Prospects Chat With John Manuel

Moderator: John Manuel will answer your questions about his
new Top 25 prospects list and his updates on the Top 100 prospects at 3
p.m. ET.

 Q:  mike from florida asks:
do you think about anthony swarzak? his stuff was better than most in
high school. Where do you see him in the next 2 years, and when will he
appear in the bigs?

John Manuel:
Thanks to everyone for coming in to the chat, I’ve had plenty of e-mail
on this post already so I thought a chat was the way to go. Let’s dive
in with Weezer as my backkup band for the day . . .

John Manuel:
Swarzak is another example of a deep Twins farm system, and they have
plenty of time to develop him. He’s just 20, in high Class A, and has
several college RHPs performing well ahead of him, highlighted by Matt
Garza and Kevin Slowey, who began the year in the rotation at Ft. Myers
with him. I’d rank him behind those guys, and I guess I don’t see him
as having made himself an elite guy yet, but he’s really not far from
that. He had some John Smoltz comparisons in high school, I think that
is probably a little too optimistic. In two years, he probably will
still be in the minors, because the Twins could have a rotation with
Santana and Liriano plus some mix of Baker, Garza, Slowey and maybe
Boof Bonser, plus there are others such as Kyle Waldrop and Eduardo
Morlan with upside in the system (Yeah, I still like Waldrop).

 Q:  mike from baton rouge, LA asks:
Stewart was 2nd in the NCAA last year in home runs, and 1st in the SEC.
His average declined towards the end of the season, but power remained
dominant. Why wasn’t he in the top 100, and also All america teams?

John Manuel:
Mike, sorry, but Quinn Stewart doesn’t belong in the discussion. I
didn’t count 2006 draftees anyway, even though Stewart signed as a
fifth-year senior and didn’t even make it to the draft. As for the
All-America teams, we had guys who had better years than him, in fact,
we had 9-12 (counting OFs and DHs). Sorry.

 Q:  greg from florida asks:
do you think about Sean Gallagher? I think he is in a great
organization to move up fast, how long do you think it will take him to
climb the ladder?

John Manuel:
I think he’s really come on as a prospect this year, not so much his
performance (he performed last year), but as Chris Kline has detailed,
Gallagher’s stuff is better this year. His curveball doesn’t stand out
so significantly from his other pitches anymore, it’s better and it’s
not his only good pitch. He throws harder and has better control. He is
in an organization that has had a horrible year, and he’s been a bright
light. Putting a timetable on him . . . I’d guess he’ll get to the
majors in his 40-man roster protection year, and that would be next
year if he performs well.

 Q:  Joe from grand rapids, mi asks:
Where would Andrew Miller have ranked if eligible?

John Manuel:
I have my list right here, and I would have put him probably in the
13-17 range. Hard to say, I like Miller a lot as a prospect, but I also
think Scott Elbert is the best lefty in the minors right now, and
Elbert’s pitched a full pro season, he’s physical, he’s much stronger
than Miller (who obviously is taller) . . . tough call. I’d lean toward
Miller there but I like Elbert a lot.

 Q:  mike from manassas asks:
Why did Delmon drop out of the top spot?

John Manuel:
I think the quote I had says it all: Character will damage a player in
all aspects . . . because eventually it will keep him off the field.”
That was a powerful comment for me. It would be nice if he hit for more
power in Triple-A but I have never talked to a scout who doubted his
power, and he’s clearly an advanced hitter, even without the kind of
control of the strike zone one would prefer to see. He’s also an asset
defensively in RF. But do I think you can build a championship team
around him? I have my doubts with a player who has that kind of baggage
at his age. My dealings with him have been pleasant but I hope he
realizes his mistakes and can mature and deal with them.

 Q:  Dietrich Jache from Los Angeles Dodgers asks:
is the best Prospect in the Dodger Organization and why? For how long
to you forsee the Dodgers being at the top of the minor league
development system?

