Ryan (Dallas): Is it time for the Royals to be alarmed about Bubba Starling?
Matthew Eddy: You hate to unduly weight two weeks of baseball in April, but the results for Royals CF Bubba Starling — 3 XBH in 15 games with strikeouts in 40 percent of PAs — is the type of pace that can land a player in extended spring training and then Idaho Falls in June. The Royals knew they were getting a raw baseball product when they took Starling fifth overall in 2011, so I don’t know that they’re on high alert just yet. I can tell you a couple things about his time in the Appy League last year: he’s a smooth defender in CF who lives up to his scouting reports, and some managers in that league had serious reservations about Starling’s swing playing at higher levels.
@Jaypers413 (IL): In terms of high ceiling prospects, who has been the biggest disappointment for you thus far?
Matthew Eddy: I’d probably go with Gerrit Cole based on his pitch inefficiency with Triple-A Indianapolis and also the fact that he’s allowed more than a hit per inning to batters who, for the most part, haven’t seen his mid-90s heat and double-plus slider before.
Chris (Toronto): Stetson Allie has a 1450 ops in his last 10 games, did you guys forget about him?
Matthew Eddy: It’s an awesome start for Pirates 1B Stetson Allie, the converted righthanded reliever who is hitting .407 with six homers in 14 games for Low-A West Virginia. But just as we don’t advise jumping ship on Starling after two weeks, we want to see if Allie continues to produce before buying in completely. But you’re right that it would be impossible to get off to a better start.
Brendan (Colorado): Tempering expectations with Sano's insane week... when should we realistically expect to see him move up to AA?
Matthew Eddy: They may elect to promote Sano to Double-A for the second half, but organizational precedent suggests that April 2014 is the safer bet. Sano won’t have to go on the 40-man roster until after 2014, so that would enable him to spend all of 2013 in High-A and all of next year in Double-A before Minnesota has to make any sort of decision on his timetable.
Matt Mosher (Whippleville, NY): I'm surprised Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki didn't place anywhere on this lists this week. They are tearing up the Sally.
Matthew Eddy: Mets CF Brandon Nimmo has shown impressive bat-to-ball skills early on for Low-A Savannah, going 12-for-27 on the week. I would note only that of the 12 hits, 11 were singles. Given how tough Savannah plays for lefty hitters, that could be par for the course during Sand Gnats home games, though Savannah played about half its games in either Greensboro and Lakewood this week.
Ryan Hall (Abingdon, MD): Any updates on Fernando Perez with the Padres? His season is being delayed by an injury in spring training, right?
Matthew Eddy: The Padres don’t expect the hard-hitting 2012 third-rounder back until the second half. He injured his thumb during spring training.
Rich (New York): Is Choo a good perfect world comparison for Nimmo?
Matthew Eddy: That’s an interesting comp that I hadn’t considered before. Choo’s arm grades out at least two grades higher than Nimmo’s, and he ran a lot more as a younger player, but I think the walks-and-.470ish slugging shoe could fit if Nimmo matures as the Mets expect.
Ryan (An Alternate Universe): CJ Cron has 0 HRs and 4 SBs. What's going on here? Where am I?
Matthew Eddy: He’s really taking to heart the fact that small ball plays better at a cavernous yard like Double-A Arkansas? Seriously, that may be the statistical oddity of the season.
Drake (Glendale, AZ): Patrick Corbin has looked good so far - what is his upside? Thanks!
Matthew Eddy: I’m a believer, and have been since he carved up the Pioneer League in his 2009 debut. Corbin has a rare combination of athleticism, three-pitch repertoire and strong control, and I expect he’ll be a solid mid-rotation starter through his peak years. He throws a firm fastball and slider, but I don’t think scouts would throw more than a 50 grade on either pitch. Rather he seems to have the deception and command required to get big league hitters out.
Steve Johnson (Arizona): Chris Owings doesn't seem to get much respect in the prospect world. Does he project as a starter or is he more of a role player?
