Do you think the rule 4 draft needs anything done with it? Why are we worrying about keeping round one bonuses down if teams are going to sign guys like Jason Kendall to 2 year deals and Marlon Byrd to 3/15 mil. I don't think it is fair to hold down a lot player's one chance at a pay day because a couple major league front offices are mostly incompetent.
I could go off on this subject for hours, but if I were running MLB, I'd lay off the teams in regards to the draft. Right now each team spends about $6 million on the draft, a pittance in a big league budget. The players are severely undervalued compared to what they'd get on an open market, and severely undervalued to what they'll be worth if they become solid big leaguers who are cost-controlled for up to six years. If MLB mandates slotting and/or adds international players to the draft, it won't level the playing field. It will eliminate the opportunity for small-revenue clubs to grab as much talent as they're willing to pay for, which will make it that much tougher to compete because they're not going to be able to sign quality big league free agents. It also will drive more players to other sports and to college baseball.
I pre-ordered months ago, so when can I expected my Prospect Handbook? Thanks!
They have shipped this week, so you should get yours shortly.
I recently read the analysis of Jameson Taillon from one scout who claimed that Taillon was the most advanced/polished prep arm in the past few years (arbitrary number), even more advanced than Rick Porcello. Is Taillon that good?
He's good, but I don't sense quite as much about him as there was for Porcello.
Jim, any early predictions for MiLPOY?
I'll go with my top-rated prospect who I think is the best bet to spend all or most of the year in the minors: Jesus Montero.
Where do you see Strasburg starting the year?
Double-A. It makes financial sense to keep him in the minors for a couple of months, so I'd guess he spends roughly a month each in Double-A and Triple-A.
What is the best and the worst baseball Stadium that you have been to?
classic stadium: Fenway or Wrigley.
Best modern stadium: AT&T or PNC.
Special place in my heart for: Rosenblatt.
Worst big league stadium: Kingdome.
Worst any stadium: Olympic stadiums in Barcelona.
What kind of season are you expecting from LHP Matt Moore, and where will he be starting off from, come April?
I think he'll start the year in high Class A and end it acclaimed as one of the best pitching prospects in the minors.
From then 2009 draft, outside of Stephen, who do you think will get to the majors first?
Drew Storen, Dustin Ackley or Aaron Crow.
Who replaces Desme on the A's top 10?
Michael Ynoa was No. 11 on our A's Top 30 in the Prospect Handbook. If you want to discount him for health reasons, Corey Brown was No. 12.
Better pick...Taillon or Renaudo?
My gut says Taillon, but it's a really a tossup.
If the Nationals pass on Bryce Harper, would the normally cheap Pirates take him?
It depends on Harper's price tag and whether the Pirates are willing to spend a ton on one player (as with Pedro Alvarez in 2008) or would rather spread their money around more (as they did last year). Way too early to know what kind of dollars guys will command yet.
Is Starlin Castro the top SS prospect in the minors? top 3?
For me, yes. My top three are Castro, Alcides Escobar and Dee Gordon, with Grant Green right behind Gordon.
Jim, what's your opinion of Austin Romine? Is he a top 100 prospect? What do you project he will be in the future?
He has a chance to be a solid regular. I don't see him as a potential star, so he probably won't make my Top 100 list.
Which type of player falls into your blindspot (i.e., is hardest for you to evaluate fairly)?
Pitchers who project as relievers. It's also hard with prospect who are terrific defenders and questionable hitters to reconcile the two.
Who will put up better offensive numbers over the course of a career: Travis Snider, Colby Rasmus or Carlos Gonzalez? Also, which pitcher has the better career: Brett Anderson, Brian Matusz or Rick Porcello?
Can you give a scouting report on the Red Sox international sign from 2009 Jose Vinicio? What is his best tool and? Also if you can, could you offer a big leauge player comparison?
Here's the scouting report I wrote for the the Prospect Handbook: Vinicio celebrated his 16th birthday last July by signing with the Red Sox for $1.95 million. That set a franchise record for the largest bonus ever given to a foreign amateur, though Cuban defector Jose Iglesias shattered it when he got $6.25 million as part of an $8.25 million big league contract two months later. The top pure shortstop from the 2009 international summer signing season, Vinicio has terrific actions and hands, good range and a strong arm. A switch-hitter, he's better from the right side of the plate. Though he's very skinny, he has a quick bat and can drive the ball, so he could grow into some power once he gets stronger. He has slightly above-average speed, and that too could improve as he matures physically. Vinicio will need plenty of time to develop his body and his skills, and Boston will give it to him. He'll make his pro debut in either the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League or the Gulf Coast League in June. Now go click that link and buy a Handbook!
