Draft Chat With John Manuel
OK, sorry I'm a bit late, had a draft call . . . Let's get to it.
John (Philadelphia): Hey John, thanks for
taking our questions. The Phillies dont pick until the 75th pick in
this years draft. What do you see the Phillies doing with their first
pick? Their farm system is in need of corner infielders, are there any
of those available who maybe impact players in the future?
The Phillies had all those extra picks
last year and seemed to do well with them. I'd see the Phils keeping
with their high-risk, high-reward approach. They also seem to have had
some success recently with non-consensus college guys, college guys
with tools who didn't perform in college. Michael Taylor and Mike
Stutes leap to mind. If you're looking for someone who fits that bill,
I'll throw out some names such as SS/RHP Austin Adams out of NAIA
Faulkner (Ala.), who has two potential plus pitches but gave up 56 hits
in 46 NAIA innings and struck out just 42. He may not be the guy at 75
but that's a guy I could see them taking.
Jon (Lexington, KY): Any chance James Paxton slides to the Cubs and would they take him?
Paxton definitely could be there at 31.
He's a tough guy to get a read on. At his best, he's got sick stuff,
but how often has he been at his best? How can a lefty who throws up to
97 and at times has good command of both his fastball and
average-to-plus curve have a roughly 6.50 ERA in college? You can make
a case for him in the first 15 picks, because he's Canadian & has a
fresh arm, turns 21 in November (making very young for a college draft
pick) and has a special arm. But he also has never made it through a
full season without some kind of physical setback, including a mild
knee issue this year. I don't think he'll be there at 31, but he's not
a lock to be off the board at that stage.
JAYPERS (IL): Hi, John. Thanks for taking our
questions. I see in your Draft Scouting Report for Mike Minor that it's
a big question mark as to where he goes, and in which round. However,
many of the other scouting reports I've read about him are confident
that he's still a 1st rounder. What leads you to believe differently?
Our scouting reports don't necessarily
take into account WHERE a player will get drafted; we report the
scuttlebutt, and I think Minor's going to go in the first round. It's
just hard to say he's a lock first-round talent the way he's thrown
this year. His fastball's fringy, 86-89 mph. At times he's showing no
plus pitch, or just average command; if you believe in him as a
first-rounder you need to see plus pitchability, the changeup has to be
a plus pitch, and it would be nice to see his slider be solid-average
as it has been in the past. Our reports are that his slider & curve
are both fringy for the most part this year. That said, he threw very
well in front of a lot of heat yesterday at the SEC tournament, showed
the pitchability, etc. He *should* be better than Jeremy Sowers, but I
don't think he's done anything to merit going as high as Sowers did, a
Vandy LHP who went No. 6 overall in '04. Minor would seem a perfect fit
at No. 3 for the Padres, he's exactly what Grady Fuson looks for in a
pitcher as an LHP who 'hits the mitt' and has a good change, but the
Padres have to get more upside than Minor provides at 3.
Kyle (Middletown): What has caused Scott
Bittle's stock to drop from a second rounder last year to a probable
4th rounder this year? How does he project in the big leagues, back of
the rotation starter or set up man?
Bittle's a huge wild card. He hasn't
pitched in, what, three weeks? Ole Miss went 2-and-bbq in the SEC
tourney, so he won't pitch this week. Maybe the time off helps, but it
sounds like he's back in the bullpen if he pitches at all this year,
according to coach Bianco at Ole Miss. I'd put him in the pen, rush him
to the majors and let him throw cutters 'til his arm can't take it
anymore. Sadly for Bittle he may already have reached that point. His
college stats are as good the last two years as anyone who didn't leave
their last start with back cramps.
Ben (Leland Grove): As he comes from a wealthy
family, what makes $6M the price to dissuade Donavan Tate from playing
college football, and do you think this is merely a Boras tactic?
Two HS players who were somewhat
comparable, Justin Upton and last year Tim Beckham, both got money in
that vicinity. Upton spread his bonus over 5 years as a football
possibility, and Beckham was the top HS position player on some boards
last year (due to bat + SS, though I think a lot of clubs had Eric
Hosmer ahead). Both those guys got $6 million plus, so that's logical
as a price. That said, Boras doesn't talk money in the media, which is
wise of him to do. That's informed speculation but it's also persistent
info that is out there on Tate. Personally, I think he's going 3 to SD.
