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A's Prospects Chat with Kevin Goldstein

Moderator: Kevin Goldstein will begin taking your questoins at 3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. on the West Coast, and 8 p.m. in Reykjavik.

 Q:  notboring from remember me asks:
Omar Quintanilla: Utility guy?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Should we play that annoying "Let's Get It Started Song?" No, we should not, but let's get rolling. If Quintanilla ends up as a utility guy, I think that might be a dissapointment. More realistically he's a solid second baseman who hits for a high average without a ton of secondary stats.

 Q:  Al from Reykjavik asks:
Hi Kevin, thanks for answering our questions. I was somewhat surprised to see Huston Street ranked so low. Is it more a result of BA ranking position and starting pitching prospects over relief prospects, or are there serious concerns about Street's ability to pitch in the Big Leagues?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: First off, ranking a guy at 5 is anything but an insult. We don't have any sort of bias towards starting pitchers, but I do feel (and hope most would agree) that a good starting pitchers is more valueable than a good reliever. That said, Street is not perfect (though his makeup might be). He really just doesn't have classic closer stuff, and he has some troubles with lefties. That said, if anyone can prove naysayers wrong, it's Huston Street.

 Q:  don from concord asks:
What are your thoughts on Matt Allegra? How do the A's feel about him and his injury troubles last season?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: The A's really thought Allegra was on the verge of a breakout in '04, and all the injury did was delay their prediction for 12 months. They're still high on him, but he needs to stay healthy.

 Q:  robert from pittsburg asks:
how long until the A's move Marcus Mcbeth to the mound?..Has it even been considered?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I think this year is the make or break year for McBeth as a position player. Tons of tools, so little production.

 Q:  Dave from Toronto asks:
John Suomi had a breakout year this year at Modesto. Where was he on your radar screen and what do you see for him in the future?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Suomi has a tremendous year that came to an incredibly unfortunate end in the Cal League playoffs when he suffered an incredibly ugly knee injury in a home plate collision. One person relayed to me that it's the kind of injury one sees in a car accident, not a baseball game. He's most likely out for all of '05, which is a shame because he made tremendous strides offensively.

 Q:  Billy Beane from Oakland asks:
What's up with Cal State Fullerton using Jason Windsor too much? Or was there nothing much wrong with what the Titans did? Is Windsor going to be able to recover?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I'm guessing Billy Beane has FAR BETTER things to be doing than coming to the chat, so I'll assume you are his evil twin. I think the A's had a right to be concerned about his workload, and I think CSF had the right to use him as much as they did (how's that for walking the tightrope?). Windsor was fine, and was used out of the bullpen to limit his workload and he dominated (especially in the MWL playoffs with seven HITLESS innings). The A's think he'll move VERY quickly and could be in Double-A this year.

 Q:  robert from pittsburg asks:
How good can Ryan Webb be?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Very good, but he's very far from being good. The A's opened a lot of eyes when they drafted a projectibly high school righty in the 4th round. He doesn't throw especially hard and his breaking ball needs work, but he has an almost uncanny knack for throwing strikes which is rare for a long lanky teenage arm.

 Q:  Al from Boston asks:
Herrera at #2: is hethat good or is it a sign of the scarcity of high-ceiling prospects in the A's system?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: A little of both. Herrera is a special talent, and one could make an arguement for him being #1 based on ceiling alone. He has the potential to do it all and his full-season debut in 2005 is definitely one to watch.

 Q:  David from my desk asks:
Who is more likely to be the A's closer, Street or Garcia. And do you see this happening in 2005 or 2006?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: It's a tough question. I really went back and forth with those rankings. Street's a safer bet because of his track record and his accomplishments at higher levels. If you asked me who was more likely to pitch 500 MLB games, I'd easily take Street no contest, but if you asked me who is more like to have one 40-save season, I might give the slight edge to Garcia.

