Interview conducted by Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com
Q: (Angelswin) - Hope you're having a great memorial day weekend, Eddie. With the draft coming up, how are you and your staff preparing for the '08 Amateur Baseball Draft. If you can give our readers a behind the scenes look at what the Angels '08 strategy is and possibly what players are high on your list on draft day.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Hey Chuck and the readers. Great to hear from you guys again. First of all Chuck you know I cannot give you any information on who we are considering for the draft. This is not the NFL and I am continually amazed at how much information NFL and NBA people share with the outside world. If we have someone we like where we select the Angels will do everything in our power to throw all 29 other teams in a different direction. Dog eat dog world in the MLB draft and that is what makes it so much fun. Friends sending friends with other teams all other the globe in the wrong direction in order to get an advantage. We started our meetings today(Monday) and will meet every day until draft day just fine tuning our board until our scouts personal Christmas time(draft day). The MLB draft does not get the play of the NFL draft, but it is certainly just as important to the lifeblood of the Angels organization.
Q: (Angelswin) - Without a 1st round pick this year (losing ours for signing Torii Hunter) will the Angels gamble their 2nd round pick for a player with signability issues like Matt Harvey?
A: (Eddie Bane) - No, we will just line them up and fight about the players (amongst all the crosscheckers and myself) and then select off the board the way it comes down the pike. We took an educated gamble last season with Mr Harvey and just missed on signing him. We do get a pick at the end of the 3rd round as compensation for not signing Matt. Obviously we would rather have Matt, but his agent and family wanted more money and we felt that our offer was very respectable.
BTW, I will take a Torii Hunter every single year and let us try and find value like Adenhart, Tobin, Walden, Reckling, Bourjos and others down in the draft.
Q: (Angelswin) - Who in your opinion is hands down the best College and High School top pick in this draft?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Do not want to dodge the question, but RJ Harrison (Tampa's Scouting Director and owner of the 1st pick) would not be happy with me if I made my thoughts public on who I felt was the best player. I will give you guys an example. In 2004 one of the Padres people (San Diego owned the first pick) was quoted in the media during the amateur season that Jered Weaver was the best player in the country by far and that he was ready for the major leagues now. San Diego (fortunately for the Angels) bypassed Weaver and selected Matt Bush. Even though we love the fact we were able to draft Jered we did have to face those quotes in the negotiating sessions.
(Angelswin) - Fair enough. I totally understand with regards to the 1st question as well.
Q: (Angelswin) - How is Young-Il progressing in extended spring/AZ?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Young Il has been facing some arm issues and we are currently trying to get those ironed out. Things happen with pitchers. In the game nowadays, with the strength of the players and the many medical advancements available it is a good idea to do everything possible to keep healthy players.
Q: (Angelswin) - Peter Bourjos & Mark Trumbo are both looking real good in High-A Ball. I know you've been really high on both of these kids who you have had a part in drafting. Your thoughts on their development?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Peter Bourjos has 28 stolen bases as of May 25. That is great news for the organization. Peter is one of the fastest players in the game though he may not look like that. BUT, it helped him tremendously being in big league camp this spring and having Scioscia, Roeniecke, Griffin and others encourage him and tell him it is ok to get thrown out once in awhile. Peter is a plus defender with an average to plus arm and tremendous speed. Now he is hitting, but the thing that will make him an over the top player is that some of our Major League scouts like Brad Sloan believe Peter will also hit more than 15 homeruns per year when he matures.
Power is the last tool that comes in a prospects progress. Mark Trumbo has as much raw power as anyone in the game. He is now starting to turn that into game power. Mark gets frustrated at times because he cares so much, but he is beginning to realize that big time power guys don't hit HR's everyday. The only problem with Mark Trumbo is that he cheers for USC in football and I have to set him straight about the up and coming ASU Sun Devils. For some unknown reason he still likes USC. Oh well.
Q: (Angelswin) - Will we see PJ Phillips in the OF, with his speed, perhaps in centerfield soon? His defense is awfully erratic at SS.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Lots of people are asking that question. The answer is tough because PJ is going to play in the major leagues at some position. The infield surfaces in the Cal League can get hard at times and even a great handed defender like Andrew Romine would struggle in the Cal League. Remember some people were clamoring for a team a few years ago to get rid of a young man named Brandon Phillips. He just signed a huge contract with his new team and you know his old team realizes they gave up too quick. Too many of our great minor league people, like Bruce Hines, believe in PJ and that is good enough for me.
BTW how about the James Phillips family of Atlanta, Georgia. Mother and Father own and run a batting cage center in Atlanta. You can get kicked out of the center if your report card is not good enough. Big brother, Brandon is a major leaguer. PJ will be a major leaguer and sister Porsche was an McDonalds All-American HS basketball player.
Q: (Angelswin) - What is the main difference you see in players once they get some time in the show and then they are sent back?
