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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday June 05, 2012 4:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Kevin takes your questions on the first day of amateur draft action.

Kevin Goldstein: Sorry for being a couple of minutes late here, as I had an unexpected browser crash. Nothing going on in the world of scouting and player development, right?

Brian (Gainesville): Has Robert Stephenson's stock been affected by the decision to keep him in rookie ball? Is there cause for concern?

Kevin Goldstein: Glad you asked this. We need to get away from the thought that this is some kind of big ding against Stepehson, or more well known, Bubba Starling. Players are individuals, and develop at their own rate. Not playing in Double-A by 20 does not equal some kind of failure.

Josh (DC): With the bonus pool system, is it unfair to look at single picks in isolation? I would imagine that the entire top 10 or maybe slightly less, have to be looked at in total to get a real sense. Am I slightly off base? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: You are totally ON base. When teams take an expensive player, or an expected cheap player, you have to look at the rest of those teams picks to see if there is a reason for it, and there often is.

dee150586 (fresno, ca): Hey Kevin, Do you believe the story that Boras turned down the Astros offer of 6 million? If you do, why would Boras turn that down?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. Because the slot for the No. 1 pick is $7.2. Hard to see Appel taking less than that. And let's be clear, Appel is being advised by Boras and Boras certainly ADVISES, but Boras doesn't turn down offers, Appel does. Appel could say he'd sign for a million if he wanted to.

Sean (Battle Creek): Do you see the Rangers having enough money to sign both Gallo and Nick Williams and how would you grade their draft thus far?

Kevin Goldstein: It's certainly not going to be easy, especially with Gallo, who has a strong commit to LSU and a rumored price tag of $2.5 million. To go back to a previous point, you see them starting to take cheap picks, including a college senior in the sixth.

luftmich (Niles, IL): Kevin, I know today is about rose colored glasses, but if Almora doesn't pan out what flaw in his game will we likely point to?

Kevin Goldstein: That's the thing about Almora, he's such a wonderful combination of tools and skills, a rare combo for high school. All five tools are average to plus. There's not some obvious hole to be concerned about.

Schnoah (Cordova, TN): I have been following this Pirates draft, Appel is a big surprise that he fell. Rumor is he turned down 6M No way he gets that from Pittsburgh. Nor does he get that if he returns and puts another year at Stanford on his arm. Whats your thoughts? And do we sign guys like Barret Barnes, Wyatt Mathisen, Jonathan Sandfort and Brandon Thomas? Do you like this overall class?

Kevin Goldstein: It's easy to say no way. You also didn't assign a team of lawyers to mess with the new CBA. I'm not making any sure statements with that situation, as we just don't know.

Richis (Ottawa): I've heard from a lot of prospect people that Marcus Stroman could possibly make it to the majors this year as a reliever. How long would Stroman's path be if Toronto tried to keep him in the starting rotation, and do you think there is any chance he could stick as a back of the rotation starter?

Kevin Goldstein: He's got front-end stuff, but it's pretty much impossible to see it working out. Five-foot-nine (or eight) guys don't throw 200 innings in the big leagues. Just pop him in the bullpen, where he's been crazy dominant and ride it.

Lindsay D. (CT): How much say does the bride have over what her attendants wear? I have asked my bridesmaids to purchase the same dress, but left the hair, accessories, makeup and shoes up to them. The only request that I made of their shoes is the color, and that they be heels (of any height). Two of my bridesmaids, however, have said to me the second the wedding is over, Im putting on flip-flops. This bothers me because we are having a formal wedding, and while I want them to be comfortable, I think flip-flops or sandals are tacky and inappropriate. (Their shoes can be seen because they are wearing tea-length dresses.) Is this my call to make? How do I broach this without being a bridezilla?

Kevin Goldstein: Do not go married.

scrapper (Chicago): Cubs seem to be going all pitching after Almora? Good idea? Isn't that getting a bit away from the idea of always taking the best player available (BPA)?

Kevin Goldstein: Isn't in possible that pitchers were the best players available for them? The club certainly needs arms, but I thought Blackburn and Underwood were nice gets where they went.

Adam (Pittsburgh): Although Boras always seems to get his clients the best possible offer, don't the Pirates have significant leverage with Appel given the smaller bonus pools that will be available in next year's draft?

Kevin Goldstein: Again, expect shenanigans, and ones we can not anticipate. Lots of questions about this situation, and you can tell me all the reason this isn't going to work, and I'll nod my head in agreement while saying, "But . . . . " at the end of every nod.

