Today we at the 'Pit had the privilege of having some questions answered by two of MLB Network's draft gurus, Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds, regarding the upcoming draft. It's no secret around here that this draft is one of the more important ones in the team's history, so this was a great chance to get a little inside information on what the team might be thinking. Q&A after the break, as well as the necessary info on when you can watch the draft unfold live on Monday.
Q: Rumors are the Dbacks are high on Hultzen/Bauer/Bundy. We'll obviously get one of the three....but if the other two are gone by our #7 pick, who do the Dbacks go for?
Harold Reynolds: I really like Daniel Norris out of the Tennessee area. I just like the fact that he gave up football and focused on baseball. It shows me he really loves the game. He’s an athletic kid who just needs to harness his mechanics. Once he does that, he has the potential to join Arizona’s rotation quickly.
Greg Amsinger: Two choices stand out for me. At number seven, they’ll have severe interest in Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer, who stands 6’9" on the hill. I like Meyer or Taylor Jungmann who had arguably the best college season at 12-0. My gut tells me if Hultzen, Bauer and Bundy are off the board, Arizona will take Jungmann with their seventh pick because he’s closer to being big league-ready.
Q: It seems that the big question about Sonny Gray, someone who the D-backs seem to be considering at #7, is the caliber of his change-up. What are your opinions of the pitch – can it be a big-league caliber third offering?
Harold Reynolds: You have to have a good fastball to have an effective change-up. A change-up is a great pitch, but the key to the change-up is having a strong fastball. It doesn’t have to come in at 90-miles per hour, but it has to have some movement. Another key to the change-up is your delivery has to look the same on both pitches.
Greg Amsinger: Without a doubt, a change-up can be a lethal weapon at the big league level. There are so many dominant change-ups we talk about every night on MLB Network, especially Johan Santana, Ryan Madson, Fernando Rodney and Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is a great comparison toSonny Gray even though their mechanics are different. Gray has a very similar stature standing at 5’11" for the Vanderbilt Commodores. His change-up plays no matter where he throws it.
Q: Reports for most of the year have us going for Hultzen at #3 if he's there. But Hultzen/his representation are reportedly asking for $13MM as a bonus to sign, whereas Bauer recently said that he sees the D-backs as a good fit. Will the combination of high money demands (regardless of how much he realistically will get) from Hultzen and positive feedback from Bauer lead us to favor Bauer over Hultzen at #3?
Harold Reynolds: I just think everyone on the draft board should be saying they’re a good fit on every team. Once you put a price tag on things, it changes the whole dynamic. Let a team pick you first and then start negotiating. I don’t think it’s the right move if a prospect is already talking dollars before he’s drafted.
Greg Amsinger: Danny Hultzen will get paid because, let’s be honest, he’s the best pitcher on the best team in all of college baseball. Arizona also liked him when he was coming out of high school. They drafted him in the 10th round back in 2008! Those two factors, along with the fact that Hultzen is the most big-league ready starter in this draft, lead me to believe he will get the call at number three on Monday night.
Q: Plenty of rumblings have come out in the baseball media about who the D-backs are looking for at picks 3 and 7, but have any names come up that the D-backs would love to grab in the Supplemental Round at #43?
Greg Amsinger: I could see the Diamondbacks looking to bring in a power bat in the compensation round. The bat that could be on the board and I’m very high on is Aaron Westlake, the first baseman of the Vanderbilt Commodores. His stats are ridiculous and he’s someone who could skip through the minors quickly.
Harold Reynolds: I’m interested to see what happens with Dwight Smith Jr. and Dante Bichette Jr.I’ve been hearing those two names a lot as we get closer to Monday. Dwight Smith Jr. plays a lot like his father. He just looks comfortable up at the plate with quick bat speed. I always look at the bat speed of hitters. You either have bat speed or you don’t. The hitters with slow bat speed don’t stay in the majors long.
Q: In 2010, the D-backs signed three well-over-slot picks in the later rounds – sixth-rounder Blake Perry, eighth-rounder Tyler Green, and fourteenth-rounder Ty Linton. With the money Arizona is expected to spend on their first two or three picks, will there be any remaining budget room for over-slot signings later in the draft?
Greg Amsinger: This is Kevin Towers’ first draft with this organization and he will not go "half-way" in terms of resources poured into this effort. Expect the Diamondbacks to stay strong and spend when they need to during the three-day event.