A key part of the Cubs' rebuilding process is to develop homegrown talent, which is why first-round Draft picks such as Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant are watched so closely.
That isn't to say a team can't find a star in later rounds. In the 24th round in 1985, the Cubs selected Mark Grace, then a 21-year-old first baseman from Winston-Salem, N.C. The left-handed hitter played 13 seasons with the Cubs and posted a .308 average with the team. He holds the distinction of totaling the most hits (1,754) in the 1990s in the Major Leagues.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
The Cubs have the fourth pick overall in the Draft, and another chance to add to the organization's depth. Who were the top players selected in franchise history, round by round? Let's take a look back.
Round 1: Rafael Palmeiro, 1985; Kerry Wood, 1995
The Cubs selected Rafael Palmeiro 22nd overall, and although the left-handed hitter only played for the team three seasons, he boasts the best WAR of any of its first-round picks at 71.6. Palmeiro batted .288, hit 569 home runs, and drove in 1,835 runs over 20 seasons. He won three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Sluggers and ranked in the top 10 in batting average four years. Chicago dealt Palmeiro to the Rangers in December 1988 along with Drew Hall and Jamie Moyer for six players, including Mitch Williams and Steve Wilson.
The Cubs' other most accomplished first-round pick is Kerry Wood, who they selected fourth overall out of Grand Prairie (Texas) High School. The right-hander pitched 14 seasons -- 12 with the Cubs -- and finished with an 86-75 record, a 3.67 ERA and 1,582 strikeouts, with 20 of those coming in his fifth big league game May 6, 1998.
Round 2: Greg Maddux, 1984
Cubs scout Doug Mapson's report on Greg Maddux read: "I really believe this boy would be the No. 1 player in the country if only he looked a bit more physical." Mapson also wrote: "If available when we select in second round, I would be surprised. We would be getting a first-round guy." The Cubs did pick the skinny right-hander out of Valley High School in Las Vegas. Maddux went on to win 355 games plus four Cy Young Awards. He finished with 3,371 strikeouts and 999 walks in his 23-year career. An 18-time Gold Glove Award winner and an eight-time All-Star, Maddux will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
Round 3: Rick Reuschel, 1970
A native of Quincy, Ill., Reuschel was selected out of Western Illinois University. The right-handed pitcher would play 19 seasons, 12 with the Cubs, beginning in 1972. Known as "Big Daddy," he won 20 games in 1977 and 18 in '79 with Chicago. Traded to the Yankees in June 1981, he finished that season with New York, was released in June '83, then re-signed with the Cubs later that month. Reuschel posted a 214-191 record and 3.37 ERA in his career.
Round 4: Ken Holtzman, 1965
Holtzman was selected out of the University of Illinois, and made his Major League debut that same year at the age of 19 on Sept. 4 in relief. The lefty posted back-to-back 17-win seasons in 1969 and '70 with the Cubs, and he threw two no-hitters (Aug. 19, 1969, vs. the Braves; June 3, 1971, vs. the Reds). He also pitched for the Athletics, Yankees and Orioles, and he returned to the Cubs in '78 for two more seasons. There must be something about no-no's and fourth-round picks. In May, Chris Rusin, the Cubs' fourth-round selection in 2009, threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Iowa, and Tyler Skulina, selected last June in the fourth round, combined with Nathan Dorris on a no-no with Class A Kane County.
Round 5: Jeff Samardzija, 2006
Scouts were wary of picking Samardzija, because most teams felt he was going to follow up his All-America career as a wide receiver at Notre Dame by playing in the NFL. But Samardzija made it clear to the Cubs he wanted to pitch, and this season, he's shining. The right-hander ranks among the Major League leaders in ERA this season, only his third as a full-time starting pitcher. In 1986, the Cubs made another smart choice in the fifth round, picking catcher and current Yankees manager Joe Girardi. He played seven seasons with the Cubs.