Kevin (San Diego): Kevin, the Padres seem to be reaching a lot today - does this indicate they have predraft deals with some of these guys, and that Elfin and Weickel are going overslot?

Kevin Goldstein: Could be. I absolutely adore what San Diego did in the comp round, grabbing three players that were in first-round mixes. But those three won't come cheap.

John (Walla Walla): Is it time for Hultzen to make the jump to AAA?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes.

Rany's apprentice (KC): Do you agree with the front of the rotation ceiling for Zimmer? The Royals seem to have been attracted to his low milage and deep repertoire. You agree?

Kevin Goldstein: It's easy to understand with the big fastball and outstanding breaking ball. But ceilings are ceilings, and ceilings are rarely reality.

Andrew (DC): Does part of the Nats sell to Giolito include a surgery and rehab process organized and overseen (and paid for) by a professional baseball club with experience in this area? Is this an effective selling point? It's not like me fluke spraining my knee mowing my lawn; Giolito will most definitely need TJ at some point.

Kevin Goldstein: I think acting like that's some kind of sure thing is a big assumption.

ArkBuilder (St. Paul): Your take on the Twins draft so far?

Kevin Goldstein: Nice to see them focus on tools and upside early on. Buxton you know about, but Berrios is not the kind of polished, boring strike thrower they normally focus on. He's a strong, but raw arm strength guy.

gejerz (Chicago): Kevin, good to chat with The King again, been awhile. Thanks for all your good work. Having spent time with The Fielding Bible(s) this past year, I wonder how do teams factor in defense in the draft. For example you have someone like Starlin Castro who has a terrific bat but you have to wonder will he ever be good enough a defender to start an allstar game? In this draft, who fell because most teams could not see a guy playing a difficult position?

Kevin Goldstein: Probably Richie Shaffer, who is the best college hitter, but might not be able to play anywhere but 1B.

Rob (DeKalb): This morning I heard a Ryan Braun comp for Almora. Does Almora project to have anywhere near Braun power or hit tools? Thanks for all the hard work!!

Kevin Goldstein: From one DeKalb person to another, that's a stupid comp.

Todd (NYC): Is Gavin Cecchini legit or were the Mets looking to get someone relatively cheap?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, Gavin Cecchini was not going to come cheap, so it wasn't that. He wanted Top 15 money, and not everybody saw him as a Top 15 talent.

nik (Phillly): What do you make of the Phillies taking Dylan Cozens in the 2nd round? He's not in the BA top 500. Is this a way to clear more slot money for other guys?

Kevin Goldstein: He's certainly a Phillies kind of player though, as he does have an elite tool in his power. The guy is absolutely HUMONGOUS.

Steve (California): Do you think that teams will start popping the supposed "not signing" guys like Virant as soon as we get out of the first 10 rounds?

Kevin Goldstein: Nothing suddenly changes. There are no loopholes after the 10th round. Any bonus over 100K after round ten applies to a team's bonus pool.

Jimmy (Virginia Beach): Thanks for the chat. Do you expect that the A's will have problems signing their first three picks? I'm at least mildly concerned that Russell is ADVISED by Boras.

Kevin Goldstein: Like I said, not all Boras client's are alike. The A's felt comfortable with him there, and they haven't backed away from Boras in the past, as they recently took Grant Green. Boras client does not automatically equal panic.

joseconsuervo (Ann Arbor): What happens to players who don't sign? Are they just out of luck for a year? Would guys actually risk that?

Kevin Goldstein: If they are drafted and don't sign, then yes, they're out of luck. They can always go to college or play another year there.

Brew Jays (Toronto): Are you hearing whether the Jays would have selected Giolito if he was still on the board?

Kevin Goldstein: Very few teams from 12-to-20 were not at least considering it.

Ron Burgundy (VA): Rizzo and the Nats seem to be okay with taking big risks on high ceiling guys with injury concerns. Is this a good strategy?

Kevin Goldstein: I think it's going to take a while to find out.

Donny (Baltimore): If a guy like Virant goes unsigned, does he become available to the highest bidder in free agency?

Kevin Goldstein: No. Same over 100K rule for post 10th picks apply.

wileecoyote121 (Westchester, NY): How does one find out what the recommended slots are for each pick? Are they published publically or just distributed among the clubs?

Kevin Goldstein: They are just distributed internally. The figures I put in my mock is from a copy somebody shared.

