Book season is upon us, so how about a dose of future shock with BP's Kevin Goldstein?
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. I was going to come up with something clever here, but let's just get to it.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Scott Sizemore - The last 2B prospect I remember getting such high marks on being "scrappy" was Dustin Pedroia. And their minor league numbers aren't mindblowingly different. Any reason why Sizemore can't succeed as Pedroia did?
Kevin Goldstein: Because I could pull out 26 guys with that Pedroia profile, and we'd end up with just one Dustin Pedroia. That said, I actually really like Sizemore and think he could hit .270-280 this year with 10-12 home runs and 30 doubles, and that's pretty good.
Kris (Chicago): Probably going to be a bit different than most of your questions, but what happened to Colin Wyers article about defensive efficiency? He definitely implied that it was going to be more than just an isolated essay, so will we see a part 2(and hopefully 3, etc.)? Any chance BP will have stats for player defensive efficiency?
Kevin Goldstein: Oh, there is MUCH more coming, including a whole new metric that is better than anything out there. These things take time to perfect, but it's coming.
Bob (DC): Where would Mat Latos place on the top 100 had he pitched a little less for San Diego?
Kevin Goldstein: Top 20. I don't play fantasy, but I'm really surprised that he's not going crazy high for people in their drafts.
Jeff (Baltimore): Hey Kevin, do you think there will be any SS prospects worthy of the number 3 pick in the upcoming draft? My O's are a little thin at all levels there. Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: Frankly, no. I'm a big fan of Christian Colon, but no way he's a No. 3 overall type. I'd say the chances are far more than 50% that the right pick there will be a pitcher.
davi225 (Evanston): I was surprised that you ranked Lawrie so low in the BP book. He had in 2009 similar walk, strikeout and power numbers to Heyward in 2008, and is also projected to have plus-plus power. Assuming he has to move to the OF, how far behind Heyward is Lawrie's offensive potential?
Kevin Goldstein: You just can go on numbers alone. Somebody like say, Jaff Decker had WAY better walk, strikeout and power numbers to Heyward in 2008, and probably twice that of Lawrie, but that doesn't make him a better prospect either. I like Lawrie, but I do think that the overwhelming majority of his value is wrapped up in the bat.
Willis (ok city): Better young brave arm Teheran or Vizcaino and why?
Kevin Goldstein: Define better, because I could go both ways. Vizcaino has the better chance to be in the big leagues, Tehran has the better chance to be a star.
vince (la): better young cf prospect hicks or westmoreland?
Kevin Goldstein: Westmoreland . . . and I love Hicks.
funkland (reggae lounge): When the Braves list came out, you said Arodys Vizcaino got bumped up to 5 stars from 4 between then and the Yankee list because you only had 34 or 35 5-star guys. Why should that matter? I'd rather a 5-star guy in 2010 be comparable to a 5-star in 2009 or 2007. If you artificially set the threshold at 50 5-star guys, then the rankings aren't as comparable across years. Talent level fluctuates - the ratings should reflect that.
Kevin Goldstein: You aren't the first to say this, and I'm the first to say that I totally agree and adjustments will be made next year.
dianagramr (NYC): Hi Kevin ... thanks for the chat!
1) The 2010 AL and NL ROY will be ____ and ____ respectively.
2) Jesus Montero will be a starter in the Yankee lineup in ____ (year) playing ___ (pos).
Kevin Goldstein: Always good to see dianagram here. I've thought about this quite a bit, and the more I do, the more I'm convinced that the AL winner will be a surprise. I'll take Heyward in the NL. As for #2. 2011, DH -- but I still think he just might be the best trade chip out there.
uptick (st. louis): How high would Aroldis Chapman be in your top 100?
Kevin Goldstein: He'll be in the single digits.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Have you ever rated somebody as high as Jurickson Profar sight unseen? Were the reports on him that glowing? If it all clicks, what's his upside look like?
