Cubs confirm that draft focus is pitching

CHICAGO -- Pitching, pitching and more pitching will be the Chicago Cubs' focus, not just in next week’s baseball draft but in many drafts to come.

Not only is development through the draft one of the major priorities for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, he seemed to light up at the mere mention of the player-selection process.

The plan of the front office is to meet Monday evening and continue to meet around the clock until the draft begins June 4 as they compile all the information gathered in the field on amateur players.

The Cubs have the sixth overall selection Monday.

“We have basically been in information-gathering mode for the last year and over the next week you synthesize the information, do all the analysis, ask all the questions and hopefully come up with the right answers and try to get the (draft) board in order,” Epstein said. “That process starts in a couple of hours and goes right up to draft day.”

Epstein himself has been out to look at up to 20 of the top draft hopefuls around the country, saying he goes in disguise and is never recognized by players or scouts of other clubs.

With pitching thin throughout the entire organization, general manager Jed Hoyer confirmed the club’s desire to acquire some live arms. It doesn’t mean the team will necessarily draft a pitcher with its first pick, but it will focus mostly on pitchers.

“As an organization I think our pitching depth is one of our biggest concerns,” Hoyer said. “We don’t have a ton of arms in the minor leagues. I think the best organizations are just littered with power arms. Some guys will become starters, some guys will become relievers but the best bullpens are built internally.

“The more we can add those kind of arms during the draft the better. That will be a focus, not just in 2012 but every year. It is a little bit of an organizational hole so our ability to close that will be really important.”