New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects Chat With John Manuel




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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, 2011.


    JAYPERS (IL): As an unbiased BA staffer, which system has more depth for you - the Yanks or the Red Sox?

John Manuel: I went into this chat actively trying to avoid starting with a Jaypers question, but that son of a gun asks good questions, and they're always first in the queue. I'm starting to think Jaypers and JJ Cooper are the same person . . . anyway, Jaypers, Jim and I discussed this in the podcast that should be live soon. I think it's the Yankees, but I don't think the gap is as wide as portrayed on the blogosphere or the web or the twittersphere or whatever. Red Sox have better pos. player depth, Yankees have greater pitching depth, and their edge in pitching depth is greater than Boston's edge in hitters. Plus, I'd rather have pitching depth. So advantage Yankees.

    Paul (NYC): Which 2010 draft picks came closest to making this list, and what is your opinion of their drafting strategy this year?

John Manuel: Mason Williams got the largest bonus of any Yanks 2010 draftee and will rank the highest. Those two often are related; in this case it isn't cause-effect, but rather questions about Cito Culver's bat. The scouts I've talked to outside the system like Williams better, he had a very good instructs (or mini-camp as the Yankees call theirs). I think the Yanks like Williams better too or else they wouldn't have paid him more. He's the better athlete, runner and hitter; Culver's advantage is he can play shortstop.

    JAYPERS (IL): Had he remained, where would you have slotted in Arodys Vizcaino on your list?

John Manuel: I didn't give this a second's thought. Vizcaino has never pitched a full season due to injuries. That would affect his ranking significantly; he would be 8th at best for me. Romine's going to be a big leaguer, probably an avg. big league catcher. Noesi's going to be a big league starter and has a better fastball when you factor in command. Vizcaino would be behind those guys for me. He has more upside than either of those guys, but his size, injury history and lack of durability all give me significant pause.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How far off the Top 10 was Adam Warren?

John Manuel: He's in the 11-15 range, which is still fluid. With the Twins top 30 right on the heels of doing the Yankees, plus a trip to the Rising Stars Game in between, I haven't finished the Yanks 11-30 yet. Warren didn't miss the top 10 by much, and I'm sure there are some who like him better than Noesi, as his breaking ball's a bit better. I prefer Noesi's fastball and fastball command, though. Congratulations to Warren for getting married by the way.

    JAYPERS (IL): Montero's hitting numbers were basically night and day between the first and second half. What changed?

John Manuel: Several factors. (1) Contrary to Brian Sabean's belief, Triple-A pitchers are good. (2) First long-term exposure to Northeast cold April weather. He started last year in Tampa, avoiding cold April & May weather in Trenton. (3) He's a tinkerer and was tinkering a bit too much. (4) He had to adjust to all the offspeed stuff he saw in Triple-A. He did all that in the second half, plus it got hotter and he warmed up too. It's a good sign that he struggled and didn't sulk, he got back to being Jesus Montero. Very encouraging sign for Yankees.

    Justin (Tampa): I see you have Jose Ramirez as having the best change in the system. Did he rank in the top 30? How do his other pitches grade out and what is his ceiling?

John Manuel: He'll rank in the top 30, in the early 20s, and he was the best pitching prospect on the Charleston roster. He's kind of a younger version of Noesi, if he can command the fastball that way. The Yankees really don't have many pitchers with great changeups; at times Banuelos' pitcher is a 60, but it's inconsistent according to everyone I talked to. Ramirez's was more consistent. I like him, upside is pretty strong, breaking ball is short right now.

    Charlie (Wichita): After a solid 1st full season, did Graham Stoneburner come close to cracking the top 10? Does he have mid rotation potential?

John Manuel: Not for me, not in a system this deep. He had a nice year, worked off his low-90s two-seamer more than the four-seamer and has good sink. Mark Newman threw a Jake Westbrook comp on him, and the Yankees had Westbrook back in the day so they know whereof they speak. That said, Stoneburner for me is more of a middle reliever, a better version of D.J. Mitchell as a sinker-slider guy who also has a solid four-seamer and more durability than his former Clemson teammate.

    Jake (NY): Did Ramon Flores make your 30? Thoughts on him?

