Hi, everyone. Before we get to your questions--be they on the playoffs, BA's minor league Top 20 Prospects lists or whatever--I want to take a moment to mention the relief efforts in Samoa, which was devastated by a recent tsunami. Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod's mother's cousin is Eni Faleomavaega, American Samoa's delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Faleomavaega has put together a list of disaster-relief organizations that has been vetted by FEMA. Please check that out at <a href="http://www.house.gov/faleomavaega" target="new">www.house.gov/faleomavaega</a>. Thanks, and now hit me with some questions . . .
To start a franchise...Price/Wieters or Strasburg/Heyward?
I'll say Strasburg/Heyward. I'd take Wieters over Heyward because of the position scarcity, but I think the difference between Strasburg and Price is greater.
Jim, do the Yankees have a replacement at SS for Jeter in the system at this time for 2012 or 2013?
Nope, not yet. But Jeter doesn't look like he's slowing down at all, does he?
If you were the Phillies with an excellent outfield and two top 25 prospects in the pipeline, what would you do? Keep them all and see how it shakes out or use Taylor or Brown to improve the Major League club?
I think you see how it plays out. As good as Werth/Victorino/Ibanez were this year, they're not going to be this good and this healthy every year. At the same time, if someone offers you a chance to significantly improve your club and it cost you Brown or Taylor, you have to consider it. But it's funny how often these logjams resolve themselves.
Is there any update regarding SF prospect Villalona ?
Nope, last I heard was he was being held in jail awaiting trial on murder charges in about two months.
How about a scouting report on Duensing? What can we expect from this rookie in Game 1? And do you think they'll use him or Baker in Game 4?
Duensing is a like a lot of the Twins starters. He doesn't have overpowering stuff at all (his best pitch is a changeup) and he relies on his defense to make plays behind him, which it does. Traditionally, that's the type of pitcher a deep playoff lineup like the Yankees' feasts on in the postseason. I think New York wins Game One and very well could sweep the Twins. If we see a Game Four, I'm sure we'll see Baker because he has pitched very well down the stretch. Of course, if Duensing goes out and shuts down the Yankees today, that will change things.
Did Girardi make the right calls regarding the rotation? AJ for 2 and 5 with Pettitte for game 3? Molina catching AJ?
He'll get second-guessed if they don't win, that's for sure. But I'd pitch Burnett ahead of Pettitte, and if Burnett is a lot more comfortable pitching to Molina, you have to make your starter happy, right? It's not like Girardi doesn't understand the value of a catcher to a pitcher.
Jim-How do draft tiebreakers work? I noticed that the Rays got the 16 pick, aka the first non protected pick, but also that because the Cubs didn't have to make up a game, they played one less. Did that one non made up game effect what the Rays will do in free agency? Thanks!
There's no tiebreaker in that case. The Rays finished with a higher winning percentage (.519 to .516), so the Cubs get the higher pick. If two teams have the same record, the club with the worst record the previous year gets the better pick.
Yes, the Tigers collapsed and should have never been in this position. But considering everyone thought the Tigers would finish last in the division, wouldnt you say the season was hardly a failure?
That's fair to say. They collapsed down the stretch, but overall they exceeded expecations.
At what point next season does Desmond Jennings see AB's in Tampa, and does Matt Joyce get the opportunity 1st?
I think it depends on how well B.J. Upton plays next spring. Joyce won't stand in Jennings' way.
Do you think that Casilla probably saved his spot in the big leagues because of last night?
I don't know. He did a terrible job of tagging up in the 10th, costing the Twins the game-winning run at that point. That's a fundamental play, tag up on a ball hit to the outfield in that situation, and it drives me nuts as a baseball coach because I constantly tell my players to do that (and about half don't listen). Anyway, that lack of good fundamental baseball is what helped get Casilla in the doghouse to begin with. Hitting a groundball single may make him a hero for now, but it doesn't change his long-term prognosis. If the Twins had lost, Casilla would have been a huge goat. Huge.
Mr. Callis:In your opinion What's the most overrated stat in baseball? People go from wins, to saves, to OBP, K's, etc.Thanks!!!
Saves. The quantity of saves often bears little relation to how good the closer is.
Jim - What do you think of Jordan Danks? It seemed like his season fell off quite a bit after he hurt his wrist.
Wrist injuries will take a toll on a player's hitting, but that's not a long-term concern. I like Danks some but he won't be more than a solid regular if he never learns to tap into his power potential.
Brett Anderson or Madison Bumgarner?
with Greinke and Soria signed for the next 3 years, would you trade not yet ready prospects like Hosmer and Moustakas for cheap ML ready talent?
No. I don't think the Royals would get as much for Moustakas and Hosmer as you might think, and they're not close to winning anyway.
Not since 1968, The Year of the Pitcher, has any NL team drawn fewer walks and posted a lower OBP than the Giants. Yet at their post season press conference Bochy and Sabean talked about how Molina had an "incredible year" and how Posey probably needed more time in the minors to work on his hitting. And, oh yeah, Bochy would like the hitters to be *more* aggressive next year. Can you explain this to me?
No. A team with a finite budget (and they all have finite budgets) and Buster Posey doesn't need to be spending money on Bengie Molina next year.
Remember when the baseball world, starting with the commissioner's office, went nuts because the Tigers gave Porcello $7, which was supposed to be insane? Shouldn't Frank Coonelly, Bud Selig and the gang feel pretty stupid right about now after yesterday's performance?
