Weary McLeod preps for second pick in Thursday's draft
Jason McLeod may have looked a little bleary-eyed Sunday, but there's a good reason for that.
McLeod heads up the Cubs' scouting and player-development areas, and the scouting side is racing toward Thursday's amateur draft.
The Cubs will pick second, behind the Houston Astros.
"Yeah, it's the culmination of all the tired eyes right now from all the travel and the long days in here," McLeod said at Wrigley Field. "But it's been a lot of spirited debate and this is what we look forward to. It's why we're all amateur scouts.
"(Picking second) makes it real exciting during the scouting season because it means you're seeing the top of the crop. And for me, on a weekly basis, I spend a lot of Friday nights seeing the college pitching around the country and seeing the best players that we're going to consider up at that pick and for our second pick at 41."
Conventional wisdom has Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray and Stanford pitcher Mark Appel as the top two picks, with San Diego third baseman Kris Bryan there to tempt.
"I think ultimately just long-term, (it is) who is going to make the most significant impact on the organization," McLeod said. "Certainly we don't go into any draft based on need; we go in drafting on who we feel will provide the biggest impact for our club hopefully for years to come."
Castro mile marker:
Shortstop Starlin Castro played in his 500th game for the Cubs on Sunday. He went 0-for-3 and got hit by a pitch. His batting line is .258/.294/.356 with 3 home runs, 21 RBI, 9 walks and 40 strikeouts.
Castro's on-base percentage was .347 during his rookie season of 2010. Since then, it's gone to 341 in 2011, .323 last year and now to its current level.
"I think the offensive part, the slugging percentage, the OPS, that needs to get more on a consistent basis and driving the baseball and obviously having consistent games of hitting the ball hard with that hand-eye coordination," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "More importantly, it's the OPS we got to get more on a consistent basis with.
"The biggest thing of all is … he'll swing out of the zone, we all know that. But he's just not doing anything with the drivable pitches right now."
Not rushing the kids:
Shortstop Javier Baez, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick in 2011, had a huge game for Class A Daytona on Saturday, going 5-for-5 with 3 doubles, a home run, 3 runs and 6 RBI. It was the first 5-hit game of Baez's professional career. He entered Sunday with a line of .277/.319/.519.
Jason McLeod said there are no immediate plans to promote Baez or the Cubs' other phenom, outfielder Jorge Soler, to Class AA Tennessee. McLeod said he is in contact with player-development chief Brandon Hyde along with team president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer.
"We haven't had those conversations yet," McLeod said. "We'll make (players) force us to have those conversations. Certainly both of them -- I'm not sure if you saw Javy had a huge night last night that was fun to watch; we had it on a live feed downstairs -- but those are conversations that Brandon and I and Theo and Jed, we're constantly talking about their development, but more so we look at a monthly basis.
"We'll have a look back at how they performed that month, where they are in their with their player plans. As of right now, there are no discussions on moving either one of them up."
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