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Allan Simpson
May 24, 2002

 Q:  billy from waco asks:
Baylor bears have a lot of prospects on their team but are not playin well..but what is the draft status of steve white, mike huggins, kyle edens, jared theodorakos, and paul thorp..even though their season has been so great?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: You're right, Baylor finished on a real slide, losing I believe its last eight games. All the players you mentioned will be drafted, with White (2nd to 3rd round) and Edens (4th to 5th) going the highest.

 Q:  Deeg from San Francisco asks:
Hi Alan - I noticed that your mock draft has the Cubs taking Bobby Brownlie at #21. What's the latest on his health status? It's obvious people are concered or else the Cubs would have zero chance to get him at 21. How likely is it that he'll drop that far, and how likely the Cubs will snag him with their pick? Also - if the Cubs decide to go catcher at #32, who's the frontrunner right now? Would Clement still be a likely candidate?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: No one knows what to make of Brownlie. At one point, the Expos were prepared to take him at No. 5, but he has simply not dominated this spring like he did last summer and there's concern that he has an injured arm. How serious, no one seems to know. It looks like his appearance yesterday in the Big East tournament will be his final one for the year and I'm sure that we'll soon get to the bottom of what's wrong. As for the Cubs taking him, they can afford to take a risk because they have three sandwich picks and they're not afraid to take a Scott Boras client. It may be that Brownlie just needs to shut it down for a portion of the summer to get 100 percent healthy.

 Q:  Dave from Winston Salem asks:
You projected the Mariners to take Houston catcher Chris Snyder in today's mock draft. While they've drafted Snyder before, making it a somewhat logical pick, catcher is probably the deepest position in the organization. With Christianson and Ben Davis the "catchers of the future" and the team spending last years 2nd and 3rd round picks on Lazaro Abreu and Rene Rivera, do you really see the M's spending yet another early pick on a catcher?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I see Snyder as being more of a second- or third-round pick and it would be a stretch for me to have someone take him in the first round. But a couple of teams at the end of the round are on him, including the Mariners. Since Pat Gillick has been GM, the team hasn't had a true first-round pick. Their top picks the last couple of years have been big surprises, so I wouldn't put it past them to make an unconventional pick--regardless if the team seems pretty well set at the position.

 Q:  Dan from Philadelphia asks:
In your mock draft you had Matt Whitney going to the Phillies as a "Scott Rolen Clone" Does that mean excellent defense, but a struggling bat? Or does he have legitimate power that most people want out a corner infielder? Thanks, I love these chats!
 A: 

Allan Simpson: The Phillies have been on Whitney pretty good. His power is his best tool and he's made solid strides in the last year to make himself a competent third baseman. Rolen's imminent departure will factor into the decision if they make Whitney their selection.

 Q:  Jason from Chippewa Falls, WI asks:
Why would the brewers look at Prince Fielder with Brad Nelson and Corey Hart already in the system?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: The Brewers took a pretty good look at Prince but I think he'll go one pick later to the Tigers. Bill Lajoie, who was the GM in Detroit when Cecil hit all his home runs for the Tigers, is now a special assistant to the GM in Milwaukee and he's enamored with Prince's power, which might be the best in the draft. The fact that Nelson and Hart are in the system will have no bearing on who the Brewers pick. I see them going more for a pitcher.

 Q:  Harry Caray from Rancho Mirage asks:
Rolling over in my grave the way the Cubs are playing. Who are the early guesses for the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft. Will any Raffy Palermo's be available?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I just think you need to be a little patient. I'm sure things will start to look up soon. At any rate, the top three prospects for 2003 are all big-time hitters--Lastings Milledge, Delmon Young and Rickie Weeks. Milledge might have even been the No. 1 pick this year if he was eligible.

 Q:  Brewerfan.com Patrick from Milwaukee, WI asks:
Regardless of which teams are actually scouting Prince Fielder, can he really be justified as a top 10-15 selection? I hope you're right about the Brewers taking a pitcher such as Greinke, or basically anyone, over the 1-dimensional slugger with questionable conditioning.
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Taking Prince in the first round would be a risk. He's essentially a one-tool player--but that tool is huge and the most elusive of all. His dad has reportedly spent thousands to get Prince in the best shape of his life for the draft, but he's still a pretty big 250 on a 5-11 frame. He's very strong in the upper body but it's the kind of frame that could get much bigger in a hurry if he doesn't keep it in check.

 Q:  Austin from Boulder asks:
In the latest BA article on the draft you talk of Boras clients that have fallen. What top prospects do you see not signing and in stead opting for college? Could you see McCormick, Everts, or Neighborgall ending up in college next year? What about the Pelfrey and possible player of the James Loney?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Scott has more clients in this draft than in any other that I can remember. Most have slipped since the start of the year, but it's been as much on merit as teams wary of taking one of his clients. Pelfrey has definitely slipped, but Neighborgall and McCormick are still getting some pretty solid interest in the first round. Neighborgall's price tag is pretty high, which may cause clubs to pass, while McCormick's status is impacted as much by makeup as anything else. I don't see Everts (first round) and Loney's status (second) changing much.

