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Padres Chat with Kevin Goldstein

Moderator: Kevin Goldstein will begin taking your Padres questions at 3 p.m. ET

 Q:  Joe from Chantilly asks:
McANULTY was 24 and in A ball. His numbers were not out of this world good, but solid. Does this reflect on the strength of their minor league system as a whole, or is there something else that makes him a top 10 guy?

Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone -- thanks for your patience and sorry for the slightly late start -- it's been a bit of a day. But lets talk about those Pads. McAnulty was good across the board, and built upon it with a really strong AFL performance. Everybody think his bat will be enough to get there, but his glove may always be a problem. The Padres are certainly not one of the better minor league systems around, so that is also part of the reflection.

 Q:  Mark from Woodbridge, VA asks:
Where do you picture Corey Smith fitting into this organization?

Kevin Goldstein: As an outfielder who nobody has big expectations for. If his bats comes around, he could move up, but that trade (Gatreau) was just a swap of dissapointing first round picks. I wouldn't lose sleep waiting for Smith to reach the majors.

 Q:  Nick from North haven, CT asks:
Hi Kevin Do you think that Freddy Guzman has a decent upside? When he came up last year, he looked really overmatched at the plate. Also, what direction do you see the Padres going with their first round 2005 pick(s)? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: He was overmatched, but he does still have room to grow. More than one person in the Padres front office (and more than one scout from outside their organization) said in a perfect world, he becomes Juan Pierre. Unlike a lot of minor league burners out there, Guzman does have a solid (but could get better) understanding of the strike zone.

 Q:  Bill from Ft. Worth asks:
Which player is Josh Barfield more like - his 2003 season or his 2004 season?

Kevin Goldstein: 2003. His batting average was really the only dip in the road last year -- he made progress in many other aspects of his game -- most importantly power and defense.

 Q:  Nate from Chicago asks:
Where does J.J furmaniak stand with the padres now? I know he was added to the 40 man this year. Where will he start the season?

Kevin Goldstein: Chicago in the house. Furmaniak has definitely played himself into a prospect. He's seen as a future utility man, and that future began this winter, with a stint in Mexico where he got time at 2b and 3b. He's one of those guys who constantly outplays his tools. However, rookie utility guys are a rarity, so he's most likely returning to AAA.

 Q:  Bill Mitchell from Tempe, AZ asks:
Kevin, thanks for the chat. Is Tagg Bozeid still considered a legit big league power prospect, assuming he can control those homerun celebrations? How close did he come to the top ten?

Kevin Goldstein: Note that questioner's name and how many times that name matches some of the great photos you see here at baseballamerica.com. Bozied is a very legit power prospect who JUST MISSED the top 10. His fast start in '04 was not a pure fluke -- he changed his approach and showed a much quicker bat. Unfortunately, there's simply no room at the inn for Tagg at the big league level.

 Q:  John, from Madfriars.com from DC asks:
Kevin, You stated that Josh Barfield "is still easily the top hitter in the system", but when you look at the statistics for the past year in Mobile - he didn't have that much better a season than Ben Johnson or Greg Sain. Throw in another solid season at the plate by Jon Knott in Portland and Paul McAnulty in Lake Elsinore, and couldn't you argue that Barfield may be "slightly" above other hitters in the Padres system - but not clearly. A .313 OBP should scare someone more than just me..

Kevin Goldstein: I'll stick with clearly when you add that Barfield was injured all year really and took a step forward with his power, which scouts projecting more to come. I think he's a legitimate .270-.290 hitter with 20+ home run power. As a second baseman, that makes him far more valueable than a guy like Sain or Knott.

 Q:  Thom from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
Where does chris oxspring rank on the list, and what role do you see him filling in the majors?

Kevin Goldstein: Oxspring is less than 10 (obviously) but above 20. To quote are fearless Prospect Handbook leader, Jim Callis, "if you want the exact rankings, BUY THE BOOK!". Oxspring is a 5th starter or a middle reliever, but could move that projection up a little if he can build on his amazing summer, as he led Australia to the silver medal in Athens and won International Baseball Federation player of the year honors. On the bad side, he'll be 28 in May, so there's absolutely no projection there.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will Yordany Ramirez get assigned to Fort Wayne in 2005? If he reaches his maximum potential, what Major League Player would he resemble? Thanks!

