Kevin Goldstein takes a break from working the phones to talk about tomorrow's draft.
Kevin Goldstein: Hey folks. I guess there's some sort of thing tomorrow where guys get picked or something. I don't really know -- I haven't heard much about it. That said, we're going to do something a little bit different tomorrow. We'll have a live roundtable going during the draft, and I'm going to stick with you folks as long as possible. In addition, we have an interface up where our readers can submit questions and/or comments and I'll be culling the best of that to be included, in order to add a little interactivity to the whole thing -- it should be a fun time. Wow, that was a really long sentence. Christina would be proud. Ok, I'm five minutes early, so let's get going because the queue is already very full. If I was Christina I'd make a joke about how it's full like some 1400s Moors army in the battle of blah blah, but she went to the University of Chicago, while I went to the school of hard knocks. At least I have better taste in video games than Normandin, and better taste in music than Goldman. See? Aren't you glad you came already? Can you tell I'm loopy and on little sleep? I have no music playing yet, but I do have a big ol' Coca-Cola Slurpee! So hah!
Sam (Columbia): Any chance Matusz sneaks into the top three?
Kevin Goldstein: It COULD happen -- in some ways, my mock draft is already a bit of a mockery, as a lot has already changed, and a lot still could change, that's why I tried to write about all of the back-up plans. The highest Matusz could go would be No. 3, but that would require a LOT to go wrong in KC's pre-draft dealings with the Boras kids. So again, anything COULD happen, but it probably won't.
LynchMob (Corvallis, OR): If Ike Davis can play OF, why didn't he play more OF this season?
Kevin Goldstein: The only real outfield tool he has is a nice arm, but he's pretty unathletic and Arizona State didn't want to tax him too much with the muscle strain. Few think he could or should play there as a pro.
Marco (San Diego): Kevin, IF you had the chance to trade #1 overall this year, for the chance to draft Strasburg (or someone else you REALLY like) in next year's draft would you do it? If so is there someone you'd be all over at #1 next year?
Kevin Goldstein: I need to think about that, I'm leaning towards getting Strasburg.
marie (somewhere in san francisco): If Buster Posey does not go #1 then where will he go? Are the rumors that signability may be an issue with him true?
Kevin Goldstein: There are some signability issues, in that last year Matt Wieters got $6 million and while CAA isn't Boras, they're not exactly going to let their client come cheaply. If he doesn't go 1, he doesn't go past 5, and everyone except Baltimore at 4 would kick the tires on him.
Thomas (Newark): Anthony Hewitt seems to have shot up the draft boards like no other (with maybe the exception of Lawrie) I remember in recent years. From everything you've heard about him is he worth the risk for top 15?
Kevin Goldstein: I wish I had a better answer than Maybe!, but I don't. Go get a hold of two scouts. One will tell you that he just might be the next Willie Mays, and the next will tell you that he barely turned him in and there's no way they'd take him. It really is THAT divergent a range of opinions on him.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): As a Giants fan, I'm not overly impressed with Gordon Beckham, should I be?
Kevin Goldstein: You're a Giants fan, you should be impressed with pretty much any carbon-based lifeform with anything resembling hitting skills. He's not the toolsiest guy in the world, but he's a fundamentally sound shortstop with above-average power for the position. That's hardly a bad thing.
Brian (Kansas City): Who are some surprise names that could fall tomorrow?
Kevin Goldstein: Josh Fields, Aaron Crow, Zach Collier, Tim Melville . . .
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): KG, do you recall a guy in previous drafts like a Anthony Hewitt that had some many people split? If so, who was it and how have they turned out?
Kevin Goldstein: Bo Jackson?
Brian (Kansas City): When push comes to shove, do you really think Pittsburgh will have the guts to draft Alvarez and give him an MLB deal?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. They feel the pressure to make a splash on a PR level as well.
sheila (daly city california): Who do you think the giants would pick if both Posey and Smoak are still available for them?
Kevin Goldstein: Great question, and one of the bigger unknowns. Late night/early morning calls to agents in order to discern bonus expectations could be the tipping point there.
SBE (Nashville): Do you expect Hosmer to get tested as an OF by the team that drafts him, or is a 1st baseman all the way?
Kevin Goldstein: I was talking to somebody else today about this, and here's the thing. He's a big, big kid, like 6-4, 225 or so. And he's 18 years old. So when he finishes up, he's what? 6-5/250? He might be able to play there now, but you'd be wasting your time.
Gordon Freeman (City 17): did you finish Half-Life 2 yet?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm close! But this gosh darn draft is getting in the way! I haven't been able to pick up a controller or the PSP in about a week, so no Half-Life, no GTA IV, and no whittling down the JRPG pile of shame for the handheld.
Tom (Boston): What are you hearing about the Red Sox and pick #30? They still got the hots for Havens?
Kevin Goldstein: It's hard to have the hots for anyone when you are picking 30th. They like Havens, but it looks like some teams ahead of them, namely the Padres at 22 and the Indians at 29 feel the same way.
steve (Maryland): It seemed last year that the Nationals were "left" with Detwiler even though they were hoping a player picked above fell to them (Weiters in particular)... Are the Nats going to get a name they are salivating over, or is it looking like they will have to take the best leftover available?
