Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, folks. It's one week before draft time, some surprising names are in the big leagues, and I'm blasting Kyuss' 'Blues For The Red Sun' album. Truly one of the most underrated american rock banks in history, the guitars get tuned down two clicks all the way to C and get plugged into a bass amp in an attempt to totally destroy your speakers. Go pick it up and do the same.
buggyracer (Clearfield, PA): How serious are the Pirates about taking Kyle Drabek, from what you've heard? What sort of "off-field issues" does he have? Is his stuff REALLY top-5 good?
Kevin Goldstein: Not very serious at this point. His stuff really is top-5 good, but the off the field issues will prevent the Pirates from putting that sort of investment in him. When we say a guy has those kind of issues and don't go into specfics it's for a reason. What we are hearing are whispers and they're from nearly every source I've talked to, but without full corroboration, to get into details would be sloppy and unprofessional. I simply say there are issues, because EVERYONE mentions them.
zach (lancaster): How long could Drew Stubbs reasonably last on draft day? Is there a team that just would not let him pass by?
Kevin Goldstein: He could REASONABLY last until the 10-12 range, but it's more likely that somebody will believe in the bat with a pick in the single digits. The fact that after Longoria there is not a single college bat anybody can count on helps his cause.
Brian (Rosslyn, VA): Kevin - Do you believe that the pending new Nationals' ownership has made it known that signability will not be an issue with this year's draft, allowing the Nationals to go after guys with big price tags?
Kevin Goldstein: Brian, It is my understanding that the Nats will have no problem taking players in their first two picks that are worth the defined slot money. I'm not sure they can go OVER and take a guy who falls, but they don't have to go on the cheap. That said, I think they MIGHT go on the cheap with their second first-round pick (no. 22), but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as they could use that saved $$$ on a signability pick later on, or in the international market.
Tim (DC): Kevin, Do you think that MLB's current policy on draft picks, both the prohibition on trading the pick itself as well as a 1-year moratorium on trading a signed player, is beneficial or a detriment to teams building good farm systems?
Kevin Goldstein: I think you could argue it both ways, though I do think some changes should be made. I think the one-year rule is a good thing, but I do think picks should be tradeable with some caveats. No. 1 -- only picks in rounds 1-5 are tradeable; No. 2 -- picks are only tradeable one year in advance, so in 2006, you could only trade 2007 picks; No. 3 the window to trade picks closes one week before the draft, much like the signing window.
Adam J. Morris (Houston, Texas): The Rangers seem like a good fit for Luke Hochevar, particularly since they have no second rounder (which would seem to allow them to pay more for their first rounder), and since the organization hasn't had an issue dealing with Boras clients in the past.
Will Hochevar be there at #12, when the Rangers pick? And if not Hochevar, who do you see the Rangers targeting in the first round?
Kevin Goldstein: The Rangers would be a very good pick for Texas -- but he ain't getting there. He'll go top five, and the rumor of him going No. 1 are not going away. Stubbs at 12 would be a good fit, and I wouldn't count at Drabek there either.
therocc99 (new york): Kevin,
Exciting young catching prospects seem to be few and far between in today's major leagues. Who are some of the top catching prospects in this draft and do you see them as being guys to really watch over the coming seasons.
Kevin Goldstein: This draft is extremely thin on catching. Scary thin. Switch-hitting slugger Hank Conger will be the first one taken. He's got real power but his defense is a little shaky, although improved great from last year. He could be the only catcher to go in the first round, unless somebody takes a chance of Florida HS backstop Max Sapp, who also has plus power but far more defensive questions. The college side is barren. The top college catcher is probably Pepperdine's Chad Tracy (son of Jim), but he's probably a second round guy at best as like the above, he's a good hitter, but he's been bothered by an arm injury and really struggled with the running game. My phone just rang and it's a draft call that should take about five minutes -- keep on submitting questions and I'll be back soon.
Keith (Chicago): As of right now, the defending World Champs have been linked to taking a couple of prep-star pitchers (Kiker and Tillman), as well as Clemson outfielder Tyler Colvin with their 29th overall pick. At this point in their "success cycle", would the Sox be better suited going with more of a sure thing in Colvin, or a higher-risk, higher-reward type guy in Kasey Kiker?
Kevin Goldstein: Wouldn't the counter arguement be that because the White Sox have a darn good team now they can MORE afford the risk inherent in a high-risk/high-reward guy?
