No foolin'! Kevin Goldstein checks in to talk rookies and those who will be rookies later this season.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, misunderstanding on the time folks. I had 1pm my time, not 1pm ET. My bad. I'm either on time or way late and I apologize. I'll make up for it.
Jason (Work... ): KG:
Two nice perfomances last night from prospect status speedesters: Gomez and Bourn. I know your middling on Gomez, but given roles to lose, what do you expect from these guys this year? 30 steals each out of the question?
Kevin Goldstein: It's hard to base anything on one game, but early indications are the Astros are going to run a lot with Bourn, so he could steal 30-40 for sure. Gomez I think will be better than PECOTA -- not great, but better than that is. He's not a huge steal guy though, I'll be he swipes 23.
Nathaniel (VA): Rumor has it the A's are starting Matt Sulentic in Stockton. Thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: There's a real mental aspect to developing players that shouldn't be ignored. You send a guy to Low A in his third year and that can be really demoralizing and you need to take that into account. The hope here is that the Cal League helps him and he can find himself. He was totally lost last year, but there's still a glimmer of hope.
rikter (Orange County): Yo KG tear apart this potential top 5 for the upcoming draft.
1. Rays - Aaron Crow
2. Pirates - Brian Matusz
3. Royals - Tim Beckham
4. Orioles - Pedro Alvarez
5. Giants - Tanner Scheppers
You have the top two college arms, the best high school bat, the best bat that will fall due to bonus demands and injury, and finally a pitcher that I feel sits just behind the top two and just in front of the next group of college arms. Let me have it!
Kevin Goldstein: I think you have the first four guys right talent wise, but I don't think you have the order right -- remember, it's only April 1, and MUCH will still change. As far as #5 goes, Sheppers seems like a BIT of a reach, but only a bit. Right now, people seem to be in agreement on those first four guys being the first four guys, but ask 10 people who No. 5 is and you get 10 different answers.
Roel Torres (Somerville): Hi Kevin,
Thanks for the chat. You, Keith Law, and Jim Callis are my lifelines for knowledgable prospect discussion (but your expertise of Japanese RPG's crushes Keith Law's!) My question is this: why doesn't there seem to be a market for Brandon Moss? He seems like the kind of outfielder who could hit .285 with 25 HRs in the majors (especially in the weaker NL.) He also provides plus defense at the corners, and comes at a very affordable price. That seems like a great deal -- am I delusional? Shouldn't a team like the Mets or the Padres (who are playing JODY GERUT in left field) take a look at this guy? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: I'll tell you folks, all of a sudden, the PSP is the platform for JRPGs -- go get one. I'm not saying Brandon Moss doesn't have value, but what evidence do we have that he can hit 25 home runs? His career high in the minors is 16, and that's always been the concern.
gmulligan1 (Kew Gdns, NY): Is there any hope at all that Omar Minaya might do some research and take the amateur draft seriously this year?
Kevin Goldstein: They have a ton of picks this year, and they're willing to spend money -- that's the early word on the streets.
Walter L (Orono, ME): After "Revamping his mechanics" this offseason, would Volquez fall in your top 100 right now? If so, around where? What kind of pitcher does he end up being?
Kevin Goldstein: Edinson's pitched 80 innings in the big leagues, so he wouldn't be eligible. That said, I've always been a huge fan of his upside, and I'm in the extreme minority it seems in thinking that the Reds got the better end of that deal.
Lonestar (Deep in the heart of Texas): Where does Jemile Weeks currently slot? Would he be too much of a risk for the Twins at #14? Seems like a perfect fit.
Kevin Goldstein: 14 seems a little high, but he could work his way up there. He's added a power element to his game, and his kind of athleticism is hard to find in the college ranks this year. I'll have much more on him in part 2 of the draft notebook later this week.
Jeff (DC): Love your work, Kevin. What can we ideally expect to see from the D-backs' Jarrod Parker in 2008?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a teenage arm, so there's no huge expectatoins. He's going to join Low A South Bend a week or two late and really all you want is 100+ innings, health, and positive development. Numbers are almost irrelevant.
Jim Bowden (Washington, DC): Did I make the right decission sending John Lannan down to AAA instead of Matt Chico to start the season?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely.
tycobb (ga): tim beckham; great player or greatest player?
Kevin Goldstein: Personally, based on plenty of discussions with people in the know, he's the top talent in the draft.
Jmast7 (NY, NY): What you you do with the draft this year if you were the Mets? Are there any high-priced Boras clients who might fall?
Kevin Goldstein: You're going to see fewer players dropping this year I think. Fewer teams are going along with the slots from what I can tell. Maybe a guy like Gerrit Cole would flop, maybe Alvarez will go down if the early rumors on his money demands are true.
