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Director of scouting talks about the draft

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Q&A with Greg Smith, the Pirates director of scouting.

Smith is in his third season with the Pirates, having been named to the position on Nov. 7, 2007. He spent the previous 11 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, including eight as their director of scouting.

Q: A lot of these mock drafts have you guys taking Manny Machado. How much have you looked at this kid, and what is your report on him?

A: My best answer is we've done our work on Manny. We've seen him play throughout the spring, and it's easier to say we like him, and if we draft him, I'll probably talk a lot more about him then.

Q: In the first draft you ran for the Pirates, you took Pedro Alvarez. What's it been like watching him develop and seeing how interested fans are in him and how much they're anticipating his arrival?

A: It gives scouts a great deal of pleasure to see guys we draft and sign go out and do well and perform and do some of the things we think they're capable of doing. That's why we do our jobs. It's what we enjoy doing. That's first and foremost. But it's always exciting for the organization and the city to have a good young guy coming up. It was the same thing when Andrew McCutchen came up last year. That's what it's all about.

Q: Do you have one favorite player - one guy who you look back on and think, wow, I was really right?

A: It's different in different roles as a scout, and I don't ever like to think he was my guy, I put my stamp on him. Obviously, sure I like where Curtis Granderson is going, where Justin Verlander is going, but I'm not going to say that was all about me. That's what we did with the Tigers, and I was part of it. But one of the big thrills I had in Detroit was a World Series game where Jeff Weaver was pitching against Justin Verlander, and they were both guys I drafted. But it's not just about me.

Q: Do you sleep the week leading up to the draft?

A: I do sleep. It's the calm before the storm, really. There's no question the energy levels get raised and the attention to detail and the time with the other guys goes up. It does create more stress, but that's what we do. I sleep because of the trust I have in our scouts and the process.

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