Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Kary Booher and Matt Eddy

Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

If
Jennings can stay healthy throughout the entire season, could you
project his stats for us? Also, is a trip to Durham and possibly Tampa
out of the question before season’e end?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Matt and I are double-teaming today’s chat, just to help the process
since we got somewhat of a late start on today’s Hot Sheet. Hope
everybody is doing well and enjoying the season so far. With that, away
we go …

Kary Booher: Jennings figures to enjoy a big
year in the Southern League since anything he does will certainly trump
last year, when a back injury limited him the first two months at high
Class A Vero Beach. He hit two homers in 85 at-bats there and also had
to undergo shoulder surgery, so he played only 24 games. Let’s see, why
not project at least 18 homers and at least 80 RBIs? He’s off to a nice
start and probably will experience the rigors of Double-A. That could
cut into some of his stats. As for reaching Tampa? It seems a bit of a
stretch, just because he needs playing time before heading to the
majors. But Triple-A Durham should be within his reach.

 Q:  Matt LaPorta from Columbus asks:

How am I doing so far this year? When will I get called up to Cleveland?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Thanks for checking in, um, Mr. LaPorta. It’s been awhile since we’ve
seen you. It was Durhamm, right? With Team USA last August? You’re
hitting .360/.429/.640 with three homers, three doubles, a triple and
nine RBIs. As for a callup to Cleveland? Ah, I’d say the over-under
would be pre All-Star break. But you have Mark Shapiro’s number, right?

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:

Reimold
has been putting up staggering numbers thus far, but seems to be
blocked from Camden. What do you see in his future, and was his age
what excluded him from the list?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Seeing Reimold crush no-doubt home runs in the first two games of the
year (including one off David Price) really piqued my interest.
Ultimately, Reimold fell just a bit short this week, but .500-.600-.700
with a homer, a double and 8 RBIs and 5 walks is nothing to sneeze at.
If we had a do-over, Reimold should have made the Hot Sheet.

 Q:  Andrew from York, PA asks:

Collin DeLome’s power seems to be legit, but will he ever hit enough to be a major-league regular?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
It’s nice to see DeLome off to a strong start at Double-A Corpus
Christi, where he’s already cracked six home runs in 54 at-bats.
Overall, he’s hitting .296/.345/.630 but also has struck out 11 times.
If he can cure his penchant for strikeouts — he had 138 in 463 at-bats
last year in Class A. At this point, scouts see him more as a fourth
outfielder, capable of playing mainly left field.

 Q:  Jordan from Carrboro asks:

When did Mike Stanton get traded to the Giants? As a Giants fan I am ecstatic….

No love for Brandon Crawford? He has turned into the second coming of Brandon Wood.

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
A sloppy error by us. Thanks for catching the Stanton mistake. As to
Crawford, he probably deserved a closer look by us. The Giants’
fourth-rounder last year from UCLA is off to a fast start in the Cal
League, batting .382-.477-.727 with 5 HR in 14 games. But as Jordan
notes with the Brandon Wood reference, the strikeouts have been a
problem — Crawford has 19 in 55 at-bats.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:

Do you think Gio Gonzalez will be the ace that we thought a few years ago?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
I’d go with power reliever or No. 4 type starter. That breaking ball’s
a killer, but not sure he has fastball command to be a front of the
rotation guy.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:

What kind of numbers do you expect Dominic Brown to put up this year?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
We rated Brown the No. 1 Phillies prospect in the Handbook after he hit
.291/.382/.417 with nine homers and 54 RBIs at low Class A Lakewood.
But now he’s in the Florida State League, known more as a pitcher’s
circuit thanks to the cavernous ballparks. Brown still needs to fill
out, so the home runs may not necessarily be overwhelming. But watch
his doubles and also keep an eye on his walks, which he did very well
in last year. Here’s some food for thought as well: Two other
lefthanded bats that have come through the FSL in recent years, the
Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus and Daryl Jones, combined for only 11 homers in
500 at-bats.

