Prospects, podcasts, snazzy hats and dizzying video games--all things Kevin Goldstein.
Kevin Goldstein: Let's go!
Beau (San Francisco): Any chance of you coming out to San Francisco for Fedora Hat Day at the ballpark?
Kevin Goldstein: I was not aware of this; shocked they're not flying me in. Hurt, really.
Hip2Hops (Seattle): How encouraging is Christian Bethancourt's offensive progress?
Kevin Goldstein: It's very encouraging. He's so young, and so good defensively, that it's not going to take a ton of offense for him to be a very valuable prospect. The approach is still a concern, but what you have seen represents significant, and very real progress.
Nick Franklin (High Desert): Why can't I hit as well as I did last year. In High Freaking Desert!
Kevin Goldstein: Well, you're in the Southern League now, and raking. I wrote about this in the Ten Pack.
roughcarrigan (Central Mass.): What is a bigger failing in a scout, to not see something that's there or to see something that's not there?
Kevin Goldstein: It's a tough thing to answer. It's very important to focus on what a player CAN do, but you need to understand what he can't in order to properly assess his value.
Bret (Toronto): As a Jays fan, really enjoyed your Jake Marisnick discussion on the podcast. What do you see his upside being?
Kevin Goldstein: Just on pure athleticism, his upside is through the roof. That's not a guarantee that he'll get there.
Justin (Chicago, IL): White Sox fans are screaming for Viciedo to replace Pierre. Yet with all things considered (defense and offense) is Viciedo a huge upgrade over Pierre? I mean, doesn't Viceido project to roughly a -10 run defensive player? Also, please do another improv show in Chicago. It was very funny!
Kevin Goldstein: Thanks for coming! That was a total blast. Viciedo would be a huge upgrade over Pierre when considering total value. You might be as well.
Joe (San Jose): Can Gary Brown and Joe Panick help solve the Giants offensive woes in 2012/2013?
Kevin Goldstein: Joe Panik is not some world beater who is going to change a team's fortunes. He's a nice little shortstop who might turn into an every day player, while Brown should be a good leadoff hitter.
Steve (Pittsburgh): Starling Marte -- a future All Star?
Kevin Goldstein: I like him, but not THAT much.
Rick (New York): What do you think is really going on with Montero? Is it really him pouting bc of not being in the bigs yet and being bored with AAA, or are the signs of regression more than growing pains?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think he's regressing, I think he's bored.
Ryan (Winnipeg): Do you think Deck McGuire is ready for AA? How many starts in A+ does an advanced college arm usually make?
Kevin Goldstein: McGuire is so polished, he might have been ready for Double-A in April. How many a guy usually makes doesn't matter, you have to treat these guys on an individual basis.
Mike Smith (Washington State ): Any chance Hultzen, Paxton and Walker all appear on your top 100 prospects next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Certainly a chance, and a good one.
Ari (Spokane): Is it the guarantee everyone seems to think it is that Zach Cozart would provide the Reds with an offensive upgrade at SS?
Kevin Goldstein: How could he not be? Janish is hitting .228/.256/.270. He could be awful and easily be an offensive upgrade.
Klochner (MN): How do you think Arcia handles the Florida State League? Can he keep putting up Nintendo numbers?
Kevin Goldstein: Nobody can put up Nintendo numbers in the Florida State League. That said, Arcia should handle it fine, I was very impressed with him in person during his short time here in the Midwest League.
Sam (Oakland): Do you see Sonny Gray as a future No. 1 or No. 2?
Kevin Goldstein: No.
Matt (Dayton, Ohio): Just wondering is Adam Eaton in Arizona system a legit MLB prospect or a product of the Cali League
Kevin Goldstein: Can we get some agree upon definition of 'legit'? Eaton is a good prospect. Looks like he should be a big leaguer, but not a star, and maybe more of a fourth outfielder. Is that legit? I say yes, others not so much.
