Did you know the Cubs still have to participate in the 2016 MLB Draft? I know, it seems unfair, but they have to do it. It’s the rules.
However, the experience of the 2016 draft will be quite different from what we’ve come to expect.
For the first time in a very long time, the Cubs will not have a top ten pick in the draft. In fact, this will be the first Cubs draft under Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer/Jason McLeod (came on board in 2012) without one.
But that’s not all that’ll be different. The Cubs won’t even make a selection on Day 1 this year. At all. Each of their first and second round picks (the rounds that take place on day one) were gobbled up after signing qualified free agents Jason Heyward and John Lackey. Had Dexter Fowler signed elsewhere, Cubs would have gotten their second round pick back, but instead he’s leading off for Chicago today, while posting the second best OBP in all of baseball (I think the Cubs would take that 10 times out of 10).
But with the draft coming up in just a few days (June 9th), McLeod has taken time out to speak on variety of news and rumors surrounding the Cubs’ upcoming strategy at The Tribune, Cubs.com and CSN Chicago. Give them a read if you’re ready to gear up for the draft.
Let’s take a look at what he said, along with some of my own thoughts, in a bulleted version of some draft notes. Enjoy.
- To reiterate, the Cubs’ first selection in the 2016 Draft will actually come on Day 2 (June 10th), in the third round, 104th overall. Obviously, that will change the thinking and strategy we’ve come to expect (polished, older/college bats up top, barrage of pitching thereafter). Although, maybe it won’t be too different.
- Jason McLeod discusses the Cubs’ hope, once again, to find a top of the rotation pitcher by means of volume in the upcoming draft. “There’s going to be a No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher, if not multiple (pitchers), coming out from where we pick through the 10th round,” McLeod said. Later adding, “It’s our challenge is to go get them.”
- McLeod is making no excuses, though, he’s aware that, despite hitting on several position players in a row, the scouting department has failed to identify several great draft pitching prospects over the years. He did make sure to acknowledge that they are happy with a lot of the progress some have made, especially the high school picks from the 2012 draft that are now in Double-A Tennessee.
- At Cubs.com, Carrie Muskat relays McLeod’s discussion and preparation ahead of a draft with the lowest first overall pick he’s ever had. Before pick 104 on June 10, McLeod’s lowest first pick ever was 65 – a player you might recognize: Dustin Pedroia. McLeod later added that he’s actually seen a good deal more players this year than he ever has in year’s past. In a weird way (all my speculation), the Cubs ability to focus so much more on the talent in the later rounds might give them a knowledge/information advantage over other teams concerned with the top of the draft. It’s a tiny advantage at best, but it could be a silver lining. [Brett: I absolutely think it will be an edge. Think of all the time and manpower resources the Cubs could re-divert from following obvious first rounder types. That usually takes up a whole lot of energy.]
- McLeod once again reiterates that the Cubs will place a heavy focus on pitching in the draft, in hopes of finding this year’s Jacob DeGrom (who was selected in the ninth round in 2010). You can’t really bank on those types of finds, but DeGrom is just one of many good pitchers to come in relatively unheralded and rise to great heights.
- In general, all of McLeod’s words can be summed up by: we need to be better at identifying pitching in the draft and we plan on focusing on that starting June 10.