First Day Draft Chat

Q:  Dan from Chandler AZ asks:
Talk about the Dbacks Draft. Obviously they went heavy on pitching. Good Selections??? Thanks for the chat

John Manuel:
Hey everyone . . . let’s dive in because it’s been an exhausting day.
The Diamondbacks once again come out looking good on the draft’s first
day. Their first four picks were pitchers I’m fond of in Max Scherzer
(who, when healthy, is as good as any pitcher in the draft); a power
arm in Brooks Brown, who needs to get his mechanics straightened out
but at the very least can be a productive reliever; Brett Anderson, a
steal in the second round as a three-pitch lefty with a knack for the
strike zone and plenty of polish; and Dallas Buck, a warrior who will
be a huge steal if his stuff ever returns to 2005 form. So yeah, I
think they’ve done well. I also am a Hector Ambriz apologist, I just
like two-way guys who seem to get better when they focus on pitching.

 Q:  J.P. from IL asks:
So, what’s the deal with LaPorta today? Give us a rundown, please.

John Manuel:
The quick answer is, he’s got a bad body, no true position and he
hasn’t hit, and that’s a bad mix when you put a huge price tag out
there. One scout I talked to comped LaPorta to . . . Matt LeCroy.
Yikes. That’s fine, but it’s not several million dollars worth of

 Q:  jody from Jacksonville asks:
What do you think of the yankees draft. Particularrly the first few rounds. Were you surprised by the picks.



John Manuel:
The Yankees picks I have in front of me are interesting. Joba
Chamberlin falling to them in the supplemental first-round was nice, if
Joba’s knee is healthy. I’m not sure what to make of Ian Kennedy, but
when I’ve seen him pitch, he’s thrown very, very well with Team USA,
and he misses bats despite fairly pedestrian stuff. If he has his
command, he’ll move quickly. I’m a fan of Mark Melancon and again, if
he’s healthy, he’ll be a steal if they can sign him in the ninth round.

 Q:  jake from phoenix asks:
am an avid mets fan and I am very intrigued with their 4th round
selection john holdzkom. Can you tell me if the mets made the right
decision choosing such a high risk player so soon even though he throws

John Manuel:
Holdzkom is a high-risk player, no doubt. Frankly he reminds me of Matt
Lindstrom, also in the Mets system. I think they reached a bit to take
a guy who walks as many as he strikes out. His FB can be pretty
straight too. His 98 got turned around by Chandler-Gilbert’s Chris
Vinyard, who signed for like $90k last week, so have fun with Holdzkom
in the fourth round.

 Q:  Randy from Boston asks:
What is your take on the RedSox draft? Seems like there are a lot of “signability” guys. Is this their Moneyball draft?

John Manuel:
I’d disagree. Dan Bard is no “signability” guy, he’s got a $4 million
price tag is what we heard, which helped slide him down the first
round. Jason Place is no signability pick. I just think you’re reading
this wrong, Randy. Kris Johnson and Caleb Clay are nice picks, both
guys with power arms that are relatively fresh; Johnson’s a TJ guy and
Clay’s a conversion guy. In fact, I like their first 5-7 picks, guys
like Justin Masterson (quick-moving reliever as a pro), Aaron Bates
(one of the safest college bats and a possible catcher) and they got
Bryce Cox, who I blogged as overcoming “the yips” and regaining a real
power fastball-slider combination.

 Q:  steve S from Davis, CA asks:
how would you rate Lincecum (10th overall) versus the Giants other top
prospects–Marcus Sanders, Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Travis Ishikawa and
Jonathan Sanchez? I’ve read repeatedly that this is a weak draft, but
Lincecum might still be the Giants top prospect the moment he signs
(with Matt Cain graduated to the majors). And how about Emmanuel
Burriss (33rd overall)? Am I incorrect to figure he slots in somewhere
as the Giants 9th to 15th best prospect once he signs?

