Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

Moderator: Jim Callis will begin taking your questions at 2 p.m. ET

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
Luis Soto was described by BA as having an "advanced" approach at the plate, could you expand on this comment, and where do you see him playing this summer?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That's advanced for his age, meaning he's not swinging away and flailing at everything pitchers throw on him. He's a toolsy shortstop who might get a shot at low Class A next year, but it's more likely he'll play for a short-season team. The Red Sox like the gloves of two college shortstops they drafted in 2003, Zach Borowiak and Iggy Suarez, and my guess is that one or both of those guys will be in low Class A next year as Boston wants to see how much they'll hit.

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield,MA asks:
Will Gary Galvez get his visa problems be squared away this year, and where do you see him playing, GCL, Augusta?
 A: 

Jim Callis: It's my understanding that his visa problems are cleared up. He'll be 20 this spring and probably will wind up at Augusta.

 Q:  Mike from Boston asks:
There seems to be conflicting reports about Shoppach;s defense behind the plate. One minute he is the best defensive catcher for his league and the next we hear about his sloppiness behind the plate handling pitches etc. I assume it's just a matter of his strenghts vs. weaknesses but I would like to hear you thoughts about him overall defensively.
 A: 

Jim Callis: A lot of this comes from how he looked in the Arizona Fall League. Eastern League managers considered Shoppach the best defensive catcher in their circuit, and the Red Sox like his catch-and-throw skills. They think he just got worn out by the AFL and didn't receive as well as he usually does. Better conditioning should solve that problem.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
Out of David Murphy, Mickey Hall, Chris Durbin and Chris Turner, who is the most likely to wind up playing center field in Boston?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll say Murphy because he has the best chance to hit. Though he played right field at Baylor while Durbin played center, the Red Sox believe Murphy can play center.

 Q:  Rob Lamoureux from Greenwich, CT asks:
Thanks for the list and the Sox update...I wondered where Charlie Zink ranked in your estimation? Do you consider him less "projectable" (if that's a word) because he's a knuckleballer?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Zink will be in the middle of the 11-20 range in the Prospect Handbook. We use "projectable" all the time, so it must be a word. Knuckleballers aren't projectable, per se, becasue they're not going to get bigger and stronger and throw harder. Zink is a wild card. It's hard to rank him or even compare him to someone else because there aren't many knuckleballs. Boston minor league pitching coordinator Goose Gregson told me that when he was with the Dodgers years ago, Charlie Hough told him that if he ever saw a knuckleballer who was starting out and could throw one quality knuckler out of 10 to stick with him, because it takes a while to master, and 1-of-10 indicates some potential. About 30 percent of Zink's knuckleballs were effective in 2003, his first year as a full-time knuckleballer, so the Red Sox are very encouraged by him.

 Q:  jeff from belchertown MA asks:
What Major League player would you compare the Red Sox draft pick Matt Murton to?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think Murton can put up Geoff Jenkins-like numbers, and they're built similarly. But Murton doesn't look like Brett Favre (or Tom Brady).

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
Where would some of the prospects that got traded have ranked, Sanchez, Dumatrait, Pelland, De La Rosa and Goss?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Another good question from Kevin, who got many in early. Freddy Sanchez would be No. 2, ahead of Shoppach. Jorge de la Rosa would be right behind Shoppach, so that would make him No. 4 if Sanchez was in the mix. Phil Dumatrait would be in my mix of three lefties toward the end of the top 10, and I'd probably slot him in behind Alvarez, which would make him No. 10. Tyler Pelland would be in the 11-15 mix, while Mike Goss wouldn't have made the Top 30.

