So, who do you want leading your staff? Identities are revealed at the end of this post, although I doubt they're much of a secret...
Just like every Thursday, here's the highlights from yesterday's ESPN chat with BA's Jim Callis:
Bob (North Hampton, NH): How's this years crop of draft eligible catching prospects looking?
Jim Callis: Not very good. The top catcher taken will be either Pepperdine's Chad Tracy (son of Pirates manager Jim) or California high schooler Hank Conger. Conger is a switch-hitter with power, but not a lock to stay behind the plate. Florida's Brian Jeroloman is a defensive specialist, while another Florida high schooler, Max Sapp, is more of an offensive player.
Mike A. (Chico, CA): Hey Jim, thanks for taking our questions. Where do you see Hochevar going in this year's draft? Would it be wise for a team that lacks upper-level talent (i.e. the Yanks) to take him in the 2nd or 3rd round considering the merely average draft class this year? Thanks again
Jim Callis: A lot is going to depend on how good he looks when he gets back on the mound in indy ball this spring. That may be a tall order, because he's coming off a long layoff and will face a lot of older hitters, many with Double-A and Triple-A experience. Hochevar, based on his 2005 form, would go in the upper half of the first round. But he probably won't be in that form, there still will be signability questions and you have to question his makeup after the Dodgers fiasco last year. So it's too early to tell where he goes. He might get to the Yankees at No. 41 after going No. 40 a year ago.
Paul (San Francisco): How predictive is a good farm system of a club's future big league success? For instance, do the clubs whos farm systems you rate in the top 5 in a given year generally do well 2-3 years in the future? I guess the real question is, how fired up can we be if our teams rate as having good farm systems?
Jim Callis: I recently looked at the teams we had ranked No. 1 over the last decade, and the last club to get that ranking and fizzle was the 1997 Pirates. All of the other clubs had a great deal of success (though some, like the Braves and Yankees were already successful when ranked No. 1). Unless the club's talent is being overestimated (in retrospect, that's what happened with the 1997 Pirates), an elite system should lead to big league success.
Down on the Farm (yesterday was an ugly day for the system):
Triple-A Columbus (2-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 K
Melky Cabrera: 0 for 4
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3
Matt DeSalvo: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K - 15-1 GB/FB ratio
Double-A Trenton (9-3 loss to Altoona)
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 1 SB - moved to leadoff spot a few games ago and took off
Rudy Guillen: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K - .086 BA, you can stick a fork in him, he's no longer a prospect
Danny Borrell: 4 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
High-A Tampa (4-3 loss to Fort Myers)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Hector Made: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
Jason Jones: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Low-A Charleston scheduled off day
Pitcher A: Josh Beckett
Pitcher B: Moose, but I’m sure you knew that already
Pitcher C: Roy Halladay