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High School Chat
With Allan Simpson and Alan Matthews

Moderator: Alan Matthews and Allan Simpson will begin taking your high school questions at 3 p.m. ET

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
If Austin Jackson isn't drafted or doesn't sign with the team that drafts him, would he play ball for the Yellow Jackets after the basketball season is over (like Andrew Brackman plans on doing for the Wolfpack)?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Welcome aboard everyone. The high school season has started in some area of the country and begins in earnest over the next two weeks across the country.

Alan Matthews: Austin Jackson is one of the most exciting players int he country and juggling two sports is never easy, but is especially tough when the basketball and baseball season overlap as they do. He is expected to split time between the baseball and hoops teams in Atlanta next year, though he could get popped in the first round of the baseball draft if an organizatin is confident it can sign him.

 Q:  Chris from Fayetteville, NC asks:
Who is the better high school Hank--Hank Sanchez in San Diego, or junior Southern Cal signee Hank Conger?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Conger, a junior catcher from the Huntington Beach, California area, has more athleticism but Sanchez, who was named to our preseason first-team All-america squad, has more present power. Long term, I think I would take Conger.

 Q:  Joshua from Tallahassee asks:
Everyone talks about Austin Jackson from Billy Ryan HS in Denton, but what about Ryan DeLaughter? Where does he project to go in the draft and does he project better as a pitcher or a position player? Thanks! Love these
 A: 

Alan Matthews: I like Delaughter on the mound, personally. His best tool is his arm strength and if shows an ability to control his fastball, which touches the mid-90s, and better control a breaking ball, he could be drafted anywhere from the second to fifth round.

 Q:  NEIL DONOVAN from BOSTON,MASSACHUSETTS asks:
GOODAFTERNOON, GENTLEMEN,GREAT CHATS, DO NOT READ ABOUT TOP PROSPECTS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL RANKS? ANY TOP PLAYERS FROM MASS, OR ANY NEW ENGLAND STATES ? THANKS
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Last year was an anomaly in New England as the area produced two high-round picks Jay Rainville and Mark Rogers. One of the players who beat Rogers in the Maine high school D-I finals last year, Ryan Flaherty, is a nice-looking shortstop from Deering HS. He may be bound for Vanderbilt but is considered one of the top players in the high school ranks in New England this season. Nathan Freiman is another name to look out for, a righthander, signed with Duke, from Wellesley High in Mass.

 Q:  Mike from Chico, CA asks:
Any chance that Cameron Maybin will still be on the board when the Mets select ninth? Who are other possibilities for the Mets at that spot?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: I douby Maybin will still be on the board at ninth overall. Besides, the Mets are well-stocked with center fielders for years to come with Carlos Beltran in New York and Lastings Milledge on the horizon. We have Maybin ranked as the No. 2 prospect overall and while he's still growing into his tools, he's a pretty legitimate talent. The only way I see him slipping is if one or two of the college players step to the forefront and teams drafting early want a quicker fix than a high school player can normally provide.

 Q:  jeff from round rock, texas asks:
I'm assuming that Jordan Danks will be picked lower than his brother was, but how much lower? What is his upside? Will he stay in center field?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: This is really a nice sidebar to the draft picture, with Jordan Danks challenging for a spot in the first round, where his brother, John, a lefthander now in the Rangers system, was drafted in 2003. John went ninth overall and Jordan is probably slotted somewhere in the 15-25 range, overall. He's most likely going to play a corner outfield spot in the future.

 Q:  ICE-BERG from NY asks:
Pick one DeLaughter,Bruce,Danks?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Another Texas question . . . Ryan Delaughter, Jordan Danks and Jay Bruce were all considered for the All-America teams with Danks and Bruce making the cut. Danks has the best present power and obviously the bloodline that helps his stock, as well. We have already touched on Delaughter's toolset while Bruce, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder from Beaumont might have the best overall package of tools. He's still quite raw, and scouts want to see him show a better ability to play the game but he has a considerable ceiling and based on that, he's my choice in a tough one.

