If you're ready for some Future Shock, prospects guru Kevin Goldstein has answers to your questions about tomorrow's stars.
Kevin Goldstein: Greetings all. Plenty to talk about as we enter the final month of the minor league season, the draft deadline just ended with plenty of drama, and all sorts of other stuff, so lets go.
Ethan (County Ct.): Could you please comment on the recent offensive explosion from Pedro Alvarez and do you expect him to be an elite impact bat once he reaches Pittsburgh?
Kevin Goldstein: I think we're basically starting to see the real Pedro Alvarez. I believe this explosion is very much for real, but I do have my concerns about his ability to stay at 3B, which makes me wonder what they're going to do with a combination of Alvarez and Clement.
Ryan (Charlottesville, VA): Off the top of your head, the top 5 prospects for next year's draft?
Kevin Goldstein: It's kind of crazy to do this now, as plenty could change, but . . . Bryce Harper, Anthony Ranuado (RHP, LSU), Drew Pomeranz (LHP, Miss St.) would be my top three. Not elite now, but could be by next June: Yasmani Grandal, the catcher at the U. of Miami.
JP (KC): Any thoughts on the long term potential of Josh Prince? Are you at all concerned about his lack of power or does his speed based game make up for it?
Kevin Goldstein: He's certainly intriguing. He can draw walks, steal a ton of bases and play a pretty good shortstop, but I worry that the walk might plummet as pitchers challenge him way more at the upper levels with little to fear.
Scott (St. Louis): What is the view on Hank Conger? He's been hitting well (not super) in the Texas League and playing a lot of catcher. Can he stay behind the plate? Will he hit for above average power?
Kevin Goldstein: His future depends on staying at catcher, and there's still work to be done there.
brian (Brooklyn NY): Are you a believer in Josh Thole? He cant be worse than Schneider and Santos, right?
Kevin Goldstein: If that's your litmus test in me believing in him, then yet. Not a great defender, but can hit. Best comp I've heard from a scout is Darrin Fletcher.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Are Martin Perez's 2 poor outings at AA a result of nerves, better competition, him being exposed, a bit of everything, or merely a blip on the screen and domination will soon begin?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know about the nerves, but it was a tall order to begin with. I don't expect him to dominate Double-A hitters -- that would just be expecting too much. Just holding his own there would be an accomplishment.
achaik (Maine): What are your thoughts on Ian Kennedy? Can he return to the highly-touted prospect he once was?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know who highly touted him, but it wasn't me. I always see him as a potential 4 or 5, and he could get back to that level, sure.
Michael (New York): Hey Kev, thanks for doing these chats. Is Kelvin De Leon a top 100 prospect yet? And what about his ceiling? Is a Jermaine Dye-type player his best-case senario
Kevin Goldstein: Top 100? No way. His raw power at his age is really quite something, but he's got a LONG LONG way to develop as a hitter.
Paul D (Toronto): Best case upside for Tim Collins?
Kevin Goldstein: Loogy, maybe middle reliver.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Here's a blast from the past: Fautino De Los Santos. Are the A's expecting a return to full health and he'll be ready to go next spring with no limitations? If so, does his upside remain high still?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; yes.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Holland vs. Feliz, who do you take? Along those lines, is Feliz better served as a shutdown closer or in the rotation? (Haven't we had this same conversation before...Joba!?)
Kevin Goldstein: I still take Neftali. Personally, I'd return him to starting next year, but NEED for a team that's clearly going to compete again could make that decision a little tougher.
bellfree (Colorado): What are your thoughts on Cameron Maybin?
Kevin Goldstein: I believe.
John (Los Angeles): Anthony Hewitt or Andrew Brackman? Which disaster has a better chance to play, even briefly, in the majors?
Kevin Goldstein: pass.
Cam (Bangor, ME): Does Dan Hudson have a chance to break camp with the Sox next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Minor leaguer breakout pitcher of the year, but I think that's a tad optimistic. You should see him at some point next year, though.
BL (Bozeman): In Jordan Parraz and David Lough, do the Royals have a couple of young outfielders to build around or a couple of replacement level guys who are still better than anything they have, non-DeJesus division?
Kevin Goldstein: Jordan Parrez and David Lough are decent prospects. They are not something to build around.
Jeff (Pittsburgh): What are your thoughts on Casey Crosby's future? Is he the Tigers' #1 prospect, or does Jacob Turner take that title?
Kevin Goldstein: I actually think that's going to be a great debate in the offseason, and I can wait to see what the rankings end up after I make all of my calls.
BL (Bozeman): What's your take on the Aaron Crow situation, and how quickly could he move if/when he signs?
