Cubs have a chance for the first pick of the 2023 MLB draft
The winter meetings are just a few days away, and for baseball fans, this is the most exciting time of the off-season. This year, the winter meetings will feature something baseball fans have never seen. The inaugural draft lottery will take place on December 6th. This is thanks to the newest collective bargaining agreement. The top six picks will be chosen by lottery, but every team that missed the playoffs will have a chance at the first pick. Picks 7-18 will be chosen from the worst record to the best record of the non-playoff teams remaining. The bottom 3 teams will all have an equal chance at 16.5 percent and each team after that will have a decreasing chance. The Chicago Cubs finished 2022 with a record of 74-88 which put them at the 12th worst record in the league. This gives them a 1.1 percent chance at the first pick of the draft. Jonathon Mayo of MLB does a great job of breaking down how the draft lottery works, you can read that here.
The MLB draft is unlike any other. Teams have to wait years before they can see their draft picks in a big league uniform. It is very rare for a draft pick to make his way to the majors the same year he was drafted, but it has happened. Just like other sports though, it is never a guarantee that the player you draft in the first round will become the all-star teams hope for. As it stands right now, the Cubs' 40-man roster has just five first-round draft picks.
The 2022 MLB draft was the first time a high school player was drafted with the first pick since the Minnesota Twins selected Royce Lewis in 2017. When teams select high school players, especially in the first round, they are drafting the potential. A high school player has usually around 4 years until they are fully ready to make their debut. On the other hand, college players are generally more developed and will get the call-up quicker. With the first pick in the draft, teams really have to think about what their future looks like, and how long they are willing to wait for the player to be major-league-ready. However, there have been some good first-overall picks out of both high school and college, and two of them are part of the big four shortstop free agents this off-season. The Cubs have been predicted to sign one of them in Dansby Swanson and Carlos Correa. Other notable first-overall picks include Bryce Harper and Gerrit Cole.
The Chicago Cubs have a chance at the first overall draft selection in 2023.
The Cubs have not had the first pick since 1982 when they drafted shortstop Shawon Dunston. However, they have had their fair share of picks in the top 6, which will be known as lottery picks from this year on. They have been able to draft some very good players with those lottery picks as well. In 2000, the Cubs drafted Mark Prior with the 2nd overall pick in the draft, Kris Bryant was drafted 2nd overall in 2013, and Kyle Schwarber was drafted 4th overall in 2014.
The first overall pick in baseball may not be as glamorous as it is in football or basketball, but it is still a pick a team loves to have. The Cubs may be a longshot for the first overall pick, but as mentioned earlier, the top six picks are decided by lottery, and the Cubs love to choose players out of college. Eight of the Cubs' last ten first-round picks have been out of college. If the Cubs are able to beat the odds and land a lottery pick, there is a pretty good college group to choose from and Jim Callis of MLB lists his top 20 here.
With the lottery, the MLB hopes to deter some teams from tanking their season for a top pick. Because every team that misses out on the playoffs has a chance, it might work to an extent. Nonetheless, the inaugural draft lottery is set to take place next week and it should bring some more excitement to the winter meetings.