Olbermann (Current TV): Given your keen interest in world affairs, perhaps you'd be interested in following my "sports-to-commentator" career path?
Kevin Goldstein: We do some world affairs on the podcast, not sure I have any interest past that. It is a passion of mine, however.
Ryan (Winnipeg): What do you think is Eric Thames' upside as a major leaguer?
Kevin Goldstein: Solid every day corner outfielder. I'm a fan.
Mike (Minneapolis): Tyler Thornburg - are you believing the hype that he can remain a starter at the ML level or is he destined for the bullpen?
Kevin Goldstein: Let me put it this way, I certainly so no reason to put him in the bullpen at any point in the near future.
Jack (Seattle): Taijuan Walker and James Paxton ceilling? #1 ace and #2??
Kevin Goldstein: I want to say yes, and my answer is yes, but let's be clear: That is probably NOT what they will end up as.
Bill (Pittsburgh): What do you see as the ultimate upside for recent Pirates callups Chase d'Arnaud and Alex Presley?
Kevin Goldstein: Second-division starter; bench outfielder.
Alex (Arkansas): Should the A's just start DHing Chris Carter right now? Also, is Michael Taylor a lost cause?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; Absolutely not. Has made progress this year with an altered set-up and load.
DanLong (NYC): Re: Montero...Seriously, I read your article, and It's been discussed at great length...and yet I've still found ANY good reason why girardi/cashman have Cervelli in the Bronx instead of Montero?! Can you call upon your inner psychic and read their minds for us?
Kevin Goldstein: Fear.
Bodhizefa (Chapel Hill): Who would you rank higher (both now and for upside): Hultzen or T.Walker?
Kevin Goldstein: Hultzen for now; Walker for upside.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): How big of a reach was Dante Bichette Jr.? One round too soon, or more?
Kevin Goldstein: Wasn't a reach for the Yankees. Some had him ranked lower, some didn't.
David (Chapel Hill): Is Jake Lemmerman going to hit enough to be an average everyday 2B? is there even an outside shot of him sticking at short?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's more of a utility profile.
Shaun (STL): Will you have a mid-season top prospect list out soon? Is anyone zooming up your board like John Lamb last year?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; We'll see . . .
Mark (Vineland): Are Trevor May's strikeouts a result of a lack of control which would force batters to swing outside of the strike zone or does he have legitimate ace offerings?
Kevin Goldstein: Ace? So few aces in baseball, and May isn't one of them. He's a very good pitching prospect, but seriously folks, we have to lay off the ace and No. 1 stuff. It's crazy rare.
Dan (NYC): Hey Kevin, know you're not a fantasy guy buy you are an upside guy. Based on upside, which guy would you trade this year if I can only keep 4 at season's end: Longoria, Stanton, Braun, Kemp, Tulowitzki?
Kevin Goldstein: That's a crazy tough question. My gut says Longoria, and then my brain says "are you insane?" I really don't know.
RP (Chicago): Hellickson in (early) retrospect -- did we learn anything from him as a prospect? He always seemed like an interesting scouts/vs. stats guy to me.
Kevin Goldstein: I always ranked him very very high, or at least I did over the last two years.
Erin (Michigan): Saw Garret Gould this weekend for the Loons - he seemed to stuggle a bit - how does he compare to Allen Webster a year ago?
Kevin Goldstein: Webster has a more electric arm, but I was very impressed with Gould in person and was glad to see that the stories of a velocity bump were true. He doesn't have Webster's upside, but he's in the low-90s consistently, which combined with the other offerings and good command, make him a nice starting prospect.
Kevin (Texas): Has Jurickson Profar's performance this year raised his upside in your eyes?
Kevin Goldstein: It has, especially in terms of power.
chris (bklyn, ny): any current or upcoming PS3 releases you're looking forward to now that you've torn through Portal 2?
Kevin Goldstein: Currently getting slowly through Yakuza 4 and L.A. Noire, while completely and utterly enjoying both. I have very little on my radar other than Disgaea 4, which is for the hardcore dorks only.