Brett (Seattle, WA): If Ackley falls to us,
how would you compare him to Ichiro? (I realize he'd be playing CF as
opposed to RF.) Who has more power between the two? Better hitting
Brett, I wrote a column on Ackley the
other day, and he has some similarities to Ichiro in some ways. If he's
lucky enough to have a big league career anywhere like Ichiro's that
would be outstanding, but at times he shows the hitting skills to be a
regular batting champ; Ichiro has two I believe. At times, he has an
Ichiro-type of approach in that he's almost running before he's out of
the box. That's how scouts get ridiculous times that lead them to
erroneously call him an 80 runner. He's more of a 60-65 runner, 70
underway. He's stayed back more this year, he's adopted a bit more of a
power approach, and he's leading the ACC with 19 home runs right now.
For me, he's answering any power questions that were there. It's like
he can do whatever he wants offensively. This is kind of what my column
was about. He's hard to get a comparison on, he's not Ichiro, he's not
Tony Gwynn, but those are guys that you could try to match him up with.
Maybe that's too lofty; scouts don't like to comp amateurs to HOFers.
But I could see Ackley having a tremendous, long career as a regular
John (Pensacola, FL): Does the position breakdown on the website replace the top 200? When will the prospect listings by states be up?
No, we had a lengthy top 200 meeting the
other day, we're writing up the 101-200 scouting reports that didn't go
into the position writeups. With the draft pushed back this year, we
decided not to put out our top 200 a full month before the draft, but
we wanted to get more than 100 scouting reports into our Draft Preview.
That just became Draft Preview, Part I.
JAYPERS (IL): Which third baseman has the best
chance to stay at the hot corner? There don't seem to be a lot to
choose from in your scouting reports.
Might not be a guy this year; I'd say
Dominguez has the best chance but he has an awful lot of swing and
miss. I am a bigger fan of Kyle Seager than most; I could see him
having a Bill Mueller type of career. He may not fit the classic
profile but that dude can hit, and he's better at 3B than scouts
thought he'd be. Jeff Kobernus of Cal also isn't a classic profile guy,
and we listed him at 2b but he could be a 2b or 3b. I think there's a
split camp on Kobernus vs. Seager, Seager's hit tool is better,
Kobernus has him beat for power and speed, defense & arm are
probably a push.
John (Pensacola, FL): Brandon Monk, a former
Braves 7th rounder who made it to High A, is redshirting at Columbus
State. How prevalent in college baseball are former pro players, and
are they eligible to sign at any time?
Rare. We did a story on a similar
situation at Columbus State last year on C.J. Bressoud. Division II has
legislation called amateur deregulation where you can regain amateur
status; D-I didn't pass it. Here's that story we did in early 2008:
Kiko (Honolulu, Hawaii): Where in the draft do you see the 3 kids from Sacramento State going? Tim Wheeler, Hunter Martinez, and Blake Crosby?
Crosby's 24, so if he goes it won't be
high and it will be as a budget, senior sign kind of deal. Despite his
family bloodlines and fine season, he's not really a prospect.
Wheeler's going to go first round, he performed in the Cape and
followed it up with a big spring, he may go in the first 15 picks. I've
not heard any helium on Martinez but he is a lefty-hitting middle
infielder who has had a nice year.
Greg (Finland): Wazzu Cougars are having a solid season in the Pac 10, who will be drafted and when?
I thought I'd be getting Carolina
Hurricanes questions from Finland. War Jussi Jokinen . . . anyway, Matt
Way is the team's top prospect, he didn't sign with the Giants last
year as a 36th-rounder and has made a nice transition from relief to
the rotation, going 8-4, 2.39. He's mostly a fastball-changeup lefty,
which plays well as a starter, and his fringy slider has been good
enough this year. The change is his best pitch; he'll be a single-digit
pick and is a good value as a senior. The other top guys are RHPs Chad
Arnold, a redshirt sophoimore who has had control issues but throws a
heavy ball; little-used reliever Seth Harvey, who has thorwn just 20
innings but threw 92-94 mph last summer in the West Coast League; and
senior C Greg Lagreid, who has decent catch-and-throw skills and it
hitting better than ever this year. At best those are 8-15 round guys.
Ian (Atlanta GA): Are the Braves willing to
pony up the reported $6 million it will take to sign Tate in case he
falls to # 7, or is he not going to fall past SF?
