Hello, everyone. Before we start this chat, let me plug another one. John Manuel will be discussing our Twins prospect list at 3 p.m. ET, so you can go right from this chat to that one if you want a double dose of Baseball America this afternoon. That chat link is http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269383.html. Now, on to your questions.
So does the signing of Chapman confirm the draft and international free agent process doesn't work? It was pretty much a consensus that Strasburg was the superior prospect to Chapman in every respect, but Chapman ended up with twice as much money in his first contract. I know most of Chapman's money is deferred, but the deal on it's face still seems ridiculous compared to what someone coming in to major league baseball through the draft would get.
There's definitely no fairness with regard to one market vs. the other. If you're American (or Canadian or Puerto Rican), or go to an American school, you automatically have much less bargaining power than if you're a foreigner. Why is that? What drives me more nuts is that MLB tries to police every penny in the draft and has a laissez-faire attitude toward the international market. I won't get into all the details here (I've written about them in a few columns), but mandated draft slotting or adding international players to the draft will just create more problems. And yes, Strasburg is a clearly superior product to Chapman. If Strasburg had sought political asylum in Andorra, he probably would have received a $60 million or $70 million big league deal as a free agent.
Jim,What should the Pirates be doing to continue their improvements in the minor leagues? There is almost no one else left to trade so where would you focus their draft on? Thanks for your time and thoughts.
I would do what the Pirates have done the last two years, which is pour as much money as possible into the draft. Sign as many talented players as possible, because they can compete for draft talent but they can't compete for top free agent talent.
Does Heyward being featured on the cover of the prospect handbook hint towards him being ranked #1 overall ahead of Strasburg? Or is that more than you can divulge?
That has no bearing on it at all. Strasburg is on the cover of our updated Draft Almanac, so we didn't want to put him on the cover of multiple books at the same time. I have him ranked No. 1 and Heyward No. 2 on my personal top prospects list, but I don't know how the BA consensus will shake out when we sit down to do our Top 100 Prospects.
What is your opinion on whether Mark McGwire should get into the Hall of Fame or not since we know he used steroids now?
I'm from the Buster Olney school on this one (though I don't have a vote, and Buster does). There's no way of knowing everyone who used and when they used and how much exactly if affected the end results on the diamond. I think you can only judge the players based on what happened on the field, and either consider them all or consider none of them. I'd vote for McGwire, but his admission would have a taint to it, just like the whole era did. I'd also submit that I bet there are multiple players in the Hall of Fame who used performance enhancing drugs, and that steroids were used in baseball for many years before the mid-90s.
What's your take on the union telling the Marlins they have to increase payroll? So now the Marlins are either going to have to overpay someone they did not want to or they will sign a veteran to block a promising young potential cornerstone? Unless they use the money to lockup someone like Johnson this makes no sense.
I saw that as mostly a PR story. With as much money as there is involved with any baseball franchise, creative accounting can make the profits or losses look however they want. The Marlins didn't admit to pocketing rather than reinvesting revenue-sharing dollars. They'll be watched closely but I don't think this story will drastically change the way they run their club.
What do you expect from Brett Anderson? He was awesome at the end of last year. Is he the real deal?
He was always one of my favorite lefty pitching prospects when he was in the minors and I think he'll be a star.
Assuming that both Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are up in the big leagues, who then would become the Giants' number one prospect?
hey jim, how do you think the mariners will fare next season with the acquisitions of cliff lee, milton bradley, and chone figgins?
I think the Mariners are the team to beat in the AL West right now.
Jim - Cannot wait to get the Prospects Handbook this month. In the meantime, I am trying to fix a major hole on my dynasty fantasy team. I currently have Brandon Wood and Brett Wallace lined up as my third base options (this is a deep 16-team league). Will either of these guys pan out or should I use my waiver on Pedro Alvarez (even though there are rumors that he will be moved to first like Wallace)? Thanks for your input.
I like both guys, Wallace more than Wood. I don't think Wallace will stick at third base in the long term. I have concerns about Alvarez at the hot corner, too, but I bet he lasts there longer than Wallace.
Reaction to Phillies' decision to put Aumont back in the starting rotation?
I'd do the same. Not sure if he'll hold up, but I'd find out if he can because he has a lot more value as a starter.
Hey Jim, I got to see the Twins top 10 list come out today, how close was Adrian Salcedo? He really looked good in the GCL this year...what kind of ceiling does he have?
As close as can be . . . he was No. 11. He has a 90-94 mph fastball, power curveball and promising changeup. If all goes well, he could be a frontline starter.
Does Matzek get a shot at full season ball this year, or will the Rockies keep him back in extended spring training?
He'll get a shot and I bet he starts the year in low Class A. He's good enough and advanced enough to hit the ground running.
Gordon Beckham or Dan Uggla?
Beckham. Will have similar power but hit for more average and be a significantly better defender.
