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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 19, 2009 3:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Rescheduled from St. Patrick's Day because of Kevin's unlucky power outage, ask BP's prospect guru all your questions about which kids are on the way up.

Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. Let's try this again. I hope you can take a break from the hoops (or in checking out the ridiculously great stuff Joe Sheehan and his team as basketball prospectus) to talk a little baseball. And hopefully ComEd won't find a sparking wire three doors down that shuts off my power for 90 minutes. Keep your fingers crossed . . .

Rob (Alaska): Since the spring box scores are meaningless, can you give us a couple prospects that are impressing or surprising scouts so far?

Kevin Goldstein: These are actually guys with good stats, but Nats top prospect Jordan Zimmerman has been earning some rave reviews, and I heard from a couple of guys about the Travis Snider home run off Ian Kennedy that left Legends Field -- it was supposedly an awe inspiring bomb. I don't want to give away too much, as I'm talk to a lot of scouts over the next few days about what's impressing them for some articles next week. Stay tuned.

Scott (Detroit): Is there any reason to believe that Homer Bailey's apparent progress this spring is anything more than an aberration? What should the Reds expect out of him this year, if anything?

Kevin Goldstein: If you can figure that out, please contact the Reds at

Great American Ball Park
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Bailey is an enigma wrapped around a mystery or whatever it is they say. His career really could go anywhere from stardom to a guy who never comes around.

fellajsmall (ATL): Do the Braves have a better option than Schafer in CF?? Blanco and Anderson seem like role players.

Kevin Goldstein: I totally agree, but I get the feeling that the Braves at least want to START Schafer at Triple-A and have him earn it -- he could do so quickly.

Nathan (Columbus): Neftali Feliz: Is he going to see an MLB roster this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes, but I bet Derek Holland gets the first shot from the Triple-A roster.

DanLong (Ny): Care to play "Fill in the blanks"? Jesus Montero finishes the year playing at the ___ level, and has accumulated ___HR at the combined levels?

Kevin Goldstein: Again, just as a reminder, Mad-lib style questions are always welcome, and thoroughly enjoyable.

High-A (so young, no need to rush); 16

Eric (Mpls): So Weiters starts the year in AAA. How long does he stay there?

Kevin Goldstein: 16 days.

Jack (MIL): What do you know about Cody Scarpetta? Possible breakout guy for 09?

Kevin Goldstein: Is there some kinda of Cody Scarpetta fan club I don't know about? Why is my email and chat filled with Cody Scarpetta questioins? Somebody explain this to me. He's a perfectly solid prospect, but it's not like he's the next big thing or something.

Tim (DC): Kevin, where does Moustakas end up, SS or 3B? If 3B, what about Gordon...I still firmly believe he is gonna be an All-Star, but does the bat play @ 1B??

Kevin Goldstein: He's already long gone from short, and not going back. I think it's either third base or a corner outfield situation, but yes, the bat is really going to play.

Ira (North Texas): I have a projected rotation for Hickory, in the Sally league of: Martin Perez, Carlos Pimentel, Neil Ramirez, Wilfredo Boscan, and Richard Bleier. Bleier is the granddaddy of this rotation at 22, the rest are teenagers. How ridiculous is this rotation?

Kevin Goldstein: Utterly ridiculous. What might be more impressive is that the Rangers had the best pitching staff at Low-A last year, and this year they're lined up to repeat that with a whole new group.

Mike (Tx): What's up?

Kevin Goldstein: Not much, chatting, doing lots of booking signings and radio shows. Dealing with drama, trying to find time to pop open some imported video games for a PS3 that is seeing precious little on-time lately. Also this is the last day of my 30s, and my girlfriend is asking me if my mid-life crisis begins tomorrow. That's about it -- how about you?

patrickc (nyc): Do you like Moustakas better than Dominguez?

Kevin Goldstein: I have a Top 100 on the site -- and it's free for everyone.

Frank (Dallas): Comparisons are hard, but since his skillset seems rather rare, does Boscan compare well with anyone?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm really not a fan of comps, unless they're totally obvious and slam dunks. I think too often people try to pigeon hole a player or reach for a comp just for having one, and it's a silly exercise.

Lasken (Savannah, GA): KG, spring training aside, do you think it's possible for Carlos Gonzalez to have a resurgence in Denver like Carlos Quentin did in Chicago? Was a change of scenery (again) all he needs to flourish?

