Indians Chat with Chris Kline

Moderator: Chris Kline with begin taking your questions at 2 p.m. ET

 Q:  James from Guthrie OK asks:
Hello Chris, Dude I thought his chat was never going to take place! Which of these guys is going to step up and declare themselve the Tribes future 3rd baseman, Corey Smith, Matt Whitney or Kevin Kouzmanoff? Thanks.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Sorry for the 17+ hour delay with this chat, but a bout with what can best be described as the flu, as well as visiting Red Sox Nation's new Class A home in Wilmington, DE, kept me away. With the rain and the U.S. 95 corridor behind me, I can now begin . . . and thanks for your patience. James, who is going to step up? Good question. All indications are that it isn't going to be Smith. This year will be his last to lock down that title. Whitney has the highest ceiling if he can prove that he's healthy after all the leg problems. Kouzmanoff is a blue-collar guy who doesn't do anything pretty but makes all the plays and had a heck of a season in the Fall League before he got banged up with three weeks to go.

 Q:  Brandon from St. Louis asks:
Andrew Brown made the top 10 barely. I know he made one start at AAA, but went back down to AA. Where do you see him starting the season? AAA?? It seems he may need to work on his control. Lots of walks. thanks.
 A: 

Chris Kline: I actually had Brown lower on my original list, but his power stuff is enough to make him a top 10 guy. He needs to prove that he's durable after wearing down in his first full campaign since 2002. His command wasn't the greatest at times and some in the organization questioned his desire and makeup, as well as his response to instruction. His velocity dipped down late in the season, so the plan is to get Brown to work on improving his stamina for next season. He could again start in Double-A, but Buffalo is more likely.

 Q:  Frank Wright from Newbury, OH asks:
Chris, A couple of questions: It seems as though the Indians, perhaps moreso than other teams, produce more solid major leaguers rather than players who perform at a star level. After the mid-90's, the era of Thome, Ramirez, and Belle, players we've developed (Jhonny Peralta, Jason Davis), lost from our system, or traded away (Ryan Church, Maicer Izturis), have become very good players. They also look like they are going to lose a number of players again this year in the Rule 5 draft. Is there just an enormous depth in the system, with very good scouting, that allows for this kind of development? It would appear that players ranked 11-30, even 30-50, are better than most teams's 1-15, but not of the B. J. Upton, Joe Mauer types. Also - Tony Sipp put up ungodly numbers this season. Is he the real deal, or is he likely to fall off as he moves up the ladder due to a lack of stuff?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Frank, John Mirabelli and his staff are one of the best in the game today, though they do not have the same number of blue-chip guys they had a couple of years ago. Most of that has been graduating talent to the big leagues though. There is enormous depth in the system and it's not just the scouting department that should receive all the credit. The Indians' scouting and player development departments are always on the same page with very open lines of communication, which improves and expedites players moving through the organization. As for Sipp, the Indians feel he is the real deal and will keep him working out of the bullpen to improve his strength. His stuff is likely to improve. At the end of last season, his fastball was in the low-90s with a decent slider. What will separate him separates a lot of guys . . . the development of his changeup.

 Q:  Jason from Salem, OR asks:
How good can Adam Miller be?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Miller not only wants to be the best he can personally be, but one of the best the game has to offer and you really have to take his internal desire and passion for learning the nuances of the game into account when discussing his ceiling. Several scouts and opposing pitching coaches I talked to in the Carolina League compared him to Kevin Brown. The only difference is Miller's makeup, which is off the charts. The term 'makeup' and the phrase 'off the charts' seem to be becoming commonplace in the industry these days, but Miller is a rare combination of power, intelligence and feel. And to have that kind of reputation at age 19 is anything but commonplace.

