2013 Postdraft Q&A: Damon Oppenheimer, Day 3

With the draft over, we sat down with the Yankees Scouting Director to discuss all 30 selections he made on Day 3. Who is the off the radar velo guy referred to the staff by a Yankees draft pick from 1994? Which Cape League speedster might take up switch hitting? Which signability case contacted the Yankees prior to the draft? And which pick's unearthing was straight out of movie script?

Kevin Levine-Flandrup: That was a long day, how are you holding up? You must be totally spent.

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, pretty spent, but pretty excited, you know? It's like a big adrenaline rush and then all of a sudden you're kind of wiped out.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Did you have any of the area guys in this year?

Damon Oppenheimer: Every area guy was there, and all the crosscheckers, so we had a full house.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, you usually didn't have every area guy there, do you? I thought it was only a few of them as a crosstraining experience?

Damon Oppenheimer: Last year was the first year we did it. With the new rule changes making signability such an important part of what we do, I needed guys to be able to make some phone calls quickly, to make it so we can go right there, and cut out a few unnecessary phone calls that could cost us valuable time.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Right out of the gate you use your 11th round pick to take a high upside prep kid in Kendall Coleman. What can you tell us about him?

Damon Oppenheimer: This is a ceiling player. He's athletic, he's got a good, big body that still has room to grow even more and fill out, he's got power, and he's got a pretty good swing, so it's kind of our shot at a Domonic Brown type guy - we thought this might be what he was like out of high school at the same stage. And you take a shot at that, you know?


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Was he Leuzinger?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yes.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: There are lots of guys that have good bodies and intriguing athleticism each year, but what was different about Coleman that made him your guy?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know, I happened to see him against Billy McKinney, and what he did was he squared the ball up every time. The thing that made him extra intriguing for us to be able to take him without thinking it's a crude project was the fact that he barrelled the ball up and he didn't swing and miss.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Is 12th rounder, Phil Walby another one of your college velo guys?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yep, big velocity. We've seen Walby up to 97 MPH; he's got times occasionally where he's got tremendous stuff. We've just got to get him to become consistent, and that's what the minor leagues are for. If we can develop some consistency with a guy throwing big stuff like that, then we've got a chance at a contributor.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Cale Coshow is a really intriguing pick in the 13th round. If he can harness his talent and get his conditioning under control, could he be one of the biggest value picks in this draft?

Damon Oppenheimer: This one was a good job by Matt Ranson. He did a good job of seeing him, and then he got him down to Tampa to work out for us. This one is really intriguing because he's such a big, physical guy, with a durable body, and when he threw for us it was 92, 94, 95 MPH with really good sink - and it was really easy. That was the difference maker for him - how easy he did it.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So that fastball on him is legit right now?

Damon Oppenheimer: It was when we've seen him, so it's not a projection guy; we've seen the big velocity.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Does he have any secondary stuff to speak of?

Damon Oppenheimer: When he was down here with us he showed a slider, and he had a little bit of a tough time with his changeup, but then he told me that the change was usually his second best pitch, so if that's the case we feel pretty good about it. He just didn't have a real good feel for it that one day he was here, but that's great for us if he's already going to that pitch because he has a feel for it.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Do you see him as a starter or a reliever?

Damon Oppenheimer: I would think the guy has a chance to start. I think that's where our player development would run with him to get going.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Is 14th rounder Caleb Smith another college guy who didn't live up to expectations, but could possibly be unlocked with the right coaching and system?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, you know our guy saw him early, and saw him throw well. Then he had some tough times this year at Sam Houston, where he piled up walks, didn't throw strikes, and things like that, but the one consistent part of it was that he always had good velocity. Early in the year when he was touching 94's from the left side you're really excited about it. So hopefully that's what we get, and we give Gil and the pitching guys a good project to work with here.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Am I wrong in thinking it's pretty unique to get a physical lefty who is consistently in the low 90's this late?

Damon Oppenheimer: No, I don't think you're wrong. I mean, we stayed on him. I'm sure there were teams that backed away because of command, but sometimes for lefties that have velocity command is the last thing to come.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You had 15th rounder Jordan Barnes into the facility just days before the draft. What did he do at that workout specifically that sold you?

