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Chat: Nick Faleris

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 02, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Nick Faleris.

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Nick Faleris stops by to take your questions about prospects and the 2013 draft in the first BP chat of the new year.

Nick Faleris: Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by today, and for all of the questions already in the queue! Let's discuss a little bit of everything -- feel free to post comments and questions and I'll try to get as much posted as I can this hour or so...

Charlie T. (Indianapolis): A lot of hype surrounding our IN boy LHP/OF Trey Ball. Does he make a push for the top 5 picks?

Nick Faleris: Hi Charlie; thanks for the question. Ball is one of the top players in the draft class, both as a pitcher and an outfielder. I haven't finalized an overall rankings list yet, but he's certainly a potential top 10, and even top 5, guy for me. Like him a little more as a potential center fielder right now, but big upside both ways.

Mike M (San Jose): I like Kris Bryant's bat, it looks like he's close to ready now, how does Andy McGuire project ?

Nick Faleris: Bryant can get grooved in his swing, but when he runs into one he really drives it. The spring will be important for him, and as I noted in our first Scouting the Draft series here at BP, I think he's a good bet to come off the board earlier than his profile would generally suggest due to the limited number of high upside college bats available. McGuire is a bit of a question mark at this point -- as Nathan Rhode at Baseball America reported, he had hip surgery in September (which explains some range/speed issues this summer that seemed out of place with his athletic profile). He could be a first rounder if he looks right during high school ball.

Alex (Anaheim): Who will be the better pro, Profar or Wil Myers?

Nick Faleris: Profar is better suited to have a more immediate impact due to his position and his ability to play that position well. Myers bat can be more impactful if his development continues in Tampa. Safer bet is Profar, though I really like my mind's eye picture of Myers in 2014-2017.

McBeard (Hoboken, NJ): Thoughts on Bauer's transition to the AL?

Nick Faleris: I think AL or NL, Bauer's biggest hurdle is going to be command and execution (which was the case heading into the draft). He is an intelligent pitcher that understands cause and effect on the mound, which can be an asset in his development. Whether or not his delivery ultimately allows him enough consistency in execution to place his pitches where he needs to will ultimately decide whether he can effectively implement his game plan against Major League lineups. The stuff is dirty enough to play as a useful arm either way.

Seyton (Texas): I'm not sure what to think of Correa, going into the draft we heard it was a weak draft with no clear cut #1, then the Astros draft Correa and people start making ARod comps. Where exactly does he rank with other top prospects?

Nick Faleris: I think Correa is a top 25ish prospect, looking at the landscape of eligible talents right now. He can be a solid defender on the left side, hit for some power and has an easy left side arm. I think Gausman was the top talent in last year's class, but like the approach Houston took in making use of their advantage over other clubs in draft order and spending allotment.

Drungo (Orioles Hangout): Any observations on how the new CBA is impacting teams' draft strategies? Are we going to see a 2013 draft where "signability" disappears from everyone's vocabulary?

Nick Faleris: Hi Drungo! It has been interesting to see different teams react to the new draft rules. Signability is still very much an issue, particularly until agents and teams figure out if they are going to try and work the new system, or just try to jam their "old system tactics" into this new format.

AJ (Phoenix): Happy New Year! In trying to access Diamond Scape Scouting, I'm running into a lot of 404 error pages. FYI. Anyway can you give the OFP grades you gave to Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Taijuan Walker, and Jose Fernandez? Thanks!

Nick Faleris: Hi AJ! Yes, DSS was taken off line when I decided to take the scouting services to private clients. The plan is still to bring it back online with a portion of the draft stuff available to readers (though Baseball Prospectus will really be where the writing is done). Here are the OFP rankings assigned to these players by DSS -- as a word of warning, this will help you see how I comparatively viewed the players at draft time, but the scale shouldn't really be projected against what Jason and the prospect team has doing with the Prospect Lists:
Strasburg - 64/67
Cole - 62/63
Gausman - 59/62
Bundy - 58/62
Taillon - 57/61
Fernandez - 55/57
Walker - 52/56

ThatDude (New York): Could you see an scenario where Clint Frazier drops to # 7? How likely would that be?

Nick Faleris: I think it would probably take some combination of sky-high bonus demands, a super spring from some top college arms, and underperformance on the field by Frazier over the next five months. He's a fairly easy 1-1 for me right now and his profile meshes with more than a couple teams in those top six picks.

Matt (Oakland): What is your assessment of Addison Russell?

Nick Faleris: Addy Russell was an early favorite for me when I saw him as an underclassman. Over the summer in 2011 he had thickened and lost some range, but maintained his athleticism. He proceeded to slim down between the fall and the 2012 draft, which allowed a shortstop projection, long term. I'm not convinced the body doesn't naturally fill out a wide frame as he finishes maturing, but his athleticism should allow him to stay at short for a while. Good get for Oakland.

