2022 Draft, Day 2: Cubs continue drafting for upside, with projectable prep infielder Christopher Paciolla in 3rd round, and hugely athletic RHP Nazier Mule in 4th

Round 3 (86): IF Christopher Paciolla – 6’2″ 185, Age 18 – Temecula Valley (CA)

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $735,200&

MLB Pipeline: 166th, BA: 128th

A projectable frame, Christopher Paciolla generates good exit velos already, and reportedly makes consistent contact as well.

Currently a SS, but with questions about speed and range, so is expected to move to 3B/2B but his hands and arm are regarded well enough to project well.

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Round 4 (113): RHP Nazier Mule – 6’3″ 210, Age 17 – Passaic Tech (NJ)

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $538,400

MLB Pipeline: 96th, BA: 94th

One of the biggest arms in the prep ranks this season, Nazier Mule (pronounced Moo-LAY) is known for hitting triple digits on the gun since he was 16. He reportedly sits more in the mid-90s currently, but at just 17 years old right now, the thinking is he’ll grow into regular registering in the upper-90s. Already possessing an impressive 6’3″ pound frame, there is yet still more room for him to add additional strength.

Mule was considered the top two-way player on the east coast throughout the draft process. He generated top of the line exit velos on the showcase circuit, but with a lot of swing and miss concerns, making his offense a massively power over hit combo, which is no doubt why the Cubs announced him as a pitcher. But it’s nice to know he got the type of explosive athleticism to generate these kind of numbers:

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Round 5 (143): RHP Brandon Birdsell – 6’2″ 240 – Texas Tech

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $402,100

MLB Pipeline: 101st, BA: 137th

A talented consensus Top 150 prospect who earned accolades as the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year this spring, but a guy who has battled injuries throughout his college career. Upside is there for Brandon Birdsell, but obvious risk involved as well. Birdsell is a senior, so I would expect the Cubs are looking to sign him for a bit underslot.

Birdsell was selected in the 11th Round last year by the Minnesota Twins.

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Round 6 (173): RHP Will Frisch – 6’0″ 220, Age 22 – Oregon State

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $303,700

MLB Pipeline: Unranked, BA: 200th

A 4th-year junior and likely underslot pick, and another former Twins draftee. Considered a fastball/slider reliever with mid-to-upper-90s heat and solid spin on his breaker. Will Frisch is recovering from TJS which wiped out his 2022 season in Corvallis.

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Round 7 (203): RHP Nick Hull – 6’0″ 200 – Grand Canyon University

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $237,300

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Round 8 (233): RHP Mason McGwire – 6’4″ 190, Age 18 – Capistrano Valley HS (CA)

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $188,900

Yes, this is Big Mac’s son. Mason McGwire is reportedly a long term projection as a starting pitcher, who clocked as high as 95 on the gun prior to the draft.

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Round 9 (263): RHP Connor Noland – 6’2″ 215, Age 22 – Arkansas

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $164,500

The second major college QB selected by the Cubs this year.

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Round 10 (293): RHP Brody McCollough – 6’4″ 205, Age 22 – Wingate

BONUS SLOT VALUE: $154,200

Dominated low level competition. Upped his stock with a solid showing in Cape Cod League.

Filed under: MLB Draft, prospects

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  • Pitchers with four of the top five picks, all big with high velocity. Two college, two high school. They may not all sign, or may not make it to MLB if they do, but it can't hurt to add quality arms to the farm system.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    All of them will sign. There is usually only a couple of draft picks across the entire league in the first 10 rounds of the draft who don't sign, and those are almost always because of physicals. Chances are like 99% that if you hear a name called today that a deal will get worked out.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Hi Michael I was just wondering why none of my comments where ever approved to be seen here. I have been reading the blog for years now and just set up a profile here. you do a great job with the minor league updates and your posts are very insightful. Thanks Eric.

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    The Cubs need pitching and certainly have drafted that so far. I don't understand the SS but Kantrovitz knows better than I do. He's done very well since he was hired and it shows. Thanks for the recaps Michael.

  • I haven't been around here for awhile, but I knew you’d have the good info, Michael. A lot of bad takes out there. I like what they've done. Only time will tell more.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yes, good work Michael. Wow, 9 pitchers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I haven't either, miss the old days during the first rebuild - I learned so much from this site. Great to see the usual in-depth write-up Michael, really excited with how they approached and executed this draft. We're stock full of exciting young position players so getting an infusion of high-end pitching talent should vault this system into the top 3 and with some luck and health challenge for #1 in a year.

