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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday May 07, 2009 2:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Dial up BP.com's latest chat to put your questions to prospects guru Kevin Goldstein.

Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone and thanks for joining me on this slow news day. Nope, nothing going on around here, so let's talk about prospects, the draft, and stuff like that as this chat is officially being declared a MANNY FREE ZONE.

Jon (Rhode Island): Are you @theprospectbeat on twitter? I can't find you anywhere but thought that may be you?

Kevin Goldstein: No, I'm not. I have no idea who that is. I'm 'kingclip' on Twitter, so feel free to follow me if you want updates on what I'm eating, what video game I'm player, what movie I'm watching and the occasional minor league tidbit. Frankly, I'm not sure what to do with the thing yet.

Corey (Philly): KG, I've been impressed, like most, with Jason Knapp's early success. What can you tell us about him? What's his upside? Thanks, love the new daily prospect feature.

Kevin Goldstein: I'm glad people are enjoying the daily prospect bit, I'm certainly enjoying getting it out there and it just gets us talking about more prospect. Knapp's upside is TREMENDOUS. Plus-plus velocity, big power frame, just needs innings and honing of all the stuff around the big heater.

Fernando Martinez (Buffalo): You owe me an apology good sir! I lead the league in XBH!

Kevin Goldstein: If you read the Minor League Update EVERY DAY, you would have already seen it.

Naveed (Toronto): Is Danny Espinosa a legitimate prospect?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. I've been looking to get the Nationals SS prospect into the Ten Pack or daily of late. He's not crazy toolsy, but he's got good hitting skills, gap power, excellent fundamentals (if not a ton of range) defensively -- lots to like.

John (Sacramento, CA): Any word on why Posey didn't get promoted along with Bumgarner, Alderson and Crawford? And re: Crawford, do you think he can overcome the insane K%?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know the official reason, but there might be a bit of a numbers game going on. The catcher at Double-A right now is Jackson Williams, who stinks as a hitter, but is also one of the best defensive backstops in the minors, so they want to keep getting him BAs in hope that he'll hit ENOUGH to be a backup. That's just a theory.

Rob (Dallas): Is Jake Fox a better prospect than people may think?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't necessarily think so. I think he's more likely to win a home run title in Japan three years from now than be starting in the bigs.

Drew (Ohio): Hi Kevin. On Justin Upton... just another hot streak, or just the beginning?

Kevin Goldstein: B.

thegreg7 (Cleveland): What does it mean when a batter has a "hitch" in his swing?

Kevin Goldstein: See Sheffield, Gary. Or this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMBnZXZUjsU. Also allow both to serve as examples of why a hitch isn't always the end of the world.

Nick (Alton, IL): Hey Kevin, can you give me a update on Brett Wallace? I know he is raking on offense but is his defense getting any better at 3b or are the cards going to have to move him? they really have no room in the of for him and that pujols guy is at first. thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: Since when is .266 raking? Seriously, I have no issue with that bat, but the glove is the same -- makes the plays he gets too, just doesn't get to many of them.

Harold (D.C.): Now that you've seen Jordan Zimmermann pitch a couple time in Majors what's his ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: Good number three, outside shot at a 2.

tfierst (Saint Paul, MN): Yeah, yeah I know its small sample, etc, but is there any concern over Ben Revere's slow start? His walk levels are returning back to normal, but the power is nowhere to be seen. Small sample size, small sample size, ....... please just be small sample size.

Kevin Goldstein: .292 with a .370 OBP is a slow start? As far as the power goes, he already has matched last year's HR total with one, he's walking and running more than ever. ZERO concern.

Matt (Palatine, IL): What current major league player most reminds you of Justin Smoak? What kind of numbers do you expect he will put up early on at the ML level and how about during his prime?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm not a big fan of comps unless they're really obvious. The best one I heard on Smoak is a switch-hitting Morneau with better defensive chops. That one made a lot of sense to me.

Rob (Dallas): Do you believe Homer Bailey has turned a corner and is a premiere pitching prospect again?

Kevin Goldstein: I believe he has turned a corner. Premiere? I"m not so sure, but I think he's got a career in front of him at least.

PFoJ (Philadelphia): Has Pat Venditte's stuff gotten any better or are his good numbers just because of the gimmick?

