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Kevin Goldstein Interview, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part recap of an interview with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Part 1, focusing on system-wide issues is here. Part 3 will be available in the next few days.

APV: The 2010 draft was an expensive draft for the organization, but one that was generally well-regarded at the time. With the exception of the traded Drew Pomeranz, that draft performed unremarkably last year. Is it too early to call bust on that draft?

KG: Well, they did get something in return for Pomeranz. LeVon Washington really needs to get going. I liked Kyle Blair a lot, but that didn't work out for him last season. Tony Wolters is still very much a prospect and there is time to figure out what kind of prospect that might be. Alex Lavisky, he's a $1M guy and that didn't look so good. Tyler Holt...ok...Michael Goodnight, Tyler Holt, Tony Dischler....There is still time on a lot of these guys, so I wouldn't say a bust. Are all of these guys likely to be a good return on investment, no.

APV: Francisco Lindor was described by your BP colleague Jason Parks in a podcast you did together as "so f@#$ing good" and you had a quote from a scout last week saying he might move fast. What does a fast timetable for Lindor llke and how good is he?

KG: The thing about Lindor is he is so young. He was 17 when he was drafted, he will be 18 all season this year. A lot of high school players drafted in the upcoming draft will be older than Lindor. So for this year, it is more likely that the organization will go slow and that he will start and finish the season in Lake County. After that, the questions begin and depending on how he does he might really accelerate. He is very good, he's very polished, very mature. He really doesn't feel or act like a kid when you watch him. He treats everything he does, batting practice, games, training, very professionally. If he were to make it to Cleveland in 2015 he would still only be 21, and yet I would not even be shocked if he saw Cleveland in 2014, though that probably isn't likely. There are not a ton of weaknesses in his game that need to be addressed or that he needs to work through.

APV: Of the various shortstops in the lower part of the system (Lindor, Ronny Rodriguez, Tony Wolters, Dorssys Paulino, Jorge Martinez), which of them have the glove to stay at SS? What of them have the bat to play elsewhere, particularly a corner position?

KG: Rodriguez can certainly play SS. He has the athleticism, the speed and the arm to stay at the spot. So along with Lindor he is the safest best to stay at SS. Paulino is a different kind of beast. He might not have the same kind of fast-twitch athleticism that those guys have. Robel Garcia may already be a 3B. Tony Wolters probably is not a SS. Robel Garcia has the bat that stands out the most, with a nice combination of hit ability and power potential. He has a good approach and really knows what he is doing when he is at the plate. There is strength in his swing and potential for power as he fills out more...he's still pretty much just a skinny kid.

APV: Of the AA and AAA guys in the system that seem destined to be major league spare parts, are there any diamonds in the rough, particularly when it comes to pitching arms?

KG: The guy who sticks out to me, and who I identified as a sleeper in my BP top 11 piece on the Indians, is Tyler Sturdevant. A couple people in the organization are really high on him and think that he is coming quickly, possibly even this year. He has a nice plus fastball, but what people talk about is the cutter that he has developed that sits in the upper 80s. I mean his approach is a little weird in that it is just fastball, cutter, fastball, cutter...but he could turn into something.

APV: What happened to LeVon Washington last year?

KG: He did what a lot of young players do, which is to take himself backwards. These young guys get off to a poor start and then they start tinkering with things. Instead of fixing the issue, they just go backwards and end up getting lost, which is what happened to Washington. He is really in the tall weeds now. He still has the athleticism, but there are definitely reasons to be worried. He needs to start figuring some things out this season.

APV: The Indians have a lot of pitchers who at one point were prospects and who missed most, or all of the 2011 season (Hector Rondon, Alexander Perez, Jason Knapp, Giovanni Soto). Are these guys an Indians fan should be hopeful about at all, or should they just wait until they are back on the mound and performing again?

KG: It is more of a wait until they are back on the mound situation. These guys were decent prospects, but it isn't as if any of them were the kind of 'can't miss, oh no now they are hurt' kind of prospects.

APV: What about one of my favorite sleeper prospects, Carlos Moncrief? He really seemed to fill up the boxscore on a daily basis last year, but obviously the odds are stacked against him.

KG: I understand why he is tempting. When he makes contact, which is not very often, he really puts a charge in the ball. His arm obviously plays in RF. All you can do is keep advancing him until he hits a wall, but he'll be 23 and just in Carolina this year. Tools wise, he is just tools. He has plus power, plus speed, plus he's tempting....but who knows if he'll hit.

APV: Lonnie Chisenhall is obviously an important guy in the organization, but one who ran into problems in his plate approach when he arrived in Cleveland. Are these reasons to be concerned, or just part of the normal jump to the bigs?

KG: It is a possible concern and something that needs to be addressed. I mean, he was pretty hacktastic up [in Cleveland]. There is a huge leap between the minors and the majors, but part of that, a big part of that, is the leap that comes from advanced scouting. There is no advanced scouting in the minors. In the majors, everyone knows what you do before you get there. Chisenhall was completely exploited by the scouting reports out on him when he arrived in Cleveland. The toughest thing for any young player getting to the big leagues is not the adjustments you make, it is adjusting to the adjustments made against you. That's where Chisenhall is right now.

APV: Given that, would you rather see him start the season in Cleveland or Columbus?

KG: Columbus. Get him comfortable, get him some success, then bring him back to Cleveland.

Part 3 of the interview, covering more specific player information as well as Kevin's approach to the game, will come in the next few days.