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Chat: Kevin Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday February 13, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Goldstein.


It's top 101 time as KG chats about the league's best prospects.

Kevin Goldstein: Crazy day so far! Fun to do a tweet chat at 3am last night when the list went up, but Twitter cut me off. You won't be so lucky here.

Ryan (GR): Gerrit Cole over Shelby Miller. First time I've seen someone do that. Could you give me a one sentence explanation? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: Way more stuff.

Corey (Marina Del Ray): Did you struggle in omitting Aaron Hicks from the list?

Kevin Goldstein: Not really.

Ken (Ontario): Mike Montgomery failed to make your list. Has he lost his prospect hype?

Kevin Goldstein: A LOT of people some really torn up over two players not being on the list: Montgomery and Nick Franklin. I like Montgomery plenty, but he hasn't been really good since the first half of 2010, and that's a very real concern.

Steven (Sunny California): Why was Nick Franklin not on the list? Should have easily been in the 60's.

Kevin Goldstein: See?

comish4lif (Alexandria, VA): MLB Network radio is reporting that Cespedes has signed with the A's?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. I'll be writing a piece about this once the chat is over.

Xander Cage (Ask Vin Diesel): You think Xander Bogaerts could be top 10 by seasons end?

Kevin Goldstein: He COULD be. That does not mean I'm saying he will be.

Jake (GR): If Kipnis was eligible where do you think you would put him on the list?

Kevin Goldstein: Lots of questions like this for Kipnis, Lawrie, etc. They're very hard to answer because I'm basically missing what would have been their minor league data and scouting reports from their time in the big leagues. I'm a HUGE fan of Kipnis, that being said.

Noah Syndergaard (Florida): Why did I make your Top 100 list?

Kevin Goldstein: Because you didn't read the whole list. He's No. 93.

Ziggy (PHX): Is Myers ranked higher than Starling solely because of closer proximity to MLB?

Kevin Goldstein: Well, Myers can really hit too. Starling has as much upside as any position player in the game, but he's also very risky.

Vince (STL): What makes Oscar Taveras so special?

Kevin Goldstein: His ability to control an ultra violent swing.

Nater1177 (levittown pa): Brandon Jacobs as a top 50 guy is higher than I would have expected. What have you heard/seen that has him so highly regarded?

Kevin Goldstein: Fantastic combination of performance and tools.

Ryan (GR): Why no Leonys Martin? How close was he? Thanks

Kevin Goldstein: I like him, just not Top 101 enough. Underwhelming secondary skills.

Steve (PB): Take 2 prospects, one plays 1B and one plays SS (both field respective positions equally). What would the 1B's slash line need to look like to equal the SS line of .260/.330/.400?

Kevin Goldstein: .280/.365/.490

straymond (Toronto): Why did Twitter cut you off? I thought they liked traffic? Will you be writing your thoughts about the #1 decision?

Kevin Goldstein: Twitter only lets you tweet so many times in an hour. Spam control. It's the third time I've hit the limit.

Ziggy (PHX): Gary Brown is 24 this season. If Marisnick is neck and neck with him right now, how soon do we see Marisnick surpass Brown, and by how much?

Kevin Goldstein: If I was convinced Marisnick would surpass him, wouldn't I have ranked him higher?

Hip2Hops (Seattle): No Bethancourt? Jason clearly loves the guy; I gather these rankings shoukd be viewed as yours rather than yours and his? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Kevin Goldstein: This is my list. Jason does not help with the rankings, other than having very smart thoughts on players that I greatly respect.

Peter7899 (Coeur d'Alene): With no real defensive value and questions about his plate discipline, what makes you bullish on Matt Adams?

Kevin Goldstein: Plus-plus power and excellent contact ability for a player with plus-plus power.

Jim (San Diego): Why was Cole the consensus #1 pick when everyone seems to have him below some of the other 2011 draft picks in their rankings?

Kevin Goldstein: I had Bundy as the top player in the draft.

dianagram (VORGville): Trout and Brown have 80 speed. Harper has 80 power. Which other prospects on the list have 80 tools?

Kevin Goldstein: Hamilton certainly has 80 speed, I just wish I could go to 90 on him.. Cole has an 80 fastball (as do some others).

