Moderator: J.J. Cooper will answer your Midseason Top 50 Prospects and Prospect Hot Sheet questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET on July 8.
- Ryan (Durham): It's well known the Rays promote
their arms slowly, but if Moore keeps up this pace, could he force their hand and send him to AAA in the coming months?
J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. I’m jumping in a little early because we’re being pelted by a thunderstorm so I want to add some
power-outage insurance by getting to questions quickly.
The Rays don’t really worry about a playing forcing their hand. If you look at their current rotation, David Price is the only starter who made
less than 17 Double-A starts. And it’s worth noting that all five of the Rays’ current staff had at least 10 starts in Triple-A. Jeremy Hellickson had 30, Wade Davis had 37 Triple-A starts and Jeff Niemann had 49. Moore already has 17 Double-A starts, so it’s not out of the question that he could get a bump to Triple-A before long, but it sill looks like a mid-2012 ETA at the earliest barring some unexpected injuries in the big leagues.
- Benny (NYC): Martin Perez's outings as a whole haven't really improved much since last year, at least according to his numbers. What made you list him as high as he was?
J.J. Cooper: Got to disagree with the premise of the question first off. Perez’s ERA, hit’s allowed and walk rate have all improved while his strikeout rate has stayed somewhat similar to last year. But we’re not doing this list just on the stats, it’s in large part put together by talking to scouts. Perez has been showing three plus pitches this year. When you’re talking about a 20-year-old lefty with three plus pitches having success in Double-A, that’s a stud prospect.
- Kyle (Pittsburgh, PA): Why does someone who seems only to have HALF a good season at the plate constantly make it into the Top 10 on your overall prospects lists, time after time? (see Montero, Jesus)
J.J. Cooper: Confused by the premise of the question. Are you talking about the Cardinals’ Jesus Montero? The Yankees’ Montero
has hit for average and power pretty much everywhere he’s gone. He has a
.310/.367/.496 career minor league stat line which is all the more impressive when you consider he’s been one of the youngest players in whatever league he’s playing in at the time. He may be repeating the league this year in Scranton, but he’s still the third-youngest player in the league. Scouts were consistent in telling us, don’t stress out too much over his only average first half this year, he’s still a stud hitter. He also still can’t catch.
- Anton (NJ): Would Tim Wheeler be on your top 100?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. I did a personal Top 100 before we put together our Top 50 and I had him No. 53 on that list. If he keeps this up over the second half of the season he’s a sure-fire Top 100 Prospect next February.
- Jeff (Calgary Alberta): I was just wondering about your take on a Jays prospect that has been getting some hype lately.
It sounds like Drew Hutchinson is the real thing. Could you give a little update on his stuff (the handbook had him ranked fairly low), and
what his upside could be?
J.J. Cooper: We highlighted him in our stock up guys for our companion piece on the Top 50. http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/prospect-pulse/2011/2612045.html
That link is for subscribers, but if you’re not subscribing, please do,
there’s lots of great info on guys like Hutchison, including scouting notes on 13 more players in the link I just included there.
- Jose (New York): Hey, which top Cubs OF do you like more: Szczur or Jackson
J.J. Cooper: I’ll say Jackson for now. But Szcur has more upside. Jackson’s just much more of a safer bet, and in this case the difference is enough that I’ll take the safer bet.
- Eric (Toronto, ON): Jake Marisnick has impressed the heck outta some people this year. Was he considered for the Top 50?
J.J. Cooper: Absolutely. Five-tool talent who would definitely have been easily in the Top 100 if we went deeper on our midseason list.
- CA (Dhahran): How far away is Liam Hendricks from a top 50 list? Does anyone see him as the equal to Kyle Gibson?
J.J. Cooper: I’ve heard some baseball people make that argument, but Gibson’s stuff is similar to Hendriks, he has a slightly better injury history and he’s close to the big leagues. Hendriks was good enough to be considered for the 50, but he wasn’t in the just-missed category.
- Casey Kelly (Wolf Stadium): How far out of the top 50 did I fall? Do you still view me as a future #2?
