Interview conducted by Chuck Richter - Executive Editor
Q: (Angelswin) - Eddie, first off, I heard you on the Angels AM 830 radio show this morning. Good stuff, though not the "meat and potatoes" that we usually discuss here, what a treat for those who aren't able to be online much or at all, now they can hear about the draft and kids down on the farm while on the road.
Let's get started...
With our first pick in the 2008 amateur draft -Tyler Chatwood, are you happy with the pick and were you surprised he was still on the board in the 2nd round?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Chuck, thanks for the shout out on the radio gig on 830. The Angels have a great deal and we can get a lot of traffic concerning Angels Baseball on 830. Plus the morning show is really good. People should give it a listen.
Tyler Chatwood was rated very high on our board. I saw one game where he did not throw a pitch under 94 and reached 97. In addition Chatwood has a plus curve. We have some work to do on getting his command where it needs to be, but we are very happy with Tyler. Some teams may have shied away because of size, but that does not bother me that much.
Q: (Angelswin) - Do you foresee having any signability issues with any certain draftee?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Of course. Every player thinks they should have been drafted higher and every player wants more money. That is just the nature of the beast.
Q: (Angelswin) - Did we "take a chance" on a player who is coming off of an injury?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Ryan Chaffee, our 2nd selection came out his start at the JC World Series after tripping over a bat in the 2nd inning, but that is not serious. No players that are coming off of big injuries, but everybody in todays' game is hurt somewhat and it is a matter of the training and medical staff helping them get better.
Q: (Angelswin) - Steal of the draft in Eddie Bane's eyes is?
A: (Eddie Bane) - The Angels got a shortstop a little later in the draft by the name of Rolando Gomez from south Florida. He would have been a higher pick if he was more signable. I want to work on him all summer and see what we have.
Gabe Jacobo in the 10th round has a big time bat. College bats are usually not available in the 10th round with as much thunder as Jacobo has. But, it is hard rating the steal of the draft, because we have not signed all of them and in addition we had no idea that a guy like Romine was as good as he was last year when we got him in the 5th round.
Q: (Angelswin) - What is the first thing Eddie always looks for when drafting a player: Potential/Upside? Specific position? Best value? Club need? Character?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Almost never club need. The player that is in the big leagues now is not the player that our draft needs to beat out. He needs to worry about players already in the system. So, it is not the future. First thing you have to see are the 5 tools. Hit, Arm, Run, Power and Field or HARPF. Without at least some of those you can have the best character in the world and not make it. My youngest daughter, Veronica is at Chapman and has a 3.5 GPA. She has great character. BUT, her HARPF is lousy so she is not going to be an Angels Draft.
Q: (Angelswin) - How soon after the draft do those drafted hit the diamond for workouts? Does it depend on whether or not a HS player is undecided about going to college? Is he eligible to participate in organizational workouts and still go to college if he chooses not to sign?
A: (Eddie Bane) - We are finishing our mini-camp in Arizona right now. The team then leaves for Orem or the ones that are staying in AZ start their league this week. A player must sign before he can work with the Angel staff.
Q: (Angelswin) - OK, this years' crop of kids best tools. (2008 Draftees)
A: (Eddie Bane)
BEST ATHLETE - Khiry Cooper is a 3 star wideout recruit for Nebraska, but his future is definitely in baseball
BEST PURE HITTER - Gabe Jacobo for College and Jamie Mallard for high school
BEST POWER HITTER - Same 2 previous guys mentioned (above)
BEST STRIKE-ZONE JUDGMENT - I hope none of them. That is a learned trait. I want guys that swing the bat at good pitches. We work on the other stuff after they get here.
FASTEST BASERUNNER - Zach Cone
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER - Nicholas Farnsworth is a really good defender at 1b, although we drafted him for his bat more than his glove.
BEST ARM STRENGTH - Not sure yet as a couple of the position players have nice arms.
BEST FASTBALL - Tyler Chatwood for HS and Michael Kohn from Georgia for College.
BEST SECONDARY PITCH - Ryan Chaffee has nice other stuff. So does Will Smith
BEST COMMAND - Will Smith will at some point have plus command
CLOSEST TO MAJORS - Chaffee or Jacobo, but that plays very little in where we draft players. We need these guys in 4-5 years to make a splash in the big leagues and we don't draft for guys that can just help us a bit and then be gone. Take Steven Marek for example. Some fans may have forgotten him. Last night in 2A he struck out 4 guys in one inning in a one run game. Fastball was at 94 with a plus major league curve. That is what we want these guys to do.
Jepsen. Aldridge, Marek and Arredondo are all examples of wanting guys for the long term when they are major league ready and not for half a season.
Q: (Angelswin) - Do you see a lot of similarities between Zach Cone and Matt Kemp? What about Rolando Gomez and Maicer Izturis?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Very good body comparisons, but since we have not signed either player I will hold judgment on the rest of the question.