 Q:  Louie Gotta Go Now? from Natick, MA asks:
Could you explain the motivating factors behind former Director of International Scouting Louie Eljaua's decision to leave the Red Sox organization to be a special assistant to Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield? Is the Pittsburgh position simply more conducive to obtaining a general manager position or has Eljaua joined fellow former Marlins David Chadd (former Red Sox scouting director) and Curtis Dishman (former Red Sox national cross-checker) as the latest casualty in the struggle between Boston's former Florida owner and its increasingly San Diego-dominated front office?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Well, David Chadd is still Boston's scouting director. I haven't talked to Louie, but his new job is viewed as a promotion and I think that's the main reason he took it. Eljaua and Littlefield worked together with the Marlins.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Hi Jim. What do you think of Michael Hall and Chris Smith (P) long-term? Should Hanley Ramirez really be compared to B.J. Upton? The AFL managers loved "our" golden boy. Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Red Sox think Mickey Hall is a good athlete with an advanced approach, and we'll have to see what he can do in his first full season next year. He has a lot of upside. Chris Smith, he of the dune-buggy accident, has more pitchability than a true out pitch. I don't think we or anyone else has compared Hanley Ramirez to B.J. Upton since very early in the 2003 season. Ramirez kind of treaded water while Upton shot ahead of him. Upton is now the best prospect in the game.

 Q:  Steve from New York City asks:
Jim, Been looking forward to this all winter. Theo seems to have really decided to hammer the college pitching in the middle and late rounds. Do you feel some of the guys he picked up via this strategy (Jesse Corn, John Wilson, Barry Hertzler, Zach Basch, etc.) have promise? Any sleepers that you see specifically from the 2003 draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Thanks, Steve. The most promising of those guys is Corn, who was limited to four innnings last summer because he was worn out. He has the best slider in the system and an 88-92 mph fastball. If he refines his changeup, he can be a starter. Otherwise, he'll move quickly as a reliever. 30th-rounder David Sanders had a huge summer in the Cape in 2002 and could be a nice find. And 49th-rounder Jason Smith, a high schooler, would have gone a lot higher had teams thought him signable.

 Q:  Diehard Sox Fan from Boston asks:
Where can we expect Hanley Ramirez to play in 2004? What is his ETA, and do you think he'd force Nomar to move to a different position if Nomar re-signs with Boston? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: High A for 2004. Asking Garciaparra to change positions would be a delicate situation, but Ramirez probably won't get to Boston before mid-2006. If that's his ETA, and Garciaparra is still in Boston, Hanley probably would break into the majors as a second baseman. In 2007, who knows? But how confident is anyone that Garciaparra is going to re-sign anyway?

 Q:  bill anderson from norwood MA asks:
Hi Jim, Any scouting reports yet on Mario Pena, the DSL player with the 70-4 K-W ratio in 74 innings? Can Adam Blackley with his 0.75 whip be as good as his big brother? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Those guys are so far away right now that they're just names to follow. But the (very) early returns are promising, and the Red Sox like both guys.

 Q:  Mike from Orrville, OH asks:
Jim, Where does Juan Cedeno better project, as a front of the rotation starter or as a closer?
 A: 

Jim Callis: There are very few true front-of-the-rotation starters. Right now, Cedeno has one plus pitch. If he refines his curveball and develops a changeup, he could be a No. 3 starter. If not, he'll be used in relief.

 Q:  Bryan from West Palm Beach, Fla. asks:
What are the Red Sox plans for Lenny DiNardo? Despite the fact that he can keep a low ERA in "A" ball and get guys out, this is someone who has always been a starter. How does he fit in to Epstein's scheme in the long run?
 A: 

Jim Callis: They'll bring him to big league camp and see if he can make the team as a reliever. If he can't, they could try to work out a deal with the Mets, but the Mets would probably want him back. DiNardo's fastball sits at 83-85 and he's cutter-crazy, so it remains to be seen how he'll do against advanced hitters. My guess is he won't stick with Boston.

 Q:  Brian from Pleasanton, CA asks:
Hey Jim, what do you think will happen to Antron Seiber? Does he still have a chance to make it, or will the numerous OF's the sox have in their system (Murphy, Murton, Cooper, Hall, etc.) hurt his chances?
 A: 

Jim Callis: My guess is he'll be playing college football next fall. I don't see him ever playing in the big leagues.

