Conor Glassey: All right everybody – thanks for coming out for a Wednesday afternoon draft chat. The draft is just over a month
away and we all have draft fever around the office. We’ve put up a ton of great stuff lately, so please check out our new All-Time Draft Database, the Draft Day Memories we posted and all of the content
we did over the summer, fall and spring leading up to the big day. There’s already a ton of great questions in the queue, so let’s get going!
- Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks for the chat, Conor. How concerned are you about Gerritt Cole's recent struggles and what do you think is his MLB ceiling?
Conor Glassey: This is timely question to start off with. I’m not all that concerned. Pitchers can have their ups and downs,
especially in a tough conference like the Pac-10. Cole is still showing
really great stuff, but I think the rough patch he’s had can be attributed to two things: A) He doesn’t command the fastball as well as he should, especially on the inner half of the plate. So, hitters can go
up there looking middle-away and it gives them that extra split second to get extended and barrel him up. And, B) all his stuff is really firm.
There’s not as much separation (speed-wise) between his fastball, slider and changeup, so it almost speeds hitters’ bats up. But, he’s not
dominating like he should be with the stuff that he has, which is why I
don’t think he should be in the discussion with guys like Prior or Strasburg, who did dominate against guys with better bats.
- Doug (Phoenix): For good reason, there's a lot of buzz around Bubba Starling. I'm just wondering if you could compare him to George Springer. Both seem to be super-high ceiling guys with a shot to be five-tool center fielders. Wouldn't George Springer - with less risk, a quicker time to the majors, and likely a lower price-tag - be a higher ranked player than Starling? Or am I missing something that makes Starling stand out so much more?
Conor Glassey: You’re right, Doug, they both profile to
be five-tool center fielders. But I do like Starling more and here’s why: I think he’s going to be a better pure hitter and I think his upside is a little higher than Springer’s. Starling has been playing three sports his whole life, while Springer has been focusing on baseball only at UConn. If Starling decides to come out as a baseball player (and I think he will), he’s really going to take off because he’ll be focusing on one sport for the first time in his life. Don’t get
me wrong, I like Springer and I think they’re close, but I like Starling more.
- Bret (Toronto): Any buzz around what the Blue Jays may do with pick #21? Or is it way too early for that?
Conor Glassey: Lots of “Who’s my team going to take” questions and, yeah, it’s too early for that. A lot can happen in a month on the field, not to mention signability stuff. Plus, the dominoes
can fall a bunch of different directions when you’re talking about pick
21. This draft is loaded, though, so they’re going to get somebody really good (and have some extra picks to play with, too).
- Mike (Chicago): Do you think CJ Cron can stick at catcher or is a 1B/DH? Will he be gone before the White Sox pick at #47?
Conor Glassey: I don’t think he can stick at catcher, but that’s okay because the bat will definitely play at 1B or DH. And, yes, he will be gone before the White Sox pick at 47.
- Arda (NY): When I read about Alex Meyer, it makes me think of Jays' starter Brandon Morrow. How accurate is that?
Conor Glassey: I don’t think it’s real accurate. They both have a spotty track record of throwing strikes in college, but it’s
for different reasons. Morrow just didn’t have a lot of pitching experience. Meyer is just so dang big, he’s still learning how to control his delivery and keep everything in line. Meyer has bigger raw stuff than Morrow did.
- Chuck (Texas): Whose 2011 Bowman baseball card should I hunt for?
Conor Glassey: I don’t collect cards too much anymore, but I do know that some of the USA Baseball guys already have some cool Bowman cards out (Starling, Lindor, Swihart, etc.) I guess if I was a big collector, I’d be excited about getting a Rendon card or Dylan Bundy.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): About how likely is it the Rays will take LHP Henry Owens at this point?
Conor Glassey: Well, like I mentioned, it’s too early to start pinning players to teams for the most part. But the Rays have picks 24, 31 & 32. The Rays like HS guys, but Owens might not make it to 24. Heard he’s been up to 94 lately.
- Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Is Tyler Beede a first rounder?
Conor Glassey: Certainly could be. I think he’s more of
a supplemental guy in this year’s draft, but he has the size and talent
teams look for and he’s a Northeast arm, which teams always like because there’s a belief that those guys have more in the tank, since they haven’t pitched year-round since they were 12 like some of the kids
in CA, TX & FL have. It’s going to come down to signability and how
much Beede wants to forgo his commitment to Vanderbilt.
- Frank (South Bend, IN): Will Sonny Gray or Dylan Bundy be there for the Cubs to take?
