Kevin Goldstein is the managing partner of Baseball Prospectus, the website of record for the sabermetric community, but he is best known for his popular Future Shock column which covers everything and anything on the minor leagues, college and amateur baseball and most importantly for our purposes; the draft.
Kevin has been kind enough to drop by after the draft for a number of years now and this year was no exception.
Kevin Goldstein: It was a good, not great draft. Every pick they took I nodded my head thought it made sense. Did I get up on my chair and clap, no, but it was good.
They got some very good players who will be tough signs. There were very few times I was confused with what they were doing. I thought they also got some good talent late. The real strength were the one through six selections.
Safe sign and reach or legitimate talent at #10 Cory Spangenburg?
Kevin Goldstein: Is it possible to say both? On a deeper non-Padre level some of these kids throwing big money demands out ended up dropping pretty low. Cory made a ton of money for himself by saying to everyone and anyone, “I want to play and I will sign.”
Do I think he was the tenth best talent in the draft? No, but I do I think he was somewhere in the middle of the first round? Yes.
One thing everyone has to look at it is that he can really hit. Outstanding bat speed, good hands and he can run. There are not a whole lot of picks that can put that together. It’s going to take some work with him at second and I hope he can figure it out.
The two pitchers they took next – Joe Ross and Michael Kelly, what are your general impressions? Also do you think they will be able to sign both?
Kevin Goldstein: Ross is a great pick, better than where he was picked. Quite a few teams really liked him and in some cases he might have even gone as high as #8. I like the blood line but he is a different beast than his brother. He’s up to 95, very smooth and athletic. He has a quality curve and some feel for the change. He’s going to be a tough sign. He got good grades, likes school and any kid that commits to UCLA is usually always going to be a tough sign.
On the other hand I have quite a bit of respect for Jason McLeod and his guys and I don’t think they would have taken him this high if they didn’t think they could sign him. The final number is going to have to be over slot.
Kelly’s stuff isn’t as good as Ross’ but offers more to dream on. Long armed, broad shouldered and I think he will get more physically mature. He competes well and succeeded in a really good high school conference in Florida.
We have a quote from you last year that Jedd Gyorko is the “is the classic boring college player that they would have taken in the past”. As you know Jedd is having a pretty good year in High-A Lake Elsinore. Any chance that Casey McElroy of Auburn that the team selected in the 11th round may fits the same profile?
Kevin Goldstein: What a nice little trap that is [laughs]. No, he will not.
Gyorko has exceeded expectation and scouts have said he can really hit. At the same time we all knew he could hit but let’s see how the defense holds up and what he does in AA.
McElroy is an 11th round pick. He’s tiny, limited to second base, but he can hit. On the downside, he can’t really run and moves weird.
So, no, no and no.
Jace Peterson who they took in the first round supplemental from McNeese Sate seems like your type of player – a "Home Depot" of tools. What are your thoughts on him?
Kevin Goldstein: I thought you would ask me about him. Paterson is athletic, has speed but I talked to one scout who saw him recently and didn’t like him. He thought he was more of an athlete than a baseball player.
He has bad mechanics, doesn’t field balls cleanly, flat contact- focused swing, but he does run well. Also for a shortstop he is not a lankly fast-twitch athlete that you usually see, but a rather compact at 6’1” 210 lbs., so, no, I’m not that crazy about him.
As with the pitchers the organization got aggressive in signing high school catchers – always a big risk just on the development time. What are your thoughts on Brett Austin and Austin Hedges? It seems unlikely that they will sign both.
Kevin Goldstein: I could see them signing both. I don’t think you take guys that high without thinking you can sign both.
Austin I like, Hedges I love. If it wasn’t for the money – on pure talent – Hedges is an easy first round pick. Good athlete, raw power, potentially above average raw power. Hedges has the kind of catching skills you just don’t see anywhere – better than AA talent on catching skills right now. He has a cannon arm moves extremely well behind the plate, blocks well, quick release; and he does it right.
He can really catch and if he can hit just a little has the skill set to be in the big leagues for 15 years, he’s that good.
There was a lot of talk that teams were going to be aggressive and take him but for one reason or another they didn’t. Again he is going to want quite a bit of money so it is going to take an aggressive negotiation.
What other players jump out at you?
Kevin Goldstein: I can’t really say enough about how much I liked Hedges. The other player that stands out is Cody Hebner out of the Washington JUCO. Not the biggest guy in the world but he can really bring it.
Who is the sleeper?
Kevin Goldstein: Mark Pope. Everyone went to see Mark Pope and he probably out-pitched Jed Bradley [the first round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers that went at #15 this year] every time. He can throw three pitches with command at any time in the count. None of them are really outstanding but I bet he outperforms every other 5th round pick this year and become a productive back of the rotation starter on the big league level.