Draft Chat with Patrick Ebert

Dave · March 31, 2005 at 4:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If you missed our draft chat with Patrick Ebert of Perfect Game USA, the transcript is below in comments. Patrick talked about all the big names and a bunch you’ve probably never heard of, covering a wide range of topics.

Make sure you check out Patrick’s coverage at Brewerfan.net throughout the year, as he does a terrific job covering the draft and doesn’t charge a penny for his efforts.


25 Responses to “Draft Chat with Patrick Ebert”

  1. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:00 pm

    Hello all. Thanks to Dave for inviting me to talk about the 2005 draft, as I look forward to taking your questions. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but if you can take anything away from a miserable season it’s a high draft choice the next year. I also invite you to check out Brewerfan.net and Perfect Game USA, where I spend a lot of time profiling some of the best and brightest players that will be available. Onto the questions…

  2. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:02 pm

    From Pilots Fan:

    I’d like to know his opinion on how deep this draft is in catchers, and the likelihood of the M’s getting 1-2 premier or at least decent prospects there. We’ve discussed before on this site how the M’s are weak organizationally at that position, and I would rank it #2 in importance in building a team, only behind pitching.

  3. FICTION on March 31st, 2005 5:51 pm

    Patrick..Who do you project as the M’s pick? Will this be a need player or best player available? Thanks

  4. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:10 pm

    The talent at the top of the draft is very intriguing with USC’s Jeff Clement and Texas’ Taylor Teagarden. While I’m not sure if either one of those players is good enough to take third overall, we haven’t seen two college catchers like this in the same draft for quite some time. Since the Mariners don’t draft again until the 4th round, you’re not going to be able to get one of the better prep backstops in Brandon Snyder, Preston Paramore or Jonathan Egan. If you want to get 1-2 premier catchers out of this draft, you’re probably going to have to draft Clement or Teagarden in round one and then use your fourth or fifth rounder on another. Illinois’ Chris Robinson and Arizona’s Nick Hundley on the college front will also likely be taken in rounds 2-3. A few players that could be intriguing in the 4th-5th round range include Brent Milleville, a Kansas prep that has committed to play at Stanford, and one of my favorites, Charlie Cutler, a sweet swinging catcher from northern California. Milleville’s commitment to Stanford could cause him to fall, but otherwise premier catchers usually don’t drop out of the top 3 rounds.

  5. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:11 pm

    From David C:

    Would love to hear your thoughts on Trevor Crowe and who you think might draft him.

  6. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:17 pm

    Crowe is a prototypical leadoff man. He has very good on-base skills, solid plate coverage, he hits for contact, has some gap power, a little bit of stolen base speed, and always seems to be the biggest part of any Arizona rally. Defensively his speed serves him well, but he doesn’t have much of an arm. He’s a smart player that mixes tools with skills, but there will always be questions about his power which will effect just how early he is drafted. I have no idea who will draft Crowe. I think the easy answer is to point out one of the teams that values college players, leading to the whole production over projection debate, since Crowe puts up the numbers despite his small size, but he also has the tools that “old-school” scouts value. I think he could be a solid pickup in the second round, although he could go much earlier for a team that may have an anxious need for a leadoff type hitter in their system. With so many extra picks in the first and supplemental rounds, I’m going to say the Red Sox.

  7. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:17 pm

    From Paul Sieczkowski:

    Would love to hear about Justin Upton. And what Patrick Ebert thinks of Gammons alluding his throwing in the same breath as Ankiel, Sax, etc.. in a recent column w/o actually naming Justin.

