Getting to Know: Cubs 11th-rounder Zyhir Hope
Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports

Getting to Know: Cubs 11th-rounder Zyhir Hope

by - Senior Writer -

With the first two days of the MLB draft officially over and 10 picks in the books, the Cubs entered the final day of the draft with 10 more picks to use across the final 10 rounds. This is the point of the draft where it is no longer the best player available approach, and instead, you are banking on a player's future potential more than anything.

The Cubs took that mindset to heart in the 11th round when they drafted prep OF prospect Zyhir Hope from Colonial Forge High School in Virginia. Initially expected to attend the University of North Carolina once he fell to day three, the Cubs somehow convinced him to sign with them, and he is now on his way to their organization to begin his professional career.

Anytime you draft a high school product, it comes with a ton of patience as they need to gain the experience that college-level players have. In other words, it is a developmental process whenever you draft a high schooler, as most of those players won't see a big-league diamond for at least five or six years. The Cubs understand that and will be as patient as possible regarding Hope.

The 6-0 193-pound Hope is a very good size for a prep outfielder, and the Cubs gave him a 400K signing bonus which was more than their previous five selections. They felt he had the talent to be a fifth or sixth-round talent and rewarded him for his potential with that contract.

Regarding Hope and his overall game, he is an extremely athletic outfielder with a very good left-handed hitting stroke. Hope turned in the third-best run time at the 2022 East Coast Pro, clocking a 6.34-second 60-yard dash time that trailed only Georgia outfielder Kyle Henley and Florida shortstop Adrian Santana. That grades him as an 80 out of a possible 80 on the run charts, as Hope is one of the fastest players in the entire draft class.

Even with that speed, Hope played RF most of his high school career, but scouts feel he will move to CF quickly, where he can use that speed to his advantage on the defensive side of things. Looking at his offensive game, Hope doesn't have the power you would like at this point, but he still has plenty of time to develop into that type of hitter.

For now, Hope prides himself on being a line drive hitter, as his quick hands allow him to get around the ball and attack most pitches. With that comes some over-aggressiveness at times, as he does tend to expand the zone, especially when a pitcher has great secondary options. Hope will have to hone that in if he wants to succeed at the professional level.

Despite making good contact at times, his overall bat-to-ball skills need to improve, as there have been a ton of question marks with that side of his game, especially during the 2023 skills showcase games. It was in the combine game that he went 1-5 with four strikeouts, and most of those strikeouts were on pitching outside of the zone, which is not good when you are trying to impress scouts.

Given his expectation of being one of the better defensive players in the ACC from day one, Hope was expected to be a tough sign out of school. However, the Cubs made it work, and they have the privilege of watching him develop over the next few years. Chicago has a knack for sometimes being too patient with some of their prospects, and Hope is someone they need to be patient with. Either way, look for him to be given plenty of time and chances to prove his worth as a player.

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