Prior to tonight’s opening of MLB’s Rule 4 Draft– and the Jays’ charity golf tournament, which is happening today– Alex Anthopoulos jumped on the Fan 590′s airwaves and spoke to Jeff Sammut about draft strategy, and where Vladimir Guerrero is at, among other subjects. Obviously there’s not a whole lot that the GM could reveal about how tonight is going to go down, but that’s largely because he doesn’t know for sure himself.

“We kind of run these quasi-mock drafts,” he explains. “Then we’re looking at signability, because now at this point every one of the advisors and the families and the players have pretty much given an indication of what it will take to sign them. So, you start looking at it and you start to say, OK, well, is there a scenario where if we get a few of these selections, and we have to pay them, do we maybe take not as good a talent in the fourth round or in the eighth round and try to save some money there, so we can sign the picks up high? So, that’s all part of it. It’s the opportunity cost of the pick– is there one player who’s good enough to forgo taking not as good a talent a round a few rounds behind. So, that’s going to be part of the strategy that we’re going to talk about, but we’re going to have to obviously let the board play out as well.”

The impression given was that this was something that wasn’t focused on too heavily until late in the process, because it’s so dependent on who’s available at which pick. If we believe him, then, the club doesn’t appear to necessarily plan on maximizing the amount of dollars they can spend on early picks by punting ones later, rather, it’s going to come down to who’s available and how they think they can make the money fit.

As for which players he likes, “our philosophy is evolving,” he says, “because I always believe you should always go back and look and see the things we’ve done correctly and the things we’ve done wrong and why we’ve been wrong, and probably dwell on the mistakes that we make. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, it’s just that’s how we’re going to improve.

He adds that “generally speaking,” we should expect “an even greater emphasis on athletes than we’ve had in the past, and probably maybe even a greater emphasis on athleticism when it comes to guys that pitch. It’s not the end-all be-all, but it’s something that we’ve started talking about a little bit more– athleticism on the mound.

“Makeup as well– I know everyone talks about it. It’s not so much, ‘Is this a good kid, would you have him marry your daughter?’ It’s baseball makeup, championship makeup, really a great burning desire to be great, and sometimes you have a little bit of– I won’t say a jerk, but for lack of a better word, someone who has a little bit of an edge isn’t a bad thing either when playing our game.”

He tempers that, though, by assuring us those aren’t exactly the primary concerns, explaining that “we’re still trying to find ceiling and guys who have a chance to be impact guys, especially in this division. And that means we’re going to draft some busts, but we’re going to try to swing for the home run as well.”

As for the insufferable notion of looking too closely at a player’s passport, Anthopoulos says that Paul Beeston always tells the guys in the front office, ”Don’t run a guy up the board because he’s Canadian, but don’t hold it against him as well.” He says that he was discussing a Canadian on the club’s draft board last night, and he asked his staff to assure him he wasn’t there just because of nationality.

Moving on, Sammut asks about Vladimir Guerrero, who Anthopoulos continues to temper expectations on . “The timing certainly isn’t there, yet,” he says, referring to his performances so far against the more-advanced competition in Las Vegas. “We really don’t have a timeline yet,” he adds.

Anthopoulos also later adds that if Edwin Encarnacion needs to miss time because of his , they’re not going to rush Vlad– the most important thing is getting his timing right, and Moises Sierra is probably ahead of him. “But that can change in four or five days,” he says.

Apparently that’s not a concern, though! Because Encarnacion, he tells us, will make the trip to Chicago with the club and, kind of amazingly, he’s actually expected to play tomorrow. “If he wakes up tomorrow and he’s still a little sore, we might give him a day, but we really dodged a bullet there and it looks like he’s going to be fine.”


Image via Call to the Pen.

Comments (94)

  1. “and probably maybe even a greater emphasis on athleticism when it comes to guys that pitch.”

    Translation : McGuire & Jenkins are fat and useless.

    • Or translation: with a limited number of picks, decreased lower round flexibility, and the loss of the ability to take risks on high ceiling, high signing cost prep players due to the new CBA, projectability has taken on an even more important role when considering draft picks, especially with pitchers, and looking beyond body type to athletic abiltiy can provide greater insight than raw stuff or physical shape.
      And don’t hate on the fatties: CC, Billingsley’s hindquarters and King Felix (to name a few) don’t appreciate it, and they’ll eat you like a double cheeseburger. A subject with which they have lots of experience.

  2. “Makeup as well– I know everyone talks about it. It’s not so much, ‘Is this a good kid, would you have him marry your daughter?’ It’s baseball makeup, championship makeup, really a great burning desire to be great, and sometimes you have a little bit of– I won’t say a jerk, but for lack of a better word, someone who has a little bit of an edge isn’t a bad thing either when playing our game.”

    AA Jeopardy

    “What is WANT, Alex?”

  3. can’t wait for the next deck mcguire to be drafted

  4. A few mock drafts have the Jay’s picking Lucas Giolito with the 17th choice. He was in line for a 4MM+ bonus and the 17th slot would only entitle him to just over 2MM. This draft class is universally viewed as weaker then last year and most of the bats are projected to be MLB average which is not good enough to use first round picks on in my opinion.

