Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 10 Prospects Chat With John Perotto

Pittsburgh Pirates: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
Thanks for chatting, John. When do you think the Pirates will turn it around and get back to contention? The state of the farm system probably suggests it will be a while from now. Also, who does the new scouting director target with the #2 pick next year, HS or College, position player or pitcher? Thanks.
 A: 

John Perrotto: Hi Luke. It's good to be here, everybody. I think it's still going to be a long haul for the Pirates to get into contention. The Pirates insist they will take the best players available in the draft, so let's take them at their word for now and say that's who they will take at No. 2, whomever that person might be.

 Q:  dean from madison asks:
I was a bit surprised to see Corley made the top 10, as he seems to have some big weaknesses inhis swing. By putting him at 10, do you have more confidence in him or is the Buccos system that weak?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Frankly, it's a sign that the system is that weak.

 Q:  Evan from Georgia asks:
When Stephen Pearce reaches the majors, what kind of numbers should we expect year in and year out
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think he's gonig to be a guy who hit in the high 280s with 20-plus homers with the RBIs dependent on the strengh of the lineup.

 Q:  Evan from Georgia asks:
What's the ETA on Neil Walker reaching the majors?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Late this season, I suspect.

 Q:  dean from madison asks:
what can you tell us about james boone? was he in the 11-15 range? does he have a future in the majors?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I can't reveal the top 30 because the Prospect Handbook hasn't been published yet but Boone has slipped primarily becuase he can't stayed healthy. He has plenty of talent but durability is a big issue.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
John, you addressed the hiring of additional scouts in your write-up piece, has that happened yet? Having two scouts in the Carolinas and Georgia, baseball hotbeds, is unacceptable.
 A: 

John Perrotto: My understanding is that scouting director Greg Smith is in the process of beefing up the scouting staff, though no officially announcements of hires have been made yet.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
This is the weakest Top 10 in a while. A healthy Brad Lincoln would help. What the latest on his progress and velocity?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Lincoln will begin throwing off a mound sometime in January.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
Did Marcus Davis earn any consideration? (Even Top 30?)
 A: 

John Perrotto: He is a potential five-tool guy and a real sleeper, but not quite top 10 worthy yet. A good showing in a full-season league next year could very well put him in the top 10, though. He has a bundle of talent, that's for sure.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
You have Paulino as the catcher in 2011, isn't there anyone that might give him a run?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Perhaps Andrew Walker, the fifth-round pick from TCU last year. Other than that, the cupboard is pretty bare at catcher.

 Q:  Pete from Albany, NY asks:
In what order would you rank Jordan Schafer, Brandon Jones and Andrew McCutchen?
 A: 

John Perrotto: It's hard for me to rank talent in other organizations but I'd say Schafer, McCutchen, Jones.

 Q:  Tom from NC asks:
When McCutchen finally settles in, what type of stat lines can we expect on an annual basis?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say .280-15-75 with 30 steals.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Have the Pirates considered retiring John Van Benschoten as a pitcher, and putting him back in the field with a bat? Could he instantly become the Next Rick Ankiel?
 A: 

John Perrotto: He is still a pitcher and is going to stay that way. Personally, I would try him at first base right now.

 Q:  Tricky Kid from Pittsburgh asks:
Corley at 10? His plate discipline is non-existent. I would have rather seen Alex Presley in that spot. Where does Presley fit and what are your thoughts of him long-term? He has a rare mix of power and speed (at a premium position, CF) for the Pirates system.
 A: 

John Perrotto: Presley is OK but I don't think he has Corley's upside with the bat if Corley ever learns to take a pitch here and there.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Steven Lerud...Prospect or Suspect?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Sadly, he's looking like a suspect. That's too bad because he's a hard worker and a wonderful kid.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
What happened to Javier Guzman? Will he figure it out with another organization? Or is he done?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Guzman made great strides in the second half of last season at Class AA but he's also 25. It's hard to see him becoming much more than a utility guy, at best, in the bigs.

 Q:  Reese from Coolsville asks:
I thought that this year's swan song draft was a deeper draft than usual under the Littlefield regime. Looks like Friday, Andrew Walker, Duke Welker, and Watson could all be something decent. Thoughts on the 2007 draft and these players in particular?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I don't want to reveal the top 30 but there are a number of 2007 picks in it. I think this actually was one of the Pirates' better drafts in recent years, but that's more relative to the Pirates being weak in the farm system than the industry as a whole.

