Ben Badler: I just had stem cells injected into my fingers, so I’m here and ready to chat.
- Kyle (Middletown): Do you think that Todd Frazier will be a better all around third baseman in the big leagues than Juan Francisco?
Ben Badler: I do, and I don’t think it’s even close.
- MJ (Cincy): How has Wilin Rosario looked defensively so far this season? Has he shown any signs of knee issues coming off the surgery?
Ben Badler: He’s looked good. Cannon arm, receiving well. I’m told he’s on a normal schedule and hasn’t missed any games this year due to the knee.
- Noah Starkey Jr. (Bald, CT): Who is more likely to be called up first ? Trout, Harper or Ackley?
Ben Badler: Ackley, but I’ll stick by what I said before the season, which is that you shouldn’t be surprised if Trout is in the big leagues by September.
- Chuck (Wichita): Who was the last top prospect you remember that had as good an MLB debut as Eric Hosmer?
Ben Badler: There was a guy named Strasburg once who threw pretty well when he was a rookie.
- Chris (Chicago): Please rank the following in terms of their long-term major league impact: Zack Britton, Mike Montgomery, Mike Minor, Joe Odozirri.
Ben Badler: Montgomery, Britton, Odorizzi, Minor
- Joel (KCK): Danny Duffy has had good numbers everywhere he's been since turning pro. Has he put himself on the Royal's speed dial ahead of guys like Montgomery and Lamb as far as getting the first call? Thanks!!!
Ben Badler: If the Royals need an arm, it should be Duffy. His command is more advanced than Montgomery’s, and Lamb’s velocity isn’t where it’s been in the past.
- Jason (Austin): How close was Matt Moore to the
list? It seems like he is getting better with every start this year. What do you think is a realistic ETA, and do you see him as #2 starter?
Ben Badler: He should be ready by next year, but given how the Rays methodically bring along their pitchers, 2013 wouldn’t surprise me. He could be a true ace once he improves his command with three plus to plus-plus pitches.
- Kyle (Philadelphia): Sebastian Valle seems to have figured it out hitting wise, at least early. Any news on his development behind the plate?
Ben Badler: His receiving has taken a step forward. I’m more concerned about his free-swinging approach, but it’s worked so far.
- Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Ben, what do you think
of Gary Sanchez's slow start? He has looked absolutely horrible so far this year. Not only is he not showing any power, he isn't showing any contact? Is he simply overmatched right now in the SAL?
Ben Badler: It’s certainly not good, but it’s not alarming either. Most 18-year-old Latin players are either still in the DSL or in rookie ball. Very few of them—at least the ones who really are 18—ever go out and hit well at that age in Low A.
- Steve (Anchorage, AK): What are scouts saying about Chris Archer nowadays? Curious to know what he's been doing wrong since being traded.
Ben Badler: The stuff is still good, but the commmand hasn’t progressed, which has always been the concern with him. I think he’ll make adjustments and start throwing more strikes, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a guy the Rays fast track to Tampa going forward.
- Bryce Harper (Hagerstown, MD): What do I have left to prove here? Nats management won't answer my texts.
Ben Badler: Nothing to prove. We all know Harper’s going to crush Low A pitching, but there’s absolutely no reason for the Nationals to rush him through the system.
- Desmond Jennings (Durham, NC): When are the Rays going to make me the starting LF? Sam Fuld - Really? 0.389/0.488/0.667 line the last 10 games. Is the Super Two guidelines the only thing holding me back?
Ben Badler: Pretty much. If you want to put your best 25-man roster on the field, there’s no argument for going with Fuld over Jennings.
- Meryl Streel (Martha's Vineyard): Thanks for the chat! Oscar Taveras obviously won't hit .500 in the MWL at age 18...but could his line wind up, say, .350/.400/.550? And would that move him into your overall top 10-15 prospects?
Ben Badler: I don’t think he’s a .350 hitter, but I like the bat. He’s a guy who could shoot way up the charts once he learns to get on base more.
- ttnorm (Connecticut): Ben, Tim Beckham had a nice week. It's been a while since I have heard his name. What is his outlook at this point?
Ben Badler: Better conditioning, showing more of the athleticism he had when the Rays made him the first overall pick and now
looks like a guy who could stick at shortstop, which was starting to look doubtful for a while. I don’t see him as a star or anything, but I think there’s at least a chance he becomes an average big leaguer.
