Prospects Chat With Chris Kline

Moderator: Chris Kline will talk prospects, potential deadline deals and international signings at 3 p.m. ET. today.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
Hey Chris. Which farm systems do you think are on the rise and which ones are on the downswing? As of now who has the top and worst system? What do Inman & Co. do for the Pads? Thanks.

Chris Kline: Hello, and welcome. At this point, the music of Destroyer's 3000 Flowers, the new White Stripes record, all kinds of Latin music and old-school Wu Tang is filling the air in my house, so let's get after it.

Chris Kline: On the rise: San Diego (I'm not totally sold on Inman, but that's a cool move), Seattle (based on the performance of their top guys for the most part) Cincinnati (ditto), the Yankees (regardless of who they lost via injury), and the Giants. Dropping fast: Boston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, the Mets, Florida, Detroit, and Houston . . .

 Q:  Jim from San Deigo CA asks:
Hey Thanks For This Chat. My Question Is When Do You Think Nationals Top Prospect Collin Balester Will Get Called Up? I Mean They Are Out Of The Race They Have Already Brought Up John Lannan And He Did Pretty Well His First Start And I Think Balester Has Better Stuff. So Just Wondering What You Thought . Thanks

Chris Kline: Any minute now . . . really, probably at some point in August. Hopefully he won't get ejected in his debut.

 Q:  kkaminska from naperville,IL asks:
After watching the decline of the White Sox bullpen, who do you see as some potential bullpen prospects for next year - either within or outside their organization?

Chris Kline: Well, I still like Dewon Day regardless of anything, but a guy like Jack Egbert could fill a middle role and Gio Gonzalez might wind up being a reliever if he can't command the changeup. I'm all about the Good Guys for the sake of them being the Good Guys, but they don't have a lot of pieces and one American League front office person referred to Sox GM Ken Williams as schizophrenic, which obviously isn't a good sign.

 Q:  Jarrad from Rhode Island asks:
Thanks for answering our questions. What do you think are the reasons for micheal bowden struggeling after dominating in lancaster but justin masterson had a mid 4 era in lancaster and he is flat out dominating in portland. do you think bowden can still turn it around and regain his status as a top prospect.

Chris Kline: I think so, Jarrad, but it goes back to the mentality they both had in the Cal League and the atmosphere they had to pitch in. Masterson really learned that keeping the ball down is a majjor asset when you're trying to pitch at the upper levels. Not that Bowden didn't do that, but he's had trouble keeping his fastball down in Double-A and his secondary pitches haven't been very good. It takes some time with certain guys and I wouldn't be too concerned at this point, but Masterson is really shoving it since he made it up to the Eastern League. You're right. That guy should finally lead Hot Sheet next week.

 Q:  john from port jeff ny asks:
What type of ceiling does Joba Chamberlain have and who would you compare him to at the major league level?

Chris Kline: I think he could be a legit No. 1 or No. 2; he's Jaret Wright with a better slider and the same kind of potential to burn out just as fast. One National League scout told me it was just a matter of time until either his shoulder or elbow blew out because of his workload in college and he wasn't sold on his delivery, so take that as you will. For me, Chamberlain has great overall stuff with the polish and moxie to get guys out. I know the International League isn't what it's been in years past, but he was impressive in his debut there. Still think he needs more polishing, but he could amp up that rotation with his presence and his desire to win as much as his stuff.

 Q:  Mike from Queens asks:
Why does the the media(NY) hate Lastings Milledge so much?

Chris Kline: Because they view him as a thug with no track record of success in the big leagues. But he's in the process of building one, which is cool for Mets fans everywhere. Still think it's too early to give up on those tools, but the Mets might move him if they can land a piece to their bullpen.

 Q:  Sean S from Spencerport asks:
Before the season started Jeff Samardzija was considered one of the Cubs top pitching prospects, and possibly the one with the highest upside. Looking at this numbers so far at Daytona he has to be considered a major disappointment. As of now is there anything positive to be taken from Samardzija's performance so far this season (such as development of his offspeed pitches)?

