Were you encouraged by the debut of Bud Norris last season? Do you see him sticking as a starter or closing eventually? Thanks.
Hey everyone, forgive me for not being Jim Callis. Bud Norris' season was encouraging, most definitely. I'm not sure he'll be an ace but I do think he has enough fastball and command of the fastball to remain a starter. I did see him in a short stint in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Portland (save baseball in Portland!) and he was impressive in a short burst, so relieving is an option as well.
Do you still consider Mat Gamel a "prospect?"
One more from New Brunswick, why not? The whole province is under its quota . . . We do because he hasn't surpassed 130 ABs as a big leaguer yet. His star has dimmed somewhat because he's not even an average defender, so his bat has to be fairly special. It seemed on its way to being that kind of a bat in 2008 but less so in '09. If he shows some improvement at 3B, though, it wouldn't shock me at all if he beat out Casey McGehee and got time at 3B for the Brewers this season.
How do you think Lonnie Chissenhall will develop. Whats his upside? Thank You
Do you think Bryce Brentz is a legitimate top 10 pick or just a solid first rounder? How hard is it to project his bat when he isn't playing in a major conference?
My first time with this chat software so bear with me; I'll try again on the Chisenhall question below. Brentz will try to play CF for MTSU this spring, and if he shows some aptitude there, he could be a legit top 10 pick, but I'm thinking more first 20 picks. He's on a very short list for best D-I draft-eligible hitter in this year's draft. He hit with Team USA which is a good sign.
What's the latest word on James Paxton?
He's not expected to pitch anytime soon. BA National Writer Aaron Fitt has the latest on Paxton on our College blog: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/college/?p=2755
I can't get my answer to the Chisenhall question to post. Short version is -- I like him a lot and think he'll be Cleveland's everyday 3B starting in mid-2011. I'm bullish on his bat.
Is it reasonable to assume Desmond Jennings will crack your Top 10 on the BA 100 list?
He cracked my personal list, in fact he was No. 4. I don't see any weaknesses; health is all that has held him back, but he picked it up late last season for Triple-A Durham, helping it win the Triple-A national championship, and just has electric tools across the board. Our Top 100 goes up next week at BaseballAmerica.com so I will wait until then to reveal just where he ranks.
Hi, John. For those of us anxiously awaiting your Top 100 Prospects list, just how many fistfights have broken out within BA's offices as you debate the almighty "Heyward vs. Strasburg for #1" question? Is it a closer battle for supremacy this year than in previous years?
It is much closer than last year's Price vs. Wieters debate. That surprised me. I thought last year would be closer, considering what Price did in the 2008 MLB postseason, but it was almost unanimous for Wieters. This year it's definitely closer, and both players are on the cover of the print edition, which I just proofed, so that doesn't reveal which way we went either.
Who do you think will be the starting left fielder in 2010 for the New York Yankees?
I just read the chat with Brian Cashman at NoMaas.org, which I'm sad to say didn't doctor a photo of Cashman like it did for me with my interview with NoMaas.org. Anyway, Cash indicated it still could be Curtis Granderson, if Brett Gardner shows the team is better with him in CF and Granderson in LF. I'm betting LF becomes a hybrid of Gardner, Randy Winn and maybe even some Marcus Thames if he can squeeze his way onto the roster. I really liked the Winn signing for the Yankees -- great clubhouse guy, versatile, good fourth OF.
From what I've read and seen of him, Bryce Harper wants to get his career started ASAP. Does this mean he won't be as hard to sign as most people think?
Terry asked that, and JAYPERS asked "If the draft were held today, about how much would Harper fetch, and would the Nats pony up to get him?" To me trying to read those tea leaves, I see (a) Harper wasn't going to grow as a player staying in high school, and (b) he's a Boras Corp. client. He isn't going to be an easy sign. I'd guess the price tag starts at $10-$12 million, but I'd guess Boras Corp. will ask for more. Let's see how he performs this spring before speculating any more.
Sandoval or Zimmerman offensively in 2010?
I've always been a Zimmerman fan but I think last year was his peak, so I'll say Pablo Sandoval.
In your honest opinion, what would be the current rank of the farm system of my Cubs and why?
