Sorry I'm late, was on a phone call. I'll answer questions and hope it doesn't ring for a while. Let's get to it, and of course the draft is on my mind.
After a slow start in High A, Yonder Alonso anhililated the ball in May and earned a promotion to AA Carolina on June 1st where he promptly went 3 for 4 with 2 2B, 3 rbi, a run, and a walk in his first game. With Joe Votto having some out of the ordinary health issues, could Alonso move quickly through AA and AAA if Votto is out for an extended period of time?
Yes, he could. The bat is advanced and he could hold his own hitting in the majors today. And it's not like he needs a lot of defensive polish as a first baseman.
Will the Phillies use the old "we don't have a first round pick so we're allowed to pay overslot with our second round pick" at #75? Any ideas who they like?
What always strikes me as odd is that more teams don't use that thinking, but most clubs stick to slot and don't. I do think the Phillies will be aggressive, though. They were hot on Texas HS OF Slade Heathcott, but I don't think he gets that far now.
So Jim, still like Villalona more than Montero?
Sorry, phone again . . .
Assuming Purke falls (due to $$ demands), what do you think the odds are the Yankees draft him with their 1st round pick?
I think pretty good, he'd be a great value like signing Gerrit Cole would have been. But he'd also have to get past the Red Sox at No. 28 to get to the Yankees at No. 29.
how does Skaggs project? do scouts see an increase in velocity?
Yes. California high schooler Tyler Skaggs is a very skinny lefthander who should go from the mid- to high 80s to consistent low 90s or better.
If Purke's signability is a question, why would the Yankees risk taking him since if they don't sign him, they lose their pick?
Because he'll sign for X amount of money (believed to be around $5 million) and the Yankees will just give it to him. Cole didn't go to UCLA because the Yankees weren't willing to all but give him a blank check. He went because he decided late in the summer that he wanted college over any amount of money.
Any word on Kyle Gibson's forearm?
Just that it's been bothering him. I'd take a healthy Gibson No. 3 in this draft, behind Strasburg and Ackley. But if he's not healthy, he could slide.
Would Donavan Tate make sense for the Padres at #3?
Not for me, he wouldn't. I think he's too risky with the bat to take that high and pay him $6 million or so. The best case is he does become a star but it's going to take some time to develop him, and the Padres can get a comparable talent (not saying a comparable athlete) who will develop quicker.
What can you tell me about Everett Williams?
Austin HS outfielder who's one of the best athletes in the draft. Among the elite high school athletes, he's the best hitter. I like him and think he's a first-rounder, just not sure where he goes yet.
If they all were avail at No. 28, who would be the best player avail: Purke, Fuentes or Stassi?
Purke, easily. And I like the other two guys.
Will Crow sign the waiver that will allow Washington to draft him again?
I haven't heard that he has. Won't be an issue, because he's not going to last 10 picks anyway.
Harper on SI's cover - thoughts?
Wish I had the time to read the story, but haven't yet. Excited that it's written by Tom Verducci, should be a great read. What's more amazing, that a high school sophomore baseball player is on the cover of SI, or that he hooked up with the Scott Boras Corp. as a freshman?
If Gibson slips to #10 because of health issues, should the Nats pounce? If he's a bust it won't be huge news due to Strasburg, and if he's not they could have Strasburg, Zimnn, Detwiler and Gibson pitching in April.
I would pounce. Should be very signable, and if that forearm tightness is a harbinger of Tommy John surgery, he should be able to come back. The only drawback is, do you want to wait the full two years for his stuff to bounce all the way back, or get someone comparable who could help quicker?
Do you think the Mariners will take Ackley? I sure hope so because I am tired of drafting pitchers the past few years and then turning them into relievers. Which in my opinion is a waste of a 1st round pick.
No one knows for sure, but I think they will. Almost all the teams behind them covet Ackley but don't believe they'll get a shot.
Most projections have STL wanting a LHP with their pick ... have you heard any word on who they prefer and which ones do you think are still on the board at 19?
Not sure who their top guy would be, but ideally they get a shot at Lipscomb's Rex Brothers or Vanderbilt's Mike Minor. It California HS LHP Tyler Matzek asks for a lot of money, he might fall and would be a steal in terms of talent.
Are these rumors of Sanchez going to the Pirates true?? If so, looks like they're reverting right back to their old ways.
There's talk that the Pirates could save money at No. 4 to spend internationally, but why shift money to get players who will take longer to develop? I've had other people tell me they don't believe this is true. If they do take Sanchez, that's worse than taking Daniel Moskos at No. 4. At least Moskos was a top-10 talent. Sanchez is a wonderful defender with an iffy bat, and should go toward the end of the first round.
