Kevin Goldstein, working his way through Top 11 Prospects lists, checks in to talk about his rankings.
Kevin Goldstein: Hey folks, sorry about the delay -- had some wi-fi issues here at casa de KG. Nonetheless, great to be rolling again here at BP, the book is pretty much done, Top 11s have moved to the National League, and all is well. So let's talk baseball with our usual assortment of silliness, be it music, film, video games or what your best holiday gift was. Let's go.
wsgdf83 (Naperthrill): I've heard bad things about Poreda's delivery - that he's an injury waiting to happen. Have you heard the same?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. It's hardly perfect, but it's not end of the world violent or anything. The more legitimate concern is wether or not his secondary stuff will come -- it's still a pretty special arm.
kevin (boston): what will the redsox do with jed lowrie? trade bait? move lugo to make room?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, you make it sound like 'move lugo' is as easy as calling Bob into the office and saying "move Lugo." And then Bob comes back with his TPS reports next week and Lugo is moved. He's a guy with a bad contract coming off a bad year, so where you going to move him to? Also, that means you are putting Lowrie at shortstop, which is a mistake -- I love the guy, but he's just not a big league shortstop, he's a second baseman, and probably for someone else in the end.
prhood (Canada): is it a coincidence that 2 of the teams with the weaker farm systems - TOR and OAK (until the latest trades) both espoused a low risk drafting philosophy which involves taking college players with the top picks. Beane was Riccardi's mentor was he not? Can we hope to see a change in their respective approaches?
Kevin Goldstein: Travis Snider (heck, most of the Toronto '07 top picks), Trevor Cahill, etc. -- I think you've already seen a change. The moneyball way of drafting is a dead issue folks.
greg (toronto): Other than Travis Snider (and including the 2007 draft picks), are there any prospects in the Jays system that have star potential? If so, then who?
Kevin Goldstein: No; not applicable.
Jeremy (New Hampshire): What do you think is the future of the draft's slotting system? Will it be scrapped all together, continue in its present form, or will the commissioner's office try to make the penalties for going above slot more severe?
Kevin Goldstein: It's one of those things that really can't be changed until the next CBA, and I can't see the Players Association going for anything that involves fixed dollar figures for anything. Personally, I think the answer is to allow the trading of picks.
Dan (CT): Kevin, what's your take on Joe Savery? Do the injury concerns that caused him to slip to Philly at 19 cast doubt on his long-term potential as a SP, or might teams have overreacted to the string of 1st round Rice pitchers w/ injury problems? Does he have ace potential if he improves command of his secondary pitches?
Kevin Goldstein: Being at Rice, and being injured at Rice definitely turned some teams off -- no doubt about it. At the same time, I really like Savery, but I have a personal bias for athletic pitchers. Ace potential? No, but so few have that. More a No. 3 with an outside shot at No. 2 if all the planets align.
prhood (Canada): Thanks for taking these questions.
Do you follow the high school scene to any great extent. If so, who are some of the top high school players likely to be drafted this year in the 1st round?
Kevin Goldstein: I follow it on a draft level certainly. My top high school player right now is Tim Beckham, a five-tool shortstop from Georgia; my top pitcher is Tim Melville, a tall power righty from Missouri.
bctowns (Chicago, IL): Kevin,
If memory serves, you are a pretty hardcore RPG guy when it comes to video games. If that's correct, have you any recommendations for the New Year?
Kevin Goldstein: Get a PSP -- tons of great stuff for it. Console wise, we're kind of playing the waiting game for a good one, though the offerings coming at the end of the year from Square/Enix look pretty great. And of course, hopefully Disgaea 3, which is out in Japan at the end of this year, and hopefully will be here sooner than later.
Hub (Baltimore): Who has the worst farm system in baseball? To me, I think the White Sox have the worst system by far. In fact, it could be historically bad right now
Kevin Goldstein: The Astros see your bad system, and raise you . . . significantly.
