Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: July 11

 Q:  Duke from SB asks:

I
was wondering with Wieters approaching 20 home runs for the season
between A+ and AA has anything changed since publishing this years
prospect book where it said he should be around 25 homeruns a year? Has
his defense improved at all and is there a chance he will move to first
base due to his size. Thanks Duke

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
Thanks for coming out for another Hot Sheet chat everybody. The
projection on Wieters’ home run total is what he would do in the major
leagues. Obviously there is much better pitching at the highest level
so it would be harder for him to continue the pace he is on. However, I
would not be surprised if he surpasses that projection on more than one
occasion. He’s got great power and can just flat out sting a baseball.

Nathan Rode:
On the defensive note, we are a long, long ways from talking about a
position change. Wieters made be much bigger than your typical catcher,
but he can handle the position no problem. He led the Carolina League
in caught stealing percentage and he is right around 35 percent in the
Eastern League. Also, it can be tough to get a grasp on a player’s
ability to throw runners out in the minors because it isn’t always
about his arm or POP time. It’s also about the pitchers’ ability to
hold runners on and be quick to the plate.

 Q:  Nick from Kentucky asks:

I
recently got to see the Rome Braves. Freddie Freeman seems to be very
fundamentally sound at first base, hits for average, and power. He also
strikes out very little. Do you seem him being a top prospect next
year, possibly the Atlanta Braves future first baseman?

 A: 

Jim Shonerd: Hi everybody, great to be here for another Hot Sheet chat.

Jim Shonerd:
We’ve heard nothing but good things about Freeman all year. He was
already Atlanta’s top first base prospect before the year and he should
easily slide up in their rankings. He should be Atlanta’s first baseman
of the future, but he’s a couple years away at least and with Teixeira
likely out the door after this year (if not sooner), someone will have
to keep the seat warm for him.

 Q:  DEVIN from LAS VEGAS asks:

How
is Halman on the not so hot list? Your poster boy Maybin should be on
that list at all times if Halman is a candidate for this list.

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
It’s pretty simple actually. Greg Halman hit .182 (6-for-32) this week
and Maybin hasn’t played since July 3. Since we do this week-to-week,
it doesn’t make much sense to put a guy on a list that didn’t play that
week. Also, while Maybin may not be tearing up the Southern League, he
still is just 21 years old in Double-A and hasn’t really been bad
enough in a week by itself to beat out some other guys for the Not Hot
list.

 Q:  Ron from Dayton (OH) asks:

I was surprised to not see one of Neftali Soto or Kyle Lotzkar (Reds) on the list. Were they in the discussion?

 A: 

Jim Shonerd:
Soto was nominated, but this week featured a very crowded field of
hitters. He looks like a guy that could be in contention more weeks
than not though.

 Q:  James from North East, MD asks:

A
lot of O’s fans have lost faith in Brandon Snyder (and to a greater
degree, Billy Rowell). Please tell me they still have a bright future
with the Orioles.

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
Bill Rowell certainly hasn’t taken off like many would have hoped. He’s
still got a high ceiling and potential for good power because of his
frame, but as you alluded to, we haven’t seen it yet. As long as
they’re still in the game and at league appropriate ages, I’ll say they
have a good future with the organization. Snyder is swinging a pretty
hot bat lately and he’s had injury problems in the past that have
slowed him. Now that he’s healthy, he’s showing what he can do. He’s
also got a pretty good attitude and approach to the game that makes me
think he’ll be a solid contributor someday. Maybe not a super star, but
honestly how many of those are out there?

 Q:  Alonzo from San Francisco asks:

John
Raynor seems to me to be an elite prospect that doesn’t get talked
about a ton, could he be the CF of the future for Florida (instead of
Maybin)?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
He’s not an elite prospect. But you’re right, he doesn’t get talked
about a lot. He was taken out of UNC-Wilmington as a senior in the
ninth round in 2006. He’s 24 years old so his “prove it” time is
coming. He could play a good defensive center field because of his
speed, but his arm is below-average. He’s a big threat on the bases,
but it will come down to whether he can hit. His Double-A numbers look
pretty good so the Marlins might be willing to give him a chance
sometime soon. My bet would be on a major league camp next spring.

 Q:  Drew from Boston MA asks:

Lars Anderson’s prospect ranking: helped/hurt/unaffected by 2008 production?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
They certainly haven’t hurt him. Right now I’ll say unaffected, but
that’s just because we’re a little ways off from looking at the
rankings again. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hype about the
numbers he could put up in the Cal League. I myself and very guilty of
that. I was very excited to see what he could this year, but I haven’t
been disappointed. He’s still hitting very well and has improved his
plate discipline since whiffing 24 times in April.

