Doesn’t it seem peculiar that two of the three most significant reasons that the 2007 Rockies were victorious and World Series bound have seen their careers completely fall off all of the sudden? Well Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, who both dealt with dreadful 2010 seasons, have recently just signed in a more comfortable place. Atkins has reunited with former skipper Clint Hurdle in Pittsburgh and Brad Hawpe has signed with the San Diego Padres, a great city, organization, and has some great new teammates.
Not too long ago, after all-star Matt Holliday was traded to the A’s for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith, Dan O’Dowd compared Atkins and Hawpe to Holliday stating that if the underachieving Rockies (at the time) were to trade the duo, they’d want a “Holliday like package” in return.
Well to me, it’s quite interesting how the careers of the duo have completely tailed off, both players earning a non-tender and release respectively. After Atkins got non-tendered, he signed with the Orioles which didn’t go well at all. The former all-star was possibly one of the worst players in Baseball. This was two seasons after Atkins put up four straight seasons of 25+ home runs and 95+ RBI’s.
Hawpe on the other hand, struggled with in my opinion, were mechanical issues. You see, Hawpe’s unique batting stance enables him to generate his power by lifting his whole knee up to a horizontal plain, causing him to have all of his power come down on that knee, but this only works when your knee is lifted as far as it can, which in most cases is that same horizontal plain. Well, in ’10, he lifted it almost halfway up which prevented him from generating his hips in to the ball, which prevented him from using or even getting any bat speed.
Now, both of whom, are now going to enjoy a fresh start in a pressureless organization and city, where they have a chance to regain their value and redeem their respective careers. Both of the Pirates and Padres have good hitting coaches and most importantly, good managers, which may be a reason why the two can enjoy their ’11’s while playing well at the same time. Hec, we all saw how Aubrey Huff and Adrian Beltre had huge comeback seasons. Who’s to say that Hawpe and Atkins can not?
This is an interview with a great guy and a fantastic player by the name of Corey Wimberly. You can find him on twitter @Wimboslice3. He did a great job with this interview and was very explanitory. I hope you enjoy it!
Me: You’re arguably one of the top 5 fastest players in professional Baseball. Talk to me about whats it like to have speed as an integral part of your game rather than power for instance.
Corey: Thanks dave, well speed is something that i think i have always had but it began to develop more so in high school playing football and i realize that i was faster than most other guys but honestly my game speed is so much different than everyone else i think because my competitive nature and the will i have to succeed in this game.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like playing for the River Cats in ’10, a great team that had a great season.
Corey: The 2010 River cats was quite an experience i think at one point during the season we were actually 15 or more games behind fresno and we ended up winning the divisions we had a great second half and its always awesome to play for a winning franchise and try to meet up to the expectations of the fans and guys who played there before you!
Me: You’ve player for the Ghosts, the Nuts, the Drillers, and the River Cats; talk to me about some of your favorite moments and games as a professional.
Corey: Well playing with the drillers in 2008 was one of the best times i have had in baseball simply because i was able to play with two of my best friends in the game Eric Young Jr and Dexter Fowler but a funny story is when i was drafted to the rockies in 2005, coming out of Alcorn State we wore white cleats and so when i made it to casper thats the only color cleats i had and they did not have my size so the clubhouse manger Dennis had to spray paint my cleats and still to this day When I talk to Dexter he still jokes with me about those cleats (lol) but there have been many awesome moments thats just one of the many stories i have.
Me: We can all agree that you are obviously able to contribute at the Major League level and for the past 5 years, you’ve done nothing but hit the cover off of the ball and steal every base imaginable. How does it feel to be in the position you’re in, Major League ready but haven’t been given the chance yet.
Corey: Well when it comes to that subject i am very optimistic that something will happen for me soon. I am a very big believer in God and i believe what he has in store for me is for me and my father still to this day tells me a little phrase that helps me get through the day, (if its to be then its up to me) so with that being said all i can do is work harder and keep my faith in the man up stairs. Men lie and women lie but the numbers don’t!
Me: You played with him in the 2010 season and parts of the ’09 season. What are your thoughts on your buddy Chris Carter? What do you think his potential in the Majors is?
Corey: Chris Carter is a great guy and we got a chance to know each other pretty good the last two years we had been playing against each other for quite some time dating back to when he was with the whitesox and i was with the rockies i think his potential at the next level has no limits he has the most raw power i’ve ever seen and i think he is a right handed Ryan Howard and i was Glad to see him get a chance to play in the Bigs this year he deserved it.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like playing for Alcorn State University.