Dan (Denver): Which mistake was bigger? Jays taking Romero over Tulo, or the Rockies taking Reynolds over Longoria?
Kevin Goldstein: They are both megaton errors.
Dan (CT): Kevin, how about an Oakland A's top 11 Redux Redux following the Swisher trade? Where would Gio Gonzalez rank? Does this deal change your opinion as to his potential to make a big league impact over the next 2 to 3 years?
Kevin Goldstein: Ok! How about a Redux for every American League team that has made moves to effect their rankings? You'll see that tommorow! 2008 and I'm ahead of the game!
cjbuet (madison, wi): is desmond jennings the next coming of eric davis?
Kevin Goldstein: Not THAT much power, no.
Michael Lewis (Scottsdale): Isn't the Moneyball philosophy about arbitrage and not drafting college players? Moneyball is about exploiting undervalued assets in the market. If the same risks can be achieved at lower costs, you have an obligation to exploit the inefficiency in the market. Quick example to drive the point home, if you have two players of the same caliber but one is from the Northern hemisphere and the other is from the Southern hemisphere. However, the market is requiring a larger payout for the player from the southern hemisphere, does it not make sense to acquire the player from the north with the same risk profile?
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, yeah. Look we all understand what it's ABOUT, but let's face it, the second I said 'Moneyball draft' you knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, so while it doesn't fit the definition perfection, and may even be a misnomer, you still got it, and see it was communicated effectively.
mike (DC): What do you make of Brandon Snyder? Can he handle 3B better than Billy Rowell? Will his bat support a permanent move to 1B?
Kevin Goldstein: Saying he can handle third base better than Billy Rowell is like saying he'll be a better dictator than Idi Amin. Both are pretty bad there, and both have no MLB future at the hot corner. I do like Snyder's bat, but at the same time, like you point out, is it enough to be a 1b? I don't see it.
danny (MA): Dustin Richardson seems to be flying under the radar. He posted great numbers at Greenville and Lancaster. I know hes old for his level, and some project for the bullpen, but do you think he could ever more than an end of the rotation guy?
Kevin Goldstein: I think even an end of the rotation guy might be a bit much, but that's not a huge insult -- I do like him as a prospect. Big, athletic righty who needs to work on the secondary stuff.
greg (toronto): Was the only reason that the Jays took Romero before Tulowitzki was because he was the best lefty in a draft that didn't have many quality lefties?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd hate to say 'only', but positional scarcity definitely played a huge role.
ripfan008 (Baltimore): Hi Kevin,
Thanks for taking my question. Do you feel that Chris Nelson's 2007 season represents true improvement or the effects of repeating a league?
Kevin Goldstein: Colorado Top 11 is coming soon. I won't give away his ranking, but I will say this -- I'm a HUGE Chris Nelson fan. Like, really, really, big Chris Nelson fan.
Like me that Chris Nelson guy.
bctowns (Chicago, IL): Kevin,
Any hope for the Cubs' farm system? Sure seems like a lot of mediocre arms and not quite good enough position guys. How about some hope for the New Year?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't have much for you. I really like Josh Vitters, despite his poor debut. I think Soto is going to be a very good catcher. How's that?
NMUWildcat027 (Lapeer, MI): Will Jay Bruce go north in Centerfield this spring?
Kevin Goldstein: That's why they traded Josh Hamilton.
Robert (Atlanta): A lot is made of the outfield depth in the Atlanta farm system, but how are they elsewhere? Is there anybody currently in the system who could realisticly be expected to be ready to step in at 3rd base in 3-4 years when Chipper Jones decides to hang up the spikes?
Kevin Goldstein: The Braves strength is definitely in their pitching. Postion-wise, other than the outfield, they're very shallow.
raygu1 (NJ): Kevin-thanks for the chat. I recall you saying that you were high on Andrew McCutchen. Can you tell me if you see him as a future 25-30 hr hitter? Does he have 30-30 in him once he reaches the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: I see more 20/40 possibilities than 30/30. He's got juice in his bat, but not THAT much juice.
