Baseball America

Draft Chat With Conor Glassey and John Manuel

    Connor (Detroit): Where do you see Ranaudo being selected in the draft after his solid outing last week? Does Boras still go down to the wire in negotiating his deal?

John Manuel: John here, I’ll go ahead and start. Ranaudo has to prove he can bounce back and do it again; he’s been pretty bad for a while, and it wasn’t velocity, it was pitching, finishing pitches, getting downhill. I see him going to an over-slot kind of team like Boston or the Yankees; if the Tigers had a first-rounder he’d be ready made. I also wouldn’t count out the Giants, who have a long history of LSU players, including Brian Wilson.

    Grant (Dallas, TX): It would be nice to see the
    Rangers get a home town talent in Michael Choice. Any chance he is still available at 15?

John Manuel: Don’t see him lasting that long; just not enough other college bats who deserve to go out, it’s hard to see Choice
dropping that far.

    Neil (Oakland): Do you think Brian Ragira ends up at Stanford next year, or do you see him going pro?

Conor Glassey: I would bet he ends up at Stanford. It’s
always tough to sign players away from academic schools with great baseball programs and Ragira isn’t in the same class as someone like Austin Wilson.

John Manuel: I see Cardinal in his future. It should be
a good move, too, because Stanford looked poised for a run to Omaha next year. It shouldn’t lose a lot of juniors and has a lot of talent in
the freshman and sophomore classes. Diekroger looks to be for real, and
Mooneyham seems to have figured some things out down the stretch under Rusty Filter’s tutelage. I’m bullish on the Cardinal for 2011, as usual.

    Dale (Miami, FL): Who has the better hitting combination of average and power, Choice or Brentz?

John Manuel: Choice. Brentz is a bit of an all-or-nothing approach. That said, Brentz is just 6-feet tall and has fewer holes in his swing; his strike zone was pretty tight as a sophomore, and I think he’s pressed a bit this year. Choice has a more polished approach, but let’s face it. These guys are playing against modest competition in college, and neither is a sure thing. I’d feel better about them both if they played in the Pac-10, SEC, Big 12 or ACC.

    Fred (Phoenix): Do you see a team taking a chance on Josh Spence after he hasn't thrown a pitch all season? Do you
    see him pitching in indy ball next year?

Conor Glassey: Disappointing season for Spence, as he’s
an easy guy to root for. Scouts out there aren’t as empathetic, saying Spence made this bed by saying he’d sign last year and then going back on his word, but still. Maybe a team takes a chance on him toward the end of the draft, but I kind of doubt it. Spence could get a redshirt for this year and come back to ASU next year (or anywhere else, for that
matter, since he graduated already).

    Steve (Wilmington): So far the BA mock draft projections with respect to the Phillies at 27 seem to have been based on their recent draft tendencies (toolsy, athletic, high risk, high ceiling, etc.). Any idea who the Phillies are actually connected with? I would love for them to take Cowart (as a 3B) as per Jim's latest mock
    draft but the Phillies haven't paid overslot for a 1st rounder like ever.

John Manuel: I can’t speak for Jim, who handles our mocks, as to whom the Phillies have been connected with. I do know that at the back of the first round, all the mock drafts are educated guesswork. You are right, though, in that the Phillies’ largest signing bonus got paid out back in 2001. They win now and don’t pick that high, but they also don’t generally go over-slot in the first round. I do like
the sentiment of Cowart as far as the Phils looking at high school pitching.

    Joe (wampsville, ny): Any word on who the Braves are in on? Will they target some of the high school talent in Georgia? Will they spend more money this year or spend in the bottom third of organizations on the draft like the last few years? Thanks

John Manuel: Atlanta doesn’t have a first-round pick, so they may not spend a ton this year again. However, they will be active in Georgia, with the state being that strong. I’ve heard the Braves connected with such area prep players such as Aaron Shipman, Delino Deshields Jr. (if he’s there), Jake Skole and prep infielder Steve Wilkerson. If the Braves don’t take a Georgia kid with one of their first picks, I’ll be shocked.

