Hi, everyone. Glad to be back after weeks of slaving away on draft stuff. Still slaving, but have time to chat today. The draft is first and foremost on my mind, so this chat will likely be focused that way. Let's go!
Who is the best fit for the Reds with their first round pick in the upcoming June draft, whom do you see available, and whom do you think they will take? My money is on one of Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, or Shelby Miller?.
I think the Reds almost certainly will take a pitcher, as there aren't a lot of bats worthy of going in the Top 10 this year. And with the arms, teams usually grab the top college pitchers first, so you may be right. I projected indy leaguer Aaron Crow in our first mock draft--we have tons of draft info available at baseballamerica.com, so go check that out. Purke's signability is a bit worrisome, but I could see the Reds taking Matzek or Miller.
Hi Jim ... I realize Jake Fox isn't a kid but with his batting average upwards of .430 in Triple A is there really no place the Cubs can use him?
He's really more of a DH--one scout told me last year that his defense was "a notch above horrific." The only place you could really play him is at 1B, and the Cubs like Derrek Lee and Micah Hoffpauir more. Fox needs a trade.
Oh, and to give you an idea of how much I've been working (and coaching my oldest son's 7th/8th grade baseball team in my spare time), I am four hours short of finishing the "24" season. So I can't comment on "24" this week . . .
Seattle has the number 2 pick in the draft. Who do you see them taking and why?
Very tough to say because there's no consensus No. 2 prospect and the Mariners' new regime plays the draft very close to their vest. I'd go with North Carolina 1B Dustin Ackley, but it could be any of the top 10 or so prospects.
As the Rays currently need a catcher more than any other position, what are the chances Stassi lasts to them?
California HS catcher Max Stassi could be available, though I think he'll be attractive to several teams in the back third of the first round.
Why is it that makes Boras so good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) at what he does. What's stopping other agents from getting their clients the same deals Boras does...what does he have that others don't?
I think Boras dogmatically believes that the draft unfairly limits bonus, and is willing to do just about anything for top dollar. Not that he doesn't have good relationships with some teams, but I don't think he cares as much if things get rancorous. He will take any tactic and go up right against a deadline, trying to get every last penny. I also think some clubs are willing to give into him with the draft in hopes that it will curry favor with him for his big league free agents.
Bottom line: Who should I pick at #3? and Who will I pick at #3 if Strasburg and Ackley are gone?
If Strasburg and Ackley go 1-2, I personally would take Missouri RHP Kyle Gibson at No. 3. I believe he's in the mix for the Padres, who also may be the earliest team (by a few picks) who would pop Southern California SS Grant Green or Vanderbilt LHP Mike Minor.
Jim, Would Alex White be a reach at #5? Who would you take if you were in Joe Jordan's/Andy MacPhail's shoes?
Not at all a reach. It wouldn't surprise me if Alex White was No. 2 on a couple of draft boards. I projected the Orioles to take White in our first mock draft that went up last week.
What are the chances D. Tate is avaiable when the Braves pick?
Donavan Tate, considered the best athlete in the draft, could very well be available at No. 7. He's advised by Boras and reportedly wants a $6 million deal to give up football. Though he's a Georgia native, I'm not sure the Braves would want to go that much over slot for him. Great athlete, still needs to refine his bat. Atlanta would jump at the chance to take another Georgia HS kid, RHP Zack Wheeler, though.
Got a bit of a Red Sox miscellany for you. Ortiz: Dead or just slumping? Buchholz: Cup of Coffee, Trade, or let simmer until sauce thickens. Ellsbury: just a hot stretch, or making good on '07. Shortstop: Make a trade, or wait for Lowrie.
Ortiz: I'm beginning to think he might be dead. Buchholz: Bag Penny and put Buchholz in the rotation. Ellsbury: Was probably overhyped following his 2007 postseason, but he's going to be a good big leaguer. Shortstop: Trade for Brandon Wood?
Help settle a debate for me. Jason Bay or Nick Markakis?
Hey Jim, Are Madison Younginer and Keyvius Sampson first round talents?
For some clubs, yes. We're still finalizing our Top 200 list and have both as sandwich-rounders right now.
