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Chat: Jeff Moore

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday January 05, 2015 3:00 PM ET chat session with Jeff Moore.

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Jeff Moore writes the Minor League Update and has a particular scouting forces on the southeastern states. Ask him about the winter leagues, spring training story lines, breakout candidates, keeper leagues, and so on.

Jeff Moore: I'm ready to roll, so we're going to get this thing started early. We've already got about 90 questions lined up in the queue, so it looks like everyone is desperate for baseball as much as I am. Keep sending questions in. Let's get started!

Aaron (New Orleans): I know you are possibly the highest on him out of the BP Staff, but are people sleeping on Billy McKinney? The defense isn't anything to write home about, but how do you see his bat/approach playing in the high minors and ultimately the Show?

Jeff Moore: The defense isn't terrible. He's doesn't have the straight-line speed to handle CF for very long in the majors, but he was still playing it while he was with Oakland until he was bumped to RF with the Cubs in favor of Albert Almora. He's got more of a LF arm, but his range there should be above-average.

I'm definitely higher on McKinney than most and some scouts (including some of our own guys) question whether or not he has the bat speed to catch up to inside fastballs, but I don't have those concerns. I really like the swing and pure hit tool and while he probably won't hit for a ton of power, 15 home runs, strong on-base skills and above-average defense make for a pretty good LF.

Ben (Georgetown): SD Top 10 just came out before Christmas. Is it more of a stretch that Renfroe will reach his potential 5 hit tool, or his 7 power tool? Ozuna just hit .269/.317/.455 with 23 HR - is that realistic for Renfroe?

Jeff Moore: That's actually not a terrible comp, though I think Renfroe is a little more patient at the plate than Ozuna is or ever was. Renfroe will have some serious swing and miss issues if he doesn't calm down the weight transfer in his swing. His head moves a ton (forward) during his swing. It creates a ton of torque and power but it causes the ball to move (even more than it already is). Still, I'm a big fan of Renfroe and I think he will be slightly better than Ozuna, though in that same kind of category of moderate average/good power/big strikeout totals.

Ed (Chicago): Is it Tim Anderson's great athleticism that scouts are counting on to become a plus hitter? No evidence yet his plate discipline will get him there, right?

Jeff Moore: The built in excuse for Anderson is that he didn't focus on baseball until college, so he's still quite raw, but at some point we need to see improvements on that, right? His walk rate has gone down as he's moved up to each level. It's getting worse. That's not a good sign. His athleticism is phenomenal, and I get the scout drool. He's fun. But you're right, there has been no evidence that he's going to improve upon his plate discipline, and without an improvement there, he pretty much as to hit .300 to be a productive hitter. That could happen, but he's high risk. Still, he is young and even younger baseball-wise, so if there's a guy who could be making major adjustments like that despite already being through the Carolina League, I suppose it's him. Still scares the hell out of me though.

The Earl of Sandwich (Sandwich, Kent): What was your first sandwich of 2015? Mine was bacon egg and cheese on a bagel on New Years' Day.

Jeff Moore: I just got a griddle/panini maker as a bridal shower gift (well, my fiancÚ did) but have yet to bust it out. Trying to eat healthy. Gotta go Rocky IV for the next five months for my wedding photos/honeymoon.

ColeWhittier (Chico, CA): Hi Jeff, could you rank Michael A. Taylor (WASH), Kennys Vargas, Jon Singleton, Danny Santana and Arismendy Alcantara for future career? Are they all crap-shoots at this point?

Jeff Moore: Every one of those guys is a flawed player in some way, but I'll take Vargas. In this power-hungry era, I'll take the guy who has already shown an ability to hit for power at the big league level. Close second would be Arismendy, because I love the defense/athleticism/versatility and think he'll ultimately hit.

Callie Fornya (Ocean): What's it mean when a pitcher is called a "shortarmer"?

