Prospect Hot Sheet Chat

Philip (San Diego): Important question, pineapple on pizza yay or nay
Matt Eddy: I like a basic New York-style cheese pie on thin crust. I don’t have time for pineapples or most any other topping, save for maybe peppers.

Jason (Falls Church, VA): Does Cozens get called up by August?
Matt Eddy: That’s an appropriate time frame for a Cozens callup. For a player already on the 40-man who is performing, and in light of the major league lineup’s dysfunction, the Phillies are going to want to see what Cozens can do as they look ahead to 2018.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): What kind of power profile ceiling can Taylor Trammell have? After a slow start in April he had 15 extra base hits in May and has a solid frame to add more power as he matures.
Matt Eddy: The Reds’ Taylor Trammell is a prospect who really intrigues me. He has to be one of the more talented players who has yet to crack the Top 100. Yes, I expect him to develop 15-20 home run power, at minimum. I love toolsy, athletic young players who already show secondary skills, such as speed, patience and/or power. Trammell fits that bill.

John (Oregon): Do you see Scott Kingery as a top 100 prospect or below that? With an average in game power projection, he looks like a fine prospect but do you think his ultimate power will be less than that?
Matt Eddy: Humblebrag: I had Kingery on my personal Top 100 before the season. I really like his overall profile in terms of baseball athleticism, discipline, power, speed and ability to handle second base. No, I wouldn’t expect him to lead the majors in home runs, but he might produce some seasons that evoke Jason Kipnis.

Jason (Texas): Do you think Thomas Eshelmen can be more than a 5 starter? His numbers look good but the scouting reports seem to be the same.
Matt Eddy: I think what you write is fair. Eshelman will get a look in the big league rotation, probably in the second half. If he can turn in a block of good starts, then that will keep him in the conversation for 2018 at least. But generally control-oriented starters become less attractive to teams once they reach 3 years of service and can be non-tendered. There are exceptions to every rule, though.

Larry David (California): I know he didn't make the hot sheet but Josh Hader ranks very high on the top 100 despite a high era and walk rate. Why is that?
Matt Eddy: I went to bat for Hader in the offseason, but my enthusiasm is waning. Still, a lefthander with a plus fastball and slider that can be plus is probably going to find a role in the big leagues. That combination of attributes will give him license to pitch virtually as long as he remains healthy and wants to keep pitching.

John (Planters): Looks like a good week for Phillies prospects. Do you see Kingery taking over 2nd base sometime next year or can Cesar Hernandez hold him off ? I thought by now JP Crawford would be on the verge of pushing Freddy Galvis out of the starting lineup- is it likely at this point that even happens in 2017 ?
Matt Eddy: Given that it’s J.P. Crawford’s 40-man roster year, I would expect to see him in Philly in September at the latest. At this point in time, Galvis is probably the better option for the Phillies. Kingery is probably more on a path to a 2018 debut.

Satchel (Las Vegas): Matt, Rate DeLeon, Faria, and Snell. DeLeon got knocked around in the bigs recently, Snell was demoted, and Faria tearing up AAA. Nice set of arms.
Matt Eddy: I wouldn’t waver from a 2015 or 2016 ranking: Snell has the highest ceiling, followed by De Leon, then Faria. I agree: Nice set of arms.

Bill (Delaware): It's like Ron Acuna is just rewriting the script on how long it show take before a guy masters a level. Sure BABIP is high, though your hotsheet said his secondary skills will help, and his k/bb ratio can improve, but the aggressive braves might send this kid to AAA this summer. He's gonna keep shooting up prospect lists by midseason to like the upper 1/3rd of a top 100, right? We might see this kid in Atlanta in 2018, crazy.
Matt Eddy: The Braves have clearly accelerated the timetables for Allard, Soroka and Acuna, and I don’t think it’s because they’re trying to showcase them for trades. I think they view them as viable big league options at some point in 2018. Or at least that is the plan. Yea, Acuna will be one of the biggest risers on the Top 100 at midseason. A question for readers: Who is the last teen prospect you can recall who reached Double-A with essentially a half-season of reps at Class A? Acuna played 68 games at Rome and Florida.

