The Past Decade: First-Round Cubs Draft Picks

With the annual Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft set for Monday, we take a look back at the Chicago Cubs first-round picks from the past decade and where they are now.


First-Round Pick: Luis Montanez, SS

: Montanez was the third overall selection in the 2000 draft, but he never came close to living up to first-round hype and a $2.75 million signing bonus. Despite having two solid seasons with the bat in 2005 and ‘06, he spent six full seasons in Chicago's system without reaching the big leagues. His best year with the Cubs came in '06, when he batted .364 between Triple-A Iowa and Double-A West Tennessee. By then, it was too little, too late to extend his stay with the Cubs.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Montanez signed a minor league contract with the Orioles in 2007 and went on to make his big league debut in 2008. He has spent parts of the past three seasons going back and forth between Baltimore and the minor leagues. He entered 2010 with a .247 career major league average in 67 games.


First-Round Pick: Mark Prior, RHP

: This one needs no introduction. One baseball writer recently wrote that Prior vs. Joe Mauer for the top pick in 2001 was the MLB equivalent of Ryan Leaf vs. Peyton Manning. I'm not sure about that, but that's for another time and place. Prior began his professional career at Double-A in 2002 and burst onto the big league scene later that year. In 2003, he was practically an automatic victory when he took the mound during the regular season. Then came Bartman and Alou and Gonzalez (oh my!) and after that it was one injury, simulated game, and minor league rehab start after another. He hasn't pitched on a big league mound since 2006.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Last seen asking the New Orleans media if 24-hour drive-thru Daiquiri shops were still open in the city after Hurricane Katrina (seriously).


First-Round Pick: Bobby Brownlie, RHP

: Brownlie fell to the Cubs at the 21st overall spot after some shoulder problems at Rutgers. He debuted at Class High-A Daytona in 2003 and went on to make 39 starts in two years before it all fell apart for him in 2006, his last year with the Cubs. Mechanical issues and a drop in velocity contributed to his exodus.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Brownlie signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball after his release from the Cubs and then got a minor league contract from Cleveland in 2007. He spent 2008 in the Nationals' farm system before pitching at Triple-A Gwinnett (Braves) in 2009.


First-Round Pick: Ryan Harvey, OF

: Harvey was a hard-hitting outfielder from Dunedin High School in Florida that initially impressed scouts and fans with his power. The problem was, he struck out (a lot), failed to hit for average, and had a hard time staying healthy. His time in the Cubs' system ended with 83 home runs, but he never advanced much beyond Class A ball. He was released by the Cubs in spring training of 2009.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Harvey signed a minor league contract with Colorado after his release by the Cubs and has spent the past two seasons at Double-A Tulsa.


No first-round pick
Second-Round Pick: Grant Johnson, RHP

: The Cubs didn't have a first-round pick in 2004 after signing LaTroy Hawkins, a Class A free agent from the previous off-season with Minnesota. So they went with Johnson, a Notre Dame product, in the second round but didn't have much luck. Already having undergone shoulder surgery while in college, Johnson went just 14-22 with a 4.53 ERA over four years in the Cubs' system and by his second season was already in the bullpen.



First-Round Pick: Mark Pawelek, LHP

: The left-hander and 20th overall pick from Springville High School in Utah went 10-0 with a zero ERA his senior prep season. But his pro career got off to a rocky start when he reported to his first spring training out of shape, and things only worsened from there. His mechanics were never right, thus he had trouble finding the strike zone, and more often than not he couldn't stay out of his own way. He tripped over a PlayStation that resulted in an elbow injury as he was preparing to leave extended spring training in 2007, and in 2008 he was sent home with three weeks still remaining in the season for failing to obtain a passport to accompany his Boise team to Vancouver for a series. The Cubs released him the next spring.

WHERE IS HE NOW? After being released by the Cubs, Pawelek signed with Cincinnati and spent three months with their Class A Sarasota team in the Florida State League, making 18 relief appearances. He is currently with the Frontier League's Gateway Grizzlies, a non-affiliated independent team near St. Louis.


First-Round Pick: Tyler Colvin, OF

: Now we progress to the ranks of those still relevant. A lanky 6-foot-3, 190-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, Colvin was the first player chosen by scouting director Tim Wilken. Drafted 13th overall, Colvin was seen by many as a surprise pick. But he put together a solid rookie season at Short-Season Class A Boise and midway through his first full season of pro ball he had advanced to Double-A. He spent all of 2008 at Double-A before undergoing off-season Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and went on to hit .300 in his third tour of duty at Double-A last season, culminating in his big league debut when General Manager Jim Hendry gave Milton Bradley the boot in September. By Wilken's own admission, Colvin never became the full-fledged centerfielder the club had hoped for when they drafted him, but he has won over many in the organization with his hustle and recovery, and manager Lou Piniella has given him more playing time of late.

WHERE IS HE NOW? After bulking up some in the off-season (he put on 25 pounds of muscle), Colvin had a monstrous spring and made the opening day roster this season. He had hit .293 with five home runs and 13 RBI through 46 games.


First-Round Pick: Josh Vitters, 3B

: As the top prep player in California coming out of the draft, scouts praised Vitters' ability to hit for power and average to all fields as an amateur. A hand/wrist injury in 2008 kept him in short-season ball for most of the year, but he showed his potential last summer in the Midwest League at Peoria, where he hit 15 home runs and batted .316. He has been chastised by some for swinging at too many pitches, having walked 28 times in almost 800 career at-bats entering the year, but he hasn't struck out as frequently as past power hitters in the Cubs' system (namely Harvey and Brian Dopirak). His defense at third has improved but is still suspect. He won't be ready for the big leagues before 2011.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Vitters had a strong start to 2010 at Daytona, earning a promotion to Double-A. He batted .234 in his first 20 games at Tennessee.


First-Round Pick: Andrew Cashner, RHP

: The Cubs liked Cashner in 2007 when they took him in the 29th round from Angelina College in Texas. Cashner, though, returned for another college season, transferring to TCU for 2008. Chicago drafted him again at 19th overall. Primarily TCU's closer that year, he was clocked as high as 100 mph by a Yankees scout and has maintained upper-90s velocity on his fastball since. He showed signs of dominance right away in his professional debut season, finishing the Florida State League playoffs with a zero ERA and 11 strikeouts in six innings, and hitting 99 mph on the radar gun. This spring, he tweaked some things on the mound and was able to hone his command, eventually leading to his major league debut. Because of his experience as a closer in college, the Cubs don't expect many hiccups with Cashner going back into a relief role after spending his first two seasons as a starter. He's still likely to get a shot in the rotation sometime down the road.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Cashner has advanced two levels this season after beginning the year in the Double-A rotation. After being dominant in three starts at Triple-A, the Cubs decided it was time to move him into the bullpen before promoting him to Chicago, where he made his debut on Memorial Day at Pittsburgh.


First-Round Pick: Brett Jackson, OF

: As with Cashner the year before, Wilken considered Jackson a slam-dunk once he fell to the Cubs and the 31st overall pick. Chicago scouts were impressed by him as a junior at Cal-Berkeley, both as a natural centerfielder and with how he handled velocity. He instantly became one of the best pure athletes in the system and had a solid debut, batting .318 with eight home runs in 53 games in 2009. He runs well on the bases and possesses a solid arm.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Jackson began the year in High-A, batting .272 with 14 extra-base hits and a .394 on-base percentage through 48 games.

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