192
- - Round 7: Pick #222
- - Round 8: Pick #252
- - Round 9: Pick #282
- - Round 10: Pick #312
The 2019 Emeralds baseball season begins on June 14 at PK Park. Tickets are on sale now at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.
Stay up to date with the Emeralds by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.