CharlieWerner (York, PA): What type of player is Jorge Soler? Does he have plus power potential, plus speed, or a plus hit tool? Haven't see his actual skills adressed other than people saying he has big potential but is very raw

Kevin Goldstein: Classic RF profile. Tons of raw power, good arm, good overall athlete. Would be single digit pick in the draft.

sos (chicago): based on what cespedes just signed...what's the $ expectation for soler?

Kevin Goldstein: 25-27.5 million.

ttt (Manhattan): You have Luis Heredia ranked much higher than others. What factors led you to do this? Is it just the pure upside potential?

Kevin Goldstein: I often talk about how few true No. 1 starters there are in baseball. There are also very few prospects who even have a SHOT at being a No. 1. Heredia is one of them.

Zooey (LA): Have you ever been contacted by a player regarding your Top 101 list? For example they didn't like their ranking or wonder why they were left off the Top 101 list.

Kevin Goldstein: Yes. But I hear from player's parents (already have this year 2x) more often.

Bart (New York): Is Betances future in the bullpen or do you still see him as a starter?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't think either is 100%, but I'm leaning towards pen.

Dan (Tulsa): Did you like Wong as much when he was drafted as you do now?

Kevin Goldstein: More.

VeganRyan (Oakland, Ca): Hak-Ju: Don't believe in the bat?

Kevin Goldstein: If I didn't believe in the bat, he wouldn't be the No. 65 prospect in all of baseball. No ranking here should be seen as an insult.

Milby (SF): You've mentioned that you see Mike Trout's speed diminishing as he ages. Are we talking going from around 40SBs to 20? .300/.400/.500 with plus speed and CF defense a good approximation?

Kevin Goldstein: To be clear, I don't think Trout is going to be slow, I just don't think he'll be an 80 runner for long and likely settle into 60-65 territory, which is still crazy fast. He could steal 40.

Scot (somewhere): The A's are apparently converting Sean Doolittle to pitching - any guess on how that works out?

Kevin Goldstein: Obviously, it's a long shot, but it's worth trying.

RichW (NJ): If Cespedes was eligible for your Top 101 list, where would you slot him?

Kevin Goldstein: Did you read the intro to the list?

david1 (kentucky): was nats prospect alex meyer anywhere in the picture on this list?

Kevin Goldstein: Not yet, but he could turn into one of those guys.

LD (PEI): Love the Up and In podcast. Kevin, what are you drinking?

Kevin Goldstein: It's 12:30. I'm drinking soda, and heating up some leftover cassoulet soon.

john (wash): Do you think vogelbach could be ranked highly in the future (no prob at all with him being nowhere near top whatever lists at this point) or will his weight and positional limitation likely keep his stock forever depressed by prognosticators (or at least just you)?

Kevin Goldstein: Nobody is going to care about the weight if he mashes. The problem is, like any 1B prospect, he HAS to mash, or he's just not much of a prospect.

Ace (Montreal): Who is a good MLB comp for Anthony Gose?

Kevin Goldstein: Devon White.

ben (min): Do you think Rosario can play 2b in mlb?

Kevin Goldstein: I think it's at least worth trying.

dantroy (sacto): Does Nimmo have the upside to reach this list next year?

Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely.

Justin (St. Charles, IL): Who in your mind are the current favorites to sign Soler?

Kevin Goldstein: Cubs.

LaserShow (SoCal): Seems odd to have the 101 out before all the top 11's are finished, no?

Kevin Goldstein: It's a bit odd, sure. But the book is coming out, so everyone is going to see the list. Might as well hype it and the book, no? I do my best to get everything out as soon as I can in the offseason, but I'm still just one man.

Dan (Tulsa): What would you like to see from Zack Cox in order for him to be a top 100 type?

Kevin Goldstein: More power, hit lefties, better defense.

markprior22 (Springfield, IL): BP book shipping soon?

Kevin Goldstein: YES!

Mike (MPLS): He's know where near your list but do you have any thoughts on the German Twin ball player, Max Kepler? Is he a real prospect or more of a sideshow?

Kevin Goldstein: He's an incredible athlete, but still very raw. Not a sideshow, just a long shot.

m4 (m5): how much will the addition of pitch F/X, hit F/X and field F/X (to minor league parks) have on the process of analyzing talent in the minor leagues?

