Kantrovitz’s Overhaul in Chicago, Extreme Value of Top-10, New Mock Drafts, Ambidextrous Pitching Prospect, More

The 2022 MLB Draft is less than a month away. And as a reminder, the Chicago Cubs will pick seventh overall with the 10th largest bonus pool ($10,092,700).

But remember, teams can spend up to 5% more than their allotted bonus pool space without losing a future draft pick, so the Cubs can and likely will spend up to $10,597,335 total. They are one of just four teams (Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants) who’ve outspent their allotment in all 10 drafts since the rule has been in place.

A smattering of MLB Draft notes for you to enjoy today …

  • Over at North Side Bound, Greg Zumach interviewed Cubs VP of Scouting (basically The Guy in Charge of the Cubs Draft) Dan Kantrovitz. So you’re definitely going to want to check that out. To start, Kantrovitz delivers a nuanced conversation about (1) not outsmarting yourself in the draft and (2) the value of legacy draft picks (prospects who come from MLB family trees). I was a little surprised by his opinion on the latter, but was fascinated to learn how it’s less about any one player’s potential talent (because his father or brother was good or whatever) and more about an increased ability to project certain physical attributes as well as the modeling of one’s preparation off big leaguers.
  • Kantrovitz also discusses the organizational changes that occurred between the 2020 and 2021 draft. There are apparently new systems and processes in place *as well as* new personnel on the field and in the office. In other words, this is just the second draft of the “new system.” And that felt like a good reminder that this organization didn’t just fix everything back in 2012, when Theo Epstein came aboard. The game has changed a lot since then. And it’s nice (comforting?) to be reminded that the Cubs have made some necessary upgrades to the organization’s draft approach in recent years and to have someone like Dan Kantrovitz, who’s already a sought-after GM candidate, running the show.
  • This is likely semi-intuitive to most MLB/draft fans, but I don’t think I thought the curve would be quite this steep. I guess it’s good the Cubs have a top-7 pick this year (and probably next year, too …).
  • Next up, we’ve got a couple of updated Mock Drafts from CBS Sports, MLB Pipeline, and Keith Law (actually just top-100 rankings), and if you can believe it, they each have a different player 1-1 overall.
  • CBS Sports projects high school shortstop Jackson Holliday as the No. 1 pick, MLB Pipeline thinks the Orioles will try to save some money at the top by going with shortstop Brooks Lee, and Keith Law goes with the most common top draft prospect, Druw Jones (who’s the projected No. 2 overall pick in the other two mock drafts). Given everything we’ve seen by now, I think it’s safe to say Jones is the top draft prospect available, but that isn’t always the sure-fire way to end up with the best draft overall. Just off the top of my head, the Astros famously went with Carlos Correa over Byron Buxton, which was the right call for a number of reasons, including how they could then attack the rest of the draft. And the Cubs were lucky they didn’t get to potentially choose their top draft prospect (Mark Appel) when Kris Bryant was available. And when you can also save money to be spent elsewhere, well … I just think it’s an understandable approach. Plus, we’re talking about high schoolers here. The gap between the internal evaluations of each team is likely quite wide.
  • For what it’s worth, Law has Brooks Lee as the fifth best draft talent and Jackson Holliday as the sixth.
  • So to that end, I’m not sure it helps much to point out that college catcher Kevin Parada is his 7th ranked draft prospect (where the Cubs pick), because that doesn’t mean that’s where he’ll actually land. Indeed, both CBS and MLB Pipeline have the Cubs taking juco third baseman Cam Collier. And it is not the first time they’ve been attached. Collier, 17, is playing in the Cape Cod League (a prospect-dense, high-talent baseball league perennially loaded with future major leaguers), and could play himself right out of the Cubs range.
  • Indeed, in the Q&A Law posted after his top-100 rankings, he said he believes Collier will be selected 4th overall. So, you know, don’t get too excited just yet. Actually, do. The Cubs won’t get one of the top-2 talents in this draft, but there are 5-7 players afterwords that are arguably neck-and-neck. It’s just a matter of preference.
  • Draft pitching prospect Brandon Barriera is skipping one regular season start and the entire postseason to keep himself healthy for the upcoming draft. That’s an enormous decision for an amateur player and likely a path many other talented pitchers will elect in the future. It really could change a lot and put even more pressure on scouts to get things right as early as possible. We might also see more resources poured into scouting pitchers early and especially scouting health (to the extent that’s possible).
  • I’ve been waiting so long to see someone do this – credibly – in the big leagues:

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