 Q:  Jack Gilmore from El Segundo, CA asks:
Danny Putnam was touted as being a terrific pure hitter. Would you say the A's are disappointed in his start professionally, and to what would you explain his hitting troubles after a fabulous Stanford career?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Putnam has a very solid playoff showing and the A's aren't concerned at all. He was out of gas, did have a little of a longer curve adjusting to wood bats, and had to adjust mentally to the offensive envioronment -- sometimes it's tough to adjust from being a .400 hitter in college to a 280-300 hitting in the pros.

 Q:  don from concord asks:
Where would Mike Rogers rank? A's have to think something of him after drafting him before both Suzuki and Windsor.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Rogers fell just outside the top 30. He was a little dissapointing after being signed, but the A's think he was just tired. He'll get a fresh start in '05.

 Q:  don from concord asks:
Do the A's think Brad Sullivan will bounce back in 2005? Does he still have #2-#3 starter potential?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: The potential is still there, he's just farther from it. His season was obviously a dissapointment by any measurement -- his velocity was down, his slider didn't break like it did in college and he was maybe a little to hard on himself and got out of whack mechanically trying to find 'it'.

 Q:  Jose from Florence, Italy asks:
A lot of players that I've heard of through various news sources were misssing from the top 10 ie Ethier, Bazzell, and Baker. Does this mean the A's system a deeper than most? Is so then why are there so many newly drafted players on the list?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Ethier and Baker are both in the teens. Bazzell is now a Rangers after being picked up on waivers, which should tell you quite a bit about why he's not in this (or the Rangers) top 10.

 Q:  josh from Kane County asks:
How do you not have Brian Snyder in the top 10? I saw him play a lot this year and he can really hit. Great baserunner and can hit with a 3 and 2 count like nobody i have seen in a while.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Um, by ranking at least 10 guys ahead of him? Joking aside, Snyder is a wonderful natural hitter, but there are some problems. He put on a lot of weight DURING the season which created some makeup questions and have many thinking he's more cut out to be a first baseman, where the offensive expectations are far greater.

 Q:  Jeremy from Alameda asks:
Why did teams pass on Huston Street, he is pretty much a guaranteed major reliever?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Because he's a reliever and his velocity isn't overwhelming, which makes him a little unconventional as a closer.

 Q:  Dave from Fresno asks:
Dallas Braden was identified in the draft report card as a potential sleeper due to his increased velocity and quality breaking ball. Where do you see him starting next year and what kind of buzz has he generated from the A's?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He's generated a TON of buzz. He's made the Top 30 which is pretty amazing for 24th round pick who was NOT a draft and follow or someone who dropped because of bonus demands. That screwball is a real outpitch.

 Q:  Simon Boisvert from Montreal, Canada asks:
Aside from Blanton, do the A's have any other potential no. 1 or no. 2 starting pitchers in their farm system? Also, who do you think will be the best pro player, Danny Putnam or Richie Robnett?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well, I don't think anybody even sees Blanton as a 1 or a 2, he's more of a inning-eater type, more of a three. I think alot of A's are panicking about the eventual loss of the big three starters (and understandably so), but I'm not sure any org in baseball could fill three holes like that. As far as PutnamRobnett goes -- Robnett is ranked higher, so that answers that, no?

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
Hey Kevin, what's your opinion of Brad Knox? Where do you see him topping out? He pitched extremely well at Kane County this year, but, well, that's low-A ball. I saw that BA rated him with the best curveball in the organization...better than Rheinecker?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Knox is in the Top 30 -- and his ranking ends with the syllable -teen. The curve is wonderful, and pitchers who can throw secondary pitches for strikes often put up HUGE numbers in Low-A ball. He'll get a huge test in '05 as the A's are considering jumping him to '05. Rheinecker has been a dissapointment the last two years, which is bad news for a system that is pretty barren when it comes to lefties.

 Q:  ted from nyc asks:
If Sullivan doesn't work out as a starter, could he be a Lidge- like closer (likely with another organization)?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well, he doesn't have anywhere near Lidge's velocity -- so that's probably not a good comp. He's staying a starter for now.