 Q:  redinchicago from chicago asks:
hey Jim. can you tell me more about Kelly Shoppach's defensive skills, as I am not able to see him play. do they still rate above average? i thought that i read somewhere that his release time to 2B was a little slow. How does he compare to Big Edgar Martinez, defensively?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Touched on this a little earlier. There's nothing wrong with Shoppach's throwing, and the Red Sox like his receiving, too. Martinez is a slightly better defender but nowhere close to the hitter Shoppach is.

 Q:  Maels Rodriguez from Havana, Cuba asks:
You mentioned that Cuban righty Gary Galvez and Dominican shortstop Luis Soto highlighted Boston's international efforts but, aside from those two relatively big signings, the Red Sox have generated very little buzz from Latin America. Why is a $100 million "scouting and player development machine--" as Theo Epstein described the Boston organization-- seemingly capping its top international signings at $500,000?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Perhaps because a lot of the big-ticket international signings have turned out to be busts. Boston did go hard after Jose Contreras and is expected to go hard after Maels Rodriguez. They're still signing players out of Latin American and just opened a shiny new academy in the Dominican. It takes a while for Latin signees to migrate from the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer leagues to the U.S., so we won't really know about their recent group of signees until 2005 or so. But they're not writing off the region.

 Q:  Joel Charny from Washington, DC asks:
Jim, it wasn't clear to me from your introductory write-up where the Sox system now stands overall. Apart from Ramirez, the top 10 doesn't look that impressive to me. I don't see anyone else who projects as a true impact player.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Having a slew of draft picks last June helped bring in some new blood, though they also traded several of their better prospects, such as Freddy Sanchez, Jorge de la Rosa, Phil Dumatrait and Tyler Pelland. My sense is that they have more depth than they did a year ago, but still not much in the upper levels and it's still in the 21-30 range in terms of overall strength.

 Q:  Ben from Boston asks:
Jim--What are some good mileposts for Red Sox fans to evaluate Hanley Ramirez? Should he, for example, be expected to have a great year in high-A this year? Make AA in '05? What's the best way to gauge how he is progressing?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Ramirez had a decent year for a 19-year-old in low Class A last year, but he has received so much hype (and yes, we've fed that hype) that it seemed disappointing. If he can hit .280 with 12-15 homers in the Florida State League while improving his plate discipline and defensive consistency, I think that would be a very good year.

 Q:  Chris from New Haven asks:
Scott White: any idea what happened?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He has good baseball skills but he's just not physically mature enough for pro ball. He needs to add more strength.

 Q:  Matt from Kitchener, Ontario asks:
Out of all the prospects Theo Epstein traded away this past season to get better now, which do you think will hurt the Red Sox most in the long run?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Freddy Sanchez, who would be their starting second baseman right now if they hadn't traded him. I still wonder if the Red Sox would have given him up if they hadn't wanted to make the Brandon Lyon dispute go away.

 Q:  VINNIE DIPASQUELA from BRONX, NY (where else) asks:
What are Colter Bean's chances of helping the Red Sox out of the bullpen this year? And don't say slim because nothing is slim about this Bean.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Fat chance? Bean ate up righthanders in Triple-A, but he throws a flat mid-80s fastball and he'll have to show he won't get eaten up by big league lefthanders. The Red Sox will have to find other ways to strike back at the Evil Empire.

 Q:  Mike from Orrville, OH asks:
How is Manny Delcarmen's rehab coming? Is he still looking like the stud he was before he got hurt?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Going well, and he should be back on the mound before the end of the season. He was turning the corner before he blew out his elbow, and he has worked hard to come back from Tommy John surgery. The track record for that operation is pretty good, so there's cause for optimism.

