Cubs Draft Primer: With Less Than a Week to Go, No Consensus Prediction for Cubs at No. 24

The MLB draft is now less than a week away and there’s still no consensus among either the educated fans or the experts about which direction the Cubs will take with the No. 24 pick. Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline was on 670 The Score’s “Inside the Clubhouse” this past Saturday talking about the draft, and he mentioned a potential strategy of looking for a college bat. But because players drop for various reasons, he said, the Cubs have to let the draft come to them.. 

Using Alex Lange dropping last year as an example, Callis brought up some college arms who could fall to the Cubs, including lefty Shane McClanahan of Central Florida, Logan Gilbert of Stetson, and Jackson Kowar of Florida. One of those players being available could get the Cubs to shift from their potential bat-first stance.

One interesting name that came up as possible wild card for that first Cubs pick was prep outfielder Nick Schnell from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis. The Louisville commit has a solid 6-foot-2, 180 pound frame and bats left while throwing right. Callis called him “an all-around player” and other services believe his tools project very well.

Another player I hear gaining traction, and not just for the Cubs, is catcher Anthony Seigler from Cartersville High School in Georgia. Though decent behind the plate, his bat is his true calling card. He also has the experience of playing USA Baseball, a box that scouting director Jason McLeod likes to check. If he shoots into the first round, he could mess up a lot of draft boards, including the Cubs.

Callis actually projected the Cubs to take Oregon State outfield Trevor Larnach, but pretty much every other reputable publication each went with a different player. In fact, there’s only one name repeated in the below list of nine predictions.

Baseball America: RHP Logan Gilbert, Stetson
FanGraphs: RHP Jackson Kowar, Florida
CBS Sports: RHP Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
The Athletic: (subscribe here): OF Greyson Jenista, Wichita State
Sporting News: OF Connor Scott, Plant HS (FL)
ESPN (Insider subscription): C Noah Taylor, St. Joan of Arc HS (Ontario)
Perfect Game: RHP Mason Denaburg, Merrit Island HS (FL)
Bleacher Report: RHP Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
20/80 Baseball: SS Jeremy Eierman, Missouri State

With just one week to go, there seems to be a lot of movement in the rankings. High school players like Brice Turang and Ethan Hankins, both ranked in the top 10 in January, now have fallen into the mid 20’s along with former top 10 college bat Jeremy Eierman.

Four months ago, I loved 3B Alec Bohm of Wichita State and though he’d be available when the Cubs first picked. Now, however, Bohm is likely to go third overall to the Phillies.

Things have changed around quite a bit this year already and they will continue to change quickly over the next week. Here are some names to keep an eye out for (along with the aforementioned prospects) when it comes to the Cubs first selection.

College Bats

Trevor Larnach – An ascending player who is excellent on defense and offense, I love his size and that he hits left-handed and still has some room to grow.

Kyler Murray (OF, Oklahoma) – An amazing athlete slated to take over for Baker Mayfield as the Sooners’ QB this fall, it would take a lot of money to drag him away from football. Hmm, where have seen that idea before?

Seth Beer (OF, Clemson) – His approach at the plate and ability to hit for power might be too tempting even with his defensive markdowns. There’s something to be said for pro coaching, too. I wonder what Doug Dascenzo could do with him in the outfield.

Prep Arms

Cole Wilcox (Heritage, GA) – Big kid, big arm who could be a No. 1 or 2 pitcher once he really fills out.

Prep Bats

Triston Casas (Plantation, FL) – The Cubs have not really drafted a 1B since Jacob Rodgers in 2012, but Casas has immense power from the left side of the plate and already looks like a younger Anthony Rizzo at 6-4, 238 pounds.

Mike Siani (Glenside, PA) – The 6-1, 180 lb. outfielder is a lefty all the way with five projectable tools. He idolizes Mike Trout and might be the best defender in the draft. 

With Bohm shooting up into the top 10, Larnach might be the guy if he lasts that long. And that is the problem right now when trying to figure out who the Cubs will get: No one knows who is going to be there. Players will be shooting up and falling all the way through draft night this year.

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