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."
"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.