• Aug

    Q&A with Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com

    Jonathan Mayo is a Senior Writer for MLB.com. For several years, he hosted a variety of shows on MLB Radio, MLB.com’s internet radio network, including Around the Minors, a daily show devoted to baseball prospects. Mayo has also done extensive video work ranging from studio analysis and in-game color commentary to sideline reporting at various special events.

    More recently Jonathan has focused his efforts on covering minor league baseball and, notably, the baseball draft. Mayo worked on the broadcast team assembled for ESPN’s coverage of the first televised baseball draft in 2007, interviewing draftees after their selections. He is responsible for compiling MLB.com’s definitive list of baseball’s Top 50 prospects and has covered the Arizona Fall League, baseball’s winter meetings and many other events. You can currently find his draft and prospect work on the MLB Network.

    You can find Mayo’s official site at: http://jonathanmayo.net/index.html
    You can find Mayo’s MLB.com blog at: http://minors.mlblogs.com/
    Mayo is also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/jonathanmayob3

    In May, Mr. Mayo answered a few questions previewing the O’s and the June Amateur Draft: http://www.orioleshangout.com/blog/chris-corner/241/qa-with-jonathan-mayo-mlbcom

    Orioles Hangout thanks Mr. Mayo for answering some additional questions, this time focusing on the Baltimore system.

    Orioles Hangout: “24 year-old RHP Oliver Drake has progressed to AA Bowie. His combined numbers at Single A Frederick, and AA Bowie are: 9-6, 3.28 era, 134.1 ip, 125 hits, 5 hr’s, 35 bb’s, with 111 k’s. What type of upside do you think the former Naval Academy product has?”

    Mayo: "The numbers are certainly good, but you don’t want to get too excited about a college arm that age dominating in A ball, and even Double-A. Case in point, his Bowie numbers aren’t very good. Until he can show he can master the higher levels, you shouldn’t  project too much. That being said, it’s a great story and it would be great to see him figure things out and make it to Baltimore."

    Orioles Hangout: “Baltimore native Glynn Davis is one of the younger players in the NY/Penn League, and having some success with Aberdeen (though extremely cold over his last 10 games). Is he beginning to garner any attention? Should we be expecting to see him start for Delmarva next Spring?”

    Mayo: "It’s a bit too early to worry about attention for a non-drafted free agent. It will be interesting to see how he finishes the season with Aberdeen, but either way, he’s likely shown enough to get a shot at making the Delmarva club next spring. Guys like him, though, will have to prove themselves at every level."

    Orioles Hangout: “2010 10th round pick Clayton Schrader has combined to throw 46 ip this year between Low A Delmarva, and High A Frederick. In those 46 ip, has allowed 19 hits, 2 hr’s, 32 walks, with 73 k’s. Pretty clearly the hits and k’s per ip point to his stuff, and the walks indicate control is his biggest issue. Is this a guy that can start ’12 at Bowie, with the potential for a quick promotion to Baltimore?”

    Mayo: "It does look like he’s on the fast track as a reliever, doesn’t he? Yes, the walk rate is a bit too high, but any time a guy has a .123 batting average against in his first full year, you have to be excited. The jump to Double-A will be a good test as to whether he’s getting all those swings and misses on strikes or on balls out of the zone. As he moves up, hitters won’t chase as much, so his command will become more of an issue. If he shows he can continue to do what he’s doing now strikeout and hit rate wise, he’ll be in Baltimore quickly."

    Orioles Hangout: “2010 3rd round pick Daniel Klein has been out of action since June 1st with a SLAP tear. Prior to the injury, he had advanced to AA Bowie. In his 32.1 combined innings of relief at Single A Frederick and Bowie, he allowed 23 hits, 2 homers, 6 bb’s, with 37 k’s. When drafted the Orioles talked of converting Klein to a starter. While a starter is always more valuable than a reliever, a Major League contributor is more valuable than a Minor League project. As a relief pitcher he can race through the system and quickly be an option to help out the O's. If he is physically ready to pitch next Spring without any further health issues; should the O’s continue to keep him in relief, or move him to the rotation as originally planned?”

    Mayo: "With the injury, I think he should stay as a reliever, at least for now. Especially because it’s a shoulder, you never know how/if it will stand up to the rigors of starting. He has the stuff to start if they want to give that a shot if he can show he’s healthy for a full season. But then again, if he’s healthy as a reliever in 2012, he could see Baltimore."

    Orioles Hangout: “The 3rd round pick the year prior was Frederick 1st baseman Tyler Townsend. The 23 year old has 38 xbh’s, and a .943 OPS through his initial 245 ab’s on the year. Despite the power shown, he has just 9 walks, and 63 k’s.  Would the limited plate-discipline shown, prevent you from promoting him to AA Bowie to begin 2012? Where does he rank for you among 1st base prospects at the High Aball level?"

    Mayo: "Can’t say I’ve done a ranking of first base prospects at each classification! Even with the lack of on-base skills, I think he’ll at least compete for a spot on the Double-A roster next spring, assuming health. The other numbers are too good to keep him in Frederick any more, unless there’s some kind of logjam at the position."

