Kevin Goldstein has the latest from the Arizona Fall League and the instructional leagues.
Kevin Goldstein: Happy Fall everyone and welcome to another BP chat. I'm on time, and there are tons of questions already in the queue and Google Chrome spell checks things you type in input boxes -- how awesome is that?
Joey Matschulat (Tyler, TX): Kevin, why has your opinion on Blake Beavan been so affected by the scouting reports on his velocity? His numbers at Low-A Clinton were still very solid considering he was a first-year player in full-season ball, and it's not that uncommon to see a young pitcher lose velocity in his first full season.
Kevin Goldstein: It's not uncommon to see that, but it is uncommon to see that big a velocity drop. Yes his numbers are solid, but when you look at the numbers that are really important at the low levels, 73 Ks in 121.2 innings is a cause for concern.
Jeff (DC): How good is Ryan Shealy, really, and what can we expect from him next season?
Kevin Goldstein: Ryan Shealy is 29 years old at this point, so it's not like he's some kind of prospect anymore. Bench bat at best.
Rob (Brighton): What's coming up next on Future Shock now that Pedro-Gate is over? You and Joe represent most of my ROI on the subscription, and you keep me entertained through a terribly dull office job. Thanks for all the dilligence.
Kevin Goldstein: Rob. You should read more. We have tons of great stuff beyond me and Joe. What's next? Friday you'll see a strange piece on pitcher size that is really designed more to promote discussions in the comment section, as I have lots of data, but more questions than answers. I'll do some stuff in the post-season about how teams are built, and a short talk with a scout today prompted another article idea about how a certain aspect of players perform early in their career. Once the post-season is over, it's Top 11 time -- everyone's favorite, including me.
Kris (Akron): Where do you have Beau Mills in the Indians system? I see Laporta, Santana, Mills. Does this season vastly improve his stock in your eyes?
Kevin Goldstein: I haven't started ranking yet, especially a team like Cleveland, as I'm starting in the National League. So I'm not going to commit to a ranking, but I will say that for Mills, I don't think he's either up or down, I see his season numbers, as well as the scouting reports, as more of a holding serve.
Tony (Albuquerque): So how is this whole Alvarez/Hosmer thing going to work for the AFL. If I remember correctly, every team has a certain number of players they can put in Arizona. if the Royals or Pirates already have all their slots filled up are Hosmer and Alvarez left out or does a player get removed?
Kevin Goldstein: They'd have to replace a player, but that happens all the time.
Steve D. (PA): Speaking of non-prospects -- when Burrell walks, can Phils phans hope for 50% of Ryan Ludwick from Jon Knott? Isn't it time Knott got his chance somewhere?
Kevin Goldstein: What's our evidence that Knott deserves that chance? His OPS in Triple-A over the last two years are around .800. So no, no chance he's the next Ludwick, and the Phillies should look elsewhere.
jason (oakland): A's SS/2b survivor over these next 2-3 yrs. any above avg legit players or a bunch of mediocrity...pennington/pattersoncardenas/sellers/horton/coleman/weeks/christian etc.
Kevin Goldstein: For me, the best two players off that least are easily Cardenas and Weeks, but neither of them is going to be the shortstop . . . . hmmmmm.
drewfuss (kc): Scott Boras love-fest at BP (in general)? Tell me I'm just stupid, jaded, and... something. So Mr. Boras is against half-hour deadline extension at $6m, but PRO one-month deadline extension at $6.3m one month later??? We royals fans really appreciate losing a month of Hosmer progress updates, by the way... we don't have a lot to pass the time otherwise. Thanks for all the chats, articles, etc.
Kevin Goldstein: I don't have love for Boras, but I certainly respect him and I don't understand the hatred of him at all. I think I lot of that hatred is misguided and here's a perfect example. Scott Boras did NOT drag Hosmer into all this, the Pirates did. Blame them.
Meddler (Brooklyn, NY): Dissapointed with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed? I was a bit, it was ticketed as a Game of the Year candidate, and its clearly not, although it still has some enjoyable aspects.
