Hi, everyone. I'm taking a break from editing the Astros for our Prospect Handbook to answer your questions for the next hour. Fire away!
Ok, if we assume the reports are true, would you have rather had Bowden for JJ Hardy instead of Gomez given the Brewers needs?
Neither guy blows me away. I don't think Gomez is going to do much with the bat, but his defense in center field makes him more valuable than Bowden. If Bowden isn't precise with his location, he's going to get hit because he doesn't have an out pitch. I think he's more of a middle reliever than a starter.
I have an idea that to me seems perfect: The Twins sign Troy Glaus to a contract to play 3B. He's the RH power they need and he'd come cheap due to missing all last year. Why wouldn't this work?
I'm not sure how healthy or cheap Glaus would be. That could work out about as well as the Joe Crede signing of a year ago.
Reds SS Zach Cozart, AFL numbers showing he could be a legit SS option for the Reds in 2010, or just a hot streak? He has the glove, and the Reds desperately need someone other than Janish at the plate with his .600 OPS.
You guys know I don't read much into AFL numbers. But I do think Cozart is Cincinnati's best in-house shortstop option and I think we'll see him in the majors at some point next year.
Happy Vets' Day, Jim. Aaron Fitt's Nats Top 10 list went live today. Do you agree with him ranking Destin Hood as low as he did, and that Maxwell is a better overall athlete than him?
I do. Aaron is very good at doing prospect lists, and Hood isn't quite the athlete you might think an Alabama football recruit would be. Most of Hood's value rests with his bat, and his bat is still raw.
Does it make any sense for the Cubs to spend any money and/or give up any talent to acquire another middle infielder if Castro will be up sooner rather than later?
Not really. I could see Castro at shortstop by the end of the 2010, with Theriot sliding over to second base. The Cubs have a lot of middle-infield talent coming, and I don't think they have a lot of extra cash to spend.
What are your thoughts on Christian Colon? Can he play SS at the Major League level? Does he project more like a 2 or 6 hole hitter?
The scouting consensus is that Colon is better suited for second base, but I wouldn't bet against him. He plays above his tools. I could see him batting second in a lineup, and I think he'll go in the top half of the first round next June.
The Cubs looking at Mike Cameron for one year makes sense to me: He should be a bit cheaper than his contract last year, puts up enough OBP, pretty good power, and is still good defensively. Plus, with the Cubs apparently hoping for a Castro and Theriot middle of the infield by midyear, the Cubs are going to have no power at all from 2nd and short, and who knows what Soriano will be like this year. Do you agree the Cubs should look at Cameron, and can they afford him with the Bradley trade issue?
I agree that Cameron would be a nice fit, and he wouldn't cost a ton as a short-term solution. He's perpetually undervalued. If the Cubs can get rid of Bradley, they're going to have to eat his contract or take on a worse deal. I think their payroll is pretty maxed out unless GM Jim Hendry can get really creative or the Ricketts family approves an even bigger budget.
What do you make of Hamilton's dissapointing year? Do you see him emerging as a consistant force in the upcoming years or an annual injury risk?
After years of abusing his body, Hamilton may not be able to hold up over a full major league season. He faded in the second half of his big 2008 season. I think he may be more of a good player over 300-400 AB a year than a guy you can count on for 150 games.
Jim, why do you think that Scott Boras has so much power and influence in negotiations? I mean, what's stopping other agents from doing the same thing? For example, would Teixeria have gotten less money last year if his agent were someone else? Thanks!
Boras has so much power because he represents so many top players. I do think he drives a harder bargain than anyone. Teixeira wouldn't have gotten a drastically lower deal with another agent but it's realistic to assume he would have gotten less money.
Jim, I read something on ESPN Insider last week that said the Cubs have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Is that true? With Castro, Vitters, Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson, Kyler Burke, Colvin, Samardzija, Gaub, and others(you mention middle infield), seems like they are headed in the right direction. And every year, they have guys who come up and contribute like Wells, Theriot, Soto, Marmol.
That sounds harsh to me. The Cubs don't have one of the top 10 farm systems in the game, but they're definitely on the rise. I haven't ranked all 30 systems yet, but they're middle of the pack, not one of the worst.
What possible reason could the Giants have for looking for a "veteran" catcher to start in front of Posey when there is essentially universal agreement that he's ready to take over everyday duties?
How they've handled Posey since August has been puzzling. I don't get it either. He was up for all of September, so it's going to be harder to delay his free-agency and arbitration clocks.