John Manuel:
Elbert, because he’s a power-pitching, athletic LHP with stuff and
aptitude who has shown improvement. We had the Dodgers’ system No. 1 in
our Prospect Handbook, though it droipped to No. 2 when the
Diamondbacks signed Upton and traded for Chris Young. I don’t see the
D-backs giving up that No. 1 spot really easily, and the Dodgers
graduated a lot of talent to the majors, so I don’t see the Dodgers
being No. 1 again this year.

 Q:  Peter from Minneapolis asks:
kind of future do you see for Matt Garza? Does he have the stuff to sit
at or near the top of a Twins rotation down the road (hopefully between
Santana, Johan and Liriano, Francisco)?

John Manuel:
Man, lots of good questions . . . Garza is better than I thought he
would be. Fresno State had a lot of talent on its pitching staff in
about 2004 but a lot of those guys flamed out or transferred (Jamie
Arneson, Kyle Harper, I’m forgetting others) . . . Garza and Slowey
should both be fine RH compliments to Santana and Liriano. If the Twins
can find some RH bats to go with Mauer and Morneau . . . damn. That
should be sweet in that new ballpark. The most impressive thing on
Garza is he’s handling LH hitters so well, giving up only one HR to
them all year. If he keeps that up, he’ll be the No. 3 starter behind
Santana and Liriano. Very nice situation for the Twins.

 Q:  alex from florida asks:
Butler is doing great in AA right now, with a .317 average and good
power numbers as well. Will we see him moved up to the bigs in the 2nd
half of the season this year?

John Manuel:
The Royals could have moved him up two months ago; he and Alex Gordon
would be among the team’s best hitters right now. I just think the club
will wait until 2007 on both of them because this is a lost year, and
why start Butler’s clock early? I am quite taken with his hitting
ability, and his improvement on defense has been significant. He’s not
going to be a gold glover but he clearly realizes he needs to improve
and has worked at it, and he’s always had a plus arm. It’s just his
lack of speed and mobility (relative to other corner OFs) that will
stand in his way.

 Q:  Ben S from Newington, CT asks:
the draft hype and scouts drooling over Upton and Maybin since high
school, what sets Jay Bruce apart from that Elite Duo of OF Prospects?
So far, hes putting up better all around numbers than BOTH Upton and
Maybin, and at the same age. His makeup and additude is off the charts,
and there still remains questions about how much full effort Upton puts
into his everyday play. Since your midseason 25 is based on the numbers
and it said quote “Not far behind UptonMaybin duo in Midwest League.”
my question is, what can Bruce ever do to put himself with, or ahead of
these other two elite prospects?

John Manuel:
Good question Ben; for me, some of it is physical. Upton has more
present strength, and Maybin looks like a big leaguer right now
physically. I’ve used this line before but minus the 6-foot-8 part,
Maybin looks like LeBron James to me, just so broad-shouldered and
physical at such a young age. I just think Bruce isn’t as physical as
those guys right now (even though he’s no shrimp himself), and that’s
why he’s considered a bit behind them. But there’s no reason he can’t
overtake them, and the higher up the ladder prospects the go, the more
performance matters. He has significant tools and significant talent,
obviously. If he translates his tools into performance more at higher
levels, then he’ll be rated ahead of them. Right now he is, but he’s
also a Texan who came into pro ball with a lot more polish than, say
Maybin. He SHOULD be outperforming Maybin. I don’t know what Upton’s
excuse is for not performing, but everyone still says the supreme
talent is in there, and it shows itself from time to time.

 Q:  Anthony from Indiana asks:
was just wondering if any of the foreign signers from this year have a
chance at the top 100 next year? If so which ones do you like the best?

John Manuel:
Let’s let some of those guys play first, but Jesus Montero seems like
the obvious choice, because of the power. But let’s let these guys play.