Kevin Goldstein: A. Not my kind of game. B. For me, Star Wars is kind of the Beatles of film in the sense that everyone loves them and I don't get it at all -- just so mediocre to me.
My semi-kid played the demo and he's a big star wars fan and fan of those kind of games and he wasn't thrilled with it.
Nathan (Columbus): How seriously ought we take Freddie Freeman's year, given his relative anonymity, and how does he compare as a prospect to Jason Heyward, given their statistical comparison?
Kevin Goldstein: Guy was a second round pick, so it wasn't totally out of nowhere. The fact that he's limited to first base gives one trouble comparing him to Heyward, who has way more all-around tools. Guy can really hit though, and is a very real prospect.
AL (NYC): I'm intrigued by Phillies' prospect Michael Taylor. What type of player do you envision him being in the future? Any favorable comparisons come to mind?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm intrigued by him as well, and one of the reasons I am so intrigued is because he's so unique and so it's hard to compare him to people. 6-6, 260 guys are hard to find, especially guys with impressive high school numbers, bad college careers, and then pro breakouts. It's a unique track record.
roysuniverse (new york): What's your take on Suttle?
Kevin Goldstein: Just doesn't thrill me based on the scouts I talk to. He's a solid guy, a pretty good hitter with a pretty good approach and a modicum of power, but nothing that screams star potential or anything.
Patrick (MPLS): Best five shows you've ever seen?
Kevin Goldstein: No specific order:
* Naked Raygun reunion shows, Metro, 1997
* Kraftwerk, Riviera Theatre, 1998?
* Sonic Youth, Public Enemy and after-show riot, Aragon Brawlroom, 1990?
* Shellac, some weird loft space on Ashland, 1997 or so
* Beer Nuts, Exit, 1999 or so
Do I win?
Tim (Lansing MI): Does Travis Snider stay in the outfield long-term or does his body type necessitate a move to first at some point? How athletic is he?
Kevin Goldstein: He's hardly Curt Flood out there, but he's actually a pretty solid outfielder. He's not a pig there and he has pretty good instincts and an average arm. I think he could stay there for a while.
Cale (San Fran): Do you think Hawaii is going to be Buster Posey's breakout party?
Kevin Goldstein: Wasn't this spring his breakout party?
Adam (SF): What are your thoughts on Vin Mazzaro? With all the hype that Cahill and Anderson got, his dominant season at Midland got lost in the shuffle. Sure, he got lit up (and a bit hit unlucky) up in Sacto, but he seems like he could be a valuable part of the rotation in the near future.
Kevin Goldstein: He really could be. He doesn't have the star potential of the big two there, but he certainly projects as a solid big league starter.
oira61 (San Francisco): Hi Kevin, I still don't understand how Alvarez agreeing to a new contract ends the grievance. The grievance was about passing the deadline; this is a more than a month after the deadline. Couldn't Aaron Crow and/or the Nationals now file a grievance?
Kevin Goldstein: Crow and the Nationals maybe could do something, but there's a HUGE difference here. Both the Nationals and Crow agree that their player is unsigned. In the Alvarez case, the Pirates said they had a deal, and the Alvarez side did not. HUGE difference.
John (Baltimore, Md): How far along do you see the Orioles rebuild? Wieters, Tillman, Matusz, Arrieta, etc...is there a better group of prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: The Orioles don't have the same depth as some of the top system in the game (Rays, Rangers, A's), but their very top ranks up there with anyone. That said, after Weiters, the hitters are pretty damn thin.
Matt (Chicago): Kevin -- love your stuff at Pinstriped Bible. What do you think about the Yankees using Joba next year in a long relief/mop up role? Seems like that would be a good compromise between those who would like to see him start and those who would rather see him setting up Mo, don't you think?
Kevin Goldstein: This question made Steven Goldman so, so happy.
Tony (Albuquerque): Pro new Metallica or just not feeling it?
Kevin Goldstein: So not a Metallica guy. So I have no idea.
Navin (Pasadena, CA): How do you view Tyler Colvin after the subpar 2008 season?
