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Athletics Chat

Moderator: Casey Tefertiller compiled the Athletics top 10 prospects list and will answer your questions about the organization.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Does the A's philosophy of drafting only college players hurt their system's talent? Is it wise to ignore half of the available players?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: SB, This is a complicated question. The A's philosophy definitely is not college-only, it is seeking out refined players and searching for skills over tools. By drafting players of greater refinement over highly tooled, raw players, they think they are more likely to get better ballplayers. More often than not, these are college players. However, Chavez was a high schooler, as was Chris Tritle. Rich Harden came out of a junior college, drafted one season out of high school. This has been a very effective philosophy because it works. In contrast some organizations look for high school tools guys who may not have a great feel for the game. I like the A's plan, and it seems to regenerate success.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
Casey, I'm curious what you see happening with Oakland's big league pen this year (With their budget constraints, rule 5 picks, Venafro's release and Mecir's injury), it seems they are looking to model Atlanta's 2002 castoff bullpen format. What odds do you give these guys of sticking with the A's: Neu, Hernandez, Valentine, Harville?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, Neu and Hernandez, the Rule 5 pickups, are probably longshots at best but will be given an opportunity to audition. Valentine will probably be given a real shot, but the early reports are that he will probably need more Triple A time. Harville has been a top prospect for a long time, but he keeps getting injured. If he can stay healthy, he will probably land in the bullpen for keeps. You are also right that the A's relief situation is pretty murky right now, and it will be interesting to see what develops with the signings of non-tender. P.S. I think I answered a couple of questions that I lost in the system. I apologize to those folks

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
Casey, With the trade of Lidle and Lilly's health, is it possible we could see Harden or Rheinecker out of spring training with the big club? If not, and even if everyone is healthy, is it possible that Harden could push Harang to the pen in mid-season?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, It would be unlikely that either would be moved to the majors that quickly, but not impossible. Both need more time to refine their abilities and just learn a little more. I like Harang a great deal, and I think he has a shot of sticking in the rotation for a long time. I think it more likely Harden will get at least most of the year in Triple-A unless the need arises. Rheinecker is older and mike get the first shot.

 Q:  dave from ca asks:
your thoughts on john-ford griffin. how good can he be and when will he make an impact? where would jason arnold have ranked if he had stayed?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Dave, Griffin hardly played with the A's after the signed him, and I never saw him personally. I can only reflect what I was told by a number of folks in the organization. There was a huge difference of opinion between some who saw him as a superior offensive player and some who wondered if he was Ben Grieve with less power and defensive ability. Itis not unusual that there will be differences of opinion, but the differences here were vast. I think we will just have to see. Arnold ranked as the No. 3 pitching prospect, behind Harden and Rheinecker. Incidentally, there were some in the organization that ranked Rheinecker ahead of Harden. These appear to be two primo prospects.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
I know Cody McKay was not really a prospect, but losing him to Milwakee seems to me like a minor mistake. He could hit at least as well as Johnson and Hernandez with high OBP and low $, and it's a long way from A ball to Oakland for Jeremy Brown. Am I missing something here?
 A: 

Moderator: Ryan, Good question. Wish I had a good answer. Cody was a six-year free agent, but he could have been retained by keeping him on the 40-man. There was some feeling he was just a hair short of being a major-league catcher, as far as ability. He is a good guy, and I hope he proves this analysis wrong. He was just married, by the way.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
I don't see a lot of position players here and John-Ford Griffin is supposedly heading to Toronto. With Chavez, Tejada, and company getting more expensive I would think there should be some replacements getting close to reaching Oakland. Is the plan to always trade pitching for hitting, like the Durazo deal? Or are the rest of the hitters lurking in the 11-30 range?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: The A's have a decent number of position players, but they lack potential middle-of-the-order boppers. Big bats. Dan Johnson from Coon Rapids, Minn., is an interesting possibility. Sometimes things just work out how they work out. Right now, the A's have had more success with pitching. A decade ago, it was position players that worked out best.

 Q:  Casey Trout from Baltimore MD asks:
What is your take on John McCurdy? Do you think the A's will keep him at shortstop or possibly move him to another infielf position?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Casey, One A's official said that he believes McCurdy will have the greatest leap in the top 30 next year. He now slots in at the 20-30 range, and he lost a little luster after struggling in the Northwest League last year. The A's philosophy is to keep a player at shortstop until it becomes clear he must move. We just have to wait and see what happens, but the expectation is that he will become a second baseman.