 Q:  Arma from Washington asks:

We
are in a deep NL league. Can you rank the following based on future
offensive potential only; Alvarez, Posey, Alonso, Wallace, Flores,
Freddie Freeman, Tabata? This is the order they were drafted in our
league. Also, is there a significant break or difference in talent in
this group. Long time subscriber and never asked a question before.

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Considering only offense: Alvarez, followed by Alonso and Wallace
(toss-up), Posey, Flores, Freeman and Tabata. Freeman has proven
himself at a higher level, but Flores has an special blend of raw bat
speed and hand-eye coordination that should translate into high
averages and HR totals.

 Q:  James from Whiteman AFB, MO asks:

Do you see Chuck Lofgren making a comeback this year and making some appearances on the hot sheet?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Great to hear from the Armed Services, especially in my old stomping
grounds of Missouri. Unfortunately, it looks as if Lofgren is in a free
fall. Scouts weren’t impressed with him in the Arizona Fall League, and
he also fell from the Top 10 in the 2008 Handbook to completely out
this year. His results so far (1-0, 1.80) at Double-A Akron are
encouraging, but it’s still a small sample size (10 innings).

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Ga asks:

Brad
Emaus is tearing up the Eastern league, yet doesn’t make it into the
Team photo? What gives? Also, does Stanton make the Fish by the end of
the year?
How soon do we see him in Jax?
Thanks

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
How about that Brad Emaus? An 11th round pick in 2007, he’s one of my
favorite underdog players to root for. He tore up the Florida State
League in ’08, then walloped Hawaii Winter Baseball pitching, then made
a strong showing in big league camp, and now he’s off to a
.327-.403-473 start for the Fisher Cats.

Matt Eddy:
Emaus grinds out at-bats and has modest power, but he doesn’t have a
natural position — unless you count the batter’s box. Still, I
wouldn’t bet against this guy having a significant big league career.

 Q:  Mike from CA asks:

Any thoughts on Angels LHP Alexander Torres, who leads the Cal League with 23 strikeouts?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Torres was one of those under-the-radar stories last year except for
those such within the Angels system. A 2005 sign out of Venezuela at
age 17, he has moved slowly through the system. Well, until last year
when he opened in the Rookie-level Arizona League and then was supposed
to head to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga only to fill in. But he ended
up sticking and finished 3-2, 3.91 in 53 innings, striking out 62. He
doesn’t have ideal size as a 5-foot-10, 160-pound lefty but he varies
his arm angle and worked on a changeup and tightening his curve last
fall. I wonder how much that he and fellow lefty Trevor Reckling, a
starter at Rancho, are picking each other’s brains. For a lefty to have
another lefty on staff, it’s gotta be nice.

 Q:  Jim from Near Philly asks:

No Kyle Drabek??? He put up two great starts over the past week. What gives, Mr. Eddy?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Drabek made last week’s Hot Sheet, so he’s clearly on our radar. A tip
of the hat for his performance during the past week: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 10
K, 2 BB.

Matt Eddy: And going back two starts: 13 2/3
IP, 8 H, 2 BB and 19 K. Both were against Lakeland, though, so maybe
there’s something to that.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:

Matthew
Sweeney is off to a terrific start, not Hot Sheet worthy, but very
solid. Is he the comeback player of the year or is it Desmond Jennings?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
He could be if he keeps it up. Just a quick glimpse at Sweeney: He’s
hitting .355/.375/.645 with 11 extra-base hits, including three homers,
in his first 65 at-bats at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The Angels
were very excited about him in spring training, since he looked ready
after missing all of 2008 with an ankle injury.