I don't see that happening; Atlanta has other targets such as Zach Wheeler and Alex White.
Greg (Finland): 1st draft for new Mariners GM,
I can see taking Ackley with the 2nd pick but what do you see them
doing from there? Best player available or some surprises?
Jack Zduriencik has had his share of
draft surprises over the years. I wouldn't call Ackley a lock at 2 at
all, but that's where we'd go with the No. 2 pick. As for the rest of
it, in Zduriencik's time with the Brewers, they were big on workouts.
Good pre-draft workouts moved guys up their board; they weren't worried
about consensus. Good workout guys tend to be big arms, velocity/arm
strength guys, as well as speed or tools hitters who lack refinement. I
would expect some of those patterns to persist with Tom McNamara and
crew running the draft further on down.
Andy (Philly): If you're running a draft, do you pick Max Stassi or Wil Myers? Why?
Good question! Sounds like Myers has more
upside, but Stassi is a safer bet. In this draft, I'll take the bigger
bat in Myers and worry about his position later. That said, I'm a
Stassi fan, in terms of makeup, swing, savvy and solid if not flashy
Andy (Philly): Who will slide in a similar way to Tim Melville did a year ago?
Jim Callis gave some good candidates on
the Draft Blog today, and Jacob Turner — this year's Melville as the
top pitcher in Missouri and also a UNC signee — is the best candidate.
I could see Kentrail Davis being a tough sign considering he had a
difficult year and is tough to profile but is in a thin, thin year for
college bats. I could see Chris Dwyer of Clemson falling; he's got more
leverage than the average bear as a 21-year-old freshman and he's been
erratic. Robert Stock is another; he'd be a 20 year old senior. If he
doesn't get what he was expecting he could definitely return for
another year at USC.
Andy (Philly): Has Drew Storen solidified his spot as the best draft-eligible reliever? And what's up with Jason Stoffel this year?
I don't think any college reliever has
established himself as the sure No. 1 reliever. The best relievers are
guys currently starting in college, such as Rex Brothers and Kyle
Heckathorn. There's a chance those guys could start, but either one
also could have two 70 pitches in the pen. Sam Dyson also is a classic
relief candidate with a 98 mph fastball that can be really straight at
times. Among guys relieving in college, though, Storen has edged
Stoffel, who might just have draftitis, which he battled as a prep
senior. Tough also to be a closer on a bad team. Alex Wilson and Joe
Kelly are other options, and right now Kendal Volz of Baylor is
pitching in relief, a role he excelled in last summer with Team USA. He
might improve his falling stock if he pitches well in relief this week
in the Big 12 tourney.
Bryan (San Francisco): Where do you see UCSB's
Joe Gardner going? I heard he strained an oblique against Long Beach
and won't pitch again. How will that affect his draft status?
Our reports indicate it is a pinched
nerve, and he's been told not to throw for two or three weeks, which is
about to expire. He's a lower slot sinker-slider guy, so I don't know
that he's more than a 5th-7th rounder. I'm a fan, disappointed that the
Gauchos didn't have a better year. It's good for college baseball when
Jim Rome is interested in college baseball, which only happens (a) when
someone gets hit by a lot of pitches and (b) when the Gauchos are good.
Andy (Philly): Have there been any more
notable players sign with Scott Boras recently? And how does James
Paxton's agreement with Boras affect his draft stock?
Paxton, Brian Godwin and LeVon Washington
are the latest trio that I've heard about. Washington is a tough, tough
case, he's a plus-plus runner with a bum shoulder who might be the best
hitter in Florida. I think he's going to be a first-rounder Boras Corp.
or not. Some clubs just won't deal with Boras at all, which to me is
bad for those clubs; Boras Corp. represents good players more often
than not. This year, six of our top 15 players are Boras Corp. clients.
I'd hate to pick in the top 15 and not be able to take six of the top
players on my draft board.
Andy (Philly): Where do you see Robbie Shields going in June? Has he answered any of the questions about his long-term position this year?
Yeah, Shields isn't going to play
shortstop, he's a 2B, and he hit just five homers this spring. Put him
down for "stock down" considering some of the hype he garnered in the
Andy (Philly): Is Mychal Givens a shortstop or pitcher? Which one do you think he'll get drafted at?
Shortstop, because he projects as a
reliever as a pitcher. He's got a chance to go supplemental 1st or
second round, like half of the rest of Florida.
