From Wrigley visit to ‘active rest,’ Cubs lay out next steps for top draft picks
A pair of pristine white jerseys hung in lockers in the Cubs clubhouse prior to Thursday’s game.
“Horton” was etched across one while the other read “Ferris.”
But there were no roster moves and the jerseys aren’t for a pair of new big leaguers — yet.
As Horton chatted briefly with David Ross, he couldn’t help but think about playing for him some day. The young pitcher felt the same thing as he walked onto the field.
“It’s definitely a kid’s dream to play in the big leagues,” said Horton, the No. 7 overall pick last month. “When I come over here, I feel like a kid again. Hopefully one day I’ll get to play here.”
For Ferris — a left-handed pitcher out of IMG Academy — this trip to Wrigley Field was a dream come true. His grandpa, Frank, grew up in the Chicagoland area (Riverside) and has been a Cubs fan his whole life.
“I didn’t grow up a Cubs fan but now being a Cub, it’s something he wanted for me so it’s super cool,” Ferris said. “This is everything that I wanted.”
Ferris grew up rooting for the Red Sox with his dad, so Ross holds a special place in the family’s heart for his contributions during his time as a player in Boston (including on the 2013 World Series team).
“My dad, my mom and my little brother — we all grew up watching the Red Sox so then seeing him, everyone was just like, ‘oh my gosh,’” Ferris said. “He came up and talked to me and they were all like, ‘wow.’ It was super cool.”
Both pitchers have taken some time off since the MLB Draft last month.
Horton pitched in the College World Series with the University of Oklahoma and is coming off Tommy John surgery. Ferris is only 18 and just finished high school, so the Cubs want to ease both players into life in professional baseball.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer got to interact with both players for the first time in person Thursday. He came away impressed with their level of maturity.
Hoyer and the Cubs also mapped out a plan with Horton and Ferris for how the next six months look.
“They’ve been excited to be in Arizona,” Hoyer said. “Getting a taste of pro ball. It’s a little different taste because they’re not competing. They’re throwing bullpens and sort of active rest, so to speak.
“I think they’ve learned a lot, just being out there, getting around the environment, the guys, roasting in the 115-degree weather,” Hoyer joked. “They’ll be with us in the Instructional League and most likely over the winter.”