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Rangers Prospects

Moderator: John Manuel compiled the Rangers top prospects list, and will answer questions about the organization.

 Q:  Keno Leighty from Vancouver, WA asks:
Since Chris O'Riordan didn't make a weak Texas top 10 list, by weak I mean organzation not your list, where would you rate him . He put up some great numbers and I thought he would crack the top 10 personally. Thanks and great job.

John Manuel: Thanks to everyone for coming by. O'Riordan did put up great numbers, but a college senior from the Pac-10 should do so in the Appy League. He would have benefitted from the Rangers' new minor league setup, which will include a short-season affiliate in Spokane of the Northwest League. O'Riordan made the Top 30 because he does have a plus bat, always has. He could be a Frank Catalanotto-esque utility guy down the line. He's one of the organization's many 2B prospects--not necessarily a position where you want to be really deep.

 Q:  Aaron MacCormack from Thorold,Ontario,Canada asks:
Hey John, what ever happened to Texas pitching prospect Jovanny Cedeno? Many scouts predicted him to be the next Pedro Martinez, what happened?

John Manuel: Aaron, Cedeno had shoulder surgery again in 2002 and has pitched one full season in the minor leagues, in 2000 at Class A Savannah. The Rangers protected him on the 40-man roster, then non-tendered him before re-signing him to a minor league deal. He's rehabbing and should be ready to try to pitch a full year come spring training. But he's had two major surgeries now, so any comparisons to Pedro--all of which for any player are frankly silly, considering just how unique a pitcher and person Martinez is--need to be shelved.

 Q:  Aaron MacCormack from Thorold,Ontario,Canada asks:
Hey John, out of Teixeria and Blalock who would you say would have the easiest transition of switching positions? In your opinion, who would you keep at 3B? Thanks John and Happy New Year!!

John Manuel: I'm a shameless Mark Teixeira apologist, and I think he can play third base in the big leagues. Blalock is considered to be more athletic, so it would be easier for him to move, but he also is considered the better defender. These things have a way of working out, and I think the way it will work out is Teixeira will be the Rangers third baseman and Blalock will be involved in some kind of deal for pitching, whether it's this offseason or during 2003.

 Q:  Rick from Dallas asks:
It seems that even though injury may have played a role in a subpar season, has Hank Blalock's star dimmed enough that we should take rumors of a trade seriously? If not, will he be the starting 3B in Texas on opening day?

John Manuel: So many questions about Texas' 3B situation. I don't think Blalock's star has dimmed so much as the Rangers' minor league philosophy changed. Blalock is an aggressive hitter and stumbled for the first time in the big leagues. Instead of being allowed to struggle and make adjustments in Texas, Blalock was demoted to Triple-A, then told to take more pitches. The Rangers wanted him to take a strike and learn to work deeper into counts. That just wasn't Blalock's MO, and he perked back up again when he reverted to his see-it, hit-it ways. Most baseball people we've talked to at BA (including Rangers officials) think Blalock will hit in the big leagues with his approach, but it's not Grady Fuson's preferred hitting approach, which is why I think eventually Teixeira will stay and Blalock will go.

 Q:  Bob Koethler from Canada asks:
I was just wondering if Reggie Rivard would have gone up to AA this season if he hadn't been injured? Also being a fellow Canadian we were all wondering if he's got a real shot at making the show?

John Manuel: Any healthy Rangers farmhand who is efficient with his pitches and throws strikes will get a chance in Texas. Rivard didn't make the Top 30, but before he was hurt he really took to the tandem starter arrangement at Charlotte, holding opponents to a .192 average in 54 innings. He'll be 25 in 2003 and the Rangers consider the move to Double-A to be the biggest test of a prospect. Let's see how he makes the jump, eh?

 Q:  John M. Perkins from Macon, GA asks:
Jason Jones has been put up solid numbers as the Driller 1BOF. Top 20 material?

John Manuel: Didn't make the top 30 owing to his age (25 in the TL) and lack of home run power for a corner IFOF guy. He seems to be considered more of a minor league hitter than a big league hitter, if that makes sense. He's going to have to hit more HRs to make a bigger impression on the organization.

 Q:  Jeff S. from Arlington, Texas asks:
For a rebuilding team, the Rangers certainly don't have qualms about trading young hitters. The Pena deal seems like a bust, they got, at best, a good-field, no-hit catcher for Hafner and Blalock seems to be on the market. Dealing excess is fine, but are these guys shopped or do the Rangers take the first offer they see?

