Best Cubs Drafts

I was intrigued by the recent ESPN article that proclaimed the 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers draft to be the best ever. The Dodgers picks that year were exceptional. All told across the various January and June drafts, the Dodgers drafted and signed EIGHT players that would go on to have successful major league careers. They are listed below with their career WAR according to Baseball Reference:

  • Ron Cey 53.5
  • Davey Lopes 42.2
  • Steve Garvey 37.7
  • Doyle Alexander 35.5
  • Joe Ferguson 21.0
  • Geoff Zahn 20.7
  • Bill Buckner 14.8
  • Tom Paciorek 7.6

 Though knowing the Cubs would never come close to that, I decided to see what their best drafts would be. I examined every draft for the Cubs and noted all players with a career WAR (according to Baseball Reference) of 3.0 or higher. For active players, that was 3.0 as of June 4, 2014. The full list by year is below.

 I thought 3.0 would be a very low bar and I would see a lot of players, but sadly the Cubs have had eight years through 2005 in which they did not draft and sign even a single player that accumulated that much WAR over their careers. Overall, in most years, the Cubs were lucky to draft one or perhaps two future Major League regulars. The “Best Draft” in Cubs history would probably have to be 1984 with Maddux and Moyer, followed by 1985 with Palmeiro and Grace. The only draft with much depth was 2001 with Prior, Nolasco, Soto, and Theriot.

  • 2009: DJ LeMahieu 3.6
  • 2008: Andrew Cashner 4.3
  • 2007: Josh Donaldson 13.7, Darwin Barney 6.0
  • 2006: Jeff Samardzija 5.2
  • 2005: NA
  • 2004: Jerry Blevins 3.6
  • 2003: Sean Marshall 9.7
  • 2002: Randy Wells 7.9, Rich Hill 3.2
  • 2001: Mark Prior 16.5 , Ricky Nolasco 11.0, Geovony Soto 10.0, Ryan Theriot 6.4
  • 2000: Dontrelle Willis 20.3
  • 1999: NA
  • 1998: Corey Patterson 9.6, Eric Hinske 8.2, Will Ohman 3.5
  • 1997: Jon Garland 22.5, Scott Downs 11.1, Michael Wuertz 5.3
  • 1996: Kyle Lohse 20.6
  • 1995: Kerry Wood 27.7, Justin Speier 7.8
  • 1994: Kyle Farnsworth 6.6
  • 1993: Jose Molina 3.9, Kevin Orie 3.1
  • 1992: NA
  • 1991: Steve Trachsel 29.4, Doug Glanville 10.9, Terry Adams 4.4
  • 1990: NA
  • 1989: NA
  • 1988: NA
  • 1987: Frank Castillo 7.8, Mike Harkey 6.3
  • 1986: Rick Wilkins 13.9, Joe Girardi 5.7, Jerome Walton 3.7
  • 1985: Rafael Palmeiro 71.6, Mark Grace 46.1
  • 1984: Greg Maddux 106.9, Jamie Moyer 50.4
  • 1983: Dave Martinez 19.1, Rich Amaral 5.2
  • 1982: Shawon Dunston 11.5
  • 1981: Joe Carter 19.3, Darrin Jackson 11.4, Billy Hatcher 3.9
  • 1980: Craig Lefferts 9.3
  • 1979: Scott Fletcher 32.0
  • 1978: Mel Hall 8.7
  • 1977: Randy Martz 3.8
  • 1976: Ron Davis 5.1
  • 1975: Lee Smith 29.6
  • 1974: NA
  • 1973: Mike Krukow 24.1, Donnie Moore 7.0
  • 1972: Ray Burris 16.4
  • 1971: Burt Hooton 35.9, Dennis Lamp 15.4
  • 1970: Rick Reuschel 70.0
  • 1969: Bill North 26.7, Larry Gura 21.7, Roger Metzger 3.9
  • 1968: Oscar Gamble 23.0
  • 1967: NA
  • 1966: Joe Niekro 29.9, Bill Stoneman 4.6
  • 1965: Ken Holtzman 27.6, Joe Decker 6.9


this 1/2 inning interview with "the dude who made the shawn-o-meter" 25 years ago is one of the most nervously awkward things in the booth of a cubs game in quite a while...and edwin jackson pitching a slow inning doesn't help.

...and they send him home "early" after a long string of questions and ejax's 2nd walk in a row with 1 out.

aw bummer...Don Zimmer passes away at age 83.

Story on Popeye calling the triple steal

Transmission found this one

cubs lead! ejax in line for the win.

RIP Popeye

Eloy looks huge standing next to Manny.

That's Eloy Jimenez on the left, Manny Ramirez in the middle, and Gleyber Torres on the right

This kid is 17? He may grow more. Where are they gonna put all of him?

Power forward. #4 in the current lingo.

I wonder what happened with Paul Blackburn last night at Kane County:
30 pitches...2/3 IP, 3 walks...1hit, 2 ER. Ugh

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:

    It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

    The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

  •'re flip-flopping again?!

    Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind?

    I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

  • Happ signs w Jays

    Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

  • needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

  • As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing

  • + Bankruptcy Court

  • +Price

  • Rondon 2.0!!

  • 2 spots left on the 40-man...wonder if they're going to play around in the rule-5 market...

  • A special after day after Thanksgiving thanks to AZ for his insanely detailed posts on all things roster. I don't know how you keep track of all that stuff - I suspect a chip implant, but whatever it is, it's cool.

  • ...the wrong half.

  • there's nothing like crapping out of the playoffs with a strong/young cheap team after pinching pennies for years then having theo talk about having to be creative with money to make things work for 2016...but hey, baseball isn't baseball without a farmer's market and beer garden plaza with ice rinks.

    they can do both...then again, if you want to look at it from a business point of view, they don't have to do both because the team is expected to be competitive and the merch+tickets+eyes-on-team are going to be at a peak unless they fail badly.

  • Really ?

    They are trying to bring the facility to the 20th century.
    I think they know what they are doing.

  • With the Cubs adding Pierce Johnson to their roster and not exposing/losing him to the Rule 5 Draft keeps the trade ancestry tree alive that started in 1999 with Tom Gordon and undrafted Adam Morrissey and includes 17 players, the trade tree progressed to involve the Hee Sop Choi for Derrek Lee deal and the famous Aramis Ramirez/Kenny Lofton deal..Pierce Johnson is the compensation pick for Aramis Ramirez in 2012