    Chris (Nashville): Is Bryce Brentz's defense good enough to be an everyday RF in the bigs?

Conor Glassey: Some teams might want more of an athlete
out there, but Brentz fits nicely in right field because of his strong arm.

    Chuck (Wichita): Who is better in the long run,
    Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz?

John Manuel: Most scouts we’ve talked to like Pomeranz better, probably because (a) he’s more conventional and (b) he’s got a better breaking ball. I agree with those sentiments, but I also wouldn’t
be shocked if Sale is better short-term because of his superior fastball command. For me, Chris Sale is quite good; Pomeranz is simply better. He’ll figure out the command.

    Eric (Seattle, WA): Thanks for the chat. Seattle doesn't pick until 43..who have you heard they are on as far as guys for that pick? I realize a lot will depend on who is still around. I
    heard they like Deglin, but why would they pick another HS catcher after Stephen Baron is struggling so much in A ball?

Conor Glassey: With GM Jack Zduriencik in charge, Seattle plays things close to the vest and figuring out who will be there at 43 is tough enough without the gag order. Deglan may be an option and I know he was in Seattle yesterday for a workout, but they would pick him because they think he’s the best player available, not because Baron is struggling. I’ve also heard from other scouts that they’re interested in Marcus Littlewood, which I think would be an overdraft at that spot.

    K. Smith (Oneida, ny): Any chance Cowart falls to the Braves at 35? And if so would they spend the money to sign him? Any other HS players that the Braves might take in Georgia? Thanks

John Manuel: I don’t see Cowart signing. He was throwing out Casey Kelly comps, which make no sense considering Cowart doesn’t have an SEC football scholarship in his back pocket. He’s more like Ethan Martin; maybe a better version of Ethan Martin, but that’s the better comp. I see him being the nation’s top freshman next year at Florida State, heading up what could be a special FSU recruiting class that also features Ben (brother of Mat) Gamel. I think I hit on the Braves names in the other question.

    Travis (Jordan, UT): Do most prep players give a
    dollar amount they would sign for? or do they just sit back and wait to be drafted?

Conor Glassey: Area scouts work hard to determine a player’s “signability.” Meaning they know how much money it will take to
sign the players in their area. Talent and money all work together. If a
scout views a player as a 10th-round talent, but that player wants $800,000 to sign, well it’s probably not going to work out.

    Trent (Knoxville): Bryan Morgado is a hard throwing lefty who has not had much success in a starters role the last 2
    seasons. Do you see a team moving him to the bullpen as a pro to move him quickly through the minors?

John Manuel: He’s a reliever for sure. I’m not sure what to make of Morgado; he was worse this year, in results and stuff, than he was last year. I’m guessing he goes out in the 3-to-5 range but I
don’t see him moving quickly if he doesn’t learn to throw strikes. Not sure that the track record for pitchers with 7.90 ERAs in college is that hot.

    William (Salt Lake City, Utah): Can you tell us
    any other notable players that are Boras clients in this years draft other then Bryce Harper ?

Conor Glassey: James Paxton, Anthony Ranaudo, Manny Machado, Matt Harvey, Christian Colon, LeVon Washington, Gary Brown and Seth Blair are some others

    Ben (Memphis): Tony Wolters will almost certainly be moved from short to second. Do you think a team drafts him
    and moves him immediately to the keyston corner, or do they let him play his way off of short?

Conor Glassey: The team that drafts Wolters will almost
surely let him play off the position.

    Rob (Calgary): Matt Purke - Is he not available
    in this year's draft? Not in the top 200?

Conor Glassey: Matt Purke will be draft-eligible next year.

    Greg (Los Angeles, CA): Where do Bruins Rob Rassmusen and Dan Klien project to go? Do both project as 3rd-5th round pitchers who will be relievers as pros?

John Manuel: I like Rasmussen’s chances to start. He has command issues as well but he has control, and I think he can figure
things out and stay in a rotation. Loved him out of high school, still like him. Klein’s a reliever all the way, may be more of a 6-to-8 guy than 3-to-5.

