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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 02, 2006 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Kevin Goldstein is the newest author of Baseball Prospectus. Please help us simultaneously welcome and haze him.

Kevin Goldstein: Hello BP readers. Very excited to be here at BP and very excited to be here for my first of what will be many chats. Let's get rolling.

bravoatoc (Oklahoma City): What is your view on the famous BP prospect rule of TINSTAAPP?

Kevin Goldstein: Man, I just looked over the question list, and this is going to be quite something. Lots of stats/scouts questoins. I do believe there is such thing as a pitching prospect, and I do think there is a way to identify them. I know my BP brethren believe that as well. The way-too-long acronym is just an easy way of saying that pitchers are far more dangerous to count on, as much more can go wrong. This is a subject I'll be doing a good amount of research on, including what I hope will be an interesting read on high school pitching come draft time.

Bob R. (Clearwater): Welcome to BP. What is your view of the quality of pitching prospects, particularly starters, in the Devil Rays system? Given the failure rate of pitchers, do you see enough depth so that we can expect at least 2 or 3 bona fide major league starters in the next 2 years?

Kevin Goldstein: If you can look at any system in baseball and guarantee 2-3 bona fide MLB starters, that's on heck of a system. That said, The Devil Rays to have some interesting arms. A healthy Jeff Niemann would be a nice start, as he's one of the rare prospects who truly does have No. 1 potential. Jason Hammel could help this year, and I think be a solid back-of-the-rotation guy. After that, you might have to wait a while to see if guys like Matt Walker, Chris Mason or Wade Davis blossom into something.

Joe (Cleveland): Hi Kevin, welcome to the site! As a Tribe fan I loved the Andy Marte deal. Where do you see him in 2-3 seasons? If everything were to come to fruition with him, what is his peak?

Kevin Goldstein: As a tribe fan, you should love that deal. A see Marte as a very very good third baseman, but not a perennial all-star. .270-.280, 20-30 HR, 60-80 walks. So easily in the upper echelon at the position, but not elite.

DerekJetersAura (Houston): Congratulations on the new job. I have a question about the upcomming draft, Drew Stubbs is an amazing talent, but he has struck out over 25% of the time in his college career. Don't you think this his pretty high for a top 5 pick? He looks like Mike Cameron at best to me.

Kevin Goldstein: You are definitely on to something there. In talking to some scouts that have seen him this year and last, his ability to put bat on ball is the one big concern in his game. He will go very early in the draft, but that team will be betting a little bit on his remarkable athleticism allowing him to improve offensively, while banking on the fact that he can play a plus center field in the big leagues right now.

massie (trenton, nj): Kevin, Odd question, my apologies. Joe Carter legged out a bunt base hit to win a 1989 Memorial Day weekend ballgame at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, which happened to be the first game I was ever sold beer at. The next night the fellas and I caught "Major League" for the first time, which ended in almost exactly the same manner. Surreal, but it is taking on a bit of an urban legend feel as we age. Some of us now even argue which inning Carter bunted for a base hit, etc. Is is possible, with BP's resources, to confirm the date this occurred? Thanks a ton!

Kevin Goldstein: Here's how cool working at BP is. Some other BPers took a look at the question list and not one, but TWO people emailed the answer to this.

Keith Woolner and Jonah Keri both found the game at retrosheet, and it was on May 28th, 1989.

TheDumbSmartGuy (Cambridge, MA): Coming over from BA elicits a very important question: Where do you stand in the scouts vs. stats debate as far as prospect analysis is concerned? I'm not looking for a cupcake answer that says both are important - I'd rather know how important you think each are (e.g. 70% stats, 30% scouts)

Kevin Goldstein: This is no cupcake answer here, but I can't just give you a pie chart either. Both are important, but the scale changes from level to level. At the major leagues, peroformance is pretty much all that matters, while at the amatuer level, scouting is pretty much all the matters. In addition there's a player-by-player scale as well -- I can't just say it's 68-32 (or whatever) at Double-A, because some players there are finished projects, some players there are doing great things statistically, but their style of play doesn't project well at higher levels, and some players are not doing well statistically, but offer plenty of projection. It's a subject rich for articles, and one I'll be touching on often.

walter (poway, ca): if you were putting together a team, who would you rather have: stephen drew or kahlil greene?

