Results tagged ‘ Jason McLeod ’
For just the second time ever during the regular season and first time since 2005, the Red Sox will take to the Wrigley Field grass this weekend. The all-time regular-season series is knotted at 3-all, but the Cubs took two of three at the Friendly Confines back in 2005.
The series marks a reunion of sorts for Cubs baseball president Theo Epstein. Epstein acted as the Red Sox’s general manager from 2002-11 before taking his position with the North Siders and is largely responsible for the current makeup of Boston’s lineup. GM Jed Hoyer and senior vice president Jason McLeod also spent time over the last decade in Sox upper management.
While both squads currently sit at the bottom of their respective divisions, there’s no shortage of excitement when these historic teams get together.
As the Cubs brain trust will tell you, draft day is the most important day of the year.
The Chicago Cubs made three selections in the opening rounds of Monday’s 2012 Major League First-Year Player Draft, taking high school outfielder Albert Almora with the sixth overall pick. The team also selected two right-handed pitchers in the compensation round: 21-year-old Pierce Johnson with the 43rd pick (compensation for Aramis Ramirez) and 18-year-old Paul Blackburn with the 56th pick (compensation for Carlos Peña).
The Cubs’ interest in Almora, an 18-year-old out of Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., might have been the worst-kept secret in the draft. Most experts expected the Cubs to take the high-ceiling outfielder, whom Baseball America named the best defensive player, second-best outfielder and the third-best high school player in the 2012 draft class
The six-foot-two, 180-pound Almora hit .603 (44-for-73) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 25 games for Mater Academy last season. His 14 walks compared to just three strikeouts in 87 plate appearances helped him to a robust .677 on-base percentage.
The 2011 USA Baseball Athlete of the Year has also been part of six USA national teams and earned five gold medals. He is committed to the University of Miami.
“We scouted Albert extensively throughout his career, and he fit the criteria we were looking for,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs vice president of scouting and player development. “He has multiple tools across the board and an incredible work ethic. We are looking forward to seeing him start his career.”
Johnson, a right-hander out of Missouri State University, led the Missouri Valley Conference with 119 strikeouts in 99.2 innings pitched this past season. He was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week twice, helping lead the Bears to their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years.
Blackburn went 8-3 with a 1.27 ERA and notched 87 strikeouts in 77.1 innings of work for Heritage High School in Brentwood, Calif. He recorded his first career no-hitter this past May, striking out eight and walking two. Blackburn is committed to Arizona State University.
It’s February and that means baseball is back! Well … almost. Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., Feb. 18, and the first Cactus League game is March 4. Cubs management has spent the entire offseason strengthening the team, and now we get to see how they look in the hot Arizona sun.
They say the youth shall lead us, so Vine Line kicks off the Cactus League season with our annual Minor League Prospectus issue. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have pledged to make the team younger and more athletic, and that all starts on the farm. We profile the names you need to know in the Cubs minor league system, from top draft picks like Brett Jackson and Javier Baez to flamethrowers Dillon Maples and Tony Zych.
We also go in-depth with Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod to discuss his experience in Boston and San Diego, his shared history with Epstein and Hoyer, and how he will construct a top-notch farm system here in Chicago. He already helped build a World Series winner in Boston, and he’s working hard to create the same foundation on the North Side.
“It comes back to who your scouts are, how good they are at evaluating players, how good your system and processes are on cultivating that information, and using it to make the best decisions you can,” McLeod said. “That is what our focus is going to be on.”
Finally, if December was about adding bats, last month was all about the arms race. Cubs beat writer Bruce Miles looks at the many additions to the pitching staff and how they’ll benefit the team this season.
If you live in the Chicago area, you can grab the February issue at select Barnes and Noble, Jewel, Walgreens and Meier locations. Or subscribe to Vine Line today. We’ll see you in Mesa!
From Jan. 13-15, Cubs fans of all ages gathered at the Hilton Chicago to warm up the winter and mingle with more than 70 Cubs players, coaches and front office personnel at the sold-out 27th annual Cubs Convention. Vine Line was there the whole weekend to document all the happenings, including Kerry Wood’s triumphant return, the Ron Santo Hall of Fame Panel and all the new Wrigley Field news. Get ready for the season and check out the sights and sounds of the 2012 Cubs Convention.
The 27th Annual Cubs Convention will be held this weekend, Jan. 13-15, at the Hilton Chicago, located at 720 S. Michigan Ave., and Vine Line will be there blogging all weekend to keep you up to date on the latest news and happenings.
The three-day fanfest gives Cubs faithful the opportunity to interact with more than 80 current and former Cubs players, coaches and prospects. This year’s event features a number of new family friendly sessions and activities, including an interactive baseball area hosted by the Illinois Baseball Academy, a gaming zone and the LEGOLAND Discovery Zone.
