Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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Today we chatted live with the Angels director of scouting Eddie Bane which went a solid hour and twenty minutes of talk about the upcoming draft and the current crop of prospects that Eddie Bane has drafted over the years. 

Enjoy the chat transcript below and if you have a question about the draft or the Angels down on the farm, ask Chuck Richter at AngelsWin.com by sending mail here.

Chuck Richter: Hello everyone, thank you for attending our chat today.

Our live chat with the Angels Director of Scouting Eddie Bane will begin at 4 PM PST. Please submit your questions ahead of time so we have some queued up to start with.

Eddie Bane: Guys; I'm here now

Chuck Richter:  Hello Eddie, I'll submit the first question, from Thomas.

[Comment From Thomas:] Eddie, can you give a brief summary of what you and the Angels' routine is between now and the draft?

Eddie Bane: Thomas; Our meetings start Friday, we have an all encompassing workout on Saturday night at the Stadium and then meetings all the way until draft day.

Eddie Bane: We start with the west coast scouts and then move around the country until we narrow it down to the National Crosscheckers and regional supervisors

Eddie Bane: BTW, with regards to the poll. I think the Angels should draft the best available player.

[Comment From AngelsNeverDie:] When going over a particular draft, do you ever think you have to focus more on prospects with more upside vs. ones with more polish, or vice-versa?

Eddie Bane: Angels never die. That discussion takes you right to the old moneyball theory vs the approach we have used. I think when you look and see Boston and Oakland drafting hs guys you can see which side that discussion went to.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] Eddie, where do you see the real strengths in this draft: high school or college? Pitching or hitting?

Eddie Bane: But we do like polish and tools ala Jered Weaver when we can get them.

Eddie Bane: David; HS righthand pitching is strong and there are a few hs bats you would really like to get and with 5 of the first 40 picks hopefully we can get some of those.

[Comment From Tyler:] How differently do you evaluate a junior college pitcher as opposed to a D1 or High School pitcher?

Eddie Bane: David; I also told our guys the other day all I want is another Trout, Skaggs, Richards, Grichuk and throw in a Reckling and Conger and I will be happy.

Eddie Bane: Tyler; Great question. In Cleveland Ohio there is a hs pitcher named Stetson Allie who is very talented. He is in high school, but he is older than both Mike Trout and Grichuk. You have to look at him as a JC 1 and we do make adjustments based on ages. Trout and Grichuk both play the entire year this year at 18 as does Skaggs most of the year.

[Comment From jonathan:] is a high upside guy with difficulty sign ability such as Austin Wilson someone on our radar? I know we just went after outfielders in round 1 last year but this kid looks really good. Is he worth risking a first rounder on?

Eddie Bane: Gausman from Colorado and Allie are both college JC1age wise.

Eddie Bane: Jonathan. We have scouted Austin a lot and you are correct in your evaluation. It has been hard quite honestly to get any information on whether or not he wants to sign now or go to school. It is a choice each club has to make

[Comment From AngelsNeverDie:] Do you look at some college starting pitchers as possible relief converts, like Daniel Bard was? And if you do, what kind of attributes do you look for in them?

Eddie Bane: Sometimes it is just better to take the high ceiling guy that wants to show he is a major leaguer and wants to sign and get out and play like Mike Trout. Mike went from the 25th player in the 09 draft to a player that is certainly in the top 10 prospects, if not higher, in all of baseball. The Angels did not have him valued at 25, but I guess other clubs did.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] Last year, we heard that if given the difference between and equally ranked power prospect or pitcher, the preference would be power. Are there any preferences this year between equally ranked prospects?

Eddie Bane: Good point on Bard. Certainly. Hard breaking ball would be the 1st thing and then pure velocity especially from a righty. Bard and Perry with Detroit had both. Both of those were great drafts by Chadd and McCleod

Eddie Bane: David; Physicallity is a word I promised myself I would never use. Dont want to sound like Vitale and the others, but we will continue to get some more physical players without skimping on baseball ability.

[Comment From Randy:] Is Manny Machado clearly the best SS in the draft with Christian Colon from CS-Fullerton closely in 2nd? And could we get a middle infielder with our early picks?

Eddie Bane: Randy; You have a nice pref list, but I cant say one way or the other if I agree with that. But, yes with 5 in the 1st 40 a middle infielder could pop up in one of those spots.

[Comment From AngelsNeverDie:] What type of player or particular skill would you say is undervalued most by the rest of the league? And conversely, what would you say is overvalued most?