 Q:  DieHardSoxFan1 from NH asks:
Jim, what are your thoughts on Abe Alvarez? Other experts suggest he doesn't throw hard enough or strikeout enough guys to make it in the big leagues, would you project him as a middle of the rotation starter?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Would I project him to become a No. 3 starter? Not yet. Can he become that? Yes, that's his ceiling. It will be very interesting to see how Alvarez does in his first full season. The Red Sox absolutely love this guy, and one official told me that his fastball may be the best in the system despite its 85-88 mph velocity because he has nearly perfect command of it. They think his fastball will play as a plus pitch and he'll have two other solid average pitches (changeup, curveball) to go with it, and he'll move very fast.

 Q:  Lee from Fresno asks:
Jim, You guys and the Red Sox are touting David Murphy as a wonderful player. How is an outfielder that hits one homerun in 240 AB's ever going to help the Red Sox
 A: 

Jim Callis: Lee, I think that's because me and the Red Sox are smart enough not to write a guy off based on the small sample size of his first pro summer. Chipper Jones had a .229 average, .271 slugging percentage and .321 OBP in his debut. Mark McGwire hit .200 one homer in 55 at-bats and looked clueless with wood bats. I'm not suggesting Murphy will be that good, but it's way early to write him off.

 Q:  Louief1 from Newark asks:
Hello... Murton vs Murphy.. Who has the higher ceiling? Also, any pitchers with Ace potential in the minors? Thanks...
 A: 

Jim Callis: Close call. It really depends on what type of player you prefer. Murton has more power, Murphy is more athletic and polished. He should hit for a higher average and do a few more things than Murton can. There isn't anyone who projects as a No. 1 starter in the system right now.

 Q:  Peter from Concord, MA asks:
What is Soto's best asset? Do you ever see him moving to second with Ramirez and Garciparra in the way?
 A: 

Jim Callis: If you're grading tools, his arm would probably come out the best right now. The Red Sox also like his athleticism and offensive potential. If Ramirez and Garciaparra are in Boston when Soto gets there, he'd probably have to move to second base.

 Q:  Nat Barr from Cambridge, MA asks:
What do you know about Jason Smith, the young high school pitcher out of Bourne, MA?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He has good arm strength, though he threw 88-92 mph last spring after reaching the mid-90s the summer before. He has a projectable body and a promising curveball. Would have gone a lot higher in the draft had he been considered signable, and some clubs thought he was immature.

 Q:  Frank from Boston asks:
On a few GCL pitchers. Lefty Adam Blackley put up some strong numbers for an 18 year-old Aussie lefty. How does he rate? Harvey Garcia had a strong write-up on the GCL top 20, how do you view him? And, Junior Frias made your PH list last year, but was hampered by injuries last season. Is he still considered a good prospect?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Blackley is a lot like his brother Travis with the Mariners, not quite as physical. Garcia and Frias are more raw arm-strength guys trying to figure it out. Garcia has the best arm of the bunch. They're all guys the Red Sox like, but they're all fringe guys for making my Top 30 list.

 Q:  mike from lowell, ma asks:
there was a bit of late round production this year in Lowell. Some of the players were Arthur Santos, Davey Penny, Scooter Jordan, Robert Evans, Jose Vaquedano just to name some. what are your thoughts on these guys and where do you see them next year??
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think the two best in that group are Evans, an athletic outfielder who was more of a football player at Samford, and Vaquedano, who has good command of average stuff. Most of that group will be in low Class A next year.

 Q:  Brian from Pleasanton, CA asks:
What do you think of Keney Perez? Ive heard Boston likes his OBP. Does he have a shot at the big show?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I doubt they liked his .319 OBP in high Class A too much. There's mixed opinion on Perez. He has good hands but not a ton of range at shortstop, and he never hit much before this year. So he's a guy whose bat and ability to stick at shortstop are questionable.

 Q:  Medea's Child from Los Angeles asks:
If you could trade for or sign one, who would you choose, David Murphy, Brian Anderson (the prospect) or Ryan Sweeney? Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy or Sergio Santos?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Part two first: I'd take Hardy, then Santos, then Ramirez. First question is too hard, not much separation between all of them. Given that Anderson has been hurt and Murphy is more advanced than Sweeney, I can see why Boston took Murphy.

