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Cubs Prospect Profile: Cade Horton Continues to Impress in the Farm System

The top pitching prospect in the Chicago Cubs farm system and former Oklahoma Sooner, Cade Horton, has soared through the minor league ranks. During the seventh overall selection in the 2022 MLB draft, most believed the Cubs would take Georgia Tech backstop Kevin Parada. With Willson Contreras‘ future unknown, choosing his eventual successor made the most sense. However, Jed Hoyer decided to go the pitching route. Horton caught the attention of the Chicago front office. They firmly felt that bringing him to the north side of Chicago was a match made in heaven. Up to this point, management has looked right with this choice.

Cade Horton Prospect Profile 

Horton’s Nasty Addition to His Arsenal 

Without Horton’s incredible turnaround throughout the 2022 NCAA Tournament, he wouldn’t have been near the first round. The right-hander possessed a 7.94 ERA in the 2022 campaign before entering the national playoffs. His next five starts saw him post a 2.61 ERA over 31 innings tossed. 

Horton’s ability to flip the script stemmed from developing a new pitch to his arsenal that he learned the Tuesday before the Big 12 Championship game. The Sooner, the right-hander, began to feel out a slider and figured he’d give it a chance in the tournament. Little did Horton know, it would be his best decision in his young career. 

As starts went along that postseason, the slider became sharper for Horton. He cemented himself in his first CWS start, punching out 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a 6-2 Sooner victory. 

Despite being swept by Ole Miss in the Championship series, Horton put the baseball world on notice. He struck out 13 Rebels in an elimination contest. By showing off his brand new devasting slider to pair with an upper 90s heater, the first round was a lock for the former two-sport athlete. 

Why Horton’s Development is so crucial 

The new-age Cubs have a different development plan than the Cubs of the recent past. Theo Epstein was all about drafting his future everyday guys and spending all the available funds at his disposal in free agency. Jed Hoyer is running with another train of thought. The former right-hand-man of Epstein is fearless to double-dip when it comes to his first-rounders. In his four first-round selections, Hoyer has taken two position players (Ed HowardMatt Shaw) and two arms (Horton, Jordan Wicks).

Due to this approach, the Cubs can’t just rely on money to bail them out of any potential sticky pitching situation they might encounter. Also, with Horton being a top-ten pick, he is pressured to succeed. With his ceiling, there is no doubt that Horton can be toward the top of a major league rotation. Pairing him with Justin Steele and other budding arms on the farm is something fans are incredibly excited about.

Because of all the hope within Horton, his development must be handled with detail and care. He has had multiple major arm surgeries in his life, and the Cubs don’t want to see him need another one ever again. 

When could we expect to see Horton in Wrigleyville? 

Most prospect pipelines have the 2022 first-round selection reaching the show in 2025. While this seems so far away for a college arm selected nearly two years ago, Horton doesn’t turn 23 until August. He is relatively young, and past health issues must be considered in his development. There is a world where Horton finds himself at Wrigley Field this season, but I wouldn’t bank on it. This is one of those situations where you are thrilled if he gets the call in 2024 but isn’t disappointed if he does not. 

Either way, Cubs fans have much to be excited about regarding Horton. He could be a key part of this organization’s history if he continues on his track right now. 



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