Chris Kline: His offspeed stuff has gotten better after a stint in the bullpen, but it's a disappointment if you thought he was going to move quickly. I don't really think anyone in the Cubs front office thought that, and they're going to be patient with him. I actually like what he's done this month (2-1, 3.97) compared to the rest of his first full season train wreck.

 Q:  John from NYC asks:
Better long term prospect: Homer Bailey or Andrew Miller? why?

Chris Kline: See, if you said Adam Miller, it'd be a much tougher question. I go Miller anyway. I just think he's Randy Johnson waiting to happen.

 Q:  Rick from College Park, Md asks:
Henry Sosa or Fautino de los Santos?

Chris Kline: My vote for best question of the day so far . . . I'll go Sosa. Not really sold on De Los Santos as a starter; they might both wind up being relievers in the long run. But I just like Sosa's come-and-get-you attitude a little bit more. It's definitely close though.

 Q:  Steve from San Diego asks:
Who are your top five prospects who have not yet reached AA?

Chris Kline: See, that's tough, San Diego, since this is me hanging out and chatting off the top of my head while 'Clap Your Hands Say Yeah' blares through my kitchen . . . but here are some names: Brett Anderson, lhp, Diamondbacks; Cameron Maybin, of, Tigers (that was easy!); Bill Rowell, 3b. Orioles; Chris Marrero, of, Nationals; Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers; Jacob McGee, lhp, Devil Rays; Travis Snider, of, Blue Jays. I'd somehow fashion the top five out of those names.

 Q:  Ross from Boston asks:
Could Roy Oswalt be involved in some sort of trade in a fairly bad minor league system? Maybe to the Indians with Chuck Lofgren involved? To the Yankees with Chamberlain and Tabata? To the Red Sox for Buchholz and Ellsbury?

Chris Kline: I don't think Ellsbury or Buchholz are even touchable at this point. I heard the Sox offered John Lester and another piece (likely OF Brandon Moss or David Murphy) for something in return, but the organization in question really wanted Buchholz and they turned it down. I don't see Oswalt moving this weekend, but I have heard Lofgren's name and Chamberlain's name mentioned in deals over the past few weeks.

 Q:  Jake from Bartlett, IL asks:
Hi Chris! Thanks for the chat! Any chance we'll see Upton andor Bruce in the majors in September or before?

Chris Kline: Consider the source. Homer Bailey was only supposed to go back to Triple-A "for a short time," and Jay Burce was supposed to be in Triple-A "for a short time," after just two weeks in Double-A, so you're guess is as good as mine. I do think Upton and Bruce will be up there when rosters expand.

 Q:  K'Sallday from jax asks:
Do you think matt bush has a real chance at making it the the big leagues as a pitcher?I know he only 5'10 and has a small frame but he still has mid 90's fastball and a good slider.

Chris Kline: If he's healthy, I really do. His celiing now is as a reliever with a mid-90s fastball and a good breaking ball. Easiest way for San Diego to cash in on that investment and save face is to move him quickly out of the pen.

 Q:  Overton Tremper from Brooklyn, NY asks:
Which Dodger youngsters are most likely to get sent packing for pitching help: Martin, Kemp, Loney, Billingsley, Broxton, Betemit, Ethier, Abreu, LaRoche, Hu, or Meloan?

Moderator: I've heard Loney's name, but that was when the Dodgers were linked with Texas.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
Can the Royals expect to get a good return in prospects for Octavio Dotel or Mark Grudzielanek?

Chris Kline: The buzz right now is they'll get more back for Dotel, but I wouldn't expect a major piece.

 Q:  Jonathan from Charleston, SC asks:
Hey Chris, evidently the Braves offered Satly, Andrus, and Harrison for Teixera alone. That seems like a alot to me to not get bull pen help back. Is it possible the Rangers would take care of Teixera's contract this year and some of next? Also, I know Andrus is a long way off and is really a wild card but Harrison is pretty polished right?

Chris Kline: I touched on this some earlier, but the Rangers will need to throw in another piece—probably out of their MLB pen—to get this done. And let's all pray that Andrus doesn't become the second-coming of Joaquin Arias . . . agreed? Hail Mary, full of grace . . .

