(CBS) As they indicated they would, the Cubs focused on pitching in the first round of the MLB amateur draft Monday night.
Chicago selected left-hander Brendon Little from State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota at No. 27 overall. A short time later, the Cubs selected LSU right-hander Alex Lange at No. 30 overall.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Little was 5-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings this past season at State College of Florida, which is part of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The 20-year-old Little was the No. 36 prospect on MLB.com and considered the second-best junior college player available by Baseball America.
Little was recommended by area scout John Koronka and is lauded by talent evaluators for having a quality curveball.
“Brendon Little is a physical left-handed pitcher who we feel is just tapping into his potential now, with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and what we believe to be one of the best curveballs in the draft,” senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod said.
The 6-foot-, 200-pound Lange is 9-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 111 innings this season. The season is still alive for he and the Tigers as well, as they’ve advanced to the College World Series in Omaha.
The 21-year-old Lange was MLB.com’s 23rd-ranked prospect. He was recommended by area scout Kevin Ellis.
“Alex Lange is a proven winner in the best conference in college baseball,” McLeod said. “He’s taken the ball every Friday night for a top-caliber team, and he is one of the best competitors in the country.”
At No. 67 overall in the second round, the Cubs selected 21-year-old Loyola Marymount right-hander Cory Abbott, who was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year and is a finalist for the National Pitcher of the Year Award presented by the College Baseball Foundation. He was 11-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 15 starts this past season.