 Q:  Jeffrey from San Ramon, CA asks:
Whatšs the word on Left Fielder John Ford-Griffin? Išm hearing that have may have been traded to the Blue Jays as part of the Erubiel Durazo trade but nothingšs been officially released yet. Is that true?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jeffrey, Everybody is waiting. What I have heard is that at deal is under discussion but not yet completed, and it is separate from any past deals. A deal is not a deal until it is done, so that is where we are. That could all change by the time this chat ends, though.

 Q:  Malcolm from Modesto, CA asks:
Do you think the Ašs paid too steep a price for Erubiel Durazo? RHP Jason Arnold was on the fast track to the majors and him and Rich Harden would have been nice 4th and 5th starters behind Mulder, Hudson, and Zito. Thanks for your time!
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Malcolm, There are those in the A's organization who see Durazo as a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter at a bargain price. If they are right, the A's got him cheaply. Yes, he is probably limited to DH, but if he hits the way some think he will, that will be enough. Most in the org believe Rheinecker and Harden will fill the order quite nicely, and Harang is not bad either.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
You mentioned Nick Swisher in the Best of The Rest section, I'm a big Buckeye fan and followed him fairly closely. He seems to fit the organization's model, decent power and good plate discipline, what is your read on him? Who does he compare to at this point and what might his ETA be in Oakland?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, Too early to get much of a read on Swisher. He needs to develop as a pro. He has a remarkable work ethic, and he may even work too much. He would do extreme amounts of extra work, then be worn down by gametime. This is one where we have to keep watching before we can evaluate too much.

 Q:  Jason from San Francisco asks:
In the June 2002 Draft, the A's took Ohio State's 1st Baseman Nick Swisher, yet have him projected as a Center Fielder. Isn't there a bigger need for him to be a 1st Baseman, since he is so gifted defensively there and we already have Marcus McBeth as an excellant Center field prospect?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jason, As said in the previous response, it is too early to get much of a read on Swisher. It is almost always better to give a player time in the outfield if he can play the position. It is easier to move to first base later. And it is usually easier to find competent first basemen than solid defensive outfielders. For example, if Dan Johnson develops into a solid first baseman, it would be better to have Swisher experienced in the outfield. Right now, it appears Swisher will wind up as an above-average defensive corner outfielder.

 Q:  Trent from Oakland, CA asks:
Is Erubiel Durazo the real deal? Seems to me like hešs just a DH because his defense at 1st base is only marginal. Couldnšt the Ašs have just signed John Mabry, who had just as many RBIšs in the same number of at bats, plus kept RHP Jason Arnold? Thanks!
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Trent, We will all be watching Billy on this one. As said earlier, if Billy is right, Durazo will emerge as a significant offensive force and it will be a critical deal.

 Q:  Wayne Graham from Houston asks:
I may be biased but I thought Justin Crowder was one of the top 5 or 6 pitchers in college baseball last season. How does a pitcher like that slip past the first or second round? He would have been an easy sign. Was it just his height or his velocity? I tried not to over work him. P.S.- very funny of the A's to also draft Stanley and Staviskey.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Wayne, Great irony, to see Crowder, Stanley and Stavisky in the same uniform. Crowder was a terrific pitcher in college, and it will be interesting to see how he develops. Height (6-foot) and velocity hampered him in the draft, of course. Now it will be interesting to see what he can do as a pro.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
It seems that the Pena from Texas deal hurt not only the minor league depth in Oakland, but maybe both Fuson and Kubota's reps a bit. While Ramos and Hart looked to be the keys they struggled quite a bit, but Ludwick and Laird were surprisngly good. Meanwhile Pena's ego seemed to stink more than his ability to make contact. Then to quickly trade Pena to Detroit. Those 2 deals turned into essentially Laird, Ludwick, Ramos, Hart, Bonderman, Arnold, German, and maybe Griffin for Lilly and Durazo (Both with injury concerns). Am I crazy or did Billy Beane get taken? Can the system survive this huge loss of depth and will Beane feel the loss of Fuson more than people thought?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, Yep. Ramos made a good recovery in the AFL. Ludwick is a very exciting power prospect, and Laird could be a topflight catcher. We shall see. The A's gave up a great deal, and we will just have to see how they work out. I think the A's did a good job of restocking in the '02 draft, but they are light in the upper levels.