Kevin Goldstein: It will be wonderful.

MikeD (NY): Was Tyler Austin close to make this year's top 101, and do you think he has a realistic shot of cracking in next year?

Kevin Goldstein: No; No.

Sean (San Francisco): Can George Springer make a jump to the top 25 with a strong year in 2012? Does he have that type of ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: He does have that kind of ceiling.

john (wash): how do you (or do you) consider prospects with only DSL experience when constructing this kind of list? I think I recall Sano making lists before being stateside, but few if any others being so ranked. What kind of reports/production might make such a player top 101 material for you (I understand every player is unique, but hypothetically there's some sort of baseline criteria, even if somewhat vague)? Thanks for considering a kind of odd question!

Kevin Goldstein: For pro players to be ranked before coming stateside, I would need universal crazy praise. It does happen sometimes.

Ian (OK): Does Miguel Sano have a #1 overall prospect ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: It's going to be tough if he moves down the defensive spectrum.

Kevin (Redding, CA): Where would the A's farm system rank now with the addition of Cespedes? Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: Full farm rankings once Top 11s are done. Needless to say, the A's will be very very high.

Gusta (Sweden): Do you only take into account age and on field performance when creating your Top 101 list? Would you ding a player if you found out a player had drug or drinking problems but it wasn't known to the public?

Kevin Goldstein: Wow. That's a pretty fantastic question. I'd probably have to ding them.

adam (celina): How close was Corcino to making the list?

Kevin Goldstein: I like him plenty, but not Top 101 plenty.

Annie Glidden (Amber Manor): Why do you live in Dekalb? And my follow up question is, No seriously, why do you live in Dekalb? Seriously. I don't get it.

Kevin Goldstein: It's all a ruse. I actually live in Paris.

Stacy (Vancouver): I'm very new to following prospects in baseball. Are there any players I should be keeping my eye on this summer from the Vancouver Canadians?

Kevin Goldstein: You'll probably see some of the 2010 draftees, especially Daniel Norris from the Top 101, but mostly it will be 2012 draftees that we don't know.

Mike (Chicago): Is it likely (more than 50%) that Javier Baez can stay at shortstop, or is he a corner guy when (if?) he makes the show?

Kevin Goldstein: It's way less than 50%. Maybe 10% at best. He's a 3B, maybe 2B in the end.

The Old Professor (New York): Should I assume guys that have slid down your list have lost their major league upside, or merely that they havent yet delivered on their initial promise?

Kevin Goldstein: There are TONS of players not on this list that have MLB upside. TONS.

Sean (San Francisco): What's holding Jarred Cosart back from being an elite prospect? Trusting his secondary stuff, command,etc? His stuff is electric.

Kevin Goldstein: His stuff is totally electric, but it just doesn't all come together on the mound enough.

steve (CA): I know it's difficult to predict how a young players body will develop, but do you see Mason Williams growing into some power as he fills out?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't. He's very good, but not a very physical player.

LaserShow (SoCal): Percent chance Bogaerts sticks at SS?

Kevin Goldstein: Very, very low. Single digit percentage.

Chad (Buffalo Grove): Could you see Eddie Rosario being a .300-25-90 guy at his peak, if things break right?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't see him hitting 25. More like 15-20, and I rarely project .300 for anyone.

BabyJaypers (Queens): Does Middlebrooks have the chance to hit 3-4-5 in a first division lineup?

Kevin Goldstein: A chance, but more likely No. 6.

Mario66 (Oklahoma): Follow up on Gusta's question re dinging the prospect with drug or drinking problems. Would you disclose it in an article, and if so, how (i.e., vague "maturity issues" or more specific)?

Kevin Goldstein: Very situation dependent. It's unlikely that I'd out him or anything.

Kevin (San Diego): Was the cassoulet a success? Any tips for first timers?

Kevin Goldstein: It was! I used this recipe for a base, altered a bit to suit my tastes. http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2008/03/cassoulet_in_10.html

kenickie (rydell): So is the reason you have Rizzo lower on the list due to his bad MLB cup of coffee, or do you just hate Grease and/or Stockard Channing?

