The Cubs Didn’t Expect Jordan Wicks to Still Be on the Board at Pick 21

Whenever the draft comes around, and the Cubs are adding tip-top prospects to the organization, I feel like I can’t get enough on the new guys. There’s the initial take when the pick comes in, there’s Bryan taking a deep dive, and there’s also the Cubs revealing THEIR perspective on the pick.

To that end, VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz, who is leading his second draft for the Cubs, spoke about taking Jordan Wicks in the first round, with the 21st overall pick.

“Just the complete package of somebody that we think has the resiliency to be a big-league starter,” Kantrovitz said of Wicks, per The Athletic. “To get who we thought was the best college left-hander with the 21st pick, we didn’t anticipate that happening. When it did, we weren’t going to pass him up.”

Wicks, who was in the top ten on the Cubs’ draft board, already possesses an above-average big league changeup, and is already deep into pitch-craft.

“We were blown away by how thoughtful he was about his repertoire, his intent, his work ethic, his routine and his game plan when he goes out there,” Kantrovitz said. “He could talk about when he wanted to use his two-seamer and four-seamer, when he wanted to manipulate the shape on his slider, when he wanted to double up and triple up on his changeup. To talk to an amateur pitcher that could articulate his intent the way that he could was really impressive.”

After a full college season, it’s unlikely that Wicks pitches TOO much more this year. Your best bet is that, after he signs, he’ll head to Arizona to work and be evaluated at the facilities there. The Cubs may want to get him into some game action – a few short outings are pretty typical for early-round college pitchers – either in rookie ball in Arizona or maybe at Low-A Myrtle Beach, mostly to set up some things to be worked on in the offseason and in instructional ball.

The Cubs have until August 1 to sign Wicks, but hopefully can pull it off more quickly than that so he can get to work. The bonus slot for pick 21 is $3,132,300, and I would expect Wicks will wind up getting pretty close to slot as a college junior who was projected to go in the 15 to 22 range. You could tell me he signs for a little above or a little below slot and I wouldn’t be surprised. Just don’t expect major movement in either direction.

I mention that part today, I suppose, because the Wicks selection was not about clearly setting anything else up for the bonus pool rounds today. While the Cubs may risk pulling the trigger on taking a tough-to-sign prep player who falls today, they likely won’t net much in the way of savings on the Wicks pick to help out with that process (and thus would have to go way under-slot in later picks to make it work). Wicks was picked because he was a great player still on the board at 21, and the Cubs will sign him accordingly. Sometimes it’s that simple.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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