- Justin (Toronto): On a performance basis, have the Lansing trio of Syndergaard, Nicolino, and Sanchez been the best trio of pitchers in the minors so far? Do any of them get promoted to Dunedin this season?
Matthew Eddy: They may be the most dominant trio in the
Midwest League, I'll grant you, but I'd take the Mobile Three, Bauer, Skaggs and Corbin. I certainly hope we get a chance to see the Blue Jays' leading lights in High-A this year, particularly Syndergaard and Niccolino, who have done nothing but dominate pro competition.
- Dane (Tallahassee): No mention of Andrew Chafin? I realize this is a pretty difficult list to make given how many pitchers are off to good starts, but Chafin has arguably had the best start of them all.
Matthew Eddy: D-backs lefty Andrew Chafin is legit, but
for this week's Hot Sheet we considered April 13-19 performance only, and in that time Chafin logged 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six
hits, albeit with nine strikeouts.
- Gary (NYC): A 25-year old in High-A ranked higher than two of the most dominant young pitchers in the Sally League? C'mon, guys.....
Matthew Eddy: So are you officially protesting this week's Hot Sheet in the hope that the commissioner's office will overturn the ranking? All I can say is don't bet against the Braves player development machine. They turned Brandon Beachy, a nondrafted free agent from an NAIA school, into a rotation fixture, and also got NDFAs like Pete Orr and Matt Young to the big leagues, however briefly.
- Pauly (Garden State): A recently snapped 14-game hitting streak by one of the minors' top overall prospects in Mike Trout didn't even warrant a mention in the Team Photo?
Matthew Eddy: Who loves Mike Trout more than BA? For the record, he went 9-for-24 (.375) with two triples for Salt Lake last week, logging three walks, four whiffs and stealing one base.
- Chris (NJ): Rymer Liriano struggling for the 3rd time in High A. 3rd times a charm right?....
Matthew Eddy: As a middle-of-the-order hitter for Lake Elsinore, Liriano is seeing better breaking balls and changeups than he's ever seen before. Give him half a season before drawing conclusions.
- Tom (MA): Is Billy Hamilton's prospect stock rising? Is he getting close to Profar and Machado territory?
Matthew Eddy: As the Hot Sheet capsule states, Billy Hamilton can make adjustments that other players are simply not capable of. I personally don't think he has the same impact potential with the bat as do Profar or Machado. However, put Hamilton in center field (a very real possibility with Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart in Cincinnati) and then we might have something, particularly in light of the way the game is changing at the major league level. A slashing, contact-oriented hitter like Hamilton might have an advantage in an offensive environment where strikeouts keep rising and batting average keep falling.
- John (Miami): Was Jared Mitchell not in consideration?
Matthew Eddy: A nice week by 2009 first-rounder Jared Mitchell, who missed all of 2010 and probably wishes he had missed all of 2011 too. Making the jump to Double-A Birmingham, he went 9-for-26 (.346) with two doubles, three triples, three walks and three steals this week. Good to see.
- Kris (Canada): Why not just put the entire Jackson rotation in the hot sheet each week?!
Who has the highest upside and who reaches the majors first?
Matthew Eddy: Trust in the Prospect Hanbook rankings. Taijuan Walker has the highest ceiling, while Danny Hultzen probably toes the rubber first in Safeco.
- Ken (Lakewood CA): Don't see him mentioned on the Prospect Sheet, but 1B Jonathan Singleton appears to be doing well. What are the chances in your opinion of seeing him on the Hot Sheet in the future?
Matthew Eddy: I love Singleton's ceiling, but it's going to be hard for any first baseman with zero home runs to crack the Hot Sheet. Look for him in the not too distant future because he's still
doing all the other things that make him a top prospect — hitting for average, controlling the strike zone, etc.
- Jon (LA): What are the main differences between Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon's talents?