    Mike (Tucson): Where do you see Cole Cook and Matt Bywater from Pepperdine going in this years draft? My guess is that
    Bywater has really raised his stock following a strong season.

John Manuel: Bywater has, and he’s helped by the shallow pool of LHP talent. Cook’s breaking ball is an issue, and he’s a
redshirt sophomore. I haven’t heard anything concrete on his signability, but he may not be an easy sign. Bywater didn’t miss our Top
200 by much and should still fit in the top 3-to-5 rounds; Cook’s talent puts him in that range, we’ll see if he can sign there.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): What are the chances that Manny Machado stays at SS?

Conor Glassey: I would say the chances are good because
he has good footwork and smooth actions. Of course, he’s never lifted a
weight in his life, so he could outgrow the position, but that would be
okay because he has the power projection to move to third base.

    Kyle (Philly): Been hearing a lot about local product Jesse Biddle. Heard he's been up to 95. Any truth to that, and
    could he go in the first round? Any chance he's in play for the Phillies with the 27 pick? If not who else? Thanks!

John Manuel: Biddle could be in play for the Phillies; he definitely has late helium. I don’t see him going to Oregon; if he doesn’t go to Philadelphia we’ve heard a lot of teams interested in the sandwich round. He hit 94s earlier in the year and it would be no shock if he hit 95.

    Wes (Glendale): If Anthony Rendon were in this year's draft, would there be a lot of debate over who the top would be? Who would you pick in that situation?

John Manuel: I think there would be a ton of debate. I haven’t asked anyone that question straight-up; too many other questions
to ask. But Rendon’s having an amazing year, and if Harper is moving to
right field (as appears to be the most likely scenario), then I’d lean toward Rendon going No. 1 overall. You can’t convince me Harper’s bat will be so much more productive than Rendon’s, though Harper has more raw power. Rendon has plenty of power and more pure hitting ability. Tough call but I’d go Rendon.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): If Anthony Rendon was eligible for the draft, who would you take at number one?

Conor Glassey: I know Jim Callis has said he’d take Rendon, but I would go with Harper. Harper will probably move to right field if he doesn’t catch, but if it weren’t for Ryan Zimmerman, he could actually play third base too. So, I don’t think the position difference gives Rendon much advantage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s close -
but, for me, Harper has youth, bigger tools and the fact that he hits lefthanded on his side. John – who would you take?

Conor Glassey: Well, looks like we were already on the same wavelength there…

    Duncan (Norfolk): Jarrett Parker has somewhat turned around his season, and still has an ideal frame with a speed and potential power combination. Has he moved up draft boards with his recent play are where do you see him playing, center or right?

John Manuel: Parker’s a tough call as well. I like the tools, saw him play well in person this year, which often colors my opinion. But he has significant issues with strikeouts. There’s 131 strikeouts there in 483 at-bats, with metal, against amateurs. I don’t think he’s moved up boards, unless he had previously moved down them. Supplemental or second-round guy for me at best, and I could see him sliding considering the K’s and last year’s Cape performance.

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, CA): A.J Cole's stock has undoubtedly fallen, with that being could you potentially see him falling out the first round?

Conor Glassey: It’s certainly possible. First rounders should pitch like first rounders, especially in a two-inning stint, and he didn’t do that the other day in Sebring.

    Tim (Houston, TX): Do you know what direction, and anyone in particular, the Astros are leaning with their two first-round picks? I'm hearing they like some HS position players, but wouldn't college players closer to the majors make more sense?

John Manuel: Actually, I’d disagree that college players make more sense. If you want to run in place, then draft some low-ceiling jokers. Their best prospects include two high school guys in
Lyles and Mier. We’ve heard the Astros heavily connected to Deshields and other athletic HS hitters this spring, and they also are big on athletes. Houston also places more emphasis on workouts, so they could spring a surprise. Lyles is one example and that one has worked out for them so far.

    Sean (Fort Myers, FL): Drew Vettleson seems like an intriguing hitter in a light year for high school hitting. Is he a candidate to go in the supplemental first round?