John Manuel:
I think I agree with you, Steve, that the second Lincecum signs, he’s
the Giants’ top prospect. The guy I’d consider right with him is
Sanchez; as you know, I’m a huge fan of his. Burris is going to have to
prove to scouts he (a) can play SS in pro ball (his arm is fringy) and
(b) that he can hit with some power with wood bats.

 Q:  Ben from Colorado asks:
Evan Anundsen (RHP, Columbine HS) going so high in the draft (4th
round, Milwaukee), do you think he will go to the pros rather than to
Wichita State?

John Manuel:
The Brewers probably didn’t draft him that high without getting a good
read on what it would take for him to sign, and they must have been
comfortable with a fourth-round bonus slot. He’s good, but he’s not the
kind of guy you go over slot for. Wichita’s loss may be the Brewers’

 Q:  nate purcell from orange county, CA asks:
are your thoughts on the Dodger’s top 3 selections? How fast can
Kershaw and Morris move through the system? Mattingly seems like a
suprise, what does his bat project too? Any power potential there?

John Manuel:
I’ve like Morris a lot since last year; I thought he was the top prep
RHP in the South, over Chaz Roe and Cody Satterwhite, and I think he’ll
move quickly. He has power stuff and he’s athletic. Mattingly is a
surprise in some ways, but it sounds like the Yankees wanted him at 41,
and other teams liked him, so a team with extra picks such as the
Dodgers could take him, if they don’t sign him, they don’t sign him. We
hear the Dodgers checked in with the Mattingly family to make sure they
would have Tyler sign with a team other than the Yankees, and I’d
expect he would as the 31st overall pick. He’s got a bat that excites a
lot of scouts, but his position remains in doubt.

 Q:  Jeremy Dann from Washington, D.C. asks:
did the Nationals pick a high school pitcher instead of a college
pitcher for the 22nd pick? What team will Bill Rowell and Chris Marrero

John Manuel:
Jeremy, not sure what you’re looking at, my Nats draft list shows
Colton Willems as their second pick, and I like the combo there of
Willems, Sean Black and Marrero, plus Englund and King, two high-end
prep bats, among their first five picks. Early returns look favorable
again for Dana Brown, one of the best SDs out there.

 Q:  R.C. Cook from Dallas TX asks:
Why has Jordan Walden dropped so far in this draft? Were there some signability questions?

John Manuel:
he had a groin pull, but you know, his velocity was down before that. I
think the performance this spring didn’t match the bonus expectations
created by last summer’s velocity that Walden showed.

 Q:  Greg from LA asks:
How did the Dodgers do?

John Manuel:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before . .. Logan White=good scouting
director. I’m a fan of the arms the Dodgers took, from Kershaw and
Morris to Kyle Smit and 13th-rounder Alex White. We’ll see if they can
sign White and 12th-rounder Nick Akins, both of whom supposedly come
with high price tages. They also got a couple of intriguing college
bats in Andy D’Alessio (who has 20 bombs at Clemson) and Justin Fuller,
a solid infielder at Lewis-Clark State. Overall, a very solid first day
once again for the Dodgers.

 Q:  LCS from Denver asks:
Rockies draft looks very underwhelming to me. Did they fall into the
“NFL Combine” syndrome by drafting a pitcher in Reynolds who looks
great on paper (6’7″, 95MPH, Curve)but never actually proved himself
(7-5 mid 3 ERA)? Also, who is the HS outfielder they drafted second?

John Manuel:
I’ve been surprised from the Rockies first pick on down. Greg Reynolds
is a safe pick, but for me, he’s not a No. 2 overall pick profile. If
there’s no guy you want to pay No. 2 overall money to, he’s a safe bet.
The guys they took after the first two picks were more intriguing for
me, guys like Keith Weiser, Craig Baker and Aaron Miller as you
mentioned. also, I’m very taken with Ga. Tech OF Jeff Kindel, who has
done nothing but hit the last two years, including in the Cape. Don’t
rush to judgment; Bill Schmidt, Danny Montgomery and that staff know
what they are doing.