Kevin Goldstein: I think they will get someone they really like. Some guy is gonna drop, and the Nats look like they'll be awfully interested in guys like Hosmer and Skipworth, and maybe even Crow.
John (SF): Do you really think the A's will take a high-ceiling HS player like Hicks at 12? If Hicks, Smoak and Beckham are all gone, who else is in play for their pick?
Kevin Goldstein: They really want one of these big college guys to somehow drop into their lap, espeically Gordon Beckham and Smoak. If that doesn't happen, they're not convinced that the second clump of college guys has anyone worthy of pick #12. So that leaves one of the big high school guys. And yes, they have no issues with talking such a player at 12.
RahulN (GA): What do you think of Charlie Morton? He wasn't on too many preseason prospect lists, but is kind of soaring right now. when does he get called up?? 13 Ks yesterday for Richmond.
Kevin Goldstein: Well, for all the wrong reasons, today's news helped his chances. His talent is very real.
Matt (SF, CA): in your opinion, which teams should draft based on need? Any?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely not. That's how mistakes are made. You need to draft the best player available. The way one team official put it to me, the scouting director's job is to provide the organization with the most valuable asset to the system. It's up to the GM what to do from there.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Do you think Tyler Ladendorf's power surge this year was for real? Where do you see him going in the draft?
Kevin Goldstein: It's real in the sense that nobody compares him to Jason Tyner anymore, but it's not like he's suddenly a middle-of-the-order hitter or anything. He could go 2nd-3rd round.
Paul (Kansas City): Kevin, could you explain (at least briefly) what has changed to make your mock draft a mockery?
Kevin Goldstein: Everything? Here's the thing, Based on calls, emails and text messages I've gotten today, the Rays are taking Posey or Beckham, and I think it's flipped six times. Most of the time Pittsburgh is taking Alvarez, and sometimes they're not. I wish I had 24 more hours, but deadlines are deadlines and I think in the end, if you judge the mock by everything that was written, as opposed to just the team:pick -- it'll end up pretty good really.
Goldeye99 (Wpg): Hey Kevin, thks for the chat. Sorry, not a draft question, but is Desmond Jennings still injured (back?)? When is he due to start playing?
Thanks and like every baseball fan should, I'll be spending my day at work tomorrow reading all of BPs draft coverage!
Kevin Goldstein: He came back this week and is 3-for-7 with a home run in two games at High-A Vero Beach. Get pumped about him, because I am.
Phil (NJ): Kevin - Not really a draft question, but do you have a scouting report on Michael Inoa (other than the fact that he's 16)? Thanks and make sure to finish off HL2 when you get time, it's a helluva game.
Kevin Goldstein: It's first on my list once the draft is over. Once this draft is over, expect a full feature on Inoa. He's more than interesting to warrant one.
Ron (Tacoma): Kevin, Phillipe Aumont looked very sharp again last night. In reading your column, and hearing what the scouts thought, I wasn't that encouraged about his upside in developing in an 'ace'. In two years time, do you think a plate of crow will be in order for those scouts?
Kevin Goldstein: He certainly COULD. Like one of the scouts said, it's a helluva starting point. The arm angle bugs me, and the slider could be better, but there's definitely a lot to like there. It's not like he stinks or anything. That's said -- an ace? How many aces are there in baseball? 10? maybe, using a liberal definition. So chances are overwhleming that he won't be that, but he could be pretty damn good.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Help me settle a debate, was punting a draft pick for Micheal Tucker in '04 by the Giants a stupid move?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes.
Jason (Heidelberg, Germany): There is talk about Collier and Kelly to the Dodger's at 15. Any way Hicks is dropping to them? Could you give us a heads up on what you have heard recently about the Dodgers.
Kevin Goldstein: There certainly are some scenarios that would have Hicks dropping that far, and if he did, the Dodgers would likely take him, as they like him much better than Kelly/Collier. The rumor that sticks around is that they're all over Andrew Cashner, but I just don't buy it, and neither do many that I talk to.
Brian (Kansas City): It's time to put your stake in the ground: who will be the first shocker tomorrow, like LaPorta was last year?
Kevin Goldstein: As I put in the mock, it JUST MIGHT be Brett Lawrie at No. 7 to the Reds.
jimbeau (Left Coast): Hi Kevin! How is the JC crop this year? Who are the top 5 or so, what are they like, when and where will they go? Any team particularly on any of the JC talent? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: The top two are certainly Ladendorf, who we talked about, and former SC Gamecock/larceny suspect Lonnie Chisenhall -- there's a decent sized drop off from there.
CAN I HAZ A (CHEESE BURGER?): Justin Masterson: #3 starter or setup man?
Kevin Goldstein: Youz Can Haz. It's a difficult question. On many teams, a No. 3 starter. On the Red Sox, maybe not.
Jerry (SD): More ceiling with the bat: Smoak or Hosmer and why?
Kevin Goldstein: I just have a feeling about Smoak. I realize he's an elite pick, but I think he might end up even better than some project.
jay (Madison): many of those who have discussed the O's draft pick at #4 begin with "they've taken a position player first in the last 3 years..." I cannot figure out why this is relevent. please help.
Kevin Goldstein: It's not relevant. You're not crazy.
