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Carolina League Chat with Chris Kline

Moderator: Chris will begin taking your questions at 2 p.m. ET. Please limit your questions to Carolina League teams and players.

 Q:  Ron from South Bend, IN asks:
How close was Thomas Pauly to making the list? I was a little surprised he didn't make it, looking at his numbers. Also we Tony Blanco anywhere close to making the top 20?

Chris Kline: Good afternoon everyone. We have a lot of questions to get to, so let's get it started... I like Pauly a lot, but he didn't get much support and fell into the 21-25 range with guys like Frederick's Tripper Johnson and, ironically, Blanco. I initially had Blanco in the second ten, but he had as many strikeouts as he did hits (66). Good power numbers, but not very good strike zone management. Most scouts I talked to say he's gotten better hitting breaking balls since coming over from the Red Sox--and in the four games I saw him he was taking curveballs the other way--he just needs to get better controlling the zone.

 Q:  Reggie from Durham asks:
Thanks for taking my question. Where would flame thrower Adam Miller have ranked if he pitched enough innings?

Moderator: Tough to say, Reggie. If Miller had done what he did after he got promoted for, say, half a season in the CL, we're probably talking top two or three--and definitely ahead of Duke. His stuff is just so much better across the board. Miller definitely has the higher ceiling, and if he stays healthy, has the potential to be a dominate No. 1 starter in the big leagues.

 Q:  Ken from Alexandria, VA asks:
The Braves haven't produced an even halfway decent OF prospect since Andruw Jones. What makes Jeff Francouer any different?

Moderator: I don't know about halfway decent--but Francoeur will be well beyond that. He has all the tools, but the thing that separates him from the other players on the list is the way he brings a football mentality to baseball. He is such an intense competitor and has great aptitude to keep learning, that he's going to be a great player for years to come. He has that internal desire that you don't see everyday--which was evident in how quickly he came back from the broken cheekbone incident.

 Q:  james qu from atl ga asks:
which pelican from this year will reach the bigs first? is it kyle davies, jeff fran., or brian mccann. Also how do u think these group of players(including anthony lerew) will perform in Greenville... or where did they move to? mobile alabama? Also how does lerew compare to dan meyer

Moderator: I'd go Davies first. His changeup is already there and has excellent depth to it. His velocity was also up this year around 96. I'd go him 1, Francoeur 2, McCann 3 in that order. The Braves moved their Double-A affiliate to Pearl, Mississippi and, though some scouts were down on Lerew this year because he didn't pitch particularly well in pitcher-friendly Coastal Federal Field, but Braves feel the stuff is still there.

 Q:  Jeremy from Orlando, FL asks:
How would you rank Brian McCann as far as overall catching prospects go, especially with a guy like say Daric Barton?

Chris Kline: McCann ranked seventh at the beginning of the year when we ranked the Top 10 catchers . . . and now he might jump into the top five after he showed he wasn't all bat. Everyone around the league liked how he handled the Myrtle Beach staff, particularly how he took charge at age 21, which is sometimes hard to do. Some managers around the league compared him to an Eddie Taubensee type of player. Both McCann and Barton will hit, but I think McCann is more advanced defenisvely right now.

 Q:  Ray from Jacksonville asks:
What kind of production does Michael Aubrey project to have in the Bigs right now?

Chris Kline: Aubrey got banged up right before the Futures Game this year, pulling a hamstring that never really fully healed. He was limited defensively for the entire second half at Double-A Akron, and mostly served as the DH. He still projects as a 25-30 homer guy in the big leagues, which aren't very far away. I'm interested to see how he does in the Dominican this winter, which should only add to a player who's not only well-rounded on the field, but off it as well.

 Q:  Charles from Atlanta, GA asks:
Who would you compare Jeff Franceour to in the majors? If he improves on his plate discipline next year (which hopefully is a goal of his), how high is his ceiling? Are 30-30 or even 40-40 seasons in his future?

Chris Kline: This chat is turning into all Francoeur, all the time, which is fine . . . It's funny you should mention his plate discipline, since different pitchers throughout the league I talked to called him the most free swinging player in the CL. Francoeur was criticized for being overly aggressive at times this year, but he is a mentally mature individual who responds well to instruction. He made the adjustments to hitting in Myrtle Beach, and gave up a lot of the power for more doubles and taking balls the other way. While he has the speed to play center, the Braves moved him to right and he took well to the positon change--I don't see him being a 30-30 guy at this point, however, simply because he hasn't run much when he's been on.