 Q:  Bob from Winthrop asks:
John. Including Dan Bard, which pitcher do you like the most in the sox
system? Rozier, Bowden, Bard, someone else? As always, thank you.

John Manuel:
Bowden. Definitely not Rozier . . . I didn’t understand that signing
when it happened, and I don’t know. Maybe he’s the next Zach Miner,
another Boras client who got more than $1 million and eventually has
been a success after a very fringy minor league career.

 Q:  Austin from Indiana asks:
In your opinion which players have been the biggest surprises this year and have clearly moved up in your rankings?

John Manuel:
Garza has been a surprise; I liked him but would not have guessed this.
Jason Hirsh is another; I didn’t think he was elite before, I’d say he
is now (not a No. 1 but a really impressive starting pitching
prospect). Jose Tabata has proved he’s for real, that’s been
impressive. Fernando Martinez was on his way to doing so before his
injuries and now Deolis Guerra is doing some of the same. Chuck Lofgren
has been a surprise; Adam Lind is another, two guys who have really
improved their prospect rankings that I didn’t include on my lists.

 Q:  Skrip from Chicago asks:
you please tell me more about Scott Elbert? He has shot up the charts
in your rankings over the last couple of months, from 55th to 14th. He
has been dominating each level that he has touched to this point and
hasn’t shown and signs of slowing down. How would you compare him to
the other tops lefty prospects in baseball? Can he be a top of the
rotation starter? Thank you for your time John. Go Boilers. P.S. Do you
have any thoughts on ex-Boilermaker Mitch Hilligoss?

John Manuel:
I’ve talked Elbert but I wanted to add in something on Mitch Hilligoss
. . . I had a scout tell me Hilligoss is one of the best college
hitters he’s ever seen. The scout didn’t know where Hilligoss profiled
defensively, and that was a problem, but he really, really liked
Hilligoss’ bat, and that’s the consensus. I think he was a nice pick,
part of a very intriguing Yankees draft.

 Q:  Ben from DC asks:
Thanks for the chat. Any Nationals prospects make it close? Thanks.

John Manuel:
Not really. I like Frank Diaz and all, and Kory Casto is fine, but no.
This is a farm system that has had a bad year and it actually hurts
them to give up Darryl Thompson in that Reds trade, because their
pitching depth in the minors . . . yikes. It’s just not good. They’ve
had some guys go backwards this year.

 Q:  Ryan from Chicago asks:
Is it possible that Delmon Young and BJ Upton will be brought up before August 1st? How about Andy Marte?

John Manuel:
Sounds like BJ will be up in a matter of days or weeks; reports on him
at 3B have been very good. I’m not so sure on Delmon, even with the
current hole in RF in Tampa. I would guess Delmon will be a September
callup. Marte seems like a case of let him get more confidence in
Triple-A, which he seems to gain by the day, and then see what can be
gotten for Aaron Boone to free up space for him in a lost year in

 Q:  Dylan from Toronto asks:
seems that Alex GordonBilly Butler get all the attention from the KC
system, is Justin Huber a forgotten man? He was doing quite well up
until his promotion to the Majors. Then the Royals let him rot on the
bench before sending him to AAA. He has struggled ever since. How does
he rate for next season and what type of hitter canwill he eventually
develop into?

John Manuel:
Huber has never been in the same discussion, not for me. He’s a
righthanded-hitting 1B; that’s a tough profile, and he’s never been a
30-HR guy for me. At first base, that’s what it takes to be a star. I
think eventually he can be a league-average hitter, maybe a tick above.

 Q:  Fred from Madison asks:
Matthew Kemp would have been eligible for the top 25, would he have
make it? He is back in the minors, so wondering were he fits in.
Thanks again John.