John Manuel: I'm not inside with John Hart, but it does seem from here that there's a disconnect between the value the organization has for its own players and how Hart values them. I don't think they got much for Hafner at all--Diaz is at best a fair big league catcher overall, and Ryan Drese has major injury questions. I like Aaron Myette's arm better and thought Hafner should have commanded more as a major-league ready hitter. I disagree that the Rangers' deal of Pena was a bust, though, because Gerald Laird could become a front-line catcher, and at last one of the other players involved (Ramos, J. Hart or Ludwick) will become a useful role player in the big leagues.

 Q:  Kevin Carrier from Iowa asks:
Because the Rangers have some great young hitters in their farm system, do you think Laynce Nix is overlooked and could even be a number one prospect in some organizations?

John Manuel: I do not really consider him overlooked. I'd guess Nix could rank No. 1 in some talent-deprived organizations, (Orioles, perhaps others). Nix can certainly hit and gets more Brian Giles comparisons than Rusty Greer comparisons these days, but he probably won't be a big league center fielder, and it's not certain that he'll be a 30-home run guy in the majors. Somewhere between Greer and Giles seems likely, and that should be quite good.

 Q:  Derrik Haley from Iwakuni, Japan asks:
Curious what your opinion of Atlanta letting Ben Kozlwoski go for Andy Pratt? Do you think the Braves made a big mistake? Certainly not as big as the one they made int eh Millwood trade, but possibly a mistake. Possible 2004 big league rotation?

John Manuel: Just a weird, weird move by the Braves. Andy Pratt has some upside and could be in the Braves bullpen in '03, but Kozlowski's bigger, throws harder, has a good curve and a higher ceiling altogether. Kozlowski could pitch his way into Texas' '03 rotation by midseason. His acquisition was certainly a best-case scenario from a 40-man roster mess the Rangers got themselves into last offseason.

 Q:  Ted from Hockessin, DE asks:
Hi John, Hank Blalock for Juan Cruz. Your thoughts? Thanks.

John Manuel: Not for me, because I'm not a Juan Cruz fan and don't believe he has the durability to be a big league starter for the long haul. Blalock could be a .300-20-100 big league 3B, and those guys are all-stars.

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:
I hate to write this because I really enjoyed watching Drew Meyer play in the past C.W.S., especially defense. I think his career, because of his strange and soon to be reconstructed swing, will parallel a poor man's Kelly Dransfeldt. Both great athletes with baseball instincts; but will be a "K" machine, never hit for average, minus the great "D", power, and height.

John Manuel: Mick, while I think some skepticism about Meyer is warranted, I think he'll be better than Dransfelt. Mostly I base this on Grady Fuson's trust in Meyer. He's smarter about baseball than you or me. Meyer was a dead-pull hitter for most of his college career and an aggressive hitter. This year, the Rangers just let him play. In instructional league, his swing and approach were adjusted. We'll see how they play in 2003. If he has similar numbers to his 53 Ks in 214 ABs ratio he posted last year, then I might join you on the Meyer-as-Dransfeldt comparison. For now, I'll trust Fuson when he says Meyer has the work ethic, makeup, athleticism and instincts to made the adjustments he needs to make at the plate.

 Q:  mario gardea from Odessa, Tx asks:
what kind of pitching prospects look to help out next season

John Manuel: Colby Lewis and Ben Kozlowski get first dibs. Among other Top 30 guys, you might get some Nick Regilio and Travis Hughes. The rest of Texas' top pitching prospects (unless I'm forgetting someone) is more than a year away. I just can't see C.J. Wilson making a big dent in the big leagues in 2003, but I could be wrong.

 Q:  Bill Mitchell from Tempe, AZ asks:
John - The Rangers sent Jermaine Clark to the Arizona Fall League to learn to play the outfield, but then removed him from the 40-man roster. Does he still figure into their plans for 2003? Thanks.

John Manuel: Bill, thanks for the pics. Clark being left off the 40-man was curious, and I do think he can be part of Texas' 2003 plans as a utility player. He gets on base and can play some CF, though he's still pretty green out there. I see him as a good low-cost alternative. Also, the Rangers might have to clear out some bad contracts to make room for him.

 Q:  david russell from san antonio, texas asks:
I noticed Ryan Dittfurth has dropped off the radar screen. I know he was hurt this past year, but I don't know the extent of his injury. Either way,how does a guy go from starting the futures game to being a non-prospect in such a short time? Also, do Mario Ramos and Jason Hart still project as prospects?