Kevin Goldstein: Honestly? I don't know. He CAN spin a curveball, and that can really serve you well at the lower levels. I think the jury is still out, but that's certainly an upgrade from where we were six months ago.

Juice (Tacoma): What should Mariners fans make of Michael Saunders fast start hered in Tacoma?

Kevin Goldstein: They should be pumped.

Kevin (San Jose, CA): I've heard from a friend who was at Monday night's game that teams are running on Posey. My friend said he was making some bad throws. I'm thinking defense is the reason he's still in A ball. But my other thought is that it doesn't really affect his overall timetable since he can work on that at any level. Does that sound right?

Kevin Goldstein: His attempt rate isn't crazy, and he's thrown out 30%. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying the numbers aren't glaring.

Rob (Dallas): How much longer do you think it will be before the Red Sox call up Clay Buchholz?

Kevin Goldstein: Every chat I get these questions, and I understand why. There are plenty of reasons. You just might be a big fan of the team and you want to see him, or maybe he's on your fantasy team. That said. I don't know. Teams tend not to tell people that, and in addition, opportunity often comes from places other than performance, like injuries. So I don't know when he's coming, but I would guess he is coming soon.

Jon (GA): Is Jason Heyward hurt? He's missing quite a few games??

Kevin Goldstein: He's got a hip injury. The Braves tell me it's minor, and they're just being very cautious.

Ben F (California): Thanks for the chat. At the book signing in Alameda you mentioned that you love fat ballplayers...care to give us your all time Team Fat?

Kevin Goldstein: Best . . . article . . . idea . . . .ever.

MT (KC): Is there any chance Alberto Callaspo is legit?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. Not like 1.000 OPS legit, but .300 hitter legit. I got flack for pumping him in the Royals Top 11 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8498), but as they say in Blood Simple, "Who looks stupid now?"

cult of basebaal (Pasadena): What can you tell me about DJ Mitchell, who's off to a good start and had another strong outing last night for Low-A Charleston?

Kevin Goldstein: Big fan. He got a ton a late buzz in the draft last year, and he seems to be still getting better. Not the biggest guy in the world, but one of the more athletic pitchers you can find, and his solid velocity fastball is made that much better by movement and location.

Bill (CT): The best prospect to play in the Eastern League at some point this year is _________

Kevin Goldstein: Well, Bumgarner is there now, so that's that.

Neil (Pitt): Michael Crotta doesn't walk anyone and induces a lot of grounders. Can he make it in a major league rotation?

Kevin Goldstein: No.

dianagramr (NYC): Given your love of fat players, how would you describe Pablo Sandoval? "Pandaesque" comes to mind.

Kevin Goldstein: I really need to compile like a short book of best scout quotes I've ever heard. On Sandoval: "Man, that fat [expletive]-er can hit."

Jon (Charleston, SC): going to the Riverdogs game Saturday night...anyone I should check out for Low A Charleston or Asheville, dont think Brackman or Friedrich is pitching.

Kevin Goldstein: Tons of interesting arms on Charleston. We talked about Mitchell. Brett Marshall has been struggling but certainly has upside. You have Venditte in the bullpen, and that's entertaining enough. The lineup isn't anything special, but 2B David Adams might end up an interesting sleeper. He's a guy who always had real nice scouting reports but never lived up to expectations at Virginia.

ScotMartin (TX): Feliz, Main, Beaven... worries?

Kevin Goldstein: No; not especially; wasn't that nuts about him coming into the year anyway.

Meddler1 (Brooklyn, NY): Fallout: New Vegas to be developed by Obsidian, aka Black Isle with a different name. Excited?

Kevin Goldstein: Just ridiculously so. How about Gust/NIS making a 3D JRPG with Atelier/Disgaea characters and a battle system described as like Xenogears? Best news ever.

Rob (Dallas): How good of a prospect is Kris Medlen?

Kevin Goldstein: See today's minor league update.

NG (NYC): Any Ynoa updates?

Kevin Goldstein: Arriving in Arizona as early as this week.

big baby (NJ): Kevin, Wondering about your thoughts on the arms the Mets have in A+/A, specifically the less bally-hooed types like Carr/Niesen/Allen/Rustich/Calero.

Kevin Goldstein: They're not bally-hooed for a reason.

NG (NYC): With Chris Tillman's good start, do you think we'll see before the ASB?

