Hi, everyone. The playoff races don't seem as sizzling as they usually do this time of year, but I'm sure you still have several good questions to throw at me. Fire away.
Buster Posey is now a Giant! Is he enough to swing the Wild Card to the Giants?
We'll see how much he plays. Though Posey is clearly San Francisco's best offensive option at catcher, the Giants weren't going to call him up until Bengie Molina came down with a lingering quad problem. I'd do an offensive/defensive timeshare with Posey and Molina, but I'm not sure the Giants are going to use him much.
Jim: Marson or Santana - who is Cleveland's starting catcher next year?
Santana is easily the better prospect in my opinion. But with the Indians not planning on contending, I could see them opening the year with Marson and Shoppach and giving Santana some Triple-A time.
Thanks for the chat Jim! What kind of prospect is Kirk Nieuwenhuis? He's made two straight hot sheet appearances, but seems a little old for High A? Is he someone for Mets fans to get excited about? Thanks!
I wouldn't go so far as to get excited, but he's a prospect. At 21 and in his first full pro season, he wasn't especially old for high Class A. Though he didn't get a lot of hype coming out of Azusa Pacific, his tools are pretty solid across the board.
What the World Series matchup if you had to make a pick right now?Cards/Yanks? Phils/Angels?Who wins it all?
Yankees over Cardinals.
Was JA Happ regarded as a top minor league arm? Do you project him as a top of the rotation starter going forward?
No, not at all. Happ doesn't have a standout pitch, though he's deceptive and hitters don't seem to get as many good swings off him as they should. He looked like a No. 3 starter at best, more likely a No. 4-5 guy or long reliever. He's having a terrific rookie year but I don't think his outlook has changed a lot. His other stats aren't as glittery as his ERA, and I don't think he's going to be a frontline starter in the future.
Thoughts on Justin Fuller
Not a prospect. He's 26 and had a mediocre year in high Class A. The White Sox just wanted to shed Jim Thome's salary for the rest of the year.
What are your thoughts on the prospects the Rays received from the Angels in the Kazmir trade? Rodriguez looks like a utility player and Sweeney and Torres look like average prospects. Sweeney may develop his power, but it looks like he may be injury prone>
Rodriguez can be more than a utility guy, though cracking the Rays' lineup won't be easy. Sweeney and Torres are solid if not elite prospects. The main focus for the Rays was to get rid of Kazmir's salary rather than be saddled with it if he didn't snap out of his 2009 doldrums.
Does Wallace have much power potential, or is he a Kevin Youkilis without the 25-30 homeruns
I think Wallace is more of an 18-20 HR guy, though no one thought Youkilis had this kind of power when he was coming up through the minors.
Jim, how impressed were you by Pedro Alvarez in AA? His overall slash numbers were really good, but he had much better numbers in AA. 40 HR power in the bigs? June call-up next year?
Very impressed. Alvarez struck out a little more than I expected this year, but who cares if he puts up that kind of production? He has 40-homer potential and I could see him up by midseason next year, sure, if not Opening Day.
Hey Jim, have you senn Sugar yet and if so, what did you think?
I have not. I've heard a lot of positive reviews, but with four kids going back to school and prospect season kicking off, I haven't watched many movies recently.
How close was Dietrich to making the Cape top 30 and why was he left off?
Josh is referring to my Cape Cod League Top 30 prospects list that's up at http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/college/summer-scene/summer-league-top-prospects/2009/268805.html. Derek Dietrich (Georgia Tech) would have been the next shortstop on the list, though he won't stay at shortstop in pro ball. The consenus was that his all-around tools are decent but none really stands out. And he hit .211 with 46 strikeouts.
Cape League question: How close was Tyler Burgoon to making the top 30 and what were the scouts impressions of him?
Burgoon, a Michigan product, had a tremendous summer bu doesn't have overpowering stuff. He has an 88-91 mph fastball and a good slider. He's also a little guy at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds. He'll get drafted nextJune but won't be a high pick.
Do you agree with the O's shutting down Tillman/Matusz before the year ends?
