Hi, everyone. We're going with an equal-opportunity chat today. I'll answer one question about each team before I double up on any club. Let's go!
With the crowded Twins outfield where do you think Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks fit in and which one is better?
Though Revere is further ahead in the system and has accomplished more to this point, I'd take Hicks. I think he has a better chance to play center field and will be the better player in the long run.
Todd Frazier now has 42 2B, and 15 HR on the year between AA and AAA, and has made the transition to 2B fairly well, and shown to be a decent glove at 3B, LF, 1B, and 2B this year. Is Frazier a guy that fits more in the middle of back part of next years top 100, and could he be a poor mans Chase Utley?
I like Todd Frazier more than most and believe he will hit. I think he'll make the Top 100 next year, and maybe higher than you think. I don't see him as a second baseman though. I'd give him every shot to play third base.
How good is Oakland's draft this year? I can't believe they hauled in Stassi, Green, AND krol.
Good draft for Oakland. They didn't quite make my top five drafts when I broke those down in my most recent Ask BA column (click <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2009/268773.html" target="new">here</a>), but Grant Green (13th overall) and Max Stassi (fourth round) were two of the best talent values in the draft for where Oakland got them. I'm not as high on Krol, but I do like him some, and they got two very nice late-rounders in Mike Spina (11th round) and Josh Leyland (16th).
Is Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, currently in rookie ball, just at a lower level than he should be or is he a legit prospect?
Goldschmidt could be more aggressively challenged, but he's a legitimate hitting prospect. He was just one of several quality hitters that Arizona added via the draft.
Very impressive Strasburg press conference. When can we expect to see him wearing that jersey for real?
Opening Day 2010, unless the Nationals want to delay his service time. On merit, there's no way he doesn't make that pitching staff to open the 2010 season.
Am I ready to get the call to the Trop next month?
Davis is ready. I'd be surprised if the Rays don't call him up to at least provide bullpen depth as they make their stretch drive for the wild card.
How soon is Dustin Ackley going to be in the Mariners lineup?
Ackley could hold his own with the bat in short order, maybe evening by Opening Day 2010. But he's going to need some time to transition to center field, so I'll say September 2010.
Who should be closing for Philly if they make the playoffs? Pedro, Lidge? Myers? Hammels? Madsen? Heath Bell?
I'm not sure they'll pull the plug on Lidge, but I will. With the way he's pitching, I'd go with Madson.
Jim - love the chats. What is your assessment of Matusz and Tillman so far? After a little time under their belts this year, how do you think they will fair next year?
Like most rookie pitchers, they've needed time to adjust to the majors and haven't dominated like they did in the minors. It's just part of the learning curve and I'm very high on both of them. Good move by the Orioles to let them come up and start the acclimation process this year.
Who would be your Red Sox overall top prospect at present -- Kelly, Westmoreland, Tazawa, other?
Kelly, though I'm also hearing a lot of good things about Westmoreland.
With the Braves basically out of it, is there any reason NOT to call up Jason Heyward after 9/1? Is he our RF opening day next season?
The reason not to is that he doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Like a lot of teams do, the Braves could decide to keep him in the minors for a while next year to delay his free agency and arbitration.
Ever hopeful Pirates fan here. What's your take on Tabata at this point? Future .315 hitter? How much power does he develop in the end?
I have a hard time trying to figure out Tabata. He's having a nice year, albeit without a lot of home run power, and it seems like any time we ask scouts about him, they comment that they don't really believe his age and that his body seems to keep getting thicker and thicker. I'll say solid regular, .280 with 20 homers, but he could go well above or below that and not stun me.
Did James Paxton make the right decision by returning to Kentucky instead of working out a deal with the Blue Jays?
From what I understand, the Jays wouldn't offer more than $1 million and Paxton wouldn't come below $1.35 million. Not signing your sandwich pick over $350,000, I just don't understand that. Few lefthanders can match Paxton's stuff, and if he continues to maintain that stuff, he easily could make more than $1 million next year. I think the Jays dropped the ball here more than Paxton did.
How does Chris Carter project if he can get a solid amount of at bats in the majors? Can he play 1st for the Mets next year and replace Delgado (or even caddy him in case of injury) so that money can be spent elsewhere in an attempt to turn this team around?
Carter (the Red Sox version, not the A's version) is rumored to be one of the players to be named in the Billy Wagner trade. I don't see him as a viable regular on a contender, so the Mets are going to have to look elsewhere.
What are your thoughts on Will Venable? I know its a small sample size, but it looks like he's exceeding expectations.
I see him as a decent to solid regular. Petco Park hurts him, but those numbers aren't spectacular or anything. He deserves a lot of credit for becoming the baseball player he has after spending so much time playing basketball as an amateur.
