In 2016, the Cubs didn’t have a first- or second-round pick in what MLB now calls the “First-Year Player Draft,” due to signing John Lackey and Jason Heyward.
The Cubs’ system still has a lot of talent, but after “graduating” guys like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Carl Edwards Jr. and Willson Contreras to the team that eventually won the World Series, it’s time to start re-stocking the minor league squads.
Thus it’s a good thing that the Cubs will have two picks in the first round next June. The draft order has been finalized, with the final qualifying-offer free agent, Mark Trumbo, now re-signed with the Orioles. The Cubs will select at No. 27 and No. 30 overall, the second as compensation for losing Dexter Fowler in free agency. The complete first round can be found at this MLB Trade Rumors post, and I found this interesting:
The biggest takeaway from the updated order, of course, is how relatively static things have remained since the order was originally established at the end of the regular season. Of the 10 players who were issued the one-year, $17.2MM qualifying offers, two (Neil Walker, Jeremy Hellickson) accepted, and five others (Trumbo, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner) re-signed with their original teams. It was a far cry from last offseason, when 20 players were issued qualifying offers and 11 switched teams.
This system will change again next offseason, under the new CBA, so who knows where drafting will go after this year. Here’s what MLBTR said about those possible changes:
Beginning next winter, players who have been issued a qualifying offer in the past are no longer eligible for another QO, which could bode well for players like Bautista, Hellickson and Walker. Teams that sign a QO free agent will no longer have to give up a first-rounder in compensation, though such signings will still some at a notable cost; the new rules will more closely tie qualifying offer free agents to the luxury tax, international draft pools and revenue-sharing systems.
This year’s “First-Year Player Draft” will be held beginning June 12. I can’t profess to be any sort of expert on high-school and college draft prospects, so you can check out this MLB Pipeline list for the names they think could be some of the top names chosen next June.