Hi, everyone. Sorry I missed last week's chat. I am all caught up on "24," and before anyone asks, the Prospect Handbook is still scheduled to ship this week. On to your questions . . .
Hi, enjoy the chat. Is Madison Bumgarner the top pitching prospect in baseball? If not who is? Thank you.
David Price is the top pitching prospect in baseball, though he'll probably never see the minors again. If we're counting just minor leaguers, then yes, it's Bumgarner.
I know that it is early on, but which 2009 draft pick has the best shot of making it to the Major Leagues the quickest?
Actually, it's pretty easy. Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State is clearly the No. 1 talent in the draft and will move quickly. He was the lone collegian on the U.S. Olympic team last year.
Whats the chances of Manny Ramirez going to the Yankees for a 1 year deal?
Slim. Sounds like the Dodgers are willing to go two years in the neighborhood of $45 million, so I can't see him signing for one year. Boras pulls deals out of his hat, and it's not going to shock me if Manny winds up with a nice three- or four-year deal.
Thoughts on 24 so far? Personally I think the first 5 episodes have been great and have already made me forget about Season 6.
I concur. I didn't watch "Redemption" until the day of the Season 7 premiere, and I thought "Redemption" was just OK. But I'm very enthused by the first five hours so far. On the 20-80 scouting scale, I'll give it a 65 right now.
as a giants fan should i be excited about jesus guzman's winter league stats?
"Excited" might be too much. He's having a huge winter and might be a useful big leaguer, but I can't see him being a star by any means.
Jim, who reaches the majors first and do you think it will be this year. Justin Smoak, Gordon Beckham or Matt LaPorta? Thanks for taking my question.
LaPorta, because he's further along. I think he'll be in Cleveland before the all-star break.
Thanks for the chat. Who would you say are the five prospects most likely to help major league clubs this year?
David Price, lhp, Rays<br> Matt Wieters, c, Orioles<br> Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals<br> Tommy Hanson, rhp, Braves<br> Matt LaPorta, of, Indians
At what point in time does the requirement of giving up a draft pick to the team which lost a Type A free agent go away? For example, if a team wanted to sign Varitek but was unwilling to give up a draft pick, how long do they have to wait before they can sign him?
To keep its pick, a team would have to sign Varitek after the draft.
Jim, what can you tell us about Henry Williamson, just acquired by the Cubs for Pie?
Strong arm, big frame, some potential but a long way from reaching it. The Cubs have done a masterful job recently of getting previously obscure minor leaguers in minor deals (Kevin Hart, Jose Ceda, to name two), so maybe Williamson will turn into something.
I see that Fowler wasn't in your top 5 - do you see him having an impact, or is he still a year away from being useful at the MLB level?
I think he'll be up this year, just not quite as ready as those other guys.
Many say I am obsessed with baseball, and I am looking to have a professional career in the front office in baseball after college. I do have decent credentials as I am trying to take a Sabermetrics course at Tufts. What processes do you think I will have to go through in order to get a job?
The best advice I can offer you in a chat is to check out this link: <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/051219gmtips.html">http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/051219gmtips.html</a>. That's a package Alan Schwarz did for us a few years ago that has some nice tips and stories in it.
Any word on Rich Hill? Obviously the Cubs can't count on him for the rotation this year but have you heard anything that might at least put him in the mix?
You don't hear Hill's name much up here in Chicago. Lou Piniella has been a good manager for the Cubs, but when he gets down on player, it's pretty much over for that player. Hill is in that doghouse, as was Felix Pie prior to the trade.
What is the ceiling for the Cardinal's Daryl Jones? Does last year's production point toward an impact outfield athlete in the majors?
He has a huge ceiling. He's the best athlete in that system and started to figure it out with the bat last year. I want to see more of the same in 2009, but I've been a big Jones fan for a while.
We got Atkins for a year and Helton for 3 more I believe, what's gonna happen with Stewart and Koshansky? Ian take over next year and Koshansky waste away in AAA?
If Stewart hits, I think he'll wrest the third-base job from Atkins. Koshansky is more of a bench guy than a regular at this point. He'll need a deal to play regularly.
Jim, you rock as always. What is your view of Kyle Blanks? Is he a legit 1b prospect for the Pads? If so, what do they do with him?
He's legit, though I think he's more of a solid regular than a star. I think they trade Adrian Gonzalez to save money at some point, and plug Blanks in at first base.
Who is the odd man out in Seattle in the next couple of years between Wlad, Saunders and Halman?
Is andy laroche (adams brother) a legitimate big league talent will he be in the opening day starting lineup i think he should be
That's a good question. LaRoche's stock has dropped and I asked a few scouts about him last year, and none were enthused. It does sound like the Pirates are committed to giving him some AB to see what he can do, which is the smart move.