 Q:  raymond from New York asks:
Hi, how close were Dittler, Denham and Martin (the top 3 picks in 2001) in making the top group ? I know only Dittler was added to the 40 man roster thanks
 A: 

Chris Kline: This group has seemingly always been ranked together, along with righthander Travis Foley, but only Martin and Dittler made the cut for this year's list. Dittler struggled with minor back injuries in 2004 and lost the feel for his changeup, which he needed to have any kind of success in a starting role in Double-A. His changeup showed flashes of being all the way back in the Fall League and should be the Jake Dittler of old next season when he repeats in Akron. Martin had a great second half and was a key ingredient into Class A Kinston's championship run. His numbers the past two seasons have been near mirror images of each other in the same league, but his stuff was as good or better than it had been before he was shut down with elbow tendinitis in 2003. His curveball remains the best in the system.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
Chuck Lofgren didn't have that great of a start to his career, but was it the right move to take him as a pitcher?
 A: 

Chris Kline: The jury is still out on Lofgren, Russ, and probably will be for some time. He didn't have the best season with the bat his senior year, which is why he fell in the draft and part of the reason why the Tribe sees him as a lefthanded starter. And the stuff is all there. In his first start, Lofgren's fastball hit 96 mph and sat in the 92-93 range throughout his debut. His curveball has the makings of a plus offering, though he needs to tighten it more and develop a changeup. Right now, he is a heel striker with his front leg landing somewhat violently and throwing off his command slightly. But still, he's only 18 and is one of those guys . . . a la Miller or Mariano Gomez . . . who could move quickly.

 Q:  Blair from Anaheim asks:
Francisco Cruceta was left off the list, but he made the IL top 20 prospects. Was he number 11? Does his pure stuff compare to Cabrera and Carmona?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Cruceta was left off the top 10 primarily because his role remains somewhat undetermined. Some in the organization still feel he can be a legit No. 3 or No. 4 starter, while others see him as a back of the bullpen guy right now. The problem is is fastball command, which he tends to elevate and gets hit hard as a result. His pure stuff compares better to Cabrera than Carmona, simply because Carmona is always around the zone. Personally, I like him better as a back end guy than a starter . . . but he developed a splitter last season, which might get him over the hump.

 Q:  Dave Regan from Ventura, CA asks:
What happened to Franklin Gutierrez last year? Did the Dodgers make a great move by selling high on him or will he recover his power stroke this year in AAA?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I've heard a lot of talk on Gutierrez from various Indians websites and most of it has been down on him. And that's just an outrage. Gutierrez is the best defensive outfielder in the minors and the Dodgers hated to part with him. Hitting coordinator Derek Shelton worked long hours with Gutierrez during instructs making minor adjustments in the box and he should make a splash at Buffalo this year. His lone weakness is handling breaking pitches, which has led to the high K totals the past few seasons. He recognizes the pitches, it's just a matter picking out which ones to hit and laying off pitches out of the zone.

 Q:  Blair from Anaheim asks:
Thanks for the Chat! Is Ben Francisco just a 4th outfielder? He's put up solid but unspectacular numbers so far. Is he athletic? How's his speed, defense and arm?
 A: 

Chris Kline: It certainly is looking that way, although the numbers only tell part of the story. Francisco hit the ball hard all season, but had little to show for it. He is one of the better athletes in the system, slightly above-average speed and plays a solid CF. With the outfield depth, and especially after acquiring Gutierrez, Francisco's long term outlook in the organization is cloudy at best.

 Q:  Cole Smith from LaGrange, GA asks:
How quickly do you think Jeremy Sowers can reach the majors? Does late 2006 or spring training in '07 sound reasonable?
 A: 

Chris Kline: A lot of it depends on his performance this spring and where he lands to start the regular season, not to mention how he adjusts to the grind of pitching every fifth day. He has certainly shown enough polish to make 2006 a real possibility, but I'll wait for his pro debut before putting it on the BA bet board.

 Q:  Jason from Salem, OR asks:
How does playing time shake out for Peralta and Phillips next year? Does Phillips go back to Buffalo if Blake moves over to 2B?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Interesting question and one that is likely to play itself out this spring. Peralta is better defenisvely at SS than Phillips, and I like Phillips better at 2B personally, though he is athletic enough and has enough arm to play either position. But his erratic play (28 errors) would lead me to believe that if Blake moves to 2B, Phillips is the everyday SS in Buffalo.

 Q:  James from Guthrie OK asks:
Chris, Are Jason Cooper and Mike Conroy still good prospects and what is your thought on Juan Valdez - besides being the Coffee King? Thanks.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Cooper is ahead of Conroy at this point. As for Valdez, what's not to like? A switch-hitter since he was 14, Valdes finishes his swing with power and both hands on the bat all the way around through the zone. He's good at making consistent contact with a level swing on a straight line to the ball. He is more advanced from the left side right now, and needs to make more consistent hard contact from the right side. He's an above-average runner and really just needs to add some more bulk to his wiry frame.