 Q:  Jeremy from Alameda asks:
Who does Nick Swisher compare to in the major leagues?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I was trying to figure this out while writing the top 10, and never came up with anybody I was really comfortable with. Statistically, I think he's a .280 or so hitter with 20-30 HRs and 100 walks. Comp away.

 Q:  David from my desk asks:
If Swisher is a flop -- or, let's say, he doesn't become a consistent .280-25-90 guy -- is the "Moneyball" draft a flop? Teahen (now with KC) looks like he might become a Joe Randa clone, and Blanton may or may not become a solid back-end starter (his numbers plummeted in AAA, and that low K number is worrisome). Some of the other "stars" of that draft, like McCurdy, Brown, Komine, etc., look like career minor leaguers. I'm not suggesting the "Moneyball" concept is no good, but maybe this draft class isn't the best example?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I think Blanton will be a solid major leaguer, but I do believe that Swisher and Blanton will have to be the ones to carry the flag for that draft. I do think the '04 draft (which in many ways was Moneyball: The Sequel) will be a much better draft in the end.

 Q:  Biggie from Menlo Park asks:
Can you tell us anything about Alexi Ogando? Do his struggles in Vancouver signal the end of his status as a prospect?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: No, they do not. Several people in the A's front office still really light up when you talk about Ogando, with more than one describing him as "The kind of player you can dream about." The just love his tools -- and yes, people in the A's front office DO talk about tools.

 Q:  Roman from El Paso, TX asks:
How much did Omar Quintanilla's suspect defense at SS effect your ranking of him? Do you think that if he had played 2004 at 2nd (and cut down significantly on the errors) that his status would have risen? Or would it have dropped because 2nd base prospects aren't as valuable as SS prospects?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well, it effects his ranking because you need to consider his future value as a 2B as opposed to a SS -- and like you said, there's a difference there. I hate to call his defense 'suspect'. He's a very solid defender who makes all the plays he gets too and has great instincts -- he just lacks the range and arm for the position in the eyes of many.

 Q:  Mark from Boston asks:
What are your thoughts on Shane Komine?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: As anyone who gets my daily reports knows -- I love Hawaiian Punch Out. That said, he needed Tommy John sugery this year and won't return until the second half of 2005 at the earlist. I'll certainly be rooting for him.

 Q:  Marcos Rodriguez from Falcn, Venezuela asks:
What kind of player do you envision Javier Herrera wiil become and where will he start the 2005 season?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He'll start the year at Kane County, which will have a pretty interesting outfield with Ogando and possibly Robnett. He's a legitimate 5-tool player with star potential, but he's still far away.

 Q:  Jay from Madison asks:
Prediction for Joe Blanton this year?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: More time in the majors than the minors, and 80-120 solid innings.

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
What's your opinion on Connor Robertson? Yes, it was mostly in rookie ball, and he is old for that competition, but 49 strikeouts in 33 innings is impressive on any level.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Like you said, he was pitching against hitters 3-4 years younger, so the jury is still out on him. More of a strike thrower than a guy with overwhelming stuff.

 Q:  Adam Gawason from Coalinga, California asks:
Why does Richie Robnett rare so high? I saw him when he was at Fresno State and thought he was an excellent player, but not the uberprospect he has become. Please enlighten me!
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Robnett has a nice combination of tools and skills and a nice upside. He gives something for the statheads to love, and something for the scouts to love as well.

 Q:  Steve from Baltimore asks:
Here's a gamut of Dan Johnson questions for you. Does Oakland think he can handle LF and if so can he beat out Byrnes and Kielty for the position? If not, will he get a shot to displace Hatteberg or Durazo this spring? And what MLB hitters do you think he is most comparable to? (Is he similar to Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Ben Broussard? All or none of the above?)
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: LF -- not sure yet; displacing HattebergDurazo -- will come down more to a budget decision, but the A's think Johnson could be productive in a slot like that right now; MLB hitters comps -- never comfortable with those, but I kinda like the Millar one. Kinda.