 Q:  Skills from The Factory asks:
Quincy Latimore and Marcus Davis were both intriguing this year in their debuts. If you had to pick long-term for just one, which would it be and why? Is there anything to be excited about with Albert Laboy? I like his youth and ability to hit for average.
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say Lattimore, just because he is younger but I liked what I saw of Davis in State College last summer. I think both could be really good but they are raw. Same goes for Laboy, who did show some positive signs last season but is also a long way away.

 Q:  Kevin from Glenshaw asks:
Is Todd Redmond's disappointing season a reflection of his stuff maxing out or the difficult Carolina League, where you face the opponents frequently and they can catch up with you? His stuff played better in AA during some spot starts. I still think he could be a 4 or 5 in the majors, which would be a good return on a 39th round pick.
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think a little of both but I wouldn't give up on him. He's a good competitor and he figure things out. I'm with you and could still see him as a 4 or 5 in the big leagues.

 Q:  jamie from jonesville, va asks:
hey john, Does Walkers move to third speed up his progress to the majors or will learning the new position slow him down abit.
 A: 

John Perrotto: Ideally, it would speed his progress up because third base is an easier position to play than catcher. However, I think Walker was a lot more valuable as an above-average offensive catcher than a slight above-average offensive third baseman.

 Q:  Dave H from Glenfield asks:
Is the loss of pop in Walker's bat permanent, or something he's likely to regain as he continues to get past his torn ligament? Does he look like an average 3B or could he perhaps make a couple of all-star games? Is there a good comp for him?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think the pop in Walker's bat will keep coming back. It did at the of '06 and was there for the first half of '07 until he got fatigued. He's going to be a good players but I hesistate to draw a comparison.

 Q:  Dave H from Glenfield asks:
Do you think the new Pirates management will turn Moskos back into a starter? Where do you think he belongs?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I've never seen Moskos pitch personally, but scouts I trust say he is a reliever all the way because of that slider. That's why I think he was an overdraft at No. 4, thougt that doesn't mean he still won't have a good career.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Sean Burnett recover and become a MLB Starter again with the Pirates?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I wouldn't bet against him becasue he is a tough kid and a competitor. However, I just don't know if he has enough arm strength left after two major operations.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Is Brad Eldred the next Sam Horn? Will he get another shot? Does he the skills to play 1B in the BIGS?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Speaking of comps, that's a good one. I think Eldred will eventually get a shot but probably not with the Pirates. Personally, considering the Pirates aren't likely to contend in 2008, I wish they would give him 500 PAs and see if he could hit 40 HRs and maybe also strike out 200 times. He's fun to watch.

 Q:  Jeff Sollars from Chambersburg, Pa asks:
Hi John, Love your work. Where does Angel Gonzalez fit in the top 30 and what does the Pirates brass think of him. Thanks.
 A: 

John Perrotto: Gonzalez is a guy to keep an eye on. He's a borderline top 30 guy at this point until he becomes more consistent offensively but the ability is there.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Any chance James Boone climbs over Brad Corley on their way up the Minor League Ladder?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Absolutely but Boone isn't a young kid and he HAS to stay healthy at some point. Like Chuck Noll used to say, you can't make the club in the tub.

 Q:  Dave H from Glenfield asks:
Walker, Andy LaRoche or Ian Stewart?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Ian Stewart

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Former Pirates Catcher David Parrish (MiLFA) ever play in the Major Leagues? After 8 years in the Minors, why hasn't someone given him a shot?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I hope because he's a hard worker and hung in there for a long time. His best chance at the bigs is likely an injury situation where a couple of big-leaguers are hurt and he's in the right place at the right time. The odds are stacked against him but I'm pulling for him.

