- Will T. (Cary, N.C.): Which of these pitchers that have struggled so far this year is most likely to bounce back the second half of this season and into next year. Matzek, Dwyer, Archer, Castro?
Ben Badler: Archer, although if you read John Manuel’s story on Matzek, you know he’s a bit of a wild card. Archer’s stuff hasn’t been quite as good as last year, but he’s still got a plus fastball an a plus to plus-plus slider, but he might be a guy like Edwin Jackson who needed to get into his mid-20s to finally figure everything out, even with a good amount of year-to-year fluctuation after that.
- Kyle (Middletown): What is the ETA for Ronald Torryes? Is he a guy you could see being a .300 hitter in the big leagues with good defense?
Ben Badler: The guy just started playing in the Midwest League, I don’t think anyone has a real ETA on him. I don’t want to throw a .300 label on him until I see him doing it at higher levels, but his bat-to-ball ability is absolutely there to hit for a high average.
- Daryl (New York): It looks like Wil Myers is having a bit of a down season. Do you see him as a star down the road? Who would you compare him to in the major leagues?
Ben Badler: Yes. He’s a 20-year-old in Double-A who’s battled through knee issues. Unless that turns into a long-term issue, he should be fine once he’s fully recovered.
- Chuck (Wichita): Long-term, who do you think is better, Moustakas or Cuthbert?
Ben Badler: I like Cuthbe, but have to go with Moustakas for now.
- Elliot (Youngstown OH): Ben: Thanks for recognizing two of the three Hot Prospects on the Indians' Arizona League team. How about the third: Elvis Araujo who's back from 2010 surgery (BA had listed him as Cleveland's breakout possibility last year, before the surgery shut him down). This week the 6-6 lefty threw 10 shutout innings, fanning 11, 6 hits and 3 walks, and has allowed only 3 runs in his first 23 innings, with 24 K for the summer. What does Elvis have in his repertoire?
Ben Badler: The stuff is very good, 93-96 mph, touching 98. We put him as the Sleeper for the Indians in the Prospect Handbook when he was a 17-year-old touching the low-90s after the 2008 season because of his potential. I’d like to see him stay healthy and put a full season’s workload together before getting too excited, but the stuff has certainly come around as projected.
- Clint (Omaha, NE): Was Jorge Bonifacio close to making the list 9-21 w/5 doubles? Have you heard good things about he and Michael Antonion in Burlington?
Ben Badler: I see Hot Sheets in his future. Very good hitter with power potential. Basically nothing like Emilio, from the scouts I’ve talked to.
- Steven (Walnut Creek): What's the ceiling on Cuthbert? Is he in the 50-100 range?
Ben Badler: All-star third baseman. I know scouts who live his bat, love his hitting mechanics and he’s got the chance to hit for power and play solid defense at third base. He’s a Top 100 guy with a chance to be top 50 by the end of the year if the numbers stay where they are.
- Thomas (Ohio): I was surprised to see Wong was still only 20! How aggressive do you think the Cardinals will be with him? Is there enough time for him to taste Hi-A this year? Great coverage! Thanks.
Ben Badler: I think he could move quickly. Very advanced bat and hitting approach. Really liked that pick for St. Louis.
- John (San Francisco): whats your opinion on gary brown
Ben Badler: We had a scout comp him to Peter Bourjos recently. There’s no such thing as a perfect comp, but both physically and in terms of his overall skill set, there’s a lot of similarities between those two.
- Daryl (New York): Thanks for the chat Ben. What do you think of Hak-Ju Lee offensively? Will he develop into a future star at SS?
Ben Badler: Above-average regular. He’s a spray hitter but he makes a ton of contact, will hit for a high average, get on base, 70 speed and the defensive tools to be a quality defender with more polish.
- JT (Michigan): Time to worry about Jared Mitchell? The k-rate is turrible, just turrible /barkley.
Ben Badler: Yes. Very worried.
- Nick (Chicago): I saw ryan flaherty recently got promoted. whats your opinion on him
Ben Badler: I don’t know where he plays, but he has huge power to the middle of the field, he has a good approach and he’s a solid hitter. I don’t know that his defense is ideal at second or third base so I’m not sure where he ends up playing, but I could see him being an offensive-oriented guy who moves around the field a la Ben Zobrist. I’ve seen that Tennessee club this year, and why the Cubs brought up D.J. Lemahieu when Flaherty was available was a bit puzzling.
- Jake (Atlanta): Could you see the Braves sending a starter to Texas in a deal for Profar? I'm sure it couldn't be done for Lowe, more like Jurrjens probably, but with Profar being blocked by Andrus and the Braves needing an SS of the future it seems possible.
Ben Badler: I think there’s a 0.0000144% chance the Rangers ever trade Profar.