 Q:  Shad from Cumberland, MD asks:
What are your thoughts on the recent success and speculation of a call up for Aaron Laffey of Buffalo? How soon do you think we'll see him in an Indians uniform? Thanks.

Chris Kline: I like Laffey a lot; but no way he fits into the rotation right now. If he gets called up, he's a middle guy who can roll up as many ground balls as you want. And that's OK.

 Q:  Evan from Hell (or Cincinnati) asks:
Hey Chris, Thanks for the chat. I was wondering about a couple of pitchers I watched in the Futures Game and your asessment. Fautino de los Santos was pretty impressive in terms of his build and delivery and seemed to have good command of his fastball. His breaking ball was effective but seemed slurvy and I'm wondering if he has any sort of a change-up? Relatedly, in terms of changes, one of the best I saw was Chuck Lofgren's. He hasn't been exactly tearing it up after a strong start (a la Adenhart) but the change looked like a potential plus pitch. Just a good day or is it always so sharp?

Chris Kline: On De Los Santos: Fastball command is an issue. In that appearance he was supposed to go fastball away to Justin Upton and he hit his spot over the inner half. His breaking ball has outstanding life and there is a workable changeup. You have to remember in terms of arms, these guys are juiced to show the best of what they have. Lofgren's inning—which was also his regular bullpen day during the regular season—was impressive. He didn't want to air it out or show too many of his offspeed pitches, but for him it was different. It was kind of Henry Sosa-esque in that he felt like he needed to impress the entire Bay Area. And yes, he did that with fastballs and changeups. He's been hit around some in Double-A, but that goes back to how he has to change gears with runners on base. He's been much better out of the windup than the stretch, which is a sign that he's still 21. And that's cool. He'll figure it out with the way he commands his pitches.

 Q:  Jim from Chicago asks:
Phil Hughes or Clay Buchholz?

Chris Kline: Hughes. (And that's while wearing a Dice-K tee shirt).

 Q:  Jim from Iowa asks:
Why isnĀ“t Jose Tabata hitting for any power?

Chris Kline: We've addressed this before, but here we go again: The Yankees claim Tabata's had nothing more than a biceps injury, but sources close to the club say he has a cyst on his right wrist near the hamate that, in order for it to be removed, would require the hamate to be removed. If you look at his numbers, it screams lack of power, which leads you to believe that there is indeed beef to the hamate thing. I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but for me, I believe there is more than a biceps injury that's kept him out periodically this season. But if he falls off a lot os stats-based lists heading into next season, don't be surprised. If he falls off out top 100, it will have less to do with his stats than the health questions—he was seen by five different hand specialists last year. That much is factual.

 Q:  Daniel from Maryland asks:
Homer Bailey or Joba Chamberlain?

Chris Kline: I go Chamberlain, who isn't eligible to be traded yet. He signed late and didn't play until he was shipped off to Hawaii last year. He's a Yankee who could see time in the rotation in the big leagues in August.

 Q:  TJ from Miami asks:
If the Marlins were to trade Dontrelle Willis, who do you think could give them the best deal?? Seattle?? Jeff Clement,Wladimer Balentin,and Kevin Freiderband for Dontrelle and Joe Borchurd would look like a nice deal for both teams

Chris Kline: If that happens, I would want Balentien and Clement in a heartbeat. Pull that trigger!

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:
Don't you think it's time for the Oakland A's to part w the oft injured and underachieving Bobby Crosby? They should get what they can for him and bring up Cliff Pennington. I know that would be a rapid accent for him since he started the year in Hi-A ball, but he is showing a good OBP, BBK ratio, and starting to display a little pop in AA.

Chris Kline: Not sold on Pennington, but the A's are definitely sellers on the market this weekend.

 Q:  carlos p. from boston, ma asks:
With the emergence of Brendan Harris at SS in Tampa Bay. Do you think Reid Brignac is now expendable ?

Chris Kline: Are you kidding? Brignac isn't expendable in any organization.

 Q:  Josh from Warrenton asks:
How do you think the Lofton deal will impact Max Ramirez? Do you think his timetable will be accelerated? Teagarden is already at Bakersfield ,will Max head there also?