Kevin Goldstein: I think you'll see him, but probably not that soon. Seems like a perfectly good waste of service time to me.

Dennis (Chicago): Any opinion on Brett Cecil's ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: 4, maybe 3.

jaymoff (Salem, OR): Dayan Viciedo: adjustment period needed or international signee hype?

Kevin Goldstein: More A. than B.

Jon W. (Boston): Hey Kevin - What are your thoughts on Eric Young Jr.? He's up to his old tricks, hitting about .290 with a bunch of steals and virtually no power...do you see him as a MLB regular at any point?

Kevin Goldstein: No, but I think he'll be a nice utility player when all is said and done.

tweedly (tx/ok): better Coen Bros: Blood Simple or Miller's Crossing?

Kevin Goldstein: A. But I'll take Barton Fink over any of 'em.

HankScorpio (KC): Sorry if this is repeat...can't recall if I sent it in advance of the chat. Anyway...can we start thinking of Jeff Bianchi as a prospect again? He's had a great start at Wilmington, and is just 22. If so, can he stick at SS? Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: How about we simply call it a cause for optimism. The bad news is no, he's not a SS.

NB (IL): Is there anything in the minors for a Cub fan to be excited about other than Vitters?

Kevin Goldstein: Sure, I just wrote about Chris Carpenter the other day.

mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): Where do the Rays go to improve their bullpen; trade with another team for a veteran or two, or promote from within their own system?

Kevin Goldstein: I still think trying Wade Davis out there wouldn't be a bad idea.

The Dude (LA): What was the ending in Barton Fink all about anyway, man?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure what you are talking about, it was a beautiful day.

tfierst (Saint Paul, MN): How excited should I be about Carlos Gutierrez yet? Or is it tempered by the fact he's 22 in A ball?

Kevin Goldstein: If excited is for a ground ball machine who projects as a solid but unspectacular slugger, I'm down with it.

beta461 (San Francisco): Does Fred Lewis have any room for some power development in that swing?

Kevin Goldstein: Not really.

Mike (WI): If you were ranking prospects on HITTING ONLY, where would Lawrie rank?

Kevin Goldstein: Pretty damn high.

Norman (CO): Any reports on Jhoulys Chacin so far this season? He hasn't been nearly as impressive (so far) this year as he was last and you had mentioned that he was a "bunch of 6's"

Kevin Goldstein: He's fine. Overall numbers are solid. He's made four good starts and got hit hard once. I'm fine.

TheCaptain (Hamilton, On): Considering the smoke and mirrors the blue jays pitching looks to be outside Roy Halladay how excited can I be about them in the long run? They can hit, the bullpen is lights out....but the starters still scare me...what are your thoughts?

Kevin Goldstein: I think they can hit, the bullpen is pretty good, but the starters still scare me.

Kirk (AZ): Have you seen Trevor Harden this year or have you gotten any reports on him? He looks like one of the DBacks top pitching prospects.

Kevin Goldstein: Unfortunately, I missed him by a day. I know a scout who was there, but I haven't talked to him yet about it. He is pitching well though.

Matt (College): Does Cody Johnson have more power than Heyward or Freeman?

Kevin Goldstein: Raw power? absolutely. But there's a difference between raw and usable.

Travis (San Diego): Is Danny Valencia the answer for the Twins at 3B in 2010?

Kevin Goldstein: He'd certainly be my first choice.

Rays fans (everywhere): Does Desmond Jennings project to 20-25 homer power? How's his defense?

Kevin Goldstein: Defense is very good. 20-25 is asking way too much. Fantastic prospect, but not a 25 HR guy.

Joe V. (Washington, DC): Kevin: Is Phil Hughes back? The stuff seems to be back to where it was in 2007 (I know, I know, it's only been two starts).

Kevin Goldstein: Sure, he's totally back! Maybe! How many times have we collectively thought he's back? All we can say is that maybe he is, and maybe he isn't.

Ian (Cleveland): As a diehard Indians fan, is there much chance Sowers come up here (starting tonight vs Boston) and begins to justify spending a high first round pick on him?

Kevin Goldstein: Not really. He might be ok, but he'll never be an impact arm.

Stephanie (DC): What are your thoughts on the Rays limiting their AAA pitchers, particularly Price, to 75 pitches?

