All-Day Prospects Chat






    Bill (New Canaan, CT): There has been a great deal of optimism about Seattle's Dustin Ackley hitting ability. I hope the optimism turns into reality. However, I seem to recall that almost the same glowing remarks ("picture perfect, sweet lefty swing", "potential BA titles in his future") were used a number of years back to describe Jeremy Reed when he was a White Sox minor leaguer and then again when Reed was acquired by the Mariners. Can you compare Ackley and Reed at similar stages in their career and why Ackley will be a success, while Reed has been a fringe major leaguer. Thanks!

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. I'm the leadoff hitter in today's day-long chat to celebrate the shipping of the Prospect Handbook, which went out earlier this week. Most of BA's staff will be by at some point today, as well as four top prospects, starting with Pirates righthander Tim Alderson at 11 a.m. ET. Let's get started . . .

Jim Callis: Ackley is definitely a cut above Jeremy Reed. We liked Reed but he wasn't the same prospect that Ackley is. Ackley is a better hitter with more power and is a better athlete as well. I don't think that's a great comp. Reed was a legit prospect, but he also got overhyped by people who focus more on stats than the combination of stats and tools.

    Charles (Ohio): Can you compare Westmoreland with the Yankees' Kelvin Deleon as to raw talent and estimated time of arrival to the show. Do you think Westmoreland is a true CF or will he be moved to RF. Thanks for the chat!

Jim Callis: The two biggest differences between them is that Westmoreland is significantly more athletic and polished than DeLeon. He's a true center fielder, though he could move to a corner if Reymond Fuentes becomes everything the Red Sox think he can. Neither has played in full-season ball, so ETAs are mainly guesswork, but I'll say the second half of 2012 for Westmoreland and 2013-14 on DeLeon. DeLeon is interesting, but he's not a top prospect.

    Harold (Decatur, AL): Seeing as how you went to press before the prospects involved in the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay trade took place, where would they have ranked with their new organizations in the Handbook?

Jim Callis: We couldn't get those trades in the Handbook, but we did get the Blue Jays in our issue. So for the Blue Jays, Kyle Drabek was No. 1, Brett Wallace was No. 2, Travis d'Arnaud was No. 5. Michael Taylor who went from the Phillies to the Jays to the Athletics would up No. 2 on our Oakland list. For our revamped Phillies list, I'd put Phillippe Aumont No. 2 (between Domonic Brown and Trevor May), Tyson Gillies No. 4 (between Anthony Gose and Sebastian Valle) and J.C. Ramirez right behind Valle. That said, I wouldn't have traded Cliff Lee for those three guys.

    Nick (Logan, Utah): What type of player do you feel Grant Green can be in his prime? We know he is solid enough to stick at short, but offensively does he have the power to ever hit 25hrs? Also his scouting report says he has plus speed, how many steals can we expect him to have per season? thank you for taking my question!

Jim Callis: There's a lot of mixed opinion on Green. Some scouts think he can be a solid shortstop, while others think he's average at best there and will have to move. I do think he has the power to hit 15-20 homers, maybe more, and steal about the same number of bases.

    Mike Bryan (Bethesda, Maryland): Aside from Strausburg, who do you think will become the most dominant starting pitcher from the 2009 draft. T. Matzek, M. Purke, J. Turner, S. Miller, or someone else?

Jim Callis: Tyler Matzek. I've written this a few times, but some clubs thought he was the No. 2 prospect in the entire draft, behind only Strasburg.

    Brett Lawrie (Milwaukee): When will i reach the majors and at what position? Can I keep my average above .280? Do I have 30 hr power or 40 in a good season?

Jim Callis: Lawrie has a chance to stick at second base but I suspect he'll be a right fielder in the long run. I see him as more of a .300/25-homer type if he reaches his potential.

    Nate (Maryland): What kind of a ceiling does Christian Bethancourt have?

Jim Callis: An all-star ceiling. He has the tools to be a good defender who hits for average and has average power.

    Jeff (CA): How good can Casey Crosby be, and would a good 2010 vault him into top 10 prospect status?

Jim Callis: Provided that he stays healthy following Tommy John surgery shortly after signing, Crosby has the stuff to be a frontline starter. I think vaulting to ranking between 11 and 20 on the 2011 Top 100 would be more realistic.

    Landon (Cali): Would a good Major league comparison to Chris Carter be Derek Lee? Do you feel with Carter's new approach he can be a .300 hitter?

Jim Callis: No, because Lee is much, much, much more athletic than Carter. Carlos Lee would be a better comparison.

    Jerry (Camped Out By My Mailbox): Besides, the Top 50 lists for each staffer, the Top 30 lists per team and the Appendix containing reports for Chapman and Arguelles, what else can we expect in the Handbook this year?

Jim Callis: All the usual stuff: overall farm system rankings, depth charts and draft report cards for each team, Top 100 Prospects lists for college and high school for the 2010, signing bonus info from the last three drafts, our Top 20 Prospects lists for the individual minor leagues last season.

    Jason (NJ): Regarding Wilmer Flores, how hard is it to project him given his age and the level he was at last year?

Jim Callis: He's tough to project because he's still so far from his ceiling, he's playing a position he probably won't be able to handle at the majors and he was the youngest player in his league last season. You have to project more off his tools rather than read too much into his stats. I do like him, but there's a lot more uncertainty around him than, say, Brian Matusz.

    Aaron (San Francisco): Where will Tommy Joseph start out this year?

Jim Callis: He'll probably spend the year at low Class A Augusta. Getting him in the second round last June was a bit of a steal for the Giants.

    Ray (Long Island): Aside from Brackman, are there any potential number one starters in the Yankee system?

Jim Callis: No. But there aren't many potential No. 1 starters in the minor leagues, either. And I wouldn't lump Brackman in that group because he struggled so much last year. In a dream scenario, sure, but I think if he could put things together and be a solid No. 3, the Yankees would have to be thrilled.

    Ethan (NJ): Better Blue Jays catching prospect - Travis D'Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia

Jim Callis: We ranked Arencibia higher because he's proven more at a much higher level, but I personally believe more in d'Arnaud.

    Jim Blake (Kennesaw, Georgia): Why is it so hard to find 2009 minor league stats on-line? BA does not have 2009 stats, nor does the MiBL site.

Jim Callis: Sure we do. Use our player finder at http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/search/ or go to our main stats page at http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/

    Josh (Morgantown): First, thanks for the chat guys, I'm sure we all appreciate your time and the hard work you put into the book. My question is for Alderson. You obviously had a challenging season last year highlighted by a trade to a new organization. I know a lot of Pirates' fans were very excited when it was announced NH had acquired you but the results weren't there in the second half. Is there anything in particular you can attribute your control issues (rise in BBs) and drop in Ks to? Does being traded from the Bay area to Pittsburgh give you any extra motivation? Thanks and good luck next season.

Jim Callis: The four prospects who will be chatting today have their own chat links. To submit questions to Tim Alderson, use http://www.baseballamerica.com/chat/?1264606624 . . . The rest of the prospect chats are linked at http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/prospect-q-and-a/2010/269440.html

    Josh (NY): Taking experience out of the equation (which obviously is a huge factor), does Max Stassi compare favorably with Hank Conger?

Jim Callis: I like Stassi more because I believe in him more as a catcher. Maybe not the same power, but should have enough and be a plus offensive catcher.

    John (Ohio): Who would you rather have in left field for the Reds. Heisey, Francisco, or Balentien? I personally like Balentien.. Thanks

Jim Callis: I bet Heisey would be the most productive in the long run. The other two guys have more exciting power but swing and miss way too much.

