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Welcome to the Cubs family, Matt Shaw!

With the 13th pick, Cubs took the Big 10 Player of the Year.

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Matt Shaw
Ron Schloerb/Cape Cod Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 MLB Draft started tonight and with the 13th pick in the first round, the Cubs selected shortstop Matt Shaw of Maryland. Shaw was the Big 10 Player of the Year this past season and the 2022 Cape Cod League MVP.

Shaw’s biggest asset is his bat. He’s the all-time career home run leader at Maryland, but he’s an even better hitter for average and on-base. He hit .341 with a .445 on-base percentage and a .697 slugging. He walked more often (43) than he struck out (42), and the Cubs have greatly valued that ability to make contact recently.

Shaw gets great reviews from both the scouts and the analytic set. Shaw was in the 90 percentile in exit velocity and and he has a good launch angle of 26 percent. Shaw is a player who makes a lot of hard contact and has a good command of the zone.

Although his ability to hit is more important, Shaw also gets raves for his hard-working, no-nonsense “bulldog” attitude.

On defense, Shaw’s arm is considered his biggest weakness. Because of that, most scouts believe that he will have to end up moving to second base. However, his hands and lateral movement are good, so he could be a very good defensive second baseman.

If you want a comp, I’ve heard Shaw compared to Ian Kinsler. The Cubs would be very fortunate if he turned out to be that good.

The MLB Network made a big deal of Shaw being from Massachusetts (many Red Sox fans wanted Boston to draft him with the next pick) and that he played in the BIg Ten, so he can handle cold weather. I don’t know if that’s a big deal, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Shaw in my draft preview:

Shaw has the kind of offensive profile that the Cubs have favored lately in that he makes good, hard contact and he commands the strike zone. Over the course of Shaw’s collegiate career, he’s walked more often than he has struck out. This past year, he struck out 42 times and walked 43 times in 317 plate appearances.

But Shaw does more than just put the ball into play. He had 20 doubles and 24 home runs this past season with the Terrapins. Shaw also has above-average speed and stole 18 bases. Shaw was also the MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer, so he can hit with a wooden bat.

Here’s part of Baseball America’s write up. (sub. req) They ranked him as the 13th-best player in the draft.

He is listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, but has significantly more strength than you’d expect from that frame thanks to snap-quick hands and immense wrist and forearm strength. He hit .344/.447/.695 in 61 games in 2023, with 23 home runs and 20 doubles, a 13.8% walk rate and 13.5% strikeout rate. Shaw has a closed stance and large leg kick but his bat speed and strength allow him to drive the ball to all fields with authority and he wore out the right-center gap with home run power as a junior, with a 90th percentile exit velocity around 107 mph. After struggling with contact against secondaries as a freshman and sophomore, Shaw improved significantly in that area in 2023, though he does still expand the strike zone a bit too much. He’s an above-average runner with standout baserunning instincts and went 18-for-19 (94.7%) on the bases in 2023.

Here’s what The Athletic’s Keith Law wrote on Shaw. (sub. req.) Law was quite high on Shaw, ranking him 7th.

Let’s get the big thing out of the way first — Shaw is a shortstop now, but he is not a shortstop, and if he’d just played second base all spring I think he’d sail into the top 10 picks. So much of the conversation around him has centered on his defensive shortcomings, notably his below-average arm, that there’s been too little focus on the fact that this guy hits. Shaw makes consistent, hard contact, and his average launch angle of 26 degrees puts him right in line for a high Barrel percentage. He’s walked more than he’s struck out so far this year, and after hitting 22 homers as a sophomore, he hit 23 this spring before even getting to the Big Ten tournament — despite getting COVID-19 early in the season

Here’s some of what MLB Pipeline had on Shaw. They ranked him as the 16th-best prospect.

Shaw might be one of the better college hitters in the Draft class. He rarely strikes out and draws walks while making consistently hard contact. He can drive the ball to all fields and he showed off impressive opposite-field power last year for Maryland, with many of his homers going out to right and right-center field. He’s a plus runner who is a legitimate base stealing threat.

Here’s Fangraphs’ write up. They ranked him 18th.

Shaw is a 5-foot-11 stick of dynamite who swings really, really hard. He is looking to do huge damage with every hack, and he often does. He smacked 22 homers for Maryland in 2022 and 24 more in 2023, with most of them soaring out to the opposite field. Shaw’s compact, Dan Uggla-like frame is part of what enables him to swing with such effort without striking out excessively. His bat path doesn’t cover the top third of the zone very well and that might be an issue eventually, but the strength and bat speed to hit 20 or 25 homers in the big leagues is here, which would be great for a middle infielder. Medium arm strength likely funnels him to second base even though he played short at Maryland.

Here is MLB Pipeline’s video scouting report on Shaw.

Here are some Shaw highlights from April

So everyone welcome Matt Shaw to the Cubs family!

UPDATE: With their compensation pick after the end of the second round, the Cubs took Arkansas right-handed pitcher Jaxon Wiggins.

Wiggins is a big right-hander at 6’6” who was mentioned as a potential first-rounder last year before he underwent Tommy John surgery. He did not play at all in the 2023 season because of the injury.

Before Wiggins got hurt, he had a huge fastball that sat in the 94-96 mph range and touched 100 on more than one occasion. He also had a hard-breaking slider with velocity in the mid-80s. He’s got an upper-80s change and a curve, but both of those pitches need work to be real weapons in the major leagues.

Wiggins’ fastball has some good movement, but he had trouble throwing consistent strikes. He struck out 82 batters in 66 innings as a sophomore in 2022, but he also walked 43. That led to an ERA of 6.55 that year.

Baseball America had Wiggins ranked as their 85th-best draft prospect and The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked him at number 93. But both admitted that it’s tough to rank him because he didn’t pitch in 2023.

The Cubs clearly feel good about Wiggins’ progress from TJ surgery and that their Pitch Lab can develop some control and a third pitch.

Here is video of Wiggins pitching in February of 2022.

Also, a big BCB welcome to the Cubs family, Jaxon Wiggins.