- John (Riveside, CA): Believing both Colon and Green move to 2nd base. Who is the better prospect?
J.J. Cooper: Happy Opening Day everyone. I’m sure you all are as excited as we are that minor league baseball is here.
I’ll go with Colon, although it’s pretty close. Colon is better defensively, but both are likely second baseman down the road. Green’s bat tool is probably a little better than Colon’s, while their power is pretty similar. Colon has a better arm. With all other things being so close, I’ll go with the guy who’s a year and a half younger and set to play at the same level. We’re talking a pretty small difference between the two, which was reflected in their Top 100 rankings.
- Kyle (Middletown): What is the ceiling for Ronald Torreyes, and how well do you think he would have performed in full season ball if given the chance?
J.J. Cooper: There’s some kind of bad height joke floating out there when talking about Torreyes and ceilings, but I’ll pass on trying to make it. His ceiling is obviously somewhat limited by his small stature, but there is a lot to like with his glove, advanced bat and feel for the game. I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes it to Dayton before too long—he impressed the big league coaching staff with his work this spring. Expect great defense and solid hitting when he does arrive.
- Bobby (Hickory): Love those Rangers' pitching prospects. Quick question, any chance Robbie Erlin finishes the year in
AA? If so, what does that mean for him next year? Thanks!
J.J. Cooper: Erlin needs to make his Carolina League debut before we start worrying about him being promoted to Double-A. But
he is a very advanced pitcher for his age. Whether that means a full season in Myrtle Beach or a promotion to the Texas League eventually, he’s one of my favorite Rangers’ prospects.
- Jeff (Pittsburgh): Any reason in particular why Kaleb Cowart didn't make Cedar Rapids' opening day roster? Is his bat just not ready for the MWL?
J.J. Cooper: I did a story that addressed that specifically for subscribers on Tuesday. http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/prospect-bulletin/2011/2611531.html.
The Angels were happy with Cowart’s work in spring training, but they felt like the jump from essentially zero pro action last year (seven games) to the MWL was too much. He’s presently ticketed for Orem, but injuries or other unforseen circumstances could speed up his timetable to Cedar Rapids.
- Don (Tampa FL): To me, Josh Sale looks like Jim
Thome when swinging the bat..do you think he will end up hit just as many HRs as Thome has done in his career?
J.J. Cooper: Thome’s going to top 600 home runs before he’s done. I don’t think I’d project any current minor league to hit that many for a couple of reasons: 1) In baseball history, Thome will become the eight player to ever hit 600 home runs, simple odds say that the chances of any specific current minor leaguer joining that club is astronomically small. 2) Thome was hitting a lot of those home runs in an era where 40 home runs would put you 15 home runs behind the MLB leaders. That’s not happening nearly as much anymore.
Sale’s a very nice prospect with the best power in the Rays’ system, but
if he can end up doing half of what Thome has done he’ll have had a great career.
- Don (Tampa FL): Do you feel that Wil Myers will move up to Triple A this year? Do you think that he will be a future star in the Majors?
J.J. Cooper: If he keeps doing what he did last year, a
midseason bump to Triple-A a la Mike Moustakas last year isn’t out of the realm of possibility. A lot of that will depend on how he adjusts to
the outfield and whether he stays as locked in at the plate this year as he did last year. Long-term, we’re projecting he should be an impact bat in the big leagues, so he definitely has star potential.
- Malcom (In the Middle): You know where Levon Washing will start the year?
J.J. Cooper: Extended spring it appears. He’s not on the Lake County Opening Day roster. That doesn’t mean he won’t make it there at some point this season, but currently he’s staying back in Arizona.
- JAYPERS (IL): Which minor league team boasts the most impressive starting rotation, in your opinion? (My vote goes to
the Montgomery Biscuits.)
