Dayn Perry is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Dayn Perry: Howdy from Chicago. I'm ready to chat, and giddy with the prospect of a Cards' sweep of the A's ...
lonechicken (Virginia): Will Barry Larkin make the HoF?
Dayn Perry: If I had a vote, Larkin would be a first-ballot, no-brainer. He's provided years of excellent offense from a premium position, been a part of some great teams and been a ruthlessly efficient base-stealer over the years. If he hangs around long enough, he'll wind up with 2,500 hits, 200 homers, 1,000 RBI, 1,000 walks and 400 steals. If that's not an HoFer, then what is? My prediction is that the writers will vote him on, but not on the first ballot.
Charlie Murphy (NL East): Gun to your head, Wright or Marte?
Dayn Perry: Before the season began, I would've said Marte. While I'm still very, very high on Marte (.527 SLG at AA-Greenville as a 20-year-old), there's simply no denying what an amazing season Wright is putting together. Now I'd have to choose Wright. Among Wright, Marte, Dallas McPherson (who's been absolutely amazing this season) and less advanced guys like Eric Duncan, Ian Stewart, Andy Laroche, Matt Moses and Jamie D'Antona, we could be headed for golden age for third basemen in the near future.
Daniel Rea (Boston): Would this three team deal between KC, Anaheim and the Yankees ever work: Beltran and Erstad to NYY, Navarro, MacPherson and Ervin Santana to KC, Sweeney, Randa, Duncan and an NYY pitching prospect (like Alex Graman) to Anaheim?
Dayn Perry: If I'm the Angels, I want no part of it. There's almost no external solution to their third base quandary that will be as effective as calling up McPherson some time around the All-Star break.
RC Cook (Dallas TX): Loved the piece on underrated hitting prospects last week. Any thoughts on Ranger prospect Ian Kinsler, who is finding the Texas League no more challenging than the Midwest League, where he hit .402 over the first two months?
Dayn Perry: Kinsler is indeed having an amazing season. He led Midwest League qualifiers in EqA, and then the Rangers skipped him over High-A entirely to AA-Frisco. His performance straight out of college was nothing special, so I want to see a more extended example of success. Still, there's no ignoring what he's done this year. If he's a stock, he's somewhere between "hold" and "buy." But if this keeps up, well, he's something special.
tonypolitzer (Danville, CA): What in the world are the A's going to do about their bullpen?
Dayn Perry: Lean more heavily on Duchscherer during high-leverage situations, bank on some improvement from Mecir. Let's face it, if there's one thing Billy Beane does well (there are many, many things he does well, but still ...) it's cobble together a bullpen. If the time comes to pass that Rhodes and Bradford show no signs of improvement, they'll do something. I don't think it's anything to worry about yet.
TMFFletch (Washington, DC): Corey Patterson of the Cubs has suddenly started bunting, beating out about five in this past week. Do you buy the idea that bunting can transform him from a frustrating free-swinger into a Lou Brock-like threat at the top of the lineup?
Dayn Perry: Forgetting for the moment that Lou Brock was thoroughly overrated as a player, nah, I'm not fond of the idea. Although Patterson isn't hitting for power this season, he does have reasonably impressive power potential. I don't want to see that sacrificed before the false idol of scrappiness. He's made modest strides in his walk rate (before someone praises this overmuch, know that almost a quarter of his walks are intentional), and other than the decline in batting average (which could largely be a function of luck), there's not a great deal to distinguish this season from last. Co-Pat learning to bunt is like Limp Bizkit buying a new sound board--it's the least of their problems.
Casey (Chicago): Hey Dayn The Mayn...Since the Cubs are obviously better than St. Louis this year (6-4 record) and since you are now a Chicago resident, how long will it be until we transfer you to the darkside? See you later!
Dayn Perry: Well, a note from my roommate ... Check the standings, monkey boy.
Rafael ((Pembroke Pines, FL)): Hey Dayn,
Thanks it finally seems somebody is giving Josh Willingham the credit he deserves. I don't think there is a better catching prospect in the high minors now that Mauer is in the majors.
