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Cubs select two pitchers in first round of amateur draft

The Cubs selected LSU pitcher Alex Lange in the first round of the MLB draft.

didn’t force their crusade for impact pitching, but they were pleased to draft left-hander Brendon Little and right-hander Alex Lange with their first two selections in Monday night’s amateur draft.

“Both of them are great makeup guys, top-notch competitors with swing-and-miss stuff,” Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ senior vice president of scouting and player development, said during a conference call.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Little, 20, struck out 133 in 85 1/3 innings to go with a 5-3 record and 2.53 ERA in 15 starts for State College of Florida. Little’s fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s to go with a sharp curve.

Little, the 27th selection, transferred from North Carolina after throwing only four innings last spring, then blossomed last summer in the Cape Cod League before enrolling at the junior college in Manatee County, Fla.

Cubs area scout Matt Sherman recommended Little out of Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pa.

The 6-foot-3, 199-pound Lange, 21, struck out 134 in 111 innings for LSU, which will play Florida State in its first game of the College World Series. Lange posted a 9-5 record and 2.92 ERA in 17 games, possesses a 94 mph fastball and has developed a sharp curve over the last two seasons.

Lange was the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year in 2015 after posting a 12-0 record and 1.97 ERA in 17 starts while striking out 131 in 114 innings and allowing only three home runs. Among his wins was a victory over Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series.

This marks the first time the Cubs have selected a pitcher with their first-round pick under the Theo Epstein regime. McLeod said the Cubs narrowed their focus to five players with their first two picks, three of them pitchers, and he said two had been selected by the time their first pick arrived.

“We know what our organizational needs are,” McLeod said. “These two certainly weren’t forced. They lined up that way.”