It's time to talk top prospects in all 30 organizations, so you'll want to address your questions to BP's prospects expert, Kevin Goldstein.
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. We're 10% done with Top 11s, and I just got off a long phone call with a very smart person about the upcoming Indians list, so those rankings are now looking a lot smarter and are almost ready to go. Let's talk about . . . oh whatever, it's up to you.
Kyle2099 (Kansas City): KG, Anxiously awaiting the Royals list. Did Hosmer and Moustakas fall considerably this year in your (and scouts) eyes?
Kevin Goldstein: Hosmer more than Moose. Moose had the horrible park, and he looked much better defensively at third base this year. I guess with the Lasik you have to give Hosmer SOME benefit of the doubt, but he's such a weird guy. I saw him a ton this year, and I think I saw him strikeout maybe once all year, but I don't think I ever saw him square up a ball either.
colavito (Memphis, TN): Starlin Castro becomes the top MLB preseason prospect at shortstop in a)2010, b)2011, c) both a and b, or d) none of the above?
Kevin Goldstein: D. None of the above. I think he's becoming one of the more over-rated prospects in the game. Don't get me wrong, I really like him, he's an every day big league shortstop -- and a good one at that, but I don't see impact level at all.
Trevor127 (NYC): Kevin, What did scouts have to say about Wilmer Flores this year? Is there a concern about the power if he has to move from shortstop?
Kevin Goldstein: There's just no way he's a shortstop in the end, so it's not an if, it's a when. Still very talented for his age, so don't get too crazy.
andy (san diego): For Donovan Tate, worst case scenerio: Mike Cameron, best case scenerio: Andruw Jones? Somewhere in between?
Kevin Goldstein: Best case might be even better than that, but worst case is not even getting out of the minors. Basically the range is about 10 times what you have here. Crazy athlete, crazy raw.
Kevin (London): Do you think Viciedo will become a productive major league player? An unimpressive slash line combined with poor scouting reports about defense/body type make it seem unlikely at this point, no? Sure, it's early, but there's little room for optimism outside of a small second half sample size and good reports about bat speed.
Kevin Goldstein: There's also a pretty telling track record of Cuban players really struggling in their first year over in Estados Unidos. I still have some faith there, but he has to get into better physical condition.
Jake (Houston): Any hope for Rangers prospects Danny Gutierrez or Neil Ramirez?
Kevin Goldstein: I think there is lots of hope for both. Ramirez flashed good stuff at times this year, while Gutierrez really has the makeup concerns over anything he does on the mound. He just has to get his head screwed on straight.
Paul32 (Washington): With all the hype surrounding Strasburg, I'm interested in Derek Norris. You were pretty high on him coming into the year and he certainly performed. What's his upside and a comparison if you've heard one. Thanks!
Kevin Goldstein: I think he could be an All-Star catcher with average, power and walks. Just outstanding.
Sam (Philadelphia): Happy with Coughlan and Bailey over Happ/Hanson and Porcello/Andrus?
Kevin Goldstein: Don't care. Seriously, I could go on about this forEVER. Awards mean nothing to me, because they mean nothing in my evaluation of a player. If Zack Greinke for some reason ended up NOT winning the Cy Young today, I wouldn't be upset in the least, because it wouldn't change AT ALL what kind of talent he is. Does that make sense? I just means utterly nothing to me. I don't think I can even tell you who last year's MVP or CY Young winners were.
Randy (Cleveland): Kevin, Looking forward to Cleveland's List. Did Lonnie Chisenhall move up your personal list this year? What's his ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: Not going to give away too much, but man oh man do I like me some Lonnie Chisenhall.
JZirinsky (Washington, DC): Kevin: Please tell me you're playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2? It rocks.
Kevin Goldstein: Nope, not playing it. Just not my kind of game. I just finished Demon's Souls, which is among the finest gaming accomplishments of my life, and I'm not sure what I'll play next. Probably getting back into Fallout 3 DLC before buying something new.
Rob (Alaska): Since you mentioned it re: Starlin Castro, what's the difference in your eyes between "an everyday big league shortstop - and a good one at that" and "impact level"? I guess what I'm asking is how do you define an impact level player?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, let's stick to Castro. He can hit, not doubt. It's a 60 bat, and if you want to throw a future 65+ on it, I'm cool with that. Below average power, doesn't take walks, 4.4 down the line, so he's below average speed and not going to steal bases, he HAS to hit .300 to have value.