 Q:  Bob from DE asks:
How are kids chosen for the pre-season all-american teams? I noticed that my stats as a sophmore (currently a junior) are better than most players on the team.
 A: 

Allan Simpson: We pick our high school preseason All-America high school team much like we do our college All-America team--we have the major league scouting directors pick it. No one knows the talent better, no one is more objective and no one knows how to project talent better. Remember, this is a preseason team. Our point of emphasis is on what a player will do in the future, including this season--not on what he has done in the past, although we certainly don't ignore a player's past performance. We don't pay a lot of attention to high school stats since they can be so deceiving or misleading and are not always an accurate indicator of true talent or ability. It takes a trained eye to get the best read on talent.

 Q:  Will from DC asks:
Where do you see Virginia catcherssstud Brandon Snyder going in the draft? Also what about fellow Virginians Matt Olsen and Justin Bristow? (I think we all know where Upton's going). Thanks, love both of your work.
 A: 

Alan Matthews: It looks like Snyder could go as early as late-first round. He has played a lot of middle infield in the past but when he caught in Fort Myers last October, he showed good instincts and an aptitude to handle the spot full-time. Bristow should go higher than Snyder, but all three of those players, including Upton, figure to go in the first round. Olsen is a tick behind. A 6-foot-4 righthander from Hermitage HS, he has a nice, projectible body and a low-90s fastball.

 Q:  Jason Anderson from L.A. asks:
As a UCLA grad, I was wondering if there is any chance John Drennen will make it to campus?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: In my opinion, it's unlikely. This kid is one of the country's most polished hitters. He's somewhat undersized but has a great approach at the plate at an early stage in his career, which makes him a prime candidate for pro clubs.

 Q:  Mike from Memphis, TN asks:
What is your opinion about Christian Brothers University, a Division 2 school signing a girl to pitch for them?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Doesn't bother me, as long as I don't strike out when I face her.

 Q:  Frank from Kansas City asks:
Is a high school hitting prospects top college choice now San Diego State? What young hitter wouldn't want to play for Tony Gwynn?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: Tony Gwynn's presence as the head coach at San Diego State certainly lends a lot of credibility to that program, and we've heard that Tony is a fine teacher and seems to enjoy coaching. He may be an exception, as many former major league stars don't make the best teachers or have the patience to teach a skill that came so naturally to them. Frankly, there are a lot of excellent hitting coaches in college baseball, so I would be hesitant to put Tony at the top of the list just yet. After all, he's only been coaching for three years.

 Q:  Todd from Delaware asks:
Do you believe that players from the northeast and smaller states are at a disadvantage of getting noticed than kids from southern states?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: There is an inherent disadvantage for players in that area, yes. Not so much in terms on mot being seen, because there are plenty of scouts across the map, but in terms of being able to play as much as kids form other parts of the country. We investigated this further last year in a feature: http:www.baseballamerica.comonlinehighschool040224nepitchers.html

 Q:  CLIFF BAILEY from LOS ANGELES asks:
I HAVE READ YOUR LIST FOR THE 2006 DRAFT RATING HS PLAYERS AND IT IS HARD FOR ME TO SEE ANY HS POSITION PLAYER RATED A BETTER PROSPECT THAN NICK AKINS AT EL CAMINO HS. SCOUTS IN THE SO CAL AREA SAY HE WOULD GO IN THE 1ST RD THIS YEAR.YOUR THOUGHTS ?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: I concur. He's outstanding and right there with Brent Brewer, an outfielder- shortstop from Georgia and Jared Mitchell, an athletic outfielder from Louisiana.

 Q:  Alan from Georgia asks:
What's the highest signing bonus looking to be this year?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: We've got a lot of dueling Alans at work here. It's hard to say what the highest signing bonus may be at this point since bonuses have generally leveled off and actually gone down the last couple of years. The highest bonus from 2004 is $3.25 million, though that will certainly be topped if Jered Weaver or Stephen Drew, the two holdouts, ever get signed. The best talent in this year's draft is Justin Upton and I can see him getting a bonus comparable to what his brother got as the No. 2 overall pick in 2002. B.J. got $4.6 million--the third highest bonus ever paid to a player signing with the club that drafted him.