Hey Jim, any chance we see bumgarner or posey this year? I'd much rather see posey develop more and get shot than bengie swing in miss at pitches out of the zone.
I keep hearing the Giants don't have plans on calling either up, which makes no sense to me. Posey is their best offensive catcher right now, and Bumgarner could contribute a few quality innings out of the pen.
How do you feel about the Yankees' draft? Heathcott and Murphy are good prospects, but it seems like the Yankees rated them higher than others. Is Lyons a loss? Thanks.
I think you'll find that in almost every case, the team that takes a player rated him higher than other clubs did. Heathcott came on strong right before the draft after some earlier injuries, and had he been healthy all year, I think he would have been gone before he got to New York. The Yankees really liked Murphy. They went well over slot to sign Cotham, Stoneburner and DeLuca, and they didn't have money left in their draft budget for Lyons. He would have been a nice addition, but they signed the guys they wanted to sign.
Scheppers signs when?
I'm not sure what the timetable is for the Rangers to sign Scheppers. I can't see Texas going much over slot and there are major questions about Scheppers' shoulder. Really wouldn't surprise me if the two sides never came to turns.
Lots of Brewer fans were excited about signing Scooter Gennett. What can you tell me about him?
He's an offensive-minded, scrappy middle infielder who's more of a second baseman than a shortstop. Nice 16th-round signing for $260,000.
Can you please help settle a debate that is raging on ESPN thanks to their poll about the best SS of the last 20 years. The choices are Jeter, Ozzie, and Ripken. Who would you choose as your SS and why? The Jeter crowd argue that his offensive prowess is so much better than Ozzie's defensive prowess, that Jeter is the better choice. Ozzie's crowd argue that Ozzie was better offensively then he gets credit for and is close offensively to Jeter given their roles, and therefore his defensive superiority wins out. The Ripken crowd argue that Ripken was better offensively then Ozzie and nearly as good as Jeter, and his defense was much better then Jeters and not that far off from Ozzie, so his superior all around paly should win out. Who wins out for you?
We'll say this question belongs to no team . . . I'd go with Jeter. Though he was below-average defensively, he's so good offensively and so much better than Ripken or Smith with the bat.
Is Daniel Fields a blue chip prospect for the Tigers or did they overpay for him? Where is he on the developmental curve in comparison to other high school shortstops?
Fields is a tremendous athlete who made a lot of strides with the bat as a high school senior. The Tigers had to pay him $1.625 million on a two-sport deal to get him, and I'm sure MLB thinks they grossly overpaid. But he has a huge ceiling and the Tigers are going to come out tens of millions of dollars ahead (on savings over his value when they cost-control him for the first six years of his career if he makes it), that it's an easy gamble to take. He's a bigger kid, so I don't think he's going to stay at shortstop, and he didn't face the stiffest competition coming from a Michigan high school.
Where do you envision the KC Royals farm system ranking going into next year? Mouse and Hosmer have been disappointments, does that drop the systems value some? Also, assuming he signs where might Aaron Crow slot next year in the Royals top ten and also the top 100?
We ranked the Royals system 11th coming into 2009 and I don't think that will change dramatically. Moustakas and Hosmer have spent the year in difficult hitting environment, so they're better than their statistics. Duffy and Montgomery continue to pitch well. They just added Myers and Dwyer via the draft, and I think they'll sign Crow. Crow will fit in their top 3-5 prospects and somewhere in the back half of the Top 100.
How does Hank Conger figure into the Angels future? Will he stay at catcher?
Conger finally has stayed healthy this year. He's not going to be a Gold Glover but he has shown that he can handle himself well enough back there. The Angels have a pretty effective offense/defense tandem in Napoli and Mathis, but I don't think Conger's bat will carry him at another position.
is cubs prospect hak-ju lee the real deal?
Lee is the real deal. Speed is his standout tool, but in his U.S. debut he's also proving he can hit and play shortstop.
The Cardinals announced Shelby Miller will make two appearances in Low A this season. Is that an aggressive move for a HS draftee?
Slightly aggressive, but not a big deal. He'll probably pitch 5-6 innings in his two appearances and his Midwest League competition won't be a ton older than he is. It's a way to get his feet wet in the MWL, where he'll probably open next year, so he'll know what to expect.
Who is the rockies best pitching prospect not yet in the majors. Chacin, friedrich, rogers, matzek, or brothers. Or is it someone i don't know about, it seems they are stoked with young pitching talent.
Wow, lots of good choices there. It's hard not to pick Friedrich, but I'll say Matzek. And Brothers was a steal at No. 34 in the draft.
