Draft Chat With Dave Perkin and Nathan Rode

Nathan Rode: Thanks for joining us for another draft chat everyone. It's less than two weeks away. Our content is starting to roll out online at baseballamerica.com so be sure to check the site frequently. Dave and I will answer as many of your questions as we can this afternoon. If you have specific questions on players from Southern California, Dave is your guy, and I do a lot of high school coverage as well as Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic for the Draft Preview. Of course, all draft questions are fair game so let's get things started.

    Derek (Windy City): With the Cardinals having 3 of the top 50 & 4 of the first 75 picks, any ideas on what they do? How good should they do, potentially? Thx

Dave Perkin: Many in the scouting industry stridently disagree with the Cardinals philosophy and approach, but they do trust their So Cal scouts a great deal. Jamal Strong, a former big leaguer, is one of those and he is a fine person and an excellent scout. Look for the Cards to go heavy into So Cal again—in the past two years they have gotten players like Stock, Kelly, Hill, Curtis, Gorgen, Pederson. I'd say they go for some pitching out here in a big way.

    Chuck (Wichita): It appears the Royals choice at 4 will be either Chris Sale or Yasmani Grandal. Is that accurate or is there a chance Machado or Tailion slips to them? How good could Chris Sale be?

Nathan Rode: Sale and Grandal are certainly possibilities. I don't think Machado or Taillon get that far, but there's an outside chance. Fourth overall for Grandal is rich for me, but as we all know it only takes one team to like you and they don't always take the best talent available. Signability is a factor of course.

    David (Tempe, AZ): Have you heard anything about what the Diamondbacks might do with the #6 pick? Thanks.

Dave Perkin: Arizona went nuts for hitters last year—Borchering, Davidson, Wheeler, Nick, etc. I know they like Dylan Covey a great deal (who doesn't?) but he may not fit up quite that high. Don't be surprised if they go for an arm.

    tom (pitt): with a possible IF of Alvarez, Machado, Walker and Jones how solid would that be for the Pirates?

Nathan Rode: That left side is pretty darn good on its own. It's tough to project if Walker and Jones will still be there when Machado would arrive in the big leagues. But if I were a Pirates fan and they took/signed Machado, I'd be pretty excited.

    Gary (TX): Are Austin Wilson and Zach Lee considered to be the toughest signs in this draft?

Nathan Rode: They're definitely two of the tougher ones. Wilson has a very strong academic background and a commitment to Stanford while Lee has a scholarship to play quarterback for Les Miles. RHP/3B Kaleb Cowart apparently has thrown out Casey Kelly money, which might scare some teams off. But, as John Manuel has pointed out, Cowart doesn't have an SEC QB scholarship in his back pocket. Their similarity lies in that they're prospects on both sides of the ball.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Dave and Nathan, thank you guys for the chat and the great draft coverage this year - awesome work! How does Castellanos stack up against recent prep third basemen like Vitters, Moustakas, and Borchering?

Dave Perkin: He doesn't. Vitters, Moustakas and Borchering are all potential huge impact bats and I don't see Castellanos anywhere near that range. He is a fine player, don't get me wrong, but he's not in a league with those three. As a 3B, keep an eye on Chad Lewis, from Marina High in Orange County. He'll probably go from the 3rd to the 5th, but I like him a great deal.

    Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Will Kevin Gausman make it out of the first round or will a team take a chance on his stuff?

Nathan Rode: It does look like Gausman will make it out of the first round. He's had an inconsistent spring and his velocity has been down a bit. He pitched a ton last summer and fall, then played basketball over the winter, so he hasn't had much of a break. If he heads to LSU he would be a draft eligible sophomore.

    John (Houston): When will the state by state draft information be hitting? I have always enjoyed that.

Nathan Rode: It starts today with Florida! It actually might be going live as I type...

    Robert (Rosendale, WI): Wilson, Ragira, Vanegas - what would you set the odds at of each joining Stanford next season?

Dave Perkin: Wilson and Ragira a good cahnce of winding up on the farm, Vanegas not so much. I saw Wilson yesterday in a local playoff game, and, to be honest, I am not sure he will hit. He struggles with breaking and off speed stuff and dips the back side prior to swinging—not quite a collapse, but close. There have been a lot of Mike Stanton comparisons with him, but Wilson is a long ways from that level of hitter.

