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Chat: Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday June 07, 2013 10:30 AM ET chat session with Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft.

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Nick answers your draft questions throughout the day.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Hi everyone! Thanks for joining me this morning for a little draft/prospect chat! Hope you had as much fun with the first two rounds of the draft as I did. Lots of good questions already in the queue so let's get started!

David (Virginia): I was disappointed to see the O's pass on Austin Wilson at 37 in favor of Josh Hart, and Devin Williams or Jon Denney at 61 in favor of Chance Sisco (who various articles have described in the last couple of years as a P, 3B and SS). Did they really make the right moves in skipping over these talents for the players picked?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Well, Williams came off the board to the Brewers six or seven picks before Baltimore had a shot in the second round. But I understand your general point. Wilson was a likely first rounder entering the spring and missed a bunch of time due to injury. He has already turned down a few million (when drafted out of high school) so I'd imagine he is angling for 1st round money regardless of where selected.

Denney, likewise, was set to go in the first round before high level decision makers started cooling on him as a sure fit behind the dish. I could see a team on the phone with him early this morning to try and work out a deal, but we are getting close to the point where he might be better off going to Arkansas.

Sisco won't command anywhere near the money Denney and Wilson would, so Baltimore has more financial flexibility entering Day 2. Let's see how they use it.

Shepherd (DC): I have been reading about financial crises. I noticed how they take everyone by surprise and then a neat explanation is given that really does little to inform us of the next crisis. This made me think of Mike Trout and how most teams missed selecting him. Do you think clubs are better assessing the Northeast talent market and would be able to identify a Mike Trout today?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: No. And I also think anyone who tells you they expected Mike Trout to be...what he is...is stretching the truth just a little. The realities of scouting the northeast include inclement weather and spotty competition. No amount of improved scouting or analytics is going to be able to adequately counter that. If anything, I think you'll see more teams spend resources on bringing players in for workouts (which they already do, but the process has expanded).

Josh (Boston): Is Denney dropping more because of asking price or is it more teams think he can stick at C less and less? Can he play elsewhere other than 1B if he can't stick?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: A little of both, though I haven't heard a specific number on Denney. If he were to move out from behind home, he's athletic enough to try in a corner outfield spot but probably fits best at first base. If you believe in the bat that was on display last summer through winter workouts, it should play at first.

JusitnG (Pittsburgh): Do the Pirates now have the best OF prospect trio in Meadows, Bell, and Polanco.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: That's a nice trio, but give me the Cubs with Soler in left, Almora in center, and Bryant in right field.

Mark (Springfield): The Cards GM is saying that their top 3 picks may result in mostly "value" picks the rest of the way in the draft. Do you see the Cards still managing to find some usable parts out of what's remaining if they have to commit so much to the "big three?"

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: There is certainly quality resources to be mined in this draft. Of the three picks last night, Kaminsky (with a UNC commit) and Mercado (with an FSU commit) could require above-allotment money to sign, with Kaminsky being the big ticket item. There should still be room, however, for the Cards to get creative if they so choose. Don't forget, most teams can free up an extra $300K to $600K between the last four rounds or so by going with low-leverage and senior signs.

Nate (Indy): Hi Nick, thank you for the early chat! Assuming Kris Bryant signs with the Cubs, does he have the best power potential in their system? I know they have some other guys with light-tower-power (Vogelbach, Baez, Soler, Golden) and wonder where Bryant ranks among those prospects. Looks like the system is light on arms but heavy on impact bats. I think it was a good pick though.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: There is certainly an argument for Bryant possessing the best power--certainly the best playable power. Baez could challenge him in raw, but Bryant's bat-to-ball ability is superior. I agree, it was a solid pick for the Cubbies.

LoyalRoyal (Dumbfounded, USA): Hunter Dozier? Really?? Please talk us Royals fans off the ledge. Lol. Seriously though, wouldn't a power hitter, of which there was a few in this tier, been a better choice? Also, why did Sean Manaea drop to 34th? Thanks...

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Manaea dropped down for a couple of reasons (1) he battled injuries this spring (primarily his hip) which negatively impacted the quality of his stuff, and (2) outside of his monster summer on the Cape, he had never really shown a high quality secondary pitch (including in the fall following the Cape). He's a lotto ticket with a great potential payoff but will require a substantial investment and he comes with a lot of risk.