 Q:  Matt from Florida asks:

Tim Beckham has been impressive thus far. Did he get any love from your staff this week?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
You have to be encouraged by the quick start for last year’s No. 1
overall pick, especially in light of his Appy League struggles. However,
as good as a batting line of .381-.391-.476 is, it doesn’t quite rise
to the level of Hot Sheet. That’s 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 run, 5 whiffs
and 1 walk.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:

Should
Viciedo have started out a class or two lower? It seems like throwing
him in the fire in Birmingham was perhaps a bit too much for him to
handle right now.

 A: 

Kary Booher:
The White Sox actually kicked the tires on sending Viciedo first to
Triple-A Charlotte, but he was moved to the Double-A roster in spring
training, just about a week after being optioned down. Not to give away
too much in our upcoming Prospect Pulse — we’re featuring Viciedo, by the
way — but scouts think he’ll do fine once he learns his strike zone.
Sliders are eating him up, and he’ll continue to see a lot of them in
Double-A until he learns to recognize pitches. Still, I think he’s in
the right spot. That club has a lot of big names, guys he is probably
going to be moving up with through the system. And he’s got Ever
Magallanes as manager. Magallanes, a former Angels minor league
manager, should be a calming influence, as he speaks Spanish and seems
to have a necessary understanding of an international player debuting
in a new country.

 Q:  Mike from Ixonia, WI asks:

Best long term prospect: Mike Stanton or Jason Heyward?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Is there money riding on this? Hmmm. I like both, especially after
reading Ben Badler’s epic piece in our 0909 issue (the one before
last). I’ll give a slight edge to Heyward because I like his overall
athleticism, but you can’t go wrong with Stanton, either. Heyward, to
me, gets the edge.

 Q:  Rory from NYC asks:

What
are your thoughts on Reese Havens? Will he get promoted to Double A
Binghamton at some point soon? He really looks the part as a potential
offensive minded second baseman. Anyone else on the St. Lucie roster to
watch out for..Zach Lutz maybe?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Sit back and enjoy the ride. Havens doesn’t figure into the big club’s
plans for ’09, so a late-season promotion to Double-A may be in order
if he continues to perform. And yes, I agree with you. Havens’ approach
is a breath of fresh air for an organization that hasn’t really focused
on grinding, professional hitter types in recent years.

Matt Eddy:
Two St. Lucie players (who didn’t crack our Top 30) to watch:
22-year-old LHP Angel Calero, who’s posted an 0.82 ERA to go with 10-4
K-BB in 11 IP. Also, 21-year-old CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Mets’
third-rounder last year from NAIA Azusa Pacific (Calif.). He’s not
hitting at the moment, but he’s a physical lefty batter who may emerge
with enough repetitions.

 Q:  Chris from Somerset,NJ asks:

Matt

Any thought on DJ Mitchell making the list?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Great performance thus far from the Clemson product. His sinker is too
much for Low-A batters to handle. This much we know. The Yankees are
working with him to throw a curveball (he threw a slider in college),
and his ceiling is dependent on that pitch’s development.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:

Lightning Round: Andrew Brackman vs. Dellin Betances

 A: 

Matt Eddy: I’d lean Brackman, but it’s close.

 Q:  Josh from SI, NY asks:

Who
will make more of an immediate impact when they get to the
Majors….Logan Morrison (injury notwithstanding), Yonder Alonso or
Matt Gamel (moving from 3rd eventually)?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
If I were predicting, I’d say first Alonso, then Morrison and then
Gamel. Alonso has the plate discipline already to compete at the higher
levels and demonstrated his patience in that Reds Futures Game against
the big league club earlier this month in Zebulon, N.C. Morrison won a
lot of admirers in the Arizona Fall League as he showed off his power.
Gamel is off to a nice start after struggling in the second half last
year.

 Q:  Alex from East Bay, CA asks:

Do
you think Adrian Cardenas will be able to stay at SS or will he
eventually have to move to second or third base by the time he reaches
the majors?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Signs point to no. But a lefty-batting second baseman with a feel for
hitting is going to get all sorts of big league opportunity.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:

Who do you like better? Tim Alderson or Jhoulys Chacin?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Slight edge to Alderson for his breaking ball, which would suggest that
he has a better chance to remain a starter as he moves up.