Kevin Goldstein: Man, I do really hate Grease.

Justin (Tinley Park): do you have an estimated number of total minor league players available for the Top 101? It seems appropriate as many fans feel certain players are being slighted without putting this 101 into perspective.

Kevin Goldstein: Technically, around 4500-5000.

Jake (GR): Are you as excited for Mass Effect 3 as I am?

Kevin Goldstein: No, I am not. I don't hate the series, I just don't love it. Plus, I just started playing Skyrim.

Swarly (VA Beach): Which is the more likely scenario with Anthony Rendon? Espinosa to SS, Rendon to 2b or, Zimmerman to 1b, Rendon to 3b

Kevin Goldstein: The second one. Can't see Rendon playing 2B, and Zimmerman's arm might move him to 1B.

Brian (Chicago): Percentage chance Vizcaino ends up in the pen?

Kevin Goldstein: 75%. That might be low.

yu darvish (arlington): Where would I be ranked if I qualified for this list ?

Kevin Goldstein: Somewhere in the Top 4.

Chad (Buffalo Grove, IL): Robbie Grossman really elevated his stock in the AFL. Do you still hear any concerns about his ability to play everyday? Have you heard any good comps for him?

Kevin Goldstein: The biggest issue with Grossman is that he's a corner outfielder without a classic corner profile, so does he do enough other things.

Allison (Toronto): You said earlier this chat that Starling is "risky". What specifically do you think is risky about him? I'm interested in your take, as he is clearly off the charts with being a sexy CF prospect with plus power.

Kevin Goldstein: He's sushi-level raw. Never focused on baseball, and very little exposure to advanced pitching. He's likely going to need patience.

RLB (TX): What do you mean specifically when you say "secondary skills"?

Kevin Goldstein: Things around a batting average, namely power, patience and speed.

Court (Nashville): Any chance Harper could play CF in the short-term?

Kevin Goldstein: For now, I think he could player there in a pinch. Long-term, no way.

jfranco77 (Pittsburgh): Who is rawer, Nimmo or Bubba Starling?

Kevin Goldstein: Starling.

mattseward (Cardiff, UK): Kevin, what is your criteria regarind International exclusions on the list such as Yu Darvish?

Kevin Goldstein: Yu Darvish needs ZERO development. Nobody thinks he needs any time in the minors at all. Some think Cespedes does, but I don't think Oakland is one of those teams.

Eli (Utah): What kind of ceiling do you see for Taillon?

Kevin Goldstein: He's one of the rare ones with No. 1 potential.

Sarah (Cleveland): Who strikes you as an OF prospect from previous years who was similar to Starling, in terms of upside & raw skills?

Kevin Goldstein: Donavan Tate.

Rick (Washington): I don't hate you for leaving him off, but did Nick Franklin drop out because of his '11 on-field performance (injuries/less impressive numbers than in '10) or because of the lingering defensive position questions and his long swing?

Kevin Goldstein: All of the above.

Michael (Lake Zurich, IL): D. Norris has really struggled to hit for average the past two years, and his defense has improved but was never stellar. What about him gives you optimism that this pattern will change once he makes it to the show?

Kevin Goldstein: He'll have lots of value if he hits .240 due to power and all the walks.

mdthomp (USA): What do you mean by a "physical player?"

Kevin Goldstein: Mason Williams is six-foot tall, very skinny and has a slim frame. There is not much physical projection in him.

russell (Texas): Can you discuss the Moore/Harper/Trout rankings at the top? What led you to pick Moore over the other two (and was it close)?

Kevin Goldstein: It was crazy close. As far as I'm concerned, you could put those three players in any order and I would not have a problem with it.

myshkin (Santa Clara): Thanks for the impressive availability last night and today. Hope you got enough sleep... What makes this year's list unusual, if anything?

Kevin Goldstein: I think it's interesting how few pure slugging prospects we have right now.

Brian (Chicago): Are there guys that missed the list with 80 tools?

Kevin Goldstein: Plenty of 80 runners. Some put an 80 of Jose Iglesias' glove.

Jackson (New Hampshire): Jarrod Parker.....an Ace in the making or a solid #2/3 in the A's rotation?

Kevin Goldstein: If I thought he was an ace in the making, he would have ranked much higher.

