MLB Draft Day 2 (Rounds 2-10)
today at 11:57 am
Yesterday the Cubs chose Kansas State left-handed starter Jordan Wicks with the 21st overall pick. I already covered the selection a bit in this morning’s recap, but I also put together a Twitter thread with some additional thoughts after I posted this morning:
He’s got a bit of a long arm action on his delivery but seems to hide the ball well to create some deception. At 6’3″ ~220 lbs he looks filled out, but there is almost always strength improvements to be gained as a pro. He is a fluid athlete who repeats delivery well.— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst)
Fastball is avg in video I saw, although at times it flashes cutting action. Assume this is something Cubs try to consistently unlock in pitch lab. Reportedly generates good rpms. Cubs have worked with many guys to create distinct 2 and 4 seam profiles which could benefit Wicks.— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst)
His breaking balls are my main concern.
The slider is… fine.
The curve is… not.
Think one needs to take a step to unlock mid-rotation potential.
Maybe they add a cutter or rework the SL into a cutter.
Cubs have all guys experiment w/CV grips. Some success teaching spike CV— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst)
I expect Wicks to move quickly through lower levels.
How quickly succeeds at upper levels and then jumps to Majors will depend on how quickly he can lock in a breaking ball.
We’ve seen the difference a new slider has made for Alzolay and Steele. Wicks will need a similar leap.— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst)
He finished his Kansas State career as their all-time strikeout leader, punching out 230 batters in 203 innings, while compiling a 15-6 record and 3.24 ERA in 34 career starts spread across three seasons.
Wicks was ranked as the 13th overall player according to Baseball America and the 16th according to MLB Pipeline. I’m just now starting to go over some of the reactions from those publications and others from around the net. Everyone seems about as positive as I am about the Cubs choice and agree that it is strong matchup of an advanced college arm with still untapped upside to a system in dire need of future middle of the rotation starters.
Don’t call Jordan Wicks a “pitchability” lefthander. That undersells his stuff by a lot IMO.— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo)
Cubs Vice President of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz was effusive in his praise of Wicks, noting not only his impressive repertoire, but his maturity, work ethic and approach:
“We were blown away,” Kantrovitz said. “How thoughtful he was about his repertoire, about his intent, about his work ethic, about his routine and just sort of his game plan when he goes out there. … To talk to an amateur pitcher that could articulate sort of his intent the way that he could was really impressive.”Cubs Vice President of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz regarding his meeting with 1st Round choice Jordan Wicks at last month’s MLB Scouting Combine
For more reactions and analysis on Wicks, I see Bryan Smith has done a deep dive on him over at Bleacher Nation. I haven’t read through all of it yet, but Bryan always does thorough work and the two of us agree on prospects more often than not. Greg Huss has more over at Out Of The Vines, and Greg Zumach of Cubs Insider looks like he’s got some of the raw data I hadn’t seen on the pitches and mechanics for Wicks.
The second day of the draft (rounds 2-10) kicks off at noon CST on MLB.com.
I would expect the signing bonus for Wicks to come in right around slot ($3,132,300). He’s a bit older for his draft class, but he was also rated and expected to go a bit higher than the 21st pick. The Cubs do not have a ton of wiggle room because their bonus pool ($6,779,400) is the 7th smallest among all the clubs and the slot for the 21st pick accounts for nearly half of their total.
If the Cubs plan to go over slot on prep player on Day 2, as they in all recent drafts, the savings will likely need to come from smaller chunks out from their 6th-10th round selections. Given their success grabbing hard throwing relievers as free agents after last year’s 5 round draft concluded, I wonder if they can snag a couple of relievers who could still develop into Major Leaguers in those rounds for under slot.
The Cubs remaining selections, and the slot value for each pick is below:
56) Cubs: $1,276,400
93) Cubs: $627,900
123) Cubs: $464,500
154) Cubs: $343,400
184) Cubs: $263,700
214) Cubs: $206,500
244) Cubs: $168,500
274) Cubs: $152,300
304) Cubs: $143,900
I will attempt to update this post throughout the day as the Cubs make their selections.