Moderator: Ben Badler will answer your questions beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Ben Badler: The draft is in the rearview mirror, the Hot Sheet is up, July 2 reports are coming and Charlie Morton is on the mound again tonight. Not a bad day to chat.
- Eric (VA): People are starting to compare Paul Goldschmidt to Mike Stanton. Do you see that potential?
Ben Badler: Who are these people? Stanton's younger, more athletic, has more raw power and gives more defensive value. Goldschmidt's a breakout prospect, and I like him, but it's a disservice
to compare him to Stanton.
- David (Hartford, CT): Did Ft. Wayne's Rymer Liriano get any consideration for his 15-for-31 week, or was there just not enough power?
What do you make of them starting him a level too high and having to bring him back down mid-season for the second straight year?
Ben Badler: There's a lot of power in that bat and he has tools, but it's a free-swinging approach from a guy who struggles with pitch recognition. With him, there's probably always going to be an
adjustment period to each level.
- Jake Levine (Brooklyn): Can Ryan Lavarnway make a run at the redsox starting catching job in 2012?
Ben Badler: It wouldn't be ideal, but given the in-house alternatives, he at least deserves a look.
- SMK (Boston): Would you prefer Jeimer Candelario or Estelion Peguero if you had to choose?
Ben Badler: Peguero for now, but Candelario could change things by the end of the year.
- ryan (Dc): Eury perez is hitting good at Potomac. the nats need a CF and leadoff hitter. what's his ETA and upside? Also, any ETA on rendon? Thanks for the chat
Ben Badler: He's a nice sleeper, but he's at least a few years away from being ready and he's more of a bottom of the order hitter if he does make it. Lots of speed, slaps the ball around, but no patience or power. Then again Juan Pierre's a leadoff hitter, so what do
- Frank Wren (Atlanta, GA): please tell me i've got some hitters in my system. who can the fans expect to see once chipper retires, and with uggla being ugly this year, who will produce for the braves in the coming years ?
Ben Badler: The Braves are stacked with pitchers, but there isn't too much help on the way for that lineup.
- Brian (Greensboro, NC): Staying with Stanton. Who do you like better? Stanton, Heyward, or Harper? That is going to be some RF in the NL East!
Ben Badler: Heyward, but his inability to stay healthy is something we've been concerned about for years. On pure ceiling, it's
hard to beat Harper.
- Jon (Michigan): In discussions about young players, I often hear about their potential for further physical development. Will Bryce Harper be even scarier or did he happen to reach
his physical peak earlier than most?
Ben Badler: A bit of both. He's more physically mature than most his age, but there's absolutely still still physical projection left.
- Jeff (Idaho): Matt Szczur...thoughts? He's showing nice skills at the A level, is he a nice power/speed guy down the road?
Ben Badler: Becoming a big fan. Tremendous athlete who can hit, get on base and play great defense in CF? Yeah, that's my kind of guy.
- Mike (San Diego): Assuming the Padres can't get
moved to the A.L. so they can bring Edinson Rincon to the majors as a D.H., is his bat ultimately going to be good enough that they can tolerate whatever frightening defensive numbers he puts up at [insert most likely future position here]?
Ben Badler: There's a chance, although I don't see him as a guy who will move through the system quickly. The defense isn't going to be pretty wherever he goes, but he has a plus arm and I think he'd at least be playable in right field.
- Justin (Texas): That Julio Teheran kid had one hell of a game. Are the expectations for him still the same?
Ben Badler: Frontline starter potential. Not ready to meet that ceiling yet, the raw stuff is there.
- SMK (Boston): Xander Bogaerts has been assigned
to Greenville. Nice debut going 1/2 with 2 walks. He's one of my favorite prospects to shoot up the charts this year. What are your thoughts on Bogaerts?
Ben Badler: Saw that yesterday as well. Surprised he's there, but I love his bat. If he stays there and can handle himself at the plate at that level, wow, he's going to shoot up the charts.
- Norm (Cleveland/Ohio): Hi Ben,
In your opinion, how would you rank these minor league SS's?
Cozart, Hamilton, Profar & Segura. I have an opening on a 30 player 100% keeper league and need an up & coming SS.
Ben Badler: Profar, Segura, Cozart, Hamilton. Segura and Cozart could be solid big leaguers, but Profar's making a case as the best second-best shortstop in the minors behind Manny Machado.
- Eric (Texas): Wilin Roasrio has struggled to get on base this year. What's happened to him and should we be concerned?
Ben Badler: Just who he is, a guy with a lot of power but an aggressive approach prone to chasing pitches. There's plenty of pop and arm strength, but I think there's a better good chance he turns into something along the lines of a longtime serviceable catcher like Miguel Olivo or Rod Barajas than a star behind the plate.
- Jack Helmuth (Brooklyn, NY): Have a good Leonys
Martin comp? For a guy who has a 1.027 OPS and is running (all at AA) he doesn't seem to be getting much BA ink over the last month.
