Draft Chat: Matt Blood

Talking prospects on May 23




 Q:  J.J. from Annapolis asks:
Last year the O's seemed locked in on Detwiler until Wieters fell into their lap. This year the word is that they are into Matusz. Hypothetically if they had drafted Detwiler and then Posey this year which duo would you prefer Detwiler/Posey or Wieters/Matusz. How does Matusz compare to Detwiler?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Hi everyone. Today starts the two week countdown until draft day. I'm here and ready for your questions—so, let's begin... This is a great comparison of two very talented duos. However, I think the answer would have to be Wieters/Matusz. While Detwiler was the number six overall pick last year and Posey has potential to be this year's number one selection, I believe that when taking into account talent only, Wieters would have been drafted higher than Posey if they were both in this year's draft, and the same goes for Matusz over Detwiler. The ceilings of Wieters and Matusz are just a bit higher than the ceilings of Posey and Detwiler.

 Q:  J.J. from Annapolis asks:
If the O's were faced with the unlikely choice of T. Beckham, Matusz, or Smoak, would they take the kid over the college guys? Smoak over Matusz?
 A: 

Moderator: It is possible that the Orioles will have to make a choice between college Beckham and Matusz. I don't think Tim Beckham will still be around at that point, but if he is, I feel that the Orioles would grab him. I also don't think that Smoak fits into this category as the Orioles would take both G. Beckham and Matusz before the college first baseman. Choosing between G. Beckham and Matusz is a tricky decision, but I hear that the Orioles really like the Georgia shortstop.

 Q:  Ian from Concord, NH asks:
Who do you think would make sense for the Red Sox? Is there anyone connected to them yet?
 A: 

Matt Blood: In BA's most recent mock draft, Jim Callis projected the Red Sox to take Reese Havens, ss, from South Carolina. However, the Sox are known for grabbing players that slip through the first round due to high bonus demands. A long shot would be Eric Hosmer due to being a client of the Boras Corp., and on the other end, the Red Sox have been rumored to like North Carolina catcher Tim Federowicz, but that would be too much of a reach for me at number 30.

 Q:  Brandon from Charleston, WV asks:
Hey Matt, who are you hearing the Reds will select at #7?
 A: 

Matt Blood: The Reds at seven is a very interesting question. If Aaron Crow is still available, they will most likely snatch him. Crow has close to Major League ready stuff, and the Reds need pitching. However, if Gordon Beckham is still available at that pick, don't be surprised to see him taken. Another player to watch is Florida rhp/ss Casey Kelly who's father coaches in the Red's minor league system. However, Kelly is more likely to fit into the Red's second selection.

 Q:  J.J. from Annapolis asks:
How far has Harold Martinez fallen and do you see him maybe going to college to improve his stock in three years?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Considering Martinez was at the top of most high school talent rankings over the past few years, he has fallen a long ways. Now listed as BA's no. 160 overall prospect for the draft, Martinez will most likely fall out of the top five rounds. He will most likely head to Miami to refine his game. Keep an eye on him over the next three years, as he has the tools and athleticism to be an impact draft prospect.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Are the Brewers at all interested in snagging Rickie's brother this year? If so, is there a place for him?
 A: 

Matt Blood: I would say the Brewers are interested in drafting Jemile Weeks but not with their pick at 16. If Weeks is still around at 32, when the Brewers pick second, there is a good chance that they will select him. However, I see Weeks going earlier—most likely between 20-30. Weeks is currently a second baseman but is versatile. He could play center field and could even serve as a utility guy in the infield.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Will the format of Day 1 be as it was last year? (i.e. five rounds on the first day; the other 45 on the second)
 A: 

Matt Blood: The format of the draft will be similar with ESPN2 airing the first 46 picks. Five minutes will be given between picks in the first round and one minute between picks in the compensation round. After that the teams will draft until close to 9 p.m., regardless of what round they get through.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
If you had to guess, which positions will Aaron Hicks and Ethan Martin be drafted to play?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Great question, both are talented position players with great ability on the mound as well. While Hicks can throw upper-90s on the mound, he is more of a thrower than a pitcher and will most likely be given his first chance in the pros as an everyday player. Martin, on the other hand, has really taken to pitching this spring both physically and mentally. I see him going as a pitcher. The good thing about both guys is if they don't succeed as a pitcher or hitter, they have the ability to try to the other.