- Jason (Sacramento): Is the Giants' Surkamp a legitimate prospect and is more of a back of the rotation guy?
Ben Badler: Back of the rotation guy, but that’s certainly a legitimate prospect.
- Everyman (Anyplace): Ben: Impertinent question.
A year ago you said Carlos Martinez had a true "80" fastball...then he dominated (78 K's & 14 BB's) with a sub-1.00 ERA in the DSL. So how did he miss BA's top 100? And given his knockout U.S. debut last week, would you personally rank him in your top 10-15 pitching prospects? Thanks!
Ben Badler: Sure, I like Martinez plenty, and I wouldn’t have had a problem putting him in the Top 100, but I’m always the low man when it comes to running up Latin prospects who haven’t played in full-season ball yet. There were enough questions about him at
the time—lack of experience, very questionable background—to keep him
out, but he’ll be there after the season as long as he stays healthy.
- Zack (Pittsburgh): Are there any Pirates prospects that are impressing you lately, and maybe are close to being mentioned on the Hot Sheet?
Ben Badler: Jameson Taillon has come as advertised, he’s just been kept on a tight leash. Mid-90s fastball, touched 98-99 and above-average control for his age.
- Jason (Atlanta): How much of a bust is Donovan Tate considered? If he comes back June 1 and remiains healthy he has to be playing at High A next year right?
Ben Badler: It’s not looking good, but I don’t think the Padres can push him any faster than his talent level dictates. If he
comes back and struggles in the Midwest League, which wouldn’t surprise
me, I don’t see any reason to move him to a more challenging league next year.
- Jay (Tampa): Is Harper capable of a A-Rod type ascent? He seems to be "Just that good."
Ben Badler: I think he has the TALENT to make that kind
of leap, but I’m not sure the Nationals will have him skip High-A and push him to the big leagues at 18 like the Mariners did with A-Rod. Then
again, Harper’s such a rare bird that he could blow up any timetable that we’re expecting or that the team has internally.
- David (Tempe): Paul Goldschmidt—are you a believer?
Ben Badler: Honestly, I’m stunned at what he’s doing. He’ll still chase out of the zone and you can beat him if you can elevate your fastball well, but he’s closed up some holes in his swing and really cut down on the strikeouts. I want to see him do it for more than a month, but man, it’s hard not to be impressed with what he’s doing right now.
- John (Berlin, NJ): Jonathan Singleton is not slugging much yet. I know he's only 19 in High A and playing in a pitcher's league. Do the Phils see him more of a Garrett Anderson type than a potential 25 HR guy?
Ben Badler: Like you said John, he’s just very young, in a pitcher’s league and playing through an ankle injury. The 60 raw power is in there and the hit tool and patience are so advanced for a 19-year-old. I have no worries about Singleton.
- Al (Tampa): Do you see Alex Torres as a starter or more of a bullpen guy? If starter - what's his ceiling? Thanks for the chat.
Ben Badler: He has the stuff to start. Command is still
probably a 30 or a 35 at the major league level, but he has the chance to be a good mid-rotation starter.
- Clint (BC, Canada): I thought Zack Stewart had a
strong finish last year, but this year he seems pretty mediocre for a 24 year old repeating AA. His K rate is down from last year and I heard at the start of the year his velocity was sitting around 88-92mph. Is my hope of seeing him in the Jays starting rotation this year unrealistic?
Ben Badler: I think his future is in middle relief.
- Steve (Cincinatti): How good is Yasmani Grandal's bat and is there a chance he sees time in the majors this season?
Ben Badler: Love the bat, easily one of the five best true catching prospects in the minors, but ZERO percent chance he’s in Cincinnati this season.
- Steve (Los Angeles): Mike Trout up this year? At 19, one wouldn't think so, but he likely is one of Los Angeles' three
best OF's and they are going to be in the race.
Ben Badler: Yes. I wouldn’t bring him up tomorrow by any means, but he’s a better player right now than Vernon Wells. If the Angels are in the race at the end of the season, it’s Trout Time.
- Eric K (Chicago): I see that KC has been having
Wil Myers play all three outfield positions. Is there a chance he could see time in center field for Kansas City? Or does he end up in right.
Ben Badler: That’s just to get him experience and familiarity with those spots. A lot of teams do that with outfielders in
their first year, it just happens that Myers is a first-year OF in Double-A. He’s a right fielder all the way.
