Moderator: J.J. Cooper will answer your prospect questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
- Ben (Leland Grove): Who has been a more pleasant surprise for you so far this year - Dan Straily or A.J. Griffin?
J.J. Cooper: Straily. Both have been nice surprises and
credit goes to them and pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, Midland pitching coach Don Schulze, Sacramento pitching coach Scott Emerson and really the entire A’s staff. Teams are trying to produce pitchers like what Straily has turned into, when you do that with a pitcher who was a 24th-round pick, you’re doing something right.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): Could we get your thoughts on
today's trade that sent Wojciechowski, Perez and Musgrove to the Astros? Would you consider any of them to be Top 10 worthy overall in their system?
J.J. Cooper: I don’t think any of them will crack the Astros’ top 10 when the season is over, but I do think both Wojciechowski and Perez will make the 11-20 range.
- Paul (NYC): Do you have any inside info as to why Matt Harvey didn't get the call?
J.J. Cooper: Mets decided he wasn’t ready. As Trevor Bauer and many others have shown, the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues for a pitcher is a big leap. If Harvey is getting Triple-A batters out, but doing it while still sometimes missing his spots, then the Mets have some logic in waiting a little longer.
- @Jaypers413 (IL): How exactly did Shaq Green-Thompson evade your Not Hot sheet? His numbers are downright cringe-inducing.
J.J. Cooper: One of the big questions we ask with our Not-Hot list is would this guy have a decent chance to make the Hot Sheet with a good week. In Green-Thompson’s case, he’d have to have an absolutely insane week to even sniff the Hot Sheet on the good side as he’s not much of a prospect unless he turns to baseball full-time, which
is unlikely. So with that being the case, we don’t usually pick those guys to be on the Not-Hot list either.
- Collie (Jersey): Would Wheeler rank for you as the 2nd best minor league pitcher this year (behind Bundy)?
J.J. Cooper: No. We just did our midseason Top 50 rankings and Wheelers was the seventh-best pitcher on that list. Bauer’s
back down in the minors, so right now I guess Wheeler would be ranked 8th among starting pitchers.
- Murph (San Diego): The Padres just promoted Adys Portillo to AA straight from the MWL. Do you see his two level jump
being more successful than that of fellow Padre Keyvius Sampson?
J.J. Cooper: I see this as less of a two-level jump than a “let’s avoid the California League” jump. You don’t want to send Portillo to Lake Elsinore where he would make two or three starts in Lancaster/High Desert in August, so you send him to Double-A. Portillo has the stuff to dominate at times in Double-A, but sure I’d also expect
him to have some rough outings because of his youth.
- Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Did Dan Corcino get consideration for the hot sheet? He's leading the Southern league in ERA amongst qualified pitchers as a 21 year old and his ERA is just over
2 since June 1st. Is he still the Reds best pitching prospect, or has Tony Cingrani and Robert Stephenson's stellar performance this year made
J.J. Cooper: Corcino was No. 1 on the Hot Sheet a couple of weeks ago. His one outing this week was nice, but not one that
would get you on the Hot Sheet. At this moment I’d still say he’s the Reds’ top pitching prospect, but it’s really, really close. You can probably find scouts who like Cingrani or Stephenson better.
- denis (marshall): Whats ur take on Yorman Rodriguez now? Seems to be getting his act together and flashing those serious tools.
J.J. Cooper: Sorry I’m not getting too excited about him yet. He’ll go into 2013 still having yet to play 100 games in a season and with plenty of question marks about his defense, his hitting approach and his makeup. It’s definitely a sign of some progress, but 25
good games in Dayton doesn’t erase the fact that he was demoted from high Class A Bakersfield after an awful 23 games there.
- Al (NYC): If you were running the Cubs, do you let Baez prove he cannot stay at SS before moving him off....or do you move him to 3B (or another position) now to get him as many reps there as possible? What are the reports on him defensively thus far in the MWL? Positive, negative or indifferent?
J.J. Cooper: Keep him at shortstop. It’s not hard for a
shortstop to learn how to play third base, in fact that’s one of the easier transitions there is. If he eventually surprises everyone and sticks at shortstop, he’s even more valuable. If not, you didn’t lose anything by sticking him there til he proved you needed to move him.
- josh (Texas): What kind of return do you believe the Padres could get form the Pirates for Chase Headley? Maybe a
combo of Taillon and Marte? Sounds good for 2 1/2 years, right?
J.J. Cooper: I think that’s what they’d ask for, but if I’m the Pirates that seems a little steeper than what I’d be looking to pay.
- Pat (DC): Adrian Cardenas was once a highly touted guy (ages ago). I see that this year, he finally has a respectable ISOP in PCL. Sign of improvement, or a product of multiple years in AAA and PCL stadiums?
J.J. Cooper: I’d lean to b.
- Chris (Chicago): Is Jeter a fair comp for Profar's tools/makeup?
J.J. Cooper: No. The crazy thing is Profar may be more athletic than Jeter, but comping a guy to a Hall of Famer is something that will usually mean the guy fails to live up to the comp.