What is up with the Moneyball fanboys? I have like 12 200-word diatribe's on it in the que. Stop it. You're grasping onto old technology.
aardvark (California): In his last chat (the transcript seems to be unavailable, so forgive me for not having the exact language) Nate Silver suggested that based on some of the work that he and Clay Davenport have done this offseason the gulf between translations (projections?) for players in the low minors and high minors is wider than previously thought.
He specifically mentions Clayton Kershaw as being further away from being an impact big leaguer. I also seem to remember that you described Kershaw as the best pitching prospect still in the minors.
Does what Silver is talking about change your thinking on low minor prospects in general and Kershaw specifically?
Kevin Goldstein: Not in the least. Ranking prospects combines ceiling and chances of reaching said ceiling. You can't ranking prospect by only going for sure things -- or you'll just have a list of Double and Triple-A guys. Let's say there are 30 fututre impact players in the minors (I just pulled that number out of my you know what, I'm not sure what the number would really be), chances are, those 30 are evenly distributed throughout each level, there's just a greater challenge to finding them to further you move down.
Tim (Portland): How forthcoming are scouts about 20-80 grades when you talk to them? Can you give an example of one current prospect who has an 80 tool?
Kevin Goldstein: Depends on the scout really. Many will give you indvidual tool grades, some are hesitant to give you their final OFP (Overall Future Potential) score, some aren't. 80 tools aren't easy to find. You can find a good number of 80 speed guys, but that's about it.
NMUWildcat027 (Lapeer, MI): What can you tell us about Warner Madrigal? I read somewhere that the Rangers were going to bring him to ST and let him have a chance to earn a job throwing his fastball in their bullpen. Does he have any refinement on his breaking ball. Is this the kind of fresh arm more teams should be taking a chance on with their mediocre minor league outfielders? How hard is it to try to teach an athletic hard throwing baseball player to spin a curve or toss a slider?
Kevin Goldstein: Madrigal actually has a surprisingly decent slider to go with some big-time gas. I don't think he's nearly big league ready, but I thought he was a real nice grab for the Rangers.
Dan (CT): Thanks for answering a couple of my questions Kevin! As someone addicted to "prospecting," your approach and insight have been invaluable in helping me to refine my own system of player evaluation. So, you think a career in online baseball journalism will cover the massive and debilitating student loans I incurred for law school before deciding I liked this better? Don't answer that. Uggggh. Costly mistake.
Kevin Goldstein: Man, you are so screwed.
Buff (Austin TX): Should Tribe fans start considering Adam Miller a potential back-end bullpen asset rather than a potential FOR starter asset because of his inability to stay healthy?
Kevin Goldstein: Lots of Miller questoins. I do think the best route at this point would be to ease him into the majors in a relief role and play it by ear from there.
Colin Jaffe (Buffalo, NY): Do you agree with Christina that it didn't make much sense for Oakland to jettison their best hitter and best pitcher, each of whom was signed very cheaply, in order to add prospects? Would it have been better to build around Swisher and Haren than the few guys who work out among the gabajarillion prospects they got?
Kevin Goldstein: No, I do not. I think if you make a decision to rebuild, you have to totally commit to a full rebuild. You can't rebuild AND try to compete at the same time -- you have to be totally committed to the future without any concern for the present. I think the A's are doing the right thing here.
greg (toronto): Who has a better chance of turning things around: Purcey or Romero?
Kevin Goldstein: I like Purcey's chances if they make him a reliever, though I find it hard to bet against Romero. That guy is about as competitive as it gets, and I bet he figures it out enough to become a solid back-end rotation guy.
LindInMoskva (DC): Who are the likely Strat-o-matic 1's in the minors right now? McCutchen, Hu, Colvin? Not necessarily the best defensive players in the minors, but the best defensive players in the minors that could hit enough to play in the majors.
