The Chicago Cubs selected high school outfielder Albert Almora with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft last night. The Cubs had been rumored to have heavy interest in Almora, as well as high school shortstop Carlos Correa and lefty Max Fried in the days leading up to the draft. With Almora in the fold, joining 2011 first rounder Javier Baez, Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo as potential impact bats the Cubs front office has begun the process of stocking the organization with high quality arms.
Since taking Almora ninth overall the Cubs have used six straight picks on pitchers. The new arms should provide a significant talent infusion to a player development system in desperate need of impact arms. Other than the recently promoted Travis Wood, and Double-A right-hander Trey McNutt, the Cubs don’t have any young pitchers in the minor league system who appear to be of any help to the big league team in the near future. The trade speculation that has swirled around Matt Garza is fueled in part by Chicago’s near total lack of minor league pitching talent. Dillon Maples, the Cubs top pitching prospect, has yet to throw an inning in 2012.
Theo Epstein and company no doubt hope that the 2012 draft will remedy that issue and give the organization a foundation of young pitchers around which the club’s rebuilding program can be centered. The Cubs selected Missouri State’s Pierce Johnson with the 43rd pick in the draft. Johnson was followed by California high schooler Paul Blackburn who was nabbed with the draft’s 56th pick. Chicago continued it’s run on arms with second rounder Duane Underwood, third rounder Ryan McNeil, fourth rounder Josh Conway, and left-hander Anthony Prieto in the fifth round. All of the above players were selected out of high school with the exception of Josh Conway of Coastal Carolina.