I saw on BA today you guys have Lance Lynn as the Cardinals #3 prospect. I don't know much about him. When do you see him getting promoted and what kind of ceiling are we talking about?
He could be up this year, but I'm not a huge fan. He's more of an innings eater than a difference maker, maybe a No. 3 at best but I think that's a stretch. He ranked third on that list more because the Cardinals system is thin than because he's a standout.
K Law gave the White Sox the worst farm system in the league? Your thoughts?
When we put together our preliminary rankings for the Handbook (we'll update ours during spring training to reflect subsequent trades and signings), I put the White Sox at No. 25 and the Cardinals at No. 30. The Cardinals and Astros are clearly the two worst farm systems in my opinion, but the White Sox aren't far off.
Do you think the Giants should play Buster Posey somewhere other than catcher? He certainly showed his ability to play the infield in college. If they gave him a shot at third, and moved The Panda over to first, you're talking about one of the best young corner infield tandems in MLB, no?
I think you maximize his value by keeping him at catcher. There's no reason to think he won't be able to catch. He just needs more time to polish his receiving.
Which pitching prospect has the highest upside in dodgers organization? Is Josh Lindblom the one ready to make a Major League impact soon? Thanks.
Ethan Martin has the most upside. Lindblom is the most ready to make an impact in the near future. Aaron Miller isn't too far off on both counts.
How does Jesus Montero compare talentwise to a young Jorge Posada or Mike Piazza?
I like the Piazza comp. That's a lot to put on Montero, but he has that potential impact bat and that lackluster defense behind the plate. But the bat may be enough to not worry about his defensive inadequacies.
Is this a make-or-break year for Andrew Brackman? I know big, erratic guys like Randy Johnson/Jeff Niemann develop late, but is his time waning?
It is a crucial year for Brackman, as he has some escalators and options in his contract that start kicking in after 2010, that I believe are worth about $3 million to $4 million per year. If he doesn't significantly improve, he's not worth that much. He was a mess at times last year.
Hey Jim, this is sort of a fantasy baseball question but I could still use your thoughts. I need to pick my last starter in my dynasty league and I am having trouble picking from Anderson, Hughes and then Scott Baker.
First to the majors: S. Castro, Gordon, Chapman, F. Martinez
Fernando Martinez already got there last year. Of the other three, Chapman.
I have saw AOLs top 100 prospect list and a few others online recently. None of them have Kyle Gibson even sniffing the list. I know your high on him. In your opinion, why are they wrong seeing I think you said you have him in your top 50?
That's the fun of prospect rankings—there's room for a lot of debate. I can see where you might be cautious because he had a stress fracture in his forearm. But I believe he'll be healthy and command three plus pitches. Sign me up for that.
How will Jaff Decker's value as a prospect change to you if he plays as well or better in the Cal league as he did in the Midwest league? Especially at his age.
I'm sure he'll put up better numbers because he's going from an extremely inhospitable hitter's league to an extremely hospitable hitter's league. There aren't many questions about Decker's bat. It's his utter lack of athleticism as a teenager that's a concern. If he hits as expected and starts paying attention to conditioning and other aspects of the game, his stock will rise accordingly.
The Cubs seem pretty high on Logan Watkins, what kind of power do you think he will develop and can he handle SS?
They are high on him. He won't ever have a lot of power, but his other four tools are very attractive. He could probably handle shortstop but may never get the chance while playing alongside Hak-Ju Lee.
Are you a believer in Jeurys Familia and Kyle Allen? Both were very young for the Sally League and performed very well. Thoughts on their future...
They're not Top 100 Prospects, but they're very interesting sleepers. Two of the more underrated guys in the Mets system.
How did Arodys Vizcaino seem to become a better prospect after he was traded from the Yankees to the Braves?
I think he just got more time in the spotlight after getting included in the trade. Yankees prospects aren't underhyped.
Are you surprised at all that draftees hold out and don't sign? I can't think of a single instance of a high profile player holding out since JD Drew and actually benefitting financially, and moreover, the teams can just walk away and get a new pick the next year in some cases. If I were a HS pitcher, I wouldn't treat an extra year as an amateur that lightly.