Kevin Goldstein: Colvin? He's certainly not a 1 in CF, he's probably not even going to be able to stay there long term. When I think of highly overrated prospects, Colvin is one of the first guys I think about.
Tim (Portland): What's your take on Pedro Alvarez?
Kevin Goldstein: Obviously, there's a lot to like there. Very good bat, lot's of power, not a great defensive player, but more than good enough to stay at 3B. I don't think I'd put him in Ryan Braun's class offensively, but again, he can stay at the position, so that makes up a lot for it.
Trey (Albany NY): Why are people comparing Kennedy to Mussina? I mean Mussina in his hey day had nasty stuff and Kennedy doesn't fit the bill. If there is one pitcher who similar to moose is Phil Hughes.
Kevin Goldstein: Look, there are some people out there who just don't get it. These are the same people who two years ago compared Tyler Clippard to Mussina. That said, Kennedy is a far superiour prospect to anything Clippard ever was and will be a successful big league starter.
Tommy (TheStatPack): Baseball America left Fernando Perez off their top 10 prospect list for the Rays. How can this be?
Kevin Goldstein: Ask them.
ajmorriso (Chicago): How far has scouts opinions of Donald Veal fallen since last spring?
Kevin Goldstein: It's certainly fallen. He still has great stuff, but he needed to improve his command and instead it went backwards. Hard to bet against that kind of arm though.
Will (PA): Who would you take:
Buchholz or Hughes? Explain as well.
Kevin Goldstein: Buchholz.
Explaination: Better stuff.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): How many Rays prospects would be #1's in other organizations?
Kevin Goldstein: As many as six.
Arnold Layne (Cambridge): What would Craig Brazell do with 500 at bats in the Majors?
Kevin Goldstein: .250 w/ 25 home runs and few walks but tons of Ks.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): I have been asking around since the end of this last season but with no answer: have you heard anything about a young DET P named Edwardo Reynoso? His numbers were videogame-like in the DSL (yeah, I know it's the DSL, but still!)!!!
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, he had insane numbers, and I wish I could tell you he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he's not. Small-framed guy with great command of decent stuff. Not the next big thing, unfortunately.
Marcus (Fairfax): Do you consider Chris Marrero a five-star prospect and what do you think of the improvements the Nats have made on the farm?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes I do. The Nats have had nowhere to go but up, but they've don't a good job in the last two drafts and their system looks much better than it did 24 months ago. I just finished the top 100 for BP2008 (Go! Buy! Now!) and there are three Nats on the list.
Joe (NY): Kevin, the reason people compare Kennedy to Mussina is because they ahve a similar "bob" motion when pitching from the wind-up. The comparisons have nothing to do with stuff or expected performance.
Kevin Goldstein: That's like comparing me to Frank Black because I'm fat and bald.
bucket (seoul, korea): how about this?
lester? or kennedy?
Kevin Goldstein: Lester -- when in doubt ALWAYS take the power arm.
Jack (Manchvegas (NH)): Any thoughts on Andy Laroche? Is he in the same caliber with other top young 3Bs or has his stock dropped? What is his chance of him starting in the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: I still think LaRoche is an elite prospect, and I'm very confused as to why the Dodgers seemingly don't agree with me.
Jay (Madison): Joba, Clay, Phil. Who's the best in 08 and who's the best beyond?
Kevin Goldstein: I'll take Clay, Joba, Phil for both answers. Love all three.
Mario66 (Toronto): Hey KG, what particular stats do you focus on when considering a pitching prospect? Does some stat that takes into account ability to induce ground balls come into play? And, finally, what pitchers have a chance to develop into the next Derek Lowe / Jake Westbrook? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: IP, H, K are the first three I like out, but everything is taken into account. Next Derek Lowe just might be Justin Masterson.
cjbuet (madison, wi): Do you think Chris Nelson moves to 2b\OF this season? How close is he to the bigs?