Dave (Chicago): Whatever happened to James Simmons and Michael Ynoa?
Kevin Goldstein: Simmons missed all of 2010 after shoulder surgery, he's just getting back into action. Ynoa had a Tommy John and won't pitch this year.
abbiet (pit of despair...but at least it's familiar): Hey Kevin! As a Cubs fan I'm used to disappointment...I may even thrive on it. What's happened to Jay Jackson in Iowa? Hopes for a decent #3 starter seem to be fading. Thanks!
Kevin Goldstein: He's regressed, no doubt. He's one of those guys I think might be able to turn it around with a bullpen move.
Mike (Chicago): How good will the cubs draft be if they sign guys like Maples, Dunston, Gretzky, assuming they sign their top picks?
Kevin Goldstein: It will be outstanding, but I can't see it happening.
Jon (Los Angeles): Saw your writeup on Baldwin - if everything works out reasonably well with him what's his upside? Above average regular? plus glove in CF?
Kevin Goldstein: Upside is fantastic, but he's a teenager in Ogden, so don't get too excited . . . yet.
Joe (Tampa): Alex Colome has been up and down in terms of statistical performance. What are you hearing on the scouting front? Still frontline starter upside or perhaps heading more towards a bullpen role?
Kevin Goldstein: More and more seem to talk about him as a potential late-inning reliever, but not to the point where it's an overwhelming majority.
jeffreyarkin (Bay Area): Who are the Padres more likely to sign Joe Ross, Austin Hedges (both/neither)? If they sign both, is it unlikely they sign Brett Austin and Michael Kelly?
Kevin Goldstein: I think they'll get both Ross and Hedges done, which will make those next two more unlikely as you say.
BoSoxfan (Boston, of course): Has Reddick taken the Leap? (OK, not THE Leap to supercrazystardom, but a Leap from a fringe-y corner OF to an OF on a playoff team?)
Kevin Goldstein: One of my favorite scout quotes of late has been "Good, but not good enough for Boston."
LoyalRoyal (LV, KS): Kevin, in order, who do you see as the next 3 prospects to reach KC? Thanks...
Kevin Goldstein: No way to answer that. We'll see a lot of new names once the Royals (I'm talking like it's going to happen) make all there July trades. That said, we have no idea what that order of operation is going to be.
Bob (Waterloo, ON): Drew Hutchison is on a ridiculous streak, going 30+ innings now without an earned run, being called up from Lansing to Dunedin in the middle. What kind of prospect is he? Or is it just a case of advanced command that keeps him ahead of players at the lower levels?
Kevin Goldstein: Very real prospect. He seen the stuff jump, as well as his ability to harness it. Not an ace, but looks at least like a good 3-4, and that projection still has room to move up.
Bob (St Paul): Iíve read reports that Adrian Salcedo could be a breakout prospect if his stuff ticks up a notch or two. His performance has been solid, what are you hearing on the scouting front?
Kevin Goldstein: That applies to many prospects, but how many guys tick up a notch or two? I've seen Salcedo three times in person this year and I do like him. Good fastball in terms of velo and movement, but the breaking ball is pretty fringy. Could be a 3/4 starter.
ssheler (Grand Rapids, MI): Nick Castellanos really seems to be putting things together for West Michigan. Still see power upside?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it will come, yes. I'm a big fan of that guy.
Bill (Pittsburgh): What happened to Tony Sanchez this year? Is the bat just not going to play at upper levels?
Kevin Goldstein: I never saw him as a big offensive performer, more of a .260-.280 hitter with 10-15 home runs, walks and very good defense. That's an incredibly valuable player.
Jeff (Minnesota): I know he's still just 18, but is it a minor surprise that Miguel Sano was held out of the APPY league rather than a full season assignment? The scouting reports were out of this world coming in, and he was made to sound like a very advanced player for his age when he signed.
