Opening Day Chat
To celebrate Opening Day for the minors and
most major league teams, we'll answer your questions beginning at 12
p.m. ET. Ask us your prospect, team assignment, major league or any
other baseball-related questions.
I'll get us started for Opening Day. Hope everybody's ready and headed to a minor league or major league game tonight!
Robert (Orange County): Who do you believe is the better defensive CF: Trout or Bourjos?
Actually a tough call, but I think the
fact the Angels left Bourjos in center and moved Trout to a corner
during his initial promotion last summer indicates the Angels' belief.
I'd take Bourjos as well, and not just because he's of Greek descent.
Until they actually race, I'm not sure we know who's faster; Trout seems
more explosive, which plays on the bases, while Bourjos' easy gliding
running style seems to play better in the outfield. Bourjos' instincts
and arm strength are also slight edges, so I'd give it to Panagiotis.
(Yes, that's Greek for Peter.)
craig (new york): Thanks for the chat! Here is my Reds question:
Where is Juan Duran? I looked at all the rosters for the Reds farm teams and couldn't find him.
He did not make an Opening Day roster; a
hamstring problem this spring has him back in extended spring training.
Obviously he made some real progress last year offensively in terms of
getting to his power; it's not easy to hit 16 homers and slug .463 in
the Midwest League, and his raw power can be breathtaking. Otherwise,
though, it sounds like Duran had some real issues last year. His
defense, instincts and makeup are not those of a future major leaguer.
He's got time to grow up but it would be better to start sooner than
later. And of course it's not a good thing to strike out in one-third of
your at-bats as he did. It wouldn't shock me if he went back to Dayton
once his hammy is right.
Robert (Orange County): Any information on Oakland 3B prospect Chad Lewis?
He is headed to low Class A for his
full-season debut. Much was expected of Lewis as an amateur, and he
hasn't lived up to it as a pro, with serious issues making contact.
Pitch recognition, especially on breaking balls, has been the culprit so
far. This will be an interesting year for him, because he has the size
and athletic ability to profile well at third.
APBA Kevin (Sacramento, ca): Who do you like better long term: Altuve, Kipnis, or Ackley
Sorry but Altuve belongs nowhere near that
discussion. I'll give Ackley a slight edge over Kipnis, though that is
close as well. Ackley's pure hitting ability is superior to Kipnis', and
Ackley uses his hands so well in his swing. I like his power starting
to emerge as well. Neither will win a Gold Glove but reports this spring
on Ackley's defensive improvement appear to be more on the encouraging
side. I'm still unconvinced that Altuve will be a first-division
regular. I've talked to scouts on both side of the Altuve debate; even
the guys that like him don't think he'll be a star, and both Ackley and
Kipnis have future All-Star ability.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Mr. Manuel, thank you
for the chat today. Not really an opening day question, but you're the
GM of the Astros (my apologies): who are you eying at #1 right now?
Howdy Joe ... thanks for coming. My short
list for No. 1 overall actually would be pretty long. From the college
side, Mark Appel, Kyle Zimmer, Michael Wacha and Mike Zunino top my list
of No. 1 overall candidates. But I think prep OF Bryan Buxton would be
the guy I'm bearing down on the most. I think he has the highest ceiling
in the draft class; we're starting to her that's the consensus view in
the industry. Lucas Giolitto would be in that mix as well; I'd obviously
monitor his health and a possible return closely. The other factor has
to be signability; I would not want to spend my bonus allotment for that
pick all in one place. I'd take the player I want who would sign for
somewhere under the $7.2 million and spread some of that money around
elsewhere. No one this year strikes me as a $7.2 million player frankly.
APBA kevin (Sacramento, ca): What do you think about the chances of salvador Perez nd Michael Pineda achieving stardom?
Still a Pineda believer despite his
up-and-down spring. Perez, I'd like to wait on the injury and see how he
returns. I never thought of him as a future "star," but pre-injury, he
profiled as a solid-average regular behind the plate, which is a
significant value and difficult to find.
Bill (Bozeman, MT): Happy Opening Day! It's
snowing here, but there's sunshine in my heart. Who do you think is the
first college position player drafted this June? Also, who are your
eight picks for Omaha right now?
Howdy Bill, always good to hear from you.
First college player picked ... I'm leaning toward our Midseason MOP,
Mike Zunino. We got a Jason Varitek comp on him the other day that went
down well; obviously he's not a switch-hitter but it tells you what
scouts think of his intangibles as well as his tools. He's one of the
surest bets in the draft, if not the surest bet.