A: (Eddie Bane) - That is the tell tale part of a player. Once you get that taste of the big leagues the next thing you want is to get right back to that level where as Crash Davis said, "all the balls are pearls, you eat steak and lobster and never carry your own bags." Players usually work extra hard after the initial shock of being sent down to the minor leagues.
Q: (Angelswin) - Is the fitness/diet of each player up to that individual or is this closely monitored at each level?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Folks, you would not believe how closely players are monitored in professional baseball. A quality diet may be the thing that keeps a player in shape and helps him get to the big leagues over another player with the same ability. Just for old times sake though I hope the players sneak off to Del Taco once in awhile to honor us old players. In baseball lore, junk food and the minor leagues kind of go together.
Q: (Angelswin) - According to Baseball Prospectus, " Sean Rodriguez has a little bit of the Jose Valentin skill set: a guy who will hit about .240 but can be a hidden asset at the major league level between his walks, isolated power, and his underrated defense. He hasn't been fantastic in his major league debut this season, but it’s interesting that the Angels seem to be giving him first dibs over Brandon Wood. Players who hit for low averages are probably at more risk of their major league teams running out of patience with them, so the key thing for the Angels to keep in mind is that this is a player whom PECOTA thinks has a fair amount of development left in his bat, even if he’s likely to underwhelm at the major league level now. "
What are your thoughts in regards to BP's take on Rodriguez?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Chuck I thought PECOTA was the one that was against people wearing fur coats. No, you are correct that is PETA. Seriously they do make sense, but the sample size is so small that I am surprised they would have an opinion this early on Sean. I don't think you need a stat book though to tell you that Sean Rodriquez is a good baseball player. Tough and knows the game. That is why he is playing and certainly why he is playing 2b over Brandon Wood is because Woodie never plays 2nd. Sean will pop some home runs, steal an occasional base and hang tough on the dp. For me Sean is another example of the depth that we have in the organization. That will be one of the key things if we are able to stay on top in the AL West.
Q: (Angelswin) - How has Morales performed defensively in RF? With Kotchman performing well at the big league level, it seems we need to find a different position for Morales to crack the big league club going forward.
A: (Eddie Bane) - Kendry continues to hit while moving around at levels and positions. Some players have that knack. Hard to bother Morales when he has a bat in his hand. He is a good enough athlete to do a good job in the OF, but he is just getting started.
Q: (Angelswin) - Just how good is the starting rotation at Cedar Rapids?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Not many teams are going to be able to roll out 5 starters like we have in Cedar and that is what is the fun part about drafting a lot of HS and JC players. Pref order would be tough, but you would start with Jordan Walden who has the stuff and makeup to be a front of the rotation guy. Fish and Reckling are both hs sign lefties with plus fastballs and plus curves. Reckling is a very confident young lefty from the east coast who believes in himself and his stuff. Tobin is a jc sign that we got at a bargin price. Tobin's fastball gets to 95 a lot with brick-like life. Anton is a 1st year lefty that John Gracio found in Arizona working out at a baseball academy. John Gracio stayed with Anton even though he was not pitching competitively and we were able to get a lefty prospect that not a lot of teams knew about.
For me that is the real reason that the Angels future is so bright. Our scouts go the extra mile to find these guys and that makes me really proud of them.
Q: (Angelswin) - How do Bobby Wilson and Ben Johnson look behind the plate? (Defensively)
A: (Eddie Bane) - It better be good because in this organization if you do not catch the Scioscia-way then you will get run over by the train coming from behind in the form of De Los Santos and Hank Conger who is getting close to being healthy.
Q: (Angelswin) - At Rancho, Norman has been moving throughout several spots in the lineup and posting some very solid numbers. How do you see him developing offensively and defensively?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Norman is an older player that got a late start on his career. But, he continues to hit and what can you say? If you hit in this game and have the love and passion that Norman has then you always have a chance.
Q: (Angelswin) - Lastly, who has really stood out this minor league season in your opinion? Who else should we be watching?
A: (Eddie Bane) - One of the hard things has been all the injuries that Abe Flores has had to put up with. But, I always tell the hurt guys to get out of the way because in the Angels organization if you are not playing then somebody is trying to take your job. Tough fact of life. The things that have stood out would be stuff like Adenhart battling all the way through the Tommy John he had in hs and making it to the major leagues at 21. He will be back shortly, as long as he is healthy, and be a star at the Major League level. All the pitchers at Cedar Rapids showing their stuff night after night has been a nice surprise.
People seeing how good Peter Bourjos really is. Especially, Tony having Peter in big league camp so the Major League coaches can watch him play. Trumbo's power starting to come around and Ryan Aldridge getting healthy enough to start showing how special he could be.
(Angelswin) - Eddie as always, the fans, the entire staff and community at Angelswin.com and myself appreciate your time.
(Eddie Bane) - You guys are great fans and I really really appreciate the interest you guys show. Now if you would help me with this first pick instead of laying back in the weeds it sure would help.