CHICAGO -- Besides first-round pick Kris Bryant, the Cubs announced Friday they have signed two more of their top 20 picks in pitcher Trevor Clifton and catcher Will Remillard. The Cubs have signed 24 of their 40 2013 First-Year Player Draft picks, including the first 13, and 22 of the first 25.
"It's obvious what direction we're going and how important a robust farm system is for us," said Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. "It's one thing to talk about it, and another to feel like we're making some headway. I like the people we have in player development and the talent we have.
"One thing that will separate us as a farm system is the numerous potential impact guys we have," Epstein said. "We've had some depth for a while, but now there are a handful of guys we can look at and say, 'If we do a nice job helping them reach their ceiling, they could be potential impact players in the big leagues.' We need those guys to get to where we want to go. It's nice to look at that, but we have a long ways to go."
The Cubs have focused on adding more pitching in the two Drafts since Epstein took over.
"It's starting to come," he said. "There's so much attrition, you have to focus on the volume."
Clifton, a 12th-round selection, played at Heritage High School in Maryville, Tenn., while Remillard, a 19th-round pick, starred at Coastal Carolina. The players will report to the Cubs' facility in Mesa, Ariz.
The hardest part is being patient and letting the players develop.
"We have to stay true to our vision," Epstein said. "If you start trying to take shortcuts and rush prospects through the system, you end up shortchanging their development. We wish we could speed these things up a little bit."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.