Angry JD (Charlottesville, VA): Kevin, where are the Monday Morning Ten Packs? Two weeks in a row I haven't seen them! Help me get through my Professional Responsibility class...
Kevin Goldstein: 10 packs are hard during those two weeks because all the prospects are off in minor league camp playing games we don't have info on, and I don't want to turn it into all college and step on Mr. Smith's toes. You'll get a special 10 pack on Friday after minor league Opening Day.
John S. (Huntsville, AL): What would the hitting equivalent to Sidd Finch in a hitting prospect be?
Kevin Goldstein: Toe Nash.
Craig (Long Island, NY): Do you see Joba having more wins or saves?
Kevin Goldstein: Wins. There's this Mariano guy on that team you should hear about.
Matt (Saint Paul): KG--your articles and prospect updates are getting me through law school--thank you! What do you expect Franklin Morales's line to look like at the end of the year? Big split between the first and second half? Could he have some value in a fairly deep mixed league as a match-up guy?
Kevin Goldstein: Dude, quit reading me and study more. We need good lawyers. Gimme a 4.61 ERA, 173.2 IP, 173 H, 78 BB, 148 Ks.
Wait, 146 Ks.
Jonathan (Brooklyn): Do you see Headley forcing the Padres hand soon with a hot first month or so in AAA, and will he keep it up once he hits the bigs?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, yes.
I'm a big believer in that guy.
Dan McKay (Albuquerque, NM): Have Gordon Beckham or Kyle Skipworth hit their way into the No. 5 to No 9 pick range?
Kevin Goldstein: Skipworth yes; Beckham, getting there.
Dan McKay (Albuquerque, NM): Is there any chance Eric Hosmer or Justin Smoak could handle left field along the lines of Matt Laporta?
Kevin Goldstein: It's an interesting question. I do think there's a shot that the whole LaPorta thing could start a trend, where the thinking is "hey, it's left field, so who cares?". Smoak is a pretty decent defender -- maybe he could do it. Hosmer's a tougher question because his body isn't done yet.
Greg (NYC): Hi Kevin, good to have you chatting today! How concerned are you about Michael Saunders' improvement being a High Desert mirage?
Also, I keep trying to get this one in... Mojo Nixon, yay or nay? This is important stuff!
Kevin Goldstein: I like Saunders quite a bit. I think High Desert help his power, but I think his pure hitting and on-base skills are very real.
lammmster (Long Island NY): Madison Bumgarner has some kinks to work out this season, what is his ceiling and is it higher than tim alderson
Kevin Goldstein: This is one of those funky situations. Bumgarner's ceiling is higher than Alderson, but he's nowhere near as safe a bet.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Does Andrew Brackman come back from injury and match performance with his high-upside tools?
Kevin Goldstein: Sorry, just not a believer in that one. Not one bit.
Rob (Oakland): Kevin - Can Gordon Beckham stick at SS in the pros? I've seen a report that he might have to move to 2B. Is this accurate, and why 2B and not 3B?
Kevin Goldstein: Reviews are mixed -- more on him as well in part two of the draft notebook.
MA (Athens, GA): It seems like every year around this time, I hear or read stories about how spring training is too long, then get to watch games like last night's Braves/Pirates matchup where I watch and wonder just what they were doing down there for three weeks. I realize this is anecdotal, but would there be an advantage to a team that, perhaps, decided on their regulars with a week left in spring training and then played those people together for longer than an at-bat or two?
Kevin Goldstein: It's one game. Far too little to make some sort of blanket judgement. I saw a lot of crisp baseball as well. The general feeling in the industry is that the pitchers really need this much time, but the position players are pretty much sick of the whole thing by mid-march.
billy (portland): not a prospect question, more of a fantasy quesiton: jeremy bonderman... can he be as good as verlander this year?
Kevin Goldstein: No, but I think Verlander could win the Cy Young this year.
denny187 (WI): What, or who, should the Brewers target this year in the draft? Are they willing to spend the money to get high-upside guys with their many top-100 picks?
Kevin Goldstein: I think the Brewers have consistently taken high upside guys with their first round picks under Jack Z., and they've done a pretty good job with them as well. Expect that to continue.
Larry (Georgia): I've read some discussions on various blogs that Angel Villalona might eventually become the best prospect in baseball. Would you agree? I think he has that kind of potential.
Kevin Goldstein: Might eventually? Couldn't I saw that about 40-50 guys, maybe more?
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Is it just me or is Nate Schierholtz's swing really funky and awkward looking? I can't see him ever hitting for power despite being a "strong kid".
Kevin Goldstein: He's fixed some of it, but there's still a lot of bat wrap there, and the swing is definitely long. I don't think if effects his power, but I think he's beatable.
