Cubs Pitching Prospect Cade Horton is Getting More Love

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Cubs Pitching Prospect Cade Horton is Getting More Love

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have another top 100 prospect! Er, well, let me say they now have another pretty-close-to-consensus top 100 prospect.

That’s because Baseball America has joined MLB Pipeline, and jumped on board the Cade Horton train:

Horton shows up at number 100 on the most recent update at Baseball America, likely a nod to the fact that he’s come out of the gate looking fantastic in his pro debut.

From BA:

Cade Horton, Cubs, RHP
Tools: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50
Skinny: Horton was one of the fastest-rising pitchers in the 2022 draft class, as he found another gear in the final month of the college season. His track record is much shorter than many of the other pitchers in the 2022 draft class because he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, but his lofty potential is why the Cubs nabbed him with the seventh pick.

Lofty potential, indeed. There’s front-of-the-rotation upside with Horton if everything goes right.

That’s a long way away, still, but his first three pro starts have gone as well as anyone could have hoped. They have been short (that’s how the development process works), so he’s only up to 10.1 innings through three starts, but he has yet to be even remotely imperiled. No runs, three hits (all nothingburger contact), three walks, and fourteen strikeouts.

A lot of the talk about Horton so far this year has been about when he’ll get the bump to High-A South Bend. It’s a perfectly reasonable question, given that he’s dominated at Low-A so quickly and to such an extent that it’s fair to wonder whether he’s getting much development out of it.

I suppose it’s worth keeping in mind, though, that although Horton was a “college” draft pick, the 21-year-old righty threw a TOTAL of 53.2 innings in college, all of them last year. His would be 2020 high school senior season was pandemic-impacted (after he’d been playing quarterback, by the way), he had Tommy John surgery after that and missed 2021, and then he was only just finally getting back on the mound as a redshirt freshman last year. He is, in a lot of ways, a lot closer to a high school draft pick than a college one, and pitching in full season ball *at all*, let alone getting bumped a level, would be a perfectly impressive thing.

It’s just that Horton is probably pretty dang awesome, and the Cubs may have been ahead of the curve on plucking him with the 7th overall pick last year. They’re going to be very careful with him, given his unique trajectory.

Still, as the weather turns and the midwest gets warmer, I have a feeling Horton is going to get the bump to South Bend before too long.

How about a video profile on Horton while he is still at Myrtle Beach:

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.