Kevin Goldstein: Sure I have. I obviously can't see everyone, but I'm depending on the eyes of professionals who have, and those eyes are very impressed. I have Sano ranked much higher for example.
Aaron (YYZ): Who are some guys that the general prospect community seems to have given up on that you still believe in?
Kevin Goldstein: They're big leaguers, but I still believe in Delmon Young, and even a little still in Alex Gordon.
MarinerDan (SF): Any interest in the upcoming Heavy Rain video game?
Kevin Goldstein: Massive interest. Day one purchase. Can't wait.
efeder21 (new york): cedeno or crosby
Kevin Goldstein: I assume we're talking about Pittsburgh here. Gimme Cedeno. I actually think he's a great sleeper for 2010.
Steve (KC): Out of these, who (if any) are decent or better bets to be top 100 guys in 2011 or 2012: Tommy Joseph, Guillermo Pimentel, Daniel Fields, Brandon Jacobs, Rymer Liriano, Roman Mendez, Miguel Velazquez, Richard Alvarez, Robinson Lopez, and Dae Eun Rhee?
Kevin Goldstein: Not hugely confident on any of them blowing up that much, but if I can take three, I'll take Fields, Valasquez and Rhee.
dianagramr (NYC): Follow-up on my original question ... Interesting thought that Montero's max value may be as trade chip. Is that because even only one year from now, the Yanks core position players will be "aged" and will need to occupy the DH slot more and more?
I read somewhere (maybe it was BP2010) that Montero *might* end up in RF.
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, it's more of a how Montero fits thing (poorly) as opposed to anything else. Teixeira is signed through what? 2015 or something? There's just nowhere to put him. Montero in RF is some SERIOUS dreaming. I hear I've also been tabbed to due lead vocals in an upcoming Clash reunion.
MarinerDan (SF): Josh Fields: Future Mariners closer or wasted pick?
Kevin Goldstein: He could still figure it out, but probably won't.
Kris (Chicago): Thanks for answering my first question, Kevin. This will be my last one(albeit in two parts): What have you heard about Kim Jin-Yeong, the Korean pitcher that the Cubs reportedly signed for $1.2 million? Speaking of Korean pitchers, what do you expect from Dae-Eun Rhee, once he returns from TJ surgery?
Kevin Goldstein: Yeong is very intriguing. Smooth easy arm with projection, already 90-92 mph as a teenager. Rhee really was one of the better arms in the Midwest League when healthy, so I'm looking forward to his return.
mikediaz (MO): Who would you take Mejia or Withrow? And why?
Kevin Goldstein: Obviously this isn't everything, but if I give you two guys with similar power righty plus-plus velo profiles, and one is 6-foot-3 and one is 5-11, who are you favoring?
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Would you start Desmond Jennings in Tampa Bay or let him simmer in AAA for a few months? They don't seem to have a legitimate answer there as of right now.
Kevin Goldstein: I'd at least give him the chance to win the job over the next six weeks.
Jacob (Detroit): What position does Wilmer Flores end up at? What is his ETA to MLB?
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe 3B, more likely RF. September, 2012?
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Do suspect Wil Myers will stick at catcher? If so, what type of upside are we talking about here?
Kevin Goldstein: If he can stay there, it's special upside. Now the bad news: I'm doubtful he'll stay there.
Nick (MT): A year ago, did you think Alex Colome would be a top 50 spec?
Kevin Goldstein: If I did, I'd have put him there, so, no.
Dennis (LA): Does Andrew Cashner have the upside of Kerry Wood, either as a starter or a reliever?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely not. But that's not a knock on Cashner. I don't need more than two hands to count the numbers of pitcher since Wood who have equaled his upside.
