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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday July 29, 2011 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Enjoy the cool breezes of prospect talk with Kevin Goldstein!

Kevin Goldstein: Holy crap! I had 1pm MY time written down! I stink, but I'm here!

KevinReynolds24 (Akron, OH): So the Indians called up Kipnis finally, only to platoon with O-Cab. You've said Kipnis long-term becomes an offensive second baseman, but what kind of power/avg/speed would you say he has at his peak?

Kevin Goldstein: C'mon Cleveland, just let the kid play. I think he'll be a 15-20 HR guy in his prime, with double-digit steals and a .280-.300 average.

Elmo (Hartford): If Allie doesn't right the ship, is there any chance the Pirates would be willing to give his bat a chance? I remember scouting reports touting his power potential prior to the draft.

Kevin Goldstein: No. He does have a ton of raw power, but he doesn't have the overall hitting skills to be a pro.

Soxfan (Chicago): Would this Yankees management team leave a 1992 Mike Piazza to rot at AAA because he couldn't catch but was too valuable a bat to trade away?

Kevin Goldstein: Mike Piazza is a MUCH better defensive catcher than Jesus Montero. We need to get away from that comparison, because it's a bad one.

Ben (Philadelphia): Okay, so what do you think of the Pence-to-Phillies rumors? Ridiculous overpay, no?

Kevin Goldstein: I still don't think Pence is going anywhere.

George (Queens): How does Wheeler compare with Harvey, Mejia, Familia, or any other Mets farm hand in terms of long-term upside?

Kevin Goldstein: It terms of upside, he ranks with any of them, you have to give it to the Mets for going with the highest upside guy that they could get. I love that philosophy.

Ryan (Madison): Do the Brewers make any moves before the deadline (internally or through trade) or do they try to stand pat with the sub-par left side of the infield/2nd base replacement and hope for the best?

Kevin Goldstein: They're kicking the tires on Carroll and Furcal, but why Taylor Green is still at Triple-A is beyond me.

mkb (Dallas): Kevin, thanks for coming to Newberg Night. While Heath Bell seems to be the big prize, it also seems like half of MLB has righthanded relief help available to trade. Is somebody going to overpay for Bell, while many viable less expensive alternatives are available?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. Somebody is going to overpay for Bell, and that team is likely the Texas Rangers.

Trevor (NJ): What have you heard about Dante Bichette? He's been raking all month. Also, what are your thoughts on Mason Williams?

Kevin Goldstein: He can really hit, but nobody is sure what positions he will land at, as he's a bat-first guy like his father. I'm a big Mason Williams fan, he certainly has CF tools, but they're good more than elite.

Markus (Texas): I have a serious question. If a prospect was gay (in the closet), would this raise a red flag for most scouts/GM's?

Kevin Goldstein: That's a very serious question, but also a fascinating one. I don't think the fact that the PLAYER was gay would be a concern from scouts (not that there are not some homophobic scouts out there I'm sure), but there would be fair concern for the additional pressure he is under for being in the closet, which is not an especially easy thing to deal with in and of itself, obviously. Great question, and probably worthy of a longer discussion.

BHS_SPORTSGUY (North Richland Hills, Texas ): Kevin, do you think the Pirates will make the playoffs?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't. I think it's a wonderful story, but it's also smoke and mirrors.

Chris (Ohio): Does Neftali Soto's power allow him to become an every day big leaguer? Or is he going to be a free swinging power guy (95 K/344 BB career) and fizzle?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, you clearly see the problem yourself there, and he's a first-base only player. The power is very very real, however, which gives him a shot to overcome his weaknesses.

Geo (MO): Kevin, what can you tell me about Greg Billo, who is leading the minors in ERA (and not by a small margin)? About all I know is that he was a 29th round draft pick out of high school who just turned 21 and he's in low A. I've heard he's had a velo increase this year? Since he's at Kane County I thought perhaps you have seen him. Worth tracking?

