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jonathan gray oklahomaIf you were looking for someone with decision-making authority on the baseball side in the Chicago Cubs’ organization yesterday, you were going to have to go somewhere other than Chicago (or Pittsburgh).

President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer, Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod, and Amateur Scouting Director Jaron Madison were all at the University of Oklahoma yesterday to meet with prospective first round pick Jonathan Gray, per Cubs.com. The big Sooner pitcher could be the number one or number two pick in this year’s draft, which begins June 6, and very few believe there’s even a chance he slips to number three. That’s obviously important to the Cubs, since they pick second.

In that regard, to find the Cubs visiting Gray with the top men in the front office should be no surprise. It doesn’t mean the Cubs are putting the full-court press on Gray – pre-Draft deals are not permitted (technically) – or that they expect he’ll necessarily be their pick. Instead, I’d imagine that they’re doing the final stages of due diligence on a guy that could legitimately be their pick. Indeed, I’d expect similar visits to Stanford righty Mark Appel, and maybe San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant.

The Cubs’ number two overall pick of is of critical import to the long-term rebuilding process, and they can’t afford to whiff. To that end, they’re going to make sure they know everything they possibly can about any player they consider selecting.

That said, the fact that the Cubs are making this kind of visit to see Gray this close to the Draft confirms that he could be the guy, if he’s still on the board at number two. Not that the Cubs’ interest at this point was a secret or in doubt.

  • jt

    From reading the above druthers I get the feeling there is a roll of the dice as to the top three.
    Since there is a bit of a gamble anyway, I’d go with the guy whose ceiling would help the club the most in the long run.
    Just from reading Luke (not suggesting Luke would agree) and the various posts on the various threads I get the feeling that would be Gray.
    Got to admit that my voice on the subject should be the first lost to the wind.

  • Dustin S

    It will be interesting to see if the whole Cubs posse only visits Gray, or if they do the same with Appel and/or Bryant too. My choice would be Bryant personally. This offense is what has chronically needed help for years, and the thought of possibly a Ryan Braun-type power hitter (minus the “alleged” chemical assistance) in this lineup is pretty drool-worthy. Not all of Almora/Soler/Baez, etc. will pan out, or probably even a majority of them.

    • Chad

      Nothing say Bryant will either, or Appel, or Gray. In 10 years it is possible that we will look back and say, well instead of X in the first round we should have taken the guy that the rockies took in the 23rd round because he’s an all star. It’s really just a big crap shoot.

  • Bilbo161

    Just a memory from the past. Anyone know what Glenallen Hill’s
    Power rating was? He hit the hardest shot I ever saw.

  • Fastball

    I vote for Bryant because I am not sold on Gray and Appel is getting picked by the Stros.

    • Cub Style

      I’m not sold on Bryant. I don’t see 80 power nor the ability to stick at third. The people I trust don’t see it either, which only reinforces my opinion.

  • Joker

    It’s funny to sit back and watch this discussion unfold. A couple of months (weeks?) ago, everyone here was Gray vs. Appel, Appel vs. Gray. Now everyone is Bryant vs. either pitcher. I’m getting the sense that this pick is becoming the new OMG!?!?!??!WhatweretheyTHINKING?!?!?!?!? du jour. Like Pujols and Fielder, just let this play out.

    The only thing we know for sure is we won’t know for at least a year (probably longer) if the guy the Cubs end up choosing was a good choice. So enjoy the debate for now but keep things in perspective.

    • ssckelley

      But I think it is a valid argument and one that is fun to debate. Take the top pitching prospect or the top position prospect? History tends to side with the safest pick is taking the top position player.

      As for me, I still want Appel but if Houston snags him then I think Bryant is a safer pick than Gray.

      • Cub Style

        History isn’t valid anymore. Since 2007, and to a lesser extent 2006, scouting and development for pitchers has vastly improved and has made them much more projectable.

        • Kyle

          Recent scouting and development haven’t changed a pitcher’s basic muscular structure.

  • Austin

    Anyone hear about David Garnder, Michigan State Pitcher. He is a Jr this year and got drafted in the 33rd round out of HS to te Reds. Just wondering if anyone knows what scouts think about him and where might he be drafted. Thanks.

  • http://bleachernation.com hutch

    Kris bryant please. Hes gonna be a monster

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Gray threw a 3 hit shutout today vs Baylor with our FO in the stands. Struck out 12 & threw 121 pitches with 82 strikes. He walked one , the first batter and then settled down. Nice audition for Theo and Jed.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Draft gray @ 1 & LHP from Vandy Kevin Ziomek at 41. He is from Amherst, Mass. And the Cubs pitching director recruited him to Vandy.

  • Die hard

    D-Day 1945 strategy — to fake out Astros into taking Gray

  • Jim L
  • Idaho Razorback

    Jim L, Yeah, what’s that all about. I just went to the link.

  • Idaho Razorback

    This was my quote on this article on Wednesday morning.

    “I want Gray but I want to know why Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek is not getting any love. In the preseason he was mentioned as one of the top pitchers available in the draft. This season he is 8-2 with an ERA of 1.54, SEC ERA is 0.97 and his road record is 4-0 with an ERA of 0.98. He pitches against LSU today in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama.”

    Well, Ryne Stanek was dominate vs. LSU and their ace pitcher. In 8 innings pitched he allowed 0 earned runs (1 unearned run) as Arkansas beat LSU 4-1.

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