 Q:  Dennis from St. Louis asks:
Chris, Thanks for taking my questions. Where would have Brad Snyder and Adam Miller fallen on this list had they qualified? Where would Carmona, Eider Torres, JD Martin, Dan Denham and Javi Herrera have ranked, assuming this list was expanded to the top 40 guys in the Carolina league? Thanks!

Chris Kline: Already answered the Miller question, but now . . . regarding Snyder . . . I'm a huge Snyder fan and he finished the season strong, contributing to the K-Tribe's championship run. The most impressive thing to me were the first two homers he hit in the CL--both at Myrtle Beach and both to center field. Over the years, I've seen a lot of 5:00 guys hit the ball out to center there during BP, but never in a game. Depending on how long Snyder would have been in the league, he definitley would have been considered . . . to me, he's similar to Sweeney with more experience. As for the other guys, I like Carmona as well, but the continued lack of missed bats could be cause for concern. Torres was one of the best baserunners in the league and had a great season, but is not a Top 20 guy. Denham just keeps producing on the Indians plan for him--repeat a level and then dominate. On Herrera: When I saw him, I didn't like him defensively, which is supposed to be his strong suit. A lot of scouts were down on him too--the agility is there, and so is the command of a staff, but some questioned his catch and throw skills.

 Q:  Che Guevera from San Diego asks:
Hey bro, how big of a prospect is Hayden Penn. The kid is 19 and finished up in double-A. Do you see him as a Sept call up with the O's next year? How close is he to the other 19-year old in the league this year, Adam Miller?

Chris Kline: Wouldn't surprise me if Penn would get a taste in September next season. His velocity was around 92-93 this year and his secondary stuff--late-breaking curveball and changeup--only got better when he got to Double-A Bowie. How close is he to Miller? In terms of stuff--not close. In addition to a fastball that sits in the 95 mph range, touching 97 (excluding the CL playoffs when he hit 101), Miller's 87 mph slider is arguably his best pitch. Miller is a power pitcher in the mold of Kevin Brown (on the mound).

 Q:  Tim from Pittsburgh asks:
What is your take on Rajai Davis? Great speed, good contact, good obp and possible gap power in the future. Does he project to the major league lead off spot, and why didn't the Bucs' promote him to Altoona during the season? Thanks so much.

Chris Kline: It's taken Davis a little while to blossom, but he put up good numbers last year in Hickory, so anyone who's been following the 38th-rounder couldn't be too surprised about his season this year. He already has some gap power and is one of the best athletes in the system. One reason they didn't promote him to Double-A was the fact that Altoona's outfield was already crowded and Davis was battling for the CL batting title, which he later had stripped from him on a technicality.

 Q:  Ralph Berry from Houston, TX asks:
I have to admit I don't know a lot about the Carolina league. Which teams constitute the league?

Chris Kline: Frederick (Orioles), Kinston (Indians), Lynchburg (Pirates), Myrtle Beach (Braves), Potomac (Reds this year, Expos or whatever they're going to be called next year), Salem (Astros), Wilmington (Royals this year, Red Sox next year) and Winston-Salem (White Sox).

 Q:  Elliot Legow from Youngstown OH asks:
The Pirates had a guy name Chris Kline on their team for awhile. Does anyone think he topped a 20 on any of the tool ratings?

Chris Kline: Kline was only with Lynchburg for three games, and didn't get a lot of support from anyone. Scouts even went so far as to refuse to come to see the Hillcats BP sessions, since they had heard of the debacle that Kline actually called a "swing" the week before he was sent down from Triple-A. Though Kline actually heard from a few scouting directors about signing him, that question was always followed with unbelievable laughter.

 Q:  Michael from Salt Lake City asks:
Thanks for these great chats!! I have a question about two infield prospects, Donald Murphy and Pat Osborn. What are your thoughts on them as far as their long term prospects? How close were they to the top 20? Thanks.

