Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. Sorry for the short notice, but here I am -- ready to take your questions on prospects, the minors leagues, heck, even the major leagues. I'll also take questions of the films of the Coen Brothers, 1980s punk rock and the North Korean missle crisis if they come up.
dave (Baghdad): Which Tiger's prospects (non-Major Leaguers) have the most trade value? Who do you think they'll actually have to give up for the good lefty bat they need?
Kevin Goldstein: Dave, I hope you are really NOT in Baghdad, but if you are -- stay safe. The best prospects for me still in the minors are their two Futures Game reps, outfielder Cameron Maybin and righty Humberto Sanchez. I'm guessing Maybin is untouchable, and Sanchez is probably pretty close to that status as well. The problem is that there really aren't any other prospects who would really demand much. Maybe somebody would want a Triple-A arm like Wil Ledezma or Jordan Tata, maybe they could find a team that still likes third baseman Wilkin Ramirez' tools despite a bad year in the Florida State League. Tony Giarratano has enough defensive skills to be a utility man for somebody as well.
Dan (New York): Does Reyes have a legit shot at Chief Wilson's single-season triples record? Will anyone, ever, given the dawn of the small, homer-friendly ballpark era?
Kevin Goldstein: I just can't see anybody coming close to Wilson's record, which for those that don't know, is 36 triples. That's not a typo -- THIRTY-SIX. Nobody since 1950 has gotten 60% of that, with Lance Johnson's 21 in 1996 the highest total during that time. Nobody's even come close, and I can't see it happening with today's parks and today's outfield arms.
DerekJetersAura (Tx): Is there any chance that Sean Gallagher can develop into a front of the rotation starter instad of middle of a rotation. With his fastball in the low 90s he sounds and awful like Darryl Kile and Chris Carpenter.
Kevin Goldstein: Middle-of-the-rotation starter is anything but an insult. It's very high regard. Think of how many big league teams have a No. 3 starter as their best pitcher in the rotation. The thing with Gallagher is that his stuff took a major step forward this year. The curve was always good, but he gained 3-5 mph on his fastball, which is pretty uncommon for a 20-year-old.
templeusox (Philadelphia): Mr. Goldstein,
Can you talk about anything you have heard regarding the Sox IFA's, Beltre and Tejeda?
Kevin Goldstein: Obviously, it's pretty hard to get in-depth information on Latin-american teenagers who just signed a week ago, but both are exactly what you are looking for in big signees -- toolsy athletes with up-the-middle defensive skills. Craig Shipley (yes, the former infielder) heads up Boston's international scouting efforts, and his work in that regard is highly respected.
Ian (Philly): Mr. Goldstein,
It seemed like the consensus "Most Impressive Player" of the CWS was Bryce Cox. If he flashed this talent all season, where would he have gone in the draft? What do you see him project as in the pros?
Kevin Goldstein: He probably would have been in the sanwhich or second round. The way he pitched at the end of the season was quite something, but there wwere so many warts on his track record before that, that it just didn't move him up too far. Classic power reliever kind of stuff -- it will be interesting to see how aggresive Boston is with him.
jschmeagol (hong kong): What do you think of George Kottaras, is he good enough to be the answer for the Padres at catcher in 2007 when they will be without Piazza and the alien inhabiting Josh Bard's body?
Also, is there anyone in the Yankees' system to get excited about outside of Phillip Hughies? How is Eduardo Nunez doing?
Kevin Goldstein: I like Kottaras quite a bit, though concerns remain about his long-term future defensively. He's not awful behind the plate, but he's not really good either, and the body leaves many wondering if he can take the 162-game grind back there. Nonetheless, he can really hit.
paul (metsville, nj): I wasn't that impressed with Milledge. He seems too small to ever have much power and will swing at anything. I read how the Mets would never trade him. Is that just hype or do think he will become an above average player?
Kevin Goldstein: Milledge was definitely over-aggressive in his big league debut, but that's understandable. As far as power goes, not everyone can be built like Adam Dunn, and you don't have to be in order to hit for power, 8 of Milledge's 20 hits went for extra bases, including three home runs and that's the kind of power I think he'll have in the end -- kind of a 20-25 per season guy. While the numbers weren't good, I was very impressed with him and it was clear to me that his potential is very very big.
ssimon (Pelham, NY): Kevin, at espn.com, Keith Law wrote that Matt Lindstrom has "got to be the first player teams will ask the Mets for at the trading deadline." Can a closer in the Eastern League really be the Mets' most desirable minor leaguer?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, there's a combination of factors there really. Is Lindstrom their top prospect? No. But guys like Milledge and Pelfrey are untouchable, while guys like outfielder Fernando Martinez are so early in their career that you can get much for them because of the gap in what they are and what they can be. I imagine Lindstrom would be right up there, but I'm not sure the Mets could get much for him. You really want a 26-year-old closer at Double-A who has given up more than a hit per inning? I'm the first to admist that I'm a sucker for velocity, but you gotta get people out too.
