Hi, everyone. Glad to be back in the chat room this week, and we'll try to keep the steroid talk to a minimum. The big leagues, prospects, the draft--bring it on. I'm working on a story and may get a phone call in the middle of this, and if we do, I'll just disappear for a few minutes and make it up to you at the end of the chat.
With the # 6 pick the giants select?????
Based on our preseason rankings, the No. 6 prospect in the draft is Aaron Crow. He'd be a fine pick, though I can see the Giants jumping on one of the premium position guys (Grant Green, Dustin Ackley, Donavan Tate) if he somehow got to them.
so we all know that Manny is waiting on money as Boras is probably yelling at him to do. Where do you think he'll end up after refusing the Dodgers for a third time?
It's also possible that Manny just doesn't like the offers and that Boras could be recommending that he sign. I still think he winds up with the Dodgers, as I'm not sure anyone else is going after him that hard. Don't rule out Manny wishing to miss some spring training and waiting to sign until March.
Is Texas A&M the preseason favorite to win the NCAA Title? What weaknesses, if any do they have?
The Aggies are our preseason No. 1. The strength of their team is definitely pitching (starting with a rotation of Brooks Raley, Barrett Loux and Alex Wilson). Their lineup has more questions, with three new starters and just two returnees (Luke Anders, Kyle Colligan) who had strong seasons in 2008.
Could Gordon Beckham become another Ryne Sandberg if he moves to 2nd from SS much like Sandberg did early in his career.
It's early to start comparing Beckham to a Hall of Famer, but he could become a second baseman with tremendous power for the position and good defense. I think he's capable of playing shortstop, though he could move if Alexei Ramirez holds on to the SS job.
do you still stand by your Ajax over Fmart stance? as athletic as Austin is Fmart clearly has the higher ceiling
Actually, I don't. When we were doing our Top 100 list (which should be up on our site next week), I put Martinez at No. 40 and Jackson at No. 56. I do wish Martinez would show more production to go with the hype, but I think he'll be the better player.
Jim, I'm a big LSU fan and am glad to see LeMahieu getting some much deserved attention in the draft talk. But what about Blake Dean? He produced some pretty solid numbers last year. What is your opinion on his professional future?
LeMahieu is the better prospect, a likely mid-first-rounder, but Dean will go pretty high as well. He has one of the better bats in college baseball and looks like a second- or third-rounder right now.
Is it assumed that Jeff Niemann will make the team out of ST due to the fact that he's out of options? Also, what are the chances that Niemann becomes a closer for the Rays down the road?
Yes, that's the assumption. Niemann hasn't lived up to being the No. 4 pick in the 2004 draft, but the Rays aren't going to just lose him on waivers. It takes him longer than most pitchers to get loose, so I'm not sure that bodes well for his future as a closer.
So, I have been debating with some friends whether or not Lars Anderson can truly be a legit 1B. I personally see him as a DH longterm. What are your thoughts? Maybe use him at 1B in 2010 and 2011 and then switch him over after Papi is let go??
Anderson isn't a stiff and won't become a DH at age 24. He may never win a Gold Glove, but he should be able to play first base for a long time.
What are your thoughts on this new sign-and-trade proposal of the Type A free agents? When are these guys going to get on a squad?
I think it's a terrible idea. It's not fair at all to the Type A guys who signed deals without that as an option. The rule was designed to make free agents less attractive, and that's what it's doing. To change the rule mid-offseason because it's affecting a handful of players wouldn't be right.
Do you really think Tommy Hanson is better than Jason Heyward?
I think it's a tossup. I rated Hanson slightly higher (No. 10 vs. No. 15) because they both have big ceilings and Hanson has dominated at a level two levels higher than Heyward.
Which player in the upcoming draft is most likely to be the first in his class to play in the majors?
Stephen Strasburg. He probably won't sign until Aug. 15, but I could see him in the 2010 rotation for the Nationals or whichever team picks him.
Thoughts on the artist formerly known as Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez?
Aging four years overnight kills his prospect status and makes his GCL batting title meaningless. There are a lot of things that stink about that $1.4 million deal he signed.
Did Seattle make the right choice signing Fields?
Sure. It made sense to split the difference between MLB's slot recommendation and his price tag. He's a reliever who should be able to help the big league club in short order.
After passing on G. Beckham last draft, there's no way the Orioles would let Grant Green slide, right? The organizational cupboard is bare on middle infielders.
Hard to argue with taking Brian Matusz, isn't it? The Orioles pick fifth, and unless money becomes an issue, I don't think Green will fall to them.
Speaking of 2004 1st round picks from Rice, I think Humber is out of options as well - what's going to happen with him?
Same deal as Niemann. He'll likely make his team (the Twins) as a middle reliever to open the season.
For those of us eagerly awaiting your Top 100 list, can you reveal how many Rangers' prospects will be making an appearance?
Seven. And Engel Beltre just missed -- he was literally No. 101.