J.J. Cooper: We initially had Kelly in the Top 50, but in the end, the consensus was that at some point he has to start missing
more bats. The stuff is every bit as good as it was in our preseason scouting reports, but we are talking about a player who has posted a 1.50 WHIP and a near 5.00 ERA in 38 Double-A starts. And he’s done it in
reasonable parks for pitchers. He still has the stuff to be a No. 2 starter, but there’s a long ways to go to get there.
- Bald Starkey (117): Is it a possibility that is Trout plays the rest of the season he can hit 20 homers?
J.J. Cooper: No. Trout’s calling card, especially as a 19-year-old, is not his power. He has 20 career minor league home runs in almost 1,000 at-bats. Expect him to hit for average, steal bases and show outstanding tools, but we’re not talking about another Mike Stanton. Trout has potentially a plus-plus hit tool, but right now we’re
looking at average power at best.
- Jonny (Long Beach): What are your thoughts so far on Jonathan Singleton's year? Seems like a very good season for someone his age, but everyone keeps talking about his struggles? He'll be a 20-year-old in AA next year and that seems to put him on a pretty special track as a hitting prospect.
J.J. Cooper: It’s not a great year, but it’s not awful either. Singleton’s bat has to carry him, so you’d like to see him with a
slugging percentage above .400 whether he’s in the Florida State League
or not. But the swing’s still there, the plate discipline is still there and he’s the second youngest player in the league. I still like him a lot, but that infatuation has cooled down a little from last year at this time.
- Matthew Moore (San Diego, CA): James Darnell, with a move to LF from third base in the future, could he be a poor mans Ryan Braun?
J.J. Cooper: Sorry not buying that. Nothing against Darnell, but when you throw Braun’s name out there, you’re talking about
a different kind of hitter. At Darnell’s age, Braun had 71 big league home runs. Despite a similar background (both were college draftees), Darnell has 52 minor league home runs in his career. I think Darnell can
hit, and he has average power, but he’s more a solid regular at best, not an all-star like Braun.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): Which Nats arm are you higher on, and why - Peacock or Milone?
J.J. Cooper: Peacock, which is why he’s in the Top 50 and Milone won’t make the Top 100. Better stuff across the board. Milone’s having a nice year, but it’s really, really hard to have a successful big league career as a starter if you break into the big leagues with mid to high 80s fastball. I’ll throw that out to the chatters, name me two successful big league starters (let’s say two years with an ERA+ of 100) in the last five years who had a mid 80s fastball when they arrived. It’s harsh to say, but if you thumb down every starter with a mid 80s fastball who has success you’re going to be
right way more often then you’re wrong. Now, can a guy like that move to the bullpen? Sure. But as a starter unless you’re a knuckleballer, it’s nearly impossible to break in as a guy with a well below-average fastball. Make it to the majors with an average fastball and then lose it to age? Well, that’s a different story (Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Livan Hernandez, etc).
- Josh (Cleveland): Where would a healthy Jean Segura be ranked on your list? How would you rate his speed on a 20-80 scale?
J.J. Cooper: Hard to say exactly if he was fully healthy, because Segura’s hamstring problems definitely played a part in
him slipping. There’s till a lot to like, as we’re talking about a middle infielder with lots of hitting ability. Before the hamstring issues he was a 60-65 runner.
- Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Did Ronald Torreyes get any consideration for the list? The little man can hit, play plus defense at 2nd base and is only 18 years old in A ball...
J.J. Cooper: Not really. I like him a lot, but as a 5-foot-5 second baseman in low Class A, he’s going to need to prove it for a while longer.
- tim (kc): rank these RF's in order 3-5 yrs from now...Upton, Stanton, Heyward and Harper?
J.J. Cooper: Nice list…I’ll take any of the four, but I’ll go Harper, Stanton, Heyward, Upton.
- David (Fort Worth): Did Zeke Spruill receive any consideration for either of these lists? His overall numbers are at the top end of the pedestrian spectrum, but the K/BB and WHIP stack up with the best. Looks like the victim if some bad luck, eh?
