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Chat: Bradley Ankrom

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday September 10, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Bradley Ankrom.

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The author of "The Process" will now proceed to take your questions.

Bradley Ankrom: Good afternoon, and thanks for taking a few minutes out of your lunch hour to talk baseball with me. Let's get started.

Scott44 (At work): Great piece by you guys today. On the question of who would you build your team around, are there any of those guys you'd prefer over Buxton and Correa?

Bradley Ankrom: Including Buxton in that group of players may be enough to get me to forego my usual "safe pick" leanings and go with a youngster in rookie ball.

AndrewBokermann (Chicago): Which two teams would you say made the most significant improvements to their minor league system from last year?

Bradley Ankrom: Houston comes immediately to mind. As I noted a few weeks ago, their summer trades didn't add potential stars to the system, but they did add significant depth (and Matt Dominguez). Drafting Correa, McCullers, Ruiz, and others has done a lot to replenish the lower levels, and there are some potential stars in that group. I can't think of another obvious team that's significantly improved their system, but I do think the Rangers added a lot of talent to an already strong base via this year's draft.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Matt Dominguez has looked pretty darn good in his initial small sample with Houston (take that Aroldis Chapman). What one thing will either make or break him as a successful Major League bat?

Bradley Ankrom: Recognition of off-speed stuff and realizing that just because he *can* hit everything doesn't mean that he should swing at everything. I don't think he's ever going to be a an above-average hitter, but if he can settle in at .260-.270 with 15-20 home runs and plus defense at third base, that's a very good player.

Bobby Valentine (Nice Play Kidland): Thanks for the chat, Bradley! The sole BP report on Lewis Brinson is fascinating. Can you expand on this player? Given the tools and dramatically better baseball ability than expected, is he already a top 100?

Bradley Ankrom: I think there's a very good chance he sneaks into the top 100. As Jason Parks noted in today's Ten Pack, Brinson has already demonstrated baseball skills to go along with huge tools. Potential five-tool star. Check out Jason's write-up if you haven't already done so.

sitdancer (DC): Give us a preview of next years Top 10 prospects (based on current information, I know your views are going to change over the course of the off-season).

Bradley Ankrom: With the caveat that I'm just riffing here and, as you mentioned, things are likely to change a bit between now and winter... let's say Profar, Taveras, Bundy, Machado, Myers, Walker, Cole, Taillon, Wheeler, and Hamilton.

Glenn (Detroit): Is the move of Castellanos to RF permanent, or just for a couple years, until they move Cabrera off of 3B?

Bradley Ankrom: Castellanos can handle himself at third base, so I think he'll establish himself there once the position is freed up in Detroit. He has a special bat, and the move to the outfield was made primarily to expedite his trip to the majors.

Chandlet (Boston, MA): If you are grading purely offense would you take Machado or Profar for their careers if you had to pick and both stick at SS?

Bradley Ankrom: I think Machado will be the better hitter, but Profar the better overall player.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Assuming they all stay healthy, which new Astros' pitching prospect has the best chance of becoming an impact starting pitcher in the Majors; Colton Cain, Joe Musgrove or Kevin Comer?

Bradley Ankrom: Of those three, I like Musgrove's upside the most but will go with Cain here because he'll be in Double-A next year.

jlarsen (chicago): With Jeff Niemann's arm/shoulder always being a concern and being in arb. years, do you think that the Rays should cut bait on him and have Alex Cobb or Chris Archer face-off for the rotation spot in 2013?

Bradley Ankrom: His latest shoulder injury certainly makes it more difficult for Tampa Bay to deal him this winter, but I think he still has some value. He's pitched well in between DL stints this year and should fetch something in trade, though it'll be less than what he could have returned had he posted his 2012 numbers over 30 starts.

JP (Toronto): Do you think the Pirates give Travis Snider a full look as a starter next year? And as a follow up do you expect him to be exposed as a Quad A if he does get the chance?

Bradley Ankrom: I think they acquired him with the intention of running him out there every day in 2013. Jose Tabata has been a mess, but he's signed long-term (albeit cheaply), so he'll get another chance, probably in left field. The Pirates view themselves as contenders and one of Snider/Tabata needs to show up next year. My money is on Snider.

Peter (Cape Cod): Did Red Sox fans get a little too excited about the potential of Middlebrooks given the SSS? Is he an average 3B or a potential ALL-Star?

Bradley Ankrom: I think his final line (.288/.325/.509) is probably a bit high in the average and slugging departments, but I think he could wind up being a slightly better hitter than we thought (.270-.275ish rather than .260s).

Alex (Tacoma, WA): Do you think the M's are rushing Taijuan Walker? His numbers are good, not great, but maybe that's age relative to league? What are your thoughts on him.

Bradley Ankrom: I don't think they're rushing him, no. He needed to be challenged and for the first couple of months, he handled himself well at Double-A. Aside from June, his walks and strikeouts looked fine and I'm confident in his ability to learn from this year and take another step forward next season.

rockon12 (South Dakota): Propsects for futre success of Matt harvey............is a #1 or #2 starter?

Bradley Ankrom: I still see him as more of a good number-three with a chance to develop into a number-two if he tightens up his command.

