MLB Draft: Chicago Cubs add best change-up in the class in Jordan Wicks

Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Jordan Wicks might not blow anyone away with overpowering velocity, but given he was widely considered the best college left-hander in this year’s MLB Draft, Chicago Cubs fans can’t be too upset with the team’s first-round selection on Sunday night.

Wicks could absolutely be a fast-track guy for Chicago – potentially even opening up next year at the Double-A level. He’s a really polished pitcher who possesses one of, if not the, best change-up in this year’s draft class. Of course, the Cubs’ most glaring example of this type of pitcher is Kyle Hendricks, who has long dominated hitters with his low-velocity mix of pitches.

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You look at Wicks’ body of work with Kansas State and it’s definitely a far cry from what you see in the numbers from the early first-rounders. In two of his three seasons, he put up a mid-3.00 ERA with the exception being the shortened 2020 season.

He also set the program’s single-season strikeout record this year, so don’t be fooled there, either. pegged Wicks as the 16th-best prospect in this year’s class heading into the evening and had this to say about the left-hander:

"Wicks works with little effort, easily repeating his delivery and pounding the strike zone while working both sides of the plate. In addition to his stuff and command, he earns praise for his competitiveness and inventiveness on the mound."

This is definitely one of those ‘high floor’ picks. There’s not a whole lot of risk here, and at least tonight, seems like a ‘sure thing’. That’s not to say Wicks will go out and be an ace on a future Cubs team, but in even a worst-case scenario, he looks likely to avoid being one of those picks you look back at wondering what the front office was thinking five years from now.

Something you won’t see in the stat sheets, though, is the fire this guy brings not just on days he pitches, but every single day. Given Willson Contreras’ recent criticism of his teammates, that factor seems particularly relevant as we head into the weeks leading up to the deadline and, thus, the next era of Chicago Cubs baseball.

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Is it a sexy pick? No. Jordan Wicks is no Kumar Rocker or Will Bednar. But he’s got that high ceiling and given the Cubs’ ability to help guys with strong offspeed arsenals develop, this could be a pick that not only pays off quickly at the big league level, but for years to come.