But the real stars of the show might be the team’s new baseball leadership — Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and Dale Sveum — and their vision for the Cubs future. This vision has become clearer in recent weeks, as a flurry of moves have sent old-guard players like Sean Marshall, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano out of Chicago in favor of younger talent like top first base prospect Anthony Rizzo and starters Travis Wood, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm.
Opening Ceremonies begin Friday at 5 p.m. in the Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom. The Saturday morning proceedings will be highlighted by “Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein”, followed by “Meet Cubs Baseball Management” with General Manager Jed Hoyer, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush and Manager Dale Sveum.
Other notable weekend sessions include:
- “Coaches’ Den,” featuring new manager Dale Sveum, new bench coach Jamie Quirk, new pitching coach Chris Bosio, new first base coach Dave McKay, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and bullpen coach Lester Strode discussing their coaching philosophies, moderated by Bob Brenly.
- “Ron Santo: Beyond the Game,” featuring widow Vicki Santo, son Ron Santo Jr., and friends and teammates Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley and Billy Williams discussing the personal side of Ron Santo and his recent Hall of Fame election, moderated by Pat Hughes.
- “Outside the Foul Lines,” featuring Tony Campana, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells sharing their personalities and experiences beyond the game.
- “The Ricketts’ Family Forum,” featuring Ricketts family members Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd discussing their journey as team owners and what they hope to accomplish in the coming years.
To keep up on all the happenings from the Cubs Convention, check back with the Cubs Vine Line Blog all weekend long.
The New Year signals a new era for Cubs faithful. We’ve got a new front office, some new players and a new reason to celebrate.
The first Vine Line issue of 2012 salutes the life and career of Cubs great and newly minted Hall of Famer Ron Santo. Thanks to a vote from the Veterans Committee, the iconic third baseman finally earned his rightful place alongside teammates Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams in Cooperstown. Baseball Prospectus’ Jay Jaffe explains why the nine-time All Star and five-time Gold Glover not only deserved his enshrinement long ago, but also might be the sixth or seventh best third basemen of all time. Vine Line subscribers also get a one-of-a-kind, commemorative tear-out poster of Santo and his Hall of Fame teammates.
Although the weather might be a bit chilly for baseball, we also get back on the field in this issue with a look at the Cubs first moves of the Hot Stove season, the signing of outfielder David DeJesus and the trade for third baseman Ian Stewart. These moves say a lot about what the new Cubs brain trust values and where the team is headed in the future.
“I tend to like [well-rounded] players. The totality of their contributions can be equal to or more than the player who does one thing extremely well,” Epstein said. “If we have a club full of well-rounded players, we’re going to far exceed the expectations because the subtle contributions really add up.”
Finally, Cubs.com’s Carrie Muskat talks to right-hander Andrew Cashner about what he’s doing this offseason to prepare the help the team in 2012. After an injury plagued 2011, Cashner is feeling strong and ready to go–no matter which role the Cubs ask him to play.
You’ll find these stories and more in our January issue. If you want to be part of all the exciting Cubs action in 2012, subscribe to Vine Line today. And watch for our minor league prospectus issue in February, profiling the top talent rising through the Cubs farm system.
Last Friday, the Cubs interviewed former big league catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. for the managerial job, concluding meetings with four candidates that team brass suggested may encompass the set they talk to. If you missed the video over the weekend on Cubs.com, click the image above for another Vine Line look inside the manager search, and subscribe for your insider’s pass to the new era at Wrigley Field.
The field: Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum and Mike Maddux.
Continuing the intensive interview process to find the next manager, the Cubs talked to current Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux over the last two days. The elder brother of former Cubs pitcher Greg then fielded questions from the media about family, key decisions facing the club and working with the new front office. Click the image above for another Vine Line video inside the manager search, and subscribe for your insider’s pass to the new era at Wrigley Field.
Continuing to bolster the front office with some of the “best and brightest” from around the game, the Cubs today named Joe Bohringer director of pro scouting. His position covers professional players and clubs, both major and minor league, under general manager Jed Hoyer, while Tim Wilken will continue to operate the club’s amateur scouting under Jason McLeod.
Full press release below:
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today named Joe Bohringer (pronounced BOHR-in-jur) as the club’s director of pro scouting, reporting to Executive Vice President/General Manager Jed Hoyer.
Bohringer, 41, joins the Cubs from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he most recently served as a pro scout the last five seasons after joining the club in 2006. Prior to joining Arizona, he served as an area scouting supervisor for the Seattle Mariners for five seasons from 2002-06, first in California and then in the upper Midwest.
The 2012 campaign will mark Bohringer’s 23rd season in professional baseball with major league and minor league organizations. He began his professional career with internships with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates followed by opportunities in team operations with minor league baseball clubs during and upon graduation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Before beginning his scouting career, Bohringer spent three seasons as senior manager of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2001), giving him experience on both the scouting and player development sides.
Bohringer and his family reside in Dekalb, Ill.