John Manuel: He's in the running for the back of the 30. He had a good instructs; played a lot of 1B this year but more of a LF. I got a Gerardo Parra comp on him from a scout that like him for his swing and athleticism, but there's some question about how much impact is in that bat.

    Frank (TX): Could you give us a rundown on Kelvin DeLeon? Thanks.

John Manuel: I'm not a huge fan and never have jumped on that bandwagon. He won't make the Top 30 this year. He's a less-toolsy Melky Mesa with less accomplishment. He has huge raw power; anything else that stands out, beside the strikeouts? I know I'm being a bit harsh but to me he's just another guy.

    Adam (Trenton, NJ): Thomas Kahnle was dominating in his first taste of the pros. Is he strictly a bullpen arm, and does he move quickly if he is?

John Manuel: Yes and Yes. He's got a chance for the back of the 30 as well, right now he's in the 26-30 range. I'll probably wind up writing up 35-40 guys, at least in some form, so I can get all my info out and figure out how they profile, how close they are to their ceiling, etc. Kahnle is a reliever-only but he should move quickly in that role, one of the harder throwers in the system, throwing consistent strikes with the fastball is his first order of business in 2011, then developing his slide-piece.

    Neil (Sacramento): Did David Phelps get any consideration for the list? Do you think he gets a few starts this year in New York, or maybe helps out the pen?

John Manuel: He'll be in the 16-20 range. His secondary stuff still leaves most observers that I have talked to looking for more. He's a back-end starter or middle reliever, depending on the situation, the org., etc. I think he's a trade piece but could help in the pen. He's behind a lot of others in the pecking order for getting starts — Nova, Noesi among guys on 40-man roster, then in the prospect pecking order obviously Betances, Banuelos, Brackman . . . timing would have to be right, I think, for that to happen.

    Mark (NYC): I was surprised you had Noesi at #7 as his ceiling seems to be limited compared to some guys you left off. Did any of the following get consideration for top 10 and what are your brief thoughts on the following players: Cito Culver, Adam Warren, Melky Mesa, Brett Marshall and David Phelps?

John Manuel: Noesi's eiling is No. 3 starter if his breaking ball is just average; more likely to be a good No. 4 starter, but he's very close to that ceiling. He has a better FB than Warren; he's much closer to the majors than Marshall, whose breaking ball also is inconsistent and has a similar repertoire; he has better stuff than Phelps, his change is better than any secondary pitch Phelps has. The two position players you mentioned were not serious Top 10 contenders. Mesa improved but has too much swing-and-miss; Culver's bat is far away. He was not a consensus first-rounder, nor was he the best player the Yankees drafted this year.

    Peter (Aurora, CO): Do you think Adam Warren will get a taste of the majors in 2011? Do you see him sticking as a starter or does he end up a swingman type?

John Manuel: I think he winds up starting elsewhere; if he sticks in Yanks org, the guys with the best fastball command will get first shot at starting in NYC, which is why Noesi is at the front of that second tier of Yankees pitching prospects for me, the group after the B Man Group (Banuelos-Betances-Brackman). Warren's a great trade chip. Yankees have many of those, guys who could be third, fourth or fifth starters who they can package for a piece they need in the majors. Not sure what that piece will be obviously because free agency just started. If they don't get Cliff Lee, they could assemble quite a trade package for someone else's starting pitcher if needed, and Warren almost certainly would be part of that.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): With a solid comeback season in 2011 does David Adams become a legit prospect ?

John Manuel: Yes, he was in the 30 last year, which to me means he was a legit prospect. He's very good at turning the DP (at least when healthy), and he has impact in his bat. He's got to show he can still turn two, though, after the injury. That's his greatest asset as a defender. If he can't do that then he moves to 3b, and that's going to be a bit tougher for him offensively.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): Is Melky Mesa's ceiling Alphonso Soriano ?

John Manuel: No; Soriano hit 40 homers a few times and went 40-40. Mesa doesn't have quite that kind of explosiveness. He has big tools but not that big. He does have similar swing-and-miss. I like Melquisedec and he'll be in the 30 but in the late teens or early 20s.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): Is the Yankees farm system top 5 ?

John Manuel: I think it is; Jim Callis will take some convincing. Just going through some top 30s lists, I know I think New York has both more impact and more depth than most of them. For me it's in the top 5-7 mix.

    Dan (D.C): Roughly speaking, where does Gary Sanchez rank in your personal top 50?