John Manuel:
Thank you Fred. Matt Kemp, as I believe I’ve written before in chats,
is a guy we blew it on in that we ranked him high, but never as high as
Logan White told us we should. Not like Logan was that specific, but
he’s ALWAYS been extremely high on Kemp. He liked Kemp as much as any
player he got in the ’03 draft, one that also netted the Dodgers Chad
Billingsley, Chuck Tiffany, Xavier Paul and Travis Denker among others.
We didn’t listen hard enough and looked too much at the numbers–the
K-BB ratio and the home-road splits last year at Vero Beach. I would
probably put Kemp at No. 7, ahead of Butler, right there after Milledge.

 Q:  Mike from Iowa asks:
Erbe doesnt get much press, but he is quietly having a great season in
the low minors. His KB, K9 are excellent. Also he doesnt fall victim to
the long ball. I was wondering if can eventually make it to the top
pitching prospects level and how soon will he be ready for the Majors?

John Manuel:
Here’s how I feel about him: in the On the Radar section (which wasn’t
all-inclusive but I tried to be comprehensive), he was the only low
Class A RHP included. I do think he will earn consideration as an elite
prosspect when the year is all said and done, I’d just like to see him
make it through a full year first.

 Q:  TK from Mississippi asks:
Because of Chris Iannetta’s outstanding season has be cracked the top 100 prospects list yet?

John Manuel:
He was in the On The Radar section because for me, he has broken
through. I would want to talk to scouts more specifically about
catchers, but he has to be in the mix to be (drumroll please) Best
Catcher in the Minors. Saltalamacchia and Kottaras are also in that
mix, whcih apparently is limited to those of Mediterranean descent.

 Q:  Matt from Brooklyn Ny asks:
Now that pelfreys up, who is the Mets’ top 5 prospects

John Manuel:
1. Milledge. 2. F. Martinez. 3. Guerra. 4. Humber. 5. Niese. I might
need to move Humber up there. We have had very positive reports on him
in the FSL since his return from TJ, 90-94, plus curve at times, plus
change at times.

 Q:  Eric from New York asks:
it time to give up on Dustin McGowan as a frontline starter? He hasnt
been impressive in AAA since being moved into the rotation. His k9 is
strong, but he is walking far too many batters. I am not sure how much
patience the Blue Jays have with him, but is it possible that the Blue
Jays will give up on him and make him a permanent releiver?

John Manuel:
It’s certainly possible. For me, I would not yet, not with his stuff.
The Jays have toyed with him enough. Give him a full year as a starter
again to work on his control. He was doing well as a starter until (a)
he got hurt and (b) he became a reliever. Bouncing Brandon League
between roles really did wonders for him as a prospect; I hope the Jays
don’t make the same mistake on McGowan.

 Q:  Brad from Parrish, FL asks:
far away was Jake McGee and Reid Brignac from the Top 25? Also, where
would Longoria fit in the DRays Top 10, right behind Young and Niemann?
Thanks for answering

John Manuel:
Brignac should have been in the “just missed the cut.” He’s one of the
top 3-5 prospects in the California League, check out Daily Dish today
to see what Brignac has to say about his glove. Dude can hit. McGee is
a little further away for me, actually, a lot further away, but he’s
also discussed in a scout’s view today. Longoria probably ranks ahead
of Niemann just because Niemann hasn’t shown he can stay healthy, but
as always I am a huge fan of Jeff Niemann.

 Q:  Wrigleyville from Behind the Ivy asks:
going on with Cubs prospects this year, especially Pie, Dopirak, and
Harvey? Any signs of life throughout the organization?

John Manuel:
Gallagher and Veal are signs of life, as is Jonathan Mota, a
slick-fielding SS, and Jake Fox has had a nice year, though he’s
finding Double-A a difficult adjustment. Just not a great farm system
right now, and a system that is having consistent problems in player
development in terms of taking the raw talent, keeping it healthy and
getting the most out of it.

 Q:  Steve from Rockford, IL asks:
will Josh Fields end up on the midseason top 100? He is having an
amazing year at Charlotte, although his strikeouts are a concern. How
would you rate his defense and do you think the Sox will eventually put
him in the outfield if he’s not traded?