John (SF): You've mentioned the A's like Smoak - any truth to the rumor that they were $50K away from signing him out of HS when they drafted him three years ago?
Kevin Goldstein: The gap was larget than that -- WAY WAY larger.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Is the MLB draft moving towards more respectability? I mean in terms of how the major media handles and acknowledges it. I'm not a big football fan but the NFL draft is like a mini-Super Bowl for my NFL friends.
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think it will ever be as big as the NFL draft, just because the players themselves aren't already household names coming in. But it is bigger then ever. It's televised now, it's coverage brings us subscribers, there's TONS of questions in this que, My mock draft is the lead at Sports Illustrated's website, and I have newspapers and radio stations calling left and right -- so I couldn't be happier. That said -- late media news -- I'll be on WGN-720 in Chicago with the totally awesome Dave Kaplan tonight at 7:10 central or so.
Jessica (NYC): What are the odds that one of the Mets' first three picks will be another college reliever?
Kevin Goldstein: 14.58%. Both of the Arizona relievers (Perry and Schlereth) could be the names.
Jack (Florida): Josh Fields - more Street/Cordero or Wagner/Aardsma?
Kevin Goldstein: If the first group is 100 and the second group is 0, Fields is a 45.
HankScorpio (KC): So if the Bucs really are set on Alvarez, what do you think KC's Plan B is? Whomever is left of Beckham or Posey? Or do they really like Hosmer enough to take him at 1:3?
Kevin Goldstein: They like Hosmer that much.
Steven Goldman (Garden State America, Baby): Kevin, the only video game I've played this year is Medal of Honor: Airborne. I get immense satisfaction out of machine-gunning fascists. In this election year I'm forced to ask: does this make me a hypocritcal liberal? Also, how easily can one separate drafting and development? Can a team be great at the former and bad at the latter? Vice-versa?
Kevin Goldstein: You need to play more games -- I think you'd be a big Portal fan for some reason. I won't make any public statement on your political leanings. Drafting and development really are pretty different. For most organizations, teams have a group of people finding and signing players and once they're in, their development is handed off to a whole other group. So they are very different things. At times, that makes assigning credit or blame for successes or failures very difficult.
Corey (Phoenix): Kevin, As you are around the scouting circles more than most at BP, besides Strasburg and Gibson, who are some names to look for come this time next year?
Kevin Goldstein: College positon player wise, there are the pair at Southern Cal -- catcher Robert Stock and shortstop Grant Green -- I'm a big, big Green fan. High school wise I like GIGANTOR New Jersey righty Chris Jenkings and ultra toolsy Florida shortstop Mychal Givens.
dogtothedog (Toronto): out of this years draft who do you think is the first one to reach the show?
Kevin Goldstein: Obviously, so kind of college reliever like Cashner, Perry or Schlereth.
Keith C (South of Chicago): Hey Kevin, thanks for taking questions. I understand that the best answer you can give to my question is only going to be at best an educated guess (not a knock on you, just noting that this is an imperfect science), but I'll ask anyways -- what's the timetable for Kyle Skipworth to make the majors? Is he being described as a fast-riser or is 2011 or 2012 debut more likely?
Kevin Goldstein: If you take an elite high school guy -- and I'm talking elite, like first 12 picks, you hope for a three-year development cycle, so late 2011.
Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Can you recall one prospect who you absolutely, totally whiffed on? A guy that you was sure was going to be GREAT but just never put it together? (debilitating injuries excluded)
Kevin Goldstein: The very first was Arqui Pozo.
Marco (San Diego): True or false, drafting a college closer in the first round should be frowned upon regardless if your bullpen is week, there are plenty of international players, starters that fail, that can make for good closers?
Kevin Goldstein: True! I just don't like that philosohpy at all, unless you are absolutely convinved that the guy is a true shutdown closer.
mymrbig (New Orleans): Let's play pretend. Pretend Hosmer doesn't sign and is draft eligible in 2011 after his junior year in college. How do you think 2011 Hosmer compares with Smoak, Alvarez, etc.? He'd better be blowing those guys out of the water considering HS bats are at least a little riskier than college bats AND his higher bonus demands! Otherwise the Royals just might be crazy.
Kevin Goldstein: He certainly could be better than them -- it wouldn't shock me at all.
John (SF): Any chance of the A's popping Hewitt if Hicks and the elite college players are all gone?
Kevin Goldstein: 0.00%
Sully (Athens, GA): Kevin, you've been pretty high on Triunfel, especially given his age and the competition he is playing against. If he was being drafted this year, where would you rank him compared to this year's talent?
Kevin Goldstein: Mid-to-early first. Special bat speed, great arm, not a true SS, so somewhere in there.
ChrisLDuncan (Sioux City, IA): In your last article you said that Posey isn't a true impact player...correct me if I'm wrong but a catcher that plays GG defense hits 20 HRs and takes 75 walks a season he'll be around .280/.380/.480 with GG defense, that's a WARP around eight or so; which will make him most likely a top five catcher in five years behind McCann, Soto, and Martin perhaps Wieters, s how is that not an impact player?
Kevin Goldstein: You might be right. I was talking to our very own Steven Goldstein about this, and he said, "Isn't that pretty much Jorge Posada."
