Theo Epstein focused on upcoming draft

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has enjoyed the progress his major league team has made on the field, however his major concentration is on the amateur draft that comes up on June 4.

“It’s probably the most important thing we are doing right now, to be honest,” Epstein said. “So that is what takes up the vast majority of our time. Draft day is the most important day of the year for every organization. It is a year-long process, and right now we are right in the sweet spot -- finishing evaluations, going back and getting final looks. We then will get together and dissect all the information.”

Epstein, like the rest of the front offices in baseball, has to approach this year’s draft differently due to the new collective bargaining rules, which apply a tax system that can be as high as 100 percent on a dollar if you exceed the salary cap.

“Every team is setting aside some time to think through how the draft may play differently now,” Epstein said. “It affects how we approach signability and how we allocate our resources into who we will scout and how often. But it is the same for all 30 clubs. It is a level playing field. We will go and do our best.”

The Cubs have their eye on who they want to draft in the first round, where they have the sixth pick. “We have it down to about 10 (players),” Epstein said. “That is just on the first pick. That is an important pick, but every pick in the draft is an important pick if you want to have successful ones. This year there is not a clear –cut, top-tier guy at the very top so it will be interesting to see if there is any late movement up there.”

Unlike the NFL OR NBA, baseball does not allow trades of picks in order to move up in the draft order.