Prospect Q&A: Joe Jordan

ITW sits down with Orioles Director of Scouting Joe Jordan to discuss Matt Wieters, Wally Crancer, Joe Mahoney, Zach Britton, draft strategy, how to evaluate prospects, and much much more.

ITW: What caught your eye about Matt Wieters?

Joe Jordan: We like Matt. We really like his defensive skills; he's a really polished catcher and he's going to be a switch-hitter and hit from both sides with power. He's been a real consistent college player for 3 years and that's it. For us, defensive ability, for me, makes him a pretty safe pick. The bat will determine what kind of a big leaguer he's going to be, but we feel like we got a defensive catcher that's going to be a real good hitter from both sides of the plate.

ITW: How did signability and being paired with Scott Boras affect the decision to draft Matt Wieters?

Joe Jordan: It didn't affect it. We like him enough as a player and we felt like we knew the kid well enough. And, he wanted to play, and that's how it played out. We had it figured out pretty good.

ITW: If Matt Wieters will play this year, where will he play?

Joe Jordan: I don't know if he's going to play in our system or not, but he's going to probably end up joining [the Ironbirds] at some point, but he hasn't been playing. So, our main goal is to get him in shape. He'll definitely be a part of instructional league for a week to ten days and then probably the Arizona Fall League or the Hawaii Winter League and that's where we'll put him to make up for some lost time.

ITW: What went into drafting Wally Crancer, and can he be a part of the Orioles' future?

Joe Jordan: We liked his bat in college and he was a senior, and, really, we like the potential to hit. At times he's shown that this summer, but he's been a little inconsistent, but I don't worry about that the first summer. We'll get these guys in Instructional League and work on some things. I think he's going to be a good hitter and the bat will determine how high he goes.

ITW: How would you rate Crancer's power?

Joe Jordan: I think he's got average power. At times he'll hit the ball pretty good, but as far as raw power, he's got average, at least Major League average raw power.

ITW: How would you explain Anthony Martinez's shortcomings at the plate, as far as power, and how would rate his power?

Joe Jordan: There's a difference where as with Wally [Crancer] between raw power and playable power. Anthony has got good raw power, but tonight [August 16] is a good example. He's gotten himself out outside the strike zone. You have to make pitchers throw strikes and I've seen that a lot with this lineup. When the ball is in the strike zone, we're getting good swings and we hit a few balls hard, but a lot of the swings we've taken have been balls that I don't care who you are, you're not going to hit them, you can't hit them. You gotta make them throw strikes.

Raw power, you hope, with repetitions and at-bats that they become a better hitter and once they are a better hitter, the power will play in the game.

ITW: Joe Mahoney is another one of those big guys, but he's hit well of late, how would you rate his power?

Joe Jordan: Again, Joe Mahoney has top of the scale raw power and he's making progress as a hitter, but again, it's in there, and that's what you got and you chase power. Power is hard to find. The guys that figure out how to hit the pitchers in the strike zone are going to be able to use their power. The guys that don't are going to hit one on occasion and it's not going to play.

ITW: A lot of fans are labeling Ryan Adams as a bust, but he's only 20 years old and has had to make a big transition moving from shortstop to second base in a short amount of time. Could you talk about his hitting ability and play this year?

Joe Jordan: He's obviously having a disappointing year and I'm sure he's more disappointed than anyone. But, you see this with hitters… Brandon Snyder last summer… the first time they really struggle, sometimes they have to bottom out before they start listening and then start again. You have to get the ball in the strike zone, and he just struck out on a pitch that was 10 inches out of the strike zone. We'll find out what he's made of because he's having a bad year, and hopefully, he will turn out like Snyder who got healthy over the years and he's having a really good year.

ITW: Zach Britton has been topping out in the low 90's, but when he came out of high school he had a fastball that hit 94 MPH, but he has really started to come on as a good pitcher. Could you talk a little bit about Britton?

Joe Jordan: The only thing Zach Britton needs, right now, is time. He has gotten stronger, and our game reports show he's up to 92 [MPH] and he's touched 93 [MPH], but if he pitches 88-92 [MPH] with command and a changeup, we gotta get him a slider, or something… he needs a third pitch. He'll be fine. I'm happy with where he's at.

ITW: We feel like Britton has a tremendous ceiling and that he's just starting to scratch it …

Joe Jordan: He's made a lot of progress, and you have to be patient with these younger guys, especially in the first couple of years, because once they get it and get going, they'll accelerate.

ITW: Another fun guy to watch from the press box is Matt Angle. Where would you put him on the 20-80 scale in terms of speed?

Joe Jordan: I think at a 60-65, which is plenty to play centerfield. The thing that he has, he's obviously an older kid, he's 21, but he knows who he is. He knows not to try to be anything he's not and he uses his speed. He's got good instincts at the plate, and in centerfield and on the bases. He's got the ability to stay in centerfield and be a leadoff hitter. He's had a great summer for us.

ITW: Angle had a terrible wrist injury a few years ago. Are you at all worried that the games he's missing now, with a sore left wrist, is related to that?

Joe Jordan: He's played all spring and basically every night this summer and it may be aching. Like a lot of these guys, he'll have aches and pains because it's the middle of August, but I don't think we feel like it's a problem. We're just giving him a little time and hopefully it will be fine

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