Kevin Goldstein writes "Future Shock" for Baseball Prospectus.
Kevin Goldstein: Hey, kids. I'm three minutes late and for that I apologize. Let's get going on a glorious Wednesday afternoon here in DeKalb.
Joe (Washington, DC): Hi Kevin. I'd be curious to hear your take on Phil Hughes. Obviously the sample size is extremely small, but we've heard everything from a) his velocity is down to b) whispers (per the Michael Kay radio show) that Orioles hitters thought he wasn't anything special to c) more whispers from inside the Yankee clubhouse that he isn't that great. I guess my question is: does this still seem like the same guy who was so terrific in the minors? Can he still wind up as an ace?
Kevin Goldstein: His stuff is definitely off a bit. I'm not OVERLY concerned yet, but it's something to keep an eye on. If I was a Yankee fan, I'd be WAY more concerned with Ian Kennedy's command issues right now.
B (Springfield, MO): Reading Tim Brown's column on Yahoo yesterday there was more talk about Joba's "brutal medical" and how he needs to remain a reliever. Do you have any insight on this? Was there some mysterious surgery in college that HIPAA has hidden from us? Has his shoulder been reconstructed with chicken wire and bailing twine and we haven't heard?
Kevin Goldstein: Chamberlain has a medical, but it's not brutal. Chin Hui-Tsao has a brutal medical. Chamberlain has had some issue in the past with weight and a arm issue in his junior year as well as some other minor stuff. It's not a GREAT medical, but it's hardly brutal, and I don't think it should prevent making him a starter eventually.
lemppi (Ankeny IA): What teams will cling to the "slotting system" and what clubs will change direction to go over-slot besides the Mets? Will Detroit have anyone tasty drop to them again this year even close to Porcello or has that door closed on them at #21? Thank you.
Kevin Goldstein: Right now, things are lining up for fewer teams to play by the rules, which means fewer players dropping. I think we actually might be lining up for the top four talents to go in the first four picks. How weird is that?
Ryan (Utica, NY): How would your organization rankings look if you included not just minor leaguers, but all players age 25 and under? Would Tampa Bay still be #1?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, and easily.
big baby (nj): What do you think of the Mets AA team's performance? Namely, the holy trinity of Carp, Evans, and Murphy? Carp is only 21 years old, so could a legit breakout be in the offing?
Kevin Goldstein: They're all off to fanstastic starts. They're hardly great prospects. I think Murphy is the best pure hitter there, but I still don't see any of them as future stars.
chris (brooklyn, ny): heard any records worth mentioning yet this year, Kevin?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm 39 years old. I'm locked in. New music is dead to me. Now excuse my while I fumble for a Big Black CD to put in. I also find this new trend where every band is made up from a bunch of art school rejects playing incredibly sweet melodic stuff incredibly annoying. Is nobody angry anymore?
dootstev (Commerce, MI): Do you see Mark Reynolds keeping up his hot start, or will the constant Ks begin to haunt him?
Kevin Goldstein: B.
raygu1 (nj): Who is Jason Heyward's top comparison once he makes it to the bigs? Is he a 30-30 guy out of the gate?
Kevin Goldstein: Is anybody a 30-30 player out of the gate? That's a pretty lofty expectation, and I'm a huge Heyward fan. It's rare for a player with Heyward's size to maintain that kind of speed. I think he has huge star potential as a OBP/SLG guy, but I dont' think he's gonna steal 30 a year.
Datsyuk (Philly): Should Reese Havens start getting fitted for his Red Sox?
Kevin Goldstein: It's April, and you're spending time projection the 30th pick in the draft. I think you should start getting fitted for a straight jacket.
Charlie (NYC): Is the Charleston team the greatest minor league team ever? And with all the depth the Yankees have in their lower levels in the minors, how good will this system be in about 2 or 3 years?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. They all have been touched by angels, and glow with a holy light. Every one of them will be a Hall of Famer. Look, it's a good minor league team, with plenty of good prospects. It's a very good system. But it's not historic on any level. I have tons of questions like this in the que, someone assure me that all Yankee fans aren't like this, and that it's just because there are more Yankee fans that this happens. Please? Anyone?
herb stencil (jersey city, nj): I sent you this question yesterday not realizing you were going to do a chat. Here it is again.
Which of the two Beckhams, Gordon or Tim do you think has the higher upside? Which is more of a sure thing to be a big time major leaguer?
Thanks as always.
Kevin Goldstein: Tim has the much higher upside. Gordon is probably a slightly safer bet, just because of the age.
Bill (Toronto): I could tolerate the Jays' release of Thomas if Snider was knocking the door down in the minors but is there any justifaction for doing it to get Joe Inglett and Shannon Stewart at bats?