Chris Kline: Murphy was never considered to be legit in the field, and he'll only go as far as his bat will carry him. He hit .313 last year in low Class A, but struggled this season, hitting .254. Coming into the season, the bat wasn't even in question as his glove lagged behind his offense. That all changed this year, as he became one of the best defensive second basemen in the CL--even though he went through a terrible slump around midseason. He made some adjustments to his knckle alignment and how he was holding the bat in the box, finished strong and is now in the big leagues. It will be interesting how that callup plays out when he heads to Arizona this fall. As for Osborn, could there be a more snakebit player in the CL? He went through some freak injuries last year, fouling a ball off his knee . . . and had more of the same this year. Just when he was breaking out--and he is a little old for this league--he was lost for the season (and the AFL) with an impingement in his shoulder. Still, he won the batting title--I think I'd be a lot higher on him if he had this year last season.

 Q:  Richard Wambach from St. Charles, IL asks:
Chris, As a longtime White Sox fan I was glad to see that 5 of the top 20 prospects were from the Winston-Salem Warthogs. What is your estimation of the possible arrival times of these prospects in Chicago? Also, do you feel that Ryan Sweeney has a higher ceiling than Brian Anderson?

Chris Kline: Yes, and the five who made it are all legit. The only guy I'd want to see more out of next year is Tracey. His stuff is outstanding, but at his age (turns 24 in November), he needs to prove he can do it at the higher levels. Fields is still raw, and will need probably two more years of seasoning, particularly if he's to remain at 3B. McCarthy has had nothing but success, and I think if he has a good start at Double-A Birmingham next year, the Sox will be hard-pressed not to keep him moving. Regarding the higher ceiling, Sweeney is younger, so the first response is to go with him over Anderson. But personally Ilike Anderson better. He plays a nice CF, good speed and hits for average and power. He's also a vocal team leader in the clubhouse--and actually the two players couldn't be more different--Sweeney is more of a quiet kind of guy who lets everything on the field. I think Sweeney was a little more intimidated about moving straight to the CL from the Pioneer League early on, whereas Anderson made better adjustments, but Sweeney held his own in the league at age 19. So I guess the short answer is I'd take Anderson over Sweeney.

 Q:  Elliot Legow from Youngstown OH asks:
Your description of Ryan Garko's catching skills was pretty offputting. How bad (or good) is he at 1st base?

Chris Kline: It's all in his agility behind the plate, as well as his transfer. He's a big league backup at best at catcher. At first, I've heard mixed reports. Some scouts have said he moves fairly well around the bag for a big guy, but his range wasn't very good. Others simply called him "stiff." Still, he made all the adjustments and moved to Triple-A in his first full season, so you can't deny that. The Indians see him as perhaps a better option than Josh Phelps down the road and I definitely like him better for what he brings to the table than what the Tribe is starting at 1B now. (And yes, that's considering Travis Hafner is a DH) . . . Garko has a lot of intangibles he brings to every team he plays for--other guys just seem to gravitate toward him.

 Q:  Darrell Hale from Kinston, N.C. asks:
If Ivan Ochoa wasn't so injury-prone, would he be on your list? And who's the best writer in the Carolina League?

Chris Kline: Ochoa's bat just needs to play more and it simply hasn't. A lot of people in the organization called him the best shortstop in the system even as recently as last year, and I think defensively there is little doubt of that. But the way shortstop has become such an offensive position in today's game, Ochoa needs to improve his OBP. As for the best writer in the league? I'm certainly not an authority, but I'd have to go with Myrtle Beach's Garry Griffith--even though he's the club's play-by-play announcer.

 Q:  Tim from Pittsburgh asks:
Is Zack Duke a Sean Burnett clone? Who will be the better big league pitcher?

Chris Kline: That's a good comparison, although I think Duke's natural deception is better. He also has a better awareness of his body at the same stage of their careers. Burnett's stuff was probably a click better, but Duke's 92-93 mph fastball is sneaky fast and his curveball is arguably his best offering. Tough to say who will be the better pitcher overall, but Duke was ahead of Paul Maholm coming out of camp, so the Pirates expect big things out of the 21-year-old. The most impressive thing about the Pirates organization to me is the number of lefties they've been stockpiling.