- John (LA): Dee Gordon has handled the jump to AAA pretty well this year. Does Furcal's injury speed up his timetable to the majors this year?
Ben Badler: It might speed up the Dodgers’ desire to have him in the big leagues, but it doesn’t mean Gordon’s any closer to being ready, which he isn’t. He’s a great athlete with some feel for handling the bat, but it’s 20 power and the defense isn’t good enough yet to be able to make up for it.
- larry (Chicago): So what's wrong with Jared Mitchell and can it be fixed?
Ben Badler: Big swings, pulling off the ball and chasing too much. I’m very concerned.
- mike in MN (MN): this is more "cold sheet" related....but 2+ years in A ball for Hicks, and not much production....when do we start getting seriously worried?
Ben Badler: We’re worried. Not alarmed, but there’s definitely concern that his hit tool isn’t as advanced as the rest of the package, although I still thinks he puts it together by the end of the year.
- Big Bird (Mannywood): De La Rosa the real deal? What's his eta to the big show?
Thanks for the chat.
Ben Badler: I see him as a potential shutdown reliever.
His breaking ball isn’t there yet and he still slows his arm speed on his changeup, so I’m not sold on him as a starter, but if he comes out of the bullpen he’s going to be pumping 97-101 mph gas every time he throws his fastball.
- Darko (Miami): What kind of odds would you put on Wilmer Flores eventually becoming a top-10 overall prospect? What about Miguel Sano?
Ben Badler: Much better chance to see Sano get that kind of ranking than Flores. I like Flores quite a bit, but he doesn’t have the body type to project for the same power as Sano.
- Bill (Michigan): Hey Ben nice chat, keep up the
great work. Do scouts consider this July 2 Latin American class better than last year? You expect teams like the Yankees, Boston to be more active at the top? Thanks.
Ben Badler: It sounds like it’s better than last year’s
class. The Yankees don’t have a top 50 pick in the draft, so expect them to be even more aggressive than usual, which we’ve already seen with the Juan Carlos Paniagua signing. The Red Sox have taken a more reserved approach to the international market recently, but if they think a guy is worth the money, they’ll pull the trigger.
- Angel Di Maria (Internazionale, Milano): Mr. Badler you are the beast!!!
Ben Badler: Thanks. Hopefully that’s not a comment on my looks.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): You mentioned John Lamb's velocity has dipped, and this is the first I've heard of it. How concerned should we be?
Ben Badler: Strained lat, not pitching at 100 percent. Something to keep an eye on, but I wouldn’t be concerned unless he’s still pitching at 88-91 a couple months from now.
- Jaff Decker (San Antonio, TX): Does the fact that I am stealing bases this year finally put to rest concerns about my athleticism?
Ben Badler: I’ve only heard good things about Decker’s conditioning this year from people outside of the organization. Don’t go
adding him to your fantasy team looking for stolen bases, but I’ve always been a believer in the bat and I think he’ll play adequate defense as a corner outfielder.
- Joe D (CT): What do we make of Jeurys Familia's bigtime turnaround in 2011?
Ben Badler: His delivery is much more in control and he’s throwing strikes, which is fairly shocking given how much trouble he had finding the plate a year ago. One of the prospect breakout stories of the year right now.
- Tony (Olathe, KS): Who is the biggest sleeper prospect that is flying under the radar in your opinion?
Ben Badler: Jefry Marte, Mets 3B. I think if you asked most scouts before the season, they would have said Cesar Puello would be the breakout guy on the Mets’ High A club in St. Lucie, but Marte has
been sensational at the plate.
- Jason Kipnis (Cleveland): I'm ready now to help Cleveland and their playoff push. When are they going to trade O Cabrera and give me my chance!
Ben Badler: Cabrera doesn’t have any trade value, but if Kipnis is still hitting like this in a month, it’s going to be tough to keep him in Triple-A.
- TOny (Albuquerque): Wouldn't both the Royals and Hosmer be equally stupid to agree to a long term contract one week into his professional career? Why the fascination with the Royals ability to keep him long term so rediculously early in his career?
Ben Badler: I don’t think either side would be stupid to strike a deal, if it guarantees Hosmer $40 million-plus and lets the Royals buy out a year or two of free agency, but you’re right, it’s not going to happen, and the fascination with it is bizarre.