Do the Mets have the pieces to pull off a trade for Roy Halladay or Adrian Gonzalez? Despite what the medial might lead everone to believe, the Mets have a lot of prospects (more so than when they traded for Santana) to make a trade. I would think that a package that consisted of Pelfrey, FMart, Brad Holt and Ruben Tejada could get it done for Halladay.
If the Mets pull off a trade for Halladay or Gonzalez, I think it will be more the result of the Jays or Padres being hell-bent on getting rid of their stars than being overwhelmed by New York's minor league talent. The same was true when the Mets dealt for Santana.
I recall the consensus last spring being that the Rangers were rushing Andrus. What did they see that others didn't?
That his quality defense would outweigh any struggles with his bat.
Follow up to the Cubs question. Is Theriot actually a better choice for 2nd base than Jeff Baker? Baker looked very good this year with good plate discipline and he hit the ball with authority.
I don't believe Baker can play the defense you'd want at second base. At the same time, Theriot's bat is light for second base. Neither is an optimal long-term solution.
Does another org trade for Reid Brignac to be their starter next year?
A team that needed a shortstop could do a lot worse. But it may make more sense for the Rays to keep him in the bigs as a backup to Bartlett and Zobrist.
Is Castro most likely to be the starting catcher for the Astros next season or still needs seasoning in the minors?
He needs a little more seasoning but I think he'll be Houston's starter by the end of the season.
I seem to recall that Trevor Cahill was considered a little better prospect than Brett Anderson. Would that still be the case after the way Anderson pitched in the majors last season?
I'm not sure that's entirely true, as two of the three editors of our 2009 Prospect Handbook (including me) liked Anderson better. But they were considered pretty much equals. That has changed, Anderson has moved significantly ahead of Cahill after their big league debuts. Anderson's stuff improved while Cahill's command was disappointing.
I'm just curious how common it is to see a kid who can throw a 100mph fastball, but nothing off-speed, no breaking stuff, no control or movement. You know, just a guy who can throw it really hard, but not actually pitch. Just trying to get a sense of whether the ability to throw a ball 100 is in and of itself special.
Very few guys throw 100 mph, so yes, Aroldis Chapman is special. But the rest of his game is pretty raw and if you asked me what that package reminds me of, I'd think of Colt Griffin. Which would give me pause before I emptied my coffers for Chapman, as would the spotty track record of Cuban defectors.
Adam Rubin has Juan Urbina as the Mets 10th best prospect while he has never even thrown a professional pitch, while players like Jeurys Familia, Kyle Allen, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis all had great years. Did you have the same top 10 as Adam?
Realize that the Top 10s that appear in our magazine and on our website are Baseball America's list, not solely the writer's list or strictly the team's opinion. We went for upside at No. 10 after evaluation all the information we gathered. Could you make a case for those other players? Sure. That's what's fun about ranking and discussing prospects.
How do we know Strasburg won't be another one in the long line of #1 draft picks who failed to live up to his lofty billing?
You don't. But looking at his stuff and his performance, there's no reason to think that he won't be a star.
Jim, you ruffled some feathers with your views on Minor, any deviation from that with the AFL to consider?
Again, I don't care about AFL stats that much. And even if I did, Minor has pitched a whopping 12 innings in Arizona, giving up 12 hits and five walks. That's going to change my mind? Look, I like Minor and think he'll pitch in the big leagues. But I don't think he was or will turn out to be the seventh-best player in the 2009 draft.
When we talk about player development and farm systems, how much is it drafting strong talent, and how much is literally developing that talent into major league quality players?
It's some of each, but I think it's a lot easier to develop more talented players, if you catch my drift. You can't make modestly talented players into something they're not. Thus I put more of a premium on acquisition. And since we just brought up Strasburg, it's not like the Nationals really are going to develop him. He's going to be in the majors immediately, or almost immediately.
Chapman is a serious athlete Jim, give him some credit.
I wasn't trying to say he was a stiff. But velocity without aptitude doesn't thrill me.
I know a lot of people think Andrew Cashner's future is in the bullpen, but do you think the Cubs still look at him as a long term starter?
The Cubs do look at him as a starter and will give him every chance to succeed in that role.
Hi Jim- Jenrry Mieja. Some say #1 or 2. Some say reliever. What does Jim Callis say?? What about Holt?
I'm leaning toward reliever on both.
Jacob Turner the next Porcello for the Tigers?
He's not quite as good as Porcello was at the same stage of their careers.
The Mets-Roy Halladay question was never answered...
