Take a break from post-season action to plug in and get some future shock with Kevin Goldstein.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. Fun post-season so far, and lots of new baseball starting up as well, with the Arizona Fall League beginning next week, while La Liga Venezolana Beisbol Profesional and La Liga Mexicana del Pacific kick off action tonight, and soon, La Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana. One of the things I love about being the prospect guy, we pretty much always have games.
mrenick (Little rock): Can you compare the competition levels of the winter and fall leagues? How is the average ( average meaning BP reading, minor league following) fan to interpret VWL, DSL stats? Or do they mean nothing because we don't know what the clubs advised their players to work on? Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: It's a tough question and all of the factors you talk about are involved. On pure talent, Puerto Rico is consistently the lowest, but the rest are hard to gauge, as you do have guys working on specific aspects of their game, or learning a position, and the talent is so crazy varied, especially in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, that feature plenty of establish big league guys. Arizona Fall League is a scouting league for me -- numbers rarely mean much there -- when I think of some of the great hitting seasons put up there, I think about Ken Harvey and Tagg Bozied, so what does that tell you?
Victor (Tempe): Are you excited to see what Stephen Strasburg can do this Fall? Realistically, does he start the year in AA/AAA, or do you think the Nats should give him a chance right away?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm very excited to see him pitch, but I'm not looking to take much away from it. I don't think he'll begin 2010 in the majors, I think you'll get a Mark Prior-esque year with 8-10 minor league starts (Prior had 6 AA, 3 AAA) and then the big leagues.
Corey (Fort Worth, TX): Happy to see Nolan Ryan is going to give Neftali Feliz a chance to start next year. Thoughts on implementing a Joba Rules type approach with him?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think the Joba rules should be applied to Joba, so no, not a fan.
Chauncey (SD): So this Everth Cabrera kid... is he for real?
Kevin Goldstein: As long as we're agreeing that "real" is a .250-.270 hitter with no power, 40-50 walks, and plus defense, sure.
Carl (Buffalo, NY): With a strong showing in the AFL, could Jenry Mejia be a top 20 prospect? What about Ike Davis?
Kevin Goldstein: As in Top 20 in all of baseball? No way.
Jeffery (South Beach): What do you think of Yankee's prospect Brandon Laird, where does he rank among their hitting prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: I can't see how he's much of a prospect -- like I say all the time, first baseman can't just be decent hitters, they have to really mash, and Laird doesn't do that. He's kind of an org guy for me.
Greg764 (Cleveland): Really excited to read about Chisenhall's progress. The swing sounds sweet, but more gap to gap, so does he have enough power for a third baseman (25-30hr's a stretch for him)?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he'll be more of a 20-25 guy, but I really like his chances for being a consistent .300+ guy.
LCB (NY): Why do you hate Jenrry Mejia so much?
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, so let me get this right, any prospect who I don't think is in the Top 20 of all of baseball, I now hate? Ok, got it. Man, that's a lot of hate to go around. I like Mejia just fine, but if you think he's top 20, that's kinda nuts.
Corey (Forth Worth, TX): What kind of strategy do you think they should adopt for Feliz? Is keeping a watch on him and limit him to around 150 innings a better idea?
Kevin Goldstein: Indeed it is.
Adam (Norfolk, VA): Where would you rank Casey Kelly in terms of pitching prospects? Is he more front end/ace rotation stuff, or 2-3 type?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd rank him pretty damn high, but I do think his ceiling is 2-3. That's not an insult AT ALL. 1s are crazy rare -- even 2s and 3s are.
Bubba (Seattle): I know you're more into JRPGs, but what are your favorite western ones? Recommend anything for the 360?
Kevin Goldstein: My favorite Western one is Fallout 3. I can't give you 360-specific recommendations, as I don't have one, but if you own a PS3 and you have not bought Demon's Souls . . . you're doing it wrong.
Sonoma (David): I realize Lars Anderson's stock has gone through the floor, but how could he have struggled so much at the same level he hit well at a year earlier?
Kevin Goldstein: Small sample size last year? Physical differences in swing? Psychological issues of profound slump? All of the above?
jobathebeast (New Jersey): Have you heard any of the scouts you talk to mention any Yankees doing particularly well in Instructs?