Dozier was almost certainly a pre-draft deal freeing up money for use later on. Kansas City may think he can stick at short for at least a little while, which would bump him up their board compared to others'. I think we need to see what KC does early today to get a full picture as to the overarching draft strategy, though. The Royals have a better idea as to how much extra money they are working with, how much Manaea will demand, and how much, if any, can be spread to someone like Denney, Boldt, Wahl, etc.

InfraRen (Minny): Are Ryan Boldt or Jon Denney signable at this point?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I think both would need to be tabbed pretty early today to give teams enough base slot allotment to work with in order to reach the money likely needed to buy them out from Nebraska and Arkansas, respectively. Tough spot for teams with Boldt, since they are working almost exclusively off of reports from last year.

Speaking for myself, I'd give either one first round money without too much concern, provided I had risk appropriately allocated otherwise with my other selections.

justin (tampa, fl): Am I crazy or did Tampa just end up with a bunch of talent last night?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Tampa selected 21st, 29th, and 60th overall and wound up with one of the top catching prospects in the draft, one of the top middle infielders in the draft, and a college arm that had top five overall heat entering the spring. I love what they did. Ciuffo and Unroe are gamers with really impressive tool sets. I wasn't hapy with what I saw from Stanek this spring, but I think Tampa will work with him to get him closer to where he was last year, mechanically, and adjust as needed from there. Still up in the air as to whether he's a starter or reliever, long term, but it's one of the most electric arms in the class when it is right. Really nice job by the Rays yesterday.

Bubba (STL): Why Marco Gonzales to the cardinals at 17th? Lots of players with considerably more upside still on the board

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Gonzales gets undersold some because he lacks the big fastball, but he does things with his changeup that many major league arms can't do. His curve is also better than advertised in the media, and he can cut his fastball with good result. He shouldn't require much developmental time in the minors and I'd wager could be signed for under allotment, which frees up money for the Cards to go aggressive in grabbing Kaminsky at the end of the 1st round.

Injecting those two arms into an already stacked system is going to look really good this time next year.

docg16 (Latham, NY): I live near a NY-Penn rookie league team and was wondering how best to predict which of a teams picks are likely to start at that level. Is there a reliable profile such as age, drafted round, etc that best determines this?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Usually college guys and international/high school signs with previous experience in pro ball (complex/rookie). Some orgs use different measures, so the best tool is just to look at the roster from last year to see which players populated the list.

InfraRen (Minny): What's your take on HS Pitcher Chandler Eden?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Eden is a slightly undersized power arm from Yuba City, CA with inconsistent secondaries but projection in body and stuff (he's young and there is plenty of room in his frame to hang muscle). I think he may be best served heading to Oregon St. and developing further there, but I could see a team with some extra money popping him and giving him two years at the complex level before bumping him to full season ball.

John (Baltimore): Can Hunter Harvey's repertoire work as a SP?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Sure. Once he gets a little more strength and finds more consistency in his mechanics, he's likely to have a big fastball with a chance for a plus breaking ball. He flashed a solid change-up throughout the summer, though he didn't use it much this spring. Seems like a nice foundation to work with.

Joe (Miami): Thoughts on the Marlins first day?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: The Fish had four picks and landed Colin Moran (3b, UNC) in the first, Matt Krook (lhp, St. IGnatius Prep (CA)) in the supplemental-first, Trevor Williams (rhp, Arizona St) in the second, and Colby Suggs (rhp, Arkansas) in the supp-second. This is a pretty nice haul if you believe Krook is a starter and Williams can miss more bats as he refines.

I have some concerns as to Krook's signability away from Oregon, but have been told by a couple people that they think he's ready to play pro ball and will skip Eugene. Moran is arguably the best hit tool at the college ranks (I might like Peterson a little better) and Suggs has a really big arm and hard breaking ball, but lots of issues commanding both. Some risk, but a nice collection of talent and a broad portfolio with different levels of upside and risk across position types. Looks good to me.

brian (MASS): In a dynasty league in which you're deep in pitching (harvey, minor, teheran, gausman, zimmer, T. walker, tillman, straily, guerrieri) and a little lite in mlb hitting, would you trade jose fernandez to acquire puig? He looks like a beast!

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I'm not an expert in fantasy baseball, but that sounds like a good idea to me. Puig may come with some ups and downs this year, but has the tools to be a monster.

redguy12588 (Pittsburgh): McGuire and Meadows = Tony Sanchez and Josh Bell?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I think the former has a little more ceiling than the latter. McGuire has raw tools to surpass what Sanchez was expected to be.