Kevin Goldstein: Becoming a nation of wusses. I like what the Rangers are doing more.

John (Anaheim): What do you think of Alexander Torres? Lots of strikeouts, lots of groundballs, but too many walks and a bit short at 5'10. What's his ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: He might have some relief possibilities, but that's about it.

tfierst (Saint Paul, MN): Ever run into scouts who are jerks?

Kevin Goldstein: Of course. No profession in the world is jerk-free.

Mike (Jax, FL): Have you heard anything from scouts about Brandon Snyder?

Kevin Goldstein: Same 'ol story. Dude can hit, but not like a first baseman.

TheCaptain (Hamilton, On): Do you feel Fantasy baseball hype has anything to do with the "preceived" failure of many of these high touted major league prospects lately?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely.

George (Ft Myers): Joe Benson = this year's Dom Brown for an uber-toolsy guy who puts it together en route to becoming a higher-end prospect?

Kevin Goldstein: Not convinced.

beta461 (SF): Sandoval's slashy stats at the end of the season?

Kevin Goldstein: What he's at right now looks about right to me.

Matt (College): Ok. How about usable power then? His power seems more usable at high-A. How will it play at higher levels?

Kevin Goldstein: It will play a bit, but he's going to strike out at an unreal level. Obviously you'd take a guy like Heyward to hit way more homers in the big leagues.

Rob (Dallas): Could you see the Red Sox transition Papelbon to a starter eventually with Daniel Bard's emergence?

Kevin Goldstein: No. No way. No how.

MA (GA): Re: "All-Fat" team: Wow, who would be the middle infielders?

Kevin Goldstein: I have a scorecard right here from a game at Shea 23 years ago with Kevin Mitchell at shortstop.

Vic (Chicago): What kind of upside does Dan Hudson have? What does he throw?

Kevin Goldstein: 89-93 w/ excellent life, solid slider. Could be a starter if everything falls right.

Jack (IL): Any news on Gordon Beckham's defense down in AA?

Kevin Goldstein: Solid but unspectacular. Arm and footwork are good enough for SS, range is iffy.

Larry (Ontario): Is Yohermyn Chavez putting him back on the map with his early performance in Lansing and who do you take between him and Moises Sierra?

Kevin Goldstein: Chavez is slightly back on the map, I'd always take him over Sierra, maybe just for the body alone.

Ron (Vancouver): NHL or NBA Playoffs?

Kevin Goldstein: If I'm not watching baseball, I'm watching a movie or a video game. I know the Celtics won last year, but I'm not sure who won the NBA title in the years before that. I have no idea who the defending Stanley Cup winner is. Like the NBA, I know the Steelers won the last Supper Bowl, but I don't think I know the three before that. It's really baseball only for me . . . and some boxing.

Ben F (California): I notice that you gave Daryl Jones four stars but he didn't make the top 100. Did he just miss the cut? Were there other four star guys that didn't make it?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes, he just missed. Yes, I'd probably put him in it now. Seriously people, is there some organized movement to pick ONE guy in each of my chats and bombard me with questions about him. Is Daryl Jones the new Jeremy Hellickson who was the new Tyler Clippard?

Stephanie (DC): Any reports of progress or good news for Tim Beckham? Seems to be way too early to be concerned, correct?

Kevin Goldstein: Concerned about what? He's having a good season.

Robbie (Fort Worth): KG, Can you tell me how Font and Boscan are doing this year at Hickory?

Kevin Goldstein: Font has been as expected, throwing the crap out of the ball but the rest of the game is raw. Boscan has been even better than last year, generating a lot of buzz.

Nick (Alton): I just got a PS3. What are you favorite PS3 games? What are you playing right now?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm kind of a niche gamer, so I play a lot of smaller/import titles. So sticking to what you can find easily . . .
Console Exclusives: Little Big Planet, Metal Gear Solid 4, Disagea 3 (for the hardcore), and then Flower and any PixelJunk game (esp. Eden) from the network.
Multi-platform (if you don't have a 360): Fallout 3 (MUST BUY), Bioshock, Dead Space

Joe (San Francisco): How good can A. villanova be for an 18 year old raking it in San Jose?