I read about your concerns with Maybin's bat. Aside from the strikeouts is there anything else that gives you serious concern?
No, just the strikeouts. While I do like Maybin as a prospect, he has struck out once every 3 AB throughout his career, and I don't think there are too many successful hitters who have done that.
Your thoughts on John Raynor...he seems like the 2nd coming of Shane Victorino, but has a hard time moving up the Marlin's prospect list.
Raynor is an interesting prospect, but it's hard for him to stand out in a loaded Marlins system. For the second year in a row, he'll make my NL all-star team of prospects who couldn't crack a Top 10 list.
ETA for the 2009 BA Prospect Handbook?
Mentioned this at the top, but will do so again: The book should ship from Durham this week. And if you ordered directly from us, you'll get a bonus--scouting reports on the No. 31 prospect for each club.
Your a man that knows what your talking about...sounds to me like the Red Sox made great trade even though it was relatively small. When they traded away Aardsma for that lefty I think they got a diamond in the rough. Looks like Zito on Paper. Your thoughts?
I wouldn't call Fabian Williamson another Zito. The Red Sox designated Aardsma for assignment, so they weren't going to get a huge return, but they got a lefty with some interesting secondary pitches and a high strikeout rate. Not bad, but Williamson wouldn't have cracked our Red Sox Top 30 in the Handbook.
Can you help me rank some minor league pitchers who are fairly close to the majors? How do Chris Tillman, Justin Holland, Jordan Zimmermann and Carlos Carrasco compare?
On my personal Top 50 list for the Handbook, I put Holland at No. 28, Tillman at No. 31 and Zimmermann at No. 35. I didn't rank Carrasco, who would fall in the 51-70 range for me.
Between Schafer and Hernandez, which do you think is the more likely player to end up in center long-term for the Braves? Is the other going to hit enough to justify a shift to a corner OF spot? Thanks.
I prefer Schafer. Hernandez doesn't have enough pop for the corners, so he may wind up as trade bait. The Braves also could play Gorkys in CF and Schafer on a corner, but that wastes some of Schafer's defensive ability.
Where do you Hosmer starting at this coming season?
Low Class A, like Mike Moustakas did under similar circumstances last year.
How would you rank the farm systems in the National League Central?
My ranking (not necessarily the BA consensus) put the Cardinals at No. 8, the Brewers at No. 11, the Pirates at No. 15, the Reds at No. 17, the Cubs at No. 27 and the Astros at No. 30.
Jim, any updates on Hagadone's rehab? Is Nick still the #3 prospect in the system if you re-ranked the Sox top 10 today? Lastly, do you see him remaining as a starter?
The last I heard they expect him to be able to start the season or very close to it. I'd still rank him No. 3 because I'm not worried about him coming back from TJ surgery (the rehab is going very well) and there are few lefties with that kind of stuff. The Red Sox system is deep but isn't teeming with upper-level prospects like it was a year ago. I don't doubt that Hagadone could be a starter, but given Boston's depth in starters, I could see him moving quickly to the majors as a lefty reliever.
Jim are you worried at all about Pedro Alvarez's rumored conditioning problems? It just seems like its been one thing after another with this kid.
I wouldn't say worried, but it is a red flag in that it was an issue in instructional league and shouldn't have been an issue the second time around. That said, he's going to be a bat-only guy in any case, albeit a very, very good one.
Do you think Matt Angle will have a shot at playing CF for the Orioles in the coming years?
I like Matt Angle, but I don't see how he'd beat out both Adam Jones and Felix Pie.
Last week you stated you would put Cleveland's farm system ahead of KC's, where would the other al central teams fit?
I had the Indians at No. 7, the Royals at No. 9, the White Sox at No. 14, the Twins at No. 22 and the Tigers at No. 25.
Jim, do you have any thoughts on David Hernandez? He put up some really impressive strikeout totals at Bowie last year, but he's not often mentioned as one of the Orioles' young, talented pitchers.
He's one of those guys whose stuff isn't as good as his strikeout numbers, and they often don't amount to a ton in the majors. He could have a future as a middle reliever.
Local prospect Daniel Webb was slated to be a high-round draft pick in 2008 but fell due to bonus demands and a possible shoulder issue. He ended up going the Juco route. Do you see him being drafted closer to his projection in 2009 or will it require 2 years of strong juco performance?
If he's healthy (and I don't remember much about a shoulder issue) and pitches well, he could go in the first two rounds of the 2009 draft.
Just wanted to check on something with you. When you publish those future lineup projections, you don't take contract status into account at all, do you? You had Prince Fielder as the 2012 first basemen for the Brewers when it seems extremely unlikely he'll sign an extension to stay past 2011. Is that something you do just to keep things simple?