Kevin Goldstein: Lets just say that a few years from now, you'll be asking me questions as 'monterothebeast'
Charlie (Bethesda): The DC Internet Baseball Writers voted Bradley Meyers 4th in their Nats best minor leaguer of the year award. Who is he? Is he a real prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a prospect, not a massive one, but certainly A prospect. Great numbers, but command/control are way ahead of stuff.
Quentin (LA): Has Porcello's rookie year changed your mind about him in any way? He had some rough spots, but in game 163, he showed he can strike guys out when needed. Joe Sheehan compares him to Maddux, what do you expect? (I'm high on him, but want a realistic view)
Kevin Goldstein: Hasn't really changed my mind at all. Loved him before, love him now. Honestly is his ERA was a run higher than it was, it would STILL have been a good year for him at this level.
Joe (Bellingham, WA): What kind of timetable and ceiling would you put on Dustin Ackley?
Kevin Goldstein: Short and very high. I could see him hitting .300 with 20 hr and 30 sb a year . . . with walks.
Paul (The Bay Area): Any reason why the Rays didn't send Tim Beckham to the Fall league, seems like he needs more work at SS?
Kevin Goldstein: Because he's not nearly ready for the fall league offensively. If we still had Hawaii, he might go there, and hopefully we'll have a lower-level off-season league again soon.
Eric (Mpls): Is Miguel Angel Sano the top Twins prospect now?
Kevin Goldstein: He's in the argument -- not a slam dunk, but in the discussion. Top 11s (starting after the World Series) begin with the AL, so Baltimore, Boston, White Sox first, but Minnesota will be an early one and I'm looking forward to talking to people about that system as their top 11 should be fun to do.
bkmhoxx (KC): Im trying to figure out some of the lesser known shortstops that i havent been able to see in person. Who has the higher ceiling (and im not talkin about light hitting defensive specialists)? Zach Cozart. Jharmidy Dejesus, Miguel Rojas, Jurickson Profar, Starlin Castro or Hector Guevara.
Kevin Goldstein: On that list? Castro and Profar stand out a bit. Profar really blew a lot of people away, even the Rangers, during the instructional league.
fjm(anuel) (ny): Any thoughts on the fact that almost every highly touted catching prospect from the last few years has been a disappointment? The Texas trio, to Clement, Towles, Anderson, Walker, etc.
Is there anything to learn from this, except maybe that catching is ridiculously difficult, and that there's a multi-year learning curve in the majors, regardless of minor league prowess?
Kevin Goldstein: Buster Posey says hi. Seriously, though. It's like that with most up the middle positions, even more so for catching -- it's really is both a unique, and incredibly difficult position.
Mowstangs (peoria IL): oh snap. the top 11 are coming soon? like right after the series or like the february after the series?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd expect Baltimore to show up around 3 days after the last out of the world series, and then it just rolls from there.
buffum (Austin TX): Where does Cord Phelps fit into the Indians' long-term plans? He looks like he is approaching a decision point, but the current middle infield of Cabrera/Valbuena seems promising and Lonnie Chisenhall is a better bet at third. Am I overrating Phelps' chances of becoming an everyday second baseman?
Kevin Goldstein: Probably. He has some interesting skills, but I don't think becoming an every day player in the big leagues is a sure thing or anything.
rguerin (Maine): I know that Bill Butler is now in the majors, but he does play for a AAA-calibre team - and is only 23. So what do you think about his prospects? How many of those doubles will turn into homers?
Kevin Goldstein: I think a lot of them will turn into homers -- in fact, I would guess 8-12 of them turn into home runs as early as next year.
Bill (New Mexico): With Wagner Mateo unceremoniously flushed by the Cardinals because of his still-not-named vision problem, are there any indications of anyone else sniffing around to pick him up? Maybe on a low-base, high-incentive deal of some kind? Or is he just untouchable unless/until the problem is resolved?
Kevin Goldstein: There are a lot of teams kicking the tires on Mateo, and he is playing in a HUGE showcase down in the Dominican this weekend.
Felicity (Rancho Cucomonga): I'm seriously dying over here for some Carlos Carrasco info. DYING! Tell me he can still be a #2 or #3 in Cleveland
Kevin Goldstein: I can't tell you that.
Howie ((Long Island, NY)): Does Gary Sanchez crack the Yankees top 11 prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: We'll see -- I think he's definitely in the discussion -- and I'll be surprised if he doesn't make it.