 Q:  Eric from LAoA asks:
How strong of a commitment to Oaklahoma does Matt Latos have to drop him into the 11th round?

John Manuel:
Surprising; he has a disarming makeup that turns off scouts. Perhaps he
will end up at OU; it wouldn’t shock me if he goes to a JC as a

 Q:  mike jo from memphis asks:
fan big day im pumped who the reds gonna get will kershaw or morrow
fall that far nope an outfielder i know baseball america got this one
but as bad as reds need pitching but i cant disagree to much with wayne
krivsky so my question what do you think at first glance of reds picks
and quick rating against other teams(upper,middle of pack,bottom)did
they sign milton loo thank s for youre time go baseball

John Manuel:
Mike, I’ll clean up your question at a later date. First, the Reds did
sign Loo for around $220k. Loo hit three homers at the NJCAA World
Series and was cleared medically on his elbow injury, so the Reds
signed him. I’m a fan as I believe I have conveyed. Drew Stubbs is an
exciting, exciting player, and one hard to pass up. Sean Watson could
move quickly, as could Chris Valaika, a nice find in the third round.
They got nice power arms later, with Josh Ravin, Jordan Smith, Travis
Webb and Josh Roenicke. Those last three are probably relievers, but
they have power arms.

 Q:  Eric from NJ asks:
What caused Blair Erickson to drop to the end of the 10th round?

John Manuel:
His velo was down this year; he throws across his body; he’s just a
reliever, and doesn’t necessarily have a prototypical pro body. He’s
just a little unusual, and that scares some scouts.

 Q:  Nick from London asks:
you see Lincecum starting or relieving for the Giants? I noticed
comments that he was overused in college – will this impact the Giants
decision? Are the Oswalt comparisions fair?

John Manuel:
I’d guess the Giants give him a chance to start, and yes, the Oswalt
comps are fair. As for “overused” in college . . . I just think it’s
easy to say that. He threw 125 innings this year, and yes, he would
throw Fridays and on a few occasions come back in relief on Tuesdays.
That said . . . they guy hasn’t been hurt. His stuff has stayed firm,
and he maintains his stuff up to the 140 pitch mark. Then he goes out
the next day and long tosses from pole to pole. He’s different. Who
knows his arm better, me or you, or his college coach and him? I think
they do. If he was hurt or incapable of throwing as much as he did, he
would have stopped doing it. I just think we need to not throw a
blanket over everybody when it comes to pitcher workloads.

 Q:  C. Koch from Midwest asks:
explain to me the Cubs thought process. Two picks in 5 rounds and we
end up with Colvin and a risky Samardjia pick. Why not take Snider when
he was available?

John Manuel:
OK, first, they like Tyler Colvin as a legitimate, athletic outfielder
with a pro body and a solid bat. I like Colvin a lot better than the
other college OFs in the draft, guys like Jon Jay and Shane Robinson.
We were a little slow to react on him in our lists unfortunately.
Second, they love Samardzija and will try their best to make it work.
They would not have picked him, I don’t believe, if they didn’t really
believe that when push comes to shove, Samardzija eventually will
choose baseball. Snider is not as athletic as Colvin, and his body
scared some people off. For a traditional scout like Tim Wilken, I can
understand why he’d take Colvin over Snider; Colvin is a more
well-rounded player, and if his bat plays, he’ll be very good.

 Q:  Tyler Wood from Raleigh NC asks:
come the D-Rays took Longoria? How can they pass up Miller or Lincoln,
considering that they are just a pitcher or two away from competing. I
trust Freidman made the right decision, what would you have done at

John Manuel:
Tyler, I’m actually with you on this one. For me, the Rays need the
arms more than they need the infield bats. I was surprised they didn’t
take Miller, who would fit in very, very nicely with Scott Kazmir.

 Q:  Eddie from Miami asks:
How did you like the Marlins draft alot of athletesleepers? and do you see Brett Sinkbeil as a starter?