Damon Oppenheimer: Well, you know how I like athletes, and you know that I like guys in the middle of the field. He came down for us, he ran well, he has a good body, and he hasn't been playing that long, but what he did was he squared some balls up for us in Tampa at BP. I'll tell you, Kevin, he had a really good way about him that makes you think he has good make-up and a willingness to work, and I think he's just starting to tap into some of his potential. So he had a great combination of the things we like.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You took Ryan Butler in the 16th, a big-bodied college guy who was at Marshall and then moved on to community college I think, but was largely off the radar for us in the public. Is he another potential college velo guy? What can you tell us about this pick, because there's not much out there on him...

Damon Oppenheimer: I'll tell you what, this one becomes a pretty good story for us. A former Yankee named Jake Robbins runs a facility in North Carolina, I think in the Charlotte area. He told Scott Lovekamp that he had a guy we needed to see pitch, so our area scout Adam Czajkowski, who now has North Carolina, went and saw him pitch. The kid hadn't pitched this year because he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that he had in 2012, but Adam sees him and the kid was touching - I think - 94 MPH. So we told him to come down to Tampa, and he came down, worked out, and threw for us, and you're just like, "wow!" He's got a big arm, good body, and velocity, so at this point, where we got him, it's a great place to start.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, it sounds a little bit like a Shane Greene type of story.

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, there may be some similarities there, that'd be great.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Hever Bueno in the 17th round seems a little smallish and without much velo based on the older data I could research. Where does he stand now? I'd imagine things must have changed from that if you selected him.

Damon Oppenheimer: Steve Kmetko had this guy kind of hid out all year, and at the very end some guys actually got a look at him and the velo was up to 92 MPH, and on a high school kid that's still got a projectable body and does it pretty easy. And you aren't going to find much information on him because he hasn't been to a lot of the events, showcases, or any of that kind of stuff, so he wasn't a big guy on the radar. All the credit goes to Steve on this one because he found him, and at the very end Arizona State runs in and offers him a scholarship to go pitch there. So he's just a guy that we were on, and held onto for quite a while.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow. So a powerhouse school like ASU clears space for him at the last moment? Did he commit?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, he's committed there, but I think we still have a good chance of signing him because of the relationship Steve cultivated during the whole season.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Georgia seems to have really developed into a legitimate hotbed along with the traditional SoCal, Carolinas, etc. Did the depth of talent there help expose Darryl Monroe to Dustin Fowler, who you popped in the 18th round?

Damon Oppenheimer: Well Darryl does a good job of not just always running in on the big name guys, you know? He dug around, found him, and was on this guy. Again, it's an athletic kid that has good tools - he's got speed, he's got a little pop in his bat, and we're going to make a run at trying to get him signed. He's got a little Jake Cave in him, actually.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: In the 19th round you took 6'7" Andy Beresford, and talk about being forged by fire, this kid had Tommy John, rehabbed all the way, and then blew it out again on his first pitch back. What's his story with you, and how did you get on him?

Damon Oppenheimer: Well Jeff Patterson has been really good with pitching for us, and he has that area. Jeff saw him throw well, saw him throw out of the pen, and saw some good velocity. It's one of those college bullpen guys that throw hard and seem to get better with us. Hopefully that what he becomes, he moves himself through the system, and gives himself a good chance.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You used the 20th round on Drew Bridges - a big, strong kid who has not yet seen his power match his physique. You've often said after summer follows that some picks are best served going to college and developing untapped aspects of their game, so is Bridges the kind of guy you need to use the summer on to find out if he's ready?

Damon Oppenheimer: Ranson is going to continue to follow him; Matt likes him now. Andy Cannizaro went in there to see him for us on a crossover and liked him, too. His body changed - improved from when we saw him at the Area Code Games - so the progress is there, you can tell that the make-up is there to transform his body, and we're going to watch him a little bit and see if we can make a run at it.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So this one is not a shot in the dark? There's a legitimate chance there?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, I think there's a legit chance.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Ethan Carnes was a LHP at a big program that didn't get a ton of innings this year, so what did you see in his frame and/or stuff that made his selection in the 21st round worth it?