Colon City Bomber (Deepest, Darkest Peru): Who has the best chance to be the next Ben Oglivie?
Kevin Goldstein: I just love this question so much that I can't even stand it. How about Elijah Dukes?
ScotMartin (TX): Soriano for Wilkerson trade: what happened???
Kevin Goldstein: It's pretty simple isn't it? Soriano has had a great season, while Wilkerson has not. I didn't think the trade was really unbalance in the first place, and even Pecota projected the pair to have seasons of pretty much the same value, within 0.1 WARP of each other. A lot of people were guilty of underrating Soriano just because he doesn't walk much and overrating Wilkerson just because he walks a ton. Walks are great, OBP is life. But there's a whole hell of a lot of other things a player can do to have value.
logan (binghamton): has eric duncan totally fallen off the map, or is there still hope for the first-rounder? does he best serve the yankees as a player or as a trading chip?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think it's time to write him off or anything. He's 21 and in Double-A, which means for the first time in his life he's at the normal level for his age instead of ahead of the pack. He's also hitting pretty well there, and deserves a partial mulligan for his awful Triple-A showing because of a sore back. That said, as a first baseman, he's has a much tougher road ahead of him than he would if he had the skills to play third base, where he was drafted.
chaneyhey (jeff city): Okay, if you had to pick one pitcher who spent his entire career as a middle reliever to make the hall of fame, who would it be? PS -- that question kicks a## and you know it.
Kevin Goldstein: One of the best things about working at BP is I can get a question like this, and I can laugh at it, and then I can say to myself, "wait a second, we might actually have an answer". Keith Woolner is the answer man for things like that, working his SQL magic and here's his answer:
Since 1960, candidates who have < 5% of appearances as starts and < 10% of relief appearances as saves. Top by Adjusted Runs Prevented.
that's everyone with 90+ ARP
So there you go -- Mark Eichorn is the best middle reliever in modern baseball history!
does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Of course not. But neither does Bert Blyleven (ducks).
Alex (Durham, CT): Is Michael Bowden becoming a top 50 type of prospect? Scouting reports say he has 4 good pitches and is putting up pretty good numbers in Greenville (especially his K/BB).
Ryan Howard Owns
Kevin Goldstein: Bowden has taken a major step forward in his full-season debut with 90 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 78 innings. But Top 50? That's pushing it. He's good -- he's not that good . . . yet.
Brent (Raleigh): Brad Penny vs. Kenny Rogers = least intriguing All-Star starting pitching match-up ever?
Kevin Goldstein: It's gotta be up there right? I turned on ESPNews last night after watching the ridiculously enjoyable return of Pee-Wee's Playhouse to TV and saw they were starting and was pretty surprised by it. Nonetheless, my all-star game trivia knowledge is pretty limited, so I can't be sure. Didn't Altee Hammaker start one of these things?
john (queens): tyler clippard has been coming on as of late but doesn't seem to get any sort of recognition. granted, he doesn't have a sexy fastball, but his numbers speak for themselves. when will he get some love?
Kevin Goldstein: Wow. And I thought I escaped the nyyfans.com folks. I guess not. For those that missed it -- and you're lucky -- last year at my previous employer, posters at the nyyfans.com message boards would deluge our chats with questions about Clippard. Then, if I said something like "Clippard is not going to be as good as Mike Mussina" -- they'd go back to their message board, call me every name in the book, and then wait for the next chat. Infinitely entertaining stuff. For the record: 1. Tyler Clippard is a solid pitching prospect. 2. Tyler Clippard is not an elite pitching prospect, like say, Philip Hughes (see! I don't hate the Yankees!). 3. Tyler Clippard projects as a solid starting pitcher -- and that's not a bad thing.
He has been really, really good of late, overcoming some early season problems with the long ball to deliver his best games of the season over the past month or so. His stuff grades out well, but not crazy well, with a low-90s fastball, a good curve, a usable change, and occasional slider. His control is above average and makes him a better pitcher than his stuff. Good prospect, not great prospect. Now go back and call me more names again.