John Manuel: David, Dittfurth is still in the Top 30, but his surgery was to repair a torn rotator cuff, and he probably won't pitch in 2003 unless it's some rehab in the Gulf Coast League. It's hard to know where to rank a player with that kind of injury, which doesn't have the same track record of successful recoveries as, say, Tommy John surgery. Hart and Ramos both made the Top 30. Hart would be best served by moving to another organization, while Ramos probably is only wanted by the Rangers and Blue Jays and maybe the A's, organizations that believe in his ability to pitch off his changeup. He did recover somewhat as a reliever in the PCL and in the Arizona Fall League. I've always liked Ramos as a 4th or 5th starter type, but no more than that. Let's see if he pitches better without the pressure of having to live up to the trade.

 Q:  michael point from austin asks:
any theories on why the rangers consistently disregard the young arms in their farm system in favor of recycling tired ones discarded by other teams?

John Manuel: Well, a specific example would help, but my response would be that very few teams rely on young arms from their own farm systems. The Braves do, sort of. The Angels had three homegrown starters but went out and got Aaron Sele and Kevin Appier last year. The Yankees have one homegrown starter in Pettitte. I think you're being a tad harsh on the Rangers, who give (or will give) guys like Doug Davis, Benoit, Colby Lewis and others several chances.

 Q:  owen thomas from venice, ca asks:
Can Jason Botts in fact handle center field?

John Manuel: Athletically, sure. Center Field isn't all about being fast, though, it involves instincts and leadership and routes to balls. Botts is still considered raw defensively and I would not project him as a CF based on what we've been told about him.

 Q:  Chad Goldberg from Palo Alto, CA asks:
Hi John- How big of a suprise was the great summer that 2B Chris O'Riordan had after being drafted and where does he fit into the Rangers' Plans? Is he the David Eckstein of this organization?

John Manuel: Chad, always good to hear from you. O'Riordan, as indicated before, is in this organization's plans. The Eckstein of the Rangers, though, may be former Tennessee All-American Jeff Pickler. He was a minor league Rule 5 pick last year and just missed the Top 30 this year. All Pickler does is hit for average, draw some walks, steal some bases and play the game hard and well. He's got some Eckstein in him.

 Q:  Big KG from Big Chicago asks:
1st round pick Drew Meyer's debut was more than a tad underwhelming. Does he need to adjust his offensive approach to succeed with wooden bats?

John Manuel: Kevin, Meyer's debut wasn't bad considering his season started with games in February, included a full run to the CWS title game and pretty much every inning of every game he played. Meyer got a little worn down and was playing Double-A in September, quite a jump for a player in his pro debut. He does need to adjust his offensive approach and swing. Pretty much everything else about Drew Meyer is good bordering on spectacular. He's very fun to watch and had a great college career, and as I said, I'm going to trust Grady Fuson on Meyer making the offensive adjustments he needs.

 Q:  J. Schubert from Milwaukee, WI asks:
Joaquin Benoit pitched too many innings to appear on the prospects list but I would like to hear your opinion regarding his future. He seems to have all the abilities. Do you like his chances to put it all together and become a top of the rotation starter and what do you feel is his developmental timeline to reach his potential. Thanks.

John Manuel: If Benoit were available, he probably would have ranked No. 3 on the list behind Teixeira and Lewis. He was pretty dominant in the PCL last year (.203 opp. avg, 103 Ks in 99 IP) and pitched OK considering his age and experience level as a big league rookie. He was understandably inconsistent. This will be a huge year for him to really establish himself as a big leaguer. Between Benoit and Lewis, most scouts and PCL managers have said they'd go with Lewis, but Benoit has a chance to be a No. 2 or 3 starter.

 Q:  jacob from maryland asks:
Who do you like better at this point in time Dumatrait from Boston, Rheinecker from Oakland or Kozlowski of these Texas Rangers? Also who would you compare Drew Meyer to in the big leagues currently and is his future in the middle infield or the outfield? thanks for the chat.

John Manuel: I'll take the 6-foot-6 lefty who throws strikes, i.e., Kozlowski. I believe Meyer's future is in CF because scouts have talked about him as a CF for years and the Rangers are set at SS, but I also think Meyer could handle SS in the big leagues if given the chance. I saw his body compared to Denny Hocking in's scouting report, but the Rangers also compare him to a more athletic Mark Bellhorn--the 2002 model. They don't think he'll ever be a batting champ, but they do think there's some power in his bat.

