Prophylact against a case of Future Shock by asking Kevin Goldstein about future big leaguers.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. I'm awake (again) after getting up at 2:30 am to do morning TV. Looking forward to all your questions and thrilled that my draft editorial inspired so much commentary. Let's get this rolling.
monterothebeast (still stuck in Scranton): Given the Yanks current roster, how would you break Montero in the majors (ie positions, playing time etc)?
Kevin Goldstein: Given the current roster, there's no room for him, other than maybe as an extra bat in September who gets some big league exposure. Real playing time comes next year for him.
kernan (Ogden): Will either Fernando Martinez or Kirk Nieuwenhuis be an impact player for the Mets outfield within the next several years?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, I'm bothered by the term impact. Maybe we have different definitions. I think they both could be every day players, and good ones, but is that impact? Take any team, even a first place one, and count the impact guys. I like those two -- but I don't think they'll be impact guys.
Mike (Cleveland): How do Dustin Ackley and Jason Kipnis match up as far as tools, projection and upside?
Kevin Goldstein: I've asked this exact question myself and it's one I'm struggling with. There is the whole reputation vs. results quandry. Ackley is faster, should be a better hitter, but Kipnis HAS been the better hitter, and has a much more successful conversion to the infield.
James (Stamford, Texas): What are your thoughts on Neil Ramirez? He'd been a giant disappointment since the 2007 draft but suddenly this year he's showing signs of becoming a respectable arm. Are you a believer?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes . . . kinda. It's still a good arm, and sometimes those take time. There's still upside there.
Howe (Canada): Hi Kevin, do you take into consideration an organization's trackrecord at developing prospects when evaluating prospects? (e.g, Braves ability to develope pitchers, Met's tendency to rush prospects)
Kevin Goldstein: Not at all. I think you have to rank in a vacuum. In addition, if the Twins had a great catching prospect or the Cards had a great first base one, I wouldn't hold it against them for being blocked.
Matt (Pittsburgh): What have you heard about Luis Heredia from scouts you have talked to?
Kevin Goldstein: Ultra-long, ULTRA-projectable. Already up to 93 with smooth, easy mechanics. Has feel for secondary pitches, but they still need plenty of work. Huge upside.
Jeff (Bay Area): How does Jason Hagerty profile? Is he a legit catching prospect, or just an older guy putting up good numbers in low-A ball?
Kevin Goldstein: He's . . . .something, but I'm not sure what. Below average catcher, and a guy playing in Low-A out of a major college (Miami), so not a great prospect, but certainly something.
John (NYC): So Grandal is a Red (with a big-league deal, no less). With Mesoraco absolutely RAKING this year, is Grandal trade bait? Is Mesoraco? I suppose it's a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.
Kevin Goldstein: It's not a problem at all. As a basic rule, such things are not a problem until they are a problem, thus . . . .
BL (Bozeman, MT): Top of your head, the most interesting guys in the Pioneer League?
Kevin Goldstein: Billy Hamilton and Kevin Eichhorn come to mind.
Fonzarelli (Milwaukee): Thoughts on Fabio Martinez Mesa - is he a MLB starter even if his control does not progress much, and a 1/2 if it does? Also, any word on his health?
Kevin Goldstein: That's really an open question. You have to keep him starting for as long as possible, but some scouts do project him purely as a reliever.
Matt (KC): I love that you recognize hard slotting would be bad for baseball in general. Every year we hear about the lack of african american talent in baseball. Well, hard slotting would mean even more baseball talent would wind up on the 2nd and 3rd strings of college football teams around the country. The MLB needs to do whatever it can to procure the best talent. Hard slotting is not the answer.
Kevin Goldstein: Great . . . no, EXCELLENT point.
willjosh09 (Washington): How concerned should the Yanks be about Slade Heathcott's K rate?
Kevin Goldstein: It's not obscenely high for a raw kid in the Sally League. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do, but that's in all phases of his game.
sf882 (Northern VA): Why does Nats AA SP Tom Milone get no recognition? Sure he doesn't throw 95 but his numbers are eye-popping. Shoe-in for Eastern League pitcher of the year.
Kevin Goldstein: Because numbers aren't everything. There are a lot of pitchers who can put of big numbers in the minors with skillsets that don't work nearly as well in the big leagues. 15-20 minute discussion on this subject in the most recent podcast, which I hope you folks have given a shot to, I'm really proud of it.
Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): Why should Cervelli (who has no bat, commits a bunch of errors) be keeping the Yankees from trying Montero out behind the plate come September? Montero could also DH when a lefty is on the hill, perhaps. I just don't understand why J-Mon can't replace the Cisco Kid.
Kevin Goldstein: Because, despite all the work and desire, he's still an awful defensive catcher who would really hurt you behind the plate.
Albert (Edmonton): At this point, do you see John Lamb as 4 star or 5 star guy?
Kevin Goldstein: FIVE.
Guancous (Silver Spring, MD): Hi Kevin, I love the podcast. You're so much funnier than your word count limited columns. The BP subscription link is different from the preseason. Everyone reading this should check it out.
Please provide some hope to this despondent Cubs fan outside of Archer and Brett Jackson.
Kevin Goldstein: Unsolicited podcast love! I think Trey McnNutt is one of the better pitching prospects nobody talks about. Up to 96 with quality breaking ball and throwing a lot more strikes lately.
Sam (Portland): Jason Castro (C, HOU) has been pretty miserable during his time with the big league club this year. What are the chances he can be an above-average offensive player for his position?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he could be an average catcher for a decade, but I've never seen him as above average in any offensive way.
Teraxx (Strong Island, NY): "Because he's still an awful defensive catcher who would really hurt you behind the plate."
I guess I would counter with 2 points: 1) But Cervelli is no defensive whiz, either. 2) Wouldn't Montero's offensive contributions potentially outweigh his defensive shortcomings? (Sorry to harp on Montero, but as a Yankee fan, it's driving me crazy that they still trot out horrendous backup catchers each season and they are going to have to see what Montero can do behind the dish in the bigs at some point soon...so why not now?)
Kevin Goldstein: I don't want to turn this into the Jesus Montero chat, but I get this question a lot. Montero is not a bad defensive catcher. He's an unnaceptable one at the big league level. It's like saying the team should put Berkman back there on Posada's off days and that the offense would outweigh the defensive issues.
john (naples): where does matt davidson rank relative to other 3B prospects? will he be rated as a 4 star prospect next year?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd feel so much better about him if I thought he could stay at third base -- impressive hitter.
Drew (NY): Aaron Hicks has put together a solid season. Do his tools finally breakout next year in the FSL?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm tired of saying he's solid. Next year, it's time for some production.
Kev (Ohio): Hey Kevin, who's the next N.Feliz/A.Colome?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, Colome was not the next Feliz, so . . .
Jason McLeod (The Slough of Despair): Percentage blame for all parties in the Karsten Whitson debacle?
Kevin Goldstein: The Padres made a VERY healthy offer to Whitson, and Whitson changed his number several times during negotiations. At some point you have to walk away.
Alex (Santa Fe): The podcast is awesome. I think it's only fair, though, that Professor Parks get some TV time, though I see him as more of a soap opera thing. I'll work on it...
Is there a higher offensive ceiling guy in the minors right now than Sano? Harper, perhaps, or Montero?
Kevin Goldstein: So glad you like the podcast. I THINK we're going to start a facebook page for it so we can share notes from the shows with recipes, photos, Small Wonder clips, etc. To your question, I think Harper became the highest upside offensive prospect in the game the second he signed.
kprince (Boston): Chris Sale White Sox #5 starter or higher?
Kevin Goldstein: Much higher.
JT (MKE): Is Scooter Gennett a "real" prospect? A .845 OPS in A ball for a 20 year old can't be that projectable, but because he is small-ish does that lead to a case of a late bloomer?
Kevin Goldstein: Man, I've seen this kid in person a ton this year, and I have to tell you, that little SOB can really hit. No question about it for me. I think he has a very real chance.
Mike (Texas): Should Michael Pineda be a part of Seattle's starting rotation next year? What do you project as his ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: No. 2 ceiling at least. I'd like to see more consistency out of his secondary stuff, but I bet he spends a good chunk of 2011 in the big leagues.
Mike (Paris, Texas): While I still think he's one of the best prospects in the game, it's pretty clear that Martin Perez hasn't yet made the adjustments needed to get AA hitters out. No crime, of course, given his youth.
I think the process of learning to harness stuff as a kid moves up the levels would make for a great article, though, when you have free time...
Kevin Goldstein: I really like this idea, maybe even as just a piece on Perez' season itself.
Frank (Vegas): hi Kevin,
looks like the Bucs had a (rare) good week this week with the signing of Taillon, Allie and Heredia. Where would they rank on the Bucs top 10 (I'm guessing 1, 3, and 10 per the above order)? Thanks!