    MJ (Valpo): Do you guys think Matt Dominguez has a chance at a real breakout season, thus gaining momentum as a top-10 prospect for 2011?

Jim Callis: I like Dominguez, but I'm not that high on him. I think he'll be a solid hitter, nothing more, and a dazzling defender at third base.

    Busch (Taber, AB, Canada): Do you think Desmond Jennings starts the year with the Rays, and what type of numbers do you see from him this year?

Jim Callis: I don't. It makes more financial sense to keep him in the minors for a little bit to delay his free agency and possibly his arbitration, like the Rays did with David Price last year. If Jennings gets playing time, I could see him hitting .275/.355/.400 as a rookie. He'll be a good one in the long run, not that that's a bold statement.

    Dougald (Newport, RI): When doing the top 30 do you sometimes find teams that you wish you could stop at 20 players, because there is just nothing left or the reverse, do you find some teams were you could write about the top 50 or 60 players, they are just so deep?

Jim Callis: Oh, definitely. The two thinnest systems are the Cardinals and the Astros, and they don't have nearly as many guys who deserve writeups as, say, the Rangers or Rays. If we were ranking the top 900 prospects in the book, rather than the top 30 by team, you might get only 15 Cardinals and Astros and 50 Rangers and Rays.

    Eric (Youngstown, OH): I can't wait to get my prospect handbook. I am 28, but feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. My question...Who is the Pirates 32nd prospect? Also any other sleepers not listed in the top 30? Thanks

Jim Callis: The bonus Pirates prospect for our direct buyer-only supplement is Gift Ngoepe. We also had writeups on Nathan Adcock, Brooks Pounders and Justin Wilson that didn't make it into the Handbook, but they're listed with our "32nd Team" at http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269446.html

    Tyler (Ky (FCB)): Just curious why Alex Wilson ranks so low in the Red Sox organization. Surely it's not due to his Tommy John Surgery, since he is 2 years removed from it. The kid looks like he could be a back end of the rotation guy or a solid arm in the pen.

Jim Callis: It's due to the depth in the Red Sox system. They have as many high-ceiling prospects as anyone.

    Tyler (Ky (FCB)): We can pretty much assume that Bryce Harper is going to be the number one guy in 2010. Who are 5 guys on the shortlist for the #1 overall pick in 2011. Thanks.

Jim Callis: I wouldn't bank on Harper being the lock. He's the favorite right now, but not nearly the lock that Strasburg was. The leading candidates to go No. 1 in 2011 right now are Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole and Texas righthander Taylor Jungmann.

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, USA): Are you still as high on Nick Noonan when he was drafted? It seems like he hasn't translated tools into production and his very pedestrian numbers in the California league were alarming last season. What do you see of him going forward?

Jim Callis: Not as high on him, but I do still like him and think he can be a solid regular in the big leagues. He has been young for his leagues, so I'll cut him a little slack.

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, USA): Next year do you see Zach Wheeler as a top 50 prospect?

Jim Callis: Yes. He wasn't too far off from making my Top 50 this year.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa): Guys; this all day chat is pretty exciting stuff. Being able to chat with prospects is a real, nice touch. Jim Callis in his latest chat indicated that Heyward was very close to Strasburg. Is Heyward that good, is Strasburg somewhat over-hyped? I realize that everyone has a somewhat different take on each prospect, but what is your take? Are they really that close?? thanks

Jim Callis: They're really that close. I don't think Strasburg is overhyped. Heyward is just that good. Why 13 teams passed on him in the 2007 draft is hard to figure.

    Barry (Cumberland, KY): How would you rank these three: Christian Friedrich, Mat Latos, Martin Perez in terms of most likely to be a frontline starter in the next 4-5 years? I know Latos technically isn't a prospect anymore, but he just barely missed the cutoff.

Jim Callis: Perez, Friedrich, Latos.

    Nate (Maryland): Tommy Hanson or Strasburg?

Jim Callis: I'd take Strasburg.

    JBone (FCB): Is Adrian Cardenas a Top 100 prospect in your eyes?

Jim Callis: I like Cardenas some, but he's not a Top 100 Prospect for me.

    Chris (Pittsburgh): On various Pirate blogs there is much wailing because the Bucs farm system is ranked 16th and not higher. This lends itself to a couple of questions: 1. Is the system as a whole much improved over the last two or three years? 2. How close are the teams in the 10-20 range? Is there significant seperation in any part of that group?

Jim Callis: 1. The system is improved. It ranked 26th two years ago and 16th is the highest ranking since 2004. The Pirates have more depth than they've had in a while, and Neal Huntington and Co. are on the right track. They do need more star-potential players, however, and they didn't have much to work with.

Jim Callis: 2. The org rankings are more useful if you consider teams' relative positions to each other, rather than there's a definitive answer for each of the 30 orgs. For instance, I think it's much more accurate to call the Pirates system "middle of the pack" rather than "the 16th-best," if you catch my drift. Separating the Pirates from the Cubs, Rockies, Yankees and Reds is splitting hairs.

    JAYPERS (IL): As I'm still waiting for my Handbook to arrive in the mail, can you tell me who TB's # 31 prospect is, and can you give us a brief synopsis of him?

Jim Callis: It's outfielder K.D. Kang. Here's his scouting report from the supplement:

Jim Callis: Born in South Korea and drafted out of the same Atlanta-area high school (Parkview) that produced big leaguers Jeff Francoeur and Clint Sammons, Kang signed for $75,000 as a draft-and-follow after a year at Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.) CC. He represented the Rays in the Futures Game in 2009, when he had the best season of his career despite spending the first six weeks in extended spring training. Kang's hands generate above-average bat speed, and he makes consistent contact and drives balls into the gaps with his line-drive approach. He needs to improve his strike-zone judgment and trust his hands more consistently. A streaky player, he tends to overswing and try to muscle the ball with his shoulders when he falls into slumps. Though Kang has plus speed, he lacks instincts in the field and on the basepaths. His defense has improved considerably, but he's still just an average left fielder with a fringy arm. The Rays should have a better indication of his long-term outlook after he spends 2010 at high Class A Charlotte.

    Jack (Toronto): Jim, Hak Ju Lee seems like a lead off SS in the making. He put up some pretty impressive numbers in his North American debut. Does he project to develop any power? Or is he more likely to be a slap hitter?

Jim Callis: He does need to get stronger, but he can sting the ball at times. I wouldn't call him slappy, but power won't be a big part of his game.

    Nate (Maryland): Heyward and Freeman or Stanton and Morrison?

Jim Callis: Stanton and Morrison. That's a tough one, because Heyward is clearly the best player of the group.

    Kyle (Chicago): What is the ceiling for Wil Myers? ...and do you think he stays at catcher?

Jim Callis: All-star ceiling. No reason at this point to think he won't be able to stay at catcher.

    Kyle (Chicago): Mike Leake or Kyle Gibson?

Jim Callis: Kyle Gibson. But most of you know I'm president of the Kyle Gibson Fan Club, so my answer is no surprise.

Jim Callis: Tim Alderson has arrived, so go ask him some questions at http://www.baseballamerica.com/chat/?1264606624 . . . J.J. Cooper is on deck when Alderson is done.

    Dan (PA): What kind of impact could Freddy Galvis make at a major league level?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. Thanks to Tim Alderson for a great chat. We're back on the Baseball America staff chat until Ryan Westmoreland arrives at 2 p.m. ET. Galvis can make a significant impact defensively as he has one of the best gloves in the minors, but it will be shocking if he's ever more than a No. 7 or No. 8 hitter and even that will depend on him making continued improvements at the plate. His glove should get him to the big leagues, the bat will determine whether he gets to stick around.

