Cubs prepare for their biggest day of the season—the draft
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Twitter: @GDubCub May 30, 2012 5:22PM
Updated: May 30, 2012 5:24PM
Anybody who thought the new era of Cubs baseball under the Theo Trio started with spring training in February or Opening Day in April hasn’t been watching the same baseball the new regime has.
After months of up-close evaluation of their new organization, it’s clearer than ever to team president Theo Epstein, general manger Jed Hoyer and player development/scouting boss Jason McLeod that it all starts Monday with the first day of the draft and the No. 6 overall pick.
``Now that we’ve been through spring training and I have gone out to see a couple of our affiliates, you definitely feel that there is a need for impact in the organization,’’ McLeod said of the Cubs’ farm system the new guys inherited.
About 20 of the Cubs’ top scouting personnel and front office evaluators have been gathered in town since Monday for the final stretch run of preparation for the three-day draft – during which the Cubs have four of the top 67 picks.
Only the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals (five each) have more in that span, and neither of those teams has a selection higher than 17 overall.
``One thing that we know is … you need power pitching, you need impact players to get into the postseason and to go deep into the postseason,’’ McLeod said.
``It takes a little bit of time to acquire those guys, whether it be trade, major-league free agency and certainly in the draft and international markets. That’s something that we’re going to try to do, and again, it’s that word, `impact’ – that’s what we’re looking to get.’’
The Cubs plan to bring dozens of mostly local prospects into town over the next several days for individual workouts and interviews to bolster an already fast-growing database for the draft.
The ``eight or nine’’ considerations for the top pick are all but set, with much of the weekend’s work being spent on the 43rd, 56th and 67th overall picks, McLeod said.
Replenishing a system depleted of frontline pitching prospects (through attrition and trades) is an overall goal in the 40-round process.
``Pitching will definitely be a focus in this draft,’’ McLeod said. ``It’s not going to be need-based picks, especially with our first pick. But once we get past the first pick – and it could be a pitcher; it may not be a pitcher – it is something we are going to certainly try to address. It is a need for our organization.
``We’re not going to overdraft pitching just because we need it; it’s got to fit the criteria we’re looking for in that area of the draft,’’ he said. ``But I’d be real surprised if the draft’s over next week and we didn’t feel real good about the pitching that we took out of this draft.’’