RHP Zack Godley came to the Cubs as their tenth round pick in this year's Rule 4 draft. A senior out of Tennessee, Godley entered the draft coming off a 2013 season that saw him strike out 98 batters in in 108.1 innings and toss 6 complete games, posting a 3.49 ERA on the year. His signing was pretty drama-free, announced along with a pack of other 2013 draftees on June 18th. Godley signed for well under the pick's $139,000 slot, accepting a $35,000 contract. After getting a single appearance in an AZL game, he was shipped off to Boise to begin his career.
All the small sample size caveats apply here, but the Northwest League was damn good to Godley, who appeared in 13 games and tossed 25.2 innings of 1.75 ERA ball. The stats that are there look as universally excellent as you'd expect from a 23 year old college draftee facing short-season hitters. He struck out 27 in his 25.2 frames, walking only 5, allowing no homers, and keeping the ball on the ground (1.76 GO/FO rate). NWL hitters were held to a .217 average against Godley, and he allowed only 6 runs total on the campaign. In short, Godley was dominant in a league he should be dominating.
Godley has a solid pitcher's body, standing 6'3 and clocking in at 245 lbs. As with a lot of this year's late round draftees, there's not a lot of video out on him. The best look I could get at his throwing motion was in this feature on him:
You mostly get quick looks at him from crappy angles, but what sticks out to me is a short, violent arm action that seems to me to be a red flag for injury, despite his durability in college. Given that as a starter his fastball sat in the high 80s to low 90s, Godley's future probably lies in the bullpen. Some of the notable parts of Baseball America's report on him pre-draft:
Godley throws strikes with his fastball and has proved durable at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds. His fastball sits 88-90 mph and he fills up the bottom half of the strike zone. His curveball is fringe-average and flashes better. His changeup was a solid-average to plus pitch in 2012 but backed up in 2013 as his curve improved. Godley hit 95 mph as a reliever and probably fits better in that role as a pro.
A strike-throwing middle relief prospect with good secondary stuff that has potential to develop seems like a nice value for a tenth rounder you picked up for pennies.
Godley will almost certainly start 2014 with Kane County. He worked enough multi-inning efforts in Boise where I could see the organization giving lip-service to the idea of keeping him as a starter, but I hope they keep him in the role he thrived in at Boise, working multiple innings in relief, and moving him quickly through the ranks. Being the fourth or fifth bullpen guy on the 2015 club out of spring training isn't totally out of the question if he pitches well next season, and if the fastball really does get to 95 out of the pen and the curve and change reach their potential, who knows, he could peak as a really nice eighth inning guy. Regardless, he's got enough polish and collegiate pedigree that I'd be shocked if he didn't have a major league role of some sort down the road. A high-floor, cheap pick with potential to develop in the tenth round? More of these, Thoyer, please.