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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday July 07, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.


Kevin Goldstein brings you all the latest information on minor leaguers in "Future Shock."

Kevin Goldstein: Hey look everyone! I'm really here! Sorry about last week's chat -- that was a miscommunication on my end, and totally my fault. I'll try to make it up to you today and stay a little longer. You know the drill -- baseball, baseball, baseball, with some video games, movies and music thrown in for distractions. Let's light this candle!

Ward (Bowie): Kevin, It's been a real treat for us BaySox fans to have Tillman and now Wieters. Should we expect Jake Arrieta to be up soon too, or do you think the O's will they let him finish the year in High A? I know you are a BIG Tilman fan, is the gap narrowing between the two?

Kevin Goldstein: I think you'll definitely see Arrieta at some point during the season's second half. He's a polished college product, and with make than a strikeout per inning and an opponent's average of .204, he's got nothing left to prove in Hi-A. That said, I don't think he's in Tillman's league, and think the gap is pretty much the same as it was going into the year -- sizeable.

Johnny Tuttle (Santiago): I've recently read an article on fantasyloungesports.com in which the writer throws up red flags about LaPorta as a potential Maas given LaPorta's being that much older than the AA competition typically is. Given his being traded today, it seems timely to ask whether you share the same concerns as Sarris has for LaPorta moving forward.

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know who Sarris or that site is, but I think they're dead wrong. You can't just plug numbers into spreadsheets and work with generalities. LaPorta is in his first full season and he's mashing at Double-A. That's pretty excellent, and scouts love him. I think he'll be just fine.

BL (Bozeman, MT): The Royals appear to have moved Mike Moustakas to third base, and he has hit the ball better in the last two months. What do you see from him offensively as he advances through the system?

Kevin Goldstein: I saw him at third last week here at Kane County and while he wasn't tested there, he looked more comfortable during BP there and of course, the arm is huge so it's worth a try. He still needs to make some adjustments offensively, especially with breaking stuff, but the power and bat speed are massive.

Brock D (Shakopee, MN): What are your thoughts on Ben Revere, could he be the Twins #1 prospect going into next year?

Kevin Goldstein: If you go back in time, I had him as the Twins No. 1 prospect going into THIS year -- and I think I was the only one. Sometimes the squirrel finds a nut, huh? I think he'll likely be No. 1 again. The fact that after 54 games at Low-A Beloit he's still over .400 helps his chances.

Greg (NYC): Hey Kevin, real quick question that might be helpful for others as well... what happens to questions that were submitted ahead of time for this chat when it was still scheduled for last week? Do we have to re-send them now?

Kevin Goldstein: They're in the que! We saved them! Still, I see the more recent ones first -- so if you wanna resubmit that's fine too and they'll end up more in my face.

babutler16 (NYC): Has there been a better pitcher in the minors this year than Mike Bowden? Is he a top-20 caliber prospect for 2009?

Kevin Goldstein: Bowden's been great, but I don't think I'd call him the best. Top 20 is a little strong for me, but my gut says he'll easily be in the top 50.

Joe (Alhambra): Kevin: What do you hear about Ivan De Jesus, Jr., his plate discipline is impressive but I wonder how that will translate as he advances. Thanks as always.

Kevin Goldstein: I think he's one of the better sleepers in the minors. I do think the walks will translate on a decent level because he's also a dangerous hitter. Very little power, but he laces line drives all over the field and makes good contact.

chris (bklyn, ny): kevin - what music has been floating yer boat lately? old, new, unreleased - whatever you've had spinning the past few weeks.

Kevin Goldstein: I've been totally all over the board of late. I spent a lot of time listening to LCD Soundsystem of late, and kinda rediscovered some older Elvis Costello like Get Happy!. I played Shellac while cooking the other day, and played an EP by a little known old Boston band called Orangutang while typing up the Ten Pack late last night.

David (NJ): Should Mets fans be excited about Wilmer Flores? .354/.388/.646 at 16 years of age.

Kevin Goldstein: You should be very excited. Cautiously so -- but very excited.

Ryan (NY): Where would Chacin currently rank among COL prospects and on a top 100 - if at all on the latter?

Kevin Goldstein: Easily top three in Colorado at first glance. He'll be in the top 100 for sure.