Andy (Philly): Where are you hearing Angelo Songco might go in June?
Anywhere in the first four rounds. He's
not a fluid athlete but he's a pretty polished and fairly powerful
college bat, and there aren't many of those. He hit in the Cape, and
then he followed up on it; that's when the Cape matters, for me. He's
patient, has power and is a passable LF defensively. He'll get
over-drafted, like a lot of solid but not spectacular college hitters
this year, because there are so few college hitters that scouts like.
The solid ones won't last long.
Andy (Philly): Who takes a chance on Luke Bailey and where?
Now there's a Georgia kids the Braves
might take, perhaps third or fourth round. The first day of the draft
ends after round three, so we'll be watching hard to see who is left on
the board at the end of round three, there will be deals made that
night and early morning on the 10th. The fourth round really should be
a lot of fun.
Jeremy (Las Cruces): Any idea if Max Walla is
going to get drafted? I know he is the best player in New Mexico, but
sometimes guys out here get overlooked. What do you think?
You nailed it Jeremy, our Conor Glassey
is handling the West but he likes Walla and has him on top of our NM
board. He has been overlooked; it's just hard to crosscheck prep bats
in that part of the country. He'll be a workout kind of guy, if he
lands some workouts.
Andy (Philly): Does Brad Boxberger have the talent to succeed as a starting pitcher in the pros?
He does, but teams seem quite impatient
with pitchers like him these days. He's not a groundball guy, he's a
flyball pitcher, and seems to be profiling better in the bullpen for
most scouts. I like him as a solid starter because he's a three-pitch
guy and has some deception in his delivery. That said, he closed
effectively in the Cape, where a lot of national guys saw him. That
seems to stick in a lot of teams' reports.
Andy (Philly): What are the chances D.J. LeMahieu goes high enough to sign as a sophomore-eligible?
One of the draft's most divisive players,
at least at BA. He has his defenders (cough*JIM CALLIS*cough) but if
he's a 2b or 3b, scouts want to see more power. And he's most likely
not a SS. I could see him getting drafted lower than he thinks. I don't
know what he thinks of being moved off SS, but that might make him not
want to go back to LSU, you know? I'd play for Paul Mainieri, seems
like a heckuva guy, but then Paul didn't move me off SS.
Andy (Philly): How badly has Brett Jackson's performance hurt his draft stock?
I think it has hurt some, but there just
aren't a ton of other college bats rushing to fill the void. He swung
and missed a lot in the Cape too, but he's a CF with tools, not many of
those around. I'd take a chance on him in the supp-to-2nd but he's
fallen behind other college OFs such as Tim Wheeler and AJ Pollock on
Andy (Philly): Does Grant Green really have
the pop for 15-20 homers? Kid's been a dud power-wise with the metal
bat (15 homers in over 600 ABs at USC).
That's a case of the Cape trumping
everything else for scouts; he hit 6 in 161 ABs last summer, and scouts
saw the thunder in his hands and forearms then. This guy had draftitis
in 2006 and I think he's got it again. I don't think it's dreaming too
much to put 15 HRs on this guy, that's 50 power basically. I think
Green will be fine, but he's not Longoria. Few are, and remember,
Longoria had very little hype out of HS or Rio Hondo JC, only getting
some as a sophomore when Tulo got hurt and he subbed in at short. He's
the best of that trio by a longshot.
Brian (Phoenix, AZ): Who will be the first Arizona high school player in the draft this year?
Probably C Tommy Joseph, who gets some
Mike Napoli comps, with RHP Jake Barrett in the mix as well. We've hit
a down patch in Arizona preps, it would seem, the last couple of years,
there's no Tim Alderson or Kyle Lobstein this year, but this year looks
similar to '06, when Jason Jarvis, Charles Brewer, Dillon Baird and
Khris Davis were the top preps. I could see the last three guys go as
single-digit guys from college this year though.
Andy (Philly): How high does Kent Matthes go
after his incredible senior season? Does a team with multiple early
picks take him and sign him for under-slot?
Andy keeps asking good questions . . . I
like Matthes, think he'll go third round, and your scenario frankly
makes sense. His track record isn't super, he never controlled the K
zone prior to this year, but his 2009 season is pretty impossible to
ignore, and he's not some SEC slug, he's an athlete with a RF arm. It's
not a knockout arm but it's average to plus; he should be able to at
least play left if not stay in RF. That's an attractive package.
