Jim Callis jumped on to chat with me before heading to do Round Three on mlb.com:
John: Jim, real quick, let’s review the first round.
Jim: OK . . .
John: Was Matt Hobgood going 5 the biggest surprise of the first round, and why did the Orioles take him over, say, Zach Wheeler. That was the first pick that jumped out to me.
Jim: The first seven picks unfolded as were heard they would Monday afternoon. Hobgood was in the mix for a lot of teams, as a nice package of abilty and signability. He wasn’t one of the five elite HS arms (Matzek, Turner, Wheeler, Purke, Miller), but he was close and he would sign very easily. My guess is Wheeler wanted something over slot and Hobgood agreed to something under slot.
I thought Hobgood was going 11 in the morning, then kept hearing him all the way up to possibly 4 as a longshot.
John: Interesting, because at 11, we kept hearing the Rockies would go for a “signable” prep pitcher. Instead, they pop Tyler Matzek, and I have to say, I’m excited about Colorado’s other picks as well in Rex Brothers and Tim Wheeler (end of first round).
Jim: Yes, that was the first pick that really surprised me. We’ll have to wait and see. Is Colorado going to give him “precedent setting money,” or did they take him and bank he won’t turn down something like $3 million. Regardless, I love the pick. You got a guy you could argue as the No. 2 talent in the draft at No. 11.
Then you get Tim Wheeler at 32 and Rex Brothers at 34, that’s three tremendous values. That’s like a top five pick and two mid first-rounders.
John: Jim, despite all the talk that this would be a pitching draft, the first round was split almost evenly, 16 pitchers, 14 hitters. What did you think about the hitter run at the end of the first round?
Jim: Not surprised, honestly, because once the pitchers went, there were a lot of athletic outfielders for people. Kudos to you for tabbing LeVon Washington as a first-rounder. None of the scouting directors I spoke to thought that had any chance of happening.
John: R.J. Harrison gets all the credit there . . . but seriously, there were some pitchers left on the board who ended up going supplemental. Guys like Rex Brothers, James Paxton . . . what do you think of some of those supplemental choices? I guess Tanner Scheppers really sticks out to me at 44 to Texas
Jim: With Scheppers, when I was making my nonstop phone calls for first-round projections, I could see that coming. I think teams are leery of a shoulder injury. Not sure what he’s asking for financially, but I think it was more a healthy concern, not that there’s something horribly wrong right now, but just the history of being hurt. How about the Rangers getting Purke at 14 and Scheppers at 44? If those guys stay healthy and reach their ceilings, and you package them in a rotation with Holland and Feliz. Wow.
John: Jim real quick, first-round winners: My winners are Colorado, Texas and I’ll also say Minnesota and Cleveland, popping the Twins and Indians for getting White and Gibson so late in the first round.
Jim: The most obvious is the Nationals, because they get Strasburg and another top 10 pick in Storen.
John: Nice call there.
Jim: In terms of value where they got guys, I’ll say Rockies (Matzek, Wheeler), Indians (White), Rangers (Purke), Twins (Gibson if healthy), Brewers (Arnett). If White doesn’t drop to Cleveland, and I’m still surprised the Reds didn’t take him at 8, then Arnett goes 15 to the Indians. The Brewers were in the right spot because a lot of those lower clubs wanted bats.
John: Then we have to ask about, well, the instant analysis of “losers” seems ridiculous to say but it is what it is. What teams left you wanting a bit more? I would say I wasn’t hot on the Fuentes pick with Boston, and also Cincinnati, with Mike Leake seeming a bit too high at 8. And last, I’d say the Yankees, because I really have questions about Heathcott’s makeup
Jim: I don’t want to use the word losers either. I’ll start with the Pirates. I believe they’ll sink their savings into boosting up later picks, but I don’t love Tony Sanchez at No. 4. Great defense, not sold on the bat. The Orioles could have spent on a better pitcher, but Hobgood is pretty good. I can’t really pan any other picks.
John: On Sanchez, Jim, do you think that’s really going to come back and bite the Pirates again? How can they keep skimping on the draft? It bit them in 2007, will it in ’09?
Jim: I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. They told me if they did something like that there, they’d spend the money elsewhere in the draft. They spent a lot on later rounds last year, so we’ll see. Also happy for former BAer Chris Kline, the area scout on Sanchez. But as much as I’ve heard raves about the defense, I’ve heard a lot of people lukewarm on the bat. I might have popped Hobgood, Borchering or Tim Wheeler in that situation.
John: I agree, and I’m also very happy for Chris. I hope Sanchez isn’t Daniel Moskos part II.
Last question Jim, the second round has had some interesting picks. Detroit stands out to me with Andy Oliver in the 2nd round, after getting Jacob Turner in the first. What do you make of Detroit’s haul?
Jim: David Chadd and power arms, who knew? I kid. There was a lot of talk they wouldn’t be able to afford a big-ticket guy and they went and popped Turner. Nice. It worked with Verlander, Miller and Porcello. I’d keep doing it too.
In Round Two, I love Everett Williams to the Padres at 52. They got two of the very best HS athletes in Tate and Williams. Williams has the best bat of those HS athletes. Tremendous value.
John: Finally, three two-way guys in the second round: Mychal Givens as a RHP to Baltimore; Blake Smith as a RHP to LAD; Robert Stock to STL as a C; any thoughts there?
Jim: Stock wanted to catch but I’m surprised he’s getting the opportunity because he hasn’t hit well. Maybe they’re appeasing him for now and will move him to the mound. I could see Givens going either way and think teams were split evenly on that one. Blake Smith as a pitcher is interesting, probably the right call.