Matthew Eddy: Good question. Gordon clearly wins the throwing and fielding categories at shortstop, but I bet Hamilton exceeds Gordon's offensive production, and he's probably the fastest player in pro ball. Really you could make a case for either, but I bet when all's said and done a player like Hamilton is going to be harder to
find than a player comparable to Gordon.
- Anthony Rizzo (IA): I've been knocking at the door to Wrigley, especially of late. How long until they let me in?
Matthew Eddy: Bryan LaHair got 45 games with the Mariners in 2008, didn't hit and had to wait three years for another chance, with last year's Cubs. Anthony Rizzo won't have to wait that long, but there's value for Chicago in keeping him in the minors for a few months. For one thing, they can delay Rizzo's free agency for a year
if they exercise some patience now (and it's not like they're going to contend for the Central crown this year). And second, Rizzo could use the repetitions against Triple-A arms to make sure his new swing path takes. Big league hurlers exposed a hole in his swing up in the zone last year.
- Max (Chicago): What is Zack Wheeler's ceiling?
Matthew Eddy: Pie in the sky? Probably a No. 2 on a good team. That's far from money in the bank, though.
- Mike (Philly): how close was Sano this week?
Matthew Eddy: Low-A Beloit third baseman Miguel Sano went 7-for-25 (.280) with three homers and eight strikeouts this week. Impressive given his age and experience level.
- Rizzo (AAA Hall of Fame): Chances he's just a bust?
Matthew Eddy: Small, but not non-existent. Worst case, Rizzo is an all-or-nothing slugger like Carlos Pena. The good news is that scouts believe Rizzo has a better feel to hit.
- Tim (Sarasota): Oscar Tavares hitting .340 as a 19 year old in AA has to get a little love, No?
Matthew Eddy: Great start for Oscar Taveras with Double-A Springfield (.340/.352/.623 with nine XBH in 12 games) — too bad his existence has not been validated by an appearance on the Hot Sheet.
- Andrew (Montgomery): I saw Trevor Bauer pitched
this week against the Biscuits. He only gave up 1 run, but he walked 5
and struck out only 2. I noticed that he seemed very bothered by the umpire and was clearly letting his frustration show. Is this something the Dbacks should be worried about?
Matthew Eddy: Great comment. Bauer's alleged frustration in this game is noteworthy because generally the great starting pitchers worry only about executing the next pitch. But on the flip side, Bauer came into the season with great expectations (clowns like me even picked him for NL rookie of the year), but he wound up in the same place he finished last season, Mobile. Let's see how he handles
umpire adversity the next time before getting too worked up.
- Dan (RI): What do the extensions of Kendrick and Aybar do to Jean Segura's future with LAA?
Matthew Eddy: I've been told that Segura has the arm strength for third base, and while the power might not profile there quite as well as it would up the middle, he could be just as valuable in
the big picture as a 15-20 HR hitter. Would the Angels consider shifting Kendrick to the outfield at some point after Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are off the books?
- Eddie (St Pete): What do you think of SS Nick Ahmed, the Braves 2nd round pick last year? Is he a better all around SS than Pastornicky and Simmons?
Matthew Eddy: So long as he keeps making contact and slapping singles, I think Andrelton Simmons has to be viewed as the favorite for everyday play at shortstop.
- Drew (Lakewood, NJ): Thoughts on the good start this season for Trevor Story? Can he be in impact bat at middle infield in the majors? Thanks.
Matthew Eddy: Definitely a Story believer after his brief Pioneer League showing last year. Yes I expect he'll be average to
above in all facets of the game. One encouraging sign, the young Asheville Tourist is hitting for power away from home too. See for yourself on the BA players cards, now with minor league splits: http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/95490/split
- Mark (Miss): I know he only made 1 start but did Rafael Montero received any consideration? He's been very impressive so far in the Sally.
Matthew Eddy: Two questions about Mets Low-A arm Rafael
Montero in one chat. You can read more about him in a Prospect Bulletin
we're rolling out later today.