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Red Sox chat with Jim Callis

 Q:  Jesse Mills from Rhode Island asks:
How close was Mike Rozier to getting into the top ten?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I assume everyone in Red Sox Nation is still on a World Series high. Let's jump right in . . . Rozier was close, and he'll probably rank at No. 12 when I finish the 11-30 part of the list for the Prospect Handbook. He's a lefthander with a plus fastball, promising curveball, lots of athleticism and room for projection. But while Boston viewed him as a first-round talent, the consensus among other teams had him more as a third- to fifth-rounder. When it came down to it, the guys I ranked ahead of Rozier have good ceilings of their own and have proven a lot more as pros.

 Q:  Nathan Horsman from Middleboro asks:
Is there a chance that Hanley could be playing SS by the Allstar break 05? Also, who has the highest ceiling from the pitchers. Rozier, Papelbon, Lester?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't see that. I'd never say never, but as talented as Ramirez is, he barely has played in Double-A. He needs at least another full year in the minors, and probably a little more than that. And it's not like the Red Sox are a rebuilding club. When he steps into their lineup, they need him to be able to produce immediately because they're trying to win. On the three pitchers, all three have the stuff to become frontline starters if everything works out for them (though it rarely goes that perfectly for anyone). You'd be splitting hairs there, but if I had to pick, I'd go with Papelbon.

 Q:  Mike from East SOSHVille asks:
It seems that there are some conflicting reports about Kelly Shoppach's defense and handling pitchers. Everything I have seen from BA always praises his defense and handling of a staff, yet during the season there were numerous stories circulating that he is terrible with pitchers at Pawtucket, and having seen him personally behind the dish down at McCoy his defense, footwork and arm seem average at best.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Mike, if you can forward me some links on those stories to jimcallis@baseballamerica.com, I'd love to see them. The reports I have from the Red Sox and other organizations have him as a solid to good defender with strong leadership skills. I think the biggest concern is how much he'll hit moreso than his defense. He looked a little sloppy in the Arizona Fall League at times in 2003, but he also was kind of worn out and looked better than that in 2004.

 Q:  steven from Riverside, CA asks:
How far down the list of prospects was Chris Smith, RHP, who pitched in Double A Portland? Didn't he lead the team in strikeouts?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Smith would have been in the 11-20 range, but he had surgery to repair a torn labrum. The track record of pitchers coming back from that operation is terrible, so he won't make the Top 30.

 Q:  Bubba Franks from Richmond VA asks:
What's your outlook on Brian Marshall?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's a deceptive lefthander, though it's hard to say he'll be more than a situational reliever at this point. He keeps hitters off balance with a variety of breaking stuff.

 Q:  Dave from Chicago asks:
Hey Jim, I see the "Best of the Rest" was not included this year. Do you have a 11-15 ranking?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Is this redinchicago? You SoSHers need to use your SoSH handles. Anyway, I don't think we listed Best of the Rest last year either. But the working 11-15 (in order) is SS Christian Lara, LHP Mike Rozier, OF Mickey Hall, OF David Murphy, 3B Chad Spann.

 Q:  Chris from New Haven asks:
Manny Delcarmen was hit pretty hard this year considering his (good) stuff and (pitcher-friendly) league. Was this just a lack of command post-TJ surgery? Were his secondary offerings really inconsistent?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Guys coming back from TJ surgery usually aren't 100 percent until two years after their operation, which will be 2006 for Delcarmen. The positives for him in 2005 was that his pure stuff was back, if his command and consistency were not. It has been the same story for him in the Arizona Fall League as well. He should be fine, though his future could lie in the bullpen.

 Q:  Dan from Massachusetts asks:
What does Abe Alvarez have for a ceiling now? Will he just be a say, Frank Castillo, type of guy, who makes a few quality starts but isn't spectacular?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't see Alvarez becoming more than a No. 3 starter, and more realistically he could be a No. 4 or 5. He has exceptional pitchability, but his stuff is pretty ordinary and doesn't leave him much margin for error. He can be effective in the majors but I think it's unlikely he'll be a star. He did have a solid year in Double-A in his first full pro season.

