Latest MLB Mock Drafts Drop Some of the Best Young Bats on the Cubs, as Well as New Rumors

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Latest MLB Mock Drafts Drop Some of the Best Young Bats on the Cubs, as Well as New Rumors

Chicago Cubs

Thanks to the MLB Draft being moved back to All-Star Weekend, it still feels forever away. Back in normal times, we’d now be in the final push, just two or three weeks away from the draft. Now, we’ve only just hit the “under two months away” mark.

In the meantime, though, amateur seasons are well over their halfway mark, so the scouting and prep work and rankings and mocks are really hitting their stride. Rumors will start percolating, and the order at the top of the draft will become more clear (in terms of tiers, not necessarily in terms of specific players to specific teams).

To that end, two new mocks to discuss today, including the first from The Athletic’s Keith Law:

I’m sorry. Jacob Berry at number one? The same bat-only guy on whom Law is extremely low, and others increasingly see falling out of the top ten picks? Well, Law has his reasons – remember, this is him projecting how the draft could go, not him just doing a strict ranking. And it seems like what he’s hearing is that the Orioles could surprise and go with a college bat over high schooler Druw Jones, both because they aren’t as sold on Jones as everyone else is, and because they can cut a deal for a huge pool savings to spend elsewhere in the draft.

Things go closer to the increasingly-perceived chalk from there, with Jones, Jackson Holliday, Brooks Lee, Kevin Parada, and Termarr Johnson going through pick six. You’d love for the Cubs, at seven, to have a crack at one of those guys plus Elijah Green (who slides all the way to 9 in this mock). Berry going in the top six would guarantee it.

But if none of the other top six picks veer from popular consensus, the Cubs will be picking from behind that group.

Law has the Cubs going with a guy we’ve heard before, and who I sure wouldn’t hate at seven: third base prospect Cam Collier, the 17-year-old who graduated high school early so he could get started in junior college in advance of this draft. Collier, who is ranked second on Law’s big board, probably doesn’t go inside the first six picks, which means the Cubs could have the first crack at him (getting, perhaps, a guy they really like AND some slot savings, since others don’t view Collier in that same upper tier).

Then again, in his chat about the mock, Law says he wouldn’t be surprised if Collier is gone by pick seven (and confirms that he’s heard the Cubs-Collier connection multiple times).

You may recall that MLB Pipeline recently mentioned a rumor that the Cubs were in on Collier, too.

Law’s mock also drops a new rumor on us, having heard a Cubs connection to Campbell University shortstop Zach Neto (who otherwise goes at pick 18 to the Reds; ranked 13th on Law’s big board). Neto, a true shortstop who also pitched in relief with some regularity before this season, is hitting .392/.498/.759 with almost as many homers (13) as strikeouts (16). That said, I’m not super familiar with the competition level in the Big South conference.

Had I to speculate, the Cubs would be in on any of the four prep bats (Jones, Green, Johnson, Holliday) plus Parada or Lee if they were there at seven. But if not, there are a number of options the Cubs like and on whom they could save some slot because of the large range in which those guys could otherwise be picked. Heck, Jace Jung would still be there, and it’s not like he’s not a top five quality pick, too.

MLB Pipeline dropped another mock, and in a repeat from their last, the Cubs land Termarr Johnson:

Like Law, Pipeline goes with a surprise at number one – Jackson Holliday instead of Druw Jones – because of the buzz out there. Also like Law, Jacob Berry slips into the first six picks, which means one of the other perceived top six will be there for the Cubs at seven (in this case, Johnson).

You’re always going to want to be picking higher, and we’re making some assumptions about tiers, but it does seem like a lot of folks see a top six of Jones, Holliday, Green, Johnson, Parada, and Lee. Does that mean the Cubs will be on the outside looking in? Of course not. First of all, the draft never goes chalk like that, even within the first six picks. Someone or someones are gonna jump up there. Second of all, we don’t TRULY know who the Cubs love in this draft. Law ranking Collier second overall is a reminder that different groups will see these players differently, and the Cubs may actually not like the “top six” as much as we think they would or should.

That is all to say, if the Cubs do land Johnson, I’ll probably scream in excitement – I think he’s the best high school bat in the draft, which covers over the positional concerns for me – but if they, for example, go Collier, I can get pretty darn into that, too.

Picking at seven (anywhere in the top 10 or so, really) in this draft still appears to be a very, very good spot.

Oh, and if you were curious, Zach Neto, who is ranked 26th to Pipeline, goes 16 in their new mock: “The next tier of college hitters includes the right-handed-hitting infielder in Neto, along with outfielders like Chase DeLauter (James Madison), Dylan Beavers (Cal) and Jordan Beck (Tennessee).”

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.