- Jason B. (Olympia, WA): Hey Ben between Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen, who do you think will be the better pitcher? Arn't the Mariners spoiled with pitching! No hitting is a different story...
Ben Badler: There’s going to be some debate on that in the BA offices, but I’d rather have Walker.
- Ryan (Abingdon, MD): I imagine you'd say that Miguel Sano's bat projects to have more impact than Cuthbert's, but Cuthbert projects to have more defensive ability. How would you compare their overall prospect value?
Ben Badler: Both have good swings, good bat speed, strong arms, but Sano has more power, Cuthbert has a better chance to stay at third base. I think Cuthbert’s closed the gap pretty significantly to the point where they’re about even right now in value.
- Tom (Boston): Are the Phillies going to sign anyone in Latin America this year or just skip the whole thing altogether? Have you heard them on anyone?
Ben Badler: It’s only been a couple of weeks since July 2, and this isn’t typically when the Phillies find their top prospects in Latin America, since they’re more of a mid/small budget team, although if they went after Carlos Tocci when he turns 16 I wouldn’t be surprised. The ability of teams like the Phillies and Rockies to find major league talent in Latin America every year without breaking the bank should be the next Moneyball movie.
- Matt (Louisiana): Its been a tough year for us Orioles fans, both in the bigs and on the hot sheet. Can you give us a little piece of hope not named Machado today?
Ben Badler: One more month until Dylan Bundy signs.
- Joseph (Dallas, TX): Cuthbert is a stud, but Profar has still got to be the best prospect out of the 09 class, right?
Ben Badler: That ’09 class is shaping up to be a very good one, but I’ll take Profar over any of them.
- Steve (Chicago): How far has Jose Iglesias' stock fallen? He's got to hit at some point no? Are we looking at a Cuban version of Brendan Ryan?
Ben Badler: Or Rey Ordonez 2.0.
- Andrew (Napa, CA): The Giants called up Hector Sanchez today, whats your take on him? Thanks
Ben Badler: We ranked him as a top prospect in the Dominican Summer League after the 2008 season, so I’ve always liked him, but I didn’t think he’d get to San Francisco this quickly. I’m not sold he’ll hit right out of the gate even though he’s hit well this year in the minor leagues, but the defensive tools are there (1.9 pop times, strong arm, accurate, all that), so I think he has a chance to be a solid regular in time.
- Noel (Toronto): What should we make of Jordanny Valdespin's season so far? How much has it changed his status? Is he now a legitimate consideration to play short for the Mets in 2012 and beyond, if Reyes is gone?
Ben Badler: He’s an overachiever and a guy we’ve written about with an interesting back story, but he’s a utility guy.
- BL (Bozeman, MT): It was cool to see Cheslor Cuthbert on top of the Hot Sheet. What are your thoughts on a couple of his teammates at Kane County, Orlando Calixte and Brett Eibner?
Ben Badler: Raw and rawer. Yordano Ventura is the non-Cuthbert guy on that team to keep an eye on.
- Eric (Chicago): Who is the better centerfield prospect, Leonys Martin or Brett Jackson? Do they both have starting jobs early next season?
Ben Badler: Like them both, but Martin is better. Forget next year—he could be on the Rangers’ postseason roster this year.
- Matt Simms (Yellowknife): I know Las Vegas is a launching pad but it's hard to ignore David Coopers average. Given a full time shot in MLB what does he project as? Does he have more power then a James Loney, or would that be a best case scenario?
Ben Badler: I still see a part-time player, more of a good Triple-A player than anything else.
- Roger (Greenville, SC): Can Bogaerts stick at SS?
Ben Badler: Probably a third baseman, but plenty of bat for the position. Terrific sign there by Boston.
- Christian (San Diego): Rymer Liriano has been putting up some impressive numbers in Fort Wayne. What is the report on him?
Ben Badler: The numbers are good this year, he’s making progress, it’s just most likely going to be very slow progress. Bat speed, power, run, throw—those tools are all there, he’s just raw at the plate, so he’s going to take some patience.
- Brandon (Annapolis MD): I know you were a Nicasio guy... will he be helped by having to work on his slider at the MLB level or are the Rox risking his development if they have to keep him in the rotation much longer?
Ben Badler: In an ideal world, he’s probably best off in Triple-A, but if you want to win games in Colorado, he’s their best option. Can you control the environment better in Triple-A? Yeah. But development doesn’t suddenly stop when a guy gets to the big league, and learning how to get big league hitters out is valuable development itself (in a somewhat obvious-sounding way), so I think the notion that guys get pushed a little too quickly and it somehow ruins their development is a bit overstated. Down the road I still think he’s going to be a good mid-rotation starter.