Arnie (NY): With Gleyber, Castro, and Didi, where would Miguel Andujar even fot? I'm happy he's doing well but have no clue where you put him. Outfield is also crowded with great players which eventually will lead to the same question for Florial. Thought?
Matt Eddy: Prospects like Andujar make great trade currency. Unless you believe his bat is truly special, let some other team gamble on him developing into a first-division corner bat. The Yankees will take the big league value, especially if they remain competitive this year.

Greg (ATL): Can you please beg John to put another mock out? I'm dying without a new mock!
Matt Eddy: I will pass on your message. I too look forward to the John Manuel mock drafts.

Sam (Minneapolis): If Gonsalves can maintain a decent walk rate, how does that change his projection? Also, does he profile more as a front-end or back-end rotation guy? Thanks.
Matt Eddy: I wish I knew. Stephen Gonsalves is a non-traditional prospect in that he produces the output that should make him a top talent but doesn’t necessarily have the inputs (individual pitches) that profile him as a front-line pitcher. He relies a lot on angle and deception, but he clearly has gotten results with a fastball-heavy approach, even if his control had been well below-average (his three starts this year notwithstanding). I like pitchers who don’t get squared up in the zone, and Gonsalves appears to fit this description.

James (Atlanta): *Insert several questions about how awesome Ronald Acuna is*
Matt Eddy: Pretty much. He is the buzziest prospect in the game right now, judging from the volume of fan interest. I really liked his skill profile in the SAL last year. He hit for average, he hit for power, he ran, he walked and he made contact at a rate well above the league average. That’s a rare combination for such a young player.

Nick (Austin): How do strike out rates typically trend for a minor leaguer? Estevan Florial's look concerning, is that normal for a teenager in Low-A?
Matt Eddy: Florial is producing the power to justify a big-hack approach, but some batters, see Joey Gallo, never really rein in the strikeouts. In that case, you just have to be *really* productive on those few balls in play. But generally speaking there are more strikeouts at low Class A than any other level of affiliated play. Batters and pitchers are learning the strike zone and learning to navigate a longer season.

Kyler (Worcester): In a 30 team dynasty league how would you rank: Robles, Jimenez, Tucker, Acuna, and Soto?
Matt Eddy: That is an exciting class of young outfielders. I hope we see Victor Robles, Eloy Jimenez and Ronald Acuna as the World outfield at the Futures Game. I’m not sure if Juan Soto will be recovered form his ankle injury. I don’t think you could go wrong taking Robles, Jimenez, Tucker or Acuna first. I might favor Tucker at No. 1 for his lefthanded bat.

trish (colorado): thoughts on Merandy Gonzales? Strengths weaknesses, is he a Major League Starter some day?
Matt Eddy: A projected major league-quality fastball and breaking ball for the Mets’ Merandy Gonzalez. He could have ranked in the club’s top 10 coming into the year. That’s how good his arm is. He needs to refine his changeup and improve pitch command, but not more so than other pitchers his age.

Matt Eddy: I am now tagging in Kyle Glaser to finish this Hot Sheet chat. Keep those questions coming.

Kyle Glaser: Hey guys, I’m taking over for Matt here. Look forward to chatting as always

Chandler (San Diego): Who would you rather have at this point: JP Crawford or Luis Urias?
Kyle Glaser: I need to start with the caveat that I’ve long been the high man on Luis Urias and the low man on JP Crawford in the BA office, so my views will not necessarily be repeated by others at BA. For me, it’s Urias by a fairly decent margin. I’ll take guy who will hit in the No. 2 spot and contend for batting titles over the guy who will hit in the No. 8 spot hitting .240 with a .350 OBP, even taking into account the shortstop vs. second base argument. At a certain point playing in the major leagues is about performance, and I feel a lot more confident Urias will perform a higher level than Crawford given his abilities with the bat.

