Everyone has their own hierarchy, what do you look for in how you assign value?
Kevin Goldstein: It’s really a pretty delicate balance with everyone looking at the same thing; the players’ ultimate ceiling and their chance to get there. Everyone has their own method of balancing both of those factors but I also think you are looking for more than players that are going to make it. You want to look at developing that star level player that has a chance to change the fate of the franchise that an organization will have control of for over for six years.
You have Casey Kelly as the number one prospect, but he didn’t have a great year statistically in Portland (Double-A) with the Red Sox organization last year. Why did the Red Sox promote him so early in his first full season as a pitcher and what stands out so much about him?
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe the Red Sox made a mistake sending him to Double-A in his first full year as a pitcher but then again he had a pretty good year in the Carolina the year before. There is quite a bit to like about him. He was very young for Double-A, a very good athlete with the potential to throw three average to plus pitches. Right now its going to come down to him “getting it” going after hitters instead of trying to trick them. I don’t see him as an ace, but I could see him as a pretty good #2 or #3.
Anthony Rizzo posted some good numbers but had quite a few strikeouts in Portland last year without that many walks. Are you worried about his ability to make consistent contact on the big league level?
Kevin Goldstein: In my write-up, I wrote that is what I really found interesting about him. In ’09 he hit for average and in ’10 it was for power. You really have to wonder, as one scout noted, if he can do both. I think this year will go a long way towards answering that question.
Drew Cumberland’s arm strength and accuracy has improved in the past few years. Do you see him having the ability to stay at shortstop?
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think there is some guarantee that he is going to move and its possible that he could stick there. He’s a good athlete but the problem is that his ability to stay at short is based on his athleticism, so he can’t really afford to regress in that area and still be effective. As always, the big thing with Cumberland is he needs to stay healthy.
I know you are a big tools guy but you have to be worried about what you have seen from Donavan Tate so far. How do you see him performing in Fort Wayne next year which is a really tough place to hit?
Kevin Goldstein: If I knew that I would be a rich man [laughs]. If Tate hits .275 with 25 home runs, I wouldn’t be shocked, and if he is in the Northwest League by June after hitting .180 in the first two months in Fort Wayne, I wouldn’t be surprised either. I don’t know when or if its going to start clicking. Right now, his big problem is after two years he’s in the same place that he was two years ago when he was drafted.
Reymond Fuentes, the third player that the Padres got in the Red Sox deal, you have ranked at #7. He’s a slight speedster without much power and a .328 OBP last year in low A Greenville. How is he not a slightly bigger version of Luis Durango?
Kevin Goldstein: Durango is a dwarf that can fly, Fuentes is much more than that. He can drive balls and there is some raw power there. I can really see him hitting double digit home runs as he matures. Also Fuentes just crushes Durango on the tools level and he can play a really great center field. I really like his tool set and he does need to develop into a more patient hitter but he is beyond Durrango in every sense of the word.
The knock on Logan Forsythe was that he really didn’t have enough power to be an everyday third baseman and he had James Darnell in back of him. Do you see similarities between Forsythe and Jedd Gyorko based on his low slugging percentage in Fort Wayne?
Kevin Goldstein: Not really. In some ways, I think Gyorko is kind of underrated because too many people focus on what he can’t do instead of what he can. One of the things I found surprising in my research was that many scouts kind of liked his defense at third base. They didn’t think he was great, but he has good hands and strong arm and can play there. At the plate he can really put the barrel on the ball and hits a lot of doubles. I don’t think he will be a star but he can be effective.
A constant refrain about Jason Hagerty was that he was “old” for the Midwest League. He was 22 last year, which essentially would have been his senior year at Miami. So is anyone that leaves college after three years and ends up in low A “old” for the league?
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, most really good prospects Will Do that and be in High-A. It’s not Jason’s fault that he was in Fort Wayne and he did what he was supposed to do, he really hit. On the other hand it is hard to get excited about someone from big school at twenty two raking in the Midwest League. He’s not a great defensive catcher and I don’t know if he’s going to hit all the way up but I do think he will next year in Lake Elsinore.
As the editor of Baseball Prospectus, the foremost magazine of the sabermetics, you have to clarify this statement that you made to me the other day. “Walks are overrated”.
Kevin Goldstein: [laughs] They are important but on the other hand it is not the end all and be all of everything. There are so many factors that go into determining what makes you excited about prospects; tools, makeup, projections, etc..
You know if its all about walks then Logan Forsythe is the best prospect in the system.
Who is your sleeper?
Kevin Goldstein: I’m going to go with Tommy Medica a catcher out of Santa Clara that was drafted in the 14th round last year. He was injured and couldn’t play last year, but I think he has some talent. Has some power and a decent arm, an interesting prospect.
I’m not sure how much he really qualifies as a “sleeper” but I do think Adys Portillo is somewhat forgotten. He has a ton of talent and I bet by June or July of this year we will be talking about that guy again.
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