 Q:  mike from cleveland asks:
With Jason Cooper's lack of hitting for average, .239 in akron and .176 in buffalo, do you see him ever being a viable major leaguer?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Back to Cooper . . . it's tough to to get a read on those Buffalo numbers since he was called up after Akron's season ended, but it's definitely a concern after a disappointing year for the Stanford product. He's one of the most intense players in the organization, but some of that intensity played against him with the Aeros when he started pressing too much. But as an average runner who profiles as a corner guy, Cooper is definitely going to need to do more with the stick to make it.

 Q:  Brad Mahony from Washington, IL asks:
Thanks for the great chats! In terms of ceiling alone, how would you rank Miller, Cain, and Billingsly? Who do you feel is most likely to reach their ceiling?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Brad . . . tough question. All three of these guys have high ceilings, obviously, and all three have the makeup and stuff to be frontline big league starters. But if I had to rank them, I'd go Miller, Cain, Billingsley . . . but that's just me. Most likely to reach their ceiling? Well, considering I was voted "Most likely to be on MTV," in high school, I can't put too much weight on a question like this; and it's difficult, considering the injury factor with pitchers. But all three certainly have the desire to be the very best in the game.

 Q:  Blair from Anaheim asks:
Pure stuff wise, would Andrew Brown rank #4 on this list ahead of Sowers? Just looking at his numbers, he seems to be the only Tribe farmhand with high strikeout totals, a sign of dominating stuff. Is it his history of injuries and attitude holding him back?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Stuff-wise, sure, Brown has a much more dominant arm than Sowers, but the two couldn't be more different. First off, Sowers is throwing a low-90s fastball with deception from the left side, whereas Brown is humping up and blowing it by hitters at 96. As I said before in a previous answer, question marks regarding Brown's medical history, durability and makeup are questions enough to put him at No. 10.

 Q:  matt from atlanta asks:
Thanks for taking questions, Chris - if you had to list prospects 11-20 in the Tribe organization, who would be on that list? Also, I've heard Corey Smith will be moving to the outfield - any word on where he'll be learning the new position (AA, AAA)?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Matt, certainly Dittler, Cruceta, Lofgren, Valdes, Mike Butia, Justin Hoyman and Matt Whitney fall into that range. The Tribe tried Smith in right field during instructs, but he moved back to 3B before instructional league ended because of minor injuries at the position. There were different reports coming out of Florida on how well Smith was taking the move, but at this point, expect him to be back in Double-A to start the year, possibly splitting time between 3B and the OF.

 Q:  Big KG from Big Chicago asks:
Do you like the Eagles?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Love them. The road to the Super Bowl goes through Philly (again) . . . but this time will be different (Please, Lord, let it be different!)

 Q:  JayBud from Portland asks:
Who's some Indian prospects that aren't on the radar yet that could make a splash?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Arms, arms and more arms. Look out for righthanders Brandon Rickert, Cody Bunkleman, Mark Jecmen, Kyle Collins and Chris Neisel, and from the left side, Justin Pekarek and of course, Sipp. Positon-wise, Jonathan Van Every had a breakout year in Kinston; Cirillo Cumberbatch is intriguing; and the club loves Hawaii product Bryan Finegan at shortstop.

 Q:  Michael from Hayward, CA asks:
You stated in your review of Adam Miller that he has potential number 1 stuff. This implies that he will be as good or better than C.C. Sabathia. Do you see Adam Miller as a better pitcher than C.C.?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Michael, Do I see him being as good or better than C.C.? I think everything is in the package to be as good, yes. But again, we're talking about a righthander vs. an established lefty who is one of the best in the game. MIller is an impressive talent who could make an impact in the big leagues for years to come. At this point in his career, he's already surpassed Bartolo Colon and Jaret Wright as far as arms in the system go, so saying he could be a dominant factor in the big leagues is not reaching at all.

 Q:  James from Guthrie OK asks:
Chris, Is how good of a rotation would Miller, Dittler and Carmona be? Is this the order you would place these three? Thanks so much for your time.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Right now, I'd have to take Carmona above Dittler, even though Carmona doesn't miss as many bats. As his slider improves, you'll see that number spike up; although that's what we heard last year and the results weren't staggering. Dittler needs to prove that A) his changeup is back to its old effectiveness and B) that he can be durable to withstand minor injury setbacks.

