Matt Eddy: Let’s chat prospects
Ken (Brick NJ): What happened to Miguel Gonzalez of the Phillies. He was a big signing then hurt. Is he still viewed as a future part of the rotation
Matt Eddy: Jim Salisbury wrote in an organization report recently that Cuban import Gonzalez will be used as a reliever for the balance of this season, but that he ideally would transition into the rotation next season. Shoulder trouble set him back in 2014.
john (atlanta): Any info on the Braves' SS Daniel Castro? He's had a strong season in Hi-A and AA as a 21 year old after spending most of the last two years in the Mexican League. Looks like the Carolina League managers like his defense.
Matt Eddy: Castro is the man who pushed Jose Peraza to second base at High-A Lynchburg this year. Well, that’s not entirely true, but he was a factor in that decision. Scouts don’t necessarily see impact potential with Castro’s bat (and he doesn’t really run), but his glove and cannon arm ought to get him some big league time down the line.
Conor (Santa Barbara): What kind of ceiling do you see on Brett Phillips and has he cracked the Astros top 10 at this point?
Matt Eddy: A good LH hitter who can run and defend in CF, Phillips appears to have major league potential. He’s far away, and he’ll have to continue to hit for power to profile as a regular, but time is on his side. Good year for Astros breakout prospects. Preston Tucker also has emerged.
Nate (Chicago): Is Josh Phegley not a good enough prospect to get consideration?
Matt Eddy: Phegley has 204 big league at-bats and is thus no longer prospect-eligible.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Matt, thanks for the chat. In your Best Tools article, Harvey topped Giolito for Best Pitching Prospect in the Sally League. How close was the vote between the two, and do you personally agree with this result?
Matt Eddy: Early in the season, in particular, Giolito struggled to control the ball like he’s capable. Harvey was sharp from Day One at Delmarva. When you’re talking about starting pitchers, especially, first impressions carry a lot of weight, and those managers who saw both pitchers early saw Harvey working ahead and getting outs with his slider, whereas Giolito had fewer opportunities to unleash his best curveballs. The difference between the slider and curveball might also be in play. The slider is generally easier to control, and also easier to throw for called strikes (especially with inexperienced Low-A umpires—they’re prospects too).
Greg (Defiance,OH): How can the Tigers minor league system be ranked so low each year despite the fact that they continually find trading partners willing to give up proven major league talent in exchange ?
Matt Eddy: Another way to look at the issue would be simply that Dombrowski and his pro scouting staff are extremely shrewd evaluators who know their own personnel best. After all, who’s the best big leaguer among the prospects the Tigers have traded away? Is it Maybin? Andrew Miller? Jacob Turner? Francisco Martinez? More than any other team, the Tigers understand that betting on prospects is often a losing proposition, so why bear the development costs when you can exchange those prospects for big league stars? On the flip side, what does that say about Castellanos and other young players who Detroit has retained?
Kenny Graves (Highland Falls, NY): I'm back!!! Jake Lamb; super deserving of a call up. What can we expect from him RoS and over a full length of at bats? I have him Franco AND Gallo in my dynasty league. Wondering who I should move to fill other holes.
Matt Eddy: I would hang onto Lamb in any format that values defense because he has a legit glove at 3B. You never know, the other two might be eligible at 1B or corner OF. And if you’re in a DH league . . . Look for Lamb to sock some HR during his callup, but don’t expect a high AVG or any SB. He’s capable of hitting for AVG but strikeouts will make him dependent on BABIP.
Shannon S. (Shea's): Is there a better name than Rowdy Tellez?
Matt Eddy: Rowdy has been done before. Remember the Royals/Braves lefty Rowdy Hardy? Led by Yangervis Solarte, Jeff Gyorko and Odrisamer Despaigne, I’d say the Padres have the best names in baseball.
Brian (Denver): Is Matt Olson going to hit enough as he moves up? What would you expect his ETA to bigs to be?
Matt Eddy: Hitting below the league average in the BABIP-happy Cal League is not what I would call a strong indicator that Olson will hit for a high AVG. It’s a long, power-oriented swing. The power is legit, but Olson probably is looking at one level per year, then see how he fares at Triple-A.
Toucan Starkey (CT): Would you say Glasnow has vaulted his way to the #1 pitching prospect in baseball?
Matt Eddy: No, but I’d say he has moved up to No. 10, because that’s where he ranks among pitchers on our midseason Top 50.
Louis (Florida): Manuel Margot or Raimel Tapia? From scouts view who projects better long-term?
Matt Eddy: Low-A Asheville CF Raimel Tapia may have louder tools, but Low-A Greenville CF Manuel Margot has a better idea how to get the most out of his raw ability at this stage. Plus he’s nearly a year younger. I would take Margot at this stage.
Sergio (Tijuana, Mexico): Why no repeat appearance from Trea Turner on the sheet, seemed like a lock for another?