Glenn (Frankfort): Any truth to the rumor you have been offered a position with the A's?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, and I accepted. Look for me in section 202 down the rightfield lines. I'm the fat, bald guy with an earring hawking peanuts.
Jonathan (IN): am i crazy when i look on paper and see the brewers as equal or better to the cubs... those bats could really mash, and they have the starters... aren't they a bullpen upgrade away from stealing the division?
Kevin Goldstein: You're not crazy. I think they're the favorites in the Central . . . or should be.
Stefan (Barbersville): Aaron Crow has been redonkulous lately. Has he distanced himself from Brian Matusz as the top college arm?
Kevin Goldstein: Passed him? yes. Distanced himself? The gap is still closable.
Dan (Denver): You seem to like Chris Nelson, while BP 2008 says that his 2007 line is a "California mirage" and he's "at best a utiliy infielder" in the bigs. I take it you didn't write that profile? Which side is right?
Kevin Goldstein: Why I am of course! As you probably know, BP08 is a group effort, and so I guess you see some of our disagreements there. I think he's a very good prospect, and much more than a utility player.
Sam (Annapolis, MD): Do you think the orioles will get Mark Teixiera when he becomes a free agent?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Absolutely not.
TGisriel (Baltimore): At a season ticket holder's forum on Saturday, the O's GM MacPhail said that the organization believes in slow and steady advancement of its young pitchers. As an example, he noted that despite an excellent season last year at A+ Frederick, Chorye Spoon was not invited to the major league camp and is likely to go to AA Bowie to begin this season. He said that he's hoping to get the Orioles to the position they were in in 1982-1983 when Mike Boddicker could not break his way into the majors until he was 29 (in 1983),but when he did come up he was really ready.
What are your thoughts on that philosophy of development. It's sure a change from the philosophy that brought up Daniel Cabrera from A ball in the middle of the season!
Kevin Goldstein: Actually, Boddicker was 25 in 83, and got brief looks in each of the three previous years. Luckily, the 40-man roster and option systems prevent the O's from hording prospects in the minors until they're all 29 and 'really ready.' Really ready is a totally realative term and each player is different. Wasn't Andruw Jones really ready at 19? Griffey?
Jay (Red Hook): Will the yankees make the playoffs? With the inexperience in the rotation and the shaky arms in the bullpen, they might be the fifth best team in the AL.
Kevin Goldstein: Really? The fifth best?
james (BK): after sam's question... no one is talking about just how much cash the yanks have coming off the books in the next couple years: abreu, giambi, pettitte, damon, matsui... i think its upwards of 100m
is it a lock in light of this that we'll see guys like sabathia, teixeira, dunn, maybe even scott kazmir, on the yankees in the next two years? could be all of them.
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. The Yankees will sign every good free agent out there, because that's what happens every year right? What? it doesn't? How weird. Just because they're the Yankees doesn't mean they get EVERY player people. They'll get some, but they don't get every one. What's the total value of Teixeira, C.C. and Kazmir's impending FA deals? 400 million?
bateman19 (Boston): AJ Mass over at ESPN said today he sees Conor Jackson being a top 10 NL hitter this season...do you think this year will be Jackson's breakout season? 100/25/100/5/320 possible?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know who A.J. Mass is. Is he Hacking's brother? I also don't REALLY know what those five slashes are. I'm guessing it's a fantasy thing, but I don't play fantasy.
I will say this. Joe Sheehan always has his guys and his piece on his guys. If I was doing the opposite, if I was doing anti-guys who are NOT going to break out but in fact go backwards -- Conor Jackson is one of the first to come to mind.
Think about what Jackson did last year, and then think about Tony Clark. Basically, in 2007, the team took away Jackson's 175-200 toughest at-bats and gave them to Tony Clark. This year, he gets them back. Don't expect upward numbers with that situation.
aaron (cincy): what can reds fans expect out of cueto in his first start?
Kevin Goldstein: A very excited kid with a small body and huge arm.
Brian (Nashville): With the electric stuff Crow has flashed over the past year, why does anyone still have Matusz rated higher? Matusz seems like he has a higher floor, but Crow is filthy when he's on and he has been fantastic this season.
Kevin Goldstein: Matusz has the deeper arsenal and might be the safer pick, but yes, Crow has the more impressive arm.
Brian (Nashville): Kevin, thanks for the chat.
Between Tim Melville and Gerrit Cole, who is the best pro prospect? It sounds like Cole has the better stuff, but his future might lie in the bullpen. Does it sound like teams are preferring one over the other at this point?
Kevin Goldstein: Cole is really plummeting of late, mostly on makeup. He's kind of the Kyle Drabek of this year's draft.