 Q:  Joshua Heines from Trenton, NJ asks:
With Felix Hernandez being the unquestioned number one pitching prospect in baseball, where does Adam Miller fall behind Hernandez? Where does he rank amongst other top pitching prospects such as Edwin Jackson, Chad Billingsley, Matt Cain, Jose Capellan, Scott Kazmir, Jose Capellan, Jeff Francis, Cole Hamels, Gavin Floyd, and Scott Olsen?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Felix is definitely No. 1, but I'd take Miller above Jackson, Billinglsey, Capellan, Hamels, Floyd and Olsen on this very day, Nov. 23, 2004.

 Q:  Gregg from Raleigh, NC asks:
Chris, what is the status of Denham, Martin, Foley & Dittler? Are these guys eligible for the rule 5?
 A: 

Chris Kline: All of them are, with the exception of Dittler, who was protected on the 40-man.

 Q:  Mike from Urbana, IL asks:
There has been much debate amongst Indians fans about the wisdom of leaving prospects like JD Martin, Dan Denham and Travis Foley unprotected ahead of the Rule V draft. Is this a mistake by Shapiro (especially in view of Martin's dominant postseason performances) or a smart gamble?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Mike, I'd rate it as a smart gamble. The orgainzation regularly gets pillaged during the Rule 5 and this season will be no different . . . there are tough decisions to make. Denham is a guy that needs at least a year to make adjustments to become moderately effective, and got lit up in the Fall League this year . . . to the tune of a 14.68 ERA. Foley was moved to the bullpen permanently this season and while his stuff played well in a return to high Class A, the club no longer sees him in a starting role. As for Martin, yes, he finished strong, but never really showed any true consistent dominance in two seasons in the Carolina League.

 Q:  Blair from Anaheim asks:
How did the young arms Mariano Gomez and Rafael Perez progress? Are they on the verge of busting out next year? Would they be in the 12-16 range?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Perez certainly is ready to break out next year. Gomez, however, is another story with the strained ligament problem in his middle finger that has dogged him the past two seasons and put his development on hold. If he returns to form, he could move quickly, but the injury remains somewhat of a mystery and therefore, Gomez an enigma. They both fall in the 20-30 range.

 Q:  John from New York City asks:
There's been a big hullabaloo in some places about the prospects we've lost within the past year. Where would Izturis, Church, Luna, Wily Taveras, Luke Scott, and Luis Gonzalez rank in the Indians system if they were still there?
 A: 

Chris Kline: The biggest losses from that list are Church and Izturis in my opinion, but with the outfield depth, they could afford to let Church go. And Izturis and Luna would be buried right now too if they were both still in the organization. But to let both Church and Izturis go for Scott Stewart? Now that's really an outrage. That one didn't work out too well. Neither did the Jeriome Robertson deal, but I think long term, the club will regret letting Church and Stu go over Luke Scott and Taveras.

 Q:  Tony from Erie, PA asks:
Ryan Garko hit no less than .328 at three levels last year. Do you think that his power and ability to hit for average makes him an everyday major league player at some point rather than the utility player you suggest?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Only as a DH, really, or if there's a way to get him ABs by splitting time at DH, C and 1B. He's just too fringy defensively right now. I like him better than Phelps and the word from club officials is that they are trying to find a way to get Garko in the big leagues permanently in 2005. The question is how, and where?

 Q:  matt from atlanta asks:
Chris - It seems like the Tribe had a good pitching draft in '04. Sowers, Hoyman, Lewis, Lofgren, Sipp and a couple others look to have high ceilings. Most of them have now had time in rookie ball and intructional league - which of them are the Cleveland brass particularly impressed with?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Obviously they're high on Sowers, but the ones most coaches and managers were impressed with besides the lefty from Vandy are Hoyman and Lewis. Hoyman pounds the zone with a 90-92 mph fastball with late sink that he commands well. He also features a slurvy breaking ball and changeup with good deception. He has excellent lower body strength after adding 20 pounds since the spring. Lewis has some medical in his background with the Tommy John surgery, but his velocity was back to 90-92 mph at Mahoning Valley and his curveball and changeup were both plus pitches.