Kevin Goldstein: He's another tough one because he did have a real good second half and showed an improved approach. I wasn't a huge fan even coming into the year because he's fringy in center and doesn't have the power for a corner -- bad combo.
Mike (Utica,NY): What do you think of Zach McAllister? Some Yankees fans think he could be another Roy Halladay in the making.
Kevin Goldstein: That's very funny.
larry (chicago): early favorite for the most improved minor league system?
Kevin Goldstein: What's our starting point? Do we include the A's pre-season rebuilding. Even still, they made more deals during the season. I'm not sure they're the best (they might be), but they're certainly the deepest. Giants also made huge steps forward.
Mike (Utica,NY): After laughing at that question. What do you really think of McAllister?
Kevin Goldstein: See is that how this works. McAllister to Halladay is the new version of Tyler Clippard = Mike Mussina for those fans with the rose-colored glasses? He's another control type without a ton of ceiling, but I do like him as a potential back of the rotation type. Just because he's 6-6, 240 doesn't make him the next Halladay. I have a buddy Dave in Boston, he's about 6-8 and that doesn't make him the next Carmelo Anthony either.
Dave (Massachusetts): I know he's still very young, but do you see any signs that Billy Rowell will eventually tap into the potential that caused the O's to draft him in the first place? Also, do you think Nolan Reimold is ready for the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: No; almost, but I don't see Reimold as a stud as much as I see him as solid -- and that's not a bad thing.
Nightclub Dwight (The Nice Nice): Almost exactly a year ago, I asked you for good news about the Twins system and you offered me, basically, Denard Span's second half in Rochester. I'd like to thank you for that and ask another bit of 2008 good news.
Kevin Goldstein: Ben Revere is really good.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Favorite band that has sold at least 1 million records in its lifetime?
Kevin Goldstein: My favorite band of all time is The Clash. How's that?
James282 (nj): what sort of ceiling and time frame do you see for Jhoulys Chacin and Derek Holland...2 of your biggest risers this year? Do they have a chance to crack your top 50?
Kevin Goldstein: I think Holland could be as early as mid-09, while Chacin is more of a 2010 play. Holland has more upside, Chacin might have a better chance at a long solid career. Both have a chance.
Rich (NJ): Kevin, looking ahead to the next 3-5 years, it seems the Yankees are pretty well set at third base, um, er, MAYBE second base (assuming they don't jetison Cano during the winter), and, um, er...do you get the feeling the Yanks are in trouble?
Kevin Goldstein: They're the Yankees, and when you have Yankees money, you're never in THAT much trouble. It's not like they're suddenly going to stink.
Eric (FLA): I have a question on evaluating prospects relative to their age. Take for instance, Mike Stanton and Matt Wieters. Stanton just absolutely blitzed the SAL, while Wieters, 4 years older, tore apart the CAR and EAS. Because Stanton is 4 years younger, is it reasonable to assume he has more upside, but you'd favor Wieters because he is closer to a sure thing? Does that make sense? In other words, how important is age related to level of play for you?
Kevin Goldstein: There's no magic formula. Age matters, but it's all relative to skillset as well. I could go against your conclusion and say Wieters has proven himself with flying colors at levels Stanton hasn't even touched yet and plays a premium position. There's always lots of ins and outs where you're ranking folks.
Jeff (Topanga): White Stripes at the Empty Bottle was pretty cool. You werent' there?
Kevin Goldstein: I wasn't. I saw Don Caballero there, and Peaches, and some band that just did Clash and Jam covers -- that was fun.
Hiro Nakamura (Somewhere in time): I saw the White Stripes/Flaming Lips at the Aragon on New Years Eve a few years ago. Also saw Frank Black at Double Door, as well as a little known band called the Kills.
Kevin Goldstein: I was at that Frank Black show with you, and my second date with my girlfriend of nine years was Flaming Lips at Metro in August of '99.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Works for me, but the shareef don't like it.
Re: Olney's piece on ESPN about the Yankees lack of drafting ability from 97-05. Was it quite as bad as he made it sound? How much was bad drafting versus bad luck?
