Chicago Cubs MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Chicago Cubs:
General Manager: Jed Hoyer (Since 2015)
Scouting Director: Matt Dorey (Since 2015)
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $7,517,100 (21st)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 24th
2nd Round: 62nd
Supplemental 2nd Round: 77th (compensation for Lance Lynn), 78th (compensation for Jake Arrieta)
3rd Round: 98th
4th-40: 24th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: Brendon Little (27th), Alex Lange (30th)
2015: Ian Happ (9th)
2014: Kyle Schwarber (4th)
2013: Kris Bryant (2nd)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
3B Kris Bryant (No. 2 overall, 2013) is as close to the ideal draft pick you can have without taking Mike Trout, as Bryant has been one of the top three most valuable hitters in baseball since his 2015 NL rookie of the year campaign. He’s gotten MVP votes in each of his first three seasons—in addition to winning the NL MVP in 2016—and was the best player on the Cubs’ championship team two years ago. Bryant has been everything the Cubs could have hoped for, and then some.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
In direct contradiction to how the Cubs were built under Theo Epstein, the Cubs have been one of the most pitcher-heavy teams in the last five years in the top five rounds of the draft. Only the Braves have drafted a higher percentage of pitchers than the Cubs (66.7 percent) in that span, though the Cubs have opted to go for the college route whereas the Braves have gone to the high school pipeline.
Chicago has drafted players from four-year universities 75 percent of the time in this span, behind only the White Sox (83.3 percent) and the Tigers (76 percent).
That trend has continued since scouting director Matt Dorey took over in 2015. Since then, the Cubs have taken 11 college players out of their 14 top five round selections (78.6 percent), and 10 of the 14 picks have been pitchers. If you look at only the last two drafts, the Cubs have selected just one hitter among their nine selections—high school outfielder Nelson Velazquez in the fifth round in the 2017 draft.
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Potential Draft Targets:
P Tristan Beck — Beck is a college righthander with four pitches that are above-average or better but a medical that could give teams some pause
P Kris Bubic — A college lefthander with no true plus offering, Bubic has a successful track record in the Pac-12 thanks to impressive pitchability
P Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension, and more projection remaining than other college arms
P Sean Hjelle — A towering, 6-foot-11 righthander, Hjelle has a preternatural ability to throw strikes despite the length of his limbs
P Blaine Knight — One of the best pitchers in the SEC this spring, Knight has an electric arm, mid-90s fastball and high spin-rate breaking ball
P Jackson Kowar — Lean, wiry and with a good frame, Kowar has an above-average fastball and plus changeup
P Kumar Rocker — Big, physical and imposing, Rocker has loud pure stuff, including a fastball up to 98 mph and a breaking ball that falls off the table
P Grayson Rodriguez — The Texas pop-up overhauled his body in the offseason and has been up to 97-98 mph with ease out of a big, 6-foot-4 frame
P Ryan Rolison — A high-floor college lefthander, Rolison shows a three-pitch mix including a fastball up to 96 mph with good life
P Anthony Seigler — An ambidextrous, switch-hitting catcher who can pitch from both sides, Seigler's pro future will be behind the plate where he is solid all-around
P Cole Wilcox — A projectable 6-foot-5 Georgia righty with a fastball into the mid-90s and a sharp slider that has gotten sharper this spring