2022 Draft: Cubs go with high upside pitchers Cade Horton and Jackson Ferris on Day 1
Round 1 (7): RHP Cade Horton – 6’1 211, Age 20 – Oklahoma
BONUS SLOT VALUE: $5,708,000
A redshirt sophomore, Cade Horton shot up draft boards in the 2nd half of the 2022 collegiate season, finishing the year with a terrific postseason run for the Sooners beginning with the Conference title game and continuing through the College World Series.
Cade Horton went 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA and 49 strikeouts (6 walks) in five postseason starts this year for the Sooners.
Cade Horton set a MCWS Finals record with 13 K’s against Ole Miss.
It was an amazing ascent given Horton originally went to Norman as a two-sport prep star, who competed with the Sooners football team in 2020, before giving it up and concentrating on baseball in 2021. He ended up needing to take a redshirt season because of an elbow injury which required TJS in the spring. He opened the 2022 season still recovering and was used mostly as a 3B/SS before finally making his debut on the mound in March. His numbers early on were ugly (even with his terrific final 5 starts his overall ERA remained elevated at an 4.86).
But the raw tools were there (mid-to-upper-90s heat, high spin rates on breaking ball, as well as his plus athleticism), and even as he struggled he was garnering strong draft interest. It was when Horton developed a new slider during the season that things took off for him. It’s a nasty pitch, which generates good horizontal and vertical break that makes it an effective pitch against both right and left handed batters. There is also some deception as Horton pitches from a lower arm angle that makes his vertical drop seem unusual.
Data loves the slider Cade Horton developed late this season. #Cubs
Averaging 85, up to 90, and generating ~9″+ of horizontal mvmt.
Most harder sliders are thrown w/ more backspin & less horizontal. Not many SPs with that shape – Carlos Rodón comes to mind (obviously a LHP).
And at 88 mph in this particular example (reportedly ranges from 86-90) the total amount of break is truly impressive. Nasty pitch, which should play against hitters from both sides of the plate.
Once that pitch was in place it was bad news for opposing hitters the rest of the way. By the time the College World Series ended Horton was widely considered the best college pitcher available in the draft (with the caveat that some of his potential competition suffered injuries during the 2022 season to take them out of the running).
Enjoy all of Cade Horton’s (@cadehorton14) strikeouts v Notre Dame in one minute.
Cade Horton was disgusting in Omaha.
So cool to see his climb down the stretch. @Cubs got a great one.
The Cubs pitching development infrastructure has been making big moves over the past couple of years generating big velo jumps from prospects, and showing improved ability to refine breaking pitches (including teaching the trendy sweeping slider). What’s been missing is a stockpile of high end raw talent with which to mold a potential TOR starter. Horton brings that.