Results tagged ‘ First-Year Player Draft ’

6/5 Sveum scouts top picks

The Cubs have the No. 2 pick overall in Thursday’s First-Year Player Draft, and have narrowed their choice to four players. Manager Dale Sveum has seen video and offered his opinion. Does he have a preference?

“They want the guy to be an impact player,” Sveum said of the Cubs front office, including Theo Epstein. “Nothing’s guaranteed, we all know that. The key to those high picks like that is it’s easy to say, ‘Make sure it’s an impact player.’ Whether it’s a position player or a pitcher, you want him to be an impact player in a couple years when you’re drafting that high.”

The Cubs’ final four includes pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Standford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina.

“Appel is pretty ahead of the game as far as development,” Sveum said. “Position players, sometimes you really don’t know until they get a wood bat in their hands and play at a faster pace and play every day, and obviously are facing velocity and all that. The one thing about position players in the top five, 10 picks, is they’ve been pretty good.”

Sveum said he might stop by the Cubs’ war room Thursday when they make the pick. The Cubs are expected to make their pick around 6:15 p.m. CT Thursday. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network’s Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m. CT, with the top 73 picks being streamed on and broadcast on MLB Network.

Will the Cubs manager have the deciding vote?

“I’m sure there will be no consultation,” he said, laughing. “I’ve already said my piece. That’s their job.”

He’s given his scouting report on the quartet.

“As far as picking one guy, there’s so much involved in that,” Sveum said. “You’ve got a position player who has out-homered 200 Division I schools [in Bryant], and you’ve got a starting pitcher who maybe can step right in your rotation right now [in Appel], and you have a guy with a dominating fastball who can throw the ball by anybody at any time [in Gray]. You have Moran, who’s a professional quality left-handed hitter who knows the strike zone.

“That’s why those four guys are mentioned,” he said. “They all have their qualities that could benefit in the long run.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/4 Draft day is coming

The Angels spent freely this offseason, and the payroll is more than $137 million. The team, though, hasn’t run away with the AL West.

“It’s not the formula all the time,” Dale Sveum said. “Sometimes it is — the Florida Marlins went out and traded and bought and this and that, but in the long run, you look at the teams that have won World Series, and bits and pieces come from somewhere else, but the core players are ones they drafted and came from the organization.”

Which is why Thursday’s First-Year Player Draft is so critical.

“It’s huge,” Sveum said. “It’s probably why I haven’t talked to anybody [in the front office] in two weeks. They’re in lock down, making sure we get the Draft right. It’s a gamble. You’re putting all your eggs in one basket to make sure not even the No. 2 pick in the country is right, but everything else is and you’re getting the best players after that, too.”

Sveum said he may stop by the war room Thursday to see what the Cubs do.

“Maybe I’ll just call and see who they’re taking,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

6/2 Draft day

The Cubs haven’t done any mock drafts yet heading into Thursday’s First-Year Player Draft. Jason McLeod, head of scouting and player development for the Cubs, said it’s a little different when you have the second pick overall.

“When you’re picking [No. 2], it takes a lot of the ‘mocking’ out of it,” McLeod said Sunday. “If you have the group of five players or so, it’s like, ‘OK, in our mock draft, Houston takes player X. OK, we’re on the clock.’ You can do a lot of strategy when you’re picking deeper in the Draft.”

McLeod said the Cubs front office has actually spent more time discussing their second and third round picks, Nos. 41 and 75 overall, more in recent days.

“We’ve probably discussed No. 2 for about two hours of the four days we’ve been here,” McLeod said. “We’ll get into those guys more this week.”

Having the No. 2 pick overall has given McLeod and others the chance to see some of the best amateur players.

“For me, on a weekly basis, I’ve spent a lot of Friday nights seeing the top college pitching around the country and seeing the best players who we’re going to consider with that pick and with our second pick at 41,” McLeod said. “When you’re only seeing the best players, it’s a lot of fun nights.”

The Cubs have narrowed their list to four: pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Standford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina.

“Ultimately, it’s long term, who will make the most significant impact on the organization,” McLeod said. “We don’t go into any Draft drafting based on need, we go in drafting on who we feel is going to provide the biggest impact for our club, hopefully for years to come. Whether you’re picking sixth like last year, or two, or in Boston, late in the first round, that’s always the mindset. The player pool changes a lot when you’re picking at the top of the Draft.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/1 Draft update

The Cubs are focusing on four college players in the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, and three of those are competing in the NCAA baseball tournament, which got underway on Friday.

Pitcher Jonathan Gray struck out 11 in a complete game, helping Oklahoma beat Coastal Carolina, 7-3, on Friday in the NCAA Regional opener. The Sooners play Connecticut on Saturday in the double elimination round.

San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant was 0-for-3, drawing a walk, in a 9-2 loss to Cal Poly. San Diego plays San Diego State on Saturday.

Third baseman Colin Moran was 1-for-5 in North Carolina’s 6-3 win over Canisius. The Tar Heels face Towson on Saturday.

Stanford pitcher Mark Appel’s team did not qualify for the tournament.

The Cubs have the second pick overall on Thursday, behind the Astros.

5/26 Draft day

The Cubs appear to be focusing on four players for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, to be held June 6: pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Stanford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina. The Cubs have the second overall pick in the first round, behind the Astros. Manager Dale Sveum has watched video of the top prospects.