 Q:  William from Lowell, MA asks:
Where do you see the Red Sox top pitching draft picks (vaughan, papelbon, marshall, corn) this year and who will move the fastest? Thank you!
 A: 

Jim Callis: Those guys will all go to low Class A. I like Jon Papelbon's stuff the best and think he'll move the fastest, though if Brian Marshall stays in relief that's typically a quicker path.

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
OF Chris Turner got a big bonus for round 15,does he get a spot in the Augusta OF this summer?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes. The Red Sox are high on his all-around package of tools and feel he's one of several 2003 draft picks who turned the outfield from a weakness into a strength.

 Q:  Paul M from Alexandria, VA asks:
What happened to Billy Simon?
 A: 

Jim Callis: This is the first recognizable Sons of Sam Horn name I've recognized today. You guys must be using aliases. Simon was first diagnosed with a neck strain that never got better and was finally determined to be a problem with a vertebrae in his neck. He has seen several specialists, trying to find the best way to rehab and overcome the condition. It's not career-threatening, just frustrating as it cost him a whole year. The Red Sox hope to come up with an answer so they can get him back on the mound.

 Q:  bill from norwood MA asks:
Hi Jim, Am I being overly optimistic or is this year's list of prospects 11-30 in the handbook going to look a lot better than last years version?
 A: 

Jim Callis: They should look better than last year's 11-30 list but they're not particularly inspring.

 Q:  Steve from NYC asks:
As an organization, where would the Sox rank? Obviously still low, but getting better I would hope. (Ok, I admit I just want to hear you say they have a better system than the Yankees).
 A: 

Jim Callis: As I touched on before, in the 21-30 range. But just to make you happy Steve--and it's the truth--the Red Sox do have a better system than the Yankees.

 Q:  Mike from Westford asks:
Is Bronson Arroyo good enough for the number 5 starter this year and does Kevin Youkilis have a chance to stick this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Arroyo deserves a look but I'm sure the Red Sox will have other candidates as well. He commands the strike zone like Boston wants its pitchers to. With Bill Mueller coming off a huge season, Youkilis will spend most of the year in Triple-A, where he still needs to prove he can make adjustments. Pokey Reese and Mark Bellhorn may not cut it, but I don't see Mueller moving to second and Youkilis taking over at third in 2004.

 Q:  Peter from Concord, MA asks:
If Allison slipped past the Marlins at 16 do you think the Sox would have taken a chance at him?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Very good question. The Red Sox wanted to load up on college players and they really needed outfielders, and David Murphy fit both of those characteristics. But on the day of the draft, David Chadd mentioned that someone surprising might fall to them at 17, and that might have been Jeff Allison. On the other hand, I don't think Theo Epstein and Co. believe a whole lot in high school pitchers.

 Q:  Brian from Pleasanton, CA asks:
What does Jeremy West's future hold for him? I believe he was Lowell's position player of the year. Where will he be playing next year and does he have the tools to make it in Boston?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Boston really likes his power and you're right about him being Lowell's MVP. He'll probably start 2004 in Augusta and could develop into a Kevin Millar.

 Q:  Peter from Concord, MA asks:
With Youkilis's poor speed and defense at third could you see him moving to First?
 A: 

Jim Callis: His speed is below average but he has worked hard to become an average defender at third base. For all his OBP, I don't think Youkilis has the power to be a big league first baseman.

 Q:  Brian from Dover, NH asks:
Who do forsee as the true Sox 3B of the future...Youkilis, Spann, or Hattig? Spann seems to have the best shot, but we all keep hearing about Youks OBP.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll say Youkilis. He has proven more than Spann and the Red Sox believe in OBP. Spann could pass him and had an encouraging year, but he didn't show a lot of home run power either and still must improve across the board. John Hattig had a good year but probably isn't a third baseman and has to do it again.

