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Prospects Chat: Athletics Nation Interviews Billy Beane and Baseball America's South Atlantic League Top 20 Chat Excerpts

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Before I get to the BA chat excerpts, Tyler Bleszinski from Athletics Nation interviewed A's GM Billy Beane recently and here is part 1 and part 2 of his 3-part interview with the main character in the recent Moneyball movie. Part 3 is scheduled to post today at 8am EST.

Baseball America recently published their Top 20 South Atlantic League prospects, and held their Sally League Top 20 chat as well, so here are a few excerpts after the Top 5 Sally League prospects for 2011:

1. Bryce Harper, WAS

2. Manny Machado, BAL

3. Jurickson Profar, TEX

4. Jameson Taiilon, PIT

5. Christian Yelich, FLA

@Jaypers413 (IL): Was Machado's bat what ranked him above Profar on your list?

Bill Ballew: Yes. The difference between those two was akin to splitting hairs. Machado is more of a physical player whereas Profar has more a little more finesse. Still, both have bright futures and are among the most exciting players to watch in the minor leagues.

Jaypers must be a friend of the BA writers, or someone who works for BA, no? Profar hit .286-.390-.493 with 12 HRs, 65 RBI, 86 runs, 23 stolen bases, and a phenomenal 63-65 K/BB rate in 430 at bats as an 18 year old. Machado, all of 19 years old,  hit .257-.335-.421 with 11 HRs, 50 RBI, 48 runs, 11 SBs and a 73-45 K/BB rate in 382 at bats split between Low A and High A.

More Sally League chat excerpts after the jump:


Mark (Fargo ND): Is Miles Head the Red Sox Firstbaseman of the future?

Bill Ballew: He has a great chance to be that, especially if he has another year or two like he did in 2011. The kid can hit even though he doesn't look like a typical big league first baseman. And his defense at the first turn is about as good as it gets. If he does in Double-A next year what he did this season, then I believe he will be Boston-bound.

I am sure Ballew knows that Adrian Gonzalez will be manning first base for the Bosox for the next 7 years, or at least DH'ing. Head hit a combined .299-.372-.515 with 22 HRs, 82 RBI, 88 runs and a 109-50 K/BB rate in 495 at bats split between Low A and High A.

SMK (Boston): What is Xander Bogaerts upside?

Bill Ballew: Potentially huge. You see the uncanny power he possesses along with the enthusiasm and energy and your mind starts to wonder how good this guy might be one day. I can see him playing for a long time. He makes mistakes that are typical of teenagers but he'll refine his game and become an impact player at higher levels.

Bogaerts, an 18 year old, was the 10th ranked Sally League prospect, and one has to wonder why he wasn't ranked higher. Bogaerts, a Red Sox prospect, hit .260-.324-.504 with 16 HRs, 45 RBI, 38 runs and a 71-25 K/BB rate in just 265 at bats this season. Fangraphs and Scouting the Sally's Mike Newman raved about Bogaerts in a recent Fangraphs podcast which was well worth the listen.

@ProspectD2J (Toronto): Yankees C Gary Sanchez was uber hyped before the season.... I'm shocked to see him ranked this low and even behind a catcher most prospect fans have never heard of (Jacob Realmuto). Is Realmuto really that good or did Sanchez's stock take that much of a hit? Odds that Realmuto is higher on BA's Top 100 than Sanchez??

Bill Ballew: Sanchez had a season not unlike what Christian Bethancourt did for Rome in 2010. He was sent to Tampa for disciplinary reasons which centered on his work ethic and he did not impress with his ability to work with pitchers and call a game. The tools are in place, but many scouts wonder if he has the drive to remain behind the plate. I believe his batting average and power output will improve, but in my opinion he is nowhere near the likes of Jesus Montero at the same point in his career.

Sanchez's prospect stock too a hit this season due to disciplinary issues and his sub-par season at the plate. Sanchez hit .256-.335-.485 with 17 HRs, 52 RBI, 49 runs and a 93-36 K/BB rate in 301 at bats. The "nowhere near the likes of Jesus Montero" statement is a big change from last offseason.