 Q:  Jim from Irving, TX asks:
Does Laynce Nix have the range to play the expansive center field at The Ballpark? What's his ETA?

John Manuel: Probably not; he's fringy range-wise now, and like most players he's only going to get slower as he gets bigger and older. I'd say Nix' ETA will be sometime in 2004, or perhaps even a September 2003 callup. The Rangers have some big OF contracts to clear out, but Nix should give them a low-cost alternative soon.

 Q:  A.J. Morris from Houston asks:
I was a little surprised to see that Jason Botts and Derrick Van Dusen didn't crack the top 10. How close were they to making the list, and what are your thoughts on what the future may hold for them?

John Manuel: Well, Botts had a pretty mediocre year. Yes, he had a .387 on-base, but 6-6, 240 guys are expected to produce power when they play corner OF spots, and he slugged .401. He's in the Top 30. DVD is seen as more of a middle guy right now, the Rangers LHP depth is decent and Van Dusen is clearly a grade or two below Kozlowski, C.J. Wilson and even A.J. Murray. His stuff is below the first two, his command is behind Murray.

 Q:  paul from springfield,mo asks:
With Palmeiro,Texiera, and Blalock where does Jason Hart fit into the Rangers plans for 2003 and beyond?

John Manuel: Hart has a fan in Fuson, but he would seem to be a fine fit for first-base challenged clubs like Atlanta and Boston in exchange for a young arm. If the Rangers didn't already have a billion LFs, he might be able to stick there, but they do, so I think he'd be best served in another organization.

 Q:  Manny from San Juan, Puerto Rico asks:
Travis Hafner is no longer a Ranger but I was wondering if you could tell us us how good of a major league hitter do you project him to be?? Also, can we expect Ryan Ludwick to make a contribution this year??

John Manuel: Manny, Hafner might be the most underrated minor league hitter out there. PCL managers raved about him to our Jim Callis, and Trey Hillman compared him to Jim Thome before Hillman left for Japan and the Indians acquired Hafner. He's hit everywhere, he's walked everywhere and he's still learning to hit for power. Hafner is a premium power prospect and a dark-horse candidate for Rookie of the Year. Ludwick has hit in the minors, but he has doubters about whether his swing (which doesn't really incorporate his lower half) can work against big league pitching. I see him as a solid fourth OF; he's pretty good defensively and has some power from the left side, so he's deserving of several chances.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
We all know that Texas hasn't had pitching even during their playoff run in the 90's, but reports are that it is improving. Is it really? Or is all the improvement in the low minors? Drese or Myette, that's a wash of all stuff, no polish aging prospects. Kozlowski looks good but raw, and Benoit and Lewis look lost against big leaguers more than not. Cordero seems to be the only effect pitcher they brought up last year. I'm an Indians fan used to John Hart's polished PR spin, is all this talk just spin or are these guys going to develop?

John Manuel: I agree Ryan that the improvement is in the lower minors. The Rangers got some pretty good arms in 2002, from John Barnett and Kiki Bengochea to Jason Andrew and Erik Thompson. At the upper levels, everyone has some questions to answer, with perhaps the exception of Kozlowski. Every GM wants to believe in his players, though, and the more arms you have, the more chances one or two of them will stick. That seems to be Hart's approach.

 Q:  Steven from Cleveland, Ohio asks:
John Koronka, staying with Texas or back with the reds by end of spring training???

Moderator: Time for da lightning round (tm).

John Manuel: Back with the Reds. Doesn't get lefties out well enough to stick in relief.

 Q:  Alex from Lafayette, LA asks:
Why has everyone soured on Blalock so fast? Haven't other players had a difficult rookie year?

John Manuel: I agree completely. What's that people always say about sample size? 147 ABs is a small sample size.

 Q:  Michael Lamb from Arlington, TX asks:
Why in the world did we sign Herbert Perry?

John Manuel: Very good question. Wish I had an answer, but I just don't have an explanation, and I haven't read one from the Rangers that made sense.

 Q:  M. Stamler from New Jersey asks:
Who do you see as future pitching prospects coming out of the Ranger's farm organizations. Also, can you explain how pitchers are evaluated.

John Manuel: I'm assuming "M" is some rlation to Keith Stamler, also of New Jersey, who went 6-7, 4.56 at Tulsa. He got hit pretty hard (.301 average) in the TL, that's one measure we use to evaluate pitchers. I'd answer that at BA, we evaluate stats and tools through discussions with members of major league organizations and scouts. We try to take a pitchers' stuff into account as much as if not more than his performance in the minor leagues. Colby Lewis' raw stuff is probably the best in the organization; hence he ranked highest among pitchers eligible for our Top 10.