Kevin Goldstein: Good fastball/breaking ball combination and pitchability, but I think he's a reliever in the end.

whitakk (Albany, NY): I was at Allie's start last night...not only was he wild (everything arm side, bouncing warmups) but his stuff was below expectations, 91-93. Was that an aberration or has his stuff been down all year?

Kevin Goldstein: Down all year and bad. It has not been a good year by any measure.

Jeff (Eh...): Twitter is telling me that Dom Brown is available for any team in a 3-way that can give the Astros a boatload of pitching prospects. Who needs a corner outfielder and is a good match?

Kevin Goldstein: Twitter has told me many things, some true, some not. That said, I can't imagine any team not being interested in Dom Brown. Ok, I guess maybe the Astros.

Shelly (Florida): Any hope left for Michael Taylor?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. He's made some strides this year. More of his body into his swing and better, harder contact.

afh409 (Chicago, IL): Do you see anyway Ubaldo Jiminez goes to Cleveland with moving only one of White, Pomeranz, Kipnis, and Chisenhall, assuming no quality Major Leaguer is included?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't see Ubaldo going to Cleveland period.

Jeff (Bay Area): Who is more likely to get the most at bats for the Padres in LF next year, Blanks, Darnell, someone else?

Kevin Goldstein: Now that is a fun question, and I say that because I don't know. I'd bet on Blanks, but not a ton.

Brendan (Chicago): As a follow-up to Markus' question, do you think you'll see a gay MLB regular in your lifetime?

Kevin Goldstein: I think we've already seen plenty, they just were not out. Semantics aside, I do think we'll have one, or maybe I just like to think we'll have one, as much as I like to think he'll be accepted by his fans and teammates with open arms.

Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): SSS caveats aside, Bryce Harper is hitting 232/289/319 in Harrisburg... what does the scouting side of things say? Is he, at least, still looking good while putting up those numbers?

Kevin Goldstein: Zero concern. Are you really in Montevideo?

Or (Dallas): What's a fair return in a deal which would send Bell to the Rangers? Ross+Payano+Mendonca? Erlin straight up?

Kevin Goldstein: What's fair, or what is it actually going to take? Those are two very different things. I think it will be Erlin and more.

Smallville (Smallville): Does it seem stupid that the Astros are handpicking matchups for Brett Wallace rather than letting him develop on a terrible, terrible team? Stupid management.

Kevin Goldstein: It does seem stupid, but I do think what we are seeing is Wallace's true ability as a .280+ hitter without the power to profile for the position.

EricJ (SF): How angry should I be about the Wheeler/Beltran deal?

Kevin Goldstein: Why are you angry? The team is post-season bound and just added the best bat on the market? Flags fly forever my friend.

EricJ (Sf): Gary Brown ML OBP at peak 350. Are you taking the above below?

Kevin Goldstein: Over.

20 Grade Tony (Albuquerque): My week has been defined by me realizing how awesome Turntable.fm is. Thanks for that! That's all.

Kevin Goldstein: It is totally fantastic.

Jim (Buffalo): I have liked Eddie Rosario since last year, so I am excited to see him doing well, albeit in the Appy League. How do you project his future at this pont?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, Elizabethton is an absolutely fantastic place to hit, so we can't get too crazy, but there are definite tools there as well.

Kate (LA): Who would win in a UFC match between you and Keith Law?

Kevin Goldstein: I adore Keith, but he's like 5-5 or 5-6 and I'm guessing 150-160. I'm 6-2, 225 and have bouncer experience. Total mismatch. He's crush me at Carcassone.

Smitty (SF): What's the upside of Eric Surkamp? He's got great numbers in AA but is more a #3 or #5 or even a LOOGY?

Kevin Goldstein: He doesn't blow anyone away on a stuff level, but he so damn good at being what he is that I do think he can end up in the back of a rotation.