 Q:  Jimmy from Chesapeake asks:
Do the A's get compensation for losing Durham to the Giants? I saw that he has a higher Elias rating than Alfonzo, so we should get their #1 and a supplemental if we offered him arbitration. I don't see that we did.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jimmy, The A's will receive compensation for Durham, but it is too early to figure out the positioning at this time. since the Giants signed Durham before the A's had to offer Arbitration,the rest is only a formality.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
How much did the visa issue in spring training hurt Esteban German? He went from OBP speed demon to slightly older, behind in camp, and he barely got a look when called up and now is considered behind Ellis, Crosby, and Bynum in the organizational outlook. Is there something more to this story? Was he overrated to begin with? How far has his stock fallen internally and with other clubs opinions?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, Very difficult question. More than anything, German needed to improve elements of his game. He made vast improvements before and during the '01 season, but with the visa delays he seemed to regress during '02. If he gets back on track, he could move forward quickly. Hard to make a gauge. And, yes, his stock has fallen in all directions. But that could change.

 Q:  Chum from New York asks:
The A's are obviously loaded with starting pitching at the high levels but how would you project the recent class of major college pitchers (Komine, Crowder, Blanton, Fritz, Kohn)? Are any of them front of the rotation guys?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Chum, Too early to get much of a gauge so far. Blanton has definite front-of-the-rotation ability, but he has a great deal to learn. There are some in the organization who think Fritz will be terrific now that he is completely concentrating on pitching. With th e others, it is just too early to know much of anything.

 Q:  John Walsh from Chicago asks:
Casey, Would Neal Cotts have been in Oaklands Top 10 had he not been traded to the White Sox? What are your thought on Cotts' future?
 A: 

Moderator: John, Cotts ranked No. 10. Excellent prospect with good potential. Since he was only in A ball, we will know much more when he faces Double-A hitters. Right now, he appears to have legitimate middle-of-the-rotation potential.

 Q:  Joe from Pennsylvania asks:
Questions about two guys I own in a Strat league... I was glad to see Brown and Blanton make the Top 10... what do you project Brown to hit in the majors... does he have 30 homer100 BB potential? How bad is Blanton's delivery?? Is he a major injury risk?
 A: 

Moderator: Joe, Catchers almost never hit 30100, so that is asking a lot. I think he could be a good run producer, though. Blanton has been working with Ron Romanick to improve his delivery, and the progress has been good. Many problems should be resolved.

 Q:  Chum from New York asks:
Who is the next great outfield hope for the A's if Griffin ends up getting traded? Do you think Stanley could be the CFlead off hitter the A's are looking for? Thanks.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Chum, Marcus McBeth made huge advances during IL, but nobody is really close to breaking into the outfield. Stanley is very interesting. He has Brett Butler-like ability -- one tool and he makes the most of it. He moved to Arizona and is engaged in intense work to try and find a way to the majors. We can only wait and see.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
Where would you rank Rontrez Johnson, Buddy Hernandez, and Mike Neu in the top 30 (if at all)?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Ryan, Still under discussion. Right now, none probably make it. But the A's have a very solid top 30, so it is hard to crack.

 Q:  Randall from Concord, CA asks:
I'm a little shocked that CF Marcus McBeth made the Top 10 list and 2002 1st round pick Nick Swisher, predicted to play Center field, did not. McBeth has obvious tools but has not put them to use like Swisher has. What was the determining factor for listing McBeth over Swisher? Thank you.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Randall, McBeth made great progress in IL, and the A's are looking for him to show improvement this season. He has outstanding tools, and he is very intelligent. If he can hit for any kind of average, he will be a starting center fielder in the majors. Swisher will probably become a corner outfielder, and he has yet to show what he can do as a professional. Right now, McBeth ranks higher. A year from now, we will know much more about both of them.

 Q:  Taylor from Japer, Alberta asks:
Hey Casey, Where would the recently traded Jason Arnold have placed in the top ten? Is it true that unlike Harden, Rheinecker, and Wood that he doesn't project to be a front of the rotation type starter? More of a #3 or #4. Thanks.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Taylor, Arnold ranked as the No.3 pitching prospect, behind Harden and Rheinecker. Right now, the thinking is that his stuff is not as crisp as the other three, but he has great mound sense. We all recognize that things change as pitchers develop.

 Q:  Rocco from The Bronx Zoo asks:
As a Yankees fan, I'm wondering if the A's have any more Hudson, Zitos or Mulders coming down the chute to challenge us. Go Jeff Weaver! You guys might regret that trade.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bronc, Watch for Harden in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS playoffs. If the Yankees make it past the Angels then.

