The MLB draft is right around the corner on June 8, and the Cubs have the No. 9 pick.
There are a lot of names swirling around Cubs camp, and ESPN MLB writer Keith Law gives his prediction on who the Cubs will draft.
Law thinks the Cubs will select another young bat; high school outfielder Trenton Clark from North Richland Hills, Texas.
Law on the 6-foot, 200-pound prospect:
Clark has one of the more unorthodox swings in the draft, but it works for him. He holds the bat similar to how a golfer holds a club, and there are a lot of moving parts, but the bat speed is plus, and his feel for hitting/working counts into his favor is as good as any prep eligible this year.
I had concerns about how that swing would handle velocity, but he was one of the better performers for Team USA and at the event showcases. There’s loft to Clark’s swing, as well as a strong lower half, and it’s not unrealistic to expect solid average power from the outfielder.
The industry is conflicted on just how good Clark is; several scouts I spoke with believe he’s a potential top-10 selection who could hit in the middle of the order and play center field, while others see more of an above-average regular who likely has to move to a corner, and that corner will have to be left because of the lack of arm strength. There’s a lot to like, but there are enough concerns to believe he’s closer to a late-first-round pick than a guy who goes in the top half of the first round.
Clark is by no means a burner, but he makes the most of his solid average speed with excellent instincts and his ability to get good jumps off of pitchers. He has the offensive ability to profile at any of the three outfield positions, but a team will almost assuredly give him a chance to play center field to maximize his value. I think the more likely landing spot is left field, as he isn’t a premier athlete and his throwing arm is below average.
Law says if the Cubs aren’t sold on Clark, there are other names to keep an eye out for.
I’ve also heard the Cubs with Garrett Whitley, Andrew Benintendi, Jon Harris and Carson Fulmer, and possibly Cameron too. They may replicate their so-far successful strategy from last year, taking a bat they love with their first pick and going over slot for arms in later rounds, such as 6-foot-7 prep lefty Bryan Hudson from Alton, Ill., who has one of the better curveballs in the draft.