Kevin Goldstein: Mr. Cornell follows this system pretty closely to come up with a sleeper like Ramirez. He's certainly one of the toolsiest guys in the system, but injuries have derailed him for a couple years now. He's definitely ticketed for Fort Wayne, but we're still way to far away to be comparing him to any big leaguers. Lots of speed, great arm. Power? TBD.

 Q:  Denis from San Diego asks:
Thanks for all the good work you do through the year. What is your take on some guys down in Peoria such as Ben Krosschell, Kelvin Vasquez and Daniel Baca. They each had good statistical years but not much is known about them.

Kevin Goldstein: Kroschell is the name that really jumps out at me from that list. The Pads took a number of arms toward the end of the draft's first day, and Kroschell could be the one to watch. He's a projectable prep righty, with room to grow.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
Hi Kevin! What are your thoughts on Jared Wells? And do you see George Kotteras possibly moving to another position (first base?) in the future?

Kevin Goldstein: They're going to keep Kottaras at catcher until he absolutely proves he can't -- and there's no indication that he can't become at the very least an adequate catcher. Wells still has a very high ceiling, although his season was a dissapointment. His stats don't come near to matching his stuff. He'll keep progressing through the system however, as he's one of the few arms in the system based more on power than finesse.

 Q:  JP from NYC asks:
Hi Kevin, thanks for the chat. What kind of Major League player do you think Matt Bush will turn into, should he advance that far?

Kevin Goldstein: A very good defensive shortstop who hits 6th or 7th in the lineup. People love ripping the pick, and with good reason in some ways, but people look too much at his rookie ball stats and the bar incident and forget that this was still a consensus top 10 talent before the pick was made.

 Q:  John from Madfriars from DC asks:
How did Chris Kolkhorst do in your ratings, and could you see him making it to Mobile this year and taking over for your past favorite Kennard Jones?

Kevin Goldstein: Never, ever, count out the Gritman. Not a ton of tools, but a ton of, uh, well, um, grit. He's most likely in High A this year.

 Q:  Jason from Work asks:
I feel like I am missing something about Stauffer. He put up goodvery good numbers at each stop in the minors last year but he only equates to a #3 starter.

Kevin Goldstein: No matter how you look at it, Stauffer should be highly commended for his comeback and reaching AAA in his first year. At the same time, no matter how you look at it, Stauffer was pretty hittable, and nobody really sees a true major league out pitch in him. Fantastic control and a deep arsenal project him as a starter, but he's not a blow them away guy than makes one think of him as a one or a two.

 Q:  John from Madfriars.com from DC asks:
The Padres selected three high school players in the 2004 draft, do you see all three (Bush, Killian and Jones) starting for Fort Wayne in 2005?

Kevin Goldstein: Bush for sure. Other to be determined. Killian played his high school baseball in NW Michigan, and it was a rough adjustment for him to the level of play, and he might be bust suited for extending spring while the Russ Branyan-esque Colt Morton gets another shot at full-season ball. Jones is an intriguing power prospect who like Killian is raw, but showed surprising instincts for the game in rookie ball. He's more likely to join Bush with the Wizards.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
How has Rusty Tucker been doing coming back from his surgery?

Kevin Goldstein: Very well. He was in the low 90s already in the instructional league and reporting no pain.

 Q:  Sean F. from Claremont, CA asks:
Am I wrong in assuming that Daryl Jones has as much upside as anybody in the organization outside of possibly Barfield? Where does he rank?

Kevin Goldstein: I touched on Jones earlier -- and he's in the top 20. Long arms, lot of muscle -- draws physical comparisons to Fred McGriff. He was just 17 when he was drafted, so he's still very far away, but an exciting player.

 Q:  Ed from San Diego, CA asks:
What do you think the future holds for Nady, Bozied and Jon Knott? Both have good numbers at AAA but are getting older and blocked by Klesko, Nevin and Giles. Isn't it about time to either find a place for them or flip them for something while they still have value?

Kevin Goldstein: You nailed it -- These are three very good prospects who have no place on the big league roster in San Diego. I think a change of scenery might be in store for all three of them. They all have some trade value.