  8. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:22 pm

    I had the opportunity to talk to Justin and B.J. a few weeks ago in an interview with Perfect Game. I also talked to their father. I enjoyed their perspective towards the game, and you could also tell there was an obvious sense that they knew how good they were, which I and scouts feel is very important. Anyway, I think everyone knows that Justin is going to hit, and he has more power potential that B.J. does. There aren’t too many holes in his swing, and like B.J. he could move quickly in any system. As I’m sure we have all heard, there pretty much is no question about any of his tools with the exception of his defense. He has a great throwing arm and he is amazingly fast. I heard he was fast, but I saw him hit a weak dribbler to the opposing SS in a game and I could not believe how fast he got down the line. Unlike B.J., Justin pulls the ball more, which is probably why he has more power. Defensively, there are plenty of people who question where he’ll end up, but I say keep him at SS until he absolutely proves he cannot handle the position. He has the tools to succeed there, he just needs the repetitions. I’ve heard more grumblings about the Ankiel/Knoblauch/Sax thing, and until I hear it from a reputable source, I just can’t believe it. He has throwing problems, no doubt, but so does B.J., and as people always like to point out, Derek Jeter had something like 56 errors in the minors before breaking with the Yankees.

  9. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:23 pm

    From David J Corcoran:

    Three questions:

    How likely is John Mayberry Jr to sign if drafted?

    In your opinion, who is the best left handed pitcher available in the draft?

    In your opinion, who is the best corner infielder available in the draft?

  10. Conor Glassey on March 31st, 2005 5:54 pm

    Mr. Ebert,
    First of all, thank you for doing this. My question is in regard to two-way players – such as Sean O’Sullivan and Stephen Head in this year’s draft. Is the general consensus to play them in the field until they prove that their bat won’t carry them to the bigs? It seems like it would be easier to take the mound (after not doing so for a few years) than it would be to hit after not hitting for a few years, but I would love to hear your thoughs on the subject.

  11. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:27 pm

    Mayberry will sign. The only reason he didn’t out of high school was because the Mariners had to contend with his commitment to Stanford, which always proves to be tough. He really has no reason to stick around just for the sake of doing so, as he’s not going to make more money being drafted as a senior than he will this summer.

    The best left-handed pitcher is Cal State Fullerton’s Ricky Romero. If you pop by Brewerfan.net’s message board you’ll know how much I like this guy. He doesn’t have the greatest size, but he has a low-90s fastball, a killer curve and a good changeup. Plus, he’s fearless, and everyone I’ve talked to and everything I’ve read points to him being a high quality makeup guy as well.

    The best corner infielder without a doubt is Alex Gordon, who could given Upton a run for his money in being the first player selected in the draft. Gordon can mash, he has a great eye, and he’s pretty athletic.

  12. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:28 pm

    From Rusty:

    Knowing High School programs as well as you do, how much are professional concepts like batter’s eye and controllable pitching factors (SO’s,BB’s,HR’s) being coached at that level? Or is it all about tools development (throwing, hitting, running) in order to attract scouts?

  13. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:31 pm

    I don’t know many coaches at any level that talk about how important it is to draw a walk, not strike out, to hit a home run, etc. Statistics are more often than not the byproduct of approach. The more a player tries to walk XX times and strike out only YY times, the less likely he’ll be able to accomplish those goals. If a player tries to approach every at-bat without thinking about his last one and without looking ahead to the next one, the more likely that player will succeed, whether that means getting a hit, hitting a bomb, or drawing a walk.

  14. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:32 pm

    From Jerry:

    What is your opinion of Cameron Maybin? Do you think that he can play CF in the big leagues? And do you see him continuing to be a switch hitter? Also, how does he rate compared to Upton? I know that Upton is rated higher by most people, but can Maybin pass him with a huge year?

  15. Conor Glassey on March 31st, 2005 5:39 pm

    1) After the first round, I believe the next pick for the M’s is in Round 4. Can you please tell us some guys that might be interesting picks in that round?
    2) Who are some of the top high school players coming out of Washington state?