Corey: Alcorn was a great experience for me, the people there were awesome the schools atmosphere was impeccable just the whole environment it taught me a new rural side of life because at the time leaving jacksonville, florida to go to a agricultural school i didn’t really know what i was getting myself in to but i adjusted well and enjoyed every second there at Alcorn it was the perfect school for me to attend.
Me: What was your favorite team growing up and being drafted in the 6th round, were you hoping a certain team would take you?
Corey: Growing up i liked the cardinals just because of ozzie smith but i also was a braves fan because thats the team i was able to see the most my grandmother always watched TBS i wasn’t watching the draft when i was picked i did not know much about the draft and how it worked i was just shocked that the rockies took a chance on me that was one of the teams i did not talk to so it shocked me but i was soooooo excited.
Me: I imagine one of your dreams is to have your kids see you play at the Major League level (which I think will definetly happen as early as ’11), what can you do, if anything, to prove to the Pirates organization during Spring Training that you are able to contribute in the Majors?
Corey: I think at this point i need to find out from the team what i need to do and just keep working hard and believing that things will work out because i think they know what i can do.
Me: Describe the difference between playing in the Mexican and other winter leagues and playing in professionally in America. What’s the atmosphere, fans, and players like?
Corey: Mexico has been a great experience for me just to see the style of baseball that they play over there it so much different from the way we play in the states but i enjoy the atmosphere and the challenge you are presented with, the different arm angles and the off-speed pitches at any point during at bats you have to prepare yourself for a different style of baseball and i loved it
Me: Last one. A little bit of a different question. You have an empty california roll, and you can put 5 different types of sushi in. What would you put in and would it even taste good?
Corey: I don’t know maybe garlic grab and shrimp with butter sauce over it haha sounds like i should try that.
This is an interview with Darian Sandford, a prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization. Last year, Darian played outstanding in his first season in pro ball. He is also a really good guy, someone who gives back and cares about his fans. He did a great job with this interview, so I hope you like the interview with my buddy, Darian Sandford.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like starting off your pro career with a very, very well.
Darian: Starting my career off pretty well makes me feel more confident but i am still disapponted in how i played overall because i have a lot to improve in to get to where i really want to be.
Me: What was it like to get drafted by your home town team and were you hoping the Royals would draft you all along? Also, did you expect to get taken in the 47th round? or higher?
Darian: It feels good to get drafted by the team in my state even though i grew up in st.louis and watched the cardinals i still supported the royals because they are not that far away. I was very excited the royals drafted but still kinda of upset i went so late but that just motivates me because i have always been the underdog being a small guy and coming from a small school.
Me: Talk to me about some of the people who have helped you be where you’re at right now.
Darian: I have had plenty of people help me out my parents have helped me the most because they supported me when i didnt have a job in the summers like my friends did in order to support my dream and also my college coaches who helped spread the word about my talents
Me: You were once telling me how watching video of yourself motivates you and improves your game. Have you seen any video of yourself from Surprise this past year?
Darian: I havent seen any game footage of myself yet but during instructs the hitting coaches vieo taped my swing and that helped me alot with studying to better my swing.
Me: Who are some of your favorite teamates at Park Ritter and are any of them currently in pro ball as well?
Darian: Some of my favorite teammates at Park were my teammates Mike and Gabe they arent currently in pro ball because they are still in college but they helped me when i wanted extra work those are my boys.
Me: In my opinion, your speed is the key to your success. What do you do that makes you such an awesome baserunner?
Darian: Besides being blessed by God with pretty good speed i try to learn pitchers tendencies and Rusty helped me alot in instructs because before i started learning pitchers and what are good counts to run on i jus took off the first pitch and let my speed get the bags but now putting my mind with my speed i think i can one day be the greatest baserunner in history. I want to be the most exciting and agressive baserunner in baseball for the fans to enjoy and look forward to coming to a ball game and watching me get on base
Me: You just got a really good job working with kids in KC, is the player-fan relationship something that means a lot to you and something that you will always have at a higher or the highest level?
Darian: I love kids and i believe that players should interact more with fans and the higher i go im going to try to be more out going with fans and go out in public and meet as many fans as possible because fans are your support and without the fans the game wouldnt be as awesome as it is today
Me: What do you think about Yordano Ventura?
Darian: Ventura will be a big leaguer soon to have the arm he has once he developes his other pitches he will be awesome im just glad he is on my team .
