Now that the 2015 Draft is complete, AngelsWin,com is thrilled to catch up with Ric Wilson, the Angels Director of Scouting, to gain greater insights into the most recent group of players to don the Halos uniform.
Chuck Richter: First off, how do you and your team feel you did in the draft?
Ric Wilson: Well, we feel like we got just what we were looking for.
Chuck Richter: Were you guys zeroing in on Taylor Ward or just a catcher in general for your first pick in the draft?
Ric Wilson: We liked Taylor since last summer. We saw a majority of his games this year.
Chuck Richter: Who do you think was the steal of the draft for you guys?
Ric Wilson: Well, we have a number of guys we are excited about, but Jared Foster from LSU we feel has a chance to impact a game on both sides of the ball.
Chuck Richter: Very good! Who do you feel is the closest to the majors from this draft?
Ric Wilson: Taylor Ward I believe will take off and maneuver through our system fairly quickly. Grayson Long could advance fairly quickly as well.
Chuck Richter: Many question the Angels selection of Ward since they see him as being an all glove, no bat type of guy. He's off to a nice start in Orem with the bat however. Your thoughts on those critics?
Ric Wilson: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And we have ours. We did our work on him, scouted him well we do believe he will hit some and with some power—he controls the zone well. Doesn't punch out a lot. There is more to an offensive player than his batting average. I guess we just look at them a little different than others
Chuck Richter: Kyle Survance Jr. is also off to a nice start in Orem. What can you tell us about this kid?
Ric Wilson: He is very athletic a good combination of speed, hit ability and defense. We do feel he will grow into some power as he matures. He is versatile in the outfield with the ability to play all 3 positions. And he can steal bases.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Hey Ric, I've got a question. I watched the entire draft and wondered if you could advise us on the process with so many young players available. How do you go through your board and say this is our guy at this round with so much talent available? Do you add in the additional background information after the 5-9th rounds by your area scouts? Or, is it by feel and the players you like as a group?
Ric Wilson: We have a process that we use throughout the draft. What we are trying to do is separate players. We use evaluations, medical, psychological, make-up, statistical analysis—it all comes into play as well as the feel that the scout has. It's a long process.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Awesome Thanks!
Ric Wilson: Good question
Chuck Richter: Ric, how close is Dipoto and Scioscia to the decision making during the draft or even prior to the draft in wanting certain kinds of players? Or do they just let you and your staff draft and are hands off?
Ric Wilson: Jerry is in all of our meetings listening to all of our scouts. Mike is a little busy that time of the year and doesn't get involved, but I do speak to him periodically. We have developed the type of player or pitcher that we are looking for and everyone in the room has input, but Jerry ultimately trusts me to make the right decision.
Chuck Richter: Very good. Thank you for that inside info.
Chuck Richter: How excited were you to see Jahmai Jones where you were picking in the 2nd round? What type of player do you see him becoming down the road?
Ric Wilson: I am very excited to have Jam. He is an exciting young player with a huge upside. Strong tools on both sides of the ball. He is very young, 17 years old, and mature beyond his years. He comes from a great family and has tremendous make-up. It will be fun to watch him grow up. He plays very hard and has great energy.
Chuck Richter: How big of a role do analytics play in your draft process? Because it seems you targeted guys with specific tendencies.
Ric Wilson: We definitely use them like many other tools it just helps us separate the players, but it does give us some insight on what type of player we are getting. Most tend to bring whatever they do into the pro game.
Mancini79: How do you evaluate the psychology of a player? Is there a standard process like the NFL Wunderlic test or a formula unique to the Angels?
Ric Wilson: We use various techniques but nothing standard.
Chuck Richter: Ric, give us a few sleepers from this amateur draft. Players that weren't drafted high but you think have a good chance to become solid major leaguers.
Ric Wilson: Jimmy Barnes, Ryan Vega, Sam Pastrone, Kenny Towns, Aaron Rhoades.
Inside Pitch: Ric, what are you feelings on MLB creating a universal world draft? Would that make your work, easier . . . or harder . . . ?