John Manuel: Tough to say because I haven't really given that thought yet; still have Astros calls to make, who knows how many Astros will be in that list . . . Seriously, I haven't thought about it but I'll venture to say in the 20s.

    Dan (D.C): Assuming the reason that Sanchez has a higher ceiling than Montero is based on defense, how much of an edge in offensive updside does Montero have?

John Manuel: Just hard to quantify. Sanchez has plus raw power, probably 60 or 70 raw; Montero is 70 or 80, depending on whom you talk to. I would saw I haven't gotten any 70 or 80 hit grades on Sanchez like you get on Montero, more like "a good chance to hit," 50 hit grades, that kind of thing. So how much of an edge is that in big league stats, 200 points of OPS? I don't know how you quantify that. I'm not sure if the gap between Montero & Sanchez on offense is bigger than the gap on defense, and I'm not sure which matters more, frankly, because we're talking about catchers. I just know I was told repeated that Sanchez's ceiling is as high or higher than anyone in the organization, and that opinion came from inside and outside the organization.

    Ernie (New York, NY): After the Killer Bs, who has the best chance to crack the rotation as more than just filler/spot starter? Is it Nova as he keeps learning how to use his good stuff? Is it Warren who has a lot of admirers in the organization? Noesi is probably trade bait because of his flyball tendencies, but his plus control could play in the rotation. Thanks for all of the great insight.

John Manuel: Obviously I think it's Noesi, that's why he's No. 7. Nova doesn't have Noesi's command or efficiency, though his secondary stuff is better. Nova profiles better in the bullpen. Warren does not have as many admirers, I believe, as Noesi does, but they are similar.

    Dean (Houston): How do you rate outfielders Abraham Almonte, Eduardo Sosa and Kelvin De Leon? Are they still considered prospects?

John Manuel: None in the top 30. Toolsy outfielders who really haven't performed enough in the cases of Sosa and De Leon, and Almonte doesn't have a great profile, plus he had a shoulder injury truncate his 2010 season. None of those guys does a lot for me.

    Dean (Houston): Do you foresee J.R. Murphy staying at catcher? If not, what position will he eventually move to and when?

John Manuel: No. I think the Yankees will keep trying with him but early returns from his first pro season were not positive. I think he winds up trying 3B but in an outfield corner. He'll fall pretty far down the 30 after being in last year's Top 10.

    Dean (Houston): Would it be best for Brandon Laird to concentrate at playing outfield in AAA next season or continue to alternate between 3B and 1B?

John Manuel: No, because Alex Rodriguez is getting old and he'll get some PT at 3B and 1B if he is in the big leagues. He also has much more trade value at 3B than in LF.

    Daron (Minneapolis): John-Thanks for the chat. What's you take on the 2010 Yankee draft? Culver, Segedin, Gumbs, Williams, Encinas, Morton, Rutckyi, Austin, Burawa, Kahnle and Gamel all have potential. Mostly prep stars who need to develope. Culver probably exceeded expections. It could be a great draft or a bust. What are the scouts saying?

John Manuel: All drafts have potential. It's a draft long on athleticism and projection and guys who profile, though Gamel stands out as having some polish. Segedin has work to do on defense; I wouldn't rank or consider him at the top of this draft class. He might have been the sixth or seventh or eighth best guy they drafted. Since I volunteered, I'd rank them Williams, Culver, Kahnle, Gumbs (reports at instructs were not positive but it's early), Gamel, Rutdkyj, Morton, then maybe Segedin. Kahnle will move quickly; Connor Mullee is a very interesting sleeper; the rest will require patience and time.

    Dean (Houston): What are the odds that Melky Mesa continues to improve on his plate discipline? Does he have a chance to be a starting outfielder in the majors or does he project more as a 4th outfielder?

John Manuel: His ceiling for me is second-division regular, because the hit tool is just not developed enough, too much swing-and-miss. For New York, he's more of a 5th outfielder in the Greg Golson vein. That's probably not a bad comp.

    Dean (Houston): What would a 2014 starting lineup of only prospects look like?

John Manuel: Fun question. C: Romine. 1B: Sanchez. 2B: Corban Joseph. SS: Eduardo Nunez. 3B: David Adams. OF: Slade Heathcott, Brandon Laird and I guess Melky Mesa in RF. DH: Jesus Montero of course. SPs: Betances, Banuelos, Brackman, Noesi, Adam Warren. Closer: Ivan Nova.