Given that the Yankees have to give up their normal first, second, and third round picks, it would be safe to assume that their farm system will probably be rated lower next year (even though they have the first and third round do-overs)?
Not safe to assume that. For one, the Yankees have more money to spend than anyone on the draft and they can make up for their lack of picks by taking guys who fall because of signability. Fewer teams may do that this year, because of the economy, allowing more guys to fall to the Yankees. Also, if high-ceiling guys like Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances take big steps forward this year, as the Yankees believe they're poised to do, the farm system will look a lot stronger.
How much research will a team do on a potential draft pick in regards to whether or not they are doing steroids?
MLB does drug test the top 200 prospects each year now, so it would show up there. An area scout would also investigate any rumors or a quick change in a guy's build if that was an issue.
I know you have taken a little flack from some folks in ranking Nick Hagadone the #3 prospect in Boston's system, so I was wondering how you'd compare him in terms of stuff, control, and command to Jon Lester to give us a better idea of Hagadone's abilities (assuming he makes it all the way back from TJ surgery). Thanks.
The quick answer is that a healthy Hagadone would have better stuff but less control/command than Lester. It takes a while for a pitcher to regain his command after TJ surgery, so Hagadone will need some time. I would definitely take Lester over Hagadone, that's a no-brainer right now, but if Hagadone does refine his command he could be a better pitcher in the long run.
Colby Rasmus or Cameron Maybin?
Rasmus. I think he's a better bet to hit.
As the Giants Top 10 points out, Bumgarner might start the year in AA with Alderson. Pair them with the possibility of Henry Sosa, English, Pucetas, and/or Tanner and Connecticut might have the best rotation in milb, correct?
Yes. Though Sacramento, depending on who makes the big league club, could have Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Vin Mazzaro and James Simmons, which would be better.
Ben Tootle or Jason Stoffel? Why?
Stoffel, easily, for me. Tootle has a chance to go in the first round after lighting up radar guns in the Cape Cod League last summer, but his fastball can get straight and his slider can get inconsistent. I think Stoffel has more effective stuff and has proven himself against better college competition.
Lightning Round: If focused solely on baseball from the start, Bo Jackson could have hit ___/___/___ for his career... Also, Brad Holt, ultimately a starter or reliever for the long-term in the big leagues?
Are we saying from when he came out of high school or when he came out of the college? I'm not sure the multisport career hurt Bo that much, because he was a physical freak. He obviously would have lasted a lot longer. He was coming off his best baseball year when he got hurt (272/342/543) and I think he could have played at that level for a while if he had stayed healthy.
Oh, on Holt . . . I see him more as a reliever.
Jim, Can you differentiate between college righties Alex White and Kyle Gibson? Is their stuff comparable? Do they make sense for the Braves?
White's stuff is a cut above Gibson's, though Gibson has good stuff, lots of polish and plenty of projection remaining. They both would be legitimate picks for the Braves at No. 7.
Jim, Who do you think will be the best catcher out of Taylor Teagarden, Matt Wieters, and Jeff CLement. I want you to consider all around talent that includes defense as well.
Matt Wieters, easy. I like Teagarden more than most, but he can't compare to Wieters. I like Clement and his power, but Wieters will be a better hitter and defender.
Assumeing Stratsberg is gone, who do you see the M's picking at #2?
Grant Green makes the most sense right now.
If you had to bet all your credibility on one of the Elite prospects actually reaching their cieling, who would it be?
For reaching their ceiling, I'll take Matt Wieters over David Price, and those two clearly stand out as the best two prospects. The injury risk with pitchers is why I'd take Wieters.
Let's head to the lightning round . . .
Carlos Gomez- bust, average player, or star?
Who has the better carrer, Smoak or Homser?
Hosmer. He'll play longer because he'll get to the majors at a younger age, and I like his bat a little bit more.
Bard or Betances
Is Grant Green's defense closer to Longoria or Tulo, whose offense is he most comparable to?
I'll say Tulowitzki on both counts. Green can definitely stay at shortstop. I think he'll hit more than Tulowitzki, but I can't go so far as to compare his bat to Longoria's.
Lars Anderson or Hosmer?
Tillman or Jarrod Parker
Jeff Marquez, Clayton Richard or Lance Broadway?
None of those guys blow me away. Marquez if I have to pick one.
Who has the higher potential ceiling (no consideration on whether they will get there or not) between Clay Buchholz and Phil Hughes?
Tyler Maztek or Matt Purke? why?
Matzek. He's a little more physical and he does it a little more easily.
First to reach Majors, Hollnd or Feliz?
Kershaw, Cueto, Gio Gonzalez?
Hosmer or Moustakas?
Best bet for 2009 and career - Laffey, Lewis, Sowers or Huff?
I'll take Huff twice.
Rick Hague (SS-Rice) or Derek Dietrich (SS-GA)? Why?
Depends on what I need. Hague will stay at shortstop, but Dietrich won't (and has a better bat).
