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Expos Prospects

Moderator: Michael Levesque compiled the Expos top 10 list, and will discuss the organization here at 3 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Kyle Jelley from Greenwich Connecticut asks:
I've been following Zach Day since he was in the Yankees minor league system, and i wanted your opinion on his future. Do you think he is better suited as a closer, considering he was throwin 93-97 from the pen, or as a starter which has primarliy been his role during his career, during which he was throwing in the 88-91 range?

Michael Levesque: Good Afternoon everyone. Day should thrive in either role, but I like him as a starter. He has the tools to be a middle of the rotation horse and for me has more value in the rotation. I'd only move him to the pen if things didn't work out in the rotation.

 Q:  Matt from Illinois asks:
In your opinion was Clint Everts worthy of a top 5 pick in the draft? What kind of stuff does he have ie velocity and command...have heard he has an advanced curve ball.

Michael Levesque: High school pitchers are risky but Everts has a chance to be special. He projects as a front of the rotation stud. His arsenal includes a 91-94 mph fastball with late movement at the plate ( and he projects to throw harder). A fall off the table power curve (78-84 mph) with good spin, bite and two plane break that grades out as an 80 on the 20-80 scale, and 78-81 mph circle change with deception, sink, tumbling action, and excellent arm speed. He has impeccable command of all his pitches, is a gold glove caliber fielder, and displays good pitchability and plus makeup.

 Q:  Al from New York asks:
I was unaware Donald Levinski was traded this season. Can you tell me where he was traded to and where would he rank had he not been dealt away? Thanks.

Michael Levesque: Levinski went to the Marlins as the PTBN in the Cliff Floyd deal. He would have ranked second or third on the list.

 Q:  Bill Mitchell from Tempe, AZ asks:
Termel Sledge looked to be an overachiever in the Arizona Fall League, with surprising pop in his bat. How close to the Top Ten did he rank and where do you see him fitting in with the Expos over the next couple of years? Thanks.

Michael Levesque: Sledge ranked in the Top 20. He profiles as a fourth outfielder in the majors, but could surprise and become a starter

 Q:  Jerry from Ottawa asks:
Why did the Expos let Tim Leiper walk after having such a good season in Ottawa, and the fact that the players who went to Montreal, from Ottawa, contributed greatly to the success of the team in Montreal ?

Michael Levesque: Leiper, who lives in Ottawa year round would most likely have been back with the Expos if the Lynx had remained their triple-A team. They wanted him back, but Boston reportedly lured him away with a two year deal.

 Q:  Charles Cameron from Brantford, Ontario, Canada asks:
The Expos have always found a way to do "more" with "less" by finding inexpensive signings. Who are possible "diamonds in the rough" that the Expos might make an impact at the major league level in the next few years (if they're around that is)?

Michael Levesque: Jose Contreras, a 17-year-old shortstop from Venezuela who is making his stateside debut this year could turn heads. He is a 6.6 runner with a quick first step, has smooth actions in the field with a strong arm, and hits with authority from both sides of the plate. He has a projectable frame and should add some pop once he adds strength.

 Q:  thomas from ny asks:
How would you rank the NL East minor league systems against one and other?

Michael Levesque: I would rank the NL east as follows. 1. Braves 2. Marlins 3. Phillies 4. Expos 5. Mets (I like there Top 5, but they drop off quick after that)

 Q:  J-Bizzo from Dur-Ham asks:
Mike, whats the deal with Lorvin Louisa, any chance of converting this guy? How about Deni Mencebo? He going to hit enough to play at higher levels? And tell me about Antonio Sucre--is he their top young prospect from the Dominican?

Michael Levesque: J-Bizzo - Hey you know your stuff. You'll soon be able to give prospect guru Josh Boyd a run for his money. Converting Louisa, who has been clocked at 96-97 mph from the outfield to the mound would make sense if he continues to flounder at the plate. Good body, and he's only 19. Surce is an interesting guy. He has solid tools across the board, but is still raw. Sucre, Frank Diaz, and Rogearvin Bernadina are a trio of raw athletic outfielders to watch.

 Q:  John from Cary, NC asks:
Michael, you do a fantastic job on the Top 10, thanks. Just how raw is 5th-round pick Anthony Pearson and what's his ceiling?