 Q:  Jason from Hell (Work) asks:
Where do you see Franklin Gutierrez in 2006?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Jason, Sorry to hear you're in Hell, but that should end soon as we close in on the 5 o'clock hour here in the Southeast . . . I see Gutierrez planted firmly in the OF picture at Jacobs Field . . . it remains where he'll be. He has all the speed and range to play CF with the arm to play right. Just for fun, let's say in 2006 Gerut will be in left, Sizemore in CF and Gutierrez in RF.

 Q:  JB from P-Town asks:
Does Fernando Cabrera have a legitimate chance to be the Indians closer this year if they don't land somebody? What about in the years to come?
 A: 

Chris Kline: If they don't land anyone via free agency, Cabrera will certainly get a long look, as will Brian Tallet, who pitched well down the stretch out of the pen for Buffalo.

 Q:  William Ashley from Memphis, TN asks:
One report suggested that Fernando Cabrera could be ready to close by this year. That seems like a bit of a stretch, but being a quality setup man in the mold of maybe Guillermo Mota sounds like a fair comparison. Do you agree?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Cabrera is ready, though I'm nont sure the Tribe is going to want to throw him to the wolves as a closer in his first season in the big leagues. He certainly has the stuff and mentality to be a closer at that level, though. He might be better suited to start in the set-up role and become the stopper over time.

 Q:  David from Baltimore asks:
How is Corey Smith coming along? Rumors differ on his future playability at an outfield position? Are they trying him at RF?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I hit on Smith's move during instructs earlier, but didn't really get into his playability. Like a lot of things, it all comes down to his approach. Some in the organization said it was the best move for him to take off pressure that built up through mediocre performances at third throughout his career; and he certainly has the arm to play RF. Like I said before, he'll probably split time at third and the OF next season, at least to start. But make no mistake, his time is running thin. He needs to step up and be more consistent with the bat instead of starting strong, disappearing for two months and then have a great late July and August, as he's done the past three seasons.

 Q:  Joe from Columbus, OH asks:
Brandon Pickney really came on strong last year batting over .300 in almost a full year at AA. With this average and a slick glove was he considered for a top 10 spot in your rankings?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Pinckney was certainly considered for the list, but the fact that he isn't a true SS knocked him down. He played SS at Lake County all year and the majority of the 68 games he spent at Akron, but most in the organization see him moving to 2B or possibly third, where they tried him a few games last season. There is no question about the bat, however. He's hit at every stop. But he's a line drive spray hitter with little power.

 Q:  Elliot Legow from Youngstown OH asks:
Jake Dittler was BA's #4 prospect going into 2004, but a bad back led to a subpar season at Akron and he fell out of the Top 10. But Jake just completed a solid session in the Arizona Fall League and the Indians added him to their 40 -man roster. Would Dittler be in the Top 10 if the Arizona season were considered?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Elliot, You have to take Arizona performances with a grain of salt, though what Dittler was able to do out there certainly bodes well for his future. The AFL is traditionally a hitter's league and this year was no different, so keeping an ERA around 3.00 is pretty impressive. With Andrew Brown in the mix and with a strong draft, Dittler comes in at No. 11. The keys remain the consistency of his changeup and his ability to make it through a season completely healthy.

 Q:  John Venditte from Albany, NY asks:
Who will have an impact on the Indians sooner, Aubrey or Gutierrez? Also, has Gutierrez improved his plate discipline since coming to the Indians system?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Depending on the hamstring, I'd go with Aubrey first, possibly sometime this season. Gutierrez needs a whole season at Triple-A, whereas Aubrey has the ability to make quicker adjustments from level to level. If he's completely healthy again, and there's no reason to think that he won't be after skipping the Dominican Winter League and opting to rest and rehab the hamstring, Aubrey could be an impact guy soon.

 Q:  Doc Scott from Cincinnati asks:
It seems like the Indians might be this year's Pirates as it relates to pickings for the Rule 5 draft. Which of the Cleveland prospects are most likely to get taken?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Martin, possibly Slocum.

