On Wednesday, the Cubs selected thirty more players to join their organization. The Cubs will be lucky if they can sign 20 of those 30. While the Cubs did not take a lot of high profile college guys, the process, in it’s totality, should strengthen the system. However, no immediate elite prospects were taken today. In two to three years, though, some of these players could surprise you. To see the full list draft class taken, click here.
Here are 5 things to like about what the Cubs did this week.
1. Position Players
The Cubs took 24 of them this year. That’s twice as many as last year. They took 10 outfielders and seven shortstops, and, for the first time since 2012, a first baseman. It was nice to see the Cubs shift to a more balanced approach to drafting after two classes dominated by pitching. Still, the Cubs only took one position player ranked in the top 100 with five picks in the top 100. It was a bit perplexing to watch.
After spending the better part of two classes on picking starters (who are amazing this year), the Cubs went heavy on bullpen guys and swingmen. They didn’t take a lot of starters. On Day 3, the Cubs took six guys who were either setup men or closers at their respective schools.
3. College Guys
While the Cubs had four prep players in the top 13, most of the players taken in the teens and 20s on Day 3 were college guys. The 20s were filled with seniors who had a jump in their hitting profiles, like catcher Hunter Taylor from South Carolina, outfielder Dalton Hurd from Seattle University, and shortstop Levi Jordan from the University of Washington.
Yes, the system is a little deeper as some holes were filled. While I like several of yesterday’s gets, a lot of the top-10 picks the Cubs took are either boom or bust that need a lot of time to development. And that might be the key. The position players in Chicago aren’t really going anywhere until 2022, if then. As a result, the Cubs can take their own sweet time coaching them up developing them.
5. The Talent Shift
Picking 24th is probably not going to get you an impact bat like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, or Ian Happ. Those type of guys are usually long gone (I see you, Mike Trout) by the time the Cubs picked. So, the Cubs had to get by with selecting players that check off other boxes. This year, they took a lot of players who could be very good, but right now are only good. They need to develop. They have nothing but time.
If the Cubs are going to acquire elite talent anymore, it will have to be in international free agency. This year, the Cubs are considered the favorite to sign the highest-ranked international pitcher in Richard Gallardo. The 16-year-old can sign July 2 and comes across as very polished already. However, he’s not going to see any action until next June because he will be signing a future services contract. Ranked number five by MLB Pipeline’s Jesse Sanchez, Gallardo could have gone in the first 15 picks in the draft, were he eligible.
And that’s how the talent acquisition business has changed now that the Cubs are winning. The draft can help, but you don’t always get the biggest bang for your buck anymore.
Lead Photo of 11th Round Selection Riley Thompson, courtesy of Louisville Athletics.