Sorry for the slight delay. Had to reboot my computer. Let's jump right in!
Jim what does this do to Posey now that the Giants resigned Molina. Do we see him more then another September Call up in 2010?
I don't think Posey will have to wait that long. He has some receiving issues the Giants want him to address. If he takes care of business, I think he'll be up by midseason.
Hello Jim, can you tell me what kind of Catcher you expect Alex Avila to become in terms of his overall game. A chance to be better than a solid-regular??
He has quickly exceeded my expectations. The knock on him was that he wasn't much of a catcher in college, but he improved enough to make the majors a year after signing. He's good enough defensively and should hit enough to be a solid regular, which is more than I initially expected.
Early reviews on 24? I seem to remember you being a fan.
I am a big fan, but have been busy with my four kids and have the first four hours of this season on my Tivo. Hope to get to it tonight.
Jim, a weird question, but I would appreciate your indulging it: which position is 'harder' defensively--LF or 1B? My understanding has always been that it's the former; I can't see either of the Fielder boys in LF, but when in doubt, ask an expert! Thanks.
You need less mobility at first base, so it's less demanding. But at the same time, it may be harder to be a good first baseman (get to balls, scoop balls out of the dirt, etc) than a good left fielder. I remember when Jack Cust was in the Diamondbacks season, they moved him to left field so he'd be involved in few defensive plays.
What makes Brett Anderson such a special pitcher? It seems all the scouts are enamored with him
Very good stuff combined with great feel.
Jim - After 17 years of pain and suffering, am I too optimistic to think that my beloved Pirates actually have a plan and seem to be following it? To the untrained eye, it appears that their system is in far better shape than it was two years ago? Can I hope they can compete in 2012 or are these feelings related to gas?
They do have a plan, their system is improved . . . but there's still a lot of work to do. Hoping to compete in 2012 is a reasonable expectation.
Jim, what do you know about Tommy Manzella, is he going to start this year for the Astros?
He's a fringe to average regular for me. He has a chance to win Houston's shortstop job, but I'm not sure he'll hit enough to keep it.
What is the expectation/ceiling for Nationals outfielder Eurys Perez? Comparable to Carlos Gomez?
Hopefully a better hitter. Similar tools.
What is your take on the UK and James Paxton issue?
My take is I hope someone can bring the NCAA to its knees on this. Andy Oliver did that for a time, but that ended when he settled his lawsuit. It's silly not to allow college students in any field to use qualified representation. This isn't an issue of agents paying players, like has happened in football and basketball. I can see where Kentucky is coming from, because they don't want to have to forfeit a bunch of games retroactively in the NCAA finds Paxton ineligible. But to think he's the only college player who was drafted in 2009 who used an adviser to negotiate is absurd. Almost every prominent draft pick uses an adviser to negotiate directly with a club. It's just that the Blue Jays made public comments about Paxton's situation that got him singled out.
Ben Badler's report on Tanner Bushue was that he could develop into a frontline starter. Do you agree?
He has the upside to develop into a No. 2 starter, but he's a long way from that right now (no shock for someone who just signed out of high school). He'll need to develop more consistent velocity on his fastball, improve his breaking ball and refine his command.
Any chance Pat Venditte will ever see the majors (as a player)?
Maybe. He's a great story, but he's going to have to keep proving himself at every level and has only gotten to high Class A so far.
With the trade of Eric Sogard, who in the Padres' system is best positioned to eventually take over at 2nd base?
Hey Jim. Who do you think has more "ace potential" in Toronto: Brandon Morrow or Kyle Drabek?
Drabek. I see Morrow as more of a reliever.
If Shaun Marcum is healthy, what's his ceiling for the Jays over the next few years?
No. 3 starter.
Lightning Round - Over/Under 10, Scott Elbert starts for the Dodgers in 2010.
Under. I think he winds up in their bullpen rather than their rotation.
What do you think of Lincecum asking for 13 million?
I think he gets it. I think he could have pushed the envelope to as far as $15 million, but I think the MLBPA wants a number that will guarantee a victory that sets a new standard.
How high of a ceiling does Jared Mitchell have?
Huge ceiling, potential superstar, though he's raw and has a lot of rough edges to polish.
Could a future harper/strasburg to maximize their contract, Get citizenship from another country and circumvent the draft?
Theoretically, but it would take some time and they'd have to renounce their U.S. citizenship. Also don't think it's just a matter of going to Andorra and declaring you want to be an Andorran.
Josh Bell or Alex Liddi?
Bell, pretty easily. Let's see Liddi hit outside of the Cal League.
Hi Jim - The White Sox have been criticized for trading for Juan Pierre ("he's a fourth outfielder - not a starter"). In your opinion, what else could they have *afforded* to do? Should they have went with Jordan Danks instead? Was there a better to move to been made?
I'm not a big Juan Pierre fan, but they wanted a true center fielder and they didn't give up much to get him.
I noticed that Ynoa was not penciled into Baseball America's Oakland 2013 starting rotation? He seemed like a King Felix like riser despite the injury or is this just concern because of the injury?
Hard for me to compare him to King Felix, who dominated immediately in pro ball, when Ynoa couldn't even pitch last season. Let's see him on the mound before we compare Ynoa to Hernandez.
Why exactly does Cliff Lee want to leave after a year if the Mariners are building a good solid team? Does Lee want to be the super ace and not share the spotlight with another good pitcher?
Who says he wants to leave? But if someone is willing to give him a megacontract (six years for $120 million?) why would he stay if the Mariners can't come close to that.
