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Draft Chat with Allan Simpson

Moderator: Allan Simpson will begin taking your questoins at 2 p.m. ET

 Q:  Rocco from Richmond, VA asks:
Allan: I'm a Pirates fan. What's your take on Andrew McCutchen? I don't know much about him, but with 3 college 3B players also highly rated, they catch my eye more since 3B is a bigger problem spot. Is McCutchen that good? Thanks.

Allan Simpson: With less than 100 hours to go and a lot of teams lining up their draft boards this weekend, let's get things rolling with a Pirates question. McCutchen is somebody they have looked at pretty seriously this spring, but we're also getting late word they may be looking at college pitching--like UMass starter Matt Torra or North Carolina State closer Joey Devine, who could move quickly. McCutchen was compared by one scout to Jimmy Wynn (The Toy Cannon), a little guy from the 60s70s with explosive tools. There are three premium college third basemen--Gordon, Zimmerman and Braun--who may be more ideally suited for the Pirates, but I'm not sure any of them get to the Pirates at No. 11.

 Q:  A.J. Rigoni from Chicago asks:
The D-I strikeout leader Matt Green is ranked 81 on your top 200 list. Will he go earlier because of his numbers in school or will we see go around the end of the second?

Allan Simpson: Green's got great stuff, but the knock on him is he's already 23. We ranked him No. 81, which would make him an early third-round pick, and that's about where he should go.

 Q:  Robin Spears from Mayfield, KY asks:
Do you have any 5th-Yr senior signings to report? Landon Brazell? If not, when can we expect a listing similar to previous years? Keep up the excellent coverage!

Allan Simpson: Brazell did sign before Monday's deadline, with the Marlins. We should have a listing of fifth-year players on Monday. Right now, we've identified about 20 such players.

 Q:  Ben from New York, NY asks:
Hi there Allan, With Drew signing, what are you hearing about the Yankees at #17? Is there a chance that CJ Henry could fall to them in the second round?

Allan Simpson: There's a feeling the Yankees could make a splash with the 17th pick, and Drew is certainly somebody they had targeted. If a big name slips through, he might fall right into the Yankees lap--with money no object. Henry is the player we projected with the Yankees when we handicapped the first round a couple of weeks ago. They may have to get him there as I don't see any way he slides through to the second round.

 Q:  Brent from Flushing, NY asks:
Hi Allan, Has it pretty much come down to Hansen or Pelfrey for the Mets? And is there any chance both are gone before the Mets pick? And if so, who do they go for Bruce, Braun, or McCutchen?

Allan Simpson: There's a lot of interest in what the Mets and Yankees are doing. I think the Mets pick has come down to the two college pitchers, who are both pitching today in regional play--Hansen as a starter with a potential serious injury to St. John's normal No. 1 starter Anthony Varvaro. Mets GM Omar Minaya has seen both, including Pelfrey last weekend when he was 95-96 and very impressive. If both the pitchers should be gone, I think Jay Bruce is the guy. They've been in pretty hard on him all spring.

 Q:  Sam from Boston asks:
Any interesting DFEs that got away?

Allan Simpson: We've identified 65 draft-and-follows who have signed so far, including San Jacinto (Texas) righthander Stephen Marek, the No. 1-ranked guy on our list. He got $800,000 from the Angels. Omar Aguilar (Giants, 8th) and Reinaldo Alicano (Indians, 10th) were the two highest-drafted DFE's from '04, and neither signed--though it really wasn't a big surprise. Aguilar, who was at 98 mph in the fall, came down with a sore arm this spring. To me, the biggest surprise was the Reds not signing Milton Loo, a Hawaiian kid they drafted in the 17th round a year ago that really came on this spring at Yavapai (Ariz.) Junior College. He could resurface Tuesday in the fourth or fifth round.

 Q:  Ralph from New York City, NY asks:
Love the chats! whats the latest on the likely Pelfrey vs Hansen decision for the Mets at no. 9. I sincerely hope they take Pelfrey.