MonkeyEpoxy (College station): How close is Profar to the triumvirate above him? Assuming he doesn't have any issues in Myrtle Beach/Frisco and that Moore, Harper, and Trout graduate (dangerous, I know), is he looking at the #1 position next year?

Kevin Goldstein: Right now, it's a sizable gap between 1-3 and everyone else. The race for No. 1 next year could be wide open really.

Tim (STL): Could you expand on why you liked Wong more when he was drafted? Seems like he played well since signing. Thanks.

Kevin Goldstein: I misread. I like him way more since signing, and I liked him plenty coming out of the draft.

rrvwmr (Chicago): Teheran's declining strikeout rate is concerning and his 3rd pitch is questionable. What makes him still a top 5 prospect in your eyes? How would you grade his fastball?

Kevin Goldstein: There are plenty of pitchers who were in A-ball last year who we are all excited about who are older than Teheran. He's at least six years from his prime.

Ken (Indiana): I've read several negative write ups about Gyorko's "poor" body. Can he stick at 3B long term?

Kevin Goldstein: He's not an impressive athlete, but yes, I think he can play third.

Howard (Denver): As a general principle, do you believe prospects are over-valued by GM's and Fans?

Kevin Goldstein: GMs, no. I do think a select number of fans get too worked up about their favorite team's prospects.

ralph (jackson): What form is your input from scouts? Is it a bunch of answers to your requests for rankings? Or is it more of a qualitative thing?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't ask anyone for their rankings, although many of them see the rankings during the process and provide input. I'm talking to people inside the game on a daily basis. So it's very much a cumulative thing.

Nater1177 (Levittown Pa): Speaking of Iglesias..did he garner any consideration near the bottom of list based on the stellar glove and 'youngest in AAA' standing?

Kevin Goldstein: He did not.

Mario66 (Oklahoma): I know you've talked about being a velocity whore when it comes to evaluating pitchers. Do you consider that you have any biases when looking at hitters?

Kevin Goldstein: I have biases on nearly everything. Everyone has biases. I have all sorts of questions about how my list compares to Keith's or Mayo's and what you are looking at are biases for the most part. I know Keith and Jonathan and the folks at BA and I know that they all really do their homework and talk to a lot of people in this game, so I totally respect their lists, it's just everyone is going to bring a great number of personal philosophies to the table, and that's where things change.

Rooney (King of Prussa): What is Jacob Turner's ceiling.......a poor man's Justin Verlander or a rich man's Rick Porcello?

Kevin Goldstein: He's actually not like either of this pitchers.

Ashley (Boston): Have you ever received a death threat through twitter or e-mail about a ranking of a prospect?

Kevin Goldstein: Death threat? No. Kick-my-ass threat? Yes.

Dave (Pittsburgh): When it comes to evaluating prospects, what do you value more highly, polish or potential?

Kevin Goldstein: I don't have some kind of formula. Every player is unique.

Sally (Seattle): Why are you so high on Travis D'Arnaud? His caught stealing rate is average and he doesn't do a good job of controlling the strike zone.

Kevin Goldstein: Great. Now tell me all the things he does well.

LP (Dallas): Do you think the Cards will need to temper Taveras' swing in the future, or are his hands that good?

Kevin Goldstein: Guy flirted w/ .400 last year. There's no need to mess with his swing.

RationalSportsFan (detroit): Do you ever get stonewalled by front office members who do not want their thoughts on prospects to become general knowledge?

Kevin Goldstein: Of course, and I totally understand. Not everybody takes my calls, and I never get mad if they don't.

Matt (Saranac Lake, NY): What is it about Brandon Nimmo you like? I can't help but see a bust when I think of a kid from that area.

Kevin Goldstein: So it's impossible for a good player to be from Wyoming? That makes no sense.

stewbies (Rochester): Just about everyone in the basketball industry missed the boat on Lin. Would this happen in baseball? What does it say about talent evaluation in general?

Kevin Goldstein: That these are human being and it's a subjective art and players change.

Chris (AZ): I know that Tate as a comp for Starling is the obvious one, but from what I've heard scouts are much more confident in Starling's hit tool. Do you agree?

Kevin Goldstein: Nope.

