What did the Chicago Cubs get from their picks in Rounds 1-5 of the 2023 MLB Draft?

The Cubs took some great players that have the ability to fast-track this team to the playoffs in 2024 with their first five picks of the 2023 MLB Draft.
Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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4th Round Pick: Will Sanders RHP (University of South Carolina)

The two pitchers the Cubs took definitely have some rough edges to smooth out. While Wiggins was injured, Sanders was kind of just bad. During his freshman season he had a 3.54 ERA with 54 strikeouts across 53.1 innings in the best conference in college baseball giving a lot of scouts something to dream on.  

His sophomore season didn’t see massive improvements but he did lower his ERA to 3.43 with 91 strikeouts over 89.1 innings. 

However, last season the wheels fell off a little bit as he only threw 62.2 innings with a 5.46 ERA. He struck out more batters per inning, but he walked nearly as many batters (26) as he did his sophomore season (31) despite throwing nearly 30 fewer innings. 

The batting average against has always stayed around .245-.250 so it appears that the problems he faced this year were due almost entirely to the walks and that is another thing that he has in common with 2nd round pick Jax Wiggins. 

Keith Law had this to say about the pick:

"South Carolina starter Will Sanders had an awful draft year after coming into the spring with some first-round talk; the velocity and slider were there but his delivery was out of whack and he became over-reliant on the slider when hitters jumped on his fastball. He needs to use his changeup more to develop it as a third pitch and finish stronger on his front side so the fastball isn’t so appealing to hitters."

Keith Law

If the Cubs have the magic to change Sanders and Wiggins into strike-throwers they may well have gotten a couple of steals in the second and fourth rounds as both guys were potential first-rounders entering the season.