Conor Glassey: Hey everybody! Thanks for coming out. It’s never too early to talk about the draft, as far as I am concerned. This is always a fun time of year here at Baseball America. While today’s content focused on the high school side of the coin, feel free to ask about anything draft-related. I’ll chat here for about an hour before I have to get back to writing up the Mariners chapter for our Prospect Handbook.
Mick (Chicago): Are there any position prospects, beside Corey Ray to see in Illinois next spring?
Conor Glassey: Mick – Corey Ray was a tough cut from the list. He was on some initial versions of it, but scouts feel that he’s a bit of a tweener right now. He has a nice swing, but it’s more of
a flat, line-drive swing and not one built for power. So he doesn’t have profile power for a corner outfield spot and doesn’t cover enough ground to play center field in the big leagues. Ray’s teammate Ro Coleman is a really fun little spark plug committed to Vanderbilt, but he’s another guy who would be better served going to college. Chuckie Robinson from Danville has some intriguing tools and some strength, but needs a lot of work behind the plate. RHP Zach Burdi at Downers Grove South has some arm strength, as does Andy Honiotes. And 3B Bryce Only from Huntley is interesting because of his physicality.
Jake (Seattle): What are the chances Reese McGuire goes in the Top 10 picks this June? Who does he compare to? Thank you.
Conor Glassey: He’s probably right on that bubble right
now, but as with any player it all depends on how well they play in the
spring. I haven’t gotten a comp on Reese but he’s a very good player with defensive skills and lefthanded power.
Jody (Chicago): Thanks for taking questions today, Conor. In the lead it's stated that this year's HS class doesn't have the top-end talent last year's draft did. Assuming the top-end guys from last year's class include Correa, Buxton, Almora, Giolito, Fried, Dahl, Russell and Cecchini, who would be the exceptions in the 2013 HS class that could be as good or better than the guys on the 2012 list?
Conor Glassey: Good question, Jody. Let’s do a Top 10 list for HS players from last year & this year! Quickly, I’d go something like this: Buxton, Correa, Almora, Giolito, Fried, Dahl, Meadows, Frazier, McCullers & Hawkins.
Mick (Chicago): It looks like the usual dearth of shortstop prospects, especially ones from this country. I read a while back that this is a cyclical thing, but it seems to be consistently bereft for the past 10-15 years. Is baseball concerned, or better yet doing something about it?
Conor Glassey: You’re right. It’s a brutal year for shortstops in the draft. If you think the high school class looks bad, wait until you see the college group this year! I’m not sure it’s a cyclical thing — that just doesn’t pass the smell test to me. I mean, I’ve heard that too. But it just doesn’t really make sense. I think the biggest factor is that kids just don’t go out and play for fun anymore. Kids aren’t out there playing pickup games. Everything is so structured.
So that eliminates some athleticism from players. Kids—especially premium athletes—are choosing to play other sports. Or, if they do play
baseball, they’re specializing on one position starting at age 10 or something ridiculous. The biggest thing MLB can do is continue to push the RBI program to get kids interested and involved in the game.
Greg (Ohio): How does Jonathan Denney compare with 2012 draftee Clint Coulter? Seem very similar to me
Conor Glassey: Yeah, that’s a good call. They’re similar hitters and Denney has more defensive value.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Conor, interesting to
hear about Ward trying to graduate early. Considering the fact that he is a little older than a typical 2014, coupled with his possible early departure, where would he rank on the current Top 100?
Conor Glassey: Hey, Joe! It makes sense for Ward because he would have been old for his class (like Yordy Cabrera old). Trying to graduate early is a good move because now he’s age appropriate. Apparently it’s something he’s been working on with his school since last summer. If I had to slot him on this list, I’d probably put him in the 26-30 range, behind Cavan Biggio.
Pierre (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): What are the chances that the Astros will draft Austin Meadows instead of a college player?
Conor Glassey: Way too early to say. Shoot, we didn’t even know who the Astros were drafting until about 30 seconds before they made their pick last year. That said, I expect them to go with a similar approach this year – setting a number at the top and finding a player willing to take the money. This year’s class just isn’t good enough to stray from that philosophy. There’s no Harper or Strasburg at the top, so spreading the money around and grabbing players who slip a little is a better move.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Conor, he is probably
a little too talented to be a true #personalcheeseball, but I like the dude a lot; how did Justin Williams look down at Jupiter this year?
Conor Glassey: Yeah, he’s too good to be a #personalcheeseball. Williams obviously has big-time power, but scouts have serious questions about how much he’ll hit and be able to tap into that power. That’s why he’s slipped down this list a little bit from the
beginning of the summer. And for how physical he is, it doesn’t translate into athleticism in the field. He’s a projet in the outfield and may wind up at first base as a power/strikeout guy.
Lenny (Indy): Conor, appreciate the chat! Question, does my Indiana guy Trey Ball get off the board in the Top 5 picks? Seems like he could sort of be a 2 for 1 (Lhp & OF) deal for a
Conor Glassey: He has very interesting tools. Top 5 is a
little rich right now, especially with the college arms at the top. I think Ball will go off the board as an outfielder and if it doesn’t work
out, he always has the fallback option of going to the mound.
Jody (Chicago): Are there any pitchers with frontline potential in this HS class? If no, there are several pitchers
with huge projection so among them, who are a few (i.e. Stewart, Gonsalves, Ball, Neuse or Crawford) that might be likely to make the jump in the spring? Perhaps someone not on this short list that you especially like?