Sean (Chicago): What would the Pirates get in terms of comp picks if Appel doesnt sign? I hear the signability questions but it seems to me that Appel really doesnt have a ton of leverage. He could go back to school and be redrafted next year when he really has no leverage. If the team gets a top 10 pick for not signing him they wouldnt completely lose. Is this way off?

Kevin Goldstein: They would get the ninth pick (after the real eighth) in next year's draft. We can talk about what we think the leverage is and what we think can happen here, but again, we don't know.

Ivaagenes (chicago): Would you care to pontificate a little on the kind of leverage a boras might put into play? Also what are some of the possibilities for a college senior should they choose not to sign?

Kevin Goldstein: I think Boras has something up his sleeve, but I frankly don't know what it is. College seniors have no possibilities should they choose not to sign, and college seniors are NOT subject to the July 13 deadline, so teams maintain their draft rights until a week prior to next year's draft.

Mario66 (Toronto): Once teams and *advisors* are finished working out the details, do you think that the new system will do a better job or worse job than the old, uncapped systems, of promoting parity by funnelling the best players to the worst teams?

Kevin Goldstein: Year one, and Mark Appel plummets. It's not working.

Mario66 (Toronto): The MLB stated objective for the new cap system is to ensure that the worst teams procure the best talent. How can you reconcile this objective with free agent compensation / the supplemental round?

Kevin Goldstein: MLB lied to you. The objective is the curb spending.

JWR (Illinois): Can college juniors that are drafted go back to college for their senior season? Do college juniors have any other real leverage?

Kevin Goldstein: Sure they can. Happens all the time, but rarely with first round guys. That's really their only leverage.

MJ (TO): What's to stop teams from drafting a few tough signs and then absolutely punting their remaining picks? I believe I read somewhere that it is "discouraged" by MLB, but can MLB really PROVE that the team didn't value those punted picks, since value is obviously subjective?

Kevin Goldstein: If you don't sign a pick, the assigned value for that slot is removed from your pool. STOP TRYING TO FIND LOOPHOLES EVERYONE.

Brody (Iowa): Was James Ramsey a guy other teams were looking for in the first round? Can he stick in center?

Kevin Goldstein: He was not. He was more of a supplemental first or second round pick, but while the Cardinals were happy to get Wacha to fall to them, they knew he was going to demand extra money. Ramsey helps them balance things out.

Sam (Jackson): Over/Under on how many 1st round picks you think will go unsigned this year.

Kevin Goldstein: I don't think in the end it will look any different than previous drafts with somewhere between 0-2.

Jivas (formerly Chicago): KJ, are there any obvious 1.1 candidates for the 2013 draft (like J. Upton, Strasburg, and Harper in recent drafts)? In case you're wondering: yes, as a Cubs fan, this is what it's come to.

Kevin Goldstein: Strasburg and Harper are historic talents. They don't appear in every draft, or even every ten drafts. He's NOT Strasburg, but top talent for 2013 right now might be NC State LHP Carlos Rodon.

MJ (TO): What I meant was that the team would sign those punted picks to WELL below slot values, in order to free up the cash to sign the tough to sign picks.

Kevin Goldstein: Yes, you can do that.

Ron (VA): I don't understand what was wrong with the draft in the first place. IMO there are many other problems in baseball that should have been addressed first, and this new ass backwards draft rule book(and the international FA changes as well) is a joke. Agree/disagree?

Kevin Goldstein: Totally agree.

Kris (Seattle): The loophole is to alternate picks between high dollar guys and organizational depth players. You actually sign the player, but well under slot?

Kevin Goldstein: That's not a loophole. That's just plain allowed.

Jason (office): Saw your twitter posts this week about Javier Baez's big game in A-ball (3 hits, booming homerun, swinging at a 3-0 pitch in a 13-0 blowout, getting beaned in the ribs, and then getting benched the next day for ignoring the take sign the day before)...What, if anything, did we learn from that game that we did not know before?

Kevin Goldstein: That a lot of people on Twitter don't understand that you are going to get plunked if you swing on 3-0 in a 13-0 game.

Michael (Fredericton): Overall, how does next year's draft crop compare to this year? Is it too early to tell?

Kevin Goldstein: Looks better.

James (Boston): Kevin, tell me if this makes sense to you. Teams can't give a major league contract to a draftee when signing them. However, couldn't the Pirates work out a deal with Appel where they offer him a $3M bonus, then agree to a verbal deal where they give him a major league contract next February for, say, $5.5M over 4 years, covering 2013-2016. He'd retain his minor league options and could be sent down, but he'd still be guaranteed the salaries above the minor league minimum. His total package would then be worth like $8.5M, the Pirates would still have control over him when his initial 4 year major league deal expired, and they get around the bonus pool limit. Teams are exploring these types of options, right?

