Draft Chat: Alan Matthews

Q:  Russ from NY asks:
the Rockies it appears that the choice is narrowing down between Andrew
Miller and Evan Longoria (assuming Lincecum goes 1st overall). Who
would you choose?

Alan Matthews:
We’re less than three weeks away from the draft and we have just put
our annual Draft Preview issue to bed. It’s outstanding, and we’ll
touch on some of this draft’s highlights and some of our coverage
today. Thanks for stopping by . . .

Alan Matthews: While
Lincecum might have the biggest, most consistent stuff in the class, my
hunch is the Royals will take Miller. That means the Rockies could have
an option of Longoria or Lincecum, and smart money says they pop

 Q:  Tom from VT asks:
Where do you see these 4 FSU Seminoles being drafted: Bryan Henry, Barrett Browning, Shane Robinson, Ryne Malone?

Alan Matthews:
Only Robinson will go in the first 5-8 rounds. Henry and Browing offer
very little upside. The pitcher from FSU that has taken a step forward
this spring is Luke Tucker. He might sneak into the seventh or eighth
round with a solid slider and low-90s fastball and a repeatable

 Q:  Frank from SoCal asks:
Any way Ian Kennedy slides to the start of the second round?

Alan Matthews:
Absolutely. He has performed better of late but he’s more likely to
taken in the 25-40 range than he is to be taken in the top half of the
first round.

 Q:  Jose from Brooklyn, New York asks:
is the take on Northeastern University right hander Adam Ottavino?
Where can he go in the draft and is he a better bet than Pedro Beato?

Alan Matthews:
Ottavino isn’t in Beato’s league. He ranked No. 53 on our top 200
prospects list, while Beato was No. 13. His performances against
Georgia Tech and James Madison–he threw a no-hitter against one of the
nation’s best-hitting teams–helped his stock, but Ottavino is a power
arm who needs refinement.

 Q:  Greg from LA asks:
Here it is – Hocheaver a Dodger, yes or no? And long run, do you think he did the right thing by wasting a year?

Alan Matthews:
It’s highly unlikely that Hocheaver and the Dodgers work out a deal.
The residual acrimony from his indecision last year–reportedly firing
Boras, agreeing to a deal, only to change his mind within 24
hours–might be too much to overcome. Hold-outs have had mixed results.
One that comes to mind recently is Rice righty Wade Townsend and he’s
currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

 Q:  Matt from Chino,Ca asks:
the draft it seemed like Chris Parmelee was the top high school bat. It
now seems like he might be behind players like
Rowell,Snider,Marrero,Conger. Where will Parmelee end up?

Alan Matthews:
The prolific John Manuel is working on the other side of the bag with
me here this afternoon, and his take on the Chino Hills sluger: That’s
fair on Parmelee as being behind those guys, but coming into the year,
he was really not far ahead (if at all) compared to Snider and Conger,
and he was behind Marrero, who was the top HS bat. Parmelee has had a
good year and still figures to go in the back of the first round. I
don’t think it would be accurate to characterize his stock as

 Q:  Mike from Manassas VA asks:
Bill Rowell? Fast riser? Possible top 10 pick? What’s the skinny on him right now?

Alan Matthews:
Last week Rowell didn’t have a hit in a big showdown game with one of
New Jersey’s high risers this spring, Sean Blak. But scouts aren’t
backing off him because of it. He could go in the top 10 picks, but I
think he’ll wind up in the 11-20 range, and Jim Callis predicted he
would go 13th to the Cubs.

 Q:  Brian Lawson from Kansas City, MO asks:
seems there is a bit of a disagreement in regards to Tim Lincecum’s
mechanics. Some information I have read suggests that he has unorthodox
mechancics that could cause problems for him down the line, while other
reports suggest that he has great mechancics and his odds of “breaking
down” are far lower than Andrew Miller’s. What’s the real story?

Alan Matthews:
Neither picher does it effortlessly. Lincecum’s ability to pitch
effectively with good velocity on short rest is very encouraging, but
there are detractors who say the torque involved in his delivery could
pose some residual trouble over time. One of Lincecum’s coaches claims
he’s never sore after starts, and his stuff is as good late in outings
as it is in the first three innings. But we’re not hearing that either
pitcher is a sure target for arm injury.

 Q:  Mark from New York asks:
the Mets seem poised to sign Pedro Beato as a draft and follow player,
or will they not offer enough to retain him? I’ve read that they were
willing to offer approx $1.5 mil for him, which is similar to what most
middle first round picks sign for and where Beato is projected to go.
Does this seem like it will be enough? Also, if they fail to sign
Beato, who are some high ceiling prospects that could fall to them at
pick 62? Thanks.

Alan Matthews:
More than one scout has said Beato is the best prospect in the state of
Florida, and Florida’s crop of prospects is the best of any state in
the country. He should command at least $1 million, and the Mets are
expected to meet his requests.

