Prospects Chat With Matt Eddy

Moderator: All right. Let’s get started.

 Q:  Mike from NYC asks:

come the Mets didn’t want to trade off Carlos Gomez, the supposed
lesser of the three outfielder the Mets have. Do you think Omar Minaya
was nervous that Gomez could become another Grady Sizemore? What’s your
take on Carlos Gomez do you feel he will be a good player in the
Sizemore, Rios, Granderson, or Crawford mode?


Matt Eddy:
I can see where you’re coming from. Because of Beltran, Gomez does not
have a clear path to center field — the position where he’d have the
most value — in New York. Gomez already defends and throws well, and
has top-notch speed, but only the biggest Gomez boosters believe his
batting and power potential can match Rios’. That’s not to say Gomez
won’t develop into a much better hitter than he is now, but he just
hasn’t had the big breakout year with the bat, like Rios did in 2003
when he hit .352 and slugged .521 in the Eastern League.

Matt Eddy: Of the comps, you listed, though, Rios fits the best because of his righthanded bat and strong throwing arm.

 Q:  Mike from Dallas asks:

you tell us more about why the Rangers ended up with another pitcher
from the Braves when none of the first reports mentioned Beau Jones?
Does this mean Harrison is arm problems are worse than thought. Thanks.


Matt Eddy:
Not necessarily. But it does suggest strongly that the Rangers were
having second thoughts about Harrison because of his sore shoulder.
Plus, the Braves needed to include Kyle Davies — whom Texas also liked
— in the Dotel trade, meaning they needed to give the Rangers
incentive to make the deal quickly.

 Q:  Chado from San Diego, Ca asks:

Who do you view as the next great Catching prospect currently in the minors?


Matt Eddy:
Jeff Clement, Hank Conger and Bryan Anderson rank Nos. 1-2-3 on our
prospect position rankings, but all three are offensive-minded
catchers. If they can stick behind the plate, their ability to bat
lefthanded and to hit for power will make them attractive options to
their teams. Unfortunately, we don’t really have an all-around catching
prospect—like a Saltalamacchia—in the minors right now.

Matt Eddy: The 2007 catcher draft class, including Wieters, Mesoraco, Arencibia and Canham should give us reason for hope, though.

Matt Eddy: Be sure to check out the Best Tools issue of BA, which has prospect rankings for all positions.

 Q:  Ted from MN asks:

is it that short right-handers seem to always haver the nastiest curves
in the world. i.e. Tom Gordon, Ben Sheets, Tim Lincecum, Kyle Drabek,
Sonny Gray and i’m sure there are more.


Matt Eddy:
While the names you present as evidence are interesting, throwing a
good breaking pitch has more to do with technique, i.e. quick wrists,
than height. And Bert Blyleven and Dwight Gooden, two of the best
curveballers of all time, were each 6-foot-3.

 Q:  TK from Edison asks:

do you expect to perform better at a corner position in the big leagues
in 2008: Joey Votto or Brandon Wood? How about 2009 and beyond?
Basically, would you go with the good eyeplate disciplinemoderate power
or the huge powerless developed plate skills at a corner position?
Thanks for the chat.


Matt Eddy:
Based on minor league performance, I would take the huge power-less
plate discipline corner player — especially if he was a lefty batter.
Since Wood is a righthanded batter, though, it’s not so clear-cut.
Anyway, I would put my money on Votto in the near term, but Wood’s
power potential and positional value could make it a close race long

 Q:  Ponab from SF asks:

Is Braves’ Farm the worst of the 30 teams? Heyward and Teheran are good prospects, but there were no depth.


Matt Eddy:
No way. The Braves can’t go wrong with Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson and
Brandon Jones at the top of their list. And while Schuerholz may have
been more desperate this year than in the past, you simply can’t deny
his track record when it comes to identifying which prospects to keep.

 Q:  Nate from Chicago asks:

isn’t a prospect question per say, but I was looking at Delmon Young’s
numbers and while he is in his first full season in the majors, is that
lack of power (.418 slugging percentage) for a right fielder somewhat
of a concern?


Matt Eddy:
I don’t think so. Young is still just 21-years-old and still has
explosive, out-of-this-world reflexes. Because he can get his bat on
most any pitch, he just needs to be more selective in finding the pitch
he can drive.

 Q:  Paul M. from Needham asks:

Who is better long third 3b RBraun or AGordon


Matt Eddy:
Braun, if only because he’s proven he can be an impact player, which is
something Gordon hasn’t shown above Double-A for more than a month at a

Matt Eddy: One of the underrated aspects of
Braun’s game is his speed: He went 20-20 in the minors last year and
has 10 steals already this year. And we, among others, clearly
undersold his power potential. As to his error total (15 in 60 games),
when you watch Braun play, you come away more impressed with the types
of plays he makes than distracted by the ones he doesn’t.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

Does Ankiel get a September callup, or no?


Matt Eddy:
Yes, I think the Cards will add him to the 40-man roster and call him
up in September. Not only is he second in the minors with 31 homers,
but he’s been playing a fine center field for Triple-A Memphis. And he
can still throw, of course.