Jack Bauer or Matt Weiters?
Bauer. I'm sure he could switch-hit for power and play catcher if that's what our country needed him to do.
2010...Matt Wieters or any other catcher(mlb)?
Wieters will be the best catcher in baseball in 2010.
Josh Fields or Daniel Schlereth?
Rank these 3 long term, Jay Bruce, Pedro Alvarez, Jason Heyward.
That order works for me.
Saunders or Halman?
What happened to Tony Almeida? Did he take the diamonds and get out of dodge?
I think he had some unspecified business to take care of . . . I suspect Tony will reappear soon.
Still waiting for the hourlong Lightning Round chat....
We could do that sometime . . .
Please rank Alvarez, McCutchen, Tabata. Thanks.
That order also works for me.
Neftali Feliz or Tommy Hanson?
Mike Saunders or Daryl Jones?
Fowler, Rasmus, Snider?
Rasmus, Snider, Fowler.
Jim, how do you feel about the Os attempting to sign Brian Roberts to 4 years 40 million: good or bad move?
Not sure they can win during that time period, so I'd try to trade him instead. The contract doesn't seem unreasonable, though.
Is there anyone you would choose over Aaron Pierce to protect the life of a family member?
That was an inspired choice. Some people out there probably think you're talking about the Giants linebacker.
Bard over Betances? Jim, when you're so biased, it would behoove you to get off Boston every once in a while.
You're probably the same guy who thought we were right on when we put Betances over Pedroia on our Top 100 list a few years ago. Once Betances starts throwing more strikes, stays more healthy and succeeds about low Class A, I'll really believe in him.
You mean Antonio Pierce?
Yeah, I did. Whoops. Got him confused with the old Giants running back.
Peter Bourjos or Julio Borbon?
Jim, if you had to start a pitching staff who is the first pitcher you select, any time period? Ill forgive you if you say Babe Ruth.
Well, I'd take Babe Ruth and immediately move him to the outfield. In terms of performance and the era he did it in, Roger Clemens jumps to mind.
Josh Fields will be the Mariners closer in?
True or False - Pirates will win a pennant before you retire?
I'm only 41, so I'll say True.
Am I the only one who thought Tony would be protecting the President's daughter? Aaron Pierce was a blind-side!
I thought the same, but Aaron made me smile when he arrived on the scene.
Long term winner of the Beckett for Hanley trade?
Actually was talking to someone on the Marlins about this yesterday. I think you have to say both sides, and neither side would want to reverse the deal.
aren't pedro's and maddux's accomplishments in the steroid era more impressive than clemens since they never have been remotely connected to steroids? and they both had seasons (using era+) that were better than any of clemens' seasons?
I tried to leave the steroid part out of it since we'll never know the extent of anyone's usage. Clemens was more dominant for a longer period of time, so I'd take his career over theirs. How much of that was attributable to PEDs, we'll never know.
I get the feel you are not that high on Maybin. Shouldn't the fact that the Marlins produce players at such a high rate make you think more of him?
I do like him -- I rated him the 20th best prospect in baseball -- but I do worry about his excessive strikeouts. Yes, the Marlins do a nice job but I wonder about Maybin's bat a little.
Aaron Pierce wasn't a RB - he was a tight end...a very very poor one at that.
My NFL recall today is poor, just poor.
Halman or Maybin? I say Halman
No, no. Maybin.
Doesn't Pedro's complete breakdown indicate he may have used some type of PHD?
Who knows? And Maddux had LASIK surgery! We're never going to be able to know who was on what at what time or how they would have performed if everyone was on the same playing field.
Please Rank in order: Gerrit Cole, Sammy Solis, and Matt Harvey
Harvey, Cole, Solis.
Doesn't Koufax's complete breakdown indicate he may have used some type of PED?
There you go.
I can't believe you post my comment about Aaron Pierce but won't tell me what you think of Corban Joseph!
I'll rectify that . . . Joseph was the Yankees' fourth-round pick last year. He's an offensive-minded second baseman with a promising bat.
Jim, It sounds like you don't think their is much value in finding out who used PED's and who didn't. Isn't that unfair to those that played it straight?
I'm not saying that. But I don't get all the hand-wringing over it. We can't go back and change what players did on the field, and there's not a lot of scientific evidence that steroids dramatically change a player's performance. Is taking amphetamines worth condemnation as well? That's also illegal, and the use was widespread from at least the late 1960s until a couple of years ago.
Couldn't Pedro's breakdown also be atributed to him being a small man who threw hard with his whole body for quite a few innings for many years, combined with the dubiousness of knowing the true age of any player born in the Dominican Republic plus bad injury luck?
Well, yes. That comment, the Koufax comment and my responses were supposed to be tongue in cheek.
mymrbig is taking all my 24 questions! I would have chosen Curtis...and you know he's still alive.
Curtis is not alive! Jack shot him in the neck last season!
OK, there goes my phone. See you next week.