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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday August 07, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.

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Kevin stops by to answer your questions about his mid-season top 50, the prospects who changed teams at the deadline, and anything else on your mind.

Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone! I'm chatting! Only questions about Austin Wood will be accepted! I kid, I kid.

thatjerkjames (Manhattan): I realize the site/podcast are for baseball, but I do enjoy when you talk video games and movies. Any chance we can see some more of that, or a separate section for it?

Kevin Goldstein: Maybe, one day. No plans for it, and no time, really.

Sam (Toronto): Where do you rank the blue jays farm system after their recent trades?

Kevin Goldstein: Still very very high. It's not like they traded away any of their top guys. Great system, and tons of interesting young pitching.

Gumby (Milwaukee): I believe Bonifacio went 0-4 at the Kane County game you saw last week. How did he look, though? I have a hard time divorcing myself from numbers, and they've been very unexciting for him of late.

Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn't get too worked up about it. What you are seeing is quite frequent. It's been a brutally hot summer here in the Midwest, like much of the country, and plenty of young players in their first full season are just flat out running out of gas.

Chris (Milwaukee, WI): What's a real world projection for Wily Peralta? Do you think he'll be able to overcome these severe hot and cold stretches and find consistency?

Kevin Goldstein: Man, if I knew that, I'd be Kreskin. He's always had the stuff to be a solid middle rotation starter, and he often looks like it, so he'll get plenty of chances.

mshopoff (Houston): Kevin, after last night's work raising the bar of ineptitude, can you say anything that makes me feel better about the Astros' future?

Kevin Goldstein: It's all about the system. How many Astros on the currently big league roster will be on a good Astros team in the future? In many ways, it just doesn't matter what the big league club is doing. I know it's hard to watch, but the future is not on the field right now.

Chris (Sussex, NJ): Do you think we'll see Banuelos or Betances reach their projected heights from last year? Were they unlucky or just not as good as thought?

Kevin Goldstein: One is having a lost season due to injury, and the other is having a lost season as his mechanics have come completely off the rails. Stock is way down for both, and therefore chances of reaching their ceilings have diminished greatly.

Steve (Buco Land): What are your thoughts on Gregory Polanco? Seems to be having a breakout season in Low-A. Do the reports match the numbers?

Kevin Goldstein: They do, in many ways. He's the kind of toolsy athlete you look for in a Low-A outfielder.

Al (IL): Hey KG, nice of you to have a chat once every two months or so. Don't strain yourself.

Kevin Goldstein: Wow. I've written or been at part of 44 pieces at BP this month. If you don't like my work, that's totally cool. If you don't like my work ethic, please email me explaining why and I'll be happy to get a refund processed for you.

seismos (Los Angeles): What do you make of the whole Yasiel Puig experience/conspiracy?

Kevin Goldstein: Was there a conspiracy? The Dodgers paid a ton for a guy they barely saw, and he's looked ok so far.

Jake (Kalamazoo): Looks like a breakout season for Delino DeShields, but hard to know what to make of him. Top 100 guy? Sticks at 2B or move to CF?

Kevin Goldstein: Either way, he looks very good. Huge step forward, HUGE athlete, and that's a fantastic combination. I've gotten some fantastic reviews from scouts on his recently.

rrvwmr (Chicago): Trevor Story's #s are on par with Xander Bogaerts and Story seems more likely to stay up the middle. What is the knock on Story? Splits? Lack of power projection?

Kevin Goldstein: 1. I'm not as convinced Story stays up the middle as you are, as he could be more of a third baseman. 2. Playing in Asheville helps your numbers considerably. 3. He is brutally bad right now against LHP.

Free_AEC (NJ): Phillies online prospect watchers already have Carlos Tocci turning into Miguel Cabrera in center field. Do you see any possibility of this not coming to pass?

Kevin Goldstein: Just a small one! I do think he's a name to watch, though. Speed, hitting ability, defense and an arm. But no power right now, and little projection in that department.

dianagram (VORGville): Dayan Viciedo has had a nice season at the place at age 23 in the Majors ... but he doesn't walk and his defense isn't stellar. Do you see any potential for growth in those two areas?

Kevin Goldstein: Defense, no. Offense yes. I think there is more power in him, and as that develops, he'll end up drawing more walks without ever even improving his approach. He's not going to turn into a 80 walk guy, but he'll draw more.

T-bone (Dekalb): Do you want to come to my birthday party?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know. Maybe. I've never hung out with anybody named T-bone before, and I like new experiences.

jason (muskegon, mi): Kolten Wong more likely to get called up to start at 2B next year or 2014? Can he leadoff or best suited to be in the 2-hole?

Kevin Goldstein: I think he'll get a good amount of big league time next year. For me, he's a two-hole hitter, but I've had some smart people challenge my assumptions of what a 2-hole hitter should be, which is something I've been thinking about lately.