 Q:  KL from Massachusetts asks:
Blue Jays reportedly have interest in Wake Forest 3B Matt Antonelli at
#14. Have you heard similar things? What other players are they
targeting at that pick?

Alan Matthews: That’s a good bet, and they could opt for Travis Snider, a lefthanded slugger from Jackson High in Washington, as well.

 Q:  Bob from New York asks:
Do you see any Illinois preps going in the first 15 rounds or even in the top 20 this year?

Alan Matthews:
Illinois featured three players on our top 200 list–Zach McAllister of
Chillicothe, Wade Kapteyn of Lansing and Joe Benson of Joliet–and they
all could go in the top five rounds.

 Q:  Tommy Tremont from Huntington, NY asks:
Will Danny Almonte get drafted? If so approximately what round?

Alan Matthews: He might be a draft-and-follow pick, but I would be surprised if was taken on the first day.

 Q:  from asks:
got two questions. will the first round be mostly college kids this
year. and how high will kentucky’s first baseman ryan strieby be took.

Alan Matthews:
Streiby has popped up this spring, hitting .360-15 6-6 with raw
strength, but he has some significant holes. He has an especially tough
time with good breaking balls. He could go as high as the sixth round
if a club falls is enamored with his power.

 Q:  Jon from Austin,TX asks:
draft seems to have more uncertainty than usual. I’ve been hearing the
Rangers will take Stubbs if he’s there. MLB is predicting Drabek, who
do you think they’ll pick at 12?

Alan Matthews:
You’re dead on, this seems to be a tough draft to peg, and John Manuel
pointed out in his overview that there will likely be a lot of teams
cutting pre-draft deals with players they like, but who might not be
very high on other clubs’ boards. There are certain clubs that have no
desire to take Drabek, given his background–makeup questions. His
talent, though, is tough to walk away from in a year when there are so
few high-ceiling players available. I don’t think Stubbs will be there
when the Rangers pick at 12, but Max Scherzer could be, and if he is,
the Rangers could snap him up. We all know the Rangers penchant for
acquiring Scott Boras clients.

 Q:  Mariner Moose from Seattle asks:
for the chat! Any idea of who the M’s are focusing on with the 5th
pick? Pitching or the best position player, Evan Longoria? Or somebody
different? Thanks again!

Alan Matthews: We predict Luke Hochevar, although the sentimental choice is Tim Lincecum.

 Q:  Teddy from Overland Park, KS asks:
We’ve all heard the rumors, but who do YOU think the Royals should take at #1?

Alan Matthews:
Andrew Miller. We’re based in the Triangle, and Royals GM Allard Baird
sat through the rain last night to watch Miller strike out 11 against
Boston College. I believe he’s going to be a dependable
middle-of-the-rotation starter, although others predict he’ll move to
the bullpen where his power slider and mid-90s fastball profile in a
closer’s role.

 Q:  Dean from Madison asks:
Who is going to be available for the Pirates in Round 1? Any indications from their camp on who they are focusing on?
Thanks again for your great work!

Alan Matthews:
Their marketing department would love to have Kyle Drabek, the son of
Pirates legend Doug, and I believe that would be a great selection. The
Pirates could go the safer route and opt for Stanford righthander Greg

 Q:  James from Santa Clarita, CA asks:
Any word on UC Santa Barbara SS, Chris Valaika? He was hurt last season
but has followed up his All-American Freshman year this season with a
stellar year this year. He appears to be a solid middle infielder with
lots of international experience (USA Baseball) that might make him a
value pick by a team in need of a middle infielder….Thanks for your

Alan Matthews:
That’s a fair point on Valaika. He’s got power, he can play shortstop
adequately (though not probably good enough to be a big league regular)
and he’s got great makeup. Only problem with Valaika is the swing can
get long and he needs better plate discipline. But he’s athletic and
should go in the first five rounds.

 Q:  LG from Illinois asks:
Where do you see Cam Nobes, pitcher from Jackson HS, Mill Creek WA, teammate of Travis Snyder being drefted?

Alan Matthews:
We’ve gotten mixed reviews on Nobles, and my bet is he winds up at U.
of Washington. His fastball is light, and even when he gets it up near
92 mph, which is not regularly, it doesn’t have exceptional life at the
plate. He has some projection, however, so there is a chance he slips
into the top six rounds.

 Q:  Ohioman from Ohio asks:
Are the Reds really looking at another HS pitcher? They have to step it up to the college ranks.

Alan Matthews:
Why? Their last two first-round picks have been high school players Jay
Bruce and Homer Bailey and both players are developing nicely in the
minors. That said, they figure to opt for the best player available at
8, and that might be Drew Stubbs from Texas or Brandon Morrow from Cal,
if he’s healthy.