 Q:  Joel from Queens, New York asks:
Manny Ramirez is probably the best ball player to come out of New York in a long time, where do you place Pedro Alvarez is he going to be a better hitter then Manny or even the best to come out of NYC?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Alvarez is a vey gifted hitter, but to put him side by side with a first-ballot Hall of Famer right out of college is a bit unfair. But, if I were comparing to the two, I don't think Alvarez will hit for the high average that Ramirez has been able to through out his career. I do feel they have similar power ability, but I give the edge to Ramirez.

 Q:  Arthur from New Orleans asks:
Who do you think the Cubs might pick with their 1st and sandwick picks ?
 A: 

Matt Blood: It's no secret that the Cubs' scouting director Tim Wilken prefers athetlic everday position players. However, that doesn't mean the Cubs won't consider a pitcher. I'll throw out three names that could fit with their first pick—all of which are high schoolers. It's not probable Aaron Hicks will be available, but if he is, expect the Cubs to take him. Casey Kelly and Tim Melville are two other names to keep in mind with Kelly having a slight edge due to his ability to pitch and play in the field. With their sandwhich pick, look for guys like high ceiling outfielder Destin Hood or even high school lefty Robbie Ross.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Assuming TB takes Tim Beckham, how fast do you see him ascending through their system? Is he a threat to Brignac's quest for the SS job in the coming years?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Beckham is worthy of the first overall selection, but if selected, it will take some time for him to reach the big leagues. Brignac is not far from heading to St. Pete as he could be there at some point this season. Beckham would provide depth in the Rays system at a premium position where depth is always welcome.

 Q:  Jim Bowden, GM from Washington DC asks:
Who will be available when I choose at #9? And whom should I choose?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Hi Jim, I'd love to help you out with your draft decisions. Picking at no. 9 will be tough as the Nationals will most likely have to choose between big time talent (and Boras Corp. client) Eric Hosmer, high rising Zach Collier and Aaron Hicks. If I were you, I'd take a chance on Hosmer and his impact bat speed. However, before making your decision, I'd consult draft wizard Mike Rizzo—who's on your staff...

 Q:  Casey from Tupelo, MS asks:
With the way Scott Biddle has been pitching this year, where do you see him going in the draft and where does he project to pitch in the pros.
 A: 

Matt Blood: I'm glad you asked this question. I am a big Scott Bittle fan and really like the way he has baffled SEC hitters this season. As far as draft stock, Bittle is an interesting guy. He could go anywhere from the supplemental to the fourth round. I believe most teams project him as a set-up pitcher in the pros. He pitches mainly off a mid-80s cut fastball with superior command and could be a guy you see in the big leagues much sooner than later.

 Q:  john from jackson,ms asks:
where do you see the ole miss players satterwhite, bittle, lynn, and overbeck going in the draft? thanks for the chat
 A: 

Matt Blood: I just mentioned my thoughts about Bittle, but pertaining to the rest, I feel Lynn has proved himself the most worthy to be drafted first of this group. However, it is very possible that Satterwhite goes ahead of then all. He has four raw pitches, including a mid-90s fastball that grade out at least average. He has major issues with pitchability and command, but a team might take a chance on him in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle. I see Lynn and Satterwhite going between the 2nd-4th rounds. Overbeck has been a productive player for the Rebels, but he does have a hitch in his swing. He will most likely land between the 7-10th round.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
I see you predict Joshua Fields to possibly be the first pitcher from this class to reach the majors, but how about the first hitter?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Yes, when on, Fields has Major League ready stuff. If the right team takes him, you could see him this fall in the bigs. As far as hitters go, after looking into my magic eight ball, I predict either Pedro Alvarez or Buster Posey making it to the show first—that is if they sign before August—so re-thinking it, Justin Smoak will be the first of the bunch. He could play defense in the bigs right now—so that won't hold him back—and if the Giants take him at five, Smoak will be pushed along quickly.