Parker (Phoenix): Kevin, Great call on Netfali Feliz, gotta give credit where credit is due. I know the Rangers are going to take their time with him, but is there any chance for a late season promotion to Bakersfield. Alternatively, because of the Cal-League's inflated numbers, would they be wise to let him finish they year in A-ball and push him to double A next year?

Kevin Goldstein: Why wait! In case you missed it, Feliz has been promoted to Double-A Frisco and will finish out the year there. He's really, really good.

shamah (NYC): Any thoughts on the other prospects in the CC trade?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm actually a big Rob Bryson fan -- if you go back to the archives, you'll see I had him ranked as the No. 10 Brewers prospect going into the season, and he's pitched well at Low A. Unrefined, but a power arm.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): What are you more sick of hearing, how NOBODY predicted the Rays would do this good (I recall, BP had a spot in SI saying that they'd be better), or the complaints about taking my questions?

Kevin Goldstein: Wow, I missed my favorite wine country bartender with a dysfunctional relationship. The good news is that we are getting credit out there. I guess Michael Kay talked the other day about how BP knew they'd be good on a Yankees broadcast.

Justin (Milwaukee): Where would Matt Gamel rank amoung MIL prospects and on a top 100? Is a move to RF a foregone conclusion? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: I like Gamel, but I'm not totally enamored with him. I think a move SOMEWHERE is a foregone conclusions because he's pretty dreadful at third -- think worse than Ryan Braun. As a hitter, he doesn't have a ton of power, more of an average/doubles guy -- and that's not as good in an outfield corner. Again, very GOOD prospect, not great prospect.

Henry (New Jersey): Your Future Shocks this year have been almost completely devoid of Cubs players, and the ones that do make it in are usually due to negative performance. This is a bad sign, right?

Kevin Goldstein: Bad system. If someone put up some big numbers, they'd make it. Here's some good news: Josh Vitters was a late cut in today's Ten Pack -- he's healthy, playing every day in Boise and raking. Music update: my girlfriend is now blasting Peaches.

prayer to god (shellac): Do you think Alexi Casilla is over his head, or finally making good on PECOTA's high hopes for him? (And how was the Sex and the City movie?)

Kevin Goldstein: What a great song Prayer To God is -- one of their best. I think Casilla at .320 is over his head, but I do think he could hit .280-.295 consistently with the same level of secondary skills, and that's a pretty good player. Sex And The City movie was pretty darn good -- I'll give it three stars.

Conor Glassey (Woodinville, WA): Colin Cowgill is off to a blistering start as a pro he's hit nearly 20 percent of the NWL home runs this season. How does he project for you and who does he remind you of?

Kevin Goldstein: For those that don't know who this is, he was Arizona's fifth-round pick in June and he's hitting .307/.416/.813 for Yakima in the Northwest League with 11 home runs in 75 at-bats. I'm not sure who he reminds me off -- he's really small, maybe in a perfect world he's Brian Giles, but the road to prospect-dom is littered with college-based players who put up silly numbers in the Northwest League never to be heard of again.

Bill (white rock): How seriously should we be taking the rosters for the Futures game? Is there anyone missing there that should be on the roster but is being overlooked? Or are those rosters as screwed up as the regular All-Star game rosters, which are setting a pretty high standard for being screwed up? (Apologies for the re-submit, but you said so...)

Kevin Goldstein: Not very seriously. I used to be part of the selection process, and it's quite frustrating and a lot of good names are left off because you have to take a player from each team, and you can only take a certain number from each team, and there are many players who team's won't allow to go. Beyond that, this year the U.S. team is designed for the Olympics, so there's even more players not in the selection pool.

rhm (tampa): Better top 4: Price/Beckham/Hellickson/Davis or Wieters/Matusz/Tillman/Arrieta?

Kevin Goldstein: Tampa -- it's not even CLOSE.

Patrick (Minneapolis): Sorry you have to be listening to Peaches (one-note novelty act, in my opinion). Have you heard of No Age? You seem to go for that art-y punk stuff.

Kevin Goldstein: I kinda agree, but there's something different about it when your girlfriend plays it, you know? No Age is ok, when is comes to art-punk, I still Les Savy Fav is the best bet these days, but I'm also the only one who thinks the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are legit.

