We’re about a week and a half removed from the MLB Draft and we have reached that exciting point where nearly all the draft picks that are going to sign have inked their contract but none of them have actually taken the field in a game yet. That gives us the perfect window of time to dream on what some of these young guys could wind up turning into.
It would be easy enough for me to rattle off the top five picks of the draft, but instead I’m gonna roll with five dudes that get me a little extra amped up going into their professional careers.
Cade Horton | RHP, 1st Round
Come on, you didn’t think I was gonna leave off the Cubs’ first selection, did you? In a draft class filled with high-risk, high-reward prospects, Horton epitomizes the front office’s draft strategy. The righty absolutely shoved for the Sooners from the moment he learned his new slider and entered the team’s postseason run, likely earning millions of dollars in the process.
I respect the hell outta the Cubs for zigging when everyone else zagged in this draft and I think Horton might now be the pitcher in the system with the clearest path to being a number one starter in the majors. Plenty of things have to go right for that to end up coming to fruition, but I can’t wait to see his fire — and slider — in action.
Nazier Mulé | RHP, 4th Round
The Cubs haven’t had a guy like Mulé in their organization as long as I have been following the minor league system. We saw as the team target two-way college stars Matt Mervis and Hunter Bigge in recent years but then immediately transform them into a single-dimensional players (and it worked out, especially for Mervis).
But with Mulé, there is a legitimate shot for him to stick both as a pitcher and a hitter for the time being. Ultimately, I think his permanent home is on the mound given the fact that he has the frame and 100 fastball to stand out there, but considering the fact that he’s a high school kid that puts up promising exit velo numbers, there’s a shot we even see him get some DH at-bats in full-season ball.
Brandon Birdsell | RHP, 5th Round
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you were to tell me before the draft that the Cubs could get the pitcher of the year from one of the best conferences in the country in the fifth round, I would have taken that in a heartbeat. Birdsell, the Big 12 pitcher of the year while at Texas Tech this season, is another one of the high-risk, high-reward type guys given his stuff and performance but also considering his injury history.
He threw 85 innings in college this spring so I don’t expect a ton of usage out of him this year as a pro, but I think your looking at a guy in Birdsell that could be a fast riser through the system, beginning in High-A and Double-A next year.
Mat Peters | RHP, 12th Round
His story, compressed down into one paragraph:
Peters didn’t make his high school team as a junior. Cracked the roster as a senior but hardly played as he stood just 5-foot-7 at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. Proceeded to grow to be 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds and play baseball at Ivy Tech Community College in his hometown where he was being clocked touching 101 on the gun (just two years removed from his high school days). The school has never had a draft pick before and won’t ever have another one as their trustees voted to disband the baseball team moving forward.
That story is more than enough to get me excited for Mat Peters. He’s gonna be a fan favorite, I can already tell.
Haydn McGeary| Catcher, 15th Round
In a draft where the Cubs selected 16 pitchers, I love any hitter we can get. I love D2 guys. I love big mf’ers. I love dudes who absolutely rake.
McGeary is the two-time D2 player of the year and put up truly insane numbers. In basically the equivalent to a full Major League season (163 games), the big-bodied catcher logged 75 career dong shots and 243 RBI to go along with a 1.452 OPS. Is he a catcher long-term? Eh, probably not. Is it gonna be fun to watch him stroll to the plate on a daily basis? Absolutely.
Wanted Mule bad and am excited to have him in the org, but Ferris is maybe the single player I’m most excited about. I didn’t pay too much attention to him pre-draft, but he’s easy to see Horton/Hoerner (likely MLer) and Ferris/Davis (star tools) parallels here. Same program as Drew Gray, who came in and briefly dominated before the TJ, but bigger, healthier, throws harder with a better overall fastball, and a wider pitch mix. Easily among the highest ceiling SP prospects in the org off the bat and one of the few “true” SP prospects
I’m pretty prejudiced against TJ, but am very impressed with Horton’s athleticism. Pitchers love to say they’re the best athletes on the field, Mets broadcasts (when he’s healthy) love to talk about how DeGrom was a 6’4″ starting glove first SS at Steton and only threw 1 inning in a game before his draft season….Horton played the infield including SS at Oklahoma, granted not to the scale or level DeGrom did and only for the one season but it’ll help