Hi, everyone . . . Just sitting here working on a column for our current issue and the Midwest League Top 20 Prospects for the next edition, but for the next hour I'm yours.
Jim, one thing that bugs me is that once a prospect hits 50 IP/130PA's, it is though they fall into the void. Would you mind giving me a simple stock up/down/steady on the following pitchers who went over this year? I know Hanson/Porcello/Anderson is obvious, so i'll just ask guys i really think may be questionable:Cahill, Tillman, Holland, Cecil, Romero, West, Latos.
That's a fair point, Oden, and a couple of years ago we focused on those in-the-void guys in our Major Legue Preview. You separated out the three best guys of that group, the ones who look like the most likely future starts. The other six haven't had as much success, but they're also rookies and their performance likely will improve in the future. Tillman, Holland and Latos are the best bets in that second group. West, Cecil and Romero won't be stars but can be solid pitchers. Cahill has more upside than that but also the worst performance of the group, as he isn't missing bats and gives up a lot of homers. Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of him at this point.
Oakland has a lot of solid IF prospects in their pipeline. Do you think by 2011 we'll see Carter, Cardenas, Weeks, and Wallace as the starting infielders or do the A's have better options?
I like all of those guys as prospects, but that would be a BAD defensive infield at every position but Weeks at second base. Carter and Wallace will both be in the lineup, but for the A's pitchers' sake, one should be at first base and one should be at DH. Cardenas shouldn't be a big league shortstop either. Grant Green, the A's 2009 first-rounder, could reach Oakland at some point in 2011, though some scouts don't like him much at shortstop either.
Who's your early call for 2010 Minor League Player of the Year?
I'll throw out two names. Yankees catcher Jesus Montero, because he has a big-time bat and no obvious opening to crack the Yankees' lineup, so he could spend most or all of the year in the minors. Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley. I think he'll tear up minor league pitching in his pro debut yet spend most or all of the year in the minors as he learns to play center field.
JimWhat do you think of Adam Warren? All he has done is dominate so far in the minors, is it because he was a refined college pitcher or is he legit? Scouting Report Please?
It's too early to get overly excited about Warren. He has average stuff but locates it well and faced good college competition at North Carolina, so he's exactly the type of pitcher who we should expect to succeed in the New York-Penn League.
Jim, I'm a little miffed with some of your choices in the lightning round the last couple of months. Seriously, taking Strasburg, all of 0 innings of MLB service when Kershaw has the best BAA in the league, eighth in ERA, etc. then to take Heyward of 0 innings MLB service time over Kemp, an emerging star in his own right at the MLB level with very limited instructional time due to a focus on basketball is just mind boggling. Usually I like your picks, but these 2 I just disagree with epecially because if it's a close call, you tend to chose the one who's done it at higher levels. I'll give you that Kemp is older than Heyward, but he is an alite CF who just gets better and better. Kersh and Strasburg are about the same age, and Kershaw is a lefty, another one of you close decision swaying qualifiers. Oh, since we're on the point, care to rethink Kershaw or Price, and Kemp or Bruce?
Come on, the lightning round is quick answers off the top of my head . . . I usually look at those questions as to who will be better in the long run, and no disrespect to Kershaw or Kemp, but I think Strasburg and Heyward will be better in the long run. I know that's going out on a limb, but I ask what gets answered. All four of those players should be stars. I'll take Kershaw over Price and Kemp over Bruce, though. I'm willing to change my mind!
What do you think of the progress of Dayan Viciedo this year? When do you see him joining the Sox, and what do you project his ceiling to be?
I'm a little disappointed, to be honest. Most of the big-money Cuban defectors haven't lived up to the hype, and few hitters have (though Kendry Morales has broken through this year). Viciedo was sold to us as an advanced hitter with potential 40-plus homer power, and he hit .280/.317/.391 in Double-A this year. Granted, he's only 20, but that year underwhelms me. I'm not going to call him more than a solid regular at this point, until he really gets going.
Word is that the Reds are going to move Juan Francisco to LF full time in fall instructionals, is this the right move, and does that open up 3B to Todd Frazier as the successor of Scott Rolen in 2011 or in case of an injury in 2010?
I would make that move with Francisco. I think there's very little chance that he'll be able to play third base in the majors, so try him in left field (his only other option besides first base). Since the Reds have drafted him, I've always thought Frazier would fit best at third base.
With Brian Matusz being shut down for the year, does he keep his rookie status for next year? I am not quite sure on how that works.
I was curious as to your opinion of Baltimore pitcher Brian Matusz. His last start he absolutely shut down the Yankees. I know it is really early, but do you think he is Cy Young Material?