Evan (New Orleans): What is your take on the unique Anthony Alford signing?

Kevin Goldstein: I really, really don't like it. I don't want to pay a kid to focus on football. It's horrible for his development.

Justin (AZ): Do people in the industry ever get annoyed with internet types trying to scout stat lines? Or do they just kind of laugh at "prospect gurus" who know nothing about prospects other than their baseball-reference pages?

Kevin Goldstein: You know, I have no idea. The angry chat dude won't believe me, but I don't have the time to read other people's prospect work. As a basic rule, if you are talking to people in the industry, scouts, front office folks etc and doing the damn at games, I can respect what you do when it comes to prospects, and obviously there are a lot of people who fall into that category, like myself, Keith Law, the Baseball America crew, Mayo, etc. If you don't talk to people in the industry constantly, I don't think you can do this job (covering baseball below the big leagues) well at all. That's just my personal opinion.

Oscar Taveras' Mom (Springfield): Should I be worried about Jason Parks' obsession with my son?

Kevin Goldstein: No No. I understand that he can be frightening, but he's ultimately harmless.

Jacob Hopkins (Kansas City): A few years ago there was a lack of quality SS. Now there are a good amount of top SS prospects. Do you see a position that is lacking in quality prospects?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, my first question is how many of those guys are SS when all is said and done? There's been a big drop in 3B of late, it seems.

Liam (Dallas): You had Austin Hedges at #30 in your updated top #50. How would you evaluate his offensive ceiling? Is the ranking largely based on his elite defense?

Kevin Goldstein: It was based on many ways on the offense. The defense is as good as advertised. He's just tremendous behind the plate, and among, if not the best defensive catcher I've ever seen at this level. Now that it looks like he can hit a bit, he's a huge prospect.

Just Dont Getz It (Upstate NY): Why do the Royals hate Giavotella so much?

Kevin Goldstein: Defense is bad. That's my only legit guess.

Patty (Mississauga): When a minor league pitcher gets promoted (A to AA or AA to AAA), what is an expected drop in K/9? For example, before Skaggs' promotion to AAA, his K/9 was 9.17, and is 6.75 since the promotion. This seems pretty drastic; what is a reasonably expected drop? Is there any generally range that one can expect?

Kevin Goldstein: There is no perfect number. I made on point on Twitter last night, and I guess I'll expound on it here. There are no absolutes in this world. We're trying to predict the future. There is no perfect roadmap for prospects and levels, there is not exact factor for translating minor league numbers from level to level or to the big leagues. Every player is individual, and will develop differently. There is no black and white with scouting and prospects, there is nothing but grey area, and that's why I like it so much.

UrbyJT (Des Moines): What % of your work is actually watching the prospect play as to talking to other scouts and front office people? I assume it varies greatly prospect to prospect though.

Kevin Goldstein: Sure. Huge variance. There are guys I've seen a lot this year, yet I don't see the California League so I really have to lean on scouting contacts. It's important to note, that even on players I've seen, I always want a scout's opinion as well.

Barranco (Chicago): How much info can you get from AZ Rookie league numbers?

Kevin Goldstein: Pretty much none. Zero. Nunca. Nada.

Josh (Pennsylvania): Can you explain why Sano is so high on the top 50 and Xander Bogaerts is not ranked? When you look at their numbers they have almost the same BOP and SLG however Bogaerts has far less strikeouts and a much higher average.

Kevin Goldstein: Again, Bogaerts was No. 51, and the list was done in June before he got really hot. Also, Sano has 80 power. EIGHTY. Eight-Zero.

sarm34 (Renton, WA): Been a little bumpy lately for Taijuan Walker. Any worries?

Kevin Goldstein: Actually, no. Still completely adore him.

mike (bkk): pwned by Rich Lederer http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4829

Kevin Goldstein: Hey! Kevin Goldstein is chatting! Here's a link from an article six years ago when he was wrong about Jered Weaver! Hah! That will show him! My day is now complete!

Wicked Fah (Boston): What has happened to Jon Lester? Just an off year or something more worrisome? Have you heard anything from scouts on him?

Kevin Goldstein: I wish I knew. I've had some scouts who think there are some mechanical issues.

August (Dallas): How do you feel about the use/non-use of instant replay in baseball?

Kevin Goldstein: I think if the process is right, it could be a really good thing. I do not want robot umps, and I don't want laser calling balls and strikes. What I do want is for the current umpires to be accountable, for both their ability, and their behavior.

SonnyJames (Portland): Not a question but I just wanted to let you know that I've spent an inordinate amount of time wondering about your neighbor the "Mexican Glen Danzig."

