Haydn McGeary – Picture by Stephanie Lynn
When the Cubs took pitcher Brody McCullough in the 10th round of the 2022 MLB draft, I thought that Jason McLeod had returned to take over the drafting duties from Dan Kantrovitz as McCulloch was a D2 pitcher of the year. Five picks later, the ghost McLeod struck again as the Cubs took 2-time D2 MVP Hayden McGeary from Colorado Mesa.
Under Dan Kantrovitz, the Cubs drafting procedures have been more on the toolsy side as well as on the risk side. To take a D2 player is a huge gamble as they normally have not faced elite competition. For McGeary, he also played at elevation for four years.
It’s normal to have concerns about players.
But once I saw McGeary in pictures and on MiLB TV, all those worries went away quickly. Once I saw him swing a bat, my concerns were allayed. Once I saw the size of his forearms, my eyes came pretty close to popping out.
Height – 6-foot-5
Weight – 235
Bats – Right
Throws – Right
Age – Will be 23 in October
Drafted 15th round 2022 Draft out of Colorado Mesa
Had Committed to Kentucky for a 5th year
After graduating high school in Arizona, McGarry attended Colorado Mesa. In 2019, he began his college career and never stopped hitting for four straight years. That first year, he saw action in 41 games as he had 11 home runs and drove in 46. He only played in 18 games during the pandemic year of 2020 but he hit .471 with an on base percentage of .532. In those 18 games he also hit nine home runs and drove in 20.
The video game career continued in 2021 with 20 home runs and 88 RBI. He also hit .483 with a .541 on-base percentage along with an OPS of over 1.500. He was playing in create-a-player mode.
He concluded his distinguished and decorated college career with 35 homeruns and 79 RBI while hitting .481 with an OPS of over 1.600. McGeary 2022. I can see the video game box now.
When the pick of McGeary came in, the first thing I thought of as soon as the school was announced was that it was the same place where 2018 draft pick Julian Boyd was attending this spring. I wonder if the Cubs got a look at McGeary while they were following up on Boyd the last two years. It could’ve happened that way, but that’s only speculation.
While McGeary has been playing for a couple of weeks, he has drawn rave reviews for his skills as well as his ability to hit the ball hard. It was said he was routinely hitting the ball in Arizona with exit velocities of over 105 miles an hour as if he was falling out of bed to do so.
As for his development plan, he’s pretty maxed out physically right now. He should be fine hitting at low A. His first real test is going to come when he gets to South Bend and faces off against guys who were D1 college pitchers. Even though he’s at Myrtle Beach right now and is having a pretty good start to his career, it’s uncertain where he’s going to begin 2023. He could start it in Myrtle Beach or he could end up in South Bend.
But once I began researching McGeary’s summer league experience, he dominated the Appy League this year hitting over .400 with an OBP close to .500 as he hit four home runs and drove in 30 in 30 games for Bluefield. In 2021, he appeared in the New England Collegiate Baseball League and played 17 games for Martha’s Vineyard where he hit. 304 with an OBP over .400 and 2 home runs.
So the more I dig into him, the less concerns I have. He is going to be tested at some point and how he does against elite competition should be something to watch as he learns how to adapt to elite stuff.
He’s definitely going to be one to watch through the end of the season in the playoffs as well as 2023. In 10 games so far, he’s hitting .293 with a .341 OBP with 1 dinger and 6 RBI.