Eight for Omaha ... Florida, Stanford, Florida State, UCLA, North
Carolina, Arkansas are six that I remain confident in, even after the
Hogs' series sweep at the hands of LSU. I think this is not the year for
Cinderella, so I'll go with LSU and Texas A&M as my other picks.
Not sure I'm ready to put Kentucky on that list just yet, or
Mississippi, or Arizona, which lost last night to Utah Valley.
Harry (Colorado): Whose roster will Tim Wheeler be on to start the season?
Looks like he's headed to Triple-A
Colorado Springs. He's been all over the map as a prospect�speed guy in
college, some five-tool expectations unfulfilled in his first season,
then trading strikeouts for power last year. Will the real Tim Wheeler
Steve (Canada): Both Sam Dyson and John Stilson
are on the Dunedin Blue Jays Roster. Stilson is scheduled to start
tonight. Is there been any reports on how they are doing, performance
and health wise.
It's a strong sign of the Jays' faith in
both players, considering their injury histories. Stilson wound up not
needing labrum surgery last year, just rehab. I'm sure the Jays will
monitor his health very closely. I like him as a future bullpen guy;
there have been plenty of good MLB closers with plus-plus changeups, and
that could be Stilson down the line. His change is a difference-maker.
I'm not as high on Dyson as his medical chart is more extensive; he's
coming off Tommy John and had a shoulder issue at South Carolina. It's
encouraging though that he's starting at Dunedin.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Pedro Alvarez: time to give up on him, or is this the year he breaks through a bit?
I wouldn't give up but I wouldn't vote for
Pedro for my fantasy team either, especially for this season. J.J. just
talked to a scout this week who was incredibly unimpressed with his
body and his swing this spring. It's not encouraging. I don't think this
will be his breakthrough season.
Doug (Connecticut): Zero or Non-Zero chance
Sano could slug his way to New Britain by year end? I know the Twins are
being pretty conservative with him.
Zero chance. He'll be lucky to earn a
promotion to Fort Myers. The Twins are parsimonious with their in-season
promotions. If you're lucky, you'll see him in Connecticut next season;
more likely you're looking at 2014. You finally get Aaron Hicks this
year though! Enjoy.
Bill (Bozeman, MT): Mike Montgomery hasn't been really effective for about a season-and-a-half...what gives?
That's the big question with him, Bill.
I'd say the short answer is inconsistency with his breaking ball and the
caliber of Triple-A competition, especially hitters, he faced last
year. I am with J.J. Cooper in having faith in Montgomery's athleticism,
mean streak and fastball and changeup, and think he'll figure it out.
Tim (FLA): Are Jose Iglesias and Jose Vincio
similar prospectsin terms of ability, ceiling, etc (obviously Iglesias
is much much closer to the bigs)
Quite similar in terms of their profile as
defense-first shortstops, but certainly not identical. Vinicio at
present is not as polished defensively but that certainly makes sense.
He probably has a bit higher offensive upside, but it's easy to say that
because he hasn't failed yet. He runs better; that should be a part of
his game that Iglesias will not have. Iglesias is the better defender
and obviously four or so levels higher in the system.
Bryan (MA): Why are the Sox going with Aceves
over Melancon for the closer role? Could they be doing it to placate
Aceves because he wasn't given a spot in the rotation?
You're asking me to crawl inside Bobby Valentine's mind. I would rather not do that.
Brian (WA): Has Jack Z set the Mariners up to
succeed in the near future and long future with his focus on player
development and drafting? Without the emergence of Paxton and Walker, I
don't think Mariners are able to trade for Montero.
I see that point on the trade, though I've
never quite thought about it that way. I think they traded for Montero
because they were looking for the rare power hitter who could thrive in
that ballpark, a complement to Dustin Ackley for the long-term, and
those are hard to find. They gave up talent to get talent. The Double-A
Jackson roster has most of the talent in the Mariners' system. I think
Zduriencik has done a solid rebuilding job, one not without missteps but
one that for the most part has pointed Seattle in the right direction.
The problem is, it's the third-best big league roster in the division,
and while it's the second-best farm system, Texas is a talent colossus
that is not getting any worse at any level. I don't see the Rangers
falling back to the pack any time soon.
APBA Kevin (Sacramento, ca): There is a lot of talk about Lawrie's hitting. How is his defense?
It's going to be good enough. He's plenty
athletic. We had reports of his arm strength falling back some in 2010;
it appears he worked on it and it's playable at third base. There's all
that talk about his hitting for a good reason, though. He's about as fun
a young hitter to watch as there is in the game.