Kevin Goldstein: There's been lots of ugly behind-the-scenes rumors on this one. Basically, he needs to realize that the $3.5 he turned down LAST YEAR isn't ever coming back, and each day he doesn't sign, he gets a little further away from it.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Can I get a quick hit on two SSs please? Jackson in the Jays system and Dee Gordon in the Dodgers.
Thank you. Too bad you didn't chat every day.
Kevin Goldstein: Jackson just needs to start hitting, period. He's frustrating, because he's a plus defender with above-average speed and a good approach, but there's SO much swing and miss in him that I'm pretty worried. Gordon is a much different player, in that he's having the season he's having, yet he's still incredibly raw and there's a lot of growth in him still. I do worry that Gordon is just so far away fundamentally, when it comes to defense, that he'll end up in the outfield.
Carl (Buffalo, NY): When do you see Ruben Tejada making an impact in the majors and what kind of impact do you see him making?
Kevin Goldstein: Ruben Tejada is going to be a big leaguer, but not an impact one. For me, he's kind of a future Enrique Wilson kind of player.
Grant (Chicago): With what's happened to Crow and with Strasburg seemingly getting less than expected (while still record breaking), can you envision a scenario in which the draftees themselves would like the security of hard slotting? The leverage of the top picks doesn't seem that great in negotiations, and if the slots were reasonable, they'd get to avoid this high stakes game of chicken that they stand to lose more at than the clubs do.
Kevin Goldstein: You need to discuss what the stand to WIN as well, which is tons of money. No amateur player would want a slot. Also, if I may rant for a second, the Strasburg deal is MORE than expected in some ways. When I was predicting 20-25 million, that was for a 5-6 year deal. This deal is just 4, meaning his arbitration years are NOT paid for at this time. If he's as good as people think, what are those going to cost? 15M each, conservatively? Now you are at 46M for the six years, and Strasburg is simply putting his money where his mouth is -- or vice versa.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Does Grant Desme strikeout too much to consider him as an elite level prospect? Those numbers of his between two A levels are extraordinary.
Kevin Goldstein: Age and Ks prevent him from being seen as elite. That doesn't mean he's not interesting. This comp might sound weird, but he's kinda Preston Wilson-esque.
Killbahn (Nj): Should it bother me that I spent $125 a seat to sit in right field at the new stadium, then hear that the Yankees couldn't sign Meade and Lyons cause of a budget?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. You just spent $125 bucks on a baseball seat, so while I won't assume you are loaded, I will assume you're doing ok, you can pay your bills, and buy yourself a little extra thing here and there. Now just because that's the case, should you pay 20% more for something? Maybe, if you really want it, but don't read that as the Yankees limiting spending, read it as the Yankees deciding those two were not worth their asking prices.
Vargas (USA): What tools can change dramatically between the ages of 18-23 and what tools tend to remain static?
Kevin Goldstein: I think power hitters, Power can go up pretty dramatically, while speed can go down.
armcrow (california): Please settle a bet. Who's the number one prospect heading into next year? Heyward or Strasburg? Thanks.
Kevin Goldstein: B.
TK (DC): What is it that Crow did/did not do over the last 12 months that altered his value so drastically? How does that speak to the leverage that teams really do have over top picks, who really do not have anywhere to go to prove themselves if they don't sign?
Kevin Goldstein: Honestly? He aged 12 months and barely pitched. That's a bad combination. He turns 23 in November, chances are he'll yet to have throw a professional pitch.
David (Sonoma State University, CA): Morning, KG. After an enjoyable night drinking long islands, I managed to wake up in time for your chat. Of all the proposed changes to the draft, which do you see coming to fruition next year? Which do you think will happen later?
Kevin Goldstein: You drink long islands? David(respect) = David(respect) - 1. I don't think you'll see any changes next year, but after the next CBA, I think you'll see allowances for trading possibly, as well as a different deadline.
Tim (DC): Kevin, enjoyed your article(s) about fixing the MLB draft. In regards to the combine, I assume it would be run differently for pitchers and positional players, but on what skills would you have the prospective players tested? Would you break it down further to specific positions?
Kevin Goldstein: The thing is, baseball people didn't even necessarily want a baseball-playing combine, they just wanted them to get a physical by their staff and talk to them.
Tim (DC): True/false: Strasburg will pitch in a competitive game before Spring Training.
Kevin Goldstein: Does the Arizona Fall League count?
Jay (Philly): Is Brody Colvin a decent 1st round pick for the Phils?
Kevin Goldstein: No, but he's a good 2nd rounder/supp first.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): A couple underperforming Royals: Moustakas and Hosmer. Reason for concern or just a part of the developmental process?