Kevin Goldstein: He doesn't have that kind of power, but all the tools are there -- he's just going to have to make adjustments that he, for whatever reason, didn't seem to want to make last year.

Rob (Alaska): If you did a defense only top 10 list for prospects, who do you think would be on it?

Kevin Goldstein: I love this question, but it's going to require thought, and maybe it's own piece.

Andrew (Nueva York): Stephen Strasburg finishes the year playing at the ___ level, and has accumulated ___K at that level?

Kevin Goldstein: no level, signs too late.

jckmd04 (nashville): Heyward #1 overall prospect in 2010 or is it a foregone conclusion that it is Strausburg

Kevin Goldstein: Provided something doesn't go spectacularly wrong, I'm guessing it's Strasburg. Depending on the odds, I might bet on Pedro Alvarez for No. 2.

Andrew (Nueva York): What's a good strategy for the Nationals this year with the 1 pick AND the 10 pick?

Kevin Goldstein: The best strategy in the first round of the draft is always to simply take the best player.

Rick (CT): Are we going to see your State of the Systems series again?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes -- with a couple of changes/new categories.

DanLong (NY): to stay on the Strasburg topic, i'm always skeptical when i hear scouts say "best thing since...". they do it every year with the NFL draft, and it rarely means anything more than "he's a solid player". that being said, what do you think his chances are at carrying his dominant amateur play into the bigs?

Kevin Goldstein: I think that's the thing, I find scouts to actually lean towards the more conservative side of things, so when they say that, you really sit up and listen.

halbent (Boston, MA): Please "Fill in the blanks": Lars Anderson will start hitting bombs in Fenway on ____________...

Kevin Goldstein: June 16, 2010.

jadelman (NY): I'd say there's a __% chance that Neftali Feliz ends up in a bullpen and not a rotation.

Kevin Goldstein: 16.831

Jimmy (ATL): Just HOW good can Randall Delgado be? Does he have any hope of a Feliz-ian type leap in the next few yrs?

Kevin Goldstein: He certainly does, but that doesn't mean he will, nor should somebody send me some link tomorrow saying I called Delgado the next Feliz. There are a solid number of guys who COULD take such a leap, but a very small number will.

t ball (Dallas): A follow up to the Nationals draft question: You seem to imply that there is some point in the draft when you consider not taking the best player available. What point would that be?

Kevin Goldstein: Really not until very late. But once you get to day two, you really do get into situations where a team is saying, "Wait, we don't have a second baseman for the New York Penn League team, you guys like anyone?"

David (Sonoma State University, CA): My name is Kevin Goldstein and I got _______ for my birthday today.

Kevin Goldstein: My birthday is actually tomorrow, so we'll see. But it's good to see you David.

lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Do you think its possible that the Nats will pay thru the roof for Strasburg, so then they'll feel compelled to draft an "easy sign", who may not be the best player available, at #10? Or will they just not sign the guy at 10 and get the #11 next year? Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: I understand where the question is coming from, but they HAVE to take Strasburg one right now. The difference between him and whoever you want to call number two right now is an absolute friggin' cliff, and they couldn't afford the PR hit. And yes, they'll have to pay through the nose for him. As far as No. 10 goes, I could see them going a little bit cheap there.

BR (NYC): My favorite minor league ballpark is ____ because it _____.

Kevin Goldstein: Totally cheap answer but it's Kane County because I go there the most and know the place like the back of my hand and have the most memories there.

fellajsmall (ATL): Am I stupid as a Braves fan to not mind the deal for Teixeira? We obviously gave up most people thought we had the best team on paper going into last year. Satly and Harrison seem to flattening out and we know what Andrus is. I think that trades winds up being Feliz for Tex.

Kevin Goldstein: Glasses . . . meet rose colored. That trade is a nightmare.

rear (pa): Can I come to your birthday party?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. I think we're going to the tapas place.

WayneTheMan2421 (Memphis, TN): Have you gotten any reports on Juan Carlos Sulbaran?

Kevin Goldstein: Easily the best sleeper in the Reds system right now, and in retrospect, should have made their Top 11.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): On your point with Strasburg, why would he sign late? If teams realize what an amazing talent he is, won't they "pay through the nose for him" and get it done?

Kevin Goldstein: Because Scott Boras is his agent, and he's going to be looking for some kind of eight-figure historic kind of situation.

moonkyu (sf): is all the luster off of former prospect Alex Gordon? What happened there? Also what should we expect from Kendry Morales, 15-20 hrs?

