For a whole lot of reasons I don’t need to remind you of, the 2022 Major League Baseball amateur draft has yet to schedule a date and time. However, it should not deter fans and people of the game alike from talking about the upcoming event that will likely take place at some point this summer. The Chicago Cubs have the seventh overall pick this year, and there are several directions the organization could choose to go.
Recently, several shortstop prospects have come into the news as potential options for teams. However, as we have seen repeatedly, shortstop can be a fancy way of listing yet another middle infielder available. No, the Cubs do not need a “shortstop” per se; however, any middle infield depth should continue to provide a catalyst for the direction the club hopes to continue moving in, in 2022 and beyond. So who are these guys, and what do they bring?
Chicago Cubs: Steps forward are steps in the right direction
Building a dynasty, or, instead, a championship-contending team in its most basic form, takes time, as Cubs fans understand. The Cubs are not as far off as many people assume in once more contending; however, continuing to build that depth in certain spots will move the process along a lot quicker.
Our first prospect to dive into is Cole Young. Wexford, PA, the prep star, attends North Allegheny high school and established a commitment to Duke. Viewed as a top-15 ranked prospect by many, Young hit .437 in 26 games as a junior during the 2020-21 season. It preceded his sophomore season, where he hit .414. Of course, prep stats can be misleading, but these numbers are off the chart.
His bat skills have been called advanced, which is saying a lot at this stage in his game, and he should easily be in the top half of the first round. Young’s approach reminds me similar to that of Anthony Rizzo, and as they are both left-handed hitters, there are many similar tendencies. So if the Cubs look toward the prep ranks, Young should be the first guy to target.
Second on this list is a name many will recognize, or surname, at the very least, and that is Stillwater high school shortstop Jackson Holliday. Holliday is the son of former All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday, as the left-handed hitter commits to staying in state at Oklahoma State. The 6’0″, 160-pound infielder is a bit of a stretch in the top ten; however, stranger things have happened, and he should at least be profiled.
His transfer skills are solid at his age, and his ability to move from left to right with some ease makes the various arm slots from which he throws more sustainable. In addition, Holliday uses all parts of the field at the dish and can go gap-to-gap with ease.
He has time to grow into his frame, and he is also seen as a utility player of sorts, which may improve the overall depth in various areas of need. MLB.com has him round out the top 20, which likely won’t lend to a rise to the seventh overall position. However, Holliday is known by scouts, and that will only help his status to improve.
Our last name on this list is lanky right-handed hitter Mikey Romero. Romero is from Murrieta, CA, and attends Vista Murrieta high school, where he hit .405 in the 2019-20 calendar year as his offensive prowess was way above the national average. Romero is similar to nature in stature to Holliday.
Romero possesses a strong arm and a fluidness not seen much at the prep level. His slight frame may provide the advantage he needs to stick in the middle infield without feeling too tall. He carries a powerful left-handed swing, and the barrel seems to speed through the zone along with a steady balance. As another guy who can use the gap-to-gap power, he could make for a sneaky pick by the Cubs.
There will be much discussion coming for months but advancing more talent to keep an eye on will hopefully keep us motivated through our current trudge of doom with the lockout. Also, it will be fun to see the Cubs’ direction in the 2022 MLB Draft.