Cubs Add 3 Hard-Throwing Righties with Nasty Breaking Stuff in Rule 5 Draft

Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft was not the bargain-basement shopping spree most people thought it would be. Rather than teams fighting over doorbusters, just 18 players were taken in the major league portion of the draft. The Cubs accounted for one of those, selecting right-handed pitcher Gray Fenter from the Orioles. They took two more righties during the minor league portion of the draft, picking Nicholas Padilla from the Rays and Samuel Reyes from the Pirates.

Probably not coincidentally, all three pitchers have the similar profiles. All are righties, all are at somewhat advanced ages for their respective levels, and all throw in the mid-90’s with vicious spin on their breaking balls.

Fenter is obviously the most prestigious of the group because he immediately gets a roster spot and Jed Hoyer spoke pretty highly of him in a conference call following the draft.

“We liked him a lot in 2019,” Hoyer said. “He pitched in Low-A, but we really liked the stuff. We had consistently good reports on him throughout his minor league career. We liked the fact that he’s got an explosive fastball, has the ability to throw two different breaking balls with a slider and curveball and all the makeup stuff that we got on him was really positive.”

Fenter’s curve has hard biting action and he will throw it in any count and being able to run his fastball up there at 95+ makes him pretty tough. He also throws a slider and a couple of changeups, with the slider shows more promise than the offspeed stuff.

Padilla is a pretty stocky guy at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds who was converted to a relief role in 2019 and seemed to take to it pretty well. The first thing you notice when watching video is his breaking ball.

Reyes has shown the ability to miss bats and he can locate his curveball for strikes. He has worked in a relief role and has racked up a few saves each season, so he could really take off with a little more polish.

The Cubs system is going to be filled with plenty of pitchers when spring training opens and there will be heavy competition for spots at the upper levels. The front office will now be looking for more outfield depth for the majors and position players in general for the upper part of the minors.

At the end of the day, the selection of Fenter was on par with what everybody thought was going to happen. Picking up two righty relief pitchers for the minors was a bit of a head turner, as you’ll see next week when we profile that facet in the organizational breakdown. Still, you can never have enough arms.

Back to top button