Mock draft season is upon us and it’s time to dive into some of the options that may or may not be available to the Chicago Cubs at number 13. The great thing about the MLB draft in comparison to any other draft you’ll find is the bonus pool system because it keeps the mystery alive for every single team and every single pick.
In the 2014 MLB Draft, the Cubs made waves by selecting a player that many outlets had outside of the top-15, and MLB.com had as the sixteenth-best player in the draft, at number four overall. The Cubs didn’t do this because they were geniuses and saw something no one else saw, they did this by selecting Kyle Schwarber and giving him a signing bonus of $3.125 million (significantly less than the picks slot bonus of $4.6 million) they had the ability to select high school players that were considered difficult to sign away from their college commitments. In that draft, the Cubs managed to turn that surplus bonus money into a couple of prep pitchers in the form of LHP Carson Sands, LHP Justin Steele, and RHP Dylan Cease. Not bad.
In the 2022 MLB Draft the Cubs employed a similar plan as they drafted the highest helium prospect in recent memory, Cade Horton with the 7th overall pick and signed him to a bonus of $4.45 million despite a suggested slot bonus of $5.71 million. They used their extra capital to go get prep pitchers Jackson Ferris and Nazier Mule. Obviously, less time has passed and we won’t know what those returns look like for maybe half a decade, but so far Ferris looks like a legit top-of-the-rotation arm.
The reason to even bring all of this up is that the MLB Draft is wild. It is unpredictable. No matter how many times Keith Law, Jim Callis, etc. beat the drum of “best player available” it’s significantly more nuanced than that. In baseball, it’s about creating the best draft class available, and that makes it a hell of a lot more fun.
So who are the Cubs allegedly targeting this season? Who might be available at 13? Let’s find out.