Chris (Northern Virginia): Kevin, I recall in my youth a year that John Tudor was virtually unhittable. Since he didn't throw 90+ and was a soft tosser, would that be a good example of somebody reaching their absolute ceiling? Can you think of any other soft tossers who had such dominant years and is it harder now to succeed with below average velocity? Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think it's any harder. There are no absolutes in baseball, there will always be exceptions, and Tudor is one of them, and we'll certainly have more. Finding them is nearly impossible.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): What's your best guess at how the rotation fills out in Texas? Feliz, Holland, etc? Also, keeping the Rangers theme, does Scheppers profile as nothing more than a dominant reliever/closer or, given health, could he be a top of the rotation starter?
Kevin Goldstein: I think Scheppers should be a closer only, and Texas would be best served to get him to the big leagues as soon as possible. Every pitch he throws in the minors is one pitch closer to him breaking down, so they need to maximize his value. He definitely has pure dominant, shut-down closer stuff.
Jamil (Philly): What your take on adam miller? Do u still think he can make an impact in the major leauges?
Kevin Goldstein: I actually thought he was overrated coming out of college even, so no, not a believer.
Pedro Alvarez (First Base): Given equal major league at bats this year, could I go neck-and-neck with Brandon Wood in avg/obp/slg?
Kevin Goldstein: or surpass, yes.
Jimmy (NJ): Any faith that Francisco Liriano returns to his 2006 form - or at least close to it - this year?
Kevin Goldstein: I think one HAS to at least be somewhat optimistic based on what he did in the winter leagues. It's February though, and we don't know. It's a much better chance than if he stunk it up in the Dominican, no?
jblachman (New York): Higher upside -- Kyle Gibson or Manny Banuelos?
Kevin Goldstein: Very strange pairing, but I'd say around equal upside actually.
Bill (New Mexico): How much should the Cardinals expect/hope for from Jaime Garcia this year? On the one hand, he's coming off TJ surgery, but on the other, he looked excellent in the AAA playoffs, throwing that evil curve with what looked like non-post-TJ command.
Kevin Goldstein: I think he'll be in their rotation at some point during the year, and I think he'll be pretty solid.
Terry (DC): Could Westmoreland be ranked #1 on a future top 100? Say 2011 or beyond.
Kevin Goldstein: He COULD. That doesn't mean he will. It just means he COULD.
tommybones (brooklyn): Your take on the Giants decision to bury Posey for another season?
Kevin Goldstein: I've completely given up on trying to understand how the Giants make the decisions that they do.
Jrob0423 (Charlotte): Kevin,
Great interview on Atlanta Baseball Talk. It was great to hear your analysis. A few years ago you were on the Neftali Feliz bandwagon waaaay before anyone else (i.e. GCL with the Braves before the some trade we don't talk about anymore) Does Robinson Lopez have any of those same qualities ?
Kevin Goldstein: That was fun to do. Readers can check it out at: http://www.atlantabaseballtalk.com/. As for Lopez, I like him quite a bit, but he's not in Feliz' zip code.
rsambrook (Vancouver BC): Who are your top 3 position players in the 2010 draft?
Kevin Goldstein: It's a sizable drop after Bryce Harper, who is in the weird position of being the top prospect in the 2010 draft, and at the same time, ridiculously overrated. After him, I'll take Christian Colon, and I just have a feeling that a healthy LeVon Washington is going to move up boards in a big, big way.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): At 2B, does Gordon Beckham (eventually) look to be an elite player at that position?
Kevin Goldstein: I think so. I think he's going to sell a ton of jersey in that town.
ashitaka (long beach, ca): What do you expect from Ryan Sweeney? Had a nice second half, turning 25 on Saturday.
Kevin Goldstein: I've always seen him as a very good fourth outfielder, but stretched as an every day player. Still do.
Travis (San Diego): Do you expect Hoyer to have draft success in SD similar to what Boston has done over the past 4-5 years? Was he able to bring over enough key members of the scouting department to make it happen? With the decision to draft Tate, Moorad has shown that he is willing to spend more than Moores to bring in the young talent.