Kevin Goldstein: Side deals are TECHNICALLY illegal, but certainly can happen. When you are taking about is a restructuring, and it's my understanding that there are limits to that. Side/verbal deal also creates crazy risk for the player. Lets say the front office gets revamped. You think the new GM is going to honor that side deal?

dianagram (VORGville): Do you have a sense of whether any potential draftees got knocked down the board due specifically to known concussion history?

Kevin Goldstein: I do not know of any. Which is why more kids should play baseball, and hopefully football will go away in my lifetime.

Harry (Area locale): I thought Rodon was a 2014 guy since he was a freshman this past season. He's eligible for 2013?

Kevin Goldstein: He will be a draft-eligible sophomore.

Eli (Brooklyn): Thoughts on the Yankees' draft thus far? You seem a bit more bearish on Hensley than some others.

Kevin Goldstein: I like Hensley plenty, but he certainly has holes in his game. His big, but also a bit soft physically, and the conditioning worried some teams down the road.

Amazin Mess (Purgatory): Am I wrong to be fairly disappointed in the Mets draft so far?

Kevin Goldstein: No.

Kyle (Maine): I agree that what MLB is really trying to do is keep spending down, my question is why do they care?

Kevin Goldstein: I've been asking that for over a decade, and I've yet to get a good answer.

Adam (Shreveport): Is there a late round drafting strategy that has proven more successful? For example, draft the best athlete and hope he pans out down the road.

Kevin Goldstein: Well, with these new rules, there is no strategy we can test yet, but in general, I think a mix of upside and baseball skills does best later on.

Mario66 (Toronto): Re MJ's most recent question about picking well below slot - Dave Cameron pointed out the interesting nuance that a player picked in expectation of signing WELL below slot actually has a lot of leverage. Since the team loses the assigned value from its aggregate cap if the player is unsigned, the team is better off signing the guy for pretty much anything less than SLOT minus $1 (in terms of having extra cash to pay an overslot guy anyway).

Kevin Goldstein: The flaw in this logic is expectations. You don't draft a guy THINKING he'll sign cheap, you draft a guy to save money by talking to his people well before the selection to figure out the price. These cheap picks will sign quickly.

JWR (USA): How much do the front office types share with you about their drafts and their assessments of the other teams' drafts? Has to be one of the major perks of the job, right?

Kevin Goldstein: Best perk of the job. Much of last night involved phone calls with everyone from scouts to GMs to talk about what just happened in the first round. You learn a TON with each call like that.

Kevin (San Diego): If by "football" you mean "futbol" I totally agree. On a related note, I find your recent podcast mentions of that sport very gauche.

Kevin Goldstein: Futbol is so much better than football that it's not even funny. And I'm not even that big a futbol fan.

Mike (Fredericton): Is there a maximum minor league salary for recent draftees in a system?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. That's not a loophole either.

Chris B. (Delta, BC): No way Alford gets signed in the third round, right?

Kevin Goldstein: It will be a challenge, but I'd never say no way. I'm sure Toronto has an idea of what it will take, and a strategy to at least make a run at him. They didn't draft him not to sign him.

redsoxin2004 (Columbia, CT): Commissioner for the Day. Fix the draft in less than 30 words.

Kevin Goldstein: No slots or caps. No FA compensation. Teams can trade picks.

Kevin (San Diego): Can somebody get Bud a glass of water next year? Dude hasn't cleared his throat since 1997.

Kevin Goldstein: Looks pretty good for 77 to me.

T Lannister (Westeros): How many radio and TV interviews have you done this week? Stupidest question asked was ________

Kevin Goldstein: I did 27 over the last four days. No stupid questions, but a station in St. Louis blew me off, so via Twitter I called a random Cardinals fan and went over their picks with him. That was fun.

faithdies (DE): 3 of the Phillie's first 4 picks were projection-able pitchers with plus fastballs. That's the way to draft yes? You can always parley pitching prospects into anything else the Org will need down the line, right?

Kevin Goldstein: When you don't have a first, that's certainly an understandable way to go.

