Cubs draft target Dylan Lesko undergoes Tommy John surgery

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

I spent a good deal of time on the road this week for work – but finally had a chance to semi-catch up on the happenings of the baseball world, and saw rumored Cubs draft target Dylan Lesko underwent Tommy John surgery recently.

Such news obviously has ramifications for Chicago, which holds the seventh overall pick in this summer’s MLB Draft. Early this year, not one, but two separate reports connected the Cubs to Lesko, a Venderbilt commit. Now, the question looms: would the Cubs use a top-10 pick on a prep arm coming off Tommy John?

According to Kiley McDaniel of ESPN, Lesko could still end up being the first pitcher drafted this summer. Furthermore, his latest draft rankings have the right-hander at number eight overall – so very much in the neighborhood of the Cubs’ pick.

There are two ways this could go. The first being Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins decide to pass on Lesko and pursue one of the many high-ceiling prep talents available in this year’s position player-heavy class. The other, however, could prove even more intriguing.

We’ve seen teams with high picks (namely, the Orioles) go under slot on first-round picks in recent years, thus, opening up more funds that can be allocated toward picks in subsequent rounds. It’s worth wondering if Lesko will settle for less money given his going under the knife. If that were the case, perhaps Chicago looks to pounce and do more with their pool of money. That seems pretty unlikely to me, especially since he has Vandy as a ‘fallback’ plan.

Given the Cubs’ focus on impact pitching – and finally breaking the decades-long drought when it comes to developing homegrown arms – Lesko makes a ton of sense. Baseball America called him the best high school arm they’ve seen in years. Even knowing he’s not going to be back on the mound probably for a year or so, that means he can get a half-season or so in 2023 at age 19.

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Next. Simmons suffers another setback in his recovery. dark

Then, he can come back, wielding his ‘plus’ change-up and mid-90s fastball in 2024 back at full strength. There was a time when Tommy John scared teams away from arms, but those days are long gone. Given his age and his potential, I don’t suspect Chicago – or any other team seriously interested in Lesko – will be dissuaded from taking a run at him come draft time.