With just five picks this year, and given the uncertainty that lies ahead, I don’t expect there to be any signing issues for the Cubs’ draftees this year. It’ll be a process, as it always is, but the five picks will eventually get signed. And the first indication we have on one is that fifth rounder, high school righty Koen Moreno, is going to sign:
Panther Creek (@PCreekbaseball) RHP @KoenMoreno tells me that he plans to sign with the Chicago #Cubs, passing on playing baseball at ECU and turning pro after being taken in the fifth round of last night's #MLBDraft. pic.twitter.com/T4gX8r7DJs
— Kyle Morton (@KyleMortonHSOT) June 12, 2020
Moreno, an East Carolina commit, was a later convert to the mound and then dominated in his junior year. We can’t know what he would have been as a high school senior, but it’s wild to think that he had the trajectory of a guy who COULD have become a top prep arm in the draft … and the Cubs got him in the 5th round, and they’re getting him to sign. Such is the nature of this extremely weird year and draft. Sure, a lot of guys will bust because there was so little scouting ability, but also, a whole lotta teams are going to get massive pleasant surprises once development resumes normalcy (which, again, is why I really like the Cubs going for upside in this draft – because it’s all going to be a risk anyway).
Speaking of hype for Moreno, who joins a host of really interesting younger pitching prospects in the system*, he comes in for a lot of love at Baseball America:
The BA team collaborated for a roundtable to discuss the notable individual picks that stood out on day two.
Here's what they had to say:https://t.co/YIr5aIZdmR
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 13, 2020
“If Moreno had more of a chance to pitch this spring, I think it’s likely the Cubs wouldn’t have had a shot to take him at No. 147. Every time Moreno pitches, it seems like he takes a step forward, as was the case for him the entirety of last summer. He oozes athleticism, is an exceptionally gifted mover over the rubber, has a lean and projectable frame and we haven’t even talked about his stuff yet. His fastball has ranged from 87-93 for the most part, but that velocity has steadily climbed and he should be throwing an above-average fastball soon. Pair that with advanced feel for an 81-85 mph changeup that has swing-and-miss qualities and terrific natural ability to spin a breaking ball, and he has all the traits you’re looking for.”
*(Consider all the could-be-a-guy types the Cubs have age 21 and younger, who have actual mid-rotation-or-better upside: Moreno, Brailyn Marquez, Kohl Franklin, Jeremiah Estrada, Richard Gallardo, Benjamin Rodriquez, Yovanny Cruz, etc. So many very young could-break-out pitchers.)