- Al (NYC): Great to see Hellweg making the list for the 1st time this year. I know he's a little older, but there seems
to be some real upside there. Assuming he fixes his 1st half problems,
does he still project as a #2 SP in the bigs? His size and stuff seems
to even fit the profile of a #1, but having never seen him pitch, can you tell me a little about his makeup and other intangibles that he might need to improve to fullfill his potential?
J.J. Cooper: I can’t see throwing a No. 1 on a guy with
Hellweg’s command. Stuff-wise he does have No. 2 stuff, but there’s a lot of risk there as far as his likelihood of reaching that ceiling. I haven’t heard bad things about his makeup, seems to be receptive to coaching. The big thing for him is just maintaining his delivery, which will likely always be a battle.
- Chris (Charlotte NC): Shelby Miller has obviously struggled in tripple A, and it appears it has mainly been with
his secondary stuff (curveball primarily). Why are people so quickly dimishing his top 30 prospect status?
J.J. Cooper: He’s No. 20 on our list. Bad first-half, but not willing to give up on him in any way.
- Aaron Thomas (Arizona): When are the A's going to take the kid gloves off of RHP Michael Ynoa? These one Inning stints are getting ridiculous.
J.J. Cooper: When you have a piece of fragile porcelain
you have to treat it carefully. Sorry, but at this point, there are plenty of reasons to treat Ynoa’s arm carefully.
- tim (SF): Is it safe to say brown has regained his status as a top 50 prospect?
J.J. Cooper: No. If he keeps this up over the rest of the year, he might regain that status, but a great week (or month in Brown’s case) helps his case, but it doesn’t override the concerns that scouts had when he was struggling.
- Michael Fulmer (Savannah): After the year I have had so far in A ball, 1 year removed from high school... Am I in consideration for a milb top 50 prospect, come year end?
J.J. Cooper: More of consideration for the Top 100.
- Evan (Houston): What are your thoughts on Domingo Santana? I know that CAL stats can be looked at with a grain of salt being a hitters league, but for an almost 20 year old, his stats aren't that far off from a more polished hitter in George Springer. It reminds me of when both Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman were playing together in the minors, Heyward had all the hype, but not much was said about Freeman, and both have turned into impact players for the Braves. So with that in mind, how good could Santana be compared to Springer, considering he is almost 3 years younger?
J.J. Cooper: The problem with that question is the supposition that Springer is a more polished hitter. Springer has great tools, but he’s also a pretty unpolished hitter who sings and misses a lot. Actually that club has a lot of guys who swing and miss a lot, but none more than Telvin Nash.
- joe (San Francisco): Tommy Joseph ranks 1 of the youngest in the Eastern League. Can you tell me what he projects to become?
J.J. Cooper: Front-line catcher who isn’t a liability at the plate or behind it.
- Jeff V. (NPR FL): Disappointed Schoop didn't finish the week strong and make the list.
His recent power surge seems legit, what are the odds he makes it to Baltimore next season?
J.J. Cooper: I’d say 2014 looks more likely, but the fact that he’s making improvements is a good sign. Add in the fact that he’s one of the youngest players in the league and there is a lot to like.
- Jason (Austin): Do you think Baez is a 30/30 type guy in the majors? Also what are the chances he sticks at SS? What is a realistic ETA for cubs fans late 2014 early 2015?
J.J. Cooper: No. He’s not a 30 steal guy in the big leagues. You’re getting way too excited about a non-speedy guy who is an
aggressive runner stealing bases against low Class A pitchers and catchers. He’s an average runner who knows how to swipe a bag when a pitcher is slow to the plate.
- Matt (KC): Any positive scouting reports coming from Burlington on Bubba Starling's swing changes or overall performance?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. Swing changes appear to be helping his contact rate. When he connects he can hit the ball a long, long ways.
- Cam (TX): Is it time for George Springer to move up to AA?
J.J. Cooper: With his strikeout rate I don’t think the Astros’ are holding him back by keeping him in high Class A.
- Epic Beard Man (Oakland): Has Dan Straily forced himself into the discussion for the top 50 prospects list yet? What do you see his ceiling as?
J.J. Cooper: He was ohh-so-close to being in the midseason Top 50. If he keeps this up the rest of the year it wouldn’t shock me to see him crack the offseason Top 50.
- eric (sacramento): Do you think A's regret taking grant green. All these position switches seem desperate to reclaim any value out of a high draft pick? Better chance he replaces jemile weeks at 2b or green is trade bait?
J.J. Cooper: I’ve never been a big Grant Green fan (nothing personal, just mean as a prospect). He seems to me to most likely be a utilityman who can be useful at a lot of positions. Not enough trade value to be a big trade chip.
- Kenny Diekroeger (KC): I am the same guy that was projected to go Top 5 a few years ago or am I a utility infielder?
J.J. Cooper: More likely the later, but he has made some changes to his swing since signing with the Royals. We’ll see if those make a difference.
- Rob (Toronto): Which prospect among theTop 25-30 in baseball has seen the most regression this year? I would probably cast my vote Julio Teheran.
J.J. Cooper: Teheran is probably the answer. The next wave of pitching prospects had soared while Teheran has taken a big step backwards.