 Q:  John Bench from San Diego asks:
With only two college catchers in your top 100, which remaining college catchers follow in the top 200?
 A: 

Matt Blood: The catching crop is thin this year but other names in our list are: Pete Paramore from ASU, Jake Jefferies from UC Davis, Tim Federowicz from UNC, and Ryan Lavarnway from Yale. Expect these guys to go higher than their prospect rankings as there is usually a push for the premium position.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
Is there a chance that Hood's athleticism could get him into the first round, and which teams are most interested in him?
 A: 

Matt Blood: There is a very mixed bag on Destin Hood. He has what some scouts have told me as Lastings Milledge bat speed with pure athleticism. However, translating those into production has not been easy for Hood. There is a chance he goes in the first round, but only if the right team likes him that is picking between 25-30. Expect him to fall in the supplemental to 3rd round.

 Q:  Sean from Kansas City, MO asks:
Buster Posey was the selection in the first mock draft for my Royals. Can he be the starting C in 2009? Will he hit for power in a power-less line up?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Posey is thought to be one of the safest picks in this draft. He is just about ready defensively as he has a plus arm, quiet mechanics and above-average athleticism behind the plate. As a hitter, he profiles more to hit for average than power. Don't get me wrong, Posey will hit home runs, but that won't be his calling card. As if he's trying to prove me wrong, Posey hit two home runs last night in the first round of the ACC tournament....

 Q:  Brian from Alexandria, VA asks:
What are the chances that one of Brian Matusz, Aaron Crow or Gordon Beckham are still available when the Nationals pick at #9? If none of them are still out there, who is your choice there?
 A: 

Matt Blood: The draft is a fickle phenomenon, so I could be wrong, but I doubt any of those three will be around by pick number nine.

 Q:  Angelo from Hartford, CT asks:
Hi Matt, With a derth of lefthanded pitching in the Yankees farm system do you see them targeting lefthanded pitching with some of their early picks? If so who?
 A: 

Matt Blood: I don't think the Yankees will necessarily narrow their search down to lefthanders only, but I do think there is a good chance they will choose some in this draft. High School lefty Kyle Lobstein may be their first chance to grab one at pick number 28.

 Q:  Jason from Trumbull, CT asks:
Can the Mets pick up one of Eric Hosmer, Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso with the 18th pick? Also with the 22nd will Andrew Cashner still be available?
 A: 

Matt Blood: There is a chance that Alonso would be available at that pick, and if Hosmer slides—due to signing bonus demands—he might be there too. I don't see Smoak lasting that long. With Delgado's production declining, Alonso might be just what the Mets need. He is an advanced hitter with solid defense—it won't take him long to reach the big leagues. Cashner has been a hot-topic as of late, and we have him projected to be taken right around pick 22.

 Q:  Cameron from San Francisco asks:
Do you think Alvarez or Smoak are around when the Giants pick? Obviously they would prefer Alvarez but does Smoak remind you of Teixeira at all power wise?
 A: 

Matt Blood: I think Smoak will be around, and I think that would be a great pick for the Giants. They need offense and Smoak could provide help soon. He naturally reminds me of Teixeira because he is a switch-hitting first baseman, and yes, they are similar power-wise.

 Q:  Cameron from San Francisco asks:
I have heard people compare Tim Beckham to the Uptons yet have also heard that that is an unfair comparison. Fair or unfair? What do you feel is the peak power potential for him?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Beckham is easily compared to the Uptons as he is another high school shortstop being considered with the number one overall pick. While his bat is not quite as electric as the Uptons', Beckham is considered to have a much better chance to stay at shortstop. I also think the Uptons are more athletic than Beckham. It is a fair comparison in that they are 1-1 caliber players, but don't expect Beckham to be the same type player as the Uptons. Power-potential of Beckham, I hear projections between 15-20 home runs at his peak.

 Q:  Dannie Brasco from Athens, Ga asks:
I am a HUGE Cardinals fan, and I was wondering what the possibility that we could draft Melville and DeVall?
 A: 

Matt Blood: There is a good possibility of getting at least one of the two prep pitchers. Melville will most likely be available at pick 13 and should be in the Cardinals' mix. The same is true for Devall at pick 39 when the Red Birds choose second.

 Q:  Tim from Proctorville, Ohio asks:
For their careers, Rickie or Jemile?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Tough question, but I think I'd have to go with Rickie. He is the more potent hitter of the two. Jemile is probably the better defender.

