Delve into our Top 11 Prospects lists with their author, Kevin Goldstein.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. It's Friday, and I'm wrapping some stuff up before heading to Dallas for the winter meetings. Looking forward to that, but in the meantime, let's talk baseball.
DSchmitz3 (Madison, WI): Did Gose's performance in the AFL affect your opinion of him at all?
Kevin Goldstein: I have no idea how it could change off that. It was exactly the same guy we saw all year. Crazy tools, lots of swing and miss.
Epstein Epstein (Tel Aviv): what are the odds pasternacky is the opening day ss for the braves?
Kevin Goldstein: Seem to looking better by the day. Significantly more than 50%.
PSchaffer (San Diego): I know the Padres list is coming out really soon, but just to wet our appetite are you bullish or bearish on Rymer Liriano?
Kevin Goldstein: Big fan.
shraf1 (Bloomington): Just wanted to let you know that even your "guilty pleasures" were alt.
Kevin Goldstein: Really? Amazing Race?
Trevor27 (Cincy): Billy Hamilton had a really poor start to the season, but then seemingly made adjustments. Even though he may not stick at SS, do you think he has enough bat and ability to walk to hit leadoff, or is he more a utility type when all is said and done?
Kevin Goldstein: Every day player for me.
Bret (Phoenix): What does Justin Smoak project to be at this point?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm still optimistic in him turning into a solid to slightly more first baseman, but hard to see star anymore.
Jose (NJ): Do you see any young bats in the Mets system that could contribute next season?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. I still think a healthy Havens is the answer at first base, but let's face it, he might never be heathly.
Eric Longenhagen (Catasauqua, PA): Can you riff on Domonic Brown? Broken hand, changed swing...what caused his regression last year? What are your thoughts on his future?
Kevin Goldstein: Broken hand, changed swing, and the Phillies jerking him around certainly didn't help. I do wonder if teams are calling on the Phillies about him as a change of scenery type.
Joey (Oakland): Does Michael Choice still have the same problems he did at the time he was drafted?
Kevin Goldstein: There's still a lot of swing and miss in his game, but he definitely made a lot of progress, too.
Grady (Prague): Who has more potential as an offensive player, Javier Baez or Francisco Lindor?
Kevin Goldstein: Baez, but Lindor is the better prospect, because he's going to stay at shortstop.
RD (NYC): Could Adam Loewen become an everyday MLB outfielder?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Could end up a bench guy though.
statcat (KS): With the signing of Broxton do you think the Royals will trade Soria for a legit top of their rotation starter?
Kevin Goldstein: Soria doesn't get them a legitimate top of the rotation starter, and I don't know who that mystery starter that's available is.
Bruce (Asbury Park): Who should the Red Sox ask for in the Theo Epstein deal and who do you think they will actually get from the Cubs?
Kevin Goldstein: It's not going to be much. Don't be surprised if it ends up being the Cubs taking a player for them in the Rule 5.
Matt (DC): If you had to choose a catcher for the long term would you pick Ramos or Norris?
Kevin Goldstein: Ramos. Such a better defender.
Ryan (GR): Trevor Bauer project as a number 1 or 2? Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: More likely the latter.
Christopherb609 (NJ): Who is "sexier" Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar, or Manny Machado?
Kevin Goldstein: Machado is certainly the sexiest of the trio.
SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Thoughts on Chisenhall? Can he still be an above avg. 3b?
Kevin Goldstein: I still think he's going to hit.
bryantwebster (San Diego): Drew Cumberland was cleared to resume baseball activity. Clearly, a stretch as a Rule 5 pick...but does he possess the tools to become a worthwhile MLB player if given a chance to develop properly?
Kevin Goldstein: Tools are there, but like you say, no why you can rule 5 the guy. You'd need a year to evaluate.
Ryan (GR): I've heard rumblings and grumblings about Arenado possibly starting in the bigs in 2012, this is folly correct? Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: That's folly. He's a really good prospect, but he's not ready for that.
RAWagman (Toronto): I'm intrigued by Chris Hawkins, but Sickels left him out of his Jays top 25. Any thoughts on him?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm more than intrigued by him. I like him a ton.