Kevin Goldstein: What a team does at three is a lot different than what a team does at 163. I can see San Diego getting more aggressive in the draft, but I doubt they'll have the kind of budget to be as aggressive as Boston is.
ssimon (Pelham, NY): Your opinion on Will's "be stupider" post?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's really important to understand things and appeal more broadly, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's like my arguements I have about Tim McCarver as an announcer. I understand that he upsets people and I understand why YOU don't want him in the booth. But we are in the minority, we are going to watch the game no matter who is doing it. Tim McCarver is there for the masses, and they love him, and Fox is RIGHT to have him there. Personally, I want to bring the masses up and have them expect more in the end, as opposed to just sitting on my high horse like an elitist and calling everyone stupid. That gets me nowhere.
mikediaz (MO): Lets say B Harper stays behind the plate... Is he a better prospect than Joe Mauer was?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Period.
ashitaka (long beach, ca): I've been out of the game loop for a while, and recently started replaying Half-Life 2 on my Xbox. Can you recommend anything more recent that similarly combines action and problem-solving?
Kevin Goldstein: Portal. Should be quite cheap at this point, and still among the best games of the generation.
Liam (Montreal, PQ): Would Sale make sense for the Mets at #7 if he falls to them? He should move quickly, right?
Kevin Goldstein: He's the kind of guy who could be around there, but projecting who the SEVENTH pick in the draft will be in mid-February is a fool's errand. I talked to a team that picks AHEAD of the Mets and they're not even trying to project anything for their pick yet.
dianagramr (NYC): Best baseball video game out there? You a fan of the MLB2K series?
Kevin Goldstein: Believe it or not, I do not play sports games. I'm told that MLB The Show is the far superior product.
James (NJ): Hey Kevin, I submitted this days ago, so sorry if it's already in your queue. Who of the guys who struggled in the MLB debut do you like best, Tillman, Buchholz, or Holland?
Kevin Goldstein: Buchholz. I have trouble trying to figure out which one I'd take second.
KerryFam4 (lawrenceville, ga): Are we going to see the Pirates Top 11 this week?
Kevin Goldstein: Tomorrow in fact!
mikediaz (M): Can you give us a Top 5 GM prospect list? Soon to be GM or will eventually be there..
Kevin Goldstein: Will did one a while back, and if you look at it in retrospect, it was a GREAT list.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): When does Dustin Ackley break into the Mariner lineup and, more importantly, at what position? Is his bat really special enough to be called the BEST college player from the last decade, as one publication has claimed?
Kevin Goldstein: That other publication is Baseball America, and when it comes to college baseball, BA absolutely KILLS it, with Aaron Fitt doing just a tremendous job on that beat. You do have to remember, that college baseball and pro baseball are very different things, and sometimes the best college player is not going to be a good pro. That's NOT the case with Ackley. I think he's almost guaranteed to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues with a .400 on-base percentage, I just wonder how much power there is going to be. Seattle is optimistic about the second base move, but we really won't know until we're well into the season how that's working out.
Kyran (Boulder, CO): Who's your surprise team - in a good or bad way - in MLB this year?
Kevin Goldstein: Good: Washington. Not in a oh my god they won 85 games way or anything, just in that they won't be a joke.
Bad: Cubs -- I just think that window has closed, and it's a roster filled with players on the downswing.
Ed (CT): You’re the owner of an expansion franchise entering MLB in 2011 and can take any one GM from their current team. Who do you take?
Kevin Goldstein: What's my budget? I think that's an important question here. I think GMs are a lot like managers, where they are good in the right surrounding, but maybe awful in other ones. I think Brian Cashman is a very good, at times very underrated GM, but could he be a good one will a small market team? I'm not so sure. Same goes for Theo Epstein. I would say the same in the inverse about a guy like Larry Beinfest. I think he's fantastic, but would I say the same if he was in Boston or New York? Don't know for sure.
lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Speaking of College Baseball, will BP be wading back into those waters at all? A weekly column from somebody perhaps...
