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This time of year, I’d imagine that Chicago Cubs Scouting Chief Jason McLeod doesn’t come up for much air. His job involves many things, but I expect that he would agree that the Draft is the most important. So, with the Draft just a few days away, I’m impressed that he took the time to discuss a variety of things with a variety of media yesterday. As you might expect, the Draft was the heavy focus. (Quotes can be found in a variety of articles, but here are some examples.)

  • On the talent in this year’s Draft: “I think what we’ve seen so far the high-school pitching has been really strong this year. It’s a down year in college position-player wise which is never a great thing. But it’s a strong high-school class and there is some depth in the college pitching as well.”
  • On the types of players the Cubs are considering drafting in the first round: “The buzz word we use is impact. Who will provide the best impact for the organization and that’s the direction we’re going to go with that pick …. 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.”
  • On the Cubs’ focus for this Draft: “Pitching will definitely be a focus in this Draft. 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.”
  • On the concept of bringing prospective draftees to Chicago to interview before the Draft: “It was something that Theo and I started doing back in Boston about seven years ago where he and I, either we went to see the player ourselves to meet with them, or we brought them into Boston and now Chicago to ask some very pointed questions. Any time you make a selection it’s a significant investment not only in money but in the organization. You only get one chance per round.”
  • On internal debates leading up to, and during, the Draft: “It can get contentious in there as we start debating. It’s a great thing. We don’t want to agree all the time.”
  • On Anthony Rizzo, who is in the “finishing stages” of his time at AAA Iowa: “It’s deja vu, because we went through the exact same thing last year. What I’m more happy about is not the numbers he’s been putting up, but the development. He has been working on some things mechanically, on his approach, on his day-to-day routine …. He’s got a routine that’s working, and obviously he’s been really successful. And I think because he went through what he went through last year, with the anticipation in San Diego and the struggles once he got up, it’s made him a better player. Mentally, he’s much stronger coming out of that. I think he’s in his finishing stages now, and it shouldn’t be too long before he’s up here. I think he’ll be a better player for going through that last year.”
  • Stephen

    Ahhhhh….the draft!!!!! I am STOKED!!!!!

  • PoopyPants McGee

    darn high schoolers with their popped up collars and iphones.

  • Myles

    Don’t look now, but out of 2B qualified for the batting title, Darwin Barney ranks 9th of 23 in OPS+.

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      I am liking all the Darwin Barney love last night and today! Very refreshing…

  • North Side Irish

    So glad to have McLeod in the organization…he may actually be as important to the Cubs future as Epstein or Hoyer. If the plan is to restock the farm system, it has to be done with quality draft picks under the new CBA since there is no overslot deals for guys who dropped. The puts even more emphasis on getting your draft picks right.

    I’m even glad the organization was able to keep Wilken…but probably more glad he’s not pulling the trigger in the first round any more. He had some unconventional choices at the top, but he’s consistently found talent in the later rounds. Obviously not as much as we’d all have liked, but he’s still a good guy to have the draft room giving his opinions.

  • Kyle

    The front office keeps referring to the draft as the most important day of the year for the organization, and they are right.

    I keep starting at Boston’s drafting and developing track record for the last decade. It’s unreal. I can’t decide which is more impressive, their ability to consistently get value out of their high picks, or their ability to hit on high-impact talent. Pedroia and Ellsbury (it always takes me several tries to get his name right) would be the best pick of a decade in many systems, and they were picked in back to back years. And oh look, there’s Middlebrooks stepping in and playing a solid 3b for them this year.

    And that’s not even including all the guys they drafted and later traded for good value. The pitching record isn’t as eye-popping, but it’s not bad either.

    As always, I can’t be 100% positive, I have one concern:

    This wasn’t Theo Epstein drafting and developing these players by themselves. This was the Boston organization, an organization he inherited and didn’t build from scratch. Can he duplicate it’s success on his own in Chicago, bringing in his own team? I hope so, I think so, but I can’t say for certain.

  • terencemann

    “It won’t be a need-based pick, especially with our first pick.”

    /DeepSighOfRelief

  • cubmig

    It’s early to tell how McLeod’s judgments will turn out for us, but I like his view and approach, particularly his thumbs down on “overdraft”.

  • Chase S.

    Off-topic but McLeod looks like Lou Ferrigno. I had Lou’s voice in my head as I read the quotes.

    • Joe

      LOL

    • Joe

      If only Ferrigno had a McLoed brain! I’m assuming you meant the Incredible Hulk Ferrigno. You spelled it wrong chief. O.K. now you got right.

  • coal

    I once had a boss who used to say “if you are smart, you work hard and give a sh*t about what you are doing” you can get pretty far in any field. That stuck with me and it’s what gives me a sense of general confidence about Theo and Co. Not that Hendry didn’t care, and not that he didn’t work hard or that he wasn’t smart but man, this group feels like they have a good combination of all that and they seem very likely to produce better results than the prior front office regime.

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