  16. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:37 pm

    Maybin’s tools are second only to Upton’s. Maybin has incredible potential. You can pretty much throw out any prep OF that has been drafted in the top 3-5 overall picks over the last 20 years or so and you’ll find a comparison drawn to Maybin, with Darryl Strawberry and Ken Griffey Jr. being the most popular. He has more holes in his swing at this point in time than Upton, but similar to someone like Vladimir Guerrero (not trying to make an unfair comparison), he’s a good bad-ball hitter. I think he’s going to strike out a bunch at first as a pro hitter, and he may take some time in the lower levels of the minor leagues. That definitely means a bigger risk, but if anyone can give Upton a run for his money (outside of Gordon) for the #1 overall pick, it’s Maybin. And yes, I think he can stay in CF as long as he doesn’t bulk up too much, or at least adds strength while maintaining his flexibility. I don’t see him continuing as a switch-hitter, and I don’t believe that has even continued from a few experimentations over the winter at a few notable tournaments. His power potential is incredible.

  17. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:50 pm

    I really like David DiNatale, a prep OF from Florida. He can hit for power, as he won a HR hitting contest over the winter with a wood bat by hitting a ball 450′ to straight away CF. He is a good overall athlete, although not an eye-popping, can’t miss prospect. That may cause him to fall a little bit.

    I already mentioned Brent Milleville and Charlie Cutler behind the dish. Both could factor into the 4th round area.

    There are a few prep LHPs such as Tim Murphy, Travis Wood and Mark Pawekek that I like that probably factor into this area, but I’m always drawn to southpaws.

    Drew Thompson, Justin Sellers and Carlos Heraud are a few prep SS that have good but not overwhelming tools.

    Brett Wallace is a bigger, softer slugger from N. California that I think will drop because of his body type, but who I also believe is going to hit at the pro level.

    A college guy could include a catcher like Auburn’s Josh Bell, who I forgot to mention above. He’s a strong, power/power catcher that could fall into this area.

    Another guy that I believe will hit but is somewhat without a position is South Carolina’s Steve Pearce. He could get gobbled up much earlier by a “Moneyball” team.

    As for Washington, it’s a down year, but SS Nate Simon, who I believe committed to Tulane, and Scott Deal are two of the most notable.

  18. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:53 pm

    With the 3rd overall pick in the draft, you would hope that the M’s take the best player available. As soon as they start reaching for a need, you’re automatically putting yourself in trouble. When you are bad enough to receive the 3rd overall pick, you have to try and make sure that you take advantage of that situation. With that said, unless Upton or Gordon somehow fall (which they could as anything can and will happen), I would say the M’s pick would either be Cameron Maybin or Luke Hochevar, RHP from Tennessee.

  19. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 5:58 pm

    Happy to be here. I love the subject, as it is something I have asked a lot of people, and something I continue to ask baseball people. You’re right, most teams will let a two-hitter fail as a hitter first before converting them to a pitcher if their skills are equally good on the mound and at the plate. It’s so hard for a batter to pick up where he left off a few years down the road, as repetitions and constant mechanical adjustments are critical. Pitchers can hop back on the mound and hone their craft so much easier, even if there is a layoff. Plus, as many people have told me, players that are good at both typically want to remain as hitters. When most are given the chance, they would rather play everyday and hit the ball then take the mound every fifth day and run the risk of sustaining an arm injury.

    As for Head and O’Sullivan, Head will be a hitter at the next level basically because he projects better there. O’Sullivan on the other hand in my opinion is so good looking on the mound, great great presence and an incredibly advanced approach to pitching (great fastball command that sets up his classic curve perfectly), that I would take him as a pitcher even if he is one of the best prep hitters in the country.

  20. Dave on March 31st, 2005 5:59 pm

    From Digger:

    1) Please share your thoughts about who Arizona and KC are likely to choose with the 1 & 2 picks.

    2) What does newly hired statistical analyst Mat Olkin have to offer the Mariners front office in terms of setting priorities for their first round pick?

    3) Do you think having Scott Boras as an advisor will have any impact on who the top 3 choices are?

