Chris Paciolla – Picture by USA Baseball

The mailbag is starting to look a little thin. Here is today’s question:

Jimmy@jimmynewd: For me, the additions to the Cubs organization in ’22 (via the international signings and the draft), are really interesting. From last year’s class, who excites you most with their profile and potential?

There’s a lot of possible high end talent in the Cubs 2022 draft class. There are a lot of different ways to answer this question but what makes it even harder to answer is just the word “most.” It’s very hard to pick just one. I like Cade Horton, I like Brandon Birdsell, I like Connor Noland. I love the potential of Nazier Mule, Mason, McGwire, and Chris Paciolla. Haydn McGeary is a guy I’m just fascinated with along with Brody McCullough. And then there is Adan Sanchez, the Cubs top international free agent signing from last year, along with this year‘s crew of Derniche Valdez and Angel Cepeda. There’s just so many to pick from. It’s hard to pick just one

But I’m going to do it. 

It’s Chris Paciolla.

Here’s why.

1. He’s not a pitcher but is a position player, Paciolla has a lot less things that can go wrong with him that are going to impact his future. As long as he can swing a bat and drive a baseball, he is a much more bankable prospect. Yes, I am aware that the Cubs have a lot of talented arms that they took in last year’s draft. But they are pitchers and injuries are inherent in that kind of player. I’m not saying that Paciolla can’t get injured, but he is much more likely to reach his potential than any other player in the Cubs’ draft class.

2. And speaking of potential, Paciolla‘s is very high. He can already lift a baseball with ease and he can play two premium positions. While he is more likely to play third, he can also play short and even though he’s probably never played second, he could even fit in there or at first base with his size. He’s going to be just fine, but it’s really all about his bat.

I don’t like to do comps because I think it places an unfair label on a kid, but I’ve seen a lot of MLB players with his kind of swing that naturally drive a baseball. As well, there’s not a lot of wasted motion in his swing and I love that about him.

3. He’s not done filling out yet. With his size, he could easily add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and really change his hitting profile which could easily go from someone in a shortstop body right now into a third baseman‘s body in the future. His body has the framework needed to play either third or first and crank out diggers.

4. He’s still just a young kid and he’s not going to be ready next year or the year after that. But he could be a guy who could be at Chicago in 2025 or 2026. And the Cubs would have him for six or seven years.

I see a power hitting third baseman on the horizon, something the Cubs have not had for a couple of years and probably won’t until Paciolla gets to Chicago.

Others in Consideration – Adan Sanchez, Nazier Mule, and Jackson Ferris

I love what I have seen from Adan Sanchez so far. But he might be physically maxed out. Who knows if he is going to grow some more or stay the same size? If he gets a little taller, he is going to be something special.

As for Nazier Mule – He is clearly the most physically gifted athlete the Cubs have taken in years. However, his career path as a hitter, pitcher, or both is not set in stone. For now, he will do both. We shall see how that works. And just that mystery is why I did not take him. He will definitely be one to watch over the next two years.

Jackson Ferris was the Cubs second round pick last year. He throws left-handed. He’s tall. And he’s only 19. Enough said.