Managing partner Kevin Goldstein takes your questions and chats about the state of Baseball Prospectus going into 2010 and beyond.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone, welcome to some fun at the ol' chat-park. I'm happy to talk about baseball or today's State of the Prospectus, and it seems like more questions so far are about the former, which is more than fine with me, so let's talk baseball and BP.
Drew (New York): Kevin, what do the Dodgers think of Scott Elbert? Has he become a bullpen arm, or might he get a shot at a rotation opening? He seems to have that "fragile" tag, no matter what the facts indicate.
Kevin Goldstein: He does, and I think he future lies in the bullpen because of it.
nschaef (CT): Are the Indians still planning on making Alex White a reliever? Does that change the way you feel about the pick?
Kevin Goldstein: No. That was just a temporary thing. He will be a starter and begin 2010 at High-A Kinston.
justinh9 (San Diego): Why don't the Yankees just leave Montero is the minors for another 2 years and let him work on his catching skills. He is still very young, and POsada is going to be around for another 2 years. Granted, he could DH next season. However, Posada was never a plus catcher, and an average one at best, so my point is why not just live with his -10 defense. He will be just as valuable with -10 defense at catcher than as a DH.
Kevin Goldstein: At a certain point, you are just wasting your time. I could take two years off to work on my guitar player, but I'm still not going to be the next John Haggarty. I think the Yankee philosophy here is accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. I believe that they will also be latching on to the affirmative.
Marcus (Kansas City): KG, following you on twitter, you said that ranking the Top 50 has been pretty difficult. Any Royals in the discussion?
Kevin Goldstein: Yup.
Jacob348 (Cambellsville, OH): KG, what was it that held Chisenhall back from not ranking as a 5 star prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: The fact that I underestimated how many 5 star guys there are. Now that I've done my full list, he's upgraded, sneaking in.
dianagramr (NYC): Hi Kevin .... thanks for the chat.
Re: State of the Prospectus .... what types of writing/topics do you think are being underrepresented currently on BP.COM? It seems like the Jim Baker-type of sometimes off-beat, humorous pieces have gone by the wayside (as an example)
Kevin Goldstein: Like I said in the comments, I think we toss a lot of really fun stuff aside because we get trapped in a mindset of doing feature-length pieces that really make a point or change a way of thinking. A lot of fun stuff falls off the table because of that -- but I think the blog layer will take care of that. In addition we often have some crazy amazing internal conversations on our private email group, and I think just a culling and editing of some of those will be great for our readers. Obviously, Joe pursuing other opportunities leaves a big hole in news-of-the-day type analysis, and we'll be filling that in a variety of ways.
Jack (St Louis): Is Twitter a net positive or negative for BPro?
Kevin Goldstein: Positive. I think it's a good exposure thing.
jamcadbury (Texas): Jamey Newberg of the Newberg report recently ranked Jurickson Profar as the 6th best prospect in the Rangers' system. Is he crazy or simply more knowledgable than the rest of us?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he's clearly talking to some very smart people.
Jake H (Kansas City): From what scouts have told you, which is harder to master a plus breaking ball or a plus change up?
Kevin Goldstein: Really tough question, as it comes down to the guy itself, as throwing a breaking ball or changeup are two different things. I think in general, it's the changeup that's the issue, as kids learn a breaking ball early, often getting to the pros with barely having one. In addition having a guy actually slow the arm action and release, but only kinda sorta, is a mental hurdle to overcome.
Nick (CT): I would like to see podcasts featuring some of BP's writers and for interviews on radio stations with BP writers to be available here for download for subscribers. Is this feasible?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, the radio thing can be an issue because of licensing, but we'll try to follow up and see what was available. As far as a podcast goes, that is happening, as Joe Hamrahi is developing a weekly podcast with BP's best and brightest to discuss the issues of the day.
pbconnection (NJ): I thought that this chat was for the purpose of discussing the direction of BP. Why are you digressing to discuss prospects so much?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd be happy to send you the hundreds of questions in the queue. 90% are baseball related. What would you do? I'm answering both.
Roger (PA): I know Amount, Ramirez and Gilles aren't ranked very high but the appear to be the exact type of high risk-high reward, toolsy, athletic guys that the Phillies love. Given that they have done such an outstanding job finding the toolsy guys that pan out, can't we be a little more optimistic abt the guys Amaro & Co got from Seattle?
Kevin Goldstein: I actually have Aumont ranked pretty darn high, but yes, this is good analysis as the Phillies love athletes. As to them being smarter than others when it comes to identifying ahtletes, they have a ton of failures in that regard as well, but that's just part of the business.