Elliot (Youngstown OH): How about Julian Merryweather's 8 shutout inning AAA debut [8K, 0 BB, 4 H]? He seems to have taken a serious step up in 2017.
Kyle Glaser: I had never heard of Julian Merryweather until I covered him in last year’s Cal-Carolina League All-Star Game and he started and came out pumping 97. He’s a big dude with a live arm and excellent control. His breakout was last year more than this year, but he has solidified the notion that he is a big league caliber arm no doubt.

Don (SD): I have heard Luis Urias described as Jose Altuve lite. Does that sound reasonable?
Kyle Glaser: This gets asked a lot, and that isn’t the right comp. Altuve was a much more explosive player, even at high A, than Urias. Altuve is faster and more of an energy player, even in the box. Urias is much more the calm/controlled type. When I first saw Urias my thoughts were actually more Mark Loretta/late career Mark Grudzielanek, but the Placido Polanco comp is the one that works best. Calm, controlled. You won’t see Urias steal 30-plus bags five years in a row like Altuve has or hit 24 homers in a season. That explosiveness isn’t there. But like Polanco, he’ll hit and hit and hit while playing solid defense.

Dub (Iowa): It appears that the Dodgers future second baseman is not currently on the MLB roster. Will Willie Calhoun be a serviceable 2B at the next level or will he be relegated to an already crowded Dodgers OF?
Kyle Glaser: Every report is a hard no, that Calhoun will not be a serviceable second baseman at the next level. That said, defense is something that can improve a fair bit over time and guys who hit like Calhoun force the issue a little bit. Ian Happ is someone everyone was questioning if he could play 2B or LF, and he ends up playing a much more demanding position in CF just because his bat is so potent. So Calhoun will get his shot, but right now you will be hard pressed to find any scout who thinks he’d be even passable at second base.

Elliot (Youngstown): Yu-Chiang Chang managed a 591 slugging avg for the week; he's all extra base hits, 10 doubles, 10 homers, 2 triples and only 12 singles. Do you like what you see?
Kyle Glaser: It was a very good week for Chang, but even with it he is hitting .210 with a .301 on-base percentage and a 30 percent strikeout rate at Double-A. It’s not like he hit or got on base all that well at LoA or HiA either. He’s a middle infielder with some usable pop so you can’t completely cross him off, but he needs to make a lot more contact before you can seriously envision him in an Indians uniform helping out at the big league level.

Steve (Milwaukee, WI): What do you make of Josh Hader/Brandon Woodruff this year? Hader's numbers look terrible, but he's pitching in Colorado Springs. Is what Woodruff is doing, more impressive because he is doing it in Colorado Springs? Is either one ready for the big leagues?
Kyle Glaser: A good number of scouts have long felt Josh Hader will end up in a bullpen and their sense is the time do that is now. His slider has backed up and his delivery is just so hard to generate consistent command with. Most believe his role is as a really good left-on-left situational guy, but the problems he is having aren’t entirely because of Colorado Springs, although that doesn’t help. Brandon Woodruff on the other hand is pounding the strike zone, keeping the ball on the ground and showing his breakout last year wasn’t a fluke. Woodruff is close, but Hader needs to make the switch to the pen to learn that regimen before he comes up to Milwaukee

Dub (Iowa): How is Cole Tucker's projection changed if his success this season can be attributed to his shoulder finally being fully healed two full seasons removed from surgery?
Kyle Glaser: Tucker’s projection changes from first-round bust you should forget about to possible second-division starting shortstop. He doesn’t have the hitting or power potential of the first or even second tier shortstops in the majors, but with his speed and contact ability has a chance to be a better performer down the road than what Jordy Mercer is doing currently.