- Jay (Madison): Good stuff. Was kinda hoping J.
Schoop would make an appearance on the list. What do you think of his progress this season and can he stick at 2b?
J.J. Cooper: Already answered a Schoop question but haven’t answered the second half of this question. Yes, I do think he can stick at 2B.
- JF (Nocal): How fast can you see Baez moving with his premium bat? Will his defense be the thing holding him back for a few years?
J.J. Cooper: I don’t think the glove will really hold him back. If he keeps hitting like he’s hit, the Cubs are likely to move
him up as his bat shows it’s ready for the next level. If at some point
that means he has to move to an easier position defensively, they’ll likely make that move as well.
- steve (jersey): Dodgers have enough pitching prospects to get a close to ready corner infielder of outfilder. What would work
J.J. Cooper: We talked about this on the podcast that is now up on the site and at iTunes. The Dodgers don’t really have a Tier I prospect to be the cornerstone of a deal, but because of their willingness to add salary they likely can still get something useful with their decent number of Tier II prospects.
- Jason (Austin): Will Skaggs get the call at some point this year? Any word on how he has looked in the PCL?
J.J. Cooper: I’d say he’s unlikely to get more than a September callup at best, but he’s been what we expect top see from Skaggs—one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
- Matt (VA): How much longer will Zack Wheeler be in Binghamton?
J.J. Cooper: Don’t by tickets for an early August game expecting to see him. It sounds like he’ll be headed to Triple-A very shortly.
- Mick (Cali): Billy Hamilton seems to be adjusting well to AA. What is his ETA and at what position?
J.J. Cooper: Just saw the news that a defensive indifference last night was changed to a stolen base for Hamilton, which
gives him 111. He seems to be handling the jump to Double-A fine but I do see a lot of Tweets from Reds’ fans that speak as if Hamilton is an injury away from fixing the Reds’ leadoff troubles. I don’t think there is anyway that Hamilton is ready to help the big league team at the plate this year and even early 2013 would likely be too soon. Now I do think he could do a lot to help the big league club as a September callup who might even be a useful 25th man on a playoff roster, but his value would be as the best basestealer in the majors the day he arrives.
As far as position, I think he ends up as the Reds’ center fielder, but
as I’ve said before, I see no problem with keeping him at shortstop for
- Lance (Memphis): With the Mets' bullpen struggles, is it possible Familia could provide bullpen help for the major league team down the stretch this year?
J.J. Cooper: Yeah. I’d say that’s much more likely then him being in the Mets rotation in late-2012 or early 2013.
- daniel (houston): About Hultzen: It looks like he is calming down all the doubts about him right? Also he is striking out more guys as never before. Is he looking like a #1 guy or still as a
J.J. Cooper: Everyone wants everyone to be projected as
a No. 1. There are very, very few guys who ever project as a No. 1. But
yes, Hultzen is a potentially really good No. 2.
- Jordan (Dallas, TX): Can you breakdown Straily's pitches and what is his ceiling?
J.J. Cooper: Four average to above-average pitchers on his best days. Fastball keeps getting better, changeup is his best secondary pitch. Looks like a very solid middle of the rotation starter,
and I hope that isn’t selling him short.
- Douglas (Vancouver): Do you think young pitchers are being over hyped? I point to the seasons that Brian Matusz,
Matt Moore and Julio Teheran are having as examples of young pitchers failing to live up to their billings. In general, do you think young hitters are more likely to succeed than pitchers?
J.J. Cooper: Absolutely hitters are more likely to succeed than pitchers. If you were trying to mitigate your risk as far as prospect prognostication, make a list with 25 hitters before you list
any pitchers. But if you’re trying to build a big league club and you try to do that, you’ll lose a whole lot of games, as pitching is tougher
to acquire than hitting. But don’t look at Matt Moore and say that he’s
failing to live up to his billing. He’s not having the rookie year that
may have been expected of him, but that doesn’t mean he won’t live up to expectations about him over the long-term. David Price had to figure some things out at the big league level, but look what he’s doing now.
- John (Phoenix): Which minor league pitcher would you consider capable of a Mike Trout ascendancy? Thank you.
J.J. Cooper: None.
- Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Who do you like better: Straily or Cingrani?
J.J. Cooper: Straily.
- dave (ny): say anything about the phillies org
J.J. Cooper: Dom Brown can still hit some. He can’t play defense in the OF.
- D.Cornell (OC, Wi): What's your take on Wilmer Flores? Can he really become the next Miguel Cabrera (as once predicted)?
J.J. Cooper: Much improved season for Flores, but no he’s not going to be Miguel Cabrera. I don’t remember who ever predicted
that in the past.
- D.Cornell (OC, Wi): Angel Villalona is tearing up the DSL. Will his name ever make it back to this list? Do you see him reaching the BIGS?
J.J. Cooper: No. I’d be stunned to ever see Villalona on a Top 100 list. And if you’re a 21-year-old playing in the DSL, .310/.444/.510 is about what I’d expect from a guy with 1,000 pro at-bats.
J.J. Cooper: Sorry to wrap this up, but I have a couple
of minor league managers to talk to. Thanks for all the questions and we’ll do this again next week.