06/02/2004 3:25 PM ET
Expos draft preview
Organization eyeing young power pitchers
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
MONTREAL -- For five consecutive years, the Montreal Expos have drafted a
pitcher -- Josh Gridley, Justine Wayne, Josh Karp, Clint Everts and Chad
Cordero -- in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft.
|The Expos selected Chad Cordero with the 20th overall pick in 2003. (John Hayes/AP)
Only Cordero has tasted big league action in an Expos uniform. He currently
is one of the team's setup men.
Will the Expos draft another pitcher with the 13th pick of this year's
draft? That remains to be seen.
According to scouting director Dana Brown, the Expos need pitchers
to fill roster spots in the minor leagues. That's partly because the
organization was unable to sign a total of 36 drafted pitchers over the
last two years. All of those pitchers were selected in the 20th round or lower.
"We need some young arms. We haven't been able to sign some of the high
school guys because they pretty much priced themselves out our price range
over the last couple of years," Brown said recently. "We are trying to close
the gap and take some young high school pitchers that we feel we could sign
without compromising the talent end."
The Expos would love to draft player who is close to being Major League-ready,
so don't be surprised if they went the college route in the first round.
The Expos would like to get power pitchers. Right-hander Wade Townsend of
Rice University is a player who could be a good fit for the Expos.
Townsend is 11-0 with a 1.68 ERA. He has two complete game shutouts and 141
strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings this season.
New Orleans' Thomas Diamond is another starting pitcher who has strikeout
potential. So far, he has struck out 138 batters in 113 2/3 innings.
The Expos also need to draft catchers. They currently don't have one that is
considered a prospect in the minor leagues.
At one time during the winter and in Spring Training, Brian Schneider, Randy
Knorr and Greg Zaun were the only quality catchers in the organization. All
of them have Major League experience.
The Expos went so far as to convert infielder Josh McKinley into a catcher
during the Arizona Fall League season, but he has since been traded to the
Texas Rangers in the Einar Diaz trade.
| Past five No. 1 picks|
|| Chad Cordero, RHP
|| Clint Everts, RHP
|| Josh Karp, RHP
|| Justin Wayne, RHP
|| Josh Gridley, LHP
Brown said they will draft catchers in the later rounds.
"I don't think there is a catcher -- tools-wise -- that you could take in
the first round," Brown said. "If we thought he was available [in the first
round], we would love to do that.
"Make no mistake about it, we are not going to compromise a guy with lesser
talent to fill a need. We still have to get the best players available."
Catchers John Poterson and Devin Ivany will be available in the draft.
Poterson, who is from Chandler, Ariz., has power potential and can hit for
average, while Ivany, who is from the University of South Florida, is known
to drive in runs and steal a base on a occasion.
The Expos wouldn't mind drafting a slugger, and they are really high on
center fielder Richie Robnett of Fresno State.
Some scouts believe that Robnett could be in Double-A by next year and be in
the big leagues for good by 2006.
This season, Robnett is hitting close to .400 with a slugging percentage of
Bill Ladson is
a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.