Pete (Baltimore): Any chance the O's deal Brian Roberts for draft picks? Would you advise against it this year?
Kevin Goldstein: Draft picks are not tradable commodities. This might change with the next CBA, but don't count on it, as the draft is pretty much a afterthought when those negotiations take place.
Jon (SF): Is the second round too high for Cutter Dykstra? What are your thoughts on him?
Kevin Goldstein: I would guess late-second would be as high as he'll go -- more likely 3rd or 4th. He's actually very similar to his dad with a couple of big differences. The first one is, he's right-handed, and that's a big difference. The second one is he just moved to the outfield this year, and he needs a lot of work in center. Other than than, he's a lot like his dad, a little strong kid who plays his ass off.
Jeremy (New Hampshire): I've heard people say that this will be the year that the slotting system collapses, and teams will take the player they like best without regard for his asking price. Do you think that the lack of a Porcello type guy who is going to demand a huge contract is a contributing factor? In other words, is there no one really good enough in this draft to ask for a contract that makes signability a concern? If this is the case, will we see guys falling way down the board due to signability in the future, or is this year going to signify a real change in the way front offices view the economics of the draft?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure in collapses this year, and some of that might be because the talent prevents it. In additon, this year's suggested slots are higher, and higher at an even greater degree towards the top. That should help MLB say that things are falling in line.
Devin (St. Louis): Kevin, I think you've angered some in these parts on Melville. Scouts around here have praised how this kid has handled adversity this year. Do the Mets have any issue with paying him top 10-15 money? If he falls and goes to UNC, you might be having to answer to us in a couple years time.
Kevin Goldstein: I think the Mets would pay the freight on Melville. Melville was honestly one of those players for whom it was quite difficult to place. He could go higher, in the 13-17 range, but for many of those teams he seems to be plan b or c as opposed to the top guy on their board.
jimbeau (Left Coast): Hi Kevin. In the past, Cleveland frquently would assess the strengths of the draft (which didn't always seem to agree with CW), and focus their mid-to-later picks in that area. Where do you see the strength of the mid-round area to be in this draft?
Kevin Goldstein: High school pitching.
Marco (San Diego): Putting you on the spot here. In 4-5 years, Anthony Hewitt will be a) still in baseball b) in BP's Top 10 for the given team he's drafted by c) on BP's top 10 list of all players d) had to go back to college to earn a degree e) other
Kevin Goldstein: A. 80% B. 40% C. 3% D. 20% -- You see that 3% on C? Few player even have that much.
Mario (Fort Worth): Kevin, Is Gyvens the '09 version of Tim Beckham?
Kevin Goldstein: Not the worst comp. Givens might be even more toolsy, but a little less refined.
Serge (Baltimore): Not much talk about Baltimore, other than Matusz. IF he's not there, where do you see them going?
Kevin Goldstein: There definitely is some other talk. As I wrote in the mock, Smoak is a darkhorse candidate there.
greg (toronto): If Connelly from the Pirates selects Alvarez, does that signal that the slotting system is dead and do teams now beginning to break ranks en masse with the Commish's Office?
Kevin Goldstein: Not at all. Frank Coonelly's JOB was to enforce the slot system. That doesn't mean he agrees with it.
Kris (San Diego): Where do you think Brandon Crawford ends up? If you were the Padres would you take a chance on him if he were there in the 2nd Round?
Kevin Goldstein: Great question. It's really hard to not be impressed with Crawford's tools, but at the same time he's had three years of college for those tools to make an impact on the field at it rarely happened. He's still going to go 2nd to 4th, so that scenario COULD happen.
sheila (daly city, california): Do agents spread rumors about their clients signability as a way to have them drop to the larger market teams. And how many of the first round picks will be based on signability?
Kevin Goldstein: Absoulutely, it happens all the time (all the time). If anyone gets that punk rock reference, I'll buy you a burrito. Andrew Miller tried to price himself WAY down a couple years back and Detroit called his bluff. This year the rumor is Alonso trying to price himself down to Washington, which could definitely happen.
Sacha (St. Paul): Like Triunfel, Deolis Guerra would also be a guy eligible for this draft. Where would you put him? Are you a believer?
Kevin Goldstein: Late first -- like him, don't love him. Wake me up when he throws as hard as was initially advertised.
John (SF): You said today in your mock draft that teams prefer Hicks as a pitcher - does his bat play in the OF? If so, could he be tried as a two-way player (OF/SP), or is his upside a Micah Owings-type NL starter?
Kevin Goldstein: If Hicks never took the mound, we'd be talking about him as a late first-round centerfielder, as the tools are there. You can't develop anyone as a two-way player -- it's a recipe for disaster on both fronts.
jimbeau (Left Coast): Kevin, what are the odds that Gillaspie could become Wade Boggs II? Or more Bill Mueller II? Could he move the 2B? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: I like the Mueller comp way more. Just so you know Jay Jaffe saw Gillaspie's dad play at Walla Walla in an outfield flanked by Tony Gwynn and John Kruk -- how cool is that? As to the second question, he doesn't have the tools to play in the middle of the diamond in the majors.
rawagman (TO): Kevin, I've been hearing reports on David Cooper to the Jays. From everything I've read about Cooper, he has the bat, but is such a non-athlete, that it downplays the one big tool. What's your take?