Kevin (London): Thanks, KG. Have you heard much about Brent Morel's defense? He was voted the best defensive 3B in the Carolina League -- and the significance of that is debatable -- but Buddy Bell has been pretty positive. Could Morel hope to become a left-handed Pedro Feliz if all goes well?
Kevin Goldstein: He's a solid to plus defender. Make the plays he gets to, and great fundamentals. He's nowhere near to Feliz defensively. Feliz is among the best of the generation there.
Jacob348 (Miami): How far did Tim Beckham fall? Is looking more likely he'll have to move from SS or is this just a doomsday theory?
Kevin Goldstein: He fell, but not a ton. Really wasn't THAT bad a year, just not the monster people expected. Tools remain excellent.
BrowningNagle (Louisville, KY): Is there any chance Angel Villalona plays baseball again in the U.S.? Even if the charges are 'dropped', would any team touch that PR nightmare? Was he showing any progress this year according to scouts?
Kevin Goldstein: He has some very good scouting reports out of the Cal League, but yes, his future is very much up in the air.
don (lansing, MI): hey kevin, I imagine we're bound for an onslaught of breathless aroldis chapman coverage soon enough, what's the straight dope on him? upside, risk, reasonable expectations for 2009 & beyond?
Kevin Goldstein: His upside is higher than any pitching prospect in baseball other than Strasburg. There is the risk of youth, and the difficulties some Cuban have had over here. I think anyone expecting him to make a big league impact in 2010 is just kidding themselves.
Steven (Trenton): I'm so pumped for the Yankee's top 11, can you give us a little hint about the list? Can you give us one of the last 3 to miss?
Kevin Goldstein: It's not done yet, to be honest. In order to avoid calling some of my contacts eight million times, I do these in sets of three, so I'm currently on the Indians, Tigers and Royals. Indians are DONE being ranked, so I've made the calls and talked to the scouts and team officials I need to give you guys good info on every player. Tigers right now have a preliminary list and some calls, but guys will move or be added/taken off based on more than comes to light. Royals right now are a list of guys to talk about and just a basic grouping rather than ranking. Next set after that is Angels, Twins, and your Yankees, so it's a bit away.
Jake H (Kansas City): When Chapman signs would he be a top 8 prospect in the game?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd pick an even smaller number than that.
Alex (Ohio): Could you give us a teaser for the Indians' system? It was a long year in northern Ohio and we could use a little hope....
Kevin Goldstein: Their system gave me a lot of trouble, particularly with the second half of the rankings. It's not a system packed with elite-level talent, but there is a ton of depth here, and I had 10 legitimate candidates for slots 8-11.
Dirk (Calgary): Is projectable power wishcasting for Castro? Is that why he's getting overrated? You seem to think he's more Christian Guzman than Hanley, and I've already seem Hanley comparisons.
Kevin Goldstein: Again, I really like Starlin Castro, he's a very good shortstop prospect. Comparing him to Hanley Ramirez is maybe the most completely and utterly unreal [expletive] ridiculous thing I've heard all year.
Joey (Florida): DJ Mitchell's ceiling is a 2 starter. True? Too high?
Kevin Goldstein: Like him a lot, but yes, that's too high.
Jeff (DC): So at SS, do you see more upside/impact-level potential in D. Gordon than S. Castro?
Kevin Goldstein: Well, you get into ranking philosophy territory here. Yes, Gordon has a higher ceiling that Castro, but if I was going to be on which one had a good big league career, I'd bet on Castro, and I might bet a ton.
Eliu (Chicago): Jared Mitchell, what's his upside?
Kevin Goldstein: Crazy high.
William J. Lapedomaine (Rock Ridge, TX): I just stole Trevor Reckling in the late rounds of my fantasy draft. I've been reading he has a great mix of pitches and has a chance to be special. What insight do you have on him?