 Q:  Tim from Pittsburgh asks:
Last year pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo made some headlines with his performance during the winter leagues. He seemed poised to have a break out year and establish himself as a prospect. Was there something that did or didnt happen that caused him to have an average year? Where to you see him in the future? Thanks

Chris Kline: Albaladejo's weight was a problem for him this year, and those problems led to a decrease in his velocity, dropping down into the high-80s range. He was up to 95 mph last season, when he weighed around 220 pounds. If he gets the weight under control, he could be a force. At 6-foot-6, he creates a nice, easy downward plane. His secondary stuff--slider, curveball, changeup--also need some polishing at this point.

 Q:  Dave from Richmond asks:
I was surprised that Frederick third baseman Tripper Johnson didn't make the list. He seemed to develop his power stroke this year. How does he rate as a prospect?

Chris Kline: Johnson made strides this year and nearly made the list, but didn't garner enough support. The thing that helped him break out this season was the fact that he was finally healthy from the back problems that plagued him all of 2003. He finally showed the power the O's have been waiting for, but needs to improve his strkie zone management to build on that success in Double-A next season.

 Q:  Tom from Scranton, PA asks:
How does Brad Eldred compare to Ryan Howard?

Chris Kline: There's some similarities, although Eldred tends to get a little longer in his swing than Howard. I also like Howard as a defender better. If it's between the two, I'd take Howard in a heartbeat, though you can't ignore the way Eldred went off in the Eastern League after he was promoted. I just worry about a guy being that tall getting pounded with inside fastballs.

 Q:  Howard from Mars, Pa asks:
You seem to like Tom Gorzelanny quite a bit. What do you predict from him in the future?

Chris Kline: I'm not the only one. Several scouts in the Sally League liked Gorzo better than Adam Miller because he throws five pitches--91-94 mph fastball, splitter, changeup, curveball and slider--for strikes. And scouts in the CL thought he was also one of the top three pitchers in the league. I think he could be a solid No. 2 in the big leagues.

 Q:  Jason from Charlotte asks:
Who would have been higher on the list Miller or Capellan since neither pitched enough innings to qualify and which one's stuff do you like better?

Chris Kline: Tough call, because I like both guys a lot, but Miller has better secondary stuff in my opinion. Capellan is still pretty much a two-pitch guy that mixes in a changeup. And while his curveball was outstanding this season, Miller's slider is deadly.

 Q:  Tim from Pittsburgh asks:
Since you got to know the Lynchurg team a while, do you see any sleepers that will be able to help the Bucs' down the road? Who was your favorite player andor personality on the team?

Chris Kline: I have to give lefty Nick Gravelle some love, and when you look at his numbers (5-10, 3.62 in 151 innings), you'll think I lost my mind. But I'm going to stand by him. He might be another in a long line of Pirates headed to another organization via Rule 5 draft in December. As far as personality goes, have to go with this baseman Avelino Asprilla.

 Q:  bob yang from Canton, OH asks:
Kevin Howard put up good numbers for Potomac and made some All-Star lists. Did he garner any consideration for the top 20? If not, is he regarded as more of an organizational player or a true prospect?

Chris Kline: Howard was close, and probably would have ranked in the 25-30 range. In the Reds' system, I think he's more prospect that organizational player.

 Q:  David from Savannah asks:
I've always been a big fan of Brian McCann, and it seems like he's finally getting a little recognition this year...Is he possibly the best catching prospect in the minors after Jeff Mathis' horrible season? What kind of numbers will McCann be able to put up in the majors? .280-30-100 sound about right? too optimistic? Thanks.

Chris Kline: I think Mathis still has the higher ceiling. McCann is definitely in the top five catching prospects. I think your projected numbers are close, though I think he'll hit for a little better average and more like 20 bombs annually.

 Q:  Bernard from New Orleans,LA asks:
I followed Michael Aubrey in college at Tulane and know he is the real deal. What big league star to you see Aubrey being compared to? Is he the JT Snow type with the great glove or do you project him to be like Todd Helton and just rake?

Chris Kline: I'd take Helton between the two. There was talk that Aubrey had Gold Glove potential at first before this season, and although he only committed four errors in 50 starts in Kinston--and nine overall this season--scouts still questioned his defense. He's more like Helton offensively and, even though there were defensive question marks, he certainly will not be a liability in the field.

