by Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Executive Editor
Eddie Bane was kind enough to get with us via satellite from Gulfport, Mississippi to complete the March edition of "The Bane Connection".
In this month's edition, the majority of the questions were derived from Angelswin.com members. So, let's dig right into the interview with Scouting Director of the Los Angeles Angels, Eddie Bane.
Q: (Angelswin) - First of all, Congratulations on being inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. So what was that like, the ceremony and feeling after receiving the award? Some of our viewers may not have followed your college career, so what one game performance from a personal standpoint do you look back on in College and say, that was my best performance?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Thanks everyone for the HOF thoughts. Very nice. The induction ceremony is in Lubbock, Texas in July. Any time you go in anything with Jackie Robinson you have to feel very honored. I do not look back on one single performance at ASU, but the times I had with my buddies and team are what I will always think about.
Q: (Angelswin) - Ok, back to Angels talk. One of our AW.com members had this question for you: How does the organization determine when to promote a prospect from one level to the next? Are there specific skills that the Angels want a prospect to develop at each level before earning a promotion to the next level? If so what are they? (for example, are there certain leagues where the coaches will teach or stress a changeup more or bunting more than others or are there more targets in terms of overall production?)
A: (Eddie Bane) - Great question. I think the thing that we see is the complete stress and emphasis on the fundamentals of the game and especially baserunning from the moment they sign. The Angels definitely have established an "Angel Way" to play baseball and that is a nice satisfaction to all of us.
As far as promotion goes we like to think that a player will let you know when it is time to move him to a higher level. One thing we are facing now is the fierce competition we have at all levels. You simply would have a hard time walking into the Angels organization now and just moving up the ladder without earning the next spot. Just look at the competition at shortstop.
Romine, Phillips, Statia, Rodriguez, Aybar, Izturis and Wood are all certainly on the radar screen as possible major league shortstops. I had a scout from another club tell me the other day, "We don't care who it is, just give us any of your shortstops!" Pretty nice compliment. I think the pitching coaches at the earliest levels make all of our young pitchers throw their change.
Q: (Angelswin) - Since different minor leagues are known as either hitter leagues or pitcher leagues, and some are known for having substandard fields, how much does the organization discount the stats for each of its affiliates leagues? How does (Eddie Bane) view each of the leagues for our affiliates in terms of hitters league, pitchers league, fielding, etc?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Minor league fields (the surfaces) are getting so much better that it is getting easier to evaluate that part of the players ability. But, we know going in, that the Cal League's offensive numbers are going to be high for many reasons. Tough league to pitch. In Cedar Rapids you look for the young guys and how they adjust to playing every single day. That is a tough grind. Everyone likes stats to support their side of the coin, but as scouts we have to look deeper than that.
Q: (Angelswin) - How much does the organization factor age into evaluating a prospect?
A: (Eddie Bane) - The Angels draft a lot of high school players. That gives the young players a chance to learn the "Angel Way" of baseball at a young age. Age plays a huge factor in evaluation in our organization. I tell our amateur scouts when they are looking at players now that Bourjos, O'Sullivan, Mount, Bell and Phillips would all be in the '08 draft if they had went to college. So if one of my guys is telling me how good a centerfielder at a college is then I want to hear how he compares to Peter Bourjos. That usually tempers his enthusiasm because there is not a centerfielder in college right now that compares favorably to Peter.
Q: (Angelswin) - How does an organization come to the conclusion as to when a prospect goes from "sure thing" to "bust". In addition to that, at what point does the GM & scouts get the feeling it isn't going to work out for a prospect because either the player is blocked or needs more time in the minors, something the Major League club cannot wait on. ?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I don't ever look at it that way. Last season Darren O'Day was considered a pitcher in our organization that was a very good thing to have. Now he is on the verge of making our ball club. I like to make sure the guys get a chance to play in front of Mike, Tony and Butcher and let them determine their value instead of having someone else do it.
Q: (Angelswin) - How active are the Angels in Latin America? When reading reports about prospects I rarely see the Angels listed as having scouted or in on the signing the players.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Clay Daniel is our international scouting director and he works with me on signing Latin American players. I would say that you only need look at Aybar, Morales, Santana and Frankie Rodriquez to see his impact. We also traded away Alexi Casilla and a couple others to help our major league club. We also have Anel Delosantos and some good looking outfield prospects to go with the 4 guys at the major league level. Clay is also active in Asia and Australia and signed Rich Thompson who will help our ML club at some point this season.
Q: (Angelswin) - How much do you value statistics in regards to college players?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Our area scouts pay attention to the stats quite a bit, but we have to look a lot deeper than that. I did, one time, draft a player because he was the best hitter on his team even though he had a bad body, at the time, and was a short catcher. That player was Paul LoDuca and that worked out pretty well.
Q: (Angelswin) - Does the organization establish specific goals for each player at the start of the season? If so, how is the process handled (i.e. is there someone who handles it throughout the organization or is it handled by the staff at each level).
A: (Eddie Bane) - You would not believe how thorough that part of the player profile is. Each player has a file and each player knows exactly what is expected of him. The days of the "Bull Durham" type minor league stuff are pretty much over.
Q: (Angelswin) - We (the fans) always hear about a team "show-casing a player" in anticipation of a trade. How much show-casing really happens?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Showcasing a player for the Angels would almost never happen. Our goal at the major league level is to win the World Series every single season so Mike and his staff are doing everything they can at the Major League level to win every game. That would prevent "showcasing" a player in my mind. Besides scouts at the major level work hard during batting practice or early work to attempt to see what they need to on every player.
Q: (Angelswin) - Will Kendry Morales play any OF or 3B in SLC this year if he doesn't make the 25 man roster?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Kendry is getting ready to make a big splash in the major leagues this season in my opinion. Let's just let it play out and see what happens. Some versatility would not hurt him at all though, we'll see.
Q: (Angelswin) - The Angels losing Escobar for perhaps the entire season and Lackey a couple months, do you have any doubt that Adenhart can step in and be successful on the major league level right now ?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Nick Adenhart had a nice spring and put himself firmly in the mind of Mike, Tony and Butcher. Now he has to climb the last part of the mountain. Nick's goals are not to pitch in the Major Leagues. Nick wants to be a front of the rotation pitcher and if he stays healthy I have no doubts that will happen. He is that kind of pitcher.
Q: (Angelswin) - Will the Angels consider converting Mark Trumbo back to pitching?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Mark Trumbo showed the major league staff in spring training the tremendous power that all of us scouts have seen. He has as much power as anyone in baseball. We all think this is a big year for him and believe that he will thrive in Rancho this season.
Q: (Angelswin) - Who did you have in your NCAA pool to make it to the Final Four?
A: (Eddie Bane) - My bracket was blown up by being a homer. I had U of A winning some games and USC winning some games. I got most of the Final 4 correct along with everybody else in the country, but I did not see Davidson and Louisville doing what they are doing.
Angelswin.com Members - As always, please communicate how much we, the fans, love the time you give us in answering our questions. Thanks, and talk to you next month.
Eddie Bane - I enjoy doing this and hope the fans like reading what the scouting department has to say on this stuff. Thanks again, Eddie Bane.