Chris Kline: I'm a big fan of Max. Total package as a hitter with emerging power. Aside from that, the defense has gotten better. I know Teagarden is catching again, but there are so many questions about how the arm strength will hold up. Ramirez isn't the greatest catcher in the world either, but you have to find a place for him. It'll be interesting to see where Texas puts him, but I think Bakersfield is too big for the both of them.

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:
Jed Lowrie has been awesome in AA for the Red Sox. He's a doubles machine, has an excellent BBK ratio and judging by his error total playing pretty good D. Do you think the Astros, White Sox or another team that needs a SS might trade for him or is he viewed by most orgs as a utility player?

Chris Kline: Maybe. I know a lot of scouts who've told me Lowrie can play short with no problem, but he's probably destined for 2B when you listen to other ones. Still, he was banged up much of last year in his first full season. I know Dustin Pedroia's buzz was more about his bat and being a solid utility player. For me, Lowrie's still a shortstop and the bat has really come alive this year thanks to being healthy. I wouldn't bet against him @ SS. And I wouldn't deal him, either, but this Sox team is built to win right now. And that's why their interest in Saltalamacchia dropped when the name 'Buchholz' was dropped by Atlanta.

 Q:  Randy from Chattanooga asks:
I was wondering what ever happened to Milton Loo, 8th rated prospect of the Reds? He is not on any farm team roster.

Chris Kline: Still dealing with some personal issues. He might be back in the fold by instructional league if everything works out.

 Q:  Neven from Stroudsburg, PA asks:
Hi Chris, Which 2nd baseman would you start a team with & a quick blurb why? M Antonelli, E Patterson, E Bonifacio, A Cardenas, N Noonan, J Weeks, C Coghlan or E Young Jr. Thanks, Neven

Chris Kline: See, that's a rough one, Stroudsburg. I'm a Bonifacio fan, but he might be more of a utility guy. If Cardenas has a future in Philly, it's as a left fielder. Antonelli's got a great bat and has really proved himself this season. I'm not on Coughlan or E.Y. Jr as much, and I love Noonan. But if I was going to start a team anytime soon, I probably wouldn't start with 2B.

 Q:  John from Marietta, GA asks:
If you were the Braves who would you trade for Mark Teixeira?

Chris Kline: Andruw Jones. And then I'd call up Jordan Schafer ahead of Gregor Blanco. And I'm only kind of kidding. Schafer is a guy to keep an eye on for real.

 Q:  NATE from Motownsports asks:
Rumors from Colorado claim the Tigers are intersted in Ian Stewart andor Joe Koshanty. What's your opinion on their success at the major league level?

Chris Kline: I like both of them; but uncertain of how much power each will hit for in the big leagues. Koshansky has bigger power potential, but I really doubt either one will end up in Detroit to be honest.

 Q:  anthony from bronx new york asks:
chris big fan of yours since i became a subscriber to BA my question is if your cashman would you bring chamberlin up to the show this year in any capicity also why doesnt ian kennedy get the respect that a guy that has dominated the pac 10 for 2yrs had 1yr of decent outings and has dominated all levels of minor leauge ball so far what gives? Also if the yanks dont have the best young pitching depth in baseball who does? thank you chris.

Chris Kline: Big fan from the Bronx? Really? I thought all Yankee fans thought we had a NYY bias (and it's the same in Queens) . . . I think Joba will see time in the big leagues at some point next month. Hard to argue with the depth of pitching the Yankees have shown this year, really. But on the other hand (actually the same hand) they're all righthanded.

 Q:  John from Oh asks:
Hi Chris, Strange year for John Whittleman. The first two months he was terrific. Now he's bottoming out. What's the deal?

Chris Kline: Not on the plate discipline. He's young, but he's repeating low A too. Kind of scary.

 Q:  Jake from Richmond, VA asks:
Do you see the A's moving any of their arbitration-eligible players, such as Joe Blanton and Dan Johnson, to get some decent prospects to help restock for 2008?

Chris Kline: Yes and yes. I think they'd give Johnson away at this point actually.

