In the 2014 MLB Draft, the Chicago Cubs had the fourth overall selection. For a team that needs pitching depth within their organization, the Cubs had to hope that one of the big three pitching prospects would fall to them. Unfortunately, that did not happen, as Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek and Carlos Rodon went in the first three picks. Those picks opened up many options for the Cubs at No. 4, and with the pick, Chicago arguably took a huge risk by picking Kyle Schwarber, a catcher/outfielder from the University of Indiana.
At the moment, there are mixed reactions with this pick. Some reports have Schwarber as the best hitter in the draft with the most advanced bat and approach among college players. However, Schwarber was ranked just 16th on the MLB 2014 Prospect Watch, which could make the Cubs’ pick a huge reach.
With the top three pitchers off of the board, the Cubs must have been swayed to take the first positional player off of the board, much like they did last year with Kris Bryant. By also picking Schwarber, the Cubs left the likes of Nick Gordon, Alex Jackson and Bradley Zimmer on the board.
Reports are already coming through that Schwarber will likely project more so as an outfielder than catcher, which makes the pick even more of a head-scratcher. Schwarber does own a .341 average and .437 OBP with 40 home runs, 41 doubles, 12 triples, 149 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 180 games during three seasons with Indiana, but the Cubs already have top-hitting prospects in their ranks with Bryant, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler in the mix as well. There are only so many outfield spots available in a given starting lineup.
It is great that the Cubs have selected another top-hitting college prospect, but the pick of Schwarber is a huge risk. It also could prove to be a huge reward, as last year’s top collegiate hitter is currently flourishing for the Cubs in Bryant.
The Cubs needed to have an arm fall to them at four, and it did not happen. That must now become an immediate focal point for the remainder of the draft for Chicago in the hopes of developing and strengthening their system’s pitching depth.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.