Glad you asked this question, because I think there are a lot of different interpretations as to what we're trying to do with those future lineups. We don't know who's going to re-sign or depart as a free agent, and we don't know what trades will be made. They're simply a way to stack up a team's current major league talent vs. its minor league talent. I wouldn't read much more than that into them.
How do you like the moves the Orioles have made this week? Signing Zaun to mentor Wieters, trading Olson for Pie, trading for Dave Pauley. Do these moves result in positives for the O's?
They won't make the Orioles contenders, but those are decent moves. I like Zaun for the role they got him for, and I'd rather have Pie than Olson. Pauley is a back-of-the-rotation starter who had little shot to pitch much in Boston but could eat some innings for Baltimore.
who's got the best upside for the Tribe- they all seem about the same- S. Lewis, D. Huff, J. Sowers, A. Laffey?
I like Huff the best of that group. His changeup is a difference-maker.
What kind of upside do Lars Anderson and Brett Wallace have and when do you expect them to reach the majors?
All-star upside, 2010 on both of them.
Hey Jim, love your work. Tell me about Elvis Andrus, will he start att SS from opeing day, what can we expect this year and in the future from him? .280-10hrs-30sb and great defense?
I talked about Andrus a lot in the last Ask BA column I wrote, which I will link to <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2009/267453.html">here</a>. I like Andrus, but I'd let him spend half the year in Triple-A because he's just 20. He doesn't have that kind of power yet and I wouldn't expect him to hit a ton in his first year int he majors.
Last week John Manuel mentioned that he has soured a bit on Andrew McCutchen - are you in agreement?
"Soured" is too strong for me. I expected McCutchen to do a little more the last couple of years, but he's still one of the best outfield prospects in baseball.
As a Giant's fan we have heard a lot about Posey but we havn't heard much about the guys drafted after posey so what are your thoughts on Conor Gillaspie, Roger Kieschnick and Brandon Crawford?
I like Gillaspie, though he was a good value as a sandwich pick, think he'll be a solid regular. Kieschnick has some interesting power and tools and will be a solid regular if he tones down his approach a little and makes consistent contact. I'm less sold on Crawford, just not sure he'll hit enough.
Better future Major Leaguer Stanton or Snider
Was Johan Santana ever a Top 100 prospect when he was in the Astros farm system?
No. By the time he got to full-season ball, he was Rule 5ed at the end of that year by the Twins.
Fire up the lightning round: Yankees starting catcher in 2013-Montero, Romine, or other
Let's fire it up. Romine is the best in-house candidate because I don't see Montero as a catcher, but my gut says other.
Lightning Round: Who gets to the Majors first from the Reds AA team in Carolina this year?: Todd Frazier, Yonder Alonso, Juan Francisco, or Chris Heisey
Better ML player long term- Dominic Brown or Jason Donald
Better for the future Maybin or Spann?
Why is Bumgarner ranked so high? From what I heard he only has a good fastball but not any off-speed stuff.
That's crazy. He needs to work on his changeup, but it's coming and his hard slider will be a weapon.
Jeff Kent just retired. First ballot HOFer?
Eventual HOF, not first ballot.
Best chance at becoming a useful major league starter over the next 5 years: Andrew Miller or Homer Bailey?
Vitters = All Star or Very Good Player?
Hi Jim, big fan of the work you guys do at BA. Who has a better year in 2010 David Price or CC?
You know what, I'll say Price.
True or False? David DeJesus is top 10 most under-rated players in the Majors?
Higher upside centerfielder: Josh Reddick or Che-suan Lin?
Austin Jackson = All Star, Very Good Player, Solid Regular, or 4th OF?
Will Jaime Garcia fulfill his promise after surgery?
Yes, I think he will.
whatever happened to hee sop choi?
Couldn't handle the inside fastball with consistency, still playing professionally in Korea.
2009 only: Justin Upton or Matt Wieters?
Who is Jack Bauer's best looking love interest ever (we will count anyone who had romantic tension with Jack as a love interest)?
It might be Renee Wallace.
By count, you've touted four Cardinals prospects (Rasmus, Jones, Wallace, Garcia). Wanna make my day and go for a fifth?
Sure. I like Chris Perez, too--he's the best pitching prospect in the NL Central right now.
Does Alvarez's rep as a great teammate and worker make the weight thing a little less of a concern? Its one thing if his attitude was questioned, but since he has shown a great work ethic and competitive drive, dont you think that he can get his weight back to where it was?
It does. I'm not too worried about it, though it's not what you'd want to see either.
Career: Wieters or Justin Upton?
Who is more feared, Jim Rice or Jack Bauer?
Bauer, no question.
Steelers or Cardinals?
Steelers. And I'll admit that I'm a huge Steelers fan, but on paper, they should win that game.
Best of the three: Arrieta, Tillman, or Matusz?
