CHICAGO -- Heading into the week’s first-year amateur draft, the Chicago Cubs aren’t limiting themselves to an organizational need.
With far more high-level position player talent than high-end pitching prospects, the Cubs are expected to target arms when the draft begins Thursday, but as of now that intention has not been established as a theme moving forward.
Who might the Cubs target?
“I think ultimately just long-term who is going to make the most significant impact on the organization,” scouting/player development director Jason McLeod said. “Certainly we don’t go into any draft based on need, we go in drafting on who we feel will provide the biggest impact for our club hopefully for years to come. Whether you’re picking sixth like last year, or two, or when we were in Boston picking 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.”
That being said, the Cubs are still expected to select a pitcher with the No. 2 overall pick. The Houston Astros will select first before the Cubs go on the clock.
Often rumored as potential Cubs picks are Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray and Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek, among others.
Last season, Chicago used the No. 6 overall selection on high school outfielder Albert Almora. A college-age pitcher this year, though, gives the added benefit of a faster progression through the system.
“In a perfect world that would happen, but last year when we took Albert Almora -- any time you take a high school player you understand it’s going to take a little bit longer,” McLeod said. “We made that selection based on what we felt and still felt that it was the right decision. And Albert in time will be the player we thought he would be.
“Looking at this year and having the No. 2 pick overall, if it happens to be this guy gets here, stays healthy and this player gets here in the next couple of years, great. Hopefully we’re talking to y’all four or five years from now and saying that was a great pick and now look at him out here and he’s the player we all thought he would be. That would be wonderful.”