Conor Glassey: He is one of the most interesting players in this year’s draft and could very well go in the supplemental first round.

    Tom (Durham, NC): Where do you think Trent Mummey will go in the draft?

John Manuel: Mummey has a lot of interest. He’s just 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, but he’s got some strength and elicits some Lenny
Dykstra comparisons. The guy can play center field and is slugging .788
in limited ABs this year (he was hurt early). I could see him being the
second player picked out of Auburn after Hunter Morris, but more like 4-to-7 rather than pushing higher. He plays with energy and has a chance
to be a CF as a pro if you believe in him.

    Eric (Nashville): As a Vandy fan, I am looking to get your thoughts on two pitchers from Mass. One is Kevin Zomiek and Tyler Beede. One is in the 2010 draft the other is in the 2011 draft. Will they make it to college?

Conor Glassey: Ziomek is a wild card. He came into the year ranked as our best LHP in the draft, but scuffled a little this spring. He’s still very talented, but will be a tough sign. My bet is he
winds up at school. Beede comes into the summer more highly touted than
Ziomek was at this point last year, but it’s too early to say whether he’ll wind up at school or not.

    Dale (california): Whats the word on Rojas Jr? He seems like a good fit for Boston..any rumors there?

John Manuel: Not sure where he would fit for Boston, but he’s not a first-round guy. There are too many questions about the bat. He’s athletic and has bloodlines, but that’s also true of Deshields, who we’ve heard much more in the first round. Rojas was No. 135 on our Top 200 for a reason; he may go out a little higher than that, but he’s not a first-round talent.

    Adam M. (White Plains, NY): One HS prospect that intrigues me is Matt Lipka. It seems he had the potential to be a 5-tool talent, along the lines of a Desmond Jennings. Where does he fall in the draft and how raw is he in a baseball sense? Potential star? CF or SS?

Conor Glassey: Not comparable to Jennings. Lipka is fast, but Jennings is a better pure athlete and everything comes much easier to Jennings. I wouldn’t say Lipka is a 5-tool player but, then again, neither is Jennings.

    Justin (Toronto): Which college players could see a significant increase or decrease in their draft position based on their performance in the tournament?

John Manuel: Ranaudo is the obvious answer; he was better twice in the SEC tourney and if he does it again in L.A., he will
be back in the mix for some teams that may not have been considering him. I still think track record matters a lot more than one look at a player. That said, it would be a loud statement for someone such as Seth
Rosin at Minnesota to go out and shut down Fullerton, though the Titans
are without Gary Brown. A guy like Zach Osborne at Louisiana-Lafayette could move up a few rounds if he beats Rice and handles Rendon; but it would be a surprise to hear of someone going to go from 5th round to first because of one or two good weekends.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Delino Deshields: an overdraft if Houston takes him in the 1st with either pick?

John Manuel: Yes for their first, not a terrible reach at 19. If we re-did our Top 200, he’d be higher than the 50s. His performance was a little uneven this spring but I think I undersold him a
bit (just saying that because I do Georgia).

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Does Connor Narron end up at UNC? And does he have a chance to be an impact college player?

John Manuel: Yes and yes, especially if he can play SS as a freshman. He’s a very important recruit for the Tar Heels.

    jennifer (new mexico): How much stock can be put in to the level of competition Harper is facing in JC, and what can be expected of him in pro ball?

Conor Glassey: It’s good competition, but still a couple steps below what he’ll face in the lower levels of the minors and
there are scouts that think Harper will struggle initially in pro ball because of his aggressive swing and propensity to swing-and-miss. I think he’ll adjust because his eyes are so good and he’s a hard worker. To me, I’m not worried about Harper’s skills at all. The thing that would worry me most is everything else. He’ll have to deal with the media more, there will be more fans and the spotlight will be even bigger than it is already, which is hard to believe. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone an 18-year-old kid. How will he handle failure? We don’t know because he hasn’t really had to deal with it yet…

    Mike (DC): How long does Taillon take to get to
    Majors?

Conor Glassey: I think a conservative estimate would put him in the big leagues in late 2013 or the beginning of the 2014 season.