Ric Wilson: I'm not really sure how I feel but if it did it would surely make my job tougher. The United States Canada and Puerto Rico are big enough I couldn't imagine the whole earth wow, but I'm sure we would figure it out.
Chuck Richter: Before we move on to a few questions aside from this past draft, let's get your picks for the following categories from this past 2015 amateur draft.
Chuck Richter: Best Power: Best Contact: Best On-Base Skills: Best Speed: Highest Upside: Best Defender: Best Throwing Arm:--Best Fastball: Best Curveball: Best Slider: Best Changeup: Best Command: Closest to the big leagues:
Ric Wilson: David Fletcher / Kyle Survance , Jared Foster / Jam Jones / Taylor Ward / Nic Flair..... ... Grayson Long, Sam Pastrone, Aaron Rhoades / Grayson Long, Adam Hofacket / Grayson Long and Taylor Ward and Grayson Long
Chuck Richter: Very good, thank you Ric!
Ric Wilson: Missed a few.
Chuck Richter: I can send it to you in email format and you send back. It'll be easier.
Ric Wilson: Nic Flair most power with Jared Foster / contact Fletcher
Ric Wilson: No problem
(Note: we will edit and reformat this with any updates from Ric Wilson)
Chuck Richter: Last draft question. What is your favorite story from the draft, whether this year or since you've been a scouting director that you can share with us? Funny story or heart warming story.
Ric Wilson: I have so many but one that stands out this year getting to know Jam Jones and his family this year and getting him into our system is very special. To know what he has overcome and his ability to deal with it is amazing. To add to that his little sister is 12 and was at the signing at the stadium, she is an equestrian jumper and the triple crown winning jockey was there and she got to me him and take pictures. She was in more awe of him than Trout or Pujols it was pretty funny.
Chuck Richter: Awesome!
Chuck Richter: Just a couple more questions and we'll wrap this up, Ric.
Ric Wilson: Sounds good.
Chuck Richter: Nate Smith -- what do you think of his upside and if the velocity he has shown will play out moving forward?
Ric Wilson: He has starting pitching qualities that are hard to find. Velocity helps but is not the end all. At the end of the day they need to throw multiple pitches for strikes and have the ability to execute them consistently.
Chuck Richter: Which player drafted last year or just in our system (not from this draft class) is one you've been getting great reports on from your scouting/coaching staff?
Ric Wilson: Obviously Newcomb but Chris Ellis RHP from last years draft has had a great year so far.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Ric, with Andrew Heaney stepping up and showing well over his first two major league starts, who else is close to making the jump as a starting pitcher if we were to trade a current starter for a bat?
Ric Wilson: We have some depth. Tropeano with Newcomb and Ellis coming pretty fast along with Nate Smith and Tyler Skaggs will be ready to go next year.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Thanks Ric!
Ric Wilson: You bet.
Chuck Richter: Last question.
Ric Wilson: Ok.
Chuck Richter: Ric, what adjustment has Kaleb Cowart made to have some success in the minors after his promotion to Triple-A? He's hitting exceptionally well there while struggling in High-A and Double-A over the last couple seasons. Was it a coaching change, what has clicked for the young man?
Chuck Richter: His current slash line in Triple-A over 18 games is .321/.409/.554.
Ric Wilson: I'm not sure you can pin it down to one thing—probably a combination of all those things along with maturity but it sure looks like it is starting to click for him. I am glad for him and very proud of him. He is a great young man and no one works harder than he does. We will all take that line. Trust is a big thing for Kaleb.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Very True Ric! That last sentence is huge!
Chuck Richter: Great! Well thank you so much for your time this evening Ric. It is greatly appreciated! We love this kind of first hand information.
SlappyUtilityGuy: Thanks Ric! Have a great evening!
Chuck Richter: Please tell Eddie Bane if you see him or talk to him that we at AngelsWin.com say hello. He's a great old friend of ours.
Ric Wilson: Thanks to you. I really like to share what we have going on in Halo land. Thanks to everyone, have a great rest of the evening.