Ask BA

If you have a question, send it to askba@baseballamerica.com. Please include your full name and hometown if you'd like your letter to be considered for use in an upcoming column. Also, please understand that we can't respond to every question.





After a long, Prospect Handbook-induced hibernation, Ask BA returns to its every-Monday schedule. The book is at the printer, and if you ordered it directly from Baseball America, you should have it before the end of the month. You'll also receive a bonus supplement with an additional 30 scouting reports.

The 2010 draft order is moving closer to getting finalized. Four Type B free agents (Marlon Byrd, Mark DeRosa, Jason Marquis and Fernando Rodney) changed teams in the last two weeks, resulting in supplemental first-round choices detailed below, and a fifth (Justin Duchscherer) returned to his former club.

Jason Bay is on the verge of officially signing with the Mets (which would give the Red Sox a sandwich pick and New York's second-rounder) and Matt Holliday seems destined to return to the Cardinals, which would leave Jose Valverde as the only Type A free agent on the market. There isn't much demand for Valverde, so it's possible that we won't see any more first-round picks change hands. Type B free agents Rod Barajas, Adrian Beltre, Joel Pineiro and Brian Shouse also remain unsigned and could yield sandwich picks.

First-Round Picks
1. Nationals
2. Pirates
3. Orioles
4. Royals
5. Indians
6. Diamondbacks
7. Mets
8. Astros
9. Padres
10. Athletics
11. Blue Jays
12. Reds
13. White Sox
14. Brewers
15. Rangers (for failure to sign 2009 first-rounder Matt Purke)
16. Cubs
17. Rays
18. Angels (from Mariners for Chone Figgins, A)
19. Tigers
20. Red Sox (from Braves for Billy Wagner, A)
21. Twins
22. Rangers
23. Marlins
24. Giants
25. Cardinals
26. Rockies
27. Phillies
28. Dodgers
29. Angels (from Red Sox for John Lackey, A)
30. Angels
31. Rays (for failure to sign 2009 first-rounder LeVon Washington)
32. Yankees
Supplemental First-Round Picks
33. Blue Jays (Marco Scutaro, A, to Red Sox)
34. Braves (Mike Gonzalez, A, to Orioles)
35. Red Sox (Wagner)
36. Angels (Figgins)
37. Angels (Lackey)
38. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2009 sandwich-rounder James Paxton)
39. Rays (Gregg Zaun, B, to Brewers)
40. Tigers (Brandon Lyon, B, to Astros)
41. Rangers (Ivan Rodriguez, B, to Nationals)
42. Cardinals (Mark DeRosa, B, to Giants)
43. Rockies (Jason Marquis, B, to Nationals)
44. Tigers (Fernando Rodney, B, to Angels)
45. Rangers (Marlon Byrd, B, to Cubs)
Second-Round Changes
48. Braves (from Orioles for Gonzalez)
69. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2009 second-rounder Jake Eliopoulos)
74. Blue Jays (from Red Sox for Scutaro)
Third-Round Changes
79. Rays (for failure to sign 2009 second-rounder Kenny Diekroeger)
Supplemental Third-Round Picks
108. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2009 third-rounder Jake Barrett)
109. White Sox (for failure to sign 2009 third-rounder Bryan Morgado)
110. Angels (for failure to sign 2009 third-rounder Josh Spence)
Remaining Type A Compensation Free Agents
(listed in order of Elias ranking)
Matt Holliday, of, Cardinals
Jose Valverde, rhp, Astros
Jason Bay, of, Red Sox
Remaining Type B Compensation Free Agents
(listed in order of team's draft position)
Rod Barajas, c, Blue Jays
Brian Shouse, lhp, Rays
Adrian Beltre, 3b, Mariners
Joel Pineiro, rhp, Cardinals

    What would your starting lineup for an all-prospect team look like? I assume you'd have Buster Posey at catcher and Jason Heyward in the outfield, but who else takes the field for the Callis Nine? And could you take it to the next level and gives us your batting order, five-man starting rotation, set-up man and closer? That would be great for us prospect junkies!

    Rick Rogers
    Portland, Ore.

When I put together my personal Top 50 Prospects list for the Handbook, the hitters stood out to me more than the pitchers. Fifteen of my first 20 prospects were position players, and I couldn't find room for catcher Carlos Santana (Indians) or first basemen Justin Smoak (Rangers) or Logan Morrison (Marlins) in my lineup below. I took some liberties with some positions, deploying Dustin Ackley (Mariners) at first base, where he starred at North Carolina, and moving shortstop Starlin Castro (Cubs) to second base. Of the prospects who actually play second base, Brett Lawrie (Brewers) is the best. Here's my lineup:

Desmond Jennings, cf, Rays
Dustin Ackley, 1b, Mariners
Jason Heyward, lf, Braves
Jesus Montero, dh, Yankees
Mike Stanton, rf, Marlins
Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Pirates
Buster Posey, c, Giants
Starlin Castro, 2b, Cubs
Alcides Escobar, ss, Brewers

The Rangers plan on using Neftali Feliz as a starter, but he was so spectacular as a big league reliever last summer that he's the closer on my all-prospect team. In all likelihood, the best closer among the current crop of minor league prospects is currently working as a starter. My No. 5 starter, Casey Kelly (Red Sox), has yet to pitch above high Class A, but he has succeeded at a higher level than the next-best candidates, Tyler Matzek (Rockies), Jacob Turner (Tigers) and Martin Perez (Rangers). For the set-up man, I went with the best pitcher who projects in that role.

