PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to Zach Linginfelter, your 16th round pick and what appears to be the first real signability guy there in the later rounds. What's the book on him and is he a guy who you're intending to sign?
Damon Oppenheimer: We obviously would like to but we'd have to stay within the guidelines of what the draft has for us. We scouted him quite a bit and we like the stuff way more than where we got him but we'll see how things turn out with the pool money and all of that. We think he's a good ceiling guy and a power profile guy. This one is just going to depend on the other signings. You're talking about a guy who we saw last summer up to 93 and this year up to 95 mph. He needs help with his breaking ball but the guy's got the potential to pitch in the mid-90s with a strong body and seems to throw his fastball for strikes. We'd sure like to do something here but we'll see how it goes.
PinstripesPlus.com: Is next group of college draftees -- Mandy Alvarez, Greg Weissert, Miles Chambers, Timothy Robinson -- any of them stand out to you as a potential 'sleeper' pick?
Oppenheimer: You know what? All of these guys have a chance because our guys have seen stuff from them, the tools and the ability to perform have been good with all of these guys. For me they all have a chance but the game will tell us. If they all bring to the table what we're looking for and what we think they can do they've all got a chance because they bring stuff and performance with them.
PinstripesPlus.com: Okay quick-hitters then -- Mandy Alvarez, what stands out?
Oppenheimer: Mandy can hit and he's got a confidence to him and that goes a long way, and that's a huge separator down here in this part of the draft, guys that swing the bat and believe in themselves. Our area guy and our office guy did a nice job here watching him and paying close attention to the analytics. I think this one matches up pretty good for us.
PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to Evan Alexander, the centerfielder out of high school you snagged in the 19th round. What's the report on him?
Oppenheimer: Evan's a guy who is a 70-80 runner on our scale, and you know our scale, depending on the day you see him. He needs to add strength and we have to help him swing the bat but he is a legitimate runner. He's a very good athlete. His dad [Elijah Alexander] played ten years in the NFL so he has professional bloodlines and athleticism. This is a case of us trying to buy an athlete with ceiling. The bat has to be developed but he's not a swing and miss guy so we think we've got a shot here. If he we can further develop the contact to go with the 70-80 speed and athleticism we could have something here.
PinstripesPlus.com: Let's move on to perhaps the biggest mystery pick of the draft, Edel Luaces. No school listed. What's the deal with this guy?
Oppenheimer: He's an interesting story. When he graduated high school he was probably 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. And then he's bounced around and now he's 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. This is another guy with world-class speed. We've seen him up to 6.4 in the 60-yard dash with a great body, he's got a good arm, he's got power in the bat, and he just needs to be developed with the bat. He's another one of these guys with athleticism and ceiling, and we need to develop the bat. But make no mistake, this is elite speed we're talking about.
PinstripesPlus.com: It seems you drafted a few of those guys this year?
Oppenheimer: Yeah we made a conscious effort. It's something we talked about, getting some more elite athleticism and speed further down in the draft and I think we're accomplishing that.
PinstripesPlus.com: It also seems you guys took a few more signability guys this year, guys like Blair Henley and Bo Weiss, guys who you probably won't have the funds to sign it seems. What's the thought process behind those selections?
Oppenheimer: It's the same thing really -- you just never know when somebody is going to change their mind or when money is going to be available. Honestly, it's comparable to Brady Lail. We took Lail we weren't 100 percent we were going to be able to sign him either and things worked out. You want to have more than one of those guys available and Bo Weiss is a guy we've scouted for a couple of years and we've seen major improvement from him. We know he's got the University of North Carolina waiting but his stuff -- you're talking 89-93 mph in high school with good spin on the curveball and has the chance to be an above average curveball -- is good so we'll see how it goes.
PinstripesPlus.com: I'm assuming the same situation surrounds Miles Sandum too but what about right-hander Juan Cabrera?
Oppenheimer: Our area guy out there had a good feel for Cabrera and he wants to follow him a bit this summer to see if there's a chance we can sign him. Steve [Kemeko] has been real good going back to [Brady] Lail and Hever Bueno was doing real good too at Arizona State until he got hurt. So when a guy like that has a good feel you take him, let him follow him, and see if we can do something there. It's a projection guy so we've got a month to take a look at him and see what we've got and see if we've got something that makes sense for both sides.
PinstripesPlus.com: Which of these later round picks that we haven't hit on yet could you see turning some heads in the organization down the road?
Oppenheimer: If you go back to [round] 24, Joe Burton, he's a guy who has huge power, great body. We're talking about a guy here with a great athletic body; football looking, borderline Yasiel Puig looking body type guy who swung the bat well at the junior college level. He needs help defensively and he hasn't spent a ton of time on baseball but it goes back into that same mold of finding a guy with potential in this part of the draft. We think there's a shot at that and give player development something to work with who has power and strength. and he doesn't seem to be a huge strikeout guy either. I hold out hope for a lot of these guys though but I do think somewhere in this part of the draft we're going to have somebody turn into something.
PinstripesPlus.com: Going back to these later-round high school guys that I think we both know have no way of all signing -- you mentioned wanting and needing to take a few of these guys like this because you don't know what circumstances may dictate one or two of them actually signing -- does having to fill four short-season league rosters come into play or do guys have enough depth in the minor league system now where taking a few flyers is worth the risk?
Oppenheimer: I think a minor part of my job and the scouting department's job is to supply the filler guys. I think there's enough ways that we can get guys after the draft, through the Independent Leagues, through the International department, where we'd rather take what we believe are the best guys out there in the draft and give ourselves some flexibility and insurance.