 Q:  Brian from Dover, NH asks:
What's the scoop on 8th round draft pick 2B Lee Curtis? He put up good enough college numbers to earn the 3rd team All-America in 2003. How is his defense?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Interesting guy, a hustler with some athleticism, but it's too early to consider him a real prospect yet.

 Q:  bill from norwood MA asks:
Hi Jim, Is Claudio Arias the second coming of Tony Blanco? How far behind Arias is Heriberto Guzman with his .510 slugging pct? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Arias is moving to the outfield and needs a lot better approach at the plate. Guzman has some interesting raw tools and will just miss making my Top 30.

Moderator: There are 111 questions remaining and more streaming in, so let's head to the lightning round!

 Q:  M.Jackson from Neverland Ranch asks:
I like to hear about the real young players down at the bottom of the Red Sox system? If you were to pick one or two young sleepers, who would it be?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Righthanders Kyle Jackson and Jesus Delgado.

 Q:  bob from beantown asks:
so in your honest opinion, do you think arod will be the shortstop for the red sox this season?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No, but it won't shock me if I'm wrong.

 Q:  Peter Valhouli-Farb from Concord, MA asks:
Why did the Sox pass on Brad Sulivan knowing that he could make a diffrence in a few seasons?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He didn't pitch well down the stretch, which concerned a lot of teams, as did his size and reliance on his slider. The Sox really wanted Abe Alvarez, so they went after outfielders in the first round. They were in on David Murphy early.

 Q:  Doyle from Chicago asks:
At what position is the sox system weakest? Strongest?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Strongest in righthanded pitching, weakest at second base (where you can always move shortstop) and first base (where you can always move anyone).

 Q:  Jim from Northern VA asks:
I'm a little concerned over Kevin Youkilis's struggles at Pawtucket at the end of the year. Could I get your take on it? Were you able to ask any Red Sox officials about it? I'm guessing fatigue or perhaps his patience didn't play so well with more advanced pitchers at AAA. Meaning, he faced some guys who were more likely to throw first pitch strikes and had better control overall. Does his poor performance affect your projections for MLB success or more of an aberration? And thanks!
 A: 

Jim Callis: Pitchers went after him with first-pitch strikes and he didn't make an immediate adjustment. Boston is confident he'll adapt this year. It's a red flag but also a small sample size, so let's see what happens in 2004.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
I've heard and read a lot of differing opinions on Charlie Zink. Rob Neyer loves him and Josh Boyd's AFL article seemed to back him as well. Does he have a shot to contribute in a 11th or 12th pitcher swing role this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't think they'll push him that quick, though you never know with knuckleballers. Mid-2005 is a more reasonable ETA.

 Q:  Ted W. from Arizona asks:
What do you see as a ceiling for Jerome Gamble? He has a good fastball and was named to have the best curve in the minors now that Dumatrait is gone.
 A: 

Jim Callis: High ceiling, but not a high probability he reaches it. If he stays healthy, keeps pumping 92-94 mph, gains consistency with his curve (not an area of strength in the system) and figures out some finesse, he could be a No. 2 starter. But that's also a lot to ask.

 Q:  Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
Do you see similarities between A.Alverez and rule 5 pick Lenny DiNardo? Is that a good comp for Alverez, or does he have a higher ceiling?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Alvarez throws harder than DiNardo and doesn't rely almost solely on his cutter. His ceiling is a lot higher.

 Q:  bill from norwood MA asks:
Hi Jim, When Boston signed Galvez last year, you projected him at about #11-12. He had a good year on a DSL team but you usually don't include those players in the handbook rankings. Will he make the list this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, in the 20-25 range. Luis Soto will be in the same area.

 Q:  Peter Valhouli-Farb from Concord, MA asks:
Who would you rather have playing Second for your team: Pokey Reese or Freddy Sanchez?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Would anyone not want Freddy Sanchez?