 Q:  Dan from Massachusetts asks:
I realize the Sox don't want to move Pedroia from SS at this point, but realistically do you see him playing in the majors as a second baseman?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes. The Red Sox think he can stay at shortstop, but most of the scouts we've talked to aren't sold on that. And while he has very sure hands, his other shortstop tools pale in comparison to Hanley Ramirez, Luis Soto and Christian Lara, so Pedroia will have a hard time holding all of them off.

 Q:  Nick Esasky from Vertigo, MA asks:
Any particular reason the Sox seems to losing members of thier scouting team every year? I could see if they were receiving a promotion but they just end up in similar positions with other teams. Is there a big philosophical difference between the front office and the scouts?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think the main reason is that the guys who have left were hired before Theo Epstein became GM. When Epstein took over, Boston's draft philosophy changed to a more collegeperformance-oriented approach. So the people who have left probably feel more comfortable working under a more traditional philosophy, and at the same time, Epstein probably feels more comfortable being able to make the decisions on who's hired.

 Q:  Dan from Massachusetts asks:
Is it time to give up on David Murphy? I know he was injured this year but he has shown almost no power and hasn't hit for a very high average yet. Where do you see him starting 2005?
 A: 

Jim Callis: You've summed him up pretty well, Dan. A freak foot injury ruined his 2004 season, but he hasn't exactly torn it up when he has played. It's too early to give up on him, though. Let's see how he does over a full pro season--he hasn't had that chance yet. He still could become a center fielder who hits for average, gets on base and hits 15-20 homers. Not saying he will, but there's not enough evidence to say he can't any longer.

 Q:  Pete O from Chestnut Hill, MA asks:
Jim, Who would you consider the Sox most underrated prospect? How about most overrated?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I like him as a prospect but I think Dustin Pedroia's statistical performance has given people a misleading impression of what kind of player he is. I think a reasonable expectation is that he become a Jody Reed-type at second base, but I've seen some online reports declaring him one of the top 20 prospects in baseball or touting his impressive power (which really isn't very impressive). The two most underrated, probably because they haven't gotten to full-season ball yet but they have huge ceilings, are righthander Anibal Sanchez and shortstop Luis Soto.

 Q:  Dave from Chicago asks:
Jim, Are you sold on the Red Sox belief that Kelly Shoppach can rebound and hit 265340500? It is a certain pitch that he has trouble with or just recognizing the pitch itself that translates into high Klow average?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That might be his ceiling, but that's a bit much to expect for me. Based on his career, I think .250.330.450 might be a more reasonable guess, and he's certainly not ready to do that in the majors next year. I still like Shoppach, but the plan to have him ready when Jason Varitek became a free agent obviously didn't come to fruition.

 Q:  Ted from NSBB.com asks:
Jim, Where in the top 10 would you have slotted Matt Murton if he were still in the Sox system? Thanks...
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably at No. 5, behind RHP Jon Papelbon and LHP Jon Lester (who ranked ahead of Murton on our Florida State League list) and ahead of RHP Anibal Sanchez.

 Q:  Chris from New Haven, CT asks:
Jon Papelbon was ranked high on the Sox's list despite being a bit on the old side for the FSL this year. Is he considered to have more upside than most 23 year old righties because of his limited pitching experience or do the other Sox's pitching prospects just not project out very well, despite their younger ages?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He was 23 (because he signed in 2003 as a redshirt junior after four years in college), but he also did very well in high Class A in his first full pro season, so I think that mitigates his age. His ranking is based on him showing three plus pitches in the second half of the season, and not a lack of projection on the part of guys like Lester, Sanchez, Delcarmen and Rozier, all of whom have high ceilings.

 Q:  Tim B. from South Waverly, Pa. asks:
Just a few years ago, the Sox farm system was a laughingstock. Now, it appears to be rapidly moving up the ladder, especially with an abundance of young arms. With that said, if Varitek signs a long-term deal, what type of appeal does Shoppach have in trade value to GMs around MLB.
 A: 

Jim Callis: We won't do organization rankings until January and I'm not ready to necessarily put the Red Sox in the upper half of the farm systems, but they have made progress. If they need to make deals next season, they'll have some attractive commodities (significantly more than that other big-spending club in the AL East). Shoppach would have some trade value, but he's not a slam-dunk big league regular coming off the year he just had, so he wouldn't be the centerpiece of a major deal.