Matt Eddy: Turner had a good week, hitting .345 with 4 XBH, 0 BB, 7 SO and 0-for-1 SB, but you have to have a great week to make the Hot Sheet. The sheer numbers. Six affiliates (times) 30 teams (times) 25 rosters spots (equals) 4,500 players in consideration each week. What are the odds of anybody ranking in a top 20 of that many players?
Sergio (Tijuana, Mexico): What are your thoughts on Jake Bauers? Will the power come with age, how high will he be ranked on next year list?
Matt Eddy: The Low-A first baseman is a fringe top 10 candidate for the Padres based on concerns about power projection. He’s interesting based on his feel to hit and plate approach, but the Padres system got a whole lot deeper this year with first-rounder Trea Turner and trade pickups Jose Rondon and Taylor Lindsey.
Sergio (Tijuana, Mexico): Is Corey Spangenberg still considered a prospect? He seemed to have refound his swing with his move to CF?
Matt Eddy: Yes, he’s a prospect because he has speed that will play in the majors. He has enough feel to hit and potentially enough versatility to carve out a role as a reserve.
The Edge (Dublin, Levine): It's my birthday! What's your favorite U2 song?
Matt Eddy: Probably Even Better Than The Real Thing or one of several other songs from Achtung Baby. The riffs to some of their 1980s singles are mesmerizing, such as I Will Follow or New Year’s Day or Pride, but I’m more of a casual U2 fan, so readers: Which is your favorite U2 song?
John (Chicago): Hi Matt, Thank you for the chat. What do you make of Rafael Montero's season? He struggled in the majors but continues to excel at AAA. Does he still project as a #4ish starter?
Matt Eddy: Yes, I think so. Montero’s feel to mix and match, find the zone with good stuff and surprise batters by pitching backwards will make him a viable back-end starter.
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): No mention of Amir Garrett this week? 10 shutout innings and he announced that he is now a full time baseball player foregoing the rest of his basketball career.
Matt Eddy: File him under: just missed. As you mention he had a great week.
Doog (Cleveland, OH): Do left-handed batters with extreme reverse platoon splits raise any flags, good or bad, with scouts? I'm specifically thinking about Billy McKinney's brief time in Daytona.
Matt Eddy: I think you have to view any single-season vs. L split with skepticism just because it accounts for such a small part of the batters’s overall work. Think of it this way: It takes a batter about three seasons of facing LHP to equal his exposure to RHP in only one season (if we assume a basic 25/75 L/R split).
Shannon S. (Shea's): My favorite U2 song is "Where the Streets Have No Name." I wish I could tie it into which prospect has the best name, but I already asked that. Instead, what team has the best name in the minors?
Matt Eddy: I like the classic, no-nonsense team names such as Columbus Clippers or Durham Bulls or Charlotte Knights, rather than the novelty team names aimed at children.
Bono (Levine, NY): Achtung, Baby! Great pick for your favorite U2 song. Now, who's your favorite prospect that missed the midseason top 50?
Matt Eddy: That’s an easier question. As soon as I saw that Cardinals RF Stephen Piscotty had missed the cut, he shot right to the top of my, ahem, midseason 51-75 list. (Not such a snappy title, eh?) You can find such lists for four BA editors in the Midseason Prospect Update we published in July.
Jeremy (Mckinney): What's up with zach lee and matt lipka?
Matt Eddy: I really like Dodgers RHP Zach Lee and think he’s generally underrated. He pitches off a quality fastball, throws a good changeup and can spin a quality breaking ball. He’s in my 51-75. See above.
Daniel (Katyzuela, Texas): in few words how do you describe John Gray Season? it has been a roller coaster,
Matt Eddy: A future top-of-the-rotation arm getting used to the pro grind.
Joe (Baseballville): Who do you like as possible closers in the near future that are in the minors?? I'd love 5 names that are either very young major leaguers or just advancing to the higher echelons of the minors......
Matt Eddy: I’ve thought about this issue some, and I think the “young major leaguers” is probably the best approach to take when trying to identify future MLB closers. Seems like those young pitchers who work their way up the ladder—earning the manager’s trust—from middle relief to 7th inning to 8th inning tend to be the best bets. Also, when you look at the background demographics for the most successful MLB closers of recent vintage, you find that most of them either come from the college ranks or were singed internationally. For whatever reason, the top HS arms tend not to be closers.
Dakota (NY): Assuming Swihart reaches the majors sometime next season, how do you see Boston allocating playing time to him and Vazquez?
Matt Eddy: Tough call. Some scouts see Swihart more as a bat-oriented backup C type, whereas Vazquez is one of the better defenders. Maybe they will make a nice catcher tandem, with perhaps Swihart learning to play 1B or some other position.
Matt Eddy: Great questions. Thanks for stopping by.