Kevin Goldstein: If you have average velocity and below average control, it's going to be hard to be special. That said, I really like him as a future No. 3 starter. It's a weird thing that doesn't seem to be changing. The number of special prospects in baseball is tiny. 25 or less. If I say a guy is not a special prospect, that does NOT mean I don't like him. You can't have a roster filled with special players. You need good ones and solid ones as well, and prospects who project as even that are pretty damn good. If I say a guy isn't special, it doesn't mean I don't like him.
brian (burger king line): What would you say is the breakdown between your own opinions and what you hear from others when ranking prospects?
Kevin Goldstein: My opinion are almost completely formed on what I hear from others. I can't sit here in DeKalb and just look at stats and bonuses. I'm talking to scouts and team people so they can give me the info I need to make my rankings. Everyone out there doing rankings brings their own biases to the table, and that's a good thing, but you HAVE to talk to people, and know how to distill that info.
cbelford (Chicago): Thanks for the chat! I imagine Jason Heyward will be fairly high on the Braves Top 11 list. Does he have a better-than-average chance of being Atlanta's opening day RF?
Kevin Goldstein: I could see Heyward having, for lack of a better team, a Tommy Hanson-esque 2010, where even though he maybe SHOULD be there Opening Day, he starts at Triple-A and is in the bigs by the end of May.
paulbellows (Calgary): Do you prefer teams drafting high risk arms or say the Twins safer strike thrower approach.
Kevin Goldstein: I always prefer the upside.
Teraxx (Phoenix, AZ): What's the latest on Jesus Montero regarding his inevitable position change? Any chance he makes an impact with the big club in 2011?
Kevin Goldstein: You know, as good as Montero was with the bat this year, the defense made great strides as well. Not that he's good back there or even average, but more and more people think he can at least stick there, which makes his bat that much more valuable. I talked to a scout the other day who thought he was a better defensive catcher than Austin Romine.
jonwakelin (Chicago, IL): Can you give us any information on Joe Paterson? His stats are intriguing, but I can't find much information on his physical tools. Is this guy the Pads' future closer?
Kevin Goldstein: He's nothing close to a future closer. He might have some situational reliever possibilities, but he's a strike thrower/speed changer more than a stuff guy.
Ben F. (California): How concerned are you about Josh Vitters lack of walks?
Kevin Goldstein: I am concerned, in that he's the type of talent where it's the hardest to teach plate discipline. He honestly doesn't swing at a lot of bad pitches, his plate coverage is that good, but he needs to find a way to at least get into more hitter's counts.
Greg764 (Oakland): What kind of reports did you get about Grant Green? Is he a 20/20 type in your mind?
Kevin Goldstein: More like a 15/25
Grant (Chicago): For us lazy people, could or would you compile your 5-star guys to let us see your top 25 special fellows before heading to the brick and mortars in March?
Kevin Goldstein: That's what the Top 100 is for -- you'll get that in February.
Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Have any systems ever been listed in your top 11s without a single 4 or 5 star player? It's no coincidence I'm asking.
Kevin Goldstein: I don't know offhand, but I think so. And yes, I see where this is going, and yes, you have very good reason to ask. I was talking to someone else in this racket about a month ago, and we were having fun and just guessing a who I'd have at No. 1 before making any calls. When we got to Toronto, there was about a 15 second pause.
JTL (Little Rock, AR): Jared Mitchell or Donnovan Tate -- who do you like more?
Kevin Goldstein: There's a reason Tate went third and got $6.25 million, while Mitchell went 20 picks later and got $1.2 million.
lucas (pittsburgh): Will you alert us to your long-promised "this year's Neftali Feliz guy" so there's no way we miss it? My fantasy team relies on such info.
Kevin Goldstein: Well, we started in the right league . . .
Rhys (Near Shea): Jenrry Mejia's been torched in the AFL. Is he the Mets top pitching prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: He's easily the Mets top pitching prospect, as the arm is really special, despite the fact that on the mound, he's often a bit of a spectacular mess.
cjmulligan79 (cleveland): would you consider the royals system better this year than last? i realize moustakas and hosmer have taken steps back, but has the progress of Montgomery, Melville, Duffy and the addition of Crow made up that difference?
Kevin Goldstein: I do think it's up. Lot's of very interesting young pitching, something we've rarely seen in KC.