J.J. Cooper: I’ll go with the Biscuits with Archer and Moore as the headliners, backed by a solid back end of the rotation with
Joe Cruz and Nick Barnese, Others in the mix are Trenton (Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances at the top, Graham Stoneburner behind them), Omaha (Mike Montgomery and Danny Duffy), Northwest Arkansas (John Lamb and Chris Dwyer), Eventually, the Braves Gwinnett rotation could join that group when Mike Minor comes back down from his injury-related promotion to the bigs to join Julio Teheran.
- JT (Michigan): Most out of place promotion? Demotion?
J.J. Cooper: Still working on that. I’m currently working on a post that will have where everyone’s Top 30 prospects are starting the season, but we have to wait until the rosters are all updated to make that story as accurate as we can.
- Allan (Wisconsin): - Going to see Timberrattlers and Cougars tonight. anyone on Kane County I should watch other than Eibner?
J.J. Cooper: The Cougars roster will likely be much better in May than it is now when Jason Adam and Cheslor Cuthbert likely
join the squad. If you catch Crawford Simmons pitching that night you’ll see a young pitcher with great feel. I’ll break out some sleepers
for you as well. Sugar Ray Marimon isn’t one of the Royals best prospects by any stretch, but his name gets brought up every year when I’m working on their Top 30. Murray Watts has good power. Matt Mitchell and Keaton Hayenga have both been in the Top 30 before and have talent. Yowill Espinall is one of the toolsier players the Royals have in the system and Guelin Beltre has shown flashes as well.
- Lee (Easton PA): I was surpirsed to see how low Rubby de la Rosa was ranked on your Position rankings. Why so low a ranking?
J.J. Cooper: It seems low, but he’s only one spot below
Zach Lee and two spots below Stetson Allie—that’s actually quite a compliment. There are a lot of righthander starters in the minors right now, as there always are. I’m a big de la Rosa fan, but for that matter,
if you gave me the guys we ranked No. 26-No. 29 (Allie, Lee, de la Rosa, Arodys Vizcaino), I’d be pretty happy with any of them. Being the No. 28-ranked RHPS actually puts you higher up than the back end of the top 10 for some other positions.
- Jose (Bronx, NY): Did any of the Braves SS prospects( Simmons, Lipka, Salcedo, Pastornicky) come close to ranking in the top 15? Who do you see breaking out from that group?
J.J. Cooper: Lipka would be the closest, but he just needs to prove he’s a shortstop long term. Lipka has the highest ceiling, Simmons is the best defensively, Pastornicky will likely be the
first to the big leagues.
- Gorluka Smith (California): ...And the top contenders for doing a Mike Trout as they say ar?
J.J. Cooper: If you mean dominate the league and become
the talk of prospect watchers and scouts? Bryce Harper. Of course, this
year everyone will see it coming with Harper.
- Don (Tampa, FL): Mat Moore, think that he will be the top pitching prospect by season's end?
J.J. Cooper: Well, Hellickson and Chapman, two of the five pitchers ranking ahead of him heading into the season, are already up. Teheran could be in Atlanta this summer if injuries strike, so really if he just keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be in that mix by simple attrition. If Moore comes close to pitching as he did the second half of last year, I think he’ll be either the best, or second-best, among the current minor league pitching prospects at the end of the year. But the arrival of Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Danny Hultzen, Matt Purke and other college draftees could give him some competition for the
“top pitching prospect” title.
- Lloyd (Lakewood): Thanks for another great chat. So does Yonder Alonso move off of 1B, or is he a trade chip?
J.J. Cooper: Trade chip to me. Alonso can be a very good hitter, and if you wanted to, you could put him in left field, but you would do so knowing that he’s unlikely to ever be average out there.
He makes much more sense as a first baseman for someone who doesn’t have the NL MVP.
- John (At work and sneaking a chat): Eric Hosmer. What do you expect from him this year and beyond? Kila is stinking it up again in the majors. Memorial Day for Hosmer? What current player do you think he most projects to resemble?