    Mark (Binghamton, NY): In general, if the dollars are right, how much does it matter to a player which round he gets selected?

John Manuel: If I understand your answer correctly, I think talent is talent. Lars Anderson was an 18th-round pick and got paid supplemental money; after a hiccup in ’09, he’s performing like that kind of talent again in 2010. The track record of first-round picks
is much better than it is for players drafted thereafter, but if you get first-round money in the 39th round money like Andy LaRoche, that’s a
good sign. LaRoche has had a somewhat disappointing career but he did reach the major leagues; that bonus told you more about his talent than the 39th round draft slot did.

    Roger (Fremont): Mistake not signing last year for LeVon Washington? How much further could he slip this season?

Conor Glassey: I think anytime you don’t sign your first rounder, it’s a mistake. LeVon could still sneak into the first round this year, but it’s more likely he’s a sandwich pick or a 2nd rounder.

    Jeff (NY): Is Cox going to hit for power at the
    pro level? Seems like he is projected very high for someone with marginal power.

John Manuel: Seems like Cox catches a lot of heat for a
college bat hitting .400+ in the nation’s deepest conference, and a lot
of heat for a guy who hit .344 in the Cape. Usually people question us the other way; why isn’t the guy who hit .344 in the Cape a big prospect? I don’t think this is Sean Burroughs II here guys. He sold out
for power last year and hit .266; this year he used the whole field more and raked. His power might take longer to develop but I believe in the bat and believe he’ll eventually develop average-to-plus power because he’s that good of a hitter. Here’s one evaluator: “He’s got the shortest, flattest swing in the league that I’ve seen in a long time. He’s very tough to pitch to because it’s a real challenge to get him off-balance.” I’ve heard that kind of thing too many times and put more stock in the scouting reports than his college isolated power.

    Marcus (Endicott, NY): I've heard the names of Gyorko, Jenkins, Lamarre, and Yelich attached to the Yankees in Round One. If all four were available, who would you take?

John Manuel: Tyrell Jenkins would be a good pick for the Yanks�athletic, big arm, they can buy him out of football. I’d go Jenkins, LaMarre, Yelich and Gyorko. I don’t see the attraction of Gyorko as a Yankees type of first-rounder.

    Joe (Toronto): What's not to like about Josh Sale? The only knock I can find is that he's a future 1B/LF but either than that he seems to be signable, not asking for a huge bonus, big upside/high floor.

Conor Glassey: I’m with you, Joe. There’s certainly a lot to like with Sale. Great hitter? Check. Huge power? Check. Plays hard? Check. Off-the-charts makeup and work ethic? Check. You’re right, the only knocks would be that he’s limited to the wrong side of the defensive spectrum and some scouts think some adjustments will have to be made to his swing, to keep his head more steady, but you could nitpick any player…

    CD (Cols, Ohio): Is Alex wimmers stock rising or falling as the draft approaches? Our the Reds @ 12 a possibility?

John Manuel: “Are” the Reds a possibility? Yes, they are, but he’s not the 12th-best . His stock took a hit with his hamstring injury, and he’s got to prove to me he’s healthy after his final start. Nice going-away present by Bob Todd at Ohio State to keep Wimmers in the game that got suspended, so Wimmers pitched one or two IP
on Friday and then came back with five or so on Saturday. Connor did a Wimmers feature this year and agrees that he could go 12 but probably should not on talent.
He may be the guy who winds up highest on Cincy’s board who will sign for slot at 12, and this draft board has little separation, so while I don’t see him at 12, I could see how a team could take him 12th.

    Rob (Calgary): Yordy Cabrera... long term future at SS?

Conor Glassey: No chance. He has the arm strength to play on the left side of the diamond, but it won’t be at shorstop. He’s just too thick and doesn’t have the range or the hands to stay there. I’d move him to right field and let him focus on hitting, because he’ll have to move quickly.

    John (Ashburn, VA): Conor and John: Clemson's Kyle Parker in the upcoming draft. Thoughts/predictions? Tks.