 Q:  Peter Valhouli-Farb from Concord, MA asks:
Will Abe Alverez's eye problem effect his ETA?
 A: 

Jim Callis: It hasn't affected his pitching so far, so no reason it should start to now.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
Although the Sox are drafting better lately, they seem to have traded a lot of prospects for a team with a system so thin. I would expect the new regime would be more likely to try new methods of rejuvenating the system all the way to the top. However, it seems to me that they are just mirroring the Cardinals and Yankees strategies of keeping only the elite of prospects and trading everything else for stopgap veteran players with bad contracts. Is this really the best way to overcome the Evil Empire? My mom always said 2 wrongs don't make a right.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think the Red Sox want to have both a strong big league club and a strong system, but the big league team has priority. If they have a chance to win a World Series, they'll trade prospects for veterans who can help them do that. They'll miss Freddy Sanchez but it's hard to argue with most of Theo Epstein's trades.

 Q:  C.Dale from Allentown, PA asks:
All of SoSH wants to know about two favorites who are marginal, 3B John Hattig and defensive Catcher "big Edgar" Martinez. They both should be starting in AA Portland this year and Hattig finished very well at Sarasota last year which may have been a sign he turned the corner. Can "big Edgar" be a Tim Spehr someday?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hattig has to improve his conditioning and defense and keep hitting like he did last year, and he's not a true third baseman. Martinez is a defensive specialist who maybe can become Tim Spehr.

 Q:  Ryan Baker from Cleveland, OH asks:
What are the problems with Hanly Ramirez that lead everyone to question his makeup? I never used to put much into those types of comments, until Milton Bradley came to town. Now I'm not so sure any amount of talent is worth the constant headache. Can his problems be overcome, or should the Sox just build the hype and dump him to the biggest sucker like the Yankees and Dodgers did for so long?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Red Sox attribute his travails to a combination of youthful immaturity, dealing with a lot of hype and adapting to the United States. They think he'll be fine and I he's not in Milton Bradley or Carl Everett territory yet.

 Q:  Peter Valhouli-Farb from Concord, MA asks:
Could you have seen De La Rosa as a potential setup man to Foulke?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, scouts are split on whether he'll wind up as a starter or reliever.

 Q:  bill from norwood MA asks:
Hi Jim, Does Marshall have the stuff to be a starter? Is Luis Mendoza a prospect with that low k rate? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably not on Brian Marshall. Mendoza's lack of strikeouts are puzzling but he also didn't give up many hits last year and a lot of opposing teams like him. He'll be in my 11-15 range, and I bet if he doesn't pick up his K rate next year, he's used in a trade.

 Q:  David Ward from Attleboro, MA asks:
I know he got knocked around a little towards the end of last year, but will Jonathon Papelbon get any consideration for the Prospect Handbook? He showed a good fastball when I saw him at MSU.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, he'll be in the 11-15 range. You have to take those first pro summers with a grain of salt. He has a 92-93 mph fastball and a slider that's a plus pitch at times. Plus, my 2-year-old daughter loves to say his name.

 Q:  Joe from Boston asks:
If Hanley Ramirez ever gets his head put on straight and his attitude in line, can he be a Nomar type player?? He seems to have the raw tools. If not, who does he project to be more like, a Tejeda or Berroa maybe??
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, he has that upside. I don't know if he'll ever win an American League batting title, but as I wrote, Ramirez has .300.370.500 upside.

 Q:  BHEC from SoSHville, USA asks:
One day, I'll get a question through. LOL Who do you like from the Aussie bunch they have signed? And will the Red Sox ever sign another Korean or Japanese amateur again?
 A: 

Jim Callis: We've got to get Butch Hobson's Elbow Chips in. Adam Blackley is on the radar screen more than any other Aussies right now. They may one day get another Korean or Japanese amateur, but they won't pay the prices that the Dan Duquette regime did.

 Q:  Pete O from Chestnut Hill, MA asks:
Thanks for the chat Jim. What can you tell us about Justin Sturge who had great stats this year in A-Ball after being drafted in the middle rounds out of college?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Sturge is a soft tosser with a good curveball who will have to keep proving himself.