Kevin Goldstein: Not a surprise at all. Minnesota moves prospects very slowly in general.
Internet Bullies (Binghamton): A random chat while sitting in a waiting room. Fantastic! Harvey or Familia biggest upside and better career?
Kevin Goldstein: Harvey squared.
JD Sussman (BullpenBanter.com): KG, your write up on Cole today says he has three plus-plus pitches. Is command of each pitch in one's arsenal not taken into account when you grade each pitch? Or stated differently, do you grade each pitch on raw stuff and have an entirely separate grade for command/control? Thanks!
Kevin Goldstein: Command and control is generally a separate grade. You are grading the raw quality of the pitch in general.
Bret (Toronto): What do you generally make of prospects that have reports of great stuff and big fastballs, but don't generate the strikeouts you'd expect? I'm thinking of Henderson Alvarez this year in particular, but I'm sure there's many examples.
Kevin Goldstein: I talk to scouts to see if the pitch is straight and/or if they are relying on the pitch too much. Alvarez needs to improve his breaking ball, and has a tendency to elevate, thus the lack of missed bats.
mef (Brooklyn): Are there any #1s or #2s in the majors that no one thought would even make the majors or would only make it as relievers?
Kevin Goldstein: None come to mind. The most surprising 1 might be Cliff Lee, who never had that projection in the minors.
Wade (Nashville): What does Kipnis need to improve on to get the call?
Kevin Goldstein: He needs to improve the trade market for Orlando Cabrera.
lemppi (Iowa): On a scale of "1 to Bill Bavasi" how bad was the Scott Sizemore trade for the Tigers? A guy who can possibly play for a reliever who had been DFA'd a month prior.
Kevin Goldstein: Sizemore was clearly in Leyland's dog house, so they had to get something for him. I don't like the trade, but there were some factors there.
mef (Brooklyn): Apparently Hugo Chavez died. Thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: There's no word on this. It's just a rumor, and the opposition in Venezuela is demanding a status on his health. Chavez is not one man, as there are many people in charge over there, and it doesn't create some immediate vacuum in the country if true, which again, it is not as of right now.
Mark (NJ): Any shot Adam Warren is actually better than guys like Gordon, Mitre, Moseley, or whatever other retreads the Yanks have found in the last few seasons? Or is that pretty much his ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a bit better than all of them, and that's his ceiling.
uptick (St. Louis): Hi Kevin...Stetson Allie seems to off to a shaky start in the short season league...how likely is it that he becomes a solid, or perhaps a star, major league pitcher?
Kevin Goldstein: It's very UNlikely, but he has a better chance to be one than any pitcher in the system other than Taillon and Cole once he signs.
mef (Brooklyn): If you grew up in Ohio how did you become a Mets fan?
Kevin Goldstein: My entire family is from New York.
dwinning (michigan): This is a hard time of year for all of us prospect junkies: we're roughly 6 months or so out from your last official rankings and the next official rankings are 6 months away. Meanwhile, we have (1) an influx of talent during the draft, and (2) half a season of minor league games. We get the daily write-ups and sort of get a sense of who's up and who's down, but it's really hard for us to get a strong sense of who the top 100 or so guys really are at this point in the year.
I think it'd be great if you did an article titled "Kevin's Mid-Season Thought Exercise Regarding What a Top 100 Might Conceivably Look Like If He Were To Do A MidSeason Top 100." Maybe you could discuss it in tiers, like who's in the discussion for the top 10, top 25, top 50, based on what we know now. It would be the coolest. So here's my question: if you love your readers so much, why don't you get crackin' on that?
Kevin Goldstein: I love my readers.
zs190 (Maryland): Kevin, what's wrong with Andrew Brackman? He's completely lost any semblance of control and command and his velocity keeps dropping: some had him as low as 87 on the fastball in his last game.
I can't imagine the Yankees trotting him out there over and over if he's hurt, is this just a major mechanical issue?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't THINK he's hurt, but I don't know for sure. When he breaks down mechanically, he REALLY breaks down.