Kevin Goldstein: It was horrible. The Yankees had some of the worst, most horrible drafts in recent memory over that period, and to such an extended level that there's no way it was luck. Now they've turned into one of the better drafting teams now that they've begun to pop their money into the draft as well.
Tolley Jenkins (Atlanta): Chris Davis has been quietly continuing to hit, from both sides of the plate, and both at home and on the road. 271/321/532 with no discernable discrepancy due to any splits. Do you like him to continue and/or grow next year? And will TX be insane to keep him batting 7th or 8th?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, yes.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Which venue do you miss more - Tramps or CBGBs?
Kevin Goldstein: Lounge Ax.
Corey (L-Ville): Any reason Mike Moustakas wasn't sent to the instructional league? Is there a better third base prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: He played a long year, was healthy all year, had a great second half and there are only so many spots, even for instructs. Don't read too much into it.
sanott (norfolk, va): again if boras/alvarez said there was no deal and the pirates did, doesn't that in effect say that the deadline passed without a contract, and thus alvarez is unsigned? but allowing him to sign now fixes the grievance? i understand the system is flawed, but didn't this "reslution" just bail out a botched negotiation by boras, if his intention was truly to get pedro signed in the first place?
Kevin Goldstein: To pull out another legal term -- detrimental reliance. One could argue that the deadline passed to the DETRIMENT of Alvarez, who was told by the Pirates that there was an extension, and so the deadline didn't count, and therefore he RELIED on that information.
mars2001 (Denver, CO): Stephen Strasburg Sweepstakes Update... the Padres are fading (61-96), while Washington (59-98) and Seattle (58-99) are still looking to prove their futility....
In which organization do you think Strasburg would develop the 'best'.... in which organization do you think he'd reach the majors first? thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: For a player with that kind of talent, I don't think he's going to develop better or worse in end kind of system. With a guy like that, you pretty much leave him along and let him pitch. He would be on a David Price like timetable, so possibly reaching the big leagues in his first full season.
In case you are wondering, his advisor is Scott Boras.
Bill (New Mexico): Apropos the "most improved minor league system" Q that someone asked, how much can you tell about the state of a farm system by looking at its aggregate won-lost record? Is there too much variability in the way teams use their farm clubs for that to be a useful metric?
Kevin Goldstein: It really means very little. The rarely spoken truth about the minor league is that winning is not the primary goal of the team, it's player development. The main reason for that is that guys don't get benched. That starting prospect with the 5.82 ERA stays in the rotation because that's the only way he's going to develop. The 80 speed guy with the .301 OBP is going to keep hitting leadoff because that's what you are hoping he'll turn into.
Josh (USC): Similar to Strasburg, Grant Green has emerged the top position prospect as scouts compared him to a Tulo-Longoria hybrid. Would you expect a similar path to Strasburg, ie. first full season?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes I would. I think he's more Tulo than Longoria, but he is the best college position player going into the year.
Oh yeah, he's advised by Scott Boras.
ng (nyc): if you're ever in nyc, look me up and we'll get drinks with anton from bjm. hes incredibly smart, incredibly paranoid, and incredibly entertaining - in doses.
Kevin Goldstein: Email me.
Jeff Spicoli (Ridgemont High): Yo dude, Yamaico Navarro's season in Greenville and Lancaster was totally awesome! What kind of things can this guy do in the upper levels
Kevin Goldstein: Gnarly! I like Navarro plenty, but he's not perfect. Dude can really hit, but he has below average secondary skills, and defensively he's might be a little short in the range department.
aaron (michigan): jesus montero vs angel villanova...who will be the better pro?
Kevin Goldstein: I think I'd give the slight edge to Montero.
JJ (Tacoma): Kevin, I heard the Mariners sent Phillipe Aumont to the instructional league? If so, has the concern about his elbow problem gone down? His upside please?
Kevin Goldstein: Concerns about the elbow were never huge -- they were admittedly over-cautious with him in his first full season. I think his upside is No. 2 starter, but I can't say I'd be horribly shocked if he ended up as a closer.
