Draft Chat With Conor Glassey: May 4
All right everybody - thanks for coming
out for a Wednesday afternoon draft chat. The draft is just over a month
away and we all have draft fever around the office. We've put up a ton
of great stuff lately, so please check out our new All-Time Draft Database
, the Draft Day Memories
we posted and all of the content
we did over the summer, fall and spring leading up to the big day.
There's already a ton of great questions in the queue, so let's get
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks for the chat,
Conor. How concerned are you about Gerritt Cole's recent struggles and
what do you think is his MLB ceiling?
This is timely question to start off
with. I'm not all that concerned. Pitchers can have their ups and downs,
especially in a tough conference like the Pac-10. Cole is still showing
really great stuff, but I think the rough patch he's had can be
attributed to two things: A) He doesn't command the fastball as well as
he should, especially on the inner half of the plate. So, hitters can go
up there looking middle-away and it gives them that extra split second
to get extended and barrel him up. And, B) all his stuff is really firm.
There's not as much separation (speed-wise) between his fastball,
slider and changeup, so it almost speeds hitters' bats up. But, he's not
dominating like he should be with the stuff that he has, which is why I
don't think he should be in the discussion with guys like Prior or
Strasburg, who did dominate against guys with better bats.
Doug (Phoenix): For good reason, there's a lot
of buzz around Bubba Starling. I'm just wondering if you could compare
him to George Springer. Both seem to be super-high ceiling guys with a
shot to be five-tool center fielders. Wouldn't George Springer - with
less risk, a quicker time to the majors, and likely a lower price-tag -
be a higher ranked player than Starling? Or am I missing something that
makes Starling stand out so much more?
You're right, Doug, they both profile to
be five-tool center fielders. But I do like Starling more and here's
why: I think he's going to be a better pure hitter and I think his
upside is a little higher than Springer's. Starling has been playing
three sports his whole life, while Springer has been focusing on
baseball only at UConn. If Starling decides to come out as a baseball
player (and I think he will), he's really going to take off because
he'll be focusing on one sport for the first time in his life. Don't get
me wrong, I like Springer and I think they're close, but I like
Bret (Toronto): Any buzz around what the Blue Jays may do with pick #21? Or is it way too early for that?
Lots of "Who's my team going to take"
questions and, yeah, it's too early for that. A lot can happen in a
month on the field, not to mention signability stuff. Plus, the dominoes
can fall a bunch of different directions when you're talking about pick
21. This draft is loaded, though, so they're going to get somebody
really good (and have some extra picks to play with, too).
Mike (Chicago): Do you think CJ Cron can stick at catcher or is a 1B/DH? Will he be gone before the White Sox pick at #47?
I don't think he can stick at catcher,
but that's okay because the bat will definitely play at 1B or DH. And,
yes, he will be gone before the White Sox pick at 47.
Arda (NY): When I read about Alex Meyer, it makes me think of Jays' starter Brandon Morrow. How accurate is that?
I don't think it's real accurate. They
both have a spotty track record of throwing strikes in college, but it's
for different reasons. Morrow just didn't have a lot of pitching
experience. Meyer is just so dang big, he's still learning how to
control his delivery and keep everything in line. Meyer has bigger raw
stuff than Morrow did.
Chuck (Texas): Whose 2011 Bowman baseball card should I hunt for?
I don't collect cards too much anymore,
but I do know that some of the USA Baseball guys already have some cool
Bowman cards out (Starling, Lindor, Swihart, etc.) I guess if I was a
big collector, I'd be excited about getting a Rendon card or Dylan
@Jaypers413 (IL): About how likely is it the Rays will take LHP Henry Owens at this point?
Well, like I mentioned, it's too early
to start pinning players to teams for the most part. But the Rays have
picks 24, 31 & 32. The Rays like HS guys, but Owens might not make
it to 24. Heard he's been up to 94 lately.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Is Tyler Beede a first rounder?
Certainly could be. I think he's more of
a supplemental guy in this year's draft, but he has the size and talent
teams look for and he's a Northeast arm, which teams always like
because there's a belief that those guys have more in the tank, since
they haven't pitched year-round since they were 12 like some of the kids
in CA, TX & FL have. It's going to come down to signability and how
much Beede wants to forgo his commitment to Vanderbilt.
Frank (South Bend, IN): Will Sonny Gray or Dylan Bundy be there for the Cubs to take?