  21. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 6:04 pm

    Arizona is tricky because they still might sign Stephen Drew, so you never know how that will set off this year’s draft. Plus, they own the first pick in the sandwich round, the first pick in the 2nd round, and the first and third pick in the third round. Even with that, I don’t think they will be cheap, but if Jered Weaver re-enters the draft, and the D-Backs sign Drew, don’t be surprised if they go with the other unsigned Boras guy.

    The Royals may seem to be cheap, but they don’t have any extra early picks this year, and they have seemed to trim their MLB payroll a little bit over the past year. I think they’ll take one out of Upton or Gordon, proabably with a preference towards Gordon since he is somewhat of a local guy to them.

    Dave informed me that Mat Olkin is your stat-guy, and I really don’t think he will do much to help convince anyone who the M’s should pick in the first round, much less any other pick. Spending too much time crunching numbers on amateur players, particularly high schoolers, is a waste of time.

    Scott Boras probably won’t have too big of an impact on the top 3, but he will have a huge impact on the picks after that. I think Upton, Gordon and Maybin are the top 3 players available, in that order, and from what I’ve heard none of them are advised by Boras. The long list of Boras players that falls in shortly after that will be interesting to follow.

  22. Dave on March 31st, 2005 6:04 pm

    From Troy:

    How well does Alex Gordon project in left field (since if the M’s draft him there’s a good chance that’s where he’d have to play)?

    Also, where would you select Stephen Drew and Jared Weaver, and how much $$$ do you think it will take to sign each of them?

  23. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 6:08 pm

    Gordon is a corner infielder. He has the athleticism to play left field, because really, who doesn’t? Even Greg Vaughn played out there. I think it’s important not to try to pencil in a future lineup with recent or projected draftees, since I know you’re looking ahead to Gordon with Beltre and Sexson already manning the corner IF spots. With the DH, you have other options as well.

    Where would I select Drew & Weaver? On pure talent, top 10. Probably top 5 for Drew, I’ll say 5th. Weaver I’ll slot in around 7, based on talent. I like Gordon a lot better than Drew, and I like Hochevar, and possibly even Pelfrey, better than Weaver. I think both Drew and Weaver will get a contract similar to, and probably just a hair bigger than what Jeff Niemann got from the D-Rays, which was what, a $4 million dollar bonus as part of a MLB contract worth around $5.5 million.

  24. Dave on March 31st, 2005 6:09 pm

    Last one for the night. Thanks for going into overtime Patrick.

    From Grizz:

    Considering the M’s second pick is not until the 4th round, are there any Matt Tuiasosopo-like candidates for that pick — seemingly college-bound high school prospects with 1st round talent who might change their mind when offered a substantial bonus?

  25. Patrick Ebert on March 31st, 2005 6:15 pm

    Like I said before, thanks for having me.

    Without a 2nd and 3rd rounder the M’s stand to have an additional $1+ million to play with, on paper that is, if they “roll” over that money from their draft budget that way. Anyway, you always look for either the Boras clients, the 2-sport stars, or the guys committed to colleges like Vanderbilt and Stanford. The two-sport stars include Austin Jackson, a Texas prep OF that has committed to play hoops and baseball for Georgia Tech. That’s going to be hard to pry him away from. Another prep OF, CJ Henry, also has committed to play hoops for Georgia Tech. California WR star DeSean Jackson, MVP of the Army game, has committed to play for Cal. All three would be the most obvious targets.

    The Boras guys you never know, so I’m not going to speculate there. I threw out Brent Milleville twice already. Vandy commits Brett Jacobson and Josh Zeid might qualify, while Michigan prep pitcher Zack Putnam seems intent on attending hometown Michigan.

    Brian Kirwan is one more name that comes to mind. A talented football and baseball recruit, Kirwan broke his leg in football last fall, and he was expected to go in the top 2-3 rounds of the draft. He’s committed to UCLA, and I don’t think he’s expect to pitch much, if at all, this spring. Obviously, he would pose a much greater risk, but at least it’s not his arm we’re talking about.

    Take care everyone. Stop by and visit the sites listed above at anytime, and drop me a line with any pressing draft questions.