Jeff (Even hotter now Arizona): How would you rank the following players, Bo Bichette, Michael Chavis, Austin Hays, and Jaycob Brugman?
Kyle Glaser: Bo Bichette is on a level all his own, he doesn’t belong in the same grouping as the rest of those guys. Think higher, a lot, lot, lot higher

Jeff (Hot Arizona): Who will make it to the majors first, Chance Adams or Andrew Moore?
Kyle Glaser: Honestly that’s going to depend on whether the Mariners or Yankees are the team that has a bad injury to one of their starters first. Developmentally Adams and Moore are equally worthy. It won’t be about them which one gets called up first, it will be about what happens at the big league level and who gets hurt/canned for being so bad.

Robert (New York): Matt, What are you hearing about Tyler O'Neill....production has fallen in AAA, OPS taken a hit. Is this just adjustment to PCL? Do you see him getting the stroke and OPS up?
Kyle Glaser: I’m pinch-hitting for Matt here, but happy to answer this one. O’Neill’s swing path can get loopy, very up and out through the zone as opposed to staying through it. That’s what has been happening in Triple-A as advanced pitchers are poking the holes in his swing path, and he has yet to adjust. That said, O’Neill has a history of self-improvement and adjustments, so I wouldn’t bet against him faring better as we move a little farther into the year

Carl (Staten Island, NY): Is Dominic Smith ready to contribute to the Mets yet? If you had to make a player comparison, who would you compare Smith to?
Kyle Glaser: Well, Lucas Duda is performing extremely well and Smith is not going to match Duda’s current .931 OPS, so you can’t say Smith is ready to overtake the Mets 1B job in that sense. Smith has a chance to resemble a mid-career Wally Joyner – high average and OBP, very good glove, moderate power. Joyner hit. 293/.365/.438 and averaged 12 home runs per season from 1988-98. That’s a very good player for a long time, just not a perennial All-Star.

Bo (Myrtle beach): looking at stats alone you could argue Bo is out hitting Vlad Jr. and Vlad Jr is a top 30 prospect on most lists. But stats don't tell us the whole story. Sure Bo's swing is unorthodox but are we missing anything else? This guy could shoot up midseason rankings right? What's the ceiling?
Kyle Glaser: Bo is absolutely on his way to shooting up the midseason update. At the same time, talking to scouts watching them, it’s pretty clear Vlad Jr. has the edge in their eyes. Both have a chance to be really good hitters for a long time. There is a pretty steep development curve from LoA upward so it’s wise to contain some of the excitement, but the belief generally among evaluators is Vlad will eventually be the better hitter, although Bo certainly won’t be a slouch.

Steve (Milwaukee, WI): What Mudcat are you most corncerned about their performance this season, Clark, Erceg, Ray, or Diaz?
Kyle Glaser: Trent Clark, by quite a margin. Corey Ray has actually picked it up quite a bit as he has moved further away from his offseason knee surgery and is looking very good recently, and Isan Diaz is getting a lot of scout love even though his numbers aren’t great. He’s playing good defense at both shortstop and second (even with some errors) and he is making a lot of hard contact, even if it isn’t always falling. But Clark has looked bad, plain and simple. The swings have been ugly, and the motor he was known for seems to have been shut down. I have yet to find a pro scout who thinks he gets out of Double-A. We’ll see if he changes it up in the second half of the season.

Chris (Denver): Are you a Jaime Barria believer?
Kyle Glaser: Yes, in the sense of a No. 3/4 pitchability guy. Barria is definitely the best pitching prospect in the Angels system and does a lot of things well, from commanding the zone to mixing his pitches to controlling the run game. There is a lot to like and believe in, especially given he is only 20 years old and could still add a tick or two to his stuff.

Bednarz42 (Bloomfield, NJ): Assuming Bird comes back and contributes and the staff stays healthy, where do the Yankees go looking for help at the deadline? Seems likely Gleyber Torres and Chance Adams will likely help at some point. Bullpen maybe?
Kyle Glaser: The Yankees need starting pitching help. Plain and simple. Tanaka has been terrible, C.C. is improved but still not great, and if you expect Pineda and Severino not to have an implosion at some point you are extremely optimistic. If they make moves, it will be to shore that up.