 Q:  Jesse Mills from Rhode Island asks:
How good is Willy Mota, he hit .295 and slugged .457 this year in the Gulf Coast, he also is the highest ranked outfield arm in your list, is this guy a true prospect?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, he's legitimate. He'll make the Top 30 but won't be super-high because he's very raw, but he has one of the best packages of tools in the system. Great arm, very good center-field potential, raw power and strength, still figuring it out.

 Q:  Eric from Los Angeles asks:
In a July editon of Ask BA Seattle, Los Angeles, and Anaheim were ranked as the organizations with the best depth at SS. Does Boston now enter into the conversation with these other organizations?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, with the four shortstops I've mentioned (Ramirez, Pedroia, Soto, Lara) and sleeper Kenny Perez, they'd have to be included in that group.

 Q:  Steve from Chestnut Hill, MA asks:
Hi Jim, can you comment on how Mickey Hall is progressing? He seemed to have a solid second half after a slow start but is still one of the better OF prospects in the sytem.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Steve, you just synopsized Hall very well. All of what you said is true, and he's advanced hitter for his age. A .769 OPS in low A as a 19-year-old in his first full season is a solid year. He's one of the better athletes and has one of the best swings in the organization.

 Q:  Joe from da Bronx asks:
Shoppach or Navarro? Manuel took Shopp, but unless Dioner can't catch, I don't see how you can take the guy who is 4 years older and batted .233, punching out 138 times in less than 400 AB's.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't think it's a one-sided argument, but I'd take Shoppach too. He has shown more power than Navarro, who, really, has had one good minor league season. Shoppach has a better work ethic and I'd give him the edge defensively as well.

 Q:  Dan from Massachusetts asks:
Is Jeremy West the real deal? Is he going to hit 20 homers in the majors or was his power and average in the FSL just a fluke this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Not sure by the exact meaning of "real deal." Is he a future all-star? Probably not. A legit prospect with a chance to be a big league regular? Yes. He started 2004 fast and cooled off in the second half, but he does have the potential to hit 20-plus homers. I wouldn't project him to match his .293 average in the FSL in the majors, however.

 Q:  Bob from Winthrop asks:
Thanks for the chat. Does Brandon Moss after one great year deserve to be ranked higher than Mickey Hall and David Murphy?
 A: 

Jim Callis: You know my answer is "yes," because I put Moss at No. 2 on this list. He could be a solid right fielder who hits .300 with 20-25 homers per year. Hall and Murphy haven't proven they have that kind of bat yet.

 Q:  Mike Koblish from Exton, PA asks:
In both the comments for Papelbon and Alvarez you alluded to specific weaknesses against platoon hitters (RHH for Alvarez and LHH for Papelbon). Do those potential problems generally get picked up from a scouting perspective or a performance perspective (ie access to minor league platoon splits that are hard to come by for outsiders)? Is the basic solution to the problem simply to find consistency with 2nd and 3rd pitches?
 A: 

Jim Callis: You're right on the basic solution, to come up with better secondary stuff. In most cases a changeup will do. Those potential problems can be picked up either way. A team like the Red Sox, which believes heavily in both performance and tools, probably won't miss that too often. But the typical scout also is going to notice how pitchers do in platoon matchups.

 Q:  amfox1 from NYC asks:
21YO Luis Mendoza seems like an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Last year, you said "Mendoza's lack of strikeouts are puzzling but he also didn't give up many hits last year and a lot of opposing teams like him. He'll be in my 11-15 range, and I bet if he doesn't pick up his K rate next year, he's used in a trade." He walked more than he struck out (5451) in 137 innings. What's your view of Mendoza now?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Extremely disappointed. He won't make my Top 30. He still has good velocity (up to 94-95) but no breaking ball. He may have to scrap his curveball for a slider, because the curve just isn't getting it done.

 Q:  Jamo Pytlak from Chandler, AZ asks:
Is Hanley Ramirez a better shortstop prospect than either Aaron Hill or Joel Guzman?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes on both. I like Aaron Hill, but Hill isn't in Ramirez' class. Guzman is but he likely isn't going to stay at shortstop. So if I needed a shortstop and had to pick from those three, Ramirez would be an easy choice.