Kevin Goldstein: Looking into it . . . no promises there. It's a rabid fanbase, but ultimately, a small one. Obviously we'll have draft coverage from the college game.
JH (Berkeley): If 29 teams didn't believe Daniel Fields was unsignable last June, where would he have been picked in the '09 draft?
Kevin Goldstein: Late first or the sandwich round.
Tex Premium Lager (NJ): Is Wade Boggs a good comp for Ackley aside from position?
Kevin Goldstein: I said consistent .300+ for Ackley. Not consistent .350+. I can't think of every being in a position to project a guy as a consistent .350 guy.
I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks (Unconfirmed): Fallout: New Vegas. Excited or REALLY FRIGGING EXCITED? PASS ME THE MOUNTAIN DEW GAME FUEL, SON!
Kevin Goldstein: Definitely RFG, especially considering that the Obsidian folks are developing it. Now, if only I drank Mountain Dew . . .
holgado (pelham, ny): Post-hype prospect showdown. Better year in 2010: Homer Bailey or Cameron Maybin?
Kevin Goldstein: Bailey.
MickeyRivers (Trenton): Montero's Pecota line looks better than Heyward. Considering bat only, which do you take?
Kevin Goldstein: I just might give Montero the slight edge there.
benharris (Denver): Do you have any insight into why there are so many baseball players from the Dominican Republic, but there's none from Haiti? I mean, it's the same freaking island. Jeff Bronkey was born in Kabul, and he made it to the major leagues. Not one athlete left Haiti as a kid and wound up playing baseball? Wow. It's probably just a political thing, and not exactly in your area of expertise, but I thought I'd ask.
Kevin Goldstein: It's more culture and geography. Yes, it's the same freakin' island, but there is a big, forest-filled mountain range between the two nations, and they are very, very separate from each other. In addition, Haiti is more French influenced then other nations, and has retained more European influence than becoming a true Latin American nation, thus soccer is much bigger there.
JH (Berkeley): I like following specific teams with exciting prospects, particularly in the low minors. My early picks for most exciting Low-A teams are the Clinton Lumberkings with Noriega, Morban, Franklin, M. Martinez, and De Jesus in the lineup, and Rome, which will feature Vizcaino and Teheran. What other prospect-laden teams have you excited as the 2010 season approaches?
Kevin Goldstein: Certainly not AS laden when you think about huge guys, but more than half, maybe three quarters of Arizona's admittedly bad Top 11 will be at Low-A South Bend.
MarinerDan (SF): Did Jack Z. get a diamond-in-the-rough when he landed Johermyn Chavez in the Brandon Morrow trade?
Kevin Goldstein: Potentially. He got a guy who COULD take a step forward, and sometimes, that's all you can get and there's nothing wrong with it.
Tex Premium Lager (NJ): ETA on Strasburg callup, assuming health? Above average pitcher on the major-league level from day 1, or will he take his knocks for a little while?
Kevin Goldstein: 10 minor league starts. 4 for Potomac, 4 for Harrisburg, a couple Triple-A warmups and early June in the big leagues. Above average from Day One.
Will (Fredericton): Why is BP's annual always released later in Canada? It's still unavailable from Amazon.ca and at my local brick-and-mortar. Yet, my keeper deadline marches closer.
Let me give you my $, as quickly as possible please. :)
Kevin Goldstein: I'm going to blame the Olympics. In all seriousness, I just don't know. Obviously, it is an imported product, so there are some expected delays, but I'll be happy to mention it to our publisher.
Joe (PA): Give me some Pirates prospects to be pumped about not named Alvarez and Tabata. D'Arnaud? Marte? Grossman? Cunningham?
Kevin Goldstein: How about I just give you a Pirates list tomorrow with detailed reports on 11 guys?
