Cubs Finish Draft by Selecting More Pitching, Big Bodies on Day 3
Under the guidance scouting VP Dan Kantrovitz in 2021 the Cubs’ Day 3 strategy was based on the idea of using savings for signing bonuses to go after one or two high school kids while using their other picks to sign college players with interesting skill sets. That may well have been repeated this year, but there is inherently less information on today’s selections compared to the other rounds. With that in mind, bear with me as I try to provide the most accurate snapshots of these last 10 picks as possible.
If you missed the action from the previous two days, you can read about the organization’s first round pick Cade Horton, second round pick Jackson Ferris, and Day 2 selections all right here at Cubs Insider.
11th Round – Branden Noriega | LHP, No School
As is typical for Day 3 selections, we’re starting off with a bit of a weird case here with the first pick. I can’t seem to find a lick of college stats on the kid even though his Baseball Reference page lists him as having attended Miami Dade College. I can say that he has played in the new-ish MLB Draft League and posted some really promising velo numbers. He has been up to 96 mph from the left side.
12th Round – Mat Peters | RHP, Ivy Tech
This is by far my favorite story of the draft. Peters didn’t make the high school baseball team when he was a junior. When his senior year at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne rolled around, he made the team but stood just 5-foot-7 and threw his fastball only 85 mph. But then he grew. After spending time at Ivy Tech — a school that has never had a draft pick and that voted earlier this spring to discontinue the baseball team in 2023 — Peters found himself standing 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds and touching 101 mph on the radar gun. It’s like something from a movie.
13th Round – Luis Rujano | RHP, Sunshine State Elite Academy (FL)
Originally from Venezuela, Rujano is committed to USF and has plenty of growth to do on the mound in terms of his pitchability. Physically, he is already doing alright for himself, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 200 pounds. He has a fastball that can get up to 96 but typically sits in the low 90s. Rujano going so high in the Day 3 action likely means he is the front office’s number one priority when it comes to overslot high schoolers.
14th Round – Shane Marshall | RHP, University of Georgia
Try to follow along here…Marshall was a catcher at Georgia, and a light-hitting one at that. He never logged 100 plate appearances in a season and his career OPS was .641, but it doesn’t matter because he was drafted as a pitcher. A pitcher who only threw 1.2 collegiate innings. He reportedly has elite shape on his fastball and if that’s how the Cubs found him, then they have the best scouts in the league.
15th Round – Haydn McGeary | Catcher, Colorado Mesa University
If you’re here for stats, then boy do I have a treat for you courtesy of the D2 National Player of the Year. Here are his career numbers over the course of 163 games (keep in mind, a full MLB season is 162 games): .448/.522/.930/1.452, 75 home runs, 65 doubles, 243 RBI, 12.2% strikeout rate, 11.2% walk rate. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, he is definitely a DH and not a catcher.
16th Round – JP Wheat | RHP, Next Level Academy (AL)
Plenty of upside with this pick as Wheat stands 6-foot-5 with plenty of room to add muscle. He has been clocked in the mid-90s and features a pretty long arm-swing during his delivery. He just started pitching a couple years ago so there is plenty of room to grow both mentally and physically.
17th Round – Andy Garriola | OF, Old Dominion University
We should have known the Cubs would take someone out of ODU because the system has been littered with Monarchs, from P.J. Higgins to Jared Young and plenty more in between. The scouting department definitely believes in what the coaching staff has cooking over there in Virginia. Another big-bodied position player that might be best for DH, Garriola swatted 25 homers this season and performed well across his three college seasons, including his time in both the Northwoods League and the Cape Cod League.
18th Round – Garrett Brown | RHP, University of Georgia
Another college pitcher, another big body. Brown is the second guy from the pitching room down in Athens and only pitched in 16 collegiate ballgames. The numbers are remarkably bad with a 6.64 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 6.2 BB/9, and 10.3 H/9, but, as was the case with now-nasty reliever Zac Leigh, sometimes the college stats don’t tell the whole story, especially for a guy coming off TJ.
19th Round – Brock Blatter | RHP, Billings Central Catholic HS (MT)
It’s not every day you see a kid drafted out of Montana, a state that doesn’t have high school baseball. Because of that and his commitment to Alabama, Blatter might be the toughest high schooler for the Cubs to sign out of this draft. Another reason? He sits 91-95 mph, has a slider with more than 2600 rpm of spin, and goes 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds. I’m hoping he can be this year’s version of Dom Hambley — a kid from cold weather that the Cubs shockingly sign away from their college commitment.
20th Round – Ke’Shun Collier | OF, Meridian CC (MS)
The Chicago Cubs drafted a dude named Collier. Sure, it wasn’t Cam Collier in the first round but going with Ke’Shun in the last round makes for a pretty fun selection. His hitting style is absurdly unique as he basically just matches his bat to the plane of the ball and slaps at it, getting out of the left-handed batter’s box quickly before flying down the line at 6.32 60 times. I’d imagine the exit velocities are some of the worst in the draft class, but the Cubs like guys that do weird things and they definitely got one in Collier.