Brock D (Shakopee, MN): What are your thoughts on Loek Van Mill? Does he actually have some potential or is he just a novelty act with that height?

Kevin Goldstein: NOT a novelty act. He as real stuff, with a fastball in the low 90s and will his arm slot it's like it's coming from the top of a mountain. I think he'll be a reliever one day -- not a closer, but in a big league bullpen.

Goldeye99 (Priny Land): Hey Kevin, thanks for the chat, always a nice way to spend an afternoon at work...oops was that out loud? Anyway, Neftali Feliz or Trevor Cahill? From what I've read Cahill is closer to the majors, but Feliz may have the higher upside? p.s.Dood! anxiously awaiting Disgaea 3...tick tick tick DooD!

Kevin Goldstein: I'll take Feliz by a small margin, but your further analysis is dead on. I'm tell my readers this right now -- There will be no Future Shock on August 28th, as Disgaea 3 arrives on the 27th and I will be taking to day off to lose myself in wacky Japanese SRPG greatness.

david (dc): But Pat Venditte ... he's a novelty act right?

Kevin Goldstein: That is correct sir.

Matt (Not afraid of CC): What do you make of Jeff Samardzija? He walks guys, gives up the gopher ball, and doesn't strike guys out. Yet he throws gas, gets groundballs, and is a bulldog on the mound. My question is do you see anything that he could do this year that could get him into the top 100?

Kevin Goldstein: Into the Top 100? He needs to stop giving up the gopher ball and start striking guys out, no? I don't see that happening.

snakeayes11 (phoenix, az): Pretty basic question here, what exactly is the difference between command and control when you're describing a pitching prospect?

Kevin Goldstein: Control: Throwing strikes/not walking people
Command: Location, location, location; i.e. throwing good strikes.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): "I really like Matt Kemp. He's got a 15% shot of being Vladimir Guerrero." Joe Sheehan, June 20th chat. Seriously? Vlad is a big name to drop.

Kevin Goldstein: It's a huge name to drop, but what's Joe really saying here? He's saying that chances are 17 out of 20 that he will NOT turn into that. I don't think it's out of bounds at all.

Quick tip. Questions that might have some value to others catch my eye MUCH MUCH more than quesitons like "Rank these 34 players" followed by a list of players.

Peter (Dallas): Kevin, What about some of the other Rangers positional prospects coming up, like Gac, Vallejo and Bourbon. Do they look like everyday regurlars? Who has the highest ceiling of the 3?

Kevin Goldstein: The Rangers of one of the best systems in baseball, but it's not because of those three. Gac really isn't much of a prospect at all despite the numbers -- he's a guy in his SIXTH year who just got to Hi-A. Vallejo is a decent 2B with a little speed and gap power, and Borbon is very very tough for me. I like him, but he's a guy with very good leadoff man tools but no approach so it's hard to figure out where he fits at the big league level.

Norville Barnes (Muncie, IN): More impressive about Ben Revere...hitting over .400 or that he is 2nd in the midwest league in SLG? Think he can maintain excellent 2B and 3B power as he advances?

Kevin Goldstein: I do. He's really interesting to watch because he's so small, but on a power level, he kind of reminds me of Erick Aybar where the bat is so fast that he can drive them into the gaps and you're really surprised to see the ball hit so hard -- he's legit.

Dan (Bored at work): Jesus Montero, 80 on the power scale, is certainly mashing the ball, but not many home runs...is his power more of extra base hits, or will he get a hold of the long ball soon? what can we expect?

Kevin Goldstein: It's 70+ RAW power. He's only 18 years old, and while seven home runs in 327 at-bats might not thrill year, he does have 23 doubles, and I guarantee you he's not legging out a lot of those. VERY young, and it will come.

bjealous (NYC): Kevin- Assuming for arguments sake that the Indians gave the Brewers the option of including LaPorta or Gamel, did the Brewers make the right decision? Putting aside the fact that Gamel's parents forgot the second T, which I consider a negative.

Kevin Goldstein: LaPorta is a better prospect than Gamel because of the power.

Norville Barnes (Muncie, IN): How has Corey Brown's stock changed this season? He seems to be showing good tools but is pretty darn old for his league yet still Ks a ton. Should the A's be more aggressive in promoting him?