What Bryan Morgado do we get this year, the dominating freshman or struggling sophmore? Is he a starter or reliever on your team?
Morgado pitched very well on the Cape last summer, and I could see him pitching his way into the first round of the draft. He's a starter until he proves otherwise.
Jim, who would you predict is most likely have a breakout season in 2010? Jay Bruce, Maybin, McCutchen or Des Jennings?
Is Anthony Rendon one of the top 5 sophmores in the country?
Let's give him a little more credit than that. He's the No. 1 player in the country.
When ranking a team in terms of their farm system, is more weight given to the depth in the system, or the amount of impact players or potential stars? Thank you for answering.
Both are important, but I put more emphasis on impact players because you win with stars.
Bumgarner or Jesus Montero?
Love them both, but I'll take Montero's bat.
why do people say that derrel revis should have won defensivePOY when charles woodson clearly has the better stat line across the board
Defensive stats are limited in football, so they don't tell the whole picture. I think either would have been a valid choice.
Luke Hochevar fanned 80 over his final 85 last year - reason for optimism?
I'll believe it when I see it. He's too inconsistent and I don't believe in his mental toughness.
Hey Jim, what do you think of Michael Taylor in Oakland? Does he crack the opening day lineup? What kind of career potential does he have?
He has star potential. I don't think he'll make the Opening Day lineup, though, because I think the A's will go with Hairston and Sweeney on the corners to start the season.
In the upcoming draft do you think a guy like Tailon or Cole will fall out of the top 10 because of signability like Matzek did?
Sure. I haven't heard about their asking prices—it's way too early for that—but signability is always a concern with elite high school prospects because they wield a lot of leverage.
Would you rank Wilson Ramos as the Twins #2 prospect like Manuel? Where do you have him in your top 50 (if you have him in there) and what type of pro do you see him being?
Not quite that high for me. I'm an unabashed Kyle Gibson fan, so I'd put him second. I ranked Hicks No. 20 on my overall Top 50, Gibson No. 30 and Ramos just missed (but was my next Twin).
How would you evaluate Brian Cashmanâ??s two big trades this off-season? Out: Vizcaino, A. Jackson, Kennedy, Melky, Coke and Dunn. In: Granderson, Vazquez, and Logan.
I think he did a great job of getting two very good/useful players in Granderson and Vazquez without giving up anyone who would impact his big league club in a major way.
Could Simon Castro have an ascention through the minors like Latos did last year?
He could, but there's no real reason to rush him.
who has a higher ceiling, Brody Colvin or Kyle Drabek?
Colvin has a high ceiling but Drabek's is higher.
For getting the highest signing bonus of any European position player I have still not heard much about Max Kepler. What kind of information can you hook up a Twins fan with?
Loved your piece on draft GPA's...was the Giants pick of Lincecum at #10 the best pick in the last twenty years? Considering how quickly he moved through the minors and the impact has already made?
In that regard, probably yes. There are guys who went late in the draft and delivered a lot more than expected, but in terms of sudden impact, it would be hard to top Lincecum.
Not sure why my Kepler answer didn't post. Here's what I tried to say:Just to give everyone a taste of what you can get at baseballamerica.com and in the Prospect Handbook, here's our full report on Kepler:Background: The Twins have scouted Europe more actively than most clubs, and that groundwork paid off with Kepler, whose $800,000 bonus is the largest ever for a European position player. His Polish father and American mother met as ballet dancers in Berlin. He attended instructional league in September and enrolled at Fort Myers (Fla.) High, across from the Twins' Florida facility.
Well, it won't let me paste the full report. Here are his strengths, and for the rest of it, you'll have to head to baseballamerica.com.
Kepler has fast-twitch athleticism and graceful actions in the field. He does everything easily—running with plus speed, swinging the bat with authority and gliding after balls in the outfield. He has good hand-eye coordination and excellent size, projecting as every bit the five-tool athlete. He has plus raw power and the makings of a sound swing.
Jim, let's say for a second that Ripken came out and admitted he took PEDs. Can you think of anyone active, or not, whose admission would rock MLB more?
Were you surprised at the criticism you got for putting Hicks at 20 (even though he'd been in extended spring training for so long), or do you not notice/pay attention?
Didn't notice it, to be honest. No one e-mailed me directly, I guess. But that's the fun of prospect ranking. After the top couple of guys, we're all going to have widely divergent opinions.
Hey Jim, love your work and thanks for the chat. Is a pitchers "upside" based mostly on how hard he throws? It seems the high upside pitchers are always the ones that throw very hard. Can you give me your thoughts on that please, Mr. Callis? Thanks for your time.
No, not at all. Velocity is important, but I'd also want a guy to have life on his fastball and the ability to locate it. The pitchers with the best upside have command of multiple dominant pitches.
Wait...win with stars? '05 White Sox, stars????