    Nate (Maryland): Why is craig kimbrel rated so highly as a braves prospect? He obviously still have major problems with walks and won't be close to a major leaguer if he doesn't fix that.

J.J. Cooper: He will be a major leaguer even with his current command issues. But he has to refine his command if he wants to be anything more than a fill-in guy in the pen. Kimbrel will never have plus command, but as a reliever he doesn't need to be painting corners to be a successful big leaguer. He just needs to prove he can hit general spots and have enough command to allow his plus stuff to play. Because of those command issues though I personally don't think he'll end up as a closer but as more of a seventh/eighth-inning guy.

    William (Mobile, AL): I am relocating to a Northwest League city this summer. What kind of baseball should I expect after being spoiled by the Southern League the past 4 years ? Players that can hit but cant field or vice versa ?

J.J. Cooper: What you'll see is the same kind of velocity as you saw in the SL and sometimes even more, but from pitchers who don't know how to aim it. You'll see lots of physical tools but a lot more mental errors. On the positive side you'll see a lot of maturation over the course of a season. At the Double-A level, hitters and pitchers have already figured a lot of things out, at the short-season level they are just learning what they need to fix. The other thing you'll get to see is more players to get a handle on. At the Double-A level you see a pretty fixed lineup and a pretty set rotation. In the Northwest League with larger rosters (35 players, 30 of which are active) you see a lot more shuffling around.

    Ryan (PA): Out of the Phillies top 10 who are you most excited to see this year and why?

J.J. Cooper: Domonic Brown sounds like a cop-out answer, but his tools make him the one Phillies prospect I'd like to see in person more than any other. For a less obvious answer I'll throw out a non-top 10 guy. Jiwan James' tools are insane.

    Raoul (Tacoma): After the years Jon Gaston and Thomas Neal had, why don't they get any love? I know they aren't the prototypical 'toolsy' types, but doesn't Gaston's 35 HR with 30 2B, 15 3B, 119 runs scored and a .965 OPS mean anything? How about Thomas Neal with hitting .337/.431/.579 with 40 2B and 20 HR? At some point, don't stats mean more than tools (as Ruben Rivera, Corey Patterson, etc. have proved over the years)

J.J. Cooper: You have to take in account where they are putting the stats up. Gaston was hitting in maybe the best hitter's park in baseball. If you're going off just stats, you also have to take into account that Gaston hit .193/.292/.285 in 207 at-bats in Tri-City in 2008. There are also concerns about his strikeouts. He'll get a chance this year to prove it again in Double-A, but last season's outstanding numbers have made him one of the Astros better prospects. As far as Neal, he's hit wherever he's gone, he's just had injury problems that have slowed him down. San Jose helped his numbers, but he does look to be a middle-of-the-order guy for the Giants down the road.

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, USA): Why isn't Chris Carter considered a top 15 prospect? I mean sure he's a first baseman and not a terribly great one but he looks like a masher that can put up gawdy power numbers up on a yearly basis.

J.J. Cooper: We won't post our Top 100 Prospects list for a couple more weeks, so it's not a sure bet he won't be in the top 15. His value is all tied into the bat, but it's a pretty special bat.

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, USA): The giants have an extremely top heavy system, if you took away Bumgarner and Posey do you think they would be one of the worst systems in baseball?

J.J. Cooper: They'd be in the bottom third, but then you could say the same thing about a lot of teams. You like to see depth, but having impact talent usually is more important than having a full slate of future role players. Of course the Giants also recently promoted Pablo Sandoval and Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are recent home-grown products, so the system hasn't been bare.

    Big Dave (AR): Who's the fastest player in the minor leagues? Who has the best speed on the basepaths?

J.J. Cooper: I'd go with Darren Ford. He had a bounce-back season with the bat but still has questions offensively. On the basepaths there are no concerns. His speed would be a 90 on the 20-to-80 scale if the speedometer went that high.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa): Castro/Gordon. With Jim Callis's latest chat I believe he had Dee Gordon ranked third and Starlin Castro ranked first among prospects at short. Why rank Castro ahead of Gordon? I believe the analyst that chatted about Gordon (sorry, forgot his name) was asked if Gordon could be compared to Reyes...with the response being "that is a fair comparison" A little more insight would be much appreciated. thanks

J.J. Cooper: Not trying to speak for Jim but Castro is relatively refined product. He's shown he can hit in high Class A and Double-A and has shown plus defense although he needs to cut down on errors like most young shortstops. Gordon's ceiling is higher than Castro's, but there also is a whole lot of unknowns with him. He's got the speed to lead the majors in steals, but he has to learn how to read pitchers better. He could be a plus defender, but he doesn't yet fully understand all the nuances of play shortstop. He needs to gain weight, but hasn't yet shown that he can add lbs to his frame. So what he's saying is that the sky is the limit for Gordon, but there also is a lot more that could go wrong compared to Castro.

    Cathy (Irving, Tx): Why is Brian Matsuz ahead of Neftali Feliz in almost all of the prospect rankings? He's got a much better fastball and his K rate was higher than Matsuz, granted while in the bullpen, but in almost the same amount of innings as Matsuz. Still Feliz I believe is the class of Minor League Baseball outside of Stephen Strasburg of course and he should be ranked in the Top 5 at least in every prospect rankings their are out there period!!!!!!!!!

J.J. Cooper: Cathy is emphatic about her belief as evidenced by the exclamation points. Again we haven't posted our Top 100 Prospects list yet, so as of now it's still an open question who will rank ahead of who. The argument for Matusz is that he is undoubtedly going to be a starter, there are some questions whether Feliz will be a power arm out of the pen or a rotation stalwart.

    Jim Kubinski (Granger, IN): Given prospect research...even top prospects...is not an exact science (What happened to Jesse Foppert anyway?), which of your overall top prospects gives you the greatest cause for concern...and why?

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question (Foppert blew out his elbow and never regained his stuff). If I was picking a consensus top 15 guy who I have a concern about I'd say Madison Bumgarner. Burmgarner's velocity last year dipped and he'll need to get some of that back, but my bigger concern is the development of his secondary stuff. If his secondary stuff doesn't continue to improve I think that could keep him from being a front-end-of-the-rotation starter.

    Shawn (Cali): Is there a such thing as a scout who only covers independent ball?

J.J. Cooper: Yes there are scouts who cover indy ball, Mal Fichman is the dean of the "indy" scouts, although most teams use stat analysis in the front office, some bird dogs and connections with indy league managers to cover the independent leagues.

    Nate (Maryland): Is there any excusable reason for someone to rank stanton ahead of heyward?

J.J. Cooper: Yeah. Heyward is a safer pick but Stanton's tools are insane. In a best-case scenario we're talking about the difference between Chipper Jones type all-around production (at the plate) and a potential home run champ. Stanton has further to go to reach his ceiling, but his ceiling is higher than Heywards in my opinion and the opinion of some scouts I've talked to.

    Randy (Boston): Not a question but I just received my copy of the Handbook and, once again, I'm engrossed. And you top it off with a reference to one of the greatest movies on the cover of the supplement. Well done, sirs. Well done!

J.J. Cooper: Thanks Randy. It's a lot of work but we love putting it together. Compiling the Prospect Handbook and putting together Top 10s and Top 30s is why the guys who are here dreamed of working at Baseball America in the first place.

    Brett (NJ): JJ — Reds' senior director of scouting, Chris Buckley, was recently quoted in an interview as saying the Reds would have seen Chapman as having better value than Leake if both had been available in the 09 Draft. Not a surprise based on physical talent. Buckley mentioned the physical ability and how hard it is to find lefties with huge stuff. My question is how does this jive with the Reds' decision to draft Leake over Matzek in 2009, as it seems that Matzek's stuff matches that criteria and is far superior to Leake's. Is this a change in philosophy since the last draft and will we see the Reds willing to go over slot to sign top talent in future drafts? Does this philosophy only apply to free agent international signings? Is Chapman's stuff that much better than Matzek? Or am I missing something? It's not that I don't think Leake will be a major league starter; I just think Matzek has a lot more potential and wonder if the Chapman signing is a philosophy change or a one-time deal.

