Yesterday, Baseball America announced that Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson was named their minor league player of the year. They also hosted a chat afterwards, and here are a few excerpts:
Ben (Leland Grove): How strong a case did Dom Brown bring to the table?
J.J. Cooper: Very strong. He was one of the finalists. If you are interested in how the voting came down, I'd recommend listening to the podcast as well, where we went into some detail on how the voting worked out. Brown was the pick for a couple of BA staffers, but the consensus was for Hellickson.
The top 3 were Hellickson, Domonic Brown and Will Myers. I am surprised they gave it to Hellickson.
Justin (KC): Did Moustakas' lost April factor in at all?
J.J. Cooper: Not really. So let's explain why Moustakas didn't win it. When we talked about Moustakas, it got really hard to not notice his massive home-road split in the Texas League. In case you haven't seen it, Moustakas hit .437/.485/.894 at home and .222/.318/.398 on the road. We ended up having Myers as one of our final three, with Moustakas and Hosmer in the group that was among the final 10.
Royals fans should be all giddy about the future with Myers, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, John Lamb, and Mike Montgomery.
Devin Mesoraco (Louisville, KY): Did I win any of your votes? Your thoughts on my 2010 as a whole?
J.J. Cooper: Mesoraco was in our final 10 and got some consideration for our final three when we were cutting down the list. I think Mesoraco's season ranks as the most surprising 2010 by any prospect. He was a former first-round pick, and the Reds had believed that a season like this was in there, but to see a player with 2+ minor league seasons go from never slugging above .400 to being among the minors' best hitters is extremely rare.
Mesoraco's stock is way up this year. I am curious where BA will rank him now that he was considered for the Top 3 in the POY voting.
More after the jump:
JAYPERS (IL): Where would Hellickson rank on your Top 100 list if it came out today?
John Manuel: He'd rank pretty high for me, somewhere in the Top 10, and he's the top pitcher for me as well, including all the 2010 draft guys. He's got a No. 2 starter's ceiling in the majors and appears quite close to fulfilling that. He may not be as sexy as other pitching prospects because they throw harder, but Hellickson sits 91-92 and I've seen plenty of 94s out of him myself. That velo, and the fact that his four-seamer's a little straight, are the only knocks on him.
Here is BA's reasoning for selecting Hellickson as their POY.
Dale (Houston): Did you guys break down the selection into a ranking? What does the top 5 look like?
John Manuel: We did actually vote on the top 12 guys but that voting frankly was inconclusive; too many good candidates. Two weeks later we met again and wound up whittling things down to three or four guys, the three guys J.J. mentioned�Hellickson, Brown and Myers�with some lingering discussions on one or two others, but honestly, I don't remember who else was there at that point. If you want the dozen, the other nine included, in no particular order, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, John Lamb, Devin Mesoraco, Brandon Belt, J.P. Arencibia, Michael Pineda, Julio Teheran and Jerry Sands.
Quite a list and there are 4 guys listed that will be available in the 2011 UBA minor league draft, and right now I have the 2nd pick. Not sure who I would take at this point, but Mesoraco will be considered.
Darren (Oakland): Who would you pick first, Sands or Belt? Are they similar players?
John Manuel: Now that's a tough one. My gut says Belt, but the reports we have received are more positive about Sands, who is a solid athlete as well and has more power. It's pretty much a push right now but I tend to believe a bit more in Belt and like the lefthanded part of the equation for him.
I will be asking myself that question alot this offseason.