J.J. Cooper: He’s not close to the Top 50. He’s a decent prospect, solid low 90s fastball, developing slider, but he’s fighting to be among the top 10 pitching prospects in the Braves’ system, not a spot in the Top 50.
- Kyle (Philadelphia): Did Trevor May receive any
consideration for the midseason top 50? He seems to have settled in and should be heading to Double A soon.
J.J. Cooper: Sorting out the Phillies’ four pitching prospects at high Class A is tough to do. Depending on the scout you talk to, you can get a completely opposite order of which of the four they like the best. May has plus stuff, but there are a lot of scouts who think his command has a long ways to go and he may end up as a power
reliever, that’s why he just missed the Top 50.
- Matt Szczur (Low A ????): Why am I here? I'm 22
J.J. Cooper: Context is everything. Scouts love Szczur’s tools and his approach. He missed a lot of time in college because of football, so he’s understandably behind the average 22-year-old. But whenever you ask a scout who’s a player on the rise, Szczur’s name is one of the first to come up.
- Kyle (Philadelphia): Do you think Jon Singleton's Top 50 Ranking is based more on his age or his actual tools?
J.J. Cooper: Both. He’s extremely young with plus tools.
- Sam (box seats): Middlebrooks @ 5 this week...but some of his stats popped up in the NYP league....Were those this week? Whether yes or no, what purpose was served by putting an organizational top ten prospect (already at AA) in the Penn for 12 abs?
Just trying to get a handle on how the Sox are approaching this.
Thanks for another great week of coverage!
J.J. Cooper: Middlebrook’s entire week was in the Eastern League. He spent part of last week in the NY-P on injury rehab, so there wasn’t any reason for the lower assignment than that.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): Why Martin Perez over Shelby Miller?
J.J. Cooper: Better secondary stuff. And when you’re talking about two similar elite pitchers, tie goes to the lefty. But those two are close enough in the rankings that they’re pretty interchangable. If the Rangers called the Cardinals and offered to swap,
the Cardinals would likely say no because you’d rather keep the guy you
know, and the same would be true the other way around. That’s a pretty good sign two guys are pretty evenly matched.
- mike kelly (wyckoff, nj): hi jj.......for the top 50, how much did performance this year factor in as compared to prior years and potential? who helped themselves the most with their performance? who hurt themselves the most?
second question: which organization has outperformed expectations in terms of their prospects?
thanks, mike kelly
J.J. Cooper: Performance this year matters, but you don’t want to go overboard on two months of stats. In the case of a guy like Jesus Montero, there’s really nothing that has changed much from the assessment of him at the start of the year, even if he has relatively pedestrian numbers. On the other, hand, a guy like Carlos Martinez’s value has changed a ton. Coming into the season he was an enigma, a guy with all kinds of questions about his age and identity who
had dominated the DSL. Now he’s shown he can maintain that stuff over a
half season in the U.S. while dominating much more advanced hitters, at
that point, scouts start worrying less about whether his DOB is accurate and more about how quickly he’ll make it to the majors. As far as an organization, I like how the D’backs pitchers have taken a step forward.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): The top 5 on the top 50 appear to make up one tier. Where would you draw the line for a 2nd tier?
J.J. Cooper: Good question. If you take the top five as
one tier, I’d say tier 2 goes from No. 6 to No. 9. That may seem harsh,
but I’m not sure anyone would take Brett Lawrie for Martin Perez, whereas I think Brett Lawrie (No. 10) offered for Tyler Skaggs (No. 19) is something where the trade value is not all that different.
- Joe R. (Newport News, VA): Just thinking about Hayden Simpson makes me, a Cub fan, irate. Shouldn't the Cubs just admit
they blundered and release him now, just to get him out of their (and my) system?
