Dallas Beeler-a pitcher drafted originally in 2008 by the Toronto Blue Jays, Beeler did not sign and went to Oral Roberts university before being drafted by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2010 draft. He pitched
at AA Tennessee for the Cubs last year.
He seemed pretty excited about being part of the convention, thanking the crowd for their enthusiasm. Beeler was also part of the 12 players chosen in the Cubs rookie development program that was mentioned often during the weekend. There were 12 top prospects chosen to spend time in Chicago to meet with Cubs representatives, management (theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer) and former Cubs players like Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
Beeler mention that Mark Prior's message to the players was to be humble with the game. He also was impressed with how Theo Epstein compared the feeling it might be when the Cubs when the World Series to something like when the United States defeated USSR in hockey at the Olympics.
Robert Whitenack-another pitcher drafted by the Cubs in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft has been recovering from Tommy John surgery and said this was the first surgery he had ever had, but that he is putting trust in his doctors and the rehab staff and feels he is about 90% right now towards coming back to to pitch for the Cubs in 2013. He was with Cubs Daytona team in 2012 (High A).
Matt Szczur-The only non-pitcher on this panel, Szczur played all 3 outfield positions playing for both HIgh A, Daytona before being promoted to class AA Tennessee in 2012. He hit a combined .260/.360 (Batting average/on base percentage) with 42 stolen bases. Szczur (pronounced "Caesar"), was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft and has been ranked as the #62 prospect by Baseball America. When asked the question of when he realized he wanted wanted to be a professional baseball player he writing that in that down in one of his classes in school. He noted his favorite players growing up as being Ken Griffey Jr and Shane Victorino.
Tony Zych-Zych was the only native Illinoisan on this panel growing up in Monee, IL. A hard-throwing right-hander, Zych mentioned that he "learned how to pitch" this year after his promotion to AA Tennessee when he realized he could no longer just throw the ball down the middle of the plate and continue to get batters out consistently. He noted some of
his favorite major league players as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
While this was a great panel, I did miss out on the Sunday panel that included Javier Baez, Jorge Solar and Josh Vitters. If I do find footage of this panel, I will post here and/or on the Facebook page.