 Q:  Mike from Alameda asks:
Any chance of the A's swapping Rich Harden and Bobby Crosby to the Pirates for Left fielder Brian Giles? They could use an offensive upgrade at Shortstop over incumbent Jack Wilson plus, by the time that team might be able to compete for a World Series, Giles will be too old. Thanx.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Mike, Billy Beane could make any trade on a given day. But right now, what I have heard is that Harden and Crosby are untouchables because Harden could be superior, and Crosby might be needed if there is a vacancy at short in two years.

 Q:  Trevor from San Jose asks:
How soon can we expect Jeremy Brown to take over as catcher for the offensively-challeged Ramon Hernandez in the big leagues?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Trevor, Give him a chance to develop. He needs a full year at Double-A to hit advanced pitching. I really expect Hernandez to show distinct improvement under Macha this year. He may be the player who will benefit the most from the change.

 Q:  Jeremy from Moraga asks:
What pitcher in the A's minor leagues has the nastiest pitch? Ala a Tim Huson sinker or a Barry Zito curveball.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jeremy, Mike Wood's sinker is almost at Hudson level. Bert Snow's slider is very nasty, if he can recover from his injuries.

 Q:  Rick from New York asks:
Where would Franklyn German or Jeremy Bonderman rank if they were still in the system?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Rick, Bonderman would be very close to the top, perhaps third. Franklyn German would probably fall around eighth.

 Q:  Rick from New York asks:
How would you rank Oakland's latest draft? Where do Ben Fritz, Nick Swisher, Steve Obenchain and John McCurdy rank in the system?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Rick, Right now, I think the draft looks quite good. Brown really makes it appear strong because if his remarkable rise. Fritz just missed the list at No. 11. Swisher and Obenchain are slightly below, then McCurdy in the 20s. I responded about McCurdy earlier.

 Q:  Terrence Long's evil twin from Center Field at Oakland Coliseum asks:
With Marcus McBeth and Nick Swisher coming down the pike at Center Field, should I advise my brother not to buy a home in the Bay Area? Seriously, how soon before those two make it to Oakland and will Swisher get moved back to 1st Base because of McBeth's presence ahead of him? Thanks!
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Twin, You can wait to brush up your Shakespeare before either McBeth or Swisher arrive. It will probably be a couple of years at best. Swisher will probably move to a corner outfield spot, and he appears to have the potential to be outstanding in right field. It is harder to find RFs than first basemen, and Dan Johnson could claim first by that time.

 Q:  Rick from New York asks:
Can you give us an update on John-Ford Griffin? How serious was his hand injury? Will he be back in 2003? What major league player does he most project to be like?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Griffin should be fine and ready for spring training in Dunedin. Or Phoenix. If he develops as some think he will, he could be sort of a Harold Baines type player.

 Q:  Sam Silvas from claremont, ca asks:
Casey, Your thoughts on C. Trittle (sp?) and Austin Nagle-their ceilings and where they will play in 2003, etc. Thanks
 A: 

Moderator: Sam, Tritle's ceiling is throught the roof. He needs a great deal of development, though, as does Nagle. Both have great potential and a long, long way to go. Both should be enjoing life at Kane County this year.

 Q:  Peter Friberg from San Diego, CA asks:
The A's make a point of telling their minor leaguers that their parent club will do all it can to utilize them (either in an A's uni or via trade). What A's top 10 (or top 30) are most likely to be utilized this season?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Peter, Griffin is already rumored to be close to gone. Billy is always looking for deals, and he has a good cadre of minor leaguers to trade. Some orgs like Adam Morrissey a great deal, and he could be used in a deal. My crystal ball gets fuzzy after the big storms we had out here.

 Q:  kurt from Lincoln asks:
Casey, Who has the best chance of helping us in the bullpen in 03-Snow, Harville, the rule 5 pick up Hernandez, or the kid we picked up in the Chicago trade? Thanks
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Kurt, My guess is Harville, if he is healthy. Valentine will be assessed for his development level, and if he can help, he could be there, too. Snow is still recovering from his surgery, and there is almost no way to project his development. It would be hard to imagine him in the majors this season.

 Q:  Sam from Oakland, CA asks:
How close was Adam Morrissey to making the top 10? I saw two completely different players in the Cal League and then in the AFL.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Sam, What you saw is what everyone sees. There is a great difference of opinion on MOrrissey. One question is whether he can play a position, and the guess is that he is destined for third base. Very difficult player to project. He fit into the 20s on the top 30.

 Q:  Pete from Baton Rouge asks:
Casey, Which minor leaguer will the A's miss after all their wheeling and dealing the past year and a half? Which prospect are they the most glad to be rid of? By that I mean which prospect was overrated according to the A's but coveted by other clubs. Thanks
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Peter, Is this my old friend Peter B? My guess is that they will most miss Laird because he is on track to be a major league catcher. I think they are most glad to be rid of Marcos Armas. But that was years ago.