Kevin Goldstein: Mexican Glen Danzig lives across the street from me. He's a burly Mexican guy with long hair and he always wears metal band t-shirts and occasionally breaks out leather pants. We have a sizable Mexican population here, partially because of the ex-urb phenomena, and partially because of the agriculture industry. Every time I walk by his house or he walks by mind, we wave an exchange pleasantries, in Spanish. I'm not a very social person, so sometimes I consider him my best friend in DeKalb.

bellfree (Denver): Do scouts ask you for information on players?

Kevin Goldstein: They ask for my opinion on guys, sure. Mostly to see if it lines up with their thoughts.

canada (Canada): What are your general thoughts on defense in the minor leagues (especially in the low minors)? Are there pitchers who have developed reputations as not being able to handle this, or are most guys just conditioned to accept it as they would have in amateur ball?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, you have to remember, that the pitchers have been playing with this same peer group for years. Bad defense is normal to them.

Hip2Hops (Seattle): Do teams work w/position players on throwing mechanics? Is there any hope BHam's arm "develops" such that he can stay at SS?

Kevin Goldstein: Arms are arms. I don't know of any players who somehow magically showed big improvement in their arms.

Chris (KC): Are scouts giving Joey Gallo an 80 power grade? Rangers fans sure keep telling me this, but I haven't seen it.

Kevin Goldstein: He had some 80 raw scores coming into the draft. That said, we'll see if he can fully tap into it. Still a lot of swing and miss in his game.

Tom (Madison): I know the sample size is small, but do you think the A's Chris Carter has turned the corner and can be a solid major league bat going forward? A middle of the order of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Carter has been a pleasant surprise this year.

Kevin Goldstein: I was holding on to Carter for one more year, and I'm glad I did. His at-bats this year are so much better, and that's been the big difference for him. I think he'll be solid, to use your word.

Colin (NY): nerdy question, but can you list some of your 80 video games. Dorky, but Ocarina of Time is my only 80, though I'm not much of a gamer.

Kevin Goldstein: Xenogears, Disgaea, Fallout 3, Dark Souls.

David (Chicago): Thoughts on AJ Cole? Is it a mechanical issue? Is the difference between A and A+ bigger than I'm assuming? P.S. Any non-Silent Hill horror game suggestions?

Kevin Goldstein: It's a command issue, and there's been very real process. If you are good with PS2 games, the Fatal Frame series is the best survival horror series in the history of gaming.

Breakables (Chicago): Regarding players that may or may not qualify for prospect lists: does any time in the show disqualify one from inclusion? Trevor Bauer? Joe Weiland/ Drew Hutchison?

Kevin Goldstein: Standard ROY rules, so 130 AB/50 innings.

Adam (Shreveport): Are there any stat lines that do transfer to pro ball when analyzing college players?

Kevin Goldstein: Generally, no.

mbarr4 (Lewisville): Kevin, thanks for the chat and all you do here at BP. Truly great work. I'm curious for your thoughts on Bubba Starling thus far. From scouring the box scores, he's showing on base skills, power, a great arm, and a lot of swing and miss. Are you encouraged by his performance? Why did so many Royals fans write him off prematurely? And is his age still something to be worried about? Thanks again!

Kevin Goldstein: So many Royals fans wrote him off because so many Royals fans are miserable, albeit for understandable reasons. Starting was a project when drafted, and it's definitely a so far, so good situation with him.

RationalSportsFan (detroit): Odds Bruce Rondon enters 2013 as the Tigers' closer. Joaquin Benoit seems to love the 8th. Brayan Villarreal a possibility?

Kevin Goldstein: I'd be shocked to see him open camp in a closer role, or even in the big leagues.

steve (lincoln): You were the first person to answer my twitter question, I know that sounds sad but I only follow prospect guys and a few nfl sportswriters. Plus, I have only tweeted 4 times in my life. I was wondering if you could give a little more info on why Alcides Escabar's UZR has varied so much from last year to this year? Is his defense still above average? How exactly is UZR calculated? Thanks, love the work.

Kevin Goldstein: Alcides Escobar's defense is outstanding. Period. I really don't care what his UZR says. Also, stop following the NFL.

Mike (Chicago): So Brett Jackson's first AB he dribbles a ball off his own leg, it's called a major league at bat. If anyone ever fit onto his team better, I'll eat my hat. The cubs' whole season has been metaphorically dribbling things down their legs and calling it a major league team. Brett Jackson is the 2012 cubs, even before his olympian 4k performance last night. So who is this guy pitching tonight, and will it be his only major league start?

Kevin Goldstein: Hey, Mike. Why are you worrying about big league games? Rebuilding is going on there. Rebuilidng being done by really, really smart people. Be patient. Did you really think they'd win a lot of baseball games this year?

MadHandle11 (Spokane): What are your thoughts on Max Kepler's power surge this season? It is an aberration or is he starting to tap into something real?

Kevin Goldstein: There's some tapping going on there. Certainly something to be optimistic about.