John Manuel:
Sinkbeil can start, no doubt. Interesting picks otherwise–love Scott
Cousins, not on Chris Coghlan and his lack of power at 3b, otherwise a
standard young-leaning, toolsy Marlins draft. Jay Buente in the 12th
round could be a steal, he’s a Will Kimmey fave.

 Q:  Dante from Clairton, PA asks:
Will Patrick Bresnehan find sucess within the minors? If he can find some command, I think he’ll be a steal.

John Manuel:
Not a guy for me, but frankly–and Pat Murphy will kill me for
this–top pitching prospects have not fared well at Arizona State.
Maybe he needs a new voice in his ear and a more consistent role for
him to flourish.

 Q:  Josh from Cleveland asks:
Hey John, what are your early thoughts on the Indians draft? Thanks

John Manuel:
David Huff and Steven Wright were two of my favorite college pitchers.
(Quick Steven Wright aside . . . why are there interstate highways in
Hawaii?) Then they took a shot on Josh Rodriguez, Adam Davis and Wes
Hodges, three college bats who a year ago were possible first-rounders,
but two of them (JR and Hodges) battled injuries all season. Davis just
had a bad year, like all of the Gators. Matt McBride should fill a
gaping whole with the organization at C, now that Garko isn’t catching,
he’s got athleticism and some power. Brant Rustich out of UCLA could be
a steal if they can sign him, power arm with a finger injury this

 Q:  seth from arizona asks:
do you like the pirates draft?other than lincoln, who else do you think
has a great chance to move through the organization quickly?

John Manuel:
Weird draft for me; I like Mike Felix, thought that was a little high,
and the consensus seems to be that the Pirates reached a bit for Shelby
Ford as well. If they can sign Lonnie Chisenhall, he might have the
highest ceiling of any of the hitters they picked, but South Carolina
usually holds on to their top recruits.

 Q:  Frankie from Brooklyn asks:
in the world would the Yankees, for the second year in a row, pass on a
power arm like Bard, and let him slip to the Red Sox? Does Kennnedy
over Bard make any sense??

John Manuel:
It does in that Bard could be great, or he could be a reliever. Power
arms aren’t everything; what if, at best, Bard is, say, Scott Proctor,
who is a nice 7th- or 8th-inning option and that’s about it. Then what
if Kennedy is a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, a guy with solid-average stuff
(at his best, his stuff is a tick above), and with above-average
command? There are scenarios where Kennedy is better; it’s not clear
cut that this was a miss. That said, I would have taken Bard. Don’t
forget Damon Oppenheimer is a Trojan; perhaps that had something to do
with it, in that he would get the straight dope from the USC staff on
Kennedy’s midseason struggles.

 Q:  Matt from NY asks:
What’s the story specifically on Joba Chamberlain’s health? Are there serious arm concerns?

John Manuel:
It’s not the arm so much as problems with a knee and questions about
his track record; this guy basically has a two-year track record, and
in one of them he got hurt. Two years ago, no one knew who this guy
was. I give Joba all the credit in the world for making himself into
the pitcher he’s been for the Huskers the last two years, but I think
his out-of-nowhere deal, plus injury concerns, conspired to move him

 Q:  Wolf from La Jolla, CA asks:
a Pad fan, I like our first four picks. From what I hear, Antonelli
will probably be headed to CF where he won’t have to hit for as much
power and he can put his athleticism to use. I also love the Burke,
Huffman, and Hunter picks as these guys are solid athletes who can hit.
For a team that had really no quality outfield propsects, I am pleased.
What’s your take thus far?

John Manuel:
Anto to CF would be interesting, he’s athletic, but what’s wrong with
him at 3b? Power at 3B is a bit over-rated; he’s got some Bill Mueller
in him with average power and patience, and he’s more athletic. That’s
a championship 3B if I recall 2004 corrrectly. The rest of their draft
is interesting; Chad Huffman seemed to be taken too high, but Ced
Hunter and Burke, as you said, make up for it somewhat. The Padres also
took the usual pitchability Grady Fuson guys in Underwood and Culp
among others, but then they got a power arm in Matt Latos. It’s a good

 Q:  Ron Burgandy? from DC asks:
still thrilled the Tigers were able to draft Miller…what a steal. Any
thoughts on when he might sign? Also, how highly do you rank him
vis-a-vis the top 100 prospects?