Kevin Goldstein: No, becasue they don't need to. Beyond the offensive breakout, he made huge improvements with the glove as well. I realize that blocks him, but as a basic rule, you don't move a prospect the wrong way on the spectrum until absolutely necessary.
MarinerDan (San Francisco): Am I crazy to think that Daric Barton could hit 300/400/500 this year?
Kevin Goldstein: Crazy insane? No. A little optimistic? yes.
Seymour (Brooklyn): Lester over Kennedy because he's a power arm? When in doubt should you always take the guy with bad control too?
Kevin Goldstein: Bad? That's a bit much. He has average control, while Kennedy is obviously plus-plus. His stuff far surpasses Kennedy, and in the majors, stuff plays.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): If Dellin Betances bounces back from injury this coming year does he vault himself into the top 10 of pitching prospects in the minors? His ceiling, assuming good health, seems incredible.
Kevin Goldstein: It's impossible to answer that question with any certainty. He's certainly one who COULD do that, but also so many do. Still, better to be on the 'could' list than off it.
Tim (NY): Gossage or Rivera?
Kevin Goldstein: Gossage, but that's not Rivera's fault. I just think 100+ IP relievers are FAR more valueable and it's not Mariano fault that he wasn't used that way. Obviously, he's belongs in the silly Hall of Fame as well.
MarinerDan (San Francisco): Have you played Mario Galaxies on Wii yet? If so, how cool is it?
Kevin Goldstein: Just a little bit, as we are part-time Wii owners. It's pretty much pure joy and cuteness -- if it doesn't make you smile, you have no soul.
Kevin (FCq): Do you think Jeff Niemann going to get a fair shot at the rotation with Wade Davis, David Price, and Jake McGee banging on the door?
Kevin Goldstein: I think everyone, including some of the second-tier pitchers in that system like Talbot and Mason will get a 'fair shot' at the roation -- I just think there are only so many jobs there.
jlarsen (DRays Bay): In the case Longoria starts the year in Durham, do you think Joel Guzman will be an adequate stopgap 3B for the Rays or would we be better served by signing a Free Agent 3B?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think Joel Guzman is even an adequate stopgap at 3B for Durham at this point.
Grizz (Seattle): 5 Stars for Jeff Clement? Is this a position scarcity rating? Even if he sticks at catcher, his defense projects as adequate at best.
Kevin Goldstein: Position scarcity certainly plays a role. Start counting off every catching prospect in the majors who has a shot at developing into an average defender with 30+ home runs a year . . . that's why he's so valuable.
jwr (Chicago): Will the following players still be at the same position in 3 years: (a) Jay Bruce--CF, (b) Ryan Braun--3B, and (c) Miguel Cabrera--3B.
Kevin Goldstein: A. Leaning towards yes, but not in five years.
Fernando (CT): 360 or PS3?
Kevin Goldstein: PS3.
lawless (Austin, TX): Rhetorical Question:
Do you think that any of the members of the BBWAA who won't vote on players from the steroid era would also support not recognizing writers from the same era era for recognition in the hall of fame?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't really get the questoin. I would support everyone caring a whole lot less about who people vote for the Hall of Fame or the various awards -- but that's just me, and I realize that.
Jeremy (New Hampshire): Will we see another 100IP quality reliever anytime soon? Are any teams trying to develop that sort of talent out of failed starting pitching prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know of any, but I thought that with a different organization with the right need, Tim Lincecum would be ideal as the next Mike Marshall. He could give you 150 out of the pen, easy.
doog7642 (Blaine, MN): % chance that Moustakas plays SS in the bigs?
Kevin Goldstein: Computer says: 1.583924%
Fred Bird (The Lou): Who are the comparables scouts use when describing Colby Rasmus?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a guy some scouts have difficulty putting a comp on. He's obviously a great prospect and a great athlete, but there's some funk to his game. You can't argue with the results, but he's really not a fluid kind of player.