I can think of lots of guys who got rich after turning down big money out of high school. Mark Prior and Mark Teixeira turned down $1.5 million and got deal worth more than $10 million, and Andrew Miller turned down $2 million and signed for $5.45 million. Gerrit Cole declined to sign with the Yankees in 2008 and could go No. 1 in the 2011 draft (and command a major league deal he wouldn't have out of high school). If you believe in your talent, why not enjoy the college life for three years, get an education (on and off the field) and have the chance to possibly command more money?
How good is Bryce Harper really? Is most of the things being stated about him hype, or is he really the real deal? It seems he may be best suited as an outfielder from what I've read. Thanks.
He's both very talented and overhyped. There are some concerns that he'll be too big to catch. He's the top prospect right now for the 2010 draft, but he's not a lock like Strasburg was a year ago.
I can't wait for the handbook...Who are your personal top 5 pitchers?
Strasburg, Feliz, Matusz, Bumgarner, Drabek.
As it stand right now do you have any idea what the draft order for the Red Sox will be in the 2010 draft? With all the free agent dealings I lost track of things. Did they improve their draft order?
The updated draft order is here.
With Montero reportedly not quite good enough defensively to hold up at catcher, it seems theres a bit of a logjam... how would the yankees plan to use him in the future? is trade bait the most likely scenario for him???
First base (Teixeira) and DH (a slew of older players) are locked up for a while, so catcher is still going to be the best fit. I think the Yankees are going to try to make that work, and if they have to sacrifice defense for offense, they may just do that.
When you refer to a prospect as a future "solid regular," what exactly do you mean? Who are some current MLB players you consider solid regulars?
A guy who can be an everyday player for a number of years on a good team. Using the Phillies for an example, guys like Utley, Howard and Rollins are stars, while Victorino, Werth and Polanco would be solid regulars.
Jim, thanks for taking my question, Is Jason Castro a top 5 catching prospect in baseball? Or I guess the question could also be: who are clearly better catching prospects than Castro?
My top five would be Jesus Montero, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Castro and Wilson Ramos. Some scouts say Castro doesn't do anything outstanding, but the flip side is that he's pretty solid across the board. He won't be spectacular, but he'll be a very steady player and should make some all-star teams.
Yesterday Bruce Levine said he'd be willing to bet Starlin Castro is the Cubs opening day SS. Do you agree?
I'd be surprised. Theriot is going to be making some money via arbitration and I don't think Castro is ready.
thoughts on the new 24 season?
On the 20-80 scouting scale, I'd give the first four hours a 60 and the last episode a 40. They're clearly positioning Freddy Prinze Jr. to take over the franchise if Kiefer Sutherland departs. Good to see that CTU still can't get background checks done correctly.
Justin Smoak or Chris Carter?
High on Chris Withrow, or just a #3, 4 type?
He has the chance to be better than that. I like him.
Todd Frazier: Everyday player with an impact bat or a utility infielder at best?
More the former.
John Manuel provided his Personal Top 20 Prospects List. Will you be doing the same?
personal Top 50, as well as John's and Will Lingo's, is in the Prospect
Handbook. My Top 10:
1. Stephen Strasburg, rhp, Nationals
2. Jason Heyward, of, Braves
3. Mike Stanton, of, Marlins
4. Jesus Montero, c, Yankees
5. Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Pirates
6. Dustin Ackley, of/1b, Mariners
7. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers
8. Buster Posey, c, Giants
9. Brian Matusz, lhp, Orioles
10. Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Giants
You Said Montero is your #1 position player in your rankings, even ahead of Heyward and Stanton?
I don't believe I said that at all!
Who would you take? Crow, Storen, Duffy, Montgomery, Arrietta?
Montgomery and Crow over the other three.
With a little over 10 minutes to go, let's head to the lightning round . . .
More likely to stick at second Ackley or Lawrie?
Hughes over Anderson because it's a fantasy question or because you like him better independent of his team?
Um, because I misread the question. I read that as Alderson. I would take Brett Anderson over Hughes.
Andrew Cashner or Daniel Hudson?
Who reaches the majors first? Lars Anderson, Casey Kelly, or Ryan Westmoreland? Who has the longest and most successful career?
Kelly first, Westmoreland has the best career.
ETA for Chisenhall...early 2011 too agressive?
Not at all. He's talented enough to make that happen.
Werth>Howard factoring in defense+positional value. Werth is a star.
Werth has been a star for one year. His body of work says "solid regular."
Hey Jim - do you have a HoF vote? Do you get to vote on any of the "major" awards?
No and no, so don't blame me. I'm not a member of the BBWAA. None of Baseball America's employees are, which is kind of silly.