 Q:  Michael from New York asks:
If he had the ABs to qualify, where would Chris Kline of the Lynchburg Hillcats rank?

Chris Kline: Dead last.

 Q:  Jordan from Cincinnati, OH asks:
Do you think Richie Gardner has the stuff to continue to perform well as he moves up the ladder? As a Reds fan, it was pretty encouraging to see him move from High-A to Double-A and not really miss a beat.

Chris Kline: Gardner definitely has the stuff--and the command is what will continue to push him to the higher levels. I compare him to a guy like Orioles' righthander John Maine, although Gardner has done an awful lot more in his first pro season. Both exhibit good command, and both have plus curveballs.

 Q:  Dave from Ga asks:
Sweetest lefty swing still in the minors: Ryan Sweeney, James Loney, Jeremy Hermida, or other?

Chris Kline: Hard not to take Hermida on this one.

 Q:  Ben from Tennessee asks:
What do you think of Paul Maholm of the Pirates? I know he didn't have enough innings to qualify but with his injury is it still possible to project him?

Chris Kline: Maholm was projected higher than Duke at the start of the season, but some Pirates officials were more excited about Duke coming out of camp. With everything Maholm went through after basically having his face completely restructured after getting hit in the face with a line drive, I think he might have come back a little too soon. He was originally on the AFL roster, but has since been replaced by Mike Johnston. I think it's best to see how he comes back next season.

 Q:  David from Savannah asks:
Can Francouer pass Marte as the Braves top prospect next year, if he hasn't already? Of the two, who has more MLB-projectable power? thanks.

Chris Kline: I think Marte is still the No. 1 guy. And Marte projects to hit for more power in the big leagues as well.

 Q:  Jeremy from Westminster, MD asks:
Is Tripper Johnson ranked anywhere near the top 20 in third basemen? Will Adam Leowen start in the carolina league? How Leowen with command? Is Ryan Hannaman coming back to Frederick? How many years will Hayden Penn need to get to the majors and what number in rotation will he project to?

Chris Kline: Already touched on Johnson's place on this list . . . Loewen should start in the CL next season. His shoulder injury did not require surgery up to this point, but missing the AFL will probably leave him somewhat deflated in a season during which he endured so much both mentally and physically. As for Ryan Hannaman, if he gets his mechanical problems ironed out, look for him to be back in the Frederick rotation to start next year. And Penn? Probably a full year at Double-A and some Triple-A seasoning are in order.

 Q:  Nate from Denver, CO asks:
Thanks for answering my question. How good is Fernando Nieve? When can we expect to see him hit the show? What kind of pitches does he throw and what do you see as his ceiling?

Chris Kline: Nieve has a 91-95 mph fastball that plays better because of its heavy sinking action. His curveball has become a plus pitch and needs to refine his changeup. The one knock on him is his size (5-foot-11), and most scouts compared him to Pirates' righthander Ian (Oquendo) Snell . . . who was compared to a "poor man's version of Pedro Martinez" in last year's CL Top 20. So, all things considered, let's call Nieve a poor man's version of Pedro . . . without the changeup.

 Q:  Seymour from Philadelphia, PA asks:
What are your thought's on sox first baseman Casey Rogowski? Is he still a prospect?

Chris Kline: Rogowski is intriguing, although this year was his third in the CL. Still, he's got a lot of power potential and comes from a cold-weather school in Michigan, which might help explain the slowness in his development. The Sox tried him some in the outfield for the first time this season, and he's scehduled to play there exclusively in the Fall League when it begins next week.

 Q:  Dan from Kansas City asks:
Willmington Blue Rocks had a decent group of pitchers....any who might have missed the cut? And what about Kahi Kaanoi, any info on this kid, as he posted stellar numbers once called up. Thanks for the time!

Chris Kline: Devon Lowery and Dusty Hughes were both close to making the list, but didn't receive much support overall. Even the Rocks' manager, Billy Gardner Jr. referred to both pitchers as "green" and still learning the nuances of pitching. As far as Kaanoi goes, I did a Daily Dish on him in August after seeing his stuff. He's mainly fastball (89-93), splitterchangeup. Scouts I talked to compared him to a smaller version of Scott Erickson, due to his propensity to get guys to roll it over to middle infielders.