Damon Oppenheimer: That's Matt Ranson again, he had a lot of conviction about what he had seen from Carnes, and really swayed us. I didn't see Carnes pitch, but I trusted what Matt had seen and we went with him. We hope we get a guy who has some ceiling, throws strikes, and does what good left-handers do.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Is he a velo guy?

Damon Oppenheimer: I think if he starts he'd be more of a pitchability guy with good stuff, and if he comes out of the pen he might be a guy with bigger stuff.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Is there anything that jumps off the field at you about 22nd rounder, Derek Toadvine?

Damon Oppenheimer: The thing that Toadvine has got going for him is that he's a 70 runner on our scale. That's a guy who gets down the line in four flat, or 4.1, which is really good. He's making himself into a second baseman, we saw on the Cape that he can play centerfield, and he puts the ball in play. I like the make-up on the guy - I think that we might explore switch-hitting with him at some point, see if we can maximize that speed.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, that sounds like a huge undertaking, but it sounds like your confidence in his make-up makes you comfortable with putting him in that position?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know what, baseball used to do it a lot more in the past - take guys that have speed, turn them around, and work on it. The Cardinals were succesful with it for a lot of years. I think it's something that you don't try right away, but maybe at instructional league you start working on it, or something like that. I'll tell you what: Toadvine is an athlete with make-up, he's been in a successful program that went to the CWS the year prior, and I think he's got a chance.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: RHP Alex Polanco in the 23rd round was actually a big, power-hitting local kid from Jersey when he came out of high school - is that how you got onto him to start?

Damon Oppenheimer: Well, we saw him pitch, and that's what intrigued us about Alex. He started pitching, his arm works well, he's big, he's got velocity, and can miss bats, so that's where we're starting with him, and hopefully he takes off now.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Was 24th rounder, Sam Agnew-Weiland a guy who popped up for you after he saw a velo bump this spring?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, and you know what, it was an interesting thing. I bumped into him almost by accident because I was watching them at the very end of the year in the tournament against Samford when I was watching the kid Cincinnati took right after us in the 1st, Phil Ervin. He went eight innings, and he threw well - his velocity kept getting better and better as the game wore on. He's a big, physical guy, and at the end of the game when they pulled him out his velocity was better than it was in the beginning. So he spun the ball, pitched Ervin well, showed the ability to throw strikes, so when it got to this point in the draft and you're like, "that guy's sitting around still?" That's a good pick.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What was that increased velocity at the end of that start you saw?

Damon Oppenheimer: I remember in the end, at least in the seventh inning, I was seeing 93 MPH. So at the end of the college year, in the seventh inning of a start, still seeing 93 is pretty good.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Your 25th round selection, Jordan Floyd really got the draft fans attention, but then again a 6'4", 245 lb LHP who received accolades as an offensive lineman will tend to do that. I know you love when you find big-bodied velo potential that is fresh, so I'd gather your attention was piqued, too...

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah [laughs]. This was all Matt Ranson, and is the kind of thing that makes you happy that you've got good, quality area scouts - when Matt can walk up to the board and say "hey, I want this guy, I want to follow him this summer so we can try to make a run at him." He's already cultivated a relationship, so we've got a chance, we're going to work on it, and we'll see if it's something we're able to do.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: It seems like this is a kid with a ton of projection.

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, this is the right kind of guy to do this with. Hopefully he comes on at the right time. Ranson was excited about this guy - he didn't want him to get tied up by somebody else.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Ok, so 26th round now - Cal Quantrill and his Stanford commit - this is the shot-in-the-dark pick, right?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yep. A lot of things have to happen for this to actually sign right now, but you'd hate for him to have a change of mind, our finances change for some reason, and now all of a sudden you're saying "God, I wish I would have had Cal Quantrill." The guy is good, he's going to be better, and I think if he goes to school - there's some projection to it, so there's risk - but he's got a chance to be a top guy in three years. Denis Boucher is probably the best scout in Canada, and he knows these guys as well as anybody, and that's why feel comfortable taking kids from Canada, even if they're the longshots like this one.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: I posted on Twitter that there was basically no chance of Cal signing, and someone asked why would you even waste the pick then? My response at the time was "I'd gather it's one of Damon's ‘if he changes his mind, I'd rather it be us than someone else' picks."

Damon Oppenheimer: [laughs] Yep, you know me well enough.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: 27th rounder, Dylan McNamara is a local guy from around here, I believe...