BDiddy (Chicago): Funny that you would answer a Q about fans "over-valuing" prospects; you yourself must value them pretty highly to make them the subject of your life's work, no?

Kevin Goldstein: Not at all. I think I'm very realistic about them, and consistently realistic about them.

Dave (Pittsburgh): Do you ever look at your old lists and get upset at how it turned out?

Kevin Goldstein: Always.

LD (PEI): Thanks for the genuine responses to all questions. Quick scenario: Escobar goes down with ACL tear on opening day and Hechavarria plays every day for all of 2012 -- triple slash please.

Kevin Goldstein: .228/.270/.339.

LP (Dallas): If Ravel Santana doesn't get hurt at the end of last season, does he make this list?

Kevin Goldstein: I like him plenty, but no.

Marc (Tacoma): Any confidence that C.Triunfel can be even passable as a MLB SS anymore? Still young...

Kevin Goldstein: No. Haven't seen him as a SS for years.

BoCoMoFo (Chi-town USA): As a respected expert in prospect evaluation, do you feel that any teams attempt to manipulate player valuations for their gain thru a channel like you/BP?

Kevin Goldstein: I think you get a feel for what that's happening. There are certain sources for whom you definitely grade their opinions on guys on a curve.

Jivas (formerly Chicago): KG, If it was brought to your attention that PECOTA was wildly optimistic about a prospect for whom your initial reports were mild, would you take a second look at the prospect, or make a few extra calls to see if you'd missed anything?

Kevin Goldstein: I'd at least get more opinions about him.

Kyran (NY, NY): Ok.....which fans get most worked up and overrate their prospects?

Kevin Goldstein: I actually think the crazy% is a pretty fixed one, it's just the number of fans you are multiplying it by that makes the big difference.

jloncari (Iowa): I always find it interesting how players from the 2011 draft can jump up or down without much playing time at the professional level? What goes into ranking Bundy above Cole or having Lindor jump ahead of Starling when those guys were drafted a few spots ahead of them?

Kevin Goldstein: Like I said, I had Bundy ahead of Cole going into the draft.

Mario66 (Oklahoma): Where did all the good third basemen go?

Kevin Goldstein: It's a great question, and one that the industry finds themselves asking often as well.

Mario66 (Oklahoma): Would Lindor have ranked as highly if you did not know the results of Rany's recent study?

Kevin Goldstein: Yes.

BL (Bozeman, MT): How well are high schools and colleges (in separate categories) doing in sending pitchers into pro ball healthy compared to your early years doing this?

Kevin Goldstein: They're BETTER, but hardly perfect.

amisaid1 (Chicago): Any worry about Neil Ramirez's shoulder problems last summer? Did this ding him a bit in your rankings? #3 ceiling?

Kevin Goldstein: It did ding him. Shoulder problems are ALWAYS a concern.

PI (Magnum): Ever graded anyone higher because of a personal interaction with them that impressed you?

Kevin Goldstein: Fun and very fair question. I have not, unless my impression (or lack thereof) was backed up by similar impressions from others.

batts40 (IL): To follow up on Mario's question, did Rany's study impact your rankings at all? Do you think it will in the future?

Kevin Goldstein: It did, and it will.

Steven (Tampa Bay): Which team's fanbase is the most vocal when it comes to asking you propsect questions?

Kevin Goldstein: For the most part, it's the teams with the biggest fan bases, like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs. Lots of Royals too, obviously, but I get them from all 30.

Wade (USA): Do you consider yourself to be a scout?

Kevin Goldstein: I think my job is to have as complete an understanding of scouting as possible, but I'm a journalist.

Bill Simmons (Grantland Office): I haven't seen the Red Sox farm system this bad in a long time. Tell me something good to cheer me up!

Kevin Goldstein: I think their system is quite good actually, especially in terms of depth.

Clancy Wiggum (Springfield): Thanks for the chat, K.G.! You seem lower on righty Tyrell Jenkins than any other mainstream mavens---what is keeping him from 4-star, top 101 status? Thanks again.

Kevin Goldstein: What is a pretty huge gap between potential and reality.

Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, that's two hours, and I have three pieces staring at me, and unwilling to write themselves. Thanks so much for all the interest, I'm always touched by it.

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