Matt (NY): Do the Marlins go with more pitching at #18 and if so who will they go with?
They certainly could, they filled up on
hitters the last two years, and this draft has more pitchers to take.
We put them together with Chad James, exploiting the obvious Oklahoma
connection the Marlins have with Stan Meek & Co. They are the
ultimate best player available org. I have a lot of respect for them on
the draft, they aren't perfect but they stick to their approach and
have often had tremendous results, such as Chris Volstad and Mike
Johnny (Gainesville): What's your opinion on
guys like Borchering, Maddox and LeVon Washington? Any chance Sully can
bring any of them to Gainesville?
It's a great class but Sully needs to
lose some of them, or he'll be over 11.7 scholarships. He'd got a great
chance to get Maddox on campus as his stock has fallen, but the other
two are probably first-round guys and won't be Gators. You're probably
getting Mr. No-No, Patrick Schuster, if that's any consolation.
tom (atlanta): what do pro scouts look for in a high school hitter?
Present strength so they can go out and
hit now; projection in the body so they can hit later; ability at
premium defensive position (so they can move down the defensive
spectrum, if necessary, as they fill out; speed. HS 1Bs have to truly
mash to go high, which is what makes Eric Hosmer and Prince Fielder
('02 first-rounder) so special & unusual. On the run tool, college
baseball has very little in the way of speed, at least in terms of
players who can hit and can run. Most of those guys get signed out of
high school, which is another reason Dustin Ackley stands out so much.
Eric (Dallas): Given Donovan Tate's current
baseball skill level, do you believe he is worthy of being a top 10
pick in this year's draft? How does Tate compare to some of the other
mega-athlete's in the draft like Everett Williams, Mike Trout, and
Yes, he's at the front of the
mega-athlete group. He does it the easiest, and he has explosiveness as
well. His current baseball skill level is high for a high school
player; he's not raw. He can hit, but he's a high school kid, he's
going to need time in the minors. He's definitely worthy of top 10; he
could be worthy of No. 3 in this class, but I'd take Ackley and of
course Strasburg ahead of him.
Tyler (Jupiter): David Holmberg seems like one
of the lesser talked about left-handed high school pitchers in the
draft. What is his status like?
Tough to gauge, because he has fringy
present velocity but good secondary stuff. Frankly I never know what to
do with those guys. If his curve were the better secondary pitch, I'd
be more enthusiastic about the future velo; it takes hand speed to spin
a breaking ball, and hand speed usually equates to projection in terms
of fastball velocity. But, it sounds like some scouts like the change
better, while others like the curve. I think he's got a 50-50 shot of
going to Florida.
Eric (Dallas): What is the status of Tanner Sheppers' shoulder? Is he having an MRI done that will be sent out to all the MLB teams?
His agents sent an exam from Dr. Lewis
Yocum to clubs with a clean bill of health, but that also seems to
imply that teams won't get to do their own medical exam before the
draft. That makes sense from Scheppers' standpoint, but it makes it
harder for a club. I'm of two minds on Scheppers, and today I'm more in
the Crow camp, but ask next week and I might be on the Scheppers
bandwagon. I am a fastball command joker and that edges me toward Crow,
but Scheppers is more electric.
Fred (Ohio): Hi- Where do you believe North
Carolina HS pitcher Madison Younginer will be drafted? Do most scouts
consider him a starter or a reliever? Thanks!
He's from South Carolina, and he could go
late first to the right team that has seen him well. I think he'll go
higher than we have him based on a good pre-draft workout. He's flashed
two 60 pitches if not better, I think teams would want to try him as a
starter. It's rare to get guys written off as relievers out of HS;
Jason Knapp and Tim Alderson are two I've talked about in recent drafts
and both are doing just fine as starters so far.
Fred (Ohio): What are your thoughts on Richie Shaffer's draft prospects?
Got a Scheppers update from BA indy guru
JJ Cooper . . . Scheppers hit 98 again in his last start Saturday and
starts again tonight. JJ also is taunting me that Scheppers pitched off
the fastball more in his last start and had more fastball control than
usual, which almost immediately moves me back to the Scheppers camp . .