John Manuel:
I think he’s going to have to go to the OF because the Sox like Joe
Crede (which is perfectly reasonable). Everything we get on him is that
he’s good enough with the glove at third base but not as good as Crede.

 Q:  Heath from Saint Louis, MI asks:
How soon do you think Humberto Sanchez will be in Detroit?

John Manuel:
Good question; maybe he could help them stretch out Verlander’s innings
in Detroit. Right now they clearly don’t need him, but I think he’s
ready. He’ll be up in September at the latest.

 Q:  Chris from Georgia, Vermont asks:
the Yankees system now seems to have produced at least 2 top flight
prospects (it is obviously a possibility that others will emerge), how
do you view the system at this point? Do you consider Hughes and Tabata
to be in the top 25 prospects in baseball? If not, where do they fall?
Are there any other prospects in the system that would be considered
for the Top 100? Thanks.

John Manuel:
Had to figure this was coming . . . Interesting year for the system.
Two completely breakthrough players. They both were in the top 20, not
just the top 25. Then Eric Duncan flops at Triple-A but recovers nicely
at Double-A, and he’s just 21. Melky Cabrera obviously took a big step
forward too. Austin Jackson’s had a nice year, same for J. Brent Cox,
and Tyler Clippard is recovering nicely from a poor start. Duncan
probably is still a Top 100 prospect, and Austin Jackson might be. It’s
been a decent year for the system, but the struggles of guys like CJ
Henry, Vechionacci, E. Nunez and Tim Battle still make me think it’s a
middle of the pack organization.

 Q:  Mark from Chicago asks:
do you rank Cubs prospects Donald Veal and Sean Gallagher. I saw Veal
was on the “Just missing the cut”, but Gallagher wasn’t. Does that mean
you rank Veal ahead of Gallagher?

John Manuel: Tie goes to the LHP; yes, I do like Veal a bit better but I would welcome more evidence in the debate.

 Q:  Alex Czurylo from Chicago, IL asks:
How soon can we expect to see Cameron Maybin in Detroit? And is he a 20hr a year guy or higher than that?

John Manuel: On to the lightning round . . .

John Manuel: Not too soon, maybe 2008? And more than 20.

 Q:  seth from arizona asks:
would u rank brad lincoln on the pirates top prospects as of now? also,
who would the pirates possibly pick with the first or second pick in
the next draft?

John Manuel:
At the top. The ’07 draft class looks a lot better than ’06, as for No.
1, Michael Main (rhp) and Justin Jackson (ss) are the top two prep
talents, with Vanderbilt LHP David Price the top college prospect.

 Q:  Deywane from Memphis asks:
If your list included 100 prospects where would Joey Votto rank and would Drew Stubbs get any consideration for the list?

John Manuel:
Votto would; he got much love from scouts at the Futures Game. Stubbs
would not, he needs to hit consistently with wood to earn consideration.

 Q:  Blake from Memphis asks:
Who has the best tools of the bunch? Being from Memphis, Where is Stuart Pomeranz and Mark Holliman?

John Manuel:
Not hearing great things about either one; I’ve kind of always thought
Holliman’s size would force him into a relief role, where I think he
can be quite good.

 Q:  Daniel from Fayetteville, AR asks:
do you think of Ubaldo Jimenez? I remember whispers that he was on par
with Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez before he got hurt. Does he still
have that kind of potential? Where would he rank (if at all) in the Top

John Manuel:
Hard to know what to think of him; big stuff, never on par with Cain
and Felix for me, he’s never consistently dominated like those two did
in the minors. Big stuff, inconsistent mechanics have led to injuries.
He was “On the Radar” and is a top 50 guy for me.

 Q:  Mark from Davis, Ca asks:
is there a chance we see Bailey pitching for the Reds this year, or even next year?