Kevin Goldstein: He just might be their backup plan if Wallace is gone. He's a 1B/DH type for sure, but other than Snider, there are no real mashers in that system, so it's not a huge issue.
John (SF): How far along in GTA IV are you? I've been relatively unimpressed by the mission difficulty and originality so far compared to earlier GTAs.
Kevin Goldstein: 20% or so? I really love the game, and some of the missions I've found very hard. I think the driving is WAY better, as is the cover system.
Steve (St. Louis): Do you see the Cardinals potentially taking Brett Lawrie if he falls to them?
Kevin Goldstein: Not from what I'm hearing.
Or (Dallas): Heya, KG! What's cracking?
Please, please tell me that the Rangers aren't going to spring for Cashner at 11. I feel very nervous.
Incidentally, congrats on being the first pundit on the Neftali Feliz bandwagon. It's filling up very quickly now.
Kevin Goldstein: I think they could go in many directions, but I'm not sure Cashner is it. I actually think if all the college guys are gone, they're very high on prepster Ethan Martin. Like anyone in the prospect business, I'm wrong a lot, but at the same time, I wish I saved all of the emails I got calling me an idiot when I have Feliz so far up the Braves list a couple years back. It's important to note that the only positive emails I think I got on that ranking came from people within the game.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): Cold lyrics?
Kevin Goldstein: WRONG! Is your girlfriend mad at you again for chatting?
jimbeau (Left Coast): Kevin, are you really hearing that Fields will fall out of the 1rst? How far will he fall?
Kevin Goldstein: Not much further, if at all.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Does anyone EXCEPT Deric Ladnier & Dayton Moore like Hosmer THAT much?
Kevin Goldstein: Pretty much everyone from 3 to 9 does. They're not alone on an island at all on him.
Dan (St Louis): How does Gordon Beckham compare to Pete Kozma? Is he pretty much a collegiate equivalent?
Kevin Goldstein: Better bat, especially on the power side of things, not as good defensively. Pretty different beasts, really.
Trenchtown (Washington): I love the Portal plug. Hard but not hair-pullingly frustrating puzzles combined with excellent dry humor, whats not to love? I wish had been longer though. If they were both available in the same draft, would you take Madison Bumgarner or Tim Melville?
Kevin Goldstein: Everyone wishes it was longer, but still it was only $20 bucks, or even cheaper as part of The Orange Box package, so it's not like you got soaked. Gimme Bumgarner. More velo, and he's lefty. I guess I'll live with the arm slot.
Wario (Chicago, IL): Kevin, why can't I stop playing Mario Kart Wii? I've got two cups left on the Grand Prix, with silver trophys in both of them, and my enjoyment of the game hasn't diminished at all. Please help, and let me know who your favorite character and vehicle combo is.
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not a Wii guy. I have nothing against it and don't think it's any affront to the so-called hardcore gamers, I'm just not a Wii guy.
Shane (Denver): Kevin, As far as drafting goes, you always preach 'tools'. Is Hewitt arguably the best 'tools' guy in the draft? How can scouts be so polarized on what he develops into based on those tools?
Kevin Goldstein: Hewitt is easily the best tools guy in the draft. He's the issue. He can't really hit. It's just such a massive risk, really. It's like finding the best athlete in Sweden or Turkey or Ceylon or something and then saying you're going to turn him into a baseball player because he's such a ridiculous athlete.
Tim (Anaheim): Does the performance of someone like Wieters change a lot of clubs thoughts towards drafting and paying high bonuses? He's making the first four teams look REALLY bad right now and Baltimore REALLY savy for having the guts to take him and sign him.
Kevin Goldstein: Not just Baltimore, but anyone. If you look at the guys that have gotten big overslot bonuses, they have for the most part, been pretty sound decisions. Special talent is special talent.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): She went home to southern California for the summer. I'm free to chat as I wish. The timing is PERFECT (draft).
Kevin Goldstein: I love you David, but I question your priorities.
Daniel (Dallas): Matt Dominguez has been caliente after an admittedly small sample size start to life in the Sally League. Any word on if he has improved his approach at the plate?
Kevin Goldstein: I think Dominguez got over-dinged just because he was drafted higher than his talent merited last year. He's still a damn good player, and we shouldn't be surprised that he's doing well, or even assume that he's made some kind of big change or improvement to his game. He was a very good prospect coming into this thing.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): I love you too KG. If it means anything to you, I was a B+ away from a 4.0 this semester....despite the beers before class.
Kevin Goldstein: Don't look at me, I didn't do that silly college thing.
Steve (St. Louis): Then are you still thinking Friedrich for the Cards at 13?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a good fit there, and if you are mocking, he's one of those guys you have to find a home for and you know he's going to go pretty good. Cardinals are one of the more challenging teams to figure out as the are very, very tight-lipped with the media and within the industry as a whole.
Jason (DC): Knowing what we know now, what player was most underrated in last year's draft besides Heyward?
Kevin Goldstein: Off the top of my head, Ben Revere.
Wendy (Madrid): I guess if you're not a Wii guy you may not be able to answer, but my non-gaming boyfriend just got a Wii, so when people come over there's a fun activity. what game swould you recommend for the non-gaming type?