Michael Levesque: Thanks - Pearson has a high ceiling. He has an excellent frame, loose live arm, and solid mechanics. His fastball sits in the 90-93 range with good late action in the zone, and he has a power 77-78 mph curve with tight rotation and two plane break.

 Q:  Andy from Ottawa asks:
Is there a solid closer prospect among the stable of young arms within the Expos system who could help out at the major league level in '03? Pat Collins enjoyed great success as a reliever last year in AA Harrisburg, as did Bryan Hebson. Is there a chance they (or others) could be ready for the majors over the near-term? Thanks.

Michael Levesque: The best closer prospect in the organization would be Cristobol Rodriguez. He missed the majority of the 2002 season with a shoulder injury but when healthy he has the best arm in the system. He has a prototype pitchers body with long arms and legs, and a quick arm action. Rodriguez has a 95-96 mph fastball that explodes out of his hand and has been clocked in the past as high as 101 mph. It has late moving and running action up in the zone. His out pitch is a split finger fastball that drops off the table and he also throws a slider that remains inconsistent. He still needs to work on the command of his pitches, and to improve his delivery by staying more directional to the plate. He should start the year at Double-A Harrisburg and could move quick.

 Q:  Josh from Plaistow, New Hampshire asks:
Hey Michael, where would of Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore ranked on this list. Thanks

Michael Levesque: Phillips would have ranked number one. Lee in the top five, and Sizemore Top ten.

 Q:  Parch from Edmonton asks:
What's the upside on Chris Young? Is his lack of velocity a problem with delivery mechanics or simply due to a lack of experience?

Michael Levesque: Young just need innings. He's an athletic guy who also spent a lot of time on the Basketball court which has set back his development somewhat. Young projects as a number four starter in the majors. For a 6-foot-10 righthander he has an excellent delivery. His fastball is 88-93 mph range with good command from a high 34 slot. He needs to improve his 74-77 mph curve which is inconsistent.

 Q:  Kenny A from Two Rivers, WI asks:
What is the status of Josh Girdley? Will he ever make a full recovery?

Michael Levesque: Girdley still has considerable talent but this is a huge year for him as he needs to prove that he can go out and pitch a full season and get back on the fast track to the majors. He's a projectable left-hander with a easy arm stroke and the potential for three above average pitches. Still building up his arm he was 85-91 mph with his fastball this year with late life, and spun a 74-76 mph curveball with tight spin and excellent two plane break. He also throws a 75-77 mph change that decelerates bats. Girdley should start the season with low Class-A Savannah, where the Expos would like to see him step up and pitch to his ability.

 Q:  LaCharles Berg from Houston, Texas asks:
Lots of pitchers atop the list. Strong pitching depth or lack of position players?

Michael Levesque: Combination of both. The Expos have lots of pitching depth, but are weak in premium position players.

 Q:  andy from tempe asks:
who got the better end of the expospirates deal (Herges for Chris Young and Jon Searles)

Michael Levesque: Omar did pretty good getting Young and Searles for Herges as they were likely going to non tender Herges any ways. Searles is an interesting guy. He's a former football player who has an outstanding pitchers body and can throw 90-94 with an above average curve.

 Q:  Rino Possemato from Montreal asks:
I believe the 2 highest unsigned 2002 draft picks for the Expos were Friedel Pinkston and Justin Azze. Does Montreal still have a chance to sign them and what is their potential. Thanks!

Michael Levesque: Azze is at the University of Hawaii, so the Expos have lost his rights. Pinkston is at Chipola JC and the Expos retain his rights until a week before the 2003 draft. He has a high upside, but hasn't pitched much this fall because of injuries. One draft and follow who the Expos are excited about is 36th rounder Jeffrey Miller. He is at Potomac State and has huge left handed power.

 Q:  dan from burlington VT asks:
Did any of the other players from the Vermont Expos make the top 30 besides Hinkley, Rasner and Broadway?

Michael Levesque: righthander Nick Long.

 Q:  Parch from Edmonton asks:
What happened with Felix Lugo last year? What level do you expect him to play in 2003?