 Q:  Frank from Rowlett asks:
My son plays in the same district as Kyle Hancock in Rowlett. Where does Hancock project in the draft? Who is considered to be the best pitcher in Texas at this time?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Hancock is very good. He's one of the top five pitchers in the state this season, along with junior RHP Kyle Drabek from the Houston area, senior LHP Aaron Thompson and Craig Italiano, a RHP from Flower Mound. They are all prospects for the top three rounds.

 Q:  Dan from St. Louis asks:
Who is the best prep ballplayer in the St. Louis Area? Turmail, Phelps, Mach, Sargent, others?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: The state doesn't boast the type of talent it did a year ago, when Blake DeWitt and Scott Elbert, as well as Lucas Harrell were drafted early. I actually like Turmail, a righthander from Florissant, Mo., best on the mound. Stilson also profiles well on the mound, but the teammate of Harrell last season at Ozark, signed with Stanford and figures to be bound for Palo Alto

 Q:  jeff from round rock, texas asks:
who is the most athletic high school position player in the draft and who is the most polished?
 A: 

Allan Simpson: My vote for the most athletic is Justin Upton, who has all five tools and is one of the most athletic talents scouts have ever seen at the high school level. There are a lot of other premium athletes in this year's draft, including Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson. As for the most polished, my vote goes to Sean O'Sullivan, who is very advanced as both a hitter and pitcher, though scouts seem to prefer him on the mound. He's excelled in his age group since Baseball America named him as the nation's top 12-year-old several years ago.

 Q:  CLIFF BAILEY from LOS ANGELES asks:
I WONDER HOW YOU PROJECT 3B BRETT WALLACE OUT OF NOR CAL ?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: I like the way Wallace swings the bat, but his stroke is a classic aluminum-bat model and I wonder how he'll handle premium pitching. I think he could be a tremendous college player.

 Q:  Aaron from Illinois asks:
How do you think Mike Bowden will project in the draft? Any other big names from IL have a chance at the draft or do you think they will have to wait a few years in college?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Bowden, a projectible RHP from Aurora, is undoubedtly the cream of the Illinois crop this season. He could be drafted as high as the second round, though he needs to clean up his mechanics and repeat his delivery better. Mike Broadway of Pope HS and Tim Dennehy out of Oak Park are other names to look for in June.

 Q:  William from Kingwood Texas asks:
It seems like there is a shortage of LHP in the MLB. Who are some of the top HS Lefties and where do they fit into the 2005 Draft.
 A: 

Allan Simpson: When only five percent of the general population is lefthanded, there is always going to be shortage of lefthanded pitching in the big leagues. That's why teams often overdraft lefthanders when a good one comes along. Unfortunately, lefthanded pitching is one of the few weaknesses in this year's draft and at this point I don't see one going in the first round, unless Miers Quigley from Georgia gets popped. I see him as a borderline first-rounder. Other top high school lefties are Aaron Thompson (Houston), Beau Jones (Destrehan, La.) and David Duncan (New Richmond, Ohio).

 Q:  CLIFF BAILEY from LOS ANGELES asks:
WHAT SO CAL HS PLAYERS DO YOU THINK WILL GO IN THE 1RST 2 ROUNDS ?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: San Diego is busting with prospects. Rancho Bernardo's John Drennen, Henry Sanchez of Mission Bay and David Plante over at Fallbrook are all getting looks early in the draft this year. Marina HS product Justin Sellers could force his way into the mix with a solid senior season.

 Q:  Mike from Chico, CA asks:
Kyle Drabek was the only junior to make your pre-season All-America team. He's obviously got the stuff, the smarts and the bloodlines, but (assuming he doesn't grow) will his height hold him back from a significant professional career?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: That's a fair inquiry, but he's already in the 6-foot range with potential for growth. This kid is filthy. Power stuff, power breaking ball, fastball with late life and like you said, the DNA is powerful, too.

 Q:  CLIFF BAILEY from LOS ANGELES asks:
WHICH HS SS ARE POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS AT THE PRO LEVEL WHO WILL NOT HAVE TO UNDERGO A POSITION CHANGE ?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: While speculation abounds surrounding Justin Upton's future position, I am not ready to declare he will not play there in the big leagues. Nick Romero from Eastlake High in Calif., and Ivan DeJesus, out of Puerto Rico are other players who have a chance to stay at shortstop as they develop.