    Scott Thorman (Morristown, NJ): Is Manny Machado an overdraft in the top 5? I've heard some projections that he won't hit for much power.

Nathan Rode: No. He is wiry strong and could develop average power and have a chance to hit .300. Plus he can stay at shortstop. I'll take a guy like that in the top five every year.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Which round do you see Angelo Gumbs getting taken in?

Dave Perkin: I'm certain that any socut will tell you that every year they have one or two players in their area they like better than the crowd does, and one or two they like far less than the crowd does. Gumbs is my favorite So Cal HS position player this year. He has 5 tool potential, and plays like a maniac. His hitting mechanics are a shade raw, but he has terrific bat speed. I would take him over several more highly pblicized OF candidates.

    Donald (Tempe): Where will ASU pitcher Josh Spence be picked? Is there any chance he improves on his 2009 third round selection?

Nathan Rode: He hasn't pitched at all this spring so I'll say there is no chance he improves on his 2009 selection.

    JAYPERS (IL): Which two players would you award the title of "Biggest Sleeper" to, one each in hitting and pitching? Thanks.

Dave Perkin: Peter Tago is not a sleeper exactly, but he is my fave So Cal HS pitcher. A scout who is a good friend of mine once told me, "Don't scout what they are, scout what they will be." Tago isn't bad now, but in 7 years, look out! He will need to sharpen the curve and add two more pitches, but player development guys need something to occupy their time, don't they? As a hitter,I would go with Dominic Ficociello. Uneven 2010 season, but he generates excellent bat speed from a skinny frame. He's one of the few HS hitters who really knows how to accelerate the bat head just at the moment of contact.

    Grayson Coles (Denver, Colo.): The summer showcases for next year start right after this year's draft. Who are the top high school players we should know about for next year?

Nathan Rode: I can't wait for the summer to start. Here are a few names: LHP Daniel Norris from Tennessee, RHP Dylan Bundy from Oklahoma, OF Dwight Smith from Georgia, SS Christian Lopes from California. And a few of my favorites: RHP Dillon Maples from North Carolina, IF/C Nick Delmonico from Tennesse and finally my personal cheeseball RHP Tyler Beede from Massachusetts.

    Clint (Rome): Lot`s of internet buzz lately about the jays being in on Austin Wilson with their 11th pick, buying any of that?

Dave Perkin: Toronto has a new and novel scouting system this year. I se their guys everywhere, so I'm not sure I can read nayhting into who they like or don't like. Re Wilson, he could go anywhere, but my sense is that t go at number 11, the Jays have to really—and I mean REALLY—sold on his bat. I don't think they or anyone else is quite that sold.

    Brittney (Virginia): Where do you see Tyler Cannon (from University of Virginia) being drafted, and what position would a team be looking at him for?

Nathan Rode: I'm definitely a fan of Tyler Cannon. He's had a very good career for Virginia and played a variety of positions. He could be one of the top seniors off the board this year, but I don't think it'll be in the first six rounds. I'll say anywhere from the 7-12 range. He's shown he can hit some and hasn't been switch-hitting for very long. While he plays a good college shortstop, he would likely move in pro ball. Scouts I've talked to see him as a utility guy. He can play SS in an emergency, but has played every infield position at one point. He's even played a little catcher and I would try him behind the plate myself.

    Steve (Augora): Matt Bywater out of Pepperdine now has 4 CG shutouts. His ERA, is basement at 2.29 and he is getting big strikeout numbers. In a draft with light college lefties how is he not on your top 200?

Dave Perkin: I think Bywater fits in the top 200. He is a very savvy pitcher with excellent movement and location on all of his pitches. Bywater is calm, composed, and has the smarts to get out of the tightest jams. The only thing that may knock him down is his lack of big vleocity...many clubs want big guys with big arms and big upsides in the early rounds. I don't necessarily agree with that outlook, but many clubs take that approach.

    jeff (new orleans): I know it is isn't the 2011 draft, but what are your thoughts on Trevor Bauer and where do you think he'd get taken in next year's draft? Thanks!

