Mike Monaco of the South Bend Cubs recently sat down with Cubs Senior Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod to discuss a handful of topics that you can listen to here. Among the highlights …
- On what he looks for when stopping into low level affiliates, McLeod mentioned that his primary focus is evaluating talent for two key purposes: First, he likes to check in on players that are just a year or two out of the draft. By evaluating their actual performance, as well as their makeup and work ethic, the Cubs can do a miniature self-evaluation on the outcome of past draft strategies. Secondly, McLeod acknowledged that the Cubs are more likely to be buyers over the next month than they were at any time over the past few years. If at any point you are in the position to trade prospects, McLeod opined, you must be in the position to know exactly what and how you feel about every player.
- Thanks to increased technology, McLeod is able to follow along with all six affiliates better than he ever has before. He even indicated the ability to manipulate the center field camera to view the bullpen and see who’s is getting what kind of early work. (So watch out, youngsters – the big boss is watching.)
- On Gleyber Torres, McLeod is unsurprisingly enamored with the production he is enjoying at his age and level. Torres, 18, is potentially 2+ years ahead of the high school players McLeod had been scouting in advance of the 2015 draft, even though they are the same age.
- Continuing on, McLeod is impressed with Torres’ improvements on defense, his advanced approach to the game and his ability to overcome adversity on and off the field. “Everyone in the organization couldn’t be happier with what he’s done so far.”
- McLeod thinks that Jake Stinnett has a bright future ahead of him, despite the early season struggles. He’s performed better of late, and you don’t get the results he’s seen in the past on luck alone.
- Repeating something we’ve heard a lot in the past (around this time of the year): Promotions are not solely based on player performance. Each guy has an individual plan and set of goals that will determine their path. He’s excited for guys to get promoted, too, though, because the end game, after all, is to build up the Chicago Cubs, not any one minor league affiliate.
- McLeod is not surprised by the impressive seasons of Jeremy Null and Ryan Williams, because they’ve always thrown a lot of strikes and gotten enough ground balls. McLeod jokes that he did not expect a sub-1.00 ERA as late into the season as the guys carried it, but he feels that both pitchers are ready to be where they are. Null was recently promoted to High-A, and Williams got the call up to AA.