Draft Chat: Matt Blood

 Q:  J.J. from Annapolis asks:
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

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:
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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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)

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?

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:
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?

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 ?

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:
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

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?

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:
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.

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

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:
see you predict Joshua Fields to possibly be the first pitcher from
this class to reach the majors, but how about the first hitter?

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?

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

 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?

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:
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

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:
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?

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:
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?

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:
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

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:
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?

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:
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?

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?

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?

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:
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?

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?

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?

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?

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:
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.

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??

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:
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?

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:
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

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