J.J. Cooper: I think it comes down to the Reds' not wanting to buck the slotting system. Cincinnati's front office doesn't have the leeway to spend the money to sign a Matzek for well-above slot in the draft, but MLB doesn't have any problems with teams spending that kind of money outside of the draft for Aroldis Chapman, Yorman Rodriguez or others. If you want to sign Chapman, you just cut the check. If you want to sign Matzek you have to wait as MLB tells you repeatedly that you shouldn't spend that much money above slot.

    Tho (Ohio): How soon do you think we will see the Reds pitcher Chapman in a Reds unifrom and do you see him starting or coming out of the bullpen?

J.J. Cooper: I'd expect to see him start in the minors but make it up at some point this year. The Reds see him as a starter as do I, you don't pay that money to make him a power arm out of the bullpen, that's the fallback position if he fails as a starter.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for all the questions. I'm going to hand off to Matt Eddy now as we continue the all-day chat.

    Raymond (New York): Hi, Cory Rasmus had a good year at Danville. Has he recovered from his shoulder issues and is he still considered a top 30 Braves prospect ? Do they expect his velocity to gradually improve and return to almost what it was in 2006 ? Many thanks

Matthew Eddy: This is a great place to start, seeing as I covered the Appalachian (and Pioneer) League last September. Also, send in any Padres, Mariners or Angels prospects questions you didn't answered during the Top 10 chats. (And feel free to mix in a Super Register question or two.) As to Cory Rasmus . . . He recovered from injury to pitch well for Danville last summer, even throwing a 7-inning no-hitter. But the righthander's ceiling has lowered considerably since he signed as the 38th pick in '06. He pitches in the mid- to high-80s with a quality changeup, which would peg him as a middle reliever or spot starter.

    Jeffrey (SoCal): Did Chris Fetter crack the Padres top 30 and what are his chances on a Major League career?

Matthew Eddy: Fetter, a 9th-rounder from Michigan last year, enjoyed a fine pro debut, but because of the prospect depth the Padres have built in the past 2-3 years, it's more difficult for players to crack the 30. At this point, Fetter is depth-chart material because he's more strike-thrower than a guy with overwhelming stuff.

    Brian (Florida): Hi guys, Do you see Cody Johnson as a psssible Adam Dunn type-lots of strikeouts, but lots of power. With their anemic OF, could he still help the Braves despite the K's ? thanks

Matthew Eddy: I'm not sure Johnson would do a whole lot to address the Braves' anemic OF offense. The raw power is impressive, but will his swing play? And comping him to Dunn is a grave disservice to the Natinals slugger. Through 4 years in the minors (roughly the point Johnson's at now), Dunn had hit .304 with a .425 OBP (and contributed 60 stolen bases to boot). The corresponding figures for Johnson: .251 and .328 — though he has hit more HR. I guess what I'm getting at is the fact that Dunn in his early-20s was a much better athlete and hitter than he's generally given credit for now.

    Matt Eddy Rocks (PA): Ceiling/floor on Reese Havens?

Matthew Eddy: I'm optimistic, moreso than many of my colleagues. I like Havens as a OBP-minded second baseman with moderate power. Not a batting title or Gold Glove contender, but a solid contributor — maybe a few Kelly Johnson, circa 2007, type seasons. Havens does have an unconventional hitting setup, though, that has gotten results thus far, but he'll have to prove that it works in Double-A and beyond.

    Joe (DE): It seems like both JC Ramirez and Philipe Aumont have the same Mechanical issues(Throwing across their body). Do you think the Phils pitching coaches can change this at this point, or are they stuck with that ugly hip rotation on the follow through?

Matthew Eddy: This is a double-edged sword. The mechanics are not textbook, but the throwing motions that Aumont and Ramirez employ have helped them to their early success. Attempting to "fix" them could have disastrous results in that the pitchers will not get the same kind of snap and movement on their pitches. Kerry Wood has forged a mostly successful career despite throwing across his body. Ted Lilly, too. These mechanics would seem to limit Aumont and Ramirez to bullpen roles, but they may thrive in high-leverage roles.

    James (Madison, WI): Now that Austin Jackson is in Detroit, he's getting all the focus and attention. I'm part of the bull market as it relates to Wilkin Ramirez. Who do you think is going to be the opening day CF for Detroit, and which one will have the most long term success in the bigs?

Matthew Eddy: Austin Jackson in a landslide, as far as long-term impact. Ramirez has more big league time, so he may get the nod in April, but by the end of the year, Jackson will patrol center. As an aside, Reggie Jackson makes a great point about Jackson in the recently-published book Sixty Feet-Six Inches. In it, he opines that young Austin Jackson has the athleticism (and the hitter's hands) to figure out how to hit — even if it takes him awhile. And for the record, IL manager concurred with that assessment when we compiled our Best Tools ballots last summer.

    James (Madison, WI): It's always fun to talk prospects; the problem I have is that once players lose the prospect status (like Holland and Cahill), it's hard to know how they are going to pan out as they don't get the attention prospects do. How would you rank Holland, Cahill, Tillman and W. Davis in both "stuff" and long term success in the bigs?

Matthew Eddy: That's a fair criticism, James. In terms of pure arm strength, I think Holland is your man. His fastball is off the charts for a lefty, and he already controls it so well. Eventually, the slider will be there for him most times out. Now he has to prove he can consistently retire righthanded batters. The other three for me are solid, durable No. 3 types who could have years where they approach 2 status. I'd line them up Tillman, Davis, Cahill.

    Reggie (New York, NY): Fernando Martinez has impressed overall in his DWL stint. Do you see F-Mart as a viable successor to Beltran in 2011 considering Beltran might need to move to a corner OF position if his range decreases?

Matthew Eddy: I do not see Fernando Martinez as the Mets' future center fielder. He's definitely a corner outfielder at the big league level. And his bat ought to develop to the point where he can profile there. Martinez already has broad shoulders, but he's still lean with plenty of room to fill out. Now if he could just stay on the field for an entire season . . .

    David Jenkins (In a blizzard): Two questions about the $uper Regi$ter. One, it seems that its cost is going up somewhat faster than the cost of living. Why? Would be my first question, while the second would be while have you opted to excluded Indy League players? If anything, they should be fully included to make it even more indespensible. ps. Last year was the first time I waited until the season was over to pick up a used one from a colleague.

Matthew Eddy: And here we field the first-ever Super Register question in the history of BA chats. As to the first question: The cost of the Register increases annually because the cost of acquiring the data and the cost of editing that data rises each year. We take the process very seriously and work hard to present the most accurate biographical and transactional data available. The second question: Yes, full indy league stats will be included in this year's Register. We regret our decision to exclude them last year. It was a bad decision. We appreciate your continued support.

    Jim (Oklahoma): how much trouble did Tate have in high school making contact and how well do you think he will do in pro ball? I heard some of the same things about Brett Jackson of the Cubs, but he still hit well his first taste of pro ball....thanks

Matthew Eddy: I wish I had a more definitive answer for you on Tate, the third player taken last June and the first high schooler selected. But like many fans, I'm anxiously awaiting his pro debut. Those who like Tate see a solid hitter — maybe .275-.280; but those who don't like him predict low averages and strikeouts.