DavidG (Ottawa, Ont): Million $ question in Tampa Bay - will Myers have a starting gig on Opening Day in the Trop or will he be in Durham for some early season seasoning ?

Nick Faleris: My best guess would be, barring any issues that arise at camp, Myers spends at least some time down in Durham, if for no other reason than to play the service card game. From an evaluative perspective, I'd like to see the bat log some more time in the Minors, and the Rays have the bodies to hold off rushing Myers right from the get go.

Jeff (Tampa): There has been few trades of the new competitive balance draft picks. Do you think teams are overvaluing them?

Nick Faleris: To me, nothing jumps out as an "over value" in the trades we've seen. When examining these moves, keep in mind that teams have very different ways of looking at draft picks. Some view them as spots to grab potential players, some are heavily keyed into the "asset based" nature of the spending allotments, and some go a step further in viewing them in an asset-based context against all of the org's other assets.

Michael (Milwaukee): Based on your prior answer, you view Jose Fernandez as better than Taijuan Walker. I haven't seen that before. Explain?

Nick Faleris: Those are grades prior to drafting, so yes Jose Fernandez was viewed as the safer bet with comparable upside pre-draft (my appraisal). I would currently rate Fernandez ahead of Walker, as well, though it's likely both would be essentially next to each other on a "pref list".

ttt (Manhattan): How do you value someone like Lucas Giolito, who will have basically taken a year off when he comes back and was so raw? Do you dock him for time missed, or just delay his time to the majors?

Nick Faleris: This is a question each organization figures out using a different formula, and even then it varies player to player depending on body type, injury specifics, muscular/skeletal structure, track record and health history. For Giolito, he was a big body with big stuff (including two potential plus to plus-plus pitches) and even a little physical projection remaining. Considering where the Nats were drafting, it was a very big score landing such a high upside talent. From a pure ranking standpoint outside of the draft, if your any org other than Washington, you simply wait and see what he looks like before determining his value as a potential trade target.

Aaron (Kansas City): Thanks for the chat, Nick. Can Alcides Escobar continue to maintain his average around .300 and steal 40 bases in 2013?

Nick Faleris: Seems high. Okay bat to ball skills but not enough pop to keep pitchers honest. Serviceable on-base skill set. I'd say something like .270/.310 BA/OBP is more likely. That means fewer stolen base opporunities so let's call it 25-30 SB. One of the more talented number crunchers here at BP can correct me if those projected SB should be higher or lower based on the BA/OBP and track record.

Chris W. (MD): In the last few years, injuries to Alvarez, Rendon and Giolito have shaken the top of the draft board. Are there any notable first rounders with injuries that will prevent them from starting the year healthy, and thus affecting their draft status?

Nick Faleris: We touched on McGuire already, though that's actually an injury we like to see, since it answers concerns in the profile. Provided he comes back healthy, he could shake up the board the other way by providing another legit up-the-middle talent with 1st round potential. Some arms shut down early this summer, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing crystal ball injury predictions.

Jake H (Kansas City): What tool do you think is the hardest to judge?

Nick Faleris: From a draft perspective, for me, it's easily the hit tool. There are so many variables that limit the utility of "production" that you are really forced to dig into the player in order to try and project how the mechanics, approach (mental and physical), experience, athleticism, coachability, etc. will come together at the next level. Once you start seeing kids against more even competition at the Minor League level, this area tends to at least focus some.

As an aside, I'm really surprised, and thankful, for the huge turnout with these questions. I'm going to keep the chat going past 2pm to try and get to more of these.

Kyle (AZ): If the 2012 draft were re-held today, do you think Addison Russell would go higher than 11? I saw him in rookie ball and while I'm no pro scout, I think it's possible that he ends up the best player of that draft class - ridiculous athlete.

Nick Faleris: I think he went right around where he should have gone. You can certainly make a case for him in the top 10, though, and it wouldn't be a shock if he ends up as the 2012 draftee with the best pro career.

davescottofakron (Akron): Do you think northern players are underrated because scouts get so little time to see them? Or are they just inferior because they get less instruction because of limited playing time?

Nick Faleris: It's a mixed bag in the north (and midwest), which happens to be where I am located. There are various positives, including fresher arms/prep talents and a higher likelihood of finding a bargain in the draft (since orgs tend to spread their resources thin in these states). That said, you also run into more high school players with fewer reps under their belt who are further back the developmental track than kids playing year round in warmer climates. As with any region, the trick is identifying the tradeoffs and trying to make the best decisions you can based on the info available to you.