J.J. Cooper: It’s six games into the season, so let’s not bench the Kila monster yet. There is no reason to promote Hosmer right now, or anytime in the near or semi-distant future. Let him see the veteran Triple-A pitchers, and maybe he gets a Sept. callup. More likely bring him up next spring. As far as who he resembles, when scouts
talk about his approach, it’s Joey Votto-esque with a love of hitting to the opposite gap.
- R.A. Wagman (Toronto): The Blue Jays have assigned Zach Stewart to AA New Hampshire for his third go-round at that
level, in spite of his success there last year. The presumption here is
that they want their top pitching prospects to avoid the hitter's haven
of Las Vegas. Similar moves in the past have been done to keep good young pitchers out of places like Inland Empire and High Desert in the CAL. When will teams step in and simply make changes to the offensive stadiums?
J.J. Cooper: What changes can you make? Moving the fences out just means more doubles and triples. Moving the fences in means more home runs. Short of placing fans in the outfield to blow the ball back in, some parks are going to be heaven for hitters. Las Vegas, High Desert and others of the ilk are what they are. It’s why teams try to avoid getting paired up with certain teams/stadiums in the affiliation shuffle (the Red Sox bought a high Class A team to get out of Lancaster). But other than that, there’s not a whole lot that can be done.
- Michael Hudson (New York): There seems to be an
anti-White Sox prejudice. Is their catcher Flowers, their shortstop and
pitching prospects really so bad as not to be included?
J.J. Cooper: It’s not a prejudice, but who are we leaving out? Flowers dropped to 17 in our White Sox rankings, so he wasn’t really a candidate for the Top 20 catchers. He’s coming off a year where he hit .220/.334/.434, and his bat is really his path to the big leagues (he’s stiff behind the plate). He has to first show he can handle Triple-A pitching to bring his prospect stock back up. The White Sox’s best shortstop prospect Eduardo Escobar has legitimate questions with his bat—the No. 15 and final shortstop on the list, Zack Cozart, is a big league ready shortstop who is solid defensively and is coming off of a 17 HR, 30 SB season in Triple-A. There’s a pretty big gap between him and Escobar. We had Chris Sale ranked No. 2 among relievers,
Morel was No. 8 among third baseman, Viciedo and Mitchell made the rankings as well. But after that, I really don’t see anyone who was overlooked.
J.J. Cooper: I’m handing it over to Ben Badler now. Thanks for chatting everyone.
Ben Badler: I’m batting second? I feel scrappier already!
- Richard (Mather, CA): Who will have a better season in the SAL, Manny Machado or Gary Sanchez ??
Ben Badler: Machado. I love Gary Sanchez but I think Macahado’s bat is further along right now.
- Ian (Maryland): What would the Yankee system rate as if Cole had signed?
Ben Badler: Top 3, possibly No. 2. Definitely No. 2 if they had also kept Arodys Vizcaino.
- Jason (Charlotte): Do you think there is a possibility that Teheran dominates so much in AAA that he forces the Braves to promote him in the summer ?
Ben Badler: If he dominates Triple-A the way I expect him to and the Braves have an opening in the rotation by mid-June, I don’t see why they’d go to anyone other than Teheran to fill that spot.
- Sy (Mississippi): How long do you think Drew Pomeranz will stick around in Kinston? And where do you think he ends up at the end of the year?
Ben Badler: Should be on a similar plan as Alex White last year. Imagine he’ll be in Akron at some point in May and finish his
- Camden (Cali): Do you think this is the year Derek Norris puts it all together? By that i mean the average/obp and 20+ hrs?
Ben Badler: Yes. He hit 23 home runs in Low-A two years
ago, so his power was just obfuscated last year because of the hamate injury. I don’t see him as a .300 hitter, but somewhere in the .270-.280
range with 20-25 home runs and a .400 OBP is pretty palatable for a catcher.
- JT (Michigan): Next Trout candidates, non-Harper division: Jerod Mitchell & Cesar Puello.
