6/2/2013 2:53 P.M. ET
Picking second in Draft nothing for Cubs to mock at
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs haven't done any mock drafts yet, heading into Thursday's First-Year Player Draft. Jason McLeod, head of scouting and player development for the Cubs, said it's a little different when you have the second overall pick.
"When you're picking [No. 2], it takes a lot of the 'mocking' out of it," McLeod said Sunday. "If you have the group of five players or so, it's like, 'OK, in our mock draft, Houston takes player X. OK, we're on the clock.' You can do a lot of strategy when you're picking deeper in the Draft."
McLeod said the Cubs' front office has actually spent more time discussing its second- and third-round picks, Nos. 41 and 75 overall, more in recent days.
"We've probably discussed No. 2 for about two hours of the four days we've been here," McLeod said. "We'll get into those guys more this week."
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft will take place Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m., and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
Having the No. 2 overall pick has given McLeod and others the chance to see some of the best amateur players.
"For me, on a weekly basis, I've spent a lot of Friday nights seeing the top college pitching around the country and seeing the best players who we're going to consider with that pick, and with our second pick at 41," McLeod said. "When you're only seeing the best players, it's a lot of fun nights."
The Cubs have narrowed their list to four: pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Stanford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina.
"Ultimately, it's long term, who will make the most significant impact on the organization," McLeod said. "We don't go into any Draft drafting based on need, we go in drafting on who we feel is going to provide the biggest impact for our club, hopefully for years to come. Whether you're picking sixth like last year, or two, or in Boston, late in the first round, that's always the mindset. The player pool changes a lot when you're picking at the top of the Draft."
McLeod, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and general manager Jed Hoyer have met with the Cubs' final four. What has benefited them the most is thorough background reports from their area scouts.
"You get a good feeling when you can sit across the table from someone and can look them in the eye and ask them some pretty candid questions and get honest answers, and we were able to do that, which makes you feel good when you make the selection," McLeod said.
Last year, the Cubs had the sixth selection overall and chose high school outfielder Albert Almora, then selected a pitcher with eight of the next nine picks. What does manager Dale Sveum prefer?
"You get the best player," Sveum said. "You pull for a lot of pitching, no matter where it is in the Draft. That's part of the Draft -- finding all those other pieces that somebody else might not have seen or you have good feelings about guys. The bottom line is getting pitching in the organization."
Castro plays in 500th game with Cubs
CHICAGO -- Sunday was Starlin Castro's 500th Major League game since he made his debut May 7, 2010, in Cincinnati. The Cubs' shortstop has 589 hits, seventh-most among players in their first 500 games with the Cubs.
Castro, 23, has plenty to work on.
"I think the offensive part -- the slugging percentage, the OPS -- that needs to get more on a consistent basis, and driving the baseball and having consistent games of driving the ball hard," manager Dale Sveum said.
Castro is batting .261, but entered Sunday's game 2-for-17 in his last four games, and batted .252 in May. He batted .304 in May 2012; .287 in May 2011; and .310 in May 2010.
"The biggest thing is, he'll swing out of the zone, and we all know that, but he's not doing anything with drivable pitches now," Sveum said.
In a perfect world, Sveum said, Castro would hit lower in the order to give him time to improve his OPS.
• Shawn Camp, on the disabled list since May 22 with a sprained right big toe, will throw his first bullpen this week when the Cubs are in Anaheim. Whether the right-hander will be ready when the 15 days are up is to be determined.
"We'll see how the rehab goes and how he's feeling, and the shape of the pitchers [in the bullpen] as well," Sveum said.
Catcher Steve Clevenger, on the 60-day disabled list since April 14 with a strained left oblique, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Monday.
The Cubs have yet to announce a date for when Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Fujikawa was placed on the disabled list May 27.
• Top prospect Javier Baez was 5-for-6 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs in Class A Daytona's 14-5 win over Brevard County. McLeod said there has been no discussions about promoting Baez or another top prospect, Jorge Soler. Baez was batting .277 while Soler, who hit his eighth home run on Saturday, was batting .295.
"We haven't had those conversations yet," McLeod said Sunday. "We'll let them force us to have those conversations."
• The Cubs are happy with their new affiliation this year with Kane County. The team moved its low Class A team from Peoria to Kane County.
"It's working out great," McLeod said. "When they've had their day games [at home], we've had the opportunity to go down and watch the 11 a.m. game, and be back in the office at 2:30. It's been nice and I think they've enjoyed the affiliation with us."
Baez and Soler get most of the attention, but McLeod said he's been impressed by first baseman Dustin Geiger, who was batting .311 and recorded his fifth multi-hit game in his last 10 on Saturday.
"He's been really steady under the radar and he probably gets lost in Baez, Soler being in the lineup there," McLeod said. "He's a kid who had a tremendous month this past month. He's young, too, for that league. He's done very well."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.