  • Thanks for the update, Michael.

  • Appreciate the coverage you have provided Michael, thanks. And I echo the thoughts of many of you, I think the cubs were smart in taking full aim, in addressing the pitching side of the organization. I noticed the skill grades (run, arm, hitting, power etc) that were given to many of the top guys taken in the first round, really weren’t stand out grades (35 - 45). That’s not to say they don’t have high potential. But the Cubs needed pitching, so why not just, get after it.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I sure didn't see Cade Horton coming. Not even on my radar. I hated to pass on Parada when he was still there, but I'm not complaining.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Hopefully that indicates they feel optimistic about what they could have coming. They should know who Amaya is, well before the 2024 season. And hopefully feel Aliendo should make it to Chicago by 2025.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I don't think Higgins/Gomes would hurt us for 2023. Gomes handles a young pitching quite well, and Higgins can hit. Healthy Amaya on the way.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Pick #15 was a 6'5," 235 lb catcher out of Colorado Mesa University. Hit 448/.522/.930 in 163 career games. Far from a sure thing at #15 but could fast-track through the system. Haydn McGeary.
    The rest? Big, hard-throwing pitchers. Surprised?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Gotta add, if his OBP is .522 and OPS is .930, that's not much of a SLG. Am I reading that right? Is he a 6'5"" 235 lb singles hitter?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    His line this summer was .481/.579/1.061 and the 1.061 is just slugging not OPS. In his 4 years at Mesa he had 75 HRs in 163 games. He is not a singles hitter.

  • In reply to John57:

    His OPS this year was 1.640, not too shabby.

  • In reply to John57:

    Guess I missed that one by a mile. That OPS is in the stratosphere!
    Still, there's got to be a reason he didn't go until the 15th round, maybe the competition in that league isn't as tough or something. Maybe Michael can dig something up.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Parada was my pick, too, although I was fine with Collier as well. Still, I like the Cubs approach this time around. With the infusion of quality arms and the pitch lab, hopefully we can expect to have a quality rotation within a few years. Gotta say though, I'd still like to see a TOR guy signed this offseason. Can't have enough of those.

  • Great stuff as always Michael appreciate the research. Just being honest there are reasons to question whether the cubs reached a little on Cade Horton. When I look at his overall resume I see durability questions, overall consistency questions, and the lack of a 3rd pitch has some guys like Keith Law thinking he maybe destined to become a reliever. Now there's certainly a case to be made that he has the potential to become a quality starter, as he is after all the 2nd pitcher off the board in this 2022 draft. It also certainly seems like the MLB industry is much higher on him than draft experts, as most mock drafts had him going in the top 10-20 picks. Even Keith Law who had him ranked 93rd had him going 10th overall in his mock draft, and acknowledged that his stock has really risen.

    This draft will really give us an indication on whether or not Carter Hawkins and Kantrovitz have really improved the cubs pitching infrastructure. I admittedly like the emphasis on more power arms rather than taking these higher floor softer throwing pitchers that the cubs would take in the past. In addition Norman seems almost certain to sign underslot. You really can't simply evaluate how Norman does without evaluating how the 2nd pick Jackson Ferris pans out. I look at it almost like an NFL team trading back in the draft to get an extra pick, and the reality it's highly unlikely that the cubs could meet Ferris signing bonus demands if Norman wasn't willing to sign underslot. Norman and Ferris will forever be linked together in the same way Kyle Schwarber and Dylan Cease are linked together. Let's recall that the cubs supposedly "reached" on Schwarber. Yet signing Schwarber to an underslot deal is what gave them the pool money to be able to buy Dylan Cease out of his Vanderbilt committment after Cease had also just had TJS.

  • Who's Norman?

  • I think this will be a great draft for the Cubbies, but nobody will know for sure until two to three years from now. As for Keith Law, I think he doesn't know how to evaluate talent, saying Cristopher Morel will be a utility player at best. I take anything he says with a grain of salt. As for Schwarber, drafting a D.H. with the forth overall pick was a multi million dollar mistake. There was no D.H. at the time, Rizzo was intrenched at first and the Cubs already had two catchers. Seeing Schwarber lost in left field was hard to watch. Now the National league has the D.H., Schwarber has figured it out and I wouldn't mind seeing Schwarber in a Cub uniform next year.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Schwarber is not a free agent next year and I don't see the Cubs trading for him. I doubt Schwarber will ever be a Cub again.

