MLB Mock Draft Roundup: Who do the experts have the Chicago Cubs taking in July?
Less than a month ago, Baseball America and other prospects pages released mock drafts for this year's MLB draft later in July. For the Chicago Cubs, BA has predicted Jed Hoyer and crew to go right back to the well in terms of starting pitching this year, having them pegged to land Rhett Lowder with the 13th overall pick.
Currently playing for Wake Forest, Lowder owns an excellent 1.84 ERA in 49.0 IP this season. That number is also coupled with a 6-0 record, which has helped Wake Forest become the #2 ranked team in the nation this year with a record of 28-4. Being from a power five school, Lowder faces solid competition, so to perform at this level every weekend when he's on the bump is indicative of the competitor he is.
Lowder has received accolades this season, including being on the 2023 Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List and winning ACC Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 27th. He also racked up several preseason awards; you can check those out here. Impressively, he won the 2022 ACC Pitcher of the Year last year as a sophomore.
Lowder's pitch mix consists of a low to mid-90s fastball, slider, and fantastic changeup, which he utilizes as his put-away pitch. MLB.com's college prospect rankings for 2023 list him as having the potential to be "at least" a mid-rotation starting pitcher. With a breakout season well underway, the chances of the Chicago Cubs landing him are still somewhat plausible, but they will have to have luck on their side as well, especially if Lowder finishes his junior year strong.
Regarding the Cubs, it will be interesting to see if they do load up on pitching again. Last year, the Cubs went extremely pitching-heavy, so they could either follow suit regarding more of the same in this year's draft, or you could understand if the front office decides to go more position-player-heavy after not doing so last year. With Carter Hawkins as the GM, and his expertise revolving around pitcher development, I won't be surprised to see the Cubs further strongly emphasize homegrown pitching. The 2023 MLB draft takes place July 9th-11th in Seattle.