 Q:  cohiba1492 from Boston, MA asks:
Assuming Boston lose out on Pedro and Lowe, sign a FA starter and force to put Kim in the rotation (again assuming), who do you see as a long manspot starter coming in from the farm? If they subscribe to the Earl Weaver way of breaking in young pitchers, should Dinardo and Abe Alvarez get the first shot? What do you think of Lenny Dinardo by the way? Thanks in advance.
 A: 

Jim Callis: That's a lot of assumptions. I don't think they'd be forced to put Kim in the rotation. I can't see them counting on him to be anything more than a possibility. If they lose Martinez and Lowe, they'll probably sign two free-agent pitchers. As I mentioned earlier, this isn't a rebuilding club. This is a club with a chance to win it all again in 2005. I don't think they'd call up a guy from the system and put him in the rotation unless he improved by leaps and bounds next year. Alvarez is the most advanced pitching prospect, but he probably needs a full year in Triple-A. I think it's too much to ask Papelbon to jump from high A in 2004 to the majors in 2005. DiNardo doesn't have the stuff to start in the majors. He'd get killed. He has a good cut fastball, but he'll probably never be more than a second or third lefty in a big league bullpen.

 Q:  Bob from Winthrop asks:
Is Steve Pearce a draft-and follow? And is first base the sox weakest position in the system. Does Logan Sorensom have enough upside to make waves. Thank you for addresing these questions.
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Red Sox lost negotiating rights to Pearce when he returned to South Carolina. Second base is probably the weakest position in the system, though you have to figure some of their shortstop prospects (especially Pedroia and Perez) will wind up there. Sorensen is worth watching, as he can hit for average and play defense, but he's not a blue-chip prospect by any means. We just talked about West, and Stefan Bailie had a good 2004. Another first baseman, Carlos Torres, tied for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League lead in homers.

Moderator: We still have 110 questions (and counting) in the queue, so we'll have to switch to lightning round! Go!

 Q:  Chris from New Haven asks:
Kyle Bono was given a bonus roughly commensurate with having been a 3rd round pick. How does he compare to Dobies and Hottovy who the Sox took in the 3rd and 4th rounds (besides for being right handed and throwing a bit harder)? In limited exposure he seemed to have solid peripherals, though not as good as the two lefties.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Bono throws harder, but the two lefties have better breaking balls and changeups. All three may well be relievers in the long term.

 Q:  Dan from Massachusetts asks:
Does Beau Vaughn still project as a No. 3 starter in the majors even with his arm problems this year? And by how much did he miss the Top 10 List? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: That would be his ceiling. Still has a good arm, needs to learn how to pitchthrow strikes better. He's in the 20-25 range.

 Q:  Pete O from Chestnut Hill, MA asks:
Jim, Now that the Sox have that 86-year-old monkey off their collective back, will we really see Theo and Co. develop that $100M player development machine?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think they'd like to, but it's hard to see how they're going to cut their payroll back to $100 million when it was at $130 million. The farm system has improved in the last couple of years, so that's at least a first step.

 Q:  amfox1 from NYC asks:
Any relief prospects of note (other than your note on Delcarmen's possible future as a reliever)?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Besides the Delcarmen and the three 2004 draftees (Dobies, Hottovy, Bono) I just mentioned, others would include Cla Meredith and Anastacio Martinez. Also wouldn't surprise me if Vaughan winds up in the bullpen.

 Q:  Frank from Boston asks:
What is the physical status of Billy Simon? Do the Sox still feel that he has a chance to recover and be a viable pitching prospect again?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Simon recovered from his neck problem only to blow out his elbow and need Tommy John surgery. It's hard to bank on him at this point.

 Q:  Max from Toronto, Ontario asks:
What's Hanley Ramirez's upside, and how does he compare with Texas' Ian Kinsler? I have both and need to make a decision on who to keep.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Ramirez' upside is much higher than Kinsler's. Each one of his tools grades better than Kinsler's. That's easy.

 Q:  Ryan from Quincy, MA asks:
Does Brandon Moss have a chance at begining the year with Portland?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That would be pushing it. I could see him in Double-A in the second half, however.