 Q:  Bryan from San Francisco asks:

What
are your thoughts on Toronto’s Eric Thames? First season in pro ball is
high-A and he seems to be holding his own. I know he was a big prospect
before a pre-draft injury and was curious what you thought. Thanks!

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
You have to be encouraged by how well Thames has played, being thrown
into the fire at High-A without benefit of a summer in the NY-Penn
League. He has power to rival any Jays’ farmhand and he’s a definite
sleeper.

Matt Eddy: I had my chance to look really smart
and rank him in last year’s Top 30, but I whiffed. I at least named him
sleeper prospect, just like Brad Emaus the year before.

 Q:  SSJames from (Orange, CA) asks:

I
didn’t see any mention of Ethan Martin (LAD, Lo A) pitcher on the Hot
Sheet. He is off to a great start with a 0.60 ERA and striking out 19
in 15 IP. Did he get any consideration for the Hot Sheet this week?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
Martin has been very impressive so far and was nudged out this week
only because we had a number of others worthy of Hot Sheet as well. It
wasn’t anything he did wrong. The Dodgers have to be very happy with
his performance so far, considering he didn’t get much time to work on
pitching last fall after tearing the meniscus in his right knee while
covering the first base bag. I think it helps him a lot to have Danny
Darwin, a former big leaguer as his pitching coach, at Great Lakes.
Darwin seems genuinely interested in working with prospects in the low
minors, and Martin should be one of his best and most eager pupils. In
camp, both talked about the excitement of Martin becoming a pitcher,
not just a thrower, since he really didn’t focus on pitching until his
last two years in high school in Georgia.

 Q:  Jack from ft. Lauderdale, Florida asks:

Any
chance Tyler Flowers or Carlos Santana get called up this year and how
do you think they will fare at the major league level. Also… do you
still project Fernando Martinez as an elite prospect?

 A: 

Kary Booher:
It’s difficult to envision either one getting summoned, unless it’s as
a September callup. The White Sox are set with Pierzynski, and the
Indians with Victor Martinez in a division in which both consider
themselves contenders. Probably better to let Flowers develop behind
the plate, especially on his blocking, and Santana to continue to work
with a pitching staff (and his English, something he wants to zero in
on).

 Q:  Rich from Boston asks:

And
Daniel Bard (9 IP, 1 hit allowed, 16K’s, 1.00 ERA) didn’t make the hot
list because? With Papelbon established as the Sox’ long-term closer,
what do you foresee as Bard’s future? It would seem to be a waste to
make him a set-up man. Could he be traded for a big bat come July?

 A: 

Matt Eddy:
Bard, who cracked our inaugural Hot Sheet, nearly earned Not-So Hot
status for his shaky work on the week. Think about it: His ERA
increased by a full run and his opponent average ballooned by nearly 40
points.

Matt Eddy: No, seriously, the reason Bard didn’t
make it was because he threw just three innings on the week, striking
out 7, walking one and giving up one hit (a solo bomb).

Matt Eddy:
It’s always possible Bard could be traded, but the Red Sox won’t do so
solely because of the presence of Papelbon. Though Papelbon is 28 and
seems like he could keep rocking forever, rare is the closer who has an
extended shelf life as an absolute top-flight reliever. Perhaps by the
time Papelbon hits free agency in 3 years (assuming his contract is not
extended), Bard will be ready to step in and close.

 Q:  Derek from Little Rock asks:

Stanton or Heyward? Both ETAs?

 A: 

Kary Booher: What the heck … Stanton 2010, Heyward 2011.

Kary Booher:
That’ll do for this week’s chat and apologies if we didn’t get to your
question in the past 90 minutes. Have a great weekend and see you next
week.

Minors | #2009 #Prospect Hot Sheet

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