Mason McGwire – Photo via ESPN
We’re starting to see some of the draft picks begin to sign their contracts. They’re out in Mesa getting their physicals and then going through orientation on being a Cub. When that’s done, they’ll probably play in a game or two and get their assignments. Since 3/4 of this class are pitcher, they’re not going to play very much this year. At most, they might throw 15 to 20 innings and no more than two innings at a time.
As for where they spend the rest of their summer, it’s pretty clear most of them are going to be in Mesa. The only issue with that is Mesa’s season ends in a month. There’s not a lot of time to get some work in. Some of them could go to Myrtle Beach now with only a couple heading to South Bend.. We might even see some go to Mesa for the remainder of their season and then head to Myrtle Beach afterwards.
Below is a chart that has each player on the left and then the middle column contains where they’ll probably go to spend the rest of this season. And the third column has where they’ll probably start 2023.
And just to remind you, none of these assignments are written in stone. A lot can change in a prospect’s development over the next eight months before the 2023 season begins. That’s a lot of time So just take it with a grain of salt and realize these are just possible projections.
|Player||2022 Assignment||2023 Assignment|
|Cade Horton||I don’t see a problem with him heading to South Bend when he’s done in Mesa. With him only throwing a couple of innings at a time, it would be a good place for him to get a head start on next year there. That would be the same path the Jordan Wicks did this year.||Depending on how well he does, South Bend should be his starting point followed by Tennessee. How fast he moves depends on how much the Cubs can improve what he is throwing. If he comes out and is dominant in April and early May, we might see him in Iowa by the end of the year. It all depends on his performance. More than likely, two levels next year would be fine.|
|Jackson Ferris||He’s going to get a little bit of work in in Arizona. He might, depending on how he does in Mesa, get a little taste of Myrtle Beach life for a couple of weeks at the end of this year.||If the Cubs iron out some kinks and tweak a few things, I could see him starting at Myrtle Beach next spring. There’s no rush to get him to South Bend. That might be an end-of-the-year thing where he gets there for the last month.|
|Chris Paciolla||he should be in Mesa to spend the summer.||Paciola should start out next summer in extended spring training. If that goes really well, he could be at Myrtle Beach in the middle of the year. Then again, you really want him to get some game action in as the Cubs figure out what position he’s going to play. Ideally, Mesa probably should be his destination. If he really takes to instruction, he has an outside shot at Myrtle Beach.|
|Nazier Mule||The Cubs originally drafted him as a pitcher but it looks like he’s going to have the opportunity to play both ways. That should be fun. If that happens, I wonder if he’s going to stick at short and if he’s gonna be a reliever or if they’re going to have him try and start. I’ve seen him hit, he’s fabulous. I’ve seen him pitch, the potential is off the charts. Either way, he’s going to be in Mesa for the rest of the summer.||Mule’s assignment is probably the toughest one of the lot. In trying to figure out where to send him next year you first have to know what positions he’s going to be playing. In a perfect world, he’s good enough for Myrtle Beach. Realistically, he might just say in extended spring training and then the Cubs make a decision at the end as to where to send them whether it’s Mesa or Myrtle Beach.|
|Brandon Birdsell||Once he gets some baseline data in, I would not mind seeing him in South Bend this year. However, that’s a pipe dream because I really like Birdsell. More than likely he heads to Myrtle Beach to help them with their championship run.||With his stuff, I don’t see South Bend as something he couldn’t do. I think it’s probably his best landing spot to start the year. It’s an option that fits well with his experience and expertise.|
|Will Frisch||He’s probably not going to pitch this year. He’s still going to be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.||He should be finding his way to Myrtle Beach to start the year. He might even be ONE of their many aces to start the year.|
|Nick Hull||After orientation is over in Mesa, you can plug him in at the back of the Myrtle Beach bullpen. He’s really going to strengthen that staff and take a lot of pressure off of the young kids that are 19-20 years old.||With his experience, South Bend seems like the perfect fit.|
|Mason McGwire||Since he’s coming out of high school, he’s going to be in Mesa all summer and all fall. Based on how much of a data nerd he is, he might be there all winter.||This is an interesting one. I think it depends on how he develops physically and what other pitches the Cubs can teach him between now and spring training next year. He already has a plus splitter change, what else can they get him to throw? So I’m gonna leave this one up in the air as my only undecided assignment.|