Kevin Goldstein: I have more faith in Moose than Hosmer at this point, as at least Moustakas occasionally shows you something. Keep in mind that Wilmington is a nightmare place to hit.
hotstatrat (T.O.): I am pumped on Mike Trout. Am I crazy for thinking he will rank just above Chisenhall and Grant Green this winter?
Kevin Goldstein: Be pumped. Maybe not as pumped as the second part of your questions, but pumped nonetheless.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): What's the deal with Lars Anderson? How far has his stock dropped this year as a result of a mediocre showing? Does he still maintain the high upside or has this year exposed some bigger questions?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm hearing a LOT of questions from scouts that have seen him. Being a first base prospect is a nasty business. You don't have to be good offensively, you have to be a MASHER -- a guy that projects in the middle of a big league lineup, or what are you really?
Richie (Washington): "Speed can go down" for speed players (injuries??) or for all? My understanding has been that speed is quite easily improved. If so, is MLB behind the curve on that? Or is amateur baseball in front of it, in that by the time a prospect gets into professional baseball they've already trained him such that he's about as fast as he athletically can be?
Kevin Goldstein: Guys get bigger. Nobody looks like they did when they were 18 or 19. Athletes fill out.
JWR (Chicago): Why would taking a year off from pitching necessarily be a "bad combination"? Considering how frequently young pitchers break down, couldn't a good argument be made that a year off should not hurt a young pitcher's long-term development?
Kevin Goldstein: Not pitching at all is not good.
heeler (Peoria, IL): I know he technically isn't a prospect, but do you think Delmon Young's recent "awakening" is real?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know, I want to think so, as I've never understood why he didn't take off, but we have so many bad things to make up for still.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Of the 14 players listed on your Top 11 Prospect list for the Orioles this year (I'm counting the 3 "just missed") 8 are with the Orioles now. Am I correct in assuming this is an unusually high number? Will the O's have much left for next year's list?
Kevin Goldstein: Very unusual. Their list will NOT look nearly as good next year, but that's nothing to get too worked up about. No team graduates that many guys and replaces them all.
Scott (Chicago): Daniel Hudson's overall ceiling is as a ________, and he'll probably be in the majors by _____. His _____ is his best pitch.
Kevin Goldstein: No. 3; mid-to-late 2010; Fastball.
ryan (ns): Kevin, does the CBA allow amateurs to sign a deal with a no trade clause? (i'm thinking of Ryan Westmoreland)
Kevin Goldstein: no.
fjm(anuel) (ny): Speaking of the tough life of a first base prospect, can Ike Davis hit enough to be a mid-order big league hitter?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's borderline. He's definitely looking good of late, but future stud? Not so sure.
BL (Bozeman): Given the recent MLB policy changes designed to suppress signing bounses for draftees, what are private reactions in the industry to bonus amounts in the last two years?
Kevin Goldstein: Stay tuned next week.
brian (brooklyn): Is Kirk Nieuwenhuis any kind of a prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: Capt. Kirk (he's a Met for those not familiar) is one of the hottest hitters in the Florida State League, and yes, he's at least some kind of prospect.
Mario66 (Toronto): I'm loving watching what Kyle Blanks is doing in MLB, but it's a bit peculiar since he's showing more power and a worse batting eye than he has recently in the minors. Thoughts?
Kevin Goldstein: "Worse batting eye" is a misnomer. I'm sure his batting eye is the same, it's just big league pitching is so good. Guys always walk less when they come up. As for the power, to early to say, but yes, he sure is fun.
Toby (www.metsminorleagueblog.com): re: Tejada & Enrique Wilson Don't you have to acknowledge that Tejada's hitting .285/.350/.366 at age 19 is more impressive than anything in Wilson's MiLB track record? Wilson was in the Appy League at 19 and didn't reach AA until age 22 when he hit .304/.346/.390. I'm not arguing that Tejada will be a star, because he lacks power, but I think you're a little light on him.
Kevin Goldstein: First off, NOBODY covers the Mets system in depth as well as Toby. Second, I think you are taking the comp far too literally. I'm saying Tejada is the kind of guy who could be an occasional starter, mostly utility guys who last for around a decade, that's all.
Scott (Chicago): Do you personally think the White Sox gave up too much for Peavy, contract aside? Richard screams "just a guy." Poreda looks like nothing more than a late-inning reliever. Carter was way too old for his league. And every organization has an Adam Russell. I know Poreda could start, but his avg. fastball was 92.5 *out of then pen* in the majors.