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe. On paper, it was a stupid thing to do. At the same time, of all the information regarding the release and what happened, you and I probably know 20% of it.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): How's Wlad Balentien doing? Will doen't cover minor-league injuries.
Kevin Goldstein: Man, if Will tried to cover minor league injuries too, he'd go totally insane. Oh, wait . . .
I kid, I kid! Balentien smashed his knee into some concrete going for a sliding catch. I guess it was a pretty good knock and he's going to miss a few days, but right now they see no serious damage.
alex (ma): Why on earth has Masterson not broken into your ten packs yet?
Kevin Goldstein: Because I only have room for 10. Plus sometimes I save guys when I have good stuff. Today was AL Central Notebook, that means next week is AL East notebook, and I just tlked to a scout about Masterson and Bowden, so you'll get cool stuff on him there.
Phil (NY): So far so good for Betances. Do you see him sky rocketing up prospect lists for next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Skyrocketing? no. Up significantly if he stays healthy all year? Absolutely.
don (ann arbor, MI): Hey Kevin, I was glad to see your note on James Skelton today; everything I've ever seen about him boils down to "he's small for a catcher, so we'll see if he sticks..." But I cannot for the life of me understand exactly why a guy who's strong and athletic, but happens to weigh 165 lbs, is considered "too small" to catch everday in the bigs. There are effective NHL players who weigh 165 lbs. How does an extra 20 pounds help a guy catch everyday? Seems to me that a catching prospect shouldn't be dinged for being too light.
Kevin Goldstein: It's a really good question Don. Catching is an incredibly physically taxing job, and the fear among slightly built players is that the grind of catching 140 games a year will just wear them out, leading to injuries and 2nd half slumps. There are effective 165 pound NHL players, but are they defensemen? It's really hard to figure it out, and it's definitely a weird thing to watch him play. There's no judgement here, but behind the plate, he just looks strange, solely because of his size. Skinny catchers are weird looking.
Tom (Oregon): Any reason to think John Bowker can keep this up? Or at least be an above average mlb first baseman.
Kevin Goldstein: No; probalby not -- more of a Greg Colbrunn type?
JM (DC): Hey Kevin, a few questions about Phillies prospects. Jason Donald was hitting well in Reading before hurting his hand, are scouts starting to come around on him or is he still a utility guy? Also, what do you make of Greg Golson's fast start? Just a 3 week flash in the pan, or is he turning it around? He's posting the highest walk rate of his career right now...
Kevin Goldstein: I actually like Donald quite a bit offensively, but defensively, he's got a little Jed Lowrie in him where he's playing there, and he's holding his own, but it's not really what you want there glove wise. Golson is a total tool shed, and what he's doing right now is one of the top things to keep your eye in early in the season.
Tommy (OPS,FL): Can we expect other players to get 44 million dollar contracts after a week or do you think Longoria and the Rays are a special case?
Kevin Goldstein: Special talent is special talent. Believe it or not, the Rays almost did a deal like this with Upton while he was still in Triple-A. I still think you'll eventually see something like that.
John (Tampa): Please tell me the Rays won't pick Buster Posey according to Gammons because of the dearth of catching prospects in the draft. If they wanted a catcher, why didn't they draft Matt Wieters? Also do you consider this draft to have better top three talent than last year?
Kevin Goldstein: They probably won't pick Posey, but they are playing it VERY close to the vest, and their pool of players to select at No. 1 is still quite sizeable; They didn't draft Wieters because they thought Price was a better prospect, period; This draft does not in any way whatsoever have better top talent than last year. It has less elite talent, but probably more good talent.
Chris (St. Louis): Jaime Garcia is off to a great start. If his elbow issues are behind him, and his control seems to be better this year, what's his ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: He's been outstanding. Very good #3 starter. Before anyone gets worked up about that, that is NOT an insult, that's a high compliment.
thegreg7 (Cleveland): Is Jeff Mathis for real?
Kevin Goldstein: 1146 OPS real? of course not. Above-average offensive catcher in the end? Still wouldn't shock me.
Pat (Chicago): Hey Kevin, do the Cubs have any Carlos Marmol type arms lying in the weeds in AA or AAA?
Kevin Goldstein: If they did, they certainly wouldn't be lying in the weeds. YOu can't with that kind of stuff. Jose Ceda might have that kind of stuff, but he's in High A right now.
don (ann arbor, MI): where I'm from, tool-shed is an insult.
Kevin Goldstein: Scouting world, that's high praise. Nothing funner than talking to scouts -- they really have their own language.
jay (madison): brandon erbe is repeating high A but he's still only 20 years old. Is this just a few good starts or something to get excited about and how excited should we be?