Thoughts on Heathcotts character issues?
I'm not going to get into specifics on those issues with Slade Heathcott, but they are very real concerns for some clubs. But at some point in the draft, his talent will stand out a lot more than those concerns, and that point could come at the end of the first round.
If you redid the top 100 now, where would mike stanton rank?
In the top five.
Where do you see Dustin Ackley playing in the majors? I've heard scouts say his bat lacks the power for 1B, and the arm is a question in CF. Do you see him playing 2B as some suggest? Also who would you compare his hitting ability to?
No doubts in my mind he can play center field. He has the athleticism, easily, and even if his arm never came all the way back from TJ surgery, a lot of big league center fielders can't throw. The arm really doesn't matter. I think CF is a lot more likely than 2B, and I think his power will be fine. He'll have more than, say, Mark Grace. Someone gave me a Todd Helton comp for Ackley's bat, and I like that.
Who do you see Detroit taking in the first? Purke?
Keep hearing Jacob Turner, a Missouri HS RHP.
Jim, we are having a difficult time deciding on Shelby Miller, Matt Purek, and one of the college arms like Andrew Oliver and Rex Brothers. Please help us with pick 14! Thanks!
If cost is no object, Purke. If you want more than a slot guy, Miller. I'd take Brothers over Oliver if the two Texas HS arms are gone.
Im excited about the draft coming up next week, is BA going to be involved at all in the tv coverage?
Yes. I'll be part of the coverage on MLB Network. Also will be helping out on mlb.com's video coverage after the first round.
Pitching Coach: Dave Duncan or Don Cooper
Duncan, but Cooper is one of the game's best and gets very little credit for it.
Hi Jim, Draft question..... Do you have a scouting report on Mike Yastrzemski (Yaz's grandson), OF/LHP from St. John's Prep in MA? What is his projected draft round/slot? How strong is his commitment to Vandy?
Probably won't go high because that Vandy commitment will make him unsignable, but might be a top-five-round guy otherwise. He's the best high school hitter in New England unless I've forgotten someone I shouldn't have.
Higher ceiling -- Price or Strasburg?
Hey Jim, thanks for the chat. Where do you draw the tier lines in this class of LHPs? Matzek, Purke, Paxton, Brothers, James, Minor, Skaggs, and Oliver - not their order, but the groupings that you'd put them in (tier 1, tier 2, etc). Thanks!
Lane, I have enjoyed your interviews immensely this spring. (You can check them out at nomaas.org) I'd put Matzek and Purke in Tier 1 in that order, Brothers and James in Tier 2 in that order and the other guys in Tier 3.
That said, Mike Minor could get drafted ahead of all of them.
If you were picking for the pads, who would you take at 3?
A healthy Kyle Gibson, assuming Strasburg and Ackley are gone. If Gibson's health scares me off, and I'm willing to spend, Tyler Matzek. If I have to stick to slot, my board takes a hit, I'd probably go with Zack Wheeler.
Best case and worst case for Boston at 28. Williams or Fuentes?
Best case: Jacob Turner or Matthew Purke. Not sure there will really be a worst case, because someone good may fall because of signability. In terms of expectations, no slight to Fuentes, but he'd be at the bottom end of what I'd hope for there.
I know it's different positions, but who has the better major league career, Tate or Matzek?
Would any player who was drafted over the last 10 years have been taken over Strasburg if they were in the same draft?
No, unless a team didn't want to spend to sign Strasburg.
They pick late, but who are some names you've heard connected to the Rays?
They pick so low that it's a lot of speculation. But one name I've heard more than most who could be there is Arizona HS C Tommy Joseph.
Cubs....31st.....Who have you heard? Tim Wheeler's name has been mentioned locally a few times. Thoughts?
Wheeler is at worst the third-best college position player on the board in my book, though you could debate it and maybe argue him down to fifth- or sixth-best. In a light year for college bats, I don't think he gets to No. 31.
The Braves have been linked to Wheeler at #7, despite most lists I've seen saying he's roughly the 5th best high school pitcher in the draft. Are the Braves reaching here, just because Wheeler is an 'Atlanta-area' guy? As a Braves fan, I was hoping for an elite talent with our highest draft pick since 1991. What gives?
He was the fifth-best HS pitcher on our Top 200 list, but that list is fluid. Talk to five different teams and they might rank in just about any order. Some guys might take Wheeler first. (Right now, I'd go with Matzek, by the way.) If you combine ability and willingness to sign for slot, Wheeler is probably the clear No. 1 guy.
Your Mock V. 3 comes out ______? (Loved your first two.)