 Q:  mike redstone from PA asks:
How close was andrew walker to making the list. He hit really well for state college. Is he the pirates catcher of the future? thanks for the chat
 A: 

John Perrotto: He received strong consideration

 Q:  Bob from Hickory asks:
What about Olivio Astacio? Guy was throwing close to a 100 in Hickory. I know he struggled with his promotion, but arms like that don't come around every day. What do you think his ceiling might be? Setup guy if he can improve his command? Thanks
 A: 

John Perrotto: Astacio will go as far as his command will take because he has the arm. If he throws strikes, he definitely is a set-up type guy in the not-too-distant future. It's a big "if", though.

 Q:  Tim from Bayou asks:
Any hope for Felix? Does he have the thing? When he throws strikes the guy is pretty tough. What's the word on him?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Mike obviously had a nightmare year. However, he has still has a wonderful attitude and I think he'll do everything in his power to win back his prospect status. Whether he does or not, I just don't know.

 Q:  Ed from Georgia asks:
Two guys that pitched in A ball and had good seasons were Benoit and Pearson. Where do they fit in the Pittsburgh's plans going forward?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say Benoit ranks ahead of Pearson at this point. Benoit has a legitimate chance to pitch in the majors at some point and Pearson at least put himself on the radar with a good year.

 Q:  Chris from Indy asks:
Will Doumit ever play full-time for the Pirates? If so, where do you think he ends up in the field?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Like James Boone, Doumit has to stay healthy because the talent is there. I wouldn't write Doumit off as a catcher now that John Russell is the manager because Russell is an excellent teacher of catching skills.

 Q:  Brett Z. from International Baseball Confederacy asks:
After moderate success at AAA after not throwing in 2006, what are the Pirates looking for from Bryan Bullington? What is his upside at this point?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say Bullington will go back to AAA to start the year. I will say this, I love his resiliency. For all the talk of being a flop and having a serious shoulder injury, he has never gotten down or given up. He's not going to be a star but I still see him fashioning some sort of a career as a back-end rotation guy.

 Q:  Houston from Marietta asks:
Hello best writing an information in the world. I am a die hard Oriole fan here in Brave territory my fantasty is World Series Orioles Beat Braves in 4 I remember when it was a superb organization Your thought on Larry and what he can do ...he sure did it in Minnesota Any chance the Orioles can be classy again by 2010 ? Hey thanks .....as I said awesome information
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think Larry Corrigan was an outstanding addition to the Pirates' scouting staff along with Chuck Tanner as special assistants to the GM. That was a real coup for the Pirates to go with some other outstanding holdovers like Jack Bowen, Jax Robertson, Pete Vuckovich and Roy Smith, to name a few. As far as the Orioles, it's hard to believe them and the Pirates once played in two World Series in an eight-year span considering the state of both organizations today.

 Q:  Wilbur Miller from Silver Spring, MD asks:
Hi John. What do you think about Ronald Uviedo? He seems to have very good stuff.
 A: 

John Perrotto: That's a great observatin. Uviedo is a deep sleeper in the Pirates' organization but he does have a great arm. More than anything, he needs experience but he is someone to definitely keep an eye on as he moves up the ladder.

 Q:  Wilbur Miller from Silver Spring, MD asks:
Most likely to play a full season some time in the future — James Boone, Jeff Sues or Bill Virdon?
 A: 

John Perrotto: That's funny. Sadly, I'll have to go with Virdon who is still going strong at 76.

 Q:  17 from Polk County asks:
I gotta ask how Neil Walker gets the nod over Pearce as the #2 prospect. I understand how special McCutchen has a chance to be, and that his year was a fluke. But neither Pearce or Walker will be a above average defender, and Pearce's bat is more of a safe bet, and probably better albeit not a Switch Hitter. Also, how is Moskos rated behind Lincoln, who hasn't shown anything, and is hurt. Moskos is said to have starters stuff and is a POWER lefty! Because he has a better chance to be a starter?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I still think Walker has a tad more upside than Pearce and Lincoln being a starter and throwing harder gives him the nod over Moskos.

 Q:  Andy from Sarver asks:
John, Pirates had high hopes for Wardell Starling. Any thought of him regaining his prospect status?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd never say never but he sure had a disappointing season at Altoona and has a lot of work to do to get his prospect status back.