 Q:  Matthias Peters-Kroll from University of Edinburgh asks:
Do scouts and talent evaluators not in the Padres organization believe Matt Bush will hit? Additionally, if he isn't able to hit enough to reach the majors would it be reasonable to put him back on the mound?

Kevin Goldstein: I can't find a lot of people who think Bush will be a huge hitter, but most think he'll hit enough to be an everyday shortstop with his defensive skills. I don't think he'll go to the mound until every possible chance as a position player is exhausted, and we're still VERY FAR from that. I'd give it a less than 3% chance.

 Q:  michael from San Diego asks:
Great chat! Here's the annual question on catchers...where does nick trzesniak fit in the future...who will back up quintero in Portland?

Kevin Goldstein: I love the Chicago-area guys as much as anyone, but Nick had a pretty miserable '04, and has fallen behind Quintero, Kottaras and Killian in the Padres future depth chart. He'll need a big bounce back this year to catch up.

 Q:  Nick from North Haven, CT asks:
Kevin, what direction do you see the Padres going with their 2005 first round picks?

Kevin Goldstein: It's pretty impossible to project an 18th pick in early February, and in general, team's don't fill an organizational need with early picks, they focus on the top players available. That said, look for them to grab some lefties and some infielders in June.

 Q:  Danny from San Diego asks:
Is Brad Baker a future closer? Why did Justin Germano get rocked last year when he came up?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't see Baker as a closer, and that might just be because i see closers as fireballers. Baker is really a trick pitcher, but that changeup is one helleva trick. Germano really lost his confidence when he came up and starting trying to make the perfect pitch and nibbling the corners, which led to him getting behind in the count, and well, you know what happens from there.

 Q:  Ricky from Wisconsin asks:
Any sleepers in this year's Padres group? They've found some gems in free agents like Knott and Cory Stewart. Do the Padres place more emphasis on scouting these types?

Kevin Goldstein: Having done three of this lists this year (also Oakland and Arizona), I can tell you that the Padres seem to get more talent from non-traditional areas than most. Oxspring was an indy-league find, Knott was undrafted out of college, and there are more. My sleeper in the system didn't go that route, but he was acquired in a trade. He's outfielder Ben Johnson, who finally began to translate raw tools into production in 2004.

 Q:  aj from cardiff, wales, uk asks:
with peavy and eaton, the padres have had some success producing decent pitchers, do they have any others of their potential in the system? or is it something they're looking to address in the coming drafts?

Kevin Goldstein: God save the queen, A.J. I touched on it briefly in the Wells comment, but I'll go deeper into it here. When you go through the entire system, you find a heavy heavy inbalance among the Padres starters -- with FAR more finessecontrol guys than power guys. They have some nice fastball guys in their relief corps, but so few strikeout guys in the starting corps after Chick and Wells.

 Q:  Willie from Arcata, Ca asks:
The last few Padres drafts have seemed to be very money consious and uninspired. Do you think the team will eventually come out of their darfing funk and build a strong farm system like the type you have praised in the past?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, for the most part, drafts are graded by first round picks -- especially when those picks are fourth and first overall, as they have been for the Padres in the past two seasons. Both picks had auspicious beginnings, but in many ways things happened out of the front office's control. Nobody new Stauffer had an ailing shoulder until after the pick, and machinations in upper management had them scrambling 48 hours before the 2004 draft when they were told that the check wouldn't be writting for Stephen Drew.

 Q:  Nick from North Haven, CT asks:
Kevin, where do you rank Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. on the Pads' prospect list? Do you think he can hit enough to make the big club by 2007?

Kevin Goldstein: He can hit for average, but he just doesn't have the power or any other big skills to project him as an every day 1B in the majors.

 Q:  Greg from Tacoma asks:
Where would David Pauly rank if he were still in the Padres system?

Kevin Goldstein: Somewhere in the 11-15 range.

 Q:  Chris from Mobile, Al asks:
Do you think Josh Barfield is ever going to see a day in the majors has a second baseman or is a move to the outfield in the future ? Also, How much do you like George Kottaras ?

Kevin Goldstein: Barfield made great strides as a 2B last year, but he still needs to work on his footwork and DP pivot. I do think he'll become an average second baseman and stay there. He's beginning the year at Triple-A in 2005, and the Pads have no intention of moving him. How much do I like Kottaras? Did you see the rankings?