Marco (607): Yankees piss me off. On another note, Jose Reyes to the Nats makes all the sense in the world doesn't it?
Kevin Goldstein: Why do the Yankees piss you off? I'm not a Yankees fan, but I don't understand why people hate them. Reyes to the Nats makes no sense unless they lock him up.
lemppi (Iowa): Casey Crosby....will the continuing arm issues force him to the bullpen eventually? Or will they continue to have him start until the arm blows up again?
Kevin Goldstein: I definitely could see a bullpen move in his near future.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Do you think Tom Milone can spin his high K/9 and low BB/9 into major league success? Or is the high-80s just too slow for a major league starter?
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe as a No. 5. MAYBE.
Steve (Boston): Edwar Cabrera moved up to Modesto last night and had another great start. Is there anything you can tell us about him and how you think he'll do at higher levels?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a bit of a trick pitcher who throws a plus-plus changeup at any point in the count and then changes speeds with his fastball, kind of pitching backwards. I think he's good, but not nearly as good as the numbers.
Pete (Maryland): Thoughts on Tyler Townsend's skill set? I know his numbers are good but he's probably a bit old for High-A ball.
Kevin Goldstein: KG 1B Prospect Flow Chart: Does he look like he could produce in the middle of a big league lineup? If no, he's not much of a prospect, and Townsend isn't there yet.
Internet Bullies (Binghamton): Speaking of the "Ace and number 1" potential, name the few that are in that class currently in the minors.
Kevin Goldstein: Stay tuned to baseballprospectus.com my good friend.
Adam (Denton): What are the chances your services are acquired by a MLB team?
Kevin Goldstein: Small.
lemppi (Iowa): I'm buying a ticket for the BPro/KC event today.....last day to do so, right?
Kevin Goldstein: See you there!
Guancous (Silver Spring, MD): Did you and Jason know there literally was a Rambo cartoon?
Please fill in the blank: Justin Bour would need to ______ in order to become a top 100 prospect someday.
Kevin Goldstein: "become a way better baseball player"
Kyle (Madison WI): What sort of prospect was Russell Wilson? Did he have any chance to make it to the bigs?
Kevin Goldstein: He certainly has a chance, just based on the athleticism, but he has a very long way to go.
AC (GA): Elder Scrolls; yea or nay?
Kevin Goldstein: Not my kind of game, but that doesn't mean it's not yours.
whymustthecubsbsobad (chicago): So I see this Cory Spangenberg continues to come out of the gate very strong with a HR this weekend to go along with his insane OBP to start. What's your take on Spangenberg? What's his upside? I think I read some scouting reports that suggested he was one of the top, if not the top hitter in the draft this year. But still find him to be a bit of a mystery as compared to others that were drafted in the first round this year.
Kevin Goldstein: I think he might have been a mystery to the masses, and he was difficult to follow as a junior college player. I think he can hit and get on base, and might stick at second base.
Trayvon Robinson (Albuquerque Isolation): When am I going to get my chance? What do I have left to prove in AAA?
Kevin Goldstein: I hope soon; he needs to improve vs. lhp and still isn't proven in center.
Max (Work): Should I be rooting for Tyler Pastornicky to get a shot at SS for my Braves at some point?
Kevin Goldstein: Towards the end of 2012, maybe.
LoyalRoyal (Small Market America): Kevin, people hate the Yankees and the Sox, at least in smaller markets, for the same reason. They BUY pennants and steal our stars. Any chance baseball ever figures out the reason football is becoming America's sport is that they have figured out how to run a league with a level playing field? Royals and others have finally found a way to compete by overpaying for draft picks to lock up for awhile so now baseball is going to change that to the advantage of evil empires as well. Sad, really. What are your thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: How many titles have the Yankees won lately? Who won the World Series last year? Football is America's sport because it's just a once-per-week commitment and it's exceedingly violent. The Royals 'overpaid' for nothing. Hosmer and Moose are utter bargains based on what they will get in return. Those are my thoughts.