 Q:  Bill Mitchell from Tempe, AZ asks:
Kevin, where does Andre Ethier sit on the A's list of prospects? Does he have the potential to be a starter in the big leagues? He's already got the plate discipline that the A's love so much. Thanks.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Our Arizona Photo King checks in. Ethier is in the top 20. His arm limits him to left field, so while he's proven he can hit for average and has solid on-base skills, he needs to up the power output this year at Midland.

 Q:  Adam Gawason from Coalinga, California asks:
I saw Jason Windsor as the most dominant pitcher at the CWS last year. Did the A's steal him at that draft location and how do you see him developing down the line? He seems less "polished" then other arms they have selected under Beane.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I would argue that he might be MORE polished. Windsor's ceiling isn't enormous, but the good news is that he's already close to it. He could be the first player after Street from the '04 draft to reach the majors, and could get challenged with an opening day assignment to Double-A.

 Q:  Lanny from Toronto asks:
With Jeremy Brown, Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell, its seems like there is a glut of catchers in the system. Can all of these players become everyday catchers in the bigs and which is most likely to do it for the A's?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in baseball who thinks Jeremy Brown will be a starting big league catcher at this point, but he may make it as a backup. The world of prospects is full of attrition, so nothing wrong with taking a pair of top flight catchers in the draft. Both project as starters in the bigs.

 Q:  Tom McCullough from York PA asks:
Kevin: They are bringing in the big guns on the organization reports now, eh? Are Matt Allegra (in 2004 23 years old and limited ABs at AA) and Matt Watson (26 and second year at AAA) organization soldiers or are they still prospects? Thanks.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Allegra I've touched on, but I was pleased to get a Watson question. Obviously Watson is not an elite prospect, but he had a solid season in '04 and the A's would feel comfortable entering '05 with Watson in the Billy McMillon role.

 Q:  Dave from Fresno asks:
Is ther any thought from the A's in making Garcia a starter in the future? I know he was very successful in the pen this year, but his mix of pitches would appear to be ideal to a rotation spot if his arm holds up.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: With Garcia finally having a healthy season, I don't think the A's want to do anything like that and triple his workload. He's a reliever.

 Q:  Rick from Bayonne NJ asks:
Joe Blanton or Rich Harden.. who do you think will be the better pro?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Blanton is a solid MLB pitcher, but Harden is a star.

 Q:  Stephen from Jax, FL asks:
Bigger upside Suzuki or Powell? And why?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Powell vs. Suzuki is an interesting question and a hard one. It's really a pick your poison kind of situation. Powell has more power in his bat, while Suzuki makes better contact and should hit for a higher average. Powell is a better catch and throw guy, while Suzuki is more agile behind the plate. The reason in the end that Suzuki is at 9 and Powell is not in the 10 (but he's at 11), is that Suzuki is two years younger, so there's more time to develop.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
Where will Mike Rouse end up playing at? A. Shortstop B. 2nd base C. Utility D. trade bait E. None of the above
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: C or D

 Q:  Dave from Fresno asks:
Brian Stavisky: Breakout year and interesting prospect or just a mature player dominating younger competition?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: More B. Scouts liked fellow Modesto slugger Jason Perry much more, seeing Stavisky as very mechanical with limited defensive skills.

 Q:  Tyler from SC asks:
Hello, what do you think of Kevin Melillo? Is he a solid infield prospect, or more of an organizational player?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: The A's think he's a bigtime sleeper in the system, and he easily made the top 30.

 Q:  Moneyball Reader from Does it matter? asks:
Where is Steve Stanley? As a former employee of the Delaware Cows of the GLSCL I want to know.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well, you have a 25 year old who certainly raked at Midland, but hit just .227 with a .629 ops in 74 games at AAA. He did not make the top 30.