 Q:  Mike from Exton, PA asks:
Salvador Paniagua and Alex Penalo had pretty solid years in the GCL. Do they make the Top 30 as semi-legitimate prospects or are they just guys who did ok in 130 ABs?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hey, Philly Sox Fan in the house. They'll just miss the Top 30. Both guys drew some interest, as they're plus defenders with a chance to hit. They're pretty far away right now but worth monitoring in 2004.

 Q:  redinchicago from chicago asks:
How fast can Abe Alvarez move up the system? Does he start in high A? How does his changeup rate on the scouting scale?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Running out of time here . . . Very fast, yes, 50 right now on the 20-80 scouting scale.

 Q:  Ken from Georgia asks:
Is Chad Spann a one level at a time prospect or, could he make the jump to AA by the end of 2004? How much does he compare to Bill Mueller as far as future performance?
 A: 

Jim Callis: One level at a time in all likelihood, maybe the pre-2003 Bill Mueller.

 Q:  Bill from Vermont asks:
Is there any shot at Anastacio Martinez helping the sox out in the bullpen with his power arm this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Maybe after a half-season at Pawtucket. He does throw hard and has arguably the best curve in the system.

 Q:  Brian from Pleasanton, CA asks:
Aneudis Mateo...what do you this will happen to this guy?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Has pretty good stuff when he's in shape, needs to work on his conditioning.

 Q:  Bill from Vermont asks:
There has been talk about who will fill out the 5th OF spot for the sox. Any chance that Jeremy Owens with his GREAT defensive ability and good speed-power make the team in that role?
 A: 

Jim Callis: While that's all true about Owens, I can't see it because he just can't make enough contact at the plate.

 Q:  Peter Valhouli-Farb from Concord, MA asks:
Was giving up on Goss this early a mistake? He had a great first year but has had the injury bug. Could you have seen him giving Hall, Murphy, Murton, or Turner a run for there money for playing time?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No, he's a good athlete but kind of clueless.

 Q:  Brian from NH asks:
Does Beau Vaughn have No. 2 or 3 starter potential? He seems to have a good make-up, but I haven't heard much about him?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Vaughan can be a No. 3 starter and is very similar to Papelbon, whom I discussed a little earlier.

 Q:  John from Andover asks:
Jim- I certainly like what the Sox management has done, but is it realistic to think they'll develop and then play kids like Murphy etc? I can't imagine that they'll play a rookie OF. Like this year for example- There is no way an untested rookie would be entrusted with an offensive position like CF or RF. Are these prospects destined to be trade fodder?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Many of these prospects will be trade fodder, because with Boston's financial resources and the way the club is run, it shouldn't have a lot of holes to fill.

 Q:  Wil Ledezma from Detroit, MI asks:
You mentioned that the Red Sox' 2003 sixth-round draft selection, righthander Jesse Corn, pitched only four innings last season. This after Boston's 2002 second-round choice, lefthander Jon Lester, pitched just two-thirds of an inning during his 2002 professional debut. What benefit is to be derived from burning an option year and accelerating the Rule 5 eligibility of these pitchers for so few innings?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Lester signed late, and I'm not sure why he didn't get a 2003 contract. With Corn, I think he was more worn out than they realized and they shut him down.

 Q:  C.Dale from Lehigh Valley, PA asks:
Does Anastacio Martinez project out to a MLB set-up man even if it is not Boston?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes.

 Q:  James Stone from Newton, MA asks:
What type of players do you see the Sox trying to acquire in this year's draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll go out on a limb and say "college."

 Q:  Benji Orthen from Breyers Tower, MA asks:
Hanley certainly sounds promising and his first year numbers were heart-warming, but last year was far more ordinary. What keeps Hanley from being an Ed Rogers in Red Sox?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I've got to go, and Ed Rogers is always a good place to stop. Ramirez already has shown more hitting ability than Rogers ever did or will.