Damon Oppenheimer: Adelphi University, and you don't live around here anymore, so it's not "around here". [Kevin's Note: I relocated to CA this past December]


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: ****.

Damon Oppenheimer: [laughs]


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So he's a big, physical closer from the NYC area then?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, Cesar Presbott had seen him, brought him over to Staten Island to the workout we had there before the draft, he threw to a few hitters, and it's that thing - it's what I like. If I put enough of these guys, like McNamara, that have big arms and good size into the system, we're going to get some results. So Cesar liked him and really wanted him, so we said "alright, let's go."


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: In the 28th round you probably made Taylor Garrison the happiest kid on the face of the earth when you took his twin brother Trent. What did you see in the only catcher you took this year?

Damon Oppenheimer: Obviously by seeing Judge we got to see Garrison quite a bit. We saw him last year, and he's good; he's a good catcher. He can catch, he can throw, he makes contact, he gives himself a chance, he handles the staff well, and so that's what I saw. Troy Afenir, who was a catcher, liked it, so this was the right guy for us to take here.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: When you get a chance, check out Taylor's twitter feed, as I think he called it something along the lines of the greatest day in his life, getting to be teammates with his twin brother again. He was pretty happy.

Damon Oppenheimer: [laughs] Good! That's awesome.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Charles White in the 29th round seems like a clear top of the order guy. Is there a chance he wants to get started right away because he's a senior's age even though he's a draft eligible sophomore? Are you going to use his playing in the Northwoods this summer to get a look, or could he be a quick sign guy?

Damon Oppenheimer: He's in the Northwoods League, so we're going to go up and evaluate him there, take a look, and see what we've got. I don't think a lot of people in the industry knew he was draft-eligible until very late in the process, so he wasn't a guy that got crosschecked, and it wasn't a year where you had to spend very much time at the University of Maryland. He kind of burst onto the scene a little bit late for us, and the combination of what Scott Lovekamp had seen in him, and our statistical guy Michael Fishman really liking what he can do led to us taking the chance. We're going to take a look at him in the Northwoods, see if it's a fit, and maybe we can make something work.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Interesting, how was it that the industry wasn't generally aware that he was draft eligible?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know what happens? You go into a school, you look at rosters, and if it says "sophomore" a lot of people don't continue to do the work to see if he's got age, because those rosters don't tell you if they're draft-eligible. So while everybody knew by the end, I'm not sure that they didn't do the work until late in the process.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: He seems to profile as a Brett Gardner type if everything goes perfectly.

Damon Oppenheimer: I don't like to go there - Brett's a hell of a player, so that seems to be what people want to always say about a lot of guys that are this type, but Brett's a hell of a player and if this guy could ever be Brett Gardner, we would have the steal of the draft down here.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: As a major quarterback recruit to one of the biggest football schools in the nation, 30th rounder Cody Thomas has to fall into the same shot-in-the-dark category as Cal Quantrill, right?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know it's interesting, because he's the one that had contacted Mike Leuzinger about wanting to play baseball, and that it wasn't just a pipedream to draft him. So what we're going to do is try to see him play and evaluate him for a little bit, and see if something can work. Is it a longshot? Of course, you're talking about one of the most elite quarterbacks in the country going to a big-time school, so it would be tough, but who knows? It's one of those "Damon quotes" again - you'd hate to have the guy sign with someone else.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So it seems like there's just a little more to this one?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, it just depends. I wouldn't say we drafted him knowing tomorrow that we're not signing him.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, this is really interesting. When did he contact Mike in the process, early or late?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know Mike's really good with this stuff, this is the reason you get a Mike Leuzinger - he's a digger and doesn't quit. The easy thing to do with Thomas was to just say "he's football" and walk away. Mike didn't let that get in the way, and the information we had was late.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You redrafted Kevin Cornelius in the 31st round, whom I remember talking with you about back in 2011 as a wiry thin but good-bodied guy Mark Batchko thought could hit, and really stood up for. By his numbers this year it seems like his power has really started to fill out at Grayson, but what have you seen in the last two years to make him a redraft?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, it's gotten better; Kevin has gotten better. He didn't really hit a whole lot the first year after we drafted him, but then he had a good year this season at Grayson. He's just a good baseball player, and it seems like we've got a chance at a guy who can swing the bat a little bit. I think it was pretty good to get him where we did. You know Mark Batchko, who doesn't work for us anymore, called and made sure that Mike knew he still liked Cornelius [laughs]. So when Mike told me that, coupled with his own opinion and the fact that Kevin came down and worked out for us, I said "you know what, Batchko's had success with these guys." Sometimes it's as easy as that.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Where is he committed to next season? I had read ULM, but I think that may be old.