Ben Badler: I don’t see another player like Trout, but Puello is a major breakout candidate if he can add more loft to his swing. His tools are striking, it’s just hard to tap into that 20-25 home run power that he shows in BP when you’re hitting the ball on the ground as often as he does.
- Chris (Pittsburgh): Of the Pirates prospects in
the minors, who do you think is most likely to come from off the radar (i.e. not Taillon, Allie, or Sanchez) and have an eye-opening season? Is this the year Starling Marte starts to meet the Bucs expectations?
Ben Badler: Love Marte’s tools but I’d like to see a better approach at the plate from him before people get too excited. Among non-Top 10 Pirates prospects, I really like Diego Moreno. Never going to be a starter, but a power arm that misses that many bats with his fastball/slider package has value at the back of the bullpen.
- Andy (Lynchburg VA): Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals has drawn a lot of attention for his potential.
How high is his ceiling and were can we expect him to pitch this year (I don't see him on the Quad Cities roster as of now).
Ben Badler: He’ll start in extended spring to limit his
innings and could end up in the Midwest League at some point this summer. Top-of-the-rotation upside—he does throw 100 mph with control—he’s just a long way from getting there. I actually think he’s a
better prospect than Stetson Allie, who throws just as hard but doesn’t
have Martinez’s control, but there have been a lot of guys who threw that hard in the low minors who never became frontline starters in the big leagues.
- Eric (KC): I know the Royals have prospects nearly everywhere, but how do you leave Salvador Perez off the Top 20 catchers? A monster defensively, and his bat keeps getting stronger.
Ben Badler: I’m not as high on Perez’s bat as others. Love the defense and the hand-eye coordination, but that free-swinging approach could be a problem going forward.
- Mark (Canada): Hi there! What are your thoughts on the Jays' DAVID COOPER? What is his most likely outcome? What about ceiling? THANKS!
Ben Badler: Nice Triple-A player, could get a cup of coffee at some point but probably no more than that.
- Norberto Paulino (New York): Who are the most intrguing latin prospects making their full season debut? Top 3?
Ben Badler: Outside of the Top 100 guys like Gary Sanchez or Jurickson Profar, I want to see what Carlos Perez (the Blue Jays catcher, although the Braves lefty is a good one too), Roman Mendez
and Cesar Hernandez do. Perez probably gets lost a bit with Arencibia and D’Arnaud in the system, but I think he has an all-star ceiling. Mendez has outstanding arm strength and Hernandez is a sleeper who can handle the bat and runs well. Very intrigued by the Phillies skipping him over Low-A to start in Clearwater.
- Jeff (Pittsburgh): The most surprising opening day assignment to me was Casey Crosby to AA. I know that DET pushes their prospects, but it still caught me off guard. This year's Michael Pineda (injury depressed pitcher who rebounds in a big way)?
Ben Badler: He could be, I’m just not sold yet that you
can rely on putting more than 100 innings per year on that arm given his track record. My injury rebound guy is Arodys Vizcaino. Fastball up to 97, one of the best curveballs at any level of baseball and rapidly improving command before he got hurt last year for the Braves.
- Sam (Florida): What are your thoughts on Wilmer Flores this year?
Ben Badler: I think you’ll see more power. Not talking 25-plus homers, but if he turns in a 15-20 home run season, don’t be surprised.
- Corey (Cincy): I've been reading a lot of positive buzz about Billy Hamilton and the progress he's made at both ends of the diamond. Thoughts on his upside?
Ben Badler: No question about the tools or the upside. I just want to see a bit more polish at the plate though before getting too excited.
- KyleS (Loudonville, NY): Which 2010 Jays Draft Pick will make the biggest jump? Sanchez, Syndergaard, or Murphy? And why?
Ben Badler: Aaron Sanchez. Fastball up to the 90s, can get ground balls, flashes a plus curveball, some feel for the changeup with a good frame and a solid delivery—lots of good ingredients I like to see in a high school pick.