Chipotle, Qdoba, or Moe's?
Chipotle, easily, though I'm a little Chipotled out right now.
At what level does Pedro Alvarez finish before the season is over??? Thanks Jim.
Jim Rice = Hall of Famer?
He's in, isn't he? Did he deserve it? He'd be on the bubble for me, don't think it's a travesty either way and not something I can get worked up about.
Do you think Tim Beckham will be a future all star? I hear this kid is sick.
I do. I think he's the best shortstop prospect in baseball.
Hughes of Pelfrey? This year and 5 years down the road.
Pelfrey in 2009, Hughes in the long term.
Better carrer: bucholz or bowden?
I'd vote Kate Warner for Season 2.
They haven't given Jack much in the way of love interests. Kate Warner was kind of whiny. Nina Meyers and Audrey Raines didn't do much for me either. Am I missing anyone?
ETA for Jason Heyward?
Opening Day 2011.
Seriously, Price over CC? Give me a break.
Hey, we chatters try to be provocative from time to time.
The Mexician girl in a few episodes in Season 3, Teri Bauer of course, Diane in the beginning of Season 5.
Teri Bauer, definite no. The Mexican girl would probably rank second. Why do I not remember Diane? Oh, while he was working oil while living anonymously. I'll stick with Renee Walker.
Rank the farm systems of the AL East.
If someone wants to email me at email@example.com, rank the divisions by quality of farm system. I suspect the AL East has to have the best. I rated them: Rays No. 4, Orioles No. 10, Red Sox No. 13, Yankees No. 16, Blue Jays No. 18.
Does Elisha Cuthbert count as a love interest? I vote her.
Well, obviously, if she qualified, but I never sensed any romantic tension between Jack and his daughter.
Who wins the WBC?
Did Ryan Harvey even make the Cubs top 30?
No. It's almost time for him to try pitching.
Weiters or Posey?
Wieters. More of an impact bat.
Aaron Hicks or Andrew McCutchen?
ETA on cahill and anderson
This year. Firmly established in the rotation by season's end.
Well that's just wrong: NO ONE is more feared than Jim Ed. He is more feared than fear itself... This year who has a better major league season Hanson, Scherzer or Kershaw?
AL East over AL West in divisional farm system strength?
The Rangers and A's are dragged down by the Angels and Mariners.
If you blend your AL & NL Top 10s posted on BA.com, where do Bumgarner, Feliz, Hanson, Anderson, Cahill rank?
My top five minor league pitchers and their rankings on my personal Top 50: Bumgarner No. 4, Anderson No. 7, Cahill No. 8, Feliz No. 9, Hanson No. 10.
Best White Sox Prospect: Poreada, Beckham, Flowers, Danks or Quentin?
Please tell me 7'1 Loek Van Mil will someday pitch in a MLB game. What is your thoughts on Deolis Guerra, and Philip Humber?
Van Mil will, provided he stays healthy. Not a big fan of Guerra or Humber, though Guerra is still young and could bounce back.
Justin Smoak or Chris Davis?
Like them both a lot, I'll go with Smoak.
Tim Melville for KC starts short season or Low A?
Probably low A, though maybe he spends a little time in extended spring to avoid the cold weather in the Midwest League.
Laporta or Wallace?
Were Quentin & Danks for real for the ChiSox last year?
Not sure they'll be as good in 2009 but they're both legit.
2009 UGA Baseball: CWS, Super Regionals, Regionals, or miss the SEC Tournament?
It's an odd-numbered year, so that probably means miss the tournament. Seriously though, they have the talent to reach at least the super-regionals.
Who is the best Brewer prospect overall?
Alcides Escobar in my book.
Wallace or G. Beckham, defensive value included?
Cubs or Sox, who has the better farm system?
Perez or Motte as future cards closer?
Headley or DeWitt?
Is Jeter's eventual replacement at SS currently in-house?
Out of these guys, who can make a contribution in the Sox bullpen this year? Bard, Tawaza, Lentz, Richardson, H Jones...
All of them could, Hunter Jones might be the best bet for 2009 because I'm not sold on Lopez as the second LHRP.
Is Michael Brantley an everyday player?
Not unless he finds more power. At least not on a contender.
Do the Cubs have enough for a Peavy trade? if so, who would the padres want?
It would probably be some combination of Josh Vitters, Kevin Hart, Garrett Olson and Ronnie Cedeno.
Who is the best minor league pitcher in the Braves' syetem not named Tommy Hanson?
Cole Rohrbough, with Julio Teheran poised to make a run at that title.
Do you think Tyler Flowers is ready for a back-up role at the Major League level for the White Sox?
Needs more time to work on his defense and it would be a waste to have him playing only semi-regularly.
I'm all chatted out for the day. Will be back next week. Thanks as usual for the great questions.