Josh P. (Hartford): Can you explain why the scout's rating system goes from 20-80 instead of, I dunno, 0-100? Is it supposed to mirror the SATs?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't TOTALLY know. I do know that the scale was originated by Branch Rickey, and some of our crazy smart readers have told me that the 20-80 scale is actually used elsewhere with 50 an average and every 10 one standard deviation up or down, with no need for more than three SDs away from that average.
Jeff (PA): Thanks for the chat. Are there any college juniors that you are particularly interested in following this season?
Kevin Goldstein: The big arm (both literally and figuratively) is Anthony Ranaudo of LSU. I think Christian Colon at CSF is the best position player.
Vince (OH): Any plans to give the site a visual refresh? Kind of seems like its in need of a paint job.
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. All of the new content layers just won't fit with the current UI, so expect new and better.
Kevin (MI): Would the Tigers be crazy to start the season with Austin Jackson in CF, or can they get better production right now from an in house option?
Kevin Goldstein: Am I the only guy left who kinda likes Austin Jackson? Not in some impact way, but definitely in a solid every day guy kind of way. He should start opening day.
Drew (New York): Arodlis Chapman seems to be on a roller coaster. Have his workouts changed some views, or is it more a function of interest going up as his rumored bonus demands go down? Where do you see him in a Top 100 list?
Kevin Goldstein: The second he sings, he's a single digit on my Top 100 list (well, per Steven Goldman, it's now a top 101). His workouts have been very good, and while it's still the usual suspects, there are some interesting sleepers staying in the process, like Toronto, Oakland and Philadelphia.
scott (chicago): Should Daniel Hudson begin the year in the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. I'd put him in long relief and have him as the sixth starter who fills in when someone gets hurt.
Jack (Chicago): The Cubs will not compete for a WS until Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters are performing on league minimum contracts. That said, if the fans would allow it, do you think the Cubs would rebuild right now?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, forget about the fans for a second, it's their contracts that won't allow it. They have just a ridiculous amount of money tied up for the next two years, and not only are they bad deals, but Hendry handed out no-trade clauses like they were business cards. They're really kind of screwed.
John (PA): When do we see Carlos Santana? Will the hand injury be an issue?
Kevin Goldstein: My understanding is that he won't be ready for pitcher/catcher reporting time, but will be 100% at some point DURING spring training. I think he's a late-season call up and Opening Day catcher in 2011.
Matt (Whippleville, NY): Who do you like the most from the Mets starters in Low A last year - Familia, Beaulac or Allen?
Kevin Goldstein: Familia.
jerrytek (NY): Happy Holidays Kevin,
How does the M's recent trades effect the strength of their farm system? Are they better than average?
And when can we expect to see the M's top 11 list on BP?
Kevin Goldstein: M's list you'll get on Wednesday, and the rate of release will start picking up considerably now that December is over.
Stephanie (DC): I'll skip over the details of the current discussion I'm having, but it resolved down to a basic question - assuming a narrow universe of potential amateur draftees(top 5, say), is there generally a reason to prefer the college hitter to the high school hitter or vice versa?
Kevin Goldstein: More often than not, but certainly not absolute, it comes down to a risk assessment. Often the college kids are better BASEBALL PLAYERS, but the high school kids offer way more upside based on the tools. The metaphor I often use are savings bonds vs. tech stocks; and the smartest teams diversity their portfolios based on current situations.
Corkedbat (Dallas): Forgive me if I am missing something and it is explained elsewhere, but will the new BP updates effect BP writers' twittering abilities?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely not.
Loren (Wichita, KS): Hello! Who is on your *official* HOF ballot this year?
Kevin Goldstein: You know I really want to write a piece about how I see the Hall of Fame, but I fear that people would come burn my house down. Maybe I'll do it anyway, but in my Hall, Rice is in, and Blyleven is not, and when I take the time to explain why, people disagree with me, but at least it seems to make sense.
jnewfry (Chicago): There are a lot of BP contributors that didn't get any mentions in your State of BP, are there any other folks leaving? It's always interesting to see where some BP alums have landed over time, and I am wondering if I need to figure out where anybody but Joe is landing.
Kevin Goldstein: I really should have mentioned everyone in that piece, and yes, they're all coming back.
KS (Chicago): Want to comment on all the rumors about BPro being bought out?
Kevin Goldstein: We are not being bought out. How's that?
WilliamWilde (The Bean): I just finished reading Odd Man Out (really good read). Any other "behind the scene" baseball books you'd reccomend? Thanks KG
Kevin Goldstein: Dollar Sign on the Muscle. The info is a bit dated, but it's still great stuff.
Christina Kahrl (BP Volcano Hideout): Oh boy, Goldstein on the subject of Bert Blyleven, again... ?
Kevin Goldstein: Oh c'mon! You know you want to see that!
Tex Premium Lager (NJ): Clearly you don't like to address comments that are critical, but the State of BP comment by Tarakas is almost at a +50 rating!! Please address something that so many clearly agree with!