Dave Perkin: Bauer is a close friend of Cody Buckel, a HS prospect for this year's draft. Bauer started strongly this season but has struggled recently. He's lost some velo and command, gotten behind too many hitters. Still, he's top 3 round guy for next year with his heavy low 90's fastball. It will be interesting to see if he skips Team USA or the Cape this summer to give himself a breather.

    Fred (Ohio): Do you think that Jedd Gyorko can play second base or is a move to third more likely?

Nathan Rode: I had West Virginia in my coverage and there wasn't really a consensus on where he'll end up but both positions you mention are a possibility. Some don't think he has the range for second so you would have to be really sold on the bat for him to play third. The bat is really good but his power is average.

    Mike (Chicago): Who do you see the Cubs picking?

Dave Perkin: The Cubs need to nail that 16th pick, because after that they have to twiddle their thumbs until the second round and pick number 65. I know they like Wilson, but they could go for any number of players. Pitching in this draft is a much safer bet than hitting, so my guess is they will snatch a pitcher.

    Taylor (Houston): How is a player draft eligible after 2 years at a D-1 school? Thanks!

Nathan Rode: If a player turns 21 within 45 days of the draft, they're eligible. There are also redshirt-sophomores, but that's obviously after their third year at school.

    Grayson Coles (Denver, Colo.): Thanks for chatting, Dave. With some of the references you make in your writing to older players, it sounds like you've been doing this for a while. What are some of your fondest memories / favorite players you've seen while scouting?

Dave Perkin: The best HS pticher I have ever seen was Bill Bordley, a lefty from Bishop Montgomery HS in Torrance, Calif, taken in the mid 1970's by Milwaukee and then later out of USC by the Giants. Arm trouble prevented him from being the next Koufax. Ken Brett—not George— was the best position prospect I have ever seen. I know he was a pitcher in the big leagues, but if he had been an OF, he had 5 tool skills that were off the charts.

    Matt (Whippleville, NY): All the scouts seem to think the Mets are leaning towards a bat (Colon or Cox) with #7. Is it just me, or don't they need to look pitching first?

Dave Perkin: Cox would probably be the guy instead of Colon. I'm not a big Colon fan, but I know for a fact that the Mets prefer big, physical, strong guys. The Mets are a club that sorely needs a good draft. Their drafts recently, with the exception of 2008 when they got Davis, have been poor and have led to a fairly barren farm system.

    Will (Blacksburg, VA): How good are the three prospects from Virginia Tech? Clearly Wates and Hahn are pretty highly touted, how do they project?

Nathan Rode: All three have a chance of being picked before the third round starts. Hahn has electric stuff and is the top guy in the state, but he missed three weeks and his first two starts since his return haven't been great. He'll pitch this week in the ACC tournament and scouts will have a close eye on him. Wates is a plus runner that has shown an ability to square the ball up. Scouts say his swing is unorthodox, but it works for him. The only question is can he play center field? He has the speed for it, but he's played right field and first base for the Hokies, two positions he doesn't profile for. Mathew Price is a sophomore-eligible righty with good stuff. He has some stiffness in his delivery and tends to leave pitches up in the zone, making him prone to getting hit, but he could go in the second round.

    John (Charlotte): How many players do teams typically sign after the draft as NDFA?

Dave Perkin: It varies. After clubs draft players and get them into their camps, they will look around and see where the holes are on the minor league ballclubs. Then, typically, they'll call their area scouts and say, "We need a (fill in the blank). Got anybody out there we can sign?" Not rocket science, but that is normally how it proceeds.

    Cole (Yorba Linda, CA): How, if at all, does the injured hand affect Gary Brown's draft status? Do you see both Brown and Christian Colon being selected in the 1st Round? Top 20 picks? Where does Daniel Renken fit in the draft?

Dave Perkin: Brown is my favorite college position guy in the nation. Remarkable speed, terrfic defensive OF, greatly improved bat. If scouts are convinced the hand injury is no big deal, he goes 1st round. For me, I would take Brown over Colon any time, any day. But there is a lot of support for Colon, and he is probably a first rounder as well. Of course, he has a leg injury suffered last year that concerns clubs. As for Renken, I think he goes 7th to 15th round.