John Manuel: I could see him up this year, though I think the Reds will wait until next year.

 Q:  Joshua from Springfield, NJ asks:
do bailey and hughes compare to the top pitching prospects from the
beginning of the year who have since graduated to the bigs (ie liriano,
verlander, billingsley, cain, etc)?

John Manuel:
Another good Q. Hard to think either one will be as dominant as Liriano
and Verlander have been; those guys are real and spectacular. I’d put
them closer to Billingsley and Cain, a little more raw (especially
Bailey). Hughes has polish and stuff but I don’t see him as being as
electric as any of the others. he could be the most productive of the
group but I don’t think of him as electric. Elbert, as I have said,
also belongs in this discussion for me.

 Q:  Nathan from Toronto, Canada asks:
Wood seems to have unlimited power potential, but the question of
whether or not he can remain at SS is always asked. Assuming the Angels
don’t trade Orlando Cabrera in the offseason, do you see Brandon making
the club out of spring training at 3B?

John Manuel: Yes, the scouts I’ve talked to recently say 3B, and he should be ready in ’07 if he’s not already.

 Q:  Mike from Vero Beach, FL asks:
Who do you see having a better career Troy Tulowitzki or Ian Stewart?

John Manuel: Tulo. Not hearing good things on Ian Stewart right now, which is a shame.

 Q:  Nathan from Toronto, Canada asks:
Does Alex Gordon have the same type of upside as David Wright?

John Manuel: I have guarded optimism that he could be. He could even have more value because he’s a lefthanded hitter.

 Q:  Teddy from Poway, CA asks:
What are you projections for Corey Hart, assuming he’s a starter next year?

John Manuel: Hmmmm . . . .275-.330-.470 seems about right. It might even be too optimistic. I like Corey Hart too.

 Q:  Greg from Denver asks:
Is Stephen Drew really all that much better than Tulowitzki?

John Manuel:
According to the scouts I have talked to, he has a better hit tool
(perhaps by two grades, because Tulo’s swing can get long), and similar
power. He’s a better runner. Defensively Tulo is better but Drew is
solid average. So for me he is, but you could order the top nine
players (all hitters) differently and defend it. I don’t see a ton of
difference between them all. That order was difficult for me.

 Q:  Matt from Seattle asks:
will be the better player in the Major Leagues, Adam Jones or Jeff
Clement? Do either of these guys have a shot at the top 25 by the end
of the season?

John Manuel:
I still like Clement but it’s hard to deny Jones with how he’s handled
the transition to CF. He’s got mad tools, controlling the K zone to
maximize his hit tool will be the key. He gets a lot of flattering
comparisons (I’ve read Vernon Wells lately and I’ve read Eric Davis).
In my head he’s Mike Cameron without the gold glove defense. Mike
Cameron’s career numbers are .249-.340-.442. Maybe that’s why I don’t
think of him as an elite prospect, perhaps I should.

 Q:  Dave from Galena Illinois asks:
What made you decide to put Ryan Sweeney in the “Shrinkage” column? Is it his low Power numbers?

John Manuel:
Yes. At some time, he has to produce power to be an average corner OF.
He’s slugging .419 at Charlotte; that’s not enough for me.

 Q:  Raz from NYC asks:
Doesn’t Boston’s Lester remind you of Scott Kazmir? Who do you like more and is Lester TOP 25 kind of guy?

John Manuel:
Not really; he doesn’t throw nearly as hard as Kazmir, though he has
good stuff. I like Kazmir better. Lester definitely is a top 25 kind of
guy, though. If i had included Ps in the major leagues but still rookie
eligible (i.e., excluding verlander, Liriano, cain, Papelbon), Lester
would probably rank first or second after Billingsley. He’s very

 Q:  Andrew from Washington DC asks:
What does Rhadhames Liz need to improve upon to make it into the top 25 for next year?

