CHICAGO — The annual Major League Baseball amateur draft is less than a week away and the Chicago Cubs own the no. 7 overall pick this year.
Here are five players to keep an eye on that may hear their name called when the Cubs are the clock Sunday, July 17.
Cam Collier, third base – Chipola Junior College (Marianna, FL)
Collier is one of the youngest players in the MLB draft this year (he doesn’t turn 18 until November) and has one of the fastest rising stocks in this year’s draft.
The 17-year-old third baseman has big league genes (his dad Lou Collier played 8 seasons in MLB) and scouts rave about his left-handed swing. According to mlb.com, Collier has uncanny bat speed with the ability to square the ball up and drive it to all fields.
Any concern that Collier may struggle against more talented pitching has been put to bed too, as he currently has a .379 on-base percentage through 9 games in the Cape Cod League.
Collier’s arm has also been clocked in the low-90’s on the mound, so his bat and arm combo profiles well into third base, but could also fit well in a corner outfield or first base position over time.
Collier is also a popular pick for the Cubs among MLB draft experts. Bleacher Report has Collier mocked to the Cubs, while mlb.com’s Jim Callis notes that “the Cubs love Collier.”
Termarr Johnson, second base – Mays High School (Atlanta, GA)
According to scouts, the Cubs are looking for an athletic college bat who checks the boxes when it comes to advanced analytics. While Johnson is not a college bat, mlb.com gives him a 70 hit grade and describes Johnson as maybe the “best pure prep hitter in decades.”
According to one scout, Johnson possesses a combination of Wade Boggs’ plate discipline and Vladimir Guerrero Sr.’s bat-to-ball skills.
The catch with Johnson when it comes to Cubs fans is that he probably won’t last until pick no. 7 when the Cubs are on the board. Prospects Live has Johnson mocked to the Rangers at no. 3, Callis has him mocked to the Pirates at no. 4, then Bleacher Report and the Athletic’s Keith Law have Johnson mocked to the Marlins at no. 6.
Kevin Parada, catcher – Georgia Technical University
Parada profiles as a right-handed power hitting catcher with the ability to develop into a solid catcher defensively behind the plate. According to mlb.com, Parada has a simple, straightforward swing and could develop into a guy who could hit .280-.300 with 20-25 home runs in the middle of a big league lineup.
His performance at the plate this year backed up the scouting report. As a sophomore at Georgia Tech, Parada set a single season school record with 26 home runs while batting .361 with a .453 on-base percentage.
With Willson Contreras turning 30 in May and the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Cubs, Parada could be the long term solution for the North Siders finding another solid hitter to man the backstop.
Callis has the Cubs taking Parada with their first round pick.
Brooks Lee, shortstop – California Polytechnic State university
Lee is a switch-hitting shortstop that some scouts consider the best college hitting prospect in this year’s draft. The traits that stand out the most with Lee are his bat-to-ball skills and near elite eye at the plate.
Grading out at 65 for hitting and 55 for power, Lee hit .357 with 40 extra base hits and 55 RBIs while walking 46 times compared to accumulating just 28 strikeouts across 58 games played during his sophomore season at Cal poly.
Lee also impressed in the Cape Cod League where he hit .405 with 6 home runs in just 84 at-bats.
In the field, Lee has an above average arm, but may need to move over to the hot corner or second base as he gets deeper into his career, according to Law.
Law has Lee mocked to the Cubs at no. 7 in his latest mock draft.
Zach Neto, shortstop – Campbell University
Another middle infielder with a fast-rising draft stock, Neto fits the same mold as Collier, Johnson, Parada and Lee when it comes to what scouts said the Cubs are looking for in their first round selection.
In his sophomore campaign with the Campbell Camels this year, Neto had the sixth-highest batting average in DI college baseball, hitting .407 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles and 19 stolen bases in 53 games played.
On top of the gaudy numbers from putting the ball in play, Neto also excelled when it came to plate discipline. The Camels shortstop walked a little more than twice as often as he struck out (39 walks to 19 strikeouts).
The knock on Neto is that he didn’t play against premium competition in college, but he helped ease some of those concerns by walking as often as he struck out (8 walks – 8 strikeouts) while hitting .304 with 3 home runs in 16 games in the Cape Cod League in 2021.
Prospects Live currently has Neto mocked to the Cubs at pick no. 7.