Epstein Era is underway
Even though the MLB season is well underway, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has been concentrating heavily on the First Year Player Draft, which began yesterday (6/4/12). Since Epstein’s introductory press conference, he has preached about building the Cubs up from the farm system and developing players to create a core of young talent that can contend every year. As of right now, it appears as if he has gotten his way.
In the first round, the Cubs selected Albert Almora, a high school outfielder from Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. This is a player they had targeted and scouted and were very happy to see him still available when their time to pick came at number 6 overall. In his 25 games as a senior, Almora had .603 AVG, a .667 OBP, with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 34 RBIs and 24 steals. He has all the physical tools needed to compete at the highest level and the work ethic that will keep him focused and always looking to improve his game.
The Cubs also had two picks in the compensation round due to the loss of both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena. Getting these picks was something that Epstein had put into action when he offered both players contracts he knew they would not take. Because they declined the offers and signed elsewhere the Cubs received the extra picks. With the 43rd selection, the Cubs selected Pierce Johnson out of Missouri State, a right-handed pitcher and took another right-hander when they drafted another high school player in Paul Blackburn out of Heritage High School in California. Johnson finished his season 4-6 with a 2.53 ERA while Blackburn had a record of 8-3 with a 1.27 ERA this past season.
According to the Cubs, all three players were guys they had heavily scouted. If that is true, Epstein must be very happy being able to get his “Cubs Way” started the way he wanted. That being said, two of these players are in high school, so don’t expect them to be in the Cubs lineup anytime soon. They will put in their time in the minors and won’t make an appearance until they are absolutely ready.
“Almora has played for 6 USA National Baseball teams. He was USA Baseball’s Athlete of the Year and MVP of the Pan-Am Games in 2011.”-Via the Chicago Cubs official Twitter page. https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/209794127133544449