Damon Oppenheimer: No, I think that may be where he's committed, but I think we're going to get him signed.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Chaunsey Summers out of Hawaii in the 32nd round was a catcher I believe, but you drafted him as a third baseman, correct?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, he's caught, he's played third, he's played left - a bunch of different positions. Dennis Twombley, who has Hawaii, has seen him and likes him, and thinks he's going to be a good guy to fill in at a lot of spots for us.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: In the 33rd round you took another nationally ranked high school quarterback, this time Shane McCarley, a RHP with a very strong commitment to play QB at Old Dominion. In contrast to Cody Thomas however, there seems to be almost nothing out there on him as a baseball player, so how did you see him and what stood out to make you take this chance?

Damon Oppenheimer: You this is another classic job of an area scout doing his digging. Stuart Smothers saw him throw and he was a guy who was touching 90 MPH, then he saw him again and he was touching 91 MPH, and he hasn't been playing a lot, came out after football, and all that other kind of stuff. So I went to see another kid down there one day, and Stu says "hey, he's supposed to be pitching" so I thought I'd get a look. Well, the coach didn't pitch McCarley, but he went out and played center field, and he stood out to me being athletic, hitting leadoff, and he's got a good arm. Then Stu brought him down to the workout in Tampa, and his family came and everything, and I'll tell you what - he threw well for us in the workout, but then you watched him with the way he handled himself. This guy was the only guy who came out here, pitches, and then runs his poles and does sprints like it's a regular workday for him. So you could tell that there was make-up to it, and I'm not sure what will happen, or what will transpire on it, but there's a chance that this guy could be pretty good.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: From the video I watched and the things I read, he seemed about as locked into his college commitment as any kid I've ever seen, but it seems like you're saying the door may be open a crack on this one?

Damon Oppenheimer: You know what? The last thing I saw was a picture that he sent Stu of him with his Yankee hat on, saying he's already supporting, so who knows what it means or where we end up on this one?


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: 34th round pick, Hector Crespo was another guy out of Appalachian State. Did you pick up on him when you saw Agnew-Weiland, or did you know about him beforehand?

Damon Oppenheimer: Adam Czajkowski had him turned in, along with Agnew-Weiland, so while I was there watching that game the thing that stood out was that he actually turned a good doubleplay. He was a second baseman who turned a good doubleplay, had a good arm from multiple angles, and looked like a good baseball player. Then we asked Carlos Marti, who has the South Florida area where Crespo is originally from, about him, and he said he's one of the best make-up kids he's ever had and a great player. So he fit a good profile for us, and was a good guy to take down here.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Nick Green is a smallish RHP who seems to have had some arm troubles in the past. Did Kmetko see him come back strong this spring?

Damon Oppenheimer: He's a summer draft and follow. Kmetko said that he wanted this guy and wanted to summer follow him, so we popped him because Steve's been good with this stuff. Heck, he did it with Brady Lail just last year and that turned out to be good, so when they tell you that they want someone like this, and they say it a couple of times, you go out and get him.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: LHP Nestor Cortes in the 36th round was one of the more intriguing picks to me personally. The Perfect Game writeup on him was sparkling, detailing increased velo and a great change, so I'm curious what you guys saw.

Damon Oppenheimer: Well south Florida, which is Carlos Marti's area, was probably as down as it's ever been this year. In our meeting before the draft Carlos said to me that of all the guys in his area, this was the one guy he wanted, and he'd tell me where we'd need to take him. So that's what we did. He's going to pitch in the summer and Carlos is going to watch him, but he says he knows the kid, that he can pitch, and he's a little undersized but has a big heart. With lefties you never know, so when your scout makes a statement like that, it sticks with you.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: So in terms of everyone in the south Florida region, this was the kid that he wanted because he was the best value in terms of talent/draft position?