Conor Glassey: I think the Cubs have a much better shot
at getting Sonny Gray. Sounds like Bundy (who reportedly hit 100 a couple weeks ago) will almost certainly be gone by then.
- Ben (Iowa City, IA): When will the top 50 be updated?
Conor Glassey: We did a midseason Top 50 update a couple weeks ago. Right now we’re working on getting the Top 200 guys together with scouting reports on guys likely to go in the top 100. That
will be in the next issue. Some of the feedback we got on the Midseason
Top 50 is that we were too high on Billy Flamion and Nicky Delmonico.
- Harrison (Montgomery, AL): The catcher depth tier seems to be tier 1 : Austin Hedges
Blake Swihart, Andrew Susac. Tier 2: Peter O'Brien, James McCann and maybe CJ Cron.
who is in the next tier?
Conor Glassey: Like I said before, I don’t think Cron’s
going to catch. I like Swihart over Hedges. Swihart’s bat is special. One guy that belongs in this conversation is Brett Austin, who Nathan Rode just wrote about on our Draft Blog the other day.
- Alex (Ottawa): There's some debate about Javier
Baez going on. Just wondering what you feel his upside is, particularly
offensively, as I realize there's some questions about what position he
ends up at.
Conor Glassey: He really has a lot of upside with the bat because he generates such good bat speed. He has very strong wrists and might have the best bat speed of any high school player this year. He does have a lot of moving parts to his swing that he’ll need to quiet
down, I think, but I think he’s going to hit for some power – the question will be how much of a pure hitter he can be if he can’t calm down a little at the plate. Defensively, I think he’ll start out at shortstop, but probably wind up at second or third. He does have the tools to catch, but I think there would just be too much work to do back
there, since he hasn’t done it at all this spring – and with a bat that
good, you don’t want to have to wait for him to learn how to catch.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): Have you heard if any players will be attending MLB Network's studios on June 6th?
Conor Glassey: I know they’re trying to get some guys out there, but nobody is confirmed as of today. It sure would be nice if
more players were willing to do that, but some of them are still playing, others are still in school – there are more obstacles because of when the draft takes place. Jim Callis will be there, though!
- Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Any word on Austin Hedges signability in regards to his UCLA commitment? Is it going to take some big money to lure him away?
Conor Glassey: Yeah, we’ve been hearing all year that it’s going to be tough. Obviously UCLA is a great school and a great opportunity, so when you combine that with the fact that Hedges comes from an affluent background and there are some serious questions about how much he’ll hit (nobody questions the catch & throw…it’s phenomenal!), there’s going to be a gap between what the player wants and what teams are willing to give. I bet he goes to school and is a first rounder in three years.
- Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Where does Granden Goetzman project to go in the draft?
Conor Glassey: Probably late supplemental to second round. Great combination of size, strength and speed. Won’t stay at shortstop, though – probably moves to an outfield corner.
- Mike Tangee (NorCal): Look into your crystal ball and name 5 college players likely to go high in the draft NEXT year. MT
Conor Glassey: Not a great year for college guys, but the HS class is loaded. I’ll give you six and say that Jake Barrett, Deven Marrero, Kenny Diekroeger, Kevin Gausman, Mark Appel & Michael
Wacha will all go good.
- Nick (New Jersey): Is Blake Swihart playing catcher a pipe dream or does he actually have the ability to stick there? Also what is his offenseive upside?
Conor Glassey: Not a pipe dream at all. He’s athletic and even though he’s relatively new behind the plate, he shows good footwork and a strong arm. There are still things to iron out, sure, but
if a team is willing to wait – he’d certainly be an asset back there when you factor in what kind of hitter he is. That’s the thing is that he’s such a good hitter and he has experience at other positions, so teams might be tempted to move him to third base or second base to get the bat to the big leagues more quickly, ala Wil Myers.
- Sean (Kennesaw, GA): The All-Time Draft Database is amazing! Wonderful job by all the guys at BA. Thank you for all that you do.
Conor Glassey: Thanks, Sean. It will get even better, too – as we continue to make improvements to the searchability and add more signing scout information. You can definitely kill a lot of time messing around on there, huh?
- Tom Wilson (Seattle): Where do you see Redmond High School's "Big Three" going in the draft?
Conor Glassey: For those that don’t know, Tom is asking
about RHP Dylan Davis, OF Michael Conforto & 3B Zach Abruzza. Tom probably didn’t realize this, but I graduated from Redmond High, so I’ve
been following those guys closely and it sounds like they’re all going to wind up in college. Davis and Conforto obviously have talent, as they
were both preseason Top 100 guys for us in the fall. But they have been
inconsistent this spring and are not being helpful to scouts out there in providing information. I bet they wind up as roommates next year in Corvallis—where Davis would play both ways—and that Abruzza, who is a good player, but doesn’t have the loud tools that pro guys look for, ends up at Gonzaga.
