Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Josh Norris (May 2)

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Moderator: Baseball America’s Josh Norris was here to chat about the latest Prospect Hot Sheet.

Rudy (Garden Grove, CA): Has Mike Montgomery finally turned a corner and gained back his prospect status? Looks like his control is better outside of one bad start. Do you see him as next in line from the minors for the Rays or Enny Romero?
Josh Norris: I don’t think so. I think he’ll be a major leaguer, but certainly not the one everybody expected lo these many years ago. Having seen him a couple of times, the stuff isn’t anything close to knockout.

Rudy (Garden Grove, CA): Who do you think would get the next shot at the rotation if one of the Brewers' starters got injured - Tyler Thornburg, Jimmy Nelson or Mike Fiers (who's been amazing in PCL!)?
Josh Norris: Fiers is the most likely candidate. He’s got MLB experience. Nelson still has polish to add, and Thornburg isn’t stretched out.

John Doe (Makeupnameville, Mass): Do you know if the Red Sox plan to start Simon Mercedes?
Josh Norris: Funny you should ask about Mr. Mercedes. Our second installment of Scout’s Video View focused on him today: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/scouts-video-view-simon-mercedes/. They’re piggybacking him now to manage his innings (he had just 63 1/3 last year) but keeping him on a starter’s schedule certainly gives the indications that they will in the future.

MJ (Chicago): Do you believe in the GM's excuse that the cold weather is the reason why Maikel Franco has struggled so far this season?
Josh Norris: I don’t know that it’s an excuse, but rather a reason. A scout who saw him recently saw no reason for concern (he pegged him as a future all-star) outside of the normal dings about overaggression at the dish. He’s also 21 and in Triple-A, so let’s go ahead and wait on him.

John (Chicago): Do you think Brandon Nimmo ends up on next years' top 100?
Josh Norris: If he keeps this up, absolutely.

MJ (Chicago): Mookie is getting a lot of attention now, but still not a ton of respect when it comes to prospect rankings. Why do you think that is?
Josh Norris: I don’t think this is true at all. I mean, he was No. 7 on our Red Sox list and No. 75 on our top 100. He’ll definitely move up the chain on the team list simply by virtue of Bradley and Bogaerts graduating to the land of Fenway

Rudy (Garden Grove, CA): Just a hiccup in Robert Stephenson's development or are command issues taking some of the shine off his prospect status?
Josh Norris: Command was always the caveat with Stephenson. If he continues with the disaster starts, he’ll surely shed some sheen, but he stuff is still lethal.

brooklyn bobby (brooklyn new york): is there still hope for slade heathcott.?....hes supposed to have tools up the wazoo....also gets the wazoo injured every year.....
Josh Norris: Having watched him for more innings than I can count, I can tell you he’s as toolsy a prospect as there is in the Yankees’ system. However, he’s super aggressive on the diamond, which leads to these injuries. There’s still hope, I think.

Pauly Bagadonuts (South Philly): Can Kenny Giles hit the side of a barn with the pressure turned up?
Josh Norris: Yes

Joey Gallo (Deep right-center): Three True Outcomes???? Three True Bombs!
Josh Norris: This isn’t a question, of course, but I’ll comment here both for myself and the esteemed J.J. Cooper about 100 feet behind me that I’m very excited to see you in person next week, Mr. Gallo. You certainly performed last time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwQ1mq83jlM, and I hope you’ll do so again.

Greg T. (Twin Cities): Can someone tell me how Trevor Story is 2nd in all the Minors in SB, with 16?!? Yet everyone there at BA always says his speed is "average." Not to mention, I believe he has the highest SB % in all the Minors in the last three seasons?!?
Josh Norris: You certainly don’t have to be a burner to steal bases. If you can pick your spots correctly and get good reads on pitchers, you can burgle bases at an effective clip.

Gregory Polanco (Pirates Prison): Why am I here????
Josh Norris: Your release date is sometime in June. You know why.

Ghost of Al Martin (PIT): Should Pirate fans bee excited at Elias Diaz' combination of defense and hitting (as he's shown this season)?
Josh Norris: Catchers do tend to develop their offense later in their careers, but let’s wait to see on judging whether he’s taken a step forth until he gets more than 60 at-bats under his belt this season. The arm is certainly legit, though.