 Q:  Keen from San Francisco asks:

know he wasn’t one of the big time prospects dealt at the deadline, but
what do you think of Rajai Davis? can he be an everyday centerfielder
in the majors? his first game in San Fran was awesome! Also is there
any way of finding out who’s on the list of players Sabean can pick
from for the PTBNL?


Matt Eddy:
I’m a Davis fan, personally, but I’m not sure he’s an everyday center
fielder. At least that can’t have been the Pirates’ projection for
Davis, seeing as they dealt him for an expensive veteran — while
picking up the entire tab.

Matt Eddy: Davis is a classic
overachiever, though. Drafted in the 38th round from Connecticut-Avery
Point JC, where he focused on basketball, Davis plays up his strengths
extremely well. He’s very fast, offers tremendous range in the outfield
and has a plus throwing arm. An easy guy to root for.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

afternoon, Matt. Wanted to gets your thoughts on Upton’s promotion. Is
he up to stay now that AZ is contending, or does he get sent back down
after CQ returns from the DL?


Matt Eddy:
Given how miserably Quentin has played this season (.208-.297-.343) as
he battles through shoulder and hamstring trouble, you’d have to
believe the job will be Upton’s if he hits.

Matt Eddy: And
while Quentin’s a nice player, he’s not in the same league as Upton.
After all, how many elite prospects spend two seasons in Triple-A, as
Quentin did, even while performing up to expectations?

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

long do you anticipate LaPorta staying in the Pioneer League? Looking
forward to seeing him in WV, which is where I thought he would be
starting off at.


Matt Eddy:
The Rookie-league assignment could be the Brewers’ way of letting
LaPorta get his bearings after a long layoff, but then again Milwaukee
has no short-season team. Still, the seventh overall pick should get a
crack at full-season ball this year.

 Q:  Tom M from Saddle River, NJ asks:

know I’m probably in the minority here, but I really think the Braves
lost out on the Teixiera trade come 2009. This year their system has
been far below spectacular, with everyone in the top ten either being
graduated, traded, or struggling. That and they are lacking in depth, a
trademark of Schuerholtz. So in a particularly off year for the farm,
Scheurholtz trades number 1, 2, and 3 for a two and a half season lease
of Teixiera. Ehat’s your interpretation of the trade?


Matt Eddy:
That’s one way to look at it. But the Braves got the best player in the
deal, while the Rangers need a 19-year-old in Rookie ball (Feliz) to
come through in a big way if they are to win this one resoundingly.

Matt Eddy:
If Texas has even an average first baseman in 2009 — the year after
Teixeira will test free agency — then they may come out ahead of the
Braves from 2009-12 because Salty can be an impact player as a catcher.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:

of now, who are the top 5 prospects for the White Sox? Would their farm
system currently rank as the worst? Thanks, keep up the great work.


Matt Eddy:
It looks like the Good Guys will be in the conversation, at least.
Sweeney may retain his prospect status, and Gio Gonzalez will give them
a solid one-two. After that, though, the frontrunners would probably be
Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert, Aaron Poreda and maybe Chris Carter. I’ll
let you draw your own conclusions.

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:

Jed Lowrie seriously injured because I haven’t seen him in the box
scores lately? Also is Tony Giarratano projected to be ready for the
Arizona Fall League or some other winter league?


Matt Eddy: Lowrie’s not injured; he’s in Triple-A, where he’s gone 7-for-30 with a pair of doubles and a triple in seven games.

Matt Eddy:
Be sure to check out the Prospects Blog for the latest in player news
and commentary: http:www.baseballamerica.comblogprospects. Thanks for
the segue opportunity, by the way.

 Q:  Tom from San Francisco, CA asks:

a Jays fan whom has felt starved for prospects under the Ricciardi
regime, the team that the orginization is fielding in the Gulf Coast
League is more than a little intriguing to me. Is there anyone on that
squad to take note of?


Matt Eddy:
Of note is the entire GCL Jays’ infield, consisting of third baseman
Kevin Ahrens (a first-rounder in June), shortstop Justin Jackson
(supplemental first-round), second baseman John Tolisano (second round)
and Venezuelan bonus baby Balbino Fuenmayor, who also plays third.
Outfielders Yohermyn Chavez, who also is from Venezuela, and the
athletic Eric Eiland (second round) are intriguing.

Matt Eddy: Be warned that the only player in this group who has hit, though, is Chavez, who played in the Appalachian League last year.

 Q:  Norberto Paulino from New York asks:

your opinion on the Gagne trade, who got the better of the deal? is the
trade a one side trade? who of all the prospects is the best of the
deal? also 17 year old OF Engel Beltre has a huge upside is it worth it
in the red sox part?


Matt Eddy:
I think Boston won the trade handily. They gave up practically zero
present value to add a reliever who could make a significant impact in
a playoff series.

 Q:  Spaz from Rhode Island asks:

Do you think Evan Longoria will start the year in the majors next year?


Matt Eddy: If he doesn’t start there, he’ll be up in the first half, like Braun this year.