Kevin Goldstein: My gut tells me that those will be the top three guys in some order.
Nick (Nevada): Is it safe to say Domonic Brown is the top prospect in 2011? Or stay tuned?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a top candidate, but not a done deal.
chigurh (texas): Should i be excited about Cubs' high-A SS Junior Lake? he's supposedly high on tools, but was absolutely putrid at the plate for his first year and a half of full-season ball. But around midseason something seemed to click (i've heard rumors of new stance) and he's been putting up great numbers since then as a 20-year-old shortstop in the bad-for-batting FSL. Also, if he is legit, can he stick at SS?
Kevin Goldstein: There's definitely SOMETHING there, no question. Great tools, even here in the Midwest League last year when his numbers stunk. He has problems with anything that's not a fastball, but remains intriguing.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Anthony Rizzo: future super-star or future mega-super star?
Kevin Goldstein: Future good every day play. Not ready to hang star stuff up there.
cbelford (Chicago): Is Jake McGee a future closer for TB? Or are they slowly stretching him out after the injury?
Kevin Goldstein: Even in his pre-injury starting days, I liked him better as a future power reliever.
Nick (Nevada): KG, you seemed higher on Gary Brown than most on draft day. Do you think he has the upside to steal 50 bases and hit 10 homers a season or too optimistic? Also, any word when he'll play again? AFL?
Kevin Goldstein: I do think he has that kind of upside, with a good batting average and plus-plus defense in center as well.
John (FLA): Thoughts on AJ Cole? What kind of pitcher did the Nationals get for 2M?
Kevin Goldstein: They got a guy who was a true first-round talent in a round that wasn't the first. That's always a good thing.
goodwine10 (New York, NY): Hard slotting would be beyond ridiculous. The inner-city kid argument is a salient one. And it's not even like MLB can argue that the kids would just go to college to play baseball. Well, unlikely when there are a lot fewer scholarships for baseball. Not to mention, college baseball is, um, let's say very white. Colleges aren't going into the inner cities to recruit baseball players. So short-sighted.
Kevin Goldstein: Amen.
Jake (San Francisco): Scouts seemed to be pretty skeptical about Dan Hudson coming into the season. But he's tall, his fastball sits at about 93, and he's had a lot of success in the minors. What is it about him that doesn't give him #1 starter potential?
Kevin Goldstein: No. 1? How many No. 1s are there? 10? No. 1s have a plus-plus offering, usually two in fact. Hudson has none . . . and you are talking to a big fan of Dan Hudson.
Erich (St. Paul, Minnesota): Jurickson Profar, son of Judeska and Chesmond; how does he rank when compared to guys like Elvis Andrus when comparing age and project-ability?
Kevin Goldstein: Andrus has more tools, at least in the speed category.
BigSteve (Saint Louis): Anything on Arodys Vizcaino? Are they just going to keep him shut down or test it out to see how his arm responds to pitching?
Kevin Goldstein: He's been rehabbing in Florida and it's been going very well actually. According to sources, he just might make another start or two before the season ends.
Ben (Buffalo): What is the deal with Aaron Crow? Has his stuff diminished? Is he just rusty?
Kevin Goldstein: The good news is that his stuff isn't down at all. The last scout I talked to was almost baffled as to how he's not succeeding more based on what's coming out of his hand. Command and control has been a real bugaboo.
achaik (maine): Can Alexi Amarista hit enough to be an every day player?
Kevin Goldstein: Not a huge fan. As far as Angels middle infielders go, gimme Jean Segura.
Bob (Milwaukee): How deep is the 2011 amateur draft looking? Having two picks in the top 15, will the Brewers have a pretty good shot at bringing in some excellent players?
Kevin Goldstein: 2011 draft is much stronger than this years. Chances are very good.
uptick (st. louis): When do you think that Teheran will make it to the major leagues? Does he have a #1 ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: You could see him as early as the end of next year. And yes, No. 1 ceiling.
dianagramr (NYC): Podcast logo and t-shirts! Must have!
Kevin Goldstein: Wow. If it does well enough, maybe we'll have a contest or something. I'm just glad that you are enjoying it, and the feedback we've gotten from people has been really really touching.
john (naples): where does jerry sands power rate on the 20-80 scale? 70+??? is he the top dodger prospect at this point?
Kevin Goldstein: He's not the top Dodgers prospect for me, I don't think. Bat only guy, but the bat is certainly real.
Frank (Vegas): Kevin
seems like Montero would make a great 1B for the powerless Bucs. What would it take to get him?