 Q:  Russ from Chico asks:
Are there any untouchables left in the minors, or is that an out-dated concept for the A's? Thanks
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Russ, Right now, I am hearing that Harden and Crosby are untouchable, but that could change in an instant if the right deal came.

 Q:  Marcus from Livermore, CA asks:
With guys like Bobby Crosby and JT Stotts blocking his way at Shortstop and guys like Freddie Bynum and Adam Morrissey blocking his way at 2nd Base, will the A's be moving 1st Round pick SS John McCurdy from Maryland to 3rd Base? Or do they still project him as a big-league shortstop? Thanks for your time.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Marcus, The way the A's work, a position change usually does not happen because of who else is in the organization, rather trying to fit the player into the right job. The A's also prize versatility, so they often move players around to different infield positions. The best guess is that McCurdy will wind up at second base, but the A's will give him shortstop time before making that decision.

 Q:  Fern from Columbia, SC asks:
I was glad to see former Gamecock Marcus McBeth crack the A's top 10 this year. How quickly do you think he can move through the A's system, and what is his ceiling as a prospect?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Fern, Very high ceiling, but give him time. He needs to develop his hitting skills, and that will probably take a couple of years.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Where does the A's farm system now rank? Last year it came in at 19. Is it safe to say they have gone up into the first group, or leading the way in the second?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Sorry, save this one for Alan Simpson or Jim Callis in an Ask BA I would think it would move up significantly.

 Q:  Bryan from Middletown, NJ asks:
Where would players like 3B Mark Teahen, OF Matt Allegra and P Steve Obenchain be in relation to the top 10?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bryan, All three are in the 11-20 range in the top 30. They have all made an impression.

 Q:  Tim from Seattle asks:
Hey thanks for taking my question. Do you know anything about Matt Allgera? He seems to have some power but he strikes out a lot. How many years away is he and how does he project as a major leaguer?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Tim, Allegra continues to show great improvement, and he has the tools. He was nosed down in the numbers game because the A's came up with a whole bunch of top players in the draft and through development. He has star potential, but he is a long ways away.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Is Rich Harden in the group of top 50 prospects?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Another question for Jim Callis or Alan Simpson. I would be stunned if he was not fairly high in the list.

 Q:  Brian from South Bend asks:
How come Left Fielder and Irish alum Brian Stavisky did not make the A's Top 10 List? I'm surprised. He is a solid prospect and maybe their best potential power hitter in the system. Will he get moved to 1st base because of his throwing arm and their need for a big bat at that position in the majors?
 A: 

Moderator: Brian, Stavisky has a great deal remaining to show. He did not play much, then skipped IL. Remember, he lasted until the sixth round of the draft, so he was not in great demand last June.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Is it safe to say that Jason Arnold was number two, behind only Harden before he was dealt for Durazo?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Nope. Rheinecker is an outstanding prospect.

 Q:  TROY WRIGHT from OCOEE,FL asks:
WHAT BECAME OF MATT ALLEGRA AND CHRIS TRITLE IN THE PROSPECT LIST ,ALLEGRA HAD A SOLID YEAR ,AND IT SEEMS THE A'S NEED SOME OUTFIELD DIRECTION
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Troy, Allegra just missed, and Tritle's difficult year dropped his stock. I think everyone expects Tritle to recover, though. The A's system has improved signficantly during the last year, bumping both players down.

 Q:  Bill Mitchell from Tempe, AZ asks:
Jason Grabowski's offensive numbers have taken a big jump, especially the power numbers, in the last year, both at AAA and in Mexico this winter. Is this a case of being a late bloomer or is he benefiting from Oakland's reputation for preaching plate discipline? Do you see him making the 25-man roster next season?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bill, Grabowski had all kinds of problems in the minors, with bum knees and changing positions. This hampered his progress all the way through. And it has also made him an adept utility man. I think he fits in well with the A's and has an excellent change of making the 25-man in spring training. From there, we just see what he can do.