Bill (Tempe, AZ): KG, you said earlier that there's not enough info on minor league spring training to do a Monday morning 10-pack. Hey, I sent you a picture of Kyle Blanks with his new '70s-era afro. What more do you need for a column???
Kevin Goldstein: This is Bill Mitchell folks. One of our photographers. If you ever see a great photo from a team that has camp in Arizona -- Bill took it.
He also has a great sense for the fun in the game. The Daric Barton mohawk pic, the one with Carlos Zambrano on a bike. We love Bill.
I'm rooting for Kyle Blanks, if only to use that photo for a 10 pack.
ChrisLDuncan (Ames, IA): Two questions Kevin: Is Crisis Core a must own? And what kind of upside does Carmen Angelini have? Is it anywhere near the Tabata/Jackson range?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't have Crisis Core yet, but it's on my list.
Believe it or not, I've been playing a ton of Hot Shots Golf on the PS3 lately. I'm not a golfer, but I likes me some video game golf and HSG combines that AND weird Japanese stuff -- can't beat that. Look me up if you ever want to play online. I'm usually a few strokes behind Rocco DeMaro, who you Pirates fans with radios should know quite well.
alskor (Boston): You were one of the few to have Engle Beltre rated in your top 100. What do you see him in that warrents this placement despite being only 17?
Kevin Goldstein: Tools out the ying?
Matt (Chicago): After the inevitable injury to a Dodgers starter, is Kershaw the most likely candidate for a call up to a rotation spot (even on a temporary basis)? If he does not get a look this year, what is his likely progression considering he's starting the year at AA?
Kevin Goldstein: I think you'll see him it September, and I think this is his last year in the minors.
poludamas (Cambridge): For power hitting this year: Justin Upton or Adam Jones?
Kevin Goldstein: Honestly, that's pretty much a wash for me -- I think both will hit 18-22.
wileecoyote121 (Larchmont, NY): As a primer for some of us, and I know it's still early, who are the top guys who are "connected" with Scott Boras right now? Has there been any effect on his amateur clientele based on the A-Rod and Rogers issues or is he still golden with the young guys?
Kevin Goldstein: Alvarez and Crow are both Boras, as is Hosmer and Cole. Another busy and fruitful year for the Scott Boras Corp.
Wayne (Chicago): Settle this debate, Smoak or Alonso? Thanks!
Kevin Goldstein: Alonso by a hair . . . for now.
ronny (SF bay): is brett anderson the real catch in the snakes package for haren? are the a's on the right path to contention in 2011? LAST, don't they need to make a blanton or street deal this summer to really make headway.
Kevin Goldstein: He's one of them; or earlier; what makes you think they're not trying to?
DeMaro (Highlands G.C.): Gun to your head, who do the Bucs take at #2?
Also, your short game is a mess.
Kevin Goldstein: Dude, my short game is my strength! I just need to play more to get guys who can match your 280-300 yard drives! Right now, I'll say Aaron Crow. Again, it's April. See you online later.
ChrisLDuncan (Ames, IA): No stuff on Angelini?
Kevin Goldstein: Oh crap. I was just excited about Hot Shots Golf. Angelini has tremendous upside based solely on his athleticism, but his rawness puts him firmly on the high-risk side of the ledger.
Mario66 (Toronto): In a shallow draft for college OF'ers, can Roger Kieshnick hit his way into the end of the first round if he continues at this pace (series against the Longhorns notwithstanding)?
Kevin Goldstein: Good sleeper pick. He's definitely a guy who's been generating some buzz of late. Before you ask, he's NOT Brook's brother.
David (Boston): I reachedvout and grabbed Billy Butler in the 10th round of my fantasy draft (points leaugewhere walks count). What do you see him doing in '08?
Kevin Goldstein: .290/.360/.510?
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Dude, I passed on Lars Anderson in my keeper league's prospect draft (for LaPorta, Heyward, and Towles in the three rounds we did) based on your dismissal of him--or at least more sketpical take on him.
Not a question...more of an FYI.
Kevin Goldstein: You did the right thing.
Tommy (OPS,FL): Do you think the Rays will promote Davis and McGee to AAA this year?
Kevin Goldstein: They're both beginning the year at Double-A Montgomery.
Frank (Chicago): What's you opinion of scouting director Tim Wilken? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: He's fantastic.
yov (Co. Springs): I don't hear about Casey Weathers much... is he going to be a good play this year? Is he the nearterm successor to Corpas and if not, why draft a reliever in the first round?
Kevin Goldstein: He's definitely seen as the closer of the future for the Rockies, and he's starting his first full season in Double-A, so he's expected to move quickly. That's why you draft a reliever in the first round, to be a closer, and quickly.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, I got part two of a draft notebook to get done before Christina gets all mad at me. So you around, and so glad to be going to some real baseball games this week.