Simpson signs (PHOTO/AARON MORRIS)
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs have signed right-handed pitcher Hayden Simpson, the club’s first-round selection (16th overall) in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Chicago has now reached deals with 15 of its 50 selections from this year’s draft, including seven of its first 14.
Several media outlets report that Simpson will receive a signing bonus of $1.06 million.
Simpson, 21, concluded the 2010 college season with a 13-1 record and a 1.81 ERA (20 ER/99.1 IP) in 15 starts, including six complete game efforts and three shutouts for Southern Arkansas University. He led the club in wins, ERA, opposing batting average (.201), innings pitched and starts. He also led the team with 131 strikeouts in 99.1 innings pitched, good for an average of 11.9 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched that ranks third-highest in school history.
The six-foot, 175-pound Simpson recorded a 42.2-consecutive scoreless innings streak this season, second-longest in Gulf South Conference history. His 13 victories rank second-most in a single-season in school history. Simpson was named runner-up for the inaugural Tino Martinez Division II National Player of the Year award among a field of over 100 players from across the country.
Additional honors for Simpson this season include Daktronics National Pitcher of the Year honors and his second-consecutive nod to the First-Team NCAA Division II All-America baseball squad. He was also named the Gulf South Conference West Division Player of the Year and was a unanimous First-Team Gulf South Conference selection.
Simpson preceded his 2010 campaign by going 12-1 with a 2.32 ERA (28 ER/108.2 IP) in 16 starts during his sophomore year in 2009. He limited hitters to a miniscule .182 batting average, striking out 132 batters compared to 44 walks. Simpson spun six complete game efforts, including four shutouts.
In three seasons at Southern Arkansas University, Simpson compiled a stellar 35-2 record with a 2.39 ERA (72 ER/271.0 IP) in 48 career games, 39 starts. His 323 career strikeouts are a school record, and in 271.0 career innings translates to 10.7 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. He tallied 12 complete games while his seven career shutouts tie the Gulf South Conference record. Additionally, his seven Conference Pitcher of the Week awards are a league record.
Simpson, who was recommended by area scout Jim Crawford, graduated from Magnolia (Ark.) High School in 2007.
The Cubs have also come to terms with the following players from the 2010 draft: LHP Hunter Ackerman (fourth-round), LHP Cameron Greathouse (eighth-round), RHP Aaron Kurcz (10th-round), LHP Eric Jokisch (11th-round), RHP Austin Reed (12th-round), RHP Colin Richardson (14th-round), RHP Dustin Fitzgerald (19th-round), INF Ryan Cuneo (20th-round), C Jeff Vigurs (22nd-round), RHP Matthew Loosen (23rd-round), RHP Eric Rice (25th-round), RHP Joseph Zeller (28th-round), LHP Brent Ebinger (32nd-round), INF Dustin Harrington (34th-round).