The Cubs' system is right in the middle of the pack for me; it's much improved and has some depth, but there are questions about most of the top prospects as well, with some weak spots (catching, starting pitching, LHPs in general). As a system, it made significant progress in the right direction in 2009.
Who in the minors right now do you believe is most likely to be the Next Albert Pujols like super-star?
Heyward. I saw where Chipper Jones compared him to Fred McGriff, and the high follow-through on his swing is quite reminiscent of the Crime Dog, but Heyward's closer to a Dave Parker type with his athletic ability. Health is the only thing that has held Heyward back, so he's my pick for having that kind of a career.
John, thanks for pinch hitting today. My question: Where in your personal top 50 would Mat Latos ranked if he were eligible? Thanks.
I was light on Latos in our Midseason Update on prospects, leaving him off the top 25 because of lingering makeup and durability concerns. While those could be borne out eventually, his big league debut was very impressive. I probably would have penciled him in around No. 10, right behind Strasburg, Matusz and Neftali Feliz among pitching prospects.
Five years from now Gordon Beckham or Starlin Castro?
Beckham. I am a firm believer in that bat.
Zack Cox the #12 draft prospect? Aside from the one very good summer on the Cape last year - what else motivates this high of a ranking? Are his tools that good?
Yes, big raw power, arm strength, the athletic ability (if not yet the skills) to hold down 3B at the pro level. But also, it's a weak year for hitters on the college side -- very weak really. That helps a lot.
Thanks for the chat. I've been pondering BA's early draft preview, and I'm wondering if any of the five are likely to stay at shortstop in the pros? Obviously not Cabrera or Gyrko, but what about Colon, Machado or Hague?
Machado is the best bet; Colon has the savvy and instincts, he's the the next most-likely to stay, but his range has been described as short for shortstop since high school. Those assessments were wrong then -- I mean, I talked to scouts who pondered moving Colon to catcher then. I wouldn't count him out at SS, but 2B is a better fit. Hague would rank third even though superficially he seems more suited to stay there than Colon.
I realize that the difference between #3 and #4 is an eyelash, but what gives Taillon the edge over Cole in BA's early draft preview?
One more from Dan . . . Taillon is bigger, has performed better, more mature physically, and his stuff is just a tick better in terms of both the fastball and breaking ball. Taillon has a chance to be the first prep RHP ever drafted No. 1 overall; two guys have gone No. 2 overall, Bill Gullickson in 1980 and Josh Beckett in '99.
Next 5 years: Verlander or Wainwright?
Good question . . . I'd take Verlander but I've been wrong on Wainwright before.
Who will be the better pitcher in two years, Yu Darvish or Aroldis Chapman?
The better MLB pitcher will be Chapman, because I don't see Darvish coming here in two years. Darvish is the better pitcher now and I would put my money on him to stay better through two seasons, as he has similar velo, a better breaking ball and a better feel for pitching.
Why don't we see more top HS players commit to JUCO's (and thus be eligible to be redrafted every year) instead of D1 programs. Especially for players who are, well, less academically inclined
I honestly can't say, Chris. I've advocated more players going to JC ball for years. It has fewer restrictions than NCAA schools on playing time, and I think I'd rather play at certain JCs than be in the GCL or Arizona League. However, I think it's hard to fight the attraction of big-time D-I programs when you go on a recruiting trip to a football game on a Saturday night or a big basketball game or some of the other, say, attractions of campus life. Those are big recruiting tools for four-year schools.
I know it's early, but isn't this draft class a little underwhelming? After the wonder kid, we've got Ranaudo, McGuire and the classic projectable HS Righties
Yes. But honestly we shouldn't separate Harper out from the pack like we did with Strasburg last year. He's not head and shoulders above everyone else in this draft class. The hype train already has left the station but for me, it's fairly close. Also Taillon is almost more of a college pitcher, at 6-7, 230 lbs., there's not much projection left on that sucker.
Is it me or are these Cuban guys getting overpaid? 8mil+ for SS's who "probably wont hit enough to be regulars?"
Where've you been Chris? Cubans have been overpaid for a while by MLB. It's funny, Cuba had to become a Communist country for that to happen, I'm sure the Cubans who played in MLB in the '50s and '60s weren't overpaid, quite the opposite I'm sure. But now the lack of information is what contributes the most; a lot of teams spend money unwisely on players (draft or int'l free agents) who have great private workouts. That said, Iglesias, the Red Sox SS you may be referring to, is an 80 defender at SS, top of the scale. Those are hard to find, and that's why he got paid like he did.
john, is it too early to say the orioles screwed up by picking hobgood?