- BL (Bozeman, MT): What is the timeline like for a player such as Elier Hernandez for the rest of the summer? Will he stay in a Royals academy somewhere? How about his off-season, leading up to the beginning of the short-season leagues next summer? I know things can change, but I'm wondering what might be typical?
Ben Badler: Depends on the player and the team. In many cases, the player will go to the team’s Dominican academy, work out there but not play in games, or play in games in a sort of parallel league where teams pool together a bunch of their July 2 signings who are on 2012 contracts (guys like Ronald Guzman, etc.) and have them play games to help them get more game at-bats under their belts. The bigger signings like Hernandez usually go to instructional league in Arizona or Florida after the minor league season, they’ll go to the team’s Dominican instructional league in the winter. If they’re Venezuelan they might play over the winter in the Liga Paralela, which is the minor league version of the Venezuelan League. Otherwise, they just rest or go home to their families. They are 16- and 17-year-old kids, after all.
- Jim (Houston): Most projections seem to have Altuve as a utilityman/role player and not an everyday starter, but the guy keeps consistently hitting. Does he have a chance to prove all of the doubters wrong?
Ben Badler: Hopefully he’ll get the chance to earn the everyday job at some point next year. It’s not like there’s a major roadblock in front of him in the organization.
- EricJ (SF): You guys are a lot higher on Martin Perez than most other places. What do you see?
Ben Badler: A 20-year-old lefty just moved to Triple-A who carved up Double-A hitters with a clean delivery, the ability to throw strikes, miss bats and get ground balls with a plus fastball, at least a plus changeup and a 50-to-60 grade curveball.
- Green Light (ATL): Vizcaino's Future: Reliever or Starter?
Ben Badler: Starter, although I’d like to see him put 150-plus innings on that arm before I say it with too much conviction.
- Christian (San Diego): Does Reymond Fuentes project to have any future power?
Ben Badler: Maybe a 5-10 HR a year guy at most, just doesn’t have the projection or the swing path for much pop. More of a line-drive guy who works middle-away.
- David (Wisconsin): Who do you like more, Jurickson Profar or Hak-Ju Lee?
Ben Badler: Profar, but those are my two favorite shortstops in the minor leagues outside of the Machado family.
- Fred (Ohio): Hi! What happened to the BA website's top stories section? I thought it was really helpful for keeping up with prospect news! Thanks!
Ben Badler: There’s some issue with the service we use that was running that section. It’s not my area of expertise so I don’t have any more details, but I’m told our people are working to get it fixed for you guys.
- Chris (NJ): What's the deal with Gary Sanchez? Are his defensive struggles correctable?
Ben Badler: The receiving needs a lot of work. I think we have to be patient with Dominican catchers (look at the track record — there are almost none of them around), but his receiving has been behind his other abilities since he signed. Plenty of arm though, and if the bat continues developing as expected, it will be worth the wait to have that type of hitter behind the plate.
- SteveB (Philly): So Jarred Cosart looked great in Futures game, people talk in glowing terms about his arm but... where are the results (not that he's been terrible)? Just young? Head? Health? What's missing?
Ben Badler: Terrific arm, consistently in the mid-90s while flashing an above-average curveball and an improving changeup. My big concern with him is his durability. He’s coming off a great showing in the Futures Game that every team in the league saw, he’s pitched well in the Florida State League this year — if I’m the Phillies and I get a good big leaguer as part of a package for Cosart, I’d try to sell high right now. They pulled it off perfectly with Jason Knapp, I wouldn’t be shocked if they tried it again.
- John (Ashburn, VA): Chris Dwyer...lots of walks. Time to be concerned?
Ben Badler: Depending on your expectations, sure. I’ve always seen him as a bullpen guy, not sure the delivery is conducive to throwing strikes or a starter’s workload.
- Andrew (Winslow, Arizona): Many thanks for accomodating the chat Ben. You mentioned Mateo on the not so hot section and id agree with you but with the way that Arizona's system has come on this year and their great draft would it be fair to say they are lock to have a top 5 system this year?
Ben Badler: Top five might be a bit rich just because I’d like to see some more premium bats in a top five system, but they’re going to be absolutely stacked with pitching. Five years from now I think the Diamondbacks are still going to be high fiving each other over the Pirates taking Gerrit Cole ahead of Trevor Bauer.
- Rob (Michigan): Why all of the hype surrounding Carlos Martinez? What type of player (comparison) does he project be?
Ben Badler: Guy throws up to 100, sits in the mid-90s with sink and control and he just annihilated the Midwest League in his U.S. debut. He’s not as big as Michael Pineda, but I think his stuff right now might be better already, or comparable at the very least. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still risk, but it’s a freakish arm.
- Omar (New Jersey): How do you feel about the two Int'l players the Pirates have signed this year? Harold Ramirez seems to have a lot of questions around him and Elvis Escobar is on the real small side?