Kevin Goldstein: Stephen Drew by a pretty wide margin. Greene is a fine player and it's not an insult to him, but Drew could be that rare middle infielder who hits in the middle of a lineup.

JRMayne (Modesto): Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick: How good, how soon?

Kevin Goldstein: Very Good, very soon. Wood could force his way in the the 3B job by mid-season, and Kendrick at some point should make his major league debut. I think both will be entrenched in the lineup by 2007, and both will be stars. Kendrick has the ability to put up a Tony Gwynn like streak of batting titles.

John (SF): Hey Kevin, can you give me a high/low major league comp for Daric Barton?

Kevin Goldstein: Low - John Olerud. High - Will Clark.

brianjamesoak (Alameda, CA): What kind of a hit on defense do the 2006 White Sox take? How do you expect the division to pan out?

Kevin Goldstein: The big hit defensively is going to be in centerfield. Rowand was fantastic, and Anderson is fringy-average. That's a significant drop off. Anderson should be Rowand's equal offensively however, as I noted in my first piece.

Chris (Chicago): Longtime reader of the Prospect Report here. My question is which young OF do you see having a better 2006 and also a better career; Alex Rios, David DeJesus, Jason Kubel or Brad Hawpe? Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: My gut says Kubel, DeJesus, Rios, Hawpe. PECOTA says DeJesus over Kubel, but I think Kubel's knee injury has no effect and his core skills, and his projection for me is just pushed back a year, much like what happened to Chipper Jones at the start of his career.

denny187 (WI): Brewers farm system. Are there any more truly impact players now that Weeks/Hardy/Fielder have graduated? Does Ryan Braun fall into that group? Any pitchers?

Kevin Goldstein: I think Braun DOES fall into that group. He has the potential to be a top-flight offensive player, even if he has to move off third base to a corner outfield slot. As far as pitchers go, don't write off Mark Rogers yet. His numbers on the surface are ugly, but at those low levels, you have to bet on stuff, and his is top notch. Being from Maine, it was the first time.he's faced any sort of real competition, so he'll require a little more patience.

LynchMob (Corvallis, OR): Will Cesar Carillo pitch in a major league All-Star game before 2012?

Kevin Goldstein: I'd estimate the chances of that at 13.832% That said, I'd bet he wins 15 games in a season by then. Maybe twice, even.

Mary S. (Peoria, Il.): Hello, Kevin! Cody Haerther has hit for good-to-great batting average at 4 levels, but last year at age 21 his power really exploded in the FSL (he was more than 250 points over league avg. in OPS), and was nearly as good after being promoted to AA. Scouts like his swing a lot; how real was the improvement?

Kevin Goldstein: Significantly real. Haerther is pretty easily the best hitter at the upper levels in the Cards' system in my mind, but his prospect ranking isn't very high becuase of his defense. As a left fielder, being a good hitter isn't enough, you have to be a great hitter, and I'm not sure Haerther is that.

Will (Watertown, MA): In Simon Cowell voice: "The Royals are absoultely Pathetic" Will this ever change in the next decade?

Kevin Goldstein: My answer is maybe. There are reasons to think this might happen. Gordon and Butler both have star potential, and could give the Royals much-needed middle-of-the-order threats. The problem recently has always been pitching, and there is nothing in the system to get excited about on the mound. They do have the No. 1 pick in June, and will almost surely take a bigtime college arm, with North Carolina lefty Andrew Miller the early front runner.