J.J. Cooper: Why release him? The money is invested now, give him time to prove that the stuff is still in his arm. He had a
bad case of mono last year, so there’s plenty of reasons to be patient and see if he can get back to full strength. A veteran pitching coach told me he’d love to wave a wand and make all of his pitchers spend a season trying to pitch with a mid 80s fastball so they’d learn how to pitch, then wave the wand to give them their fastball back. They’d be polished pitchers then with a plus fastball. There’s always a chance that Simpson is one of the few pitchers that will get that chance.
- Nelly (Mound Valley): How long can a guy like Montgomery survive without a reliable breaking pitch?
J.J. Cooper: Because he’s a lefty, there’s a chance he may never have to develop an average average breaking ball. I’m not throwing a Glavine comp out there in any way shape of form, but look at what Glavine did, and he didn’t have nearly the fastball Montgomery does. But in Montgomery’s case, he does have the makings of a plus breaking ball, I’ve seen it myself. But his feel for that pitch comes and goes, as does its consistency. Developing that breaking ball may be the difference between being a solid pitcher and a great one.
- Frank (Dallas): Any chance Leonys Martin gets a
call up this year? Has he shown enough so far to potentially compete for a starting job next spring?
J.J. Cooper: Yes and yes. Hard to believe he can’t help a team somewhat during a September call-up.
- Ballboy (watercooler): In an earlier chat the profile of a #1 Starter, #2, etc. was provided, and this week we have the scout's assessment of Teheran vs. Moore. Surprised after all the coverage of Julio that at this late date someone was questioning his stuff re: being a #1 or #2 starter. What exactly are Teheran's top pitches and how much problem does he have w/ the curveball???
If Teheran has no 3rd quality pitch, how much different is he than Rockies' Nicassio, up from AA, and pitching well every other game in between getting his brains beat out??
Thanks...this is where BA earns its keep. If it's over the top for the chat, can you do a follow-up article??
J.J. Cooper: Ballboy, as far as Teheran, I’ve got good news for you. I’ve already written it. Here’s a complete scout’s view for subscriber’s on Teheran, touching on the breaking ball, from earlier
this year (http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/scouts-view/2011/2611702.html).
- Thomas (Ohio): I noticed the mention that Tim Beckham is in the futures game, and BA mention it would be an opportunity to guage his progress.
Based on his move up to AA, with an average bouncing between .275 and .300, where do we think he is before the futures? Is there any word on his performance at SS? Has he been playing any other positions?
J.J. Cooper: This is definitely a nice bounce-back year
for Beckham. He’s shown improvement at the plate and in the field. That
said, there’s still a lot of thought from scouts that he’ll end up at another position eventually. In addition to only so-so range, he doesn’t
have great feel for the position at shortstop. He’s strictly a shortstop for now though, as he hasn’t played any other positions yet. Count me among the skeptics. I still see him as more of a utility infielder than a regular at the big league level. Of course, he may prove me wrong.
- Joey (Shelton, CT): Who do you think is going to be a better pitcher in the long run, Shelby Miller or Matt Moore?
J.J. Cooper: Matt Moore. That’s my answer if you ask me
that question and replace Miller’s name with any other pitcher in the minors. I think Moore is going to be a star.
- Jon (Michigan): Aaron Hicks is still highly ranked on your top prospect list. Does that mean his development is going well?
J.J. Cooper: It keeps progressing slowly, but it’s making steps. He’s an excellent athlete who shows excellent plate discipline. That’s not your usual combo. Usually you’ll see great athletes who mix massive home runs with stretches where they swing at anything. In Hicks’ case, you don’t see the massive home runs, but you do see plenty of walks and patient at-bats. He is in the top 10 in the FSL in on-base percentage. The Twins have had success being patient with
prospects, just take a look at Denard Span’s career progression. There’s still a lot to like about Hicks.
- John (D.C.): Could you see Profar being a top 12 prospect next spring after the current draft class has signed?
J.J. Cooper: Yeah. Most of these guys will see their rankings dip some once we add in the signees from a very deep draft class, but in Profar’s case, the more scouts get to see him, the more everyone loves him.
- Chris (SoCal): I realize there is a Tommy John surgery "penalty" when you compile your rankings, but I'm wondering why it was so harsh for John Lamb. From #18 to out of the top 50 entirely? When Jarrod Parker had TJ, he was only dropped from 29 to 36. Explanation?