Kevin Goldstein: You'll see him in Stockton pretty soon -- as in this week. I think he's stock is pretty much unchanged from where it was going into the year -- and that's pretty good.

Dan (again): Follow-up...If you are Brian Cashman, what kind of path do you put him on to the majors? a year at each level? move him quicker? wait till he's a gem behind the plate and figure that his hitting will click eventually no matter how fast or slow you move him up the ranks?

Kevin Goldstein: We're still talking about Montero, right? Look, we can dream all we want -- he's NEVER going to be a gem behind the plate. That said, there is no 'right path' to put him on. You let the talent dictate the timetable.

Miguel (Cleveland): Now that we got a nice haul for CC, who else can we get some prospects for?

Kevin Goldstein: Obviously they'll be lesser deals, but I bet they find something at least decent for Paul Byrd and Casey Blake. Not exactly the Killer B's, but someone will pay.

Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): What do you think about long forgotten (and rightfully so) Giants prospect Travis Ishikawa? He's made noticeable improvements this year in AA, cutting his K's and boosting his walks, and at 24-years-old, he's not ancient. He had a lot of people intrigued after his '05 in San Jose but then kinda fizzled in the tough Eastern League. Back on the radar or still off the grid.

Kevin Goldstein: I agree with pretty much everything you said here, but at the same time, Ishikawa is still a first baseman without a lot of power. How much value does that have?

Mario66 (Toronto): He's no longer a prospect, but based in part on his really pretty decent minor league performance, what do you think of Greg Smith's future?

Kevin Goldstein: I'm frankly pretty shocked by it, and don't think it will last. Will he setting in as a solid back-end starter? Sure, but low-to-mid three ERAs every year -- I don't see it.

Jake (Mizzou): Are you a fan of Greg Halman? Looks like a speed-power demon.

Kevin Goldstein: Huge breakout year -- but the approach still scares the hell out of me. As great as his other numbers are, in 83 games this year he has 93 strikeouts and 19 walks -- that has to get better.

forlostcauses (Portland, OR): What do you think of Clayton Kershaw's brief debut as a 20 year in the Dodger's rotation. Do the mixed results change anything about the way he projects to be down the line. Can he be a very good starter in 1 year? Or 2 years?

Kevin Goldstein: I thought he was very good. He's 20, he made eight starts without ever really getting hammered, he struck out nearly a batter per inning, and he had command troubles, which wasn't a huge surprise. Stock is unchanged.

Brad (RF Bleachers): Kevin, if you were considering trading a top player to the Cubs for prospects, who would you want? Do guys like E-Pat and Colvin have much value these days?

Kevin Goldstein: Not a ton, and that's their biggest problem right now. The Cubs WANT to make moves right now, and now with C.C. gone they are looking at Burnett and Harden, but they just don't have the minor league bullets that other teams have to fire at teams.

big baby (nj): Last time asking, I promise. Have you heard anything about Dan Murphy's transition to 2nd? Any idea if he can stick there? If he can play 2nd, what does that do to his stock?

Kevin Goldstein: He's not great there; or hell, even good there -- but he certainly has more value as an offensive-oriented second baseman. I like the move.

Steve (ND): If Michel Inoa was eligible for the 2009 draft where would he get picked?

Kevin Goldstein: One or somewhere right around one.

TomG (Salem): Am I being a bit optimistic or has Chris Tillman pitched his way into being a Top-25 prospect next year?

Kevin Goldstein: I think you are being a bit optimistic, but at the same time, I think it really is just 'a bit'. You could make a legitimate arguement for it.

clark (tx): The Boston Herald had an article today about Boston's need for a young catcher. Is Teagarden for Bowden a feasible option?

Kevin Goldstein: Not in Boston's mind. Prospect for prospect deals are INCREDIBLY rare as it is.

Wendy (Madrid): Regarding Inoa... signing him doesn't seem very much like an A's-like move... What made Billy Beane take a risk now?

Kevin Goldstein: Maybe the A's arent' as "A's-like" as you thing -- and maybe they thought he's that good. I'll have more on this later in the week.

Matt (Brookline, MA): Any word on the Red Sox and their pursuit of one Alex Meyer?