Joseph K. (Paranoia): Thanks for chatting, Kevin! John Olerud (career OPS+ 129) is an astute lower limit for Daric Barton. But Will Clark is not *really* markedly better (OPS+ 138). Would you put some shekels where your mouth is, and give 3-2 against Barton's career OPS+ exceeding Clark's? I see Barton as 145-150, maybe better.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok, getting a lot of replies on this one, so I'll expound a little. I have little doubt that Daric Barton will hit for average in the majors -- .300+. I have little doubt that Daric Barton will draw a ton of walks in the majors -- 80-100 annually. The unanswered question is power. Scouts see a guy who doesn't have pullability, and is more than happy to flick his bat out there and slice a ball the other way as opposed to loading up and turning on a pitch. The A's tell me they're betting on the theory that power is the last skill to develop. so average? check. On-base skills? check. Power? He's either gonna be a 15-20 guy or a 25-30 guy.

Cowboy (Brokeback Mt.): Delmon Young - career path - Ken Griffey Jr. or Andruw Jones?

Kevin Goldstein: Neither. Gimme Albert Belle minus the psychosis.

Corey Hart (Milwaukee): Can I play 3b in the majors?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes, in the same sense that Russ Branyan COULD play third base in the majors.

normb11 (Wrigleyville): WELCOME!! Rich Hill; Successful starting pitcher, bullpen specialist, or career minor leaguer?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm going to take the fence on this one and predict a moderatly long career that includes 3-5 seasons as a starter and 3-5 as a reliever and one big contract.

Daric Barton (Oakland): Hey, Kevin! I put up a .900 OPS as a freakin' teenager in AA (with more walks than whiffs), and many people still seem to think .950-1.000 in MLB is just too much to expect. Despite being slightly younger at the same levels, my iso. slg. has almost exactly matched Prince Fielder's. Why do folks expect so much less of me than Big Sonny?

Kevin Goldstein: Ok, I don't hate Daric Barton -- I ranked him as the No. 1 prospect by a mile in the Oakland system at BA. But here's the thing. Barton's minor leaage average and obp are a little higher than Fielder's. However Barton has one home run every 32.9 at-bats, which Fielder is one every 18, including one every 13.5 last year. The difference in power more than makes up for Barton's slight advantage in average and OBP.

Geoff (Ashburn, VA): If you're the Rays: more AAA time for Delmon, or starting Opening Day?

Kevin Goldstein: Starting on Opening Day. Period. I believe strongly in moving prospects quickly who can handle it both physically and mentally, and Young is one of those guys. Look for a piece on the pitching side of this in the coming months.

sanchez101 (santa barbara): Great to hear your joining BP, Im an avid reader of Baseball America and am sure you'll do great. That said, what are your opinions about Dioner Navarro? Some at BA seemed to pencil him in as nothing more than a backup after 2004, but he seems to me like just as good a talent as Russ Martin.

Kevin Goldstein: He does? I don't see that. Martin can hit for average, walks more than he strikes out, is a very good defensive player, and should hit for more power. He could be a better option than Navarro right now, and will more than likely claim the starting job at some point in 2006.

blamberty (Bozeman, MT): Great column on the AL Central farm systems... I'm hoping you can comment on Kansas City's apparent philosophy of taking the best available at the top, then drafting seniors and cold weather guys beyond the second or third round. Thanks for the chat...

Kevin Goldstein: I'm glad you enjoyed the column. AL East coming soon. The Royals definitely have a draft budget, and by always picking near the top, that first guy's bonus takes a big chuck out of it, so they take it on the cheap afterwards. For what it's worth, that was more a 2004 thing than a 2005, as most of their 2005 picks got right around slot money.

BrettG (Columbus, OH): Welcome to Baseball Prospectus. First your Prospect Report, then Baseball America and now Baseball Prospectus. Glad to see you here. Did I miss an injury report on Alexander Romero? Why is it that he gets little recognition as a prospect? He hit .301/.354/.458 with 31 doubles and 15 HRís as a 21 year old in AA. Those are not great numbers, but the improvement in power while moving up a level has to count for something. Plus, PECOTA likes him. Where is the love?