J.J. Cooper: Actually there was consistency. At this time last year, we didn’t rank Parker in the Top 50 either. http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2010/07/midseason-update-top-25-prospects/
Lamb will be back in the Top 100 next season if his recovery goes as planned. But there’s really not much of a difference in how we treated him and Parker.
- Joe (DC): Why so low for Goldschmidt? He's hit for significant power at every level.
J.J. Cooper: It’s hard to find many scouts who are ready to completely buy in with Goldschmidt. He’s absolutely hit for power wherever he’s gone, but the life of a righthanded hitting first baseman is a tough road. Scouts are split over whether they see star potential, a solid regular or an up-and-down guy. As one scout put it, “we’ll be debating him for years.”
- Tom (Kansas City): Is the Wil Myers drop a function of injury, loss of positional value in the outfield, or just the bloom coming off the rose a little this year?
J.J. Cooper: Yes, yes and yes. Scouts say he has a ways
to go in the outfield, and others say he’s just a little less interesting now that he is a corner outfielder. He has to show plus power to be an impact bat out there, not just an ability to hit for average and get on base. That being said, he’s still one of the more advanced bats in the minors, and it’s worth remembering he’s the sixth youngest player in Double-A now that Trout has been promoted.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): BA's scouting report on
Teheran this winter cited his fastball, change, and curve as at least above average. The comparison to Moore yesterday described him as a 2-pitch pitcher. What changed?
J.J. Cooper: He’s not a two-pitch pitcher, but his curve still shows flashes rather than consistency.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): How close was Mike Olt to making the top 50?
J.J. Cooper: A broken collarbone away from making it I’d say.
- Tom (Texas): Would JD Martinez and/or Jose "Mighty Mouse" Altuve make your Top 100 list right now?
J.J. Cooper: Sorry neither of ’em would make it for me.
Martinez’s value is all tied up in the bat and I don’t think he’ll hit enough to be a regular. Altuve has torn the cover off the ball this year, but all that’s done for most scouts is bump him from being an org player to a potential big league backup. I asked six scout/front office types specifically about him and didn’t find one who projects him to be a
big league regular. The guys who liked him think he could be a backup second baseman who maybe plays as a backup corner outfielder too.
- John (Seattle): Taijuan Walker saw being ranked
38th and then went out and had perhaps his best start of the year, 1 hit and 11 Ks over 6 innings. Perhaps you wish you had edged him up a little bit more in retrospect?
J.J. Cooper: No reason to not be a little cautious, as he’s still a long ways away, but clearly we like him to rank him in the top 40.
- David (Bethlehem, PA): Obligatory Mike Trout question - which current/former MLB player do you foresee his career mimicking? If he has a Johnny Damon-type career, that can't be a disappointment, can it?
J.J. Cooper: I know some people reading this will say absolutely it would, but they are missing how hard it is to be great in the big leagues. Damon has an outside shot at 3,000 hits. He’s had a great career. That being said, I expect Trout will be better than Damon.
He’s way more physical.
- Gary (Texas): Mr. Cooper, what can you tell us about Nate Eovaldi? He took a no hitter into the 7th last night and has struck out 89 guys in 82 innings in AA. Just 63 hits allowed too.
J.J. Cooper: Very good stuff, but he’s got a funky delivery that makes it hard for a lot of scouts to project him as a starter who can maintain his command. He’s got a wrap and dice roll in his take away from his glove. Every now and then a guy like Ubaldo Jimenez proves that you can succeed with stuff like that, but most of those guys end up in the bullpen.
- denis (terre haute): JJ, i know Denis Phipps has been around a while but cmon. His stat line the last week has got to
be huge. Do you feel he may be putting his tools to work now?
J.J. Cooper: It was a nice week, but .385/.467/.769 is not huge, especially when you’re getting ready to turn 26 and are in Double-A. He’s always had tools, but I’m sorry, I’m off the Phipps bandwagon.