- Joel (KCK): Would it be possible to have these types of chats every day of the week? I go through chat withdrawal every week until Wednesday. Thanks!!!
Ben Badler: You know it. We’ll have the Callis Chat every Wednesday and once the season gets going, we’ll do another one every Friday along with the Hot Sheet.
- Nolan Jones (A depressed Nation): Who will the Red Sox pick wit the 1st pick in the 2012 draft?
Ben Badler: Does it matter? Isn’t MLB just going to contract them anyway? People react to baseball in April like they’ve never actually followed a baseball season before. Something tells me they’ll be OK.
Ben Badler: My knees are getting balky. Time for Matt Eddy to come in to pinch run for me.
- Guy (Lafayette, LA): Do the Lexington Legends have the most intriguing infield in the minors? (1B - Nash, 2B - DeShields, SS - Mier, 3B Kvasnicka)
Also, does Lancaster lead the minors in stolen bases this year with Austin, Villar, Altuve, and Wates?
Matthew Eddy: A subject close to my heart: former Appy League Astros. I like DeShields’ chance to hit as he moves up. He’s a strong athlete with great speed and surprising pop. If he can handle second base he could surprise people. Mier had a bad 2010 season with the bat, no doubt, but he showed some improvement in the second half. He’ll never be a power threat, but he already has a good idea of the zone, so upping his average will determine whether he projects as big league regular or utility type. Mier also has the intangibles, i.e. leadership ability, that managers love.
- Muggsy (Minneapolis): Where do Arcia and Salcedo finish the season? Will Sano get a taste of full season ball?
Matthew Eddy: The Twins being more conservative than, well, anyone, I suspect that Arcia will finish the year where he begins it: in Low-A. Same goes for Sano in the Appy League. As to Salcedo, he already has some Florida State League experience, so he might finish 2011 back in that league. The Twins also will probably want him ready for Double-A in 2012, because after that season they have to make a 40-man decision on him.
- J (T): Where's Jerod Mittchell starting his year? How did he look in ST? Last year, he was the buzz/rage.....this year, crickets (as in, nothing but the sound of).
Matthew Eddy: The White Sox will send 2009 first-rounder Jared Mitchell to High-A Winston-Salem, where he’ll join 3B Andy Wilkins and C Mike Blanke from last year’s Pioneer League club. After a year off, Mitchell looked rusty in batting 13-for-80 (.163) with
2 extra-base hits and 27 whiffs in 80 Arizona Fall League at-bats last year, but stick with him if he struggles out of the gate in the Carolina
- Mick (Chicago): It's hard to believe for defense alone the Giants wouldn't go w/ Brandon Crawford at short instead of a washed up Miguel Tejeda.
Matthew Eddy: Give Crawford another year to develop his
bat, but yes I agree that he is part of the Giants’ long-term middle infield. The only question is how much bat Ehire Adrianza develops.
- Skrip (Chicago): Thanks for the chat! I am very intrigued by three of the opening day starters, Tyler Skaggs, David
Holmberg, and Mike Foltynewicz. BA has talked quite a bit lately about
Skaggs, so I won't ask you to go into too much detail on him. Can you tell us more about Holmberg and Folty, their ceilings and what you expect from them this year? Thanks for taking my question!
Matthew Eddy: Skaggs has the highest ceiling and the toughest assignment (Cal League) this season, but as to Holmberg (Pioneer) and Foltynewicz (Appy), you can read more about them in last year’s league Top 20s. A quick rundown: Holmberg is a big-bodied lefty with a fringe fastball but good secondary stuff and feel for pitching. Foltynewicz is almost the opposite: a projectable high school righty with arm strength and spotty secondary.
- Lloyd (Lakewood): What does Salvador Perez have
to do to move into the catching rankings? Is it partially a function of
playing at lower levels than some of the guys who made the list?
