Moderator: J.J. Cooper will answer your prospect questions beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
- calvin (arizona): who will be better in 5 years Wilmer Flores or Nick Franklin?
J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by on what, at least here, is a brutally hot Friday afternoon. Give me Franklin and it’s not very close. Flores has had a very nice bounceback season, but I’ll take the middle infielder who projects to be better with the bat as well.
- Stephen (Vancouver): Do you expect to see the three-headed Lansing trio in Dunedin by year end?
J.J. Cooper: They just started letting some of these guys go five innings in a start in the last week, so no, my guess (and it’s just a guess) is they spend the year in Lansing.
- Kenny (Visalia): Evan Gattis is having another great year offensively. How has his defense progressed (if at all), and
what does the future hold for him...can he be the catcher for Atlanta?
J.J. Cooper: Regular catcher, no. A guy who can catch in a pinch which adds to his versatility? Maybe.
- Corey (Detroit): What are your thoughts on Castellanos already reaching Double A at age 20? Think he has enough power to profile for 3B?
J.J. Cooper: Absolutely he has enough power. For one thing, if his hit tool is as good as it appears to be, he doesn’t need to be a 25-30 HR masher, and for another he already shows some opposite-field pop. As he matures, expect to see the power numbers climb.
- Lenny (B.C.): the Rockies have just announced that Nolan Arenado will NOT be called up at any time this year, and there is some inference that it is due to some behavioural issues. Prior to this, his attitude and make up was never in question...was has happened?
J.J. Cooper: Kind of puzzled by that myself. Of course it came the same week that they also announced that they aren’t going to
entertain offers for Michael Cuddyer, so I’m baffled on a lot of Rockies pronouncements this week.
- Itto (Aguadilla PR): Jorge Soler or Puig? Which one will be ranked higher at the end of the year?
J.J. Cooper: Soler…….yawning chasm……………………still here?………….Puig. Soler would be in solid contention for a Top 50 spot in our midseason prospects rankings if he was eligible. Puig would not come close to the Top 100. I
don’t think he’d make numerous team’s Top 10 lists. Yes he got an insane amount of money (largest first contract signed by a Cuban player), but our Ben Badler couldn’t find a scout for another team who would go anywhere close to that kind of coin for Puig. And beyond everything else, it’s almost impossible to get a decent read on Puig. He
hasn’t played in an actual game in a long, long time (over a year), and
he didn’t run a 60 or face live pitching at his recent workout. So that’s a whole lot of money on a big gamble and one that has scouts almost everywhere else completely baffled.
- Al (NYC): A little disappointed to see Hak-Ju Lee not on the list. Has a .362/.412/.511 slash line over the last 10 games plus 9 for 9 in SBs during that stretch. Why the snub?
J.J. Cooper: He’s in the team photo, just scroll down a little lower. We wrote him up.
- Dave Y. (Portland, OR): Is Billy Hamilton as fast as Tony Campana?
J.J. Cooper: Quicker. I’m not sure he could beat him in
a 60-yard-dash, but he’s at a whole other level as a basestealer. The best season Campana had in the minors, he stole 66 bags. Hamilton has 65
steals from May 1 to today of this season and at a better success rate than Campana did that year. Campana’s fast, but he really doesn’t deserve to be in a conversation with Hamilton when it comes to basestealing.
- Justin (Nashville): Just wondering, who is the Mariners' top pitching prospect now? It is still Walker, or do you think Hultzen has overtaken him?
J.J. Cooper: I’d still take Walker, but you’re talking about two of the top five pitching prospects and two of the top 10 prospects in the game.
- Kyle (Indianapolis): J.J. thanks for the chat this week.....Please rank in order the likelihood for Mike Trout this year, Rookie of the Year, AL Batting Title, MVP, and Gold Glove. How impressive was that catch on Wednesday? 20 year olds aren't suppose to be doing this.
J.J. Cooper: Rookie of the Year, Batting Title, MVP, Gold Glove. Now here’s the thing, I’d say he has a non neglible chance at all those things. It’s hard not to think about Fred Lynn’s rookie year.
- Bryan (Palo Alto, CA): In a system that lacks star power, how excited can I start getting about Kyle Crick?
J.J. Cooper: Not wake up the neighbors screaming excited yet, but if you want to get a little crazy, feel free. He has the makings of being yet another Giants pitching find.
- Joe (Chesapeake Beach, Maryland): Do you see Manny Manchio in Baltimore in May 2013 with JJ Hardy moving over to 3rd Base?
J.J. Cooper: Too soon.
- esteban (miami): do you see donovan tate ever getting back on track?
J.J. Cooper: Back on track implies that he was on track
at some point. Between the injuries, suspension and problems with his hit tool, Tate really hasn’t ever been on track. I know he just got promoted, but when you promote a guy who has a .535 OPS in the Midwest League, he’s being promoted more because you’re trying to get him caught
up developmentally than anything about earning a promotion.
- esteban (miami): is starling really good enough defensively to make mccutchen move to a corner?
J.J. Cooper: Good enough, yes. Will it happen? That’s less certain. When you have the star of your team and he’s comfortable at a position, you don’t move him without getting him to agree to the move.
- Tommy (Virginia): Brett Jackson has above average tools. He has bat speed, a decent approach at the plate. He's not noted as a wild hacker. He's showing enough power that he should have enough power as a left fielder, but defensively, should be fine in CF for a few years. Bat speed is supposedly fine.
So ... what exactly is his problem? Is it mechanics? There's reports of holes in his swing, but it doesn't sound major. Is it breaking balls? It's not like he can't recognize spin, though. Sveum noted recently that he had trouble with hard stuff earlier in the year, and was having problems with soft stuff.
He's not a bad player, but it's just an ... odd package. Any ideas as to what his issues are?
J.J. Cooper: One of the things that I’ve heard is that he takes a whole lot of pitches, and he’s yet to realize that he doesn’t
have the bat control and hand-eye to handle getting into two strike counts over and over while trying to work pitchers for the pitch he’s looking for.
- Mark (Tampa): What kind of numbers do you think
hak ju lee will put up in the majors? Could you see him hitting 12-15 hr with 30 sb and a 280 average?
J.J. Cooper: I don’t expect that much pop. I could definitely see that for the steals, and the average seems possible, although that’s probably at the upper end of what he could do.
- Tim (San Francisco): Whats wrong with Gary brown? He's been playing better lately and has his average over 260 finally but obviously he's been a big disappointment. Do you think he'll
turn it around or that we all misjudged him since he was old for his level last year and it was the cal league.
J.J. Cooper: Definitely some worries that we may have seen the Cal League effect at work again. Some scouts wonder if he’s not
just a good 4th OF.
- Mike (Orlando): Mike Montgomery, Shelby Miller,
and Drew Pomeranz were all ranked as #1 prospects for their teams in the 2012 handbook and have all had struggles this year. If you were making the 2013 handbook right now how would you rank them? Would any make the top 50 prospects list?
J.J. Cooper: I’d put Shelby at the top of those three by a pretty good margin right now. As far as who would make the Top 50, we’ll let you know next week when we release the list. Our Midseason Update will go live sometime next week.
- Ben (Miamisburg, OH): When fringe prospects like Reds AAA OF Cody Puckett put up monster weeks like he did this week, does he get consideration for the hot sheet?
J.J. Cooper: Consideration yes, but Puckett’s week wasn’t that monster. He ranked 466th in the minors this week in runs created and 817th in OPS. That’s something that’s often hard to fathom, but a .320/.414/.480 line will often not get you close to the Hot Sheet.
C.J. Retheford didn’t make the list (largely because of age) and he put
up a .600/.677/.920 week.
- Bryan (Tennessee): What do you make of Matt Barnes recent struggles?
J.J. Cooper: Nothing really to worry about. First hiccup in what’s been an amazing debut.
- Ben (Miamisburg, OH): When do you start tracking 2012 Draft picks in the hot sheet and daily prospect reports? Reds supplemental first rd pick Jesse Winker has a .922 OPS as an 18 year old in the advanced rookie pioneer league in his first 9 games there, and was over 1.000 for the past week?
J.J. Cooper: They are being tracked right. Winker ranked 150th in the minors in runs created last week, and he was doing it at Billings, which is a very offensive environment. He was considered.
- Al (NYC): Just noticed that the BA Prospect Report that had Javier Baez 11 for 11 in SBs in his first 24 games this year. Speed has never been mentioned as a strength for him. Is this just a case of the league not being terribly good at holding/throwing out runners, or are the SBs something that we can expect out of his game
in the future?
J.J. Cooper: A little of both. Clearly he has some aptitude for stealing bases, but at the same time, Midwest League pitchers are often just learning how to speed up their deliveries, so you’ll see a number of 1.5-second and slower guys where the bag is just there for the taking.
- Duke Z (Elma NY): What is going on with Bubba Starling? I have not been able to find anything on why he has missed a number of games to start the season in Rookie ball.
J.J. Cooper: Follow my twitter feed @jjcoop36, I had on there last week that he strained a hamstring which sidelined him until last night.
- Jim (Novi): JJ, Got a Mason Williams question for you. His power and speed, do those both project as plus tools? And could he be a Mike Trout sort of player, eventually? Thanks
J.J. Cooper: Sorry not comping anyone to Mike Trout. Williams is a potentially very good big leaguer, but Trout’s the same age as him. Trout’s one of the best players in the American League, Williams is one of the better players in the South Atlantic League, that’s a very big difference.
- Hunter (VA): Gerardo Concepcion - buy or sell the Cubs arguing that he'd dominate A ball if they simply let him go with his secondary stuff (reportedly, he's "working on his fastball").
J.J. Cooper: Sell…Sell…Sell…Actually if you read Ben Badler’s reports here at Baseball America you probably never bought him to begin with.
- Matt (Yellowknife, Canada): Any hope for Angel Villalona, had a heck of bat before his legal woes?
J.J. Cooper: No.
- Rick (NY): Any hope Reese Havens can resurrect at least a part of his prospect status and take over the 2B job in Flushing? Has been hitting better recently.
J.J. Cooper: With Havens at this point it’s more likely
that injuries have wrecked his chance at a solid career. He lost a lot of development time, and it’s hard to think that he’ll stay healthy long
enough to hold down the job if he got it
- Dave (Middleton): I've seen several sources rave over Gustavo Cabrera but your site lists him as fifth best available IFA, how could he be comped as a top 5 draft pick if he isn't even a top 5 IFA? Is the hit tool that bad?
J.J. Cooper: We’re not saying he’d be a top 5 pick.
- Jeff (CA): Which first rounder could you see not signing by the deadline?
J.J. Cooper: Appel. I’d say that’s most likely with Giolito second. I’d still say it’s better than even odds that everyone in the first round signs.
- Chris (Phoenix): Statistically Deshields looks good. Can we now upgrade him as a prospect from when we started the year?
J.J. Cooper: Definitely. He’s shown significant actual improvement.
- John (NJ): When you say Nick Franklin projects as a better hitter than Wilmer Flores, how much better are we talking?
J.J. Cooper: Significantly better. I’d say among scouts
there is a pretty general consensus that Franklin will be a solid big league regular. There is no such consensus on Flores.
- Astonished Al (Earth): What do the Dodgers know/think about Puig that no one else in the baseball world seems to know?
J.J. Cooper: We haven’t been able to find out that answer. If they end up right on this, they can point out that they were smarter than everyone else.
- Eric (DC): Good to finally see Machado start to
come around with the bat and on the hot sheet. If he reaches the majors
in the next year, you see him sticking at SS while JJ Hardy moves to third?
J.J. Cooper: I want to see Machado put in a solid couple of months before I start projecting him to be ready for Baltimore in early 2013.
- Michael (NW IN): When will Josh Vitters get some recognition for what he's done this year? He's finally turning the
page and made the AAA All-Star team. He's been raking the past month, but never even a mention on here?
J.J. Cooper: It was a good week, but not a blow you away must be on the Hot Sheet week. But we do have a feature on Vitters planned that will run in the near future.
- Tim (Tdot): Who has better numbers in 5 years, Dee Gordon or Billy Hamilton?
J.J. Cooper: Hamilton. Better on the bases, better athleticism and I think he’ll have a better hit tool.
- William (Sacramento): I saw that Luis Heredia has made his first couple of starts for College Station and while his performance was not Hot Sheet worthy I'm interested in your thoughts on his progress?
J.J. Cooper: Hard not to like him a lot. Plus stuff, advanced approach for his age.
- Noel (Portland, OR): JJ- regarding question #1 (Franklin vs. Flores)- how about Franklin vs. Allen Hanson? Who would you take there?
J.J. Cooper: I’ll take Franklin. Much longer track record, playing at a higher level and a safer pick.
- Justin (Nashville): If Campana, the best stolen
base player in the majors, doesn't belong in the same discussion as Hamilton, then it sounds like nobody does!
J.J. Cooper: There is no one in the majors to compare him to. I know stealing bags in the big leagues is different than the minors, but consider that Hamilton’s 94 steals are 27 more than any TEAM
in MLB. Hamilton has stolen more bases this month than the Orioles or Red Sox’s have this year.
- Chris (NJ): Is Make Skole a prospect to keep an eye on? Can you give us some input on him?
J.J. Cooper: He’s intriguing, but I’d like to see him get a chance to do it against higher levels of competition.
- Rich (CA): Mike Trout last year was in the Texas League at 19-20 yrs old and won your Minor League Player of the Year. Oscar Taveras is in the same league at the same age, posting better offensive numbers, with a drastic difference in HR's. So how is it that Oscar is not the front-runner for this year's Minor League Player of the Year ? Or is he on pace to win it now ? I have heard Jim
Callis mention Profar this year and that makes no sense at all with the
year Oscar is having unless Profar is the greatest defensive shortstop in history, which I know he is not.
J.J. Cooper: Right now Profar and Taveras are definitely two of the favorites for the award. Got to throw Danny Hultzen in there as well.
- A Hopeful Padre Fan (Hell): Would Headley be enough to get Bundy away from Bal? He is under contract for 2 more years, and is currently the 2nd best 3B in baseball after D. Wright.
J.J. Cooper: Seriously? There’s hopeful and then there’s gone crazy. Headley+the Padres Top 10 Prospects might not get Bundy away from Baltimore. Put it this way, Bundy is the Orioles’ Trout or Harper. How much do you think it would take to get Trout or Harper in
a trade? It just isn’t going to happen. The last group crazy enough to swing a trade like that was the Mets with Kazmir (who wasn’t in Bundy’s class as a prospect) and that didn’t work out well for that front office.
- ttnorm (CT): That is a lot of bats Cingrani missed this week at AA. Aberration or is he better than a lot of us thought going into 2012.
J.J. Cooper: Better than we thought.
- daniel (houston): Higher Ceiling Oscar Tavares or Myers?
J.J. Cooper: Myers. More athletic, better defensively, more power. Taveras has a better hit tool.
- Jon (DC): Obligatory: Harper or Trout?
J.J. Cooper: Staying with Harper. Love both of them, would love to have either on my team. But remember that when Trout broke
into the big leagues as a 19-year-old, he struggled and then found his footing this year. At the same age, Harper is posting an .850 OPS in the
big league. More importantly Harper has more power, which to me in the end will give him a slightly more epic career.
- Ken (MN): Getting conflicting stats on Hamilton's steal totals...94?
J.J. Cooper: Yes 94.
- Tony (MD): Geesh ... wanted to get this in, not
really a question ... but what's up with all the Campana mentions? Realistic Cubs fans understand that he's probably a bench player/AAA guy. He's not in Hamilton's league as a base-stealer, and doesn't have Hamilton's offensive ceiling.
J.J. Cooper: Agreed, but he is the best basestealer in the big leagues right now, so I understand the question being asked.
- Ryan Hall (Baltimore): Dylan Bundy has to be in
the running for Minor League Player of the Year, too, right? Or the innings limits placed on him going to hurt him too much in the voting?
J.J. Cooper: The innings pitched is going to make it a little tougher. Forgot to mention earlier, but Billy Hamilton has to be considered as well.
- TJ (MD): Buy or sell Andrew Cashner developing into a solid, mid-rotation or better starter?
J.J. Cooper: I’m worried about him staying healthy as a long-term starter.
- tony (nyc): how is will myers not in the conversation for minor league player of the year?
J.J. Cooper: Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m assuming he won’t
be around in the minors for that much longer. If he stays in Triple-A all year, he’s definitely a major factor in the minor league POY race.
- Jon (DC): How about Xavier Nady for Bundy.
J.J. Cooper: The o’s might consider it with some prospects thrown in for Bobby Bundy.
J.J. Cooper: Thanks for all the questions. I’ve got to wrap this up to finish up some must-do-before Friday ends tasks here at the office.