Steve (Philidelphia): I have heard some comparison to Goldschmidt for Rhys Hoskins. I am sure that is unfair, but what does he project to be in the majors?
Kyle Glaser: In addition to being one of the 5 best righthanded hitters in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt is also on his way to a third-straight 20-20 season and likely a third Gold Glove is well. He is supreme talent that no first base prospect in the minors can match, or even comes close. Hoskins has a chance to be a very nice player, 275-280 with 25-plus HR, which is excellent. But that’s not Paul Goldschmidt. Not even close. Which is fine. Very few are.

Jon (Kane Co.): What in the hell am I still doing here?
Kyle Glaser: Making sure your mechanics are flawless so you don’t get hurt again as you start to really push it against better competition up the ladder. For those unaware, Jon Duplantier missed all of 2015 at Rice with a shoulder injury and pitched only one inning in his pro debut in 2016 with an elbow injury. Duplantier’s stuff is excellent and truthfully he probably should be in Visalia by now, but taking your time to make sure everything is in order to prevent further injury isn’t the worst thing in the world with his track record.

Megan (Cheyenne): Who is your top RH SP in the minors right now?
Kyle Glaser: I have yet to see Mitch Keller. To me the most impressive are Brent Honeywell and Triston McKenzie. Anderson Espinoza would be on there but his injuries are concerning, which knocks him below the aforementioned guys for me.

Adam (Wisconsin): Willy Adames. Hasn't really gotten it going in AAA yet this year. Young for the level, but the K rate is up this year. Anything to report?
Kyle Glaser: The coaching staff at Durham has spent some time with Adames making fixes. He was overstriding a lot early in the year and recently narrowed his stance. He also had a lot of movement in the box that wasn’t helping so they’re working on taming that. He’s barreling enough balls scouts still are very high on him, but there are adjustments he is making that take time.

Handrich (Wauwatosa, WI): Tom Murphy looks to be on the verge of returning to the Rockies. What will his PT look like? Are the Rox intent on getting his bat in the lineup?
Kyle Glaser: Tony Wolters certainly isn’t making that easy. The pride of RBV is hitting. .304 with an OPS near .800, handling a young pitching staff brilliantly and is throwing out 38 percent of attempted basestealers. Murphy will certainly get time once he returns, but the starting job belongs to Wolters and it’s his to lose.

Julian (Los Angeles): What's the ceiling on Dustin Fowler? Impact player or move solid-avg guy?
Kyle Glaser: Solid average guy. And hey, if you can find a solid-average big leaguer in the 18th round as the Yankees appear to have with Fowler, that’s incredibly impressive.

Joe (GA): All this Brave talk and not a peep about Newcomb. Has the shine come off his prospect potential since control continues to be a big issue. Is he still seen as a #2 starter
Kyle Glaser: The fact the control never firmed up definitely knocked Newcomb down a few pegs. At the same time, there is a still a big leaguer in there. It’s a reliever unless the control takes a step (he’s still only 23), but there is mid-rotation starter potential there

Chad (San Diego): How valuable is Hunter Renfroe if he settles in for a career .250/.340/.450 line with above-average D in right?
Kyle Glaser: Very valuable, but you won’t see a .340 OBP if Renfroe is hitting .250…you’ll see .310, which is where the problem could come in.

Madam ruby (The alamo): Brendan Rodgers a candidate for #1 prospect in 2018 top 100?
Kyle Glaser: That is going to depend on if Gleyber Torres or Amed Rosario are still prospect eligible, but yes Rodgers has every chance to be in the discussion

James (Madison, WI): Is it time to get concerned with Francis Martes, or is he just going through some growing pains?
Kyle Glaser: Concerned isn’t the best word, but it is time to temper expectations. Martes is a 21-year-old in the PCL going through growing pains no question. At the same time, he never had the control you see the true frontline guys have. He’s going to have to figure out how to throw enough strikes to get ahead in counts, and that will take time.