  • Well, Mervis apparently is on his way to Iowa. Good luck, hope you keep on this trajectory.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I'm glad I got photos of him during his short stay at AA! Could be the Cubs next 1B, or might spur Rivas to hit better.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yeah, personally I don’t see Rivas ever filling the 1B position, as anymore than a backup/DH type of player. As blcreature mentions below , you’d hope to get more power and production out of a regular 1B.

  • If he is capable. He helps solves our left handed power situation. Unfortunately Rivas doesn't have the power I think we need at first base and Schwindel's defense is too week.

    As far as left handed hitters go. It will be interesting to see if they trade Happ. If the haul is substantial I would do it. He is very easily replaceable.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Mervis is a 2024 trajectory most likely. If the Cubs want to compete in 23, they will need left side power.

  • If he is in iowa his trajectory is 22'.

    He is just an injury or poor performance away. If he is having success at iowa they wont hesitate unless of course Rivas and or Schwinder are on fire.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    The question I have is, can Mervis play a quality 1B? I have never seen him play.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I've read it both ways? It's first base.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I do see the cubs are connected to 1B dominic smith to give him a try out? I guess you would send Rivas back to the Mets? Could be part of a Contreras deal?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    That's a head-scratcher for me. Smith had a couple of decent seasons BA-wise but doesn't have a lot of power. I'm not sure the Cubs need another reclamation project while they're trying to get ABs for their prospects.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Willing to take him to open up a roster spot and eat 2months of salary, in order to help facilitate a fair return is more like it, I think.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    How does he open a roster spot? Frank the tank has a better fielding % at 1b and Almora has a better career WAR. Not sure what he offers?

  • In reply to stix:

    Just saw Smith on IL as of today.

  • In reply to stix:

    It opens a roster for the Mets for Contreras and eats some salary. Perhaps by taking Smith the Cubs could get the return that they are looking for Contreras.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I'm surmise that it is part of a Contreras deal. Smith is not an aswering for 1b.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree on smith, I am not sure why they would go after him. He pretty much is Rivas. No power, great defender.

  • The draft just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I have no idea if any players they picked will reach the majors, get traded, or even play well. Nature of the draft, wish them all the best.

    Large market Cubs, who are in the middle of a multi-year tank, & sell off, chose to play the money game with the draft. They were not even creative with how they played the money game. Cubs drafted a talented pitcher with a total 53.2 college innings. When you pick 7th, I'm a big believer in picking a college bat, & would have zero issue with following it up with 19 pitchers in the rest of the draft.

    I will have to see how the bonuses play out, but it looks like the Cubs decided to spend most of their 1st round savings on their second round pick.

    Get original when you decide to draft a player like Cade Horton. Why not try to sign 5 to 6 high school players in the $500K to $1.2 million dollar range-spread the risk, could even pick some of them after the 10th round. Would have preferred a college arm in the second round like Blade Tidwell who might end up signing for slot/less than the Cubs pick Jackson Ferris.

    I'm not sold on Jed's ability to lead the charge, to build up the roster. While keep on adding minor league talent mostly from the draft/international free agency like good teams do. I hope Jed triples down on adding young-young prospects with more upside when he trades Happ, & Contreras.

    This off-season if the Cubs trade Happ, & Contreras. Cubs will only need a 1B, 2B, C, CF, LF, 3B, DH, 2 to 3 staring pitchers, & a couple bullpen arms/closer to build a winner.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Heard Jim Callas on the radio a few days ago, saying his organization had Ferris ranked about 16th or 17th (I forget), in the draft. Maybe that’s why they did, what they did. Maybe they didn’t think there were 5 to 6 H S kids that were worth the gamble, you suggest. Maybe there wasn’t anything Hoyer could have done, that would make some people happy.
    Seems like an ‘original’ plan, to me.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Yankees did something similar in 2017 with the 16th, & 54th pick. Yankees actually paid the 2nd round high school guy more than the 1st round pick. Going over-slot in the 2nd round for high school pitchers is done all the time, White Sox-2020 picked the 12th ranked player by MLB.com with the 47th pick, Jared Kelley. Had to pay $3,000,000, which was almost double the slot.

    I have no idea if Ferris will be a MLB pitcher. With the history of most high school pitchers, MLB teams really don't know for sure either... nature of the game.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Ferris might not ever be a MLB pitcher or he might win a CY Young award. You don't really know right now. Wait ten years and then we will know for certain. With the new pitch lab changes starting to be used in 2019, the FO thinks they will have good results.