“Now we’re down to the core guys,” Sveum said Sunday. “It’s interesting to keep up with them and watch the video. There’s new video that comes up sometimes. You don’t get to see, like with Bryant, you don’t get to see him taking ground balls and the other day there was nice video of him taking ground balls and showing his arm angles.”

Bryant has hit 30 home runs entering conference tournament play, and played for Team USA over the summer. A right-handed bat, he impressed Sveum as did Moran, a left-handed hitter, considered a better pure hitter than Bryant.

“[Moran] is another polished-type hitter at that age already,” Sveum said. “He has a Robin Ventura-type swing and presence at the plate. He has really good plate disicipline and not really the power numbers that Bryant can put up. Bryant is a big 6-foot-5, some kind of leverage at the plate. Two different hitters, one’s right, one’s left. It’s fun to watch them.”

Sveum also has seen video of Gray and Appel.

“They’re pretty special arms,” Sveum said. “They’re two different guys. Appel is so advanced as far as his secondary pitches and Gray can just power you away with easy life on the fastball. It looks like it’s showing 85 [mph] and it’s 100. They’re both pretty good. I don’t know if one separates from the other one.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/3 Cubs sign 3rd round pick

The Cubs have signed 18 of their first 20 picks, and 27 players overall selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, including right-handed pitcher Ryan McNeil of Nipomo (Calif.) High School, who was selected in the third round.

In addition to McNeil, the list of new Cubs signees includes right-handed pitcher Trey Lang (sixth round), right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung (12th round) and infielder David Bote (18th round).

McNeil, 18, logged a 1.10 ERA and held the opposition to a .175 batting average last season for Nipomo High School. He struck out 94 hitters in 57 1/3 innings pitched, good for an average of 14.76 strikeouts per nine innings, while walking just 21 hitters. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound McNeil hit .392 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 18 RBIs.

— Carrie Muskat

6/4 Draft day

Stay tuned here for the latest on the Cubs’ picks in the First-Year Player Draft.’s Cash Kruth will provide updates.

— Carrie Muskat

5/30 Draft day homework

A short time after the Cubs completed their sweep of the Padres at Wrigley Field, Dale Sveum was back throwing batting practice Wednesday to a prospective Draft pick, Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, who was being considered for Monday’s First-Year Player Draft. Sveum wasn’t the only one watching as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Randy Bush, Tim Wilken and others in the Cubs front office were present. Also, California left-handed pitcher Max Fried, another top prospect, worked out at Wrigley. They are the first of possibly 40 players whom the Cubs will bring to Wrigley over the next few days leading up to the Draft. Epstein and McLeod did face to face interviews with players while together in Boston, and plan to do the same with the Cubs, who have the sixth pick overall and two supplemental round selections.

— Carrie Muskat

5/30 Cubs prep for Monday’s Draft

Wednesday was day three of the Cubs amateur scouts discussions on who to pick in Monday’s First-Year Player Draft.

“It can get contentious in there as we start debating,” said Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development. “It’s a great thing — we don’t want to agree all the time.”

The Cubs have the sixth pick overall plus two supplemental round selections. They will invite some players to Chicago to meet them face to face for interviews, which is something McLeod and Theo Epstein did with the Red Sox.

“Any time you make a selection, it’s a significant investment, not only in money but in the organization,” McLeod said. “You only get one chance per round. When you’re picking as high as we are this year, you want to be right, and feel good about that decision.”

McLeod said there seems to be a lot of depth in the high school pitching ranks this year and the Cubs want to improve the pitching in the system, but that doesn’t mean they will select a pitcher.

“Pitching will definitely be a focus in this draft,” he said. “It won’t be a need-based pick, especially with our first pick. It is something we’re going to try to address, it is a need for the organization. We’re not going to overdraft pitching because we need it — it’s got to fit the criteria we’re looking for. I’d be surprised if the Draft is over next week and we don’t feel good about the pitching we took.”

They are studying video, scouting reports, medical records and more. Scouting director Tim Wilken leads the player discussions and McLeod handles the framework of the meetings ongoing at the Cubs new offices. Who has the last word? Epstein.

What are the Cubs looking for?

“The buzz word we use is impact,” McLeod said. “That’s the direction we’ll go with that pick.”

He’s seen the Cubs farm system and recognizes there are needs.

“We definitely feel there’s a need for impact in the organization,” McLeod said. “One thing we know is we’re seeing it first-hand, you need power pitching, you need impact players to get into the post-season and go deep in the postseason. It takes a little bit of time to find those guys through different avenues whether it be trade, Major League free agency, the Draft and through the international market.”

This is prime time for McLeod and his scouts.

“Every Draft is our Super Bowl,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

8/10 Draft deadline

Monday is the deadline for teams to sign their Draft picks, and the Cubs have yet to sign their No. 1 selection, Javier Baez. The 18-year-old shortstop may be close. On his Facebook page, he wrote, “Seven days until I start a new life, Chicago coming soon.” The Cubs have signed eight of their top 22 picks, including outfielder Zeke DeVoss, who was their third selection. Although there have been reports that the Cubs signed Wayne Gretzky’s son Trevor, who was selected in the seventh round, the team has not confirmed that. The deadline for signing Draft picks is Monday at 10:59 p.m. CT. Because of the late hour and last minute agreements, we may not know until Tuesday who has signed.

— Carrie Muskat