The Cubs had a lot of picks Monday night in the first two rounds of the 2018 MLB draft. In total, they drafted three position prospects and one right-hander with their four selections. A very good middle infielder, two high-upside outfielders, and a fairly solid pitcher with multiple pitch types.
It all started with the surprising selection of Shortstop Nico Hoerner out of Stanford with the 24th overall pick. Taking a shortstop in the first round, a position the Cubs have an abundance of talent in the major and minor leagues was very intriguing. The good news is, Hoerner is a utility guy with player comps to Ben Zobrist that can move around in the infield, as a middle infielder.
The numbers are very good on Hoerner, batting .345 with 40 RBI in 232 at-bats this season. He’s not a big home run threat but has a high-contact bat as a pure hitter. Just like Ben Zobrist, he’s not the flashiest but produces quality numbers consistently. That comparison is a bit of a stretch, but it’s not entirely impossible.
Next came the high-upside outfielder straight from high school, Brennen Davis. Davis already has a verbal commitment to Miami, with nothing official. The chances of him signing with the Cubs are very good, with his draft slot equating to $1.1 million based on where he was selected. Theo Epstein’s risk on Davis can turn out to be a good one if he signs. Davis is very athletic with tons of potential and could turn out to be a steal.
Davis likely would’ve been selected higher than where he was with the 62nd overall pick, dealing with hamstring injuries this past season. He played basketball in high school which is where his injury occurred. Still, Davis still managed to bat .444 with 13 stolen bases in 63 at-bats. At just the age of 18, the future is there for Davis, but he’ll need 4-5 years in the minors to fully develop.
With their first compensation pick on the night, the Cubs selected another outfield prospect, Cole Roederer with the 77th overall pick. Roederer is also another high school positional player selected at just 18 years old. He’s got the talent as a small and powerful outfielder but like Davis has a college commitment. Roederer has a firm commitment to UCLA which is a bit concerning but the risk could be worth taking.
Roederer had a fantastic season, batting .392 with 7 home runs and 19 RBI in 51 at-bats. He posted a .537 on-base percentage in his senior season in high school. The unknown for Roederer makes him a risky pick, but the numbers are there. With high upside and a great bat anything is possible here with the selection.
Finally, to wrap up the night, the Cubs selected right-hander Paul Richan out of San Diego with their second compensation pick. We knew they couldn’t resist grabbing another pitcher after selecting plenty last year. With three years of experience at the University of San Diego, Richan is a very polished pitcher that is ready to get to work.
Richan is 21 years old, 6’3″ and 200 lbs, a great combination for a pitcher. He works with multiple pitch types with a low-80s slider that he can locate very well as his best pitch. This season, Richan went 4-6 with a 4.62 ERA in 89.2 innings pitched. The upside for Richan is his 10.13 K/9 and 1.25 WHIP he posted this past season.
This concludes a full recap of the four Cubs draft selections on Monday, each with great potential moving forward. Theo Epstein addressed the positional prospect shortage in the farm system while adding another polished pitcher to the mix. The second day of the draft starts at 11:30 AM CT on Tuesday when rounds three through ten will take place.