Lloyd (Evanston): Can Kyle Blanks be a major league LF for long? He's getting OK reports, but he is just so BIG....and he's supposed to be a very good defensive 1B. Should the Padres just trade him to a team that's going to need a 1B and get it over with? Do you think they might?
Kevin Goldstein: He's in good shape for him (250-260 or so), and he's always been nimble for his size. I think he can become an adequate left fielder.
Kelly (Appleton, WI): Where would Sonny Gray rank among A's pitching prospects if he signed today?
Kevin Goldstein: One.
Zach (Toronto): How do you see Anthony Gose' bat progressing
Kevin Goldstein: I don't. Still has huge contact issues. Speed and defense alone will get him to the big leagues, but I'm not sure he'll ever hit.
The real R.A. Wagman (Not related to R.A. Dickey): Kevin - love the chats. Two part question.
1) For those of us who like to play scout, is it fair to say that the more process related we can watch the better, the more result oriented, the worse?
2) How would you compare sandals and flip-flops on the 20-80 scale?
Bonus third question - how do you go about weighing low-level minor league performance in terms of the competition? In other words, a towering homerun hit off a fringe org guy - do you discount it much? Thanks for the entertainment.
Kevin Goldstein: 1. There is always a balance between WHAT a guy is doing and HOW he is doing it. The lower you go level wise, the more important the HOW becomes. 2. 20. I don't trust any man who wears sandals or flip flops. 3. Very fun question. There are some discounts made due to park, opponent, whatever, it's always tough. It's more extreme in the draft, where, for example, you could go see Bubba Starling at his high school in Kansas, and you could see Starling hit a 78 mph fastball 425 feet, but what can you really learn from that?
Corey (Tacoma): How impressive was Paxton during the MWL All-star game? Thoughts on if he has frontline potential from what you've seen/heard (from scouts)?
Kevin Goldstein: We talked about him on the Podcast. Moth the fastball and curve were very impressive, he had the best stuff of any starter that night.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles Anaheim of Pasadena): Any thoughts on Bryan Mitchell (S.I. Yankees)? Some are talking him up as a possible sleeper ...
Kevin Goldstein: How is a guy who got $800,000 a sleeper?
JamesP469 (San Francisco): What else does Cozart need to do to show the front office that its time for him to replace the gruesome twosome of Renteria & Janish?
Kevin Goldstein: Remember, the Reds have to make some moves, so they can't play their cards yet.
Vic (San Diego): Kevin - Have you been surprised at all at how advanced Profar's looked with the bat? Is .300 avg with 15hr's a fair ceiling for his offensive capabilities?
Kevin Goldstein: Don't think he's a .300 hitter, but I'd up the power to 15-20.
Kyle (Madison WI): Thanks for answering the first question about Russell Wilson. He just committed to UW-Madison for football (in case you did not hear).
One more question. Khristopher Davis is hitting well for the Brewers at Brevard County. Any chance he can become anything or does he need to do it at AA to get any actual attention? Age working against him?
Kevin Goldstein: I did see that for Wilson, and I guess he's a pretty good QB, I wouldn't know. I actually kind of like Davis, but yes, he'll need to keep proving it. I still think he could get to the big leagues, which would exceed expectations.
Guapo (Erie, PA): Is Tony Gwynn Jr. a fair comp for Gorkys Hernandez?
Kevin Goldstein: I've heard worse.
dianagramr (NYC): Dodgers bankruptcy talk in this week's podcast perhaps? Neil DeMause? Maury Brown?
Kevin Goldstein: We have a very cool guest lined up already, but I might add something, as this story fascinates me.
Kevin Goldstein: OK folks, thanks for all the great questions, but I have much work in front of me and I need to get more content done for you. As for the questions about what an ace is and who might be one in the future, come back Wednesday!