Kevin Goldstein: They're pursuing him? I think Meyer is more of an insurance policy that gives them somewhere to put the money if other negotiations go bad. He's more than likely going to college (Kentucky).

Matt (Cube Farm): How does Josh Vitters compare to Braun/Gamel defensively(3B)? Is "average" his defensive ceiling? As a Cubs fan, it's really exciting to see him hit the ball well, but he doesn't walk that much. Does that say something about his eye, or is it common for the younger players to be overly aggressive and develop more patience later on? It seems that being more selective can only help you. (Follow up: Do the guys in Seattle teach their players not to walk? It's ridiculous!!!)

Kevin Goldstein: I do think he'll be a solid but unspectacular defensive third baseman, which is WAY more than Braun or Gamel -- those guys are both in the lawn ornament category over there. Don't worry about the walks -- there is no guarantee that they will come, but he's one of those guys who does need to learn how to lay off some pitches, because in high school, he could hit anything, anywhere. The one guy he might remind me most of offensively might be, as strange as this sounds, Howie Kendrick.

Grasspike (NC): How is Mesoraco coming along? I haven't heard anything about him since he got drafted, really...

Kevin Goldstein: If you're a Reds fan, you probably don't want to hear what I have -- more coming this week in the NL Central notebook.

SC (Minneapolis): Given the bonuses for top 10 picks, isn't paying Inoa less a perfect example of Beane identifying and exploiting a perceived market inefficiency?

Kevin Goldstein: No. Get off of the Moneyball terms. It's a perfect example of the A's really targeting one guy and doing a great job of getting him.

Steve (ND): Just curious as to how much (if any) you are going to be covering the Olympics

Kevin Goldstein: Still waiting for Nate to clear my month long trip to China. Any day now . . . Folks, I need to take a five-minute break -- but I'll be back for another long stretch in a bit, so keep 'em coming.

Jimmy (Chesapeake, VA): Can you see Brad Ziegler continuing his hot ways for the A's? 16 scoreless innings is very nice. Welcome to the bigs, and all that.

Kevin Goldstein: I see no reason that he won't have a successful run as a reliever/groundball machine.

nellybud (NS): Brett Cecil has been posting some fine numbers at high A and AA this season (67.1 ip, 57h, 21bb, 71k, 2.38 GO/AO) - yet I never hear him mentioned among the better pitching prospects. Has his stuff gone downhill since becoming a full time starter?

Kevin Goldstein: He's a good prospect, but not an elite one. He has a deep arsenal and really knows how to pitch, but it's good stuff, not overwhelming stuff.

Corkedbat (Dallas): Thinking of Billy Rowell, what usually motivates a guy in the minors to improve (other than to get to the show)? What usually deters improvement? Is this normal for a first rounder?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't think there is any one answer to that, as every guy is different. That said, scouts are VERY down on Rowell and see very little effort, especially on the defensive side.

Drew (New York): Lots of news about Michel Inoa this week, of course. What about Julio Teheran? He disappeared from the box scores again. Have you heard anything?

Kevin Goldstein: Some minor arm soreness -- nothing serious -- Braves are being cautious.

jafessenden (worcester): 2008 Daryl Jones (cards). breakout or mirage?

Kevin Goldstein: Be optimistic, buecause the tools are there.

Paul (Tacoma): KG - What's the latest on Phillipe Aumont's injury? Is it more just give him rest, which they were going to do anyway, or something more serious?

Kevin Goldstein: Color me concerned. Initally it was just some minor elbow soreness that would cost him a start or two. One month later . . .

preams (San Diego): You mentioned that Iona would be #1 in the '09 draft. Any insight as to where other players who were recently signed in the DR would be? I'm particularly thinking of Portillo (RHP, Padres) who Paul DePodesta said would be a top-10 pick in the last draft. Do you agree?

Kevin Goldstein: Portillo certianly has the arm strength and projection of a high first-round high school pick -- it's not a riduclous statement at all.

shamah (NYC): A little dated: satisfied that Stephanie won Top Chef? I was pulling for Richard, but glad that Lisa didn't win

Kevin Goldstein: Very satisfied. Lisa didn't even deserve to be in the final three, and Richard was always prone to messing up, and finally did so in the last challenge. Is it ok that I'm kinda into "The Next Food Network Star" now?