 Q:  John from San Diego asks:
Why has Paul McAnulty leapfrogged Jon Knott? As far as I can tell, McAnulty *might* one day grow up to be Jon Knott. Knott was ranked last year, had a real solid season, and falls off the top 10 list of a weak farm? Please explain.

Kevin Goldstein: He didn't leapfrog him by much, as Knott is #11. Knott's swing is awfully long and he's pretty bad defensively. I think he'd be best off in the AL as a lefty-mashing bench guy.

 Q:  Pete from Fallbrook, CA asks:
Kevin, What happened to all the love the Padres were giving to Freddy Guzman? I thought he was the future in centerfield.

Kevin Goldstein: Based on my talks with the Pads, I'd definitely say the love is still there. There are people in their front office who think he's their top prospect.

 Q:  Robert from San Diego asks:
Where do you see Ben Johnson ceiling since like it "clicked" in his head and he seems to know what he is doing now at the plate.

Kevin Goldstein: You nailed it Robert -- something clicked, as the tools were always there. The Padres admit they might of rushed Johnson, and his tools seemed to have just finally caught up. I talked to one scout who saw Johnson in the Cardinals system and again this winter in the AFL who said Johnson finally became the player he thought he would be. He's in the top 20, and where he goes from there depends on what he does at Portland.

 Q:  Sergio from La Mesa asks:
DO you see Luis Cruz as a starting shortstop or just a possible utility player?

Kevin Goldstein: A very good utility player. Outstanding defensive player, surprising pop, not enough average.

 Q:  DAT from Huntington Beach, CA asks:
Thanks for the chat...where is Dale Thayer in the mix and what's his ceiling...two successful full season campaigns should enhance the outlook I would think?

Kevin Goldstein: ANOTHER undrafted free agent. Thayer keeps getting people out, and he's become a prospect. Outstanding slider, but some question if he has enough velo to set it up at the upper levels. We'll find out in '05 as he moves up to Double-A.

 Q:  Joshua from Chula Vista asks:
What is your thoughts on Wilmer Villatoro and Aaron Coonard? What do their ceiling look like.

Kevin Goldstein: Villatoro is one of a number of solid relief prospects they have, including Thayer (above), Leo Rosales and Natanael Mateo. Many of them currently project as big league relievers, but with basic attrition, only a few will make it.

 Q:  Robert from San Diego asks:
What kind of player can Drew Macias be? Tell me your thoughts on him.

Kevin Goldstein: He's a lot like Grit Man -- far outplaying his tools. He needs to show some big skill, be it average, power, on-base or something, before I get too excited.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw, Georgia asks:
hey Kevin, Wanted to ask you about Colt Morton from NC State. What do you see him doing? Being a Russ Branyan Type or doing better? Also, will Matt Bush be a legit major leaguer? Thanks,and try to say nice things about U2 in this chat!

Kevin Goldstein: Right now, I think his ceiling is as a Branyan like catcher. But when you think about it, Russ Branyan as a catcher could be a pretty intriguing talent.

Kevin Goldstein: And U2 stinks -- just stinks. Nothing decent since 'October' -- just utter frauds.

 Q:  tom from queens, new york asks:
from the padres organizational standpoint , how does the organization determine to draft a high school pitcher?

Kevin Goldstein: Not sure what you are going with here, as they didn't take one early. The A's took a high school pitcher in '04 more than ten rounds before the Padres did.

 Q:  Doug from San Diego asks:
What do you think the Padres have in store for Sain. Is he stuck behind Tagg or has he past him with the year he had in Mobile? Where is he on the list 10 to 20?

Kevin Goldstein: Sain hit just .235 last year with 140 strikeouts. He's a 1B only, despite attempts to try him elsewhere, so he has to take a major step forward, and soon. He did not make my top 20, nor my top 30.

 Q:  Sam from Tyler asks:
Travis Chick is my hometown boy. What were the Marlins thinking? What kind of major league pitcher do you liken him to. How high is his upside?

Kevin Goldstein: I have no clue what the Marlins were thinking, and from everyone I talked to, neither does anyone else. I think Chick is an outstanding prospects and some compare his total package to that of Curt Schilling, which is high praise indeed, but also far too much to expect at this point from a 20-year-old with about 12 of a great season.