Jeff Moore: Short-armer or short arm action refers to the movement of the arm on the back end of a pitcher's mechanics, right after he breaks his hands out of the glove and takes the ball back. Keith Foulke was one of the best examples of a guy who had success with this type of arm action. Look at where his arm is here:

http://www.bestsportsphotos.com/images/PF/05FoulkeKeith01.jpg

Compare that to this picture of Dwight Gooden:

http://www.pitching.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Mets-phenon-Dwight-Gooden-no-long-toss-no-weight-training.jpg

Ben (New York, New York): Have you gotten a chance to see Adam Walker ('14 FSL) yet?

Jeff Moore: Saw a ton of Adam Brett Walker this year and he was one of my favorite players to watch. That's not an endorsement of him as a prospect. It's just because he gives exactly zero craps about trying to do anything other than hit a fastball as far as is humanly possible. He has great raw power, and I saw him square a few up and man were they fun to watch. I also saw him take the same aggressive swing and miss breaking balls by about 10 feet. Ultimately, I'm not sure the power ends up playing enough at higher levels because of the swing and miss and issues identifying breaking balls, but 25 home runs in the FSL is a major accomplishment. At the very least, he's fun to watch, and he has enough power that he could end up being a nice platoon bat.

Ben (Queens): I know you've seen improvement from Herrera over last season and a regular at 2B might be possible, but you also mentioned you thought he might be a better SS defensively than Flores. Why don't the Mets seem to think that as well? Is he the better option? If not, could he play some OF for NYM in 2015?

Jeff Moore: In theory this makes sense, especially if both are going to make the Opening Day roster. Herrera would be out of position at SS, but so is Flores and that's not stopping the Mets. If they are really holding on to Murphy at 2B, then Herrera would probably be a better defensive option at SS than Flores. That said, Herrera flew through their system last year and was probably rushed to the majors a bit at the end of the year. He could use some more time in the minors and should probably start the year in Triple-A. He made some significant improvements last year, but I don't think he's quite done, and at 20 years old, there's no rush. Let him finish cooking at Triple-A and bring him up later in the season. Just because he was in the majors last year doesn't mean he should have been.

Tim (Columbia): In the 2nd Tier of SS prospects, who do you see having a better chance at becoming an above average offensive player between JP Crawford, Amed Rosario, and Tim Anderson?

Jeff Moore: Crawford is the best offensive player of the bunch. Rosario is miles away from the big leagues and Anderson has some serious hurdles to overcome, as discussed above. Crawford is much more refined for his age and has fewer obstacles between him and the majors.

somervillesean (My Moms Basement): Good afternoon Jeff, love your Minor League Update, first email I open in the morning. I have a fantasy baseball keeper question. 13 team $269 salary mixed keeper league. I have been building my team for the last few years and have a young team(can keep my entire roster and still have $17 left over) I have Kipnis at $13 and was offered a $22 Harper straight up. I have Russell in the minors and profar on my bench. Along with boegarts, odor and alcantara all under $7. Any thoughts?

Jeff Moore: Thanks for reading the Update! I'm not much of a fantasy guy though and have never done an auction league so I don't know anything about dollar amounts. I like your collection of young players though. This sounds like a question for the Bat Signal, which, if you are a big fantasy player, is totally worth the money. Plus you get to bug Craig and Ben, which is always fun.

That's my one fantasy-related question for the chat. From here on out, all fantasy-related questions will be answered with Stuart Scott catch-phrases because they are as awesome as he was.

jumpngeorge (North Carolina): How do you think Aaron Sanchez will be used by the Blue Jays this season? does he have a chance to start?

Jeff Moore: I think he starts in their pen and could end up being their closer. The stuff is that good, though he'll have to prove he can throw strikes consistently. He did that well as a reliever in his stint last season, but there's nothing in his track record to suggest he'll be able to do that as a starter. If he can, good for him and the Blue Jays, because he'd be a heck of a starting pitcher, but he'd also be an outlier. Very few guys have walked players at his rate in the minors and then turned it around as starters once they've reached the big leagues.

Isaac (Akron): Do you see Brandon Nimmo showing more power this year, or does he level off around 15 hr per year. Nick Markakis comp, or is there a possibility for more?

