Today is the final day of the 2021 MLB Draft. Today they’ll be making picks 11 through 20 on a conference call starting at 11 a.m. CT today. The Cubs will finish up the draft by welcoming 10 more players to the organization today.
To recap the Cubs draft so far, here’s who they have selected:
- Jordan Wicks LHP Kansas State
- James Triantos 3B Madison HS (VA)
- Drew Gray LHP IMG Academy (FL)
- Christian Franklin OF Arkansas
- Liam Spence SS Tennessee
- Riley Martin LHP Quincy University. (IL)
- Parker Chavers OF Coastal Carolina
- Casey Opitz C Arkansas
- Chase Watkins LHP Oregon State
- Peter Matt OF Duke
To answer your first question, I expect all 10 to sign. The Cubs would not have drafted them were they not confident of signing them.
After Wicks, who we covered yesterday, Triantos played shortstop in high school but the Cubs announced him as a third baseman. He’s got a terrific hit tool, but he’s not fast and there are questions about his power potential. His arm is good.
Gray has a starter’s body with a 90-94 mph fastball that has a great spin rate. He’s also got a curve and a slider, both of which have potential. Like nearly all young pitchers, he needs to work on control.
Franklin could end up being one of the steals of the draft, a four-tool player with power, speed, defense and a strong arm in center field. The fifth tool—the hit tool—is the one that gives him problems. If he learns to make more contact (and he has made some progress lately), he could be a good one. Even if he doesn’t, he’s got the potential to be a solid fourth outfielder.
Spence was the first Australian taken in this year’s draft and he’s the brother of former Padres pitcher Josh Spence. He’s a on-base monster with a good hit tool and someone who walks more than he strikes out. There is some question as to what position he’ll play and whether he can succeed against more advanced pitching. As a senior, he should sign quickly and underslot.
Martin is a fifth-year senior, so he’s another player who should sign quickly. Martin has an 88-92 mph fastball and a plus curve. He struck out 152 batters in 78 2⁄3 innings this past season. He might be ticketed for the bullpen.
Chavers is another senior, but he’s one that likely would have been drafted last year if it weren’t for the pandemic and a shoulder injury. His five-tool skills and stats make him a third- or fourth-round talent, but his age (23) and his injury history knocked him down to the Cubs in the seventh. He did hit .318/.407/.477 this season with a very good 13% strikeout rate.
Opitz is a terrific defensive catcher with a plus-plus arm who has struggled to hit. Opitz’s ceiling is probably that of a backup. Even if he never makes the majors, a talented catcher like Opitz could help with the development of the Cubs’ minor league pitchers. Another senior, he should sign easily.
Watkins is someone who has played for three college programs in three years. He’s a big lefty who stands at 6’4”, 215. He has a low-90s fastball and a hammer curve. Some think he can start, but he’s mostly pitched out of the bullpen.
Matt is another senior who transferred from Penn to Duke for graduate business school. He hit an impressive .297/.358/.566 with 12 doubles and 15 home runs at Duke. He does strike out a bit too much and his age (23) is working against him.
In case you didn’t hear, the Nationals selected Cal second baseman Darren Baker in the tenth round. Darren is Dusty Baker’s son and he is the one whom J.T. Snow saved from being flattened at home plate in the 2002 World Series.
This is an open thread for the final 10 picks of the Cubs 2021 Draft.