Cringe (Minge): Billy Hamilton: is this a realistic timetable? AA in 2012. AAA is 2013. Majors Super Two 2014. Also, is his SB upside in the majors 75? 90? 100?

Kevin Goldstein: He's hitting .250-something in the Midwest League and you want to skip him to Double-A? I'm glad you are not in player development. He could steal 100 bases in the majors and also still zero by never getting there.

ttt (Manhattan): What's the deal with Gary Sanchez? In your Future Shock you highlighted that he's hitting better as of late, is he making adjustments or is it luck in a struggling situation? I know he's only 18 in Low A...

Kevin Goldstein: You answered your question at the end, there.

Rob (Canada): I don't have a question but I just wanted to thank you and the rest of the BP Staff. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital recovering from surgery after suffering a collapased lung. The chats and content on this site was a source of entertainment and helped my recovery.

Kevin Goldstein: Get well soon! I envy your national healthcare.

Sully (Southie): Anthony Ranaudo's performance has been pretty unimpressive this season. What are the scouting reports on him, and have they changed since he was drafted?

Kevin Goldstein: I've had three scouts take time out of their day in the last six weeks to tell me how unimpressed they are with him. He tips his curve, his fastball isn't special, and let's face it, he's been pretty mediocre in the Carolina League. I'm down.

Michael (Ohio): What are your thoughts on Brandon Jacobs? Any chance we see him crack some Top 100 lists next year?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know about others, but he's going to crack mine. Big, athletic outfielder translating tools into skills? Sign me up.

Brendan (Chicago): I guess I meant "openly gay." Do you think a utility player, a Jeff Keppinger type, would be appreciated? What level of MLB player do you think Joe Fan would just be, "Screw it, I don't care if he's gay, he's awesome at baseball"? Color me pessimistic, I honestly think that he'd have to be a star level player before he'd be accepted by most fans.

Kevin Goldstein: I think you are missing the biggest factor in the discussion, which is what city he plays in. Let's face it, whether we like it or not, there are some towns that would deal with it MUCH better than others.

Walter452 (Charlotte, NC): Can you tell me a little bit about Jeff Malm? He seems to be mashing at Princeton and flying under the radar.

Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure he's flying under the radar, but he certainly is mashing. That said, he needs to keep mashing because that's all he can do as a big, slow first baseman.

Shelly (Cali): Are there any female scouts employed by a MLB team?

Kevin Goldstein: The answer is no, but there was one recently. Hope you become the next one.

ShawnG (Cleveland): We've seen Matt Moore go from a 4+ BB/9 rate to the 2.5 range this year. Some guys "get it" (throw strikes) and others never see or experience very little improvement in command. What have you been able to identify that might separate the difference? And as a follow-up, if Z Wheeler "get's it", could we be talking about him in 2012 like Moore in 2011? Thanks!

Kevin Goldstein: Moore just gets better and better, and don't forget, not only is he throwing more strikes, he's also throwing harder, and that's part of what makes him so special. If Wheeler gets it, he's not Moore, as Moore is the best pitching prospect in the game.

dianagramr (NYC): re: gay .... regardless of what you may think of that (silly) between-innings "kiss cam" thing, they don't do it in San Francisco, and if they DID, would they show a "supposedly" gay couple?

Kevin Goldstein: I like to think they would. One of the challenges of running the kiss cam (don't ask me how I know this), is that you WANT to find people who will kiss, and the crowd pressures those on the screen to kiss. If you focused on two of the same gender and they were NOT a couple, it would be a bit awkward, no?

jalonzo (NYC): Is St. Louis looking at a jump in the organizational rankings? If so, how big a jump? Miller, Martinez, Jenkins, Taveras, Cox, Wong...

Kevin Goldstein: Yes, significant jump.

Shelly (Cali): Would you saw the lack of female scouts is due to the sexist environment?