    ScottAz (Phx, AZ): What can you tell us about Angelo Gumbs? What is his power potential like? Heard the Yanks are committed to having him play 2b instead of OF, does he have the tools to play there?

John Manuel: Sorry for the slight delay, we have a magazine going to press today as well. The Yankees will try to keep Gumbs in the infield, and he played mostly 2B in instructional league, though he also played some short. Outside the organization, he's given very little chance to stay in the dirt. The Yankees have more conviction and will give him every chance. My money's on outfield, also because the Yanks actually don't have great OF depth and Gumbs sounds like he has more work to do than just finding a position.

    Dean (Houston): Do you think that Cito Culver will start in LoA Charleston next year, or will he start in extended spring training as Heathcott and Murphy did this last year? Will he be able to stay at SS and what is his time table to making the majors?

John Manuel: I think it will come down to spring training. The Yankees don't want another Carmen Angelini on their hands. They won't send Culver to Charleston if he's not ready, and his bat makes that touch-and-go. Defensively, if he can't play SS then there's no way he gets drafted anywhere close to the first round, but the consensus is he has a good chance to stay there and could be an above-average defender there. Timetable? If everything works out I'd say 2014 or 2015.

    kev (yankee land): are there questions about Gary Sanchez work ethic?

John Manuel: Not yet, but it is hard for teenagers to stay motivated when they are handed a pile of money. Heck, it's hard for older people too.

    Dean (Houston): You listed Andrew Brackman as the 2014 closer. Do you think he will make his major league debut as a started next year? When and where will he make his transition to being a closer?

John Manuel: Sigh. He's listed as the closer because they don't have an obvious closer candidate in house or in the majors anymore (thanks for comin' out, Joba). He has two plus pitches and might be helped by a move to the pen to bring out some aggressiveness. I do believe he'll pitch in the majors next year, thanks in part to his contract, and I think he'll start out as a long relief and spot starter type, getting innings that this year went to guys like Dylan Mosely, Sergio Mitre, etc.

    James (New York): Can Jesus Montero get by as a starting big league catcher next year? And why is Austin Romine considered better defensively, despite both having similar weakness?

John Manuel: Romine is a better thrower and receiver than Montero. He's at least average at both; Montero is below-average. Romine is more athletic. They really don't have similar weaknesses. All that said, Montero can get by as the starting catcher next year in New York as long as he hits. Another slow start with the bat won't cut it with the scrutiny he'll be under. And catching Kei Igawa and catching CC Sabathia are two very different things. I saw the story today about Posada's surgery, I can see Montero and Cervelli splitting time behind the plate, Montero getting more starts but Cervelli coming on late, and that continuing even when Posada comes back.

    Dean (Houston): Do any of the pitching prospects have a chance at being a number 1 or 2 starter for the Yankees in the future or are most 3-4 starters?

John Manuel: Those top 3 guys all have that potential. Betances and Brackman have No. 1 stuff, I mean, they have two pitches pushing 70 on the 20-80 scale. Banuelos is the safest bet to start with three pitches and better pitchability. Betances' better changeup this year makes me think he'll start, but I do still have questions on his athleticism and future ability to throw strikes. He could wind up a Bobby Witt type who has front-line stuff but never throws enough strikes to be a true ace.

    Marcus (Endicott, NY): Who do the Yankees really like out of lower-level pitchers Evan DeLuca, Bryan Mitchell, Nik Turley, Brett Gerritse, and Mikey O'Brien?

John Manuel: Mitchell has the best stuff of that group, but throwing strikes was a real challenge for him. The rest of those guys are kind of fringy, Gerritse is probably the next-best guy, Mitchell's the only one with a shot at the top 30.

    Dean (Houston): Other than Gary Sanchez, who are the international signees of the last few years to keep an eye on?

John Manuel: Well the guy you left out of course is Banuelos, but the next best guy might be Ramon Flores, whom we mentioned early. I'm still gathering info from their Dominican instructs program but two scouts I talked to were both disappointed by the lack of impact international guys in instructional league this year. It wasn't a great year on the int'l front and the Yankees looked for athletes in the draft, not internationally. Those two things are related.