Eddie Bane: Angels never die; I hear "he's a good little player" a lot when I go around or "he's a lot like Pedroia" from other guys. I guess they mean he's a little guy that can play baseball a bit, but he is NOTHING like Pedroia when they make that comment. Pedro is a great player in a little smaller package. He can hit anybody's fastball and has great, lightning quick hands. Just because a player is small, it does not make him another Pedroia. Most undervalued tool is the ability to hit a good fastball. If you can do that then you can play in the big leagues. Most overvalued tool might be a players time in the 60. Lots of guys can light it up in the 60, but dont have base stealing instincts. One of our major league scouts, Gary Sutherland, was a great base runner, but he was not fast in the 60. Believe it that Mike Scioscia was a very good baserunner, but his time in the 60 would have been poor.

[Comment From Lou:] How difficult is it to get accurate information on a HS players injuries?

Eddie Bane: Chat deserves more than 9 percent of the vote fellas and ladies. Last time out he was at 90-97  MPH with his knee buckling curveball in Rancho.

Chuck Richter: I agree, Eddie. But that is a tough list to choose one. Mike Trout has been getting all the publicity, but you're right, Chatwood has been a stud in a tough league for a pitcher to pitch.

Eddie Bane: Lou; A lot of times players dont want to give out their info. But, when they miss a start with a pulled quad and you seem them getting their elbow looked at then you figure it out. Really though if we have interest in a hs player we always have a thorough medical look

[Comment From Thomas:] Obviously this is probably your busiest time of year. When is your slowest? When do you get a chance to take a breath?

Eddie Bane: Thomas; Christmas day is kind of slow. Really though Thomas how can I complain? I go to baseball games for a living. Sometimes though the 4;30 wakeup calls 10 days in a row get a little tough.

[Comment From Tyler:] If Matt Harvey is available with the 18th pick, do the Angels pass because of previous problems with the family or do you pick him and hope you can reach an agreement on a signing bonus?

Eddie Bane: We will line up the board and if Matt Harvey is the best available then that is who we will take. There is also something to be said about signing in a good order. Mike Trout got 300 ab's last year and is that much closer to the big leagues now

Chuck Richter: Let's move on to the questions about the current crop of already drafted prospects by the Angels.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] How does Michael Kohn look so far against the better competition?

Eddie Bane: David; As you can see Michael Kohn throws strikes with whatever pitch(mostly fastballs) that he throws. That is huge for a reliever and he is still throwing strikes and being aggressive.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] What does Trevor Reckling need to work on? How is he progressing?

Eddie Bane: David; That is a great point. If Reck had not signed out of high school and attended college he would be in this draft. As it is he is already in Salt Lake in pro baseball. He would be a high 1st rounder, but also would have gone to Orem if the Angels got him. He will be a major leaguer at 21. He made a good choice. Command is the main thing with Trevor and then he starts thinking about throwing strikes and pitchers cannot do that. Reck has no doubt about it Major League stuff with a funky delivery that will bother even good hitters.

[Comment From Bob Tilsdale:] Is Luis Jimenez a legit power hitter at the hot corner? How does Jimenez handle 3B defensively?

Eddie Bane: I laughed at our good old friends at Baseball America when they did not list Reck as one of the best 100 prospects in baseball. Do you really think that there are 100 guys in the minor leagues better than a 20 year old lefty in 3A

Eddie Bane: Lucho Jimenez is a very nice defender and yes he has power and will develope more.

Chuck Richter: I feel the same way, Eddie. Their list that excludes Reckling baffles me.

[Comment From Lou:] Can you give us a rundown on Tyler Chatwood and why you think he's been having so much success in Rancho thus far?

Eddie Bane: Chat has had several games where his fastball ranged from 90-97 mph. He rides the fastball really well and creates angle even for a guy that is 5'11. His curve is at least a 70 on our grading scale where the top grade is 80. He has shown even better command this year than last in CR. Remember a lot of the Cy Young winners were not 6'5" guys. Look at Pedro, Cone, Maddux and others. As long as you can create an angle to the plate it does not matter. Plus Chat is an incredible young man.

[Comment From Jeff:] Thank you for appearing Eddie. How is Jordan Walden faring currently? Are there still issues to be worked out with his delivery/command? How's his velo?

Eddie Bane: Steve Hernandez, who runs our elite team, also coached Chat in high school and Steve helped us tremendously to steer Chatwood toward the Angels.

Eddie Bane: Jordan's ERA is higher than I would like it, but when you come out of the pen one bad outing kills your ERA. Jordan is doing fine and will be a heck of a pitcher in the big leagues. It is funny to listen to the daily minor league reports and hear Bobby Mags at 2A describe Walden, "Jordan Walden, fastball 95-100 with solid life." That is cool. You don't get to hear 100mph very often.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] Orangel Arenas has quietly been putting up very impressive numbers. What can you tell us about him?

Eddie Bane: Yes, most every pitcher in the minor leagues needs to continue working on their delivery and their craft.

Eddie Bane: Arenas has a big arm and he could get lost in the shuffle with all the hype around the other guys, but he is not lost around our people. Has a plus fastball, very competitive now and is throwing better strikes.