Jeff (Topanga): You've mentioned in the past that you don't really like to do player comparisons (Chris Carter is a right-handed Ryan Howard for example).
Can you give a few quick reasons why?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't like them unless they are obvious, and at times, I find them to be very very lazy. Take for example the common Dominic Brown/Daryl Strawberry one that gets thrown around everywhere. Why is it there? Because Brown is tall, long, left-handed and African-American. Is he like Straw as a player? No.
mikemcd (ottawa): Is J.P. Arenciba still Toronto's catcher of the future? In a way he did meet expectations--he hit his doubles and home runs, struck out a ton and never walked--but are those expectations high enough?
Kevin Goldstein: Have you seen the kind of players who get every day catcher jobs in the big leagues. You can't set expectations too high. A catcher with his power and athleticism -- might not be a huge star, but he's good for the position.
Tom (right here): Since the Jays used several of their prospects at the Major League level this year, who would be at the top of their list now?
Kevin Goldstein: We'll see. I was talking on the phone recently with another person in this world who does what I do, and we were just having fun and going team by team to predict who we'd have at No. 1 for each team. When we got to Toronto, it was a pretty long pause.
russadams (Tony Gwynn's stomach): Is Brock Peterson going to take Justin Morneau's job? I know he had just decent numbers in the minor leagues, but if Morneau is not playing through his injury during the postseason, he obviously doesn't care about the Twins. Peterson was a 49th round pick so to make it to AAA means he really cares, and his character must be much better than Morneau's.
Kevin Goldstein: Seriously folks -- I can't make this stuff up. And remember, we're the place for the intelligent fan!
Linda (Tulsa): This year for Iannetta was definitely rough; how much of his ceiling is in tact now? I can't remember whether you were a fan before he got called up or not.
Kevin Goldstein: Was a fan, still a fan, think he should be playing now.
The Flying Bernard (Acton, MA): How in the world does a player ever end up batting right and throwing left (a la Rickey Henderson)? It seems like a waste of a potential platoon advantage.
Kevin Goldstein: I throw left and I hit right. I think it's just from being a kid and learning from watching and playing with friends.
Dillon (Pasadena): How do scouts typically measure bat speed? Can they just tell or do they look for a hitter's ability to hit mid-90s heat on the inside or up in the zone?
Kevin Goldstein: There's not some kind of timed measurement, but you are looking for barrel velocity as well as kind of a pop-time thing where you want to see how quick the bat flies into the hitting zone from the time one starts their swing. You're looking for warning signs like bat wrap, or hitches and triggers, but you also have to accept the fact that sometimes things just work for a guy. Julio Franco had an INSANE bat wrap, but you had no reason to fix it. Hunter Pence has a big ol' hitch, but it works, Gary Sheffield's waggle trigger -- you'd never teach it, but you'd never ask him to change it.
Rob (Alaska): What kind of a prospect was Miguel Montero? Was his breakout this year for real?
Kevin Goldstein: I always had him pretty darn high -- so yes, I think it is.
dantroy (davis): If Bryce Harper were to drop to #7 in the draft due to signability issues, what college reliever would the Mets select?
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah! The readers rebound as this one nearly made me spit out my drink.
Jonathan (New York): Fun subjective question: Based on what you've seen and older scouts you know, who are the five most physically talented prospects of the past 25-30 years? Griffey, A-Rod, Bo Jackson, Eric Davis, Strawberry?
Kevin Goldstein: I love this question, but the discussion would take . . . years. Justin Upton comes to mind for recent guys, Dave Winfield if we can go back a few more years.
Quincy (MD): For the Rockies next year, is the optimal alignment to have Stewart at 3rd and Young, Jr., at 2nd, losing or benching Atkins/Deermeat in the process?
Kevin Goldstein: I would want to find something better than Stewart.
Kyle (Austin, TX): How large is the difference in ceilings between Manuel Banuelos and Martin Perez?
Kevin Goldstein: It's pretty sizeable, and I like Banuelos.
Justin (Illinois): Does the Cubs' system really look a lot better than it did at this time last year or is it just us lost in the cocoon of hope?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd say better, but I wouldn't say a lot better.
Cale27 (Phoenix): What's the latest on Jarrod Parker? Will he be knocked out of 5 star status due to the health concerns?
Kevin Goldstein: On a throwing program, and so far, so good.