JTL (Little Rock): Is there really a chance that no one in the MLB is interested in Juan Morillio? NPB tracker lists him as someone who may be going abroad -- is there really no hope for him in America?
Kevin Goldstein: What's he do well? Throw in the upper 90s. What's he not do well? Pretty much everything else.
Joel (Washington, DC): I'm trying to figure out Jose Tabata. He's still only 21, and by all accounts he seems to hit line drives every time up, but he doesn't walk and has shown little power. Will he develop further so that he can be a productive regular on a good team?
Kevin Goldstein: Sounds to me that you have him totally figured out. Based on what you clearly know, the real question of value revolves around his ability to play center or not.
Corey (St. Paul, MN): Most likely starting CF for the twins in 3-5 years, Ben Revere or Aaron Hicks?
Kevin Goldstein: I like Revere, but I love Hicks.
cjmulligan79 (cleveland): Is David Lough anything to get excited about it? Is David DeJesus the ceiling, or is he more like a future 4th outfielder at best?
Kevin Goldstein: He's something to be intrigued by, I'd fall a bit short of excited.
NeilEdwards6 (Cincy): Any concerns about Yonder Alonso hitting left-hand pitching? Does he eventually supplant Votto at first?
Kevin Goldstein: I have a lot of concerns about Alonso. Add him to my over-hyped list, actually.
jbuofm (Peoria): How difficult was Demon's Souls? I've heard it's really, really hard. Also, is Jaime Garcia good enough to be the Cardinals #4/#5 starter in 2010?
Kevin Goldstein: To start, I think Garcia could be that kind of player for St. Louis, but not by Opening Day. I had a long discussion about difficulty with our other big gamer here at BP, Marc Normandin. Difficulty is very relative. Is it hard? Sure. But I beat it, and there are plenty of single player FPS games I can't. Different skill sets, really.
knockoutking (---): who was a better prospect coming out of college? Jason Castro or Tony Sanchez
Kevin Goldstein: Pretty close, really. I like Sanchez' tools better.
Robert (Washington): What do you make of Melky Mesa? The tools seem crazy, but so do the strikeouts.
Kevin Goldstein: He's got some impressive tools, but boy does he strike out a lot. Wait a second. . .
John (Texas): any suggestions for wii games?
have you played "No More Heroes" on wii?
Kevin Goldstein: That's a Normandin question, he's Mr. Wii. I'm the PS3 guy.
John (San Diego): Enough of Starlin Castro...what about Simon Castro?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he's actually quite underrated. He was easily one of the best three arms I saw in the Midwest League this year.
Michael (New York): PLEASE tell me something about Jose Ramirez!
Kevin Goldstein: What's up with the Jose Ramirez jihad? Jose Ramirez is a good prospect, but those GCL numbers probably make him look better than he is. He's not in the same league with some other young Yankee arms like Banuelos and Vizcaino.
Jay (PA): Is the most challenging issue for Philadelphia prospect ratings figuring out who #4 is?
Kevin Goldstein: It actually might be figuring out the right order for 1-2-3.
Boston (Ann Arbor): What's your take on the sudden rise of Alex Avila? Can he be a legitimate starting catcher for the Tigers?
Kevin Goldstein: I'm a big believer, and yes.
brian (brooklyn): What has been the toughest call so far in the rankings?
Kevin Goldstein: The toughest calls are usually players who are coming off well below expectation years, like Lars Anderson and Dayan Viciedo.
mafrth77 (Boston): Has anyone credible seen Chapman hit 99 mph as some reports are saying? i can just see him coming to the U.S.and working 91-92 mph. The next Cuban defector plays up to 60% of his hype level will be the first.
Kevin Goldstein: Kendry Morales and his .924 OPS say hello, as does Yunel Escobar. To answer your quesiton, Chapman has pitched in many international tourneys in front of many credible folks. He is not a myth.
kyle (kansas): Who were the other two best arms in the midwest league?
Kevin Goldstein: Mike Montgomery and Casey Crosby.
Joe (Philly): Phillies seem to have OF prospects and C prospects just fine, and some pitchers. But is there ANYTHING in the infield? I mean, anyone you can even possibly project to play at the majors in the system in infield? Freddy Galvis as Adam Everett?