Kevin Goldstein: Boom Blox -- Trust me on this one.
rich-0 (baltimore): What is a reasonable major league comp for Steven Strasburg, the presumptive #1 pick next year? Is he potentially a once in a decade pitching talent for the draft?
Kevin Goldstein: Once a decade? That might be pushing it, but certainly a once-every-few-years kind of guy.
jimbeau (Left Coast): Kevin, realistically, can anyone other than the Yankees end up with Iona?
Kevin Goldstein: Realistically, probalby not. Is it a 100% guarantee? Probably not.
Pat (Tufts): I always notice you and some others at BP talk about how you didn't attend college, almost like a badge, but it seems like today it is impossible to get a job in a baseball front office unless you went to some top tier school (Epstein, etc.)
Kevin Goldstein: I admit I wear it like a badge, but I think I'm the only one here who didn't do it. I had some unique circumstances to be sure, and don't recommend it for everyone -- hell, I'm not sure I recommend it for anyone.
rawagman (Toronto): Thanks for answering my last question. One more for you to chew on - what are the chances that Ricciardi springs for a high school pitcher in the early going? Also - can he feasibly pass up on countryboy Lawrie if he's still there at 17?
Kevin Goldstein: Lawrie would be very hard to pass up for Toronto at 17, and he'd be excellent value therel. Don't be surprised to see Toronto grab some of the solid prep arms after the first.
Roger (Southern Cal): Kevin, Agree with you on Stock and Green. Stock is still so young and performing admirably well in the PAC 10. Who do you liken each to?
Kevin Goldstein: Stock is tough for me. Plenty of people love him, but I like my catchers bigger and with more Power. Green is hard to comp for. One thing you don't find a lot of in college is big time all-around tools, but Green has them.
mymrbig (New Orleans): The best way to get into a baseball front office is: (1) attend elite university; (2) have played at least a few years of minor league ball; (3) family/friend connections in industry; (4) work your way up an organization from a non-front office position; (5) something else you will enlighten us about.
Kevin Goldstein: (6) Carve your own path. I know a lot of people in the game, and to a person, pretty much every one of them has a different story on his things worked out for them. Same thing goes for people who do what I do for a living. By the way, earlier I called Steven Goldman, Steven Goldstein, so I'm just some of his chat readers!
Greg (Toronto): Kevin, outside the top 10 picks, should teams like the Jays be favouring college pitchers over their prep counterparts because it seems like the success rate is fairly similar?
Kevin Goldstein: How about you just take the best pitcher and don't really care if he's high school or college?
David (Sonoma State University, CA): Draft talk: What does Logan White, (God among men) have up his sleeve?
Kevin Goldstein: That's pretty much always a mystery -- the Dodgers keep their cards pretty close. Obviously, they like athletes, and they like ceiling.
Geo (California): How bad are the attitude problems with Cole?
Kevin Goldstein: Depends on who you talk to, but they're not great. At the same time, some teams like cocky arrogance if you can spin it in the right direction.
Pat (Tufts): When will teams take real advantage of the top tier DII and DIII players and not worry about some pretty good middle relievers from SEC schools?
Kevin Goldstein: When those players turn into big league stars. Scouts really don't bias against where a kid is playing. If you are good, you are good.
TJones (UC Davis): Green Day right?
Kevin Goldstein: Good god no. Did you really think I would quote Green Day? The day I quote Green Day is the day I walk away from this job.
Roger (Southern Cal): Stock's power. Isn't that indicative that he's still pretty young? He should have just finished high school and he is the starting catcher at USC.
Kevin Goldstein: Dude hit four home runs this year.
Doolander (Livermore): Any chance Billy Crystal gets drafted by a major league team. Perhaps the Hanshin Tigers will pick him up for a copy of City Slickers II : The Legend of Curly's Gold?
Kevin Goldstein: Per MLB rules, Billy Crystal is not draft eligible. He is a free agent.
dantroy (davis, ca): Carlos Gonzalez just doubled in 3 runs, btw. How do you think he'll perform in the short and long term?
Kevin Goldstein: Very well, Very, very well. Big C-Gon fan.
Or (Dallas): What's Crow's upside like? Is he a potential #1, or a good 2 on most teams?
Kevin Goldstein: A good #2, or a closer. That's the thing with this year's pitching crop. There's a lot of guys to like, but unlike most years, there not one guy, including Matusz, who everyone looks at and says, "that guy could be an ace" Matusz has a whole lotta 6s on his scouting reports, but not a lot of 7s.
Uncle John's Band (SF): Who's bat do you like better - Hosmer or Skipworth? Skipworth had better stats, but do scouts even consider HS stats?
Kevin Goldstein: High School stats mean -- NOTHING. Beyond Nothing. Less than nothing. Hosmer is the best HS hitter in the draft, and that's pretty much unanimous.
Clark (TX): I have read that Alonso gets knocked because of some ugly splits against LHP, but I haven't seen the stats to back it up. Is there some real concern there?
Kevin Goldstein: Split camp there (pun intended). His splits THIS YEAR against LHP are really brutal, but historiclaly they weren't bad. The biggest concern for me is that scouts who haven't seen the splits have specifically mentions that he has a tendency to guess and cheat vs. lhp.