I'll answer two Matusz questions as once. As long as he doesn't exceed 50 innings in the majors (and he's at 44 2/3 right now), he'll be rookie-eligible in 2010. Matusz is one of my favorite pitching prospects and has the potential to win a Cy Young Award, yes. He could have three plus pitches when all is said and done, and not many lefties can say that.
Jim, I always look forward to you chats. Could you answer a question from a desperate Mets fan?Do you think that either Fernando Martinez or Ike Davis will be ready at some point next year to make a significant contrubution for the Mets?Does Davis have 35 HR potential down the road?
Martinez is another guy I can't figure out. The Mets have rushed him so much, including to the major leagues this year, and he never has put up big numbers over long stretches. He's still just 20, so he's not washed up, but I think counting on him to be productive in New York next year would be unwise. Davis had a nice first full pro season and does have big power potential, but he still strikes out a lot and I don't think he could step in to the Mets' lineup in early 2010 and be effective. Both need at least another half-year in the minors maybe more.
Can you please comment on Justin Smoak's world domination in the Baseball World Cup? 6 HR already is sick. Would you expect him to be the preseason favorite for 2010 AL ROY?
Not that World Cup competition is much to get excited about, but Smoak is one of the best hitting prospects in the minors so that performance isn't a huge shock. Not sure he'll be the preseason favorite, because I don't necessarily think he'll start 2010 in the big leagues.
Hi Jim, who would you rather have Ryan Zimmerman or David Wright? Zimm has outhomered Wright 29 to 10 this year and has an edge on him in most offensive categories except BA. Thanks
Oh, I'd still rather have Wright. He has been banged up yet nearly has been as productive as Zimmerman. And Zimmerman's having the best year of his career, which is barely better than the worst year of Wright's.
JimPlease tell me it is NOT a terrible year for the Pirates to have the #2 pick in the 2010 draft. I looked at the list BA put out today, from that list is there anyone that jumps out early as a possible 2 behind Harper. Thanks
It's too early to jump to any conclusions. Harper has an awful lot of hype to live up to and may scare people away with his price tag, so don't assume he's going No. 1 early. The college crop looks unimpressive at this point, so we could see high school and junior college players (Harper, LeVon Washington) dominating the early selections. I don't see a clear No. 2 at this point. Our first stab at top 25 list for high school and college draftees is at <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/early-draft-preview/2009/268869.html">http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/early-draft-preview/2009/268869.html</a>.
Is there any reason for the Brewers to keep Prince after this year? What kind of haul do you think they could get? Greater then Texas Teixeria haul? Would Buster Posey, Bumgardner work?
It's easy to rationalize keeping Fielder's potent bat for another year. But because the Brewers probably can't afford to sign him long-term, it makes more sense to deal him for some pitching. I don't think you'll see a team give up five prospects like the Braves did, and the Giants won't give them Posey and Bumgarner. But San Francisco might part with Matt Cain in a deal that would make sense for both clubs.
Is Jay Bruce going to develop into an all-star or the next Adam Dunn (lots of power, terrible batting average...at least usually)
Dunn is headed for his sixth straight 40-homer season, and there's nothing wrong with that. I still think Bruce is going to be a star, and he's a much better athlete than Dunn.
How can Sabbathia even be considered with Greinke for the CY when the ERA discrepancy is huge (2.19 vs. 3.42), Greinke has more Ks, fewer walks, in similar innings pitched.....? Wins are the only thing Sabbathia has, except that W-L is the only stat pitchers can't control (not to mention the offense behind him inflates his W-L compared to others).
Greinke is clearly the best pitcher in baseball this season, but who deserves the Cy Young Award and who the writers will vote for are two different things.
How does the acquisition of Jack Wilson affect Carlos Triunfel's future in Seattle?
It doesn't affect Triunfel much. I'm not sure the Mariners want to keep Wilson long term, or that Triunfel is going to be a big league shortstop.
Jim, just curious if you've moved over to the insufferable "ESPNBoston" and gotten it over with already. Your heart's been there for a couple years now.
I'm still at BAChicago full-time.
I saw your top 25's for college and high school at BA. Would Bryce Brentz have ranked higher if his numbers from last year were put up in a tougher conference?
He'd rank higher if he showed better with Team USA this summer. Scouts thought he was pull-happy with a swing that got out of control at times, and he didn't prove much against good breaking pitches. And his work ethic didn't wow anyone either.
Pedro Martinez has been pretty successful with the Phillies. What are the chances that he will be in the starting rotation in the Postseason?
Has to be in there based on how he has pitched, doesn't he. I'll be the first admit I didn't think he was capable of this at all.