Kevin Goldstein: You can't have everything! Back to back NL titles, one world series, a very good system -- so what, you don't have any infielders.
Eric (Memphis): Kevin, has Tyler Flowers' defense improved this year to the point where there are far fewer questions about his ability to stay behind the plate?
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely.
Juice (KC): Both Greg Halman and JP Arencibia were 5-star prospects last year. Should we hold out any hope for either?
Kevin Goldstein: I have more hope for Arencibia at this point, as he's still a catcher with plus power, and those don't exactly grow on trees.
x (y): read any good sports books in the last 6 months? or are you looking forward to any sports (baseball?) books in the near future?
Kevin Goldstein: I feel bad here, as I tend to not read sports book, I hear the upcoming Baseball Prospectus 2010 is going to be super-duper awesome.
don (lansing, MI): do casey crosby and/or jacob turner sniff five stars?
Kevin Goldstein: Let's just say there are some nostrils working there, yes.
James (San Diego): Who has a more productive 2010 season? Heyward, Smoak or Wallace?
Kevin Goldstein: I think I might go in that order.
dcoonce (bloomington, indiana): Jaff Decker - legit prospect or just another guy?
Kevin Goldstein: Legit, but hardly a monster.
raygu1 (burlington, NJ): Does Andrew Lambo become a 4th OFer, everyday OFer, or All-star?
Kevin Goldstein: More a-b than b-c.
John (Texas): i guess that means you looking forward to "The Last Guardian" then, right?
Kevin Goldstein: On a level that borders on irrational.
paulbellows (Calgary): Would you take Chapman over Yu Darvish? Roughly where would you rank Darvish?
Kevin Goldstein: Great question. I'd probably give Darvish a slight edge just on polish and arsenal depth. He'd be a front rotation starter in the big leagues right now, while Chapman better fits in as a prospect due to his youth.
Mike (Chicago): To follow up on your answer to the Tyler Flowers question, if Flowers stays at catcher, does he max out as a solid regular, or is the potential higher than that?
Kevin Goldstein: I don't think he's be huge, but he'll be an above-average regular with power and patience making up for a lower batting average. Dude's swing is loaded with holes.
jeffreyarkin (San Diego): The Padres sent a pretty mediocre bunch to the AFL. Anyone worth getting excited about?
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, it's not a great group over there, but that's hardly their top prospects either.
Nate (Sacramento): 3 questions you'll probably be able to answer in 6 words or less. What position does Chris Carter play in Oakland? What about Brett Wallace? And when does Grant Green reach Oakland?
Kevin Goldstein: First base; third base (for now); 2012, maybe end of 2011.
jobathebeast (Las Vegas): Does a scout saying Montero's defense is better than Austin Romine's say more about Montero or Romine?
Kevin Goldstein: Little of both.
Drew (Niles, OH): In your discussions about the Indians, has there been any mention of returning Jess Todd to the rotation? Todd would seem to be more valuable to Cleveland as a third starter than a third reliever.
Kevin Goldstein: He's a reliever. As a starter, he didn't have 3 potential, more pure back-end.
bkmhoxx (KC): How far behind Carlos Santana is Flowers?
Kevin Goldstein: Pretty darn far. If Santana was the kind of hitter he is and only played first base, he'd be a pretty special prospect, but he's a CATCHER.
Dave (Mpls): How good is James Darnell? Is he in Josh Bell's general area, or is that too optimistic?
Kevin Goldstein: I really go back and forth with him. I really like him as a hitter, really do NOT like him as a defender, yet the tools themselves should fit pretty well there. He's actually kind of frustrating, but again, I do like him.
Sam (Kansas City): Jeff Bianchi's best line in the major leagues will be __/__/__.
Kevin Goldstein: .286/.344/.429 -- do I win?
Juice (Philly): I know you've said always bet on tools... so are you holding out any hope at all with Anthony Hewitt?
Kevin Goldstein: Sure, some hope. He did make SOME progress this year, just not enough to get too worked up about. As an aside, is anyone other than me disappointed that Greinke won the Cy Young? I am -- not because he didn't clearly deserve it, but because I was looking forward to the days of shock and outrage.
