Chicago Cubs select nine prospects on Day 2 of MLB Draft


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Chicago Cubs select nine prospects on Day 2 of MLB Draft

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today selected nine players in rounds two through 10 of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, six position players and three pitchers, including two from the University of Arkansas. The 2021 Major League Baseball Draft concludes tomorrow with rounds 11-20.

The Cubs selected third baseman James Triantos out of James Madison High School (Va.) in the second round (56th overall), left-handed pitcher Drew Gray out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. in the third round (93rd overall), and outfielder Christian Franklin out of the University of Arkansas in the fourth round (123rd overall).

Triantos was recommended by area scout Billy Swoope, Gray was recommended by area scout Tom Clark and Franklin was recommended by area scout Ty Nichols.

Triantos, 18, hit .712 (37-for-52) with 11 home runs, 27 RBI and 23 stolen bases, while also going 9-0 with a 1.18 ERA and 62 strikeouts this season, leading the Warhawks to a Class 6 Virginia State Championship. The right-handed hitting third baseman was named to the All-American First Team by MaxPreps in 2021.

A native of McLean, Va., Triantos played four seasons for James Madison High School. The six-foot, one-inch, 195-pound Triantos was the top recruit in the state of Virginia this season according to Perfect Game and is committed to the University of North Carolina.

Gray, 18, pitched and played outfield for the IMG Academy, hitting .474 (9-for-19) and pitching to a 2.49 ERA (6 ER/21.2 IP) with 47 strikeouts in 2021.

A native of Swansea, Ill., Gray attended Belleview East High School in Belleview (Ill.) before transferring to the IMG Academy. The left-handed pitcher is the top-rated recruit in the state of Illinois in 2021 and is committed to play at the University of Arkansas.

Franklin, 21, hit .274 (59-for-215) with 15 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 54 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 61 games for the University of Arkansas this season. The preseason All-American led the Razorbacks to a 50-13 record, finishing among the team leaders in doubles (1st), stolen bases (1st), RBI (2nd), triples (3rd), home runs (T-4th) and batting average (5th).

A native of Overland Park, Kan., Franklin finished his three-year career at Arkansas with a .289 average (134-for-464), 26 doubles, four triples, 22 home runs and 99 RBI. Franklin graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo., and was named a Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American in 2016 and 2017.

In the eighth round, the Cubs selected Franklin’s college teammate at Arkansas, catcher Casey Opitz. Opitz, a four-year senior, compiled a .252 career average (109-for-433) with five home runs, 62 RBI and a .989 fielding percentage in 143 games. Opitz was named to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year watch list in 2020 and was rated as the “Best Catcher Arm” by major league baseball scouts prior to the 2021 season.

Here is a look at Chicago’s first 10 selections from the 2021 First-Year Player Draft:

Rd. (Pick) Player Pos. School Birthday B T Ht. Wt.

1 (21) Jordan Wicks LHP Kansas State University (Kan.) 9/1/99 L L 6-3 220

2 (56) James Triantos 3B James Madison High School (Va.) 1/29/03 R R 6-1 195

3 (93) Drew Gray LHP IMG Academy (Fla.) 5/10/03 L L 6-3 190

4 (123) Christian Franklin OF University of Arkansas 11/30/99 R R 5-11 195

5 (154) Liam Spence SS University of Tennessee 4/9/98 R R 6-1 190

6 (184) Riley Martin LHP Quincy University (Ill.) 3/19/98 L L 6-1 215

7 (214) Parker Chavers OF Coastal Carolina University 7/25/98 L R 5-11 185

8 (244) Casey Opitz C University of Arkansas 7/30/98 S R 5-11 200

9 (274) Chase Watkins LHP Oregon State University 10/4/99 L L 6-4 215

10 (304) Peter Matt OF Duke University 5/22/98 R R 6-2 220

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