Kevin Goldstein: I'm happy to. We think the new content will address a lot of your needs, but at the same time, for every email I get saying what Tarakas does, I get one saying the exact opposite, and how we need more hardcore statistical stuff. We're trying to make everyone happy, and I absolutely love our plan for 2010 to do so.
scott (chicago): Do you think Gordon Beckham still has a chance of being "the right handed version of Chase Utley" that the White Sox thought he was going to eventually become? Seems lofty to me, but it's lofty to compare anyone to maybe the 2nd best player in the game.
Kevin Goldstein: I do think at Utley comp is pretty risky, but I do think he's the kind of guy who is going to sell a ton of jerseys in Chicago.
Tom (Chicago): Kevin, where are you from originally?
Kevin Goldstein: My whole family is from NY, I grew up for the most part in a small (at the time) ex-urb of Columbus called Pickerington, Ohio. I spent more than half of my life in Chicago, and now I'm in DeKalb, IL -- where much corn is grown.
scott (chicago): Do you know the OGRE twins (of Pickerington)? Two of the greatest Halo players of all time.
Kevin Goldstein: I left that town in 1986 -- and never looked back.
Shae31 (Phoenix): Did Jarrod Parker make your top 50?
Kevin Goldstein: JUST missed. I mean literally JUST missed, by like as close as one can miss by.
ChuckR (Addison, IL): Maybe its just because its 3 degrees outside right now, but doesn't seem foolishly ambitious to be looking to schedule a dozen outside games every April in Minnesota?
Kevin Goldstein: Did the world end before that wacky dome was built there?
Shae31 (Phoenix): KG, follow-up, if not for the injury where would Parker have ranked for you?
Kevin Goldstein: Top 25.
ElAngelo (New York, NY): The "New BP" will include (more/less/same/different) coverage of fantasy baseball.
Kevin Goldstein: More, and just as important, more directed.
steph (michigan): Do you think Gerald Laird will be useful to the Tigers? What do you think of Alex Avila and what do you think his chances are of playing as a starter for the Tigers next season? Who would be the better starting catcher?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm a big Avila fan, but maybe it's because I had him as my Tigers sleeper coming into '09 and he made me look very smart. I think Laird is the far better defender, but Avila could offer more with the bat. I would also hope that Avila behaves himself better at basketball games.
Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): Is the level of interest/chagrin at Joe's departure actually flattering on some levels? I'm thinking of the sense that "boy, if people are taking our website this personally, we must be doing something right?"
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. I think one of the best things about BP is just how passionate our following is. I expected nothing less than a lot of people with strong opinions, and my email inbox is filled with things you haven't seen. And it's all really important to us -- we want to know what you want from BP. Of course everyone is going to miss Joe, including all of us, but now we have to focus on moving forward and I truly believe our subscribers are going to be thrilled with the end results.
JB (NY): Reid Brignac -- impact shortstop, ever?
Kevin Goldstein: Impact? I doubt it. Pretty darn good? I can see it.
dj playmaker (philly): Have you revealed this year's Neftali Feliz? If not, pitcher or position player from the AL?
Kevin Goldstein: No, but he's coming soon!
LindInMoskva (DC): For the new BP, it would be cool to have more integrated information. Like if I looked up Gerald Laird, I would have every comment about him, including yours today. This can be done by searching but it requires lots of browsing. Breaking down information into small packages and then reassembling them in different ways seems awfully powerful but difficult to do.
Kevin Goldstein: I can't promise THAT deep of something, but I do think we're taking some steps forward in making information easier to find.
charmaine (New Jersey): KG....Do you think MLB can do something 'For the Good of the Game' to persuade the Twins to spend some of the money in their vault and sign Mauer? If he ends up in NY or Boston they need to shut down the Twins.
Kevin Goldstein: Can do, I don't know, but I don't necessarily think they should. What's the standard? Do the Marlins get help with Hanley Ramirez then?
Quentin (Chicago): How did you end up in DeKalb? I've been out there and I've met you at a book event... you seem like more of a city guy.
Kevin Goldstein: It's a very long story. And very boring. We're making the best of it.
GBSimons (Loganville, GA): I'd really, REALLY like to read your take on the HoF.
Kevin Goldstein: I think I'll do it, I just hope people understand.
Jack (Chicago): Maybe the Twins should consider spending the free $20+ million they get every single year in revenue sharing on Joe Mauer. Funny how their payroll has not really increased much...
Kevin Goldstein: I didn't say it. I'm just the guy in the background . . . nodding my head.
Gavin (Texas): Where would Bryce Harper fit in the top 100 if he were eligible?
Kevin Goldstein: Top 20. Love him, but I think it's gotten a bit out of control.
Kevin Goldstein: Folks, thanks for all the great questions, but I have to go pick up a kid from school. I'll be back soon.