Cubs Draft Guru Dan Kantrovitz
It is that time of year again when I look back at the draft classes of the Cubs going all the way back to 2011. I always enjoy doing this to see how successful a class has been, how hopeful I was in the class. I have been doing this since 2015 over at Cubs Central and as time goes by I am amazed how many of the draft classes popped and how many dissipated quickly. Here is last year’s write up.
2011 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B, B+, A, A-, A-, A-
This class is all gone but it gave us Javy and Vogelbach to dream on and with. 2023 Grade – A-
2012 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B+, A-, B, B-, B-, C, C-, D, D
David Bote only remains. There were several pros that made it out of this class, just not with the Cubs. Almora was the key here and his career never took off. 2023 Grade – D-
2013 – PREVIOUS GRADES – A, A, A+, A+, A+, A+, A+, A+
Those Grades are all about Kris Bryant. No one is left. Rinse and repeat forever.
2023 Grade – A+
2014 – PREVIOUS GRADES – A-, A, A, B, B-, C-, C
Justin Steele is still at it and that is it, unless you count Dylan Cease which I just teared up writing. Don’t make me type Schwarber.
2023 Grade – B. Three solid pros. That will do.
2015 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B, B, C, C–, C, C+
Ian Happ headlined this class. While it does have a few guys left, most will be MiLB free agents after this season. Ian Happ is all that is left. Wow! The Cubs lost 5 guys in the last year, but Happ turned into an All-Star.
2023 Grade – B
2016 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B-, B+, B+, C, D, F
The Cubs did not have a first or second round pick that year and none of them are still in the system. It was a major disappointment of a class. Let’s just say there was plenty of hope in 2017 and 2018 and it faded quickly after the pandemic.
2023 Grade – F.
2017 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B-, C-, A-, B-, B
This class is crazy. There are a lot of guys left – Keegan Thompson, Nelson Velazquez, Jeremiah Estrada, Ben Hecht, Luis Vazquez, Jared Young, Brandon Hughes, and Brendon Little. At times this year, they have had 3 arms in Chicago. Young and Vazquez are possibilities for the future if they can get added to the 40-man.
2023 Grade – B+.
2018 – PREVIOUS GRADES – A –, A –, A-, A-
Nico Hoerner has already made it. Ethan Roberts as well. Cam Sanders is very close. This class has been devastated with ailments and maladies. The pandemic year really derailed any momentum this class had. With Nico’s extension, the grade looks a little better. Still, there are 17 of them still in the system including many with a chance to make it to Chicago. Jake Slaughter and Brennen Davis are in AAA while Kohl Franklin has been pitching in Double-A. This class could be an A next year depending on who gets to Chicago.
2023 Grade – A-
2019 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B, B
18 of them are still hanging around and top pick Ryan Jensen just arrived in Iowa as a reliever. Right now, the high school arms of Herz, Schlaffer, Hodge, and Oquendo look to be the best thing this class has going down the road. However, we need to see more movement towards the top of the system. Its coming slowly. It needs to go faster.
2023 Grade – B–
2020 – PREVIOUS GRADES – B+, B
For this class, I included the nondrafted free agents the Cubs signed in addition to the five draft picks. Matt Mervis is in the majors while Luke Little is now at Tennessee. A lot of the free agents are slowly working their way up the system like Sheldon Reed. Ed Howard and Koen Moreno have dealt with injuries and are now healthy. When you take high school prospects, they do take a while to develop.
2023 Grade – B. If Ed Howard gets it going the second half, that could change everything..
Last year, it was still too early to place an initial grade on this draft class mainly because of injuries and lack of playing time. Little did I know, I forgot to do an initial grade last fall. So, today they get one. With Wicks at Tennessee and Gray just now getting going, that’s two lefties who could be destined for the rotation. I have been impressed with Triantos at South Bend at the plate while Riley Martin and BJ Murray have been extremely pleasant surprises. Chase Watkins has improved in his second year at South Bend.
2023 Initial Grade – B – This class will be much more interesting in two years considering the youth in this class. Most of them are in Myrtle Beach and South Bend with a few still in Mesa. Once they get older and move up the ladder, things should change.
They will get their initial grade in October, pending me remembering to do it. But so far, as I wrote about in April, things are looking really good with Horton, Ferris, McGeary, McCullough, Birdsell, and Noland, This class is looking like it could be an A. With some other players getting started in Arizona, it could be a special first summer for this group.