Mark (Arizona): What's the scoop on Parker and Porcello? Will both start in Low A? How fast will they move? Who do you like better in the long run?
Kevin Goldstein: Probably; moderately quickly; Porcello -- but I think both are elite-level arms.
cjbuet (madison, wi): Are you a believer in Lars Anderson's bat?
Kevin Goldstein: Not as much as some of the others out there. Like him quite a bit -- don't love him.
bucket (seoul): how do you see the future of d.bard and b.cox? and why they're struggling so much? just overrated draft pick?
Kevin Goldstein: Annyong ha shimnikka. Bard just can't throw strikes, simple as that. Cox is a guy who when he's on, he's great, but his delivery has so many working parts, that if one thing goes wrong, it all falls apart, and it all fell apart last year and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put him back together again.
tcfatone (new york): I think Kennedy and Clippard were compared to Moose because Moose has been and will always be an underrated HOF calibre pitcher. Moose will end up being the 2nd best pitcher of all times to be snubbed by the HOF voters, behind Blyleven. I can already see the stat-heads laying down their cases in support of Moose, like they did with Raines, but to no avail.
Kevin Goldstein: And how was Clippard underrated. . . ever?
costa24 (Montreal): Are any of the prospects you cover BP readers? Do they ask you about their spot on your lists?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; yes.
Travis (San Diego): Eric Campbell - will he bounce back?
Kevin Goldstein: There's more than just a physical bounceback needed. There need to be some more effort and desire there as well, and that can't be taught.
Robert (Atlanta): Any idea when the 2008 PECOTAs will be released? I'm a new subscriber to BP and not that familiar with the release schedule.
Kevin Goldstein: Welcome aboard! We love our subscirbers, new and old. I don't have an exact time for you, but I believe in February at some point you'll all go crazy for the new PECOTA action -- as you should.
Bron (Ontario): Gorkys Hernandez or Desmond Jennings?
Kevin Goldstein: Jennings by a wide margin. Both are top 100 guys though.
Terrel (Arizona): Can Kevin Whelan and Mark Melancon help the Yanks this year from the bullpen. aside ffrom his control issues, Whelan has nasty stuff and his other #'s like BAA and k's are great.
Kevin Goldstein: I would say neither is a certainly, but both have a chance. Long term, I still like both of them.
tcfatone (New york): You misunderstood my point. Moose was underrated, which is why people had the audacity to compare mediocre prospects to him.
Kevin Goldstein: Understood now.
Brian (Manchester, NH): Would you move 5-6 years of a somewhat cost controlled Hughes for 5-6 years of Santana at ~25-mil/year? And what do you think is Hughes ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: It depends on the team and the budget, really. If I'm the Twins, Hughes -- If I'm the Yankees, Santana.
Silv (NY, NY): Kevin, I think lawless is alluding to the feeling that the newspapermen of the 'steroid era' turned a blind eye to obvious use of PEDs until it became a national and outright blatant story.
Kevin Goldstein: I think any guilt there is a tiny fraction that that of football writers and fans -- I truly believe that sport has a far worse drug problem and flat out nobody cares.
o'neill (cooperstown): Bigger draft bust Corey Patterson or Colt Griffin?
Kevin Goldstein: MLB Games:
That answer your question?
Nate (Baltimore): Ronny Cedeno looks like he'll be moved today... looking forward, can he be an above-average shortstop ?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. I know I'm the only guy on this bandwagon, and I'm on a lonsome desert highway, but I still think he can be a pretty good player.
Michael Lewis (the dale): Listen, I get your point and it is well taken. I believe that both traditional scouting and advanced statistics can live in perfect harmony. I believe the combination of both can produce superior results. Agree?
Kevin Goldstein: For the most part.
Seymour (Brooklyn): Hasn't Jesus Montero's power been graded an 80?
Kevin Goldstein: By some, absolutely. It's monster power.
