The Cubs farm system isn’t “barren,” but the new team hierarchy believes the organization is in strong need of starting pitching candidates.
That need was reflected in the first amateur draft in June conducted under Theo Epstein’s team and player development director Jason McLeod repeated it Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say it’s barren, but we’re looking for more upper level starting candidates,” he said. “We’re trying to build [a pipeline] of starting pitching that can come up here to be a number three or better. But the Brooks Raleys [promoted this week from Class AAA Iowa] have come up and we’re trying to add more.”
McLeod touched on a range of topics as he discussed the promotion of longtime amateur scouting director Tim Wilken to the new post of special assistant to Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, with expanded duties scouting all talent in the organization as well as internationally and at the major league level.
With Wilken’s promotion, the team also hired Jaron Madison as director of amateur scouting, Madison coming from the San Diego Padres where he worked with McLeod and Hoyer.
“We’re pretty excited to have the opportunity to do this,” McLeod said of the moves. “It allows us to utilize [Wilken’s] strengths and I’ve already started using him in the process of some of our minor league evaluations. I know he’s really excited. He’s been in amateur scouting for so long, I think he felt a little energized. He felt he was ready contribute in other areas.
“We knew Jaron in San Diego. He understands the system we’re trying to put in place. Certainly the Padres saw him as an asset, but to their credit they gave him the opportunity to make the decision. He hadn’t worked with Theo but I think that and the fact of what we’re trying to do with this franchise swayed him.”