If they're going to make me work on Festivus, I'm glad I can at least be here.
What is Austin Jacksons ceiling? Would you say his ceiling is a granderson lite? Or can he really develop that kind of power since he is so new tot he game?
He has the potential to be a solid-average regular, but Granderson was a more advanced hitter than Jackson at the same age, and I don't think Jackson will hit for the kind of power or play the caliber of defense that Granderson was capable of at his peak.
You want my grievance?! According to others, the Astros farm system will be ranked behind the Tigers. Why?
The Astros have a solid top three with Jason Castro, Jio Mier and Jordan Lyles, but there's a steep decline in their farm system after that. The Tigers aren't the deepest organization out there, but they have a pretty solid top 10.
Ben - Do any of the Rockies 2009 Draft picks make their Top 10? How does the Rox ML system stack up against the other MLB clubs?
Matzek, Wheeler, Brothers and Arenado all made their top 10. They have some of the better young pitching prospects in the game, but I'm not sold on the group of hitters they have in their system right now.
Despite the addition of Javier Vazquez, shouldn't the Yankees invest in a Ben Sheets or Justin Duchscherer type starter for one year at a (relatively) low price? Those guys seem like potentially quality starters who are looking to re-establish their value. Why not gamble?
I would rather just put Joba Chamberlain in the rotation instead.
any indication about if Aumont is a SP or RP with the phillies?
I'd be very surprised if he held up as a starter. He's got a power arm but the confluence of issues with his health, delivery, command and lack of a reliable third pitch point to a more likely career as a reliever.
I have a greivence to air. How is it that the Milwaukee Brewers farm system has no true impact prospects? What happened there?
I wouldn't agree with that. Alcides Escobar is a phenomenal defensive shortstop who at his peak could be a league-average bat, which overall is a premium prospect, and Jonathan Lucroy's going to be a solid catcher with the upside of an above-average starter. The farm system isn't in the shape it was a few years ago, but that's an incredibly high standard to set.
In regards to the haul the phillies got for Cliff Lee, Would you say Atlanta got more for their ace Javy Vazquez?
Yes. I'd rather have Arodys Vizcaino than any of the prospects the Phillies got for Cliff Lee.
Who pitches in the majors first: Arodys or Aroldis?
Chapman. I like Vizcaino but he will probably spend the entire year in low Class A, whereas Chapman should probably start in either high Class A or Double-A (though I wouldn't be surprised if the team that signs him gives him a more aggressive Opening Day assignment).
Who would win at the feats of strength between Michael Taylor and Brett Wallace?
Wallace has the lower center of gravity and might have more experience based on his postseason pregame antics at Arizona State, but I'm not going to bet against anyone as strong as Michael Taylor.
What is Brent Morel's ceiling?
Could be a solid regular with a pretty well-rounded skill set.
Ben, in BA's Red Sox chat this morning, Jim Callis stated that Aroldis Chapman would likely fit behind Westmoreland and Kelly on their Top 10 list if he signs with them, unless his fellow BA staffers twist his arm and make him rank him #1 next time. Would you be one of those people?
I'd have to give it more thought before throwing a ranking out there, but generally speaking I like to preach patience with ranking first-year international signings.
Ben - I hadn't heard about Arodys Vizcaino until yesterday? What's your take on him, and where would he be on your Top 100 list?
Coming into the 2009 season I had Vizcaino as the No. 77 prospect in baseball when we had our BA top 100 meeting, and I've been talking the guy up for the last two years now. After the season he had this year, I imagine he'll move up, with a chance for top-50 status.
morrow ... starter or reliever?
Probably a reliever, but I imagine he'll get the opportunity to be a starter. I've never been wild about Morrow as a prospect, and judging from the market for his services, I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.
Can I get a quick take on OF Yohermyn Chavez whom the M's might get in the Brandon Morrow-Brandon League deal? Thanks
Ben, any thoughts on Johermyn Chavez - the other piece going to the M's with League? Am I right in thinking that he's got some serious breakout potential in 2010?
Please rank in order of impact in 2010 and then for the next three years ... Michael Stanton, Chris Carter (OAK) and Lars Anderson.
For 2010: Carter, Stanton, Anderson. For long term value, flip Stanton ahead of Carter.
Sorry, the chat software went a little loopy here. As for Chavez, he's a decent prospect with impressive power, but the strikeout rate is right on the ceiling of what's acceptable for a prospect in low Class A and he's already confined to a corner outfield position.
Was JC Ramirez better in 2009 than the numbers indicate due to the league he played in?
Our reports from scouts were that they were more disappointed with Ramirez's development this year than optimistic going forward.
Heyward the real deal? Do you have him as the #1 prospect?
He's not going to be a star this year, but I'll be surprised if he's not one of the top players in the league within the next few seasons. It's either Heyward or Strasburg for the No. 1 prospect, although the usual edge that a hitter has over a pitcher due to health might not apply here as much, since staying healthy is just about the only skill Heyward hasn't shown thus far.
When creating the Prospect Handbook (ordered and anxiously awaited), which organization was the most difficult to scrape 30 "prospects" together and which was the most difficult to limit to 30? I guess 31 if you pre-order...
