Given where they were picking, the size of their bonus pool, and their lack of bonus picks, I’m actually relatively thrilled with the Cubs draft strategy so far – particularly in rounds two through four, where they really took some big swings on high-upside players (Christian Franklin leads this category).
But there are ten more rounds to go, and they start today at 11:00 CT, with no breaks between picks. I’ll be live-updating this post below for each of the Cubs picks, just like yesterday, so stay tuned and enjoy.
Here’s some background reading on picks 1-4 if you missed it.
A Deep Dive On New Cubs Lefty Prospect Jordan Wicks: The Stuff, the Video, the Makeup, the Ranking, More – https://t.co/89ljQvLARW (via BN)
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 12, 2021
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 13, 2021
When: 11:00 CT.
Where: Rounds 11-20 will be streamed live only on MLB.com
Cubs Total Bonus Pool: $6,779,400 (that’s the 7th lowest in MLB and roughly $3.1M will be allotted for their first-round pick, Jordan Wicks). Recall, the bonus pool is made up of the slots attached to each pick through round ten.
Rules for Rd. 11-20: For picks beyond round 10, teams can spend up to $125,000 without it counting against the pool, but any amount above that threshold does count. And remember, the Cubs typically spend up to 5% over their total pool (the most you can spend without costing yourself a future draft pick).
Cubs Picks So Far:
1. Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
2. James Triantos Jr., SS/3B, James Madison HS
3. Drew Gray, LHP, IMG Academy HS
4. Christian Franklin, CF, Arkansas University
5. Liam Spence, SS, Tennessee University
6. Riley Martin, LHP, Quincy University
7. Parker Chavers, CF, Coastal Carolina
8. Casey Opitz, C, Arkansas University
9. Chase Watkins, LHP, Oregon State University
10. Peter Matt, OF, Duke
11. Gage Ziehl, RHP, Penfield HS
12. Teo Banks, OF, Permian HS
13. Erian Rodriguez, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy
14. Frankie Scalzo Jr., RHP, GCU
15. BJ Murray Jr., 3B, Florida Atlantic University
16. Zachary Leigh, RHP, Texas State University
17. Christian Olivio, SS, Leadership Christian Academy
18. Dominic Hambley, RHP, Belmont Secondary School
19. Daniel Avitia, RHP, Alhambra HS
20. Wilson Cunningham, LHP, JSerra Catholic High School
Round 11 (Pick 334): Gage Ziehl, RHP, Penfield High School
The Cubs begin their final ten rounds of the draft with a high school pitcher, arguably the riskiest type of prospect to draft. But that’s the point of these rounds, go with some upside, see if you can get them to sign. He’s also the first right-handed pitcher they selected in this draft.
Ziehl, a relatively short right-hander with a big-time fastball, is currently committed to Miami. Here’s some video from over the winter.
I'm so fired up for 2021 RHP Gage Ziehl (Penfield) on his dominance at the #Super60 today.
The Miami commit touched 95 w/ the FB while mixing in an advanced feel w/ the CB.. Thick lower half w/ a short-lightning fast arm circle 😳 @DiamondPro3 @Diamondpro13 @prepbaseball ✊ pic.twitter.com/YPkUy8lm2h
— Dan Cevette (@DanCevette) February 7, 2021
Trackman Tale of the Tape 🥊
⛽️ 93-94 MPH
🔄 2594 avg
— PBR New York (@PBRNewYork) February 8, 2021
Round 12 (Pick 364): Teo Banks, OF, High Schooler
After going college heavy in the first ten rounds of the draft, the Cubs have selected back-to-back high school seniors in rounds 11 and 12.
Here’s what Baseball America had to say about Teo Banks, when they ranked him as the 39th best prospect out of Texas this year:
Close your eyes and imagine what a tooled-up outfielder looks like and chances are you’ll envision someone with Banks’ build. He has broad shoulders, a tapered waist and clearly knows his way around a weight room. Banks was an excellent linebacker for Permian High in Odessa, Texas earlier in his high school career and has a long track record of hitting in high school. He led Permian to the district 2-6A championship in 2021 and was the district MVP. The Tulane signee has a chance to develop into a well-rounded outfielder with plus power potential, above-average speed and a strong arm (he’s been clocked at 91-92 mph off the mound). He’s relatively young for the class as he turns 18 the day before the draft.