- Manny Banuelos (Trenton): Why am I still considered a high-ceiling prospect? Do my stats mislead the neophytes that have yet to see me pitch? Are those same stats victims to a couple of bad starts? If I am still a high-ceiling prospect, what will allow the boys in the Bronx to look past my stat lines and promote me to AAA in August?
J.J. Cooper: See this is the problem when people try to
get cute and pose the question as the player. A lot of times it makes the question tough to understand. Can you all make sense of this question? Is he ripping on Banuelos or is he wondering why Banuelos won’t be promoted to Triple-A soon? Well, let me answer it this way. Scouts loved the Banuelos they saw in spring training. Fastball up to 96, sharp secondary stuff. That guy looked like a front-line starter. His stuff has dipped as he’s piled up innings this year, but that’s not shocking. He’s still a high ceiling prospect because he has that spring training stuff in him, but don’t expect to see him blow major league hitters away with that spring training-style stuff at any point this year.
- Dan (Chicago): How could Austin Kirk not be on the list? THE GUY THREW A NO HITTER!!!
J.J. Cooper: Yes he did, so we put him in the team photo. It was a very nice accomplishment for Mr. Kirk, but it’s the Prospect Hot Sheet, so prospect status plays a part in the rankings.
- Oswaldo Arcia (Minnesota): How close was I to the top 50? Personally I think that I will move ahead of Aaron Hicks before the years up.
J.J. Cooper: Very close. Scouts just want to see him more, which is why he was on the Wait And See list that subscribers can read.
- King Billy Royal (Toronto): I keep on hearing that Brad Peacock projects as a mid rotation starter but his numbers keep saying otherwise. What kind of stuff does he have and does he have a
plus pitch in addition to his fastball?
J.J. Cooper: His numbers don’t say otherwise. I’m a believer that minor league stats are important and have plenty of predictive value, but you can’t project a front-line starter solely on stats. I’ll go back to Yusmeiro Petit as exhibit A. Peacock’s got a 60 fastball to go with a average breaking ball and a below average changeup. All-in-all it’s a good combo.
- Jose Altuve (Corpus Christi, TX): I find your lack of faith disturbing.
J.J. Cooper: There apparently is a disturbance in the Altuve force.
- David (Bethlehem, PA): Any truth to the internet chatter that Jesse Biddle has lost the heat on his fastball (from 93-95 to 87-89)?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. Sitting more in the high 80s from what I’ve heard.
- Matt (Seattle): How close was Mariners SS Nick Franklin to cracking the top 50? Was really hoping to see him on the list
J.J. Cooper: Not far off. He’s fallen some from last year’s meteoric rise, but a lot of scouts still like him.
- Mark (Myrtle Beach): He's 21 and in Low-A so the obvious question is this: is Lisalberto Bonilla someone I should take seriously?
J.J. Cooper: With this kind of stuff, he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.
- Mike (CIN): Was surprised to see Yasmani Grandal out of the top 50, considering he's already doing well in Triple-A. What held him out?
J.J. Cooper: Grandal is in Double-A, Mesoraco is in Triple-A. He’s in the 50-100 range. Still has some work to do defensively, but it’s a solid first pro season.
- Jared (DC): Chris Dominguez, future star, everyday regular, or UTL?
J.J. Cooper: Up and down guy.
- Chris (Houston): Is Edgar Martinez a fair comp for J.D. Martinez?
J.J. Cooper: That’s a stretch to me. But then, no one was that high on Edgar Martinez before he broke into the majors.
- Lou (West Berlin, NJ): Enjoyed the Mid-Season Top 50. Explain the logic: why is Gyorko ranked 49, with no Darnell. What do you guys see in Jedd, after just a half season in the Cal league, that gives him the nod?
J.J. Cooper: He’s a 1.5 years younger than Darnell playing in Double-A, while Darnell just played his way out of Double-A recently. He’s got a better chance to stick at 3B with a slightly better
hit tool. And he has a better track record of consistently hitting.