Scrat1 (Richmond): What exactly is the concern surrounding Mike Olt? During the middle of the season, it seemed everyone was talking about him, but now some analysts seem to be tempering their enthusiasm.

Nick Faleris: I am not sure I've seen concern surrounding Olt, though it's possible his impressive showing last year pushed his media image past where his profile would typically dictate? He's a very good prospect -- better defensively than expected -- and I imagine will be a top 25-50 prospect for most. Any specific you've read recently?

Brian Recca (New Jersey): If I could only choose one, which New Jersey high schooler should I go see this spring?

Nick Faleris: Rob Kaminsky at St. Joseph Regional. 1st round potential; lights up the radar gun; fun to watch.

Kevin (Hartford): Jason's introduction to the prospect team said you worked as an associate scout for a National League team. How did you get that position? Any advice for someone looking to break into scouting?

Nick Faleris: I really don't have anything insightful to offer other than to look for entry points in the industry. If you do not have playing experience, it can be tough to work your way into the scouting side. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to serve as an assistant coach on a Babe Ruth 19U team on the south side of Chicago while in law school. Kept in touch with the head coach, who eventually made his way to the collegiate ranks and, four or five years later, recommended me to an area scout in the midwest when my wife and I moved from NYC to the Milwaukee area.

You should speak to @HudsonBelinsky on Twitter or email him through the Baseball Prospectus site. He's worked a lot of avenues and probably has some really great insights he could share with you.

mpmp (new hampshire): hi, do you think reese mcguire is a top 10 talent this year?

Nick Faleris: Hi mpmp! He could be. He's in the mix for 1st round consideration entering the spring, for sure. He will be either #1 or #2 on BP's pre-season draft rankings for catchers, which will post soon (I am behind in submitting it - sorry all).

Shaun (Denver, CO): What are your thoughts on Kyle Zimmer? How does h compare to last year's crop of top arms?

Nick Faleris: I liked Zimmer when I saw him out in San Francisco. The biggest pluses for me is the fact that he 1) is athletic, 2) has progressed a long ways in a short amount of time on the mound, and 3) has a fresh arm (even with the post-draft procedure). That said, his limited track record and uneven showings at time in the spring are flags for me, so I would look closely as to how he handles a full pro season workload throwing every fifth day. If he can maintain his stuff, he'll be a good one. I had him Behind Gausman and Appel last year.

Craig (New Jersey): Who else could you see going from NJ? They have a strong class this year. Kaminsky, Oakley, Dehart, Dudek, Roth, Thaiss etc.

Nick Faleris: You named the big ones, Craig. And if I'm not mistaken, Coach Fox (UNC) and Coach O'c (UVA) have all of those kids inked, save for DeHart (LSU commit), right? Really nice collection of talent in the Garden State.

Chris (KC): Just to remind Jeff in Tampa, competitive balance picks can only be traded in season. That is likely why we haven't seen many.

Nick Faleris: To: Jeff in Tampa; From Chris in KC

Michael Williams (Harrisburg PA): Tell us why you love Kevin Gausman so much.

Nick Faleris: I could write a LOT about my love for Kevin Gausman. I saw him throw a very strong game against Arkansas last spring at Alex Box stadium (was is an incredible experience I strongly encourage every baseball fan to fit onto their bucket list. Well, the game part -- you can't see Gausman throw there anymore, obviously.

Gausman has size, showed a good amount of improvement in both his mechanics and stuff in just two years with Coach Mainieri and staff, a big arsenal, and has maintained his stuff deep in games and into the summer with Team USA. He creates tough angles, gets downhill, has an even demeanor on the mound and knows how to attack hitters. He has some kinks to work out, but is a potential beast in the making. Additionally, everyone from the Athletic Director down to the ushers in the lower box seats to a guy on the food service staff did nothing but sing Gausman's praises as a player and as a man. He's a guy to watch and a guy to root for.

Joe (Seattle): What are your thoughts on Kyle Crick? SF has a knack for developing top arms, is he next?

Nick Faleris: I had the honor of writing up Crick recently for BP and, yes, I think he's an excellent candidate to take a big step forward. Could be a true front-end arm when all is said and done.

Darnell (Hous-town): What are your thoughts on Appel? There's no chance we take a shot on signing him this year is there? He was my #1 guy last year (although I admittedly have no idea what I'm talking about)

Nick Faleris: I really like Appel's profile, but would selfishly love to see him take more ownership of his stuff. I have a great amount of respect for the Stanford coaching staff and the powerhouse they've built in NorCal, but his in-game sequencing when I saw him most recently (last spring against USC) gave too many opportunities to hitters. That said, he's a top 10 arm and, I assume, will get a very good look at 1-1 due to his front-end upside, relative refinement and local ties. We'll have an in-depth report with video this spring at BP!