No. 1 starter: Stephen Strasburg, rhp, Nationals
No. 2 starter: Brian Matusz, lhp, Orioles
No. 3 starter: Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Giants
No. 4 starter: Kyle Drabek, rhp, Blue Jays
No. 5 starter: Casey Kelly, rhp, Red Sox
Set-up man: Zach Stewart, rhp, Blue Jays
Closer: Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers

Vizcaino would rank No. 3 on an updated Braves list, between first baseman Freddie Freeman and Teheran. Vizcaino is a rare Yankees prospect who hasn't been overhyped, mainly because he hasn't reached full-season ball yet. He dominated older hitters as an 18-year-old in the short-season New York-Penn League last summer, showing a 90-94 mph fastball and a nasty curveball. He can be a frontline starter if he can improve his changeup and command.

Teheran has a little more polish than Vizcaino, but his mechanics and durablility are more worrisome, so I give Vizcaino a slim edge. Delgado has similar velocity to Vizcaino, but his curveball and command aren't as good.

    Now that the decade has ended, it seems like everyone is doing lists to remember the 2000s. Could you share your all-bust team for the last 10 years?

    John Larson
    Baudette, Minn.

I'll give you not one but two all-bust teams. The first is players who ranked the highest on our annual Top 100 Prospects list and were huge disappointments, while the second is for players selected in each of the first 10 slots in the draft.

Top 100 Prospect All-Bust Team
Sean Burroughs, 3b, Padres (No. 4, 2002; No. 6, 2001; No. 7, 2000)
Reached the majors at age 21, but his power never developed.
Jesse Foppert, rhp, Giants (No. 5, 2003)
Blew out his elbow shortly afterward and was never the same.
Joel Guzman, ss, Dodgers (No. 5, 2005)
His bat went south after he went to the Rays in the 2006 Julio Lugo trade.
Ruben Mateo, of, Rangers (No. 6, 2000)
A broken right leg in his first full big league season was the first of many injuries.
Ryan Anderson, lhp, Mariners (No. 8, 2001; No. 9, 2000)
Tore the labrum in his shoulder in consecutive spring trainings.
Greg Miller, lhp, Dodgers (No. 8, 2004)
Another southpaw who couldn't recover from multiple shoulder surgeries.
Drew Henson, 3b, Yankees (No. 9, 2002)
Might have been a star if he hadn't lost so many ABs to football.
Andy Marte, 3b, Braves (No. 9, 2005)
Showed signs of life in Triple-A last year, but he's 26 now.
Dee Brown, of, Royals (No. 11, 2000)
Had 30-30 potential but never put it together.
Joe Borchard, of, White Sox (No. 12, 2002)
Contact issues prevented him from living up to his then-record $5.3 million bonus.

Draft Slot All-Bust Team
No. 1: Matt Bush, ss, Padres (2004)
The worst No. 1 overall pick ever.
No. 2: Adam Johnson, rhp, Twins (2000)
Reached the majors 13 months after signing but went 1-3, 10.25 there.
No. 3: Dewon Brazelton, rhp, Rays (2001)
First two picks: Joe Mauer, Mark Prior. Next two picks: Gavin Floyd, Mark Teixeira.
No. 4: Adam Loewen, lhp, Orioles (2002)
Trying to make it as an outfielder after injuries, command waylaid him on the mound.
No. 5: Chris Lubanski, of, Royals (2003)
K.C. had eight top-10 picks in the 2000s, with a huge dropoff after Zack Greinke.
No. 6: Josh Karp, rhp, Expos (2001)
If Marlins catcher Kyle Skipworth doesn't start hitting, he could be worse than Karp.
No. 7: Matt Harrington, rhp, Rockies (2000)
The most notorious holdout in draft history never pitched in Organized Ball.
No. 8: Wade Townsend, rhp, Orioles (2004) and Rays (2005)
Went No. 8 in consecutive drafts, then blew out his elbow shortly after signing.
No. 9: Colt Griffin, rhp, Royals (2001)
The first high schooler to hit 100 mph with his fastball never learned to throw strikes.
No. 10: Drew Meyer, ss, Rangers (2002)
The pick didn't make sense as soon as pitching-needy Texas made it.

« Dec. 21 Ask BA