Tinnish talks about the Draft

The Blue Jays director of scouting Andrew Tinnish had a conference call this evening with reporters to talk about the Blue Jays Draft. On the main site, you’ll find plenty of coverage from all three days with additional content coming tonight. Some of Tinnish’s comments will be used in those pieces to go along with exclusive MLB.com interviews with Anthony Alford, Ryan Kellogg and Chase DeJong plus exclusives with a lot of the top picks high school and college coaches. Check it out…

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB while associate MLB.com reporter Chris Toman is doing great work and can be found @Chris_Toman

Tinnish’s take on the Draft…

“We feel at this point anyways pretty excited about the players that we took. I think I say this every year, but time will tell. We felt like we were able to add some quality athletes to the organization, some quality arms and now obviously the process begins of trying to get these players in uniforms. As soon as the player is drafted we start the work to try and get the player signed. Obviously it’s going to take some time, a little bit longer in some cases than others, but we have begun that process and we’ll continue to do so from now up until the deadline July 13.”

On whether process is more advanced this year…

“The process I’d say is more structured than it was before. I think a little more strategy is involved as far as the players you take, especially in the Top 10 rounds. One of the important jobs of our area scouts is to determine what they feel the player feels his own value is. We feel like we’ve got a good chance to sign all of our players in the top 10 rounds.”

 Do you anticipate having some money left to get some pricier picks beyond the 11th round…

 “We’re hopeful. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges with this new system. Obviously there are restrictions in place and anything over $100,000 after the 10th round counts against your pool so you need to work smart if you want to be able to sign some of the players you’ve taken after the 10th.”

 “I feel like we will have a chance to do that, but obviously a lot of it depends on first and foremost how things go with the players in the top 10 rounds.”

 On Alford…

“Anthony is an extremely athletic centre-fielder from Petal high school just outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He’s committed to Southern Miss as a quarterback. Obviously he’s a very good athlete and a very good kid, with a very short and quick compact swing. He’s probably a seven runner on our 2-8 scale. He’s very explosive. He’s a guy that we’d love to have as part of our organization. It’s something that we’re going to work hard to do but at this point, we’re just starting the process of communicating with him and his family.”

 Is he better at football than baseball at this stage?

 “I’m not a football scout. I think he’s an extremely good baseball player. I think he’s got a chance to be an everyday player in the major leagues. As far as if he’s better at football, I’m not really qualified to make a comment. Certainly he must be pretty good if he’s got a scholarship at a Division I school at quarterback.”

 On Luke Wilson type accommodation…

“I think they could be possible. This is a little unique because of where we took him in the draft. Luke was a post-draft sign. It’s too early in the process to say, yes or no to that so I’d probably just have to say ‘maybe.”

 On what determines who gets sent to Dunedin…

 “It depends on the player, the schedule and the flexibility and where the family is at, where we’re at. What timeline we foresee with this particular player as far as getting them in a Blue jays uniform. Obviously the goal is to try an get these players signed as quickly as possible. I think that by doing that it just gives you an idea of what you’re going to be able, what you are and aren’t able to do going forward so we’re going to work quickly to try and get a lot of this stuff done.”

 So if a guy is going to Dunedin does that suggest negotiations are going well and quickly?

“The rule basically is any player, any high school player on your negotiating list you draft you can send them to a complex or wherever for a physical and it doesn’t jeopardize their NCAA eligibility in any way, so we’ve done it in the past with HS players where you bring them up, you get them examined and then you get them out. It doesn’t mean you have an agreement in place. It doesn’t mean that you’ve signed a player. It’s just more, I guess on both ends, to keep the process moving.”

 How many picks have been sent to Dunedin?

“I’m not sure of the exact number, I would say just a guess right now, probably maybe three or four with certainly some more on the way every soon. Our report date for mini camps is Saturday report for Sunday physicals. Some players we’re trying to get in earlier than others, just to get things out of the way. We have a mini camp that starts next week, the physicals are on Sunday. Players will travel on Saturday.”

 Mini camp for drafted players?

“The players that we have agreed with in principal, will come down, travel on Saturday for physicals on Sunday and they’ll begin the process of getting assigned to a short-season club on Monday they’ll get on the field. This is more so for some of the seniors that we’ve taken and players a little bit later in the draft.”

 Is the mini-camp something new?

“Every team does it, every year.

 Does a player only need to have agreed in principal, not signed a contract to attend the mini-camp?

“Some of the players have actually – and I don’t want to give the specific names yet – some of the seniors that we’ve taken, we’ve already agreed to terms and signed.”

Smoral…

“He’s hard not to like. 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher, with good action and a good delivery.”

“He was limited obviously to two outings, which was unfortunately for him but a great kid, very hard worker. Plus fastball, plus slider.”

