The Cubs are trying to synthesize all the information in the final hours before they make what could be a franchise-altering decision on Thursday night with the draft’s No. 2 overall pick.
As team officials gather in Chicago and debate four potential college players, multiple national reports on Monday night confirmed another data point: Jonathan Gray, Oklahoma’s hard-throwing right-hander, tested positive for the stimulant Adderall during baseball’s pre-draft program.
The Cubs will have to wait and see what the Houston Astros do with the first overall pick and could be in position to pick one of two power arms that might be able to slide into the rotation by 2015: Gray or Stanford’s Mark Appel.
The Cubs are also weighing two third basemen: San Diego’s Kris Bryant and North Carolina’s Colin Moran. Team executives have met with all four players in recent days.
Within that group, Gray had the lowest profile nationally heading into this season. His stock has soared as he’s gone 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA and 138 strikeouts against only 22 walks in 119 innings.
Gray is available to pitch this weekend, when the Sooners visit Louisiana State for a super regional. The winner of that three-game series advances to the College World Series.
“All University of Oklahoma student-athletes are subject to institutional and NCAA drug testing and are subject to corrective action relative to those policies,” read a statement released by the Oklahoma communications department and obtained by USA TODAY. “At this time, we are able to confirm that Jonathan Gray is eligible to compete for the University of Oklahoma baseball program.”
Adderall is typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz twice tested positive for the amphetamine and began this season by serving a 25-game suspension.
During the 2012 reporting period, there were 10 positive tests for Adderall, while 116 players diagnosed with attention deficit disorder received therapeutic use exemptions, according to the administrator for Major League Baseball’s joint drug program.
The Kansas City Royals selected Gray in the 13th round of the 2010 draft out of Chandler High School in Oklahoma. A year later, the New York Yankees took him in the 10th round out of junior college but couldn’t sign him either.
The Cubs had planned to have a representative at every start Gray and Appel (10-4, 2.12 ERA) made this season. Being thorough is a point of emphasis for team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and amateur scouting director Jaron Madison.
Senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod alluded to that philosophy while speaking broadly with reporters during Sunday’s media session at Wrigley Field.
“Our area scouts do a tremendous job on the background reports,” McLeod said. “We spend a lot of time reading them and discussing them in the draft room, in addition to the on-field evaluations of the players.
“For Theo, Jed, myself and Jaron to get to spend the better part of the last 10 days meeting face-to-face with a few of those kids we’re considering up high – you get a good feeling when you sit across the table from someone and look them in the eye and ask them some pretty candid questions and get honest answers.”