Yes, it is too early.
Is the shortstop of the future in the O's current organization?
Depends on what future you're talking about--2 years? 4 years?--but for me, the answer is no. Mychal Givens gets a "maybe" from me, 4 years from now.
I thought BA Top 100 list was suppose to come out today, now I see it isnt coming out to the 23rd? What is up with that?
Too much draft and college preview stuff to get through, Ted. We also have some Dirk Hayhurst columns in a holding pattern. Just too much content, what a terrible problem to have. FWIW, I've read Dirk's book and it's pretty darn good, very fun read.
I know he is not a true prosapect, but do you think Nava will find a place in MLB?
Daniel Nava question; I'll post it just for J.J. Cooper, our indy guy who helped find Nava in the Golden League a couple of years ago. Nava hits enough and runs well enough to profile as an extra outfielder. He's smallish, though, and has had durability issues. If he can stay healthy, he could get a shot as an extra outfielder. He is a legit hitter, though he doesn't have much power.
I've read reports that some scouts are worried about Stephen Strasburg's mechanics leading to future injuries. Your thoughts?
I've talked to some scouts who have doubts and others who have none. Inherently, there's going to be some effort when you throw as hard as he does. One skeptic told me he gets into some "bad spots" in his delivery, specifically pinching his shoulder blades together. My personal take is, he gets in and out of those positions so quickly, his arm speed is so good, that he mitigates that to a significant degree and should be OK.Quick phone interview here, sorry.
Which First Baseman for the Rangers is most likely to stick with the club for the long term? Smoak or Davis? Please explain your reasoning.
Ok, sorry about that. Justin Smoak's a better pure hitter than Davis and a better defender at 1B. Davis has more power and might be a shade better athlete, but Smoak's a very good defender around the bag, a switch-hitter . . . just a better, safer bet with significant upside of his own. I don't think Smoak is going to be Mark Teixeira II like some do, though; I don't think he has that kind of 40-homer potential.
Chase D'Arnaud seems to be getting alot of attention lately. Has he improved on something over the last year to bring this attention or is it just that he's consistently around a .290 batting average?
I think he just keep making believers out of people. He was mostly a 3B in college at Pepperdine so I think the fact he's shown he can handle SS keeps opening eyes. Also he's a solid gap power kind of hitter. I like both d'Arnauds. Wish I could get a definitive answer on how to pronounce the last name!
A couple Mauer questions... Has he exceeded expectations from draft day? Seems to me he was projected to do great things, but it seems even this couldn't have been expected. Also, what do you see the Twins doing eventually with their other C prospect? Does Mauer eventually see a position change?
I think it's safe to say Mauer has exceeded expectations; no one expected three batting titles. People did expect greatness, he was very highly regarded, but also the track record of HS catchers in the first round is quite poor historically. He has bucked that trend as well. As for Wilson Ramos, he raked in the Winter in Venezuela, but he also lacks patience, missed about 60% of last season with injuries and will go back to Double-A as a 22-year-old. He's a great trade chip, and he's got an outside chance at earning a job out of spring training as Mauer's backup. I am a big fan of his as a prospect because of his power arm, power bat and solid athleticism.
What do you think about prospects Simon Castro and Cory Luebke? They seem to have really put it together in the last year.
I'm higher on the Padres system than I have been in some time. I like Luebke as a fourth starter type, he was also quite good for Team USA in the World Cup in September. Castro is a legit sleeper, one of the better pitching prospects in the minors who gets very little buzz among us dorks who follow these things. He's a power arm and has a swing-and-miss fastball with life and velocity, plus he throws strikes with it. My kind of guy.
This Chat isn't cosmopolitan enough for me.
I feel compelled to report that I ate leftovers from a chain restaurant as well while chatting. I'm sorry.
I know Allen Craig OF isn't a high ceiling prospect, but do you think he could be a servicable bench guy, 5th OF? Considering how much TLR plays his bench, I have to wonder if he could field enough for that role.