 Q:  Jose from Puerto Rico asks:
Where would Ivan De Jesus rank among the top shortstops, both prep and overall, in the nation? Where does he project to draft. Thanks.
 A: 

Alan Matthews: The majority of scouts got their first real look at DeJesus, the son of former big leaguer Ivan, in Fort Myers, Fla., last October at the Perfect Game event. He swith-hits with some juice, has a nice set of hands and appears fluid in his actions at shortstop. He could go in the second-fifth round range, and ranked #41 in our early draft preview: http:www.baseballamerica.comonlinehighschool050201top100.html

 Q:  Scott from Baton Rouge asks:
Does LSU have any chance of having Jones, Snyder, and Hellickson play in Alex Box stadium next year.
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Signability is always a question mark when it comes to LSU signees, and no one really knows except the players themselves, but I would be most concerned about losing Hellickson if I were an LSU fan. He has gotten tremendous support from the pro area, and has really performed well at showcase and international events. But don't fret, even if you lose all three of those guys, you still have Jason Ogata and Aaron Luna to look forward to, both of whom carry a lower profile but are potential All-Americans.

 Q:  Matt from Indiana asks:
I saw two Indiana high schools made your top 50 I wondering where you see Lance Lynn of Brownsburg going in the draft? Also I was curious what tools New Palastine junior lefthander Andrew Clark has?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: It was easy to find some love for Indiana, as the high school landscape is solid there, though the state is not deep in high-round high school talent. Brett Summers is the best player in the state. He is a tall thin extremely projectible RHP from Dyer. He is a basketball player who is still a bit raw in his pitching mechanics. He can touch 90 mph and generates very good leverage and he has a solid changeup-curveball combination.

 Q:  Andrew Thurmond from Athens, GA asks:
Who are the top sophomores in the country? Do we know about any freshemn? Thank you.
 A: 

Alan Matthews: BA and Perfect Game are partners on a scouting service called Prospects Plus where we rank players across the country, all the way from frshmen in high school to seniors in college. The top prospects in the 2007 class appear to be Greg Peavey, a RHP from Vancouver, Wash., and Michael Main, a toolsy RHPOF from DeLand, Fla. Josh Smoker is another name to remember. He hails from Sugar Valley, Ga.

Alan Matthews: http:www.baseballamerica.comprospectsplus

 Q:  Andrew Thurmond from Athens, GA asks:
Another quick question, was Colby Rasmus one of the main members of a Little League World Series team? I seem to vaguely remember the Rasmus name, possibly Colby and a brother were the best players? Just wondering. Thanks
 A: 

Alan Matthews: We did a full feature on the Little League World Series team from Phenix City, Ala., that should be posted online later this week. Check back for it.

 Q:  Marcus from NY asks:
Hey BA, any guys from the NY area to look out for in this years draft in the high school ranks?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: With a good senior season, Pedro Alvarez from Horace Mann HS could find himself in the first five rounds, as could Gustavo Duran of George Washington High in NYC.

 Q:  Sam from www.calleaguers.com asks:
What are the prospects for Norcal HS'ers Charlie Cutler, Jeff Lyman and Diallo Fon? Will Cutler go especially early due to his LH catcher status?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: The NorCal crop is super this season. Cutler has some intrigue because he is solid behind the plate and does hit lefthanded, but hasn't shown me the pop or bat control to go in the first five rounds this season. I especially like Lyman. At a January workout, he was up to 95 mph.

 Q:  Ken from Fairfax, VA asks:
Where is Brandon Snyder ultimately going to wind up...C or SS?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: He is serviceable at shortstop in high school but will not play there in the pros. His greatest value is behind the plate.

 Q:  Joe from Houston asks:
Do you think Luis Flores of Corpus Christy Moody H.S. will get drafted? and if so what round?? I saw he made the 3rd team All American this year and he has been lights out the past 2 years, including not giving up an earned run last year while pitching in the Houston area, why wasnt he a first teamer??? thanks, Joe.
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Flores was dynamite last season, but given his frame and ceiling, which is not considerable, he doesn't qualify as a legitimate high-round pick. He'll likely head to Houston and have a nice college career. Our preseason AA teams are selected by scouting directors and recruiters, and because they are focussed on tools and future ceiling, Flores barely made th ecut. Iain Sebastian, a talented two-way player from Columbus, Ga., was a player with more pro potential who just missed the AA team cut.

