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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Walker Powell

An undrafted free agent, he might have a future in the bullpen.

Courtesy University of Southern Mississippi

When a team invests an amount in a specific free agent over a one-to-three year timeline, I hope it works. However, if you or someone else refuse to acknowledge the possibility of downside, you’ll be upset, now and again. Toss in the Craig Kimbrel Experience, and all three extremes happened. High highs, low lows, and a successful trade as it ended. For me, I’m often more about the very minor signing, a player who is added for a signing bonus in the low-five figure range. From there, he tries to prove he belongs... somewhere. Here is my prospect profile on Walker Powell.

Walker Powell, right-handed pitcher

Born June 11, 1996, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Cubs signed Powell in 2021 as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi.

I’m sure a few of you are surprised, but I’m not able to listen to all of the college baseball games. I prioritize which games are of the most interest, hope the weather plays proper, and I go from there. If I’m coherent, and a college game is rolling, I’ll take it in, and assess the incoming information. But I can’t take in every starting pitcher over an entire season. Which leads to defaults and abject guesswork.

I really appreciate that Baseball Reference has upgraded its college statistical coverage. They have D1 baseball and beyond covered. As such, when the Cubs added Powell after the draft, I did what I do. I went to BB-Ref and did a bit of research. That showed me he posted an ERA of 2.81 in 15 outings, 14 of which were starts. Conference USA is a legit baseball league, not that far off of the Big Ten, to be entirely honest. As a fifth-year senior, Powell fanned 86 in 89⅔ innings. And was undrafted.

How in blazes can people think there’s no talent left on the board in the (insert round here) when Powell, who showed in Conference USA, goes unselected? As a pro, I doubt the Cubs will have Powell as a primary starter. Toss him out in the pen, and see how he does for 30 or so pitches. As he tossed over 300 college innings, I imagine he can toss a bit more than the requisite minimum as far as pitcher requirements.

And, if he happens to figure out the entire (release point/command) thing? The Cubs could have scored a bargain. Even if he never pitches in Wrigley.