 Q:  Tom from Riverside, CA asks:
Which Ranger minor leaguer do you see taking a jump into prospect status for 2003?

John Manuel: Erik Thompson is a good bet, as is Jose Dominguez if he stays healthy. I'll throw RHPs Nick Masset and Rob Corrado in as dark-horse candidates.

 Q:  Ken Ron Todd from Arkadelphia, AR asks:
What position(s) would you look to in the draft or internationaly if you were trying to fill a need in the organization?

John Manuel: Pitching, pitching and more pitching. It's also hard to find Cs. I don't think the Rangers have the depth at any position besides 3B to be that picky, frankly.

 Q:  Jamey from asks:
Interesting that you project the three kids ahead of Chan Ho Park in the future rotation hierarchy. Are you a Park detractor, or are you that high on the BenoitLewisKoz trio?

John Manuel: Howdy Jamey. That is more of a commentary on Park than anything else. Our projected lineups get more ink in our chats than they really deserve. It's just meant as a fun thing; a truer look at organizational depth will be provided in our Prospect Handbook, when we will provide depth charts for all 30 organizations.

 Q:  Mike from Orrville, OH asks:
John, Love the chats! Who are some players that did not make the top propsect list that the Rangers are expecting breakthrough seasons from or they are very excited about?

John Manuel: I think I just answered this, but I left out OF Julin Charles, who will take his prodigious raw tools and go to full-season ball for the first time.

 Q:  Brendan from Boston asks:
At what point would you expect Teixeira to arrive in Texas this year and what kind of numbers would you expect from him at this point?

John Manuel: Brendan, this completely depends on what happens with Blalock and Perry, but Teixeira is the best power hitter and pure hitter of the three. If he played a full season in the big leagues in 2003, I don't think it's out of the question to expect him to hit about .270 with 20-30 homers. I think he'd need an adjustment period before he started competing for triple crowns, but I don't put a limit on Tex' ability. Like I said before, I'm a Tex apologist, and he doesn't really need one.

 Q:  Roger from Fort Worth asks:
What are the chances of Meyer getting on base enough at the big league level to become an adequte top of the order hitter?

John Manuel: We'll know a lot more about that after 2003. I think the chances are solid, 50 percent or so.

 Q:  Roger from Fort Worth asks:
You mentioned Nix projects as a corner outfielder and Ludwick is better there as well? Who are the best true centerfielders in the organization, and which have a chance to play in the big leagues?

John Manuel: Best true CF in the org defensively is Patrick Boyd. He has a chance but he hasn't really had a good year since 1999.

 Q:  Jason from Florida asks:
Where does pitcher John Barnett rank since he missed the top 10 .... what kind of ceiling does he have, and how quickly do you think he can advance?

John Manuel: He's in the 11-20 range. I think he's a 3-4 starter down the line who could be in Texas by 2004. He's pretty polished with a very good fastball-changeup combo.

 Q:  Jamey Newberg from asks:
Given Grady Fuson's background, you'd expect that the Rangers might have a renewed emphasis on OBP, but we've now seen Frank Catalanotto non-tendered (and lost today), Jermaine Clark left off the 40-man roster, and Doug Glanville signed when CF is probably the position most logical to find someone to lead off in this club's lineup. Should we assume Texas didn't care too much for their incumbent leadoff options, or maybe that the org has something else cooking to bring a legit leadoff guy in?

Moderator: Sorry for the delay, John had a fantasy football issue he had to resolve via phone.

John Manuel: Jamey, I agree with you on several counts, though I don't think Doug Glanville will be their leadoff hitter next year if he performs the way he has every year but 1999. I think your point about the organization not caring much for its incumbent leadoff options is correct. I know you love Frank C., but he's injury-prone and just not a good defender at any position. I don't think he's worth $3 million. Clark is like Catalanotto best served as a reserve. Perhaps there's a stop-gap leadoff man to be had outside the organization while a Laynce Nix (if he's closer to the Rusty Greer comparison) or Jason Bourgeois or Drew Meyer develops.

 Q:  A.J. Morris from Houston asks:
Well, the first question made a reference to the Rangers "weak" prospect list... Is the Rangers' minor league system, in fact, that weak relative to the rest of the majors?

John Manuel: I would say I was underwhelmed doing the organization's top 30 for the first time and consider it a mediocre organization in terms of current minor league talent.