Ben Badler: Not going to be the answer you’re looking for, but we’ll have to wait and see. The Pirates have found some good hitters in Latin America recently, they were heavily in on Sano and Cuthbert, so I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. Every 16-year-old kid is going to have questions, but those guys at least sound like they can hit in games. I’ll take that 9 times out of 10 over the uncoordinated 6-5 goofball with raw power in BP who can’t hit a lick in games and gets millions thrown at him.
- Jason (New Jersey): Hey Ben! Thanks for the chat. Any ideas who the Mets might get as the players to be named later in the K-Rod deal? Not looking for "insider information" per se, but could you name some likely candidates?
Ben Badler: Expect something very low level. The Mets were just looking to move him—quickly.
- Nick (DC): Is Jacob Turner ready to be Detroit's 5th starter? Also do you see him as a future ace or more of a 2-3 guy?
Ben Badler: Is he ready to go out and dominate? No, but if he makes his next start in a big league uniform, I don’t think he gets embarrassed either. It’s probably a 70 fastball between the velocity and the sink, with an above-average curve and an average to potentially above-average changeup. That’s the ingredients for a potential ace, but if he’s not that I still see him as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
- kl (collingwood): You guys raked Hechavarria. Bottom line, will he hit enough to be an everyday major leaguer?
Ben Badler: Great defender, but the bat? I’m very skeptical.
- Devin Mesoraco (Cinnci): Am I a top 10 bat from behind the dish once I get the call???
Ben Badler: If not immediately, then most likely at some point in 2012.
- Nick (DC): What's you take on Franciso Martinez? Do you see him as the logical replacement to Brandon Inge?
Ben Badler: He’s certainly next in line. Almost a sneaky, cheap five-tool player in a way; not that everything he does is plus, but if he develops into at least an average hitter, that’s five average or better tools across the board.
- Jonathan (Montana): Taking into account the signing of the Draft picks you'd expect clubs to make, How would you rank your top 5 farm systems?
Ben Badler: We put a lot of thought and phone calls into those rankings, so it’s going to take more time and debate for us to put out a new top five. That said, depending on draft signings and graduations, it’s going to be hard to keep the Rangers and Rays out of that group.
- Tad (Georgia): What's going on with Yonder Alonso? is he hitting just nowhere to play in Cincy?
Ben Badler: Yup. Pretty much the story of that Triple-A Louisville team this year.
- Terry (Nashville): Does Tyler Posternicky have a good chance at being the starting SS for the Braves in 2012? Could he be an above average SS in the majors?
Ben Badler: Definitely a chance to be a starting shortstop, if not immediately in 2012 then at some. The power might be a touch light to be an above-average guy, but I could see him being a solid regular for a lot of years who puts the ball in play and plays good defense.
- Mark (Seattle): Sup
Ben Badler: Sup with you?
- mick (cali): Any word on Joe Panik's play at SS? Do you see him eventually being forced to move to 2B?
Ben Badler: He’s still the same guy he was in May. Even if he does go to another position, I love the bat, and love the pick.
- Dan (Pittsburgh): Can Starling Marte crack the BA 100 next year? Your thoughts on him?
Ben Badler: He’ll be in the mix, more towards the back end. I wish I had more confidence that he could draw more than 30-40 walks over a full season because it’s not like he has crazy power to make up for it, but he does stay back against offspeed stuff fairly well, he’s a good athlete and the rest of the tools across the board are 50s and 60s.
- rob (NJ): How do Victor Sanchez and Osuna from this years int'l pitchers compare to last years top guys? Mainly Luis Heredia.
Ben Badler: More present velocity than Heredia showed when he signed, and Sanchez has a better slider, but in terms of physical projection, Heredia’s got them beat. All three of those kids are still 16, so it’s a long-term guessing game, but I’d go with Heredia if I had to pick one.
- EQVLPVEQVLP (Taiwan): Higher ceiling. Jurickson Profar, Luis Sardinas, Rougned Odor or Andrus?
Ben Badler: Profar. He has a chance to be a better hitter than Andrus. But man, I really like all four of them. That’s ridiculous.
- Kyran (Searsport, ME): Does Taijuan Walker have frontline starter potential?
Ben Badler: Absolutely.
- Robert (Secaucus, NJ): Ben, all due respect, but 5 years from now, I think the Diamonbacks are going to be kicking themselves for not taking Bundy over Bauer.
Ben Badler: That’s fair, and I’d take Bundy over Bauer too. But in the Bauer/Cole debate, I’ll take Bauer every time.
Ben Badler: Thanks for the questions everyone. If you’ve got satellite radio, remember to check out the Baseball America radio show on MLB Network radio on Sunday at 7 pm ET, as always. Now that I’ve plugged that, have a great weekend!