But with the Marlins nobody knows.
I thought he was ready for a call-up now that Castro and redmond went down with injuries, instead we get Treanor?
I just hope it won't be necessary for us to start a "free campaign" here in South Florida.
Dayn Perry: I like Willingham quite a bit, and I think there's a reasonable shot he'll be the starter in Florida next season. As for catching prospects in the high minors, I'll still take Jeff Mathis and Guillermo Quiroz at this point. That said, Willingham is an excellent low-cost solution for the Fish.
Buck (Los Angeles): Dayn -- what do the Cards need to do to stay atop the Central by season's end?
Dayn Perry: Probably add a reliable starter to the mix, and that may entail nothing more than giving Dan Haren another shot in a month or so. Renteria can expect to play better for the balance of the season, which should go a ways toward staving off any declines the offense may see in other areas. They're not a great team, but it's a highly winnable division.
mike w (Chicago): What's your general philosophy on guys skipping a level, or doing two levels two years in a row? I know each player is an individual case, but do you have a feel - or is there a study - that shows different success rates for slower vs faster approaches to player development?
Dayn Perry: The only study I can recall encountering is one that found players who spend a full season in Double-A and a full season in Triple-A tend to perform better as rookies, but it didn't unearth any long-term effects. It's case-by-case basis, but if a player is ready, I don't think there's any harm in placing him with a peer group that will challenge him. When a player thrives despite skipping a level, it's just another data point in his favor. It's not a practice I have a problem with, so long as it's reserved for players who actually perform as opposed to being largely creatures of hype.
Keenan Witherspoon (Parker AZ): Im 12 years old and throw about 60 to 65and have a good curveball would I maybe have a chance in college baeball
Dayn Perry: Sure you do. You, your parents and coaches should read this book. That said, the odds are much better of your going to college the traditional way--with good grades. Keep at it, though. And I expect a heartfelt thank you during your Hall of Fame induction speech.
Dave83 (California): Is it completely ridiculous for an AL team to consider letting their starting pitcher hit and to DH for a Rey Ordonez/Izturis/Neifi Perez type? Or maybe let their best hitting pitcher bat as their DH from time to time? We're talking a completely normal American League ballgame.
Dayn Perry: Unless they have 1980 Rick Rhoden in the rotation, yeah, probably so.
Wally (Memphis, TN): As we approach the mid-point of the minor league season, how far up the list of overall minor league pitching prospects have the California League's best pitchers, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez, advanced?
Dayn Perry: Both have been scary good thus far. I've heard that Cain's delivery puts stress on his elbow, but, well, that hardly distinguishes him from other 19-year-old hurlers. I'm partial to Hernandez because he's more than a year-and-a-half younger than Cain and has been every bit as dominant. Hernandez has electric stuff and a highly precocious feel for pitching. I can't say enough about his potential. Health permitting (and that's, of course, a huge x-factor), he's got superstar potential.
BridgeportJoe (Chicago): Any thoughts on Mark Buehrle's K/9 spike this year? It's getting late enough that it's starting to look like a more permanent thing.
Dayn Perry: It's certainly a promising development, but baseball is rife with statistical anomalies that have lasted for an entire season. Check back a year from now, and we'll have a better idea of whether or not Buehrle has recast himself.
Dave83 (California): Hi Dayn. How long do you think the glut of new ballparks (early-'90s to today) will last? Many of the 1960s and '70s parks are being torn down today. It seems like this generation's crop of stadiums will live to see much later birthdays than the cookie cutters, but do you think baseball owners are likely to pull the "can't-compete-in-a-35-year-old-stadium" card on us again?
Dayn Perry: Why wouldn't they try it again? They had their way with overly pliant elected officials the first time around and fattened their coffers using public money. It's win-win for MLB, so, yeah, they'll almost surely try it again once they can do the hat-in-hand act with any modicum of seriousness. Maybe people will be smarter the second time around, but probably not.
Dayn Perry: Okay, gang, that's all for me. Thanks for all the heady questions, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to all of them.
Stay healthy, defiant.