Michael Levesque: Lugo's still around, he just has a different name and has aged three years. He's now known as Felix Diaz. Diaz missed the first half of the season before he was granted a visa, and started off slow before exploding in August, when he batted .292-11-18 in 106 at-bats with Class-A Clinton He tantalizes the Expos because he has the best combination of raw tools in the system. They hope he can step forward this year and make the jump to Double-A Harrisburg.

 Q:  David Landskroener from Chestertown, Maryland asks:
What is the timetable for 2001 first round Josh Karp to be in the majors?

Michael Levesque: Expos farm director Adam Wogan likes to be cautious with pitchers so Karp will likely start the season with Double-A Harrisburg. He should move quickly and could probably contribute in the majors by September

 Q:  Gary from Edmonton, Alberta asks:
I noticed that you have Karp and Song in the rotation at Doulbe-A Harrisburg. Can you offer up a guess as to who might be in the Edmonton rotation this season?

Michael Levesque: Claudio Vargas, Tim Drew, Julio Manon, Dicky Gonzalez, Scott Downs and or Matt Blank

 Q:  Ken from Ottawa asks:
Brandon Watson always seemed like the type of guy that the Expos could rely on to get on base. His AFL numbers however, reflect this very poorly. What do you think about his ceiling? Thanks!

Michael Levesque: I like Watson's upside. He saw action in two games at Double-A before he was sideline with a sprained right ankle that also had a hairline fracture. Watson recouped in time to play in the Arizona Fall League but wasn't at full speed. He is one of the best athletes in the Expos system is a four tool player lacking only power. He is a proficient center fielder with an above average accurate arm that gets quick reads, takes good routes and swallows up ground in the outfield. Watson is a top of the scale burner who has gotten down the line in 3.7 seconds on a drag bunt. And is a good contact hitter with excellent hand-eye ability and possesses a compact line drive stroke. He does a good job of using the whole field, and is a considered the best bunter in the Expos minor league system. He needs to improve his ability to draw walks, get on base on a consistent basis, and work the count. He has an unconventional style at the plate and did a better job of staying back and driving the ball it this year but still lunges a bit and gets out in front on pitches.

 Q:  Parker from Mishicot, Ontario asks:
Deinys Suarez-Laguardia, I've heard this guy is good,in order to get a good idea just how good he is, where do you think this guy would rank on the Expos top ten if they would sign him? thanks

Michael Levesque: I saw him at the World Juniors in August and he was outstanding with three plus pitches. For me, he would rank number one.

 Q:  Mario from Hamden, CT asks:
Was Brad Wilkerson's improvement throughout last season a sign that he is a future star...or the next Peter Bergeron?

Michael Levesque: Wilkerson is going to be very good. He has solid tools, but also that extra intangible that good players have.

 Q:  Mike from Houston, Texas asks:
Hey Michael, Do you know what league Expos Dana Brown, Scouting Director and Adam Wogan Player Development have planned to start Everts this year?

Michael Levesque: I think it depends how he does in spring training. Wogan will want to take it slow with him and may start him in extended. But Everts could force his hand like Levinski did last year and jump to the South Atlantic League if he pitches well.

 Q:  Bill from Minnesota asks:
Young is 6'10" and the spos drafted a 6"8" lefty from my state, Brett Nyquist. Have heard that there is some question on the lefties arm slot.. Is that something that can be easily corrected and where does Nyquist fit in the overall statis of prospects? Like your work alot, keep it up.

Michael Levesque: I've been told by some scouts that Nyquist throws across his body much the same former Expo Ken Hill did. It will effect control and velocity. He'll be in good hands with Expos minor league pitching coordinator Brent Strom. He just missed the Top 30 and is one to watch.

 Q:  Mike from Fresno asks:
We all are aware of the depth of the left handed pitching there is in the team, but could you name a couple of the prominent right handed pitching prospects aside from the obvious ones (i.e. Everts, Rasner, etc.)

Michael Levesque: Some righthanders to watch Rob Caputo, Shawn Hill, Ignacio Puello, Nick Long, David Thorne, and Chris Schroeder

 Q:  Bill Murray from San Diego, CA asks:
What do the Expos have in terms of catching prospects? What about the switch-hitting catch and throw guy, Danny Kahr?