Andy (PA): Why does a pitcher creating a downhill plane matter?

Nick Faleris: Think about a pinball and a pinball flipper (is that a technical term?). When timing when to "flip", you are really only concerned with the velocity of the pinball. Further, whether you time it exactly right, or are a little early or a little late, you still have a high probability of making hard contact with the ball. Now, as you start to tilt the path of the ball to the paddle you start to reduce the size of the "hard contact" zone with your flipper. Same principle as a good hitter's ability to "keep his barrel in the hit zone". You increase the time/space you have to make contact.

Short answer: downhill plane makes it more difficult for a hitter to line-up swing plane with pitch plane, decreasing contact window.

PeteThePirate (SC): We know Cole has the "stuff" of an ace, but what would hold him back from dominating with it in the near future? Outside of Bundy, is he the best SP prospects with a chance to be a true #1?

Nick Faleris: I personally have Cole ahead of Bundy. As far as what could hold him back, I think it's mostly execution and perhaps some mechanical clean-up to limit the flashes he gives hitters. His ball can at times be easy to pick up, which I think relates to his tendency to flash multiple times on the back side. The stuff is so good, however, it might not matter if he's executing and hitting his spots.

McBeard (Hoboken, NJ): Will the Mets see Zach Wheeler in the rotation on opening day or will they wait on him till later in the season?

Nick Faleris: I don't think there is a particular need to put him in the opening day rotation, and given the competitive landscape of the division it is probably in NY's best interest to give him a couple months at Triple-A to ensure the extra year of control and at least give a chance to avoid early arb years.

ttt (Manhattan): It seems like people are really high on Francisco Lindor, but he really seemed to struggle in the second half of the season last year. Do you know what happened? Did he tire due to the longer season and travel, or did the results not match what scouts were seeing?

Nick Faleris: Young kid in a tough league during his first full pro season. I did not myself see, nor have I heard from others, any concern. He's a dude; he's going to be a good pro player.

Jeff (Tampa): You obviously don't play pinball. Location matters more then speed.

Nick Faleris: but the only variable you have is speed, right? I mean, the ball is coming on one plane towards your flipper. You judge when to press the button based on the speed of the ball, right? I admit, I have not played pinball in a long time....long time.

Mike (Bmore): Which team has the best top two prospects in the game right now?

Nick Faleris: Cole/Taillon or Bundy/Gausman. Strong arguments for both.

JonCor (Toronto): What are your thoughts on Bubba Starling? A likely star or a cautionary tale?

Nick Faleris: Neither? I think the potential is there for him to be an impact player at an impact position. Big time star. But there is a lot of development that needs to take place between now and then. One thing I keep coming back to is how impressed I was with the progress he made with just four months of focused baseball coaching on the scouting circuit between Tournament of Stars, Area Code Games, UA, and the USA Baseball 18U team. He really picked-up instruction quickly and has an insane amount of athleticism helping to implement changes quickly. I'm really excited to see him go to work next summer.

Pat (Atlanta): Who are the big Georgia kids in the draft this year? Any Byron Buxton's?

Nick Faleris: Clint Frazier isn't far off. Also a score of other high schoolers in Travis Demeritte, Austin Meadows, Tery McClure, Josh Hart, Wesely Jones, etc.

Jake H (Kansas City): Who do you like better then some of your sources on the prep side?

Nick Faleris: I think I was (am?) probably higher on Ryan Boldt (Red Wing HS, Red Wing, Minn.) than some. I liked Frazier a little more than Meadows when I saw them side-by-side at Perfect Game's National Showcase in June, though I think much of the industry is split on those two (with Meadows getting the early hype last spring and more coming around to Frazier).

Chris (KC): Interesting that your two possibilies for the top duo of prospects in the game consist of pitchers only. Given the level of pitcher prospect attrition and injury proclivity, how many of those four do you think will actually reach his ceiling?

Nick Faleris: I think it's just a product of the current make-up of eligible prospects. You could probably argue Wheeler/D'arnaud in there, as well. But who are you expecting to stay healthier? The pitchers or the catcher with some injury history?

I think all four of Cole/Taillon/Bundy/Guasman are pretty good bets to perform. As far as reaching their respective ceilings? We reallyh have to see how they adjust to MLB bats. Positive four all four -- they've got some "#^$% you" to them on the mound, which will definitely help.

Kai (SLO): as follow up to Lindor question above: who is the long term answer at short for the Indians? Linor or Paulino?

Nick Faleris: Lindor, without a doubt. Special defender with a chance to be a very special player. No knock on Paulino, but he isn't in Lindor's class, defensively.

samiam (wisconsin): who's the top prep pitcher in this year's draft? ball? stewart?

