Ask BA

We’ve had a pair of over-slot deals in the last couple of days in second-rounders Reggie Golden (Cubs) and Kellen Sweeney (Blue Jays), but draft signings continue to move slowly. One industry insider believes that one reason there have been just 11 known deals where draftees have received more than MLB’s bonus recommendations is tied to the July 31 trade deadline. Clubs may need the commissioner’s office to sign off on teams picking up huge chunks of salary in deals, so they’re stay in MLB’s good graces by toeing the line on the draft for now.

“They might be balancing trades and signings,” the insider said, “and the signings can come after July 31 to ensure no issues with moving players.”

That makes sense to me, though it doesn’t stop me from wishing there were more draft news to report. While we wait for more signings, let’s get to some of your questions.

    If you could pick any prospects without any major league experience, what would your dream team look like? Feel free to include any unsigned 2010 draft picks.

    Mike Hedman
    St. Paul, Minn.

If 2011 draft picks were fair game, I’d try to squeeze Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon on here. My dream team would be defensively challenged at catcher, second base and third base, but would make up for it by having three center-field types in the outfield, not to mention outstanding hitting and pitching.

C: Jesus Montero, Yankees
Won’t stay at catcher, but with his bat it won’t matter.
1B: Eric Hosmer, Royals
Now that he’s recovered from hand and vision problems, true talent shines through.
2B: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Has put April slump behind him, though defense needs a lot of work.
3B: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Another Royal putting memories of a subpar 2009 behind him.
SS: Manny Machado, Orioles (unsigned)
Stop with the A-Rod comps, but he is a potential five-tool shortstop.
LF: Desmond Jennings, Rays
It’s time for the Rays to trade B.J. Upton and make room for Jennings.
CF: Mike Trout, Angels
Quickly has become the minors’ most exciting player.
RF: Domonic Brown, Phillies
Raul Ibanez’s contract notwithstanding, he should be playing in Philadelphia already.
DH: Bryce Harper, Nationals (unsigned)
Moving from catcher to outfield will expedite his off-the-charts power to Washington.
SP: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays
May be in the only organization that doesn’t have room for him in its rotation.
SP: Julio Teheran, Braves
Showing why he was the most coveted pitcher on international market in 2007.
SP: Martin Perez, Rangers
Struggling in Double-A, but has best stuff among minor league lefthanders.
SP: Zach Britton, Orioles
Stuff keeps getting better, and he already had the minors’ best sinker.
SP: Michael Pineda, Mariners
Has boosted his stock more than any pitching prospect this season.
RP: Tanner Scheppers, Rangers
Texas sees him as a long-term starter, but he could wind up on the Neftali Feliz path.

    For the second straight year, a team out of contention in the National League West has traded their ace to an American League wannabe-contender. A year later, can you offer any thoughts on the utter meltdown of Aaron Poreda and Dexter Carter, who went from the White Sox to the Padres in the Jake Peavy deal? Since coming to San Diego, Poreda has totally lost the plate. Carter's mechanics were such a mess that not only didn't he advance from low Class A to open the season, he was shipped back to short-season ball in June.

    David Jay
    Hartford, Conn.

I was never high on either Poreda or Carter to begin with. Poreda went 25th overall in the 2007 draft because he was a hard-throwing lefthander, but he never developed into more than a one-pitch pitcher. He projected as a setup man at best before his control disintegrated.

Carter was wildly inconsistent at Old Dominion, which is why he lasted 13 rounds in the 2008 draft. Whatever he figured out in the White Sox system (2.80 ERA, 232-57 K-BB) disappeared as soon as he got to the Padres system (8.44 ERA, 64-46 K-BB).

Even if San Diego gets nothing out of Poreda and Carter, it can’t regret the trade. The Padres got out of $55 million in salary obligations to Peavy, who went 10-6, 4.11 in 20 starts for the White Sox before needing major shoulder surgery. San Diego also received Clayton Richard, who has exceeded my expectations and looks like a solid back-of-the-rotation starter, and Adam Russell, who could provide some middle-relief help.

    Royals lefthander Danny Duffy is back pitching, and in his last start in high Class A, he threw five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. If he gets back to where he was, where would he fit among Kansas City's other pitching prospects: Aaron Crow, Chris Dwyer, John Lamb and Mike Montgomery? Who has the highest ceiling?

    Cory Wohlford
    Trimble, Mo.

Duffy ranked eighth on our Royals Top 10 Prospects list before he left the organization in March because he had lost his desire to play baseball. He returned in June and has made six short starts between three minor league stops since.

Duffy has spectacular career numbers (19-11, 2.49, 311-88 K-BB), but his stuff isn’t as impressive. He throws quality strikes with an 88-92 mph fastball, a big-breaking curveball and a changeup. He has a lower ceiling than Crow and fellow lefties Dwyer, Lamb and Montgomery and I’d rank him behind all of them, even with Crow struggling in Double-A.

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