There's the exeception that proves the rule.
There has been some talk on the internets of late that Reese Havens is at least as good of a prospect as Ike Davis. This argument is based on their respective BABIP luck as well as the bar for an offensive 2nd baseman being much lower than an offensive first baseman. How big of a gap do you see between the 2 and which prospect do you likebetter?
I think they're closer than most people would because I've been a Reese Havens fan since he tore up the Cape Cod League in the second half of 2007.
I notice that none of the players the Twins got for Johan Santana are on the major league team or in the top 10 prospects list. Was that trade horrible, or merely bad? And did it look that bad at the time?
Horrible. I didn't like it at the time and wrote as much. There was basically one team where Santana would go that was willing to trade for him, and the Mets knew it. I wrote at the time that if that was the best the Twins could do, they should hold onto Santana and try to win in 2008. And if they had, they almost certainly would have won the AL Central.
As a Jays fan, how upset should I be over Taylor for Wallace? I'm still not seeing it, esp. seeing how Snider's no RF.
Not too upset. They're comparable as hitters, but I think Taylor will offer more defensive value and versatility. I would have kept him, but Wallace should be pretty good, too, albeit at 1B/DH.
QUESTION TO JIMMYCALLIS AT 2.45 PM HI JIM YOUR DIVISION WINNERS FOR2O10
AL: Yankees, White Sox (no idea really in AL Central), Mariners , with the Red Sox as wild card. NL: Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers. Reds are my sleeper team, but I'll say Giants for wild card right now.
Is Anthony Rendon draft eligible this year?
Nope. Has to wait until 2011.
I'll ask this of John Manuel also but where in the rotation do you see Brian Duensing topping out?
He's a back-end guy for me. I think he pitched over his head last season and bet he winds up as a middle reliever.
With 13 minutes to go, let's head to the lightning round . . .
Who is the top prospect for the Red Sox. There is a lot of talk of Casey Kelly. Is that a possibility?
You could argue that, but I went with Ryan Westmoreland. I think he has a slightly better chance to be a star.
Jim is your personal top 50 available, if so where can I find it?
It is . . . in the 2010 Prospect Handbook. If you order directly from Baseball America, you should get it within the next two weeks.
Westmoreland or Montero?
Price or Kershaw in 2010?
alex colome or matt moore?
Moore. He'll be one of the big breakthrough prospects in 2010. Didn't have a bad 2009 either.
Arizona or Florida for spring training and why?
Arizona . . . because I can eat at Pick Up Stix in Arizona.
What do you dip your hot wings in, ranch, blue cheese or nothing?
Eat them straight, no dip.
Posey's receiving problems...long term or short term issue
Short term, but they need to be addressed.
Ackley or Jennings offensively?
Lightning round - your LHP of choice - Matzek, Matt Moore or Chapman?
This season only: Wade Davis or Brett Anderson?
Anderson, easily. I'd take him long term, too.
Cahill or Porcello?
Would you rather have Aaron Crow or the guy the Nats got with the comp pick, that closer who's name I can't remember right now.
Crow over Drew Storen.
This season of 24 will be a __ on the 20-80 scale
I'm hoping for a 60. Is that too much to ask? This might be Jack's last season, can't see it being a good show without him.
romine, conger or wil myers?
Tyler Flowers or Alex Avila?
rank em - gibson, leake, crow, scheppers
Gibson, Crow, Scheppers, Leake.
Jim, when does Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects List go live on your site? Thank you.
Usually toward the middle or end of February, after we do all of our Top 10 lists and our College Preview.
Worst farm system in the majors?
Zach VonRosenberg - a top 100 prospect going into 2011?
I'll say yes.
According to Baseball America, Tyler Greene is not one of the Cardinals' top 10 prospects. Do you agree?
Yes, I do.
Strasburg or Chapman
Bigger bust: JaMarcus Russell or Matt Bush
Bush, because he didn't come close to the majors. But Russell is no prize either. I can't remember a more disappointing No. 1 overall pick. He's terrible.
Grant Desme or Corey Brown?
As a hitter: Lind or Snider?
Wade Davis or Ervin Santana?
Davis. Santana runs too hot and cold for me.
Smoak or Tim Beckham ?
More years roaming CF for the Rays- BJ or DJ???
Will Blake Beavan ever reach his pre draft upside?
Stuff hasn't been the same since he signed.
Do you buy these admittedly lofty D.Wright comps some have thrown on Renfroe?
Renfroe has a lot of upside but it's a bit early to expect him to be David Wright.
Dominic Brown or Michael Taylor
Better Pirates pitching prospect: Lincoln or Alderson?
martin perez or scheppers?
Grant Green or Jiovanni Mier in 5 yrs?
LaPorta or Smoak?
That's it for me. Now go visit John Manuel and ask him some Twins questions at http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269383.html.