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This years MLB draft is like no other before. COVID-19 shortened and even canceled high school and college baseball seasons and as a result, teams were left stranded. Major League Baseball took matter into their own hands and adjusted the draft from the original 40 round to a now slim 5 rounds. This comes or the better and for the worse – as scouts have less prospects to search through. On the down side, thousands of high school seniors and projected late round draft picks will not hear their name called.

The Chicago Cubs under a new head coach and a very familiar name, David Ross, have 5 picks in this years draft. Here’s who they selected.

Round 1 (16): Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (Illi.)

Grade: A+

Analysis: The Cubs struck gold with their first round selection by drafting Chicago native, Ed Howard. Howard brings plus speed and a power bat to the Cubs’ organization. Howard is considered a fundamental, pure athlete at his shortstop position. His filled-out swing will sure be a key piece in the Cubs lineup in the foreseeable future.

The Chicago native brings a high ceiling to the table and many compare his game to the South Side Shortstop, Tim Anderson. If all works out, the dynamic duo between Javier Baez and Ed Howard will be among the elite in the game. Many consider this selection to be the best pick of the first round, deserving of an A+.

Round 2 (51): Burl Carraway, LHP, Dallas Baptist

Grade: B

Analysis: Theo Epstein and his scouting department may have found a diamond in the rough with the Dallas Baptist product Burl Carraway. This is certainly not the pick Cubs fans were expecting with this early 2nd round selection but nonetheless, Carraway could  be a pivotal piece for the Cubs in the bullpen. The left hander features a mid 90’s fastball coupled with a large hooking curve, similar to the great Clayton Kershaw.

Ranked as a mid 40’s overall prospect, Carraway could have a big upside. But, a big risk for Chicago is his low – and I mean low – inning pitched in college. A slim 51.1 innings in two years at Dallas Baptist. At only 6 feet and with a small frame, Burl Carraway is a boom-or-bust for the Cubs. The Dallas Baptist product throws similar to lethal closer Craig Kimbrel.

Round 3 (88): Jordan Nwogu, OF, Michigan

Grade: B

Analysis: Jordan Nwogu was the heart and soul of the 2019 College World Series runner-up Michigan team. Nwogu brings an impact power bat to Chicago. His broad 6’3 frame profuces hard contact and possess the ability to drive the ball to any part of the field. The Michigan outfielder is able to control the zone with his low rate to chase pitches outside the strike zone. 

Defensively, Nwogu has room to fill and his arm strength is considered middle-of-the-pack but will only get better over time. Nwogu could be a big piece in Chicago’s in either corner of the outfield. Many compare Nwogu’s game to Giants great and active member of the Phillies, Andrew McCutchen.

Round 4 (117): Luke Little, LHP, San Jacinto College

Grade: A

Analysis: The JuCo phenom Luke Little, has made his impact onto many fans without even playing a game. In April, Little posted a video of him throwing up to 105 mph in a bullpen session. This eye-popping video classifies him as a prospect to watch out for in the future.

The 6’8 230-pound Junior College product will still need a few years to tweak and perfect his offspeed pitches, change up and curveball. Some questions surround Little as he may pursue his college experience and head to the University of South Carolina next fall. But, if Little decides to stay with the Cubs, he will most definitely be a critical piece in the rotation or even in the back end of games. Scouts replicate his game after the Cuban Missile, Alrodis Chapman.

Round 5 (147): Koen Moreno, RHP, Panther Creek HS (NC)

Grade: B

Analysis: Many projected the North Carolina prep to be undrafted in this years shortened 5 rounds. Moreno gets scooped up by the Cubs with their ultimate pick the draft. Many describe the lanky left hander as a power and athletic pitcher when on the rubber. Moreno’s projectable and quick arm speed makes him in some cases a steal at this selection.

The Panther Creek High school product throws a live 93-mph fastball and couples it with a 75-mph range breaking ball. Some believe that the East Carolina signee will continue his education and follow through at the collegiate level. On the other side, if he opts to stay in Chicago, the team will be equipped with a hard working prep star. Many project his ceiling to be an effective starting or relief pitcher. Many compare Moreno’s talent and repitioure to Dodgers young ace Walker Beuhler.

Overall: B+