Chuck Richter: Eddie, how about we wrap up at 5:30? We have a bunch more questions in the queue. If that's OK with you?

Eddie Bane: OK. Let em fly Chuck and then I will walk Auggie and Sven, the dogs.

Chuck Richter: Sound good, Eddie. Thanks..

[Comment From Randy L:] With the pending move for HS and college to wood bats, how does this effect a scout's ability to evaluate a hitter

Eddie Bane: Randy L. Much easier to evaluate with the wood. You have an easier time because the sweet spot on the wood bat is a lot smaller than an aluminum bat and the ball obviously does not leap off the bat like it does with alum. Power is the main thing that is easier to see.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] When will Trumbo see more time in the OF?

Eddie Bane: Randy L. One thing though is good hitters always hit. Troy Glaus hit at Carlsbad HS, he hit at UCLA and he continued to hit for the Angels. His swing when broken down was the same at all 3 places.

Eddie Bane: David. We think alike. Mark is mixing in a bit out there and with Owens and Mitchell helping him with Roenicke at the big league level we should be able to see if Trumbo can play in the of. Obviously he has a plus arm and monster power.

[Comment From AngelsNeverDie:] What kind of mechanical flaws in pitchers concern you the most?

Eddie Bane: AngelsNeverDie; I hate to say this AND, but nothing in a delivery is a killer for me. Look at Goose Gossage's delivery. How could that have possibly worked. Look at some of the crazy deliveries that have worked. Think like a hitter and ask yourself would you want to hit against those guys that had elbows and kneecaps flying all over the place. One thing I will say though is that bad athletes cannot get past a poor delivery or mechanics, because they are not athletic enough to get out of bad spots.

[Comment From Bob:] How much longer will Randal Grichuk be out? What things does he need to work on to improve his game?

Eddie Bane: Guys, I just believe that there are a lot of ways to play the game and when we try and make everyone play the game the same way then we will never find the Pedroia type.

Eddie Bane: Grichuk is running into one of the hardest things for our young players. Playing 140 games per season is tough and injuries happen. Randal will be back soon, but we always err on the side of caution.

[Comment From Lou:] Which player's level of success thus far this year has been the most surprising to you?

Eddie Bane: Lou; One of the most satisfying seasons so far has been the pitching of Robert Fish. I know he is a legit lefthanded major league pitcher. Now it looks as if he knows that also.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] How much longer will Mike Trout spend with the Cedar Rapids Kernels?

Eddie Bane: Neat to see Hellweg throwing strikes and throwing hard also.

Eddie Bane: David. Mike has plenty to do in CR and anyhow that is up to my esteemed colleague, Abe Flores. But, it is fun to see the pundits that questioned his selection at 25 and now they rank him at 10 in all of baseball.

[Comment From David Saltzer:] Prior to his injury, how was Baird handling the transition to 3B? When will he be back from injury?

Eddie Bane: Not sure when Baird is coming back but he can play 3rd and that will help him anyhow because he is going to be a major league hitter.

[Comment From Sean:] How are the guys in extended training doing? Anyone doing well but just can't find a spot?

Eddie Bane: Daniel Reynolds from last years draft has been the biggest eye opener for me. T-Bone in extended spring has one of the toughest jobs in the game. Make those guys better players in 110 degree heat. Reynolds had one game where he was 94-97 and T Boykin said he just overmatched the other team. Those are fun days for scouts to hear that.

[Comment From Thomas:] Eddie, could you please give us this chat's under the radar player we should keep an eye out for?

Eddie Bane: Alright Thomas; Under the radar is Daniel Reynolds from last years draft. RH pitcher from Las Vegas that did not pitch at all last season. He came out after battling back from injury and was throwing absolute rockets in extended spring. Also Rolando Gomez at shortstop. Gomez has a special pair of hands and can stay at short.

Chuck Richter: I do have a final question for you, Eddie. If you could sit down and talk to Brandon Wood. What would you tell him? And, do you think he will have some success at the major league level at some point in his career?

Eddie Bane: Yep, Brandon Wood is a quality major league player. Scouts are stubborn by nature and I know what I have seen with the young man. Quality person with talent. That is a great starting point. I dont have any advice other than to try and relax and let his God-given ability take over. 2 months does not a season make. Paul Konerko and I had that talk after his first month in the big leagues and he was hitting .125. One day it just clicked and he ended the year at .289 and 30 homeruns.

Chuck Richter: Thank you for your time, Eddie. This was a great chat today. Now, go walk your dogs. :-) and..... go get us some more Mike Trout, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Randal Grichuk's. :-) We'll circle back with you after the draft.

Eddie Bane: Folks, once again I am amazed at the knowledge and the passion you guys have for the Angels. Trust in Mike and his guys and we will end up the season right where we are supposed to be. My last thing though would be, go Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Remember I went to ASU.

Thanks a lot everybody,

Eddie

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