I spoke with SB Nation draft guru Andy Seiler the other day, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. For those who don’t know, Andy runs MLBBonusBaby.com, and he’s published the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook, available via the left sidebar on his blog. It is the best guide on the 2010 draft you’ll find anywhere, including 755(!) players from across the nation. It’s a great way to get a leg up on the next generation of prospects. I received my "copy" last night, and it’s a tremendous piece of work. At just $9.99, you really can’t go wrong. It’s the biggest bargain since some other SB Nation site released an e-book. Pick it up.
Anyway, on to the interview:
First of all, your upcoming 2010 MLB Draft Notebook includes 750 players. How the hell did you find the time?
I'm not sure I do have the time. I've only gotten about two to three hours of sleep a night over the last seven to ten days, and I'm still punching out reports. I wanted to keep the information as current as possible, so losing sleep seems to be the answer.
I can't remember a draft where there was less differentiating the value of the fourth pick and the 40th. How do you differentiate between these guys? When you evaluate guys do you find yourself gravitating toward certain types of players when there aren't huge chasms separating talents?
It really depends on the person with this one. Different people like different indicating factors. In general, scouts like college pitchers more based on their secondary stuff, since their upside is generally not as high. With college hitters, it's about true tools that aren't helped by conditions such as a metal bat. Down at the high school level, differentiating is almost all about tools, though that's purely opinion. I personally differentiate pitchers based a lot on changeups and a feel for spinning a breaking ball, even if it's inconsistent. At the plate, I'm looking a lot at their swing and consistency with their tools. I think there's more of a difference in the top 10 or so guys this year, and then it's muddy from 11 to about 55 or 60.
In general, the Mets' drafts seem to have been very hit-and-miss during the Minaya regime, with there being more misses than hits. Do you think this is solely due to a refusal to commit resources to the draft or a problem with those making the draft day decisions (Rudy Terrasas and Omar Minaya)?
It's a problem of both. Any time that a scouting director has his job security publicly discussed in the press is going to make bad decisions, and that is just magnified by the lack of resources he's given. It just shows a sad reluctance to build for the future, because almost everyone in that front office feels their job is on the line. They try to behave like their jobs aren't on the line, but I can tell you right now that Rudy Terrasas is going to be drafting like his job is on the line, because his job was publicly threatened last offseason. That is all to say that everyone is to blame in one way or another, but it's really the overall tension in the decision-making process that doesn't help.
All right, let's go into some specifics. The Mets have been linked to a bunch of different guys. Here are the guys I've seen most often: Zack Cox, Bryce Brentz, Matt Harvey, Karsten Whitson, Deck McGuire, and Christian Colon, with whispers about Brandon Workman, Kolbrin Vitek, Asher Wojciechowski, Dylan Covey, Michael Choice, Josh Sale, and Mike Kvasnicka recently. If you were the Mets' scouting director, which of those guys would you pick (as opposed to who you think they'll go with)?
Of all those names, I'd choose Josh Sale. He has the best overall bat in this class behind Bryce Harper, and I would want that any day, even if he's limited to left field in the long run. He's just a special hitter, and that is valuable on the field and in trades, since a scouting director's job is to provide talent for both sides of that game.
And if the draft goes exactly as you anticipate in your mock and you could have your pick of anyone, not just the players listed above?
Still Sale with Cox right behind him. There are a lot of names to like, but price is a factor for them.
Is there a chance the Mets could do something completely unexpected? Like a Tony Sanchez moment?
I think there's a chance, but in general, I think they won't be picking conservative in the first round to save money for later, like the Pirates did a year ago. They'll be picking conservatively because they are conservative in their overall spending. I think it will be hard for them to really surprise insiders with a pick, as there are plenty of options that are legitimate picks, so it's really about ruling out guys that will want more than slot money in their pick.
Just for fun, who's one player you think could go a lot higher than anticipated on draft day and one player who you think will disappoint?
I think that Anthony Ranaudo will actually go higher than expected, and Nick Castellanos might go lower than expected for different reasons. They're both great players, though, and I'd take either in my organization.
Do you have any favorite sleeper candidates on Day 2 of the draft?
I like Kyle Blair more than most, and I think he can be a quality starting pitcher at the Major League level. His career at San Diego has been solid, and he has better stuff than the more highly-regarded Sammy Solis.
A big thank you to Andy, and remember to pick up your own copy of the 2010 MLB Draft Notebook.