Cubs have specific areas to target in this year’s MLB Draft

(Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have the seventh overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft, and thankfully there should be some clarity as to which direction they will go with that ever-important top 10 draft capital. In the past year, the Cubs have rebuilt their system, and the draft will be another opportunity to take a big step forward in the ongoing rebuild.

This year, there is a lot of top-level talent at positions the Cubs ned to add depth at, which is exciting. However, outfield and middle-infield depth are two areas where the Cubs already boast a great deal of depth, making the looming decisions easier.

Chicago Cubs: Adding to the catching pool and improving first base

It is best practice to observe all angles between the collegiate and prep levels when looking at the crop of talent available from which the Cubs will select in July. Beginning with the catcher position on the collegiate side, only two first-round talents could be there when the Cubs pick seventh.

Georgia Tech’s Kevin Parada and Arizona’s Daniel Susac are the top two catchers on the board and top-five overall prospects. Parada ranks number two overall, and Susac ranks fourth. Parada crushed the ball as a freshman, slashing .318/.379/.550 with nine home runs. Regarding how catchers operate at the dish, that is some serious pop along with quality hitting.

Parada’s glove is behind his bat; however, it seems to be catching up as he continues to improve his blocking and framing ability. He will spend the summer with Team USA, so hopefully, that will allow him to continue improving his overall game.

Susac, meanwhile, is just two spots overall behind Parada. Another potent bat, Susac, has a slash line of .356/.412/.613 over his season and a half with the Wildcats. He posted an impressive .983 OPS as a freshman and is following it up with a 1.093 OPS through his first 34 games as a sophomore.

First base is less attractive as far as first-round talent goes, both at the collegiate and prep levels. As a result, the only name who would be considered as the seventh overall pick is LSU’s, Jacob Berry. Berry spent his freshman season at the University of Arizona before transferring this year.

He slashed .352/.439/.676 with a 1.115 OPS and 41 extra-base hits as a freshman.
So far this season, he is off to an even hotter start, hitting .370 through his first 34 games, already with 17 extra-base hits. The thing to love about Berry is that he is a switch-hitter, which would be great for any team and exactly why the Cubs should consider the 21-year-old this coming July.

Another direction for the Cubs is to look toward third base. Cam Collier is just 17 but is playing ball in Florida at Chipola Junior College this year. He was given a perfect grade from Perfect Game. He has a sweet, easy swing from both sides of the plate and seems to have a future at third base.

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Ultimately, the Cubs should go the collegiate route early and close some gaps in depth later on with high-upside prep players. It would shock me to see them go with a prep talent in the first round, but I trust the process. As is each year now, July will be ever so important for the Cubs in building a new contender.