I can’t tell you specifically how far we are from the 2022 MLB Draft, with a collective bargaining agreement not established and everything, but I can tell you that we are about two months away from the start of the first amateur seasons. That means we’ll soon see the country’s top draft-eligible prospects start their final seasons, and the preseason rankings will be reviewed and adjusted further. So, I like to follow the preseason draft lists, especially since the Chicago Cubs are picking so high this time around (picking seven).
That and more from the Cubs prospecting world …
• The MLB Pipeline team have unveiled their list of top potential candidates for next year’s draft, and it’s another take that’s very heavy on the bats at the top. You can see the writing here, and the full list here, with a top ten that looks like this:
1. Druw jones, OF, Wesleyan HS (Ga.)
2. Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS (Ga.)
3. Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy (Florida)
4. Jacob berry, 3B, State of Louisiana
5. Brooks lee, SS, Cal Poly
6. Jace jung, 2B, Texas Tech
seven. Brock Jones, DE, Stanford
8. Chase DeLauter, DE, James Madison
9. Dylan lesko, RHP, Buford HS (Ga.)
ten. Gavin’s Cross, DE, Virginia Tech
• The first nine names are the ones I saw most often in the first ten of these lists, in varying orders. The rosters will change drastically as we have another amateur season on the books, but for now it’s nice to see the top tier roughly hitting the Cubs’ spot in the first round. Considering how these things tend to fall out, the Cubs are very likely to have someone in the top three or top four on their draft table available when pick seven comes.
• The guy at the bottom of number 100 is going to get everyone’s attention, just when they see his list of positions: “BHP”. Yes, it’s true. Florida high school student Jurrangelo Cijntje throws both sides. There’s a long, long way to go between throwing both sides in your freshman year of high school and becoming an ambidextrous pro thrower, but it would be fun to follow. Pat Venditte hasn’t been as successful in the big leagues, but it was really fun watching him do his thing.
• Meanwhile, Baseball America’s Top 50 High School Draft Prospects, in particular, is right here so you can dig a little deeper into the preparation outlook.
• Regarding the latest FanGraphs Cubs lead rankings, where you really saw a lack of international signed and internally developed leads, I couldn’t help but notice the Cubs are pitching in the Dominican Summer League. does not dominate advanced statistical rankings (Five Cubs pitching prospects are in the ERA Top 100, but none of them are in the FIP Top 50). We just haven’t really heard of the Cubs’ hopes of launching DSL other than Oliver Roque, who picked up a few organizational honors for his solid year.
• Not much better on the positional side (only four in the top 100 in wRC + (Pedro Ramirez, Wally Soto, Cristian Hernandez and Moises Ballesteros)). To be VERY CLEAR, statistical performance in DSL isn’t necessarily the most useful metric for evaluating lead performance for many reasons, but, other things being equal, you’d like to see the Cubs do well in both from a screening point of view AND a statistical point of view. It’s not like some really good numbers in the game are a wrong sign. I would call this a reinforcement of an existing concern that the Cubs may not have been doing very well internationally, overall, during the Epstein / Hoyer era, and if things turned out significantly. improved over the past couple of years (there’s obviously a ton of lag), we’d really need to start seeing it popping up in 2022 and 2023.
• Great read here at FanGraphs on Cubs prospect, pitcher Caleb Kilian, one of the most spectacular in the prospect rankings since, say, June until now. A few points discussed here are the significant improvements to his curveball at the end of the year (we saw some of the fruits of that in the AFL, when he was hitting guys left and right with a new spiked grip), and improvements to its main fastball – it’s a sinker that has gone from a double stitch to more than a single stitch. It sounds odd, but it’s an increasingly discussed variation in the field, which can generate more movement for some throwers thanks to its staggered wake properties.
• I’ll be preaching temperance until we see Kilian do it at Triple-A to open the year, but it’s certainly fair to say that the version of himself he was showing in Arizona – 95 to 97 mph with the two fast balls, a great cutter, the nasty new curve ball and great control – looked like a big league starter mid-spin. It was really something. If he shows the same in April, the Cubs will likely figure out how to give him extended insight into the major league rotation very quickly. If he needs more time, that’s okay too, of course. I just think it’s fair to say he’s really put himself on the map not just for 2022, but the first half of 2022.
• A certain visual HYPE for Cubs prospect James Triantos, who is set to step up from second-round stealing THIS year to the end of the Top 100 Consideration Lists:
– James Triantos (@JamesTriantos) December 14, 2021
No more James Triantos destroying baseballs pic.twitter.com/vwJtdhikqo
– RushingBaseball (@RushingBaseball) December 15, 2021
• Speaking of Triantos (4th), Northside Bound takes a look at the Top 20 Cubs Under-20 Prospects, and you can really see that this confirms that the strongest part of the Cubs system – for good and not so good reasons – is highly concentrated among the youngest players:
Cubs Under-20’s Top 20 Prospects Show Incredible Depth https://t.co/Uv4sG3iBpU
– North side border (@NSideBound) December 16, 2021