Damon Oppenheimer: This was the guy that he wanted that fit the best. Other guys that he heard would have gone higher would have been overdrafts and not the right fit, and this was the one that he wanted.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: You probably knew you were going to be creating a stir when you took Josh Pettitte in the 37th round, but also that he's a lock to go to Baylor. Everyone knows he's Andy's son, but what can you tell fans about Josh as a pitcher?

Damon Oppenheimer: 99.9% sure that Josh end up at Baylor for three years, and becomes a quality prospect when he leaves. We've watched him play from last summer, through Perfect Game down in Jupiter, Stu watched him pitch again during the spring a couple of times, and he's just gotten better and better. He's got composure, he's mature, and he's done a great job for himself. Odds are he goes to Baylor - Andy and I have actually spoken about it now, and even before - but if there's any glimmer at all, this would be one I wanted to make sure I had control of. Who knows what happens? There's my line again, huh? I realize the chances are slim, but he's a deserving prospect.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: In the 38th round I think Andrew Schmidt is the son of your Scouting Director counterpart with the Rockies, Bill Schmidt - is that right?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, he is. Andrew is almost 100% going to go to UCLA. It's been fun to watch him, he's gotten better, and he's going to continue to get better at school. He's a great kid with great make-up who has worked hard and gotten better as a hitter. The power is starting to come, but he's got a frame that should allow him to develop it even further. With his work ethic and make-up I look forward to seeing that development continue in the Pac-12.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: In the 39th round you took another player with bloodlines to the scouting community, your NorCal area guy, Troy Afenir's nephew, Ty Afenir, a senior out of the University of Washington. What can you tell us about him?

Damon Oppenheimer: Yeah, this is Troy's nephew, but Ty was Mark Thurman's guy in the northwest territory. We were into see the pitcher from Washington, Austin Voth quite a bit, and everytime everyone was coming out with the same idea about Ty: man, this kid can pick it and play defense, and if he had more bat he'd be really good. So we have a guy who has a good glove and can play defense, and who knows what happens when we get him in- maybe he gets stronger, and maybe he can get a little more productive offensively.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: What is it about his glove specifically?

Damon Oppenheimer: Our guys really like it, they like how calm it is.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: With your last pick in the 40th round you took Kyle Buchanan, an outfielder who I can find almost nothing on at all. I know he enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast, but he doesn't show as having played, and he's not on the official roster. His Twitter handle intimates that he's a burner who loves stealing bases, but there is literally nothing else out there on this kid. Please, can you give us anything, anything at all to help solve this draft-fan mystery? [laughs]

Damon Oppenheimer: This is a crazy one. Do you remember the kid Lidle who pitched for us that died in the plane crash?


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Sure, Cory Lidle, of course.

Damon Oppenheimer: Well he had a brother named Kevin Lidle, who was a scout for a year. He posted on a website for Florida scouts that he had this kid, and was going to work him out around the same time that everyone was already down there for the Florida State High School Allstar Game in Sebring. All they had to do was drive about 30 minutes up, and you could go watch this kid workout. Well, the only guy that went was Jeff Deardorff. Jeff calls me up and says, "you're not going to believe this, I just saw this guy run a 6.5 60, he showed power, and he threw the ball well...and I was the only guy there!" So we brought the kid over to our complex to work out for us. We see that he can run, he's got a good body, but he hasn't played for a year. So what we're going to do is let him play some games this summer in this Florida Collegiate League, see how it looks, and see if the tools play.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Wow, that is a crazy story. Do you know why he didn't play last year?

Damon Oppenheimer: I don't know off the top of my head. I think there may have been an injury, but it also could have been a family illness maybe. I can't remember the full details, to be honest.


Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Lastly, I just wanted to again pass along thanks from not only myself, but also from all the draft fans that really appreciate the time you take to breath life into these picks that are many times just names and numbers before we speak. I get lots of comments each year about how much fans enjoy the detailed level of the discussion you're willing to entertain with me, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of their appreciation.

Damon Oppenheimer: Kevin, it's fun to do this with you, because I know you actually care about it, and it's great that there are fans that anticipate and enjoy the hard work that the staff puts in all year. We're definitely thankful for them, too.



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