Harold (NYC): For Fantasy purposes please rank Bundy (AL East concern), Taijuan Walker (SafeCo), and Gerrit Cole (NL)? Bundy gets the nod as a regular prospect, but factoring in ballparks/opponents would this adjust your rankings speaking purely for fantasy baseball.

Bradley Ankrom: I'd rank them Cole, Bundy, Walker for 2013, switch Cole/Bundy for long-term.

Bossman Sr. (LA): Is it possible in your eyes that BJ Upton ends up being the better player for his career than Justin?

Bradley Ankrom: I'm not sure about that -- right now I would guess that Justin will have the better career -- but I have talked to some folks who think B.J. could be one of those guys who flourishes in the second half of his career. His next contract is going to be very interesting.

Bill (Sante Fe, NM): James Paxton turned in another impressive performance the other night. He has also built on his success of last season. Is there a case that he has leapfrogged Hultzen as a prospect?

Bradley Ankrom: The short answer is, no, I don't think Paxton has surpassed Hultzen as the better prospect, but I'm having a hard time explaining why I believe that Hultzen will be fine. He's certainly had a weird go of it in Triple-A. None of this is to diminish Paxton's success this year; he's been fantastic and in a shallower system he would likely be in the big leagues right now.

Ian (MPLS): Rate the top Twins prospects in order - Sano, Buxton, Hicks, Arcia, Rosario?

Bradley Ankrom: I like that order for the most part. I'd flip Arcia and Hicks -- Sano, Buxton, Arcia, Hicks... with Max Kepler close behind. God, I love Max Kepler.

Alex (Anaheim): I got to ask Stan Kasten about the Dodger minor league system, and he said it was too thin for his liking. Is this mostly a product of trades, or were there not that many promising prospects in the first place?

Bradley Ankrom: It was a thin system to begin with -- it's ranked in the bottom third of Kevin's organization rankings each year since 2009 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospect_tracker/results.php?org=lan&rankYear=2012).

Chris (KC): Isn't Machado going to exhaust his "prospect" status?

Bradley Ankrom: Probably; if he does, one of Nick Castellanos, Jose Fernandez, Byron Buxton, or Travis d'Arnaud takes his place.

@webberoo11 (Las Vegas): How proud are you that Matt Dominguez is out producing Carlos Lee since the trade? In only 40 ab!!

Bradley Ankrom: I'm certainly happy to see that he's doing well, though he clearly isn't going to hit this well for any extended period of time. I was still wrong in preferring him over Middlebrooks in the pre-season, but Dominguez is doing a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunity Houston has afforded him.

Fred (WI): DJ Davis v Keenyn Walker - better chance to make an impact in the majors

Bradley Ankrom: I'll say Walker because he's closer, but both have a lot of work to do to get to the majors.

Rob (Alaska): Aaron Sanchez or Taylor Guerreri?

Bradley Ankrom: Can I let you know after I see Taylor Guerrieri tonight?

McEwen (Winnipeg): Can Mike McDade play 3rd base?

Bradley Ankrom: No. Are you already unhappy with the third baseman you have, Steve?

Bo (Louisiana): Thoughts on Cespedes first season? Do you think he adjusts in 2013 or the league adjusts to him? I think he is going to be a star.

Bradley Ankrom: I don't think anyone can say that they're disappointed in what Cespedes has done this year. I certainly didn't expect him to hit close to .300 all year while sitting comfortably among the top 20 in OPS+. Great year that's been a bit overshadowed by the seasons had by Trout and Harper... but, buying on Cepsedes. Absolutely.

Bill (New Mexico): How high does Michael Wacha slot into the Cardinals' long list of pitching prospects? Presumably after Miller, but do you expect more of him than of Carlos Martinez or Trevor Rosenthal?

Bradley Ankrom: I'm still not sure where he fits into a rotation. I'll take Miller and Martinez over him, but probably Wacha over Rosenthal.

jlarsen (chicago): How much of a drop have the prospect stocks of Ryan Brett and Josh Sale done after the 2 got caught up using adderall and are currently serving 50 game suspensions?

Bradley Ankrom: Biggest impact is the lost development time. I don't think anyone's flipping out about them being on Adderrall, though I will say (from experience) that it does help a bit with reaction/quick-twitch, so I can understand why it's on the lengthy list of banned substances.

Rob (Alaska): Of course. I'm eager to hear your take on Guerreri. I was surprised at Hudson's appraisal this morning. I thought TG was a top of the rotation potential guy, but it sounds like his velocity is down from where it was in HS.

Bradley Ankrom: Most guys lose a bit going from pitching once a week as an amateur to every fifth day in the pros. He doesn't necessarily need plus velocity to have a plus fastball if he's able to locate it where he wants and deploy it in the right situations. I'm very curious to see if he reaches back for a bit more tonight with his team's playoff life at stake.

Artie (Los Angelas): Do you think the Angels move Kendrys in the offseason? The guy needs to play everyday.

Bradley Ankrom: Now that he's proven himself healthy, he should be easier to unload, though he isn't going to fetch as much as he would have prior to breaking his leg (obvious guy is obvious).

Bradley Ankrom: Sorry to end this a little earlier than usual, but I'll be back soon to answer more of your questions. Thanks again for showing up and asking great questions.


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