If Chapman had been signed by the Red Sox or Yankees, would the, so called, experts be talking much more about his potential to be a dominating starter in the big leagues, and less about his flaws. It just seems that the fact that he was signed by the "small market" Reds has somehow diminished his potential. What do you think?
I think that's ludicrous, actually. Chapman was hyped well before he signed, and I've heard an awful lot about his ability to potentially dominate since he signed with the Reds.
Twins or White Sox?
Help settle an argument going on. Which infield position requires more range -- SS or 3B? Thanks, Jim.
No question it's shortstop. How can someone argue otherwise?
With regards to Tim from Virginia, who has a better chance to contend in 2012: Reds or Pirates?
Who will start for Marlins at 1B: Sanchez or Morrison? And what do you see them doing as a rookie?
Sanchez may win the job initially, but I think Morrison gets more at-bats. I'll project him to hit .275/.360/.450 in 350 at-bats.
Jim, Who is better cuban prospect Chapman or Arguelles. Seems like what I am reading on Arguelles is that he has more pitches and a better feel and has a better chance to remain a starter. Is this true?
The consensus is Chapman because his arm strength is so much greater. But Arguelles might have more polish and be the better bet in the long run. I'd still go with Chapman, though.
Percentage chance Jameson Taillon shows up to Rice in late August 2010 as a freshman?
Unless he has a disappointing spring, almost none. The super-elite high school prospects almost always sign, Gerrit Cole notwithstanding.
Jim what is your take on the kouzmanoff/hairston deal? Was there a winner/loser?
Pretty even. No studs on either side and I don't think Kouzmanoff is a very good defensive third baseman. He's a better option for the A's than an injured Chavez.
The reports and projections for Grant Green seem all over the place: does his #3 ranking in the BA top ten for Oakland signal that you guys still rate him very highly, or is that more something about oakland's top 10?
They are all over the place, but we still rate him very highly.
You don't think Kouzmanoff is a good defensive third baseman when he broke the record for fielding percentage, that was previously held by Vinny Castilla- who was 36 when he set the record?
If you want to evaluate defense by fielding percentage, have fun. Kouzmanoff has below-average to fringe range, and he's not going to field .990 again.
Better Anthony ... Renaudo (LSU) or Rendon (Rice)?
Vikings or Saints?
Let's head to the lightning round . . .
Is there a past or present player that you would compare Jesus Montero to in terms of what you expect him to be?
How much faith do you put in defensive metrics like UZR?
I try to look at multiple metrics and see if there's a consensus. Seems like they often disagree with each other, and there's a lot of fluctuation among individual players from year to year.
bumgarner starts the season with posey in AAA, right ?
Gillies or Gose?
who arrives to the majors first, and when - Michael Taylor or Jemele Weeks?
Taylor, in June.
Felix Hernandez or Jon Lester?
ETA for Kyle Gibson?
If he's healthy, mid-2011.
Jets or the Peytons?
what do you think the indians will do this year jim?
At the plate only, long-term: Lind, Snider, or Wallace?
Snider. I think he'll hit for the best combination of power and average.
Jim, can Dodgers MiLB SS Dee Gordon improve his defense enough to play SS in MLB?
Yes he can. He only has played baseball for a few years.
FMart in your top 50? where?
Not in mine, no.
better 2010 Justin Upton or Grady Sizemore??
It takes Heyward ___ years to become a .300-30-100 hitter.
On a scale of 1-10, how much is BJ Upton going to get his feelings hurt in his arbitration hearing?
Sheets - $10M. Worth It?
I wouldn't give him that in straight salary. Maybe $3 million with $7 million in incentives.
Michael Taylor or Starlin Castro?
If you are judging them on offense only for the future would you rather have Carlos Santana or Buster Posey?
Santana, because he has more power.
Arnett, Braddock, or Heckathorn?
true or false: Dodgers can contend for a World Series with their (pending) worse then last year starting rotation?
Zach Stewart, Matthew Moore, Mike Montgomery, or Aaron Crow?
Montgomery Crow, Moore, Stewart in that order.
bruce or rasmus?
Ryan Theriot -- asset or liability?
Much more of an asset before he hit arbitration. He's a pretty average shortstop and he's starting to get expensive.
Could Montero have the mobility to play left field adequately?
Maybe. We haven't seen him out there to get much of a read on that.
Better chance at 100% HOF induction --- Jeter or Pujols?
Jeter. But it won't happen.
Moore or Scheppers?
Is there a legitimate reason for not voting an all-time great on their first ballot for the HOF?
Nope. But it will continue to happen unless the voting process is revamped.
Neftali's transition to starter - handled better or worse than the Yankees handled Joba?
Better because it will be done with less scrutiny.
Gibson or Crow
Jurrjens or Billingsley?
Who do you prefer long term: Davis, Price or Hellickson?
Jim, thanks for the answers, and let me pose a follow-up: is it fair to say that determining which is harder (LF v. 1B) depends on a number of factors, including what a team values, what a particular player's tools are and where they play? I concede the point about # of balls handled and the DBacks moving Cust, but wouldn't it be quite perilous to put Fielder in left? Thanks.
Yes, it would. I wasn't suggesting that Fielder should move there. His range would be terrible.
Jose Valverde to Detroit for $7 million per and a first round pick? Good or bad move?
What do you make of Randy Wells?
I think he had his career year as a rookie.
Justin Smoak or Chris Carter (long-term)?
That's it for this week. See you next week--and if you ordered <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/store/store.cgi?browse=cat_books#125">the Prospect Handbook</a> directly from us, you may have it by then.