 Q:  Mike from Boston asks:
Do you think the Cannons' eight-man rotation had anything to do with Pauly not getting much love from other league managers?

Chris Kline: I think that might have been part of it. Pauly was considered, but fell to the 20-25 range. Scouts just liked Penn, Ray and Tracey better. There's no denying the numbers Pauly put up, however . . . especially on a rather mediocre club.

 Q:  Troy from Venicee, FLA asks:
CK, JD Martin came on strong at the end of the season and during the playoffs. Has Martin increased his velocity with the program Cleveland had him on and taking his slider away that whiped out overmatched APPY League hitters a couple years ago? Where would Martin rank on your list had he been this strong the entire year?

Chris Kline: Martin certainly finished strong and his velocity was indeed up somewhat after being shut down in mid-July last year with elbow soreness. He'd have been a Top 20 guy if he'd have been more consistent--and this is the second season in a row where he's posted similar numbers at the same level. Martin was turning a corner before he went down last year, and if he'd had stayed healthy, he'd probably finished this season in Double-A. That's a lot of ifs, though. In an effort to minimize his innings this fall, the Tribe took Martin off their AFL roster, opting to send him to instructs instead.

 Q:  Jeff Frye from Monroe, NC asks:
First of all I had the chance to talk to your dad Carl at a couple of K-Tribe games and he is a class act. Slocum, Martin and Denham all fared well but plus 4.00 era's is something to be concerned about. Do you see any of these 3 making an impact in Cleveland? Where so you see Miller and Sowers starting next year?

Chris Kline: Well, first of all, I'm sorry to hear you had to deal with Carl. That guy's a little nutty. (I'm kidding . . . and I wouldn't even know what baseball was without him) Re: these arms . . . the ERA's are a bit disconcerting, but I think they're all still learning the little things about pitching. Slocum had to deal with some interesting distractions this year--I think his last 8 or 9 starts were delayed by rain--but looked a lot more comfortable on the mound after dropping some of the muscle mass he gained before 2003. Miller to Double-A and Sowers will be interesting . . . I'd say either Kinston or Akron to start.

 Q:  Blair from Anaheim, CA asks:
To me, Brandon McCarthy's numbers resemble another Carolina league alum, Zack Greinke. He might not have Greinke's pure stuff, but he has great command and flat out dominated 2 stops this year (he tailed off a bit in AA). Why has he always been rated as the 3rd or 4th pitcher in the league? What made Greinke so much better?

Chris Kline: Greinke was so much better at the same level because of his ability to change speeds and keep hitters off-balance. McCarthy has the makings of a pure power pitcher, whereas Greinke was more of a finesse guy who could suddenly sneak a 95 mph fastball by you. In this league this season, the hitters and Zach Duke and Kyle Davies all rank ahead of him.

 Q:  Susan Ross from New York asks:
Fausto Carmona's strikeout rate was actually up significantly from 5.09 last year to 7.39 in Kinston and he was again young for his league. How much progress was expected? Also, what was the technicality that cost Davis the batting title?

Chris Kline: His slider progressed, and he was brilliant in the International League playoffs, but the bottom line is 57 strikeouts in 70 innings isn't overly impressive. Davis lost the batting title to Kinston infielder Pat Osborn, after Osborn was credited with 23 mor eplate appearances, pushing his average to .318. Davis his .314.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Atlanta, Georgia asks:
Chris, I have a question about an Outfield Suspect that played for Lynchburg and Nashville this year. I say he played, He acted like a player, signing autographs and looking the look. What kinda of potential do you see in him? I heard he had no stick.. Not sure about the arm!

Chris Kline: Now that's just mean.

 Q:  Mike from Dodge City, texas asks:
As you said, Francouer and (Brian) Anderson are similar players, but who has more power?

Chris Kline: Francoeur. I'd compare Anderson to Jeremy Reed with a little more pop.

 Q:  Chris from Durham, NC asks:
Josh Field: a poor mans Scott Rolen?

Chris Kline: Maybe for a poor man, but if you're going to compare anyone to a future Rolen, look to the Mets' David Wright.