Kevin Goldstein: Get so excited. And just don't hide it. Are you about to lose control? Do you like it?
fellajsmall (GA): Thoughts on Wes Hodges??he has put up similar numbers at the same levels Headley, Fields, and Koufmanoff did.
Is he a solid regular?
Kevin Goldstein: I think I'm higher on him that most. Tribe 3B of the future, and the future is coming soon.
Tim (NY): Can you tell the mainstream fan and media people that Joba should be in the rotation and not in the bullpen. Sure the 8th inning is important but when you have Mike Mussina in your rotation, you take the unknown big time talented arm right?
Kevin Goldstein: Joba should be in the rotation and not in the bullpen. How's that?
Arnold Layne (Cambridge): Do you see Scott Moore having a set position when he gets an extended look in the Majors or will he have to make it as a utility player?
Kevin Goldstein: I see him as a corner bench kinda guy. I don't know if he's a true utility type, because he can't play up the middle.
Philip (Florida): When is Jesus Montero moving to first? I don't think his body is made for catching.
Kevin Goldstein: It's not. He's come a long way defensively though. I don't think it's enough, but give him some credit for doing it. But man o man can he hit.
Fred Bird (St. Louis): Should Cardinals Fans be worried about Rasmus's performance in AAA?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. It's three weeks, it means nothing. Go find your favorite player, go find his best season, and go find his game logs for that season. I guarantee you'll be able to find a pretty dissapointing 20 game run.
jay (madison): Quoting lyrics from the pointer sisters? For shame. Garrett Olson is looking sharp at AAA (again). Can he be a solid mlb starter or does he not have the goods. (hint for answer. If you use "happy" you could quote from Nirvana and regain your standing).
Kevin Goldstein: What's worse? The Pointer Sisters or Nirvana? That's pretty much a tossup for me. Seriously, anyone, tell me how many times you've listed to Nevermind in the past three years -- I thought so. Now, back to baseball! I'm still a believer in Olson as a back-of-the-rotation piece, but those guys only get so many chances when they get called up to fill that role quickly.
Arnold Layne (Cambridge): Right now, Jack Cust is getting fed almost nothing but off-speed pitches following his mashing of HRs last year. Did AAA pitchers do the same thing to him?
Kevin Goldstein: Look, the guy hit .256 last year while striking out 164 times in 395 at-bats. It doesn't take an Ivy League education to figure out that's not sustainable. You'll never see that again.
Harold (Ithica): Brian Bannister...
I dont get it. Do you?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't. And it bothers the hell out of me.
ddknowles77 (cold, rainy Oregon): Have you heard much about David Cooper--1B from Cal? His numbers are incredible (something like 400/500/800--playing in the PAC-10) Where he goes in the draft and who he compares to?
Kevin Goldstein: He kind of gets lost in the shuffle this year because the draft is just loaded with big, hulking, slugging 1B types, like Alonso and Smoak. He's still moved up significantly and could slide into the bottom part of the first round.
Jeff N (Lawyerville FLA): Hey Kevin, what do you know about Antonio Bastardo? Hes striking out like 20 guys per 9 innings right now. Is he just a fastball pitcher abusing weak hitters?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, 34 in 22.2 innings, but still damn good!. Tony the Bastard is a little lefty is good command and a great changeup. Not a lot of projection, but could end up a bullpen piece.
Manny (Cincy): Edinson (Edison?) Volquez has been very impressive, starting from Spring Training to now. I saw his game last night and loved the 95 mph heat followed up by the low 80s changeup. He didn't show much in the way of a 3rd pitch, but his 1-2 are knockout style. Do you think he can sustain a long and effective career as a starter with just 2 pitches?
Kevin Goldstein: YES, yes I do. I know Hamilton is raking, but I still think the Reds got the better part of that deal. And I'll bet a burrito on it.
Juan Duran ((Billings, MT)): Cameron Maybin's K problems seem to be getting worse, not better. How concerning is this?
Kevin Goldstein: It's concerning where you start to wonder if he's really just Mike Cameron in the end. I'm not convinced of that . . . yet.
Rob (Bloomington, IL): What kind of player does Brandon Crawford project as? How far away is he?
Kevin Goldstein: He's got a ton of tools -- way more tools than Gordon Beckham for example, but at the same time, they just don't show up in game production enough. Sandwich pick? Lots of upside for a college guy, but more risk too.
jphan44 (somerville MA): is justin upton for real this season? or is it going to be a couple more seasons before we really see him start to dominate?
i see a lot of a young junior griffey in his swing
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, yes, great, fantastic, monster, massive, huge, massive, gush, wowsa, enormous, OMG!, megaton, etc.
