In the old timeline, this week would BE draft week. I mean, it wasn’t always precisely June 7 or anything, but this was more or less always roughly the week for the MLB Draft. I really hate having to wait until mid-July, and I am still not sure that pairing the draft with All-Star Weekend is actually a good thing, overall, from an attention standpoint.
But that’s above my pay grade. So we must wait.
In the meantime, the last week has been a gold mine for mock drafts, as we’ve got FOUR new ones to share and discuss.
First, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel dropped his first mock draft, with the top six picks being the six you are seeing increasingly in those top six: Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Elijah Green, Brooks Lee, Kevin Parada, and Termarr Johnson. And, if the draft goes that way (heck, even if it doesn’t), the rumors remain strong that the Cubs will go with Cam Collier:
7. Chicago Cubs
Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC (Fla.)
Collier has been heavily rumored here all spring, with the Twins, Guardians and Pirates believed to be the other teams most on him, while plenty of rival teams grade him out more in the middle of the first round. Campbell SS Zach Neto is another connection here, though unlikely.
Collier is just one of those guys who seems to be a top three type for some teams, and mid-round for others. We don’t know FOR A FACT that the Cubs are one of the teams that see him as a top talent in this draft, but again, we do consistently see them connected with him at seven. Also, if you remember, Keith Law also mentioned Neto as an outside shot for the Cubs.
If you were curious, Jacob Berry goes next, and Jace Jung doesn’t go until pick 13.
Speaking of Berry, he is the surprise pick for the Cubs in the latest BA mock, which has the same top six going before the Cubs (albeit in a different order). Interestingly, the rumor is that the Cubs want Johnson to fall to them (yes, please):
We’ve heard plenty of noise about the Cubs wanting Termarr Johnson to get to them at No. 7, but there are so many real options in front of them and behind them (we’ll touch on that later) that it could be difficult to make that happen.
In this scenario we have the Cubs taking one of the best hitters available in Jacob Berry, who doesn’t have the sort of upside that other players with more defensive value have, but is nonetheless a proven, polished and impactful switch-hitter coming off a strong SEC season. There’s also been some chatter that Chicago is interested in junior college third baseman Cam Collier and California high school outfielder Henry Bolte.
Collier and Bolte, interestingly, go with the next two picks.
As for Berry, the bat does appear to be special. It’s possible – pure bat – Berry has the best college bat in the draft. The problem for me is that if it’s at all a question that he can play capable defense anywhere but first base (if even that!), then the bat has to be UNGODLY GOOD to justify taking at pick seven. So basically, the Cubs would have to believe he can project into a decent defensive spot at the next level, or would have to believe the bat is so over-the-moon good that it doesn’t matter where/if he plays defense. I’d be surprised if the Cubs go with Berry, but we have to be honest and note that we don’t know what their internal scouting says about the glove.
Two other mocks have the Cubs landing Johnson. MLB Pipeline’s latest, where they’ve mocked Johnson to the Cubs before (he gets to the Cubs here because the Marlins take Berry):
7. Cubs: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)
It’s possible Johnson could go higher than this, especially if he hits well in the wood bat league he’ll be competing in this summer in the Atlanta area, but it’s hard to envision him falling much farther than this.
And Prospects Live (he gets to the Cubs here because the Marlins take Collier):
7. Chicago Cubs
Termarr Johnson, Infielder, Mays
We think this is the floor for Johnson as things stand. The Cubbies have been connected to a number of players this cycle, and Collier certainly fits here should he fall in their lap. Jett Williams is another name to keep an eye on here, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine Johnson falling any further than this. The Cubs are willing to draft young and finding a talent like Johnson on the board for you at this stage is quite fortuitous. Given the hit tool, he’s probably the fastest-moving prep in the 2022 class and could debut as soon as 2024 if the bat is as real as most believe it could be.
Every year we see a surprise or two in the top five picks. So, while the mocks consistently having these same eight or so players in the top eight picks makes sense on paper (with the Cubs generally left to choose among Johnson, Collier, Berry, Jung, or their own surprise), it’s still very unlikely the top six picks go chalk or anything close to it. I couldn’t tell you WHO EXACTLY the surprise fall-er will be, but it’s pretty likely that, in the aggregate, one of Johnson or Parada or Green or Lee is still there at seven if the Cubs want to go that route. Otherwise, most mocks and rumors have Collier still there at seven, and if the Cubs do like him anyway, they might be able to cut a below slot deal in the process.
On the whole, the better I get to know the prospects and what is realistic for the Cubs, I still would really like to see Johnson or Parada fall to seven to at least give the Cubs the option of going that route. Otherwise, I really like Collier, who is now playing in the Cape as a 17-year-old (after graduating early from high school so that he could play in junior college).