 Q:  Derek from San Francisco asks:
I saw that the A's had a young pitcher named Jose Corchado who they were babying last year at Low-A Kane County. He seemed to be holding his own, striking out more than a batter per inning, but was moved to the bullpen in mid-season. Is he a sleeper prospect, or merely another young pitcher who can't stay healthy enough to take the mound every fifht or sixth day?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He's a sleeper with your caveat -- health. He throws 93-95 with at times a VERY plus breaking pitch. There are people in the A's front office who are VERY high on him.

 Q:  Steve from Davis, CA asks:
Initially I was a bit surprised to see Nick Swisher ahead of Dan Johnson. But in 2004, they had basically the same OBP and SLG. Swisher is both younger and better defensively. Is that the main reason Swisher ranks ahead of Johnson? Or do you (andor the A's) believe that Swisher has more untapped hitting potential still remaining?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: well, you touched on it with the positionage issues, but there is also a ceiling question. Swisher did what he did in '04 with a thumb injury, and as I wrote, the A's see his average at Sacramento as the lower end of what he's capable.

 Q:  Zachary from ElephantsinOakland asks:
Where do you see Shawn Kohn within the A's system?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: More of an org guy, despite his numbers -- no matter how funky your delivery is, it's hard to be a successfull major league righty when you throw in the low 80s

 Q:  Murray from Evanston, IL asks:
What happens to Ben Fritz; should he go back to catching?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Like Komine, Fritz had TJ surgery and is gone until at least mid '05

 Q:  Damian from Fremont, CA asks:
Where did Chris Tritle fall, and is there a ladder large enough to bring him back to the surface?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He's not in the top 30, and time is running out.

 Q:  ted from nyc asks:
Thanks for the chats. I first want to thank you for the way BA has blended stats into its scouting reports, and no, I don't think BA is oblivious to the work of SABR. Anyway, where do you think the A's minor-league system ranks?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well I want to thank you for realizing that we're not just the "tools police" and have a fine understanding of SABR-metric principles and their value. Going into last year, we ranked the A's 17th, and they've added a very good '04 draft class, so without thinking too much about it, they may have moved into the lower end of the top half.

 Q:  Mike from Raleigh, NC asks:
I see the A's added Jeremy Brown to the 40 man roster. Will he be a successful major leaguer despite BA's reservations about moneyball?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: The A's are convinced he'll have value in the majors as a backup, because of his on-base skills. He did put together a solid second half. Our reservations about Moneyball are overinflated -- our reservations about how some have perceived Moneyball may not be.

 Q:  Jonathan from Snowglobe, Maine asks:
McCurdy got a huge bonus in 2002 and thus far has been a disappointment. What's his upside at this point?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He's been a huge dissapointment, and many scouts have makeup issues with him. A little too much talking the talk and a far too little walking the walking in one insider's viewpoint.

 Q:  D. Cornell II from Madison, WI asks:
Nelson Cruz had a MONSTER 2004 SEASON. Were the Mets smart to trade him away? Do you see him in Oakland in the near future? What skills does he bring to the table?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: It's a pretty great story that the Mets needed a guy like Velandia and they just couldn't agree on the player to return. Cruz had just put together a gigantor season in the dominican, so they finally asked for him -- the rest is history.

 Q:  D. Cornell II from Madison, WI asks:
Will Gregorio Petit eventually push Bobby Crosby out of Oakland? Does he have a chance to be a special player?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He has a chance to be a special DEFENSIVE player, but the bat is still a question. He has plenty of time to turn that around.

 Q:  Adam Gawason from Somewhere over the Rainbow asks:
Does the influx of "Moneyball Men" as GMs across MLB bode well for the future of drafting college players almost exclusively? Would that not drive up the price of such prospects, which is the reason the A's focused on them in the first place?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: You win one burrito for a gold star question. As I'm sure you know, The A's took a high school player in the 4th round this year, which may indicate that the increasing number of team's going the all-college route is creating holes in the A's draft board quicker than in his in the past. That said, the A's are not NEARLY as dogmatic as people think they are. The philosophy is about finding market inefficiencies, not about drafting college players or focusing only on on-base percentage.