Matthew Eddy: The Royals’ Salvador Perez is one of the more underrated catching prospects. Offensively and defensively, he handled the jump to High-A last season very well. I’d stop short of calling him a future first-division starter (he doesn’t have much patience and below-average power), but players like Perez can surprise. I
expect he’ll have a lengthy big league career in some capacity.
- mikey (nj): What do you think of Jedd Gyroko and Vince Belnome San Diego Padres?
Matthew Eddy: The Padres really like Gyorko’s bat, and so did other clubs in the 2010 draft. Some scouts liken him to Brett Wallace — a bad-bodied college hitter who projects to hit for average with more gap power than home runs (a trait that will be exacerbated by Petco Park).
- Rick (NY): How do you think Oscar Tavares will adjust to the MWL and what do you think he can realistically become given his tools?
Matthew Eddy: We’ll have a better idea this season as the 18-year-old Tavares moves up to full-season ball, but he strikes me as a future fourth-outfield type: good lefty hitter for average, some power, but not a classic center-field defender.
- Josh (Toronto): Best Team name/Mascot in MILB? Has to be the Montgomery Biscuits, right? I bought their hat solely for that purpose.
Matthew Eddy: I’m partial to the classic Triple-A brands like Durham, Columbus, Charlotte and Toledo. Ask Will Lingo for his thoughts on the Montgomery logo sometime.
- Big O (Bronx): Aderlin Rodriguez and Ceciliani from the Mets wha are your thoughts on both of them?
Matthew Eddy: Rodriguez could develop into a 25-30 HR masher, but he’s got a long ways to go. Ceciliani is more well-rounded and might be more of a 50s-across-the-board center fielder (with the exception of HR power; he’s more gap-doubles type).
- Mike (Columbus, OH): Do you think Jason Kipnis will get a look on the Indians at some point this year, or was the consensus he's still pretty raw at 2nd?
Matthew Eddy: Yes, expect to see lots of Jason Kipnis in Cleveland in the second half. He won’t win any Gold Gloves at the keystone, but expect his defense to be acceptable.
John Manuel: Sorry everyone (BA staff included). Had a scout call that I had to get to.
- Jon (Philadelphia): Can you tell us a bit about
the differences between Phillies pitching prospects Colvin, Cosart and May. Who do you think will have the best career? Thanks for the chat!
Jim Shonerd: All three can bring the heat, with Cosart running it up there at 98 mph. Colvin’s secondary pitches — a curve and
change — are probably the furthest along at this point, while Cosart looks like the most likely to end up a reliever since he needs to develop his changeup and his health has been a concern.
- Wade (Philly): How high do you see Brody Colvin
moving up this year? The Threshers have 6 of the top 10 prospects in the Phillies system, are they going to run away with the title or will most of these guys be moved out of Clearwater before the playoffs start?
John Manuel: Obviously some of that depends on their performance, but the Phils aren’t necessarily too aggressive promoting guys. History of their handling of pitchers is more patient than that, so I’d see Colvin, Cosart, etc., sticking htere for most of the year on the pitcher’s side. Singleton, Valle, those guys could move quicker. Watch Cesar Hernandez at second, nice sleeper in that system and a guy the Phils love.
- Darren (Cleveland): I see that Tony Wolters is listed as an OF on the Indians' AZL roster. Is he being moved off of SS already?
John Manuel: Wolters broke his right hamate this spring, so where he’s listed on an AZL roster, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I can see him at 2B but not moving off the infield completely.
- Tyler (Harrisonburg, VA): Wilin Rosario capped of spring training with a 400 ft bomb and looks to be back to form after
ACL surgery. If Rosario picks up where he left off before his injury how long before we see him in Triple A or in Colorado for that matter? Do you see him as a Top 10 catcher if he puts in all together?
John Manuel: Some scouts think Rosario has too much Miguel Olivo in him, but if Rosario’s just a bit more selective than Olivo (shouldn’t be too hard should it?), he should be an impactful offensive player to go with good defense. You could make a case for Rosario as the top C in the minors, if he shows he’s completely healthy.
