10/6 Carp vs. Roy? Tough pick for Cubs’ Wilken

Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken will be rooting for both Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay on Friday. Wilken was the Blue Jays’ scouting director and was instrumental in getting both pitchers to the big leagues. Carpenter was Toronto’s 15th pick overall in 1993, while Halladay was the 17th pick overall in ’95. They square off Friday for the Cardinals and Phillies, respectively, in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

“This is going to be fun to watch,” Wilken said Thursday.

Both Carpenter and Halladay were high school pitchers when selected in the First-Year Player Draft.

“For me, Carpenter was the easiest pick of all of them,” said Wilken, who spent 25 seasons in the Blue Jays organization. “There wasn’t one dissenter when our pick came up. It was such a slam dunk.”

That said, Carpenter, selected out of Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H., was considering a hockey career. If that didn’t work, he was headed to Creighton, where he would have played for former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who was the head baseball coach there.

Halladay, who prepped at Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colo., had what Wilken described as a “one-piece arm” action, which can be a risk factor. Wilken said some pitchers with that do develop arm injuries. However, Wilken felt Halladay had a slight bend in his arm action and wasn’t as concerned.

What Wilken was worried about was the Phillies, who had the 14th pick. They were interested in Halladay. But on Draft Day, there was a domino effect: The Pirates had the 10th pick and chose high school outfielder Chad Hermansen. Pittsburgh was believed to be leaning toward another prep outfielder, Reggie Taylor, but the Phillies tabbed him at No. 14.

“I started running around the room a little bit,” said Wilken, excited that Halladay was still available at No. 17.

Both pitchers now square off in a pivotal game for their respective teams. They’ve made 681 starts, won 332 games, struck out 3,619 batters, and won three Cy Young awards combined.

Who will Wilken root for? He’s been in touch with former Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash who has suggested: “0-0 through 10 innings.” We’ll see.

– Carrie Muskat 

6 Comments

Incorrect info regarding the ’95 draft. It was the other way around: The Pirates took Chad Hermansen (10th), and the Phillies took Reggie Taylor (14th), leaving Halladay available at 17 for the Jays.

we have one of the elite in Tim Wilken and thank goodness our ownership recognizes that. A very modest man with a sterling reputation.

When I first read this I thought my memory was getting fuzzy. I could have sworn I saw his first professional game with the Pirates organization and that he was playing Shortstop. Thanks John for letting me know at least part of my memory was correct

the way i remember the halladay and carpenter drafts bob engle was the scouting director for the toronto blue jays at the time.

Leave us not forget Chad Hermansen’s stellar 2002 season with the Cubs when he batted a robust .209 (Sigh….if we could only get that from Koyie Hill)

Thanks, John N. You’re right re: Taylor-Hermansen, and I corrected the copy.

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