- Mike (Kansas City): I heard this draft is pretty deep is it deep enough to find really good players in rounds 2 and 3? or because of all the compnesatory picks by the time 60 plus picks go by is the talent running dry?
Conor Glassey: It definitely won’t be running dry. Talked to a scouting director today that said this is the deepest draft he can remember – better than any of the past decade, at least. It’s just insanely deep. You’re going to see guys drafted in the third round that could be fringe first rounders in other years. You’re going to see teams getting guys throwing 95+ in the mid single-digit rounds. It’s ridiculous!
- Kyle (Middletown): How high do you see Andrew Chafin being drafted? Does he have the delivery and stamina to project as a starting pitcher in pro ball?
Conor Glassey: I think he’ll be a supplemental – 2nd round guy and I think he winds up in the bullpen.
- Kevin (Seattle, WA): I keep hearing that Bubba Starling has the highest upside in the draft. Why does he barely get any
mention as possibly being the #1 overall pick? How does his stock compare to that of Rendon and Cole?
Conor Glassey: In many years he might – but Rendon and Cole are no scrubs! It’s a testament to them, more than it’s a knock on Starling.
- Chris (Tulsa): Do you think Travis Harrison could slide into the back end of the 1st round or the supplemental 1st round?
Conor Glassey: I don’t think so. The power is legit, but it has to be because he’s going to probably wind up at first base.
- Tim (Fredericksburg, VA): John Heyman's column on Monday cites scouting directors claiming that Francisco Lindor has "developed tremendous power" and could go as high as #2. Has BA heard the same things about Lindor, and is he a legitimate power-hitting SS?
Conor Glassey: “Tremendous power” is hyperbole. He has some pop, for sure, because he’s loaded with fast-twitch muscles and he’s jacked for his size. So he’s going to run into some balls. I saw him hit a really impressive HR in Jupiter this year and I love Lindor’s overall package and energy, but I’d be surprised if he hits 20 HRs in the big leagues. He’s going to hit a lot of doubles and triples, but I see him as more of a 10-15 HR guy, but that’s fine because he can help a
team win in so many ways. He’s great defensively, he has a strong arm, he’s a good pure hitter and has tremendous makeup. He’s the total package and there are so many other things to highlight than his power.
- Nate (Chicago): Conor, there has always been somewhat of a stigma around drafting high school rhp with the #1n overall pick. Everything I read about Dylan Bundy makes him seem like the next great thing. Off of just talent, is there a good case to be made with him being the best player available in this draft?
Conor Glassey: A high school righthander has never been
drafted first overall. And, as good as Bundy is, it’s not going to happen this year, either. Again – no knock on Bundy, he could go as high
as No. 3.
- Norberto Paulino (New York): Do scouts go to HS
with the purpose of scouting a freshman or sophomore? Or do they go watch seniors and on the process make mental notes of the younger players?
Conor Glassey: They go to watch the draft-eligible guys
and will take notes on younger players, if they stand out. You can never have too much information, but the priority is always the guys available for the current year.
- Jon (San Jose): Too late to sneak a question in
about JR Graham? Heard he hit 100 as a reliever, and now seems to be used as a starter. Can he go top 2 rounds?
Conor Glassey: Yeah, I think he could go in the top 2 rounds. The questions scouts have with him are the secondary stuff and the fact that, because he’s not a real big guy, he doesn’t get a lot of plane on his fastball – it flattens out. But you can’t ignore that arm strength.
- Bret (Toronto): What's your take on Josh Bell? The impression I get is that he has a high offensive ceiling, but almost
certainly a future LF or 1B. Those players scare me when drafting them out of high school, because they really have to become great hitters to have good value. Does Bell fit that profile? How much offensive value can he bring?
Conor Glassey: Josh Bell is a physical specimen. I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of him, but he’s a freak. Physically,
he looks like Cameron Maybin now (and that’s what a scout told me the other day, not something I came up with on my own, but I agree). He’s not a burner in CF, but he’s a great athlete and definitely runs well enough to play a corner outfield spot. And the bat can handle it too – he has a good approach at the plate and power from both sides, as a switch-hitter. He’s definitely not the bad-body, 1B-only kind of profile, not at all.
Conor Glassey: Ok, that’s all for me, folks. Back to some draft calls! Thank you very much for all the great questions. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to all of them, but we’ll do more draft chats as the big day gets closer. As always, you can hit me up on Twitter at @conorglassey