6/6 Cubs go for best fit in Draft
The Cubs had narrowed their list of candidates for the No. 2 pick overall to four: pitchers Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray, and third basemen Kris Bryant and Colin Moran. The Astros selected Appel No. 1 in the first round Thursday, and many expected the Cubs to take Gray. There is a need for pitching in the Cubs organization. Jason McLeod, head of scouting and player development said they were not going to draft because of need.
“We talked a lot about acquiring pitching and getting power pitching, and those players are out there in this draft, and they went one and three,” said McLeod of Appel and Gray, who was taken by the Rockies at No. 3. “Ultimately, we’re going to make the decisions that we feel are best for this organization both in the short and long term and Kris Bryant was the player for us when we made that pick.”
Gray had been projected by many as the No. 1 pick but that seemed to change after reports that he tested positive for the medication Adderall during baseball’s pre-Draft drug testing program. The positive test will not result in a suspension but will make Gray subject to additional follow-up testing once he begins his pro career. Adderall is banned by MLB unless a player has a valid use exemption.
McLeod said they did their homework.
“Obviously, it was something that wasn’t expected to come up,” McLeod said of the test results. “We looked pretty deep into that. Ultimately, it didn’t affect how we felt about him as a player and as a person. That really had no bearing on it, other than we had to do more due diligence on it and figure more things out. We certainly wish health and success to Jon. He was very open with us. The Rockies got themselves a very talented player.”
— Carrie Muskat