Kevin Goldstein: For the most part, no, I think it has to do with how few have tried to enter the field. I've found scouts to me a pretty progressive bunch for the most part, with some exceptions, of course. If you scout, you end up travelling all over the country, and sometimes the world, and forcing exposure to scouts. Exposure to other culture always leads to understanding and acceptance, I've found. Man this chat has gotten very . . . socially forward or something.

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): What is the main driver behind Lawrie still being down in AAA? Still recovering from injury or Anthopopodopopoulos is gaming some service-time quirkiness?

Kevin Goldstein: I think the biggest concern is the defense. I still think he's ending up in the outfield when all is said and done.

Steven (San Fran): Besides MLB, what other sport leagues do you follow?

Kevin Goldstein: Sumo . . . and . . .well, that's about it. I like boxing as well.

CarsonVreck (Jackson, Miss): I had a chance to see Paxton pitch the other night, and he looked mighty impressive. Guys were waving at the off-speed stuff/fastball combo. Too early to get excited?

Kevin Goldstein: Not at all, as he had the best stuff at the Midwest League All-Star game. Could really take off with better command, and it might be in him.

jhardman (Apex, NC): Kevin - you were awesome at Newberg Night and I really appreciate your work. Thank you for making that a regular yearly event that you attend. One quick question - why weren't you endorsing a beverage? Nobody asked what you were drinking.

Kevin Goldstein: Thanks to Jamey for have Jason and I to that great event. No beverage talk until Jason and I make up for the last two episodes.

Liam (Manchester, NH): Where does Zack Wheeler rank in the Mets Top 10?

Kevin Goldstein: Tune in come December.

ChrisStJohn (NM): When the Blue Jays swindle Dom Brown from the Phillies via the Astros and move Lawrie to LF with Bautista at 3B, will their lineup of Escobar, Lawrie, Rasmus, Bautista, Lind, Brown, Snider, D'Arnaud and Hill exceed 6 runs per game?

Kevin Goldstein: I need to find my Jump To Conclusions map before answering.

boards (SA): What has happened to Tony Sanchez? The plate discipline seems to still be there, somewhat, but he is hitting like a 70's shortstop. What say the scouts?

Kevin Goldstein: Sanchez has been one of the biggest enigmas in prospect land as he's been bad, and the scouting reports are as well.

Greg (Boston): When thinking about Allie....what do you think the success rate is on pitchers with his dilemma (crazy arm strength, no idea where it's going)?

Kevin Goldstein: Tiny.

emillion (Tuscaloosa): I, the mad scientist Dr. Million, kicked your butts at WAYD this week. For shame.

Kevin Goldstein: Hey everyone, do what we said on the podcast and contact your senator and congress-person and tell them they have to save the James West telescope as part of their batcrap stupid debt debate or Dr. Million will have nothing to do but drink.

kevin (maryland): Bryce Harper looked pretty good to me on Monday night when he hit doubles to left center and right in the same inning and then nearly doubled a runner off first on a throw from the left field warning track.

Kevin Goldstein: He's just fine. Any concern about his Double-A stint so far is misguided and over-reactive.

ttt (Manhattan): Re: Hamilton going for 100 sb - what is the minor league steals record?

Kevin Goldstein: I honestly don't know, but I do remember Otis Nixon doing 100+ for three straight years.

TeeJay (Atlanta): How is it that you know what the operators of the kiss cam are looking for?

Kevin Goldstein: Got stuck in a stadium elevator once with the guy in charge of "stadium experience". It was a pretty interesting discussion.

Greg (LA): Kuroda to the Yankees for Nova and Romine. What's wrong with that?

Kevin Goldstein: No. 5 starter and second-divison catcher? I'd hope to do better if I was L.A.

emillion (Tuscaloosa): Corrections ... James Webb Space Telescope. Did it sound like I was saying West on the Podcast?

Kevin Goldstein: James WEBB. I just mistyped. It happens. Go save this telescope people!

blazeswim (Chicago): Any must-see prospects coming to Kane County in the near future?

