On the eve of the 2013 Amateur Draft we caught up with Angels Director of Scouting, Ric Wilson. Ric was so kind to give us 40 minutes of his time in our AngelsWin.com chat room answering our questions about the upcoming draft and the prospects down on the farm.
We're excited about a post-draft chat with Ric Wilson a week after this week's amateur draft, so be on the lookout for that scheduled chat next week.
Here's the chat transcript of our time with Ric, or Wily, as he would like to be called.
Chuck Richter: First question: Ric, who (or what types of player positions and from either HS or College) have you and your staff targeted in this upcoming draft and what are the strengths and weaknesses that you've assessed in this class?
Ric Wilson: Thanks to everyone for having me on. We have scouted in both the hs and college ranks scouting all positions. The strength of the draft seems to be the depth in pitching
Chuck Richter: Ric, do you and the Angels have plans to scout more internationally. There has been a lot of players like Darvish, Cespedes and Puig play up well in the big leagues recently. Will the Angels scout more in these other countries?
Ric Wilson: Yes we have developed a strong international staff and I do believe they will make a splash more sooner than later. I know they are out there beating the the bushes. They have a good foundation and solid leadership
Chuck Richter: Is it an organizational philosophy to draft the best player available, certain positions have higher priority, or players that might make it to the big leagues faster?
Ric Wilson: Each draft class is different and the strengths in the draft change. I do believe you have to understand how the draft is unfolding. To get a better grasp of how a team can actually maximize the draft. All clubs are different in their approach.
Chuck Richter: Are there any budget constraints going into this draft?
Ric Wilson: Not really with the rule changes. We can't go out as we did a few years ago and spend freely. But there isn't really constraints but are limited to what we can do
Chuck Richter: Which Angels prospect or prospects have really jumped onto your radar this season with their play through two months of action? Excluding the top guys like Cron, Cowart, Lindsey, Grichuk.
Ric Wilson: I think all of these guys are making steady progress. Cron is a little older than the others with this group and has figured it out sooner, the others have taken a little longer to figure out AA pitching but it looks like they are starting to get back on track. Some of the guys doing well are Sappington, Alvarez, Yarbrough, Staments, Morin. All from last years class and playing in Inland Empire.
Chuck Richter: Are you concerned with Cowart's, Witherspoon's and Maronde's slow starts and Cron's plate discipline -- just 6 walks through 53 games -- despite a solid BA and power totals?.
Ric Wilson: That is some of the progression CJ is working through. He is an aggressive hitter and it is hard to take that away from him but is something he is working on. Just part of the process with the others.
Chuck Richter: Ric, Zach Borenstein and Michael Snyder have been solid in High-A. Should we be excited about these guys or do you see their performances as they're college guys in a hitters league doing well?
Ric Wilson: I think there could be some of both, but both have shown they can make the adjustments and should be able to take it to the next level which is what development is about. They have both made nice strides.
Chuck Richter: Back to the upcoming draft. Since the system is so thin, will you be more conservative with your selections and take guys closer to the big leagues (from college)?
Ric Wilson: I don't think that being conservative is what we are doing . You have to take what the draft is giving you and you have to pick in the right spots to get the high impact type guy. We take players that we think will have ML value as well players we think will help the system improve as we get down in the draft and some of those guys wind up surprising you at times.
Chuck Richter: The Angels have seemed to focus on signing high priced free agents and using the farm for trades for veteran players, which has left the farm system rather thin (to put it mildly). What is the organization's philosophy with regards to this going forward? Will we see more focus on the farm or more of a "Steinbrenneresque" approach?
Ric Wilson: I would like to answer the 1st question. We have to keep in mind we have to aquire players in all sorts of avenues. In that past few years that's what we have done and that it is our job to give Jerry the freedom to have options to make our big league club stronger. So we had it once we will at some point get back to balance were we can take a more balances approach to the draft. We did it when we had the prospects and we will do it again, it just takes time to do it.
Ceciliatravsfan: What do you think of some of the under the radar players, like Matt Long and Drew Heid?
Ric Wilson: I love those types of players and that's what I was talking about when I said they will surprise you. They are gifted players but what makes these guys more than anything is their make-up and the way they play day in and day out. They get the very most out of their ability.
Scott34: I'm curious as to how high up the Angels scout before the draft with a lower pick like 59. Do you guys even look at Gray, Appel, Bryant, etc or the players projected to go top 10?
Ric Wilson: You have to go through some of that just to get a feel of what is out there, but we do not spend as much time with them. We like to call it fishing in the right pond and since I have been the director we haven't had a real good chance to aquire these kind of guys. So we fish in the ponds where we can be successful.We just spread everyone out and try to get deeper with the manpower we have. We feel it has been successful and we will begin to see some of that work, out in system.
Chuck Richter: Players with a strong passion for the game of baseball are not only excellent teammates but have significantly higher chances for a successful long-term MLB career. Without a statistic to go by, how does the club analyze a prospect's passion for the game? How much is this considered when drafting players?
Ric Wilson: You can generally see it in their overall approach to the game. The way they practice, how they treat their teammates, who the leaders are, those are things we look for in that regard. I know all of you can see that gritty guy that works his tail off even at the little league level. That's hard to leave you. But when you add tools or skills with it, now you have something
Ric Wilson: Thanks to all of you looking forward to the next time. I am excited about tomorrow everyone has done a great job and we are more than prepared . Thanks to all for your support take care.