Cubs' top pick Shaw gets greeting from fellow shortstop Swanson

July 10th, 2023

As scrolled through the messages that flooded his phone during the MLB Draft on Sunday night, there was one in particular that caught his attention. Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson sent a lengthy congratulatory text to the University of Maryland’s shortstop.

“That was really cool,” said Shaw, who was selected by the Cubs with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the Draft. “Hopefully, I get the opportunity to meet him.”

Considered one of the best all-around collegiate bats in the Draft, Shaw hopes to rise swiftly through the Cubs’ system once everything is made official. At the moment, Swanson is locked into a seven-year deal that runs through 2029, while second baseman Nico Hoerner is signed through the ‘26 season.

Where Shaw could fit into the eventual roster puzzle is a question for a later date. For now, he is just thrilled to join the Cubs, one of the handful of clubs he was intrigued by during the MLB Draft Combine.

“This day has been obviously amazing,” Shaw said. “The Cubs were a team that I really, really wanted to go play for. So, my reaction was really just excited. I'm really glad that it worked out the way it did.”

One of the reasons he liked the North Siders was the feedback that there would be a willingness to push him aggressively in the Minors.

“I wanted to be at a team that I thought would move me up,” Shaw said, “and give me the opportunity to kind of fail early and learn, to kind of get my footing through playing against really good competition. Moving up to Double-A, moving up to the Majors.

“For me, the Cubs, I think, will do a good job with that. And that's really exciting to me.”

Shaw used the recent example of Angels shortstop Zach Neto, who was also selected with the No. 13 pick in 2022 and made the jump to the Majors from Double-A this season. Looking at the Cubs’ recent history, Hoerner was picked out of Stanford in 2018 (No. 24 in the first round) and was the first player from that MLB Draft class to reach the big leagues, doing so in ‘19 for Chicago.

“If you're in our position,” said Dan Kantrovitz, the Cubs’ vice president of scouting, “you'd rather have that [mentality] and maybe have to, like, temper it down a little bit, than the alternative. But, when you're talking about somebody that hasn't stepped foot on a field yet, as a professional, it's hard to start getting into predicting where he's going to end up.

“He's got all the tools to move quick. But at the same time, you want to be careful to kind of put those expectations on him right out of the chute.”

Shaw, 21, certainly has the makings of a fast riser.

In his junior year with Maryland this season, all Shaw did was slash .341/.445/.697 with 24 home runs, 20 doubles and 69 RBIs in 62 games. He finished with more walks (43) than strikeouts (42), stole 18 bases and scored 80 runs. He was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and given the Brooks Wallace Award (nation’s top shortstop).

Shaw hit throughout his collegiate career -- batting at a .320 clip with a 1.036 OPS -- but his plate discipline reached new heights in 2023. He credited some conversations with former big leaguer Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was an assistant coach on Shaw’s Cape Cod League team, the Bourne Braves.

“That was huge,” Shaw said. “We talked about the sitting pitches and what type of pitches to sit on in what counts. And he was the one who advised me, 'Hey, you maybe should sit offspeed a little bit less.' That was a big thing I learned.”

During his Cape Cod campaign, Shaw slashed .360/.432/.574 with 17 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, 28 runs and 49 hits in 36 games. He was named the Cape Cod League’s Most Valuable Player and led Bourne to the league’s championship. He carried that success into his 2023 showing with the Terps.

“The first thing that stands out,” Kantrovitz said, “something the scouts were raving about for the last few years, it's just a dynamic bat. And I think it really took center stage probably last summer in the Cape, when he displayed just the decision-making that he's capable of, the ability to make consistent contact, and then the ability to hit for damage.”

Shaw’s slot value at No. 13 is $4,848,500 and he represents the first college position player taken with the Cubs’ top pick since Hoerner in 2018. In more recent Drafts, Chicago focused on pitching, taking college arms with their top selection in three of the past four years, and grabbing 16 pitchers out of 20 picks total in ‘22.

It is easy to see why the Cubs were drawn to Shaw, who has shown an ability to blend plate discipline with power and speed. And while Shaw would love to stay put at shortstop, he knows his journey up the Minor League ladder -- combined with the eventual need of the MLB club -- will dictate where he fits on the field.

“Wherever I end up is wherever I end up,” Shaw said. “My goal is to play in the big leagues and be really good there. So whatever happens, whatever my path is to get there, I'm going to do the best I can to make that the right path.”

Cubs take Wiggins with pick No. 68 in compensation round
The Cubs netted a compensatory Draft pick when catcher Willson Contreras left via free agency and used the selection (68th overall) on Arkansas righty . The slot value for the pick is $1,101,000.

Wiggins, 21, missed the entire 2023 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. When healthy, he sat roughly 94-97 mph with his fastball (touching 99 mph), while featuring a slider, changeup and curve, per MLB Pipeline. Across the ‘21-22 seasons, Wiggins had a 6.17 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 89 innings for the Razorbacks.

The Draft will continue on Monday with Rounds 3-10 aired on