Bubba (STL): Where is Jacob Brentz gonna get drafted at now?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Depends on how badly he wants to go to Missouri. I understand utilizing a scholarship as some leverage, but keeping things in perspective he is still very much an unrefined power arm at this point. If he is looking for more than supplemental-1st to 2nd round money, it may not be there for him.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): Is Kaminsky a starter or a reliever long-term?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Starter all the way unless something unexpected happens related to durability. He has three pitches that can all be plus or better, and the curve is one of the best in the entire class--college or high school.

Adam (Shreveport): After the first round, are there players you are higher on than the consensus? Essentially, who are your sleepers?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: A lot of the kids I thought would prove to be good value early on Day 2 ended up coming off the board yesterday in the second round. I think Chris Okey (C, Eustis HS (Eustis, FL)), Cavan Biggio (2B/3B, St Thomas HS (Houston, TX), and Tyler O'Neill (C, Garibaldi SS (BC)) could have been second orund selections. Big fan of Thomas Milone (OF, Masuk HS (Monroe, CT)), who's a cold weather kid that didn't get tons of opportunity to showcase his stuff this spring.

daviddean (Minneapolis): Does Frazier profile more as a lead-off hitter or a 3 hole hitter?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: He can be whatever he wants to be--no limitations. In all seriousness, I like his profile in the middle of a lineup rather than at the very top. His strength is in his aggressiveness, and I wouldn't want to rein that in too much.

One sec -- quick call -- back in 3 mins.

Justin (Chicago, IL): Hi Nick, happy Friday! What did you think of the White Sox pick of Tim Anderson?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Sorry about that!

I like Anderson a lot. Not convinced he's a shortstop long term, but could be really valuable in center field, as well, and certainly has the athleticism for the six-spot. Will just need reps and instruction. The swing is compact and even has some pop. A lot to like.

Joe G (Pittsburgh): A lot of people are questioning Reese McGuire's bat... what is his offensive upside?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I but a 50 on the hit tool and a 50 on the power. Last summer he had more swing and miss to his game, largely because he was gearing up to drive the ball. This spring he sacrificed some leverage in favor of bat control and really took a step forward in squaring the ball more consistently. It's always a challenge for a young player to try and develop in two areas that require so much attention (catching--the whole package--and hitting), but McGuire has a fair shot to do just that. I think if all goes well you could have a really nice defensive catcher that could bat .275-.285 and hit you 15 home runs. That's a really nice player.

docg16 (Latham, NY): What are the best resources to track signings over the next month? I may just be missing the obvious but recall having more trouble than expected last year trying to follow the draft by monitoring which players get signed.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Or colleagues at Perfect Game USA have lots of valuable tools if you're looking to track the draft in great depth. Check them out at PerfectGame.org. Great resource.

Bill (San Francisco): Can you explain to me what the Giants had in mind when drafting Arroyo at 25? That was quite a reach right? Thanks for the chat!

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: He's a pretty nice prep bat that could find a defensive home up-the-middle (be it at shortstop, catcher, or second base). He should come at a discount and, given Ryder Jones and his Stanford commit came of the board next to SF, my guess is they are pushing that savings over to him. If that works out, not a bad pair at 25 and 64 overall.

Shepherd (DC): When you look at publicly available rankings...what is the best word to use to describe them? They are not consensus rankings because not everyone agreed to them. Are they weighted rankings from a subset of evaluators that may or may not reflect a generic industry entity? I have always wondered what the best way to describe those rankings. Do you have ideas on how to succinctly express what rankings are?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: If they are created from collecting info from sources, they are essentially projected consensus rankings. Not necessarily a reflection of how the industry would vote as a whole, but based on a sampling, what the ranking entity would expect to be the order of the eligible talent. The better the sources and ability to interpret the info, the more useful the rankings.

Brady (Philly): Was Cisco a reach for the O's in the 2nd? Any reason they would take him over Denney?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I think we need to see what Baltimore does today, but my guess would be that in addition to Baltimore liking him, Cisco is willing to sign for an amount that frees up money to be used elsewhere.

Adam (Shreveport): How do you and Kevin Goldstein differ in draft philosophy?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I'm not really familiar with Kevin's draft philosophy. I'd say one big difference between us is that a Major League teams pays him for his time, knowledge, and advice, whereas Professor Parks and BP are mostly tolerating my presence.

ian6poole (nj): Thoughts on red Sox draftees?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Two projectable arms that could take a little bit to get started, developmentally, but both have mid-rotation upside or better. Really like what I saw out of Ball this spring, and Stankiewicz could be a low- to mid-90s guy with a wipeout slider with some tweaking.