Geffory (Wyoming): How does one go about getting a job like yours at BP?
Kevin Goldstein: Practice, practice, practice.
glenihan (nyc): Is Jennings ready to play everyday for the rays? Will his bat play in LF if they do, in fact, move Crawford this offseason?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he COULD, but I'm not sure he WILL.
Ari (North York): Can you please give us your top 3 Jays prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm getting a ton of questions like this, so I want to address it.
I don't know who they are. I obviously have some kind of idea, but I don't like throwing out rankings off the top of my head or even just throwing them out there at all. Top 11s start next month, and they really are important to me, so I talk to a TON of people, team officials, scouts, etc. to learn everything I can before ranking. To just give you three guys now would be a disservice.
Luka (The Bronx): Is Betances prospect stock dead?
Kevin Goldstein: No, but he's on life support.
Flynnbot (Oak Park, IL): Tyler Colvin--is he someone worth getting our hopes up about?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. Nice rebound year, but I think he'll have a nice career as a 4th OF/occasional starter as opposed to making a big impact.
dianagramr (NYC): Hi Kevin ... thanks for the chat ...
who is having a worse series ... Chip Caray or C.B. Bucknor?
Kevin Goldstein: Tie.
ashitaka (long beach, ca): Will Delmon Young ever be a productive baseball player? His pitch recognition was always a question mark, but he's shown little power, and it seems even his arm is less than advertised.
Kevin Goldstein: I might be insane, but that last stretch of the season left me pretty optimistic, and if I did play fantasy baseball, I'd want him next year.
lol (ny): do you play call of duty 4?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Just not an FPS guy. Currently playing Demon's Souls, before that, Katamari Forever and the Fallout 3 add-ons. And the Persona remake on my PSP.
glenihan (nyc): Predictions for how the postseason will play out?
Kevin Goldstein: Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, Angels -- Dodgers over Phillies, Angels upset Yankees -- Angels win I-5 series.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ankeny, IA): Many Tigers' fans want Alex Avila to play next year in front of Gerald Laird. I think its early for Avila to be counted on even though Laird is iffy. Your thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: Can I hedge? If I'm the Tigers I go into next spring with the catching job as a competition between the two.
Stefan (Carmel, NY): Is anyone in the Yankee's system besides Montero and Jackson in the running for top 100 prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: Arodys for sure off the top of my head.
glenihan (nyc): Didn't Delmon Young have all of 2 unintentional BBs from late August through the end of September? ... that guy left you feeling optimistic?
Kevin Goldstein: Walks are very important, walks are NOT the end all be all. You can be a good player with a bad walk rate. It doesn't make you AS good of a player, but it happens. You have to be pretty special, like an early career Alfonso Soriano or Vlad. Walks are not a pre-requisite of being good. You obviously want them, but you can't take it to the point where if a player doesn't walk he stinks.
Marco (San Diego): If you had to evaluate Jeff Dacker's upside what do you see him as?
Kevin Goldstein: He's so so hard to evaluate for him, and I saw him multiple times this year, and have talked to probably 10 different scouts about him. Guy can hit, no question about it, but when I look at that body, and think about him being just 19, I can't help but wonder what he's going to be physically at 27, and everywhere my mind goes is a bad place.
Wolf (IN): Do you see Oakland's Adrian Cardenas as a potential MLB starter? Or career utility player?
Kevin Goldstein: If he can stay at second base, he can play every day.
Any fan (anytown USA): It was proposed by a columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper that the Astros consider going into next season with Manzella and Maysonnet (sp?) as their keystone combination. Other than the lyrical way it rolls off the tongue, is there any reason for a sane person to suggest that?
Kevin Goldstein: Pitching stuff would be better because of the defense, but you couldn't take the offensive hit.
Larry (Pittsburgh): Did Garret Jones' season surprise you at all? Was it a one off type of year, can he post similar numbers over the course of a whole season?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it surprised everyone. I do think it was a bit of a one-off type of thing, he's basically the Kevin Maas of 2009.
Kamryn (Oakland): I'm tired about hearing from Giants fans about Thomas Neal. Please tell me that Grant Desme's more of a prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: I think I might slightly favor Neal, actually.
James282 (Detroit): Can you tell us a little bit about Jacob Turner, what do scouts think his future upside is? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: Best HS arm in the draft. 6-foot-5, mid-90s, good feel for breaking ball, nice arm action. Ceiling is through the roof.