I'm still searching for some good questions on the Astros, Dodgers, Indians, Marlins and White Sox. I'm not missing anyone, am I?
Is Hudson a good option for the White Sox rotation today? How about as the number 5 next year, or are his numbers misleading.
He's held his own in Triple-A and the White Sox need pitching help ASAP, so why not? Hudson won't blow the ball by hitters, but he has good life on his pitches and works down in the zone, so there's no reason he couldn't help in Chicago.
I was wondering what you thought of the Dodgers draft? Being an optimist I thought they did pretty well without a first round pick. Miller and Smith are both high and potential, and I'm pretty excited about Gould. Wallach seems like a good back end option as well.
They got some high-upside players considering they didn't have a first-rounder, though there are questions about Aaron Miller (new to pitching), Blake Smith (long swing with uppercut) and Garrett Gould (delivery bothers a lot of scouts). Brett Wallach is very polished for a juco signee, and I like Angelo Songco's bat.
Can Castro be the starting catcher for the Astros opening day 2010?
That might be pushing it a little bit but I bet we see him in Houston by the all-star break in 2010 at the latest.
Marlins question, Jim. Maybin has improved quite a bit in AAA this season (especially keeping his K rate down). Will we see him in Miami next month, and do you see him improving since this spring?
Hard to say. He has struck out more in July and August than he did in April and May, so it's not clear that he's made any adjustments that are going to stick when he gets back up to the majors. He's a gifted player but always has struck out a ton. He's still only 22, so he still has time.
Which of the prospects the Indians received at the deadline do you like the most?
Jason Knapp. That's all 30 teams, so let's head to the lightning round . . .
Rondon or Carrasco?
B.J. Upton or Desmond Jennings?
Jim, love the chats. Where in the rotation does Cashner project? Or will he end up in the bullpen? Thank you.Kevin
I still think he's a reliever.
Better Cubs shortstop prospect, Castro or Hak Ju Lee?
I'll say Castro because he's proven himself at a much more difficult level.
i've been arguing about this,who do you think is better kinsler or utley
Lightning Round: Clemente or FRobinson?
Chris Marrero or Eric Hosmer?
Is Feliz just amazing or is he AMAZING?
Hey Jim. Who has the brighter future, J.A. Happ or Tommy Hanson?
Hanson, no question.
Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish?
Rate these young pitching duos: Brett Anderson and Cahill, Tillman and Matusz, Holland and Feliz,or Price and Hillickson?
Holland/Feliz just barely over Tillman/Matusz, then Anderson/Cahill, then Price/Hellickson.
Porcello or Turner?
Eric Arnett or Odorizzi?
How about 1 more O's question.... is it too soon to give up on Billy Rowell?
No. He's not having a good year--again--and he's going to have to hit a ton more to make it as a first baseman.
Did I miss the Padres Q?
Nope. See Will Venable . . .
who do you got for the world series?
This week, it's Yankees over Cardinals.
Reymond Fuentes or David Renfroe? Alex Wilson or Madison Youginer?
Rank the following draft prospects: Rick Hague (SS-Rice, 2010), Anthony Rendon (3B-Rice, 2011), Michael Ratterree, (Rice, 2012),(Jameson Taillon (SP-Rice Recruit, 2010/2013)
Taillon, Rendon, Hague, Ratterree. That's a fine question.
What will we see first in MLB: Salary Cap or Automated Strike Zones?
You won't ever see either.
jeter or chuck norris?
Will Harper's bonus eclipse Strasburg's?
I'm going to say no. As good as Harper is, it's going to be very hard to live up to his hype as a 17-year-old in a good wood-bat junior college league.
Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey?
Stubbs, but the gap isn't what it used to be.
Smoak or Morrison?
Casey Kelly or David Renfroe?
Can you explain the "two sport deal" re: the Dan Fields question?
Sure. Players who have legitimate talent in a second spot (as defined by and approved by the commissioner's office) can have their bonuses spread over as many as five years.
Juan Francisco or Todd Frazier
Reimold or Eric Young Jr.?
Prince Fielder or a couple young, highly-rated pitching prospects?
Where's Jake Locker going to start out at?
He may never play baseball. He's fully committed to an NFL career, and the Angels know this.
Ryan Westmoreland or Ryan Kalish?
can the phillies repeat this year? and is cliff lee the best pitxher in baseball right now?
Yes, but as mentioned, I'm worried with Lidge as their closer. Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke are the best pitchers in baseball right now.
Jesus Montero or Austin Jackson?
Harvey what round next year?
Matt Harvey had a horrible summer in the Cape Cod League. No telling where he goes. Right now, he's not a first-rounder.
I've got to run . . . see you next week.