- Roger V. (NJ): Hey Ben, thanks for the chat. You earlier mention DSL leaugues, I was wondering about a yankee player currently there now, is Yeicok Calderone a true prospect? What does his future look like with the yankees? Thanks
Ben Badler: Good prospect with the bat, just a long, long ways away, obviously. His defense needs to come around, but from talking to international scouts and coaches, that’s the case with a lot of young Dominican outfielders who don’t get to see a lot of live fly balls off the bat when they’re amateurs.
- Peter (Brooklyn): Thanks for taking my question - when is the mock draft coming out?
Ben Badler: Callis’ mock draft is now LIVE and being devoured by everyone in the industry.
- Jim (DC): Has Danny Duffy's prospect status risen to the point where his ceiling is above a #3 starter? What has changed about his pitching arsenal?
Ben Badler: He’s a potential frontline guy. I liked Duffy a couple years ago after seeing him even when he was more of an 88-92 guy, but now that he’s sitting low-90s and touching 96-97, his stock has really gone up.
- Lloyd (Lakewood): So, is the Yonder to LF thing realistic, or is he still trade bait, blocked by Votto?
Ben Badler: It wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s doable. If the Reds are willing to put up with Jonny Gomes’ well-below-average defense in left field, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do it with Alonso. On the other hand, if they can deal him for a legitimate shortstop…
- Joe (OmahA): Is Moustakas still looking at an june/july call up? He's turned his plate approach around lately but is there concern about his high K rate?
Ben Badler: Very possible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Royals decide he needs more time in Triple-A either. No concern about strikeouts with Moose. It’s a great swing, great bat speed and he’s always been a good bat-to-ball guy. With him it’s just a matter of making sure he’s swinging at the right pitches.
- Norm (Chicago): We hear often that a player is 'old for his league' or 'young for his league'...what are the average ages for Low A, High A, and Double A?
Ben Badler: The organizational types tend to skew the average age upwards, but generally prospects should be up to 20-21 in Low-A, 21-22 in High-A, 22-23 in AA and 23-24 in AAA. Obviously whether a
guy comes from college, HS or the international ranks, injuries, organizational logjams and a TON of other things can slow a guy down though, so it’s not a death sentence by any means to be a little bit older. In fact, that’s probably where you can make your money as a scout
if you can separate an older guy just beating up on the competition from someone who’s a bit older but a legitimate prospect, since those players tend to fall out of favor with an organization and can be picked
up in trades without having to part with a marquee player in return.
- Trey Hickman (West Blocton, Alabama): If you were inclined to lay down "green," would you put a few bills on Mike Trout's being a perennial .320/30/100/30 SB guy in the majors? I had to re-submit, given my typo with "inclined" and my faux pas in the personal
information boxes. Thanks.
Ben Badler: I don’t see quite that much power. More of a
10-15 home run guy to start, maybe 15-20 with a chance to go low-20s every now and then once he reaches his prime. Easily a .300 hitter though, will contend for batting titles and stolen base crowns, given his speed, how much he’ll get on base and how aggressive I’m sure the Angels will let him be on the basepaths.
- Norm (Chicago): We know about Vitters terrible BB rate, but his K rate is ridiculous, in a good way...so with a K rate that low, does that improve the outlook even if his BB rate never improves?
Ben Badler: The guy just doesn’t swing and miss. Love the bat speed, the swing, the hand-eye coordination, and if he ever figures out that he doesn’t need to swing at that 1-0 pitch on the outside corner, then boom, you’ve got something. But it’s not just a switch that you can flip to make it happen, and the defense is shaky to the point where scouts think he’s going to have to move off third base. There’s something there, but I wouldn’t pencil him into the Cubs’ future
- Spencer (San Jose): I really appreciate these chats - from your opinion and scouting reports - who has the bigger impact at the highest level - JD Martinez or Gary Brown —- Thanx
Ben Badler: Brown, but I’m coming around on Martinez’s bat.
- Norberto Paulino (New York): Hey Ben when will your coverage of 02/07/2011 will start, cant wait I've seen video on some of the prospects very interesting class.
Ben Badler: The heavy lifting phone calls to scouts have begun, so the process is in the works. I don’t think our international coverage will ever be like the draft where we write about players a year or two years before they’re drafted because we’re talking
about kids who are still 16 or even 15 years old, but now that some of the heavy duty showcases from last month are behind us, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of a promising group of kids.
- Jon Bass (Ann Arbor, MI): All right, this technically isn't a Hot sheet question since Zach Britton is in Baltimore, but does he return to the minors when everyone else is healthy? He is their best pitcher right now.
