The 2022 MLB Draft kicks off tonight at 6pm CT with Rounds One and Two, as well as the compensatory and competitive balance picks in which the Cubs are not invited to participate. We’ll track the early picks live below, as well as any other notable developments. Rounds 3 through 10 of the draft come tomorrow, and rounds 11 through 20 on Tuesday. You can watch the first round tonight on ESPN or MLB Network, and then the second round is supposed to be streamed on MLB.com.
The Cubs pick 7th overall in the first round, their highest selection in nearly a decade. There are generally believed to be seven “top” prospects in this draft, so you could theorize that the Cubs are guaranteed to get one of them, but it’s never quite that simple. The primary reason being the bonus pool – the Cubs have just about $10 million total they can spend on draft picks this year (plus a 5% overage on which there is a tax, but you don’t lose a future draft pick). That structure influences how you proceed with your picks to try to optimize your TOTAL haul of talent. Keep that in mind tonight. There are situations where taking your, say, 8th ranked draft prospect makes more sense than taking your 7th ranked prospect, if the savings on the first guy allows you to get a stud with your next pick.
For more on the draft structure and bonus pools, see here.
Speaking of which, the Cubs have a second pick tonight, at number 47 overall. What the Cubs can do in that spot will be dictated not only by who is still on the board (obviously), but also by bonus demands – how are things looking for the guy the Cubs took in the first round? Can they realistically afford a “first round talent” high schooler who has slid? Etc. etc. The picks tonight – as well as those that come later – all kind of have to work together.
The latest mocks have not really provided a ton of clarity on which prospects, precisely, will still be on the board for the Cubs at seven. All we know for certain is that at least one of Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Elijah Green, Termarr Johnson, Kevin Parada, Brooks Lee, and Cam Collier *WILL* be there. Doesn’t mean the Cubs take that player, because we’ve seen rumors that they might prefer a guy like Zach Neto at a bit under slot, which they can then use to pick up a first round talent in the second.
Updates to follow as the draft goes live …
The Orioles, who had everyone guessing literally up to the moment they announced, go with Jackson Holliday at the top. It’s a surprise, relatively speaking, but then everyone was expecting a surprise from the Orioles.
The Diamondbacks unsurprisingly take Druw Jones at number two. I reckon they were thrilled they got a shot at him.
HOLY CRAP. The Rangers took Kumar Rocker at three. What?!?! OK, so clearly they cut a big underslot deal, but also, clearly they loved what they saw from him this year in indy ball. I’m shocked right now. That means at least two of the top seven will be there for the Cubs. That does not mean it’s a lock the Cubs will take one of those guys, but it’s nice to have options. I bet their phones are on FIRE right now.
Dang. The Pirates take Termarr Johnson at four. It’s the right pick, in my opinion, but it still is a bummer.
The Nationals go for the big upside swing, as they often do, taking Elijah Green. I never got the sense that the Cubs were seriously going to consider Green – for better or worse – so this is probably good.
Now we know two of Brooks Lee, Kevin Parada, and Cam Collier will be there for the Cubs. *IF* they want. But I’ll reiterate what I said on Twitter: with all the rumors today about the Cubs checking in on under slot types, I can’t help but wonder if they were hoping for Termarr Johnson or bust.
The Marlins go with Jacob Berry, who was not considered among those “top seven” because of his inability to play pretty much any defensive position. The bat is legit, though.
Here we go. Cubs have their pick of Parada-Lee-Collier, as well as the best under slot option they could get. Pick of the litter situation, and it feels like some good fortune for the Cubs.
The Cubs go the under slot route (presumably), with RHP Cade Horton from Oklahoma. One of the best college pitchers in the draft, though it’s a thin crop this year because of all the injuries. He’s very young for a college starter (just 20), and he was flying up lately.
Separate write up coming because, uh, let’s just say I had not become intimately familiar with Horton yet.
All right. Initial take on Horton is here.