JasonC23 (Huntley, IL): Discouraging words about Josh Fields in your AL Central roundup today. Is there anything in the White Sox system worth getting excited about? I mean really excited about? (And this probably won't help, but Nirvana is my all-time favorite band and I've listened to Nevermind at least a few times a week since it came out. In Utero is better, though.)
Kevin Goldstein: It might be the worst system in baseball, so no, not really!. In Utero is a better album. It's still not great.
SJLedet (Alexandria, La): Tommy Hanson, what is his ceiling? Will he make to Atlanta this year?
Kevin Goldstein: No. 2 or 3; No, he's only in High-A -- be patient.
tfierst (MN): Has Anthony Swarzak taken a step forward this year? Is he projectable as a 2, high-3?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; yes. Talked to a scout about him this week, and the review was awfully good.
uncasf1 (Raleigh NC): Will the A's take the best available talent at 12 even if that is a high schooler?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes.
murphy654321 (Waltham, MA): Do you have a personal assistant? Do you need one? Where do i apply?
Kevin Goldstein: No; Yes; Do you do laundry?
Marcus (Fairfax): Whats your thoughts on Jordan Zimmerman??
Kevin Goldstein: Like it a lot, and he's off to a great start. Plus FB, plus BB, good command -- he could be a solid big league starter. That Potomac staff is pretty loaded, but one guy you may not have heard about is Jhonny Nunez, a lanky Dominican with 28 strikeouts against just two walks in 20.2 innings. 92-93 mph FB, low 80s SL with good break -- nice sleeper in that system.
Mike (Raleigh NC): Neftali Feliz. Rough start so far at low A after a lot was expected. Future starting #1 ace? Future stud closer? Or are we still in the wait and see mode? How would you compare his upside to Jordan Walden?
Kevin Goldstein: As expected, he's very up and down. His last start was four innings and four runs, but at the same time, the first four innings were no-hit, and then he fell off a cliff. Still a stud.
Dave (Chicago): Any hope for Italiano, Lansford, or Mazzaro, the trio of high school pitchers the A's drafted in 2005?
Kevin Goldstein: Italiano has been really dealing here in Kane County, with 29 Ks in 19 innings and touching 95 mph with his fastball. I think he's the best of the bunch, but I like him better as a reliever in the end.
Matt (St. Paul): How long do the A's wait for Jack Cust to come around? Chris Carter has been red-hot lately...could he fill the DH hole this year, or is it too early? Also, will Carlos Gonzalez replace Ryan Sweeney in center this season?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm just not sure what they replace him with right now -- you're WAY too early on Carter. Gonzalez SHOULD replace Sweeney, but they might be saving him for '09. C-Gon is the far better player, and I've never been a Sweeney fan.
hsrhee (ct): Nobody is talking about Clete Thomas for the tigers. I love this kid. fast, strong arm and seems to come up with hits in the right spots. any chance he sticks and gets playing time ahead of jacque jones?
Kevin Goldstein: I really like Thomas too -- but probalby as a good bench outfielder as opposed to an every day guy.
Taylor (Toronto): If I kidnapped Adam Lind and brought him down to Orlando the Jays would have to play him over Joe Inglett right?
Kevin Goldstein: You supply the van, and I'll drive.
John (Burlington, Ky): Chances of Todd Frazier staying at SS? Will he hit enough to be an everyday corner infielder?
Kevin Goldstein: Chances are slim!; Chances are good!
David (Sonoma State University, CA): Enjoyed "The Office" so far?
Kevin Goldstein: Don't watch it. I have the British version on DVD! The TV has been filled with the Britsh comedy 'Spaced' a lot lately, and Top Chef. And various movies. Everyone, go add 'Kontroll' to your NetFlix list. Thank me later.
Ira (North Texas): With Broussard and Botts struggling and the Rangers seemingly lost against left handed pitching, how long till we see Chris Davis in Arlington? And if you have an actual date, let me know, so I can go to that game :) (Bring back the Hair Bands!!!!)
Kevin Goldstein: It's not like Texas is going to win anything this year, so why bring Davis up? He's probably going to get a September look, and I think he's pretty clearly their 1B of the future, and a good one. I can't believe there are still people out there who think Botts can hit.
astein (Boston): Felix Doubront is tearing it up at Low-A Greeneville. After today's start, he has a 24/1 K:BB ratio, in 20 innings pitched.
Is it reasonable for me to be excited about him, yet?