Kevin Goldstein: Glad to be here. With Romero, we're talking again about the Cody Haerther situation, which is what I refer to as 'positional offensive expectations'. Romero is a left fielder, and while he's a good hitter, is it enough to be an every day LF on a first-division team? I don't see it.

mhixpgh (Pittsburgh aka Baseball Hell): Just a few easy questions to help us get to know you better....: 1) Favorite baseball team? 2) Favorite ballpark food? 3) Pet peeve about covering baseball professionally? 4) Best looking baseball wife? 5) Your hometown? 6) Favorite baseball movie? 7) Favorite play-by-play man? 8) Favorite all-time baseball player? 9) How short is Buster Olney? 10) The biggest story of the 2006 season is...? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: 1. Mets
2. Italian Sausage w/ onions at the cell from the guy behind home plate.
3. NONE -- ZERO -- NADA. To complain about doing this would be ridiculous. I keep waiting for my mom to wake me up and tell me it's time to go to school.
4. Not sure I have enough to go on really.
5. Chicago
6. None of the above? If forced, Bull Durham.
7. Pat Hughes, because I do a wicked impression, and he's also great.
8. Rickey Henderson, Sid Fernandez and Arquimedez Pozo
9. I have no idea
10. Either the Yankees or the Red Sox don't make the postseason.

Mike W (Chicago): Kevin, can you tell us what happens to you when you join BP? Gotta be something like being a hot young film star, having a couple movies come out right after one another, being on E! all the time, serial dating starlets for a while, right? Right?

Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. VH1s "It's Good To Be . . . " Kevin Goldstein coming in May.

Vic Mackey (Farmington): Did the BP team make you foreswear any positive feelings about Matt Bush before you got your key to the staff restroom?

Kevin Goldstein: Clearly, we've reached the quick hit section of the chat, as well as the comedy portion of our show. That said, I'm calling Nate Silver right now to find out about this restroom. Is it anything like that one Costanza had the key to?

Will (Watertown, MA): Who do you like in the WBC or do you not care either?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm in a weird spot with the WBC in the fact that I am interested in the WBC, but I don't think it's being run properly because of the timing. I'll pick Venezuela to win it. I just think the non-USA teams are going to put a lot more energy into it.

Will (Watertown, MA): From chicago but a mets fan? puzzling. So, what do you think of Minaya as a GM, too Isaiah Thomas-ish?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm actually fascinated by Minaya, and think it's possibly that when he's done, the work he did will be studied by sociologists as much as it is by baseball researchers. His attempt to build a primarily latin-team that is appealing to latin free agents in a city whose latin population is greater than most full major league markets is an interesting gambit, and one that I believe in.

FlightNo24 (Chicago): Kevin - quick White Sox Q: You rate their system as fairly bereft of impact players due significantly to them being dealt off over the past few years. Doesn't that ignore the facts that a)prior to the '05 offseason, they hadn't really dealt anyone who's put up performance of any significance , and 2)they have 2 high-impact guys on the current staff with < 1/2 season of experience in Jenks & McCarthy? I'm assuming they don't technically qualify as rookies, but having guys who just miss that cutoff means their system IS producing for them, no?

Kevin Goldstein: Like I said in the article, it's down for all the right reasons, as what is missing from the system shows up at the big league level. As far as Jenks and McCarthy go, you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere, and so what you read is a snapshot of where the system is right now.

TheDumbSmartGuy (Cambridge, MA): Why did you leave BA for the greener pastures of BP?

Kevin Goldstein: Ok, I'm going to finish up on this one, as it's one of about 40 quesitons in the que that ask. A lot of people are looking for some sort of soap opera here, but there really isn't one. I tested the free agent market, many expressed interest, and I liked the thought of going to BP the best. I like the people here, and I'm very excited about the possibilities presented by covering the player development beat within Baseball Prospectus. I thought it was the best challenge and the most exciting opportunity to present itself to me, and think you'll enjoy our coverage this year. So if you haven't subscribed yet, go do it now, you'll enjoy the ride.

Kevin Goldstein: Thanks for all of the great questions, and I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all. I'll be chatting plenty of times throughout the year -- and my State Of The System reports for the AL East will be available for your perusal tommorow.


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