Since we're at it, whom do you like for the Pirates at 4?
They'd love Ackley. I think they get a college pitcher, either Gibson or White.
As long as we're doing these.. one last chance at redemeption Mr. Callis.. Mike Pelfrey.. or Phil Hughes..?
Do I have to take either one? I know you want me to say Pelfrey, but 11 K and 17 BB in 41 IP?
Concerned over Hosmer's early season woes? Even had an 0-5, 5 K game this week.
Not at all. Moustakas started slowly last year too. It's tough to hit in the Midwest League, especially when it's cold, especially for someone in his first full year of pro ball. It will take a lot more to persuade me that Hosmer won't be a stud.
What exactly do the Yankees have in Cervelli? I've watched him play he calls a good game, is good defensively. How does he project?
Good defender, shaky bat, more of a backup than a regular on a good club.
Is there any chance Phil Hughes will be allowed to have more than 14 sporadic starts at AAA to learn how to pitch before people decide on him?
I'm with you, Steve. His stuff isn't as crisp as it was at the end of 2006. And he has trouble staying healthy, which doesn't help. But I still think there's a good pitcher in there somewhere.
Josh Vitters is absolutely KILLING the ball right now. When does he see Daytona?
No surprises there. The Cubs have a lot of third-base prospects they like, so barring an injury that will allow them to shuffle guys, Vitters may spend most of the year in Peoria.
Any chance the Nats pass on Strasburg?
Only if he gets hurt.
Thoughts on Miami SS Ryan Jackson? Amazing shortstop, but he can't seem to put it together at the plate. Ceiling of Adam Everett or maybe Jason Bartlett?? Thanks.
More like Adam Everett. I'm not sold at all on Jackson's bat, but his defense still will get him taken in the top two rounds.
Even if Strasburg had TJ surgery tomorrow wouldn't he still be worth the number 1 pick?
You could very well make that case, but it might be hard to give $15 million or so to a guy who needed surgery.
Dallas Baptist shortstop Ryan Goins who now has 22 home runs is playing extremely well as opposed to other college shortstops who seem to be struggling. Have you heard him moving up the lists?
Still don't think he's a top-five-rounds guy. He has a plus-plus arm but he's a below-average runner, so he's going to have to be an offensive second baseman. He can hit, but the ball flies out at Dallas Baptist. I like him, but he might be only the fourth best college projected second baseman in this draft, behind Shaver Hansen (Baylor), Brodie Greene (Texas A&M) and Brock Holt (Rice).
I firmly believe that the Nats could buy a bullpen for $10M or so, move Guzman to 2B, sign Everett (or someone like him) to shore up the D, and throw their young rotation of Detwiler,Martis, Zimmermann and Strasburg. Maybe throw in 1 FA starter on top of that and the team is suddenly decent. Thought? Am I crazy?
That wouldn't make them a contender, but it would make them better. The hardest part may be the bullpen--it's not easy just throwing one together.
Nolan Ryan watched Shelby Miller pitch last night in a Texas HS playoff game and did not disappoint (7 IP 4 H 14 K 1 BB 0 R). Think Miller will last to the Rangers at pick 14? Thanks!
I think he has a chance to do just that--and Miller was my projected Rangers pick in that first mock draft. Miller is very talented, but he's the fourth-best HS pitcher on our board. And the fourth-best HS pitcher usually doesn't go before the 14th pick.
Ben, love the chats. Ethan Martin has been mowin' em down in A ball. What is this guys ceiling? If he keeps this up could he be in the same breath as a Kershaw?
Huge ceiling = frontline starter. Martin was the best high school pitcher in the 2008 draft and the only reason he hasn't been more hyped is that he tweaked a knee shortly after signing and didn't see any game action. He's not quite in Kershaw's class, but he'd make a fine No. 2 behind him in time. Or No. 3, not to forget about Chad Billingsley.
So if the Rangers have to decide between Miller and Purek (the lefty HS pitcher from Houston) who will Nolan and Daniels pick? Thanks again!
Think they might go Miller in that case. They're very close and Miller sounds like he'll be easier to sign.
