2021 MLB draft tracker: Cubs day 2 picks, first round recap

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Live updates of Cubs’ picks on Day 2 of 2021 MLB Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs kicked off the 2021 MLB Draft with a splash Sunday night, selecting Kansas State starting pitcher Jordan Wicks.

The Cubs took Wicks, whom team scouting director Dan Kantrovitz called the “best college left-hander in the draft," in the first round, 21st overall. Baseball America rated his changeup as best in the draft.

Nine more players joined Wicks in the Cubs' draft class on Monday, in rounds 2-10 of the draft.

Here you can find a roundup of the Cubs' selections.

Round 2 (56th overall): INF James Triantos, James Madison High School (Virginia)

Triantos, 18, is the No. 59 overall prospect in the draft, according to Baseball America. A prep shortstop, he was announced as a third baseman when the Cubs selected him.

Triantos stands 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. He bats and throws right-handed and is a bat-first infielder, per Baseball America, with good bat speed and the potential to hit for power. He's characterized as a solid athlete who's a plus runner and has plus arm strength.

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Triantos was originally part of the Class of 2022 before reclassifying to the Class of 2021. He's committed to the University of North Carolina.

Round 3 (93rd overall): LHP Drew Gray, IMG Academy

The Cubs took another 18-year-old with their second pick of Day 2. Gray is an Illinois high school product who transferred from Belleville East to IMG for increased exposure and competition.

Gray is the No. 129 overall prospect in the draft, per Baseball America. On the mound, he throws a fastball around 91-94 mph, a mid-70s curveball and a low-80s sweeping slider, according to Baseball America, although he has room to improve his command.

Gray stands 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. He's a two-way player who plays outfield and bats left-handed but has higher upside as a pitcher, according to Baseball America. He's committed to the University of Arkansas, where his brother, Evan, plays.

Round 4 (123rd overall): OF Christian Franklin, Arkansas

The Cubs got good value here in Franklin, Baseball America's No. 57 overall player in the draft. He's a 5-foot-11, 195-pound center fielder who hit .289/.404/.504 in three seasons with the Razorbacks.

Franklin, 21, hits for power and takes his walks (13 home runs, 44 walks in 61 games in the 2021 season). He uses the entire field offensively and doesn't expand the zone often, per Baseball America, who add he's also an above-average defender with an above-average arm.

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Round 5 (154th overall): SS Liam Spence, Tennessee

Spence, 23, spent two seasons at Tennessee, transferring from Central Arizona College. The Australian is a well-regarded defender who was named to the 2021 SEC All-Defensive Team.

At the plate, Spence is a contact-oriented hitter with a knack for getting on base. He played in 65 games in 2021 and tallied a .472 OBP and 54 walks, both first in the SEC. His .336 average tied for 11th.

Spence slashed .338/.471/.459 in 81 career games with the Vols, walking 66 times compared to 60 strikeouts.

Round 6 (184th overall): LHP Riley Martin, Quincy University

Martin is the third left-handed pitcher the Cubs have picked through six rounds. The southpaw is an Illinois native and attended school downstate at Quincy University.

Martin spent a fifth year at Quincy in 2021, going 9-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 152 batters in 78 2/3 innings. His fastball ranges from 88-92 mph, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, and he features a curveball in his repertoire.

Round 7 (214th overall): OF Parker Chavers, Coastal Carolina

Chavers is another value pick for the Cubs. The 23-year-old is Baseball America's No. 176 overall prospect. He's ranked No. 160 on MLB Pipeline.

The 23-year-old 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. He has five-tool ability, according to Baseball America, with good speed, raw power, and an above-average glove and arm strength. In 168 career games with the Chanticleers, he hit .319/.426/.530.

Chavers, a redshirt junior in 2021, missed the shortened 2020 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. He's a left-handed hitter who throws righty.

Round 8 (244th overall): C Casey Opitz, Arkansas

Opitz joins teammate Franklin in the Cubs' 2021 draft class. A senior catcher, he previously was drafted out of high school by Cleveland (27th round) in 2017.

Opitz is highly-regarded behind the plate, from his throwing arm to blocking to pop time, according to Baseball America, who characterizes his arm as one of the best among catchers in the draft.

Opitz projects as a below-average hitter. In three seasons at Arkansas, he slashed .252/.363/.342.

Round 9 (274th overall): LHP Chase Watkins, Oregon State

Watkins is the fourth lefty the Cubs picked through nine rounds. The 21-year-old, who stands 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, spent the 2021 season at Oregon State, following stops with Cal Poly (2019) and College of Central Florida (2020).

Thirty of Watkins' 39 collegiate appearances came out of the bullpen, including all 25 as a junior in 2021. He went 3-4 this season with a 4.88 ERA in 31 1/3 innings, striking out 38 batters (15 walks). Opponents hit .198 against him.

According to Baseball America, Watkins' fastball velocity ranges from 90-92 mph. He also wields a curveball, slider and changeup.

Round 10 (314th overall): OF Peter Matt, Duke

Matt, the Cubs' final pick of Day 2, spent 2017-20 at the University of Pennsylvania before transferring to Duke ahead of the '21 season. He was first-team All-Ivy League in 2019.

Matt, 23, primarily played right field for the Blue Devils and also served as the DH. He bats and throws right-handed, stands 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, and has big-time power.

In 2021, he hit 15 home runs (tied for seventh in ACC) in 54 games, slashing .297/.358/.566. He struck out 70 times compared to 23 walks.

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