Jeff Moore: I wouldn't expect a ton more, mainly because he doesn't look to drive the ball like that. He's going to run into his share because he's a big, strong kid and he's leaving the FSL behind (which just kills home runs), but I'd say he levels out around 15 home runs in the bigs. Markakis is actually a good comp, and I think I've used that one before. Markakis has consistently been looked at as a disappointment because he didn't develop the power everyone expected from a guy his size, and the same goes for Nimmo. Once the Orioles gave in and just started batting him leadoff, everyone realized what kind of hitter he was. The same will go for Nimmo. He's a leadoff hitter in a power hitter's body, but that's ok because I think he'll be a very good one.

topheroc (boston): What are your thoughts about Steven Souza? With the trade, he apparently has a clear path to playing time in Tampa next year. What are your expectations for him?

Jeff Moore: I think he's a flawed player with a late development curve who could be a quality major leaguer if used properly. If I was that type of player, Tampa is exactly where I'd want to be, at least under the old regime. Assuming Cash and Co. continue to use the same evaluative tools to get the most out of partial players, Souza should be in good hands.

Isaac (Ohio): What type of line can you see Chris owings producing this year if he stays healthy. 12 hr 15 sbs .270ish? I just have a bad feeling that he is closer to Josh Rutledge, please tell me im wrong

Jeff Moore: No player in the big leagues this season (min. 100 PA's) had a worse minor league K/BB rate than Chris Owings (5.86) or a lower walk rate (3.57%). Even if he hits .270, it will be with a .300 on-base percentage. If you're looking for fantasy purposes, then maybe this doesn't concern you, but I'm worried about whether he'll hit enough to stay in the lineup everyday. He's going to make an awful lot of outs.

Chris (Baltimore): A choice between Starlin, Samardzija, and Calhoun for the next 3 years. Who would you take? You must throw the other two back into the draft pool. Please rank.

Jeff Moore: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Chris (Baltimore): How many MLB at bats for Brandon Drury this year?

Jeff Moore: Good redeeming question Chris. You're as cool as the other side of the pillow.

Drury's PT this year will depend on a number of things, most of them positional. How well will he take to 2B? There have been limited looks at him there because he's only played there sparingly, but it does create versatility and more opportunities. Secondly, how much 3B does Tomas end up playing? That would create a much bigger obstacle for Drury than Jake Lamb currently is (though Lamb will be blocking him too).

In the end, he only has 29 games in Double-A under his belt, so there's no guarantee he even reaches the big leagues this year. He just turned 22, has more development to go, and lots of guys blocking him. He may not even see the majors this year, and that's ok.

Brent (Colorado): Friends and I usually make a spring training trip and are contemplating changing that up to an AFL trip instead. We'd like to catch more prospects but have to factor in just how awesome it is to feel 80-degree temps in March. Is the AFL quality of prospect good enough to warrant a lateral fall weather move?

Jeff Moore: If you're really looking to see prospects, you won't get a better chance than the AFL. It's great. There's a collection of everything. Guys who could make your team's roster next season facing 17-year-olds. It's nuts but it's awesome. And the weather in the desert in October is no slouch either. Plus, there are some night games, so you can take in two games in a day some days, which is harder to do in spring training. Strong recommend.

franklin126 (new york): Im looking at keeping gregory polanco and kris bryant and mookie betts in a 7 keeper dynasty league. Ive noticed experts are all over betts, and all over the place with Polanco. Whats polancos deal for this year?

Jeff Moore: M-M-M-M-M-Mookie! All reports coming out of Pittsburgh have said that Polanco will be the Pirates starting right fielder, and there have even been some rumors of them trying to trade Travis Snider. He struggled out of the gate, but lots do. I still believe strongly in Polanco, but there are certainly no guarantees. The Pirates are trying to compete but also cultivate youngsters at the same time. That's hard to do. They'll be patient with him because of the upside, but they can't afford to just stick him out there and let him flounder either. He'll get every chance to start this season though.

The Dude (Office): Ignoring control and command, who has the best raw stuff in the minors? I would guess Lucas Giolito, but after seeing Kyle Crick has 4 potential plus pitches, he has to be close to the top, no?