 Q:  Sooth Woodowsky from Haru asks:

Are we going to see Gio anytime this year in the big leagues?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Maybe not. Until recently, Gonzalez had been wildly inconsistent from
start to start. He’s dominated Triple-A lefties all season, but until
recently he had not been able to keep righties in check. So Oakland may
opt to let him further develop his changeup and his fastball command in
Sacramento.

Matt Eddy: With Oakland’s starting rotation
rolling along (assuming Sean Gallagher can step right into Harden’s
vacated spot), the club feels no pressure to rush Gonzalez. And if they
do need an arm to cover for injury, they’ve got Dallas Braden in the
pen, or they could call up a Triple-A arm, like Kirk Saarloos, Dan
Meyer or Lenny DiNardo.

 Q:  Greg from Los Angeles asks:

Do
you see Wallace stayin at 3rd for St Louis? They drafted another 3rd
baseman in the middle rounds (Jermaine Curtis) who also seems to have
the potential to change positions. Will both stay at the hot corner or
will one/both be projected to change?

 A: 

Jim Shonerd:
There’s very little chance Wallace sticks at third for the long haul as
a professional. The Cardinals are giving him a shot at the position for
now, but he’s already committed two errors (both throwing) in his first
eight games and his body makes a move to first look inevitable.

Jim Shonerd:
With Curtis, it’s more about whether his bat will play at third,
although he’s also been cited as lacking arm strength. Both are
projected to move to the right side of the diamond, but I would say
Curtis has a better shot.

 Q:  Vin Mazzaro from Midland TX asks:

Cahill
this, Gio that, Simmons, ugh! I mean isn’t leading the Texax League in
ERA by 0.76 worth mentioning. I think I’ve improved on everything you
suggested in your prospect handbook but still no love.
What gives?

 A: 

Matt Eddy: Vin, you are the A’s most improved player of the first half. Just check out Casey Tefertiller’s Athletics Midseason Report:

Matt Eddy: http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/majors/organization-reports/oakland-athletics/2008/266485.html

 Q:  Tom from San Francisco, CA asks:

Was Cody Johnson in the mix at all? I guess that 14-inning game against Greensboro did a number on him, as well.

 A: 

Jim Shonerd:
It sure did, unfortunately. That one game knocked both Johnson and Matt
Dominguez off the board pretty much, as well as knocking Freeman out of
a likely top 5 spot.

 Q:  Jimmy Cracked Corn from and I don’t care! asks:

Does anyone ask more questions than Jaypers of Illinois?

 A: 

Nathan Rode: No.

 Q:  Phillip from Overland Park, KS asks:

Did
Kellen Kulbacki receive any consideration? He’s had a great last week
and seems to have seriously turned a corner after moving to the CAL
Leauge. Are his numbers a product of the CAL League or are they
legitimate?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
He was definitely a candidate, but the hitters were just so good this
week, it was very tough to make the list. He was on a roll and on pace
to make the list no problem, but went 3-for-11 in the last three days.
That’s not terrible, but in the end, the difference between making the
list and being left off. The Cal League certainly helps his numbers a
little bit, but his power has always been one of his better tools so
it’s not a fluke.

 Q:  Dale Carriger from San Francisco asks:

All
Harden, all the time! Many think the A’s could have got more including
some folks at BA. Do you have any specific examples of better deals? It
seems that there aren’t many impact right handed bats available so
isn’t it always best to get good young pitching. If anything, it
provides more chips for future trades.

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
I can see both sides of the coin. On one hand, waiting a week or two to
build Harden’s trade value and maximize the July 31 deadline would have
been Oakland’s strongest play.

Matt Eddy: However, if
Harden breaks down before then, his trade value for the rest of this
season crashes to almost nil. So in that light, exchanging him for a
solid No. 3-type starter in Gallagher, whom they have now for five more
years instead of one. They’re also off the hook for Harden’s $7 million
salary next year, one way or the other.

Matt Eddy: Not
sure Murton and Patterson have much trade value aside from being
potential throw-ins. If Donaldson rediscovers his batting stroke and
reverts to being a potential offensive-minded catcher, then Oakland may
have something.

 Q:  Jlvjr16 from Bronx, NY asks:

Will anyone from Baseballamerica be attending the Futures game?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
Yes, there will be a strong contingent there, catching up with all the
prospects so they can provide you with valuable information in the
coming weeks.