    James (Madison, WI): Seattle looks like a contender this year with the offseason moves; I'm not a big Milton Bradley fan and wonder if Michael Saunders is going to be given a chance to play this year. Do you think he's a good full time option in the short and long term given his tools?

Matthew Eddy: I think 3 factors will compel the Mariners to give Saunders a look before the All-Star break: 1) Saunders' performance with Tacoma, as he takes to his new stride and swing path, 2) Bradley's propensity for injury ought to free up some playing time, and 3) Griffey's declining production should open the door for more DH playing time for Bradley, allowing Saunders the chance to roam in LF.

    Bobby (California): Since Eddie Baine took over as scouting director for the Angels, their minor league system has steadily gone down.. what is the problem in the type of players they are signing?

Matthew Eddy: We had a story about the Angels prior to last year's draft that delved into this question. As Angels fans know, two obvious factors have been low draft position (AL West titles in 5 out of 6 years) and the loss of premium picks as free agent compensation (no first-rounder in 05, 07 or 08). But perhaps the largest issue had been signability — as in, not assessing properly what it would take to sign high school players away from college commitments. This is what happened with Brian Matusz in 2005, to cite one example. The club took a step in the right direction this year, signing all of its top six picks, and 16 of the top 17.

Matthew Eddy: We're moving on John Manuel now, to be followed by Ryan Westmoreland.

    Derrick (Cheverly, MD): Purely based on their peak offensive abilities (completely ignoring defensive prowess) which of these potential middle infielders would you want and what type of slash (BA/OBP/SLG) numbers and Steals do you see them posting? Starlin Castro, Dee Gordon, Brett Lawrie, Dustin Ackley, and Grant Green

John Manuel: Hi everybody, John Manuel checking in here . . . Derrick, I'm leaving Ackley out of this. He played shortstop in high school but that's been a long time. I don't know if he's got the arm action to make strong, accurate throws from 2B on a double play, and if he can't turn two then he can't play 2B. So he just doesn't apply here, for me. Lawrie's the best offensive player of that bunch for me but it's iffy whether or not he stays in the infield. Castro and Green, I could see them having fairly similar careers. I'm a fan of Castro's swing and see him as the best of this group of actual middle infielders; he's a .300/.350/.400 guy in the minors, and it wouldn't shock me if his peak wasn't a bit north of that in the majors, in the .280/.350/.450 range. I think he has more power coming. I don't see steals being a major part of his game down the line; Gordon, among the true infielders, is the only one I see being a real basestealer.

    Travis (Oklahoma City): What can you tell me about Craig Kimbrel and Cory Gearrin with the Braves? Will both be up on the 25 man at some point this year?

John Manuel: Well, Kimbrel's in Atlanta's handful of top prospects; we have him at No. 5. Gearrin didn't make the Top 30. Obviously there's volatility with relievers, but we're much higher on Kimbrel making an impact. He's similar to Joey Devine, who has been very good at times as a big leaguer but hasn't stayed healthy. Both Gearrin and Kimbrel are low-slot guys but Kimbrel throws harder more consistently. Gearrin significantly improved his control last season, but he's still more of a sinker-slider guy at the big league level, a sixth or seventh inning type of guy. Those guys are easier to find; Kimbrel is more of an impact arm. I could see either up in 2010 or I could see neither one ever making it; they're relievers and they're hard to predict.

    Brandon (Charleston, WV): Is Daniel Tuttle of the Reds someone worth keeping an eye on?

John Manuel: He's not too far off from a Kimbrel type. He's a lower-slot guy and can run it up there but most scouts weren't too high on his mechanics and delivery and had him pegged as a reliever coming out of high school. He's tucked into the back of the Reds' Top 30 with some other raw power arms.

    Raymond (New York): Hi guys, Do the Braves think Cole Rohrbough will return to form after his medical issues ? Is he now in the 10-20 range as a prospect ? Many thanks.

John Manuel: He definitely fell off in '09, and his velocity was down much of the season. He looks more like a reliever than a starter these days and kind of reminds me of Macay McBride, who at least got himself together after his first stumbles to become an up-and-down reliever, but at one time McBride was considered a future star, pretty sure he ranked on a Top 100 once or twice. I hope Rohrbough will be healthy this year and flash his 2008 stuff and form, because when he's on, he's a lefty with two plus pitches. He's in the 20-30 range for the Braves.

    Andy (New Jersey): Who are your picks for rookie of the year in both leagues? Who are the sleepers that come up and make big contributions? Love the day of chats!!! Great JOB

John Manuel: JOB? Jorb? J-o-r-b. Job. Anyway, Rookie of the Year picks . . . I'm going Desmond Jennings in the American League, even though I know he likely won't start the season in the big leagues. Michael Taylor is a nice sleeper for Oakland, which could use some offense. In the National, I don't see a ton of obvious candidates. If he's eligible by MLB rules (I don't know the service time), I'd vote Jason Heyward. I know, I know, call me crazy. My sleeper would be Alcides Escobar, I think he'll be similar to Elvis Andrus but with better numbers as a rookie, and I think he'll benefit from the increased attention defense gets hese days. My NL sleeper would be Josh Lindblom, who I could really see helping the Dodgers a lot as a power bullpen guy. Just would have to rack up some saves to be the R.O.Y., and I don't see that.

    mike (minneapolis): Let's talk Brewers for a bit. We know that their "impact" superstars may be few, but not many other systems are deeper. For these four guys, so you see "sub", "solid regular" or "two-time All-Star" in their future?: Logan Schafer, Jake Odorizzi, Eric Arnett, Kentrail Davis

John Manuel: I actually think several farm systems are deeper but that's another question. I don't see all-stars among that quartet. Schafer is a nice player who looks more like a second-division regular, there's not an above-average tool there offensively. Odorizzi and Arnett are interesting, Arnett's a bigger body but I like Odorizzi and his athleticism a bit more. Davis is more solid regular for me as well; not a lot of defensive value and he's going to have to hit a ton.

    Greg Pryor (Norman, OK): How good are Robert Stock? Is he a pitcher or catcher? And what about the Card's later picks of Bittle and Kelly? How good are they, injuries aside?

John Manuel: No way you can put injuries aside for Bittle and Kelly. Kelly's more conventional as he throws the snot out of it but he also threw all of 73 IP in college, then 30 more after signing. He needs a lot of experience and there's some real concern over whether or not his body can hold up to how hard he throws. Bittle, personally it seems like his shoulder can't take all the cutters he throws, but I think he's got a chance to be special if it can. Stock hit last summer and is just 20, so if he wants to catch, you let him do that until he stops hitting. It wouldn't shock me to see someone get better after leaving USC these days.

    Camden (Baltimore, MD): In the scouting report for Josh Bell it does not say much about his Hit tool. What rating would you give him on the 20-80 scale for his hit tool? Also would you project him to hit around 30hrs a year in his prime? Which current player do you feel he compares best to?

John Manuel: It depends on which side of the plate he's hitting from. As a LH batter, he's a 55 or 60 hitter, because he controls the strike zone pretty well and puts the ball in play with hard contact. From the right side he's a 30 right now and may not be much better than that. It's a small sample size but he did hit better from the right side in the AFL; I haven't talked to anyone about anything he changed but I'm guessing that's a point of emphasis for him going forward. The O's bought him time with Miguel Tejada and Garret Atkins, so he'll bet at Triple-A Norfolk this season to work on hitting righthanded and continuing to make improvement defensively. He's an exciting prospect though.

    Ryan L (Anaheim, CA): SF: 2010 starting RF, Bowker or Schierholz?