Justin Millar (Somewhere): Thoughts on the Angels' pick of Hunter Green?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Here's my write-up from earlier this week:

Green is a projectable lefty who has already seen his velocity climb to mid-90s at times this spring, and there is a chance for him to discover even more as he continues to hang bulk on his long, broad frame. The Kentucky commit utilizes a simple step-in to kick off his motion and creates arm speed through good shoulder/hip separation. He gets good extension out of his long legs and arms, helping his fastball to jump on hitters. There is some cleanup to be done in his tempo and balance, each of which can lead to inconsistent strides and release points, and occasional fall-off to his glove side.

While he boasts three pitches with average or better potential, and enough room in his stuff to see each grow into true plus offerings, his control and execution lag behind his pure stuff. Greenís profile as a projectable lefty with a chance to sport plus velocity to go with two quality secondaries should be in high demand later this week, and the Blue Grass standout could come off the board as early as the first round.

wilk75 (houston): thoughts on the astros? different approach than last year, no?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Yes. I'm curious if Biggio is the first pick off the board today, and that's where the extra Appel money goes. Tough to get a handle on how much Houston will save with that first pick. If Appel signs at or around $6 to 6.5 MM there should be enough there for at least one other big over-allotment signing.

@InfraRen (Minnesota): Few guys I'm interested in for Twins at 78: Chandler Eden, Jon Denney, Ryan Boldt - any of them likely fits? Any chance Boldt signs at this point?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: As a local product, Boldt could certainly be interesting. That would depend, however, on how much of the $4.5 MM in first round allotment the Twins will need to ink Stewart. See above for info on Eden and Denney.

Weams (Pennsylvania ): What is the probability that Hinter Harvey and Josh Hart reach their ceilings. Is Chance Sisco an underslot money saver?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Probability is almost always tough with prep draftees, but Harvey and Hart each give the O's developmental staff a lot to work with. My inclination would be to view Sisco as a money saver (not intended to be a slight), so it should be interesting to see what Baltimore does today.

Mark (Toledo): How quickly can the Tigers three picks last night help out? All are college guys, close to majors?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Detroit grabbed Jonathon Crawford (rhp, Florida), Kevin Ziomek (lhp, Vandy) and Corey Knebel (rhp, Texas) with their three day one selections, and all have their share of evaluators who feel they are bullpen arms long term. Ziomek is still partaking in college ball (Super Regionals this weekend, followed by Omaha if Vandy wins) so his pro load will depend on when he signs and how many innings he's thrown. Knebel will flash "now" stuff that can get out MLB bats, but in my opinion is too inconsistent to be trusted with meaningful innings this year. He could be ready at some point next year. I'd assume Crawford was drafted with starting in mind. He'll need some minor league innings to try and find more command of his stuff--maybe a 2015 ETA?

Alex (Boston): Will Boston let Trey Ball go two ways at first (similar to what they did with Casey Kelly)?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: In my opinion, I think you let Ball go two ways this summer and through instructs to see what you have. There's no downside to that. He was inconsistent enough with the bat this spring, however, that I think most evaluators (even those that concede they really liked what he showed last summer) would run him out there as an arm. I think Trey will apply himself happily to either role.

Adam (Shreveport): Do you have a bid board of top 100 or is evaluating talent too complex to put in a list format?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Part of our partnership with Perfect Game provides our readers with access to certain of Perfect Game's deep draft content. Check out the BP Draft Links page for links to PG's rankings. I generally keep a big board for myself just an evaluative measuring stick, but think there is limited utility in big boards for draft prospects for just the reason you mention. Good question.

marshaja (Indiana): I was surprised the Cubs went with Bryant over Gray. Was it more that they liked Bryant or were uneasy about Gray? If Appel wasn't tabbed by the Astros, would he have been taken over Bryant?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I think the Cubs simply liked Bryant more. There were rumors that Gray was taking a stance that he would not budge from slot allotment, but I haven't had that confirmed anyone who would have first hand knowledge. If that is true, the Cubs (and others) could value the track record that comes with Bryant and Appel, as opposed to Gray (who saw a jump in stuff this year).