|Connor Noland||He’s heading to Myrtle Beach. He probably can’t pitch more than a couple of innings at a time because he’s already pitched a full season. However, he could really strengthen that rotation after they lost Devers and Hodge.||His 2023 placement is really going to be based upon how he does in spring training. I’m sure the Cubs are going to get him in the velocity program and possibly rework a pitch or two while not trying to lose his plus command that he already has. I’d really like to see him in South Bend to start 2023, I just don’t know if there’s room enough for him there to at least begin the year.|
|Brody McCullough||I’m pretty sure it’s gonna roll like this for Brody – he’ll be in Mesa working on some things until the end of August. At that time, he’ll head up and get a cup of coffee at Myrtle Beach. I am 100% confident the Cubs think they can coach this kid up and turn him into something special. He’s got a perfect frame and he’s got a track record of success at the D2 level||He’s going to be in Myrtle Beach. It’s a huge step to go from D2 to Heidi. We’ve seen that the past couple years whenever the Cubs bring in a non-drafted free agent. But that might be to his benefit as it all allow him to both develop and dominate if everything goes well|
|Branden Noreiga||I see him being in Mesa the rest of the summer. It’ll be interesting to see what role he’s going to have going forward. That should determine where he’s going to go next year. And, is he going to be a starter or a reliever?||If he’s a reliever, he has a shot of heading to Myrtle Beach to start the year. If the Cubs want him to be a starting pitcher, I think he stays behind in extended spring training to work on that. He’s got an electric arm and maybe the best way to develop that arm is to get them out there in the bullpen and let them have at it.|
|Mathew Peters||This is getting to be a broken record of comments. Peters should start out in Mesa and he’ll probably spend the rest of the season there. It’ll be interesting to see how much tweaking the Cubs do to what he throws and how he throws it. He has an outside shot going to Myrtle Beach at the end of the season||You can pretty much plug him in for Myrtle Beach right now. Whether he is a reliever or starter is going to be fun to find out with how hard he really throws. According to him, he tends to think he’s going to be a bullpen guy|
|Luis Rujano||I am excited about this kid becoming a Cub. He’s big at 6-foot-4 and 18-years-old. He’s going to be in Mesa for the rest of this year.||This is another undecided for me. His assignment probably depends upon how he does in spring training. If I was a betting man, I would go with extended spring training and then all bets are off from there. I would not be shocked to see him spend a year in Mesa or in some capacity at Myrtle Beach. It doesn’t have to be the rotation, but I’m sure he would like it to be.|
|Shane Marshall||He’s going to be in Mesa learning how to pitch professionally. It’s not that he’s going to take a while, it’s just getting him started and strengthening that arm. The Cubs really like the shape of his fastball and they will be trying to build other pitches around that. He could be another guy that gets a taste of Myrtle Beach for two weeks this year.||Depending upon how he does in spring training he could be at either Myrtle Beach or South Bend. Myrtle Beach is probably the softer landing spot as he learns how to get hitters out as a pitcher. He’s used to the other side of things as a catcher, but it’s a whole other ball game when you’re the one doing the throwing.|
|Haydn McGeary||I see him spending a few days in Mesa and then he’s off to Myrtle Beach where he can hopefully provide a little punch to the lineup. I am curious as to where they are going to have them play. I am thinking DH, 1B, and maybe some outfield.||Coming from a D2 school, ideally Myrtle Beach would be the best place for him to start. However if he can handle some of the Cubs’ pitchers in spring training that will be a sign to South Bend, I could see him starting out the year in northern Indiana. That would be fun.|
|JP Wheat||If the Cubs can sign him, he’s going to be in Mesa. Right now that’s a big if.||Should he sign, he’ll be in Mesa all summer since he just started pitching a year and a half ago.|
|Andy Garriola||He is also gonna provide a little thunder to Myrtle Beach’s lineup once his couple of games in Mesa are over. He could reshape the playoff race for this year with his power||Oh, this is a tough one. I am wondering just how good the bat is to succeed at South Bend. With his college experience, that might be the best place for him to start, but the Cubs have so many good outfielders there might not be a place for him. Myrtle Beach might be best for a while.|
|Garrett Brown||He’s going to be in Mesa with an outside shot of heading to Myrtle Beach depending upon how he does in Mesa.||Myrtle Beach is probably gonna be his likely destination to start 2023 in the bullpen.|
|Brock Blatter||I am hoping the Cubs sign him and send him to Mesa to start his pro career.||If he does sign, Mesa looks to be his home for the next year as the Cubs get him experience. His only time against advanced competition was in the Draft League and he seemed to hold his own. That’s a good sign!|
|Ke’Shun Collier||Coming out of junior college, he’ll be in Mesa this summer with an outside shot at Myrtle Beach to end the year.||if the Cubs can get his swing where they want it so that he’s more of a line drive hitter than a slap hitter, he could be at Myrtle Beach to start 2023.|
Great column, lots to think about and dream on. And we don’t have to wait very long to see the actual outcomes!