Peter (San Fran): I remember hearing on the Futures Game Podcast, you and Jason discussing Castellanos' power and ability tohit to all fields. Just what kind of power/hit tool do you think he can produce? Is he a RF or 3B when all is said and done?

Kevin Goldstein: Like we said, it's kind of up to him. He's such a good hitter, but he's going to have to sacrifice at least some of that to tap into the power. There are a few directions his career could go from here, most of them very good.

HankScorpio (Cypress Creek): What kind of ceiling does Calixte have? What's a realistic median expectation? I know better than to get excited about 150 ABs in Wilmington, but there's at least a chance here, right?

Kevin Goldstein: Very much a chance. His tools and athleticism are impressive, which will always give him that shot. I don't know how much he'll hit, but he's at least interesting.

erik (NYC): Why would you tell someone to stop following NFL? Its ok to like more than one sport. How would you like it if someone told you to stop playing video games?

Kevin Goldstein: I would be confused, as video games are fantastic entertainment, while the NFL is ridiculously dumb.

Jaughan (NW): KG--often scouts and commentators will refer to an 'org guy'--ostensibly a player who doesn't have--and never had--a future with the big league club. But, has there ever been a guy with that label who's transcended it and become a big leaguer?

Kevin Goldstein: Sure. Plenty. Not a bunch of stars in that group, but certainly some usable pieces.

richardkr34 (Saint Paul, MN): Do you break down the ratings of tools even further on the 20-80 scale? For example, would Hank Aaron's power (70?) include micro-analysis such as 80 wrists, 60 hip rotation, 60 bat speed, etc? Or does it not get that specific?

Kevin Goldstein: It gets that specific in the narrative. People get all obsessive about the scores, but there are huge amounts of very important words on every scouting report.

KD (loop): Is it you or something about the internet that brings out the hate towards you? Or do you just like to post the hate questions?

Kevin Goldstein: Internet rage does kind of fascinate me. I admit that. And it's me. I'm not for everyone. I accept that.

NFL is better (Everywhere): Football is twice as good as baseball. You're bitter because in three weeks people will care more about football than baseball.

Kevin Goldstein: Following your logic, the new Lady Gaga album is the best thing ever because soon, that's all that the music press will care about.

Aaron (Oshkosh, WI): What are your thoughts and expectations for Jean Segura playing for the Brewers the rest of the season? Should Brewer fans be getting excited for things to come from this 22 year old kid?

Kevin Goldstein: I think you should be excited, but probably not for this year.

Chris (KC): Do you not like UZR as a defensive metric? If not, then do you also dislike WAR, which relies heavily on UZR?

Kevin Goldstein: I love the way that we, as an industry valuates offensive contributions. I hate the way we value defense, but it's not our fault. We're doing the best we can with the data we have, but the data is HIGHLY flawed. When it comes to defense, all I really care about is scouting opinions. I do not look at or value defensive metrics. That's just a personal opinion.

Kevin Goldstein (Illinois): Should I be losing sleep for inexcusably leaving Xander Bogaerts off my Top 50?

Kevin Goldstein: My god people are mad about this. I have like 30 of this in the queue. It's amazing. Get over it.

deckweb (fargo, nd): Kevin, Would you go into the alternate viewpoint(s) of what a #2 hitter is you spoke about in the Kolten Wong answer?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, I go the more traditional route with a high-average contact guy w/ gap power, but there's reason to believe that a strikeout guy in that spot is fine, as he's not hitting into as many DPs.

Mclan89 (Somewhere ): What do you see out of Darwin Barney gold glove defender? Backup on first division team? Or ML starter? thanks

Kevin Goldstein: He's a wonderful BASEBALL player, but not very toolsy, or enough of an offensive contributor to work as an every day player. He's going to be in the big leagues for a decade or more though, and deservedly so.

Mike (Chicago): Obviously I had low expectations. I just didn't expect that they could even slide in under those. Telling cub fans to be patient is like telling an eskimo he needs another parka. I get it, the forecast is cold and barren for another century or so...And I worry about major league games because I'm a fan, it's what I do. Heck, it's how I spend a big chunk of disposable income, I think I deserve a better return on that money then this team gave us this year.

Kevin Goldstein: ANYTHING the front office does to give you a SLIGHTLY BETTER, but still crappy product on the field hurts their ability to give you a genuinely good product down the road.

Ameer (Btown): Hmmm, following your comments concerning UZR/WAR - do you think it's important and/or possible to develop a quality defensive metric? What do you think has to happen with the data before we can do that?

Kevin Goldstein: It's incredibly important. We need accurate data. Teams are going to get that with Fild f/x, and do amazing things with it, but right now, that data is not planned to be in the public realm.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok, folks. Thanks for all the great questions and I'll see you all again soon. I have to go talk to a bunch of industry folks about Mike Trout for a piece tomorrow.


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