John Manuel:
That clicking sound can’t be good; he looks like a reliever to me, and
he’d have to be Papelbon-esque to get in as a reliever for me.

 Q:  Ryan from Massachusetts asks:
curious how you justify ranking Ryan Braun ahead of Andy LaRoche. From
what I knew, the biggest knock on LaRoche was his lack of an approach
at the plate, evidenced by his poor BB:K rate. Even so, LaRoche was #19
and Braun #49 on the 2006 Top 100. Well, at AA, LaRoche seemed to
silence those worries, and has continued to do so at AAA. He has big
power potential with his frame, and is a very good hitter with a good
approach at the plate. Meanwhile, Braun has hit decent at A+ and AA,
yet his BB:K is pretty poor. Not to mention LaRoche is a much better
defender. Seems to be like LaRoche got a big-time snub here.

John Manuel:
Good question. LaRoche’s shoulder injury was a major concern for me.
Braun has sick bat speed and is in his first pro season and already in
Double-A despite some injuries. The scouts I’ve talked to consider him
a batter power prospect and a better athlete. I will say LaRoche should
have been in my “just missing the cut” list, that was an oversight,
perhaps prompted by LaRoche’s injury.

 Q:  John Mackin Ade from Hilton Head Island, SC asks:
Regarding the Mets Deolis Guerra, the kid just turned 17 and he’s ERAing under 3 at A ball. Sure looks like the real deal.

John Manuel:
It does. Is there a question in there? Guerra’s last start was his
best, he’s had a very good year for his age and probably is a Top 100
caliber guy.

 Q:  Stu from Minnapolis asks:
Does it look like the Reds farm system is starting to show a little life?

John Manuel:
Absolutely. Great strides made thanks to guys picked in the last three
drafts. They have legit guys from Double-A on down and have had very
few flameouts this year (Szymanski, Valiquette and Dickerson stick out
as disappointments). Encouraging signs. Still progress to be made but
lots of progress.

 Q:  Brent from New Brunswick asks:
Was Mike Pelfrey considered for this list? Its a little hard to believe there are 24 better minor league prospects.Thanks

John Manuel: He was in the big leagues (still is) so not eligible.

 Q:  Nick from Milwaukee asks:
Delmon dropped from the #1 spot because he just didnt have a whole lot
of opportunities this year to showcase his stuff, combined with the
off-field issues, or do you really see a relative downgrade in his
production potential in the majors?

John Manuel:
Asked and answered counselor. “Character will damage a player in all
aspects because eventually, in one way or another, it will keep him off
the field.” Delmon Young’s makeup (character, Bondsian personality,
however you want to put it) will keep him from fulfilling his
potential, because I don’t think he has Bonds’ talent. I consider
Stephen Drew a much safer bet to reach his ceiling, which is
.300-.380-.500 as a lefthanded hitting SS.

 Q:  Phil from Kansas City asks:
the uninformed, explain how Brandon Wood is a better prospect than
Gordon, even though both project at the same position, and Gordon is
more well rounded offensively? Thanks

John Manuel: Simply put, more power.

 Q:  Dave from Canada asks:
Who do you think has more upside between Andy Laroche and Andy Marte?

John Manuel: I guess Marte, since I ranked him 19th and didn’t put LaRoche in the 25.

 Q:  Val from Cleveland asks:
John, two part question; how close were Trevor Crowe and Adam Miller to
making that top 25 and would you rate Chuck Lofgren and John Drennan as
elite prospects at their respective positions? Thanks

John Manuel:
They were on the worksheet to borrow a phrase from my college days. I’d
have to do more research but on the top of my head, yes, Lofgren and
Drennen are in the discussion at LHP and CF, not for the top but for
the top 5-10.

 Q:  Nick from Milwaukee asks:
all of these prospects, who is going to make the biggest impact once
they get the call (including the called up Kendrick and Drew)?