Me: What are your expectations for next season?
Darian: My expectations for next year are pretty simple if im in full season ball i want to hit over 300 have at least 100 bags and help win a championship
Darian: All my fans are my favorite fans including you Dave LOl
I think it’s pretty fair to say that most of the teams in Baseball who had good drafts in ’10, had pretty lousy minor league systems before the Amateur draft in early june. That also tells us, all of these good prospects that good added to many systems in ’10, are obviously inelgible to be traded which has hurt the chances of most teams wishes to acquire some of Baseball’s most compelling trade candidates. For example,
Tigers: They have have one of Baseball’s worst minor league systems, might be able to easily acquire any trade candidate they want if Drew Smyly, Nick Castellanos, Corey Brown, and Chance Ruffin were eligible to be traded.
Blue Jays: The Jays minus their 2010 draftees, have a pretty lousy system. Thanks to AA’s work and his strong draft, the Jays are now top 5 in farm systems in Baseball. By no means do I think they should have traded Danny Farquahar and Trystan Magnuson for the poor on base skills of Rajai Davis, but you take a look at Aaron Sanchez, Asher Wojciechowski, Dickie Joe Thon, Deck McGuire, Griffin Murphy…Well put it this way, can you say Justin Upton? Not to say they couldn’t acquire Upton with Snider and a couple other guys with high upsides, but “what if” is the question you ask yourself.
Red Sox: I think Theo Epstein would feel much more compfortable trading his pitching prospects for Adrian Gonzalez if Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman were eligible to be traded, he might just ship them to SD as part of a package for A-Gon or to Milwaukee for Prince. If I’m Doug Melvin, I say okay to that, but thats a different story. Garin Cecchni, Kendrick Perkins, Brandon Jacobs, Bryce Brentz, and Kolbrin Vitek just to name a few, are other potential trade candidates who could lure in a ton of talent, that is if they were eligible to be traded.
White Sox: I am a huge fan of 3 White Sox draft picks. Those 3 are Addison Reed, Jacob Petricka, and Chris Sale. The Sox might not only have been able to acquire Adam Dunn last summer, which could have had a huge impact on the results of the AL Central at the end of the regular season, but they could easily acquire Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez right now. Not to say they wont dangle some of their ’10 draftees come July next year, but you have to believe that Kenny Williams and I have common thoughts when it comes to the White Sox systems.
Nationals: The Nats are interesting. Greinke, Upton, Garza, and other big name players are on their radar, and if Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Rick Hague, and even if Bryce Harper were available, who knows what the Nationals roster would look like. They might even give 4 other contending teams in their division a run for their money come the ’11 season.
Those are just a few, actually five teams who will not only have trouble bringing in big names (minus Justin Upton because Kevin Towers want Major Leaguers who can make an impact tomorow) this winter, but would have a much easier time and a better team in ’11 if they were able to trade draft picks from the same year. So the question presents itself; should teams really be required to hold on to draft picks for a whole year before trading them? I’m not sure, but I know that MLB and MiLB would be much more interesting if teams were able to.
This also tells us something else, teams who had good drafts in ’10, saved their minor league system. The Tigers, Blue Jays, Astros, Pirates, Nationals, and Indians had pretty dull farm systems before the draft. Not saying all 6 are the top 6 systems in Baseball now, but the word would be much “improved.”
Furthermore, Bud Selig has a lot on his mind as we speak and write. This would be an interesting change to MLB and the draft, you also ask yourself is players would rather not sign out of high school if it meant getting traded right after you sign. Then again, free agents can’t sign until after the season starts. And lastly, this is all just me imagining “what if.” Do I think something will change in the current way teams hold on to players after the draft? Not really, but it’s just thinking about “what could happen,”
This is an interview with Twins IF Prospect Niko Goodrum. Niko was the Minnesota Twins 2nd round pick in the 2010 Draft. I look at Niko as the same type of player as Billy Hamilton, who is one of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects. Niko played his first pro season in the GCL in Ft. Myers and looks to get to a much higher level next season. Something that I found interesting about this interview, he and the last player I interview not too long ago, Shawon Dunston Jr., both have the same favorite player; Dexter Fowler. Anyway, Niko was great in this interview and it was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it.
Me: Talk to me about your first season of pro ball and how happy you were to have begun quickly after the draft.
Niko: My first season of pro ball was great . I enjoyed every moment of it . I’ve learned so many things in such a short time . Enjoyed meeting all of my new teammates . My decision to start so soon was one of the best decisions because it got me into pro ball to get adjusted and experienced.
