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 or go to our
main stats page at

    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 . . . The rest of
the prospect chats are linked at

    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

    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

    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

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
    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 . . .
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

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 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 ?

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

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

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

    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

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 ?


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

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

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

    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

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): 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, 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

    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,

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

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:

    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

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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