John Manuel: I'd suggest, with their current roster, Mark DeRosa, with Huff or Ishikawa at first, Sanchez at 2b, the remains of Renteria at short when Uribe isn't there, and Sandoval at 3b. Even if they slide Panda to first, Uribe can play third, keeping DeRosa in the outfield and keeping Bowker and Schierholtz out of the regular lineup. I guess the bright side is you have flexibility, but DeRosa is the next-best hitter of that group after Sandoval; is it even close? I wonder who would be third . . . Sanchez, I suppose. That is a strange group of players.

    Jamie (Virginia): As a Nats fan, should I be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with guys coming through the farm system? Also is there someone in the majors that Kobernus compares favorable too? Thanks and love the chats.

John Manuel: I'd just see the light in terms of the wasted years finally being over — the years of MLB ownership and what it did to the franchise, the Bowden era which actually was worse . . . now you finally have a pro running things. As far as talent, we thought Washington had a good draft two years ago but that '07 class hasn't shaken out as well as the early returns seemed to indicate. They're almost starting from scratch. Kobernus is a nice athletic college middle infielder; if it all works out he's a Bill Mueller type, better athlete and not a batting champion, not '03 Mueller, but a line-drive, contact-oriented guy rather than a power guy. Maybe I should say Orlando Hudson to illustrate that, rather than a guy who hasn't played in several years . . .

    Dan (PA): Who has the best chance of making a bigger impact at the major league level: Anthony Gose, Tyson Gillies, or Phillippe Aumont?

John Manuel: The Phillies love Gose. Scouts outside the organization also like his athleticism. His bat will tell the tale but if he's an average hitter, he'll make an impact with his speed, arm and defense. I love the Phils' decision to start Aumont, considering the guy got Kevin Brown comps for his sinker as an amateur, and like him next of that trio, with Gillies looking more like a Brett Gardner type — a bottom of the order, energy and speed guy, rather than a game-changer like Gose.

    Dan (PA): What kind of impact could Vance Worley have at the Major League level?

John Manuel: Middle reliever or innings-eating 4th or 5th starter.

    Shad (Maryland): Hello, thanks for taking my question! What are your thoughts on Eduardo Nunez of the Yankees? Does he have a future in NY? and can he see the bigs this year? He's had some moderate success in A+ and AA now. Thanks

John Manuel: He's a guy who would get playing time on a bad team. I don't see him ever being even a utility guy in New York, he's not good enough fundamentally to be a utility guy, they like players such as Russo & Corona better in a similar role. He's the kind of guy the Royals or Pirates or Nationals could try in the middle infield to see if they can catch a hot streak or good season out of him. He did have a better year in Double-A, but was very overmatched in the Triple-A playoffs, struggling to make contact. He has the arm to look the part at shortstop, though, and he does have some power, though he's not very selective.

    Ethan (NJ): Does Josh Reddick profile as an everyday player? What's your opinion on him?

John Manuel: Yes, most definitely. In a way I'm surprised that Boston got Hermida when Reddick could do a lot of the same things and do them better, with speed to boot and the ability to play CF in a pinch. Hermida's bat has more upside but that reputation hasn't been backed up by reality. I like Reddick but he remains raw in terms of his offensive approach, working deep counts consistently, etc., so he'll head to Triple-A most likely for at least some of 2010. I like him as a future regular, tough, as a power-speed guy. He's a potential first-division corner outfielder for me.

    Jim Blake (Kennesaw, Georgia): What improvements must Blake Wood (GA TECH/KC ROYALS) make to have a chance to pitch in the show?

John Manuel: You know, I like Blake Wood. I'm not sure other than staying healthy, because it seems when he does find a groove that works for him mechanically. At times, he flashes plus stuff, especially a low-to-mid-90s fastball. But he fell to the 20s range for the Royals this year.

    CJ (Chicago): What is your opinion of Conor Graham of the Indians?

John Manuel: Big body, big arm, fastball has at times sat 96-97 in shorter stints. He's intriguing as a starter as he'll lose velo but still can be pretty tough to hit on a downhill plane. He's at the back of a very deep Indians list. His slider can be pretty good when it's on. I don't know if he's athletic enough to hold up long-term as a starter but he has a chance to be an important reliever, as opposed to just an up-and-down sixth- or seventh-inning guy.

    Jim (Maryland): Thanks for taking my question How does Braves newly acquired pitching prospect Arodys Viscaino compare to prospect Julio Teheran already in their system ?

John Manuel: That's a good question. Neither one has pitched a full season yet, which is a problem for the Braves because those are by far their best pitching prospects. I like Vizcaino a lot, having ranked him third in the Yankees' list this Handbook, but Teheran is ahead in terms of the changeup and hasn't had back trouble. That said, it sounds like Vizcaino does it easier and cleaner. I think I'd give Teheran a slight edge, but it's pretty slight.

John Manuel: Let me stop so that Ryan Westmoreland can take all the questions. Thanks for your time and interest.

Ben Badler: There's a chance we might get a couple inches of snow this afternoon here in North Carolina, which means everyone in the state is in full-fledged panic mode. Slightly ridiculous.

    Jake (Chicago, IL): Thanks for the marathon chat guys! Would you mind picking the top three from the following group of AL hurlers? Tillman, Holland, Montgomery, Crow, Niemann, Turner, Crosby, Kelly, Hagadone, Martin Perez, and Cahill. I say Montgomery, Turner, Holland.

Ben Badler: Tillman, Perez, Montgomery

    Tyler (Ky (FCB)): What do you guys see in Michael Montgomery that makes him so much better than Danny Duffy. Duffy has done nothing but dominate, but seems to get very little attention.

Ben Badler: Better fastball, better changeup, better delivery and more athleticism. I like Duffy, and maybe he just gets lost in the Royals' depth of pitching, but Montgomery is one of the top handful of pitching prospects in the game.

    Tim (Dallas, Tx): Do you foresee any velocity increase for Martin Perez? and I know he's only 19, and he's got some projectability left, but the last I heard he's only hitting 96 on the radar gun, and that's his max. Isn't that a little low for such a highly regarded and highly ranked prospect?

Ben Badler: ONLY 96? That's pretty friggin' good for an 18-year-old from the left side. Sure, maybe he'll had a tick or two to his fastball, but he already has a at least a plus fastball that he commands well for his age. It's the rest of the package—the advanced secondary stuff, athleticism, fluid delivery and advanced feel for pitching—that makes him so highly regarded.

    brad (maryland): How long will it take for Carlos Santana to come to the majors, and once they bring him up do they completely give him the reigns ala Matt Wieters last year?

Ben Badler: My guess would be some time in June. Once he's up, he'll be there to stay.

    Brad (South Carolina): Hey guys, With Flowers gone, do the Braves have any decent catching prospects among Schlehuber, Bethancourt, Sucre or others ? Thanks

Ben Badler: I had multiple scouts ask me for more information on Christian Bethancourt after they saw him either at spring training or in the Gulf Coast League for the first time. Very impressive swing for such a young kid.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Can you rank these "M" lefties for us? Matzek, Moore, MadBum, Matusz. Thanks.

Ben Badler: Matusz, Matzek, Moore, Bumgarner

    JAYPERS (IL): If you had to pick one team's #30 prospect to have a breakout season this year, who would it be and why?

Ben Badler: I'm going to cheat and go with a No. 29 guy: Guillermo Pimentel (Mariners). He's not going to provide much or maybe any defensive value, but he was one of the best hitters available on the international free agent market last year with feel for hitting and outstanding raw power.

    Josh (NY): Out of all of the teams, are there any that you think we could look back in 5-10 years and say that system was a lot better than we thought?

Ben Badler: Just looking at the teams in the 16-30 range of our organizational talent rankings, I'm probably more bullish on the Royals. The problem for me is that you have to have elite hitting prospects to be a top-shelf farm system. Moustakas and Hosmer have some pretty big question marks right now, and Wil Myers is interesting but I'd like to see how he does in a full season league first. They definitely have the talent to take a huge step forward next year, though.