Nick (SF, CA): What do you think of Jose Tabata? In general, what do you think of the Yanks' system right now?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he's one of the more interesting prospects in the game right now, but it's hard to figure out how to rank him. He's just 17 years old, yet he's hitting .321/.395/.454 in a full-season league. That's a remarkable feat by any measurement. He draws walks, he doesn't strike out much, he steals bases, he has a good arm, there's plenty of projectable power. We're not sure which of this skills will really develop, so it's hard to figure out if he's going to become that kind of guy who can lead the league in batting, or the kind of guy who can lead the league in slugging, or both. In any scenario however, everything about him screams future star, but the future is still a long long ways away with him.
nicopad (Brooklyn): Could the hr contest be more boring?
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe -- but I thought Jim Baker made some nice recommendations for improving it, no?
Here's my idea: The Home Run Derby is so boring because we become bored by the home runs, there are just too damn many of 'em. So here's what we do -- invite the WORST home run hitters. Right now, there are seven players with more than 150 PA and ZERO home runs.
Invite them to the home run derby, and every time a ball goes out of the yard, it will actually be interesting.
GBSimons (Seymour, IN): Kevin, were there any big things you took away from the Futures Game? Any prospects you hadn't seen before that you were glad to catch a glimpse of?
Kevin Goldstein: I really didn't take away much. Two at-bats from a guy or one inning isn't going to tell me much. I admit that it's nice to see these players on TV and watch them do what they do, but I get far more out of talking to a scout who's seen a guy take 20-30 at-bats in a real game than two at-bats in an exhibition.
radm605 (boston): How much does Brandon Woods strikeout rate concern you?
Kevin Goldstein: It concerns me to the point where I doubt if he can hit .300 with that kind of strikeout rate. The power is real however, and he is an elite prospect.
GMoney (Morgantown, WV): Brad Eldred has pretty much lost this year to injury. What sort of future is he looking at if he comes back healthy next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Probably as a career 4A slugger, occasional fill-in guy who can hit a ball a mile, but doesn't do it enough. J.R. Phillips kinda guy?
johnpark99 (Boston): Kevin, please predict the next 3 years for Chris Young (the OF prospect for ARI). Does Justin Upton's move to CF force Young into trade-bait status?
Kevin Goldstein: Just for the record, I just talked to Chris before this chat, so expect a profile here soon. I expect Young to be the starting centerfielder in 2007, and he'll likely get some at-bats in September to set him up for that. You don't make anybody trade-bait just because you have a hot prospect in Low A -- no matter how good that prospect is.
Mario66 (Toronto): Is Reid Brignac forcing his way into the conversation of best minor league shortstop (along with Tulo, Drew, Wood and Upton)? What chance does he have to stay at SS, and if he must move, will his bat play at 3B or outfield?
Kevin Goldstein: He's definitely forcing his way up all kinds of prosect lists. The problem is, he's really not a shortstop -- I think he has almost zero chance of staying there. Third base is likely his next destination, but yes, corner outfield is also a possibility. No matter where they put him, I think the bat plays.
Mario66 (Toronto): Which low A pitchers are you most excited about seeing hit AA (you know, to see if they're for real)? Does Jake McGee make the list?
Kevin Goldstein: As far as guys still in Low A (so I lose guys like Adenhart and Veal), gimme McGee, Wade Davis and Stephen Marek from the Midwest League and Matt Maloney, Brandon Erbe and Sean West from the Sally Legue.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): Instead of HR Derby I'd like a Triples Derby as part of a larger skills contest. Finally WAS might stand a chance of getting some value from Guzman.
Kevin Goldstein: I like this idea, but I'm not sure how to do it. How about we set up an overturned bucket at home plate and start having guys like Vlad and Ichiro starting launching balls at it from the right field warning track -- I'd totally watch that.
Randy (Detroit): Are the Devil Rays going to move Crawford to make room for Upton in the outfield? (and if not, should they?)
Kevin Goldstein: No, No.
Jay (Mass): After Phil Hughes' performance Sunday at the Futures Game, is it fair to say he's been overhyped and Yankee fans need to calm down a little on the HOF inductions?
Kevin Goldstein: See my previous answer on the futures game -- it doesn't mean a thing. You want to look at his stats this year, or one inning in an exhibition.
Rick (Nyyfans): FYI, You've already been called a jerk.
Kevin Goldstein: Go throught the archives! I've been called much, much worse!
brianjamesoak (Alameda, CA): I know that the Twins don't need another pitcher right now and perhaps Kevin Slowey needs a little more grooming, but how wrong is it that they're bringing him along at a pace that suggests he'll be in the minors until 2009? Does he really have anything left to prove in A-ball. He's like Billy Madison down there.
