Cubs grab ‘top college pitcher’ in first round of 2022 MLB Draft

(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images) /

It’s safe to say no one saw this coming. With the likes of Cam Collier, Kevin Parada, Brooks Lee and Jace Jung still on the board, the Chicago Cubs went with Oklahoma right-hander Cade Horton with the seventh overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

This smells like an under-slot play on the part of the Cubs, but we’ll have to see what comes next. Horton came roaring up draft boards because of his work on the mound late this year, both in the conference tournament and at the College World Series.

To be frank, I’m pretty shocked this is the route Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins and Dan Kantrovitz opted to go. Sure, there’s still a need for impact pitching in the organization, but shoring up behind the dish with Parada or going high upside in Collier seemed likelier to me personally.

If you’re one of those guys ready to rip the front office to shreds for this pick, a quick glance at Horton’s overall numbers with the Sooners will give you plenty of ammunition. The 20-year-old red shirt freshman put up just a 4.86 ERA in his return from Tommy John surgery, but really hit his stride late.

This is a guy who has plus stuff, for sure. He’s capable of running the heater up into the upper-90s,  with a pair of breaking pitches made to get swings and misses. It’s an unexpected pick, to be sure, but one that Jim Callis raved about on MLB Network, calling Horton ‘the best college pitcher in the draft’.

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We’ll have more as we dive in more on Horton, but it’s clear with last year’s pick of Kansas State left-hander Jordan Wicks and this year’s pick that the Cubs are committed to adding arms – and feel good about the group of position players they have in the organization right now.