Kevin Goldstein: I still have faith in Gordon continuing to improve, and while we're at it, gimme Kendry Morales in the my sleeper pool. I think PECOTA is WAY low on him.

jlebeck66 (WI): Aaron Hicks & ________ are the guys I should be excited seeing play for the Beloit Snappers this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Angel Morales -- could be huge.

Alex (SF, CA): Chance of Anderson, Cahill, Mazzaro seeing MLB rotation time this year: ___%, ___%, ___%

Kevin Goldstein: 95%; 95%; 21.429%

Ira (North Texas): $10 million? for a college draftee? This is not the NBA, this is not the NFL, and Strasburg is still going to the minors, probably High A-ball next year if not low A this year. Now, if he's all that, a Major league deal worth say $6 mill over 4 years.

Kevin Goldstein: Oh, silly silly Ira. If you're taking wagers on that, lemme know.

Rob (Brighton): Is there anyone in the Boston system that you're particularly excited to see debut this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Tons of guys. The '08 draft is full of guys like Westmoreland and Hissey, not to mention (while he has already played some), 1st round pick Casey Kelly getting some time at shortstop and starting pitcher.

Ryan (Utica): Kevin Goldstein's three favorite Clash songs are...

Kevin Goldstein: Death or Glory; This is Radio Clash; The Street Parade.

eric (oakland): landon powell as a backup C, maybe a poor man's napoli/bard type?

Kevin Goldstein: Maybe . . . but with that history of conditioning and injuries, I wouldn't count on him for . . . . well, anything.

glenihan (NYC): You leave out Bankrobber? Hate and War? Jail Guitar Doors? Straight to Hell? Safe European Home? ... wow now that i think of it, its an impossible question

Kevin Goldstein: Yes -- it's was ridiculously hard and if you asked me tomorrow, I'd pick three different songs. For example, I looked at this list and wondered how the hell I couldn't list Safe European Home.

Steve (Detroit): How many innings do you think Porcello could handle in the majors this year without turning into a latter-day Jeremy Bonderman?

Kevin Goldstein: 156.2

jack (texas): A's the best farm system, are you delusional. inoa has never pithed in a game and carter will struggle to hit .200, my rangers prospects are much better

Kevin Goldstein: You own the Rangers? That's fantastic. Glad to have you aboard. I heard from a ton of Rangers supporters after that ranking came out and I can't believe how mad some people are that I ranked their system as the SECOND BEST IN ALL OF BASEBALL.

psugator01 (Coral Springs, Fla.): Is there anything about Jason Motte's mechanics that would prevent the Cardinals from naming him their closer?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure I have something against his mechanics, it's just a bit weird because the second he throws, you KNOW he's a converted catcher. I think the bigger concern is his secondary stuff, but he really can bring it and he's worth a look.

MA (Athens, GA): Percent of season Tommy Hanson spends in: AAA: ____% MLB: ____% (and how much does this answer change on the news that Kenshin Kawakami has been scratched from tonight's start with "right shoulder fatigue"?)

Kevin Goldstein: 50/50, maybe 40/60. I believe the plan is somewhere in the 120 inning range in the big leagues for Hanson.

Rob (Brighton): So now that the Fallout addiction is cooling, I'm looking for a new RPG. I have a PS2 and a 360, and I really loved Disgaea and FF Tactics. Any recommendations?

Kevin Goldstein: Persona 3, Persona 4, really anything on the PS2 from the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Matt (St. Louis): Possible Memphis rotation of Boggs, Hawksworth, Todd, Walters, Mortenson - who has the best chance to stick in the majors?

Kevin Goldstein: More to come again next week on some spring training scouting reports, but Todd has definitely opened some eyes this spring.

David (Sonoma State Univsersity, CA): KG, dude, you crack me up man (jack, texas response). Do you even consider these chats work? I envy you.

Kevin Goldstein: I really only consider a small percentage of what I do here to be "work." I'm a lucky, lucky man and I know it.

Or (Dallas): On behalf of all readers in the Dallas area, I'd like to thank you for doing that interview with Bob and Dan. We are an area sadly deprived of baseball talk; the Cowboys dominate the airwaves even in the heat of summer. With that out of the way, if Chris Davis still qualified as a prospect where would he rank on the list? Above or below the Smoak Monster?