 Q:  Pit Cote from Granby, Quebec asks:

Any
news of Philippe Aumont? He’s on the World Future Games roster but
haven’t throw since june 9. What’s the status on his injury?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Aumont’s elbow is sore, and the Mariners are wisely giving him a
breather. He’s been impressive thus far, but remember that Aumont’s
high school did not field a baseball team and that, because he signed
late in 2007, this is his first taste of pro ball.

Matt Eddy:
For the earlier chatter who asked about rising prospects … it looks
like my answer took a wrong turn in cyber-Albuquerque. You should check
out our just-launched Top 100 Prospects Update, and pay special
attention to the On The Rise category at the bottom.

Matt Eddy: http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2008/266496.html

 Q:  Tim Corbin from Nashville? asks:

No David Price? He’s the Tiger Woods of pitching prospects; did he just not have his best week this week?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
He had a good start this week, but it just came down to being a tough
list to make this week and some of the other pitchers had better
outings over more innings. No discredit to Price. He’s still an elite
prospect.

 Q:  Ryan from Annapolis asks:

Surprised
Arrieta wasn’t in the team photo. Two solid outings this week, with
only 6 hits and 1 ER allowed in 12 IP with 17 Ks. Was he close and did
the walks (8) knock him out of contention?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
His name was on the board and discussed, but yes, the walks knocked him
off. Cutting that in half would have made him a sure bet to be on the
list.

 Q:  Big Dave from Arkansas asks:

In 3 years: Wieters or Soto?

 A: 

Nathan Rode: Wieters. Though I’m a big fan of Soto too.

 Q:  Kevin Wisla from Chicago, Illinois asks:

Do
you think Dellin Betances would be better suited for a closers role? He
could just let it fly for one inning, which could cut down on his walks.

 A: 

Jim Shonerd:
Betances has given up more walks (46) than hits (42) in 65 innings this
year, which tells you just how good he is when he puts the ball where
he wants it. But he works a lot of deep counts and poor control is one
of the last things you want to see in a closer. Though if he gets that
ironed out, it’s not inconceivable since he’s a guy that can miss bats
and it may be a way to keep him healthy.

Jim Shonerd: The RiverDogs are coming to Greensboro in a week, so I’m hoping to see Betances in person then.

 Q:  mark from virginia asks:

whats your take on sean doolittle? just promoted to AAA

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
Good defensive first baseman that can hit for power. Is a pure hitter
to start. He’s now concentrating on just hitting which has allowed to
him to gain more upper body strength. And he was just promoted to
Double-A, not Triple-A.

 Q:  John from Detroit asks:

With
the recent Ryan Perry signing, and the bullpen struggling yesterday for
the Tigers, a lot of people will want to see Perry in the back end of
the bullpen soon. I however, see him as a starter with his potential
for three plus pitches. Where do you see him? Also, how bout a blast
from the past on Jay Sborz, guy looks like he has gotten some command
and is performing well in Lakeland.

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
He’ll be a reliever because of the success he had there with Arizona.
He was a starter with the Wildcats, but struggled so they took his
electric fastball to the bullpen where he flourished.

 Q:  SprungOnSports from Long Island asks:

What’s your scouting report on Dennis Raben? Do you think he has a future in the majors?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
He’s a good power hitter and could have gone in the first round if it
weren’t for a back injury that slowed him in early spring. Future in
the majors? Depends on what kind of future you’re talking about. He
could see a move to first base, but has good instincts as a corner
outfielder. His bat is the best thing going for him.

 Q:  john from denver asks:

Why isn’t the rockies CHACIN on the hot sheet, he went 2-0 w a .68 era in his hi A debut.

 A: 

Nathan Rode: And only struck out three. Not a bad outing. But not as good as the guys that did make it this week.

 Q:  Derek from Little Rock asks:

What do y’all think about Jaff Decker’s hot start in the AZL?

 A: 

Nathan Rode: It’s pretty awesome. He can flat out hit and is also a well-above-average jokester I’m told by his coach.

 Q:  Mike from Utica,NY asks:

Think the Cardinals would be making a mistake if they trade Rasmus for Jason Bay?

 A: 

Nathan Rode:
HUGE mistake. No knock against Jason Bay. He’s a good hitter, but Colby
Rasmus is young and nearly ready for the majors. Bay doesn’t have many
years left. I’d never approve that deal.

Moderator: That’s all for me folks. Thanks for the great questions. See you next week and be sure to tune into the Futures Game on Sunday.

Minors | #2008 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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