Cubs ready to take swing at hitter-heavy MLB Draft

  • Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada could be a potential target for the Cubs in this year's MLB Draft. Parada hit 26 home runs for Georgia Tech this spring.

    Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada could be a potential target for the Cubs in this year's MLB Draft. Parada hit 26 home runs for Georgia Tech this spring. Associated Press

  • LSU's Jacob Berry, seen here during his time with Arizona in 2021, is a switch-hitter with a very low strikeout rate.

    LSU's Jacob Berry, seen here during his time with Arizona in 2021, is a switch-hitter with a very low strikeout rate. Associated Press

Updated 7/16/2022 7:15 PM

David Ross thought back to his days as a Cubs special assistant, when he was involved in draft discussions.

He enjoyed the process of dissecting prospects, but the idea of four straight days of draft meetings had him longing for a seat in the dugout.


"There is a fine-tooth comb run through every player, whether it is background, upbringing, mom, dad, coaches. They've talked to everybody, they've watched a ton of games," Ross said. "It stood out to me how much work went into that. Now being in this seat, you realize how big of a deal it is to get that right."

Sunday's MLB Draft will be particularly important for the Cubs, since they have the No. 7 pick, their highest since 2014 when they took Kyle Schwarber fourth.

With five straight top-10 picks from 2011-15, the Cubs managed to select four guys who contributed to the World Series title in Javy Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Schwarber, plus a current all-star in Ian Happ.

One unique aspect of the 2022 draft is no pitchers are expected to go in the top 10. Several top prospects have had injury issues or Tommy John surgery.

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The mock drafts have plenty of disagreements about how the top 7 picks will play out, but there are probably three names the Cubs can cross off their list, two sons of former major leaguers and one who played for his dad in college.

One is Druw Jones, an Atlanta-area high school outfielder and the son of Andruw Jones. He's one of those checks-all-the-boxes type of players.

Another is shortstop Jackson Holliday, son of former Cardinals and Rockies outfielder Matt Holiday. He's more of a high-upside prospect who made a big jump between his junior and senior years at Stillwater (Okla.) High School.

Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee was the heavy betting favorite to go No. 1 as of Saturday afternoon. He played for his father Larry at Cal Poly and overcame knee and hamstring tears as a freshman to hit .357 with 15 home runs and an excellent walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Lee, Jones and Holliday aren't a lock to go 1-3, but they probably won't be there at No. 7. Here's a look at five players who could end up being the Cubs' pick, in approximate order of likelihood:


Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola Junior College

Plenty of draft chatter has linked the Cubs to Collier, but he's also widely projected as a candidate to go to the Pirates at No. 4. Collier is one of the youngest players in the draft and turns 18 on Nov. 20.

Here's how he got there: The son of former MLB utility player Lou Collier missed his freshman season at Mount Paran Christian School in Atlanta due to the pandemic, then hit .434 as a sophomore. At that point, he pulled a move similar to Bryce Harper, getting his GED and moving on to Chipola, a strong junior college program in Florida, where he hit .333 as a freshman. Not a fast runner, but scouts seem to like his power potential from the left side.

Lou Collier is a Chicago native who attended Vocational High School at the same time as Juwan Howard, then played eight years in the big leagues. The last juco player taken in the first round was Tim Anderson by the White Sox in 2013.

Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy

Green is seen as an exceptional athlete with high upside, with concerns about his swing and miss. His father Eric Green played tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers and made the Pro Bowl twice.

Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS (Ga.)

This 5-foot-10 left-handed hitter is viewed by some as one of the best high school hitting prospects in years. Said to have excellent bat speed and power potential, despite his relatively small frame. He says he patterned his game after the Marlins' Jazz Chisolm.

Johnson seems less likely to drop to the Cubs, but they probably won't pass if he does.

Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech

Some see the Pasadena, Calif., native as a right-handed Schwarber. He had 26 home runs for Georgia Tech this spring and may not stay at catcher long-term.

Jacob Berry, 3B/OF LSU

Switch-hitter showed power in college with a very low strikeout rate. There are questions about his defensive ability.

Some other players who have been mentioned with the Cubs are Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) HS OF Justin Crawford and Campbell SS Zach Neto.

Another possibility for the Cubs is to play the slot bonus game. In theory, they could choose a player projected to go lower in the first round, agree to a smaller bonus than what is slotted for the No. 7 pick, then use the money saved to swing big with bonuses for later picks.

The Cubs made a move along those lines last year to draft and sign James Triantos out of high school in the second round. He's already ranked the No. 5 prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline.

The Cubs will choose No. 47 overall in the second round. The first round will air in prime time on Sunday evening.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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