Seth (Waco, TX): The Baylor catcher Zach Dillon has a 36:9 K:BB ratio, plays in a big baseball conference, plays catcher, looks a little overwieght, has a weak arm, and only decent power. Scouts have to be comparing him to Heremy Brown right?
Kevin Goldstein: I haven't heard that one, but that's not a bad one. Oh yeah, being compared to Jeremy Brown is NOT a good thing.
Joe (Brick): Why isn't Luke Hopkins regarded as a better prospect, his numbers are awesome. ( I know doesnt mean much, just curious)
Kevin Goldstein: Primarily because he's at New Mexico State, where the home field is somewhere around Coors field squared. He's also a draft-eligible sophomore, and might be better served by bashing there for another year.
Mike (East Lansing, MI): Hi Kevin,
Big time Tigers fan here who's happy they are relevant after Memorial Day.
Should I be concerned that Justin Verlander's K/9 rate is only 5.10? (I'm submitted this question before his Saturday start.)
Kevin Goldstein: I really don't think you should be concerned. That weird zero K start brings things down, but he has 12 over 16 IP in his last two starts, and I bet it just goes up from here.
Joel (Washington, DC): Kevin, what is exactly is the problem with Drew Stubbs? I am tempted to say the Pirates should gamble with him at #4 given the weakness of the draft and the Pirates overall lack of impact position players in their system. Isn't Longoria's ceiling too low to take with a top 5 pick?
Kevin Goldstein: The problem is that Stubbs has far too many swings and misses to make scouts comfortable as to his ability to hit in the majors.
tschiera (Brooklyn): Stephen Drew is capable of being one of the _______ best SS's in baseball.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, let's get off the draft for a little bit, and start the minor league action with a madlibs question. Oh high I love the mid-libs questions (hint, hint). My answer here is 3.
Race Bannon (Montevideo): Thanks for chatting, Kevin! Could you compare MWL stud teen hitters Bryan Anderson and big Kyle Blanks? Thanks again.
Kevin Goldstein: Anderson has a better approach and better, for lack of a better term, pure swing, but it's a line-drive swing not designed for power. The first thing that strikes you about Blanks is his size. He's almost unbelieveably huge, but surprisingly athletics. His swing has more holes, but he also, not surprisingly, has more power potential. Anderson might be the safer bet, but Blanks definitely has the higher ceiling.
A Brooklynite of Brooklyn (Brooklyn): Jered Weaver will be in the Angels rotation for the rest of the season... yes or no? If so, what sort of numbers do you see?
Kevin Goldstein: yes, 4.38 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Sarah (Los Angeles): Why do people like Jeremy Jeffress so much, other than his athletisicm and high heat? Does he have a chance at a plus breaking pitch or can he move quickly towards the majors? Where is he most likely to be selected, I keep hearing the Dodgers?
Kevin Goldstein: Um, because he throws 100 mph? This is not a Colt Griffin situation in my mind, as he has athleticism (like you say) and good control. The breaking ball is a work in progress, but shows promise. I think he might be underrated and will be a good pick for somebody between 11-15 as it looks like the Dodgers may be backing off.
Jonathon (Regina): B.J. Upton will be called up to the majors on ____________, his statline for the rest of the year will be _________.
Kevin Goldstein: July 17, .285/.369/.431
Jason (Arlington, TX): How much do you think playing in the cavernous Disch-Faulk field adds to the stigma of UT players with suspect bats? (Teagarden last year, Stubbs this year) Any chance Stubbs falls for a while like Teagarden did?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't see how playing in cavernous Disch-Faulk field adds to a stigma of Stubbs striking out too much.
Jim (Iowa City): My prediction of the number of consecutive years the Royals draft first is _____
Kevin Goldstein: 3
Jose Tabata (Charleston): I'm gonna be number_______ on the baseball prospectus top 50 prospects list at the end of the year.
Kevin Goldstein: between 30 and 50, but definitely on the list.
Rob (Annapolis, MD): Kevin, do you have a read on what the Orioles are thinking right now with regard to the draft?
Kevin Goldstein: They're thinking New Jersey high school third baseman (now a shortstop, but hey, it's high school) Billy Rowell, with college pitching as a backup.
Anthony (Long Island): Is Philip Hughes the best pitching prospect in baseball?
Kevin Goldstein: The best? No. But he's in the team photo for sure.