Drew W (NoVa): The A's are sending Chris Carter to Hawaii Winter Baseball. Where should they play him? Corner outfield? Third base?
Kevin Goldstein: The A's think he has a chance to develop into an acceptable third baseman. Others aren't as convinced.
Matt A (Raleigh): As long as we're talking about the draft.... Which GA HS kid will the Braves take? Is there anyone that fits that profile who warrants a top 10 pick in next year's draft?
Kevin Goldstein: Luke Bailey.
Matt hewPurke (San Diego): Any way I can sneak into Top 3 draft consideration? My power lefty combo reminds many of Scott Kazmir.
Kevin Goldstein: Top three might be pushing it, but certainly top 10 possibilities.
bill (nj): andrew brackman pitched recently in an instructional league game, any reports on him?
Kevin Goldstein: I haven't heard anything yet, but him pitching in Hawaii is one of the bigger stories of the winter. I really think Hawaii is becoming a more compelling league than the AFL of late.
Kevin (San Jose, CA): Wow, from this chat alone, it appears a Venn Diagram showing my interests and your interests would indicate the sole intersection of the sets is our love of Buster Posey. Speaking of Giants, though, it seems like Tim Alderson had a good year, but his buzz was eclipsed by Bumgarner. Are you still high on Alderson? What are your projections and timeframe for him?
Kevin Goldstein: Still very high on Alderson as the kind of guy who could easily and quickly become a number three starter. That's about where the projection ends and Bumgarner looks like he could be a real stud.
Brian (Jersey): If you were the Yanks, and could sign only Teixiera or Sabathia for 7 years, 20 mil a year, who would you take?
Kevin Goldstein: Teixiera.
Fred (Houston): Does Brian Bogusevic have the glove/speed to play center field in the bigs?
Kevin Goldstein: On an average level, yes.
Eric (Memphis): Kevin, if the White Sox move Beckham to third base, how does that effect his long term potential as a prospect? It would seem his bat would be more valuable at shortstop or second base than at third...
Kevin Goldstein: But isn't that the case with everyone? Wouldn't Justin Morneau's bat be more valuable at shorstop? That said, I wouldn't move him yet. He's not a pig at SS.
Steve (MD): With respect to the Alvarez situation, the new/modified deal ends the grievance because neither MLB nor the MLBPA wants the grievance to continue.
If the parties refuse to argue, there's nothing to hear.
Kevin Goldstein: Actually, there's some connection here as the deal kinda has to end the grievance, which both sides are settling as we speak. Expect a Pedro announcement by the Pirates as early as this evening, before the game.
Prinny Dood (Netherworld): When you play the Disgaea games do you get into all the crazy post game power leveling or do you just like to beat the game and be done with it?
Kevin Goldstein: Oh dood. Totally power level. Hell, I power level BEFORE the end-game. Part of the game is to find those exploits in the leveling system.
Frank (Vegas): who blinked 1st: Boras or the Bucs? and is Coonely's rep down a few notches with all this?
Kevin Goldstein: The Bucs blinked. Multiple sources indicate that the Pirates were told by MLB to work something out because there was a good shot that they'd lose Pedro AND the compensation pick for their actions.
rawagman (Toronto): Kevin - thanks for chatting - it looks like the Jays will have 2-3 rotation spots available next year - in your esteemed opinion, how ready would be Purcey, Janssen (post-labrum surgery), Cecil and Romero to lay claim to one of those spots?
Kevin Goldstein: I've alwasy kind of liked Purcey, and I think he could fill one of those gaps. The others I'm not so sure about being ready yet.
Navin (Pasadena, CA): Anyone else besides Strasburg and Green in the 09 draft advised by Boras?
Kevin Goldstein: Tons more. It's the usual situation.
Matt (SF, CA): Were you rooting for a more dramatic outcome to the grievance?
Kevin Goldstein: On a selfish level, I kind of was. I'm kind of sad it's over because I was having a lot of fun writing about it.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, thanks for all the great questions, including the hundreds of unanswered ones, but I must get going on some other stuff. Enjoy the final week of the season, and i'll see you again in the playoffs.