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
bradsbeard 4 hours 31 min ago (view)
Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me.
KingKongvsGodzilla 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!
crunch 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
jim hickey new nats pitching coach.
bradsbeard 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there.
tim815 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.
crunch 3 days 10 hours ago (view)
not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.
big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.
too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).
bradsbeard 3 days 11 hours ago (view)
Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 16 hours ago (view)
I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability
Hagsag 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?
tim815 4 days 8 hours ago (view)
Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.
crunch 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
yup, they're gonna try. starts in about a month.
Hagsag 4 days 18 hours ago (view)
Has it been announced whether there will be a DR winter league this winter?
tim815 5 days 45 min ago (view)
That's as good of news as we'll get for awhile.
Arizona Phil 5 days 3 hours ago (view)
TIM: If nothing else, signing a boatload of IFA (35) in the 2019-20 ISP is a pretty good indicator that the Cubs fully intend to run two DSL teams into the forseeable future.
tim815 5 days 4 hours ago (view)
Of the 11 new guys, I'm leaning on Marino Sandy and Jerry Torres to be the most likely to reach full-season ball or get traded
Arizona Phil 5 days 5 hours ago (view)
OF Ian Miller (outrighted to the minors on 9/3) elected free-agency just prior to the 10/15 deadline, and the Cubs have signed RHRP Juan Gamez (who they released on 9/9) to a 2021 minor league contract.