Walton Goggins (NYC): Kevin can you give us the prospect you were most wrong about in terms of you thinking he wasn't very good and he became a star and the reverse of that? You loved him and he stunk?
Kevin Goldstein: There's been a lot. Franklin Morales? Andy LaRoche? Brandon Wood?
JayT (San Francisco): No mention of Shawon Dunston Jr in the Cubs top 11. Do you not consider him a prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: No, I just don't consider him a top 20 prospect in the Cubs system. Scouts were amazed at the bonus . . . I just didn't get very good reports on him.
Howard (The Hamptons): Your thoughts on Bobby Valentine claiming that he invented the Wrap?
Kevin Goldstein: I have thoughts on Valentine certainly. I think he's great for the Red Sox, and commentary on TV broadcasts is a horrible way to judge a managerial candidate.
Grady (Prague): If Darvish posts, how much do you think he can contribute to a major league team in 2012?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely.
albert2b (NYC): Is Vinnie Citricala one of the top 10 hitting prospects in the minors? If yes, how about top 5?
Kevin Goldstein: In all of the minors? He was at the end of the Seattle prospect list, so no, not even close.
Ben F. (California): Thanks for the chat. Great as always.
What are you thoughts on the new CBA draft provisions? Specifically, do you think that the bonus pool and the penalties associated with it will hurt MLB's ability to sign athletes and remain competitive with other sports?
Kevin Goldstein: I think they are stupid, short-sighted, and potentially damaging to the game. The rules on international are even more troubling.
Ryan (GR): Is Lindor the type that could make it to the majors in 2 years? I've heard he's very advanced. Thanks
Kevin Goldstein: No. That's an easy answer. You are asking me if he can be in the big leagues at 20. I'm going to say no 99.2192% of the time.
Tyler (Windsor): Is Nick Castellanos a future average regular? Does he stick at 3B?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes x 2.
Behemoth (Scotland): Hi Kevin. What sort of standard is the Mexican league? What about other international leagues?
Kevin Goldstein: It's well below Venezuela and the Dominican in terms of talent, as it's mostly Mexican League veterans, and the pitching is almost exclusively junk ballers.
yankeesbg13 (Indianapolis): What are we thinking on Mike Trout this year? What kind of a year can we expect from him?
Kevin Goldstein: A solid year, but not impact yet. That will come. He's still 5-8 years from peaking, although he'll be a slower player then.
igoinsane67 (Lenexa): Could Soria plus Christian Colon and Chris Dwyer net the Royals a front line starter?
Kevin Goldstein: No.
Aaron (YYZ): Michael Ynoa: cautionary tale about high profile IFA's, or intriguing arm being slept on post-hype?
Kevin Goldstein: Here's my deep answer: Both.
BCC (Chicago): Is Brett Jackson ready to play in the Majors? Moving Byrd over to platoon with DeJesus in RF sounds like a decent move to me if Jackson can handle CF.
Kevin Goldstein: There's still some work to be done. I think it would be fair to be concerned about his strikeouts.
der (NYC): Hi Kevin - great work as always. How ugly will it be if Freddie Galvis is the Phillies regular SS in 2012? Will he ever be passable in that role?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he will be. He'll need to hit 8th, but won't embarrass himself.
Minneapolitan (Nashville): I don't think Chris Herrmann made your Twins' top 20, and I'm aware that there's a strong incentive for a Twins fan to pretend there's catching depth in the organization whether that's true or not. But he had a kind of nice 2011 that continued into the AFL. How likely is he to find his way onto the Twins roster in the next couple seasons and maybe do something useful as a bench player?
Kevin Goldstein: Definitely could happen with that realistic ceiling.
SirToYou (at my desk): The Braves are nuts if they are looking for a Greinke type deal for Jurrjens, or will a team overlook his poor peripherals and offer something close to that?
Kevin Goldstein: Nothing wrong with dangling him out there to see if someone bites in a weak pitching market that, right? I agree, they'll get nothing close to Greinke payment.
Paul (DC): Any recent news on the continuing recovery of Ryan Westmoreland?
Kevin Goldstein: Still no timetable for a return to play. That said, doctors are confident that he'll live a normal life from here on out, so that's good.