I had the same thought yesterday. I hope Selig and Coonelly give Mike Ilitch and David Chadd a phone call today, but I wouldn't count on it. I'm not so sure I wouldn't take Porcello over David Price right now.
Wade Davis and Reid Brignac for Jay Bruce - would the Reds do this and would the Rays consider this?
Wow, that would be an interesting challenge trade. Given the teams' depth at the various positions, that would make a lot of sense.
Considering all that has unfolded in the past 24 hours, there is no way anyone can expect the Twins to win today. But, how about Friday? Blackburn v. Burnett. Could the Twins escape NY with a victory?
Anything can happen in a single game or a short series. But I still think the Yankees will win this series easily, possibly in a sweep.
What do you think of Freeman? Some Braves fans think he will be ready to be our opening day starter come 2011. I just don't see it. Am I wrong?
I think you are wrong. I like Freddie Freeman.
Are Rays fans getting too excited about Jeremy Hellickson? Does he have front of the rotation potential?
Hellickson is pretty good. I'm conservative, so I won't call him a frontline starter, but I think he can be a good No. 3, maybe even a No. 2 if it all goes right.
What are your thoughts on the Kevin Towers dismissal? I like him personally, but his track record for developing players is atrocious.
It's a mixed bag, like it is with any GM who has been around for a while. The Padres didn't draft particularly well, but they made four playoff appearances, just missed a fifth in game No. 163 two years ago and I thought Towers did a nice job of assembling rosters without a lot of money. He wasn't the best GM and he was also far from the worst. I haven't ranked GMs, but I suspect he'd fall in the 11-15 range somewhere. At the same time, Jeff Moorad has taken over the team and why wouldn't he want his own guy running things?
Jim, How close was Jon Gaston to making the top 20 list of the Cal League? Should we wait to reserve judgment after he plays in the AFL and TL?
He was close, just missed. Don't read too much into Cal League numbers, it's the best hitter's league in the minors . . . I'm reserving judgment until I see what he does in Double-A.
Jim,I know that is way early, but if you were running the Pirates, who would you be looking at with the 2nd pick in next year's draft given the current state of their farm system?
Best available player. Their farm system has gotten deeper under the Neil Huntington regime, however. The No. 2 prospect at this point looks like Jameson Taillon to me. The Pirates may prefer not to go the HS pitcher route, though, so that could lead them to someone like LSU's Anthony Ranaudo.
Jarrod Parker .... whats your take?
If he's healthy, he's easily one of the best pitching prospects in the game. But there's still no official word on whether he'll need elbow surgery.
Jim, would you say the Cubs' farm system is better, worse, or about the same as it was last year at this time?
Better. Several players took a step forward, most notably Starlin Castro. He's one of the game's best unheralded prospects.
How far do you see the Mets going to trade for Halladay? Sure, they'd have him for a year, but Roy/Johan? Better than Carpenter/Wainwright?
I don't think the Mets have enough to put a package together for Halladay. They got Santana because the Twins had to trade him, not because they loved what the Mets were giving them.
Jim, any bold predictions for the playoffs? Who do you have winning it all?
I have the Yankees winning it all. Predictions are tough because I think all four NL clubs are close to each other and the top three AL clubs are the three best in baseball. But I'll say Yankees over Angels in the ALCS, Cardinals over Rockies in the NLCS.
Zobrist or Utley?
Utley. Zobrist had a great year, but Utley has been having great years for a while.
All things considered, more likely to be traded, Crawford or BJ Upton in the offseason?
Upton. Has more upside remaining and wouldn't cost as much in trade, and I think the Rays are starting to get a little tired of his act.
Jim, there was talk about the Dodgers trading Loney, moving Ethier to 1B and putting Pierre in RF. what is your take on this?
Pierre is having his best season in the last five in 2009. I'll take the under for 2010. I wouldn't want him to be a regular on my team.
Read the Michael Stanton piece and I am really excited to see him next season. That said, is he looking like an Adam Dunn type?
No, no, no not at all. I know Dunn was a college football player and Stanton has that kind of raw power, but Stanton is a much, much better athlete. No comparison in that regard.
Starlin Castro or Hak Ju Lee?
Castro. But Lee is also very good in his own right.
I was surprised to see Marrero did not make the top 20 list of prospects in the Carolina League. I know some scouts are worried about his defense, and he tends to "step in the bucket" but Rizzo still touts him as the first baseman of the future for the Nats. Is he really no longer a real prospect, despite his strong numbers in the Carolina League?
He's a prospect still, but he's a bat-only guy and scouts and managers weren't sold that he'd hit enough to be a quality big leaguer. I think his ceiling is more as a solid regular.
Let's launch the lightning round . . .
Did you say Anderson over Bumgarner based on what Anderson has done in the majors so far? If so, who would you rather have long term?
I think Anderson has better overall stuff AND he has proven more to this point.
Tulowitzki, Longoria, or Wright, next 5 years?
Harper or Wieters?
Jays fans(sadly?) are excited about our top prospects Moses Sierra and Henderson Alvarez 2 or 3 years down the road, yet you guys didn't have them in their respective Top 20. Are they that lowly thought of outside Toronto?
They both would have been ranked 21-25 in their leagues if the list ran that deep, but neither guy is a savior.
Fernando Martinez or Denard Span
Adrian Gonzalez or Ryan Howard?
Better Cardinal OF Jon Jay or Daryl Jones?
Hey, just got a phone call I had to take, so I have to run 10 minutes early. Sorry about that . . . see you next week.