    Mike (Philadelphia): Guys, Any chance a player from the Philadelphia area comes off the board in the first 25 rounds?

Nathan Rode: I'll give you three that could go in the first 10. Jesse Biddle, lhp at Germantown Friends; Sean Coyle, shortstop at Germantown Academy and his teammate, righty Keenan Kish. Biddle and Coyle will go the highest of the three, quite possibly in the first three rounds. Kish landed just barely outside of our Top 200, but he has a nice frame and some polish for a high schooler.

    Brian (Philadelphia): Have you heard any names linked to the Phillies at the end of the first round?

Dave Perkin: The Phillies go very heavily into So Cal High Schools, so Wilson is a possibility but so are others. Thye love athletes, so Brown may go there on the tiny chance he is still available.

    michael (Michigan): Anyone word on who the Tigers might draft with their 1st two picks?

Nathan Rode: We're getting closer to the draft, but it's still tough to say. There are a lot players that could go in that range, but the Tigers have shown in the past they're not afraid to jump on a guy that falls because of signability. I've heard Peter Tago as a possibility. That wouldn't surprise me. They've had good success with high school arms and Tago would fit in their organization nicely.

    AngryJohnny (Boston): Who's this chap Brian Harper a couple of guys at lunch were chatting about?

Dave Perkin: Ah ha, a Harper question. Imagine my shock. For me, if Harper comes out as an OF, he is similar to Josh Hamilton. Big bat, strikes out a lot, tremendous arm. Harper is not the runner or defender Josh is, so Harper will play RF, not CF. Harper will be a .275 to .290 big league hitter, 30-40 homers per year, 150 K's. When he begins in pro ball, he will see off speed and breaking stuff, and pitches on the outside corner at the knees until he is blue in the face. If he solves that problem, then away he goes. If not, he'll be a bust. I'm betting he does solve it, but it may take some time.

    Dave (Toronto, ON): A lot has been written about Toronto's rededication to scouting under new GM Anthony Anthopoulos. What direction do you think the Jays organization will go with their 10 picks in the first 126 selection of the 2010 draft? Will they focus on pitching or hitting; college or high school? Or will they simply take the best available talent? Thanks!

Nathan Rode: The answer you'll hear the most is that they'll take the best talent available. With that many picks I would say it's fair to think they'll end up with a solid balance of those types of picks you mentioned. However, keep in mind that some of those picks are unprotected because they're compensation from not signing guys from 2009. So they'll have to take someone they're extremely confident in signing with those.

    Carroll (SoCal): What are the Halo's looking for with their first round picks?

Dave Perkin: Once again, the Angels have a boat load of early picks. They have one of the finest scouting/player development systems in the game, and look for them to mine heavily So Cal talent, particularly the High Schoolers. FYI, the Angels run an elite scout team every fall on Wednesday nights in Southern California, so they know all of the local top prospects extremely well.

    Mike (Pitt): Manny Machado this year or Dustin Ackley last year?

Nathan Rode: I really, really like Machado, but I would take Dustin Ackley. It's just that good of a bat.

    Michael (Cary NC): Is there any scenario where Harper isn't selected #1? And do you see him as a catcher once drafted, or will be he moved?

Dave Perkin: In all likelihood, he will go number one. However, he does have lots of options and if he does sign, it will be right at the deadline. Sources have told me that the Nationals will shift him to the OF, so that his hitting ability will not be worn down by catching. If he stays behind the plate, he has to eliminate a hitch in his delivery. He wraps the ball behnind his neck when throwing it to second, which adds uneeded time to his throws. Shouldn't be hard to correct.

    Allyson (Dallas): Waiting on you to answer a ladies question! Any word on what the Rangers will do at 15 and 22?

Nathan Rode: I answered Brittney from Virginia! The Rangers' pick at 15 is unprotected so they'll take someone there they feel they can sign. A couple names Jim Callis mentioned in his mock draft were Brentz and Vitek. At 22 they could go for one of the Texas arms like Lee or Jenkins.

    howard (Los Angeles): Who do you see as the signable hs catchers?

Dave Perkin: Sabol is not considered a tough sign, but he will probably shift to the OF. Swanner is thought to be a tough sign. Hernandez and Brantly are said to be signable. Sawyer probably won't go high enough to forego UCR, and Aaron Jones has priced himself way out of the market.

