I went 2-for-4 prediciting Division Series, correctly tabbing the Yankees and Angels to advance but whiffing on the Cardinals and Rockies. I'm going with the Yankees vs. the Dodgers in the World Series, though I think both matchups are a tossup. Now hit me with your questions . . .
Jim- Thanks for the chat. Who would you rather have as your RF- Jayson Werth or Andre Ethier?
They're comparable players, but Ethier is three years younger, so that makes it an easy choice. Give me Ethier.
Why isn't Aaron Crow on the AFL roster?
I wouldn't read too much into that. The Royals could always sub him in for another pitcher later in the AFL season. And even if they don't, I don't think it says anything significant.
Can Grant Green have a Troy Tulowitzki/Evan Longoria-type franchise changing impact, or do you have to be a Dirtbag for that to happen?
The consensus was a definite yes when he was tearing up the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2008, though a number of teams cooled on him somewhat when he didn't have a huge junior season at USC. I think he's closer to Tulowitzki than Longoria, though he's not as good defensively as Tulo. I do like Green a lot, in case I'm not making that clear.
How much weight does a good statistical AFL performance have on a prospect's status? Is there less weight if no improvement is shown in a prospect's weakness?
I put very little weight on it, especially for position players. Teams don't send many quality pitchers to the AFL, so take the hitting numbers with several grains of salt. It's also a small sample size and some of the players are fatigued and not at your best. I'd read more into negative numbers being a red flag than positive statistics being of significance, but I wouldn't read too much into negative numbers either.
20-80, how good is it that your kids are back in school?
I'll give it a 70. More learning and a quieter house during the day is good. But my driving responsibilities in the afternoon have increased markedly.
Jim, which of these guys have a shot at being a mid-rotation starter: Esmil Rogers, Zach Stewart, Kasey Kiker, Travis Wood?
You can dream that on any of those guys—it's certainly possible. Personally, I think they're all going to wind up as relievers except for Wood, who's more of a No. 4 or 5 starter to me.
Hey, Jim. What do you make of Jose Iglesias? What can we reasonably expect from him (being the youngest player) in the Arizona Fall League, and where does he rank among Red Sox prospects?
Now there's a guy for whom the AFL will be more revealing than most. He has a reputation as a slick fielder but he hasn't proven as much with the bat. He's in the Top 10 for the Red Sox somewhere, but I haven't talked to enough people about him or gotten enough info on his bat to pinpoint exactly where he'll fall.
Hey Jim, Your thoughts on the direction the Padres should go in the hire of their new GM with the organization in it's current state?
The No. 1 skill I'd want my GM to have is talent evaluation, so I'd be looking along the lines of Jerry DiPoto (Rockies), Tony LaCava (Blue Jays) and Logan White (Dodgers). I think it's easier to succeed surrounding an evaluator with administrators than the other way around.
Do you think with a strong showing in the AFL and spring training Ike Davis can win the Mets' 1B job for 2010? He had a great 2nd half in AA showing real power and is supposed to be a plus defender. Great start in the AFL yesterday.
As said earlier, the AFL performance isn't a huge deal, though it's nice to see your guy start off with a 6-RBI game. That would be a bit of a jump for Davis, who'd be better off starting 2010 in Triple-A, but they don't have a lot of in-house candidates right now. It should be too hard to find at least a placeholder at first base in the offseason, though.
what do the phillies need to do to win? and who do you think will win the nlcs
There's no one way to win a series, though getting a return to 2009 postseason form by Cole Hamels would be a nice start. In the end, I think a better bullpen makes the difference for the Dodgers, who win in seven games.
Does it do any good to complain about the most important games of the season played in terrible weather? I remember B.J. Upton sliding into frozen puddles in Philly last year and making a mockery of my favorite sport. Can we get greedy players and owners to reduce the schedule? Can Bud Selig's MLB profits contribute to cities like Minnesota to build a retractable dome? It's not the same sport when conditions are that bad!
It doesn't do any good. They're not going to reduce the schedule or the number of playoff games, because that would mean less money. It is what it is, but I agree that baseball isn't baseball in 45-degree weather.
The experts love the Angels and their depth of starting pitching but so few picked em to take the yankees. Is it a situation where they just don't think the pitching can handle them? They did handle the Sox's potency rather convincingly.