  • Would you trade for Soto? If you would how much collateral would it take?

    I have heard 3 to 5 high end prospects and a couple of controlled big leaguers.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Cubs/Jed should consider trading for some established MLB players.

    Of course the Cubs should not, & I don't think anyone would expect the Cubs to trade for Soto.

    I hope the Cubs use some of their second-tier prospect depth, & financial might to add some controllable second-division, MLB talent. Would Miami consider trading a player like Soler? I think Cubs should be looking to add players having a down year like Mets D. Smith.

    Dodgers have had four seasons since 1990 with a record under .500. Including this season Cubs will have 7 season with a record under .500 since 2010.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Agree, too much money and too much of out talent to get Soto. We can do better spreading the money and keeping most upside prospects. Very risky giving one guy the money that Soto is asking. Pass.

    Cubs have money, but LA has lots more. Cubs are not the Dodgers.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I know the word is the cubs are in the running for a top shortstop free agent. But if Morel can hit, I cant imagine a better defensive combo than Morel & Hoerner. Then spend that money for left handed power which means left field (Happ?), 1st base (Mervis?/Rizzo?) and DH. Of course more importantly spend money on pitching.

    I am not opposed to trading for Soto if he can be signed for a long term contract. I would certainly trade 2 or 3 (happ, madigral, steele) controllable above average WAR players and 3 or 4 (davis, alcantera, wicks, etc) of our top prospects for a generational hall of Famer. But that may not be enough.

    The Cubs positional weaknesses are CF, 1B, 3B (wisdom is ok as a 8 or 9 hitter) and C. So i wouldn't want to trade any of those positional prospects. Which means to me the five guys i wouldnt want to give up to get Soto are Armstrong, Cassie, Hernandez, Triantos or Herz. I am sure the Nationals would want a couple of them as well. But I sure hope Jed is discussing what it would take with the Nationals.

    So I say yes to Soto if a decent deal could be reached. To put Soto in the lineup hitting 3rd for the next 10 years would be amazing (lifetime .410 obp) top 2 or 3 hitter in all of baseball.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I would say a big NO to Soto. It will cost way too much in actual money and prospect cost. If it is just me, I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. Look at the Angels and Trout. One great player doesn't make a good team.

  • In reply to John57:

    Agreed John,
    Signing Soto would cripple the Cubs payroll. I recently saw one pole rating Ferris higher than Horton.
    All these articles on who won and who lost in last weeks draft is nonsense. It will take two to three years to get an idea of how these lids will pan out.
    I really think the Cubs draft will be successful but only time will tell.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I agree with you too. No one knows now who is going to be better, Horton or Ferris. The Cubs liked both but really liked Horton. They were keeping an eye on him back in March and when the playoffs started and he got healthier and a new pitch, they were hoping he would still be there at #7. They thought there was a chance he could be taken before #7.

  • In reply to John57:

    If you can pencil in one of the best hitter in baseball as your number 3 hitter for the next 10 years for 35mil per year. What is stopping you?

    If. That is the key, if Soto can continue to be himself, 35mil in 2032 will be an amazing bargain.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    One great player doesn't make a good team. He already has turned down a $450 million contract. What does he and his agent want? $500 million, $600 million. And the young players Washington wants, they want 4 to 5 top prospects and young MLB players. Think Kilian, Davis, PCA, Wicks for starters. That is putting a lot of eggs in one basket. I would just not do it. Now some team probably will. I just hope it is not the Cubs.

  • In reply to John57:

    It's amazing what good starting pitching does for you.

    By the way, I saw the Cardinals are front runners for Soto. Apparantly they arent to worried about the risk. The Cardinals are small market yet they have signed Arenado & Goldschmidt in the last couple of years.

    So, 10 years of facing him wont be much fun.

  • In reply to John57:

    reply to bc: If stl wants to pay $500 million for one player and give up a bunch of promising young cheap players on top of that, let them do it. Those huge long term deals almost never work out.

  • Cade Horton signed for $4.45 million. Slot value was $5.71 million. I'm sure the savings will sweeten the pot for Jackson Ferris, with maybe a little going to Nazier Mule to keep him from his commitment at Miami. I don't know if they think highly enough of SS Paciolla to bump his offer, if they're concentrating on pitching.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I would guess that the top 10 rounds have already agreed to signing bonus amounts before they were drafted. That is why they got picked there.

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