John Manuel:
Ron, I’m gonna throw this out at you, if you don’t like it, you can
throw it right back at me . . . Detroit had an amazing first day of the
draft. Miller at 6, once again a Top 25 type of Top 100 player fell to
them,as happened last year with Cam Maybin. Kudos to David Chadd and
ownership there for having the chutzpah to take Miller. Ron bourquin,
Boesch, Ryan Strieby, Jordan Newton and Scott Sizemore are interesting
college bats, and I’m a Jonah Nickerson fan. Another solid effort by
Chadd, who turned in a great draft last year.

 Q:  JM from Phoenix asks:
What happened to Jered Hughes?

John Manuel:
His biggest problem might be that he’s big, guys expect him to be a
power pitcher, and he’s just not. I think he suffers from unrealistic
expectations. He’s a back-of-the-rotation sinker-slider guy, and
there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s just not an elite prospect.

 Q:  Ryan from Georgia asks:
John, appreciate the chat!! Which of the Braves three top lefties from
this draft do you think has the highest upside? Stephen Evarts, Jeffrey
Locke and Chad Rogers; personally from what I’ve read I think Rogers
might’ve been a steal.

John Manuel:
Big fan of Locke and Evarts, and Rogers sounds like a guy who has the
perfect pitcher’s body and smooth mechanics, the guy who three years
from now might be the best of the bunch. I’d expect the Braves to sign
all three and for all three to light up Myrtle Beach in two years or
so. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cody Johnson pick, but the rest of hte
Braves draft is very interesting in a good way.

 Q:  Kyle from Moscow, ID asks:
do you think of the Mariners’ strategy to draft all pitchers with their
first four picks? Was this desperation, or did the players merit their
draft postitions?

John Manuel:
Have you seen the Mariners’ minor league pitchers? I think they needed
to go pitcher, pitcher, pitcher. And in Morrow and Tillman, they got
two high-ceiling pitchers. Morrow could move very quickly. And Kam
Mickolio was one of my personal faves in the draft, the 6-foot-9 RHP
out of Utah Valley State, a senior sign who has had some nice outings,
including the first-ever CG SHO at Nevada’s Peccole Park. He’s a
sleeper for me, if he’s in shape and if his secondary stuff comes on.

 Q:  Josh from Phoenix asks:
any of the top four catchers picked today in the top 100 (Sapp, Conger,
McBride, Tracy) have a chance to stay behind the plate as a pro?
Seems that McBride will lean that way, but I’m not sure about the other

John Manuel:
You shouldn’t front on Conger that way; Hank has worked very hard and
has improved significantly behind plate. McBride would be next, and
then I’d say Tracy. Sapp’s bat would play elsewhere with the raw power.

 Q:  Jim from Baltimore asks:
was right on with Rowell at number 9 for the O’s. How do you think the
Orioles fared today? I’m pumped about Pedro Beato in the sandwich
round. What a steal!!!

John Manuel:
I agree; love Beato at 32. Some other interesting picks–Brett Bordes
has a power LH arm, and Brandon Tripp has some tools and athleticism.
Blake Davis, Zach Britton and Josh Tamba are also picks that could
click for the O’s. A fine encore performance by Joe Jordan.

 Q:  Sammy Patel from Carol Stream, IL. asks:
a huge cubs fan I want to know more about Joshua Lansford what kind of
prospect is he and what kind of upside does he have, all I know about
him is that he is Carney’s son.

John Manuel:
Solid bat, some savvy you’d expect of a big league progeny, and he can
play 3b pretty well. Good college player, doesn’t profile as a star but
has a chance to be a Joe Randa type of 3b.