O/U 8 wins for Chapman in 2010
Colts or Saints?
Colts. Could be a blowout. Peyton Manning will be the MVP.
On a scale of 1 to 100, how far ahead is Strasburg than Heyward as a prospect?
It's very, very close.
Dustin Ackley, 2B or CF long term?
Was Desme really not asked about, or were you just answering other questions?
Not asked about that I saw.
Do you beleive that Jake Peavy will have a succssful season with the white sox
Yes, but won't shock me if his ERA > 4.00 either.
Wow Jennings is not in your top 10? What worries you about him?
Nothing. I have him at No. 12.
anthony gose or brett jackson ?
Aumont: starter or reliever?
I think he'll wind up a reliever in the long run, though the Phillies will try to make him a starter again in 2010.
Who wins the World Series: Yankees/Red Sox/Phillies or the Field?
I'd take those three teams vs. the field and wouldn't have to think about it much.
Wouldn't a better replacement for Jack Bauer be Tony Almeida (if they didn't screw up his character last season) instead of Freddy Prinze?
I assume Tony is serving multiple life sentences in a high-security prison somewhere.
Thoughts on J.R. Murphy?
He flew under the radar in the draft a little bit, might be a very nice get for the Yankees in the second round. He can really hit.
Is Montero still in your top ten if he never picks up a catcher's mitt again?
Yes. His bat is that good.
Bumgardner - Velocity. Scared? Not scared?
As I've said many times, not scared. Still missed a lot of bats and he's not hurt. Let's see how he throws this year before we panic.
will yu darvish ever wear a MLB uniform?
desmond jennings or austin jackson
Jennings, by a fair margin.
Freddy Prinze to take over 24? That spells the death of the franchise to me.
Well, I agree, I don't think anyone would go for it. But that looks like the way they're headed if Sutherland departs.
Freddy Prinze... he got shelled by Junior. You think he can stop crime? Puhleeze.
Have to appreciate a "Summer Catch" reference.
Matzek or Taillon?
Wow Smoak not in your Top 10?
I love Smoak and had him at No. 16. No shame in that.
Lars Anderson in for a bounce back year or more trouble ahead?
Heyward or Bruce?
FP: "I just pitched the game of my life."JB: "Let's be together!"That makes more or less sense than the Mets trading for Gary Matthews Jr.?
More sense. Though I'm not sure where the Phillies scouts giving him a decent bonus after he walked off in the middle of no-hitter would factor in on the sensibility scale.
I wonder if the same people killing Freddy Prinze were the same ones going nuts when Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker. Let's give him some time and see what he can do first.
Fair enough, but it's hard to imagine "24" without Jack Bauer. Kind of like how "Wiseguy" (an old favorite) fell off the cliff when Ken Wahl went crazy.
ETA for Montero as a regular late 2010 or 2011?
Strasburg, Ackley, Matzek, Turner your top four from 09' draft?
Yes, with Kyle Gibson at No. 5.
When will twins resign joe?
Not a lock, but I believe Mauer will sign a long-term deal with the Twins.
Where does the highest ranked Met land in your top 50?
No Mets in my Top 50.
where do you see SS Christian Colon going on the draft, to what team?
Too early to say that. Scouts say his tools don't blow them away, but he's still the best college shortstop and I think he goes off the board between picks 15 and 25.
Alvarez, up in september, or before that?
When can we expect the BA top 100 list to debut?
We have our College Preview/Early Draft Preview issue first, then the Top 100 issue, so it's still about three weeks away.
Who and Where is the Highest ranked Halo?
No Angels on my Top 50 either.
I was really wrong on _________
Sean Burroughs, for one.
Where does Logan Morrison rank on your top 50?
When do we see Posey in the majors?
If I could guarantee you Montero would become a slightly below average fielding catcher for his career, where would you have him on your rankings? Above Stanton? Above Heyward?
Right where I have him, at No. 4.
Who could be a surprise team this year?
Thanks for sneaking in my question! Please rank the 2009 1st round AL draft class pitchers: Hobgood, Turner, Crow, White, Gibson.
Turner, Gibson, Crow, White, Hobgood.
Thome to twins. Your thoughts
Won't make a big difference. He can't play the field and will be mostly a bat off the bench.
O/U: 25 Sheets starts?
will truinfel be an impact SS in the majors?
No. He won't be a shortstop and I wouldn't say he'll have an impact bat.
Thanks for all the good questions. I have to go write a column now—see you next week.