 Q:  IndiansFan from Cleveland asks:
I had a question regarding Dan Eisentrager, who I saw pitch as a rookie with Lake County last year. He was fantastic with an E.R.A. under 2.00. This year, he didn't do as well with Kinston. He's a low draft pick out of Long Beach State ... any chance this guy could become a prospect with the organization?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Eisentrager has solid stuff, but is a middle reliever type. While he posted impressive numbers in 2003, he got hit pretty good in high Class A last year with CL hitters sitting fastball when he couldn't locate his offspeed stuff. His ERA nearly doubled to 4.05. He'll move to Double-A next year where the challenges will only get tougher.

 Q:  Elliot Legow from Youngstown OH asks:
JD Martin, Travis Foley, Brian Slocum are all Rule 5 eligible RH pitchers with some bright moments and some mediocre stretches behind them. How do they rate going into 2005? Any chance any could be drafted in Rule 5?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Martin is the best of the bunch, with Slocum a tick behind. Neither miss a lot of bats and both tend to give up a lot of hits. Foley moved to the pen after being sent down from Akron and had his elbow scoped in the offseason, which might keep some teams at bay. Right now, Martin and Slocum are the two guys who should be voted "Most Likely To Go Via The Rule 5 draft."

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw, Georgia asks:
Hey Chris, I am filling in for Lucy cat, shes sick. I have a question for you. Do you think the Pirates would trade your rights for say, Corey Smith? I understand he can field and hit a little better than you. Also, where do you see Dan Deham, and JD Martin now on the list? They have lost their luster.
 A: 

Chris Kline: Come again? The Pirates never actually owned my rights, which means BA would have to work out a deal with the Tribe to get Smith, but little is known about his typing skills or the ability to edit org reports. Smith has all the tools in the field, he just needs to utilize them consistently. I, however, have none. And as for Denham and Martin, Denham has fallen off the list and Martin remains.

 Q:  John from Kent asks:
Would any of Peralta, Phillips, and Sizemore have made this top then if eligible?
 A: 

Chris Kline: All three would have easily made this list had they been eligible . . . and Sizemore would have ranked No. 1 for the second straight year.

 Q:  Tom McCullough from York PA asks:
Chris: Thanks for the chats. Jason Cooper and Ryan Goleski and Kevin Kouzmanoff look as though they may be fighting for a 24th roster spot as a bench bat. Does one of them stand out as a propect?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Of the three, Goleski has the best bat. Actually, Goleski and Kouzmanoff are total rats around the cage, often talking about their swings all day, every day. But Goleski is the best in this group with the highest power potential.

 Q:  Andy from Chicago asks:
Chris, where does Mike Butia rank amongst the Tribe's OF corps ? The guy looks like he can really mash
 A: 

Chris Kline: Butia came in around 15-20. His power numbers increased in his senior season at James Madison, and while the power wasn't visibly evident during his pro debut at Mahoning Valley, he still made a smooth transition to hitting with wood. The Indians have worked with him to revamp his swing to get more load in his hands and use the whole field more by slightly opening his stance more. He has nice, natural loft in his swing that translates to plus power potential down the road.

 Q:  Andy from Chicago asks:
Chris, are ther any prospects the Indians have developed from Latin Amererica that we should be aware of ? How is the Latin program going under Ross Atkins' tenure ? Btw, any truth to the rumor you've cracked the Pirates Top 30 ......... Thanks
 A: 

Chris Kline: Ross Atkins revamped the club's operations in Latin America, with the Tribe being the first team to send its players to school when they aren't on the field. The player that stands out most in my mind right now is switch-hitting outfielder Jose Constanza, who led Indians I to the division title with a .444 average, 72 runs, 115 hits and 19 triples. Constanza is 20, which was about the league average in age this season and has outstanding bat control.

 Q:  Peter from Boston, MA asks:
Do you see Jeremy Guthrie ever living up to his potential, or is it too late? Is he better suited for the bullpen, or to start?
 A: 

Chris Kline: The Indians still see Guthrie as a starter, even though they brought him out of the pen in the big leagues last year. He'll get every opportunity to prove them wrong this spring.

 Q:  Joan from same place asks:
Do you expect Gomez to move quickly? Assuming, if course, that the finger remains healthy (last I heard, it was fine and he's having no problem with it in Venezuela). If the problem recurs, do you think he's finished? Any possibility that a move to the pen could reduce the chances of a recurrence?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Apparently I mentioned Adam Miller and Mariano Gomez in the same sentence and I am being raked over the coals now, so here's what I meant: If Gomez is healthy, he could move quickly in the same manner of a Carmona or a Miller . . . not that he has comparable stuff, at least to Miller. If the problem keeps lingering, there's always the chance he could move to the pen to work through it. The other factor to take into consideration is his routine. There were many concerns about how strictly he had been following his workout regimen during his downtime.