    Marcus (Endicott, NY): Should the Yankees protect Craig Heyer for the Rule 5?

John Manuel: Probably not though he's had an eye-opening year. I haven't gone through and put together a mock Yankees 40-man roster but he's eminently replaceable. Nice strikethrower, breaking ball is short, change is OK, not a hard thrower. In a different year with different pitching depth he's a guy you'd hold onto, but they haveguys better than Heyer.

    Dave from Thunder Country (Hastings on Hudson, N.Y.): With both David Adams and Corban Joseph seemingly being good prospects, and no room at the inn with Robinson Cano there, are either being considered for a switch to either 3rd base or a corner outfield spot? Who was higher ranked?

John Manuel: Joseph will rank higher. Both have seen time at 3B in the past and Joseph did play some third this year at Tampa.

    Steven Alengakis (NYC): Hi John, Besides Montero and Sanchez, which players in the system do you believe have a strong chance to become part of the next core of Yankees? Also, are you a strong believer in Montero, Banuelos, Betances, and Brackman joining some of the younger current Yankees like Cano, Hughes, and Gardner as part of the next core? And why is it that no one thinks much of most Yankees drafts, yet they have produced some very good players in recent years (Austin Jackson, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain)? Thank you.

John Manuel: Hey Steve. Long question, long answers. I do believe Montero, Banuelos and one of those tall pitchers will become core guys. I am very split on Brackman; love the stuff, always have, and always have questioned the makeup. I'm not sure he's suited for NYC. The draft question is simple — those are good players the system has produced through the draft, but they Yankees have flushed a lot of money, too. The real issue is money. The '07 draft is a great example with Angelini, Suttle (still has some believers in the system), Weems, Tyler Groteďż˝that's close to $3 million in above-slot signees who went nowhere. But that same draft has Brackman, Romine and Laird and could wind up as a win. In '05 they got Jackson and gardner but flushed C.J. Henry, Alan Horne (think he got $600k), JB Cox didn't make it . . . Even the Joba draft, Ian Kennedy had a nice year and was included in a trade, but he was considered a bit of an overdraft and a definite overpay at $2.2 million.

    Marcus (Endicott, NY): Mason Williams was listed as the fastest baserunner on the Best Tools feature. How comparable is his speed to Slade Heathcott?

John Manuel: Just a tick faster, 70 to 65 or maybe 75 to 70. Williams has turned in some raw 80 times but the Yankees judge speed by what's playable, not by workout times. I prefer that method as well.

    MJ (Valpo): For how many other teams would Gary Sanchez be their #1 overall prospect? Seems like he's legit enough to make just about any team's #1, right?

John Manuel: Woah there. He wouldn't be 1 for the Nats (Harper), or Angels (Trout). Just in the AL East, could you take a short-season C over a pitcher with upside who's been in the majors (Kyle Drabek) or a 20-year-old with No. 1 stuff who's been in Double-A (Casey Kelly) or over Jeremy Hellickson, or even Matt Moore or maybe even Desmond Jennings? So he wouldn't be No. 1, for me, in any of the rest of those systems, just because there's a long, long way to go. He's No. 2 here because of ceiling and because the guys he was competing with — Betances and Banuelos and Brackman — also have significant questions, especially considering the first two have never thrown full seasons above low Class A. I thought even though there are questions on Sanchez reaching his ceiling, I had enough Q's about the pitchers to push him up to 2.

    Mike (Minnesota): If Montero is in the "Piazza mold" for potential and comparable batting stats, who is Gary Sanchez most comparable to? The standard is now Joe Mauer...is he close to ever being that kind of impact?

John Manuel: No. He's not going to win 3 batting titles, or one. I'd put his ceiling at just shy of Brian McCann, who gets overlooked too often in my opinion. That's a pretty high ceiling. McCann was the best pos. player on a 91-win playoff team this year. That's lofty. But it's not Mauer.

    Greg27 (Fort Worth, TX): Rank these latin bats: Sanchez, Flores and Sano.

John Manuel: If by Flores you mean Wilmer Flores, I'd go Sano-Sanchez-Flores. Sano gets 80 power grades from some scouts I've talked to; Sanchez doesn't have his impact bat, nor does Flores. As for prospect, Sanchez may be best of the group because it sounds like he can catch.