John Manuel: He’ll sign. Would you rather get seven figures to play baseball or get pounded every Saturday playing for a moderately good Clemson football team? I’d take the money every time and
I think Parker will too. He should go in the first 50 picks with his improved pitch selection and plus raw power. I don’t see a ton of difference between him and Bryce Brentz; might like Parker better.

    William Foster (Springfield, IL): Eric Jokisch from Northwestern is not an overpowering pitcher but seems to go 7-8 innings everytime out? What teams are looking for good college LHP and where can he fall on the draft board.

John Manuel: That strong late finish has given him some
helium; I can see him going out in the fourth or fifth round range as a
college lefty with feel and good enough stuff. Wonder if J.A. Happ’s success helps him as a fellow Northwestern LHP.

    Andy (Niagra Falls): Guys, I've read several places that while Taillon throws hard he's very hittable at times. Still, he's considered one of the consensus top handful of prospects in the draft. Can you parse that out for me? How hittable is he and how much of a concern is that for MLB teams?

Conor Glassey: It’s not a concern at all. High school hits are fluky because of metal bats and high school defense. Taillon has top-shelf stuff and was dominating on the showcase circuit and with Team USA.

    Eduardo Gomez (Puerto Rico): What are the chances that Dickie Joe Thon goes in one of the three 1st round picks that the Astros have ? I heard he is going to a work out in Houston in front of the GM !!

Conor Glassey: I think that would be a reach, but it does sound like it will take that kind of money to pry him away from Rice.

    JAYPERS (IL): Your thoughts on Boras being vocal about Harper not remaining at catcher once he turns pro?

Conor Glassey: It’s kind of weird, actually. Part of what gives Harper so much value is that he’s a catcher. He’d still be a premium talent as a right fielder, but it does take some of the shine off. He’s probably just looking to the future and realizing he doesn’t want his client getting hurt before he can really cash in on the big payday, free agency.

    Dan (Bristol (UK)): Who are you hearing for the
    A's at 10? Any chance they take a high upside high schooler like Josh Sale or Karsten Whitson? Also has their interest in Covey really cooled?

John Manuel: I think everyone’s interest in Covey has cooled; we were hearing he was falling coming into last weekend, and Dave Perkin wrote about it in the draft blog after seeing him. Whitson lost some draft helium in late April and early May, made some poor starts in front of a lot of important people, but he was good in Sebring, which was important for him. I do think the A’s are interested in the HS talent; they have been all over lots of guys in Georgia this spring, for example. But you don’t have to jump into those guys at 10; the talent between 10 and 40 is pretty similar this year. As is often the case, clubs will make their drafts this year as much with later picks as with first-round selections.

    Paul (Durham, NC): Jake Lemmerman from Duke was
    not even listed on your North Carolina preview despite having a very solid season....what are your thoughts on him as a player and where do you see him being drafted?

John Manuel: He’s a solid college player and a good senior sign. He’s not a SS as a pro, more of a 2b, and that’s why he wasn’t listed. I think he can be a strong senior sign next season. He isn’t a runner, doesn’t have a plus tool other than defense at the college level, and I don’t see him leaving Duke as a 12th-rounder, you know?

    Larry (Tampa, FL): Please order these in terms of who is the better prospect. Justin Nicolino, Daniel Gibson, Jimmy Hodgskin.

John Manuel: That’s truly a toss-up. Those are the best
LHPs in Florida . . . sounds like the consensus might be Gibson-Nicolino-Hodgskin after Sebring, but that might put too much emphasis on what happened in Sebring. I must have talked to 12 or 15 sources in Florida and my head was spinning on those guys because evaluators were all over the board. Personally, I think I’d rank it Nicolino, Gibson, Hodgskin, because it sounds like Nicolino actually has
more projection and more present breaking stuff.

John Manuel: Conor and I both still have states to write up, and there are 234 more questions in the queue. Sounds like we’re going to have to try to do one more chat, maybe Monday, but we’re going to have to call today’s chat to an end. Thanks for the interest and enjoy all the content on BaseballAmerica.com right now . . .

Draft | #2010 #Chat

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