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Down On The Farm: Excerpts From Baseball America Chat with John Manuel

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With the UBA's NL-only league draft this evening, I thought it was a good time to take a look at the recent Baseball America chat that BA's John Manuel held on Wednesday. The chat started off slow, but he got into some excellent prospect questions. Let's take a look:

steve (san fran): rank these players 5 years from now? belt, hosmer, moustakas, harper, heyward, stanton & posey?

John Manuel: 1) Harper. 2) Stanton! 3) Heyward 4) Posey 5) Hosmer 6) Moustakas 7) Belt Pretty stout group. Still regret letting Ben Badler talk me out of ranking Stanton third in my personal top 50 in the '09 Handbook; had him 10, behind Wieters, Price, Feliz, Hanson, Heyward, Bumgarner, Travis Snider, Cam Maybin & Pedro Alvarez. List has held up well, still wish I had Stanton higher.

I am surprised with a few of his rankings here. One, Posey above Hosmer. I think in time, Hosmer may prove to be the better hitter, but Posey is no slouch. I am surprised with the Stanton rank ahead of Heyward as well. But, as you can see, he loves Stanton.

More excerpts after the jump:

Rich (Philly): John, With the rise of Cole lately are the M's the biggest winner in the draft ( Get to take whoever Pitt Passes on)?

John Manuel: Not sure why it would be the rise of Cole "lately." Did you guys not watch him in Omaha last year? It was on national TV, you know. I saw him there and in the summer for Team USA; he was a monster then, pretty much the same guy now, and he, not Rendon, was a first-rounder out of HS. Also, he didn't last 7 IP in his last start. Not hating on Cole in any way, just saying, we had him 2 on the board coming into the year, and frankly I think he's still 2. You could even argue he's not the best pitcher on his own team; check Bauer's stats out, and his stuff is legit. I'd take Cole over Bauer, and I know that's the industry consensus, but it wouldn't shock me one bit if Bauer wound up having the better career. 

Interesting take on Cole. i had not read much about Bauer to date.

Vic (San Diego): Did you hear anything about Billy Hamilton's brief look with the club or how he's looked in extended spring training? Is a Luis Castillo type (the good version) his ceiling?

John Manuel: I haven't talked to anyone on Hamilton this spring, unfortunately, but Luis Castillo might be his floor. He's going to give shortstop a look this year, and I don't know that you could determine that in a spring training look anyway. If he can play short, he's got a chance to be that rare SS speedster leadoff type. If you must have a comp, maybe early-career Rafael Furcal, back when he didn't slug .400. I don't see Hamilton ever hitting for a lot of power.

Hamilton is several years away, but if he is Furcal-lite, or even Furcal, he will be a nice guy to roster in keeper leagues and fantasy leagues.

Charlie (Washington): What's the time table with Dodger fireballer Rubby De La Rosa? Do you think he'll eventually be a starter or reliever.

John Manuel: He's going to move quickly this year; bet he gets to Double-A by midseason. It's a special arm, and he has the repertoire to be a starter. There's effort in the delivery, but I hope he learns to throttle back a bit, not feel the need to throw 102 and learn to grind through a lineup. It's easier to say a guy with his kind of arm strength would go to the bullpen; I'm holding out hope he can start.

I think RDLR starts the season in AA, and could be up this year, or at least in September.

And a follow-up question on the Stanton ranking:

Joseph (Bozeman, MT): Ok, John, I think Stanton ahead of Heyward deserves a follow-up. Would you offer your reasoning?

John Manuel: Just his power. He's fairly similar in many ways, but we're talking 80 power. Not taking anything from Heyward, but he doesn't have 80 power. Harper and Stanton do.

I can't disagree with the 80 power. if you ever watched him hit, Stanton has some unbelievable power.