Me: Explain the process from after the draft to the when you signed and how that went.
Niko: My first season of pro ball was great. I enjoyed every moment of it . I’ve learned so many things in such a short time. Enjoyed meeting all of my new teammates . My decision to start so soon was one of the best decisions because it got me into pro ball to get adjusted and experienced .
Me: What are your expectations for next season and what are you most excited for?
Niko: My expectation for next year is to move to the next level . Get back to Spring Training and to get started .
Me: In my opinion, you are the perfect Twins type of player because you are very toolsy and play the game right. What kind of player do you see yourself as going forward?
Niko: Thanks . Going forward I will always play the game the right way . Or as we say it , the Twins Way . Playing hard and giving my all each and everyday . Doing what I have to do to get the job done . I love this game . In the future , I see myself as a fast , quick , strong , athletic , fundemental , hardworking and smart baseball player . Never giving up .
Me: Describe your game and what you think is your best tool.
Niko: My game is being able to play multiple positions at the pro level . I feel I’m capable of being a 5 tool guy . At this time my arm is my best tool .
Me: What do you plan to do this off-season to prepare for Spring Training and the Upcoming Season?
Niko: To get ready for Spring Training and the upcoming season , I am doing lifting programs , speed training , pilates , fielding ground balls , throwing , hitting and running .
Me: Who has been your Major influence to getting you to this level?
Niko: My parents were a great influence . But my Dad has been my biggest influence throughout it all .
Me: Have you reached out or talked to any other Twins recent picks i the years or in the 2010 draft such as Aaron Hicks or from the recent draft someone like Alex Wimmers?
Niko: Yes , Aaron and Alex both played in instructional league with me . Their both great guys . Aaron and I became real cool . My roommate is JD Williams . Him and I became great friends . A friend for life .
Me: Your favorite player in Major League Baseball is _________
Niko: My favorite player in the Major League is Dexter Fowler .
Me: Last question, who was the best pitcher you faced in High School and in the minors in ’10?
Niko: The best pitcher I faced in High School is Cam Bedrosian and in the Minor League is was a lefty for the Orioles . Can’t remember his name . I believe he was from the Dominican Republic .
Me: What’s it like having a father who played the game as a mentor and cheerleader?
Me: If you could pick any team to draft you, which team would it be and why?
Shawon: The rays because my favorite player Bj Upton plays on that team
Me: There are rougly 8 months until draft day. What kind of work will you be doing physically to prepare for the draft?
Me: What has it been like facing the best pitchers in the nation? I know the best pitcher you ever faced was A.J. Vanegas who was just drafted by the Padres. Describe the challenge of competing against the best pitchers and players and the return to high school ball.
Me: How excited are you for your final high school season and do you plan to change any part of your game?
Me: Final question Shawon, The _____________ are going to win the World Series this year.
First off, I want to give a special thanks to Jonathan Mayo for helping me with out by supplying a ton of information on our favorite amateurs. Second of all, I will be updating the mock draft every few days. So if you don’t like it, stick with me.
Nationals – C Bryce Harper
Pirates – SS Manny Machado
Orioles – RHP Jameson Taillon
Royals – C Yasmani Grandal
Indians – RHP Karsten Whitson
Diamondbacks – LHP Drew Pomeranz
Mets – RHP Deck McGuire
Astros – RHP Dylan Covey
Padres – 3B Zack Cox
A’s – OF Michael Choice
Blue Jays – 3B/SS Nick Castellanos
Reds – OF Austin Wilson
White Sox – LHP Chris Sale
Brewers – RHP A.J. Cole
Rangers – OF Josh Sale
Cubs – RHP Aaron Sanchez
Rays – OF Bryce Brentz
Angels – LHP James Paxton
Astros – RHP Brandon Workman
Red Sox – C Kellan Deglan
Twins – SS Christian Colon
Rangers – RHP Alex Wimmers
Marlins – RHP Kaleb Cowart
Giants – RHP/OF Brett Eibner
Cardinals – RHP Jesse Hahn
Rockies – RHP Anthony Ranaudo
Phillies – RHP Stetson Allie
Dodgers – 2B Kolbrin Vitek
Angels – RHP Matt Harvey
Angels – SS/RHP Yordy Cabrera
Rays – 2B Delino DeShields Jr.
Yankees – RHP Tyrell Jenkins
I have made my Mock Draft for the first 3 rounds. So just let me know if you want me to post it. Thanks!