I think the Cubs have a much better shot
at getting Sonny Gray. Sounds like Bundy (who reportedly hit 100 a
couple weeks ago) will almost certainly be gone by then.
Ben (Iowa City, IA): When will the top 50 be updated?
We did a midseason Top 50 update a
couple weeks ago. Right now we're working on getting the Top 200 guys
together with scouting reports on guys likely to go in the top 100. That
will be in the next issue. Some of the feedback we got on the Midseason
Top 50 is that we were too high on Billy Flamion and Nicky Delmonico.
Harrison (Montgomery, AL): The catcher depth tier seems to be tier 1 : Austin Hedges
Blake Swihart, Andrew Susac. Tier 2: Peter O'Brien, James McCann and maybe CJ Cron.
who is in the next tier?
Like I said before, I don't think Cron's
going to catch. I like Swihart over Hedges. Swihart's bat is special.
One guy that belongs in this conversation is Brett Austin, who Nathan
Rode just wrote about on our Draft Blog the other day.
Alex (Ottawa): There's some debate about Javier
Baez going on. Just wondering what you feel his upside is, particularly
offensively, as I realize there's some questions about what position he
ends up at.
He really has a lot of upside with the
bat because he generates such good bat speed. He has very strong wrists
and might have the best bat speed of any high school player this year.
He does have a lot of moving parts to his swing that he'll need to quiet
down, I think, but I think he's going to hit for some power - the
question will be how much of a pure hitter he can be if he can't calm
down a little at the plate. Defensively, I think he'll start out at
shortstop, but probably wind up at second or third. He does have the
tools to catch, but I think there would just be too much work to do back
there, since he hasn't done it at all this spring - and with a bat that
good, you don't want to have to wait for him to learn how to catch.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Have you heard if any players will be attending MLB Network's studios on June 6th?
I know they're trying to get some guys
out there, but nobody is confirmed as of today. It sure would be nice if
more players were willing to do that, but some of them are still
playing, others are still in school - there are more obstacles because
of when the draft takes place. Jim Callis will be there, though!
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Any word on Austin Hedges signability in regards to his UCLA commitment? Is it going to take some big money to lure him away?
Yeah, we've been hearing all year that
it's going to be tough. Obviously UCLA is a great school and a great
opportunity, so when you combine that with the fact that Hedges comes
from an affluent background and there are some serious questions about
how much he'll hit (nobody questions the catch & throw...it's
phenomenal!), there's going to be a gap between what the player wants
and what teams are willing to give. I bet he goes to school and is a
first rounder in three years.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Where does Granden Goetzman project to go in the draft?
Probably late supplemental to second
round. Great combination of size, strength and speed. Won't stay at
shortstop, though - probably moves to an outfield corner.
Mike Tangee (NorCal): Look into your crystal ball and name 5 college players likely to go high in the draft NEXT year. MT
Not a great year for college guys, but
the HS class is loaded. I'll give you six and say that Jake Barrett,
Deven Marrero, Kenny Diekroeger, Kevin Gausman, Mark Appel & Michael
Wacha will all go good.
Nick (New Jersey): Is Blake Swihart playing
catcher a pipe dream or does he actually have the ability to stick
there? Also what is his offenseive upside?
Not a pipe dream at all. He's athletic
and even though he's relatively new behind the plate, he shows good
footwork and a strong arm. There are still things to iron out, sure, but
if a team is willing to wait - he'd certainly be an asset back there
when you factor in what kind of hitter he is. That's the thing is that
he's such a good hitter and he has experience at other positions, so
teams might be tempted to move him to third base or second base to get
the bat to the big leagues more quickly, ala Wil Myers.
Sean (Kennesaw, GA): The All-Time Draft Database is amazing! Wonderful job by all the guys at BA. Thank you for all that you do.
Thanks, Sean. It will get even better,
too - as we continue to make improvements to the searchability and add
more signing scout information. You can definitely kill a lot of time
messing around on there, huh?
Tom Wilson (Seattle): Where do you see Redmond High School's "Big Three" going in the draft?
For those that don't know, Tom is asking
about RHP Dylan Davis, OF Michael Conforto & 3B Zach Abruzza. Tom
probably didn't realize this, but I graduated from Redmond High, so I've
been following those guys closely and it sounds like they're all going
to wind up in college. Davis and Conforto obviously have talent, as they
were both preseason Top 100 guys for us in the fall. But they have been
inconsistent this spring and are not being helpful to scouts out there
in providing information. I bet they wind up as roommates next year in
Corvallis—where Davis would play both ways—and that Abruzza, who is a
good player, but doesn't have the loud tools that pro guys look for,
ends up at Gonzaga.