 Q:  Kerry from Oakland asks:
Freddie Bynum...infielderoutfielder, will he ever make the transition or is he a player stuck in the PCL for life?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He still needs some refinement, but he's become a bit of a test case in the A's system, who think he can be very valueable on a budget-effected roster in the mold of a Chone Figgins or Joe McEwing.

 Q:  Mike from Raleigh, NC asks:
If Mark Teahan were still an A, where would he slot in the top 10?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Probably 7th or 8th. I guess Rob and Rany will call me a moron now -- oh well.

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
Where are the A's considering starting Knox at in 2005? I think your previous Knox answer got jumbled up.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: They're thinking about jumping him to Double-A. They think he's ready for the big test.

 Q:  Austin from San Francisco asks:
What's the deal with Adam Morrissey? Is he destined to be a 4A player or can he make an impact in the big leagues?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: More likely a 4A guy, but he still has some youth on his side. He just can't find a position in the infield and doesn't hit enough to be an outfielder.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Georgia asks:
hey kevin, long time no talk. I don't see you online anymore. Anyway, to my question we go. Do the A's put Swisher in the outfield next year? Or do the pick up a stop gap (not named Jermaine Dye)?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I'm online all the time! Many can attest to this! Send me an email. Anyway, Swisher is all but set to start in the outfield for the A's in 2005, and is a solid candidate for rookie of the year honors.

 Q:  Nathan from Klamath Falls asks:
What about Trent Peterson and Matt Lynch?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: They both have an advantage in being lefties in a system with few of them. That said, neither has done enough yet to really stand out.

 Q:  John from Oakland asks:
I love watching Zito and Mulder pitch, but it seems they may be out of oakland in a couple years. are there any young lefties in the oakland system? Who has impressed?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Again, not a good system when it comes to lefties. The fall of Rheinecker has been especially dissapointing.

 Q:  chris from pittsburg, ca asks:
as far as lefties what about STEVE BONDURANT
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Bondurant has a killer change and throws strikes, but he just doesn't have enough fastball to project as more than a 2nd or 3rd lefty out of the bullpen.

 Q:  robert from pittsburg asks:
thoughts on Dustin Majewski?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: A wonderful defensive player who has yet to show enough with the bat.

 Q:  Herm from Rancho Cucamonga asks:
What's the scouting report on Chris Mabeus? Any chance he'll make the big league bullpen out of ST?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Mabeus has an intriguing arm, and could be a reliever in the big leagues if he can find an effective breaking ball. His fastball is already a plus pitch.

 Q:  Jon from My house asks:
Kind of a multiple aspect question... Given the A's lower budget than their AL West bretheren, and given the relative strenghts of each of those clubs farm systems and payroll, will the A's be able to be as competitive post Big-3 era?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: They will, but it will certainly be harder and it might take some patience. As I said before, I don't think any team could handle losing a 1-2-3 of that magnitude. The good news is that Billy Beane is a good trader and will probably get some value for at least one of them in the end, as opposed to just losing them.

 Q:  Lloyd from Brookyn asks:
What is Ryan Webb's ETA and pitches
 A: 

Moderator: We're running low on questions -- so get yours in now as we head towards the lightening round!

Kevin Goldstein: Webb's ETA is an unknown -- there is really no roadmap for developing a high school pitching in the Oakland system, and he's still very raw. Right now he's 87-89 with a slurvy breaking ball and a bit of a feel for a changeup. All that said, he's LOADED with projection.

 Q:  robert from ca asks:
can you give guesses on where these guys will start next season: suzuki, powell, robnett, putnam, melillo
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Suzuki - Kane County (Low A); Powell - Stockton (High A); Robnett - A ball team to be determined; Putnam and Melillo - Stockton

 Q:  James from Guthrie OK asks:
Hey Kevin. Where would Bill Murphy have rated on this list? Later Friend.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: In the low teens.

