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.
  • Clayton Richard is absolutely, positively NOT a free-agent.

    Richard came into the 2015 season with 5+070 days of MLB Service Time, so he only needed to accrue 102 days of MLB Service Time during the 2015 MLB regular season to qualify as an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2015.  However,  he spent the first three months of the season at AAA Indianapolis (the Pirates AAA affiliate) and so he did not accrue any MLB Service Time durinbg that period of time. 

  • says he is, site says he's a Cub, great cooperation between the 2 sites, weird

  • The drafting of Shea at #1 was a sign of things to come -- an undersized white linebacker who's not particularly fast; lets make him an NFL defensive end! Just idiotic. When the best thing you can say about your #1 pick is that he has a "high motor", that's a problem...that's what you should say about late-round picks.

  • Not AZ PHIL but after being DFA'd by the Cubs (after they got him from the Pirates in the "I get a chance in the Majors clause"), the Cubs re-signed him for the remainder of the season. I do not believe service time is an issue for him, so he is eligible to opt for Major League Free Agency - which he is doing and the Cubs or someone else will sign him to an MLB deal. AZ PHIL please correct this if you see fit - but that is the most current info that I'm aware of.

  • To also be fair to Emery, wtf do you draft Shea McLellin as a #1, Jonathan Bostic in the same draft, let Peppers go in lieu of signing Jared Shit-Head, Brandon Hardin, Evan Rodriguez, Isiah Frey, on and on...

    I will give him credit for Kyle Long - who is like my favorite player (what does THAT say about the team - but he did throw in the 90's as a former pitcher), and Jeffrey.

  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.