Clonod (St. Louis): Can you elaborate on the "funk" in Colby's game?
Kevin Goldstein: Nothing he does, from running, to swinging is especially fluid or smooth. It's really not a concern to anybody I talked to as much as it's simply an interesting quirk.
TonyPenaHuntsQuail (CT): Thanks for answering my question, what yankee prospects, if any, are flying under the radar, players with a legitimate chance at becoming usefull big leaguers; and are Humberto Sanchez and Tim Battle amongst them?
Kevin Goldstein: Battle, certainly not. Sanchez, maybe -- if he can stay healthy and lay off the buffet table, he should be a fine reliever.
aardvark (California): "..chances are, those 30 are evenly distributed throughout each level."
Wait a second, I seem to remember that least year you responded to criticism that your 5-star prospects weighted heavily to low minors by saying that you are more likely to find high ceiling/impact players in the low minors? The explanation was that they will move faster than lesser prospects and as they move up some high ceiling/impact players will prove that they are not as good as expected. Did you say that, or something like that or did someone else?
Even if it was someone else, isn't is a somewhat valid point?
Kevin Goldstein: I do think you find fewer at Triple-A, because so many teams these days use that level and insurance policy storage as opposed to prospect development. Double-A and down, I'll stuck to the point.
bucket (seoul): love this chat. what will be the position of middlebrooks? can he stick at SS? and give me your superbowl pick
Kevin Goldstein: Middlebrooksis about 6-4/220 -- he's a good athlete, but to play SS at that size you have to be an apecrap athlete for that size. He's a 3B in the end.
I'm honestly not sure who's in the playoffs anymore, and I watched zero football over the weekend, so I'll go out on a limb here and take New England, because I hear they're a real sleeper.
goodwine10 (New York, NY): What do you think Austin Romine's ceiling is? Do you think he has a chance to be Posada's successor (assuming the speculation that Montero can't stay behind the plate is true)?
Kevin Goldstein: Montero's bat is tremendous, but there's no way he's staying back there. Romine project as a big league starter -- he'll never be in Posada's class (so few can be).
Sally (New Orleans): Abstract question, Kevin. *Any* player young for his league who finishes in the top 5 in batting is at least a good prospect, barring extenuating negatives (e.g. bad makeup, horrific plate discipline, fatter than Prince Fielder). Fair statement?
Kevin Goldstein: No.
Will (PA): Did people ever saw Mike Mussina in his Baltimore and early yankee years? The guy had a good fastball and one of the nastiest curves in all of baseball and his stats are very good. Why do people underrate this guy and always get compaerd to prospects (Ian and Tyler) who wish they had they had his stuff.
Kevin Goldstein: I actually do wonder if Mussina will end he career underrated because he never had that one crazy year. He was pretty much always good though. He finished in the top six of the cy voting EIGHT times.
Tim (Portland): Did Hank Conger make any progress defensively this year or is he still borderline for staying behind the plate?
Kevin Goldstein: Borderline -- feels like I'm going to lose my mind.
Yeah, I went there.
Tyler (Bmore): Markakis or Bruce?
Kevin Goldstein: Really good player vs. the best prospect in the game. Gimme Bruce without blinking.
bloodwedding (BK): chavez, blanton, and street. Who goes? All of em?
Kevin Goldstein: Blanton is most likely to, possibly to the Dodgers.
Nick (Chicago): "Michael Lewis (the dale): Listen, I get your point and it is well taken. I believe that both traditional scouting and advanced statistics can live in perfect harmony. I believe the combination of both can produce superior results. Agree?
Kevin Goldstein: For the most part.
WTF? Which part do you not agree with?
Kevin Goldstein: I just think you need to have a constantly adjusting balance going. The lower you go, the less statistics mean -- and for some players they can be all but meaningless. I can't think of any level or situation where scouting reports are meaningless. Both are important, but both aren't always important. Man, I'm just asking for a full inbox here.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Nate Schierholtz put up great numbers last year in the PCL, but doesn't really seem to register as a legitimate prospect. Do you see any reason for optimism?
