Thursday, April 21, 2011

Q & A With Cincinnati VP DeaconSoule

. Thursday, April 21, 2011

by Dan Shea.

Marauders Senior Vice President of basell operations DeaconSoule sits down with TCI(Triple Crown Insider) to discuss the upcoming Wright world draft, his thoughts on the teams direction, his vision for the team's future, players he's high on down on the farm and much much more.

TCI: How would you say the season is going so far? On the field and also in the eyes of the organization.
DeaconSoule: It's coming along slowly but surely. We'd obviously like to be in first place and a front runner for the world series. It hasn't worked out that way to start but it's a long season and we play 162 games.

TCI: What are your expectations for the direction of this franchise? Not only for the present but also for the future.
DeaconSoule: The expectations will always be the same for Cincy. Build a team that can produce on and off the field and in the community.
We want to win championships. We want to get those division crowns and NL Pennants. We're not where we want to be yet but we will get there and i believe we'll be there very soon.
It's not a matter of want or desire. We were a high payroll franchise for so long that it was almost a "sell out for the win" at the cost of developing the future. That can't happen again.

TCI: Talk a little about the fans and their reactions to the past few seasons.
DeaconSoule: It's to be expected. This is a loyal fan base, a great fan base and a passionate one.
They're not used to losing, not used to hearing the world rebuilding or seeing it on the field.
They're the best fans in the world and we want to produce a on field product that is deserving of them. That takes time to build but i believe we're on the right track.

TCI: What is the biggest thing in your mind for the franchise moving forward?
DeaconSoule: I think it's player development. Scouting, working out, drafting and signing the right guys. Getting them into the system and ensuring that the live up to the potential and expectations you foresee in them. If you miss on a high pick you likely won't get another chance to make it right.
You could set your franchise back two, three, maybe even four years if you pick the wrong guy and have to live with it and then cut ties.

TCI: On the subject of player development. Who are some of the guys you feel could help out this franchise in the future.
DeaconSoule: We have some good ones down on the farm. Some are closer to helping the big league club than others.
Mario Wengert is a kid that stands out to me. He's a young kid with a nice repertoire of pitches. He throws a plus 4 seam fastball. His curveball is just deadly when he's on, his change up just baffles hitters and his slider is a nightmare for opposing hitters. The key with him will be consistency and health. He's got to master those two things.
Pedro Valenzuela is another kid who we are high on. He projects as a corner outfielder with pop but will also hit for average. He'll be a average defensive left fielder who can move along the base paths and will likely be up next season.
Barney Evans could give Pedro a run for his money as an outfield prospect for us. He can do much the same at Pedro but his glove is a little less developed. He could eventually be moved to first base in the future.
He's a smart and heady kid who will give you everything on the field.
Esteban Baez has really come on as a infield prospect. We were worried that his defensive potentially wouldn't be achieved but he's making strides that we believe will allow him to stick at short stop.

TCI: What is your take on the farm system as a whole right now? how good is it and how good can it eventually become.
DeaconSoule: Overall i'd have to grade it as a incomplete.
We have some talented kids in the system but we need some future superstars thrown in and the overall depth to come up.
We been a solid franchise so it's hard to bring in top talent and when you do it's hard to keep it when you might be one or two pieces away from contention. We have to do a better job as an organization to keep our home grown talent and develop them for the major league club.

TCI: It sounds as if you are looking to really focus on building from within for this franchise.
DeaconSoule: I think that's the goal of every franchise. If you look at most of the successful teams they have a majority of their talent from the farm system. You can build a team by signing free agents and making trades.
But at the end of the day, dynasties are born, bred and sustained through your farm system.

TCI: Give us some thoughts on the upcoming draft. Your team owns 5 picks in the top three rounds(#8,49,78,97 & 111). Would you say there is added pressure to produce some key players from it?
DeaconSoule: I think that it will be a very productive draft for our franchise.
This draft is a lot deeper than normal and we're obviously picking quite high so the talent pool available to us is greater than in many of the previous seasons.
As far as the pressure to produce... Well that's always there no matter how many picks you have. Your fans always want to see the next superstar or franchise player added to the system. It gives them hope for the future and allows you to build or sustain a franchise for the long haul.
I'd definitely be disappointed if we weren't able to bring in a nice haul during the upcoming amateur draft.

TCI: Is there any one player or any one position that stands out to you from this draft class?
DeaconSoule: Hmm, i'd have to say the depth at pitching more so than an actual player stands out to us at this point. We've brought some guys in for workouts, visits and tours. We like some players out of this draft and obviously you hope that they somehow fall to you.

TCI: So that sounds a lot like GM speak for i'm not gonna tip my hand.
DeaconSoule: Well sometimes the draft is like a poker game. You have to be able to screen people and bluff at times. Can't let all your secrets be known before the hand plays out. Rarely does the best hand win.

TCI: Fair enough, is there any sort of strategy or focal point the team will use to determine which side of the coin it will pull from?
DeaconSoule: I assume you mean if we plan to go more for college or high schoolers.
Historically this team has leaned to high upside kids from the prep ranks.
We have chosen some good college kids as well. I don't think it's really a matter of choosing a certain side of the coin, it's just simply taking the player you feel will be best for the franchise long-term.

TCI: It was wonderful to have you sit down with us. Hopefully we can have to sit down with us again in the future. Maybe sometime after the draft?
DeaconSoule: Hahaha, You're putting me on the spot here.
But yeah, i'd love to come back after the draft and talk about it a little more in depth. Hopefully you're patting me on the back for a job well done.