Kevin Goldstein: I had a good time with them on 1310-am the other day, and hopefully we'll do more. Make sure to let them know as well. If forced, I'd probably take Smoak, but that's more because of my love as Smoak as compared to anything against Davis, who I like plenty.

cal (chicago): I hate reality shows and because of that I found myself rooting against these two guys from India. I realized it's not their fault. They did what they were asked to do and now they have any oppurtunity to do something special as small as their chances may be. Could this be a trend? Could MLB or some other company look for talent far off in the eastern world? Although MLB really needs to promote the AFL much more and what this world doesn't need is more Kelly Clarkson's.

Kevin Goldstein: I like SOME reality shows, so lemme throw this out here? What would you guys think of a BP Idol, where we tryot find the next great stathead and give him a regular column based on your choices?

Joe (North Dakota): Hey guy, when does the season start anyway?

Kevin Goldstein: No kidding. Is it me, or does spring training already seem to be lasting forever? And we're not even to the point where the season SHOULD start. It's very annoying. I was checking out some minor league schedules the other day and figuring out some visits and it all just seemed too, too far off.

Cooper (NY): I believe from what I've read you're not a big rotisserie guy. That said, if you HAD to construct a team, and only had 3-4 minor league spots to use on a roster, would you use them on high-ceiling guys who take a few years to reach the majors or lower-ceiling MLB-ready guys of which you'll likely see far more of over those few years?

Kevin Goldstein: There's a guy in a front office who calls me, "King Ceiling" every time I call him, so that answers your question.

ericmilburn (San Francisco): Brandon Wood. Did something click? How many ABs do you see him getting this year?

Kevin Goldstein: Another guy I still have faith in and this spring is looking good. Buy Buy Buy.

Ryan (NY): Jhoulys Chacin debuts in the majors in (mo/year) and Brian Matusz debuts in the majors in (mo/year) ?

Kevin Goldstein: September 2009 for both.

Hausman (Richmond, VA): Will Ben Rever ever develop 10-HR power? Purely offensively, does he need to or is he on the Ichiro-track?

Kevin Goldstein: I think him developing a more patience approach is a far bigger key to his future, but yes, I do think he'll develop 8-12 HR power. He's not a purely slap hitter, he does drive balls into the gaps.

SmartGuyDave (Needham): Re Daniel Bard: "The best fastball I've ever seen,'' according to one scout. The pitch is 100 and "really takes off,'' the scout said. "He's also able to produce that velocity without much apparent effort,'' another scout said. Any word on what happened here? He was walking a guy an inning a year ago...

Kevin Goldstein: A lot of it seemed to be mental as opposed to physical. Even when he was walking everyone, he was still bringing it. Talked to a scout yesterday who saw him, and he was quite impressive.

Ben (Dallas): What can you tell me about Justin Smoak that isn't been widely talked about? You hear about his bat and his ability to field, his power and patience at the plate. Tell me something new, if you please, that the everyday fan might no know.

Kevin Goldstein: His favorite food is steak and he has an older brother named David. Thanks old South Carolina media guide!

Davis (Charlottesville, VA): Kevin, can you see Timmy Melville having a Bumgarner-type breakout year in 09?

Kevin Goldstein: No. Just doesn't have THAT kind of stuff. He's good, though.

Jake Adams (Arlmont, MA): Can Jeff Niemann pitch out of the pen? Does his body type make that difficult?

Kevin Goldstein: I actually think he might be BETTER out of the pen. I'm not sure why his size would be an issue.

Calvin Pickering ((Who knows?)): Scouts (and your rankings)seem to less positive on Kyle Blanks than just a cursory examination of his numbers would suggest. What is it about him that downgrades him a bit -- simply his size/position or is there something in his swing that makes folks less high on him?

Kevin Goldstein: There are a lot of weird things about him. You certainly have the size thing, but he also is really quick to the ball without much of a load or leg kick or anything. He's kind of like a 285 pound contact hitter who smacks 20 out because he's some damn huge. He's a weird prospect.

John (Baltimore MD): Some people severely degrade Arrieta on the basis of his so-so walk rate last year -- what would you say to them?

Kevin Goldstein: I'd be more worried about his secondary stuff. Not that it's bad, it's just average.

Matt (Normal, IL): Tim Raines Jr had decent numbers at Triple-A Tucson last year and was signed by the White Sox but is 29. Legitimate candidate for CF for the White Sox or are those numbers inflated because of his age?