Here’s some footage:
— Minority Baseball Prospects (@MBPTakeover) March 17, 2021
Round 13 (Pick 394): Erian Rodriguez, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy
Another right-handed, high school pitcher. The Cubs are completely zagging from their first ten rounds and you have to wonder if they actually think they can sign more than one of these high school players with their limited bonus pool space. Maybe they’re hedging their bets, trying to get all three, but hoping to land at least one (pivoting from one to the next with their remaining pool space).
Don’t get me wrong, these are all exciting, high-upside picks … but that’s kind of the point, will they really sign past the 10th round when high round selections could be in their future?
Here’s a sneaky name-to-know for the 2021 MLB Draft: @premier_sox RHP Erian Rodriguez.
Extremely athletic and projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame with electric arm speed. FB at 93-94 mph here, has been up to 96-97 mph previously. @NWFSCbaseball commit; high-upside arm ⬇️⛽️ pic.twitter.com/QBBOINQx4B
— Next On Deck (@NoDSports) March 5, 2021
Walking out to go home and Erian Rodriguez (2021 GA) enters the game working 92-95 mph w/ developing spin. SL is 77-80 w/ short break, CH at 86. Live arm, good extension. #PGDraft #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/3UM0QASZdc
— Gregory Gerard (@GGerardCHC) July 3, 2020
‘21 Erian Rodriguez (GA) was sharp here today with 4Ks in 2 IP. Showed 91-93/94 with great command and got excellent bite to the upper-70s breaker; here’s an extended look at the stuff. #PGShowdown #PGDraft pic.twitter.com/b5Dmucumij
— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) March 7, 2021
Round 14 (Pick 424): Frankie Scalzo Jr., RHP, Grand Canyon University
The Cubs are back into the college tier with their 14th overall pick, selecting their third right-handed pitcher of the draft. Scalzo Jr. was a closer at GCU and throws some serious heat. I love that Kantrovitz is not afraid to take a pure relief prospect.
— D1Baseball (@d1baseball) June 9, 2021
Round 15 (Pick 454): BJ Murray, 3B, Florida Atlantic University
With their 15th pick in the draft, the Cubs have selected a fourth-year junior, switch-hitting third baseman named BJ Murray. He’s their first infielder taken on Day 3 of the draft. There’s not much out there on Murray, who should be a signable selection, but I can tell you that he’s hitting .311 this season with 14 homers in 57 games.
Here he is showing off the stick:
— FAU Owl's Nest (@FAU_Owls_Nest) May 19, 2021
And the glove:
Round 16 (Pick 484): Zachary Leigh, RHP, Texas State
The Cubs first four pitchers in this draft were all left-handers. Their last four pitchers are all right-handers, including their 16th round pick Zachary Leigh out of Texas State University.
Round 17 (Pick 514): Christian Olivio, SS, Leadership Christian Academy
Christian Olivio is a right-handed high school shortstop out of Puerto Rico.
— PG Showcases (@PGShowcases) October 24, 2020
Round 18 (Pick 544): Dominic Hambly, RHP, Belmont Secondary School (HS)
Yet another right-handed high school pitcher to the Cubs with their 18th pick in the draft.
Cubs 2021 18th round pick, Dominic Hambley, Canada HS, RHP, Oregon State commit.
This jumps out as their most difficult guy to sign among the whole draft class, but clearly some real potential there, and if someone unexpected doesn’t sign, you re-allocate here. https://t.co/f8iVEKgvE5
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 13, 2021
Round 19 (Pick 574): Daniel Avitia, RHP, Alhambra HS
And ANOTHER right-handed high school pitcher to the Cubs.
Round 20 (Pick 604): Wilson Cunningham, LHP, JSerra Catholic High School
And the Cubs close their draft with a left-handed high school pitcher.