Matzek, Purke, Wheeler, Miller. In that order?
Our top four are Turner, Matzek, Purke, Miller, with Wheeler right behind at No. 5.
Adam Jones or Carlos Gomez?
Adam Jones. Never been a huge fan of Gomez' bat.
Greinke or Strasburg for the next 5 years?
Greinke. I'll take the guy who's doing it already.
Looking back at college pitchers who throw mid 90s and topping out in the upper 90s in the MLB Draft since 2006, 23 of the 26 went in the first 3 rounds and 2 of the other 3 signed for 2nd and 3rd round money. This is my backing for Garrett Richards of Oklahoma being taken higher than expected come draft night.
Richards has that kind of arm, but has had little success or command. Wouldn't surprise me if the went in the third round, and I love the arm, but he's no lock to succeed.
My wife and I had an argument, and she thinks that once you lose your bat speed you can get it back. I disagreed with her. What are thoughts?
I wouldn't say never . . . Jason Giambi seemed to miraculously regain his overnight, and read into that what you will. But I'm with you. It's like speed or fastball velocity or anything else that's measurable -- once it starts to slide, I think it's hard to reverse course.
Jim, I've tried to find this out EVERYWHERE and have failed. It seems that Andrew Brackman, because he spent that year on the 60-day DL, would need to clear waivers to be sent down in 2011. Is that correct? If so, doesn't it seem like the Yankees lack the necessary time to develop him into a Major League pitcher?
Brackman did sign a major league contract and will pick up an extra option, I believe. That would make him optionable in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. So assuming they had to use the option on him in 2007, his draft year--and I may be wrong on that--you would be correct. Once he puts his injuries behind him, Brackman will move fast. I wouldn't worry much about this.
Where did you have Grant Green in your mock draft? I know he has been dissapointing, but couldn't this just be an off year or the pressure of the draft? Whats is his ceiling, any power potential? Thanks
I had the Padres taking him at No. 3. If they don't, he could fall for a few picks, especially if his signability is an issue. I still believe in the bat. I think he got off to a slow start and the pressure got to him. Average defender at SS with a good bat for the position, could see 15-20 HR out of him -- I'll take that.
Fun hypothetical - Bryce Harper squares off against Stephen Strasburg. Who wins that battle?
Strasburg. He's seen a lot more hitters the caliber of Harper than Harper has seen pitchers the caliber of Strasburg. My guess is Harper has never faced anyone of that caliber.
This is not related to the upcoming draft. I want to know what you think of Felix Hernandez. He has looked good at times, but last night was horrid. In 3 of last 4 outings he has not been sharp. Is it to early to say he is not going to be the next great pitcher?
Too early. He's still just 23, he's good but just inconsistent.
To me, Ackley seems to be emerging as a consensus #2 amongst the different non-teams sources (BA, Sickels, Keith Law, etc.). Do you agree with this characterization? Is it enough separation to call him a consensus #2? To me, the good ceiling and high floor make him a much better #2 than a high-risk non-Strasburg pitcher. Its tough to imagine Ackley not being a successful MLB hitter. Where would Ackley have gone in last year's draft with this year's numbers? Sorry for the ramble!
Not sure who the other guys have ranked No. 2 but he would be No. 2 for me. But that doesn't make him a consensus No. 2 -- there's a lot of debate among clubs as to who the No. 2 guy should be. Ackley would have fit just fine in last year's hitter-heavy draft. I think he's going to handle a move to CF just fine, and I would have taken him over Yonder Alonso, for example.
What is Kyle Gibson's ceiling?
No. 2 starter. My colleague John Manuel and I keep arguing about Gibson in our draft meetings, but just because he doesn't light up the radar guns with a 95-mph heaterl doesn't mean that Gibson doesn't have a plus fastball. It has solid velocity to go with plus command and sink, and it's a plus pitch. So is his slider and so his his changeup. I love the guy.
Smoak last year or Ackley this year?
I'll say Ackley because he'll be a CF.
Has your opinion of Michael Bowden's ceiling been changed by his performance so far this year? A sub 1.00 ERA in AAA to date his pretty solid.