 Q:  andy from dallas asks:
how does Parramore project in the draft with such top college catchers as teagarden on the board, and does his commitment drop him a few rounds?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Preston Paramore out of Allen, Texas, ranked fifth on Allan's top catchers list for the 2005 draft, which appeared in our last issue (#0505). Jeff Clement and Taylor Teagarden were Nos 1 and 2, with Brandon Snyder and Jon Egan ahead of Paramore. We're hearing that Paramore is signable.

 Q:  CLIFF BAILEY from LOS ANGELES asks:
WHAT CLASS HAS SUPERIOR TALENT THE CLASS OF 2005 OR 2006 ? AND WHY ?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: While it is early in terms of evaluating the 2006 crop, the 2005 crop is superb. Scouts have been looking forward to the depth in pitching, as well as position players, in the 2005 high school class for two years running.

 Q:  Mark from Ohio asks:
We have some dominant teams in the state of Ohio. I never see anything mentioned about them or prospects out of our state. Who is on the watch list this year and next as far as teams and individuals? Love your commentary!
 A: 

Alan Matthews: The Cincinnati area is often loaded with pro prospects in the high schools, but for the past couple years, as well as the 2005 class, it lacks depth. Eric Surkamp is a nice lefthanded pitcher out of Moeller who has a chance to go in the top six rounds. Down south, David Duncan has garnered quite a bit of attnetion and figures to be drafted in the first three rounds. Jonathan Niese from Definance, the same school that produced Chad Billingsley, and Kurt Smith will also go in the draft in the first eight rounds, if they are viewed as signable.

 Q:  Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Thanks for the chat! Who are some of the top prospects from wisconsin and do any of them have a chance of going in the top ten rounds?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: My Wisconsin list begins with OF Tim Patzman of Waukesha West HS but the state doesn't boast much depth. Nolan Crawley (C, Whitnall), Steve Hedgepath (IF, Sauk Prairie) and Adam Pasono of De Pere are others to watch.

 Q:  Lani from Seattle asks:
Do you know much about Robbie Alcombrack and where he should place in the 2006 draft?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Alcombrack is a junior catcher from Grass Valley, California with a strong, durable build. He shows good raw power and figures to be one of the top high school catchers in the 2006 draft.

 Q:  Antthony Soto from Miami asks:
What do you think is the possibilities that Vanderbilt will receive all 10 of their Highschool prospect?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Highly unlikely. While we were all surprised that Kyle Waldrop signed with the Twins last season, passing up a scholarship to play at Vandy, I don't believe there will be much surprise if the Commodores lose a couple kids to the draft in 2005. Josh Zeid, a RHP from Conn., and Diallo Fon from Calif., have garnered a lot of interest from pro scouts.

 Q:  Mike from NJ asks:
Any prospects from NJ to watch for in this years draft?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: If I had the time, I would run a Shooter Hunt For President Website. I love this kid, a senior at Ramapo HS, who catches and pitches. The ball really comes out of his hand easily, he's a gamer and should go in the top five rounds this year, although he is somewhat undersized. Nick Christiani, a RHP from Seton Hall Prep, also figures to be a top-six round pick.

 Q:  Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
It seems that Michael Bowden seems to be the same type of player that Eric Cordier was last year, the 2nd round pick of the royals. They both hale from the north, fail to have consistency, but both flash wicked stuff at times. Is this a fair assumption?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: That's a fair comp. Cordier really showed well in a pre-draft workout hosted by Perfect Game and the Royals snapped him up early a couple weeks later.

 Q:  Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Where would Robert Stock fit into the top 100 of high school prospects if it were a freshman- senior rating breakdown?
 A: 

Alan Matthews: Stock ranked 14th in the class of 2007 in the recent rankings posted by Prospects Plus. He is a RHP-C from Westlake Village, Calif.

Alan Matthews: Thanks again for stopping by the shat today. Sorry for those of you didn't have your questions selected. And remember that Prospects Plus is the best source for high school and college prospect rankings and reports around. http:www.baseballamerica.comprospectsplus

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