- Mike (Tulsa): What is Jurikson Profar's power potential? It can be easily thought that with Elvis Andrus represented by Scott Boras that he might leave once he hits his free agent years. Do
you see Profar as a better replacement of Andrus or as a second baseman?
J.J. Cooper: With what he’s doing at the age he currently is, I’m not putting limits on Profar. Yes, he could end up being better than Andrus.
- Efrim (Middletown, CT): Stanton ahead of Heyward? You're the first I've seen to say that. Why so? Heyward's injuries?
J.J. Cooper: Yeah. Staying healthy is a big part of being a star (ask Pete Reiser if you have a time machine). I know Stanton has had some bumps and bruises too, but they were close before Heyward’s injuries cropped up.
- Jerry (San Diego): What about disclosing the 5 names that just missed the list?
What do you make of Christain Friedrich, CO, P
J.J. Cooper: We didn’t sit down and rank ’em out to 55,
but Segura, Will Middlebrooks, Tim Wheeler and that crop of Phillies Clearwater pitchers were next on my list.
- gary (dallas): where does cheslor cuthbert come in on your rankings
J.J. Cooper: He would have been the sixth guy I wrote up as a Wait And See guy if I had room in the magazine. Likely Top 100 guy next spring.
- Dan Passner (New York, NY): Well Randy Wells had 146 and 101 ERA+ with an 89 MPH FB from the right side. JA Happ currently has a 104 career ERA+ with 89 MPH heat from the left side. Dontrelle Willis was literally at 90 MPH when he broke in and Kevin Slowey's defense independent numbers have been well above average. That was just off the top of my head and not counting Brandon Webb's HOF peak
with an 88 MPH fastball. What do I win?
J.J. Cooper: Brandon Webb was 90-92 when he hit the majors, (just pulled out my 2003 Prospect Handbook to confirm that) although he often took a little off to add sink, and he average 89 mph as a rookie according to Fangraphs. Dontrelle Willis was topping out of 93 mph when he hit the majors (according to the same Handbook) and Wells
was 90-92 touching 93 when he was at Triple-A Iowa in 2007 (according to the 2008 Handbook). Slowey was 88-92 when he hit the big leagues. I’ll give you Happ, even though he flashed 93 mph in shorter stints in the AFL in 2006. But again, none of this contradicts what I was saying. For pitchers, an 89-91 mph fastball is considered average velocity, some
scouts will argue it’s 90-92 for RHP and 88-90 for LHPs. Every example you cited had at least an average fastball when he hit the big leagues. Milone has an 86-88 mph fastball, which is a 40 fastball by the scouting
- Brian (Illinois): Why no Kyle Weiland at the end of the top 50 (Maybe 45-50). Yes I am being picky, however the guy has pitched great at AAA and is only three years removed from being a closer at the college level.
J.J. Cooper: Sorry he wasn’t close to the top 50. Like him as a prospect, but he’s not considered in that group, more fighting to make the Top 100.
- Eric (VA): You guys do a great job at Baseball America. I read somewhere today that the logic behind putting Paul Goldschmidt at No. 50 shows that he's final getting some respect but also that there is uncertainly about whether he can make it in the majors. Thoughts?
J.J. Cooper: Thanks for the compliment. That’s a pretty
good way to put it. It’s a great year following a great year, but don’t
start wondering if he’ll wear a D’backs hat when he hits Cooperstown yet.
- Kenny Graves (Newburgh, NY): I gt your daily prospect report email and see JJ Hoover got a save. He has moved into the closers role now from starting? Why was that done? How does it affect his prospect status and does it change his ETA to the majors? Is he the closer of the future in Atlanta?
J.J. Cooper: Not with the relievers the Braves already have in Atlanta, no. But a lot of scouts have always thought Hoover would end up in the pen, and this helps him get ready to help if the Braves need bullpen help in the second half.
- Bruce (Seattle): How close was Neil Ramirez to the top 50?
J.J. Cooper: Not far off. I do want to see how this trip to the DL with an arm injury turns out.
- Jim (Kansas): If Mike Lamb was healthy and pitching accordingly, where would he have ranked on the top 50? Thanks...