Q: (Angelswin) - Will the Angels ever draft a player who hits the ground running like Evan Longoria or Ryan Braun? How has this happened so infrequently (maybe Glaus, Salmon and Edmonds the only instances) during the 47 year history of this franchise, especially when so many of the teams were awful and drafting high every year?
A: (Eddie Bane) - No, emphatically NO.
Chuck, as long as Arte is the best owner in the game we are going to select late. We win and that means you select late. Tampa Bay has done a great job and I mean that, but for heavens sake they have had the 1st or 2nd pick every year for the last 10 years. They should have already had a good team by now. We have to find the Braun's and Longoria's when they are in high school and sign them. I ask our scouts to take a chance on the HS player that is going to become Longoria. You miss sometimes and sometimes you hit big.
We draft the Braun's and others when you go out and see Peter Bourjos. Most of the college young men that were selected in the first round are not as good a prospect as Peter Bourjos and Pete would have been in this draft if he had attended college. The same thing will be true next year with Hank Conger. Conger will be better than most of the college players drafted in the first round next year.
Q: (Angelswin) - With the international signing period about to begin in July, do the Angels look at a guy like Michel Inoa who might command a signing bonus of 2-3.5 million dollars? How active will the Angels be with some of the top rated international players that might command a high signing bonus? Do the initial conversations and signings with the just drafted players determine how much you might be willing to spend internationally?
A: (Eddie Bane) - No, we have a distinct budget for each department. We look at every player internationally. Nobody is off our charts.
Q: (Angelswin) - Back to this years' crop of kids, one Angelswin.com member says: Joey Belviso, Donnie Roach, DeMetrius Washington, and Christian Scholl. These guys are legit, what are the chances we sign them?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Once again Chuck I am thrilled that people take the time to know who these guys are. That says a lot about our Angel fans. Scholl has already signed. We will get one or 2 of the others inked also. Time frame is who knows, but has to be done by August 15, 2008.
Q: (Angelswin) - Thoughts on why Wood is struggling so much up here compared to down in the minors?
A: (Eddie Bane) - Brandon Wood is a no doubt Major League player in my mind. The Angels have more homegrown players than any other organization. But, with the Angels we are here to win the World Series. Some teams could take the struggles of a young player and ride it out because the team was not ready to win. That is not the case here. Or, a team may have no other options. Once again that is not the case here. If you want competition this is the place to be and Brandon Wood loves competition so he will be just fine.
Q: (Angelswin) - Speaking of struggling, do you still feel that bringing Adenhart up was the right decision? Along with that, are you still not concerned with Adenhart's BB/K ratio?
A: (Eddie Bane) - We have a lot more to worry about than Nick's command. Every team in the game would answer the phone if we wanted to talk about Nick. We don't want to talk about that. Nick has certainly walked more people than he should. He knows that. His delivery is clean he has a great mind for the game. Look at the great deal that Tony Reagins did last winter by not listening to people that wanted to trade Ervin Santana. Where would we be without him. Same way with Nick Adenhart. He is an Angel and will be good for the Angels long term.
To answer the question though I am not concerned about Nick Adenhart in the least. If he stays healthy he will be a 1-2 starter in the big leagues down the road.
Q: (Angelswin) - Do you still find time at any point in the year to play baseball at a competitive level in a rec. league/ league for adults/former players, etc...? If not, do you hit the practice field and participate in inter-squads with some of the guys ever? Do you still throw the ball around?
A: (Eddie Bane) - I am not that busy Chuck, but I can create things to do in my mind and get lazy, but I should definitely get out and exercise more often. The internet and Google have some bad pictures of me and I am better than that. LOL. My arm hurts so bad when I throw that it takes a minute or 2 to get the ball all the way in the air to the catcher.
Q: (Angelswin) - Do you get to see your family much during the season? Do you have any kids who play ball?
A: (Eddie Bane) - The good thing about scouting and family is that when you are home you really are home and don't have to go 9 to 5. The bad thing is you are gone a lot.
I have 4 kids and they all have made me very proud. Jaymie, is the oldest and he played in the Angels organization and is now a Major League scout for the Red Sox. Corey is my youngest son and he owns his own home theater business, called Bulldog Audio and he has been getting a ton of business but could always use more. Kacey is my oldest daughter and is almost done with her masters and doctorate in history. Veronica is my youngest daughter and is a sophomore at Chapman with a high GPA and is also one of the Princess characters where she works at Legoland. A great group of kids that I obviously am really proud of.
As always, thank you Eddie. Fans have been flocking to Angelswin.com in droves to look for this feature every month. Angels fans truly appreciate your time. Our contributors and myself at Angelswin.com truly appreciate your time and support.
Eddie Bane - Thanks readers. This is fun to do and thanks for letting me brag on my kids. Both my natural kids and the kids we have drafted for the Angels. Hope you guys like the draft and let me know when and if you disagree with what we are doing.