. Schaffer is a power guy, power arm, power bat, but he had a hamate
injury that sapped him of power this spring. The consensus is he'll
wind up at Clemson, because it's hard enough to scout prep hitters, and
now you're scouting a prep hitter who basically hit one-handed this
spring. Good luck with that.
Travis (Montclair, NJ): Whats the read on Dillon Baird? top 5 rounds?
Not quite, not a true defensive home for
the former Yavapai RoughRider. Can't believe that team didn't make it
out of regionals . . . c'mon RoughRiders! Anyway, Baird does have lefty
power and a nice track record, we're thinking 6-to-10 is more likely.
Brad (Lake Orion, MI): Any rumors on who the
Detroit Tigers will take at #9? And will they be aggressive like they
were in the 2007 draft or stick to slot as they did in 2008?
People suspect they will go above slot at
least once, if Jacob Turner por ejemplo falls to them at 9. But it's
hard to imagine they'll do that often, considering the economy in
Detroit right now; that would be a very enlightened, long-term view to
take, and right now they have Jim Leyland managing, so that's not how
the Tigers operate.
Ryan (spring): What is the status of Berry and Ojala of the Rice Owls in the Draft? What is the latest on Strasburg leaving early yesterday?
Strasburg's back cramps are pretty much
that, back cramps. San Diego State should make regionals, so expect him
to get one more start at least (and probably no more than one). Berry
and Ojala had helium earlier this spring but their injury problems plus
Rice's track record with pitchers seems to be sending them down draft
boards. I wouldn't be shocked if they both are back with the Owls next
year, just thinking about past history. It's hard to sign Rice juniors;
they get a lot of seniors back even when those guys are single-digit
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): If the Padres
complete (or have completed at the time of this) a trade to move Peavy
would that suggest at this time that they definitely take a College
Pitcher at #3?
Interesting question. It could, hadn't
thought that until you wrote it. I'd still call Minor a reach at 3, and
I actually like Mike Minor as a pitcher. But if I had to take a college
pitcher at 3, I'd go with Alex White, or they could take one of the
indy ball guys. Any of those moves, or Kyle Gibson, would make more
sense than Mike Minor, for me.
Jason (Texas): With so many impressive HS
catchers in this years draft:
bailey, zuzino, madoox, stassey, elander, phillips, which do you
believe has the best overall tools? Any way some of these guys will
sneak into the first round or will they be second day picks?
You didn't mention perhaps the two most
interesting guys, Wil Myers (best bat of that group) and Steve Baron,
probably the best defensive C in the draft, 50-60 glove (depending on
the scout), 60-70 arm strength, more of a 60 but the occasional 70 pop
times when he cheats a bit. Stassi is at the top of our C board among
HS players; Zunino might be headed to college; Elander isn't in our top
25 of HS catchers, nor is Phillips.
alexei (vt): The Orioles did draft Scheppers
before; Yoakum states his shoulder is fine, he's hitting high 90's, his
stuff is rated second only to Strasburg and he would sign for slot;
leaving more money to play with dropped talent in the later rounds.
Would they draft him again at 1-5 or go with Matzek, Crow, Gibson or
O's would be a good spot if he has signed
the re-draft papers; not sure if he has or not, but they have a glaring
need for arms. We have heard them linked to Alex White, but there are
college pitchers to be had at 5, and it would behoove the O's to dip
into that pool.
Matt (Atlanta): How can Andy Oliver still be drafted so high with such bad numbers and 1 pitch?
He's shown more than one pitch at times,
he's flashed a good curve in the past, though he's using a slide piece
now. If you have one pitch, it's good if it's a plus fastball. If he
commands a fastball with plus velo, everything else will play up. AT
worst, you might have Alan Embree, who had a nice career.
Jesse (Los Angeles): Hi John,
I know you guys are extremely busy with the draft right around the
corner. How is Cody Decker from UCLA looking right now, he has a ton of
power (20 homeruns)and is hitting for a good averageand has only 1
error on the season. He had an off year last year but bouced back his
senior season, does being a senior hurt him? What round would you
Thanks for all your hard work!
You're welcome. I just can't see teams
getting excited about Decker, I think of him as a nice college player
and that's about it. He should be a fine Double-A DH one day. Not
trying to be harsh, but I just don't think he's a prospect. Sorry,
Joe (Philadelphia): I have watched Ryan Buch
pitch since he was in high school, and he always struggled with
location. I saw him pitch against modest competition last summer in
Johnstown, and only last until about the fourth or fifth inning before
the other team began to hit him. The NEC is a very weak conference, and
when he faces good competition it takes the order one time around
before they can get hard hits. He still struggles with command of his
fastball, and I feel his secondary stuff is below average. How can he
be rated a second round talent ahead of some of the great pitchers in
more competitive conferences? There are some D2 and D3 schools that are
in more competitive conferences then the NEC.
