Time For Cubs To Draft A Pitcher And Enter Arms Race

JedToday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) When their turn comes around this evening in the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft, Chicago Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have insisted that they’ll select the best player available with the No. 4 pick.

But should they, if that player isn’t a pitcher?

Shedding light on the franchise, Baseball America currently rates the Cubs’ minor league system as the fourth best in baseball, calling it a “very top-heavy system that drops in talent quickly” before also adding that, “Championship teams are built on star power.”
I’d actually argue, however, that championship teams are built on power pitching, of which the Cubs have little in their ballyhooed minor league system. And considering that crucial need, I believe the time has come for the Cubs to finally roll their first-round dice on the best pitcher available – and not just the “best player.”

Of the top 100 prospects listed by Baseball America prior to the 2014 season, the Cubs lay claim to an impressive seven in Javier Baez (No. 5), Kris Bryant (No. 8), C.J. Edwards (No. 28), Albert Almora (No. 36), Jorge Soler (No. 41), Pierce Johnson (No. 87) and Arismendy Alcantra (No. 100).

Two of those players – Edwards and Johnson – are pitchers, but among all right-handed prospects, Baseball America ranks Edwards as only the 14th best, while Johnson comes in at No. 32. The Cubs have no left-handed pitching prospects listed in Baseball America’s top 30. They do have one reliever (No. 6 Arodys Vizcaino) listed among the top 10.

Continue reading at