With the 21st pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, the Cubs selected lefty starter Jordan Wicks out of Kansas State University. Cubs evaluators were no doubt burning the midnight oil as they prepped for the draft and they may have come away with a steal. Wicks could eventually combine with Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck in a game. Or a candle company.
The southpaw has a fastball that touches 95 mph, but it’s his changeup that really sets him apart. Billed as the best offspeed pitch in the draft, the change is considered plus-plus by some and could help Wicks to move quickly through the system. He also has a decent slider that he can throw as a cutter, then there’s a curveball. That mix led him to a 3.70 ERA over 15 starts for K-State in 2021 and earned him 118 strikeouts over 92.1 innings.
At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Wicks has something of a Jon Lester build to go with the Cole Hamels changeup. He could very well slot into the Cubs’ top 10 prospects when the new lists are compiled following the remainder of the draft, but we should get a much better idea of how he stacks up once he’s in uniform.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Wicks told MLB Network after the pick was announced. “I just couldn’t be happier to wear blue and red, that’s for sure.”
This is the second draft for Cubs VP of scouting Dan Kantrovitz, who joined the organization in 2019 and only got five rounds to build the system last year. An additional 15 rounds and a better grasp of his task, not to mention the shifting needs of the big league club, will guide a draft that should feel a little different from those we’ve seen from the Cubs in the past.
We’ll have a lot more on Wicks and the rest of the picks from our team of experts as the draft continues.