Dillon (Pasadena, CA): Do you think Kenley Jansen will develop the command to be a late-innings guy? What's the ceiling?
Kevin Goldstein: It's a project. He's an exciting arm with a ton of velocity, but it's still a project with no guarantees.
martin (Leeds (England)): Jordan Danks, very impressive in the AFL, is that down to his injury healing up?
Kevin Goldstein: That, and the fact that it's Arizona, where everyone hits.
Mario66 (Toronto): Who has been the answer to more comps questions in the last 5 years - Mike Cameron or Tom Glavine?
Kevin Goldstein: How about the most MISUSED comp -- Jamie Moyer. Every lefty with crap stuff and good numbers gets a Moyer comp (NOT by scouts). It's never accurate.
Old Hoss Radburn (The Ultimate Bullpen): so tell me...i *am* your favorite celeb on twitter, right?
Kevin Goldstein: You or Stefan Marbury.
Sam (Kansas City): Matter of fact you do win...another question.
Is Kyle Gibson healthy enough that you'd rather have him over former MU Tiger teammate Aaron Crow?
Kevin Goldstein: I'd probably rather have Crow even before Gibson's injury.
Mario66 (Toronto): Any word on what position Todd Frazier will ultimately play? Also, are Klaw's concerns about his arm bar swing shared by others or can he be a #5/6 hitter in a decent lineup despite an unorthodox approach (a la Hunter Pence perhaps)?
Kevin Goldstein: I think he might finally have found a home at second. I like your Pence analogy in the sense that it's more than a bit funky, but I think he's proven it works for him.
Mario66 (Toronto): Would you use Scheppers as a starter or reliever?
Kevin Goldstein: 100% reliever, and get him to the big leagues as soon as possible, because you know he's going to break at some point.
G. Guest (KS): Is Strassburg mentally tough enough to handle the pressure on him in Washington?
Kevin Goldstein: There are no makeup concerns. And how much pressure in on him? It's the Nationals.
ElAngelo (New York, NY): What team has the worst "best" prospect?
Kevin Goldstein: I think it's going to be Toronto.
paulbellows (Calgary): Do you agree with an international draft? Is it workable?
Kevin Goldstein: I guess I'm not really sure what it accomplishes.
Joe (Near Cleveland): Any good reports on Jason Knapp?
Kevin Goldstein: Many.
Mario66 (Toronto): Further on a point that Will made in comments to a recent unfiltered post -- how much stock do teams put into a player's "personality" when evaluating him for the draft (i.e., will he fit in on the team plane)? Does it vary substantially from team to team, or is there an Oakland Raiders type team that embraces the misfits? I seem to recall the O's were featured for using some sort of testing, but can't remember if it was intelligence testing or behavioural or psych? In any event, no Wonderlic for MLB, right?
Kevin Goldstein: There's no Wonderlic, but many teams do that Brain Typing or Myers-Briggs, while putting varying amounts of caring into the results. I don't think teams really care about misfits, as much as they care about attitude and work ethic. You can be a bit weird if you bust your ass.
Rob (Rockford, IL ): Have you ever seen a prospect have a year like Dan Hudson?? What can we expect for an encore? Does he have any upside left?
Kevin Goldstein: It's funny. Like I wrote, he exploded, but many scouts also think he's close to maxed out.
Ron (Mesa, AZ): When you refer to talking to scouts, executives, etc - do you ever talk to guys at other prospect outlets?
Kevin Goldstein: No. I consider Jim Callis a good friend, and we talk often, but we both respect each other and have our own walls and respect for one another when it comes to our ranking philosophies.
Joel (Washington, DC): Follow up on Tabata: if he CAN play center, do the Pirates move McCutchen or trade Tabata? PNC lends itself to two CFs, but the Bucs are in desperate need of offense.
Kevin Goldstein: McCutchen is SUCH a better center fielder than Tabata. With Tabata, you're just hoping he can be adequate there.
Nick (IL): Before the draft, one prominent prospect site said scouts saw some of Mike Stanton in Trayce Thompson. Is that crazy talk?
Kevin Goldstein: It's a TON to dream on, but boy is it risky.
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, folks, I have book and Top 11 writing to get to. This was a great chat with a lot of great questions and I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of them. I'll be back soon.