Cubs sign 2021 first-round pick Jordan Wicks

The Cubs have now signed nine of their first 10 draft picks from the 2021 MLB Draft.

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AP Photo/David Zalubowski

PHOENIX – The Cubs signed 2021 first rounder Jordan Wicks to his first contract with the club on Friday. Wick’s deal is for a slot value of $3.13 million. The team has now signed nine of their first 10 picks in the draft including Wicks third-round pick Drew Gray, fourth-round pick Christian Hernandez and fifth-round pick Liam Spence.

Developing homegrown starting pitching has been an area where the Cubs have not had the most success in recent seasons. Adding Wicks along with other power arms like last year’s second-round pick Burl Carraway and undrafted free agents such as Max Bain and Ben Leeper, the Cubs are trying to expedite what has been a weakness for the last several seasons.

“I sure hope so,” scouting director Dan Kantrovintz said. “I think our player development staff is doing an amazing job. With that, I think on the scouting side, we’re certainly trying to identify who those future starters might be. And I think Jordan certainly fits that mold of somebody that might be out there at some point.”

Sogard activated from the IL

The Cubs activated second baseman Eric Sogard from the 10-day injured list before Friday’s game against the DBacks. Sogard, who went on the IL on July 6 with a left thumb contusion, is slashing .250/.287/.313 with a home run and a 64 wRC+.

No corresponding move was made as the team had an open roster spot following the trade of outfielder Joc Pederson on Thursday.

All signs are pointing in the right direction for infielder Matt Duffy, who is currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa. Duffy has been on the IL since May 23 with a bulging disc in his lower back.

“I think it’s going really well,” manager David Ross said. “I talked to him yesterday and he said it feels great. Continuing to build up. I think yesterday, [he got] four at-bats, played six or seven innings [in the field]. Things are going well. Just trying to map out to getting him on his feet with a day off and build it up where you can play back-to-back going into coming off next Thursday.”

Right-hander Jake Arrieta will not come off the injured list when he’s eligible tomorrow. Arrieta, who’s nursing a right hamstring tightness, had struggled before going on the shelf with a 7.74 ERA over his last 11 starts.

Down on the farm

Things are starting to turn around for 2020 first rounder Ed Howard. After a slow start to his professional career, the 19-year-old shortstop has had a strong month. Howard is slashing .293/.310/.439 with three doubles, a triple and a home run in nine games in July.

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