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think the White Sox gave up that much at all -- it was kind of a quantity over quality deal for me and a great deal for Chicago.
tompshock (SD): Carlos Gonzalez, hot streak or turned the corner?
Kevin Goldstein: The tools were always there.
dianagramr (NYC): Hi KG ... thanks for the chat ...
Buster Posey will begin 2010 playing (position) in (city).
Kevin Goldstein: C, SF.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Is Tyson Gillies for real or just a one year wonder?
Kevin Goldstein: He's pretty real. I don't think he's a monster prospect, but he'll certainly by on the M's offseason list.
Hongo (Greenville, SC): If Mark Reynolds can have a big league career, why can't Kyle Russell, who strikes out a ton but is also leading the Midwest League in homers and playing a mean (as in good arm, range) right field?
Kevin Goldstein: Go look up what Mark Reynolds's K rate was when he was in the Midwest League at roughly the same age. It's WAY lower than Russell's. Just like BB tend to go down, Ks tend to go up, so it's Russell's starting point that's such a concern.
fjm(anuel) (ny): Revenge of the Met prospects! After months of being denigrated, stepped on, having thumbs bitten at, noses turned-up, and farts in the general direction of, is it possible that their farm system ISN'T as bad as the MSM makes it out to be? And you didn't even answer any Mejia (next year's Neftali) related questions!
Imagine if the Wilpons let them spend the draft!
Kevin Goldstein: The Mets system is still well below average, and if you think Mejia is anywhere in Neftali's neighborhood, I suggest you seek counseling immediately.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Does Travis Snider have the ability to breakout like his fellow teammate Adam Lind, who experienced many of the same performance issues Snider has faced (K vs. LHP in particular) as a rookie?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes, and maybe even more so.
stewbies (rochester): Is Julio Borbon going to be a solid lead off man for Texas next year?
Kevin Goldstein: Solid? sure. Spectacular? doubtful.
akodobill (Las Vegas): Nino Leyja is still 18 and after a rough start seems to be really holding his own in the Midwest League. How excited should A's fans be? He'll probably be in Kane County all year next year, right?
Kevin Goldstein: Probably yes, he'll be here all next year. I've seen Leyja in person many times, and he does do some interesting things with the bat that makes one feel optimistic. At the same time, he's kind of a disaster with the glove.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Several O's commentators, pointing to the development this year by Adam Jones, are suggesting we will see significant improvement next year from the many O's who have been introduced this year (Wieters, Reimold, Bergesen, Hernandez, Berken, Tillman, Matusz, and Mickolio). What do you think?
Kevin Goldstein: Agreed on Wieters, Tillman and Matusz. I think Reimold will be AS good.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): Why was Ryan Westmoreland considered to be untouchable in the Roy Halladay trade talks a few weeks ago? Is his upside so great that you'd pass on (arguably) the game's best pitcher!?
Kevin Goldstein: Can we ban the term "untouchable"? There is no such thing as untouchable.
mymrbig (New Orleans): In the comments for your Top 100 list, you said you weren't convinced Hellickson had the body or ceiling to get 4 stars and make your Top 100. Has your opinion changed, and if so, in what ways?
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. It's changed. Basically every scout I've talked to this year has raved about him, so he's way up.
TGisriel (Baltimore): How concerned should O's fans be over Erbe's "tired shoulder"?
Kevin Goldstein: Anytime you see an adjective with a negative meaning in front of the word "shoulder", you should be concerned. I still think Erbe is better suited as a reliever in the end.
jaymoff (Salem, OR): I can understand the dislike of the word "untouchable", but to that point, it was said that Westmoreland was UNAVAILABLE (is that better!?) with regards to a possible return package for Halladay. Why is that? Is he/will he be that good?
Kevin Goldstein: He might be, but he wasn't untouchable. He's tools are absolutely outstanding and he's been the biggest buzz-generator in the New York-Penn league this year.
markDC (Washington, DC): Starlin Castro - starting Cubs shortstop in 2011?
Kevin Goldstein: No. Second base, maybe, but not shortstop.
Chris (Boston): Ryan Kalish's month compares well to Dominic Brown and he's actually a half year younger. Brown ranks significantly higher everywhere. Are they that far apart?
Kevin Goldstein: Brown has more in the tools department for sure, not that Kalish isn't toolsy. They're both fine prospects, but Brown is definitely better.
Jonathan (New York): I think I remember you writing something a few weeks ago about having found your "next Neftali." Have you gone public with who that guy is and I just missed it? Or would you like to unmask him here for us today.....
Kevin Goldstein: All in good time . . . you'll see come Top 11 time.