Starting to get a few of these comments. I can see both the question and answer on my end, but somehow ESPN's chat interface for you guys jumbles stuff up from time to time. I've brought this up to ESPN on a few occasions, and I encourage you guys to do the same.
Yeah, but Cahill's ascension to MLB was expedited by Oakland not wanting to spend on a veteran pitcher. Given that he should've returned to AA, his 2009 performance was good.
Wasn't Anderson in exactly the same situation?
What do you think is the probability that an agent (oh...say Scott Boras) would ever tell a GM or owner that his client isn't going to even consider signing with their team, unless another client is offered some other favorable conditions (extra cash/better bonuses/etc)? Do you think that an agent ever 'teams up' clients to gain leverage?
I have a hard time seeing that happen. The agent would look very bad if those demands became public, because his star client would wonder if he was getting less so other clients could get more.
If you refresh the answers will usually appear
There you go . . .
What are your thoughts on the news that Detroit is shopping Edwin Jackson?
It's not all that surprising. His value is at its peak and he's due a big raise in arbitration.
Susan Slusser thinks the A's may look into Alex Gordon, Josh Fields and Brandon Wood to man third base for them. Who would you take?
Lightning Round: Better Career: Gorkys Hernandez or Lastings Milledge? Thanks
Let's launch the lightning round. That's a good one . . . Milledge.
For the next 5 years—Hanson or Heyward? How close and why?
Heyward. They both should be studs, hard to pick between them, the hitter is the safer pick.
Tommy Hanson or Clayton Kershaw?
Kershaw. And yes, I really do like Hanson.
Dom Brown for Alex Gordon, who says no first?
Phillies. No guarantee Gordon is going to live up to his hype, and I believe he's arbitration-eligible.
What do you make of the Indians for next year? .500 at best?
Can't see them being even a .500 team in 2010.
Do you have an opinion on who is the top HS School Prospect for next year's draft?
Sure. James Taillon, a RHP from The Woodlands, Texas.
AJ Cole or Karsten Whitson?
Ike Davis or Justin Smoak?
Papelbon for Derek Lee, who hangs up first?
Red Sox hang up first.
In the long run who'd you take...Adam Lind or Travis Snider?
Is handcuffing V Wells to any potential Halladay deal the only chance the Jays have of unloading that contract?
They have no chance to unload that contract. Handcuffing Wells to Halladay would eliminate interest in Halladay.
Is the Yankees' SS of the future currently in the organization?
No. I think Jeter will be their shortstop for a while, and there's no obvious replacement.
How bout Yanks' catcher? There are a lot more options there
I think Austin Romine is Posada's eventually successor, with Francisco Cervelli more of a backup and Jesus Montero moving to a different position.
Ryan Westmoreland or Lars Anderson?
Grant Green or Scott Sizemore?
Rank these young National League CFs for the next five years: Fowler, Rasmus, McCutcheon, and Maybin
McCutchen, Rasmus, Fowler, Maybin.
ETA for Jared Mitchell?
He's more raw than most first-round college picks because he spent so much time with football. I'll say Opening Day 2012.
What player would you trade first? Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, or Ryan Westmoreland?
Rizzo. I like him, but he's a first baseman and the other two guys have a chance to be really special.
C'Mon Jim, you know Mauer is hte next Yanks catcher.
If the 2011 draft was held today, Gerritt Cole would be the #1 pick, true or false?
He's the favorite at this point. But what if Bryce Harper doesn't sign in 2010?
What's Grant Green's professional projection, assuming all goes well?
Best-case scenario is he's a solid defensive shortstop with a premium bat for the position. I like his chances.
how good do you think jordan danks will be?
Decent to solid regular. I just don't think he's ever going to have a lot of power, but he does a lot of other things well.
Place in order: Castro, Green, Gordon
I'll take that order.
True or false, Brett Jackson will be ranked third on the Cubs' top ten list?
False. But you're going to have to wait for the magazine (or online posting) to see where he fits.
Hak-Ju Lee and Starlin Castro are the Cubs starting middle infield in _____?
Kelly's choice this spring: SS or P?
In the end, I don't think that's Casey Kelly's choice. He should be a full-time pitcher.
best cardinal prospects in order Shelby Miller, Daryl Jones, Allen Craig, Jon Jay?
You got No. 1 right. One of those other three guys didn't make our Top 10. And yes, I'm being a tease.
That's it for this week. I need to find some lunch and finish the Astros, and sadly, probably not in that order. See you next Wednesday.