I've always seen him as a solid No. 3 starter, so you may be confusing me with someone else who has undersold him. I still think he's a solid No. 3.
Will Wallace be the Cards opening day 3rd base in 2010?
Jim Could the Angels land Bucholz with a package based around Erick Aybar? What would it have to include?
I doubt it. The Red Sox like Jed Lowrie and are waiting for him to come back healthy, and they don't want to part with Buchholz anyway.
Lightning Round: Freeman or Hosmer?
Let's start the lightning round and hope I survive 15 minutes before passing out from hunger . . . Hosmer.
Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner?
Jake Arrieta is a future # ____ starter in the major leagues?
Subway, Blimpie, or Quizno's. Sorry, had to do it.
I love Blimpie's. Sadly, no close Blimpie's option here on the north side of Chicago.
Does Adam Jones have same power/speed combo with defense as Grady Sizemore?
Rick Hague (2010) or Anthony Rendon (2011)?
Tough one. I'll say Hague because he's a shortstop but Rendon has had a huge freshman year.
First it was Strasberg and everyone else. Now it's Strasberg, then Ackley and everyone else. As a Padre fan how unlucky is it to have the #3 pick this year? Can you compare the talent level of who they're likely to take to past top 5 picks?
No, no, no. It's still Strasburg and then everyone else. The Padres very well could get the No. 2 guy on their board when they pick at No. 3. They'll get a very good player there who will stack up fine against past top five picks.
Adam Jones or Colby Rasmus?
Aaron Poreda's final destination? Starter or Bullpen?
Kris Medlen or Jordan Zimmerman?
B Anderson or Holland?
Howie Kendrick - overhyped or plain old bust?
Neither. He's a lot better than this.
F-Mart or A-Jax?
Francouer or Jason Heyward?
If you somehow got every team's draft list after the 2009 draft, how many different names would appear on some team's 1st round list? 75?
I'll take the over. If each team rated the top 32 players (first round has two extra picks this year), I bet it's closer to 100 different names.
G. Beckham or T. Beckham?
Still going to say Tim at this point.
Kinsler or Pedroia?
Brackman's option in 2007 did not stick because he was recalled not to report 15 days later which voids the option as option must be for at least 20 days. He has 4 options because any player with less than 5 professional seasons has 4 options.
Rod, if that's the case (and that would have been the smart play for the Yankees), then you are correct.
Melancon or Bard?
Rasmus > A. Jones??? Pls explain...
Just think he'll be a better player in the long run, though I like both.
Porcello or Strasburg?
Devin Mesoraco. Bust?
Sure looks that way.
Longoria or Wright?
Longoria, but it's oh so close.
Brett Cecil or J Zimmerman?
Jordan Zimmermann. I really like Jordan Zimmermann.
Slade Heathcott: Pitcher or Outfielder in the pros?
The Texas HS product is talented both ways. My guess is he starts his career as an outfielder, and pitching is the fallback.
A-Rod or Pujols?
JB Cox or Hagadone?
Just noticing, but Brackman went on MLB DL in 2008 and was never optioned. He can be optioned in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 because his injury kept him from playing and counting towards professional seasons. You have time with Brackman, Yankee fans.
There you go . . . should have let Rod answer this question.
does heathcott last until the end of the 1st? 1st Supp? 2nd? -- had he not been injured/ineligible where would he have ranked?
Hard to say. On pure talent, you could make a case for the first round. Should have mentioned too that he hasn't pitched and has spent almost the entire spring DHing, making it harder to evaluate. There also are makeup questions with him, so hard to say how much that will hurt him too. I'll still guess second/third round.
Rich Poythress still a 1st rounder?
I'll guess he goes in the back half of the first round, but he could slide into the sandwich round.
What do you base your opinion of Pedroia being better than Kinsler on? Kinsler is faster and has more power
Much better defender and I think the power is a lot closer than you think.
Will AJ Pollock last to the Nats in the 2nd round?
No, I think the Notre Dame CF goes in the first.
Mmm, sandwich round.
Yes, and that's my cue for lunch. Though I'm going to eat something more substantial than a sandwich. See you next week. Don't forget to visit baseballamerica.com for tons of draft info!