Cubs News: Latest on Chicago's Plans for Prospects After 'Epic' 2020 MLB Draft

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 18, 2020

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 01: A detailed view of the New Era ball cap and MLB logo in the dugout of the Chicago Cubs against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 1, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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The Chicago Cubs are feeling extremely optimistic about their farm system coming out of the 2020 MLB draft.

Speaking to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, Cubs vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz went so far as to say the team believes they had a "pretty epic" draft that included a mix of players they were looking for.

"We went in with the goal of trying to acquire some impact playersa combination of some power arms and some power batsand I feel like we accomplished that goal," he said.

Chicago's draft class included shortstop Ed Howard (No. 16 overall), left-handed pitcher Burl Carraway (No. 51), outfielder Jordan Nwogu (No. 88), left-handed pitcher Luke Little (No. 117) and right-handed pitcher Koen Moreno (No. 147).

There doesn't appear to be any concerns about those players going unsigned. Howard and Moreno were the only high schoolers in the class. Moreno told Kyle Morton of High School OT he will forego his commitment to East Carolina to sign with the Cubs.

Howard hasn't said what his plan is, but the Chicago native was excited about the possibility of playing for his hometown team.

"I was looking forward to it," he told Bastian after the draft. "I wanted to be a hometown kid. I'm excited it's with the Cubs. I think that's a great organization. I watch a lot of Cubs games, follow them, know a lot of their players and things like that, so I’m excited to be a hometown guy. It's special."

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Krantovitz told Bastian the Cubs are "optimistic" about getting all five draft picks signed "in the near future."

One reason the Cubs have fallen off from their peak in 2016 is a lack of pitching in the farm system. They haven't drafted and developed a starter who has made more than 15 starts in a season since Jeff Samardzija in 2014.

There does seem to be hope in the minors that Chicago will be able to reverse the trend. MLB.com lists four pitchers among the Cubs' top eight prospects coming into this season, led by High-A left-hander Brailyn Marquez.

Carraway may not be the 2020 draftee to change that trend. MLB.com's scouting report notes the Dallas Baptist alumnus is "strictly a reliever" but is so refined in that role he could be the first player from this draft to reach the big leagues.

Per Baseball America's Carlos Collazo (h/t Bleacher Nation's Brett Taylor), Moreno seems to be the most-likely pitcher drafted by the Cubs this year who could end up as a starter:

"Moreno is a projection arm in the true sense of the definition, with plenty of room remaining on a lean frame, athleticism that should allow him to make big strides in the future and an innate feel for spinning a baseball. Scouts didn’t see him pitch much at all this spring with a shortened 2020 season, but he was a candidate to take a step forward stuff-wise."

Since Moreno is just coming out of high school, it will be years before he's in consideration to reach the big leagues. But he's exactly the kind of pitcher the franchise should be betting on given its recent fallow period with developing arms for the rotation.