MikeM (Branford, CT): Love the perspective you bring to BP Kevin, keep it up... Ever since the Reds took Ryan Wagner a few years back and rushed him to the Majors with strong initial results, the floodgates (and wallets) have opened for dominant college relievers in the first round. #1) Do you believe there are at least a couple college closers each year who could handle the Majors within a calendar year of their draft, and #2) If so, who fits the mold in 2006?
Kevin Goldstein: Thanks for the kind words. 2006 is not the best year for relievers, as the best ones, guys like Mark Melancon (Arizona) and Chris Perez (Miami) have either had injury problems or really like that classic closer velocity. The guy who could best help a bullpen THIS year is probably Tim Lincecum.
Chris (St. Louis): How real is Cards low A left handed starter Jaime Garcia? Is he Philip Hughes great or Troy Patton good?
Kevin Goldstein: It's really far too early to start throwing Garcia into any sort of elite status, but he is combining good stuff with good performance and moving quickly up prospect charts.
dantroy (davis, ca): SNY is reporting that the Mets have called up Lastings Milledge (Nady is out due to his appendix). How well do you think he can handle big league pitching at this point? What about long-term?
Kevin Goldstein: He's definitely up. I think he can handle it pretty well right now. I think it's a short-term assignment, a reward for a great start at Triple-A, and I think he'll provide Mets fans with plenty of excitement about the future.
Mario66 (Toronto): If Brignac keeps up his hot hitting, does he belong in the conversation with Wood, Tulo, Drew, et al, or does he remain a step below with, say, Andrus and others. Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: Well, it is the California League, but I'm one of Brignac's biggest supporters. I think in the end we have to have a different conversation because as much as I love his bat, I think he's a third baseman in the end, and he could be up there with any of them by the end of the year, including Ian Stewart.
Sam (Columbia): Is it possible that David Glass is waiting until 6/6/06 to hire the Royals general manager, therefore making obvious what some of us already knew?...that he is the devil. Seriously though, what in the *hell* is this guy thinking?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, he did come from Walmart, so . . .
Mario66 (Toronto): Troy Tulowitzki or Ian Stewart?
Kevin Goldstein: Gimme Tulo. I know that puts me in the minority, but I'm still waiting for Stewart to own pitching like he did in 2004 -- in the Sally League's best hitting park. I'm not WAY down on Stewart of anything, but I'm WAY high on Tulo.
Boog (Baltimore): Given Nick Markakis's struggles, should we temper exepctations? Or should we still be excited about his future?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, I tried to temper expectations in my AL East preview. It's not his fault that Baltimore rushed him, and with a sub-.600 OPS, they should send him back to Triple-A. My biggest concern with Markakis is not his ability to hit for average or get on-base, it's in his power, which is still far more potential than reality and not nearly enough right now for a corner.
Jeff (Canada): Work blocked off my fantasy baseball account, what am I supposed use that time for now?
Kevin Goldstein: Polishing up the resume?
Sam (Columbia): I'm sure its a ways off, but would you care to take a stab at an ETA and a MLB comparison for Colby Rasmus' future?
Kevin Goldstein: I'll say 2009, and I'll throw out a weird comp for you -- Devon White. Last player I compared to White was Corey Patterson, and I still standby that one.
collins (greenville nc): Glad you're at BP, and thanks for the chat. Do you think Matt Moses would be an improvement over Tony Batista, if the Twins called him up now?
Kevin Goldstein: Thanks, I'm glad I'm at BP, too. Batista currently has a .248 EQA and I think Moses would probably be somewhere around that, so I'm not sure what the advantage is at this point. I think Moses might be best off staying in the oven for a little bit.
Stewart (Arlington, MA): Is 2B Jeff Natale (hitting .349 for Boston at LowA) any sort of a prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: Not a huge one. He's not much larger than Pedroia, and while he's beating the crap out of Sally League pitching, remember that he's a year OLDER than Pedroia as well. Too old, too low a level for me to get excited.
statham (Toronto): Just how much are the Royals messing up Justin Huber?
Kevin Goldstein: Just to restate -- Justin Huber is not an elite prospect, but he's solid, and certainly an upgrade from Doug M. I've long given up trying to explain the Royals, and I won't start now.
mondo (pdx): kevin- pick one: elvis andrus has been (impressive/holding his own/disappointing) in single-a ball this year?
Kevin Goldstein: b. holding his own.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, back to the grind for me. Thanks for all the great questions. While it's not on the schedule yet, get ready for a post draft chat next Tuesday evening.