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Focusing on arms, Cubs find Lange at No. 30

VP of scouting McLeod: 'He's a proven winner. We just love everything about the guy.'
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Cubs fans won't have to wait long to watch Alex Lange take the mound. After all, the College World Series starts on Saturday.

Lange was taken 30th overall by the Cubs during the first round of the MLB Draft on Monday, a pick the team received as compensation for losing Dexter Fowler to free agency. Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod didn't quite expect the LSU right-hander to be on the board when the Cubs made their selection.

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CHICAGO -- Cubs fans won't have to wait long to watch Alex Lange take the mound. After all, the College World Series starts on Saturday.

Lange was taken 30th overall by the Cubs during the first round of the MLB Draft on Monday, a pick the team received as compensation for losing Dexter Fowler to free agency. Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod didn't quite expect the LSU right-hander to be on the board when the Cubs made their selection.

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"You look at his pedigree," McLeod said. "Three, four months ago, if I would've sat here thinking we could get here at pick 30, I would've never had thought [he'd be there] unless there was an injury of some sort."

Cubs' No. 27 overall pick: Brendon Little
Cubs' No. 67 overall pick: Cory Abbott

Nevertheless Lange -- the 23rd-ranked Draft prospect according to MLB.com -- joined Brendon Little as pitchers selected by the Cubs in the first round. The team closed out its day by selecting Cory Abbott, another right-hander, from Loyola Marymount University with the final pick of the second round. The Draft will continue on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 12 p.m. CT.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Lange was the only first-day Cubs selection still continuing with his college season. And that's, in part, because of how dominant he's been.

As a freshman, Lange went 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA and helped his team to the 2015 College World Series. Along the way, he earned SEC Freshman of the Year, National Freshman Pitcher of the Year and First-Team All-American honors.

The righty wasn't as sharp in his sophomore season, but he showed some improvement in his junior year in 2017, dropping his ERA back below 3.00 and showcasing a solid fastball, curveball and newly added changeup, which he emphasized during his time with Team USA.

"This is a guy that has taken the ball every Friday night since he showed up at LSU as a freshman," McLeod said. "He's been one of the better performers, one of the better competitors, pitching in the best conference in the country for three years. He's averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings over all three seasons."

Video: Draft 2017: O'Dowd discusses Lange's ability

Like Little, Lange does have some question marks regarding his mechanics. He had a bit of a tendency to overthrow and didn't always stay online to the plate. However, McLeod made it clear that while both pitchers will have some technical work to do, he's excited about the prospect of watching them pitch for the organization.

"He's been healthy. He's a proven winner," McLeod said of Lange. "We just love everything about the guy."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs