Ben Badler: Taking a break from scout calls for our league Top 20s, so fire away.
- MJ (Chicago): What are your impressions of Matt Harvey so far? Does he have top of the rotation stuff?
Ben Badler: Absolutely. It’s a 70 fastball, anywhere from a 60 to 70 grade slider, and a serviceable changeup with average or
potentially better command down the road. That’s an exciting arm.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): How concerned are you about Danny Hultzen at present?
Ben Badler: More confused than anything. He does some unusual things in his delivery, sure, but he’s always had good control. To see him come unraveled like this, especially after the way he looked in Double-A, it just has scouts scratching their heads more than anything else. I still like him as a potential mid-rotation guy, but that’s going to be a tough one to rank in the offseason.
- Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Ben. I know early reports on Dorssys Paulino's glove are mixed, but his offensive stats in rookie ball are amazing for a 17-year-old. Is the bat for real,
and how high could his offensive ceiling be?
Ben Badler: I don’t think he plays shortstop (probably 3B or 2B), but I also don’t think it matters because of how good his bat
could be. Great bat speed, the bat head is in the hitting zone forever,
he uses the whole field and the approach is light years ahead of most of his peers. He’s probably not a monster slugger, but with his ability to hit, get on base, then hit anywhere from 15-20 home runs per year (and he’s 17, so maybe there’s more to come), that’s a dynamic hitter who can fit anywhere from the top to the middle of the lineup.
- Shyster Jeffrey (Tampa, FL): Besides his power, what else does Ruf bring to the table as a prospect?
Ben Badler: Not much. It’s a pretty one dimensional profile and, gun to my head, he’s probably a good Triple-A hitter who gets a cup of coffee in the big leagues. But man do I hope I’m wrong on that one because what he’s doing right now is just ridiculously fun to follow.
- Jason (Austin): Do you think Mike Zunino should
get called up for a taste of the bigs? Also do the Ms see him as there
everyday Catcher over Montero going forward?
Ben Badler: Pushing him there this year would be premature, but once he’s ready, Montero is either going to another position or another team.
- Or (Denton, TX): Thoughts on Leonys Martin's bat? Could he profile as a COF if his defense isn't up to par in Center?
Ben Badler: I like him more than most. There’s a lot of
scouts who wonder if he’s a fourth outfielder, but I think that’s selling him way light. It’s not huge power, but his bat control is tremendous, he’s got a good idea of the strike zone, so he’ll get on base and he’s got the speed and arm to be able to play good defense in center field. There’s above-average everyday potential there, but I’ll admit I’m higher than most guys on Martin.
- Roger V. (NJ): Hey Ben, thanks for the chat. I'm very happy with what Tyler Austin has done this year, but there were
big things expected this year from another Yankees prospect that didnt pan out. Dante Bichette Jr. was a huge disappointment to say the least. Any particular reason for the lack in power and overall bad year from him? And do you think that this is what he is and will be in the future,
or will he find the power again to become a top prospect again for my Yankees? Thanks
Ben Badler: Equally surprised here. Scouts are saying that his hitting mechanics have been a mess this year, stepping in the bucket, getting pull-conscious and just not doing the things that made everyone so excited last year. There’s bounceback potential here next year, but it’s been a disappointment.
- John (Maine): Is Xander Bogaerts a Top 10 prospect for next year?
Ben Badler: I love Bogaerts, but he’s not in that class quite yet.
- Steve (NH): How would you rank De La Rosa, Webster, and Barnes?
Ben Badler: Barnes, Webster, De La Rosa. De la Rosa has
the most arm strength, but he’s also the most likely guy to end up in the bullpen role. Webster might have the deepest arsenal of the three, but Barnes has the best total package.
- Eric (Atlanta): Hey Ben - can you tell me anything about Danville prospects SS Jose Peraza and RHP Mauricio Cabrera?
Ben Badler: Big fan of both. Peraza has great plate coverage and speed at a premium position, Cabrera is running his fastball up to the mid-90s and generating some buzz around the Appy League. Braves did a nice job getting those two guys out of Latin America in the same signing class.
- Ice (Detroit): What would you expect from Bruce Rondon should he get called up? A lot of wild pitches or next K-Rod?
Ben Badler: Rondon’s fastball is ridiculous, but I would keep him in Triple-A the rest of the year. He’s made pretty major strides with his control this year (and there were quite a few scouts who thought he’d never make those adjustments), but there’s still quite a
bit of work to do there.
- Itto (Aguadilla PR): Do you think that Jorge Soler could start the 2013 in AA Tennessee with a Sept call up to the majors?
Ben Badler: A Florida State League assignment is more likely. The Cubs know they’re probably not going to contend next year, so there’s really no reason to rush him to Chicago.
- Trev (NJ): What are your thoughts on Ramon Flores? He is younger than Mason Williams at the same level, shows great
plate discipline, and has displayed very impressive extra base hit power with 40 on the year.
Ben Badler: I’ve heard great things about Flores’ bat control since he was 16, the question is just the same, which is whether
he’ll do enough else to be more than a tweener. If the power comes, boom, you’ve got a potential breakout guy.
- Paul (Dover): Yasiel Puig's floor , ceiling , likelihood he goes bust?
Ben Badler: Need a way bigger sample size to be able to
make any calls on that. He’s got some interesting tools, but nobody has
seen him play much, including international scouts.
- Adrian (Bordentown, NJ): How many scouts do you talk to in a day?
Ben Badler: Depends on the day and the time of year. Sometimes it’s a couple, sometimes it’s a dozen. Easily one of the best parts of my job is just picking their brains.
- Brian (Boston): How concerned are you about Blake Swihart's struggles as a 20 year old in A ball?
Ben Badler: He looked like a potentially dynamic two-way threat coming out of the draft, but he just hasn’t been that guy
this year. The hitting approach is solid, but he’s had some issues with
balance and timing that have kept his numbers down. I’d take Austin Hedges over him pretty easily at this point.
- Corey (Miami): Ben - As a head Int'l reporter at BA, what are your early impressions of Ronald Guzman this year in the
AZL? What have you heard?
Ben Badler: More or less the same things we were hearing last year (although I can’t say I expected him to go 7-for-8 stealing bases), which is that he’s an extremely advanced hitter for his
age with great size, although the power isn’t there in games yet. The power has to come at some point and it’s not flashy bat speed, but if you look at his youth, his size and what he can do in BP, there’s a good
chance the game power comes down the road. Lots to like here.
- Drew (SW Missouri): What position does Wil Myers end up playing? And is it for KC?
Ben Badler: Right field. It’s his best fit, and frankly, it’s not like they have anyone there good enough to block him on merit.
- Liam (Dallas): Who has had the more impressive season? Luis Heredia or Victor Sanchez? Would Sanchez crack your top 100?
Ben Badler: They both have a chance to sneak in somewhere toward the end of the list, with Heredia over Sanchez.
- daniel (houston): best pure hitter in the minors?
Ben Badler: Oscar Taveras. Maybe “pure” is the right word for what he does in the box, but it works, and it works better than anyone else.
- Kevin (Nevada): What have you thought of Skaggs' big league performance thus far and is he a future #1 SP?
Ben Badler: He could be, and believe me, I don’t throw that tag around lightly. Three potential plus pitches and potential plus
control. I’m not saying he WILL be an ace, but he has that potential, and if not, I think there’s a pretty darn good chance he’s a No. 2 if he
- Tom (Boston): Carlos Tocci just turned 17 last week and seems to be holding his own. Is there any power potential there?
Ben Badler: It’s one of the most divisive questions among scouts who see him. Some scouts think the body screams projection because of how skinny he is, other guys think the way he’s built (light frame, narrow shoulders) that he’s not going to add much weight. Nobody knows, and the Phillies may be banking on it, but even they would admit they don’t know what to expect from his future power. But when you have a
guy who can hit close to .300 in the GCL at 16(!), shows you a good swing path, a good approach at the plate, great baseball instincts for his age and the ability to play the heck out of center field already, there’s a lot of ingredients to like.
- JayPal (New York): Hello Ben, thanks for the chat! I use these chats and prospect hot sheets to prove to fellow Mets
fans that our farm system is not as barren as the local detractors in the media might have us believe. Speaking of which: Are Tapia, Montero,
and Mateo all top 10 guys in the Mets farm system going into 2013, assuming that Harvey pitches 50 innings and is rendered inelligible?
Ben Badler: I don’t want to just throw rankings out there, but yeah, they all have a good chance to be in there. And I would
agree, the Mets have a better farm system than people think, and a big part of that is probably because they have those good young Latin American pitchers coming through the system. Everyone knows about Harvey
and Wheeler, but having that influx of Latin American arms developing and the breakout (or re-breakout?) of Flores has been a major boon for the system.
- Sol (Nevada): #1 position player prospect next year: Myers or Profar?
Ben Badler: Profar.
- Jamie (Minnesota): Would you say Miguel Sano's season this year was disappointing, or about what you expected?
Ben Badler: A little bit of each. The skill set he’s shown hasn’t been surprising; we knew he had crazy power, and we knew the power was going to come with strikeouts. He’s drawing more walks than I would have expected, and from what I hear he’s having that pounded into his head not to chase so many pitches, which is a good thing. I do like Sano quite a bit, but I did expect him to make some more strides with his contact rate this year, which he just hasn’t done.
It’s always going to be power over hit with Sano, but he’s going to have to make some adjustments for the power to play by the time he gets to the Double-A/Triple-A level.
- Fred (Illinois): Nice to see Sonny Gray end strong. What do you foresee for 2013? Repeating AA, or AAA with a shot at a September call-up?
Ben Badler: Probably gets the bump to Triple-A, but I think his future is in the bullpen.
- Bobby (Pittsburgh): Is Gregory Polanco a top 50 prospect? What's his ceiling?
Ben Badler: Very good chance to be there. Potential all-star with five average or better tools.
- Niel (Dallas): Your thoughts on the Rangers grooming Profar for a late-inning defensive replacement/pinch hitter role?
Ben Badler: Smart idea to get him used to doing it in September if they bring him up. Not sure if there’s going to be any major immediate impact there if they do bring him to Texas, but I do like the idea of getting him around that atmosphere for the experience.
- Nick (Cary, NC): In your opinion, with both Andrew Chafin and Aaron Sanchez having 5+ BB/9 innings, what are the chances that Chafin and Sanchez can improve their control going forward,
or are they likely to always give up a high number of walks?
Ben Badler: Sanchez is the better bet there. He’s younger and his mechanics are smoother than Chafin’s. They’re both going
to be stuff over command guys, but with Sanchez I think there’s a chance for average command, and when you put that with his stuff, you have frontline starter potential.
- Mike (Virginia): Adalberto Mondesi just turned 17 last month and seemed to hold his own (.292) in the Pioneer League. Is he promising enough to make Royals Top 10 prospects? Top 20?
Ben Badler: He’s getting excellent reviews this year. His $2 million price tag was one of the biggest surprises of the year last year, but he’s making the Royals look very smart right now.
- David (LA): Higher upside Wong K or Didi?
Ben Badler: Wong. Gregorius is going to give you more defensive value and he’ll hit enough to be an everyday guy in the big leagues, but Wong’s offensive upside is bigger.
- Chris Nelson (Boston MA): What is your take on Red Sox AAA pitcher Will Inman? Seems to have put up great numbers this year out of the pen. He's a guy that has not had a shot in the bigs yet.
Is this year the year?
Ben Badler: How did a question from 2006 get stuck in the queue?
- Scott (Saint Louis Mo): I have been wattching Kaleb Cowarts boxscores during the slump. Any long term concerns? :Top 100 guy for you? Thanks!
Ben Badler: He gets himself into trouble when he starts
trying to hook the ball and the bat head starts sweeping around the ball, but that’s something he can correct because he usually does a good
job driving the ball with authority to the opposite field. Wouldn’t surprise me if he has a breakout year next season.