Kevin Goldstein: Plenty of must-see guys now, especially Cuthbert.

rswhitt (dc): Rymer Liriano: above-average CF for the Padres in 2014?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, he's not a CF, so no. But I do like him plenty.

ramtax (Rockville, MD): Does Tim Beckham make it, and what kind of performance level might we expect in '12 or '13? Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: I think he makes it as a solid but unspectacular shortstop.

Abe (Washington): What is more annoying, people that complain baseball games are too long or all the hate mail from fans that think you have a personal grudge against their team because you're not a fan of one of their prospects?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm just entertained by both. What annoys me the most in baseball is flavor of the month syndrome. For a while it was the A's, then the Red Sox, then the Rays and now Toronto is getting it where people think they can do no wrong. I think Toronto has had an AMAZING year transaction wise, but can we wait until they actually win something before I get questions about AA being the best GM in baseball?

RickHindle (Boston): Correction: Nixon only went over 100 steals once (107 in '82). Wonder if the Yankees should have kept him or McGee in the 80's.

Kevin Goldstein: See what I know? Another reader notes Vince Coleman had 145 in 1983.

redsoxrj (Home of Skyline chili): Now that Altuve has been called up to the big leagues, who is your latest prospect crush?

Kevin Goldstein: I always have plenty of them, it's just the Altuve thing kind of took on a life of its own.

Kyran (Albany, NY): Say an investment group in Montreal secures the rights to downtown property in Montreal. They build a beautiful, outdoor 35,000 seat park to entice MLB. Would the league ever consider moving a team like Tampa Bay or Oakland that new park?

Kevin Goldstein: No.

ramjam36 (Fort Worth): What is the best radar gun for a beginner with about a $300 budget?

Kevin Goldstein: Save more money. Do NOT buy a cheap radar gun. You're going to need around a grand.

Joe (Oakland): Does Michael Choice's strikeout rate concern you at all?

Kevin Goldstein: It does, but it has also been declining throughout the season.

red4z (Washington DC): What's Brad Peacock's ceiling? Is he ready to compete for a rotation slot opening day 2012?

Kevin Goldstein: He is, and he's at least a No. 3.

Michael (Ohio): Which is more likely to happen, Jesus Montero starting catcher for the NYY or Ryan Lavarnway starting catcher for BOS?

Kevin Goldstein: None of the above?

rswhitt (dc): Is Drew Vettleson potentially a solid OF starter for the Rays? He's off to a nice start in the Appy League.

Kevin Goldstein: Potentially yes, that's why he was drafted so high. Nice tools, especially the bat. I like him quite a bit.

Matt (Saranac Lake, NY): Matt Moore is to Shelby Miller as Albert Pujols is to _______.

Kevin Goldstein: Someone really good but nowhere as good as Albert Pujols.

Matt (Fargo): Twins fans seem really high on Liam Hendricks, but when I look at his numbers or read about his stuff it doesn't seem that impressive. What do you think his upside is?

Kevin Goldstein: Classic Twin pitcher with tons of command and pitchibility, but not much stuff. No. 4 type, like most Twins pitching prospects.

leites (New York): Any feedback from scouts this year on Luis Heredia? Given that he's not yet 17, I'm not sure what the expectations should be in terms of command and control or secondary pitches or whatever else.

Kevin Goldstein: They have been very impressed.

Jquinton82 (NY): I have Jesus Montero, Freddie Freeman, Kyle Blanks, and Pedro Alvarez in a dynasty... looming logjam at 1B? If they do all end up at first how would you rate them based on their bats alone?

Kevin Goldstein: Man, that's a fantastic softball team you have there. Risk-averse ranking: Freeman, Montero, Alvarez, Blanks. If you have a taste for risk, flip the first two.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, thanks for all the great questions and stay tuned to BP throughout the weekend, as I'll be here analyzing the deals . . . assuming they happen. See you again soon.


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