Paul (DC): How many ABs does Harper get with the Nats in 2012?
Kevin Goldstein: Eliglble for 2013 Rookie of the Year I bet.
Roger (Toronto): Is Yu Darvish currently or project to be a #1 or #2?
Kevin Goldstein: More of a 2, but again, 1s are such a rare group, Almost impossible to project anyone as a pure 1.
Minneapolitan (Nashville): Who and what is the AFL good for? Teams getting a better look at their guys approaching a critical part of their early career? Teams getting a better look at somebody else's guys? Players getting kind of a bonus chance at some potentially interesting competition? Fans who want to pretend that there's a shortstop who can hit hanging out in their system? Writers who can get a bunch of talent assembled in one place?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Also gives players who missed time due to injury some more reps.
GBSimons (Boise, ID): Jennry Mejia - future starter or reliever?
Kevin Goldstein: Bullpen.
Mike (Fargo): Do you see more mis-evaluations with young pitchers or hitter?
Kevin Goldstein: Pitchers. They're obviously more risky, but there is certainly such a thing as a pitching prospect.
Jquinton82 (NY): Read SI's piece on Bauer and it had an interesting nugget on Strassburg and how his elbow was above his throwing shoulder during his throwing motion (pre-injury) and thus in theory making him more likely to suffer the injury he had - that being said has he dropped his elbow below his throwing shoulder since coming back and do you buy into the theory?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't. I'm not a big fan of biomechanics. I think there are guys with great deliveries that get hurt and ones with ugly ones that work for them.
Minneapolitan (Nashville): Your additional "what is the AFL good for" reason reminds me that I was sort of hoping the Twins would send Alex Wimmers there. Acknowledging that his case is pretty idiosyncratic, what would you do if you were in charge of a low-ish ceiling starter that was nevertheless expected to move quickly, but got all Steve Blass'd, then kind of recovered and finished strong? AFL? Pat on the back and tell him to come to camp in good shape next spring?
Kevin Goldstein: Wimmers finished the year well, so I wouldn't have messed with it. The AFL is such an offensive environment, that I'd rather take it cautious knowing he heads into the offseason with something positive.
Paul (DC): Any word out of KC on the status of John Lamb's recovery from Tommy John surgery?
Kevin Goldstein: On pace, no setbacks.
Spirou (Montreal): Me thinking out loud : Jared Cosart will be lucky to develop into a top closer and Jonathan Singleton will be lucky to even reach the majors ? True or false ?
Kevin Goldstein: I think that's pessimistic.
Lennie (Prince Edward Island): If you had to, who would you move to second base, Escobar or Hechavarria?
Kevin Goldstein: It would have to be Escobar because at least the bat would be worth something there. Hechavarria has no value at 2B with that bat.
Sanchez101 (Santa Barbara, CA): Jerry Sands is ineligible for your list so we won't get to here your opinion - do you think he can outhit Loney next year? What's his ceiling - solid average starter?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think it's some kind of slam dunk that he would.
Matt (Chicago): Kmowing that you covered Ian Stewart as a prospect, do you think he makes any sense for the Cubs as a reclamation project ? Their options aren't great @ 3b.
Kevin Goldstein: I've never been a big Stewart fan, which often got Rockies fans very upset. Don't see him as an every day player.
HankScorpio (Cypress Creek): Any thoughts on how the move from Burlington to Kane County last year impacts the Royals' player development? Is it a good or bad thing to get out of such a pitcher-friendly park like Burlington?
Kevin Goldstein: Kane County is not some kind of launching pad. It's really not a big difference.
Wilmer (VZ): This time next year... Wilmer Flores and Marte... considered good/very good prospects or no-longer seen as potential regulars?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not a big fan of either RIGHT NOW, forget about next year.
mwashuc06 (Utica, NY): What is Trevor Story's ceiling and do you think he can handle 2nd or 3rd due to Tulo at SS?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he's a 2B anyway, so yes. And I really like the bat.
Jquinton82 (NY): expecations for Lawrie this year?