Round 6: Jamie Moyer, 1984
Moyer set single-season records in wins, ERA and strikeouts his final year at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. The Cubs picked him in '84 and promoted him to the big leagues two years later to make his Major League debut on June 16, 1986, against the Phillies' Steve Carlton. Moyer got the win. When he pitched his final game in 2012, Moyer was the oldest player in the Major Leagues at 49, and had the most wins, losses and strikeouts of any big league pitcher. He finished with a 269-209 record and 4.25 ERA. The Cubs dealt him to the Rangers along with Rafael Palmeiro in the Mitch Williams deal, and Moyer would eventually pitch for the Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Orioles, Rockies, Cardinals and Red Sox over 25 seasons.
Round 7: None
The Cubs did select Steve Clevenger in 2006 and Sergio Mitre in '01, but the only seventh-round pick with extended big league playing time was outfielder Jacob Brumfield, selected in 1983. He never played for Chicago, getting released in April 1985.
Round 8: Steve Trachsel, 1981
Trachsel did win 13 games in 1996 and 15 in '98, but he led the National League in losses in '99 with 18, and was granted free agency after that season. Trachsel would pitch for the Mets (66-59), Orioles (8-13), Rays (6-10) and Blue Jays (2-5) in his 16-year career. In eight seasons with the Cubs, he was 61-72 with a 4.41 ERA and 11 complete games. The Cubs also selected Mike Krukow out of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1973, and he pitched six seasons with Chicago before he was dealt to the Phillies for Dan Larson, Keith Moreland and Dickie Noles. Krukow had his best years with the Giants, winning 20 games in '86.
Round 9: Craig Lefferts, 1980
Lefferts didn't last long in Chicago. The left-hander was 3-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 56 games in 1983, and then packaged that December with Fritzie Connally and Carmelo Martinez, and sent to the Padres. The Cubs received Scott Sanderson from the Expos. The Cubs did pick Kevin Tapani in the ninth round in 1985, but he did not sign, and was then selected the next year in the second round by the Athletics. Chicago also picked Jon Lieber in the ninth round in 1991, and he did not sign, and the Royals made him their second-round selection in '92.
Round 10: Casey McGehee, 2003; Sam Fuld, '04
McGehee only played nine games for the Cubs in '08, and the Brewers selected him off waivers in October that year. The third baseman had two solid seasons in Milwaukee, hitting 23 homers in '10. He spent last season in Japan, and is back in the Majors with the Marlins.
The Cubs selected Fuld in the 24th round in 2003, but he chose not to sign. The next year, the Cubs made him their 10th-round pick, and he did come to terms. The outfielder played in 98 games over three seasons with the Cubs (2007, 2009-10) before he was dealt with four other players to Tampa Bay in the Matt Garza deal in January 2011.
Round 11: Geovany Soto, 2001
Soto shined in 2008, when he won the NL Rookie of the Year award, hitting 23 home runs, 35 doubles and batting .285 in 141 games. That season he also was named to the NL All-Star team and finished 13th in the Most Valuable Player voting. The Puerto Rican catcher spent eight seasons with the Cubs until he was dealt in July 2012 to the Rangers for Minor League pitcher Jake Brigham.
Round 12: Bill North, 1969
North had limited playing time with the Cubs in 1971-72, totaling 143 at-bats in 74 games. In November 1972, he was traded to the Athletics for reliever Bob Locker, who went 10-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 63 games, totaling 18 saves. North led the American League in 1974 and '76 in stolen bases with 54 and 75, respectively.
Round 13: Tony Campana, 2008
The Cubs' best 13th-round pick most likely was Darrell Evans, tabbed in 1965 out of Muir (Calif.) High School, but he didn't sign, and he was the Kansas City Athletics' seventh-round selection in '67. Campana was popular in 2011 and '12 because of his speed, swiping 24 and 30 bases in those seasons, respectively. The outfielder was dealt to the D-backs in February '13 for two Minor League players.
Round 14: James Russell, 2007
The son of former big league pitcher Jeff Russell, James Russell appeared in at least 74 games in relief in back-to-back-seasons in 2012-13. Other notable players the Cubs selected in the 14th round who did not sign include Bob Welch (1974) and Khalil Greene (2001).
Round 15: None
The Cubs did pick Mark Langston in 1978 out of Buchser High School in Santa Clara, Calif., but he went to San Jose State instead, and was the Mariners' second-round pick in 1981. He won 17 games in his rookie season in '84, and compiled an 88-74 record with the Angels from 1990-96.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.