Conor Glassey: If Jordan Sheffield looks more like he did in Jupiter (95-97 with a HAMMER curveball) than he did earlier in the summer (90-92), he has frontline upside. It was only a one-inning look in Jupiter, so obviously it’s expected that he’ll settle in some, but he was electric. Scouts are very down on the HS RHP group as a whole. The lefthanders in this class are good, but all sort of have their hickeys. A couple guys who I think could really make a leap this spring would be Hunter Harvey, Devin Williams and Mark Armstrong. I also
love Cal Quantrill’s potential, but it’s very unlikely he’ll sign out of high school. He’s been described to me as a “borderline genius” and is committed to Stanford.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Conor, I'm a fan of Brian O'Connor's, and typically his recruits are tough signs as we all know. Any word on how strong the commitments to UVA are on the part of Biggio and Jones at this point?
Conor Glassey: Haven’t heard anything specifically, but
I get the sense that both will be tough signs. Biggio obviously doesn’t
need the money and his dad went to school. Jones has already bought in to UVa’s pitching style.
Jody (Moulton): Pretend you can take 2013 and 2014 HS guys in the upcoming draft. Are there any guys from the 2014 class you would put in your HS top 20 right now?
Conor Glassey: Right now, the 2014 class looks a lot better than 2013 for HS. Guys I would feel comfortable putting in this Top 20 from 2014 include CA C Alex Jackson, FL SS Nick Gordon, CA SS Jacob Gatewood & FL RHP Touki Toussaint
Theo E. (Wrigleyville): Conor should I take Trey Ball at #2? If not, will he be on the board come our second round of picks???
Conor Glassey: He won’t likely be there for your next pick, but there will be better options at No. 2, most likely college pitchers like Mark Appel, Sean Manaea or Ryne Stanek.
Jason (Muskegon, MI): As the draft projects now...what positions project as deep? not deep?
Conor Glassey: For high school, it’s deep with catchers
and lefthanders. Righthanders and shortstops are thin (and shortstops are especially thin in the college ranks).
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): What kind of reports are you getting on the progress of Karsten Whitson and Dylan Covey, two former first round picks who went unsigned? Do they have a shot to be first round picks again coming out of college?
Conor Glassey: They’re both kind of wild cards this year, as neither has dominated college baseball like it was expected they would after not signing as first-round picks. I’d bet neither of them is a first-rounder this year.
JR (Iowa): How many on the HS top 100 do you think might be drafted in the 1st round?
Conor Glassey: Probably about 15
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): There was a ton of buzz
around Austin Wilson when he was drafted by the Cardinals out of high school. How has his stock progressed in his time at Stanford?
Conor Glassey: There’s still plenty of buzz on him and he’s one of the best position players for this year’s college class. I expect him to be a first rounder this year.
@ProspectD2J (Toronto): What are the chances that the Astros and Mark Appel finally end up dance partners, just a year later than many people expected?
Conor Glassey: I wouldn’t rule anything out, but like I
said earlier – I expect the Astros to use a similar strategy as they did last year, which would probably rule Appel out. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens with him.
Ding Dong Daddy (My Desk): Last year was not considered a great draft either, and this one is worse. Do think this is a trend that baseball should be worried about, or just a couple of poor years?
Conor Glassey: Just a couple of poor years. I don’t think baseball should be concerned. 2014 looks pretty legit.
Ding Dong Daddy (My desk): Whether or not it was actually a scouting oversight, do you think the success of Mike Trout will overrate prospects from the northeast in the upcoming drafts?
Conor Glassey: No, I don’t think scouts and teams will overrate players because of Mike Trout’s success. That said, more are more teams are starting to split the east coast into 2 sections for crosscheckers, which is interesting. Let’s do some more lighting round questions before I have to wrap this thing up.
Daniel (Arkansas): What do you think about Jon Denney? Possible 1st round pick?
Conor Glassey: We have him as the 2nd best HS catcher in the class and yes, he looks like a first rounder right now.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Would it be insane to compare Clint Frazier to Mike Trout on any level?
Conor Glassey: No, there are definitely some similarities, with the speed, bat speed, physicality and short swing. John Manuel hilariously called him a “Ginger Mike Trout” in the Under Armour broadcast this summer.
Greg (ohio): Nick Longhi sounds really interesting in reports I've read, sounds like hit, power project as plus. Does Longhi profile at 1B or LF?
Conor Glassey: He can really hit. And yes, he’ll have to play LF or 1B because of his R/L profile.
Ben (Leland Grove): Which prospect made the biggest leap forward on your list?
Conor Glassey: J.P. Crawford, Jordan Sheffield, Jon Denney, Travis Demeritte made big leaps.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Do any of these players have true "80" tools/pitches?
Conor Glassey: McPhearson & Wrenn are 80 runners
Mick (Cali): First pick of 2014? Rodon?
Conor Glassey: He’s the early favorite, yes.
Bill (Toronto): Who are the top Canadian high schoolers for next years draft?
Conor Glassey: RHP Cal Quantrill, C Tyler O’Neill & 3B Lachlan Fontaine
Drake (CA): Do you think teams are more interested in Dominic Smith as a 1B or an OF?
Conor Glassey: I think he would fit a little bit better
in the outfield just because he isn’t the big, tall target teams like to have over at first base. He has a very good arm, too.
Conor Glassey: Thanks for all the great questions, everybody. We’ll do another draft chat soon. Hit me up on Twitter @conorglassey with any other questions you have!