The Cubs selected three pitchers and one hitter on the second day of the 2020 MLB Draft.
"We went in with the goal of try to acquire some impact players," Cubs vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz said Thursday, "a combination of some power arms and some power bats, and I feel like we accomplished that goal."
According to Kantrovitz, the Cubs drafted their top target on Wednesday, taking Mount Carmel shortstop Ed Howard with the No. 16 overall pick. Between that move and the next four rounds on Thursday, Kantrovitz described his first draft with the Cubs as "pretty epic." The Cubs hired Kantrovitz in November, along with an overhaul of their player development system.
There were only five rounds in this year's virtual draft, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Below is a rundown of the Cubs' second-day picks:
Burl Carraway, LHP, Dallas Baptist University (No. 51 overall): In his last two seasons at Dallas Baptist, Carraway garnered a 6-2 record with 11 saves. According to Baseball America, the 21-year-old reliever throws a 96-98 mph fastball but with inconsistent control. Kantrovitz described Carraway's two breaking pitches as "true knee bucklers."
Eight-time All-Star Clayton Kershaw has mentored the young southpaw, analyst Jessica Mendoza said on the ESPN broadcast. Carraway even learned his slider from Kershaw. He started working on that slider in January, accrding to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
"He's somebody that we've been targeting for a while," Kantrovitz said of Carraway. "I think he could end up being a fast-mover, and that's something you don't want to say about somebody unless they actually are going to be one."
— DBU Baseball (@DBU_Baseball) June 11, 2020
Jordan Nwogu, OF, Michigan (No. 88): The Wolverines leadoff hitter is 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. His size and speed helped him get Division I football offers in high school, but he chose Michigan baseball instead.
"He impacts the ball about as hard, as loud, as anybody in college baseball today," Kantrovitz said. "He can hit the ball out of both fields. But on top of that, he's got a pretty short, compact swing. And I think he's the type of hitter that might be able to have power as well as plate disciple, and that's a pretty rare combination."
According to Baseball America, Nwogu's plate discipline and defense have improved drastically since his freshman year, when he became a starter midway though the season.
"It's just overwhelming," Nwogu told MLB.com's Russell Dorsey. "... There's a lot of things that excite me. Wrigley Field, I've been there to watch games. The environment. The fan base. I think it's a really good fit for me."
Luke Little, LHP, San Jacinto College (No. 117): Little has a long developmental road ahead of him, but he has the power arm to keep his ceiling high. A video of the 6-foot-8 junior college product throwing 105 mph during a bullpen session drew national attention last month. According to Baseball America, Little also throws a 80-83 mph slider.
"Can't wait to never be his catch partner but always watch him throw against hitters," Tweeted pitcher Tyson Miller, who the Cubs selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Kantrovitz lauded Little's "obvious" upside, but he added that he'll have to work closely with the Cubs' development team, "whether that's in pitch design, whether that's in refining his mechanics, getting consistency in release points."
Little has proven that he can adjust. According to Baseball America, his control improved between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Koen Moreno, RHP, Panther Creek High School (No. 147): The North Carolina product has a fastball that can hit mid-90s, according to Baseball America. The Cubs were excited about both of his offspeed pitches, a sweeping sider and a changeup with upside. The team projects him to be a starter. The 18-year-old is committed to East Carolina University.
The Cubs' fifth-round pick, Kantrovitz said, was the product of collaboration between the Cubs scouting, and research and development departments.
"He's a player that, despite being a high school right-handed pitcher, sort of the demographic that is least associate with analytics," Kantrovitz said, "he's someone that we've identified some really special traits in, whether that's the arm pop, whether that's how his different pictures move."
2020 MLB Draft: Breaking down the Cubs' second-day selections originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago