John Manuel Chat: March 30
Chuck (Wichita): What do you think of Aaron Crow making the Royals in the bullpen?
Hey folks, thanks for taking the time to
chat. Jim Callis will be back next week but we want to reinstate the
Wednesday chatting tradition.
I like Crow in the bullpen. While he's thrown a lot of strikes and has
good control, he may lack the command to start, thanks to that hook in
his arm action with his wrist. He's got the velo and the plus slider to
relieve and might wind up closing if Soria is ever dealt. I think it
works for Crow and the Royals.
Matt (Georgia): With the possability of
graduation a few of the nine that were in the Top 100 who do think will
be sitting their for the Royals to select with pick #5? Gray, Starling?
Thus only adding to the absurdity of talent the organization will turn
out in the coming years.
What separates the Royals is depth of
stars, plus depth of talent to go with their stars. They aren't relying
on one or two guys, and as JJ Cooper discusses in the features on our
front today, the key is the Royals have a first wave, then a second wave
with all their rookie ball guys. If they go young with the likes of
Starling (who makes sense for them as a five-tooler, sort-of-local,
high-upside, high-risk guy), he fits with the second wave. Gray could be
a first-wave type, he also fits for me at 5 with his power arm. Both
Nick (Connecticut): If the Yankees needed a
starter from within for a long period of time this season who would you
call up? What would be a reasonable expectation of his performance at
the Major League level? Love the chats, thanks.
Well, Nova is getting the first crack. He
was initially going to be in our Top 10, but he dropped to 13; info I
had was that the org and scouts outside the org thought he fit better in
the bullpen. He's had a good spring obviously and has the stuff to
start, and has been in BA Handbooks since his season at Charleston, in
low A. I'd say Noesi is next due to his fastball command; it's a back of
the rotation profile but he's close to filling it. He'd be next, but
Yanks are studying histories of others who have rushed through the
minors to aid them in decision-making process regarding Banuelos.
Clearly he impressed in spring training and could move quicker than the
organization had anticipated. I think they want to take it slow with
him, but they are preparing to move faster if need be.
Brian (Toledo): The Indians Alex Lavisky has hit 5 homeruns this spring. Does he have 30 homerun potential?
I hadn't seen that, but all our reports
pre- and post-draft had him with above-average raw power. I'd still
adjust my expectations down from 30 for a catcher, those are exceedingly
rare. I know they miss Lavisky at Ga. Tech, where he was penciled in to
start this year if he'd made it to school.
J.C. (Denver): When recruiting a high school
player, how much stock do college coaches put in stats? It seems that on
a number of occasions blue-chip prospects who maybe throw hard but walk
a ton of hitters are recruited more than guys who simply get outs.
I would bet scouts disagree with that
assessment; I always get to hear complaints about big-time arms such as
Liberty's Blake Forslund who don't throw strikes and sit while thumbing
LHPs or upper-80s RHPs get all the innings precisely because they throw
strikes. Forslund has 11 BB in 12 IP, so he's taking a back seat now to
guys who "simply get outs." Georgia coach Dave Perno said they were
adopting that in recruiting as well this fall, but his program is one of
the rare ones that can go head to head with pro ball for power arms and
John (Ashburn, VA): John: What's the future
hold for Brad Chalk and Daniel Moskos in the Pirates' system? Any
expectation that we may see them in Pittsburgh anytime soon? Tks.
Brad Chalk? The waiver claim out of
Clemson? Not sure you should expect him anywhere but Indianapolis. I
wish him no ill will but he's not a big league regular, best hope is as a
25th guy, Jason Tyner type. Moskos, if he's not in Pittsburgh yet, it's
hard to see him making an impact. He was a college reliever picked in
2007 and still hasn't arrived. Scouts were more enthused by him in 2010
than previously; I haven't seen him this spring but it's not like he's
trying to break camp with the '98 Yankees here.
Brian (Toledo): If Alex White continues to
develop a third pitch, and remains a starter, who would you compare him
to on the Major League level.
Ha, pretty huge ifs Brian. I can't think
of many starters off the top of my head who use a splitter anymore, but
if you can think of any, that would be your comp. I think White is
pretty unique, and I've held for a while that he once had a plus slider,
so his ability to spin it should still be there. But the slider remains
below-average, so he might be better off focusing on commanding his
two-seamer and four-seamer, using his split and just going with those
pitches. He would have to have almost Schilling or Prior-like command to
get away with it as a starter—
that's the last 2-pitch starters I can
but it's more likely for him to have premium command, it
seems, than for his slider to come back.
Greg (Ohio): Nats are going to be turrible again this year aern't they? Although I like Espinosa at @ 2nd this year.
Plus two for the proper spelling of
"turrible." I can hear Barkley railing on the "Big Least" now ... It's
not a roster burgeoning with championship talent, but it wouldn't
surprise me if they finished in fourth place. The Mets don't look any
better, but I see both teams as 90-loss clubs.
Greg (Ohio): Alex Meyer (RHP) strikes me as a
perfect Supp round pick for a club that wants to take an Andrew Brackman
like flier on a guy who could become a #1 starter... Agree?
Maybe, Greg. I always refer to Meyer as
"Bubba" because he used that nickname in HS, according to our old preps
writer, Alan Matthews. For me, Bubba fits as a comp pick, an extra pick,
because he's far from a sure thing. If he's as athletic as Brackman,
I'd take that chance, but I don't think he is; he's just big. I think
the problem is, he's probably not signing for slot as a supp pick, as he
already has turned down $2 million out of high school. That's the
complicating factor, and unlike Brackman, he doesn't have somewhat
legitimate NBA aspirations (after all, Brackman played college hoops,
Meyer has not).
Ravi (Palo Alto): Following the Bonds Trial?
Only sporadically. I wonder if anyone else is?
KyleS (Loudonville, NY): Thanks John for doing
this, here's my question: In three years, do you see A's prospect Grant
Green sticking at shortstop, or will Yordy Cabrera take over the role
and how far is Cabrera? Projection on where he'll start this season?
Cabrera is less of a SS than Green. I see
Green at 2b or 3b and Cabrera at 3b or perhaps RF. Yordy is already 20,
so he's probably headed to low A this season, which is now in
Burlington, Iowa. (I love that former Arkansas & Miami 1B Haas Pratt
is now a coach in the A's system, hitting coach at Burlington)
Ken (Lakewood CA): Thanks John. I'm seeing
college pitchers throw 120-130+ pitches per game. What are your thoughts
on this? I think it's too many pitches for kids that are looking ahead
to possible major league careers and contracts. Do you think some
college coaches ought to think more of these kids futures than winning
games for their schools. Aren't they guilty of disregarding the futures
of these pitchers for success now?
1) Don't agree with a blanket approach to
pitch counts; 120 pitches in college once a week seems different than
once every five days in pro ball, but (2) I'd rather see fewer guys
throwing 120-130 pitches than we generally see today. (3) The bottom
line is coaches are PAID to win games now. Development is nice, but
college baseball is not there necessarily for development. If a player
is in college, he generally wants to win games too. That's not an
excuse, that's just a fact. MLB isn't paying any of these college
coaches, the colleges and the boosters are paying them, and they want
wins and trips to Omaha. (4) Some pitchers' bodies are conditioned to
throw a lot of pitches, like, say, Trevor Bauer. If you were worried
about college pitch counts, you would never have drafted Tim Lincecum in
'06; he was used a ton at Washington, often in midweek games in relief,
and walked a ton of guys as well as recording a lot of K's. Much more
to say I'm sure but that's a long-enough answer.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): First catcher taken Swihart or Susac?
Jeff also asked, First HS arm taken?
Norris, Guerreuri, Bundy, or Bradley?
I'll say Susac and Bradley, but Guerrieri might be the biggest riser of
the spring, from supplemental first-round range to potential top 10.
Still a LONG way to go, I don't think these things fluctuate from week
to week like some would have you think.
steve (san fran): rank these players 5 years from now? belt, hosmer, moustakas, harper, heyward, stanton & posey?
1) Harper. 2) Stanton! 3) Heyward 4) Posey
5) Hosmer 6) Moustakas 7) Belt
Pretty stout group. Still regret letting Ben Badler talk me out of
ranking Stanton third in my personal top 50 in the '09 Handbook; had him
10, behind Wieters, Price, Feliz, Hanson, Heyward, Bumgarner, Travis
Snider, Cam Maybin & Pedro Alvarez. List has held up well, still
wish I had Stanton higher.
Ryan D. (Moorpark, CA): From what I have read
and watched, Angels CF Peter Bourjos has worked very hard on his ability
to bunt for a basehit. This seems to be a dangerous weapon for speedy
players, but at the same time I feel this practice is neglected by most.
Why is this?
Chicks dig the longball ... Why is the
mid-range jump shot a lost art in basketball? Just seems like when
everyone was hitting opposite field homers in the late 90s, bunting for a
base hit was not a skill that needed to be perfected.
Steve (Leavenworth, KS): With all they hype
about the Royals minor league system, some of them will still be busts.
Which of these prospects do you see as having the biggest risk of being
Royals with bust potential ... I'd rank
Duffy first because he quit once before, with Dwyer a close second
because I do have some thought that he'll wind up being a reliever. I
know he's athletic but question his aptitude and ability to make
adjustments. I suppose I should throw in Montgomery considering his
temper got him tossed off his HS hoops team, but I'm not going to pick
against a long toss guy ...
Ryan D. (Moorpark, CA): Better prospect: Brandon Belt or Jerry Sands?
Belt, and it doesn't sound like it's too
close. I like Sands more than most, but Belt is more athletic, more of a
pure bat and lefthanded to boot.
Miley Cyrus (Disney, CA): Would you rather have Ben Revere or Joe Benson in the Twins organization on your team? Why?
Benson's ceiling is considerably higher;
he's almost as fast, much more power, better defender. But, Revere's hit
tool is better, probably much better. He's the safer bet. But I think
you win championships with Bensons more than with Reveres. In certain
situations, Revere would fit better, but the Twins need Benson to come
through and replace Cuddyer when his contract expires, which I believe
is after this season.
Jacob (Atlanta): Hey John, what do you think of
Billy Bullock? Can he harness his command issues and be more than just a
middle-innings guy in MLB? Thanks.
He could, but I see him as a 7th-8th
inning guy more than as a future closer. He's always been a bit of a
tease. Stuff is real, results pretty inconsistent, and the Twins have a
lot of similar power arms, as I wrote in the trade analysis the other
day. I thought Bullock was a high price to pay for Scott Diamond, but I
like Diamond, and the Twins frankly needed Diamond more than they need
Bullock. They had no other upper-level LHPs in the system, but D. Watts,
Gutierrez give them other power arms in the pen to make up for loss of
Chris (Durham, NC): Am I correct in
understanding that many talent evaluators would rank roughly 15-20
Royals prospects ahead of the #1 prospect for the Brewers? Obviously
that says a lot about both systems, but which system does is say more
I think that's fair. We had Salvador Perez
at No. 17 for Kansas City. I love Mark Rogers personally, really
rooting for him, but as a prospect, I'd guess the consensus is Perez
> Rogers. That said, Milwaukee's big league team is much, much better
than KC's team, right? It seems like fun to poke at Milwaukee's system,
but (a) the Covey thing wasn't their fault, (b) they're all-in for this
year, (c) they've graduated more talent the last five years than KC by a
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown, MA): Manny Machado or Francisco Lindor?
Machado, though Lindor does seem to have
some helium for this year's draft. Machado's bat projects to have more
impact potential than Lindor's.
Joel (KCK): I remember reading that Tyler
Skaggs possibly had the higher upside than Matzek or Purke when the
three of them were coming out of highschool a couple years ago. What is
the ceiling for Skaggs? What kind of stuff does he have? Thanks!
I don't know if we said he had a higher
ceiling, but a similar ceiling. More projection was involved with
Skaggs, as he was the least physically developed of that trio, but he's
off to a flying start. He's got a plus curveball, feel for pitching and a
fastball that sits average and has above-average potential as he fills
out physically. He's a great breakout candidate for 2011 considering he
pitched just 98 IP last year.
JoeRanda Lives (hamilton, NJ): Seems Royals
moved Greinke at the best time. You see Royals moving any more young
vets to get better prospects? Pirates should take LONGGG look at Royals
to see how to make small market team competitive,
I'd take a longer look at Tampa or
Minnesota, seeing as how they've won in the majors and remain contenders
even after losing key pieces. The whole point of JJ's "Prospects to
Pennants" package on the front of the site is, you've got a great farm
system — what do you do with it? How do you win with those guys?
Pirates have some building blocks in the lineup, but they are a long way
off on the mound, which is where both Minnesota and Tampa excel.
Rich (Philly): John, With the rise of Cole lately are the M's the biggest winner in the draft ( Get to take whoever Pitt Passes on)?
Not sure why it would be the rise of Cole
"lately." Did you guys not watch him in Omaha last year? It was on
national TV, you know. I saw him there and in the summer for Team USA;
he was a monster then, pretty much the same guy now, and he, not Rendon,
was a first-rounder out of HS. Also, he didn't last 7 IP in his last
start. Not hating on Cole in any way, just saying, we had him 2 on the
board coming into the year, and frankly I think he's still 2. You could
even argue he's not the best pitcher on his own team; check Bauer's
stats out, and his stuff is legit. I'd take Cole over Bauer, and I know
that's the industry consensus, but it wouldn't shock me one bit if Bauer
wound up having the better career. He's just too unconventional (and
too small) to be the consensus guy. To get to your question, this is a
good year to pick in the top 10-15, because you would feel good that
you'd have a shot at a big-time talent. Now you just have to pay for
JAYPERS (IL): Which college pitcher has surprised you the most this season (in a good way)?
Taylor Jungmann, who has been as good or
better than anybody. I would say Hultzen next but Aaron Fitt kind of had
me prepped for a monster Hultzen season. Mark Pope at Ga. Tech sticks
out from a non-draft perspective, didn't see his dominance coming.
Ben (Leland Grove): We promise not to hold this
against you later, should you be totally and completely off the mark.
Now, please pick your 2011 NL/AL ROY's for us. Thanks John.
Hold it however you want. I'm sticking
with Hellickson in the AL and going with Freeman in the NL. Sorry to be
boring. My gut-feel, more off-the-board picks of good rookie seasons
would include Brandon Beachy in the NL — I hate that I wasn't bold
enough in ranking Beachy, who has a good enough fastball, excellent
secondary stuff and plenty of moxie. In the AL, give me Dustin Ackley.
The guy just hits.
Vic (San Diego): Did you hear anything about
Billy Hamilton's brief look with the club or how he's looked in extended
spring training? Is a Luis Castillo type (the good version) his
I haven't talked to anyone on Hamilton
this spring, unfortunately, but Luis Castillo might be his floor. He's
going to give shortstop a look this year, and I don't know that you
could determine that in a spring training look anyway. He's got arm
strength; it was his low release point on throws, inconsistent release
points, that prompted him to play 2B last year. If he can play short,
he's got a chance to be that rare SS speedster leadoff type. If you must
have a comp, maybe early-career Rafael Furcal, back when he didn't slug
.400. I don't see Hamilton ever hitting for a lot of power.
Frank (AL): Matt Moore K'd 10 in 4 IP during an intrasquad game (vs. Durham). When can fans expect to see him join their rotation?
Which fans, Durham? I'm hoping midseason.
Matt Eddy was there for Moore's big outing, by the way, he was suitably
impressed, believe he tweeted it @eddymk if you didn't see it.
Chris (Allentown, PA): Flores, Owings, Lipka, Salcedo. What are the upside of these shortstop prospects and what posisions might they end up at?
Well, Salcedo didn't make our list for
shortstops when we broke down prospects by position for our next
Prospect Pulse, which goes to press tomorrow and should be online next
week. Lipka was toward the back. we left Flores at SS on the list only
because no one's sure where he winds up long-term, but we know it won't
be SS because he lacks the fast-twitch athleticism and quickness for the
position. Owings is no sure thing at short either, but I like him quite
a bit as a Gordon Beckham type, and he has real power. He's going to
have to be more selective to be the No. 2 guy on that list, but that's
where I have him.
jon (philly): who has a better chance to be a top 25 prospect next year, stetson allie or yorman rodriguez? thanks.
Charlie (Washington): What's the time table with Dodger fireballer Rubby De La Rosa? Do you think he'll eventually be a starter or reliever.
He's going to move quickly this year; bet
he gets to Double-A by midseason. It's a special arm, and he has the
repertoire to be a starter. There's effort in the delivery, but I hope
he learns to throttle back a bit, not feel the need to throw 102 and
learn to grind through a lineup. It's easier to say a guy with his kind
of arm strength would go to the bullpen; I'm holding out hope he can
Joseph (Bozeman, MT): Is there one player
outside of your consensus top 25 prospects or so that you would not be
surprised to see ranked in the top 5 next year?
I'll pick a hitter and pitcher and say Miguel Sano as the bat and Jarred Cosart as the arm.
Tom (San Diego): Who are the top 5 future closers in the minors right now?
Another one for the position-by-position
breakdown, but we had 5 in the Top 100, see if you can spot 'em. We go
well beyond the top 100 for every position, though, I think we ranked
like 190 guys. Fun exercise.