Uncle John's Band (SF): Can you expand on why HS stats mean nothing? I agree with you but I'm not sure my reasoning is correct (I would guess that the numbers they put up against sub-D1 competition are meaningless).
Kevin Goldstein: That's pretty much it. It just a totally different game. Some kid hits 17 home runs this year in Wisconsin -- how many of those came off 73 mph fastballs? The ability to hit a home run off a 73 mph fastball means absolutely zero long term.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): If HS stats mean nothing, then how do the A's evaluatate/draft HS players? Don't tell me they do it.....LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?
Kevin Goldstein: Shocking! I know! Wait a second! The A's really have scouts! The have radar guns and evaluate guys tools? I know that's a dissapointment to many of you, but it's very true.
James (Stamford, Texas): How come David at Sonoma State gets all his questions answered and I don't get any of mine?
Quick non-draft question: where does Feliz end the year? Clinton, Bakersfield, or Frisco?
Kevin Goldstein: Because David at times allows for funny answers, or at least funny to me. Feliz probably spends the year here in the Midwest, but a final month at Baskersfield wouldn't shock me. Pretty much no way he's getting to Double-A this year.
Justin (Burbank): I'm trying to understand why scouts can't see Posey developing into a 25Hr plus guy? Isn't he performing at a really high level in a pretty competitive ACC?
Kevin Goldstein: Because college stats don't mean much more than high school ones? He's performing riduclously well in a very nice park, but scouts don't see all of the power translating in the pros. If you are looking for a good example of this, go look up Khalil Greene's numbers at Clemson.
BSmith (Iowa): So, forget the draft, inquiring minds want to know: Top Chef finale tonight ... you got Richard or Stephanie? Has to be a two-horse race, right?
Kevin Goldstein: If you are giving me good odds on Antonia, gimme the longshot -- I think she's right there. Otherwise, I got Stephanie.
SBE (Nashville): Do you think we'll ever see another draft pick go straight to the majors without seeing any minor league action?
Kevin Goldstein: It happens rarely -- see John Olerud. It could happen again. It's not happening this year.
Steven Goldman (Pepperdine): What about high school park factors? How much standardization is there in park dimensions? I'm guessing none, which means that Momma's little slugger Johnny just slugged .950 because it's only 35 feet down the right field line.
Kevin Goldstein: Oh definitely. Eric Hosmer is really good and has a TON of VERY REAL power, but his home park is like 300-320 all around.
Mike (Chicago): White Sox just signed Esteban Loaiza, do I laugh or cry?
Kevin Goldstein: I often do both, but then the whiskey kicks in.
Jon (Kentucky): Wait, not college stats don't mean that much more? Now I am truly confused.
Kevin Goldstein: College stats don't mean that much, sorry, they just don't. Power numbers can be especially deceiving because of the Fisher Price bats they use.
James (London, Ontario): You've been pretty bullish on Tillman and Arrieta. Do you think the O's are smarter going with a big bat, or another pitcher like Matusz? Does Matusz project higher or lower than those two?
Kevin Goldstein: I think when you pick as high as four, you take the best player avialable, period. I'd put Matusz ahead of Arrieta, not sure about Tillman -- pretty close.
Jimmy (Chesapeake, VA): Ziegler just threw a scoreless inning. What are his long-term prospects with the A's?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm too happy to care. I hope they're excellent.
Uncle John's Band (SF): It's a crime that Lisa made the final four - Spike has more upside. I hope Richard busts out the portable torch for old time's sake.
Kevin Goldstein: Lisa being there is a total crime, no way she belongs. Richard is basically the Anthony Hewitt of this year, where he's going to either walk away with this thing easily, or be the first one out.
Ben (San Diego): If your point with Khalil Greene is that the power hasn't transferred, well, last year he hit 27 homers while playing in the worst hitters park in the league. I'd say the power translated pretty well. Of course, the average and walks and not striking out haven't translated, but that was a big problem for him every year at Clemson except his senior one.
Kevin Goldstein: Excellent point! I picked the wrong guy. Go look up Jeremey Cleveland now (he went to UNC) and report back to me.
SC (Philadelphia): Any idea if the idea of trading draft picks is being considered within the game?
Kevin Goldstein: It's been discussed, but not in any real, significant way. Like I said before, CBA negotiatons generally get all hammered out and then at the very end, when they're getting ready to sign, they finally talk about the draft.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Without even throwing a pitch, you had both David Price and Rick Porcello in the top 12 prospects in all of baseball. Do you see any of this years' draft picks making it into the top 10 in similar fashion?
Kevin Goldstein: Actually, no.
SummerSchoolSucks (Classroom): So come tomorrow, some team is going to make a 1st round pick that will make you throw up your hands and say "what the **** were they thinking?" what team do you that will mostly likely be?
Kevin Goldstein: It'll be the team that takes one of these college relievers too high. Early possibilities are Texas and St. Louis.
SBE (Nashville): Okay, if they're not going to give teams the ability to trade picks, will they at least give us a worldwide draft? It would be awesome to see some 16 year old Dominican taken #1 overall.
Kevin Goldstein: That has even less a chance of happening because the resources required to scout internationally would keep the playing field as uneven as it is now.