Nick Faleris: It's a mystery, to be honest. No standout dominant force. Ball and Stewart are both interesting for different reasons; both are similar in that there is heavy refinement needed. Ian Clarkin (LHP) and Jordan Sheffield (RHP) really finished the summer/fall strong. Casey Shane showed well down in Jupiter at the WWBA World Championship, hosted by Perfect Game. Lots of names in the mix, no real front runner for me right now.

JB (USA): I see people often come out with top 100 rankings, which seems weird to me because I imagine a single evaluator may not discern much different between the 72nd and 80th ranked guys. Do organizations really rank people like this or do they rank by groups?

Nick Faleris: Both. Depends on the organization. I'll be publishing some rankings for BP because 1) people like rankings, and 2) it's a useful construct for framing discussions. The mechanics of the draft and the preferences of drafting organizations also leads to a wide variance in draftee value, so depending on what is important to you in profiling a draftee for a particular slot, you could have the same player ranked 50th or 90th. There is less variance the closer you get to 1-1.

Jeff (Tampa): You can adjust the plane through table nudging. Anyway, carry on.

Nick Faleris:

Alonso (Miami): What do you think of Jordon Crawford's mechanics? Is he in your top 10?

Nick Faleris: Reason for concern to the extent it effects his execution. Some evaluators autoatically ding starters for that kind of herk-and-jerk, but I've shied away from extremes in recent years. If you can repeat, and you can make it work for you, so long as it projects to getting out big league hitters, I don't much care how you do it.

I do think he needs to try and figure out a way to create a little tougher angle on his pitches so he misses more bats.

Shawny (Rocky Hill, CT): What are your thoughts on Xander Bogaerts? Hanley comparisons seem fair?

Nick Faleris: Will hit the ball very very hard. I can't imagine a scenario where a Hanley comparison is fair to anyone, but Xander could absolutely be an impact bat in the middle of a first division lineup.

Shawn (CT): What is Matt Barnes ceiling? 1-2 Starter or more of a 3-4?

Nick Faleris: Split the difference -- #2 ceiling with a #3/#4 likely outcome?

Icterus (The Crescent City): First of all, let me say that I enjoy your work and thank you for this chat. Q: Obviously different front offices will have different methods of scouting and philosophies in the draft, but what do you believe are some of the current inefficiencies as applied to MLB scouting/development as a whole? What traits in a prospect do you think are currently undervalued?

Nick Faleris: From my interaction with scouts in various organizations, I am a bit surprised to see multiple looks/efforts devoted to newly signed draftees. The primary focus of pro scouting (in my opinion) should be assigning value to players to determine trade targets. You have amateur scouts putting eyes on kids through the draft (including area scouts, cross checkers and even scouting directors and general managers). The players can't be traded for until 1 year after they sign (not to mention a team isn't trading a kid they just signed for seven figures). Why devote any resources to scouting them in their first taste of pro ball or fall instructs? Those reports are going to go out the window when you see them again next spring/summer.

As noted earlier, I think the teams that will be the most successful under the new system are the teams that figure out the best way to chop up a draft class and determine a strategy for best utilizing the draft allotment. Teams with extra money and picks have a huge advantage under the new system; should be interesting to see how organizations operate moving forward.

webberoo11 (Las Vegas): Youre the Astros GM. everything considered (farm Situation/ML situation) who do you take 1-1?

Nick Faleris: Right now Clint Frazier is the top player on the board, for me. If the draft were today, and I had to go on current info available, he's my pick. Depending on how signability, spring performance, and injuries shake out, I can definitely see merit in grabbing someone for a little less at 1-1 if that money can be impactfully used elsewhere.

ddivi23 (Bartlett): Who do you see the Cubs grabing with the #2 pick. I hear pitching is the preferred

Nick Faleris: If they want college pitching, the front runners would have to be Stanek (Arkansas), Appel (Stanford) and perhaps Manaea (who has received mixed reviews depending on who you are and when/where you saw him last). Wahl (Ole Miss), Crawford (Florida), Whitson (Florida), Overton (Oklahoma), Ziomek (Vandy) are all interesting arms with a chance for early consideration entering the spring, as well.

BrooksyBoy (Bmore): Does Dylan Bundy have any growth left in terms of his body and pitch velocity. It seems like he's such a fitness freak that in a strange way he has already peaked physically.

Nick Faleris: I think Bundy is essentially maxed out physically. If he's not, I'm afraid for what he might unleash on the world.

You're right; his selling points are 1) current stuff, 2) refinement of implementation (how he delivers that stuff, including execution, placement, and sequencing), and 3) a top shelf work ethic. He's a guy; so long as he and the organization stay on the same page working towards making Bundy the best pitcher he can be, he'll be a big part of Baltimore's future.