 Q:  Peter from San Diego asks:
Braves looking at anyone in particular w their top pick?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I wouldn't be surprised if the Braves take Georgia players with their first three or four picks. They have a history of staying close to home and the state is loaded again. Jeremy Hermida will never get to them at No. 23, but Jeff Francoeur, who might be the best athlete in the draft, could. And Micah Owings or Brian McCann should be sitting there for them at No. 34.

 Q:  Austin from Boulder asks:
What's the word on Wardell Starling? He's a player that has been in the spotlight since he was a youngster, but this year the press has been pretty quiet about him. Where will he go and what is he projected as (OF or P)?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I see him as a second-rounder, and he could legitimately go there as either a pitcher or hitter. It's about 2:1 that he'll be selected as a pitcher. He has tremendous raw ability but his tools are up and down and he doesn't always show scouts a real passion for the game.

 Q:  Lefty O'Doul from Sec 102, Seal Stadium, SF Ca asks:
Dear Alan; The Giants might take a college pitcher in the 1st round? Gee, you must have been quaffing those brain drinks to get to that one!! Seriously, if the Gents go for a catcher in the first 2-3 rounds, is there anyone with a little offense available? They need catching depth like yesterday, so isn't a college catcher more likely? Thanks Alan.
 A: 

Allan Simpson: The Giants are looking at piching with Villanova's Brian Slocum and Nevada's Darrell Rasner reportedly on their short list. But they're also looking for catching in a draft that doesn't have a consensus first-rounder at the position. I've heard they have looked at Chris Snyder and Tyler Parker pretty hard, but most scouts think it would be a bit of a reach to draft either in the first round.

 Q:  Michael from Atlanta asks:
You've got Jason Neighborgall falling to the Giants at #25 because of signability. With the Braves' penchant for drafting HS-pitchers and with Neighborgall committed to coming the city of Atlanta and Ga. Tech anyway, do you think the Braves might actually prefer him over Francoeur? Or is his signability that much more of a risk than Francoeur's?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Actually, we've got Neighborgall going No. 27 to the Diamondbacks. The fact that he has committed to Georgia Tech has no bearing on his being a possible pick by the Braves. The biggest issue is his signability. The number that is floating out there is $4-5 million--a little pricy for a player that missed last season because of injury and whose command was up and down this spring. But his stuff is as good as it gets and I know of at least one big league club that has him ranked No. 1 on its board. Francoeur's signability may be less an issue even though he's one of Clemson's top football recruits.

 Q:  Nelson from Springfield asks:
If the Rockies take Guthrie at #9 (or if someone else has taken him) are the Rangers set on Francis at #10? How much of a drop is there from Guthrie to the next best college pitcher?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: You're hearing all the right scenarios. If Guthrie goes to the Rockies, then I think the Rangers will go for Francis. But I wouldn't rule out the Rockies taking Jeff Baker just yet. The next best college pitcher depends on whether Joe Saunders and even Bobby Brownlie are picked before the Rockies turn. There is a bit of a drop to the next group that includes Joseph Blanton and Luke Hagerty.

 Q:  Sam from Houston asks:
Do you see Everts from Cy Falls going higher than McCormick from Clear Creek?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Yes. I can see Everts going as high as No. 5 to the Expos or more likely No. 15 to the Mets. Both teams are enthralled with him. No high school pitcher has a better breaking ball. McCormick has thrown harder in the past, up to 98, but he didn't reach that velocity this spring and he was just another pitcher when he was 92-93. That, his association with Scott Boras and some questionable on-field antics have caused his stock to slip--possibly right out of the first round.

 Q:  Tim from Illinois asks:
Can you name the top prospects in Illinois?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: No first-rounders in the bunch, but here's out top five: 1. Curtis Granderson, of 2. Aaron Coonrod, rhp 3. Bo Flowers, of 4. Cesar Carrillo, rhp 5. Billy Petrick, rhp We'll post our Midwest region rankings and scouting reports on Saturday.

 Q:  Austin from Boulder asks:
Which player do you like better from Cypress Falls, Everts or Kazmir?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I like Kazmir. He has got an incredibly live arm and is about as polished as any college pitcher. But how many high school pitching staffs ever had two first-rounders before. None. In Everts's defense, he has a little better pitching frame and his curve is one grade better.

 Q:  Mark from Orange, CA asks:
We know about Hamels(LHP), but who figures to be the first HS RHP selected from SoCal and what round do you figure? The Kahn kid looked strong on Friday (5-17.)
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Southern California is strong in high school lefthanders with the likelihood that three will be picked before the first righthander goes. We've got Kahn as the No. 1 righthander, a possible fourth-rounder.

 Q:  shane lamden from Red Deer, Alberta asks:
If the bluejays are lucky enough to get Francis in the draft, How quickly will he reach the majors? Is he fairly polished or more of a project?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Francis is a pretty polished lefthander, but he didn't pitch as well this year as he did last. I think he needs to re-establish himself a bit first. If the Blue Jays are fortunate enough to get him, they'll move him as quickly as his performance warrants. J.P. Ricciardi came from the A's system and it showed no hesitation in moving Mark Mulder and Barry Zito quickly. There are a lot of similarities between Francis and those two.