Kevin Goldstein: Regression. He'll still be good, but he's certainly not going to throw up a .953 OPS.
goiter6 (MN): What would you estimate for the number of times out of 100 the threesome of Dee Gordon, Jemile Weeks, and Jose Altuve has more productive careers than the threesome of Ruben Tejada, Johnny Giavotella, and Kyle Seager?
Kevin Goldstein: 98.
Scott (Tampa): Quick true or false - Alex Colome still has the front of the rotation potential you saw in him pre-2011 it's just buried a bit deeper than you thought?
Kevin Goldstein: More and more, scouts see a reliever at this point.
huggirl (New Jersey): ceiling/floor ranking on the following top non Bundy/Bradley 2011 prep arms: Fernandez, Guerreri, Norris, Owens . Any of them have a shot at being a 5 star prospect at this time next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Most likely to move way up: Geurreri and Norris.
Ralph (Peoria): Love your analysis KG. Mat Gamels going to be relevant this year? Tantalizing ability but never put it together in the bigs. Could this be the year?
Kevin Goldstein: Not optimistic.
SenatorsGuy (Home): Its my birthday. Please tell me how you see Salvadore Perez' bat playing out for the next few years.
Kevin Goldstein: Average to slightly above for the position.
Nimmo (NYC): Do you think the Mets made the right call taking Nimmo that high? I know you aren't big on player comparisons but is his upside an above average regular or did they reach?
Kevin Goldstein: I did like the pick. They needed offensive upside, and while Nimmo is risky, he provides just that.
sb (ny): Following up on Roger's question - Would you consider all the following as pure #1 starters: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Lincecum, Kershaw, Sabathia, Verlander, Weaver, Haren, Felix Hernandez, Beckett, Lester, Shields? Are there others I am missing that you would add to the #1 starter list?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't even think all of those are No. 1s, but most of them are. My list doesn't need more than two hands.
jcjohnson (DC): To what extent do you agree with Prof. Parks' argument on the value of seeing a prospect in person? If you have seen a prospect, but a scout you trust has a different view, how much more weight do you give to your own observations?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's important, but I don't see it the same way Parks does. I do trust my sources, and obviously I can't see everyone, so I'm often compiling based off people in the game I trust and my own biases/philosphies on prospects.
Sonny (Portland): I have heard that certain prospects need to work on their two strike approach. What would one do to improve on this?
Kevin Goldstein: It's more about adjusting your game and understanding the situation and focusing on contact. Many young players actually go backwards with two strikes -- expanding their zone, swinging for the fences in frustration, etc.
Kumar (DC): Expectations for Belt this year? Did you catch any of his Venezuela games?
Kevin Goldstein: Actually, he played in the Dominican for Escogido, and I saw many of his games. I really liked what I saw, and I just wish the Giants would simply give him a job.
KelleyDawson (St. Louis, MO): How would home plate robot umps call "hit by pitch", especially the ones that barely graze a blousy uniform?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't want robot umps calling balls and strikes, so I'm the wrong person to ask.
Brian (NC): If Pastornicky is the opening day ss, do you think the Braves can still make a move for Swisher+ ?
Kevin Goldstein: Not without clearly some payroll.
Vince (Ohio): What do you think of Shawn Tolleson? His numbers look great.
Kevin Goldstein: I like him as a future big leaguer, but I don't think he'll close.
Mesa (CA): Taijuan Walker or Carlos Martinez?
Kevin Goldstein: Walker. Far more likely to remain a starter.
Hizouse (Birmingham): If Escobar and Hechavarria are playing 2B and SS and both in the lineup, it doesn't matter whose bat plays better where; who's the better defensive arrangement?
Kevin Goldstein: Actually, it does matter, but Hech is the better defender.
Ben F. (California): Following up on the Colome question. Do scouts at least see a lat inning reliever?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes.
HankScorpio (Cypress Creek): Any word on how Bubba Starling looked in instructs? Is he ready to start the season at Kane County?
Kevin Goldstein: That's still to be determined. This spring will decide, but obviously, I selfishly hope that he makes it.
Tim (Portland): Sorry to be the cranky guy, but where are the top 11s? We haven't had one in 8 days.