Neufeldt (New Berlin, WI): How patient will the
Dodgers be with Jerry Sands in the minors, given the pathetic ABs
they'll be getting from Thames/Gibbons/Gwynn?
I don't think it works like that. If he
hits, and they don't, they'll give him the chance. Not like they have a
seven-figure bonus bonus at stake in Sands.
Tom (Florida): Do you think it could be
frusturating for guys like moose and Hosmer who have nothing else to
prove in the minor leagues and the only reason they are not getting
called up is to delay arbitation? If they were with a club like atl or
chc they would be starting on opening day right?
Just think that goes back to makeup and
controlling what you can control. Lots of teams hold guys back for
service clock, I don't think this is too big of a factor.
B. Cash (South Carolina): Seeing comments
lately that J. Montero just doesn't have much projection left because
he's already big-bodied and filled out. Do you agree? Despite the
spring struggles you still see him as a top bat? Would you rather have
Myers or Montero, for what it's worth?
Projection was not really a factor with
Montero. His body has gotten better in recent years and he's improved
his flexibility. Yankee official a couple of years ago gave me the usual
spiel and lauded Montero for improving, but when I asked him for
Montero's ceiling as a defender, asking him to be optimistic, he said
"45." Ever since I've always used that as a guide. I do still see him as
a top bat; he struggled out of the gate last year, was under a lot of
pressure this spring, and he's still very young. I would take Montero
over Myers, though that's a good discussion. Myers is a bit more
conventional in his setup and approach.
Grant (Wpg): Seems like Matt Purke is falling.
Anyone else dropping quite a bit so far? Among risers, do you see
Bundy and Hultzen pushing into the top 5?
He could drop, but he also could right his
ship. He's had two bad starts in his career, and the documented issue
this year was a blister. The guy was a first-rounder 2 years ago and
pretty unhittable last year, when the bats were a lot more potent, and
he had the same slingy delivery, same low arm slot. When he finds his
release point again, he'll show the stuff he did in HS and last year
when he was Freshman of the year. Still plenty of time, 2 months of
time, before the draft. Same goes for George Springer as far as time to
get back, but we never ranked Springer ahead of Cole or Purke due to his
contact issues. Not sure about Bundy and Hultzen pushing top 5; it's
been 5 weeks. But we're gathering info now for a midseason update coming
in 2-3 weeks, so stay tuned.
BL (Bozeman, MT): I thought your discussion
about support for college baseball with Aaron to open the most recent
college podcast was really terrific, and it makes me wonder: are there
hotbeds of enthusiasm for the college game outside of the southeastern
part of the country? Is there a feel that the NCAA's attempts in recent
years to grow the game in northern tier states has paid any dividends?
Thanks Bill. I honestly don't sense any
dividends yet in terms of fan interest, but let's wait and see when the
weather warms up. That's when (a) Northern teams actually play home
games and (b) basketball is over. St. John's and UConn getting off to
bad starts doesn't help though. That's two clubs that could have been
at-large teams from the Big East, and now it looks unlikely for that to
happen, which means one of them might be at home (i.e., left out) for
Joseph (Bozeman, MT): Ok, John, I think Stanton ahead of Heyward deserves a follow-up. Would you offer your reasoning?
Just his power. He's fairly similar in
many ways, but we're talking 80 power. Not taking anything from Heyward,
but he doesn't have 80 power. Harper and Stanton do.
Mike (NYC): What are your thoughts on Trayvon Robinson? Will he get any significant playing time on the big league club this year?
Like Trayvon, funny dude, I don't see him
necessarily with significant playing time but he could fit that LF hole
better than Sands. Kemp is a CF who hits like an LF (at his best), so
Robinson could fit, plus reports seem to indicate Furcal has lost
another step, so LA could use some speed. I was concerned by Robinson's
late fade last year, his slugging dipped below .400, and I wonder if
he's ready for a full big-league season, think he would be best served
with more minors time, he was pretty raw out of HS. Great story, easy
prospect to pull for.
Steve (Minnesota): John - Aaron Hicks a riser or faller for you this year?
Riser! We'll have a feature on him in our next classification report from intern Teddy Cahill.
Kick (LA): How about doin' a podcast with charlie sheen?
We'd talk UCLA baseball, sure.
ballboy (the bench): when will this chat end?
(I figured this was a comic way to get a question in today!)
Right about now ... thanks for all the
questions, can't believe that was two hours! JJ and I will be podcasting
tonight on his stories, should be posted tomorrow, you can send Q's to