Kilby thinks Schafer is another good makeup pick

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks continues his coverage of the 2005 draft with an interview with Gregg Kilby, the Braves' scout from the state of Florida. Kilby discusses Jordan Schafer, Atlanta's third round pick last month.

SHANKS: Ok tell me a little about Jordan Schafer.
KILBY: Jordan's just a great kid. He's a kid that when he was 13 Baseball America named him as the top 13-year old in the country. He was playing varsity as a 13-year-old. He's grown up playing the game. He's a baseball rat. He's always there early doing something and he's always there late doing something. He's the kind of kid that is not going to let anything stand in his way of making it to the big leagues. He wanted to play pro ball. He let it be known right off the bat, even though he signed a scholarship to go to Clemson. He was one of the top showcase guys last summer. He let it be known that he wanted to play pro ball. So he was signable. He's an athletic kid. He's always been a pitcher. He's been a hitter as well. Until right now when we signed him, he's always been a pitcher that hits rather than a hitter that pitches. Pitching was always his number one thing. But when I first saw him this summer as a pitcher, there was no doubt he was a prospect as a pitcher. But then I saw him hit in the cages one day at the East Coast games and I really like the way the ball comes off his bat. He's got a real nice and loose swing. He's got really good hands and good hand speed. I just thought that with the athleticism he had, even though he was a prospect as a pitcher, I thought hitting was going to be his thing. When I went in to meet with him in the winter talking with his family I think probably 75% of the clubs liked him as a pitcher more than a hitter. But as the spring went on I think it probably turned around the other way with many more teams liking him as a hitter than a pitcher. He's got baseball instincts. He's like a 6.8 runner, which is average on our major league scale, but he stole 48 bases this year. He knows how to run the bases. He knows how to steal bags. He's just aggressive. He's 86-88 and show you 90 mph on the mound, but that arm strength is going to translate to the outfield and he'll have a good arm from out there. The more he plays the outfield, the more experience he gets out there, the better he's going to be.

SHANKS: He was compared to Mark Kotsay in BA. Is that a good comparison?
KILBY: Yeah, you know, I think that's fair. Kotsay pitched in college as well. That could be a good comparison. I think body-wise he looks a little like J.D. Drew. He's 6'1", 195-200 in that range, so he's put together. He's strong. He may have a little Shawn Green to him. He's got a super quick bat. When I saw him earlier in the year he was trying to pull everything. Everything in the middle in he was killing and anything on the outer half he would pop up or swing through it. As the season went on and I saw him later in the year he was driving the ball to the other way well. I saw him hit a double down the left field line and a home run out to left field in the same game. He's just learning how to hit. The power is definitely going to be there. His bat speed is great. Out of all the kids in my area, I would say he has the second best bat speed next to Andruw McCutchen, who went 11th overall to Pittsburgh. He's just got really good hands and good bat speed. Now that he's a hitter and the pitching is behind him and he only has to concentrate on hitting and playing the outfield and he can tailor his weight program to being an outfielder instead of a pitcher, I think the kid is really going to take off. I know he's got the makeup to get it done. He's just not going to let anything stop him from getting it done. His makeup is outstanding.

SHANKS: The quote in BA was great from a scout who said, ‘This guy is going to die before he makes the big leagues.'
KILBY: It's not me. I read that too.

SHANKS: That's pretty telling about being a good makeup pick.
KILBY: There's no doubt about it. He was a kid that I kind of went into the draft meetings thinking that if you could get this kid in the fourth or fifth round it would be a steal. As we started getting closer to the draft, I knew there two clubs that picked right after us in the third and another one that picked him in the fourth if we didn't get him in the third round. The morning in the draft Roy called me and asked where we had to pick Schafer to get him. I said, ‘Well to be safe if he's there in the third I think you pick him in the third because of where we pick in the fourth at the end. He's just not going to make it all the way down there. I think he's going to be a guy that works hard. He fits the Braves profile as far as athleticism and makeup. I just think he's going to get better and better. I think he'll eventually move to a corner. He could possibly stay in center, but I think he's got to get bigger. I think he may profile as an athletic corner outfielder versus being a bigger, adequate center fielder.

Bill Shanks has a new book out on baseball scouting and player development philosophies called Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. Bill can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com.

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