And early look at the Cubs and the 2023 MLB Draft
By Logan Whaley
The Chicago Cubs have had a much stronger season than many expected when the 2022 regular season began. The Cubs are nowhere near .500, let alone a contender to play postseason baseball. However, they will not lose 100 games, which should be considered a small success.
Cubs fans largely have learned to look at the glass as half full as the year has progressed. Over the past couple of seasons, finding optimism has been a difficult task to undertake, as ownership decimated the team’s core in an attempt to rebuild.
However, resiliency has been vital in 2022. The Cubs entered Monday with 73 wins, having won nine of their last ten games. It has taken a lot of guys stepping into roles this year for even that amount of wins to be reached, and there have been some good things along the way.
With real thoughts of returning to competitiveness in 2023, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about next summer’s MLB Draft – and what direction Chicago’s front office will go as it looks to build a long-term winner.
MLB Draft: Intentional scouting is key for the Cubs
The Cubs have utilized their farm system and depth in an important way this year. A number of everyday guys have been above average this season, and the depth has ground to help to carry the weight. Newcomer Seiya Suzuki has produced a 120 wRC+ in 107 games, while Christopher Morel, a top prospect in the system, has more than held his own, in his first big league campaign.
The Cubs will need to continue improving their pitching depth as well as the infield, and thankfully, this year’s crop of talent is chock-full of both. The first name who should be in consideration and available come draft day is Miami Hurricanes third baseman Yohandy Morales.
Morales just finished his sophomore season. He slashed .329/.411/.650, all career-highs. In two seasons, the 20-year-old has a slash line of .308/.380/.594. Morales found some added power this year as he also mashed 18 home runs, an improvement over his 11 bombs in his freshman year. He’s currently ranked as Baseball America‘s number 22 overall draft prospect (subscription required) and should be an option for the Cubs next summer.
Prep left-hander Thomas White out of Phillips Academy is another option and a star in the making. White already has the frame and size to be dominant at both the collegiate level and lower professional level. The 18-year-old has a commitment to Vanderbilt, which is no surprise. However, if the offer were right, there may be some pull.
He’s considered the best pitching prospect in the class, although maybe in play if the Cubs can get the right deal. White sits at between 92-95 on his fastball, reaching 96 MPH at times. He also has a go-to curveball that carries a strong break and sits between 74-77. In two high school seasons, Thomas held a 0.48 ERA over 43 innings.
With just days left in the regular season, one can’t be blamed for starting to look ahead to next summer. Throughout the offseason, we will continue to talk about next summer’s draft, and now there are a few names to dive into and get to know.