The Chicago Cubs hold the 16th selection in the 2010 MLB draft, which starts today.


So which player will they pick? Well, that depends on which players the teams take before them, obviously.


But one can make a general statement about what type of player they are looking for by examining the types of players that Cubs Director of Player Personnel Tim Wilken likes.


Wilken came to Chicago in 2005, with a long and successful track record for Tampa Bay and Toronto. In Toronto, Wilken saw the Blue Jays graduate 12 consecutive first-round picks to the big leagues.


So what kind of players does Wilken prefer? Here’s what he had to say when interviewed back in 2007:


“In some circles I’ve been given the tag of preferring high school players over college, but I don’t feel that I lean that way. I do like guys who can hit, and I like up-the-middle guys. Middle guys are usually the best players on the field, so you can move them more easily if the need arises. I know that in Toronto we had 10 of them in instructs (instructional league) one year that went on to play in the big leagues. Some, like Michael Young , Orlando Hudson , and Cesar Izturis , are still there, but others, like Casey Blake , moved to a corner or the outfield.”


Keith Law, who works for ESPN and is familiar with Wilken through his time spend as assistant to the GM in Toronto, says that W ilken, “Loves athletic kids who play multiple sports or who play as both position players and pitchers.”


With that in mind, Law is predicting that the Cubs will select Justin O’Conner, a high school catcher out of Cowan high school in Muncie, Indiana.


O’Conner had come into his senior season as a man without a clear position. Since his move behind the plate, O’Conner has established himself as a first round pick, with a strong arm and a quick release.


His hitting has been suspect, despite good bat speed. His power potential is in question due to mechanics, but as a catcher, his offensive shortcomings can be overlooked.


Prior to the latest mock, Law has the Cubs picking Alex Wimmers, RHP out of Ohio State. He is slight in build and may not hold his velocity well, but has two plus offspeed pitches in his curve and change.


If for some reason he slips and is available when the Cubs turn comes around, look for Wilken to give Nick Castellanos strong consideration as well.


Castellanos is a high school shortstop who will likely switch to third base or the outfield when he reaches pro ball. He isn’t fast but he is athletic for his size, with power.  


Another intriguing possibility is Delino DeShields, Jr. Yes, he’s the son of the former major leaguer and he fits the mold that Wilken seems to like: a very athletic two-sport star.


The main knock on DeShields is his size. He’s listed as 5’8” but is the fastest runner in the draft and projects as a solid center fielder, though he currently plays second base.


The Cubs would desperately like to hit on their first round selection, as they haven’t had a home-grown position player become a star during GM Jim Hendry’s tenure, though Starlin Castro could become the first to do so.


This year’s draft would be a great place to start.

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