Roger (Washington DC): As a Giant's fan, I'm
incredibly excited by the upside of the Augusta pitching rotation
including Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Adalberto Mejia, and Chris
Marlowe. How do you think that group stacks up among the best A ball
It's a good one, especially formidable in
the bang-for-the-buck department. Mejia jumping to full-season ball from
the DSL will be fascinating to watch. That staff indicates a lot of
trust from the Giants and the Ninja, Dick Tidrow, in pitching coach Mike
Caldwell, who will handle that staff.
Matt (NJ): Phillies assigned 2011 11th Round
Pick Tyler Greene to full-season Lakewood to start the year. Is this
overly agressive or is he ready to make that jump after on 60 or so ABs
in rookie ball? What's his outlook?
Not a lot of other options in the lower
levels for the Phillies. Still seems aggressive considering Greene's
struggles last spring against high school competition, but he's an elite
athlete who was more talented than an 11th-round pedigree would
Pauly (Gainesville, GA): Jackson or Mobile - whose rotation impresses you more?
I keep going back and forth. Despite
Skaggs and Bauer in Mobile, the trio of Walker, Hultzen and Paxton gives
the slight edge to Jackson. They play May 17-21 in Jackson, then again
Aug. 19-23. I'm guessing our only chance of those aces matchup up is in
May ... get your tickets now!
OK, handing off the baton to J.J. Cooper. Thanks for the questions, keep 'em coming!
Roger (Greenville, SC): Are there any offensive SS prospects who project to remain there and could also breakout this year? Perhaps Marco Hernandez?
Hernandez has a chance to stick at SS, but
it's not a guarantee, but yeah, he has a very intriguing mix of
offensive potential and defensive tools. I'll throw out a guy at a
higher level: Arizona's Chris Owings. He's had some troubles with his
approach in the past, but the tools are very solid and he's showing
signs this spring that he's starting to look a little more skeptically
at pitches out of the zone.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Totally ridiculous
question, but it's a day of fun. Just booked reservations to be in
Durham/Cary for the Tournament of Stars in June, and the Glassey/Manuel
Backyard BBQ Pit recommendation was on point, so where to eat next?
Now that I'm handling the chat, I'll point
out that the Que Shack is better to me than the admittedly excellent
BBQ Pit. If you're a fan of Mexican food, try Chubby's in Durham as
Josh (Lake Charles, LA): Jonathan Singleton gave goals for this season of hitting .325 and 25 HR. Which one is more likely?
I'd say 25 home runs. Singleton can get on
runs where he piles up hits, but considering his speed, he'll have to
sting a lot of balls to hit .325. Going to the Texas League should help
him top his career high of 14 home runs in a season.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): Do the Dodgers have any impact bats in the minors? Anyone with starter potential, possibly even potentail future all star?
You're right in asking because there
aren't many. If it all breaks right, Alfredo Silverio could be a solid
regular, but he also could just as easily end up as a fourth outfielder
who fills that role because he can play all three outfield positions.
Joc Pederson has athleticism to go with a grinder approach. If it all
works for him he also could be a solid regular. Beyond that the Dodgers
have a whole lot of position players who are a little too limited
athletically to project as potential stars.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): Can Brandon Crawford hit enough to hold down the SS job for th Giants?
Long-term, I'm pretty skeptical.
Bill (Bozeman, MT): When the Royals look back
on the 2012 season, other than standings-related accomplishments what
are the 2-3 things that would make it most successful for that
The main thing for the Royals is to figure
out who they can count on for 2013 and beyond and who needs to be
jettisoned to make way for someone else. Kansas City is going to need to
make some trades and maybe a signing or two to fill in some holes if
it's going to contend in 2013 and beyond, but right now, it's hard to
say which positions will be the holes. Will it be 2B? or is it CF? And
in the minors, which of the next wave of prospects are untouchables and
which guys can be moved to fix some holes at the major league level.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Why do you think the Orioles
assigned Bundy to Delmarva? Are they just being cautious, or is there
some other underlying reasoning?
It's pretty normal for a first-round high
school pitcher to go to low Class A to start out. In fact, a lot of
those guys don't open the season in full season ball. Yes, Bundy is very
advanced for his age, but dominating for 10 starts or more in Delmarva
isn't going to slow down his development. Don't read anything negative
into the assignment, as the reports from spring training are universally
Josh (Lake Charles, LA): What kind of player do
you see Buxton becoming? How does he compare to other ultra-toolsy
players of recent drafts, like Starling or Trout?