Kevin Goldstein: Getting Brian Cashman very, very drunk.
Mario66 (Toronto): Has Aroldis Chapman met, exceeded, or fallen below your expectations? Based on what you've seen and heard so far, what do you expect in the future?
Kevin Goldstein: Met. Has better pure stuff than any lefty prospect in the game.
Benjamin (Cape Cod, Massachusetts): I'm getting worried, please tell me my Sox still have a better farm system than those boys in Pinstripes.
Kevin Goldstein: I love how worked up Sox and Yankees fans get worked up about the other team's SYSTEM. For now: Advantage Yankees, sorry.
jcjohnson (Washington DC): What do you think Bryce Harper will look like against AFL competition, assuming he plays there this fall?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he'll struggle, and I think that might be the best thing that could happen to him going into 2011. Kid needs to learn some humility.
BL (Bozeman, MT): What would you do with Wil Myers in terms of his defensive position going forward?
Kevin Goldstein: Right field baby.
andwoo (DC): Lucas Duda? Late bloomer? Is this power for real? Can he be a Brian Giles-lite?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not blowing him completely off, at least SOME of what you are seeing is real.
Mike (Washington): Do you think Nick Franklin has the ability to stick at SS?
Kevin Goldstein: I do, and I find his power . . . nothing short of shocking. That said, I've seen him wallop plenty of balls in person, and it's no fluke.
Mike (Chicago): I know the cubs are big in the Far East, so besides Lee, are there any other players in their system from the Far East that are legit prospects, I know Jae-Hoon Ha just hit for cycle.
Kevin Goldstein: Ha is actually pretty interesting, he certainly can hit. Jung and Rhee are good arms as well.
iorg34 (Mudville): Jennry Mejia - stock up or down? Will he miss bats in the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: He will, but I'm not convinced it won't be as a reliever.
Spiral Stairs (Stockton): I know you're high on Allie, but do you think he has #1 ace stuff? He said he'd prefer to close, and if the starting doesn't workout I'm guessing he'd profile as an elite closer right?
Kevin Goldstein: Exactly right. He could be a monster closer, but of course, he'll start for now.
bloodface (Minneapolis): Kevin, at what point do we start taking Brain Cavazos-Galvez seriously? He is a little old for A ball, but the number's he's put up over two seasons in the minors are fairly impressive. He does not walk a lot, but he makes consistent contact and seems to do quite well on the bases. I have not been able to find much of a scouting report on him, but with his continual success, I would think someone would write him up eventually. Your thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: Like you say, there's an age issue here with a 23 year old in the Midwest League, but there's speed and gap power here, and a shot at a bench outfield job down the road.
Joe (Cincy): Any chance the Reds' AAA affiliate could beat the Pirates in a 7 game series? They're trotting out a lineup of Dave Sappelt, Chris Valaika, Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier, Juan Francisco, Danny Dorn, and Devin Mesoraco, with Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney, Aaron Harang, and Aroldis Chapman among their pitchers.
Kevin Goldstein: I was going to rip you and talk about how massive the different is between Triple-A and the big leagues is, but they might have a chance. I'll still favor the Pirates though.
iorg34 (Mudville): Do you see Shelby Miller as a one-level a year guy?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. Outstanding young arm and stuff, but still quite raw.
tballgame (Nashua NH): Best 2011 Cuban NL ROY performance, Chapman or Maya?
Kevin Goldstein: Chapman.
Ryan Reynolds (Theaters near you): Who is the better prospect, Will Middlebrooks or Oscar Tejeda?
Kevin Goldstein: Middlebrooks.
Henry Rollins (The wiz): What have you heard about Reymond Fuentes this year? As a draft pick that was much debated among Red Sox fans I'm interested in getting some perspective on his season.
Kevin Goldstein: He's really had a solid year. True CF tools and very good feel for contact. Needs to improve his approach and find a little bit of pop.
Claudio (San Juan): Did everyone get more a little too excited over Moustakas earlier in the year? He put up huge #s at home, mediocre #s on the road, and is just holding his own at AAA. Is he any better than Lonnie Chisenhall?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, he's better.
dwiest12 (NoVA): Bryce Harper seemed to be in a rush to play pro ball--early hs grad, hitting with wooden bats--why not sign early and get things rolling?
Kevin Goldstein: Because then he doesn't get nearly as much money. Simple as that, really.
Asinwreck (Chicago, IL): Kevin, how did your stint on Monsters & Money in the Morning go? Did you stay awake the entire show?