They're two evenly matched teams, but the Yankees had the best record in baseball, so that's why they're getting more support. I think the difference in bullpens makes the difference in this series too, which is why I'll pick New York in seven games.
Do you see Ackley being a league leading stolen base guy in the majors eventually? His speed is often his highest rated tool and his OBP should give him plenty of chances.
Ackley is a good runner but he's not that kind of basestealing threat. Future batting champ, yes. Future stolen base champ, no.
Jim, Please rank the following players 3-5 years from now strictly on offense: J. Upton, Heyward, Wieters, Mike Stanton, Posey and A. Escobar?
The order you listed them in works for me.
Odds of the dodgers winning the whole thing?
About one in four. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, but these teams are evenly matched. I'd make the AL champ a slight favorite over the NL champ.
Hey Jim, what do you think of Mike Minor? I watched him pitch last night and thought he really struggled to put hitters away.
Minor can really pitch but he's not going to overpower anyone. I don't doubt that he'll pitch in the majors and the Braves love him, but I would have wanted someone with more upside with the No. 7 overall pick.
Where does Matt Holliday's value stand in your opinion?
I think he's somewhat overrated as a difference-maker. I see him as more of a good player, but he'll benefit from the laws of supply and demand this offseason.
Can Reimold stick at LF, or is he destined for DH/1B?
He could stick in LF but is destined for a DH/1B role with the talent the Orioles have on hand.
Sure Chris Coghlan had a high BABIP, but what kind of numbers do you expect from him going forward in a full season? Can he be a .285-15-65 type?
Coghlan can hit but I don't see him with quite that much power. I see him as a .285/.350/.425 type, fitting better at second base than in left field.
does the red sox have enough depth to trade for someone like a.gonzalez if they dont include buchholz?
The Red Sox do have good depth in their farm system, though I think Buchholz is going to be at the top of everyone's list of guys they want if Boston goes after a proven star.
Jim, can you give me a good comparison for Jason Heyward? I think he's a Garrett Anderson with better plate discipline.
I know someone who works for the Braves and loves Heyward and couldn't stand Anderson, and you probably just gave that guy a heart attack. I'll make a comp to a little less athletic Dave Parker.
Loving the league top 20 prospect lists. Saw that Mark Rogers comes in at 20 in the league, is that simply because of the likelihood of another injury? Or a reflection of how he looked in his time back this season?
Rogers had one of the best arms in the league, but still has a lot to work out to translate his stuff into success. Personally, I think he winds up in the bullpen.
Ike Davis: All Star, Regular, or 4A?
Solid regular with a couple of all-star appearances sprinkled in.
What impact will the departure of Roy Clark have on the future Braves system?
Depends on who they replace him with. Clark is one of the best scouting directors in the business. But I'm sure when he took over in 2000, Braves fans were wondering how Clark would fill the shoes of the legendary Paul Snyder. Adding Clark is a nice move for the Nationals. The rumor is that Tony DeMacio will replace Clark in Atlanta. DeMacio didn't have a great track record of picks with the Orioles, though he had to deal with more interference from ownership than most scouting directors there.
You got the Dirtbag part, right? (Tulo and Longoria being LBS Dirtbags and Green being a Trojan?
Yes, you didn't sneak that one past me. One of us could have made a Danny Espinosa reference, though.
If Matt Holliday leaves via free agency, do you think there could be a prospect available in the second half of the first round the Cardinals might pick up from pick compensation that will be a level of prospect the same as Wallace? sorry for the run on sentence.
Next year's draft doesn't look particularly strong, so the odds are the Cardinals will get a lesser prospect than Wallace. There will be better players than Wallace in the draft, of course, but identifying them is the challenge.
What kind of reputation does Rick Hahn have around baseball? Is he on the radar for any current or future openings?
Hahn, who's assistant GM for the White Sox, has a very good reputation. He'll be a GM one day.
I know its pretty early, but, do you think the O's have a chance of picking Taillon in next year's draft?
Sure. Texas high school righthy Jameson Taillon is the best prep prospect in the 2010 draft and could be there for the taking at No. 3.
Jim, you mentioned earlier Tony Lacava as a GM candidate. Two questions: one, does that mean you don't think the Jays will be able to hold onto him? And two, how much of the Jays lack of organization depth falls on Lacava? Isn't this a red flag for teams looking at hiring him? Ok that was three questions.