Jeremy S. (Maryland): Five guys to watch in the ACC this year, who do you have?

Nick Faleris: For various reasons, 2012 eligibles: Colin Moran (UNC), Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech), Dan Palka (Georgia Tech), Kent Emmanuel (UNC), and Kevin Jordan (Wake Forest). NC State's Rodon (2014 eligible) might be the most talented player in the conference.

Sharky (Not Florida): Nick, we've seen one draft under the new CBA. What do you think we'll see this year (macro trends, not player-by-player)? In other words, will some players slip because certain teams decide not to spend big in the early rounds? Or will teams generally front-load their spending to get top-shelf talent? What implications for rebuilding teams, if any?

Nick Faleris: I think we'll continue to see a varied approach among the collection of MLB teams. The bulk of the money is still going to be spent on the top talents. Some teams will have the financial flexibility to work in a seven figure signing outside of Round 3, but not many. After I finish pre-season tiering I generally look at draft class cross-sections. At that point we can start to get an idea as to which player types are likely to be available for some extra cash outside of the first round, and which player types will have their values inflated.

Jackson (Chino): What'sthe ceiling for Lance McCullers Jr.?

Nick Faleris: You will find evaluators who list his ceiling as a front-end starter. For me, more of a potential #3 that fits better as a closer.

BigD (Streamwood): What were your thoughts when the Cubs grabed Underwood in the second round of last years draft? Seems like he has a long way to go and there may have been better options.

Nick Faleris: I liked the pick. WTBD, but high upside arm and "gets it" on the mound. Second round was pretty wide open at that point, and teams did a good job of sniping picks in the sandwich round.

Rock (Denver): Do you see the Rockies definitely taking a college Arm at #3 ?

Nick Faleris: I have absolutely no clue. It looks like a college arm or high school bat is most likely at that spot, but way too early to know with any degree of certainty.

Jeff (Tampa): Do you think the success at an earlier age that Trout, Harper and Machado have enjoyed is causing teams to reevaluate the potential impact of elite HS bats?

Nick Faleris: I think history shows us that high school bats have always been highly valued. If you're a potential star, the odds are someone is going to pop you before you get to college. That said, I do think up-the-middle talent has been placed at a particular premium, recently, with good and bad effect.

Luke (MD): What do you think of Mike Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez?

Nick Faleris: I like both as potential mid-rotation guys that should fit comfortably as good #4s. Obviously more room for growth with Rodriguez; he will need to see another uptick in stuff to miss bats at the higher levels, but lots of good reports so far. Wright could be a late inning arm, as well, if Baltimore wants to bump his stuff in shorter stints and make use of a heavy fastball.

Daniel (Cambridge): Also, what does WTBD stand for?

Nick Faleris: Sorry; "Work To Be Done".

John (Greenville): How do you project Gerrin Cecchini long term?

Nick Faleris: Solid third baseman with a good bat, and solid pop. Player whose output will outdistance his profile due to feel for the game. Also, if you ever have the chance to check out the Texas Sun Devils travel ball team, his parents are a joy to watch on the field (mom and dad coach). The Sun Devils housed the Cecchini brothers for the bulk of the meaningful looks I got on them over the years; fun teams.

ddivi23 (Bartlett): What was your overall thoughts on the Cubs 2011 draft

Nick Faleris: Generally, I liked it. Vogelbach a little high for my taste (don't love that profile in the 2nd Round of such a stacked class), but the bat is really good and the make-up is quality, as well (which is important). I probably would have preferred someone else to Baez at that spot (Sonny Gray, Blake Swihart, Jose Fernandez), again solely because of the makeup of the draft class. Certainly nothing wrong with Baez there. I was good with Maples as a teen-round lotto ticket/luxury spend in the last free market draft.

Josh (Detroit): I've heard conflicting reports on Gausman. Some seem to think he's an elite talent, while others seem to think he's a bullpen guy in the end. You seem to be in the former camp. Convince me.

Nick Faleris: I gave an earlier answer that covered this, but I wanted to also mention you should check out Parks' Baltimore Top Prospect list here at BP when it posts (February) for more notes. I'll have plenty to say when the BP team discusses him.

webberoo11 (Las Vegas): Of the 3 top pitching prospects, who has the highest upside?

Nick Faleris: My top 3 would probably be Cole, Wheeler and Bundy. I think Cole has the highest upside out of that group simply because the stuff is so monstrous. Wheeler might have the largest delta between who he currently is and who he could become.

Daniel (Cambridge): Who is the #2 guy for 2014 (assuming Rodon is 1), Jeff Hoffman?

Nick Faleris: Sure, along with other super early candidates, like Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, Calif.), Derek Fisher (UVA), Aaron Nola (LSU), and Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Fla.)?