 Q:  Penny A Simone from Bellwood, Ill asks:
All indications are that this year's draft is especially weak in prospects for the position of Catcher. Marshalltown Iowa's Jeff Clement was once considered a choice candidate for this position. Why has his stock dropped recently? What other players might be considered the top catchers in this draft other than McCann and Snyder. Since this is the one area of need for the Cub's minor league system, could any of them be considered good enough to be sandwich picks?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Catching is not a strong position. It's possible that there won't be one selected in the first round but I can see about 5-6 go in the sandwich and second rounds. Clement is still the best catcher on our board, but he did not perform well at all at Perfect Game's pre-draft showcase 10 days ago, with a lot of big scouts in attendance, and that might hurt him a bit. I think he would be a prime target for the Cubs with one of their three sandwich picks. Others to keep an eye on are Chris Snyder (Houston), Tyler Parker (Georgia Tech) and the rest of the high school crop that includes Brian McCann (Georgia), Adam Donachie (Florida). It's also possible that Ben Fritz (Fresno State) could be taken as a catcher, though most teams see him as a pitcher.

 Q:  Chris from Newport Beach, CA asks:
What's the status on Anthony Reyes of USC? First round pick dispite his earlier injury? What about other Trojans like Barre, Concepcion and Lunetta, where do you think they will go in the draft? Thanks, these chats are FANtastic!
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Reyes would have been a top 10 pick had he not missed last fall and the first part of this season with tendinitis in his elbow. I see him in the bottom third of the first round, possibly to the Cubs at 21, but no later than the end of the sandwich round. I see other Trojans going as follow: Concepcion (3-5), Chad Clark (5-10), Anthony Lunetta (5-10), Brian Barre (8-12) and Bill Peavey (8-15).

 Q:  Michael from Seattle, WA asks:
I've heard that Sean White from Univ. of Washington has drawn interest from the Texas Rangers. Any sense on where he might go in the draft?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: If Sean is getting interest from the Rangers--and I've heard the same thing--then it would have to be with the 10th pick overall. No way does he last til the sixth round when the Rangers pick again. To me, it would be a huge reach for him to go in the first round. His fastball has been up to 94 this spring and he's got a great pitcher's body but he's never pitched with any consistency in three years in college. He's a third-rounder tops for most scouts.

 Q:  Mike Hargrove from Baltimore, MD asks:
Hey Alan, Is there any chance BJ Upton will slide down and will Thrifty Syd snag him if he does?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: If Upton should somehow slip to the Orioles at No. 4, then Syd should be taken to task if he doesn't jump all over the kind of player his organization needs badly. The word we have is that the Pirates have decided they won't take Upton, and the Reds at No. 3 won't either. That leaves it up to the Devil Rays, who are no sure bet either. They are making noises that their guy is going to be Jeremy Hermida or possibly Scott Kazmir. So it is possible that Upton could fall to the Orioles at No. 4.

 Q:  Jason from Oakland, CA asks:
I noticed that college pitchers David Bush of Wake Forest and Royce Ring of San Diego State were not included in the first 30 picks of your mock draft today. Considering how poor a majority of big league bullpens are today, I find this a little shocking and am surprised that they are not more highly coveted. How long do you think it will take for these two pitchers to make it to the bigs and which major league teams like them the mos? Thanks for your time.
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Neither made our top 30, but it would not surprise us in the least to see either go in the bottom third of the first round. Sandwich round at worst. We deliberated pretty hard at No. 27 over Jason Neighborgall vs. Ring, and Bush clearly is a target for the A's from No. 26 on with all that team's extra picks and the need to pick a senior or two to keep costs down. If Bush had shown the velocity this spring that he did consistently last summer (94 mph) he'd be a cinch first-rounder.

 Q:  Jeff from Kansas asks:
The Dodgers need some bats to replenish their farm system. Who do you see them taking with their first couple of picks?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Last question for today. We've got a lot left on the board and we apologize to those people whose questions we didn't get to. But we'll have another couple of chats before the draft and our website is loaded with draft information. The Dodgers have indicated they'll take a high school bat at No. 19, and I anticipate they'll make that a priority with their next few picks. Among those that they're looking at are Prince Fielder, John Mayberry Jr., Scott Moore, Denard Span and Matt Whitney.

 Q:  Marcus from San Francisco, CA asks:
Maryland's Shortstop John McCurty had an outstanding season this year with bat. Which teams are most likely to draft him this year and can he play 2B in the bigs?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: McCurdy has had an oustanding season with the bat, but has been overshadowed a bit by Khalil Greene, another ACC shortstop. He's a pretty solid second-rounder but one or two teams have made noises about even taking him in the first. His defensive skills are not as advanced but I think he should be able to play second, or even third.

Moderator: Unfortunately, that's all the time Allan has today. We'll have more draft chats in the coming weeks to preview and analyze the selections. Be sure to check out the rest of our draft coverage.

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