Friday. Time of day on Friday depends on how well my calls go. On Monday, John Manuel and I will have a pseudo-mock first round where we alternate picks and say who the teams should draft. On Tuesday morning, you'll get Mock v4.0. And with the draft at 6 p.m., I'll probably blog updates throughout the day.
How can Bumgarner not be the unanimous top pitching prospect currently in the minors? He has been amazing in every league he has pitched in and is still only 19 years old. He is currently dominating AA. Thanks!
If you wanted to quibble, you could say Bumgarner's secondary pitches aren't good enough to call him the best, but he definitely has a case. So does Tommy Hanson, though.
Ok Callis - I know the Giants are pitching rich in the minors, but I've seen a snarky competitor of yours place Tim Wheeler of Sac State as the Giants pick in his mock draft. This scared the pants off me and nearly got me fired for harassment at my workplace to no fault of my own! Should I feel this way? Wouldn't Matzek be a much better pick?
Is Keith snarky? The Giants have worked Wheeler out and will work him out again, but I'd be a little surprised if he went No. 6 despite what I said about him earlier. Matzek would be better but also may cost a lot more, though the Giants usually worry more about ability than signability. (See Buster Posey.)
Jim, in a recent interview with MLB.com, Detroit Scouting Director David Chadd indicated that if the pitchers he covets are off the board when the Tigers pick at 9, he would be willing to go with several position players who are "wildcards." Any idea who these "wildcards" are?
Two would be HS OFs Mike Trout (New Jersey) and Reymond Fuentes (Puerto Rico).
David Lough, legit prospect?
Sure. Not going to be a star but the Royals OF has a chance to be a solid regular.
Let's go lightning round for 10 minutes, or until I no longer can bear my hunger.
What did you think of Wood throwing 169 pitches for Texas the other night? How big a prospect is he?
I have less of a problem with that than bringing back a starter on two days' rest, which several clubs did Monday. I wish they had the regionals go Friday-Sunday to eliminate that option. Wood is a low-angle LHP, not a big prospect, projects as a reliever, seventh- to 12th-round type.
Who are the A's targeting at pick 13? Tate?
I wrote about that Tate rumor in my last mock first round but even I don't really believe it. I think they'd love someone like Matzek or Arizona State RHP Mike Leake.
Jim, give me a couple of players who you think might fall out of the 1st round.
Donavan Tate is the only upper first-round talent who I think has a chance to fall out. Tanner Scheppers could if a) teams are reluctant to clear him medicallly and b) if he wants a ton of money, but I don't think that's true.
CWS champion? (I am disappointed you did not fill out a bracket.)
Draft, coaching and parental responsibilities prevented me from doing so, though I too am disappointed. I think I must have seen the writing on the wall for my Georgia Bulldogs. I'm an SEC homer, so give me Louisiana State to win it all.
You do realize you compared Ackley to a guy that has a career 1.000 OPS, .328 average, 317 home runs and had a run of six consecutive years hitting at least .330-30-96? Yep, I'll take that at 1B, CF, wherever. Even if they are inflated a little by Coors field.
Oh, I realize that. Scouts wondered about Helton's power upside coming out of college. Over a 162-game season, Helton has averaged roughly 25 homers per year on the road and 40 at home. I think Ackley can get to 25.
And as good of an athlete as he was, Helton couldn't run like Ackley or play CF.
If Bryce Harper were in this year's draft, would you take him over Strasburg? If, as is suggested in the SI article, his parents allow him to get his GED and enroll at a JUCO in the fall, making him eligible for next year's draft, how lucky would the Nats be to pick up Strasburg and Harper in consecutive drafts, albeit at a HEFTY price tag?
I mentioned just that possibility with the GED in an Ask BA column in March, so I'll toot my own horn there. That would be a tremendous coup for the Nationals. I'd take Strasburg over Harper. Talent is off the charts for both, but Strasburg has proven himself against much better competition and would help me significantly quicker, if I'm looking for tiebreakers.
This is the lightning round? Dominic Brown, future All-Star?
Yeah, I'm getting too wordy. Not quite ready to say all-star on Brown but I like him.
Strickly your opinion, should the Padres take Tate?
Cheeseburger or Salad?
I think I deserve a big juicy filet right now.
Where does Anthony Rendon get drafted in 2011?
This year alone: Medlen or Hanson?
Hanson. He just needs the shot.
As of today, Gibson or Paxton?
Gibson, even with the forearm tightness.
I know you just picked LSU, but Rice scares me. How do you see that Super Regional playing out?
That's a tough super-regional matchup and Rice should have been a national seed. But I think Anthony Ranaudo is as good as anyone not named Strasburg, LSU has a deeper lineup and Rice's pitching is all beat up.
Tim Wheeler or Jordan Danks?
Lunch calls. See you next week, after the first day of the draft.