Alonso (Miami): Baez over Swihart an Gray looks god now right?

Nick Faleris: Very tough one for me. I'm still a strong believer in Swihart developing and Gray is a better arm than his stat line showed in 2012. I do think Baez's increased strength has hung well on his frame, so the chance that he's a well above average defender or third or even a shortstop for a bit really helps his value. I new he was good defensively but expected him to thicken quickly. Hasn't happened yet.

As an aside, Baez and Lindor constituted the left side of the infield for the FTB Mizuno/Cardinals Scout Team in 2010 down in Jupiter, along with Vogelbach (Cubs), Jesse Winker (Reds), Dante Bichette Jr (Yankees), Hudson Boyd (Twins), and Jose Fernandez (Marlins). How's that for staked? Oh, and Dominic Jose (Stanford) who's another name I could have listed as a potential 2014 guy.

Jay (Madison): What are your thoughts on Jon Schoop? Can he stick at 2nd? If not, where do the O's put him with Hardy at short and Manny at 3rd?

Nick Faleris: I like Schoop as a potential second baseman. The lower half works okay and the bat really profiles well there. No reason to rush him, so I'd expect Baltimore to take it's time in giving him instruction and reps. If he eventually shifts to third, I assume it would be in conjunction with Hardy leaving and Manny shifting over, but that's a decision for Mr. Duquette and staff.

Mike (NJ): Oscar Taveras seems to get a lot of love but I have seen him projected anywhere from 20 homers and a 300 avg. to 30+ homers and a 270 avg. what would you seem him producing in his prime and is he really just an injury away from the bigs in 2013?

Nick Faleris: Taveras is the real deal, though projecting a specific stat line is problematic, primarily because of the super-aggressive approach. The bottom line is that he could be a top-five-in-the-game type of offensive player if the bat-to-ball skills hold up. Maybe I'm ducking the question some, but I think a lot of this is simply to be determined by how well he makes adjustments.

BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): What do you think of Kent State starting pitcher Tyler Skulina? First round talent?

Nick Faleris: I like Skulina and hope to get a couple of looks at him this spring when I swing through Indiana/Ohio (two trips planned). More of a top 100 guy than top 30 guy for me right now.

Chris (Toronto): What do you think the Marlins will do with Giancarlo Stanton? He'll get traded, but when? And what will that trade look like?

Nick Faleris: If I were a betting man I would say he gets moved in a year or two, when his value has diminished some, for a nice package with two headliners. It's hard for me to come up with a reasonable package (or reason for Miami to move him) at this point.

Joe Don Luna (North Texas): What prospects from Texas, HS or college, are likely to go high in this year's ML draft?

Nick Faleris: Lots of Texas kids, including Kohl Stewart (St. Pius X), Cavan Biggio (St. Thomas), and Casey Shane (Centennial) at the prep ranks. 4yr, Kubitza/Simms (Rice), Knebel/Felts (Texas), Masek (Texas Tech), Mitchell (TCU). Sure I'm missing some, but those are good follows off the top of my head.

Donald (Berkley): Long-term who would you rather have anchor your [fantasy] staff: David Price or Matt Moore?

Nick Faleris: Assuming even cost, take Price -- the relatively young arm with the track record.

Benji (STL): What kind of hitter do you expect George Springer to be, and how long until we see some fantasy impact. Thanks.

Nick Faleris: Sporadic? Good pop, gets uphill, inconsistent in ability to adjust in-game. Should be more refined given place on developmental spectrum, so some concern that the "next step" isn't coming. High risk; potential for 20/20 kind of profile with average hit tool (like .270-.280 average). I would not expect a quick transition to MLB, so might be more valuable as a draft and trade kind of prospect, fantasy wise.

McLuvin (Honolulu, HI): Which of the young prep 3B from the 2012 draft do you like more, Carson Kelly or Rio Ruiz?

Nick Faleris: Both have some warts as corner profiles, but give me Ruiz (assuming future health) due to the chance for a slightly better glove.

Jay (Madison): Do you have a sleeper prospect or two who is not on many radars that you think could make a big jump this season?

Nick Faleris: I really like Josh Elander, Braves 6th Rounder from last June, as a potential everyday bat with a chance to stick at catcher. I also really liked the hit tool on Nathan Mikolas (Yankees 4th Round), though he has received mixed reviews from pro scouts. Cold weather kid that will take some reps, but could be a nice little bat. Those are deeper guys. Fringe-sleeper, how about Nick Williams (Texas) and Kyle Crick (Giants). Do they count? Give me the Aviles (Indians), Norris (Blue Jays), Howard (Indians) trifecta for "bounceback" lotto tickets.