 Q:  Bob from Tx asks:
What do you think about Kyle Drabek’s draft status?

Alan Matthews:
We’ve touched on Drabek already, and there is a lot to debate with this
outstanding athlete with plus tools on both sides of the game. He has
shown immaturity, to put it diplomatically, and there are some clubs
that have expressed significant apprehension about his makeup. That
said, one thing we want for players to do is have fun and enjoy the
game, and although he’s high-strung, it’s tough to write off a teenager
who has been raised in circumstances few others can relate to, having a
big leaguer for a father.

 Q:  jason from mansfield ohio asks:
i’ve heard some about Cody Johnson where do you think he will end up goin?

Alan Matthews:
We don’t have a good feel for where Johnson is going to be drafted, and
that might be true for some major league teams. He has outstanding raw
power, but big holes in his swing, especially handling hard stuff above
his hands. He has hindered his stock a touch because of his inability
to improve defensively. He might be stuck playing first base. He could
slip out of the top 10 rounds if clubs don’t believe he’s signable in
the third- to fifth-round range, or he could wind up going as high as
the supplemental round. Thus the theme of this year’s wide open draft.

 Q:  T.C. from Memphis asks:
St. Louis Cardinals appeared to have added some legitimate talent in
the 2005 class. Obviously they need to keep it going, so who are some
of the players they are rumored to be targeting in this year’s draft?

Alan Matthews:
I really liked the Cards draft a yaear ago, as scouting director Jeff
Luhnow and co., seem to have an open-minded approach, giving
consideration to players from all backgrounds. They could opt for Ian
Kennedy, Southern Cal’s righthander, at No. 30, or perhaps Virginia
high school righty Jeremy Jeffress, whose stock has improved this
spring. Justin Masterson is another player who might not be around at
30 when the Cardinals pick, but if he was, that might be an easy choice.

 Q:  Phil D. from Seattle, Wa asks:
do you see the three pitchers from Oregon Sate going in the Draft, has
Buck’s stock dropped with his loss of velocity this year?

Alan Matthews:
Good question . . . Buck’s stock certainly has dropped; how can you
take a guy with an elbow ligament strain who also is throwing in the
low- to-mid 80s . . . I mean, that’s a lot to expect that he’ll be back
to being the 90-93 guy, or even that he’ll be 87-90. He has been a
better pitcher though, and if the stuff comes back to even average, he
can be a good pro pitcher. It’s just an unknown, and no one likes that.
Kevin Gunderson is what he is, a little lefty with grit and solid stuff
who figures to go off the board at the back of the first 10 rounds.
Jonah Nickerson would go in that range too if he were an LHP like
Gunderson, but as a RHP with a very typical resume, he’s more likely a
double-digit draft.

 Q:  Ben Donisi from Coral Springs, Florida asks:
Where do you think Matt Latos, David Christiansen and Brandon Holden will go in the Draft ?

Alan Matthews:
Latos has huge stuff, and coincidently, it was his outing against the
other two players in this question that is talked about often. When he
squared off against Christensen, Holden and their Douglas High team, he
really lost his cool on the mound. His defense played poorly behind him
and he didn’t respond, barking and pointing at them, before he
basically shut it down and stopped competing. There was a lot of heat
in there to see him–atleast a dozen upper-level scouting
supervisors–and what they saw was discouraging. He improved his mound
prescence later in the season, and when he goes to the Florida high
school all-star game later this month, he might run his fastball up to
100 mph in a one-inning outing. He has that type of arm. He should be
taken somewhere in the second round.

Alan Matthews:
Holden has not been healthy, otherwise he was making a move into the
top three rounds. Christensen has big power and arm tools. There are
questions about his swing path and ability to make contact
consistently. That said, we’re hearing there are at least a handful of
teams that like him as high as the second round, while others have less

 Q:  Theo from Arizona asks:
Who are the top high school prospects in Arizona?

Alan Matthews:
No shock, Scottsdale’s Chaparral High won another state title this
season and is home to the state’s best prep prospects. Jason Jarvis
(San Diego) and Charles Brewer (UCLA) have nice upside, but also have
strong college commitments.

 Q:  Fonz from Milwaukee asks:
seems that there’s not as much buzz about teams zeroing in on specific
prospects (as last year with the Blue Jays and Romero). Any information
as to what players are being linked with which teams?

Alan Matthews:
We’ve speculated quite a bit on who is going where, and Miller to KC,
Longoria to Colorado, Brad Lincoln to Tampa Bay, Hochevar to Seattle
and Stubbs to the Tigers is how we are lining up the first round as
this stage.

Alan Matthews: Thanks for the great questions.
We’ll be chatting again next Friday and college geek Will Kimmey is
chatting over on ESPN at 3 pm today.