Allan Simpson: The Tigers, picking right behind the Mets at No. 10, thought they had Pelfrey until he was lights out last weekend with a delegation of Mets people there. The word we got this week is the Tigers seem resigned that Pelfery won't get to them now. Too bad, since Tigers scouting director David Chadd has known Pelfrey for years and had nurtured a good relationship with him.

 Q:  Rob from Westmoreland, TN asks:
Huge Braves fan hear! I know how much ATL like taking young arms that slide in favor of the college player. I've heard things about Roe and Itialiano (sp?)....who do you see them taking at 27? Colby Rasmus? Any chance they take some of the college players unsigned from drafts past? Harvey, Greene, or even Micah Owings? Thanks in advance.

Allan Simpson: Roe and Italiano are made to order picks for the Braves, who have a strong preference for high school arms from the southeast corner of the country. I haven't heard Rasmus' name with the Braves, but he's projected to go right about where the Braves pick--late in the first round. I don't see any way the Braves would consider Greene or Harvey, who burned them out of high school, or Owings, a local kid they've had plenty of opportunity to draft before.

 Q:  Darren from Eugene, OR asks:
As always, your draft coverage is out of this world! How does Alex Gordon (future Royal, I hope!) compare with Mark Texeira?

Allan Simpson: That's actually not a bad comparison. Gordon is on par with Teixeira as a hitter, but may lack his explosive raw power. Gordon worked hard this spring to become a solid defensive third baseman and should remain at that position, unlike Teixeira who was moved off third base, and Gordon runs a little better.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
i hoping that the brewers take a college bat with the 5th pick like clement, bruan or possilby if gordon slips to milwaukee?

Allan Simpson: The Brewers are very secretive when it comes to tipping their hand, but there's no question that Gordon or Ryan Zimmerman would be made to order for a team that is thin at third base. If they believe that Braun can make the grade defensively at third base, he could be the pick. But don't rule out Clement, either, as he fits an organization need, or Cameron Maybin--especially if the Brewers continue a track record in Jack Zduriencik's reign as scouting director of focusing on high school players.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
I have heard rumors that arizona might be taking a college pitcher with the 1st pick instead of justin uption? are these rumors true?

Allan Simpson: We've been hearing the same rumors, too, especially since three of the four players on the D-backs short list are Pelfrey, Hansen and Hochevar--all college pitchers. All are represented by Scott Boras, who also represents Stephen Drew. There's not supposed to be a link between the pitchers and Drew's signing the other day, but you never know. Every indication we've got is they'll take Upton.

 Q:  Dave from Sioux Falls, SD asks:
Alan, Thanks for the chat. The draft is what BA does best. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed. My question regards the Cardinals and their possible choices. Thanks.

Allan Simpson: The Cardinals don't pick until 28th, but they have three of the next 16 picks after that and should have a good opportunity to prop up their farm system. They've become one of the most hardcore Moneyball teams with a focus almost exclusively on college players, and players like Stephen Head, Taylor Teagarden, Tyler Greene and Travis Buck, along with the stable of Boras pitchers chould be there for the taking. Don't be surprised, thought, if the Cardiansl spend one of their picks on a high school righthander--specifically Tennessee's Bryan Morris or Kentucky's Chaz Roe.

 Q:  Ahren R from Richmond, VA asks:
Thanks for the chat. I'm wondering what has caused Justin Bristow's stock to drop from potential top 10 pick to supplemental or 2nd rounder?

Allan Simpson: Bristow had a higher ceiling as a position player than as a pitcher, but didn't swing the bat with the same power this spring as he'd shown in the past. That hurt him a bit. He actually had a better year on the mound, which caused a lot of teams to re-evaluate him this spring more as a pitcher, where his upside wasn't quite as high. He'll still go good, possibly even late in the first round.