Mike (Kansas City): I heard this draft is
pretty deep is it deep enough to find really good players in rounds 2
and 3? or because of all the compnesatory picks by the time 60 plus
picks go by is the talent running dry?
It definitely won't be running dry.
Talked to a scouting director today that said this is the deepest draft
he can remember - better than any of the past decade, at least. It's
just insanely deep. You're going to see guys drafted in the third round
that could be fringe first rounders in other years. You're going to see
teams getting guys throwing 95+ in the mid single-digit rounds. It's
Kyle (Middletown): How high do you see Andrew
Chafin being drafted? Does he have the delivery and stamina to project
as a starting pitcher in pro ball?
I think he'll be a supplemental - 2nd round guy and I think he winds up in the bullpen.
Kevin (Seattle, WA): I keep hearing that Bubba
Starling has the highest upside in the draft. Why does he barely get any
mention as possibly being the #1 overall pick? How does his stock
compare to that of Rendon and Cole?
In many years he might - but Rendon and Cole are no scrubs! It's a testament to them, more than it's a knock on Starling.
Chris (Tulsa): Do you think Travis Harrison could slide into the back end of the 1st round or the supplemental 1st round?
I don't think so. The power is legit, but it has to be because he's going to probably wind up at first base.
Tim (Fredericksburg, VA): John Heyman's column
on Monday cites scouting directors claiming that Francisco Lindor has
"developed tremendous power" and could go as high as #2. Has BA heard
the same things about Lindor, and is he a legitimate power-hitting SS?
"Tremendous power" is hyperbole. He has
some pop, for sure, because he's loaded with fast-twitch muscles and
he's jacked for his size. So he's going to run into some balls. I saw
him hit a really impressive HR in Jupiter this year and I love Lindor's
overall package and energy, but I'd be surprised if he hits 20 HRs in
the big leagues. He's going to hit a lot of doubles and triples, but I
see him as more of a 10-15 HR guy, but that's fine because he can help a
team win in so many ways. He's great defensively, he has a strong arm,
he's a good pure hitter and has tremendous makeup. He's the total
package and there are so many other things to highlight than his power.
Nate (Chicago): Conor, there has always been
somewhat of a stigma around drafting high school rhp with the #1n
overall pick. Everything I read about Dylan Bundy makes him seem like
the next great thing. Off of just talent, is there a good case to be
made with him being the best player available in this draft?
A high school righthander has never been
drafted first overall. And, as good as Bundy is, it's not going to
happen this year, either. Again - no knock on Bundy, he could go as high
as No. 3.
Norberto Paulino (New York): Do scouts go to HS
with the purpose of scouting a freshman or sophomore? Or do they go
watch seniors and on the process make mental notes of the younger
They go to watch the draft-eligible guys
and will take notes on younger players, if they stand out. You can
never have too much information, but the priority is always the guys
available for the current year.
Jon (San Jose): Too late to sneak a question in
about JR Graham? Heard he hit 100 as a reliever, and now seems to be
used as a starter. Can he go top 2 rounds?
Yeah, I think he could go in the top 2
rounds. The questions scouts have with him are the secondary stuff and
the fact that, because he's not a real big guy, he doesn't get a lot of
plane on his fastball - it flattens out. But you can't ignore that arm
Bret (Toronto): What's your take on Josh Bell?
The impression I get is that he has a high offensive ceiling, but almost
certainly a future LF or 1B. Those players scare me when drafting them
out of high school, because they really have to become great hitters to
have good value. Does Bell fit that profile? How much offensive value
can he bring?
Josh Bell is a physical specimen. I
don't know if you've seen pictures of him, but he's a freak. Physically,
he looks like Cameron Maybin now (and that's what a scout told me the
other day, not something I came up with on my own, but I agree). He's
not a burner in CF, but he's a great athlete and definitely runs well
enough to play a corner outfield spot. And the bat can handle it too -
he has a good approach at the plate and power from both sides, as a
switch-hitter. He's definitely not the bad-body, 1B-only kind of
profile, not at all.
Ok, that's all for me, folks. Back to
some draft calls! Thank you very much for all the great questions. I'm
sorry I couldn't get to all of them, but we'll do more draft chats as
the big day gets closer. As always, you can hit me up on Twitter at