NM (NJ): Can Chris Carter (the Mets' one) be a solid power bench bat next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Not a believer.
SC (Minneapolis): A year into their big league careers, who would you rather have Porcello or Hanson?
Kevin Goldstein: Holy crap that's hard. Gimme some time on this one.
Jim (Chicago): When are you planning to unveil your next big sleeper that you've been mentioning this season?
Kevin Goldstein: You'll see when he's crazy high on that team's top 11.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): When you discuss prospects with your peers and folks in the game, is there anyone who stands out as a particularly divisive prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: There's always a few guys out there. We already talked about Jaff Decker -- he's one for sure. I think the one thing that off of those types have in common is that there's a big discrepancy between the production and the tools. Decker is on one end of the spectrum, and maybe a guy like Tim Beckham is one the other. Both of those guys have some pretty wide-ranging reviews.
bankeravp5 (cincy): Does Matt Moloney or Travis Wood have much of a future in the bigs as starters?
Kevin Goldstein: As solid back-end rotation types, sure. I'd favor Wood.
newsense (DC): What is the role of AAA in player development? It seems pretty clear that AA is used for player development while AAA is for spare parts but AAA is also a place where many players have at least one MLBplus level skill that could reveal a hole in a prospect's game.
Kevin Goldstein: AAA can be a great place for young hitters, as so many of those 'extra guys' who pitch at that level are there because they have good breaking stuff, but don't throw hard, so it can be a really good learning level for a prospect who needs to work on pitch identification.
NM (NJ): Regarding the Carter question, I should have added why or why not. He's crushed righties throughout his minor league tenure.
Kevin Goldstein: I really think he's a classic 4A hitter.
GrinnellSteve (Iowa): What's the early take on Jared Mitchell's debut? Timeline for when he might help the Sox? And what is likely to happen to Jordan Danks both next year and beyond? Thanks a lot.
Kevin Goldstein: Early take was VERY VERY good. I don't think he'll be an especially fast mover, so maybe end of 2011 would be the optimistic timetable. I think you'll see Danks back at Double-A, and he needs to solve that test first.
SC (Minneapolis): What's it cost for the Twins to extend Mauer this offseason? Surely they can't let him get to free agency when the Yankees and Red Sox would happily throw $120m/6 yrs. at him, can they?
Kevin Goldstein: All we can do here is speculate, we have no idea what's really going on in Joe Mauer's head.
buffum (Austin TX): Can Nick Hagadone develop enough secondary stuff to be a solid starter, or is he destined to be a (potential) back-end reliever? I know he's been on severe pitch count limits because of UCL replacement, but I'm wary that all he is is hard stuff.
Kevin Goldstein: He does rely on a fastball/slider combo, but Cleveland is going to try to turn him into a starter first, knowing that a late-inning power lefty out of the pen is still in their back pocket. Guy really does have some monster stuff.
WayneTheMan2421 (Indiana): Has Juan Francisco raised his stock this year with his strong finish?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure his stock is way up -- Still a lot of questions about his plate discipline and where he ends up defensively.
Ryan (Utica): Who makes your minor league Gold Glove team this year?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd have to think about it longer, but it's a really fun idea. Two Giants come to mind with Posey at C, and Adrianza at SS (if you don't count Escobar). Drew Stubbs in CF, Matt Dominguez at 3B. Still thinking . . . .
Will (Halifax): I think I've asked you this before without getting an answer, but here goes: I was lucky enough to see Jose Cruz, Jr., and Todd Greene amongst others at the AAA level live, and they looked so good that it was like the scene in Rushmore when Bill Murray blocks a 10-year-old's basketball shot. They obviously didn't work out too well at the MLB level. Do you ever find it hard to overcome that natural inclination to like and project future success for the guys who are clearly prospects? Your job seems tough, tough, tough.
Kevin Goldstein: I think you just have to accept the failure rate -- you're always talking about the guy with the best CHANCES to produce in the big leagues, knowing that they'll be a lot of misses.
jon (seattle): What are your thoughts on Tyson Gillies? -- thank you
Kevin Goldstein: I really like him quite a bit. Does some things a lot of minor league burners do not (in a good way)
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, that's 100 fine minutes of chat action -- but other things are unfortunately calling. Thanks for all the questions and enjoy the rest of the post-season.