    BL (Bozeman): In general, at what age do you begin tracking prospects? What catches your eye - or ear - first regarding a prospect? Do you have an off-the-beaten-path part of the country you like keeping an eye on in terms of prospects (ie non-sun belt)?

Ben Badler: I have reports on 13- and 14-year-olds from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela in my files right now. That might sound borderline creepy but that's business when MLB makes the signing age 16 for those countries.

    Carl (Maryland): How would you order pitching statistics from most important to least important relevant to a 5-year pitching career and would the order be changed for a 20-year pitching career?

Ben Badler: Assuming we're talking about using performance data for the sake of player projection, I consider the inputs much more important than the outputs for pitchers. But in terms of performance analysis I look at the things pitchers have a great deal of control over: strikeouts, walks and ground balls.

    Sacha34 (The Bay Area): Buster Posey's power seems to be a work in progress, but I was surprised at how well he hit after his promotion. Do you think he has 20-25hr potential?

Ben Badler: Probably more likely a 10-15 HR guy to start his career, with a chance for 15-20 in his prime. But I wouldn't be surprised if he had a couple of seasons with 20-plus homers.

    Pierre (Montreal, Canada): Team that has the best chance to be a contender throughout the '10s (besides Yanks and Red Sox)?

Ben Badler: Rangers and Mariners. The Rangers for their farm system, the Mariners for their front office. It also helps to be in a four-team division.

    Dan (Frustrated State): When will BA fix it so that when the chat board refreshes we won't lose our spot on the page? By the time I find where I left off, the page refreshes again.

Ben Badler: As soon as possible, I hope!

    Bobo (Philly): Why should a fan buy the handbook? Having never seen it what makes it worth the money?

Ben Badler: You get 900 professional-level scouting reports, which if my math is right comes out to a little more than a couple of pennies per scouting report. Pretty good deal, I think, but I'm biased.

    Jim Lahey (Sunnyvale, NS): Was the talk of Ynoa being an historic talent accurate, or was it just hyperbole? How easy/hard would it be to compare him to Chapman? Arguelles?

Ben Badler: Historic? I'm pretty sure I never called him an "historic" talent. I wrote that he was one of the top 16-year-old international free agent pitchers that some scouts had seen in the 2000s, and the A's certainly backed that up with a record signing bonus. If other people want to get carried away with it, that's beyond my control.

    Carl (Maryland): What are the primary stat ranges pitchers need in order to be considered a "prospect", over what period of time, and on what level (e.g., Div I college, A, AA) basis?

Ben Badler: There isn't a stat range or statistical benchmark that a pitcher needs to hit (aside from pitching fewer than 50 big league innings to meet our eligibility requirements). A player's performance record is just that: a record of how he performed in the past. We use scouting reports and performance analysis to come up with the best estimate of a player's skill set as well as his current and future talent level. The larger the sample size, the more reliable the estimate will be, although there's always going to be sample error. Same with scouting reports: the more information you have, the more times you've seen a player, the more people you talk to who have seen the player, the more accurate your estimates of a player's skill set and talent level will be. So while it helps to see how a player does against minor league competition, there aren't any statistical benchmarks a player needs to hit to be able to comfortably estimate his talent level.

    Me (Here): I know you can't or won't slag a specific instance of social media for fear of offending readers who like 'em, but in a general sense, does it make it hard to promote BA's work and brand in a day and age when you have to promote your website.....on other websites (facebook/twitter)? Are we that lazy as a people that we need to be tweeted/facebooked to gather the motivation to visit your URL? (When does the 5 year cruise begin with the Buy and Large ship?)

Ben Badler: I think it makes sense to go where the people are and actively engage them. It takes me about 10 to 15 seconds to send out a tweet on my Twitter account; not exactly backbreaking labor.

    George Francis (RI): Four years from now, which current Red Sox catching projects as the best blend of offensive; catch and throw; game-calling/leadership ability?

Ben Badler: Luis Exposito, although I don't think their everyday catcher will come from their farm system.

Ben Badler: All right, Logan Morrison's chatting right now in our other chat room, so go over and ask him all you want to know about Mike Stanton. Our next mystery BA analyst will be back here at 4.

Jim Shonerd: We were holding off on resuming our staff chat until the prospects were finished, but we'll go ahead and pick things up. A huge thank you goes out to Tim Alderson, Ryan Westmoreland, Logan Morrison and Casey Crosby for taking time out of their schedules to chat on our site today. We'll keep going until the blizzard arrives.

    Mike (Framingham MA): Kelly and Westmorland are the consensus top 2 prospects in the red sox system. I've seen scouts rank them kelly first and others rank Westmorland first. Which do you prefer? If you had to chose one for your team, which would you throw your support behind?

Jim Shonerd: Tough call. Westmoreland's got higher upside, but Kelly's more proven and doesn't have the injury history, so I think I'd lean his way right now.

    Will (Mactaquac): The reports on Grant Green are all over the place, but I keep remembering how after that glorious summer in the cape, the comparisons to Longoria and Tulo were flying around. Was that hyperbole of days gone by, or can you see that sort of comp yet? If Green has fallen off, how did it happen?

Jim Shonerd: Green can be a lesser version of those players, but his bat isn't explosive enough to be put in their class. Some scouts have concerns about his swing path, but it's not out of the question for him to have 15-20 home run power as he fills out.

    Kevin (Raleigh, NC): Yes, it's a little ridiculous here with the weather...all the sugar disappears from the grocery shelves...what are people doing all weekend with a six-pound bag of sugar? Anyway, could you please offer your opinion on Romine/Norris regarding ceiling and ability to handle the position in the majors? Thanks for this today - pretty interesting.

Jim Shonerd: Romine has a better chance to stick at catcher at the next level. Norris is still inexperienced back there since he didn't start catching until he was a high school senior and his receiving can be a bit rough at times, but I'm a big fan of his bat. He can be a middle-of-the-order hitter.

    Bubba Brown (Roy, UT): Thanks for the legendary all-day chat. Re-order last year's top five prospects with the knowledge we know have one year later.

Jim Shonerd: Wieters, Hayward, Hanson, Price Rasmus for me.

    Adam (Charlotte, NC): What's the ceiling on Justin Smoak? Do you think it's possible he puts up Texiera type numbers for his career?

Jim Shonerd: Smoak doesn't have 40 home run power like Teixeira, though playing half his games in Arlington will help. Still, he can be .290-.300 hitter with 20-25 home run power, with above-average defense thrown in.

    Ryan (Indianapolis, IN): When I was at an AFL game, I saw Mike Stanton hit the longest home run I've ever seen. It may still be orbiting the earth. That said, his strikeouts concern me. Do you think he'll be able to adjust to MLB pitching and cut the strikeouts down to maybe 100-110 per season?

Jim Shonerd: I think Stanton has shown he can make adjustments and was doing a good job of cutting down the strikeouts until he reached Double-A last year, when they spiked again. His pitch recognition is getting better, it's just a matter of him refining his approach. That should come with experience and I think he's got the aptitude to do it.

    Richie (Salt Lake City, UT): What do you hear about Fautino De los Santos? Is he ready to blossom or is the bloom off the rose? Same question for Destin Hood albeit a little different situation...

Jim Shonerd: De los Santos has been on the shelf so long, it's tough to really project what he'll do this year. I got good reports on him from when he pitched in the A's Dominican camp in November. The velocity was still there but he hadn't worked in his offspeed stuff yet. As for Hood, the Nats knew he would be a project when they signed him. He's got the physical tools, but he's still learning to refine his approach. He'll be facing older competition in the South Atlantic League this year, so it'd be a surprise if he dominated, but he can boost his stock just by holding his own.