John Zirinsky (Washington, DC): Kevin: What video games are you looking forward to this fall? I need some good recs...
Kevin Goldstein: Number one on my wait list is Demon's Souls for the PS3. Japanese RPG with bizarre multiplayer and supposedly tortuous difficulty. As for games out right now, Fat Princess is outstanding.
Tim (DC): Kevin, aside from getting the Strasburg deal done, what do you know about new Nats GM Mike Rizzo? I actually thought Jed Hoyer might have had the inside track until the signing.
Kevin Goldstein: Like I wrote, Mike Rizzo is one of the best in the business when it comes to evaluating young talent, both within his system and others. He is very well respected in the industry and deserved the job for months, if not years.
Phil S. (NJ): What type of prospect can the Mets expect in return for Wagner if the obvious obstacles to a trade (NTC, waivers) are overcome?
Kevin Goldstein: Not a whole helluva lot.
sprechs (Brooklyn): Steven Goldman, at his pinstriped bible blog, has listed some of the dispiriting position player drafting the yankees have done over the past few years. Since they've been leveraging their financial advantage in the draft since '05, why do you think they've done such a poor job of developing position players?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm not sure they've done a poor job as much as they just simply haven't really been drafting many of them. You can't go to the junkyard for car parts and then wonder why you don't have a cadillac in the end. They've been very pitcher-focused in recent drafts for the most part, but really, does the offense need much help?
collins (greenville nc): Thanks for doing the chat, Kevin. Do you think the Twins should let Crede go this winter and give the 3B job to Valencia?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think should enters into it much, I simply think they WILL do it.
Jack (LA): I know this game is old news, but the MLB 09 The Show, RTS is addictive and so much fun.
Kevin Goldstein: I know this sounds weird maybe, but I just don't play sports games, except for the Hot Shots Golf series, which is hardly hardcore (at least on the surface -- beyond the cartoon-ness, I'm told it's a better true sim than the Tiger Woods games).
krgrecw (durham NC): With Bard dominating is it a sure thing that the Red Sox will resign Papelbon?
Kevin Goldstein: In Bard's last six outings, he's allowed 8 runs in 4.2 innings, while walking six and giving up three home runs . . . now what was the question again?
jlarsen (just north of Chicago): How much did the non-signings of Washington and Diekroeger really hurt the Rays? Glaesmann, Malm and Bailey were my keys to a successful draft. I could be wrong, but I still consider the Rays system still in the Top 5. How much of this is true and how much is this fan bias on my end?
Kevin Goldstein: The Rays system is still very strong, and yes, those three signings helped lessen the blow, but the 2009 draft was still a bad one for the Rays. Diekroeger was always a reach because of his Stanford commitment, but I bet Washington gets more money next year.
ryan (ns): Kevin, how does Johermyn Chavez project as a defender? will he be able to hold down a big league OF spot if the bat cantinues to develop?
Kevin Goldstein: He's an average RF with a plus arm, so yes.
Bill (New Mexico): With Colby Rasmus and Brett Wallace having moved on, does Shelby Miller go straight to the #1 spot in the Cardinals' system? If not, who does?
Kevin Goldstein: He certainly does in my book.
Bill (New Mexico): You told TGisriel, re the Orioles' system, "No team graduates that many guys and replaces them all." Fair enough, but shouldn't a high graduation rate one year be viewed the NEXT year as evidence that that farm system is doing its job? And shouldn't the top-11 lists (or, if you prefer, a different set of articles) do a little more to point out these high-graduation-rate systems so that we can pay attention to the prospects still in them?
Kevin Goldstein: That's why I do the Top 25 years old and under list as well as the prospect lists.
collins (greenville nc): Do MLB's slot recommendations deal only with signing bonuses, or also with salary? Could a team follow the letter, but not spirit, of the slot recommendation by giving slot bonus and high salaries in years 1, 2, etc?
Kevin Goldstein: Just bonuses. Yes, you COULD do that, but at the some time, there's nothing MLB can really do to enforce the slots, so why worry about a work around.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Do you use the 20-80 tool scale system for scouting purposes, or only when you want to explain where a prospect is to someone?
Kevin Goldstein: I use the 20-80 scale system for nearly everything in life actually. I ate at the tapas place in town the other say and it was a solid 55, for example. Most use TWO scores for prospects however, a NOW score and a FUTURE score.
ericturner29 (Chicago): Shouldn't it be "respect(david)" and not "david(respect)"? David is the argument of the respect function after all....
respect(kevin) = respect(kevin) - 1
Kevin Goldstein: I love our readers.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, unfortunately, our time is up. Thanks for all the great questions, and I'll try to be back here soon.