This week, the Cubs selected right-hander Gray Fe nter in the Rule 5 Draft.
Given the team’s obvious financial limitations, we figured we’d see some movement in this week’s Rule 5 Draft. We weren’t wrong, as the Cubs took Gray Fenter, following that pick up with Nicholas Padilla and Samuel Reyes in the Triple-A round of the draft.
We have seen some notable subtractions from the Cubs organization over the last few weeks. We saw Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora be non-tendered, Theo Epstein resign from his position and even Len Kasper leave for the White Sox radio job. It’s been a tough few weeks being a Cubs fan.
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The Rule 5 took place on Thursday and, as I mentioned, the Cubs selected three players. There were just 18 players taken in the Major League portion of the draft. The Cubs accounted for one of those picks by snagging Fenter from the Baltimore Orioles. Now, this is by no means a big addition to the Cubs’ 40-man roster but it’s an interesting pick nonetheless.
Fenter, 24, stands 6 feet tall, weighing in at 220 pounds. The former seventh-round pick of the Orioles has battled through some injuries in his career. In 2016, he underwent Tommy John surgery and it cost him the entire season.
All that being said, Fenter had a pretty dominant 2019 season with the Low-A team, posting a 1.81 ERA across 94 1/3 innings of work. In the postseason, Fenter had his best outing striking out 13 batters across 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
Fenter’s pitch mix includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. The fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s. It will be important for the fastball to be more at the top end of that range, especially at the big league level. The curveball is probably the best pitch of the group as of now. It’s a hard 12-to-6 breaking ball that really snaps. He can bury it when needed but can also throw the pitch for strikes.
Cubs president Jed Hoyer had high remarks for Fenter after the team selected him:
"“We liked him a lot in 2019,” Hoyer said. “He pitched in Low-A, but we really liked the stuff. We had consistently good reports on him throughout his minor league career. We liked the fact that he’s got an explosive fastball, has the ability to throw two different breaking balls with a slider and curveball and all the makeup stuff that we got on him was really positive.”"
Given the team’s need for pitching depth, taking a guy like Fenter makes a ton of sense for the North Siders. He’ll get a look in camp next spring – and hopefully he can take a big next step in his development.
Chicago also made two more picks in the minor league portion of the draft, selecting Nicholas Padilla and Samuel Reyes – both of whom are also right-handed pitchers. We’ll take a wait-and-see approach on these two arms. Make no mistake: Fenter is the guy to keep an eye on here.