It's always fun trying to guess whom you're team will take with its first pick in the baseball draft.
Good luck with that this year.
The Cubs pick fourth in Thursday evening's amateur draft, and general manager Jed Hoyer has seemed perfectly sincere this week when he has said that pick is a mystery, even to him.
Hoyer talked about the draft before Wednesday night's 5-4 victory over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.The Houston Astros have the No. 1 pick followed by the Marlins and the White Sox. Last year, it seemed pretty certain that after the Astros grabbed pitcher Mark Appel, the Cubs would follow with third baseman Kris Bryant.
They did, and Bryant already is knocking at the big-league door from Class AA Tennessee. This year, all bets are off. Hoyer said he has no idea who is going where.
"Probably much less than any other year," he said. "I have a feeling that last year, if you were sitting at fourth, you had a pertty good sense of which three players were going to go ahead (of you). I don't that's really the case this year. Maybe tomorrow, midday, we'll have a better sense of it. Right now, I don't think we do have a good sense, and I don't think we will tonight, either.
"For Houston, we don't expect to know what they're going to do until they announce the pick on TV. They've done that two years in a row. I wouldn't expect that to change. Guessing what Houston will do at 1 is pretty fruitless."
With the Cubs expected to push the 100-loss mark again this season, draft day has become one for the team and fans to look forward to as much as any other. The Cubs' past three drafts have netted Bryant, outfielder Albert Almora and shortstop Javier Baez in the first round.
Hoyer said he was not going to tip the Cubs' hand as to which way they're leaning -- position player vs. pitcher. The Cubs need pitching in the organization, but it's quite possible they could take a position player in the first round and then load up on pitching. Their second-round pick Thursday night comes at No. 45.
Catchers Alex Jackson and Max Pentecost seem like attractive options as does outfielder Michael Conforto. Some mock drafts have pitchers Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon and Tyler Kolek going 1-2-3.
Because of the uncertainty, the Cubs are looking at more than just four top candidates for their first-round pick.
"I'd say a half-dozen, probably, of guys that are still at the top," Hoyer said. "We had probably a three-hour debate today, kind of walking through guys. We'll probably have one more lengthy discussion tonigh as we go through it.
"Certainly, the two picks we make are a significant investment, and you want to make sure you have all the information and you double back on medical reports, double back on background information. You want to make sure you don't leave any stone unturned with two picks."