 Q:  RBillie from Toronto asks:
It seems fairly certain that the Jays are locked into a college player. Ricciardi also mentioned they would have interest in a couple of high school players depending on how things played out. Outside of Upton do you know if the Jays have have been tracking any high schoolers? Maybin, McCutchen, or Bruce?

Allan Simpson: I'm told the Blue Jays are looking seriously at four players they expect to be available at No. 6: Ricky Romero, Wade Townsend, Jeff Clement and Maybin. Of course, that assumes Upton, Gordon, Tulowitzki and Zimmerman are gone. I've J.P.'s choice would be Romero.

 Q:  Shawn from Bellingham WA asks:
Hi. I know the Mariners are interested in Troy Tulowitzki from Long Beach state. How long do you see him playing in the minors before being called up? Would you rate him as a potential top 5 shortstop in the majors? Thanks.

Allan Simpson: Just had to take this question from Bellingham, where BA was published its first two years of existence. The M's have a big interest in Tulowitzki, who is a consensus top 5 talent. He may be the most polished position player in the draft, so he'll be on the fast track and could reach the big leagues by next year.

 Q:  Nate from San Diego asks:
With Sandy Alderson joining the Padres staff who do you think the Padres will go after with their early picks? Thanks for your time.

Allan Simpson: I'd be surprised if Sandy exerts his own influence already, though Grady Fuson, his former scouting director in Oakland, has been seeing a lot of players for the Padres since coming on board early in the year. Not surprisingly, it's almost all college players we're hearing for them at No. 18--chiefly, Oregon State's Jacoby Ellsbury, Tulane's Brian Bogusevic and Long Beach State's Cesar Ramos.

 Q:  Amaral Fan aka Nick from Alexandria Virginia asks:
Allan, two part question here. 1) what does it look like my Washington Nationals will do in the draft. Is Zimmerman a lock, or will the front office look at a potential ace like my fellow Vol Luke Hochaver. and, 2) what is the deal with this Draft and Follow catcher the Nationals just signed named Brian Peacock. They gave him a signing bonus in excess of 100K. Is he going to be a solid prospect? What is his deal? Nick

Allan Simpson: Of the teams with the first five picks, we're hearing Zimmerman to the Nationals at No. 4 is the biggest lock. Peacock was a great sign; a 39th-rounder last year, he would have been a 5th-8th rounder if he had gone back into this year's draft.

 Q:  Jim from Canton asks:
Hey Allan, thatnks for taking the time, we've heard about all the college bats the Indians are interested in at 14 but who are the high schools players that they maybe considering with that pick? Thanks

Allan Simpson: The Indians would prefer a college player, but the two high school players they have shown a lot of interest in are Maybin and McCutchen.

 Q:  Mike from NYC asks:
In reading the scouting reports it appears that many of the states are listed as "not up to par". How will this effect the overall draft? How does this draft stack up against recent years?

Allan Simpson: There are pockets around the country that are not as strong as normal, but overall I think this draft is slightly above average. The strengths are at third base and in the outfield, and there's depth in the high school and college pitching crops. The frontline pitching isn't as good as a year ago, but there's more balance among the position players.

 Q:  Dan M from Wheaton , IL asks:
Can you compare Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge. They sound very similar in size and ability.

Allan Simpson: That's a very fair comparison. Both are on the smaller side, but have exceptional raw speed and power tools.

 Q:  Roman from El Paso, Texas asks:
Are the A's seriously considering drafting John Drennen, a high schooler, with their first round pick? If so, can the end of the world be far behind?

Allan Simpson: I'd say it's a longshot, but Drennen fits the bill for the A's almost as well as any high school player in the draft. He's got above-average power and a disciplined approach at the plate. He's very similar to Danny Putnam, who was drafted by the A's in the sandwich round a year ago and attended the same high school as Drennen (San Diego's Rancho Bernardo High).