Kevin Goldstein: It's OK to be the cranky guy. I've taken some time off for the first time in four years, and have some book things to finish before Dallas. It's always a trickle early and you'll be deluged by them after the meetings as they will have 100% of my attention.
Tony (Albuquerque): Due to thier very shallow and just depleted system are the White Sox going to become the Astros in a few years (horrible MLB team and system with few immediate answers) or does thier Free agent spending eventually prevent them from becoming this?
Kevin Goldstein: The potential is there, but unlike the Astros from a few years back, I think the White Sox recognize the issue, thus the potential trades to re-stock the system.
igoinsane67 (here): who's gonna have a better career, Moustakas or Rendon?
Kevin Goldstein: Like both, edge to Moose.
KCLoyal (work): You had a lot of great things to say about Wil Myers, but you tweeted that he's not a top 10. Really?
Kevin Goldstein: Really. I have a lot of great things to say about prospects who are not among the top 10 in all of baseball. It's hardly an insult.
GBSimons (Boise, ID): Will Shelby Miller make any starts for St. Louis in '12? I heard both Westbrook and Lohse have full no-trade clauses, so do Cards fans then need to hope for a Westbrook injury to get Miller called up?
Kevin Goldstein: If the over/under on big league starts for Miller in 2012 is 0.5, I'm betting heavy on the over.
Wes (NYC): A certain other evaluator at a certain other site that you may or may not be affiliated with is still hating a bit on Brandon Beachy, saying that he's due for major regression his 2nd season through the league because he lacks frontline stuff and relies more on deception. I see an elite swinging strike % and great command/control. Is there any reason to think he can't do what he did last year or even better in 2012?
Kevin Goldstein: I do expect some regression, but I wouldn't put major in front of it.
Nick (Orange, CT): Do you think Kolten Wong will be a first division starter?
Kevin Goldstein: I think there's at least a chance for it. I really liked what I saw in him here in the Midwest League. Love watching him play.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): Listening to the podcast- the sexy discussion is putting me on the floor. Great work!
Kevin Goldstein: Thanks. That was a good moment.
Laurie Fine (Manlius ny): any chance we see mahtook in the Rays OF this year?
Kevin Goldstein: No. How many position players make the big leagues in their first full year?
richardkr34 (Saint Paul, MN): Do you see Hicks starting in AA? Is there anything positive to be taken from his time in the AFL?
Kevin Goldstein: You kind of have to, right? I mean leaving him in the Florida State League accomplishes so little.
Carl (baltimore): I follow a few 2012 draft prospects on Twitter. One or two don't present themselves very well. Do MLB teams monitor this sort of thing, and does it affect draft decisions?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. Imagine yourself on Twitter at 17. Now imagine yourself on Twitter knowing that you could be a millionaire soon? Does he play hard? Does he work? Often, that's all that matters.
DH (Pittsburgh): What do you think of Jedd Gyorko? He's done nothing but hit since being drafted, but he doesn't get the love I'd expect. Do you think he could hit around .300 with 50 XBH? Not many guys do that at 3B.
Kevin Goldstein: You're right, but is he really a 3B? I really do like the bat, however.
albert2b (NYC): Any reason for optimism regarding TOny Sanchez? Is he still the Pirates' C of the future?
Kevin Goldstein: Certainly reasons to be concerned, but no reason to write him off.
Hoss (Austin): Re: Scouts say Levarnway can't catch -- measurables (PB, WP, SB/CS) seem to suggest he can. What exactly can't he do that is so "must have" (because he sure can hit)?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he can catch but be pretty bad there. Some teams don't want that no matter how much you hit, and I understand that. Very much depends on what's around you. With all of the Red Sox offense, I think having a defensive catcher makes a lot of sense.
rjmoore (Boston): Lucas Duda's upside - decent starting OF?
Kevin Goldstein: Yup. I think the bat is legit.
richardkr34 (Saint Paul, MN): What do you think about moving Madison Boer to the rotation?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's worth a shot, but I'd say that about most players. I know I'm the lone wolf out there defending some of these reliever contracts, but at the same time, a 3-starter is still more valuable than a closer.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, thanks for all the great questions. Things will be pretty crazy in Dallas (I hope), so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@kevin_goldstein) for constant commentary and snark.