    Since there is back and forth I would love if the Jay’s could talk to Marcus Strolman’s advisors and guarantee if all goes well on his end a spot on the 40 man roster so he could be up in the majors as a reliever by the end of the year. With this guarantee his signing bonus wouldn’t have to be as high, and the Jays could shift much of the money over to Giolito. This is just one of 100,000,000 scenarios but its the one I would love to see happen. A pontential ace + shutdown reliever in the first round and the Jays are free to use the rest of the money to add depth to a stacked system.

    • I don’t disagree on the bats (mainly because I am not a scout and have seen maybe 3 minutes of video on any player in the draft… and am not really entirely sure what I’m watching anyways-again, no scout) beyond Correa and Hawkins. Unless there’s a stud bat along the line somewhere or ridiculous athlete (and for some reason I feel like Wednesday we’ll look up and see like 15 new shortstops/CF profiles in the jays draft), pitching just seems like a better investment due to the general crapshoot that is minr league pitcher development and the relative cost of adding pitching. It’d be nice to have an assembly line of a fresh high ceiling arm or three rolling out of the system starting in the next couple years.
      Ok, just had a vision of AA overseeing an actual assembly line of storm troopers with curveballs, with pennants in the background. Post apocalyptic, surreal and awesome.

    • Not sure why a player would accept less guaranteed money upfront than they feel they’re entitled to, barring some ridiculously risky promise I suppose. Anything could happen between tonight and the end of the season, these kids have worked hard and given up all kinds of things to this point in their lives to get PAID

      • I think you think he means the Jays will offer less. My understanding is he had a bit of elbow trouble and has postured for lots of money, both of which work against him and move him down in the draft and make his “recommended” signing pay lower.

        Young talent haven’t adjusted to the new system. In the new system you want to be very signable, thus get drafted sooner and get slotted for more bonus. Then after they draft you, then you surprise with a big financial demand.

        Also, the bonuses are crazy. Turning down 1 or 2 million dollars at 19 is insane to me. One freak accident and you are left working at McDonalds. I’ll take the fast money now and look for the big money when I’m 30 and a free agent.

    • Guys, don’t expect that the Jays will get Giolito, no need to set yourselves up for an (expected) disappointment.

  5. I heard KLaw talking about the jays potientially moving their top 2 picks for I believe one of the top3 picks from a team that wants to move down? That would be awsome!.. so would Giolito slipping to us..

    • I thought you can’y trade draft picks in MLB?

    • Draft picks can’t be traded.

    • Teams can’t “move” draft selections, there’s no trading of picks in beisbol

    • You can’t trade draft picks in baseball.

    • It would be awesome if you could trade draft picks…but you cannot. Which is why the draft becomes very boring to watch.

      • Think outside the box guys… Is there a chance that whoever the team is that would “move down” would select whoever the Jays wanted, while the Jays would select whoever that team wanted, then in 12 months swap the players? It’d be a high risk move as you’d be sticking a kid in another organization for the first 12 months of his career, but given the new CBA and draft rules, new strategies will emerge and this seems like something the Jays can capitalize on given they have two 1st rounders.

        • so your gunna take a top round draft pick thats yours even though he’s not and your not going to have your coaches and evaluators work with him for the first 12 months of his professional career…(an extremely pivotal time for any ballplayer)…and then the deal is you regardless of what happens you trade said player for who you drafted and put 12 months of work and training into? lol is that what your suggesting? …really?

          • Hence why I said it was “high risk”. My guess is that both teams would be rather hands on with how the other team is developing their player. Both teams would be acting in good faith as you wouldn’t want the other team to ruin your prospects. Not to mention that screwing with a player’s development just to screw another team over would probably involve taking a pretty big reputation hit (much like trading players that you know are injured). GM’s need to maintain relationships and to become isolated or blacklisted would be in no GM’s best interest.

            The other thing I’ve wondered is if minor league players can be loaned to other minor league teams? This happens in hockey (the only other sport with a true minor league) as we saw with Sheldon Souray last year. It would be pretty sketchy, and would be an obvious circumvention of the intent of the 12-month rule, but if you could loan players to other minor league teams, then each team could control their asset while technically not being owned by the club. Probably not allowed under the rules (I couldn’t find anything that said it was illegal) but such an event like “trading” picks is unprecedented. If anyone is going to game the system, AA seems like a likely candidate, no?

        • No way teams take that risk. Because you cannot trade for a year it does not make sense to bank on the other team still being interested in a year.

          • You missed a key point and that was that GM’s need to maintain relationships. Reneging on such a deal agreed to pre-draft would go a long way towards 1. damaging that GM’s reputation amongst other GM’s, possibly making it difficult to make deals in the future, and possibly risking another team doing the same to them down the road and 2. GM’s are people who will be fired and will be looking for work eventually, and burning bridges like this would essentially be a death sentence for a GM.

            As a GM you’d be making such a deal out of good faith. You’d know that you’re getting the best prospect, and as such you take the risk, and vice versa, as the other team you’d know you’re getting two 1st-rounders who could amount to something. Remember that these would also be players that the teams WANT. They have a vested interest in these players and as such they’d see the benefit of doing this.