    Adam (New Orleans): I was in a message board discussion about the Yankees' three B's last week, with the other poster stating that he thought that Betances, Banuelos, and Brackman would all make the overall Top 100 list. I didn't think all three would (don't think Brackman makes the cut) and suggested that if all three did, then my Braves should have six or seven (!) pitchers in the Top 100 (Teheran, Minor, Vizcaino, Delgado, Perez, Beachy and Kimbrel). How would you rank those ten and where would you cut off on that list for the Top 100? Thanks for the chat!

John Manuel: I am the high man on Brackman and even I have my doubts, but he's a top 100 guy. Perez probably is not; Delgado probably is not; Vizcaino will be a source of debate at least for me. Beachy is a back of the 100 guy.

    Jackson Wayans (Purchase, NY): Considering the recent successes of pitchers returning from surgery within the Yankee organization, is Caleb Cotham a potential sleeper for next season?

John Manuel: None of them had big knee injuries like Cotham so the track record doesn't really mean anything in his case. I like Cotham but let's see him pitch first.

    John (Ashburn, VA): John: Graham Stoneburner and D.J. Mitchell - how far off of the list? What do they need to break into the Top 10? Tks.

John Manuel: Neither of these guys are top 10 types, not even for most organizations. They are probably middle relievers, and probably not closers either. I think both can be big league contributors but it will be an upset, for me, if either one is ever a consistent major league rotation member, unless they get traded to second-division teams.

    Tim (Long Island): Can't wait to see who is the first to complain that DJ isn't on the starting lineup for 2014. That outfield might make a good olympic relay team although I'd probably like Headthcott in RF because of his arm. Anyway who is your favorite lefty in the system not named Manny? Us Yankee fans fans need good lefty pichters with that short porch.

John Manuel: I haven't seen one question on that one yet; we weren't going to project a 40-year-old starting shortstop though. I'd have to pick Rutckyj, but there's not a great pool of LHPs to choose from.

    Not Jaypers (Mudcatsfan) (Raleigh, NC): While i have read that Montero's CS % was 23% for the year, i ran some numbers and noted that in the second half (from June 27th on he was 28%. I see this as marked improvement, yet i havent read that in ANY of the scouting reports. Is it possible the scouts already had their opinion set on him, or did they just not see him late in the season? Also did you know Mike Piazza's career CS% was 23% ?

John Manuel: I think scouts were paying attention. I didn't compare him to Piazza defensively, but I have tried to do that with some scouts. The consensus seems to be Piazza was a better receiver and handled pitchers fairly well; Montero has more arm strength, accuracy is his issue. Montero has improved; he used to be a 30 catcher. Now he's a 40 catcher. Only person who ever has considered him more than a 40 catcher to me was Mark Newman. I respect Mark's opinion greatly and think he knows a ton more about baseball than I ever will, but he's in the minority on this subject.

    Avi (New Jersey): Better prospect Casey Kelly or Betances, Banuelos, Brackman?

John Manuel: I'd take Kelly. He had a poor year but he has stuff as good as Betances, a bit better than Banuelos, great body, athleticism . . . I'm a Casey Kelly fan.

    Billy Martin (NYC): Ivan Nova was pretty decent in his spot starts this year. What I noticed from him were 2 above average pitches in his fastball (consistent 93-95), hard curve, and definitely an average fading changeup. Usually 2 above avg. pitches and 1 avg. pitch with decent command is projected atleast a 3, no?

John Manuel: He doesn't have decent command, or even good control, and his secondary pitches are really inconsistent. I've been a Nova guy for years but I don't see him as a No. 3, and neither does any scout I've talked to about him.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): The best position player by far when I was watching the Riverdogs was Jimmy Paredes. I know he was traded to the Astros. If he stayed in the Yanks organization would he have made the Yankees top 30 in the Handbook?

John Manuel: He would have made the 30 probably, but since I'm doing the Astros top 30, you will get a chance to ask that question again when I bear down on him more for that list.

John Manuel: That's as good a place as any to hit it and quit. Gotta grab some lunch. Thanks for being patient, we were going to do this Friday but I had to go to Arizona for the Rising Stars Game, which was a load of fun. No chat Friday, but J.J. Cooper will be here Monday to chat Royals. And that one could go a while, J.J. is VERY into the Royals.