Jeff Moore: I guess if we just ignore command and control then yes, Crick is in Giolito's class, but that's like saying I'd basically be Mike Trout if only I had more talent. Sure, Crick's arm is lightening, but there's a huge gap between where he is right now and where he'll need to be in order to be a starter. His control is getting worse and he can't even stay in the game long enough to throw 100 innings in a season because of how many pitches he throws.

Mike (Nashville): Is Kyle Schwarber a first baseman in the majors, if he makes it?

Jeff Moore: No, he's either a catcher or a left fielder, and the Cubs are going to give him a chance to stick behind the plate. I was more encouraged by his receiving skills than some, but I didn't think he was a butcher back there. Here's the report I wrote this summer?

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=164

He's not great but there are probably worse defensive catchers in the majors right now. I think he'll be good enough to catch 2-3 days per week, which could be huge. Either way, he's not playing first base with the Cubs. Between Anthony Rizzo and Dan Vogelbach, they'll have to find a different spot for him if he can't catch.

HONDO (Cheyenne, WY): Who will be better - Domingo Santana or Rymer Liriano?

Jeff Moore: Santana has more upside in his bat but that brief stint was frightening, wasn't it? Considering there are major questions as to whether or not either will ever hit, I'd go with Liriano because at least the athleticism has a chance to stick and help out in some way.

Dave (NC): Does Peterson (SEA) have enough bat to profile every day at 1B (now that Seager is signed long term at 3B)?

Jeff Moore: It's certainly a hit on his value, but he probably has just enough, though he may fall just short of that in Safeco. That's a tough place for right handers to hit.

matt (texas): Hi Jeff, curious for your thoughts on Magneuris Sierra?

Jeff Moore: Very talented, very athletic. Still a lot to prove. Was too good for GCL competition, which tells us something about him but also leaves us with a lot of skewed information. Definitely a guy to watch but also still with a lot to prove before I get too excited.

Kris (South of Somewhere): For left-handed hitters, is the ability to hit lefties learned or natural? To what extent can you expect any left-handed bat to improve against fellow southpaws? Are there any clues that might give you an idea of who can make the adjustment? Thanks for the chat man, I'll hang up and listen now.

Jeff Moore: Some of both. The thing that's tough about hitting same-handed pitching is that the breaking ball starts from what appears to be behind your head. You have to fight the natural inclination not to duck out of the way. Or, it starts over the plate and you have to fight the inclination to swing at a pitch that is going to end up in the other batter's box. Part of that comes down to approach, which is learned and controllable by the hitter. Part of that comes to pitch recognition, much of which is neurological. How well does a hitter pick up spin? There are some drills a hitter can do to improve in that area, but it's difficult to make large strides. Largely you can either do it or you can't. It's not a death knell if a hitter can't, it just means he has to be good at other things. In general, a hitter can improve by just gaining more experience and comfort at staying in there and laying off bad pitches, but if they don't recognize the spin, that's hard to improve upon. The best way to get better is to get more educated about the pitcher you're facing and try to pick up trends and habits so you have a better idea of what is about to happen.

Paul (LA): Does what you hear from scouts back up the thought that Corey Seager will be a better hitter than his brother in MLB?

Jeff Moore: Scouts have been saying for a while that he could be better than his brother, but his brother just keeps exceeding expectations, so that's getting harder and harder to say through no fault of Corey's. I'll put it this way, Corey is more highly regarded right now than Kyle was at the same age/level etc. Take from that what you will.

Dave (Chicago): How do you see the A's rotation battle sorting out between Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez, Jesse Hahn, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, and Chris Bassitt?

Jeff Moore: I'll bet they all end up starting at some point. The A's have two guys penciled in right (Gray and Kazmir)? That leaves these six guys for four spots, but only eight total starters. Most teams use at least eight starters over the course of a year, if not more. I don't know who will get the first shot out of spring training, but it doesn't matter much. You'll be glad to have this kind of depth at some point in July or August.

Kyle (Minnesota): Do Buxton's injuries worry you at all? Is he starting to possibly get an injury prone tag?

Jeff Moore: Yes, though I couldnt care less about his tag. I worry because it was a wrist injury and those linger, and that's especially important for a guy who gets most of his power from his wrists. I dont think he's going to make a habit of getting trucked by his left fielder, so I'm not concerned too much about that happening again. My concerns are because eventually these things take their toll. Every injury you have to recover from knocks your athleticism down just a small notch.