 Q:  Mark from Myrtle Beach asks:
So from what I've read, Tony Blanco looks like he'll hit homers, strike out and if he can get it together defensively, find a home at 3rd with his strong arm. Would I be right?

Chris Kline: Not with Edwin Encarnacion in the Reds system. Encarnacion is one of the best 3B in the minors and I don't see Blanco having the same kind of range and mobility as him. Blanco is probably best suited at 1B or a corner outfield spot.

 Q:  Rick from Mission Viejo, CA asks:
Can we expect to see Brian Anderson roming in the outfield for the Sox next season?

Chris Kline: They didn't really give Reed much of a long look there at the big league level, so I think another season, and preferably some Triple-A experience will only help Anderson's game.

 Q:  Adam from Sharon, PA asks:
Does Aubrey really compare to Todd Helton? If so, with he Miller, Snyder, Peralta and Phillips coming up, does this mean the indians should be loaded over the next 3 years?

Chris Kline: I think Helton is a decent comparison, yes. And yes, the Indians have potential to be loaded--and you didn't mention Sizemore, Franklyn Gutierrez, Francisco Cruceta . . . they have all the makings to be a perennial contender for the seasons to come. And speaking of the Indians, I have to give a shout out to Kyle Denney . . . finally make it to the big leagues and get shot on the team bus? What's this world coming to?

 Q:  HSfriend from Waco, TX asks:
What made Zach Duke so successful at this level when he was just so-so with Hickory last season? Also, what level do you see him being assigned to for next season?

Chris Kline: Duke has a quiet confidence all the time, even off the field. He's about as determined and as serious as it gets. One manager told me that if he could clone him, he wouldn't have to say anything to his pitchers all year. I think the spike in his velocity through improved mechanics definitely helped him shoot up his stock this year. But also the improvement of his changeup, giving him a legit third option.

 Q:  Scott from Newcastle Canada asks:
Chris, what were the reasons behind Jeff Francouer's struggles at AA? Injury related, a tough initial adjustment or a little of both?

Chris Kline: Scott, I think it's a little of both--I mean, he missed so much time but came back strong with Myrtle Beach and wasn't tentative at all. It's an adjustment to be back from an injury; particularly a face injury, be back for two weeks and then go to the next level. I'm interested to see how he fares in a full season at Pearl next year.

 Q:  Snoop from LA asks:
Mad props for chugging away for almost three hours and counting!

Chris Kline: Thanks, Snoop . . . although it's a little over 3 12 hours now . . .

 Q:  Matt from Charleston, SC asks:
I've had the opportunity to see Delmon Young play a lot this year. Who is the more complete player between he and Francouer? And does Fran remind you of Dale Murphy a little?

Chris Kline: I think Delmon is the better player, or more complete player, as you put it. Delmon made better adjustments at the plate late in the year, and I think you can't discount Francoeur's injury and missed time. And yes, the Dale Murphy comparisons are definintely in full view.

 Q:  Randar from Chicago asks:
I can't complain, because they have 5 of the top 20 players, but did White Sox prospects Pedro Lopez or Casey Rogowski get any consideration? Lopez might have been the best defensive SS in the Carolina League as a 20-year old.

Chris Kline: Both received consideration, but I can't get too excited about a guy who's been in the league for three seasons (Rogowski). Lopez is a different story. He started off slowly, but really turned it on by midseason, earning a promotion to Double-A Birmingham. Personally, I like Andy Gonzalez better at short, but only because of his bat. But you're right, next to Kinston's Ivan Ochoa, Lopez was certainly one of the best shortstops in the league.

 Q:  Jon Moczadlo from Bowling Green, Ohio asks:
I know you have heard a lot about prospects such as Tripper Johnson and Adam Miller, but who should we keep an eye on for next year in the Carolina League?

Chris Kline: Next year? I'll go with Adam Loewen at Frederick, if he's healthy. It'll be interesting to see how Paul Maholm bounces back. And if Jeremy Sowers starts the year there, that should be a lot of fun as well. Speaking of fun, this has been a blast. Thanks for all your great questions--I know it's tough to hit on a lot of different guys in a league that only has eight teams. I enjoyed it very much. Please join J.J. Cooper for tomorrow's Florida State League chat . . . and root for the Dodgers in the postseason. OUT. Kline.

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