He has big-time power and solid catch-and-throw tools.
- Josh (Toronto): There seems to be quite the log
jam in Cincinnati at the catcher's spot. Desmoraco and Grandal in the minors, with Hannigan and Ramon Martinez at big league level. How do you
see this playing out? Will one of the prospects be traded, or eventually converted to another position?
John Manuel: These things usually have a way of working
out. Hernandez is 35, I wouldn’t worry too much about him long-term. Hanigan’s a backup profile (one of JJ Cooper’s all-time faves), so the long-term question is who’s the regular? Mesoraco is the better bet right now because of his monster 2010 season and physicality. If he can handle himself defensively, he would make Grandal trade bait.
- Nyal (NYC): I really enjoy finding those prospects who people slept on but then made it big, i.e, Mike Trout. What do you think about Jake Skole and his chances of surprising people and becoming a top notch player...when he was drafted I heard grumblings
that he was a Grady Sizemore type player...any thoughts?
Jim Shonerd: Lets say “slept on” is a relative term here. Trout and Skole were both first-round picks after all. Skole does have all the tools, though he’ll need a little more time to develop given his two-sport background. He may not end up having the speed for center field, but every tool could be average to above.
- Ryan (Indianapolis): When does Ryan Strieby reach Detroit and do you think his power can make any sort of impact, at least off the bench?
Jim Shonerd: His power could be a useful weapon, but he’s still got to conquer Triple-A first and show he can stay healthy. Barring injuries or something else unforeseen, I’d be surprised if he got there before midseason.
- Mick (Chicago): You think a position change can help revive Nick Noonan's career w/ the Giants?
Jim Shonerd: Most of Noonan’s problems have been offensive, so I don’t know how much a defensive change would help. The Giants overhauled his approach in the fall, so we’ll see if he fares any
better back in Double-A.
- ballboy (at the watercooler): Where does Grant GREEN rank among 2b??????????
Jim Shonerd: Let’s not close the book on Green’s shortstop career just yet, though a move is certainly possible down the road. He wouldn’t have as much value as a 2b, but you could still assume
he’d be one of the better prospects there if he did slide over.
- Norman (San Jose): what do you think of Toronto outfielder Jake Marisnick?
Jim Shonerd: Very intriguing. Marisnick can be a five-tool guy, but his bat needs time and he looked overwhelmed in his short look at low Class A last year. He’ll be back with Lansing to start
the year, so it’ll be interesting to see how much progress he’s made.
- JAYPERS (IL): Better plate discipline and better defender at 1B — Hosmer or Belt?
Jim Shonerd: Better defender: Belt. Plate discipline: close call, but probably edge to Belt right now. Hosmer’s no slouch in either area.
- Matt (Albany, NY): A lot is made of the Yankees
pitching prospects in the high minors. Are their any breakout candidates in the Yankees system in A-ball or below? Thanks
Jim Shonerd: Righthander Brett Marshall with Tampa is a
name to watch. He came back from Tommy John surgery last year and has regained his mid 90s velocity. He’s developed a better feel for pitching
as well and if his slider gets more consistent, look out.
- Jared (NJ): Where does Jedd Gyorko start the year and what is a good major league comparison to him?
Jim Shonerd: Gyorko’s starting the season with high Class A Lake Elsinore. He’s been compared to Brett Wallace in the past, as a big guy with a plus-hit tool but average power.
- Ryan (Indianapolis): When does Jameson Taillon appear in Low-A ball this season? And what kind of year can we expect from him?
Jim Shonerd: Taillon and Stetson Allie should both be in West Virginia once the weather warms up and the Pirates are comfortable with where their workload will be. Taillon certainly has the
tools to dominate low A hitters, it’ll depend on how he adjusts.
Jim Shonerd: Thanks for all the questions, everyone. Enjoy opening day and the first weekend of the season.