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
Can you discuss Jason Perry?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I can! Obviously, his Cal League performace was tremendous, after a flop at AA. There's something intriguing there, but his bat is going to have to be his ticket to the big leagues, and he needs to get moving and prove he can do it above A-ball. He's in the top 30.

 Q:  shawn from reno asks:
Are either Webb, Winsor, Knox top 10 material or bona fide major leaguers down the road. Or do we need to see more?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: All of them have the potention to be top 10 guy in next year's list. Of course chances are that not all three of them will do that.

 Q:  Mike from Raleigh NC asks:
Other than blanton, most projectible righty? Looking for a big three repacement.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: None of them will replace the big three, but I'd go Windsor and Knox with Webb as a VERY long term sleeper.

 Q:  Dave from fresno asks:
Where does Braden start the year?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Most likely Stockton. His MWL playoff performace (including a 15-K game) earned the jump.

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
What's your guess on the next minor league starting pitcher to crack the Oakland rotation on more than a John HalamaErik Hiljus-type fill-in basis?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Blanton, in 2005.

 Q:  Brian from C-ville asks:
Rheinicker has been a disappointment..does he have any type of future? Or lost?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Certianly not lost. He's inconsistent from day to day, even inning to inning. There are games where he looks like the Rheinecker of two years ago in the first and then gives up three runs in the second.

 Q:  Glenn from Orland Park asks:
Is Herrera someone you would define as a sexy powerspeed guy.
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Yes -- because he has power and speed and I just love the term "sexy powerspeed guy"

 Q:  Glenn from Orland Park asks:
Will your favorite player Brant Colamarino be drafted in the Rule 5?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Glenn, you should email me more. I doubt it, as it's hard to give a roster spot to a 1B. That said, he's definitely turned himself into a prospect. He came to spring training in the best shape of his lift and produced in Double-A.

 Q:  Austin from SF asks:
Position wise, where do you see Danny Putnam playing?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: LF at best, 1B at worst.

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
What do you think of Marc Gwyn?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Not in the top 30, but some like him. Low 90s with sink -- good slider, but good enough?

 Q:  James Din from San Francisco asks:
Come on! Blanton's a cop-out...how about the next NON-BLANTON pitcher to crack the Oakland rotation?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Come on! Gimme Windsor -- he may not have the highest ceiling, but he could shoot through the system.

 Q:  grover from sesame street asks:
Mark Kiger, Mike Rouse, Omar Quinatanilla all project as 2nd Basemen. Who are the top shortstops in the system?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Well, luckily the A's have Bobby Crosby, because there aren't a whole heck of a lot of them. The top pure shortstop in the system is probably young Gregorio Petit.

 Q:  Chevy from Modesto asks:
Any info on Luke Appert? Could he be anything othe than an organizational player? Lefthanded hitting 2BUtility guy with some pop? Thanks
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Utility guy at best. Had a nice year, but 24 year-old in the Midwest League should have nice years at the very minimum.

 Q:  Al from Boston asks:
Wow, this has been a pretty long chat... thanks for staying with us all this time. I'm wondering what Steve Obenchain was doing in the AFL. How do the A's view him now? As a starter? Relief? Where does he start the year?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: He found some success in the bullpen this year, and just doesn't have the stuff to project as more than a five, so his future might be in the pen.

 Q:  grover from still out cruising asks:
You keep talking about Windsor's ceiling. Do you consider him a 3rd4th starter or better?
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: Ceiling of a three. Which is NO insult.

 Q:  Bono Vox from Dublin, Ireland asks:
Kevin, what did you think of my last album? Thanks, and have a Guinness on me!
 A: 

Kevin Goldstein: I think it stinks, as have all of your band's releases since October you granstanding, self-indulgent fraud. Man, that was fun! Thanks for all the questions and sorry I couldn't get to all of them. The always snazzy dressing Alan Matthews checks in Thursday with the Angels. Good night everybody!

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