 Q:  Adam from Cornhusker country asks:
I've been following Dan Johnson's career with the A's since they drafted him last year. Is he a legitimate long-term answer for them at 1st base? Also, the A's also drafted Shane Komine in this year's draft. Will they let him start or relieve in the minors?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Adam, There are many in the A's organization who are extremely excited by Dan Johnson right now. He has changed his swing and approach, and there are some who think he could be a very solid major-league hitter with above-average power. He is one of the most interesting prospects in the organization right now, and many folks cannot wait to see what he does in Midland this year. Perhaps you can get the concession chartering buses from Lincoln to Midland. Too early to have much of a read on Komine. He is expected to start this year

 Q:  michael from sterling heights asks:
Hello Casey, I dont know if he is listed on BA top 10 but what do you think of John Rheinecker? other than Harden it seems the A's dont have someone who stands out with true #1 stuff.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Michael, Consider that there might only be a dozen pitchers in all of baseball with true No.1 stuff and the mental game to go with it, those guys are hard to find. Right now, Rheinecker looks to have the potential to pitch high in a rotation and become a very effective major-league starter. That is a really big deal.

 Q:  Eric from San Diego asks:
How would you compare Harden to Oakland's big 3? Will he fit in with the ZitoMulderHudson trio?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Eric, Yep. And he is a legitimate power pitcher as well. He could complement the other three quite effectively.

 Q:  Matt Suzewitz from hawii asks:
Dear Casey I love the chat.....my question is about a couple of former A's if Bonderman and Arnold were still with the system where would they fall on the chart and do you have a ETA for them? Also do you have a take on Stavisky Brian? Thanks and have a merry christmas from sunny HAWII...
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Matt, I think I have answered most of these elsewhere, except on Arnold. He is pretty close, and he has made big strides during the offseason with an intensive conditioning program. I could see him as a Sept callup for the Jays. Merry Christmas to you, as well.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
What are Crosby's projections over a full MLB season? He reminds me an awful lot of Travis Fryman....
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Fair comparison to Fryman, who has been an awfully good major leaguer. I think Crosby could hit .280-plus with decent power.

 Q:  minhaz from toronto asks:
What is your opinion of the blue trade of Griffiths? he seemed to be a really good prospect. Did Beane give up too much for a player with an attitude problem in Durazo. I mean he refused to do what was good for his team and move to the of.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Min, We have talked about Griffin, but you bring up quite a point on Durazo. It will be interesting to see if there really is an attitude issue or whether that was an abberation. The A's usually avoid attitude problem players.

 Q:  Sean from Chicago asks:
How come the A's are so high on LHP John Rheinecker but were not as high on LHP Neal Cotts, drafted a round later last year and recently traded to the White Sox. Cotts seems to have just as good of stuff and actually outpitched Rheinecker in a head to head matchup in college.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Sean, Rheinecker is more developed and refined at this point. Cotts made huge strides last year, and everyone was eager to see where it would go. Cotts also does not have great command of the strike zone at this point, but that can develop well during the next few years.

 Q:  michael from sterling heights asks:
I noticed you said you like Harang. Would you hazzard a guess at what his numbers might be this year? If Bonderman wouldl have stayed with the A's would he have been higher than Harden?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Michael, I would think Bonderman would have fallen No.2 had he still been with the A's. I hate to project on Harang, but I would see him pitching out of the No.5 position, with consistent effectiveness.

 Q:  Q from WPB,FL. asks:
Do you think Oakland will trade Miguel Tejada by the break or just let him walk.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Q. If the A's are in contention, I doubt they would trade Tejada. The idea is to win a World Series, and the chances of doing it are better with him than without him.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Who does Marcus McBeth project like should his tools pan out across the board?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Torii Hunter. But give McBeth time. He still has much to learn.

 Q:  Bill from Chicago asks:
Who would you rather have, Bellhorn or Morrissey? Did Beane finally lose a trade?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bellhorn was a move him or lose him. The A's had to trade him for anything they could get. He is a good player, and the Cubbies got an excellent deal.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Before his trade, did Daylon Holt finally turn the page? He was a monster his Sophmore year at A&M, and it took him awhile to get out of A-Ball. Where did he rank before being dealt?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Whalin' Daylan Holt made huge progress last season. This could be a guy on the cusp of breaking through if all goes right. Or he could have peaked out. It will be very interesting to see what develops next year. I assume the White Sox will put him in Double A, and he will be one to watch.

 Q:  O'Reilly from South Bend asks:
Does 2002 2nd rounder Steve Stanley project as a major leaguer for the A's? If not, why spend the pick (and a substantial amount of $) on a guy just because he was cheaper than the slot would have been?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: O' Stanley is really interesting. He is a legit center fielder with the potential to lead off. He is short on tools, but he is also the type of player who could make the most of what he has. We just need to see what develops.

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Early on, Francis Gomez was drawing comparisons to a young Miguel Tejada. What is his standing now that it seems he was passed by Isaac Garcia among others....?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Damian, Francisco Gomez Alfonseca did not make the Top 30 this year. He missed most of last season with visa problems, and his development has been quite slow.