 Q:  Jim from Ballwin asks:
Do the Cardinals have any interest in Cliff Pennington if he's around at 28?

Allan Simpson: Yes, because he's a very polished, smart ball player who will get the most out of tools. But I don't think he'll be there still for the Cardinals.

 Q:  Damon from NYC asks:
Where do you see Trevor Crowe being drafted? Which teams have him on their board? Do you think he has more upside than Ellsbury?

Allan Simpson: I see Ellsbury going slightly before Crowe--anywhere after the middle of the first round. Oakland (21) and Boston (23) have a strong interest in Crowe, understandable because they value on-base percentage. Ellsbury has a slightly higher ceiling because he runs slightly better and is a true center fielder.

 Q:  Darron Wilde from Jefferson City, Missouri asks:
What is your mock top five look like?

Allan Simpson: It's the same top four as we had a couple of weeks ago: Upton No. 1 to the D-backs, Gordon No. 2 to the Royals, Tulowitzki No. 3 to the Mariners and Zimmerman No. 4 to the Nationals. As mentioned earlier, no one knows what Milwaukee will do at No. 5, but Maybin, Romero and Braun are three solid names for that spot.

 Q:  John from Brampton, Ontario asks:
I really like everything I hear about John Mayberry. What kind of player do you think he'll develop into? I know he has middle of the order-hitter potential, but if you had to choose, do you think he'll reach his potential or fall well short?

Allan Simpson: Few players in the draft have the physical presence or possess the raw tools Mayberry has, but he just didn't play up to his potential this spring. He has big power, but rarely showed it in games. There's still talk that the Mariners (the same team that drafted him in the first round three years ago) could take him with the third pick overall, but most teams see that as being a reach since Mayberry just didn't swing the bat well enough to warrant going that high.

 Q:  Bill from Hilliard,OH asks:
Allan, havent heard much about any Ivy leaguers this year. Where do Sowers and Venable fit into the draft?

Allan Simpson: The best Ivy Leaguers are Yale's Sowers (twin brother of Jeremy Sowers), Princeton's Venable (son of ex-big leaguer Max Venable) and Dartmouth's Josh Faiola. Sowers' stuff and pitchability are almost as good as Jeremy's, Cleveland's first-round pick a year ago, but the big difference is he's righthanded. Venable is very athletic. He was an Ivy League all-star in basketball, but has never played much baseball and there is a wide range of opinion on his worth as a baseball prospect.

 Q:  Bryan from Eugene, Oregon asks:
Do you see the Padres taking a college player at #18 and if so, is there a chance it could be Jacoby Ellsbury from OSU?

Allan Simpson: This is becoming a strong likelihood.

 Q:  Eric from Denver asks:
Where do you see Jacoby Ellsbury, Trevor Crowe, Colby Rasmus and Travis Buck going in the draft?

Allan Simpson: In a draft that is very strong in outfielders, all should go between 15 and 35.

 Q:  bob from jacksonville asks:
Could any of the college pitchers (like hansen for example) come right in and pitch in a major league bullpen?

Allan Simpson: The trend has been for a college closer to reach the big leagues faster than any other demographic, and that may be the case again. Hansen is the closest and could be there in September--though he is represented by Scott Boras, who is known for his players holding out. N.C. State's Joey Devine and Texas' J. Brent Cox are other closers who should move quickly.

 Q:  Phillip Day from Greenville, SC asks:
Any chance the Rangers might have Jordan Danks playing possum about signability? He'd look awfully good playing behind his brother in a few years.

Allan Simpson: Regrettably, we have about 400 questions on the board that we won't be able to answer, but please tune in to BA.com on Monday as Jim Callis and I will be working the phones over the weekend to come up with a final handicapping of the first round. We'll close the chat with this intriguing question. Most teams are taking Danks at his word that he will attend the University of Texas, but the Rangers would be the one club most likely to take an early-round flier on him. I seriously doubt it would be their first pick (19th overall), though.

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