Chicago Cubs select Cade Horton, a right-handed pitcher from Oklahoma, with the No. 7 pick in the MLB draft

When it came time for the Chicago Cubs to take their first round on Sunday night, they could pick one of the top hitters available.

The Cubs instead selected Oklahoma right-hander Cade Horton with the No. 7 pick.

Baseball America ranked Horton the 23rd best player in the draft, while MLB.com ranked him 24th. Horton is the Cubs’ highest draft pick since taking on Kyle Schwarber with a fourth pick in 2014.

Horton could be an underslot pick – Number 7 is valued at $5,708,000 – with the Cubs saving money to use on other players.

Scouting vice president Dan Kantrowitz called the figures for the Cubs’ bonus pool “exciting.”

“It’s something that gives us some ammunition to go there and hopefully find some better players,” Kantrowitz said.

The Cubs have the 10th highest bonus pool ($10,092,700) to use in the top 10 rounds.

“Now we have to try to figure out how we’re going to optimize our whole draft,” Kantrowitz said last week. “It plays into the calculus of each pick. Who are we going to choose, how much are we going to pay them. And at the end of the day, we want the best draft to be based on, hopefully, 20 players signed. But it has to be in the context of the overall pool.”

Horton, 20, had Tommy John surgery in 2021 ahead of his freshman season in Oklahoma. As a redshirt freshman this year, he posted a 4.86 ERA, 1.30 WHIPs, 64 strikeouts and 15 walks in 14 games (11 starts) in 53⅔ innings.

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