 Q:  Chad from Kennewick, WA asks:
Gary Galvez didn't put up great numbers at Low Class A. Was that because he was still pitching backword as he did in DSL or was he trying to get get used to the american way of life.
 A: 

Jim Callis: A little of all of that. He tends to nibble and doesn't have great pitch selection, plus he was getting acclimated to the United States. He's still a prospect, down in the 21-30 range on the list.

 Q:  Steve from NYC asks:
Could you reconcile the Mike Rozier evaluations. The Sox obviously love the kid, having signed him to a record contract and floating news of his impressive Instructional League debut. Given that other teams and BA had him pegged for rounds 3-5, and that he doesn't fit the Sox's "no high school pitcher" profile, what is it that made the Sox tab him as the exception to the rule.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Those evaluations won't be reconciled until we see how Rozier does as a pro. One thing in Boston's favor, however, is the track record of their area scout in Georgia, Rob English. He also signed Brandon Moss and Matt Murton, among others.

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
Will Theo Epstein now to be tempted to trade away prospects for established players if they lose Pedro, Varitek, Lowe or will they still be committed to developing their improved farm system?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Sure, and wouldn't he have to be? I'm sure Epstein would love to have an improved farm system, but I'm also sure winning in the big leagues takes priority.

 Q:  Joe Hackett from Nantucket asks:
Juan Cedeno was 9th on this list last year and pitched at high A as a 20-year old, not as well as Papelbon, but he's almost 4 years younger than Pap. What caused him to fall out of the Top 10 and where is he now?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Cedeno still has a great arm, throwing 92-96 mph from the left side, but his secondary pitches lag behind his fastball and as a result he just doesn't miss bats. My guess is that he becomes trade bait.

 Q:  Chad from Kennewick, WA asks:
What is the ceiling for Cla Merideth? He advanced to High Class A after being drafted so could he close or his he just a set-up man.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably a setup man. His 87-90 mph sinker is his best pitch, and his slider can be average.

 Q:  Petey Pablo from Durham asks:
Questions about a pair of guys that may be on the periphery of the top 30: Chris Durbin and Adam Blackley. Does Durbin's bat project well enough that he might be more than a AAA guydefensive replacement? Also, how would you compare young Adam's development to his brother Travis? Thanks!
 A: 

Jim Callis: On Durbin, he looks like an extra outfielder at best. Blackley had a nice year in low A, but he throws 83-86 mph and is a less physical (more chunky) version of Travis, who isn't real physical to begin with.

 Q:  Cliff from San Diego asks:
What happened to Chad Spann last year? He looked like a batting champ in 2003.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Never got going before he tore a ligament in his left knee, have to write off 2004 as a mulligan and see how he does next year.

 Q:  Paul M from UMASS Amherst asks:
Do you think that the Red Sox could sign Kendri Morales and put him back to his original position of catcher and let Variteck go.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Not a chance. I highly doubt Morales can catch, and trying to find out in the majors could be a disaster.

 Q:  Harry from Boston, MA asks:
What happened to knuckle-baller Charlie Zink? He seemed to implode mid-year, being demoted to single-A and even struggling there. I realize it's difficult to work with a knuckleballer when his mechanics falter, but is there any news on him and will he make the top 30?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He couldn't repeat his delivery, which made it hard to throw his knuckleball for strikes with any consistency. The Red Sox expected his development to be up and down, and they still have hope for him. He won't make the Top 30.

 Q:  Eric Van from SoSh, Mass. asks:
Ooh, Lara, whose Rookie numbers were Hanley-esque -- give us the quick lowdown. And what happened to Spann? Finally, what's it like to project a guy like Hall, whose numbers were underwhelming until you look at how young he was for the league?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Quick lowdown on Lara: Chance to be a very good defender with his range, arm and athleticism; plus runner with good instincts; idea of strike zone but needs to get stronger to hit. Just addressed Spann. Hall, you summed it up: his average (.246) wasn't special, but he showed some pop, drew some walks and was one of the youngest regulars in the league. Could make a Brandon Moss-like jump in 2005.

 Q:  Joe from Cumming, GA. asks:
What is up with Scott White the third round pick out of Walton High School. Is he in the mix at third or first ? He had a solid first full season in the Sally League.
 A: 

Jim Callis: White hit .281.333.399 in low A. The Sox may make him a full-time catcher in 2005, which would help his chances. Initial reports on him behind the plate are good.