Kevin Goldstein: More like because of that park, which is a great place to put up numbers. He might have some life as an emergency fifth outfield type. It worked for Wise, no?

DanLong (NY): You're a high ceiling type of guy..what do you make of Dellin Betances? people talk all of the time about his "uber-high" ceiling, but he never seems to get much credit BEYOND his ceiling. after he finally (maybe?) got control of his command in teh second half last year, do yuo think he's poised for a break out this year?

Kevin Goldstein: He's an excellent breakout candidate. The biggest concern isn't his command as much as it's the fact that he's always getting hurt. He's entering his fourth pro season with only 170 innings under his belt.

mattoves (Wash, DC): Who were the last two prospects you can remember generating as much hype going into the draft as Strasburg is right now?

Kevin Goldstein: Mark Prior . . . Alex Rodriguez?

jlebeck66 (WI): Was quitting my job so I can take 12 hours of college classes a week, while watching MLB.tv, and checking out BP chats live the best thing ever!? (Not to mention picking up Power Pros 2008 for when I get bored!)

Kevin Goldstein: As long as you still have enough cash on hand to subscribe and by the book, yes.

BeplerP (New York City): Kevin, thanks for the chat/meet at Barnes & Noble in NYC. Does Austin Jackson have much projection left, or is he at the stage where what you see is what you get?

Kevin Goldstein: I think he might have a little more power than we've seen, as Trenton is a place where home runs go to die. I have problems seeing him as some kind of impact player, but I do think he'll be a solid to above-average centerfielder.

Elmo (Hartford): Kevin - any insight into Kellen Kulbacki? He looks liked a great hitter in college and put up monster numbers in high-A last year yet he doesn't get much publicity.

Kevin Goldstein: Agree. He's more than a bit one-dimensional as a slugger only kinda guy, but I do believe in the bat.

Dennis (Providence, RI): Given what I've been reading about Burnett offering advice to Chien-Ming Wang about mixing in more off-speed pitches, how much more effective do you think that'll have for him and his stats given that he's essentially still a one-pitch pitcher?

Kevin Goldstein: I really don't think that means anything at all. That's one of those "I need some extra stuff to write about" kinda stories.

chris (bklyn, ny): kevin - give us some recommendations for games you've been into recently, especially cross-platformers for those of us on the 360.

Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure I can. I'm currently playing imported versions of Aquanaut's Holiday and Afrika who not only aren't on the 360, aren't even published in the U.S. I hear Resident Evil 5 is awfully good.

joalryan (Chicago): What's your view on Wilmer Flores? Is he compared to Miguel Cabrera because it's appropriate, or because it's convenient?

Kevin Goldstein: Obviously, anytime you are comparing a guy out of short season with an established superstar, it's dangerous. Still, it's a very promising bat for a teenager, and like Cabrera, he's got a thick lower half that's going to limit him defensively down the road.

James (Altoona): I know they're spring numbers, but Andy LaRoche has great numbers, particularly his walk rate. Does he finally break out now that he's got a full-time job?

Kevin Goldstein: Sure. Put him on my sleeper team for 2009 as well. Always liked him.

DanLong (NY): side note; if you go to the yankees website, that is one ugly picture of AJ Burnett

Kevin Goldstein: If he had his shirt off, you could see the pierced nipples . . .

Timmy (MD): If Arrieta's 2ndary stuff isn't great, and if his walk rate isn't great, why is he a top 100 guy?

Kevin Goldstein: Because his secondary stuff isn't bad, it's just not outstanding. It's certainly usable. And his fastball is OUTSTANDING.

Joe (San Antonio): Mr. Goldstein, do you know if Wilmer Font is being groomed to start or is he going to be a bullpen guy?

Kevin Goldstein: Guy has 50 pro innings. Right now he just needs innings before you worry about his role.

Nick (NYC): My three favorite Stiff Little Fingers songs are _______, _______, and ______.

Kevin Goldstein: Suspect Device, Gotta Get Away, Alternative Ulster.

KerryFam4 (Atlanta): Matt Tuiasosopo has had a hot spring. If Beltre gets traded at the deadline, will Tuiasosopo be ready to contribute?

Kevin Goldstein: As a solid-but-unspectacular third baseman? I think so.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks. Sorry I couldn't get to all of the questions, but you know I'll be back. Hope to see you in Seattle or Alameda next week!


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