    • You definitely did not hear KLaw talking about this as draft picks cannot be traded.

    • I thought you couldn’t trade the draft picks.

      Just wanted to join the congo line.


      • the competitive balance lottery picks can be traded, but the Jays won’t get any of those so kind of a moot point

    • Hey guys, can you trade draft picks in baseball?

  6. Here’s a thought for 2013. Assume Johnson gone – why not convert Escobar to second and put Hech in at SS?

  7. Somehow AA is going to find a way to exploit the system, even if it is just for this year. I just hope this new format works. The only issue I still see existing is that a low payroll team who gets the 1st overall pick will be expected to sign that player to a bonus of around 7mil, and has no way of trading down in the draft.

    On the good side I hope it gets rid of the players holding out for larger bonuses or else they will go to college, with a quasi-hard slotting system the player better be damn sure that they will be drafted higher after college and that they do not get injured.

    • Well you don’t have to spend the full 7MM. Teams talk with the family and advisor on what it would take to sign a player. If Houston didn’t believe in paying 7MM for any of the top arms or liked a Puerto Rican shortstop named Carlos Correa, they could pay him 4MM and use the 3MM to steal some players that unexpectedly drop in the top 10 rounds.

      Basically if you don’t see value with a top 3 pick this year, you could hedge your risk and draft several players you would not have had a shot at otherwise. Of course if you are unable to sign the players, the recommended slot allotment can’t be used on other players so you have to have good info on players. Incidentally, this is where the Jay’s should have a leg up with the size of their scouting division.

    • The idea that a team has to max out their slot, particularly at the top of the draft is wrong. If money is an issue, you can tell a kid who is projected to lower in the draft (even if it’s just 5 or 10 picks lower) that he can be a top 5 pick but he’ll have to sign near or slightly higher than his slot would have provided him if he had been drafted where his talent projected him. The kid gets the money and the added prestige of being a top pick.

  8. With the Jays going back to a 7-man pen, and Francisco due to come off the DL, Jays have a couple of roster moves to make in the next day or 2. Some thoughts:

    Looks like Jays will face right handers in 9 of the next 10 games (incl Peavy, Stras, and Beachy). They need another lefty bat for that stretch. Thames would be the boring recall, so I say call up Gose, give him 10-games in left (we don’t want Rajai starting everyday – agreed?), and then after that maybe Vlad (or Snider) can come up. I also say DFA Francisco, unless they’re ready to demote McCoy and have Omar as the only backup IF again.


    • I’d be shocked to see Gose up before Septembre under any circumstances. Can’t see management accelerating such a high ceiling player’s development to fill temporary roster holes.

      #TeamSnider has become #WristWatch2012

  9. if the jays want a guy with makeup, why not go after luka magnotta?

  10. if gose is called up can we call him canada gose?

  11. Thanks AA for giving me another example of opportunity cost to use the next time I teach Econ 100.

  12. Changing the subject to a lighter note
    Ok Stoeten, Parkes and Drew you’re slowly converting me to the analytics of baseball.
    I ‘ve learned about wOBA,wRC+,ISO, Fip, xFip, UZR,DRS,BABIP,WAR,fWAR,rWAR and of course Park Factors by Handedness( fangraphs).Stats for day vs night games,splits for right vs left, home and away splits,RISP. I could go on and on,but for me there might be a stat overlooked, something that would better predict a team’s win probability.
    A friend of mine recently sent me a spreadsheet,complete with pie charts, noting something that may have been overlooked.He and his team of crack engineers and mathematicians have been tracking Win % for uniform type.
    To add to the arsenal of stats already available ,may I suggest Win Percentage Per Uniform Type (WPPUT).
    Please note this is only updated to Thursday May 31st .
    Frequency Wins in Uniform Win %
    Grey on Grey 19 11.73% 9 47.37%
    Blue on Grey 7 4.32% 3 42.86%
    White on White 20 12.35% 11 55.00%
    Blue on White 5 3.09% 4 80.00%

  13. guess what! I’ve created this incredible invention. I cut two pieces of wood into circles and attached them with bamboo. now if I push this contraption it rolls fast and I can move much faster than walking. it will revolutionize the world!

  14. Can someone explain how teams with unspent money in their pool get to sign other teams’ picks and whether this is an angle the Jays might be able to profit from?

    • I’m pretty sure that can’t happen. What can happen is that teams that stay under their payroll slot allotment for the whole draft can be awarded the picks in subsequent years of teams that are docked picks for going over their allotment. I don’t know the mechanism for doing this, but it only applies after this year, and I’m pretty sure there’s no guarantee of accruing extra picks.

  15. can someone hit bff with a baseball bat in the knee so he can go back on the dl?

  16. Anatomy of a Henderson Alvarez at bat. (where he is the pitcher..DUH)

    –strike one

    -strike two




    ball 1



    ball 2



    ball 3




  17. Henderson Alvarez misses fewer Bats than someone whose dad was killed by Darcula

  18. Alaverez once got a player to swing and miss at a pitch….and then he woke up

  19. Henderson Alvarez…. a strange combination of high ground balls rates and homers

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