Chicago Cubs: Cubs select Jordan Nwogu with third-round pick
After drafting Chicago native Ed Howard with their first-round pick Wednesday night and Burl Callaway with their second, they added some more power with Jordan Nwogu.
Chicago Cubs’ Jordan Nwogu (pronounced WO-GOO) out of Michigan was the third pick for the team. Nwogu has the frame to play in the Majors, at 6’3″, 235 pounds. In his collegiate career, he mashed twenty home runs in just over two seasons. He led the Wolverines to the College World Series in 2019, falling one win short of a national championship. His career slash line at UM was .335/.442/.577 for a 1.019 OPS.
His scouting report from MLB.com says that he has a short, quick but unorthodox swing that allows him to crush fastballs out of the ballpark to all fields. His hand-eye coordination allows the quirkiness to work, and he can control the strike zone reasonably well. A big knock on Nwogu is that he needs to make adjustments to changeups and breaking balls. In the professional ranks, pitchers will feast on hitters like him.
The Cubs saw something they liked, though, and it was likely the power. This front office must think they can fix all the other issues and develop him into a productive player.
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Nwogu has excellent speed and was 27/32 on stolen bases during his time as a Wolverine. The speed shouldn’t be surprising since some football programs recruited him as an edge rusher. However, his speed doesn’t translate well to the outfield, as he projects as a corner outfielder, and his arm isn’t fantastic by any means.
Nwogu has been part of a slew of draft picks at Michigan in recent years. His teammate Jordan Brewer went in the third round to the Astros last season, and the scouting report of Nwogu says he has a higher offensive upside than Brewer. His outfield mate Jesse Franklin was selected by the Braves nine picks after the Cubs. On the pitching side for the Wolverines, Jeff Criswell was chosen in the second round, making it three players from UM drafted on Day 2.
ESPN MLB Insider Kiley McDaniel states that Nwogu has raw power, and needs to work on his other tools, so he is a project, but hey, what baseball prospect isn’t? If he can develop and learn to harness his power a little bit and get some patience at the plate, he will see some big league time.
The Cubs have turned players into better fielders in the minor leagues, converting Kyle Schwarber to an outfielder from a catcher where he has become more than serviceable out in left field, despite taking a step back in 2019, recording -3 DRS, a decrease from his +3 in 2018. They converted Willson Contreras to catcher from a middle infielder as well. Nwogu is in good hands defensively, now to fix the contact problems.