    Jason (Logan's home town): Do you expect Logan Morrison to break camp with the big league club in 2010?

Jim Shonerd: I wouldn't be totally suprised, but I think he'd really have to tear the cover off the ball in spring training. The Marlins do have Gaby Sanchez a level ahead of him and while Morrison does have the better bat, it wouldn't hurt him to get some more seasoning.

    Wade (Tampa): What's the perfect case scenario for Wade Davis "realistically"? Or have I just violated the laws of logic & reason too badly for you to answer :)

Jim Shonerd: He's got two plus pitches, a big, durable frame and the mental toughness to back it up. It'd behoove him to develop either his changeup or slider into a more consistent offering, but he's No. 2 starter material.

    John (Boston): What does it mean to be a First-Division Corner Outfielder?

Jim Shonerd: Basically that you're a guy who would start for playoff team. Plus power tool. Plus hit tool. Solid arm. Think guys like Matt Holliday or, from the prospect universe, Jason Heyward and Mike Stanton.

    Cris E (St Paul, MN): Where will Kyle Gibson start the year, and where do you think he'll finish the year?

Jim Shonerd: He's expected to start in high Class A Fort Myers and could certainly make it to Double-A if he performs.

Jim Shonerd: Alright, time to bring in the closer, Conor Glassey, our own version of Bruce Sutter. He'll take you the rest of the way.

Conor Glassey: Thanks, Jim. I couldn't throw Sutter's split even with a Wiffle ball, but I'd put my beard up against his anyday. It's crazy that we've been chatting all day and there are still several hundred questions in the queue. I'll give it my all for an hour or so. Thanks for coming out, everybody!

    Henry Thompson (Sauce Town, USA): Posey....top catcher in the minors?

Conor Glassey: Probably, but Carlos Santana is very close & this doesn't include Montero because of his defensive limitations and likely future at 1B.

    Mike (New York): Do you see Tyson Gillies as having Carl Crawford or Juan Pierre potential?

Conor Glassey: Probably more Juan Pierre, but I think Gillies has better plate discipline.

    Nate (Maryland): Tommy Hanson or David Price?

Conor Glassey: Price, for me, but it's close.

    Dale (Atlanta): Please rank these pitchers; Mike Montomery, Daniel Hudson, Mike Leake, and Matt Maloney. Thanks!

Conor Glassey: I'd say: Montgomery, Leake, Hudson & Maloney.

    Shane (Miami): Jim, Settle a debate for me. Some criticize that Casey Kelly doesn't have enough of a fastball to get hitters out. Do you think he can add a tick or two, as he fills out, and commits himself completely to pitching?

Conor Glassey: I'm not Jim, but here's my answer. According to Fangraphs.com, the following guys had fastballs last year that averaged between 90-92: Waiwright, Vazquez, Lackey, Billingsley, Haren & Shields. Fastball velocity is important, but it's certainly not a be-all, end-all. There are a lot of guys with bigger fastballs that can't get anyone out. Google "Jason Neighborgall"

    Wayne (Charleston, SC): If you could choose any low minors SP who you expect to see near the top of the prospect list a year from now, who would it be?

Conor Glassey: In no order: Simon Castro, Julio Teheran, Tyler Matzek, Jacob Turner, Casey Crosby, Matt Moore & Alex Colome could all be guys that make that jump.

    Dean (CT): With the Tigers NYPL SS team now moving to CT, who would you expect to start the season there? Any of the tigers top prospects? Players like, Jacob Truner, Daniel Fields, Wade gaynor..ect. Is there anyone that I should look out for this season? thanks for your time.

Conor Glassey: The Tigers don't talk about assignments until after spring training. I could see Fields maybe staring in extended and heading to short season, but the other two most likely will be in Low A, maybe even high A for Turner.

    Mike (Michigan): what is the ceiling for Gustavo Nunez?

Conor Glassey: He profiles as an Orlando Cabrera-type, with a little less power. If the bat doesn't develop all the way, he could still be a valuable bench player with his defense and speed.

    MJ (Detroit): The auto-refresh on the chat page is really annoying, fyi. It kicks you back to the top of the page right in the middle of reading questions (if you, like me, prefer to allow some questions to build up and read a few at once) Now an actual prospect question: Who do you prefer over the next 5 years, Mat Latos or Aroldis Chapman?

Conor Glassey: Not sure what browser you're using, but for me (Firefox) it will take me back down to where I was, it just takes a second. I agree, though, auto-refresh should be an option, not automatic.

    Shawn (Winnipeg): If you were the Blue Jays GM, what would you focus on in the upcoming June draft? Obviously the best talent but what about high school arms, impact bats, shortstops,etc..

Conor Glassey: You said it already: best talent. Period.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Better overall tools at the same age: Justin Upton or Donavan Tate? How great would the difference between the two be?

Conor Glassey: Upton, no doubt. I'd say the difference is pretty big - Upton was a no-doubt first-overall guy. There was a lot more divergent opinions on Tate.

    John (Philly): How would you rank the following pitchers: Kelly, Friedrich, Crosby? Also do you think Logan Morrison will bounce back to possibly become a top 10 prospect next year?

Conor Glassey: I'd say Friedrich first. Crosby and Kelly are closer for me. Gun to my head? I'd go with Crosby. Morrison is already very close to the top 10 - so that's not out of the question, if he's still eligible next year.

    Shawn (Winnipeg): Who do you think will be better out of Lind and Snider? Both offensively and defensively?

Conor Glassey: Snider

    MITCH (Baltimore): How many true #1 pitching prospects are there right now? who would they be?

Conor Glassey: Probably just Strasburg & Feliz, if he can stick in the rotation.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Conor, thanks for the chat! Who are your top 5 prep hitters right now looking ahead to the '10 Draft?

Conor Glassey: I'm always down for a couple draft questions. After all, high school players are Prospect Handbook prospects, right? When you say prep hitters, I imagine you're talking about position players in general, so defense counts too. If so, my top 5 would be: Manny Machado, Josh Sale, Austin Wilson, Nick Castellanos & Yordy Cabrera.

    Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Conor, give us a HS sleeper that could shoot way up draft boards come June.

Conor Glassey: A couple guys in the bottom half of our Top 100 that could vault up: Angelo Gumbs, of, Torrence (Calif.) HS & Tyrell Jenkins, rhp, Henderson (Texas) HS. A couple guys that missed the Top 100 = Jake Hernandez, a catcher from Los Osos HS in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. & Niko Goodrum, a shortstop from Fayette County HS in Georgia. Here's Niko's personal site: http://nikogoodrum.angelfire.com/

    Avery (Walnut Creek): Are you on board with Moustakas behind the plate? How do we convince the Royals of this: petition, letter writing campaign, or billboard lined from the K to Arkansas?

Conor Glassey: No. Catching is really hard. You can't just stick anybody back there.

    Whitnety (NC): Thanks for the chat! You can pick two of three prospects to begin building your team - Dee Gordon, Desmond Jennings and Derek Norris...which two would you choose, and why?

Conor Glassey: Jennings & Norris

    Donald (Huber Hts, OH): What's the chance that Christian Friedrich reaches the Majors by mid-season 2010? Late 2010?

Conor Glassey: I love Friedrich, but I wouldn't count on seeing him in Colorado in 2010.

Conor Glassey: Alright, that's all for me and all for the chat (tonight, at least). Thank you very much to Tim Alderson, Ryan Westmoreland, Logan Morrison & Casey Crosby for taking the time to answer questions. They did an outstanding job & fun was had by all.

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