Expos Draft Preview
By Michael Levesque
Scouting Director: Dana Brown (first draft: 2002).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking fifth)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking sixth)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking fifth)
With the smallest amateur scouting department in the game and a budget that limits their ability to sign premium talent, however, Expos will continue to operate at a distinct disadvantage on draft day until the long-term future of the team is resolved.
The Expos have traditionally favored raw, athletic players. But Brown understands the constraints he's working under, so his philosophy has been to focus on polished college prospects with advanced high school products sprinkled in.
That was the approach last year when the Expos took Clint Everts with the fifth overall pick. After that, 12 of the next 13 picks were used on college players. They paid $2.65 million to sign Everts, and for the most part paid market value for the rest of their picks.
This year the Expos draft 20th overall, the lowest they've selected since 1997 when they took Donnie Bridges with the 22nd pick. The system's biggest weakness is at catcher, but Brown will go for the best player available when their pick comes up.
Brown covets power bats and power arms with plus breaking pitches. If he decided to go for a bat and money was not an obstacle, Rice first baseman Vince Sinisi would fit the mold. But because Sinisi is advised by Scott Boras and is a draft-eligible sophomore, he's not a good fit.
And with college position players thin this year, Montreal might go after a high schooler. Third baseman Eric Duncan, shortstop Matt Moses, and outfielders Chris Lubanski, and Tim Battle all have been followed closely by the Expos this spring. If it's pitching Brown favors, Texas high school lefthander John Danks, along with righthanders Daniel Bard and Jeff Allison, could be in the mix along with a number of college arms.
Subsequent rounds should see the Expos go after position players as they try to replenish a minor league system thin on them. The club is also likely to take at least one college senior in the first 10 rounds. With seniors receiving considerably smaller bonuses than other players, the extra money could be allocated for more expensive signs.