Jim - One thing that bugs me is Jerry Crasnick's Mustache. Can I get you to shave that thing off him or what?
Hopefully Jerry will read this chat and take note, because I may not run into him until the Winter Meetings.
Kurt Suzuki is under rated or over rated?
Is there much talk about Suzuki? If so, I was unaware. He has been a mediocre/decent regular for 2 1/2 years, and that's probably what he's going to be.
What do you think of Chris Coghlan going foward?
I think his bat fits better at second base in the long run, and I bet the Marlins save money by trading Dan Uggla in the offseason and shifting Coghlan there. He'll be a solid regular.
Jim, Last week Ben Badler compared Jiovanni Mier to Tim Beckham. What do you think about Mier vs Beckham?
I think Beckham will be the better offensive player and Mier the better defender. The defensive difference will be less than offensive difference.
Should I be worried about Andrew Brackman's poor year? Or is this normal for post-Tommy John recovery. By most reports his velocity was way down and had little command of his breaking pitches.
I'd be at least a little worried. It was nice that he stayed healthy all year, but his stuff was disappointing and his control was a mess. He did have more success out of the bullpen late in the year, and that may be his ticket to the big leagues.
After seeing what they did this year, would you rather have Brett Anderson or David Price pitching for your team? Before this year everyone and their mother, including A's fans would have said Price, but now I'm not so sure. Anderson is younger, has improved his stuff a lot from a year ago, and seems to be striking guys out at a higher rate. What do you think?
I can't quite take Anderson over Price yet, but the gap has narrowed considerably and Anderson's velocity has jumped. I still wonder about his lack of athleticism, but it's impossible to argue with his stuff.
I finally got to see Heyward in person last week. I can't believe he's considered to be a power threat! The kid needs to put on a little muscle mass, doesn't he?
He just turned 20 last month, he's 6-foot-4 and he slugged .555 in the minors this year. Suffice it to say that adds up to pretty terrific power potential.
Let's head to the lightning round . . .
Higher ceiling, Heyward or Stanton?
Stanton has a higher ceiling with his ridiculous athleticism, but I'd take Heyward.
Which Red who had a disappointing 2009 bounces back in 2010: Alex Buchholz, Neftali Soto, or Chris Valaika?
Andre Ethier or Nick Markakis?
Markakis, using age as the tiebreaker. Ethier has been a lot better than I thought he would be.
Top prospect heading into 2010: Strasburg, Heyward or someone else?
Strasburg for me.
Jim, which Cubs prospect do you prefer: Andrew Cashner or Chris Carpenter?
reddick, kalish or westmoreland?
Better power potential Smoak or Davis?
Raw power is similar but Smoak has more usable power because he's a better hitter.
Mr. Callis: In your opinion, why does it seem as though the Asian pitchers that come to play in the U.S. have a short life span in terms of effectiveness? Several come here with high hopes and have solid first seasons but eventually they get hit or hurt and fade off into the sunset.
They aren't used to pitching every five days and it's much more rigorous pitching in the majors anywhere else. There's so much more power in a typical MLB lineup than there is in Japan, for instance.
Jaff Decker or somebody else for Midwest League top prospect?
I'm still tinkering with it. Leaning towards Josh Vitters, but Decker is in the running.
Who is a guy who you think is underlooked in the Orioles minor league system?
Brandon Waring, especially after the Orioles acquired Josh Bell.
Lincecum, Carpenter, or Wainwright?
For Cy Young? Lincecum, by a nose. For the long term? Lincecum, easily.
Rank long term- Price, Davis, Hellickson, Niemann
Price, Niemann, Davis, Hellickson.
Does Brandon Wood ever play a full season in Southern California?
Maybin or Chris B. Young?
Lincecum or Strasburg?
Does a Chris Davis/Perez for Matt Cain makes since for both teams?
If I'm trading Cain, I want immediate and definite help for my big league lineup. I wouldn't do that deal if I were the Giants. I like Martin Perez but Davis' 2009 performance would scare me if I'm trying to contend in 2010.
Martin Perez or C. Crosby?
Higher Ceiling: Mike Trout or Andrew Lambo?
Castro or Lebuke?
If Lackey leaves LA, how about a deal around Brandon Wood and Zambrano?
Angels would obviously have to add to their side, but I could see the makings of a deal there.
Who is Martin Perez comparable to for us who have no idea who he is other than a prospect in the Rangers system? Lefty, Righty what?
He's a lefty, pitched well at 18 in low A this year. Obviously not close to his ceiling yet, but he even drew some Johan Santana comps last year.
I'm out of here . . . see you next week.