After the 2022 MLB Draft wrapped yesterday, Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz said something very interesting. Remember, draft selections are just half of the battle – the other half is actually signing those players into your organization.
He dropped a specific number (or two) on how many of the team’s draft picks they think they’ll be able to sign:
In a draft governed by a bonus pool, where some level of certainty on your picks’ signability is required on Days One and Two, but where there is much less risk associated with failing to sign a player on Day Three, signing 18 or 19 of the 20 picks would be *excellent.* Especially given the swings the Cubs took on upside.
Consider, if the Cubs are to sign even 18 of their picks, that would mean they sign all ten of their Day One and Day Two picks, obviously, and then at least eight of their ten Day Three picks. Of those ten picks, I count seven who have additional school options next year, including three high-upside high school pitchers. So Kantrovitz is saying the Cubs are signing all those guys except maybe two? At least one of the high-upside, take-a-swing high school arms? That’s awesome!
And it’s possible we already one of those upside arms who will be signing:
Luis Rujano, you may recall, was ranked 234 to MLB Pipeline, and has a South Florida commitment.
“Rujano’s size and arm strength certainly made him stand out on last summer’s showcase circuit, and he made the rounds, pitching at events like Perfect Game’s National Showcase and the East Coast Professional Showcase. While he hasn’t made any huge steps forward in terms of pitchability, the raw tools on the mound still stand out. The big right-hander checks off all the boxes in terms of his physicality, using his 6-foot-4 frame well and making it easy to dream on more to come once he gets pro instruction. He’s been up to 96 mph with his fastball, typically sitting in the low 90s now. He has a tight slider but struggles to spin his breaking ball consistently, and while there’s some feel for a changeup, it’s also inconsistent. Rujano uses a methodical delivery with a big kick out of the windup and is still much more thrower than pitcher, with a need to work on his command. The South Florida recruit will be 19 at Draft time, and any team interested in selecting him will likely have to be patient on the development side for him to tap into his raw tools consistently on the mound.”
He has a big arm already:
This is exactly the type of prospect you HOPE you could (1) find still available on Day Three, and (2) get to sign for a bonus above $125,000, but not TOO above $125,000, in case you don’t have a lot left in your bonus pool.
The Cubs may not be able to finalize a deal for Rujano until they have all their bonus pool picks locked up first (rounds one through ten), and you probably won’t see any kind of official announcement from the team until there are a large chunk of players to announce. In the meantime, it’s possible “agreements” will start to bleed out, with rough bonus amounts, too.