 Q:  tony from guelph asks:
Jays went for a high schooler for the first time in years. How good a hitter is Travis Snider?

John Manuel:
Very polished, short stroke that is in the hitting zone a long time,
great makeup–good teammate, good leader–and he has arm strength and
some athleticism. He needs to drop some lbs., though, to be a complete

 Q:  Samir from Downers Grove, IL. asks:
Which high risk unsignable players can the cubs go after to make up for the loss of picks 2 through 4.

John Manuel:
I don’t know if they haven’t already done that. Drew Rundle in the 13th
round is a possible guy like that, top HS player in Oregon, perhaps the
No. 2 guy in the Pacific Northwest, at least among HS hitters. Jake
Ramshaw has real power stuff, the RHP out of Ventura College, and could
be a steal. Lars Anderson I believe is out there, power LH bat with a
high price tag as a Cal guy. ARizona prep pitchers Charles Brewer and
Jason Jarvis I believe are both available; Derrick Lutz, the power
closer at George Washington, could be another option if he’s healthy.

 Q:  Mike from Vancouver asks:
I assume the Angels are projecting Hank Conger as something other than a catcher. What position will he eventually end up at?

John Manuel:
You assume incorrectly. Everyone I’ve talked to says he can catch, or
at least will have to prove he can’t in pro ball. The guy works his
heinie off, as Ron Burgundy would say, to stay a catcher and did
one-on-one work with Brent Mayne. So get it out of your head that Hank
Conger can’t catch. Don’t let me catch you asking that again, Mike . .

 Q:  owais from toronto asks:
hi john. how did the jays do today?

John Manuel:
Well, they forfeited a lot of picks to free agents, so Travis Snider
has a lot of burden here. Brandon Magee has power stuff, but they took
a lot of one-tool guys. Magee has a power FB; Luke Hopkins has power
but a bad body; Brian Jeroloman can defend; Jon Diaz can defend; Scott
Campbell’s best tool might be that he’s from New Zealand. Forgive me,
I’m not bowled over with enthusiasm.

 Q:  Phil from New York asks:
Please review the NY Mets Picks so far.

John Manuel:
Phil, thanks for asking kindly. If you can’t tell, I’m punchy. It’s
another list that doesn’t inspire confidence for me; Mulvey’s solid
value at 62, but Holdzom seemed like a reach, and there are a lot of
projection guys thereafter. Dan Murphy could be a nice find, a solid
college bat down at 394 overall pick. Other than Jeremy Barfield (who
really isn’t a sleeper), but I don’t see a big-time sleeper lurking

 Q:  Jay from Chandler, AZ asks:
Royals were expected to take Miller with the first pick but went with
Hochevar instead. The buzz is that signing bonus concerns dropped
Miller to 6th overall. However, I’ve seen that there has been some
concern that Miller has basically only two pitches while Hochevar has
three or four major league level pitches. Did the Royals do the right
thing by selecting Hochevar?

John Manuel:
No, I don’t believe they did. I’d take the LHP with two plus-plus
pitches. If you want to consider his four-seamer and two-seamer (which
is almost his changeup, as it’s often in the mid-80s), you could call
it his third pitch. Also, changeups can be learned, and he has a feel
for spinning a breaking ball. And as for Hochevar . . . I was on his
conference call, and was not impressed. I didn’t think it was a
professional approach to rip Dodgers scouting director Logan White in
the conference call. I also think there are some in the industry who
don’t appreciate the Royals for rewarding the yearlong holdout of a
player who turned down nearly $3 million, by making him the No. 1
overall pick the next year. For me, Hochevar isn’t that much better
than Brad Lincoln or Tim Lincecum, and I’d take Miller over him.

Moderator: Well, I’ve gone from 47 questions when we started
to 190 now, and I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go. I tried to finish
strong. Thanks to everyone for coming in, and check back in for a Jim
Callis chat tomorrow morning!