Jason McLeod Speaks: Draft, Rizzo, Draft, Development, Draft

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Jason McLeod Speaks: Draft, Rizzo, Draft, Development, Draft

Chicago Cubs

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.”

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.