 Q:  dave from Colorado asks:

is the upside of Kyle Davies for the Royals starting rotation? Is he an
example of a prospect who was rushed and the expectations were too
high? Predictions on his future in the KC rotation?


Matt Eddy:
Davies has struggled mightily with command and with a serious groin
injury in 2006, making him a disappointment to this point. Moving to
the AL, he’ll be given every chance to become a No. 3 or 4 starter for
the Royals.

 Q:  Josh Meyer from Fort Dodge, IA asks:

Do either Drew Butera or Dustin Martin have a future in Minnesota?


Matt Eddy:
They could contribute as reserves, but you can be sure of one thing:
Given their low prospect profiles, somebody with the
Twins really saw Butera and Martin good.

 Q:  Ray from Yuma AZ asks:

Padres got Inman. What rank would he be in the Padres top 10 players?
The Padres have been in the bottom of the farm system what rank do you
have them now?


Matt Eddy:
The Padres are on the rise. In addition to getting immediate returns on
draft picks like Nick Schmidt, Mitch Canham and Cory Luebke, they’ve
also added righthanders Matt Latos and Inman and lefty Steve Garrison
since their last Top 30 was compiled. And second baseman Matt Antonelli
and third baseman Chase Headley have taken huge strides this season.

Matt Eddy:
Inman’s chief competition for top pitching prospect status will come in
the form of Schmidt, Latos, Cesar Carrillo and Drew Miller, but it’s
too early to rank them with certainty.

 Q:  John from NYC asks:

Is Brandon Wood going to cut down on the strikeouts enough to hit at the major league level


Matt Eddy:
Technically, his strikeouts are down this year. In Double-A last year,
Wood whiffed 149 times in 118 games. This season in Triple-A, he’s got
87 strikeouts in 84 games. His swing is long right now, yes, but his
attempt to cut it down appears to be underway.

 Q:  Jerry from Kansas City, MO asks:

Has Mike Pelfrey made any progress this year with his offspeed pitches? Do you seem him contributing to the Mets next year?


Matt Eddy:
Pelfrey has been an enigma at the major league level. The fastball
velocity and movement have been there, but the command just has not.

Matt Eddy:
After his first demotion to New Orleans, Pelfrey was doggedly working
on his slider, a pitch he learned just last offseason, and he began to
emphasize it more in games. It looks like the payoff for the extra work
might be a year or more away, though.

 Q:  Stan from Annapolis, MD asks:

Better prospect: Angel Villalona or Deolis Guerra?


Matt Eddy: Guerra. The big righthander has gained velocity this season to go with his advanced changeup and developing curve.

 Q:  Brian from Pleasanton, CA asks:

know this doesnt have to do with the trades, but what group of pitchers
would you take and why? Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, Horne or Lester, Clay
Buchholz, Bowden, Masterson


Matt Eddy:
I like the Yankees’ quartet a little more, primarily because of the
potential of power righthanders Hughes and Chamberlain. That and Hughes
might be the best in the group.

 Q:  Steve from Indianapolis asks:

heading into the last couple of months of the MLB season, who do you
think will win the AL wild card? Do you think Seattle and Minnesota
will make a run at the Yankees and IndiansTigers?


Matt Eddy: I think the Mariners are sticking around the West race. The Twins have it tougher in the Central.

 Q:  Ben from DC asks:

You said you’d take Braun over Gordon. How would you rank Zimmerman, Braun and Gordon in the big leagues? Thanks.


Matt Eddy: Braun because of his bat, Zimmerman for his bat and glove, and Gordon just a shade behind the first two.

 Q:  Josh from St. Louis asks:

are your thoughts on Rockies’ SS prospect Hector Gomez? Would you
consider him one of the top five SS prospects currently playing in the


Matt Eddy: Gomez is a top-five shortstop, no doubt, and one of the more underappreciated prospects out there.

 Q:  Sam from Charleston asks:

Tell me about Engel Beltre. Now.


Matt Eddy: Buy the Prospect Handbook. Now.

 Q:  Donny J. from Dozo, NY asks:

Who has a better long term career? Jose Reyes or David Wright?


Matt Eddy:
Couldn’t resist this one. Franchise third basemen are so hard to find,
but Reyes is just such a unique, dynamic player that I think he will
have more impact as a shortstop and leadoff man.

 Q:  Greg from Texas asks:

How many players acquired at the deadline make the top 5 list of Texas’ prospects?


Matt Eddy: Andrus, Harrison and Feliz are all strong top 10 candidates.

 Q:  Al from Port Chester, NY asks:

Barton was a guy who made a lot of waves last year as he had a breakout
season. This year, he seems to be flying under the radar a bit despite
having another good year. What is your opinion of the year he is having
for AA Akron?


Matt Eddy: Don’t lose faith. Despite being on the old side for a prospect, Barton has impact potential.

 Q:  Daniel from Cincinnati, OH asks:

Just how good is Jay Bruce? Is he the franchise player Cincinnati fans hoped Griffey would become?


Matt Eddy: Yes, most definitely. With his strong performance in Triple-A, he’s showing us there’s little he can’t do.

Moderator: Thanks for the great questions.