In the meantime, I wanted to share more with Chicago Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz about the surprise selection, and why the Cubs were so excited to take Horton before his mid-to-background expectations.
“His performance improved year-round consistently, which is consistent with the schedule for someone returning from Tommy John’s surgery,” Kantrowitz said of Horton. “What we started seeing at the end of the season with his College World Series performance was an indication, I think, of Cade Horton that we were going to see in the future.
“I also don’t think we’ve seen his best. It’s one case, ironically, where a little bit later draft is probably in our favour, in the sense that I don’t think we’re likely to have the chance to really see him at his best – and we have the confidence To take it as we did – was the draft a month ago….
“You have to try to put everything into context. He’s been on this upward trajectory all season. If you isolate the last few starts, it’s been consistent with someone who’s just learned a new show. In his case, it was a slider wipe. Once we saw that he had that feeling, We saw more dizziness in his Fastball at the same time and some improved control, which is consistent, again, with someone who was rehab at first and then really started… It’s indicative of a situation where you just want to make sure you take everything into account. She waits as long as possible to make a decision.”
Perhaps in the coming years, we’ll say the Cubs bought up the Horton Road pretty quickly. Or, if he becomes the archer they think he can, we can alternatively say they are lucky because enlistment came later and his breakthrough was too short.
Like we said, the 20-year-old Horton is also a young thrower who played football in high school and has been a semi-full-time player as recently as this year. There was only a very short window where he was fully focused on promotion, health, and using his slider. This is the time period in which he exploded.
Sure enough, that blast, corresponding to the addition of the slider and simply more time on his downhill from Tommy John’s surgery, was significant:If you’re curious about the splits, since it really struggled against the left if you just look at the top line numbers, it’s also completely transformed after adding the slider:
These are all very small samples, and I think the various items are probably more extreme because they are based in large part on a presentation by JUST Horton. On the one hand, it’s a huge compliment for being able to take and use something you’ve learned instantly in a game (this is extremely rare), but it also feels like a risk factor because it doesn’t feel like the playground he’s comfortably created (or one that anyone could have explored) for years.
In other words, I think it would be a huge mistake to look at Horton’s performance after adding the slider and saying, Look, the Cubs apparently stole the top 50 promotions. That might be the man. But when he gets to professional ball, work will be needed to make his pitches more consistent, and add a really efficient third pitch. Low mileage is good. Speed is really good. Clearly, the slider step can be a plus plus. But the Cubs were looking at a longer timeline in that choice, because they want all that upside.
For a deep Horton dive, if you missed it, Brian sees all there was to see and submits his poll report here.