 Q:  Rocky Colavito from indians hall of fame,oh asks:
Chris, John Mirabelli's drafts have been given rave reviews over the last five years,but truly now,who is making an impact from his drafts?.Only maybe 3 or 4 of his draft picks have even appeared on 40 man rosters.As a life long tribe fan,am i being too hard on Mirabelli or is there truly hope for the future?.Seems like all those hot shot high school pitchers have faded away that he drafted.Where are the potential impact players like we had in the 90's?I guess i'm being jaded here,but BA has graded his drafts very highly but we dont have much to show for them.Please answer this question and not just stuff it aside.Thanks
 A: 

Chris Kline: I wouldn't be too hard on Mirabelli, whose job goes well beyond scouting director. He has input into nearly every decision the club makes on a daily basis, from the big leagues to player development to scouting. True, the club doesn't have the blue-chip prospects it once boasted, but is as deep or deeper than its been in a long time. And getting Miller in the supplemental round in 2003 could be the mark history remembers him for.

 Q:  jay from cleveland asks:
It seems from reading reports on Brad Snyder that he has many solid tools but does nothing exceptionally well. Is his ceiling an average major league player, or could his power or hitting develop to the point where he'd ever be a potential all-star?
 A: 

Chris Kline: I think you'll see the power numbers jump up next year in Double-A from Snyder. Potential All-Star is certainly not out of the question . . . Snyder carries himself with a quiet confidence you just don't normally see in Class A. I see him as an above-average major league talent that has the ability to play all three outfield spots. But with the outfield depth, there is no reason to rush him.

 Q:  frank from rhode island asks:
what happened to Sean Smith this year? Did he get hurt or something?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Smith was shut down late in the year with minor forearm stiffness and pitched well in instructional league. He should return to Kinston to start 2005.

 Q:  Jeff from Columbus, Ohio asks:
Outside of your top 10 list, is there a pitcher and a hitter in the Indians system who you may break out this coming season?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Juan Valdes is certainly a guy to watch out for, as is Butia, positon-wise. As far as arms go, Hoyman could make some waves in his first full season as a pro.

 Q:  Trader J from Indy asks:
How does Michael Aubrey project? What MLB player does he compare favorably to?
 A: 

Chris Kline: The comparison you hear the most recently is to Todd Helton, though there are questions as to how much power Aubrey will hit for in the big leagues. He has great bat control, but needs to utilize his lower half more to increase more power and better handle inside fastballs.

 Q:  frank drebond from police squadron asks:
Why does the organization seem to like Dave Wallace so much. They sent him to the AFL and his name always seems to come up in articles and interviews. His numbers look horrible---what's the deal?
 A: 

Chris Kline: If you've ever seen Wallace in person the simple answer is he is a physical specimen. He is very cerebral and handles the staff well, but his throwing skills are average at best at this point. But he has very limited experience behind the plate, spending more time under center at Vanderbilt than he did on the diamond. They feel like the more experience he gets, the better catcher he can be.

 Q:  Gene from Jersey asks:
Kyle Denney--Another great year and made it to the bigs??? Where does he stand in the top 30 and what is his future??
 A: 

Chris Kline: Denney finally made it to the big leagues and should be a potential swing man No. 5 starter with the big league club this year. He comes in ranked in the 20-30 range.

 Q:  GMONEY from TOLEDO, OH asks:
What is your opinion on N. Pesco. Most scout and rating services have him rated very high but his stats don't necessarily back up the hype? What is your take on this prospect? Also, who do you think the Tribe will lose in the rule 5 and do you think any of those will stick?
 A: 

Chris Kline: Pesco has great stuff, starting with a changeup that is the best in the organization. But that pitch is complemented by a heavy fastball clocked in the 90-94 mph range, slider and curveball. The slider is the one pitch that lags behind his other offerings at this point. OK, so this is it . . . thank you all for your questions and I'm sorry I couldn't take them all. Off to take some more medicine and catch some shut-eye. CK