Kevin Goldstein: Define excited. He's pitching great, but he's a lefty with plus breaking stuff, so that shouldn't shock you in Low A. He's a decent prospect, but I wouldn't go around telling Dodgers fans to forget about Clayton Kershaw because the Red Sox have Felix Doubront or anything. Decent prospect.
Ben (Philly): Rational Yankees fan here. What are your thoughts on Abraham Almonte? Seems to be liking his first taste of full season ball and I don't know a lot about him.
Kevin Goldstein: Really intriguing guy. Good tools, above-average speed and suprsing juice in his bat for a small guy. Good contact as well, especially for a teenager. I'm not sure how big his upside is, but he's definitely an intriguing guy well worth watching.
AF (brooklyn): Can you please say something nice about a Giants' position prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm a big Nick Noonan fan, and he's hitting well in the Sally League, although it would be nice if he took a walk . . . just one. Pablo Sandoval remains the best kept secret in that system.
Rob (Bloomington, IL): Is Ronny Cedeno's breakout to this point real? What could he do given a starting gig?
Kevin Goldstein: I have a history of saying Cedeno is good, and I still think he's good. He's better than Ryan Theriot RIGHT NOW.
straymond (toronto ): i do not see any stats for a group of Puerto Rican prospects who all got drafted last year - Angel Morales, Neftali Soto,Emmanuel Quiles and Reynaldo Navarro - is there some kind of visa issue or something else that is stopping these guys from playing?
Kevin Goldstein: Um. They're from Puerto Rico -- they're full U.S. citizens. They're also all very young and a bit raw, so they're being held beck for short-season leagues.
Chuck (Richmond): If you were allowed to pick any amateur player in the draft (including college freshmen and sophomores) how much different would the first round be? Any changes at the top? Who's is the rule restricting draft eligibility designed to protect? The teams, players, or college baseball?
Kevin Goldstein: It would be VERY different. It's designed to protect teams. Scouting staffs are often stretched as it is, I can't imagine them being forced to look at guys who MIGHT be eligible.
tjoconn (the chi): If Pedora continues to struggle to find a second pitch, how long will it take for the Sox to move him to the bullpen and see if he can become a BJ Ryan type of reliever?
Any thoughts on Danks and Floyd's impressive starts?
Kevin Goldstein: At the very least, you keep Poreda as a starter because he's not going to develop his secondary pitches without innings. Floyd I'm not sold on, Danks I'm totally sold on. That new cutter is a real weapon.
Bill (Toronto): The Lansing Lugnuts have an interesting team loaded with players from the Jays '07 draft, any guys that really impress you?
Kevin Goldstein: TONS. I like Kevin Ahrens, I LOVE Justin Jackson and I think Yoherman Chavez is underrated. The future of the Jays really does reside in Lansing right now.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): Top Chef?...........wow.
Kevin Goldstein: What's wrong with Top Chef? Top Chef is awesome.
PSzucs (Toronto, Ontario): Triunfel's struggles: How worried are you?
Kevin Goldstein: It's 10 games. I'm going to prove my point I made early. Last year, from May 5-15th, Albert Pujols went 5-for-37 with a double. Were you worried?
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Any chance for two pieces for next year's annual:
the 2008 top prospects in review?
a comparable player for each of the 2009 top 100? i.e., Gooden for Parker if that fits....
Kevin Goldstein: I'll let our editors decide on number one, but I'll shoot down #2 -- I'm not always a big fan of comps, and I don't think every player has a good one.
JM (DC): Kevin, a question on busting slot. A huge debate is raging on a Phillies blog over this, with one person arguing furiously that it doesn't make sense to bust slot, because it will make bonus amounts rise, and that in the long run, that is bad for the industry. But isn't that going to happen regardless? Isn't it a natural progression? Aren't teams doing themselves a major disservice both in the short and long run by not taking the best players available?
Kevin Goldstein: Why is it the Phillies job to protect 'the industry'? -- shouldn't their job be to do what's best for the Phillies and the rest be damned? Not taking the best player is a mistake, and others have done studies that show that the players who get over-slot money tend to be well-worth it.
Brad (Chicago): Top Chef is awesome. Only non-sports show I routinely watch.
Is Sean Gallagher remotely as awesome as Top Chef? His numbers look surprisingly good to start the year. Will he help the Cubs this year or fetch a decent return in a midseason trade?
Kevin Goldstein: I think Gallagher could actually help the Cubs this year and because of injuries or inneffectiveness, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point he was a better option than Dempster, Hill or Marquis.
axis95 (Rockville, MD): Should I catch the Frederick Keys soon or is Wieters still there for a few?
Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn't wait for summer to come.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, folks -- got some radio in Boston (1510 the zone) to do right now. Catch you all next time!.