 Q:  Chetanna from Baltimore, Maryland asks:
What good things have the rangers done in the past two years to improve their system. What do they still need to work on and which pitchers are closest to having a significant impact on the team besides the usual like Colby Lewis or Mario Ramos. Thanks

John Manuel: The best thing Texas has done is hiring Grady Fuson. I also believe the reorganization of affiliates for 2003 will benefit the organization.

 Q:  Big Tex from Charlotte NC asks:
If Travis Hafner had not been traded, where might he have ranked in the Ranger top 10? I was surprised he was ranked 5th in a loaded Cleveland minor league system, and Texas's isn't rated as highly as Cleveland's from all accounts.

John Manuel: I was wavering on putting Hafner anywhere between Nos. 2 and 5. After Nix and maybe Laird, I think there's a significant dropoff in the Rangers' Top 10, but the top 5 or 6 (before dealing Hafner) was quite good.

 Q:  Nate from Harrisburg asks:
How serious was Laynce Nix's thumb injury in the AFL?

John Manuel: Not serious; no surgery. He'll be healthy for the spring barring something unforeseen.

 Q:  Pete from NJ asks:
Would you do a Blalock and another minor leaguer for Colon or Vasquez.

John Manuel: Of course. Those guys are established big league front-of-the-rotation guys, quite different from Juan Cruz.

 Q:  Jamey Newberg from asks:
Just in the past month I've seen everything from "solid backup" to "frontline starter" regarding Gerald Laird's ceiling. Do the Rangers think he will develop further offensively, or is it simply his defensive tools that has the org excited? Jamey

John Manuel: Jamey, it just depends on who you talk to. Laird is pretty athletic. He's a front-line guy defensively, there's little debate there. It's all going to depend on his bat. His Double-A jump went well, though surely you'd like to see a better BB-K ratio. I see Laird being adequate offensively to be a big league starter, if not an all-star.

 Q:  David Malamut from Chicago asks:
Since the Rangers moved their low A club to Clinton, what kind of talent might we find in Clinton this upcoming year.

John Manuel: You should see plenty of 2002 draftees like Nate Gold, some of the pitchers like Sam Narron, Gary Hogan, Rob Corrado, Andrew Tisdale and Kameron Loe. It should be a college-player heavy team so it should win some games in the MWL.

 Q:  Jamey Newberg from asks:
Erasmo Ramirez -- legit candidate for the currently southpaw-less pen?

John Manuel: I think he's got a chance, always been a fan since profiling him while with Cal State Fullerton. He's tough, good makeup and has a decent breaking ball to handle lefties, whom he dominated at Triple-A Oklahoma (10 Ks in 41 ABs). But you knew that, Jamey.

 Q:  Michael from Houston asks:
Am I correct in assuming that you like Koz of Texas better that Doumatrait, and if so, why?

John Manuel: Michael, Koz is just a lot bigger and more advanced right now. Low Class A pitchers tend to get hurt and fizzle out a lot more than 6-6 lefties with plus fastballs who already have had success at Double-A and above. Their stuff seems pretty similar, based on the reports we see. Dumatrait's command isn't as good as Kozlowski's.

 Q:  Chris O'Connor from Cranston, RI asks:
Blalock hasn't shown much power in the minors. What are people projecting for him in the future? Also, what kind of pitching can you realistically expect to get for him if dealt. A #2 or 3 type or somebody who projects to be a #1 starter type? Thanks

John Manuel: Well, this is it for the chat. Thanks for coming. Blalock is 22 years old, and has not reached his power ceiling yet. In fact, he's got five or six years before he might really hit it. As is, he's still considered an above-average offensive prospect. I personally would not give up a No. 1 or No. 2 starter for a player with 147 ABs in the big leagues--not even for Mark Teixeira. Pitching is too precious a commodity to give up for unproven talent unless your financial bottom line demands it.

 Q:  Jamey Newberg from asks:
Jason Andrew's debut season was stunningly evil, despite the fact that he went undrafted. Was he just advanced for all four levels of pro competition he faced in '02, or is there actually something there that all 30 teams missed on draft day? Jamey

John Manuel: One last one from Jamey again. I think Andrew got hot and got confident, Jamey. He had 46 very good innings and has the pitchability Fuson craves, but I'm going to go with the other 29 teams on this one. I think Andrew has a chance to be a solid prospect but don't see him as more than, at best, a 4th or 5th big league starter. If you can get that out of a NDFA, more power to you. Thanks again, everyone.

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