Chicago Cubs: Re-examining Theo Epstein’s first year on the job

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Chicago Cubs
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein’s first draft

When a team is rebuilding, drafting well is critical. The Chicago Cubs have made several good draft picks in recent years. How did Epstein and his team do in their first draft in 2012?

With their first-ever pick, the sixth pick overall, the Cubs selected outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. Among those the Cubs passed on to take Almora are Max Fried, David Dahl, Addison Russell, Lucas Giolito, Corey Seager, Michael Wacha, Marcus Stroman and Jose Berrios.

While Almora hasn’t become a star, Epstein’s first pick has been far from a disaster. Almora will always be remembered for scoring the go-ahead run in the tenth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. The right-handed hitting outfielder then had nice seasons in 2017 and 2018. While he doesn’t hit for much power or take many walks, he proved himself to be a solid hitter and a great defender. However, he took a step backward in both departments in 2019, leading to speculation that he may be non-tendered this offseason.

With supplemental picks, the Cubs selected pitchers Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn, both of whom pitched in the majors but didn’t do much. Only two other players from that draft have appeared in the majors with the Cubs: Duane Underwood, Jr. (second round), who took a long time to develop but could be a bullpen piece for the Cubs in 2020, and David Bote (18th round), who has turned into a nice bat off the bench over the past two seasons.

Pitcher Thomas Pannone is the other Cubs selection from that draft to reach the majors – as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018 and 2019.