Bodhizefa (Chapel Thrill, NC): Does Chris Davis' year in Double-A reassure you at all on his prospects as a future big leaguer? Is he going to be a .260 hitter with 35+ homers? Better? Worse?
Kevin Goldstein: Very much so; I think right around there actually sounds right to me.
John S. (Huntsville, AL): Melville or Odorizzi for top prep arm (talent wise)?
Kevin Goldstein: Pure talent? Probably Gerrit Cole, actually.
Mike (New York, NY): Lets have one question away from the draft. Is Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy starting to remind you of the trio that was called Generation K.
Kevin Goldstein: Hold on for just a second while I wipe away the tears and think about what could have been there.
Bodhizefa (Chapel Thrill, NC): What's wrong with Colby Rasmus?
Kevin Goldstein: If you figure that out, the Cardinals would love to hear from you.
rawagman (TO): Re: the floated draft structure changes.
I have recently thought that it might be in MLB's best interests to institute a worldwide draft and then raise the age-bar of eligible players. No more 16-year-olds getting millions, no more need for high school scouting and relying on tools. Maybe something like 20-year-olds for North Americans (with exceptions for kids who are academically ineligible for college) and 18 for the worldwide talent. Why can't this work?
Kevin Goldstein: Other than the fact that I can't stand the idea, I'm not sure. I absolutely hate forcing kids to go to college when they want to play sports.
rawagman (TO): What do you think is Tanner Scheppers' fate?
Kevin Goldstein: One of the great issues. It's a labrum injury, so it's not good. You have to feel really bad for the kid. A month ago he was set for life, and now it's all up in the air.
Follow (Up): So, we New Yorkers love to blame someone. Is there a reason what could have been there didn't happen? Something wrong with the development patterns, perhaps?
Kevin Goldstein: Well here's the thing. I think it's WAY WAY WA too early to classify the young Yankee arms as that. Like WAY WAY WAY too early. Like as early as the question somebody submitted earlier asking my why I was so wrong about Clayton Kershaw and how people have given up on him.
James (Stamford, Texas): Baseball drafting internationally might turn into more of a disaster than the NBA, where they'll draft a foreigner based solely on upside and completely disregard American players who have actually played the game before.
But hey, look on the bright side: someone good draft a Wieters or Price in the 3rd round and get a heck of a steal!
Kevin Goldstein: Remember when the Knicks took that French dude? That was pretty much the most awesome thing ever.
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh (aka Baseball Purgatory)): Thaks for the chat.... Now that the Pirates have more smart guys in the organization will the '08 Draft reflect a new, improved way of doing business? Please tell me the Pirates are going to talk smart AND act smart.
PNC Park is such a wonderful ballpark. I just hope that we soon have a few more wonderful players to take the field wearing Black and Gold.
Kevin Goldstein: Yes and yes. I think it's going to take a while to dig out of this pretty deep hole, but I truly believe the right people are in place to do so in Pittsburgh. Be patient Bucos fans.
Knicks or Mav? (Dallas): I thought the Mavs drafted the French dude. At least the German worked out.
Kevin Goldstein: No no, this was a while back. It was like the 14th picks or someting, and not only did they draft some French dude, that drafted some French dude who averaged like 11 and 7 -- IN FRANCE.
losermix (NJ): Is Hewitt really that good of an athlete? I mean, if you're drafting a player whose worst tool is hitting in the first round, isn't that just a massive misallocation of resources? How often do players that have an especially weak hitting tool as 19 year olds develop into solid major leaguers? Ever? Isn't this like Colt Griffin being drafted in the top half of the first round just on the basis of a 100 mph fastball? Is the rest of this draft that bad that teams are content to throw up their arms, and gamble their 1st round pick on a complete roll of the dice?
Kevin Goldstein: Depends on your comfort for risk. Hewitt is really that good of an athlete, but it's a huge risk. So you're picking in the 20s, what do you want? The guy who has a good chance of being a solid player but zero chance at superstardom, or the guy with a good chance of nothing, but some chance at superstardom. Every once in a while, you gotta take that second guy, or you don't get superstars.
pat (NY): His name was Frederic Weiss......we've never been the same sicne
Kevin Goldstein: Pat in NY for the win!
Marcus (Silver Spring): Wow your still chatting, your the best! I know this is a draft chat, but how do you feel about Micheal Burgess start so far?
Kevin Goldstein: Not for long! I think he's been what we've expected. Lots of power, lots of Ks. I still think I'm higher on him than most.
Brian (Kansas City): Wow, 2 1/2 hour chat.....I'm running out of questions after posting under numerous aliases. Kudos.
Kevin Goldstein: And I'm running out of gas. Don't forget. Tommrow. Basically you can watch/listen to the draft WITH Baseball Prospectus? How f-in' cool is that? VERY cool I tell you. We'll have a round table as we as a place for you guys to submit questions and comments. If you're interesting and/or entertaining, you'll be part of it! I'll be there ALL DAY, from first pick to last -- setting a new BP record with somewhere around 7-8 hours of interactive discussion, with many others from the BP team coming in here and there to throw their two cents in. Join us -- it really should be quite the hoot.
Kevin Goldstein: Seacrest, OUT!