Heading into the 2011 draft, the Cubs were set on Javier Baez with the ninth overall pick, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. Rosenthal reports of a pre-draft conversation between then-Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken (now a special assistant with the Diamondbacks) and Padres exec Jason McLeod (now with the Cubs). The Padres wanted to take Francisco Lindor with the tenth overall pick and were curious about whether the Cubs would be selecting him. Wilken told McLeod that Baez was a “no-doubter” if he was still on the board when the Cubs picked. McLeod wasn’t as convinced: “I remember calling Jed after the game and saying, ‘This guy may be Manny Ramirez, or he might never get out of Double A!’ We weren’t convicted on the hit tool at the time and probably could have done a better job getting to know him personally.” In fairness to McLeod, Baez has struggled to control the strike zone in his young career, although he’s made up for that with defense and power. Either pick would have turned out just fine, of course, as both are now emerging young players who have already made noise in this year’s playoffs. The Indians ultimately took Lindor with the eighth pick; the Cubs took Baez at No. 9, as promised, and the Padres selected Cory Spangenberg at No. 10. Here’s more out of Chicago.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says the process by which the team sets its NLCS roster will involve a “lot of yelling,” as Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic writes. That roster will be announced this morning. “The first one to get to this point was a lot of back and forth. This will obviously be a quicker meeting with less time to make the decision,” says Hoyer. It’s just one decision, whether we want to do 12 or 11 [pitchers]. A lot of that will depend on the opponent.” Sharma outlines the decisions in play this time, suggesting that infielder Tommy La Stella, outfielder Matt Szczur, lefty Rob Zastryzny and others could be on the bubble.
- Since they’re facing the Dodgers (whose collection of left-handed hitters includes Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Chase Utley, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Josh Reddick and Andrew Toles), the Cubs seem likely to add Zastryzny, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune writes. Gonzales notes that the rookie left-hander has already faced the Dodgers once in his brief MLB career, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings against them in a strong outing April 27. “I looked at their lineup. I watched (Game 5 of the NL Division Series),” says Zastryzny. “I have thrown against them before.”