The Indians were a challenge to limit to 30. There isn't a team out there with 30 future big leaguers in their farm system, but they have players who aren't in their top 30 who I think have a chance at big league careers. Finding 30 guys for the Cardinals, Astros and Blue Jays was a bit more challenging.
So where would Vizcaino rank in the Braves system if BA reranked them today? Ahead of Teheran?
Either No. 3 or No. 4 behind Heyward and Freddie Freeman. I'd probably put him No. 3, right ahead of Julio Teheran.
Just saw the Red Sox top ten list and was surprised to see Bowden had slipped completely off it. I know his component stats were down this year at AAA, but he still seems to profile as a solid back of the rotation starter, no?
I think he's more of a fifth starter type, with maybe a little more upside. The stuff has never aligned with his performance, and that started to catch up to him this year.
Do you agree with the decision to start Jesus Montero in AAA next season?
Yes. Don't see what else he has to prove in Double-A.
Would the Phillies have been better off keeping Lee and taking the two picks at the end of the year than taking the prospects they got from Seattle?
Yes. Keep Lee, or if you need to cut payroll, trade someone else like Blanton.
Do the Orioles have a chance to get Adrian Gonzalez? If so will they have to give up some major league prospects like Nolan Reimold, Matt Weiters, and Brian Matuz, or will they give up minor league prospects like Jake Arrieta and Brian Snider with a veteran like Luke Scott or Jeremie Guthrie.
It would take a Festivus miracle (and a whole lot of Eggnog for the Padres) for the Orioles to get that second package to work.
What are your thoughts on Billy Butler? One of few ballplayers to ever hit 50+ doubles and 20 HRs under age of 24.
He's always been able to hit and now he's become one of the best young hitters in the game. When players like Butler (or maybe now Travis Snider is another example) get brought up to the big leagues at age 20-22 and don't immediately perform, it tends to skew people's perceptions of them irrationally, but he can mash.
Now that Jack Z is blowing up (rightfully so) just about everything his predecessor did in Seattle, how bad does the Beddard trade look now from the Seattle side? Adam Jones speaks for himself, but what's your opinion on how good Chris Tillman can be?
It looked like a bad trade at the time, but it looks like it could go down as one of the more lopsided deals of the decade now that Jones and Tillman have improved their stock since the trade. Tillman is a potential No. 1 or No. 2 starter, which is what he was at the time of the trade but he's now closer to realizing that potential.
Comparison for Desmond jennings?
His skill set has some similarities to Andrew McCutchen's: an excellent athlete with feel for hitting, above-average plate discipline and moderate power with plus-plus speed and above-average defense in CF.
Jon Link is a solid reliever who should help the Dodgers' bullpen as early as 2010. John Ely is more of a fringy 5th starter/longman with an excellent changeup but a fringy fastball, a below-average breaking ball and a good amount of effort in his delivery.
Can you tell us about the prospects the Dodgers received for Pierre? Thanks
What do you see as the future for Carlos Gomez? Any chance he can get on base with any consistency for the Brewers? He sure would be a nice guy to have on base ahead of Prince and Ryan.
He's never shown the ability to get on base at any point in his professional career or shown much aptitude for working the count, so I wouldn't want him hitting at the top of the lineup. He has value, but the distribution of that value is mostly concentrated with what he brings to the table defensively.
Does anyone measure Opponents' BABIP (regardless of who's pitching) to attempt to meausre a defense as a whole?
Yes, several sites measure overall defensive efficiency as (1 - opponents' BABIP).
Does Domonic Brown make your top 10 list in 2010?
If he's not top 10, he's going to be just on the periphery.
Feats of Strength: Ben Badler v. Jim Callis?
Callis in a landslide. Finishing off the Prospect Handbook this time of year gives him superhuman strength.
Following up on the Domonic Brown question, it seems to me that he is more hype/potential than substance at this point. His numbers were decent in low A, but hit wasn't great in AA. Realistically, what is he going to look like as a major leaguer?
He's still raw in some phases of the game, especially his read off the bat in the outfield, but his tools are outstanding, he dominated an age-appropriate level at high Class A as a 21-year-old and has advanced feel for the strike zone. He's not the complete package yet, but all the ingredients are there for him to be a superstar.
Ben, dont scouts over rate tools and under rate how it translates into actual baseball results? I always hear about these toolsy OF like carlos Gomez or Austin Jackson, but know that they are never going to be legit major leaguers cause it never translates into baseball numbers
Not really, and if anything what I hear more often from talking to scouts is how a certain player might have intriguing tools, but that they aren't that high on said player because he lacks feel for the game to be able to translate those tools into game situations.
I've got high hopes for Nick Weglarz, but he had a rough season. What are your thoughts on him?
He was with Team Canada for the World Baseball Classic, then got off to a TERRIBLE start in April. About as bad as anyone in the minors. Then he dominated the next two months, but he started having some injuries after that and just wasn't the same guy. If Weglarz can stay healthy, he could have a monster season next year because he has outstanding patience and plus to plus-plus raw power potential, but with his size, the injuries are a legitimate concern going forward moreso than a one-year fluke.
Thanks for all the questions but it's back to polishing off the Prospect Handbook. From everyone here at Baseball America, best wishes for the holidays.