Sure. They've gotten their feet wet, which is good, so now cap their innings and get them ready for next year.
Help! I think I ask this every week of you, Klaw, and KG, but... What's the deal with Bumgarner? Velocity down, secondary pitches coming along slowly, yet the ERA stays below 2.00 and he doesn't give up hits. For some perspective, who do you prefer right now, Bumgarner or Hellickson?
A scout I know who's very good at his job once told me that there are just lefthanders who guys don't get good swings at, no reason he could pinpoint (it's not just deception), but their stuff really plays up more than you'd think. In fact, the lefty we were talking about at the time (about two years ago) was J.A. Happ. I wonder if Bumgarner is one of those lefties, and his stuff is good to begin with. I'd rather have Bumgarner.
Would the Padres accept Arrieta, Reimold, and Brandon Snyder for Adrian Gonzalez?
Don't know if they'd accept it, but it would be a good starting point for trade talks.
How quickly will Ackley be at the majors? He was amazing during the college world series.
Ackley's ETA depends almost solely on how quickly he can make the transition to the outfield. His bat is pretty close to ready right now.
Hi Jim:Any updates on Aaron Crow? If he signs soon, do you think he'll have a chance to shake some rust off in the AFL?
I still think there's a very good chance he signs in time to get some AFL work in.
Do you see the Sox moving Papelbon and moving Bard to the closer role?
No. Maybe Papelbon departs as a free agent after the 2011 season, but I can't see the Red Sox making their team weaker. Papelbon has been a stud for four years, has yet to give up a run in his postseason career--why mess with success? Bard is promising but isn't ready to close games yet.
Looking back at the BA top 20, the 2005 Southern League was considered stacked. Who would have thought the top 4 of that league D. Young, Hermida, Francouer and Chris Young would be such major disappointments. Looking back, what was missed in the scouting?
This is more of a question for my Ask BA column, which would give me the space to really get into it . . . send it to email@example.com with your full name and hometown, and I'll tackle it on Monday.
who will be the best prospect called up this september?
Thoughts on the Orioles' Zach Britton. Is he top 100?
Not a Top 100 Prospect, but a legit guy. He's a sinker/slider pitcher who seems to get a little better each year.
Buster's gotta be the best prospect to be called up this September right? Atlanta won't call up Heyward right?
It doesn't look like Heyward will get the call. It would be drastic, but I'd pull the plug on Garret Anderson, platoon Ryan Church and Matt Diaz in left and put Heyward in right.
Rangers' management is still undecided on whether or not Feliz will remain in the bullpen next season. What would you do if the decision was yours to make?
You'd love to get maximum value out of him by giving him a lot more innings as a starter. But I wonder if he'll follow the Papelbon path and be so good out of the bullpen that they can't move him. He's already one of the most untouchable relievers in the majors.
How good is Grant Desme? He seens to have all the tools and he is having a heck of a year. What are your thoughts on him. Thanks Jim
He's a legitimate prospect. He just got hurt right before the A's drafted him in 2007 and hasn't been healthy until this year. Potential solid regular.
Derek Norris: 1b or C?
Catcher. He's still young and developing, but he should be able to stay behind the plate.
One thing to remember about the Papelbon path is that they were really worried about his shoulder falling off, and that played a big part in their decision to keep him in the pen. If Feliz is healthy enough to log 150 innings, you've got to let him do it.
I agree, Rob. But it could be hard to make that switch when no one can touch him as a reliever.
What player, besides Strasburg, from this years draft will we see in the majors first?
Drew Storen and Dustin Ackley.
Your thoughts on Strasburg's recent comments about the press constantly following him around? Momentary lapse in judgment, or something else?
I didn't think what Strasburg said was incendiary or whiny. He was just observing that he was surprised at how many reporters showed up for a workout. John Feinstein made a mountain out of a molehill with that one.
Lightning round: D'Arnaud or D'Arnaud?
A fine start to the lightning round. Give me Chase just barely over Travis.
Chris Carter or Justin Smoak? and why?
Smoak. I think he'll hit more and offer more defensive value.