Jivas (formerly Chicago): KG: over the last week, I must have read a hundred Twitter replies (from you and Keith Law) indicating that teams *ALWAYS* take the best player available (BPA) in the first round. However, your write-up on why the Mariners took Zunino was very context-specific and idiosyncratic to their situation. Isn't the truth that, say 95% of first-round picks are simply BPA, but that team-specific factors do occasionally come into play - but that this explanation is too nuanced to play to a large audience, and it's simply easier for you and Keith to emphasize the ALWAYS BPA rule?

Kevin Goldstein: Great question, and I'm glad you asked it. I think Keith and I emphasize the BPA rule to reinforce that this isn't the NBA or NFL where you draft for need and fill a hole. Certainly and only at certain times, it can play a role.

wileecoyote121 (Westchester, NY): What do you and the Professor have lined up for the post-draft podcast?

Kevin Goldstein: Still lining things up. I think you'll be happy.

Justin (Chicago): Follow up to the radio interviews - do you feel that you have to "dumb it down" on appearences like these? I'm not saying you do, but at the same time your audience isn't the baseball fanatical BP reader either.

Kevin Goldstein: I just answer the questions as the come, but I do assume that the listeners likely know nothing about these players just drafted.

JWR (USA): Why do you care if the owners have constructed a system under which they pay less to their draftees and young players? I mean I understand why the players would be upset but why should fans care about this issue?

Kevin Goldstein: Because it's bad for baseball and could steer players to other sports.

mrenick (Little rock): As an Astros fan, I shoul be encouraged by this new regimes drafting strategy, right? Or do I wait until the signing deadline to know for sure?

Kevin Goldstein: Be encouraged.

Ben (California): Thanks for the chat. What are your thoughts on the A's draft? I'm not sure what to make of Russell and Bruce Maxwell seems like a reach at 62.

Kevin Goldstein: Well, Russell is probably going to cost some extra money. Most teams so far have made Maxwell-like picks of pushing a player up the board with the knowledge that they need to spend some extra cash elsewhere.

Jim (Iowa): Was there any indication that the Astro's tried to get a price on the top three guys (Correa, Buxton and Appel)? Was there any evidence that any of the three gave them any information about that?

Kevin Goldstein: Every single first round pick was made after attempts to get price information. No pick happens in the dark when it comes to trying to get a feel for potential negotiations.

Kyle (Maine): Callahan reportedly already signed with Boston. Players who sign that fast must have had deal in place before draft, right?

Kevin Goldstein: There are TONS of deals already in place. TONS.

JWR (Chicago): Cubs are awful this year but should Cub fans be excited about the direction that Theo and Hoyer have pointed the Cubs? It seems like there is a plan, even if this year and next year are going to be a bit of a trainwreck.

Kevin Goldstein: Maybe 2014 too. The organization is in the right hands, but they're not miracle workers.

Adam (Shreveport): If you were drafting what do you think your College/HS ratio would be.

Kevin Goldstein: I would have no ratio. I'd take the players I like best.

Jerry (DeKalb): Almora just said in a conference call his priority is college and his full-ride to Miami. Part of the process or unforeseen?

Kevin Goldstein: Part of the process. Do not worry.

Clint (Chicago): What are the odds that Appel fell because the 7 teams that passed on him just liked their picks better?

Kevin Goldstein: Certainly was the case with a few of those picks, but certainly not all of them.

Mike W (Chicago): Kev, Kev, Kev, you gotta stop saying "I don't know," "We don't know," "We can't possibly know." Come on, what kind of pundit are you? Say something off the cuff, make grand pronouncements! There's no "if" in "pontificate." Oh, wait, there is. Never mind.

Kevin Goldstein: My grand pronouncement on the Pirates and Appel as that I think it's going to be really fun to cover.

Chris B. (Delta, BC): Have you been following any E3 stuff?

Kevin Goldstein: Just some. Nothing has made me jump up with joy.

DC (Ohio): but since the other major sports have rookie wage scales isn't baseball just aligning with them? Seems that overall baseball is a more lucrative career option

Kevin Goldstein: It's not about wage scales, it's about college basketball and football having the ability to offer free rides to kids when baseball can not.

Jason (USA): How many prospects from this year's draft class do you expect to crack next year's top 20 list?

Kevin Goldstein: Tiny number.

Clint (Chicago): Any teams going to blow past their cap and forfeit picks next year (assuming I understand the system correctly)?

Kevin Goldstein: I would be very, very surprised.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, I have to catch up on today's stuff and keep rolling along. I'll certainly be back soon, and you can always ask me stuff on twitter (@kevin_goldstein)


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