 Q:  John from Ohio asks:
What's the latest on the Yanks Montero? Is he for real or is he actually older and on the juice?

Chris Kline: I think he's going to be OK. I know he's older, but he's adjusting to the American game quickly and he could be in the mix soon up there. I'm a half-hearted believer at this point.

 Q:  Matt Birnbach from Boca Raton, FL asks:
What's your take on Scott Cousins?

Chris Kline: Still love him.

 Q:  Sean from NJ asks:
You say the Mets system is falling fast. Is the news all bad on the Pelfrey,Humber,Martinez,Carp,Mulvey front? Is Guerra technically disappointing? Thanks for taking the questionhaving the chat.

Chris Kline: No, not Guerra. But when you target relievers in the draft it's a little disconcerting. Pelfrey and Humber have been relatively disappointing, Martinez is hurt and didn't put up positive numbers in Double-A, I think Carp kind of is what he is and Mulvey's just OK.

 Q:  Joel from Washington, DC asks:
Chris, since being promoted to Altoona, Jason Delaney has been tremendous, even better than Steve Pearce. He's up to 100 at bats and is hitting .344.462.615 with more walks than strikeouts. I know he's 24, but at AA he's no longer outrageously old. What do you think of his chances?

Chris Kline: I like Delaney and he's come up quite a bit in our Best Tools survey, which is the next issue, by the way. He could be a utility guy. Let's face it, the Pirates have graduated more than their fair share of big leaguers from the system, but what kind of value do they ultimately have?

Moderator: Let's get back to Montero for a second . . . not that he's older, I just think he needs to continue to grow into the way the pro game works. Much like Juan Miranda, which honestly was on my mind while 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was drilling through my skull at high volume.

 Q:  Joe from Cincinnati asks:
Who do you see as the next player in the mold of Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez?

Chris Kline: Elvis Andrus or, more likely Hector Gomez.

 Q:  Steve from ATL asks:
Why is Boston dropping?

Chris Kline: They have a lot of above-average to plus guys, but there's an awful lot of filler there, still. If they graduate Ellsbury this year, what'll the top 10 look like for 2008? How good is Justin Masterson? Just seems like for every legitimate piece there's a Jason Place.

 Q:  Jake from Richmond, VA asks:
When does Daric Barton get a shot in Oakland?

Chris Kline: As soon as Dan Johnson waves bye-bye.

 Q:  Jim from FL asks:
Any chance the Braves move Brandon Jones, or is he the long-term left field solution in Atlanta?

Chris Kline: Long term johnson.

 Q:  Mike from San Diego asks:
The new White Stripes album, huh? I'm not sold yet, but am giving it time to grow on me. Your thoughts on Matt Antonelli's ceiling after his breakout year?

Chris Kline: Best 2B guy out there.

 Q:  Jean Paul from Midwest asks:
Is McCutchen this year's version of Salty? Meaning, he's still the top prospect who's simply having a bad year, or has his stock fallen?

Chris Kline: I would agree with that comp, Jean Paul. I think he's had a hard time making adjustments . . . it's a little different in McCutchen's case and you worry bc he doesn't have the extra burden of playing behind the plate. But that said, I think McCutchen is more than just the tools don't equal the performance in the long run. I think he's going to be fine.

 Q:  Peter from Missouri asks:
Which pitcher would you rather have in your farm system: Kyle McCulloch or Adam Ottavino?

Chris Kline: Ottavino, no question.

 Q:  Joel from Washington, DC asks:
Chris, with now providing daily box scores and updated statistics for the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues, has Baseball America considered the possibility of covering those leagues? Without any scouting reports or analysis, I find it hard to know what performances are meaningful.

Chris Kline: We've tried to focus in on those leagues more this year and hopefully—hopefully—we'll have some sort of top 20 prospects from the VSL and DSL this year, which is something we've never done. I've already started working on it, so I hope we can shed more light than usual during prospect season this fall.

Chris Kline: Thanks for all the great questions. You guys rule. Hope it won't be this long again until I'm back chatting with y'all. Have a great weekend, CK.