J.J. Cooper: John Lamb I assume? Definitely.
- Jeff (Denver): What do you expect for a triple slash from Trout for the remainder of the season? ~.260 /.330/.380 with great D and a few swiped bags?
J.J. Cooper: I’d agree with that except with good D, not great D. That’s a pretty nice season for a 19-year-old.
- hal jordan (waimea, hawaii): how far did yonder alonso drop?...he seems to be having a pretty decent season...
J.J. Cooper: His name was brought up. He wasn’t that far off the Top 50. Still blocked which means he’s spending a long time in Triple-A.
- steve Dakota (orlando,Fl): What other lefty prospects have had the outstanding 3 pitch repertoire that Matt Moore has?
J.J. Cooper: Martin Perez is the closest.
- Sam (Jacksonville): Considering chipper's eventual retirement, is his replacement in the Braves' minor league system or should we expect prado or a free agent there for the near future
J.J. Cooper: There’s no one in the Braves’ farm system that projects to be ready in the next two years. If Chipper holds on past that than maybe Salcedo or Lipka.
- Kevin (NJ): Re: Beckham's improvement. His wOBA+ is exactly the same as 2010. Good on him for doing it at a higher level, but still.
J.J. Cooper: He’s better defensively this year and he’s
doing it in Double-A, which is a significant step up from high Class A.
That being said, again, I’m on the skeptical side.
- Sean (New Orleans): Jose Altuve...destined to be the hitting version of Brandon Beachy (guy with fantastic numbers that the scouts always nitpick and end up whiffing on)? I could see it...
J.J. Cooper: Sorry, not buying that. Scouts liked Beachy a good bit last year. To quote from a mid-July report we wrote on
him last year.
“A scout who saw Beachy in one of his recent starts praised the righthander for his athleticism, pitchability and command. And his stuff
wasn’t half bad either: low- to mid-90s heat and two quality secondary pitches.
Beachy ranges from 90-94 mph, sitting comfortably at the high end of that range in relief and getting a few ticks higher on occasion. Best of
all he does it easy. And for a pitcher who has worked mostly in relief,
he shows outstanding feel for his curveball and changeup.”
We also had a Scout’s View where another scout said he was just a tick below Julio Teheran. It was hard to find a scout who followed the Braves
last year who didn’t like Beachy.
Scouts saw Beachy as a big leaguer starter or a power reliever. They don’t see the same for Altuve.
- Chris (SoCal): I'm a subscriber...I don't see a Wait and See list. Link?
J.J. Cooper: Here it is: http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/prospect-pulse/2011/2612045.html
- David (Bethlehem, PA): For a big guy who throws hard, why can't Brody Colvin miss bats?
J.J. Cooper: I don’t have a good answer for that one. Wish I knew. Scouts still love his stuff.
- Dr. John (New Orleans): Is Chris Archer even a Top 100 prospect anymore after plummeting out of the Top 50?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. It’s a step back, but he hasn’t fallen off a cliff.
- Norman (San Jose): will you guys be publishing individual top 50s? anyone that was in yours that wasnt in the group top 50?
J.J. Cooper: No, we post our collective list because it’s better than anyone’s individual list. Three brains are smarter than one.
- Tony (Frederick, MD): After a hot start, Hak-ju
Lee's bat has cooled down. Now, the offensive performance fits what was expected (average/OBP guy with minimal power), but considering the poor SB rate and the fact that his defense still needs clean up work, his ranking seemed awfully high, and in all honesty, seems somewhat based upon his hot start. Is a speedy, minimal power guy who needs clean up work defensively really deserving of a position that high?
J.J. Cooper: The defense is cleaning up. Still some more work to go, but scouts project him to be a plus defender. And it’s really hard to find big league shortstops. If you’re a catcher, shortstop or third baseman, you’re in high demand and the list somewhat reflects that.
J.J. Cooper: Sorry everyone time for me to wrap this up. I hope you all have a great weekend and remember to watch the Futures Game, or listen to it on XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.