Kyler (Worcester): Who is your favorite pitcher outside the top 100?
Kyle Glaser: Andrew Moore. Guy has been excellent at every single level, knows how to pitch, and exceeds expectations at every turn. There is a chance Marco Estrada is in there, and an All-Star and Top 10 Cy Young finalist on a playoff team is pretty darn good

Nenad Gospinks (Kansas City, MO): Lets pretend all of the Braves minor league pitchers make MLB. If you had to choose right now to only keep 5 of these for longevity and success which 5, and could you rank 1-5? Wentz, Allard, Soroka, Newcomb, Toussaint, Muller, Anderson, Weigel, Fried, Gohara?
Kyle Glaser: Allard, Soroka, Newcomb, Gohara, Anderson

Jake (Toronto): Any chance Kyle Tucker sees Major League action this year? Any thoughts as to his development thus far this year?
Kyle Glaser: Very unlikely, especially with the Astros going to be in the pennant chase. But Tucker has made the power stride everyone wanted to see. He’s going to be a good one

Sergio Q (Tijuana, Mexico): Are scouts thinking that they may have underrated Dinelson Lamet, the fastball & slider really are playing as plus pitches in the majors?
Kyle Glaser: Actually the people who underrated him was the Padres front office. The scouts outside the org, the people watching him day in and day out and the major league coaching staff at spring training knew what they had, and that was one of the top 10 prospects in the entire system. And that’s where we at BA had him ranked going into the year, the only major prospect publication to do so. Folks on the Padres farm team were the ones questioning that ranking. They were the only ones, and they were happily wrong.

Jim (Greensboro): What pitching prospect is making the noise at BA in a ball so far this season. What guys have frontline ceilings at that level?
Kyle Glaser: Braxton Garrett. The fact he is actually pitching and been as good as he has been is one of the more intriguing developments of the early 2017 season

Troy (Milwaukee): Thought's on Corbin Burnes? Where does he project? Does he have a chance to be a 3/4 in MLB down the road?
Kyle Glaser: Burnes definitely has a big-league arm and he bares down in big spots really well. 91-93 fastball, good true CB at 77-80, will show you an occasional slider at 84-85. Can get caught pitching up the zone sometimes, but makes the ground-ball inducing pitch when he has to have it. Lot to like there

Gary (Charlotte, NC): Sandy Alcantara looked to be on an upward trajectory coming into this season. That appears to be reversing. Is this just small sample size or something bigger to be concerned with?
Kyle Glaser: Hard throwers with zero control are liable to implode at any time. That’s something worth remembering the next time you hear about the next raw 19-year-old touching triple-digits. If you don’t get ahead in the count, guys the upper minors are going to crush you no matter how hard you throw. That’s what’s happening with Alcantara. It is concerning, because it’s the same reason why you see a bunch of 100 mph guys in the majors for about a second before playing almost their whole careers in the minors. Throwing strikes early in the count at 94 is more effective than being unable to do it at 100. Alcantara is going to have to make significant progressions to be able to do that.

Andrew (Los Angeles): I'm amazed Franchy Cordero actually made it. I remember that one Spring Training where he was all hyped up then fell on his face. Pretty amazing he picked himself up, even if most of the shine is gone.
Kyle Glaser: Cordero’s move to the outfield really freed him up. It was amazing to watch unfold at Lake Elsinore last year. You could see it. He was so much more relaxed and graceful out there, and it filtered into all the other parts of his game. Sometimes guys just need to be put in the best positions to succeed rather than be forced to be something they are not. The Padres, to their credit, recognized it, and now Cordero has a chance to be a legitimate part of a big league outfield rotation for a long time.

Kyle Glaser: All right folks, that will do it for me. About to head out to go cover a game. Have a great weekend everyone.

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