Cubs brass feeling good about draft
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Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker, right, is out at second base after Chicago Cubs' Darwin Barney stepped on the base during a baseball game on Saturday June 8, 2013, in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
The present-day Cubs put on another drab show Saturday in a 6-2 loss to the Pirates at Wrigley Field.
They avoided being shut out for a second straight day only when Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run homer in the ninth inning.
So let's talk about something that could be much more pleasant: the future.
Jason McLeod, the Cubs' senior vice president for scouting and player development, emerged from the draft room late in Saturday's game and shared insights about the Cubs' picks as this year's draft concluded.
The second-year Cubs regime followed somewhat a similar pattern from last year: take a position player in the first round and then follow it up by fortifying the pitching.
"I think every team always feels good after the draft," said McLeod, who was at it since Thursday night, when the Cubs took third baseman Kris Bryant and left-handed pitcher Rob Zastrysny. "It feels good after the draft concludes immediately. There's a lot of excitement about the new players you're bringing into the system.
"Obviously, this year was a little different when we were picking as high as we were (second overall). Certainly, we're excited about the prospects of Kris Bryant. Looking at what we did throughout, especially those top 10 rounds, we felt we were able to get some potentially strong starting pitching."
McLeod said he "went off the board a little bit" with third-rounder Jacob Hannemann, an outfielder out of BYU, whom he said the Cubs "had to have" when he was still available.
But unlike last year, when the Cubs went heavy on high-school pitchers, they drew heavily from the college ranks this year.
"We decided we wanted to go a little more advanced with the college pitchers," McLeod said. "We were really thrilled to get Rob Zastrysny (Missouri), Tyler Skulina (Kent State), Trey Masek (Texas Tech) and some of the guys who came later.
"We definitely wanted to have a pitching-heavy draft again this year. I felt really good about it because it was college pitchers we really liked and guys that performed, guys that we evaluated who have stuff. It fit a lot of criteria that we like from a mechanical standpoint and a performance standpoint.
"We felt like we needed more guys who were a little more advanced than the young high-school arms that we drafted last year. We really wanted to infuse the system with guys that fit the criteria of what we felt could be starting pitchers. That's what was reflective in the top five or six rounds with all those arms that we took."
On a lighter note, McLeod agreed that along with Kane County Cougars player Rock Shoulders, the Cubs will have some of the coolest names in baseball in 2013 draftees Daniel Poncedeleon (pitcher) and Tyler Alamo (catcher).
"Poncedeleon is a great name, so I'm sure they're going to enjoy that," McLeod said. "I love the name, too."
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