Heyward or Justin Upton? Posey or Wieters?
Jeremy Hellickson or Wade Davis?
Logan Morrison or Freddie Freeman?
Giants called up Buster Posey. Is he the Giants 2nd or 3rd best hitter right now?
Corey Brown or Grant Desme?
Kalish or Reddick
How good do you think Chris Coghlan will be in the future? thanks Jim
Solid regular at second base.
what's been wrong with Jeff Samardzija? Is he not as good as the hype?
More stuff than savvy, hence he's inconsistent.
Mat Latos or Chris Tillman
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke in a landslide.
Does Chris Carter have a shot at being voted BA's Milb POY, or does Heyward have it locked up?
We've already made our decision, and that's all I'm at liberty to say.
brad lincoln or daniel schlereth
Better reclamation project for 2010: Marte or Pie?
Kevin Russo: Everyday Major Leaguer or no more than a bench player?
Chance to Re-do...Tazawa or Buchholz
Call me wishy-washy and I'll flip back to Buchholz right now.
Homer Bailey looks like he might be figuring things out. 8 shutout innings vs the dodgers last week. 8 Ks through 6 innings today. So of course Dusty tries to bury him, sending him back out for the 7th with his pitch count at 109. Gotta love Dusty.
Hey, that's an important game as the Reds try to hold onto fifth place. It hasn't been a good year for the Reds, but Bailey's late-season emergence has been a nice positive.
Kelly or Westmoreland?
Travis Snider = Mark Reynolds ?
I think Snider will be a better hitter in the long run, Reynolds' breakout year notwithstanding.
Better hitter - Laporta or Wallace?
manship or duensing?
Come on Jim.. you're weakening on your anti twitter stance.. you know you are... You're not going to let Balder and Crasnick have all the glory are you??
Not anti-Twitter, just haven't found the time.
not one yankee prospect question...is it because u think thier fan base isnt big enough?
Yeah, that's it. Last I checked, Kevin Russo was a Yankees prospect. Yankees fans just not out in force with their questions today. Or is it my anti-New York bias?
McCutcheon is a center piece or complimentary one?
Centerpiece. The Pirates can build around him and Pedro Alvarez. Now they need to find some more.
Going forward, Geovany Soto or Russell Martin?
Wieters or Heyward - better long-term offensive numbers?
Tough one. I'll give Wieters the edge because he's a switch-hitter, but that's a coin flip.
Cole Hamels or Matt Cain?
Jim, what's the advantage to a draftee signing a major league contract vs a minor league contract after they are drafted? To my knowledge it doesn't affect service time and only necessitates that the player be put on the 40 man roster, correct? So is the advantage that the player will get to the majors faster and thus free agency down the line because he is taking up a spot on the 40 man? And is this really an advantage? I recall the Red Sox having issues with what to do with Craig Hansen because he signed a major league deal and then stunk in the majors.
The advantage for the club is that it allows it to alter the structure of the bonus payouts and spread them out over multiple years. For the player, they accrue benefits (though not service time) by being on the 40-man roster.
Rocktober or Giantober?
Strawberry or Mattingly
ESPN poll question: Pujols or DiMaggio?
Pujols hasn't entered the decline phase of his career yet, but he's on his way to becoming the best righthanded hitter of all time. He's facing tougher competition than DiMaggio did, and he's nearly played as many games as Joltin' Joe did.
you or Steve Phillips? (FYI - his chat lasted all of 23 minutes)
Well then, it has to be me, doesn't it? Though lunch calls, and soon.
Jesus Montero or Lars Anderson?
Alex White or Andrew Miller?
Coming out of the draft, Miller. At this point, White.
Dodgeball or 4-square?
ubaldo for real?
Arrieta or Erbe?
Jim, Kershaw or Holland?
Neftali Feliz or Joe Nathan?
Nathan. He's done it for so long and shows no signs of slowing down.
Alvarez, Wallace, Moustakas or Vitters - career?
Matusz or Tillman? Markakis or Jones?
Now I'm off to lunch. See you again next week.