 Q:  Andy from Sarver asks:
Pirates tell everyone the cannot compete in the Free Agent Market, the Pacific Rim Market and the Cuba Market. But tell everyone who listens the will build from within the draft. Having the second pick this year do feel the Pirates once again will draft a 88mph fastball pitcher?
 A: 

John Perrotto: The Pirates truly have a chance to put their money where their mouth is in this year's draft. We'll have a clearer picture of their true intentions on draft day if they go for high-end talent or guys who will sign cheaply.

 Q:  General JP Schwartzkoff from Russia with Love! asks:
I noticed Lincoln ranks ahead of Moskos, yet he didn't lead any of your Best Tools categories, whereas Moskos led two of them (Fastball & Slider). How close was it between the two when putting this list together?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Thisclose

 Q:  Jean-Paul Van Schwartz from Bloodsport, IL asks:
With Pittsburgh's less than stellar record of drafting healthy arms, do you see things changing for the better next year, and who would you see them going after if the draft were held today?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Pardon the Dave Littlefield-type non-answer but only time will tell if the latest batch of arms will stay healthy, though history would seem to indicate they won't. As far as the No. 2 pick, it's way too early for me to even take a guess.

 Q:  Gary from NJ asks:
What can we expect out of Lincoln post surgery? If he had ace stuff what pitcher could you compare him to?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Considering his build and competitivness, I'd still have to say Roy Oswalt.

 Q:  Jay Pees Freely from Springfield, IL asks:
Why do you think Capps has a better shot at being their closer of the future than Moskos?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Capps has already done it at a young age. I'm not saying Moskos couldn't do it because he could but Capps is more of a proven commodity at this period of time.

 Q:  Jean-Pauly Walnuts from Sopranos, NY asks:
Did McClune come close to making your list, and how much of an offensive force could he be?
 A: 

John Perrotto: You can put McClune in the DavisLatimore class. Lots of talent but primarily projection at this early stage of his career.

 Q:  Mark from Harrisburg, PA asks:
Thoughts on Tony Watson (LHP) from Nebraska? How soon will we see him in Pittsburgh and where does he profile? Back-of-rotation starter?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I like him. He has a good feel for pitching and mound presence. I can see him as a No. 3-4 type guy.

 Q:  Peter Griffin from Quahog, RI asks:
We all know Andrew McCutchen has some flippin' sweet athletic ability, but what is his true ceiling? Is it possible he can develop into a poor-man's BJ Upton or Alfonso Soriano, once he develops more power? Or are we looking at Marquis GrissomKenny LoftonRickey Henderson type? Given all of his ability, I find it strange to have him rank #1, yet not lead the organization in any offensive ranking.
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say a poor-man's Alfonso Soriano with a little better plate discipline.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
Any dark horses in the lower levels that may shine over the coming seasons?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Marcus Davis for reasons stated earlier.

 Q:  Glenn Quagmire from Quahog Trailer Park asks:
It's obvious that Steven Pearce will be the starting RF come opening day, especially given his strong september callup. How does he project over a full season? What is his power potential, especially since he will be playing in the national league? Solid regular or late blooming Future All-star?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Don't be so sure about Pearce being in the opening-day lineup unless LaRoche, Bay or Nady is traded. I think he'll be an above-average player. Not quite an All-Star but better than average.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
What do the Dominican and Venezuelan summer leagues compare to in the states? low A? rookie? short season? I ask as pitchers Rich Acosta (DSL) and Wilson Ortiz (VSL) really look like top pitching prospects based on their records in these leagues. Can you comment on them?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I'd say those leagues best compare to Rookie ball or Rookie ball lite. Acosta and Ortiz are highly though of along with a kid lefty from El Salvador named Nelson Periera, who went 10-1 in Venezuela this year.

 Q:  TJA from Connecticut asks:
Now after his surgery, do you see Lincoln losing any mph or break on his pitches? What is his projected ETA now?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Lincoln is a hard worker and I know he's done everything possible to come back from his surgery. I'd bet on him regained full velocity, though you just never know for sure until guys take the mound again after the layoff.

 Q:  Mike from Toronto ON asks:
Sure McCutcheon looks good as a Pirate, but how does he compare to top outfield prospects from last year's BA top 100? Can you rank McCutcheon, Chris Young (ARI), Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzales, J Upton, C Maybin?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Frankly, I'd have to put McCutchen behind all of them at this stage.