 Q:  Robert Goldberg from Lyndhurst, NJ asks:
I know that most people don't consider the diminutive Steve Stanley to be a prospect, but that Billy Beane is infatuated with him. Did he make the A's top 30, and if so, where?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Robert, Yes, near the end of the top 30

 Q:  Dale Carriger from San Francisco asks:
Do you think Jeremy Brown could battle Ramon Hernandez for catcher as early as 2004? As always the A's have to be looking toward cutting payroll and to have a legit catcher emerge after Laird and Olivo were traded is a great surprise.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Dale, Possible in 2004, but that might be a stretch. More likely a year later.

 Q:  Jason from Oregon asks:
In conversation with a few scouts from other organizations, it has been said that Ben Fritz might be the best catcher in the A's minor league system right now. Any chance that he would be moved into that role? I would suppose that would depend on the A's timetable for his advancing as a pitcher??
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jason, Very interesting question. The A's seem committed to keeping Fritz on the mound and think he has huge potential, partly because he has an exceptional feel for pitching. Ask this one again next year and we may have a better answer.

 Q:  gary from ca asks:
In case Tejada leaves the team for free agency next year, do you think Crosby will be ready to handle playing SS on a daily basis?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Gary, That will be the question everyone will be asking this year. Right now, it is impossible to answer.

 Q:  Jared from San Francisco asks:
Where would you rank young OF2B Luis Perez? Have the A's made any significant signings out of Latin America in the past year?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jared, Perez has drawn much attention this year, but did not make the top 30, mostly because he is so young. Watch next year. If he repeats what he has done, his stock will shoot up quickly. Watch for Edwardo Sierra, a young power pitcher who is making an impression.

 Q:  Mary from Bay Area asks:
Hi, What do you thing of Jeremy Brown?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Mary, I think Jeremy Brown makes everyone who has ever had one too many pizzas and a little extra fried chicken feel better about themselves. He reminds folks the players built like Yogi Berra could play the game.

 Q:  Molly from Spring Hill, Florida asks:
Bert Snow led the minor league's in strikeouts per 9 innings in 2000, prior to having Tommy John Surgery. How is he recovering from the surgery and what are his chances of helping the A's in the bullpen this year?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Molly, No one can know that for sure until spring training, but right now the plan is to let Snow rehab at his own rate without the pressure or expectation of making a big league roster. This is one injury that cannot be rushed, and we will all just have to watch.

 Q:  Joe from SF asks:
Why has Harville been so fragile--mechanics, work ethic, luck? How reasonable is it to expect him to be able to stay healthy for the better part of 162?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Joe, If anyone knew the answer, they would solve the problem. It is not work ethic. Some players just break down. It is unfortunate. Some players break down early, then never break down again. We just have to see what transpires.

 Q:  BOB HOLMES from CLEVELAND OHIO asks:
IT APPEARS THE A'S HAVE SOME POP COMMING FROM HI A BALL,MATT ALLEGRA AND DAN JOHNSON SEEMS TO BE PUTTING UP SOLID RBI AND HOME RUN NUMBERS
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bob, Yep. However, both appear to be a couple of years away. Johnson appears to be more the pure power hitter, and he is a player to watch.

 Q:  Ryan McTague from Boston, Ma asks:
I'm a little skeptical that Mike Wood could be a quality major league starter if he tops out in the mid 80's with his sinker, you said he topped out at 91 in college what happened to that type of velocity, any chance he could regain it?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Quick note -- I see many questions coming in that I answered earlier, so if I leave someone out it is because I either answered or think that I answered it already. Ryan, Wood gets outs, even pitching in the 80s. If he is to become an effective major leaguer, most think he will have to recover his college velocity. However, when he is getting the outs, it is impossible to argue with success.

 Q:  Derick Champagne from Richmond VA asks:
What are your thoughts on Adam Piatt?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Derick, Piatt has flashed some potential as a middle-of-the-order hitter, and those guys are hard to find. The question is whether he can do it consistently in the big leagues. I think the A's are afraid to give up on him, then find him banging 35 homers and hitting .290 for the Tigers or somebody. He is one of those guys that tantalizes with his potential, and you can only wonder if he can deliver. I would like to see him get some legitimate playing time and see what happens. Very hard call to make. If it were easy, the A's would have moved him by now. Remember that Jason Giambi did not set the world afire his first couple of seasons, either.