 Q:  Mike from Medfield asks:
What player is the most coveted by other teams, excluding Ramirez?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably Lester, who would have gone to the Rangers if the Alex Rodriguez trade had been pulled off.

 Q:  PGM from BTF asks:
Can you address rumors that Moss is a (gasp) tweener?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't see it. He was 20 all season, and he's a gifted lefthanded hitter who had 49 extra-base hits. He has enough offense to play on the corner. Trot Nixon never had a season like that in the lower minors, and his power developed.

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
Is Alberto Concepcion a prospect at catcher, or just filler?
 A: 

Jim Callis: In between? He's not a very good receiver and thus not a big league regular catcher, but maybe he could be one of those backup C-1B types.

 Q:  Ron from South Bend, IN asks:
Would Tyler Pelland be in the top 10 if he was still in the organization?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He probably would have just missed, but he'd be in the 11-15 mix.

 Q:  Nate from Portland, ME asks:
What's your take on Jerome Gamble? I watched him pitch here in Portland this year and he looked pretty good, but sometimes his fastball seemed a little straight. I thought he was well ranked in the past, but seems to have fallen off.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Strong arm, never been able to stay healthy and thus never been able to refine his other pitches. Probably has to go to the bullpen at some point soon.

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
I know you mentioned that Dobies vs Hottovy is pretty close, but Tommy gets the nod because of his curveball, but how do these guys stack up to Alverez stuff wise? Do they have the same cieling?
 A: 

Jim Callis: They're all very similar. None of them has a plus fastball, they all have to rely on their secondary pitches and command to succeed.

 Q:  Kyle Jackson from NH asks:
What's up wme? Good K's and control, but lots of HR's and out of a bad rotation halfway through the year in Augusta? What's in my future?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Jackson pitched better than his SAL-leading 13 losses would indicate. Chance to have two plus pitches, still developing physically.

 Q:  NDBoston from redsox asks:
Do you still hear question marks regarding Hanley Ramirez's work ethic and attitude?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Not in 2004. No incidents this year, seems to have done some growing up, which greatly pleases the Red Sox.

 Q:  Tillman Bennett from Clayton, North Carolina asks:
I know you think Hanley Ramirez is good but do you see him as a future MLB All-Star?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes.

 Q:  Mike from Boston asks:
As high as you are on Hanley Ramirez and as much as the Sox developmental folks may talk up Ramirez, he's a fairly swing-happy hitter. Any chance that's a red flag for the Sox front office, or will they more likely view him as a Miguel Tejada type who has value even if he's not the most patient guy on the planet?
 A: 

Jim Callis: While the Red Sox preach patience at the plate, they also realize that not every player is cut from the same mold. Even if he doesn't walk 80 times a year, he can be a star, and the Red Sox understand this.

 Q:  BANDPOFIT from SOXPROSPECTS.COM asks:
NOW THE THAT SOX FINALLY WON IT ALL, WILL THE RUMORS OF LESTER BEING PART OF TRADES GO AWAY? WILL ROZIER BE BETTER?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think the trade rumors will persist. Lester is one of their most prized commodities, and if the Red Sox can make a deal to improve their club, I'd suspect they'd part with him. Rozier is very similar, could be better but has yet to prove himself in high Class A as Lester has.

 Q:  Jason from Canada asks:
RJ Swindle is a soft tosser. However he did put up some very good numbers in A. Is he a legitimate prospect?
 A: 

Jim Callis: More one of those guys who'll have to keep proving himself. Throws a 79-83 mph fastball and two curveballs, including a frustrating 58-61 mph version that can tie up hitters. He's very deceptive.

 Q:  Ron from NH asks:
What will the sox be looking for in next year's draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll go out on a limb and guess: college hitters and pitchers.

 Q:  Bob from Rhode Island asks:
Will any Sox prospects other then Ramirez make your top 100?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I won't do my Top 100 list to bring to the table for BA's Top 100 discussion until January, but I suspect Moss and Papelbon will make my list as well. Do other BA staffers share my faith? We'll have to see.

Moderator: That's it for today. Jim says thanks for all the great questions, and he could talk Red Sox well into the evening--if Ask BA, the Prospect Handbook and his four kids (not necessarily in that order) weren't calling.

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