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Down on the Farm: Tidbits from Baseball America's AL East Top 10 List Chats

Happy New Year to all Fake Teams readers!

Sorry for the late post today, but I still think I am 25 at times, and my body tells me different the next day. Anyway, this post is a bit overdue, but here are a few selected questions from the Baseball America Top 10 List chats.

Red Sox

emil faber (faber college): Jim — I enjoyed your in-depth (and glowing) write-up of Westmoreland. As a hitter, who would you say he is most comparable to among the recent and current top prospects such as Bruce, McCutchen, Maybin, Rasmus, Snider, and Heyward? Thanks

Jim Callis: Interesting question. His game probably most resembles Maybin's, but with much better feel for hitting and control of the strike zone.

Lou (Boulder, CO): Jim, from the group of Buchholz, Bard, Ellsbury, Kelly and Westmoreland, who would you be least inclined to part with in a trade? Who would you be most inclined to include in a deal (considering depth in the system, etc)?

Jim Callis: Let me start by saying that I don't think anyone ever should be "untouchable" in a trade, because it's always possible that someone could offer more than that player is worth. Crazy as this sounds, I'd be most inclined to part with Ellsbury because I think he presents the biggest difference between trade value and actual value and might be the most easily replaced. I'd be least inclined to trade Buchholz, who's on the verge of becoming a frontline starter in the majors. Westmoreland may have more upside than any of them, but he's also the farthest away.

Rays (sort of)

Simon (Vancouver, Canada): Do you think the Rays regret not drafting Pedro Alvarez? He was the obvious choice, and could have replaced Carlos Pena next year. What were they thinking?

Bill Ballew: Alvarez is a solid prospect, but I don't see him as a sure thing in terms of long-term all-star ability, etc. Don't get me wrong—he has promise, but Carolina League pitchers this year proved he can be retired. Considering what the Pirates had to pay to get him, I don't believe the Rays are kicking themselves. R.J. Harrison has maximized value throughout all of his drafts, and I believe that will continue to be the case, even as his previous classes are evaluated.

Mike C. (Blue Ridge, VA): Thanks for the chat! How high would you rank Hellickson and Davis on your personal top 50 or 100 prospects?

Bill Ballew: Time for one more question. You're welcome for the chat. I would have Hellickson and Davis in my top 25. Both those guys would be No. 1's in many other organization.


Ben (Philadelphia): Hi John, Jim Callis recently recanted his opinion that there was a 100% certainty that Montero couldn't catch at the MLB level. Has his receiving improved enough to think he might be able to catch at least for a few years? And if not, does he have enough athleticism to play LF? Thanks.

John Manuel: To reiterate here, the Yankees do not talk about Montero as a full-time C anymore. They talk about him catching, DHing and playing first base in Triple-A in 2010. I would add that you should never say never, so I would disagree that there's 100% certainty of him not catching. But if he catches everyday, even for a year or two, that would be a big surprise. Have you seen this guy? People used to write or talk about Joe Mauer being too big to catch, which was ignorant because of Mauer's athleticism. But Montero is bigger than Mauer; almost as tall, much bigger, stockier, and much less athletic. So he's not going to be an MLB everyday catcher.