Kevin Goldstein: Slowey has been in Double-A since late June and has a 17-to-1 K/BB ratio in three starts there. He and Garza could be thoretically ready by late 2007.
MA (Georgia): Speaking of the CWS, why did no one draft UGA's Rip Warren? Aside from the Rice game, he was a shutdown lefty reliever (especially in the postseason).
Kevin Goldstein: Good news, Bulldog fans -- Warren signed with the Mets and is pitching at Brooklyn.
Cassius (Brooklyn): Hey Kevin -- what prospects of the Giants are going to be in demand during trading season? Anyone?? Will Linden/Ortmeier/Correia/et al fetch anything of worth?
Kevin Goldstein: With Matt Cain no longer a prospect, the Giants system is downright horrible, as many of their top prospects like Eddy Martinez-Estevee, Marcus Sanders, Merkin Valdez and Nate Schierholtz have been hurt and/or awful. I can't see them having any big trade value from players in their system.
carlosrubi (Mexico): Is Jaime Garcia one of those lefthanded pitchers that fade after reaching AA?
Kevin Goldstein: I've talked to multiple scouts who saw Garcia here in the Midwest League, and multiple scouts who have seen him in the Florida State League as well. They all think he's the goods.
Pesach (Israel): Considering what has become of Jason Kendall, Why not give some time to Jeremy Brown? He seems to have rebounded well this year.
Kevin Goldstein: Are there really still Jeremy Brown supporters out there? Really? He's batting .247/.317/.389 in Triple-A and he still can't catch. It was a mistake pick -- every team has them.
gerrybraun (san diego): Isn't the Ryan Shealy situation in Colorado pretty similar to the one that the Phillies faced with Jim Thome and Ryan Howard? Is it possible to trade Helton and his humungous contract to make way for Shealy?
Kevin Goldstein: A. Nobody is going to take that contract. B. Shealy is nowhere near Howard's class as a prospect. And with that -- it's time for the quick hits section of our show.
carlosrubi (Mexico): Now that Dopirak's bat is coming back to life in AA, we face the question: was 2005 a fluke year? The guy's got unreal power.
Kevin Goldstein: Dopirak still hasn't homered this year -- and we're at 106 at-bats and counting. That's back to life?
carlosrubi (Mexico): How real is Yovani Gallardo?
Kevin Goldstein: Very, very real.
Dustin Pedroia (Pawtucket): I am on that list of best shortstop prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: We'll see in three weeks. Stay tuned!
WorcesterGray (princeton, ma): Rumors persist that, through some combination of deals, Aaron Rowand may end up back in Chicago.
Any chance that since they're not going anywhere anyway this year, the Phillies might give Michael Bourn an audition?
Kevin Goldstein: Do we really want to give a guy with a minor league batting line of .284/.360/.387 a big league job?
Brecken (Chi): MadLibs
The Cubs greatest needs in their system are ____. They should target _____ or _____ from the _____ system as they are blocked/could be had for value.
Kevin Goldstein: hitters, hitters, good hitters, any other
nomar4mvp (boston): Ian Stewart and Chris Nelson...when can we expect to see them and whats the upside for Nelson?
Kevin Goldstein: Am I the only person alive concerned about Ian Stewart, and the fact that he hasn't put up big numbers since '04?
mattoves (DC): Did you hear that Greg Graffin (front man for Bad Religion) is putting out a folk song album? Thoughts? Also, do you think the Tigers could pry Chipper from the Braves without losing Maybin and Sanchez since Atlanta's out of it?
Kevin Goldstein: Could it be any worse than your average Bad Religion album? To answer the baseball question here: No.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): Who's your favorite MIN pitching prospect? Are you a big draft pick guy (Garza, Swarzek, Perkins, et al) or more a results guy (Slowey, Morlen)?
Kevin Goldstein: I'll take Garza, but it has nothing to do with where he was drafted or his results. It's a combination of scouting and results. Beer and tacos my good man.
Liam (Toms River): You said in one of your NL West wrap ups that Doherty threws in the high 80's. However, because he's 7-1, wouldn't a bit closer to the plate, meaning it actually looks like 91 or so?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes it would, which certainly helps him. For what it's worth, Doherty has been pretty darn good for South Bend this year, but as you are from his home town, I'm guessing you know this.
Nick (WH): best Cohen bros film? Worst? Funniest?
Kevin Goldstein: Best: Barton Fink
Worst: Hudsucker Proxy
Funniest: Big Lebowski
And yes, I can get you a toe -- with polish.
Kevin Goldstein: And with that I am out of here. The dude abides.