Ben Badler: Don't have a comp, but I'm a big believer in Leonys Martin. Outstanding hitter with all-star potential.
- Rick (NY): What's your take on Jerry Sands' demotion? Specifically if you think he's still a big league regular based on what we've seen so far.
Ben Badler: I do, just not right now. Needs more Triple-A time.
- Shane (Miami): Ben - Sorry for the non-HS question but will you be doing a preview of the top IFA's in the next couple weeks in advance of July 1 signing day?
Ben Badler: July 2 reports start on Monday. More stories, more scouting reports, more information than we've ever had in the past.
- Kyle (Middletown): How much has Corcino improved as a prospect this season, enough to be a top 100 guy like Cueto was?
Ben Badler: He'll certainly be in that mix.
- Sholom (Smithtown, New York): Whats your general thoughts about Wilmer Flores this season and what position does he end up playing ?
Ben Badler: Disappointing, but no reason to panic given his age. I think he can play third base, but we need to see him there first.
- Jack Helmuth (Brooklyn, NY): Paul Goldschmidt's
numbers are just too good to ignore, but it seems like you guys are hesitant to shower him with heaps of praise. Just how good a prospect is he and how good a player can he become? Thank you.
Ben Badler: I think he's an excellent prospect, and I know I'm not alone at BA with those feelings. He's doing things better than Matt LaPorta did in the Southern League when he was the same age as
Goldschmidt, and I think there's some similarities there but with Goldschmidt having more raw power. He's definitely in the discussion for
our midseason top 50.
- Kyle (Philadelphia): Another big week for Sebastian Valle at Clearwater. I realize you do not want to push him, but do you feel he's close to being promoted to Reading for a look?
Ben Badler: The defense is getting better, but I'd like
to see him take a walk more than once every three weeks. He's not a guy
I would push aggressively.
- Max (Boston): Why didn't Betances get any love?
He's had great control lately and is still striking out everyone and their mother. Tough to excuse him not even making the team photo...
Ben Badler: He walked and hit a combined eight batters this week. He is excused.
- Greg (DC): Zack Cozart has never put together a
season like the one he's having this year. Do you think he's truly taken a step forward, or is this a product of a 25+ year older repeating
his league, or a combination of both?
Ben Badler: A little bit of each. I doubt he's ever going to put up an OPS pushing .900 in the big leagues, nothing flashy or spectacular about him, but he's a solid hitter with solid tools across the board. I'd give him the starting shortstop job in Cincinnati right now and wouldn't think twice about it.
- Sam (Texas): Has the Rangers system climbed into the top 5 overall? New additions like Leonys Martin, Martin Perez bouncing back and progression by the likes of Profar, Erlin, Olt, Ramirez, Wieland etc has Rangers fans feeling pretty good.
Ben Badler: It's taken a step forward. Perez, Profar, Erlin and Olt are all better prospects than they were coming into the season, then you have breakouts of guys like Neil Ramirez and Joe Wieland and the addition of a premium prospect like Leonys Martin, yeah,
it's a system on the rise.
- tim (sd): how good can anthony rizzo be?
Ben Badler: Above-average to well above-average regular, potential to hit for average and power and get on base at a decent clip with good defense at first base. Freddie Freeman got more attention coming into the season, but I don't think he and Rizzo are all
- Tim (Houston, TX): I know it's a tiny sample size, but Jose Altuve seems to have had no trouble adjusting to AA. Are you becoming a believer?
Ben Badler: Not sure if that's meant to be a pun, but yes, I think there's a good chance he has a solid big league career.
- kevin (kc): better long term, Hosmer or Rizzo???
Ben Badler: Hosmer. Pretty much everything Rizzo does—hit, get on base, power, field, throw—Hosmer does better. There's
no shame in that though.
- Lou (Berlin, NJ): Does Rubby De La Rosa have the comp pitches to remain a starter, or is he better suited for closing?
Ben Badler: He flashes them occasionally, but they're extremely inconsistent and his control has a ways to go. I'd keep him in
the rotation as long as possible, but an eventual move to relief wouldn't surprise me. I think he'd flourish in that role.
- Eric M. Van (Boston): How excited should Sox fans be about Chih-Hsien Chiang leading the EL in OPS and SA by big margins after not even being on the prospect depth chart the last two years? (It's not, however, like no one saw this coming, as his OPS splits by month last year were 397, 598, 726, 877, 944.) What exactly is his upside?
Ben Badler: The power is starting to come around, which
is what's helped him take a big step forward. He was an excellent hitter in high school, but he's mostly been a gap to gap guy until this year. Realistically, the most likely scenario is a backup outfielder, but I think he has the tools to be a starter.
Ben Badler: Thanks for the questions guys. I probably was a bit more abbreviated this time than usual but I'm off to make more
July 2 calls now through the rest of the weekend so we can get all these stories to you guys starting Monday. Have a great weekend.