Kevin Goldstein: Not a huge fan -- I just see him as more of a hacker with some pop in his bat than any sort of bigger contributor.
Loeb (NY,NY): AL Rookie of the Year?
NL Rookie of the Year?
Take a risk and surprise us!
Kevin Goldstein: I'm going to bore you, sorry.
Eric (NJ): Any realistic chance of Eric Duncan ever reaching his potential? And same question for Alex Escobar?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Move on.
DeMaro (Pittsburgh, PA): It seems Blu-Ray is about to put the nail in the coffin of Betamax...er...HD-DVD. Thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm just glad the format war is over so hopefully the Blu-Ray library can expand out of the blockbuster/Disney only road and give me some movies I actually want to see.
The Blade Runner box set is total WIN however -- just incredible.
costa24 (Montreal): What's the first thought that comes to your mind with the whole Edwar Ramirez "stats found him story"? Smart and sensible move considering the low investment or unwise lack of homework and first-hand scouting that happened to work out pretty well this time but shouldn't become a habit?
Kevin Goldstein: Sure, but it's also a lie. Yankees sent a scout on a holiday weekend for like a five hour drive to go see him pitch before they signed him. So don't believe the myth that he got inked off a spreadsheet, it's just not true.
oira61 (San Francisco): Kevin, I know you're not a believer in TINSTAAPP, but still ... why would a rebuilding team trade a productive corner outfielder (Swisher) entering his age 27 year, signed under market rates for four more seasons, for a pitcher nobody noticed until this year who sounds like a closer/setup man if he makes it through the injury nexus, and a AAA pitcher who has been traded away twice in two years? They may be the best the White Sox had to offer, but isn't that trading a pretty sure thing for two big question marks?
Kevin Goldstein: The A's are rebuilding, so the A's need upside -- even if it's just potential. You accurately call Swisher productive, but are you convinved he'll ever be more than productive? I'm not so sure about that, and seemingly, neither are the A's.
Peter (Toronto, Ontario): Does Colletti's weird Laroche-hatred make it possible that he goes to the A's?
Kevin Goldstein: magic 8-ball of whispers and rumors say 'yes'
john (boston): better long term upside Lars Anderson or Chris Carter (A's)?
Kevin Goldstein: There's within two of eachother towards the end of my top 100, so flip a coin.
bloodwedding (BK): De Los Santos. Top 50 prospect in the MLB? Top 25 prospect? Can you give a ballpark range?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. No. I hope I just did.
RP (loop): Who are you looking forward to seeing pass through Kane County this year?
Kevin Goldstein: Clinton (Rangers) should have one helluva pitching staff with Feliz, Main, and maybe Beavan.
Jesus Montero (New York, NY): Hey Kevin, nobody believed that I could stick at catcher before this season because of my size. Are scouts starting to change their opinions on my defense, and think that maybe I can stay at catcher. And if I do stay at catcher, does that make me a better prospect than Angel Villalona?
Kevin Goldstein: I've never talked a single person who gets paid for their professinal opinion about players who ever really thought or really thinks that Montero can stay at catcher.
Joe (Chicago): Kevin -- we know your video game tastes -- but do you ever/have you ever been into any sports games?
Kevin Goldstein: Not especially. I think it's because baseball is so difficult to translate into video game land. Football works pretty well, and I've always thought that golf, of all things, translates the best.
Dan (CT): Do the A's give Gio Gonzalez a shot at a rotation spot in ST, or will they want to look at him at AAA for the first half before bringing him up?
Kevin Goldstein: They're rebuilding, they're not in a hurry, so no need to rush him. He's Triple-A bound.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, you've gotten 137 minutes out of me, and it's been a blast, but I most return to ranking prospects. See you all again soon.