Kevin Goldstein: Pretty much everyone I talk to projects him as a middle-of-the-order bat.

sjstraub ((NJ)): Greg Halman leads AA with 10 HRs, but is striking out in about 40% of his PAs. His best comp is Pedro Cerrano, right? Will he ever learn to hit the offspeed stuff, or is it time to really reduce his ceiling because of those Ks?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm starting to wonder how off a Mike Cameron comp might be.

Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): When a prospect gets moved up a level, what typically happens to the guy he displaces? Sent to the bench, demoted a level, made a minor league free agent, or all of the above?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely all of the above, but with the demotions, also come promotions. Usually though somebody gets bad news. A guy moves up to Hi-A, Hi-A guy moves up to Double-A on the same day, Double-A guy changes positions, and somebody else gets tapped on the shoulder to meet up with the manager in his office. It's never all good news when guys move around. The phoenix IS the ashes.

Joe (Pequannock, NJ): Kevin: What's your favorite funny scout story?

Kevin Goldstein: Not printable. My favorite printable one is probably the Billy Butler in the outfield story, which is best told in person with hand motions. Favorite recent story: So we got this swine flu stupidity, and Texas dinged all high school sports for a couple weeks. Certain team has this area scout -- great guy, but very very intense about it, like to a point where he doesn't really pay muc attention to the world around him either short or long term. So he drives to a high school a day after Texas dinged the games, doesn't notice that the parking lot is empty, grabs his bag out of his car and starts walking toward the field. Took probably 100 steps before he realized he was the only person on the planet there and started making calls to find out what's going on.

shamah (NYC): Is Adam Jones this good?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. And eventually better.

Gunpuddy (Nashville, TN): So what is the difference between Greg Halman's bat and Cody Johnson's? Other than he walks less. Or is it a positional thing?

Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, it really might not be a HUGE difference (though I think Halman is a better hitter). The difference is speed and CF skills, and that's a huge difference. Think about some really good up the middle player, and than look at his numbers and pretend he's a first baseman. He might not even be in the big leagues.

jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Good to see former WSU pitcher Anthony Capra in your ten-pack. With his velocity, is his ceiling that of a 4th-5th starter, league-average type, or is it higher?

Kevin Goldstein: Having seen him twice and more importantly seen him WITH SCOUTS, I do think he at least has a chance to be a back-end starter. His pitchability is really impressive, and the changeup is truly a plus pitch.

Darren (Anaheim): KG, Regarding Ynoa, is there any truth to the rumor that he might not actually be his stated age?

Kevin Goldstein: I haven't heard that rumor, but it's not a good one. Did that start because of the late arrival to extended? If so I can tell you this much -- Ynoa's late arrival has nothing to do with his age, or any questions about his age. It has nothing to do with his health, or any questions about his health. It has nothing to do with his ability, or any questions about his ability. It's a zero issue. Move on.

matt (wi): Can you tell us what is up with Tim Collins? Legitimate stuff or is the fact that he is so small just throw off hitters?

Kevin Goldstein: It's the most amazing combination of weirdness and legitimacy. He's fascinating.

Calvin (FL): What happens to Votto when Alonso's ready?

Kevin Goldstein: Honestly? You got me.

Ron (Vancouver): What happened to your sleeper prospect Justin Jackson?

Kevin Goldstein: He's a very hard sleeper. I can't hit on everyone, ya know?

wilk75 (clutch city): As an Astros fan, give me something to get excited about. Anything. Anything at all.

Kevin Goldstein: Colin Delome. Jason Castro has looked pretty good offensively, and pretty great defensively, throwing out 14 of 22 attempted base stealers.

don (ny): I didn't think Hochevar deserved to get farmed this Spring and was excited for him that he didn't sulk...but pitched very well in the Minors. When does he get his recall?

Kevin Goldstein: Did anyone read wrote I wrote earlier? I don't know. Nobody does, and if they act like they know they are pretending. But I agree that he should be up.

lpiklor (chicago): Andrew McCutcheon gets called up in MONTH of YEAR...

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know.

Jjack (Cleveland): Who is more likely to be a MLB regular Niko Vasquez or Devaris Gordon?

Kevin Goldstein: Gordon. Bet on the tools.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, That's two hours and I've gotta jet. Thanks for all of the great questions, especially those that did did not ask about Manny, exactly when Prospect X will come up, or get in 7 Daryl Jones questions. We'll see you again soon.


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