Kevin Goldstein: I did, and I did the show again today! Clips of me with the Caribou Coffee CEO, police/firefighter baseball teams and eating gulf coast shrimp are available at http://cbs2chicago.com/monstersandmoney
misterjohnny (Los Angeles): Does Jaff Decker have enough glove to play regularly in the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. He can be a below-average but suitable LF who can really hit.
Mitchell (Brooklyn): Every Yankee fan passed out at the tweet about Banuelos hitting 97 a couple days ago, but I'd like to hear you take on him. Future #2? Or more of a 3-4 guy?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd through 2/3 out there. I really like him quite a bit.
Bob (Seattle): How long until we get the first pro brawl initiated by something that Bryce Harper does? By the end of year? Early next?
Kevin Goldstein: He's 17. Just like tools, he can improve his maturity as well. Could happen in his first game, could never happen.
Ace (San Francisco): Hey Kevin, with Posey/Bumgarner now in the bigs, is it fair to say the Giants farm (what remains) is pretty easily bottom 10, even bottom 5? I see Zach Wheeler, Thomas Neal (who's looked better in AA 2nd half of the season, but not dominating by any means), Pegeuro, and a whole bunch of guys stalled out at AA.
Kevin Goldstein: Things have gotten ugly, and quickly, haven't they.
henry (NYC): Have Starlin Castro 's first 350 MLB pa changed your opinion of his ceiling at all? He's obviously playing over his head some, but how much?
Kevin Goldstein: Not much at all. I've seen him a lot and man, he can really hit. I'm a believer, and I think there's going to be a little bit of power there as well.
Gerardo Parra Fan Club (The Dumps): What is the ceiling for our hero ? How do you see him developing ?
Kevin Goldstein: Really? A Gerardo Parra question? How utterly random. I never saw him as more than a borderline starter/fourth OF.
mrenick (Little rock): What is Tyler Chatwood's ceiling looking like? Is there much of chance of him becoming a good #2? I'm assuming it's size and not stuff that keeps his ceiling down?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's fair to say size, command and changeup are all issues, but he's a really good arm.
tbwhite (Sitting on a lottery pick): When we look back in 2030, which OF debuting this year will have had the best career ? Stanton, Heyward, Brown, or someone else ?
Kevin Goldstein: Gimme Stanton.
DavidLADodgers (Sonoma State University, CA): You and Jason are a**holes. You didn't warn me as to how hilarious the first few minutes of the last podcast were. I was early to one of my classes last night and looked like an idiot, giggling to myself with speaker buds in both ears. Thanks tools.
Kevin Goldstein: Really? I thought the last 10 minutes were funnier.
Branson (KC): Do you see any teams taking the risk on Barret Loux in September, and if so, how much money do you think he could get?
Kevin Goldstein: Fun question. If he gets some good medicals and has some good workouts, I could still see him getting seven figures if enough teams like him.
Nick (NJ): Is Wilson Ramos a case where the overhyped have become underrated?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Overhyped. Plus defender who isn't going to hit much for me.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Is it fair to say the the 2011 Top Prospects will be a relatively weak class? Outside of the top 5 (Montero, Trout, Teheran, Jennings, ?) there doesn't seem to be a lot of superstar potential.
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. Promotions have gutted the minors. I expect a weaker, and frankly, much younger Top 101 this coming year.
Bob (Seattle): If you could choose one, and only one, of the following pitch combinations (assuming they're plus pitches with no quality secondary pitches) for a prospect, which would you prefer?
Kevin Goldstein: Fastball/Curve.
Rob (Alaska): On behalf of all your readers I'd just like to say: please keep doing what you're doing and do not be seduced by the glitz and glamor of morning television. It is the devil in disguise. That is all.
Kevin Goldstein: Look, it was a lark, and a fun thing to do. I mean, how many people get to say they've hosted a morning TV show in Chicago? I have no, and I mean ZERO belief that it's the beginning of anything different for me, and I have no real desire to do anything different. That said, I'm a guy who likes to experience different things, and this was just too much too pass up. It's just something that will make for great stories down the road.
23 (chi): thoughts on Ryno as a manager? would he do better with the cubs than Trammell-as-Tiger-manager?
Kevin Goldstein: I think Ryno is going to get the job, but I think that's a mistake decision being drive more by public relations than baseball intelligence.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, that's 90 minutes, and frankly, it's been one helluva week. I'll talk to you next time and I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of the questions.