- Trev (NJ): Was there a sleeper in the Yankees system that jumped onto the scene this year? (Besides Austin)
Ben Badler: The upside value is limited because of his role, but Mark Montgomery could be an outstanding reliever.
- Kristen W. (Canada): Hi, thanks for taking the time to field our questions. How well-rounded a player do you think Jurickson Profar could become in the bigs? I think he could end up a 20-HR/30-SB/.300 BA/.370 OBP-type guy who offers decent defense, basically offering the same kind of multi-faceted production as the guy he'd be replacing at 2B and forcing to LF if Hamilton leaves as a FA - Ian Kinsler.
Ben Badler: I’d go lower on the steals, higher on the OBP and if they put him at shortstop, he’s going to give you good defense there. That’s a potential MVP candidate down the road.
- Tom (Boston): Thanks for chatting with us, Ben.
Does Darin Ruf have the chance to play an acceptable LF in the majors?
He reminds me a little of Brian Daubach.
Ben Badler: They’re going to try playing him out there in winter ball, but it’s a 20 run tool. I don’t think it’s going to be pretty, but it’s worth a shot.
- Jeremy (FL): Having seen Harvey's stuff in the Majors, would you still have Wheeler over him?
Ben Badler: I have Harvey ahead of Wheeler, but you’re talking about two frontline starters.
- Jon (DC): How do you assess Brian Goodwin's season?
Ben Badler: I like him a lot. Yeah, the performance took a hit when they skipped him a level and sent him to Double-A, but the tools are the same, it’s a simple swing with a patient approach at the plate with some surprising pop, so you’ve got a potential high OBP guy who can play up the middle. I’ll take that.
- Jonathan (New York): Thank you for the chat! I'd like to ask about someone that might have been in line for the Not-So-Hot Sheet. If you guys were doing another Top 50 right now, do you think the consensus would put Anthony Rendon back in the 20-40 range, or would most of your colleagues stick to their guns and leave him off the list?
Ben Badler: Rendon’s going to stir some debate here in the offseason, but hopefully the AFL will give us some more information to guide those decisions. The Double-A struggles don’t really bother me,
so he can get a pass for that given the circumstances he’s dealt with this year. The consistent injuries have to be a concern at this point though beyond just a fluke, but when he’s at full strength, he’s one of the best pure hitters out there. Jim Callis is still all over Rendon, and it’s usually not a wise idea to bet against Jim.
- Mike (New York): Which high player drafted in 2012 has been most impressive since signing?
Ben Badler: Have the Arizona League Rangers retired Joey Gallo’s number yet? He’s up there, although the strikeouts are a red flag. Mike Zunino, Addisson Russell and David Dahl have to be at the
top of that list.
- Mike (San Diego): Has Donavan Tate re-emerged as a prospect with his performance at Lake Elsinore?
Ben Badler: Not seeing it.
- wayne (Camarillo Ca): I noticed that the A's Grant Green has been playing a lot of SS and 2nd base at Sacramento. Are
the A's going to bring him up as a infielder?
Ben Badler: I’m not sure there’s enough there yet with the bat for it to matter.
- Douglas (Vancouver): Hi Ben, Do you think Dayan Viciedo would be a good comparison for Miguel Sano? Thanks.
Ben Badler: Sano has the bigger ceiling. Viciedo has better bat-to-ball ability, but Sano has more power and he’s not quite as much of a free swinger as Viciedo.
- Michael Stern (Rochester NY): With Rizzo the future at 1B in Chicago, what do the Cubbies
do with Vogelbach? Can he play anywhere else? That's a big
power bat to have to give up.
Ben Badler: He’s in Boise, so they don’t have to worry about that for at least a few years. Vogelbach is getting great reviews this year, but that’s not a body you want anywhere other than first base
or the batter’s box.
Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions. We’re unveiling the Minor League Player of the Year on Tuesday, so check back next week for the announcement and have a great weekend!