Epstein's plan underway with first draft

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
11:12
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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As president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in his first press conference last October, there will be a “Cub Way” of doing things.

That process really began on Monday night when the team decided to take high school outfielder Albert Almora, a future five-tool player out of Florida. The Cubs then took two pitchers -- only one a college kid -- giving you an idea that player development will be king during Epstein and company’s. reign on the North side.

Team Epstein actually got all three of the players they targeted in their first and most important moves as leaders of the “jinxed” franchise.

Historically, the Cubs have done poorly with their No. 1 draft picks. Looking back on previous selections in the first round, the Cubs have not drafted an impact position player that made it to All-Star status since choosing Doug Glanville in 1991. The problem with Glanville was that he was only a part-time player with the Cubs before making it big with the Phillies after he was traded for Mickey Morandini.

Missing on their own players is something the new executives must try to avoid in the future. Consider that Joe Carter, Rafael Palmeiro and Jon Garland were all former Cub No. 1 picks who were traded and went on to stardom elsewhere. Only Carter brought back any long-term talent (Rick Sutcliffe) to the Friendly Confines.

The “Cub Way” of building a future powerhouse in Chicago has been put in stone. The June draft, signing foreign players and making astute trades will be the formula that is followed to the letter by Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod as they focus on building the Cubs into contenders again.

Their next big move will be to outbid the field for future star Jorge Soler, the 19-year-old Cuban outfielder who will be up for auction on Thursday when Soler’s agents, Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro, take final bids for Soler's services.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .285
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 55
RA. Rizzo 68
OPSA. Rizzo .927
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104