bleshyn (Chicago): Please tell me more about White Sox 2nd pick, Tyler Danish. Seems like a reach at 55.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I would agree it seems a little rich for the profile. Danish has performed as well as any HS arm in the country, but he is still a 6-foot righty with low-90s vela. I do think he gets undersold some, as the fastball is very lively and his breaking ball can be tough to pick up. But overall it looks like a future reliever profile to me. We'll have to see what else Chicago has in store to determine if the pick should be viewed in a larger context.

redsoxin2004 (Columbia, CT): Isn't it true that if the Sox can't sign Ball, they are guaranteed the #8 pick next year? Obviously they want to sign all their picks, but worse case they will get that top pick again. Particularly after season where, hopefully, they would be picking in the bottom of the 1st round.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I believe they'd have the 9th pick--one after the slot they didn't sign.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Who should I make it a point to go see at the Cape Cod League this summer?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: UVA's Derek Fisher (OF), SDSU's Cederoth (RHP), ECU's Hoffman (RHP), Marymount's Megill (RHP), Texas A&M Mengden (C/RHP).

The USA CNT has already taken a lot of the top guys, but they will be swinging through the northeast, too, so check them out.

Alex (Anaheim): What did you think of the back-to-back Yankees selections?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I liked what New York did. Jagielo (3b, Notre Dame) is a little higher probablity with left handed pop (will be great for Yankee Stadium). Then, with the back-to-back picks, they went risk/upside with Judge and then popped one of the best lefty arms in the class with Ian Clarkin. They landed real ceiling, which is great in that spot of the draft.

ravenight (Boston): Thoughts on the Mets' second pick? 48 overall seems about 40-50 places above the lists I've seen. Is this purely to free up money, or is there a plausible case that he was the "best" in some sense (highest ceiling HS arm?, best makeup?, best curveball?).

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: I think the front office really liked him and didn't think he'd make it to them in the third round. Four pitch HS arm with workable mechanics, already holding good velocity through his starts and showing a good feel for his curve ball. Nice addition to the system; no knock from me.

kramer (anytown): Bryant over Gray? Will that decision come back to bite the Cubs especially considering their lack of high-end arms?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Only if Bryant runs into contact issues to the point he isn't realizing his plus-plus power. If he's a 30+ HR solid average bat, the Cubs are golden. If he's a 20-25 HR, low average bat, and Gray is a good #2 or #3, the pick looks less exciting.

Colin (Austin): Any thoughts on the Akeem pick by the Rangers?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Loose arm that could see a big jump in stuff as he continues to mature and grow into his frame. Rangers have the luxury of taking it slow with him; could prove a nice get. Lots to work with.

Adam (Shreveport): What are your thoughts on Andrew Knapp? He has a beautiful swing but the numbers just started to show this year.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Here's my summary write-up from late May:

A switch-hitter with the chance for average playable power from each side of the plate, Knapp profiles as a bat-first catcher athletic enough to grow into an average defender with pro instruction. The catch-and-throw game is playable, with pop times ranging from 1.98 to 2.10, but some cleanup in his transfer and footwork could conceivably drop his average delivery to a consistent sub-2.0. As a receiver, Knapp is unrefined, with a tendency to let pitches carry his glove out of the zone. He has the lower-body quickness to move side-to-side, but his technical blocking and receiving will require reps to get up to pro speed. Overall, Knapp represents a solid second-to-fourth-round investment, depending on how highly you regard his ability to convert athleticism into a playable defensive skill set with time and instruction.

jp (maryland): he would have gone in the first round if he was close, but what is the ceiling on Man Ram JR?

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Not a guy. Needs work before he's ready to tackle pro ball.

Joe G (Pittsburgh): Knowing know that Denney is still on the board, would it have been a better approach for the Pirates to take Braden Shipley at 14, then Denney in the second round since he is similar to Reese Mcguire anyway? Or is Mcguire that much better? A haul of Meadows, Shipley, and Denney would have been pretty impressive.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: McGuire is a sure-fire catcher and Denney's spring was rocky. I think Pittsburgh handled Day 1 well. I think Denney should have come off the board, but I won't quibble with Pittsburgh approach -- definitely sound.

Nick Faleris on the MLB Draft: Okay -- have to bounce for more draft stuff. If videos are your thing, I'll be updating our MLB Draft Video Index at Baseball Prospectus (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20807). Check it out and get an early look at the prospects of the future! Also, feel free to continue the draft talk on twitter (@NickJFaleris) -- I'll be around all day. Thanks for the great questions; let's do it again soon.


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