Dan (don't leave me here at work to rot): I'm sure the chat is winding down...one last pinstripe question before the chat ends? by the end of the season, who do you think becomes the 8th inning man for the yanks - on the team now or in the minors - (assuming farnsworth blows his shot at being set up man)?

Kevin Goldstein: Dan -- get those TPS reports in. And check out the recent AL East Notebook I wrote than ran down all the candidates.

ken (mass): is Almanzar's lack of XBH concerning at all?

Kevin Goldstein: He's 17 years old and has player 13 professional games, and you want to be concerned about things. Deep breaths people, deep breaths.

Swingingbunts (NY): Hi Kev, Are you still high on Andy Laroche? I've heard him mentioned in trade talks and he doesn't seem to be playing every day, your thoughts? Joe

Kevin Goldstein: If I was some non-Dodgers team, I would love to see if they'd sell low on him.

Steve (ND): Food Network Star is awesome, who are you pulling for? What could the Twins realistically get for Livan if they decide to trade him?

Kevin Goldstein: I like Adam and Aaron. I think the Twins could get a mid-level prospect or two, nothing special.

Sam (Portland): Strictly in terms of offense, is Travis Snider a top 5 prospect for next year?

Kevin Goldstein: In terms of hitting alone? Yes, top five easily.

Fred (Houston): The Astros are converting Brian Bogusevic to an outfielder. What kind of hitting prospect was he coming out of Tulane?

Kevin Goldstein: A very good one. An injury (hamstring if I remember right), kept him from playing in the field much his junior year, but he had first-round tools. Plus raw power, plus speed, plus arm. Definitely worth watching.

Brian (Kansas City): Thoughts on Danny Duffy? His numbers as a 19 year old LHP in low A are in Kershaw, Kazmir, Elbert territory....just sayin.

Kevin Goldstein: And that's all you are doing. I like Duffy plenty, but he's a breaking ball/command guy whose stuff is nowhere close to a Kershaw or Elbert. I saw him plus last week and he was 87-90 mph with very good location and a plus curve. I liked him quite a bit, but he's not elite.

BL (Bozeman, MT): Joseph Dickerson (outfielder, Wilmington): breakout or mirage?

Kevin Goldstein: Fourth outfielder type.

Corkedbat (Dallas): Anyone in the minors mirror the biomechanics of Tim Lincecum? Even remotely? Any chance that Lincecum will change the way farm systems develop their pitchers?

Kevin Goldstein: No; no. He's a unique thing and I don't think trying to copy him would be a good idea.

Joe (Missouri): The worst #2 overall pick in the past 10 years is...

Kevin Goldstein: Adam Johnson, Twins, 2000

Jake Brigance (Clanton): Why didn't Rick Ankiel just become an OF in the first place? I mean, he's gone from a novelty to a really good center fielder.

Kevin Goldstein: Did you see him pitch? He was the No.1 pitching prospect in baseball at a time.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): Put your girlfriend on.

Kevin Goldstein: She's here and says she welcomes all quesitons.

Kyle (Denton): Could Jon Niese pitch admirably in the majors this year?

Kevin Goldstein: I think that's pushing it. Nice year at Double-A, stock is up, but don't get greedy.

metal1341 (STL): Just to settle a debate, was there a better package the Cardinals could've offered for Sabathia?

Kevin Goldstein: Is Rasmus in the package or no?

preams (San Diego): Jaff Decker is off to a ridiculous start in AZL. Can I drop a Travis Snider comp on him?

Kevin Goldstein: Hmmmm. 42nd overall pick in the draft has a great 11-game streak in the complex league and you want to say he's like one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball . . . yeah, I'm going to have to say that's kinda nuts.

Dan (Florida): I want to know what your girlfriend thinks of Jose Tabata's decline.

Kevin Goldstein: She states that his name sounds like 'toboggan', and therefore it sounds like he should be going downhill. I guess I should warn you all that my girlfriend knows nothing about baseball. Like I had to explain to her the concept of a walk a while back, and she doesn't understand why the pitchers are on another team, and wouldn't it be more interesting if your own pitcher threw to you so you could really hit the ball. She also think home runs should be outs because they don't stay on the playing field.

collins (greenville nc): So was it just that Adam Johnson turned out badly, or did the Twins make a dumb choice, given the info available at the time?