He's backing up, Joe. Aaron Fitt just
talked to a couple more scouts today and Buch had three or four starts
where he was on, and now he's gone a bit backwards again. He's not a
consensus 2nd-round guy, and Aaron just came to my office before the
chat to tell me we should move Buch down our board. Such is the draft.
At his best, he's been better than you saw him; I talked to one scout
this spring about Buch and he was enthusiastic about him. So he has
done it; but your points are all sound points.
Greg Pappas (Baltimore): Long time admirer and fellow draftnik here...
How do you personally rank Crow, White, Gibson and Scheppers at this juncture? The talent seems similar among them.
Greg, I'm a sucker for a Greek last name
and flattery . .. I am a White guy. I have no problem with the split,
and he's shown the plus slider in the past, though he's lost his feel
for it now. It's in there. He competes, he's athletic . . . I'm an Alex
White guy. I'd go White-Crow-Scheppers-Gibson. Jim C. and I have had
some throw-downs on Kyle Gibson this month, several of them. I'm not as
high on Gibson as he is, very fair to say that. He'd give you a
different order, and I think 30 clubs would have every permutation of
those 4 guys.
Altoona (Altoona, PA): Will the Angels draft "best player available" as always or bend towards need like a couple outfielders? If so, who?
The Angels' "need" is just talent, the
system has thinned in recent years. I bet they go heavy in Florida,
because (a) that's where the talent is, and (b) Tom Kotchman is the
dean of FL scouts and owns that state, and he works for the Angels.
They also have not shied away from Boras clients, sometimes for better
(Jered Weaver) and sometimes for worse (not signing Matt Harvey in '07).
jeff (chicago): how do you compare strasburg
to tommy hanson? does strasburg have a clearly higher ceiling than
hanson? what about compared to types like price and kershaw?
Good question. What makes Hanson is, he
had fastball command FIRST, then he started throwing harder and his
secondary stuff came together. Strasburg is in some ways similar, and
he has fastball control, but not command. Hanson in fact has lost some
command as his stuff has become nastier; it's just harder to control 96
than it is 89. Neither of those guys were showcase stars; they were
prospects in some ways, they showed talent, but neither had enough
present stuff to get serious draft looks. Now look at them. I have a
hard time taking anyone over Hanson, whose minor league roomy, Kris
Medlen, debuts in the majors tonight. I also pretty much always link
Medlen & Hanson in my head. I'm guessing the consensus is that
Strasburg is better than Hanson, but Hanson's pretty frickin' good.
Terry (South Dakota): What's your hunch regarding the A's pick at #13.
We hear them on Mike Minor at 13 and also Tyler Matzek, having reports of Billy Beane and David Forst in to see Matzek.
Nick (Albany): Hi John, thanks for the chat. I
know I'm looking forward to the 2010 draft, but which shortstop do you
like better, Fullerton's Christian Colon or Rice's Rick Hague? Hague's
high strikeout numbers have to be concerning, and does Colon have the
tools to be a top prospect? Thanks!
I'm on the Colon tip these days; I was not when he was in HS, and I was dead wrong.
Kevin (San Diego): Aside from Strasburg, does
Alex Whit have the best pure stuff in this draft? I was real surprised
he was rated the second best right hander when Gibson and Crow are more
consistenent and have better command.
White's stuff is better than Gibson and
Crow's, in that he pitches off the fastball more than Gibson (who
pitches off his slider too much for my liking), and has secondary stuff
superior to that of Crow. Also, White is a plus athlete, plus compete,
very good track record.
But pure stuff? Scheppers is better than these other guys in pure
stuff. Amond HS guys, Jacob Turner has better stuff as well, and Shelby
Miller is in that discussion. Kyle Heckathorn and Rex Brothers too.
OK, everybody, that's two-plus hours, and
there are still 250 questions in the queue. Sorry I didn't get to all
of them, but thanks for being patient, and Andy from Philly, dude, take
your ritalin or something. That's a lot of questions! See you next week.