John (Chicago): You and JJ talked about Jacob deGrom on the podcast this week. Is he a potential No. 3/4 in the majors?
Josh Norris: I think that’s about right.

Ben (Ft Wayne): With the log jam at OF in St Louis.... do you see them making a move that would see Piscotty being moved? Could you see them making a big splash for an MLB 2B like Altuve, Kipnis, Utley, etc.? Seems to me the Phillies should unload Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Jimmy Rollins, and AJ Burnett and starting to restock the farm system. If they were able to come away with some guys like Pederson, Wong, Piscotty, and Urias, they could be quick to rebuild that team.
Josh Norris: Well Kipnis ain’t going anywhere, and I don’t think they’re going to bail for the long term on Wong just yet. And in re: Phillies: There is zero chance they end up with Joc Pederson or Julio Urias in a trade.

Daniel (Katy, Tx): Is J. Gray the best pitching prospect in the minors? His stuff is more similar to Jose Fernandez?
Josh Norris: He’s close to the best in the minors. Archie Bradley, though hurt, is up there, too. I don’t think I’d comp any one’s stuff to Jose Fernandez, quite frankly.

Kenny (Highland Falls, NY): Whats wrong with Matt Davidson? Time to bail on him yet?
Josh Norris: After 25 bad games in a league where he’s much younger than the competition? Absolutely not.

frank (BK): everyone had such high hopes for Jesus Montero a few years ago. he's had a rough couple of years but has his projection changed? can he help the Mariners this year?
Josh Norris: Poor conditioning, steroids, concussions. He’s cooked.

Yangervis (Bronx, NY): Why no love even after close to 100PAs?
Josh Norris: We’re kidding, right? Judging a 26-year-old utility stopgap on 100 PAs?

Mark (Boston): What do you see as the ceiling for Mookie Betts in his prime? If you had to re-rank prospects, where would Betts fall in the top 100 right now?
Josh Norris: All-Star second baseman. Higher than 75.

Brian (Baltimore): What is the latest on Eduardo Rodriguez? Hes been on the DL for a while now but I did not see the details of his injury
Josh Norris: Sprained knee that is not considered serious at this juncture.

Kris Bryant (Tennessee): I am a fairly sexy individual, do you think all the ladies will love me in Chicago and I will be the future face of MLB?
Josh Norris: I cannot speculate as to the tastes of the ladies of Chicago. Until Mr. Trout is gone, there will be no other face of the MLB.

Bob (Madison NC): who are your top three middle infield prospects in the South Atlantic League this year?
Josh Norris: J.P. Crawford, Abiatal Avelino, Cleuluis Rondon

Stella (Burlingame, CA): How would you rank the Yankees three top picks from last year based on what you've seen? Judge is really hitting well, Jagielo picked up too . . .
Josh Norris: Clarkin is just now getting to Charleston, Judge has gotten good reviews. And I don’t know what you mean by Jagielo has picked up: He’s had two extra-base hits since April 13.

Tommy La Stella (Gwinnett): So how bad does Struggla have to play before I get the call? I think my contact skills could help this boom or bust Braves offense.
Josh Norris: There are about 30 of these questions in the queue (about half of which claim to be from Mr. La Stella himself), so I’ll answer it this way: The Braves are seven games above .500. That tends to buy a struggling player (Uggla) more time than if the team were seven games below . 500.

bryan (charlotte): Has Lively added a pitch, have Maddux like command, added velocity, changed his approach, something else? The numbers are cartoon-like...is the scouting community thinking he has ace type potential?
Josh Norris: He absolutely does not have ace-like potential. There are very few pitchers who do. That said, he’s got excellent command, deception and four average pitches.

Tim C (Chicago): What kind of player is Jon Singleton? Will he hit for power and average?
Josh Norris: With the way he works at-bats, I expect him to do just that in the majors.

Mookie Betts (Oregon): I'm so good that I would be a better CF than JBJ. Trade him and bring me to field the Triangle!
Josh Norris: Look, Mookie, I love you a lot (even though I know you’re lying about being from Oregon). But you would not be a better center fielder than Jackie Bradley.

Josh Norris: That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s Hot Sheet.

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