June 3, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Oklahoma Sooner pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) pitches against the Army Black Knights in the first inning in game three of the Charlottesville regional at Davenport Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Laferriere-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft rapidly approaching, the Chicago Cubs front office paid a visit to Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray this week, in a move that is sure to draw the ire and attention of media outlets across the country. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer, Player Development Director Jason McLeod, and Director of Amateur Scouting Jaron Madison made the trip to visit the burly right-hander, who has been drafted two times in the past – once by the Yankees in the 10th Round of the 2011 Draft and in the 13th Round of the 2010 Draft by Kansas City.
Gray posted an 8-4 record for Oklahoma as a sophomore in 2012, with a 3.16 earned run average. He allowed 100 hits in 102.2 innings of work, and struck out 104 batters while only walking 42. According to the Chicago Cubs official website, the “junior at Oklahoma, Gray has a plus-plus fastball and a power slider, and he will throw an occasional curve.”
It appears Chicago is narrowing down the field of potential candidates with less than two weeks till the June 6 draft. With the second overall pick behind the Astros, the Cubs have also been rumored to be interested in Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, who was taken with the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft by Pittsburgh, before declining to sign.
This year’s starting rotation has been a source of pride for the Cubs, who enter play Thursday with an 18-27 mark on the year, tied with Milwaukee for the worst record in the National League Central. The team’s starters have a 2.00 ERA in 27 quality starts, but they have managed wins in just 11 of those, due to a sporadic offense and a shaky bullpen through the season’s first two months.
Cubs pitchers have also done everything in their power to help themselves out offensively, combining for 13 RBIs in May and an average of .316 (12-for-38) with two home runs entering play against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
UP NEXT: Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.26 ERA) looks to turn things around against the Pirates, who turn to rookie Jeanmar Gomez, who has a 1-0 mark with a 2.89 ERA as a starter this year. First pitch is scheduled for 11:35 Central Time from PNC Park.