Silverback38 (VA): Dynasty League with MiLB rosters, obviously....would you give up Lindor, Pederson and Taillon to get Carlos Correa?

Jeff Moore: The Lord said 'You've got to rise UP!'

Jake H (Kansas City): Any lower level Yankee prospects getting a lot of buzz?

Jeff Moore: Ask me this question again a year from now. They just signed half of the Caribbean this past summer. As that class starts to pan out, we're going to see some low-cost sleepers emerge in addition to the big price tag guys.

Shawn (Cubicle): Do you have any insight as to if BP is offering a 20% discount on MLB.tv again this year? Would be helpful if we could know before MLB.tv subscriptions auto-renew end of February.

Jeff Moore: I don't have any insight other than what's on our subscription page but as far as I know we are. Here's what it says there:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/subscriptions/

That's also where you can find the bat signal, which I thought I linked to earlier but apparently links don't work in the chats.

Chris (California ): Hello Jeffery, who'd you like in the AFL this Fall?

Jeff Moore: Aaron Judge was very impressive. He was even better than when I saw him during the year, and I liked him then. The AFL was my first look at Trevor Story and I was more impressed than I expected to be. That guy is going to be a big league second baseman.

And don't call me Jeffrey. That's it. You get one.

Ben (NY): Can you compare/contrast the offensive profiles of three 2B prospects: Herrera (NYM), Hanson (PIT), and Rosario (MIN)?

Jeff Moore: That's an interesting group. I'd rank them Herrera, Rosario, Hanson in terms of prospects, though there are many who would probably put Rosario above Herrera. I think Herrera's offensive game has more polish while Rosario is getting by more on just quick-twitch muscles at this point. And I don't like his swing, though it works for him. Rosario has a little more pop, though he also might end up being an OF.

cflanders (DC): Hi Jeff, What are your thoughts on AJ Pollock as a sleeper this year? He seemed to have a mini-breakout last year around some injuries and looks like a potential 10hr 20sb guy who could get close to hitting .300.

Jeff Moore: Always liked him (though I liked Adam Eaton better and think the Diamondbacks kept the wrong one). He was always fringy between 3rd/4th OF for me, though with enough power around him in the lineup, they can get away with just sticking him in CF and letting him go get it.

Jake Lamb (Arizona): How much 3B does Tomas play? Do I have a chance at being the starting 3B for the D-Backs?

Jeff Moore: I haven't seen any more Tomas than anyone else, which is none, essentially. I don't think the D-backs even know if he'll be able to stick at 3B, but they'd be foolish not to find out this spring. Any time you can move a bat up the defensive spectrum, you have to try. They have options there with Lamb, so there's no need to force it, but if he's at all competent there (and with his bat), you're blocked.

Crawdads (Reno, NV): Does Dalton Pompey secure and keep the CF job in Toronto this year? I guess a "yes" means he swipes 30 bags and hits for decent average, right? Separately, does Anthony Gose find any success in Detroit?

Jeff Moore: He ought to. With Gose and Rasmus gone, there's not much to block him. That's not to say he wouldn't have been the best option anyway, but that would have given them justification for sending him back to the minors. He flew through their system this year, but he earned it every step of the way. He looked great in the AFL too. I think he's going to be quite good, and the Blue Jays are clearly in win-now mode and he's going to be their best option. 30 steals is probably a bit aggressive, but 20 is doable.

The Dude (Office): What are your interesting thoughts on plate discipline?

Jeff Moore: You were that kid who asked for homework in school, weren't you? Let me put it this way, I just submitted a 3,600 word article to editing on that exact subject matter.

Shawn (Cubicle): Do you think 1B prospects get overlooked? I get that it's just not a premium glove position and the pressure is on the bat, but with power scarce these days you'd think there would be someone in the minors worth talking about. Or is it really just a lack of impact bats at 1B?