 Q:  Greg from San Diego asks:
Do you see Barfield as the eventual heir to second base, or do you see the Padres possibly moving him to centerfield?

Kevin Goldstein: As stated before, he's staying at 2B for the immediate future. If he DID move to the outfield, it would be to left. He doesn't have the speed to play center, and unfortunately, doesn't have an arm like his father's (one of the best I ever saw) to play right.

 Q:  Joe from Chantilly asks:
I don't think people call Kieth Foulke a trick pitcher, and Baker seems to profile very well with Keith Foulke. I would think a fastball into the 90's and an outstanding changeup should give a guy every chance to continue being a closer, a la Foulke? Is there some other difference with Baker that makes him profile more as a middle relief guy as opposed to a Hoffman or Foulke?

Kevin Goldstein: The biggest difference for me would be control and a breaking ball. Baker has good control, Foulke has pinpoint control. Baker has yet to find any sort of consistent breaking ball, while Foulke has an average slider he can use as a show-me pitch against lefties.

 Q:  Jim from Fort Wayne, Indiana asks:
Do you see Kottaras being an everyday player in the big leagues and if so, what is his timeline for getting there?

Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn't rank him as high as I did unless I thought so. If he continues to progress at this point, he could see Double-A in '05 and a September look by '06.

 Q:  Chris from San Diego asks:
What do you think of Brian Wahlbrink? He is super fast!

Kevin Goldstein: Super-duper crazy-wacky fast! Unfortunately, as they say, you can't steal first base, and Wahlbrink will have to do something to improve upon his .312 OBP last year.

 Q:  Terry from Fort Wayne asks:
Kevin, what do you think Kennard Jones ceiling is? And what do you think about Brett Bonvechio acquired from the BoSox last year and Vern Sterry?

Kevin Goldstein: Jones definitely took one big step backwards in '04, while Bonvechio profiles as really just an org guy.

 Q:  Alex from Dallas asks:
Does Bush arm that grades better compared to Rockies Nelson or was there something else that makes him a better ss?

Kevin Goldstein: Bush's arm was among the best in the draft, period. It's a true 75-80. Nelson doesn't have THAT kind of arm, but he looks like a far superior hitter at this point.

 Q:  Mike Nutter from Fort Wayne, IN asks:
Can you give a few names our fans can look out for in Ft. Wayne this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Bush, Yordanny Ramirez and LHP Fabian Jimenez, who I haven't mentioned yet, but is probably my favorite sleeper in the system.

 Q:  jarrod from ft worth asks:
i heard travis chick is going into major league spring training, could you possibly see him in the major leagues by the end of the year?

Kevin Goldstein: Chick doesn't turn 21 until June and has only 134 innings of full-season baseball (at low A) under his belt, so that's expecting FAR too much. Any time at Double-A this year would still put him well ahead of the pack.

 Q:  OppOJacks from So. Cal asks:
When do you think Humberto Quintero will finally take over the spot as the everyday major league catcher? He is better defensivly everyone else in the system and has a chance to hit a little if given the chance.

Kevin Goldstein: Quintero's defensive skills are unquestioned. But offensively, he's an average hitter and an average hitter only. No walks, no power, no speed. Unless one of those things change, he's probably not going to start for any extended period of time.

 Q:  thebig747 from Milwaukee, WI asks:
Roughly, for how many clubs would Josh Barfield ranked as the #1 prospect? Just trying to get a gauge on how weak the Pads system really is?

Kevin Goldstein: When I did my personal top 50, I had Barfield in the 40s, so there are more teams for who he would be below #1 than not. The Padres are again more towards the bottom when it comes to overall talent.

 Q:  Pork Chop McMoose from Chicago IL asks:
Are the player's wives called the Madres?

Kevin Goldstein: Technically, I believe so.

Kevin Goldstein: Thanks for all the great questions today and the chats keep on coming with Alan Matthews (Dodgers) on Wednesday, Tracy Ringolsby (Rockies) on Friday, and then I'm back again a week from today to talk D-backs. Big Daddy John Manuel wraps up our Top 10 extravaganza next Wednesday with the Giants.

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