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.
  • AZ Phil, what is the reason the Cubs are co-oping this team? They seem to have plenty of talent that would fill a roster.

  • RF is actually easier to play than LF in PNC so I'd guess Schwarber is there and that's why he was playing it Friday but yeah I'd say that's hopefully accurate.

  • Guess for Wednesday's lineup: Fowler (CF), Schwarber (LF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo (1B), Castro (2B), Montero (C), Russell (SS), Arrieta (P), Coughlan (RF)

  • Dusty already has blue and red wrist bands.

    /cmon dude

  • a day old, but fwiw...

    Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat · Oct 4
    Theo and Jed at Miller Park to talk to #Cubs Maddon and staff. Playoff roster to be finalized by Wednesday morning

  • I'm guessing the order is the other way around.

  • cc sab going into alcohol rehab, missing the post-season for the yanks.

  • no bud black? cold.

  • Break up the Cubs! throws out two names to manage the Nats: Dave Martinez and Wally Backman.

  • matt williams (WAS) fired...shocker. he lost control and confidence of that clubhouse way before papelbum got there.

    having a roster chock full of egomaniacs and assholes doesn't help.

    he won 'manager of the year' last year, fwiw.

  • If he were dealing with Chicago traffic, I would take my chances with the golf cart.

  • You can get to the MKE airport from Miller Park via all surface streets, no real reason to get on the expressway. Unless he is in a real hurry to get to Az.

  • CUBSTER: I would think a cab or a limo would get Motte to the airport faster than a golf cart. The maximum speed of a golf cart is (what?) maybe 15 MPH, which could actually be dangerous on an expressway. 

  • from the Sunday Trib...

    Reliever Jason Motte waved as he left the visitor’s clubhouse at Miller Park on a golf cart en route to the airport to catch a flight to Arizona to start a rehab assignment.
    Motte has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 24 because of a right shoulder strain, but there’s a possibility he could rejoin the Cubs if they advance deep in the playoffs.
    Motte is scheduled to pitch in simulated games and in Instructional League games in Arizona.

  • 8 in a row to end the year...let's do this playoffs thing.

  • shelby miller (ATL) finishes the season with a win, snapping his 24-game winless streak...because ATL bats are non-existent.

    3.02 era, 1.25 whip, 205.1ip, 171K

    6-17 w/l...ugg.