John Manuel: Butler, because the bat makes the biggest impression, and he has a polished power bat.

 Q:  Scott from Toronto asks:
I’ve been reading a lot lately about the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo. Who
would you compare him to at this stage of his development and what are
your projections for him. What are his strengths and weaknesses and
when do you think his ETA is in the majors? Thanks and continue the
great work.

John Manuel:
I wrote a Yovani Gallardo feature in the previous issue that addressed
most of that, but I’ll throw in that he wasn’t at his best in the
Futures Game (I hope), and his mechanics surprised me. I still think
Mark Rogers has more upside but Gallardo is a safer bet to be a solid
big leaguer.

 Q:  Joe Johnson from California asks:
Do you expect the Mets minor league system to be ranked in the top 10 next season?

John Manuel: No; depth is a significant problem.

 Q:  Big John McCarthy from Octagon asks:
what is your current assessment of the Rangers’ DVD trio?
how would you rank their ceilings right now, and what do you think their ETA’s are?



John Manuel:
I’d rank them Danks, Volquez, Diamond. Danks might be the only starter
of the trio, the other two might be better suited as relievers, since
they don’t throw enough strikes or throw consistent strikes with their
breaking balls.

 Q:  Jackson from Nebraska asks:
I would like to know your opinions on Kevin Slowey. He looks like he
has great control and gives up few hr’s, what do you think his ceiling
is, he reminds me a lot of Greg Maddux.

John Manuel:
His command is legit, but Wes Roemer at CS Fullerton might be a better
comp than Maddux. When Maddux was 22, he went 18-8, 3.18 in the big
leagues. Slowey’s very good, but I don’t see HOF coming from him. He’s
very impressive though and like Maddux (and Roemer) he’s not imposing

 Q:  Dane from Tallahassee asks:
At what point do the Rays give Juan Salas a chance? Do you think he is their future closer?

John Manuel: Not sure why they haven’t called him up yet frankly, it seems like he should get a ride on the closer-go-round.

 Q:  Matthew from London asks:
Please describe the difference between 2 young OF prospects in the DBacks organization – Upton & Gonzalez?

John Manuel:
Upton has all five tools, Gonzalez isn’t a plus runner, might be a
slightly better hitter right now, Upton’s tools just get scouts so
excited, moreso than Gonzalez’s do.

 Q:  Beau Spencer from Macomb, IL asks:
John, Love the chats! What are your thoughts on Cubs prospect Mark Reed
(at low-A Peoria)? Can he make the bigs in the next 3-4 years?

John Manuel:
Wow, a patient fan. Three-four years is very reasonable, he’s been
solid this year for a HS catcher in full-season ball. He’s in a
1-for-30 slump as the grind seems to be getting to him.

 Q:  Gene Alley from Pittsburgh, PA asks:
Quick report, please, on BCorley’s potentialceiling. Thank you

John Manuel:
Not a huge fan, he’s athletic and has power but doesn’t control the K
zone (8-71 BB-K ratio). I thought he was an overdraft last year.

 Q:  Christofer from Boston, MA asks:
Delmon have some of the say attitude issues as someone like Manny
Ramirez? Even with the problems, could he have the type of impact that
Manny has had?

John Manuel:
Manny smiles a lot. It doesn’t seem like that’s a good tool for Delmon,
the smile, happy-go-funky tool. The Albert Belle comps are ringing more
true than a Manny comp. Belle was certainly productive though.

 Q:  jose rodriguez from miami,fl asks:
whos the marlins top propspect and whats their upside?

John Manuel:
Last but not least . . . I’d go with Anibal Sanchez, with Sean West,
Chris Volstad and Aaron Thompson in the mix as well. Lots of pitching,
not a lot of hitting in that organization right now, but it’s good to
have numbers on the mound.

John Manuel: Thanks for all the
questions, more than 200 still sitting there after 2 hours. We
appreciate the interest, talk to you again soon.