Have heard a couple of scouts lately say
they may like Buxton a little more than Starling, but they are pretty
similar tools-wise. Very few scouts had Trout at that same level coming
out of high school, so it's hard to compare where Buxton is now to where
Trout was at the time without applying some 20-20 hindsight.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Thanks for the chat.
The roster analysys has a "most loaded" team for each organization. How
about an overall most loaded minor league affiliate? Top candidates?
Why thanks for asking. We've done just
such a ranking and just posted our Top 10.
Mick (Cali): What kind of power do you see in the majors for Myers, Gose and Rendon?
Ranking them as far as future in-game
power (not raw) I'd saw Myers, Rendon, Gose. Myers puts on some shows in
BP already, now he just needs to turn on more inside pitches during
Doug (Connecticut): Hey John, thanks for the
all day chat.
I was surprised (as Nathan was) that Norris did not start in Lansing to
form the (arguably) best rotation in the low minors. Do you see him
ending up there at the end of the year as Justin and Noah did last year?
And could you see Sanchez, Syndergaard and Nicolino ending the year in
Pinch-hitting for John on this answer, but
I'd expect to see him there eventually. Even with a very warm spring,
teams are often reluctant to send young arms to the Midwest League in
Petey Pablo (Carrboro): It's worth noting that
the Q-Shack is closer to Texas style than NC style BBQ and that, if you
do go, head the "the original" location, not the franchises.
Otherwise, that and Chubby's are both real nice fast food.
Oh, a question: I was a bit surprised that James Paxton is beginning the
year in Jackson - was it because of struggles in ST or a desire to get
him more AA innings. Thanks!
I'm a Georgia native, so yeah, I prefer my
bbq sauce to look red rather than clear—if you want the true N.C. bbq
experience I would agree the Pit is more what you're looking for. As far
as Paxton, that's where we projected him to go in the Prospect
Handbook. It's a little chilly in Tacoma early in the season, might as
well form a dream-team rotation instead.
Bill (Bozeman, MT): Of the Latin American
players in the organization younger than Cheslor Cuthbert, which Royals
prospect has the highest upside? Which is the safest bet to make it to
Elier Hernandez is my answer for both of
those questions. He's a long ways away but he has lots of upside and a
very mature approach that should make him less risky than many Latin
American teenage prospects.
jay johnson (new york): How are the cubs going
to handle, Baez, Volgebach, Maples and Dunston and Conception, do you
see them all going to Bosie or a few of them going to Low a from
extended? They spent alot of money on these guys, so they have to have
alot of expectations for these guys?
I've got to expect that we're going to see
a wave of those guys hitting Boise at some point in the first half of
the season. It's hard to believe that almost the entire draft class
would be placed on the "take it slow" track.
Navin (Pasadena, CA): Speaking of Marco Hernandez, how surprised are you that it's he and not Javier Baez starting the season at Peoria?
Quite surprised. I talked to Cubs officials a couple of weeks into spring training and didn't get the inkling that was coming.
Roger (Greenville, SC): What are the chances
that we see Bubba Starling, Brandon Nimmo, or Javier Baez make a late
debut in low A rather than waiting for rookie ball?
Quite good. Wouldn't be surprised to see all three of them make it to low Class A before June.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): Can both Deckers- Cody and Jaff- become regulars in the pros for SD?
Long odds on both of them making it. Still
think Jaff has a chance to be a regular, but even with him he has to
become more consistent. The average hasn't been nearly what you would
expect, although his patience has made him somewhat of an OBP machine.
Bill (Bozeman, MT): What would a good debut season from Bubba Starling look like?
Plenty of highlights and plenty of
0-for-4s with 3 Ks. He's rawer than your average elite high school
prospect, so there are going to be days he looks lost. But he's also
more athletic than almost anyone in the game, so he'll likely figure out
things pretty quickly and you'll see glimpses of why he could be great.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): David Huff- anything more than a 4/5 starter for the Indians?
That seems to peg him pretty well. I wouldn't expect more than that.
Roger (Greenville, SC): What position will
Eddie Rosario be playing in the regular season? It appears the milb.com
rosters have switched him from infield to outfield in the 24 hours.
Haven't heard anything of the Twins giving
up on playing him at 2B. More likely a roster glitch than anything
else, but can't say that with 100 percent certainty.
Well everyone, it's time to wrap this up.
Thanks for all the questions and enjoy the rest of Opening Day. Remember
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