 Q:  Cris from Los Angeles asks:
How do you see the middle infield in a couple of years giving consideration the Tejada signing issues? Will crosby or the Australian kid be big leauge players or will Ellis stick and force one of them to another team? Also, if you had to choose like the A's will most likely have to do, would you keep Chavez or Tejada?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Cris, If the A's re-sign Tejada, I think it will be Tejada and Ellis. If they do not, it could be Crosby and Ellis; Ellis and German or Ellis and Bynum. I doubt Morrissey can be a second baseman. I also doubt that Ellis is going to be moved out of the lineup very easily.

 Q:  Simon from Montreal, Canada asks:
By comparison, do you think the A's pitching prospects rank as high as the Devil Rays' hitting prospects, which I consider the best group of young hitters in the minors right now.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Simon, I think that question is impossible to answer, but Montreal at Christmas is a beautiful place. One of the best eating towns in North America.

 Q:  matt from hawii asks:
If bonderman and arnold were still with the A's who would you rate higher.merry christmas
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Matt, I would rank Bonderman higher than Arnold.

 Q:  Jacob from Fresno, CA asks:
Can you give us a little better scouting report on hometown RHP Benjamin Fritz? I have heard that he is a pretty polished product and should reach the big leagues quickly. How hard does he throw and what other pitches does he have?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Jacob, Fritz hits 93 on his fastball, plus he throws a slider and a change. The A's believe he has a remarkable feel for pitching; that he understands how to pitch. Because of this, they think he will emerge as an oustanding starter. They have had him for half a season. There is much left to learn, and we shall see next year.

 Q:  john from seattle asks:
a buddy of mine is with the A's, Matt O'Brien. I know he's a little old to be considered a prospect, but he's done pretty well. Do you see him making it?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: John, The lefty was the A's 18th round draft pick out of Washington State in 2000. He is in the position of just continuing to work and see what develops. He did not make the top 30.

 Q:  Lawrence from Walnut Creek, CA asks:
Can you give us a scouting report on A's 1st round pick RHP Steve Obenchain? What pitches does he throw? What is his ETA for Oakland? Where did he rank in the A's top 30 prospects? Thank you.
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Lawrence, Obenchain fell in the 15-20 group. He has a superior changeup, a fastball that hits 90 and a decent curve. He is a legitimate prospect, and the A's are deciding whether he is best suited for starting or relief. He looks quite good right now.

 Q:  lenny howard from sacramento, ca asks:
Could you tell me a little about left handed pitcher Ryan Cullen, I saw him throw twice this past season and he blew away the 4 left handed hitters i saw him face, thanks!
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Lenny, Cullen was acquired from Texas in the same deal that brought Harang. He is making progress as a lefty reliever, but it is hard to imagine him reaching the majors this year.

 Q:  bobby from bay area asks:
Why are you so high on Blanton...like everyone else? I know he's got size and some good stuff, but dude had an ERA of 4 something in college. I know he was good in wood bat leagues, but 4.5 and a first rounder top 10 prospect? Jon Adkins and Chris Enchos have size and throw hard too
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bobby, In this case, I am pretty much reflecting what I have been told by the A's. They believe he has superior ability, but it is a matter of getting his delivery together and seeing how he progresses. I think there is a tendency to always be high on new talent. With Blanton, we just have to see what transpires.

 Q:  bigbubba from maryland asks:
Can you tell me where Darrell McCall and Mike Ziegler fit into the organizatin as prospects thankyou
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Bubba, Neither hit the top 30, but both are highly esteemed by the A's. This year's top 30 was difficult to crack because the organization improved its talent level considerably.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
One of the rare HS selections by the A's over the last couple of years was Austin Nagle, 3B out of Barbe HS in Louisiana. How is he progressing and is he considered a top 30 prospect at this time?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: SB, Nagle barely missed the top 30, but he was mentioned often by those I spoke with. The A's like him a great deal, but he is likely to be in low A this year, just really getting started.

 Q:  Carolyn from Kentucky asks:
Casey, do you see any of the top round players in the 2002 draft going to the low A team in Kane County? Will having a low and high A instead to two high A teams make each stronger?
 A: 

Casey Tefertiller: Carolyn, I think it likely that the A's will send a first-rounder or two to Kane County. You are probably right that this arrangement will make both teams a little stronger. Because the A's draft more college players, their low A teams tend to be a little stronger.

Casey Tefertiller: Thanks, everyone, for joining the chat. This is the first time in years I have answered so many questions without anyone asking me who killed Ringo, or who fired first on Fremont Street. A very merry Christmas to all, and it should be a most interesting baseball season ahead.

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