Jeff Moore: It's some of both. There's been a recent transition in the game valuing defense and base running value (much of which has to do with the popularity of WAR). First basemen typically offer little of this, so the pressure is really on their bat. When we're talking about prospects, we tend to shy away from guys who are already stuck at first base. Many of the guys we talk about may end up as first basemen, but at least for the time being they can play elsewhere. Miguel Sano is a good example. Additionally, the current crop of guys who are 1B-only guys in the minors right now simply aren't that good.

Kevin (Cincinnati ): Thoughts on Michael Lorenzen heading into next year? Are we doing a disservice by paying attention to his K/9 rather than his raw stuff?

Jeff Moore: I did not get to Pensacola this year unfortunately (it's a 9 hour trip, so it takes some advanced planning), but I do want to touch on this topic, because it's a good one. We can definitely get hung up on minor league stats. You wouldn't know Lorenzen throws 96 by looking at his K/9 rate. That said, I think K/9 is a good stat to look at, as long as its part of a bigger picture. It's a bit of a catch 22. We know Lorenzen has better stuff than that so we're not as worried about a low K rate as we would be with a guy who throws 89 mph. That said, he's already in Double-A, it would be nice to see him miss some bats, right? Not everyone who throws hard misses bats. It's not a given just because there's velocity. Just because she throws hard doesn't mean he's going to miss bats in the majors.

There are also other factors to consider. Did the Reds have him working on something in particular? Gerrit Cole is a good example of this. His minor league strike out totals did not match his stuff, which was as good as anybody's in the minors. Why not? Well for one, the Pirates had him working on his two-seam fastball and getting ground balls. He's still using that pitch a ton in the majors and having success. Could he strike out 9-10 batters a game, probably. But would he be better off?

There are a lot of variables, and they all tell part of the story. That's why you can't just look at the numbers, but you should take them into consideration.

Albert (Ridgewood): How much are you concerned about Javier Baez? The group of players who had a 40+% K% like he had aren't exactly the most successful players in the history of the game. Do you think he's capable of eventually getting that sub 27%?

Jeff Moore: My concern is the size of Baez's swing.

Basil (Tejas): Is Carlos Correa still the top prospect with 5-skill talents? He seems to drop in some people's eyes.

Jeff Moore: I'm not worried about Correa one bit. The injury could slow him up just enough to push him to 3B, but if he ends up there, he could be a gold glover. He's a fantastic prospect and no one should be allowed to say bad things about him.

Ron (Texarkana): Willy Adames is ranked the #1 prospect in the Rays system- Is that due to a weaker farm, or is his talent legit?

Jeff Moore: Both.

Wilson (Northeast): Happy New Year Jeff, There are some Northeast (MA, NY, etc) kids who excelled at MLB Team workouts since August and are invited to more this spring. Seems confusing that rating services give Southern and California players more attention and higher ratings because they see them more often. What are your thoughts?

Jeff Moore: I don't know that it's just because they see them more often. There are scouts in the north east seeing absolutely as much of their kids as they can. Kids in the north east are just playing a lot less baseball. I was one of those kids. I live in south Florida now and i see kids hitting on fields year round. When I was in junior high, my dad was throwing me whiffle golf balls in his living room in order to get batting practice. Who do you think got better in the off-season?

allangustafson (Sun Diego): Will Tulo be ready for spring training?

Jeff Moore: I don't know. The Rockies aren't running things by me just yet. I'm not too concerned about that, though. My bigger concern is whether or not he'll make it through the year. He's been ready for spring training before, it just hasn't helped.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you think recent political developments will make it easier for Cuban players to reach the majors?

Jeff Moore: I won't even pretend to know anything about the current political situation with the US and Cuba, but from everything I've read and heard, it certainly can't make it MORE difficult right? How could it be any harder? Any communication between the two sides has to be progress, I would certainly think.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you think recent political developments will make it easier for Cuban players to reach the majors?

Jeff Moore: I won't even pretend to know anything about the current political situation with the US and Cuba, but from everything I've read and heard, it certainly can't make it MORE difficult right? How could it be any harder? Any communication between the two sides has to be progress, I would certainly think.

DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): Happy New Year Jeff, How far apart are Klueber and Madison Bum. in terms of fantasy value for a typical 5x5 league? Thanks

Jeff Moore: That must be jam cuz jelly doesn't shake like that.