Michael Levesque: The Expos catching is on the weak side. Drew McMillan and Venezuelan Salomon Manriquez are the best of the bunch. Manriquez has good power potential and has played well in winter where he is among the league leaders in homeruns. Kahr shows good skills behind the plate, but his bat needs work.

 Q:  menard from from VT asks:
what is your feeling on Reggie Fitzpatrick

Michael Levesque: Fitzpatrick , aka "The Train" made the Top 30. He's an athletic left-handed hitter who's is a burner on the base paths running the 60-yard dash in 6.5-6.6 seconds and showing major league range and outstanding fly chasing skills in centerfield. His swing has a bit of length to it, but the ball comes off the bat well and he does a good job of making adjustments during games. Fitzpatrick's arm is currently below average but should improve with repetitions and added strength.

 Q:  mudcat from starkville, miss asks:
What is the Expos secret, it is amazing that year after year they develop so many players with far less resources than other teams. Also there top leadership jumps to other teams faster than a gulf storm.

Michael Levesque: Good scouting and player development personal. And when someone leaves they hire quality guys to replace them. Current Expos farm director Adam Wogan, who is only 27 is the latest guy to keep an eye on. He has a bright future.

 Q:  Randy from Toronto asks:
Maybe a little off-topic, but what QuebecOntario high school kids project as prospects for the next draft?

Michael Levesque: Some of the better ones from the top of my head are Ontario- Michael Cart, Matt Linder, and Jamie Romak. Quebec has Erik Nadon, and Nicolas Bleau

 Q:  David from Los Angeles, CA asks:
Tim Drew probably has too many ML innings to qualify for your list, but where would he fit in with the pitching prospects?

Michael Levesque: Drew would have been in the 8-15 range on the list.

 Q:  Kevin from Bakersfield, CA asks:
Clint Everts or Cole Hamels?

Michael Levesque: Everts- more upside

 Q:  James from Oklahoma asks:
Hello, The expos drafted a High School pitcher from the Oklahoma City metro area a few years ago Soory I forge this name I Think it his last name was Authurs 0r Authors can you tell me anything about this guy?

Michael Levesque: Shane Arthurs was a supplement first round pick and 1997 and was released this past season.

 Q:  aj from florida asks:
You mentioned Nick Long as the only other player from Vermont in the top 30? What about Chop, Bergman, Barlow, etc.?

Michael Levesque: Barlow is a big righthander with a heavy two seamer in the 88-90 mph range that has late sink and tail, and a 80-83 mph slider. Some Expos scouts compare him to Derek Lowe. Bergmann is another big righty. He has a 89-92 mph fastball and a solid 76-78 mph curve. He has a long arm action and will fly open with his front side causing inconstant command and control

 Q:  LandonQ from The Desert asks:
What direction do you see the Expos going in the 2003 draft?

Michael Levesque: Expos will take the best player available with the 20th selection. After that I think they will go hard after college position players.

 Q:  c.w. from oklahoma asks:
what are the expos plans for lefthanded reliever, anthony ferrari, alot were surprised he wasnt protected, due that it doesnt seem like the expos are deep in lefthanded bullpen?

Michael Levesque: The Expos still like Ferrari. I think it just was a matter of numbers. Guys like Lockwood, Rundles, and Girdley where never protected either. He should start the year in Triple-A.

 Q:  Tommy Red Sox from Oklahoma City, OK asks:
What does your crystal ball say about the futures of Mike Hinckley and Val Pascucci? Does Hinckley project to have the strengthstamina to be a starter or more of a situational guy out of the pen?

Michael Levesque: If Hinckley continues to add strength, he a number 2 or 3 starter. Pascucci will be playing more first base this year and could fill that spot for the Expos down the road. He has big time power

 Q:  JOSHUA from asks:
where's greg thissen? whats the deal... though hes not physically strong yet, he has good power production, he has the frame to hold more weight.

Michael Levesque: Last question of the day guys. Sorry if I didn't get to everyone's questions. Thissen is interesting, but I'm not sure he profiles as a second baseman, which means he may have to move to third. If he does he will have to improve his power to stay there. It's all about strength with him.

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