Kevin Goldstein: Nobody thought it was a bad pick at the time. Johnson was not the greatest human being in the world, and that didn't exectly help his development.

John (Cambridge): What kind of hitting prospect would Adam Loewen have been when he was drafted? Is Ankiel a trailblazer for a trend of athletic pitchers who flame out picking up bats?

Kevin Goldstein: I think Ankiel is a unique exception, and not a standard or example for anything. He's very cool though.

dogtothedog (Toronto): I heard a rumor that the Jays were after Wallace for Burnett from the Cardinals. Could the Cardinals make Wallace a player to be named later or is that not even possible this early?

Kevin Goldstein: You can't trade a player until one year after they sign. I think the PTBNL thing is a year, so I guess it could happen, but I might be wrong there.

tfierst (MN): Will Cleveland call up LaPorta this year? Is he ready?

Kevin Goldstein: You might see him in September, and I bet he has no (or at least few) problems hitting there.

Billy Beane (Manchester): Can you give me a scouting report on David Beckham?

Kevin Goldstein: Excellent athlete, above-average speed, horrible fielder (never uses his hands!), bad taste in women.

mcscolo (Colorado): Has Alvarez signed with the Pirates yet? And how quickly do you seem him moving through their system? Thanks for the chat.

Kevin Goldstein: He likely won't sign until the deadline of 8/15; Don't be surprised if you see him next September.

greg (toronto): The PTBNL is 6 months

Kevin Goldstein: There you go -- so you can't pull off a trade like that.

David (Sonoma State University, CA): If she could take three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be? (I've heard that if you want to get to know someone, this is the question to ask)

Kevin Goldstein: Her answer is Mark Mothersbaugh, Geraldine Page, Michel Gondrey

Dan D. (Medford, MA): In your Ten Pack today, you noted that Gio Gonzalez has either been very good or very bad in his outings. This raises an interesting question. Most baseball statistics measure central tendency; why haven't sabermetricians incorporated some measure of variance into their thinking about baseball players?

Kevin Goldstein: This is an excellent question, and one I am totally not qualified to answer -- I'm hoping one of the many people that ARE qualified to do so will see it.

Mike (NJ): Brad Suttle and his 870 OPS: top 50 prospect?

Kevin Goldstein: you're kidding, right?

babutler16 (NYC): Can Charlie Zink have a successful career as a end of the rotation guy?

Kevin Goldstein: I've gone from no way in hell, to maybe, just maybe this year.

Joe (NY): And which 3 people would you meet?

Kevin Goldstein: Buddy Hackett, Truman Capote and Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef

Mike (St. Louis): Is Jason Varitek the worst all-star of all time? Has to be, right?

Kevin Goldstein: This might be really embarassing for a professional baseball writer to admit, but I couldn't even tell you who won last year's game. I'm betting if he's not the worst, he's right up there.

nstampe (Madison): Is there a quick way to explain how Beane and the A's were able to sign Inoa, and why he wasn't drafted, and we're other teams on him? Sorry lots of material there.

Kevin Goldstein: There's a quick way to explain why he wasn't drafted at least -- he's Dominican and only U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico based talent is subject to the draft. All others are free agents and eligible to sign when they are 16 within the international signing window, which began on July 2. As to how . . . look for more on that soon. There is no quick way to answer than one.

jjf1041 (New York): Why is Michael Saunders getting little attention? Is it because of his high K rate? Does he have a bright future or will he be felled by the same affliction that got Brandon Wood?

Kevin Goldstein: He doesn't have nearly as much raw power as Wood, but he does have a way better approach. The concern for him is can he REALLY play centerfield, and if not, can he be enough offensively to be an every day corner guy. Scouts are pretty mixed on both questions.

dan (oakland): Do you think Inoa was being scouted when he was 13?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't know -- earliest I can find a team on him was about 18 months ago, and that would have been 14.

mike (delaware): admit it- you love the fact that we hate our jobs

Kevin Goldstein: Done.

Kevin Goldstein: And with they, I have to get back to my job -- which I love. See you all VERY soon.

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