Dragonbreath (Gurnee, IL.): thoughts on josh Bell, does he transition well to 1st, and jump to the bigs in 2015, regardless bat plays, yes? Do you envision Corey Seager taking the 3 bag for the Dodger big club sometime in 2015? Since they have Rollins, or do they keep him down for awhile longer? Thanks as always for doing the chats, and imparting your knowledge and wisdom, great job,very much appreciated!

Jeff Moore: Lets take a deep breath on Bell. A regular breath, not a dragon breath. Bell still has a ways to go, even with the bat. He's had success, but he has just a half-season of Double-A under his belt and still has a large gap between his left and right handed swings (hes better left-handed). He's also terrible at first base right now. He's like a giraffe on ice skates. Doesn't mean he can't get there, but it won't be by this summer.

That would be quick for Seager too, though he's got a better chance to pull it off than Bell. Were talking about another guy with limited Double-A experience. I guess it would depend on how desperate the Dodgers are, and Juan Uribe is doing just fine over at the hot corner. Unless something changes, I don't think we see Seager in 2015.

tlw08 (The North): What are your thoughts on the J2 class if 2014? Do any of the bats have realistic ceilings of stardom or are the ARod-comps just overblown?

Jeff Moore: No one should be getting A-Rod comps, for good or bad reasons. Even without PED's, A-Rod was a once-in-a-generation talent. That's not fair to anyone.

JJ (MPLS): Hey Jeff - What kind of hope should Twins fans have with Aaron Hicks? Did the Twins ruin him by rushing him to the bigs?

Jeff Moore: It's a possibility, though there's no way to know for sure. They could have taken their time with him and he still could never have hit in the big leagues. We don't know. Look at Jackie Bradley. You just never know. That said, rushing him the way they did certainly didn't help. I hate when teams do it, even if they have a need. It's even worse when it's on a bad team.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Which of these K machines do you have high hopes for or do you see them all flaming out? Domingo Santana, Jake Lamb, Randal Grichuk, Steven Moya, Yorman Rodriguez. Will any of these guys have long careers as starters? Which has the highest upside and who will flame out?

Jeff Moore: I can't say that I have high hopes for any of them because of the aforementioned strike out issues, but Lamb's are perhaps the most under control and he should be able to pop enough mistakes out of the park for third base. At least with a guy like Santana, he draws some walks to go with the strike outs. Can't say the same about Moya. Not sure that any of them end up being regulars for any extended period of time.

mbeemsterboer (Chicago): Boston already traded away Middlebrooks and the infield is still over crowded. What are the chances that Cecchini breaks through there? How much has his stock fallen in the past year?

Jeff Moore: I don't think the odds are good he breaks through anywhere, though that's through no fault of his own. He's primarily a third baseman who dabbled in some left field. Then the Red Sox went out and got a third baseman and a left fielder. He's trade bait now, but I'd still bet on him being a solid player for someone.

The Dude (Office): Where do you fall in the ongoing "What Should Cole Hamels Return Be" debate?

Jeff Moore: There's no rush, especially with this winter's starting pitching market being as strong as it is/was. I think the best market for Hamels will be this July.

As for the return, it's pretty simple. It has to include one of the centerpieces of the next good Phillies team. Not necessarily their best player, but someone who is one of their main contributors the next time their good. It will need a couple of additional pieces as well, but they have to get one main piece of their future in return. It can't be a quantity over quality kind of deal. They need one good, young player. The rest of the details will fall into place from there.

cflanders (DC): Thanks for the answer Jeff. Quick follow up: From your answer do you think his HR pace from last year (7 in roughly half a season) was a fluke or do you think he could hit 12-15 in AZ this year? Thanks.

Jeff Moore: Yeah, 10-12 is probably realistic, maybe 15 because he gets to hit in the desert. (re:Pollock)

Jeff Moore: 53 questions in an hour and a half...that's a solid pace. This was an excellent batch of questions from everyone this time around. Really good job. I appreciate all the input and participation from our readers. You guys are the best! Until next time...Boo-yah!


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