 Q:  Bobby from Harrisburg, PA asks:
John, Is Brian Bixler capable of handling SS or is he more of a 2B or utility player ? Thanks for the chat
 A: 

John Perrotto: I thought for a long time he was strictly a utility type but I'm at least inclined to think that he might be able to be a regular shortstop, though he still needs some polish.

 Q:  Steve from Va asks:
It seems like the Pirates have a full 40 man roster, any chance they free a spot up to take a shot at someone in the Rule V draft? Also any interesting players the Pirates left unprotected that i should be hoping to be ignored by the other 29 teams in baseball?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think they'll be open to taking someone in the Rule 5. Who that someone is, I don't know, but they need an influx of talent and that is one way to find someone who might be able to help.

 Q:  Willie Stargell from Steel City asks:
I had heard that the new regime might convert Moskos back to a starter. Do you have an update on this? What do you think the chances are that he winds up startingrelieving in the majors? Thank you.
 A: 

John Perrotto: I haven't heard about a conversation yet, but it's certainly possible.

 Q:  Willie Stargell from Steel City asks:
Not a top 10 question but your projected 2011 lineup has Gorzellany as the #1 starter. Is this by default or do you see him taking a step forward? Thank you.
 A: 

John Perrotto: I see him taking more steps forward. He's a really good pitcher.

 Q:  Steve from Va asks:
I was surprised to see Romak on the list the reports out of winter ball weren't too high on him and it seems like power is his only tool. Would he make many other teams top 10's or is this just the weakness of the system?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I like Romak's willingness to take a walk to go with his power, but, no he wouldn't be in the top 10 in most organizations.

 Q:  Ron from Pitt asks:
Were you as surprised as I was to see Romak omitted from the 40man this year? Was this more of the Pirates knowing he is a longshot to get taken or does he not fit into their plans?
 A: 

John Perrotto: I think they feel he won't be taken because a team won't be able to keep him on a big-league roster for an entire season because he is raw.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
Of the Pirates slap-and-dash draft philosophy from a few years back, who do you see having the most significant MLB career? The departed Rajai Davis, Pedro Powell or Nyjer Morgan? Will any be anything more than a 4th OFer?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Rajai Davis as a fringe major-league starter but most likely fourth outfielder.

 Q:  Ben from Chicago asks:
If the Buccos & Tigers agreed on the trade that would have sent Jair Jurrgens + PTBNL for Jack Wilson, where would you project Jurrgens in the top ten?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Probably No. 6 but that's off the top of my head.

 Q:  Greg from San Francisco asks:
Thanks for chatting John. What, in your mind, has put the Pirates farm system in the situation it is now? Too much focus on HS players?
 A: 

John Perrotto: The unwillingness to take risks on drafting and signing some high-ceiling players.

 Q:  Trevor from Ferndale, WA asks:
Hey, what can you tell me on the local western washington trio of prospects, Welker(No.9), Bishop, and Clapp?
 A: 

John Perrotto: Welker looks like a keeper. The others are marginal.

 Q:  Jason from Great Falls, MT asks:
What is Brian Friday's projection look like? A future starter or a utility player?
 A: 

John Perrotto: He's similiar to Bixler. If he keeps improving, he could be a starting shortstop but he has a ways to go as evidenced by pro pitchers making him swing at a lot of bad pitchers this past summer.

 Q:  Nate from Richmond, RI asks:
Will the Pirates give Franquelis Osoria the legitimate bullpen role he deserves? The man is a groundball machine, and looked solid in the split time between Indy and Pittsburgh.
 A: 

John Perrotto: Osoria will definitely get a chance to make the club in spring training because of that nasty sinker.

 Q:  Wilbur Miller from Silver Spring, MD asks:
Is Yoslan Herrera a real prospect, or was this more of a PR stunt? His stuff looked pretty pedestrian to me.
 A: 

John Perrotto: More like a PR stunt at this point, though the guy hadn't pitch competitively for nearly three years until last year. I'll give him a mulligan in 2007 but he has to perform well in 2008 to really be considered a prospect.

Moderator: Well, I've got to close here. Hopefully, I covered a lot of ground and I apologize if I didn't get to your question. Have a happy holiday season and here's hoping for a better future for the Pirates.