I've always kind of liked Allen Craig, who by the way played for USA Baseball's junior national team (now known as 18U) back in the day. He was the SS on the '02 team that had a middle lineup of Lastings Milledge, Delmon Young & Ian Stwart; pitching staff had Ian Kennedy and Chad Billingsley, FWIW. So he's always had talent, but he's not as athletic as he used to be. He has a solid track record for hitting, and I think he is a legitimate option as a reserve OF and maybe even 3B if David Freese doesn't work out.
If Bryce Harper didn't play catcher, would he still be the consensus number one pick for this coming draft? I ask because he is so young, he is still growing. And as is, he would be huge for a catcher. If he ends up at 1st or in RF, how does that effect his value?
Obviously it would affect his value; I've definitely talked to several scouts and evaluators who believe Harper's bat is potential such an impact bat that they would move him to RF as soon as possible so he doesn't get held back as a big leaguer by catching. Then others think he's going to outgrow catcher and will have to move, though 1B would be a waste of a plus-plus arm that Harper loves to show off. He'd still be the best position player in the 2010 draft class as a RF, though.
Bigger year: Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee?
Halladay. How good should he be leaving the AL East for the NL? Quite a bit better I would think.
What do you see Victorino topping out as? I honestly think he is a 4th outfielder at best, and I think that the phillies overpaid for him.
He already topped out as the starting CF for a World Series champion. They may have overpaid a bit, but he's been pretty good.
What kind of bat potential (power and average) does Austin Romine have?
He should settle in as a .260-.270 hitter with 15-20 homers annually, which is pretty good for a good defensive catcher.
Do you think there is any way Taillon slides to the 20's due to signability concerns?
Never say never, but no, I don't anticipate that.
good afternoon John,In the near future, does the yankees trade Jesus Montero in a key acquisition or keep him because his offensive skill set?
Keep him. He's already taking groundballs at 1B this spring, and they can given him a whirl in the outfield as well. One of the storylines I'll watch the most in spring training is Montero at other positions.
In terms of "stuff" which Rangers prospect ranks highest?Scheppers, Perez, or Feliz
Feliz has an 80 fastball and it sounds like a 70 or so changeup. That's enough for me. Perez may have three pitches that are 60s with 70 future potential. Scheppers is more like a 70 fastball (big velo but not the life that Feliz's has). He does have a better breaking ball than Feliz, but it's not as good as Feliz's change.
How much upside does Jared Mitchell have?
Loads of it, for me. He has plenty of room to get better; he's almost too patient for his own good and has to learn when to pounce on hitter's pitches. But he's athletic, strong and has some plate discipline; count me in.
Post-hype guys question. Which of the following do you think can be pretty good in '10: Delmon, Brandon Wood, Andrew Miller, Milledge, Chris Young? Thanks!
I'd rank them Young (encouraged by his '09 finish), Wood, Miller (always been a fan), Milledge, Young. Miller probably *should* rank last, but I have a soft spot for him.
John, Why is it I generally see Matzek and Jacob Turner ranked much higher than Shelby Miller? What does Miller need to show in his first season of pro ball to catch up?
Better fastball command.
Who do you think has the most major league ready bat in college that is draft eligable this year? Anyone on par with Ackley?
Ackley was the best pure college hitter to come along in 20 years. No one this year sniffs that. I've vote Christian Colon of Fullerton for *most ready.*
John- Can you pls compare Kalish to Fmart. They both seem to have very similar makeups on the field, yet FMart always gets the nod as the much better prospect. Thanks
Fernando Martinez has more raw power than Kalish by a lot; potentially a more impactful bat. Kalish is more well-rounded. They really aren't that similar, sorry, Jason.
Thoughts on Ross Detwiler? He had a great 2009 in AA and AAA, but not so much in the majors. Is he going to make the next step and be a success with the big league club?
Never been a huge fan; throws way across his body and he's just so skinny. I'm not sure he's more than a fourth or fifth starter for a championship club.
Do you think Josh Thole is ready to be a MLB catcher? Also, what type of career do you see him having?
He's close to ready but his upside is limited. He has very little power; that walk rate may not hold up to big league scrutiny (scouting reports) and pitching. He's going to be challenged a lot; he just seems like a second-division regular or backup catcher to me, more than a regular on a nine-figure payroll team like the Mets.
All right, I better get out of here but thanks for all the questions. Jim should be back next week.