Top Storylines for 2022: The Draft Will Take Center Stage with Pick #7

Draft Wiz Dan Kantrovitz

With the Cubs picking at the number seven spot, whoever the Cubs take is going to be a pretty important player in the long term success of the Major League Club. That draft pick could be a top 100 Prospect right from the get go and that person could also be the Cubs new #1 pick after Brennen Davis graduates.

So far this fall, I’ve looked at a few mock drafts and a few rankings but I really haven’t done any deep dives into video or profiles other than seeing something on Baseball America, Prospects Live, or MLB Pipeline. I’ve compared a few of the rankings of each publication including FanGraphs and each list is all over the place. The Cubs are going to get a good pick at number seven but there’s nothing set in stone and there are too many variables and too much time between now and whenever the draft is going to be in 2022 to actually narrow it down to one player. That will probably not happen until days before the draft.

Instead, my draft coverage next year will probably look at groups of players which is actually not that much different than what I do now.

When I talked to draft guru Greg Zumach about the draft and what will be the top storylines for the Cubs, he had a lot of ideas. Greg said, “It has basically been draft season since August for those in the scouting world. It may feel a bit early, but there are big storylines to consider when looking at how the Cubs will tackle the 2022 Draft.”

Greg began his thoughts by detailing what he thought was going to be the number one storyline for the draft will actually happen long before the draft. He wrote:

“The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is the biggest story line in the entire sport, let alone the MLB Draft. After the 2011 CBA was signed, the 2012 MLB Draft experienced a radical change. Bonus pools, slot values, and abolishing “major-league deals” for premier draft picks all became the status quo. Tanking for higher draft picks and larger bonus pools became a common strategy for organizations, especially after the Cubs and Astros proved how successful it could be. It has become a sore spot for fans and players, and it’s expected that the next CBA includes changes designed to curb tanking. The Draft could become a huge component of those strategies.”

The CBA talk by Greg also got me thinking about an additional storyline as to whether or not draft picks could be traded in the new CBA. While Greg did not mention it, I think it’s an important addendum for the Cubs as they could trade MLB talent to acquire draft picks or the Cubs could actually trade their own draft picks to acquire talent that’s already proven. Why wait around for a top of the rotation pitcher when you can just trade a few draft picks for him. If that’s going to be the case, I’m going to find it very interesting as to how the market is set for each pick and the value attached to a player as it pertains to the number of draft picks you would need to trade for them.

As for the rest of the draft, Greg examined how Cubs V-P of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz is actually looking for a specific types of players to add to the system:

Since Kantrovitz began overseeing the Cubs’ drafts, we have seen the Cubs prioritize players in specific demographics. Left-handed pitchers and athletes on both sides of the ball have dominated the 2020 and 2021 drafts for the Cubs. So far, this has been highly beneficial to the system. Southpaws like Wicks, Drew Gray, Burl Carraway, Luke Little, and even Wilson Cunningham all provide intriguing potential. Jordan Nwogu and Christian Franklin demonstrate immense potential if the Cubs hitting infrastructure can help both continue to cut down on strikeouts. If the Cubs feel confident they can help a premier player take the next development steps, perhaps they take a chance with Elijah Green, who shows off unreal potential, but may scare organizations off with his strikeout rate.”

Combined, those are some interesting thoughts. We have seen the shift the last few years to the Cubs taking more risk in the draft by selecting guys with more physical talents than high floors. That trend started around 2018, but Kantrovitz has taken it to another level with more toolsy guys who need more development.

I am also wondering if Kantrovitz continues to add prep pitching as he has done the past two drafts. The success of DJ Herz emboldens the new pitching hierarchy of Craig Breslow. The Cubs were so college heavy under McLeod, but Kantrovitz has taken 7 prep arms in his 25 picks the last two years. I don’t think McLeod took much more than 10 between 2012 and 2019. It would be close.

One final storyline that I see coming is just exactly how the batting versus pitching ratio is going to shake out. We saw in 2016, 2017, 2019 that the Cubs went overboard in trying to rectify their pitching problem. In 2021, Kantrovitz selected 9 hitters and 11 pitchers and then added a few pitchers in nondrafted free agency. I am wondering if Kantrovitz will go out and go bat heavy in 2021 or pretty much go 50-50 like he did this past summer.




2 responses to “Top Storylines for 2022: The Draft Will Take Center Stage with Pick #7”

  1. Jeff Avatar

    Robert Moore, Elijah Greene, or Dylan Lesko please!

    Liked by 1 person

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