Jay (Madison): It doesn't seem like J. Gyorko has much left to prove in the minors. Can he play 2nd for the Pads? If not, where does he fit in the lineup.

Nick Faleris: Don't love the profile at second base. Power output worries me at third base. For me, good candidate to package and move to fill a larger need.

Timmer86 (STL): Thanks for doing these chats, Nick. I know it's early, but where do the strengths of this class appear to be?

Nick Faleris: College arms, lefty arms, high school catchers, corner high school bats (ceiling, not probability).

Paul O'Neill (NYC): Guys, does my nephew Michael O'Neill OF from Michigan resemble my game at all? Any chance he finds himself in the 1st come June?

Nick Faleris: Certainly a chance. Might be top positional player in the midwest at the college ranks.

Kai (SLO): Which starter would you rather build your rotation around and why? Zack Wheeler, Gerrit Cole or Taijuan Walker

Nick Faleris: Give me Cole simply because of the louder stuff and prototypical build. Could chance he'll be able to rack up innings and even if he loses some effectiveness due to an easy to track arm, the stuff is good enough to be effective at a mid-rotation level.

webberoo11 (Las Vegas): Which teams are most able to deal from Milb depth to acquire key pieces?

Nick Faleris: St Louis and San Diego jump to mind. Toronto still has some bullets. The Red Sox system could look really nice at this time next year.

CCCubs (Dallas,Tx): What are your thoughts on the 2012 Cub s draft?

Nick Faleris: I think they got the second best player in the draft in Almora, so that's pretty huge right there. He and Underwood were good over-allotment acquisitions, and they were able to do it while grabbing some other interesting arms in Johnson, Blackburn, Conway, etc.

BrooksyBoy (Bmore): Given the Orioles improbable playoff run last season, do you believe that leadership has an over-inflated perception of the team's talent level relative to the rest of the division?

Nick Faleris: If I had to guess, I'd say there is probably a disconnect between moves available to the team and the types of moves the team would like to make. I do think, generally speaking, the org will need to really find surplus value in order to make a $100MM or so payroll play in the division. They can do it if Machado, Bundy, Gausman, Schoop come up and start producing pretty quickly. It would also help to have Arrieta, Matusz, Britton, Tillman all throwing well so that they have some trade fodder in the coming couple of years.

Jake H (Kansas City): What pitch would you tell HS coaches they should spend more time teaching?

Nick Faleris: Change-up. It's a feel pitch that requires a fair amount of tinkering with grips, and too many pitchers don't put enough effort into the pitch early on. Also, multiple look fastballs by adjusting grips/pressure.

Jake H (Kansas City): What pitch would you tell HS coaches they should spend more time teaching?

Nick Faleris: Change-up. It's a feel pitch that requires a fair amount of tinkering with grips, and too many pitchers don't put enough effort into the pitch early on. Also, multiple look fastballs by adjusting grips/pressure.

Jake H (Kansas City): What pitch would you tell HS coaches they should spend more time teaching?

Nick Faleris: Change-up. It's a feel pitch that requires a fair amount of tinkering with grips, and too many pitchers don't put enough effort into the pitch early on. Also, multiple look fastballs by adjusting grips/pressure.

Jake H (Kansas City): What pitch would you tell HS coaches they should spend more time teaching?

Nick Faleris: Change-up. It's a feel pitch that requires a fair amount of tinkering with grips, and too many pitchers don't put enough effort into the pitch early on. Also, multiple look fastballs by adjusting grips/pressure.

panick (Sewickley, PA): What would you say is the most common reason that top draft picks do not live up to their lofty draft status - being overrated, being injured after being drafted, or failure of the organization to develop the players?

Nick Faleris: Setting aside injury, the short answer is usually that the organization and the player are not on the same page developmentally. That could be due to a faulty plan on the org's side or an inability of the player to absorb/implement instruction. overly simplistic, but even the complicated bust cases can often be traced back to the basic dichotomy.

Chris W. (MD): I can't believe how long you've stuck around today. Thanks!

Nick Faleris: Chris W made me look at the clock. Have to run, which kills me because I see loads of great questions still in the queue! Really overwhelmed by the turnout for my first chat, everyone. Hope to do this again soon! Until then, make sure to continue the work of the BP Prospect team here at Baseball Prospectus, lead by Jason Parks. Follow me on Twitter (@NickJFaleris) and I'll shoot out the full twitter follow list which will keep you abreast of all the BP prospect/draft happenings.

I'm traveling to Florida this weekend for the Perfect Game World Showcase down in Ft. Myers. When I return we'll kick off the serious draft coverage here at BP. I received a few questions in the chat about the Daily Draft vids. They'll start again on Monday morning. Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday; talk to you soon!

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