    Reggie (San Antonio): Any ideas as to which way Houston is leaning with thier multiple picks?

Dave Perkin: I hear they like Chad Lewis a great deal.

    Mike (Riverside): Lifelong Padre fan here and I liked the direction they took in the draft last year. What do you see them doing with the #8 pick and beyond this year? Thanks!

Dave Perkin: Gumbs is a strong possibility for San Diego, in the 2nd or, more likely, 3rd round. The Dodgers like him also. This will be a fascinating draft for SD, for they have a new, young scouting director and may veer off and take unexpected, but exciting, chances.

    Rob (Little Rock): As a Canadian transplant I always keep up with the boys from up north. I had someone from back home tell me that there could be 5 Canadian players taken on the first night of the draft. Could you enlighten me on who these guys might be?

Nathan Rode: The first night is only the first round and first supplemental so there won't be five Canadians taken. But the guys your friend is probably thinking of are catcher Kellin Deglan and lefties Evan Rutckyj and Evan Grills. Plus outfielder Marcus Knecht from Connors State (Okla.) JC and lefty James Paxton, formerly of Kentucky but now pitching in the independent leagues.

    glen (louisiana): what's the latest on garin cecchini? will his knee injury prevent someone from taking a chance on him in the first 5 rounds or will he end up at lsu?

Nathan Rode: He's kind of a wild card but I think a team will take him in the first three rounds. I'd do my best to buy him out of LSU. He can hit.

    Matt (Albany): Where is AJ Griffin gonna go?

Dave Perkin: Is that the guy at USD? I would say 8th to 15th, if not later. He's been overshadowed by Blair and Solis this year, plus he has had rough spots this season. Griffin is a big physical guy but does not have a huge fastball or projectablity, so that should knock him down some.

    JIM (Denver): What is the Rockies draft prospect?

Dave Perkin: The Rockies are a very smart organization with high quality people in the field scouting players. They pick 26, 47 and 76. Colorado has gone heavily into So Cal recently, but a Tulowitzki or Matzek isn't out here this year! Still, with the quality of people they have making the decisions, look for the Rox to clean up once more.

    Stephen (Alta Vista, CA): Thanks for the chat guys. Where do you see Karsten Whitson ending up? Jonathan Mayo projects him 10th in his newest mock draft, how do you feel about that?

Nathan Rode: I think he's a first round arm for sure and a possibility at 10. He's had an inconsistent spring so that might be a little high, but it just depends on the team. One thing we've discussed a lot in our offices is that we think there is a clear top four, then from there through the first supplemental you could come up with a number of different possibilities and be close. If Whitson pitches in the Florida all-star game in Sebring (Conor Glassey will be there), that could be a big tell for him.

    Stephen (Ohio): Who are the top collegiate second basemen heading into the draft?

Dave Perkin: It is sort of a scouting axiom that you never find prospects at 2B or LF. Thta being said, my gues is that Colon will switch to 2b eventually, so I would say Colon is the top 2b guy in college now. Kind of a Ronnie Belliard type.

    Fred (Ohio): Thoughts on Kris Bryant's draft status?

Dave Perkin: I first saw Bryant at a showcase in Tucson in January of 2008 and loved him. Fluid swing, nice actions, good arm. I am not so thrilled with him now. He has no speed, so he'll probably move to 1B as a pro. His swing is marvelous, but his bat is a shade slow, so he may be a 30 homer, 150 K guy later on. My biggest concern is that he plays with a near complete lack of energy or passion. Still, many clubs love that big frame and provocative swing, so he could go early—2nd or 3rd round. Ok, everyone thanks for the chat. I can't believe June 7 is almost upon us!

    Josh (Boston): What can you tell me about a pair of Florida prep pitchers, Daniel Gibson and Luke Jackson? Are they signable at this point?

Nathan Rode: Gibson is a big lefty with solid-average stuff. Jackson is smaller but has a live arm. Neither seem to lean heavily one way or the other on the signabilty scale, but that will determine where they get taken. That's gonna do it for us today everyone. Sorry we didn't get to all of your questions, but come back next Wednesday for another chat!