Jason (Philly): Can you compare Trevor May (who will be pitching in Clearwater at age 20 this year) to the departed Kyle Drabek (who dominated Clearwater last year at age 21)? What would May have to do at that level to jump up onto your top 100 like Drabek did?
Kevin Goldstein: Throw harder and get an elite-level breaking ball.
Mark (Cleveland): Thoughts on Travis Snider? I know you were very high on him last year.
Kevin Goldstein: Still very high!
Ron (Vancouver): Win Canada win Gold in Men's Olympic Hockey?
Kevin Goldstein: What I don't know about hockey one could fit into the state of Montana . . . maybe. I do know that our curling team is damn disappointing.
Mike W (Chicago): Canadians can order from Amazon.com just like we can order from Amazon. uk or anywhere else.
Kevin Goldstein: Chicagoans to the rescue!
alliteration (Prospectland): Can you compare and contrast Grant Green and Christian Colon? When I see various outlets talking about Colon being the best college position player and a guy who isn't great at anything, but pretty good at just about everything, it feels like we just went down the same road with a different first round shortstop from southern california.
Kevin Goldstein: You know, that's actually a pretty damn good point. There are definitely similarities there.
Ron (Vancouver): Will we ever see MLB shut down during the middle of the season so the players can compete in the Summer Olympics?
Kevin Goldstein: Certainly not, even less so now that baseball isn't an olympic sport anymore. Stupid olympics.
Joe (Pa): Any chance Garrett Jones isn't a complete fluke? .270 with 25 homers and 80 rbi equals LaRoche, and 20 steals far surpasses him.
Kevin Goldstein: I certainly think it was fluky. Gimme an .800 or so OPS on him this year.
Dan (St. Louis): Free Allen Craig?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm hardly blowing him up, and he's not in my Top 100, but I do find him WAY underrated.
Matt (Whippleville, NY): Jenry Mejia - starting pitcher or closer?
Kevin Goldstein: A.
John (NH): If you're the Texas Rangers how do you sort out the rotation behind Feldman-Harden-Lewis...do you let Holland and Feliz run wild?
Kevin Goldstein: I would.
Tim (NoVa): So if Bryce Harper is the top position player then who is the top pitcher and top overall at this point?
Kevin Goldstein: Like I said, Harper is the top overall, he's just not baseball's version of LeBron or anything. My top pitcher right now (and again, it's FEBRUARY) is James Taillon.
Joel (Philly): Does Domingo Santana have a chance to be a fast-rising top hitting prospect? Will the Phillies be as aggressive with him as other teams have been with similar young talent?
Kevin Goldstein: The Phillies tend to be a little LESS aggressive than most teams with timetables, so I'll say no.
Scott (Chicago): Seems like the White Sox have a lot of potential hard-throwing bullpen arms. Who is the most likely to make it out of spring training?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure any will, but keep an eye on Santaliez.
Vince (CA): There's a lot of internet writers who write about prospects even though most never see any of them and basically regurgitate info. Are these writers wasting their time?
Kevin Goldstein: Not if people are reading them, I guess. I respect a lot of people in this niche, I really do, but every one of them, even if I differ with them, I respect because I know they stay wired and talk to teams and scouts and the like. If you do that, I have no problem with how you assess players.
Aaron (YYZ): Since the Padres are a little ways away on the top 11 schedule, can you tell me something interesting about James Darnell? I heard rumors the Padres might shift him to 2B.
Kevin Goldstein: You'll see them soon. For now, I'll simply say I'm a BIG Darnell fan.
glenihan (nyc): Given Taillon's massive size already at 18, does he have less velocity projection going forward than a HS pitcher who might still have some size left in him?
Kevin Goldstein: Does he need a lot of velocity projection?
Ben F. (California): Thanks for the chat as always. Who would you say is the best 3b prospect that hasn't played above AA?
Kevin Goldstein: Funny, the first name I thought of was actually Anthony Rendon of Rice.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, thanks for all the great questions, and I'll see you next time.