J.P. Ricciardi was more heavy-handed than most GMs, so I don't think much blame will fall at LaCava's feet. They didn't name LaCava to replace Ricciardi, which makes me think his opportunity will come elsewhere.
LIGHTNING ROUND: Which Cubs prospect is most likely to switch positions: Vitters, Castro, or H.J. Lee?
Let's head to the lightning round: Vitters.
Lightning round, Yuniesky Betancourt, Edgar Renteria or some stiff from the Frontier League?
I'll take Plan D.
Lightning Round: Ranaudo or Taillon?
Ranaudo, but it's close and a lot can change between now and next June.
Is there any chance Strasburg won't be debuting in the Majors until 2011, or is it pretty much set in stone it'll be next year?
It will be an upset if he's not up at some point next year. If I were the Nationals, I'd definitely keep him in the minors long enough to delay his arbitration and free agent eligibility for a year.
who would you put in bullpen role: Joba or Hughes?
Sorry, I know it's the lightning round, so while the question may be long, your answer can be short. What led to Jesus Montero "only" being the 5th best prospect in the Eastern League? Limited ABs due to his injury, perceived lack of position, or something else? I ask because he was reportedly in the running for POY until he got hurt.
The EL was stacked, and Montero's lack of defensive value work against him. That said, I love that bat.
Brett Lawrie or Taylor Green?
Am I a legitimate prospect now?
Yes. Nice step forward this year.
In 5 years...Ike Davis, Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso?
With this being such a weak draft, this would seem to be a great year to sign a Type-A freeagent. Too bad there won't be very many.
I don't think teams worry about giving up the draft pick that much anyway. Juan Cruz and Jason Varitek got stuck last offseason, but if a club is going after a quality free agent, they don't sweat losing the first-round pick, no matter how good the draft is.
Freddy Garcia or Daniel Hudson as fifth starter for the Sox in 2010?
I'd go with Hudson because I don't think Garcia has much left, but Garcia probably will get first shot.
Adam Jones or McCutcheon?
Which battery works for you more — Strasburg/Harper or Matusz/Wieters?
Matusz/Wieters. I'm not buying into all of the Harper hype yet. He's good sure, but I think he's the weak link among those four prospects right now.
Bumgarner for BJ Upton. Who hangs up first, Rays or Giants?
That could be the makings of a deal. The Rays are getting at least a little tired of Upton and have a surplus of outfielders, while the Giants need bats and have pitching.
Grant Green or Derrik Gibson?
Wade Davis or David Price?
Still Price for me.
Markakis or Holliday?
Is Hobgood a top 100 prospect?
Not yet for me.
Hector Rondon or Jeanmar Gomez?
For the next 5 years, Sabatthia or Lester?
Which team makes the playoffs first: Pirates, Orioles, Royals or Nationals?
I like the Orioles' future the best, but they're in the wrong division. I'm going to say the Pirates.
Do you got Craig Hansen amounting to much of anything?
Dom Brown or Dustin Ackley?
Ackley. I like Brown a lot too, but I can't get past Ackley's bat.
True or False - Cubs fans will immediately notce the difference between a Tribune Co. and Ricketts owned Chicago Cubs?
False. I think the payroll will stay around the same. Wrigley Field is in need of renovation, so maybe that will finally happen.
Casey Kelly - full time SP, or part time SP/part time SS next season?
They have to make him a full-time pitcher. That's his future.
What's your take on Tanner Scheppers?
If his shoulder is healthy, he could be very good. But I'm not sure his shoulder will hold up.
Andrew Miller is in the AFL. Any hope left for him?
There's hope, because that's a great left arm. But the light switch should have gone on by now. Back in spring training, the Marlins thought he was poised for a big year after some mechanical adjustments, but he was just mediocre.
What position will Lawrie end up at?
I think Strausberg signed a 4 year ML deal - so I don't know how much holding him back will help arbitration.
His deal expires after 2012.
Does Kelly throw hard enough to win in the AL East?
Sure. His fastball is 88-93 mph, which is fine, and plays way up because of life and command.
T/F: Daniel Hudson's 2009: lucky run for a guy who maxes out as a 4th starter.
A little harsh, but closer to the truth than looking at his minor league numbers and envisioning a frontline starter.
What manager do you give the edge to with the 4 teams left and why?
Mike Scioscia. I think he gets the best use out of his players and runs a pitching staff better than the other three.
I'm off to write some more Draft Report Cards now. See you next week.