    Orioles Hangout: “With the 4th overall pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft, the Orioles selected High School prospect Dylan Bundy. His brother - 21 year-old Robert ‘Bobby’ Bundy was 11-5 with a 2.75 era at Frederick. In his 121 innings of  High A work, he allowed 102 hits, 8 hr’s, 31 bb’s, with 100 k’s, earning his 8/5 promotion to AA Bowie. Will B.Bundy deserve consideration for Top 100 prospect lists this Winter?”

    Mayo: "I’ll have to give you a “wait and see” answer to that one. Not trying to dodge the question or do some kind of promotion for MLB.com’s top prospect lists. It’s just that I haven’t done the legwork yet to determine that. My guess is that the answer is no. While he’s had a very successful 2011 season, he’s not really on the elite prospect radar. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that he won’t be a successful big league pitcher one day."

    Orioles Hangout: “Future’s Game participant Jonathan Schoop posted a .890 OPS in his 212 ab’s at Delmarva, earning a promotion to Frederick. With the Keys, Schoop is one of the youngest players in the Carolina League and has been exposed a bit (.639 OPS, 202 ab’s, though .275 baa his last 10 games). Do you agree with Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein that Schoop projects better as a 3rd baseman vs. 2nd base as he advances?"

    Mayo: "You’re putting me in a tough spot here because I don’t want to publicly agree with Kevin Goldstein (love you, KG). Honestly, I haven’t seen Schoop enough to know for sure, but with his size and if the power continues to come, then sure, third could be a nice spot. He did play there some this year."

    Orioles Hangout: “LJ Hoes had a hot July (.349 baa, .931 OPS) for Bowie, and that has carried into August. In his 409 total Minor League ab’s this year, the 21 year-old has a .754 OPS. He has also been moved off 2nd to a corner OF position. Combined between Frederick and Bowie, Hoes has 9 homers, and 19 doubles. Do you think he can slug enough to stick in LF, or do you think the O's should move him back to 2nd with the focus of improving his defense there?"

    Mayo: "I don’t know that he’ll ever have the kind of power usually associated with a corner OF spot, but there have been some left fielders who fit his profile more (Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner both played there), so it might be ok. My guess is they didn’t move him from 2B just to see what happened – the O’s must think that LF is a better spot for him long-term."

    Orioles Hangout: “Shortly after returning from the DL (Patellar Suluxation / dislocated kneecap) Manny Machado was promoted to Frederick. After initially struggling with the Keys, he has turned things around (12 xbh’s, 140 ab’s, 16 bb’s, 26 k’s).Would you expect him to play in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) this year? Do you have any reservations about Machado as a prospect?”

    Mayo: "Not sure about the AFL, though it might make some sense and be a good test for him while making up for some lost time. I have absolutely no reservations about him as a prospect. I love his tools, his baseball knowledge, his makeup. All plusses. Even if he has to move to third – and from what I’ve heard he’s handled SS just fine – he’ll be a very, very good big leaguer."

    Orioles Hangout: “Bowie 1st baseman Joe Mahoney dealt with hamstring issues earlier in the year that has limited him to just 48 games on the season. The 24 year old lefty-swinger has 27 xbh’s in his 222 ab’s with the Baysox. Last year he won the Brooks Robinson award as the top positional player in the Organization. What is the biggest question with him?”

    Mayo: "Whether he can be an every-day player or if he’s just a sub/platoon partner type. Or, truthfully, if he’s just an organizational guy. He got on the map last year, but hasn’t been able to get it going this year because of the injuries. He can swing the bat and I think 2012 will go a long way toward showing whether he’s a legit guy or not."

    Orioles Hangout: “Assuming Dylan Bundy is signed, the O’s Top 10 Prospects could look like:

    1) Machado
    2) D. Bundy
    3) Schoop
    4) B. Bundy
    5) Bridwell
    6) D. Klein
    7) Berry
    8) Townsend
    9) Drake
    10) Mahoney

    Other: Hobgood, Avery, Schrader, Hoes, Mummey, E. Rodriguez, Snyder, Adams, Henry, Wirsch, Coffey, Ohlman, Pelzer, Narron, S.Johnson, Welty, Veloz, Martin, Miclat, Joseph, Schutz, Givens, Vader, Baker, Ohlman

    Beyond those previously discussed, which players do you find the most interesting? What are your general thoughts on the system?”

    Mayo: "That’s a very good top of the list, that’s for sure. The system is pretty solid, with Machado and the younger Bundy giving them a pair of elite guys. Keep in mind the big league roster is very young, so they’re doing just fine. I do want to see how all these middle infielders pan out after Machado – Schoop and Givens."

    Orioles Hangout: “If the O’s can sign 6th rounder Nick Delmonico, would he be one of the O’s Top 10 prospects?”

    Mayo: "Not right out of the gate. I’d like to see how he handled professional pitching. Now, if he’s catching, then he becomes a little more intriguing and after a good debut, he could move up, but it’s too early to put him in a top 10, I think."

    Orioles Hangout: “Some 3rd party analysts had O’s 2nd round pick Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt) as a potential 1st rounder heading into this season. Your thoughts on him?"

    Mayo: "He was a potential first rounder, but he didn’t perform consistently during his junior season. That being said, he can really play third and if he can find some consistency with the bat, he could be a very good find in round 3."

    Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board

Michael Williams

Lifelong. Down by the river.