“You don’t find too many left-handers that are that tall with good actions, deliveries, good mechanics and the makings of a very good breaking ball.”
Kellogg…

“We like Ryan Kellogg, we’re hopeful we can work something out. It’s very difficult for me at this point to say that we are or aren’t going to be able to work something out because I don’t know what type of flexibility we’re going to have. We were sitting there in the 12th round and he was a player that we liked and wanted to take and hopefully we can work something out.

“It’s too early in the process to be able to really say, ‘yeah, we feel like we are going to able to do something,’ or ‘no we are not going to be able to do something.’ Obviously we see the player that we want to sign , that we have interest in. Another big left-hander, great kid, Canadian kid. Certainly we would love for him to be in a Blue Jays uniform sooner than later, but at this point, we have other things to focus on before we can address that.”

Strategy wise… make sense to attack front before back?

“I think that anytime you pick a player in this system in the top 10 rounds, you’re trying to figure out what you can pay and how you want to sort of structure things. I can’t sit here and say, we have to focus on this one in the first, second and third and then to move to the back. Really, I think I would say that every team has, in a little bit of a way, a different strategy. Obviously you can look at our Draft list and saw that we took seniors from the fourth to the tenth and we kind of feel like those players are going to be playing for us very soon and we’ll work on the other part afterwards.”

Run of seniors in rounds 4-to-10… how do they fit in?

“They’re players that we like and they’re players that gave us flexibility. Tucker Donahue, who we took in the fourth, we had anywhere from 92-96 mph this year. I feel like he has a chance to be a bullpen arm for us. Brad Delatte a left-hander was up to 92, very aggressive. Parmley who we took in the seventh is a seven runner on our 2-8 scale. Jordan Leyland hit over 20 home runs this year. So, I mean, there’s some players with ability. I guess it was kind of a combination of ability and flexibility as far as our pool. They were identified as players, who were seniors, and players who had the potential of getting to the big leagues some day.”

Day 3 picks…

“Shane Dawson the Canadian left-hander, we’re excited about. Young and athletic, really he’s pitching in a junior college but he’s really at the age of a lot of the high school kids. We think he has a chance to be very good. William Dupont second baseman we took in the 16th round, a left-handed hitter and a plus runner, very athletic. Dennis Jones is an eight runner on the 2-to-8 scale, right-handed hitting center fielder from Hillsborough Community College. There’s a lot of guys that we’re excited about. We felt like our scouts did a very good job identifying talent that might get a little deeper into the Draft. We feel like we’ve got a chance to add Major League talent beyond that 15th round and we’re excited about it.”

When did you come up with 4-10 round strategy? Right after the new CBA?

“It was something that we thought about. The tough thing is, you can come up with all of the different strategies that you want but you don’t know if you’ll be able to implement them or use them until you actually sit there and see who’s facing you at each pick. We were prepared for it. Couldn’t sit there and guarantee that it was going to hapen but it was something that we certainly thought about in advance and felt like we had identified players who would provide us flexibility and also ability at the same time. “

Extra picks allow for that strategy?

“I don’t know. If we sign all of these guys we’re not going to have any extra picks next year I wouldn’t imagine so I could probably answer that question better for you next year.”

But if you’re taking fewer upside rounds 4-to-10 it’s mitigated by so many early picks?

“I think the talent in the Draft, should and usually does go up high. The tough thing is to predict, well, this player’s going to cost ‘X’ and that player is going to cost ‘Y.’ It changes from year to year and it changes from player to player. I understand what you’re saying but it’s hard for me to say not having those picks would change things. I don’t really know. “

Tinnish on last year’s crop..

“A lot of them are in extended [spring training] which is consistent with what we’ve done with high school players and they will get out playing soon.

“Players like Dwight Smith, Jacob Anderson, Christian Lopes and Matt Dean as far as the high school position players are off to good starts. Hitting very well, playing good defense. They will get out at some point once the short season starts.

“Daniel Norris, Joe Musgrove, Kevin Comer, Tom Robson, Jeremy Gabryszwski, some of the higher high school arms that we took, have been throwing well. Norris is throwing very well, he has cleaned up his delivery a lot. We are very excited about getting him started in pro baseball.”

“We have some college guys that have gone out and performed very well. Andy Burns, who we took a little bit later in the draft, has done extremely well for Lansing. John Stilson has done very well in Dunedin as a starter, which has been very nice for us to see. That was something that we wanted to see, if we could really stretch him out, and so far he has done a very good job and maintained a lot of the stuff that he had last year at Texas A&M.”

“Those are some of the highlights at this point. Really, outside of college guys, there’s not really too much to talk about because the high school kids haven’t gotten out and played in official games yet. But they are off to nice starts.”

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