Ben Badler: Britton has to stay. Send Bergesen or Tillman back to Triple-A.
- Rick (Chicago): What kind of potential does Brett Jackson have and how would he compare to someone like Adam Jones? Thanks.
Ben Badler: They’re both good athletes who run well but
aren’t burners, have power but are prone to swing and miss, but Jackson’s approach at the plate is well ahead of anything Jones has ever
- Scott (Ft Myers): Ben, Robbie Erlin continues to impress statistically. What sort of ceiling are we talking about with
him? It seems his advanced command would allow for a quick rise through
the system, right?
Ben Badler: Potential to be a very solid mid-rotation guy. Credit to J.J. Cooper for talking up Erlin immediately after he started pitching last year. It’s not a Martin Perez fastball but he spots it well and has two good secondary pitches, so he could get to Texas quickly.
- Parish (Atlanta): Ever heard of the Braves? We're like 5 Hot Sheets into the year and nary a mention of a Brave prospect. Hot. Not hot. In the team photo. Nothing. They have this guy named Salcedo who's had some pretty good weeks.
Ben Badler: It’s weird, isn’t it? The Braves have a great farm system, thing is, the guys who are doing the best like Beachy
and Kimbrel are doing it where you want them to do it—in Atlanta, and there just hasn’t been one guy in the minors who’s come out and blown anyone away to get on the Hot Sheet. Salcedo’s been rough defensively, which scouts expected, but the offense is there. I still have concerns about the bat and the raw power playing in games once he gets to the higher levels of the minors, but for now his performance has been encouraging.
- Charlie M (Tulsa): Do you happen to know what Rosario's in game pop times average? We haven't seen a cannon like that since Pudge.
Ben Badler: It’s usually in the 1.9s
- Bryan (Los Angeles): Anyone from the Dodgers organization flying under the radar?
Ben Badler: We’ve been blowing up Shawn Tolleson lately, so you probably already know about him if you’re a BA subscriber. Jake Lemmerman’s off to a great start in the Cal League after playing in the Pioneer League a year ago. Not going to be a big power guy, but I do think the numbers can translate beyond the Cal League.
- Stakley, JP (Weirfield): What do you see Hagadone's role in the majors?
Ben Badler: Power lefty out of the bullpen. Closer potential but more likely a very good 8th-inning guy.
- R Ahmed (New York): Everyone always says that "the power will eventually come." Aderlin Rodriguez has hit for some decent power but hasn't done much else. Should I be worried, excited, or
somewhere in between?
Ben Badler: I’d look at what Jefry Mate is doing right now and just remember to be patient. I’m worried about the defense and a
move to first base, but I do think the bat will come around. I think I’ve talked about it here before, but I think prospect fatigue tends to set in with Latin players quicker than it does with guys who come through the draft because we’re starting to write about guys like Fernando Martinez or Gary Sanchez when they’re 16 or even 15 years old, yet it’s the Latin players who are going to need more development time and more patience than anyone.
- Jesse (New York): Could we see Jordan Lyles in the Bigs by the All-Star break?
Ben Badler: It’s possible, but I’d consider leaving him
in Triple-A all year. The Astros aren’t going anywhere this year and, given his track record, his delivery and how cleanly his arm works, he’s
not a potential injury risk where you have to get whatever you can out of him right now like you maybe would with Michael Pineda.
- R Ahmed (New York): Any thoughts of Luis Mateo, who just recently signed for $150,000?
Ben Badler: Have to wait and see what he does in game situations because my reports on him from winter ball in Colombia and his workouts more recently in the Dominican Republic are limited, but great arm, worth the risk.
- Ryan (Destin, FL): What is your take on Rockies prospect Juan Nicasio? Frontline starter in Jiminez mold or just having a stellar year?
Ben Badler: I don’t think he’s going to be Ubaldo (at least not vintage Ubaldo), but man, he’s good. The stuff is leaps and bounds better than it was a couple of years ago, and even from last year
it’s gone up and he’s still throwing strikes. If we did an updated Top 100 tomorrow, he’d be in it for me.
Ben Badler: I just looked at the clock and realized why
the office was suddenly quiet instead of buzzing with the usual draft call chatter. Thanks for all the bright questions as usual. Now it’s time for dinner, deadlifts and reading Callis’ mock draft. Enjoy the weekend!!