 Q:  Lon from Chicago asks:
I have been a big fan of Chris Friederich since his high school days. What do you think his biggest strengths are today as a left handed pitcher and who is most likely to draft him?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Friedrich is most likely to land in the middle of the first round. Being lefthanded is one of his greatest strengths as he will most likely be the second lefthanded pitcher drafted (Matusz) come June. As a pitcher he sits between 89-91 mph, but his best pitch is a true downer curve ball that he throws for strikes. In our mock draft, Friedrich is projected to go to the Twins at 14. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes earlier.

 Q:  Joe from Easton, MD asks:
Is it really just Tim Beckham or Buster Posey for the Rays at this point? Could Alvarez still possibly go #1?
 A: 

Matt Blood: As he is the top overall prospect in this draft, I believe Alvarez is still in the mix for 1-1. However, with all the surrounding factors (money and need at the top of the list) Beckham and Posey make more sense for the Rays.

 Q:  Brock from Riverside asks:
Skipworth vs. Posey?
 A: 

Matt Blood: That's a question every scouting director drafting inside the top 10 picks has mulled over and over this year. Skipworth is the high ceiling prep prospect with an outstanding bat. Lefthanded hitting, Skipworth is projected to hit more than Posey. Even though he has an above-average arm, there are reservations on whether Skipworth will be able to stay at catcher in the pros. Posey on the other hand is a sure bet to reach the big leagues and do so behind the plate. He also is an above-average hitter with makeup off the charts. Both will be gone before the first hour of the draft concludes.

 Q:  Joe from Easton, MD asks:
Matt, you are the GM: Ethan Martin: 3rd base or pitcher?
 A: 

Matt Blood: If I'm the GM, I'd probably be constantly checking my blackberry (as if I don't do that enough as it is already) and probably wouldn't have time to be chatting with you... But to answer your question, and I alluded to it a little earlier, Martin is probably better suited to be a pitcher. I was lucky enough to see him throw in one of the better prep pitching performances of the year—when he faced Eric Hosmer's American Heritage squad. That night he looked like a Major League pitcher, offering two plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball and late breaking curve, mixed in with a very good change-up as well. He threw 130 pitches that night, and his first pitch was the same velo as his last—94 mph. I say he's a pitcher first.

 Q:  Sean from Kansas City, MO asks:
If the Royals take him, can Pedro Alverez move as quickly and have as big an impact as Ryan Braun for Milwaukee? Looks like it will be in LF as well with Gordon and Butler in the corner infield spots.
 A: 

Matt Blood: Alvarez could certainly move quickly—that is if he signs quickly. Ability wise, Alvarez is projected to be a better hitter than Braun and he could probably suffice in the outfield but wouldn't be winning any Gold Gloves out there.

 Q:  brad from detroit asks:
WHo can you see falling to the Tigers at 21 that we can go over slot for again this year??
 A: 

Matt Blood: Eric Hosmer is the biggest name that may fall to that slot. Also, high school flame thrower Gerrit Cole should available then. Both are highly ranked Boras Corp. guys.

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:
I imagine you may get more than a few questions on the downfall of Brandon Crawford. With him striking out at an alarming rate in college, he's sure to strike out at a Ryan Howard type clip as a pro. The fact that UCLA had him pitch lately, do you think that may be his future?
 A: 

Matt Blood: Brandon Crawford works hard on his arm strength and consequently has one of the strongest and most durable arms in the country. However, for him to be a prospect on the mound, Crawford would need a lot of work and refinement, especially on secondary pitches. I wouldn't give up on him quite yet in the field. He is a tremendous defensive player at a position of need.

 Q:  Billy from North Carolina asks:
Why doesn't Dykstra get more love? Guy has hit every year and with power and walks yet seems to be overlooked when talking about big time prospects?
 A: 

Matt Blood: I assume you are speaking of lefthanded first baseman Allan Dykstra from Wake Forest, and you're right, he has hit every year. However, Dykstra has a couple things working against him. Known as a patient hitter already, Dykstra also plays on an offense-less Deamon Deacon squad. He has consistently pitched around all season which makes him tougher to scout. Dykstra also has a swing that concerns scouts. While he has tremendous strength and leverage, he also tends to dive out over the plate. Still, Dykstra is projected to be selected before the second round.