Matthew Eddy: The one thing holding him back is plate approach. It’s hard to succeed in the big leagues with a BB-to-SO ratio like the one Owings has with Reno right now: 4-to-19. However, that is an improvement over his career ratio. I don’t think many scouts dismiss Owings based on his raw hitting or defensive tools.
Chris Zolmer (Oakland): Addisson Russell is striking out at an alarming rate. Has he been promoted too aggressively and any chance of a demotion?
Matthew Eddy: Oakland trusts in SS Addison Russell’s competitive makeup, meaning that even if he doesn’t rebound and gets demoted to Low-A in a month, they believe it won’t affect him as it might other prospects. Plus, if he does rebound with Stockton then that will give him confidence the next time things get rough.
Craig (Charlotte): Guess I owe BA an apology, when Sano was ranked in the top 10 pre-season I thought it was a little optimistic. Sure looks like the light has come on for him at the plate. Next concern, can he stay at 3rd?
Matthew Eddy: Sano has looked great thus far, but it’s generally unwise to evaluate any player at his highest or lowest point. I think we can all agree he’s not going to hit .389, as he is now, for any real stretch of time.
John (Chicago): Might not be hot sheet worthy, but Jacob deGrom had an 8 ip, 3 h, 8 k, 1 bb line in his first AA start. He's already 24 (missed a year to injury), but he looks like a major league starter in the making, no?
Matthew Eddy: Yes, deGrom has a great arm and *just missed* making the Mets Top 10. Some scouts who saw Savannah last year preferred him to Sand Gnats rotation-mates Michael Fulmer and Domingo Tapia. The area to watch for deGrom and all sinker-slider pitchers is the platoon split. Can he consistently retire lefthanded batters?
Jason Pennini (Denver): What are you expecting from Oswaldo Arcia? Can he stick in the big leagues and be a contributor?
Matthew Eddy: Count me as an Oswaldo Arcia booster who thinks he can hack it as a starting corner outfielder. He’s probably not the guy you want driving your offense, but as a third- or fourth-best hitter on a team, I like him a great deal.
Ken (Lakewood CA): Is it becoming any clearer just what position the Mets plan to use Wilmer Flores? Thanks.
Matthew Eddy: Given the extension the Mets signed David Wright to, it’s become clear that third base (as anything more than a fill-in) is out of the question for Flores. I don’t believe he has the foot speed or lateral quickness to play the outfield (think Lucas Duda), so a lot rests on his ability to play a passable second base or hit with enough power to profile at first base. In that department, he’d be behind Ike Davis and Duda on the current org depth chart.
Ken (Lakewood CA): Lot's of attention to Puig, but Joc Pederson was the ML Dodger Player of the Year in 2012. He was in the hitter friendly Cal League last year, but if he does more of the same in AA, don't we have to take him much more serious as a prospect for LA?
Matthew Eddy: The comp I like best for Pederson was one I got during the 2011 Pioneer League season: Gerardo Parra. Solid lefty hitter and good defensive corner outfielder who can fill in in center. Keep in mind that Rancho is actually a middle-of-the-road Cal League park for runs and homers, so you don’t have to discount his performance as much as you would a player for High Desert, Lancaster or Bakersfield.
Jim (Florida): What's your take on Andrew Toles? He's a prospect that I have been very interested in, and he's off to a smoking start with Bowling Green (5 2B and 5 3B so far). He hit for power last year, and obviously his speed is a huge asset. I know there were character concerns about him. What's your take?
Matthew Eddy: I’m cautiously optimistic. CF Andrew Toles is a dynamic talent with the type of quick-twitch athleticism that will allow his tools to play despite being about 5-foot-9. In a perfect world he could develop along the lines of Arizona’s Adam Eaton.
Rod (Vancouver): is it possible that Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will be the top two prospects in baseball this time next year?
Matthew Eddy: That’s not an impossibility. If Profar, Taveras and Myers graduate as expected, then, at the very least, Sano and Buxton have a chance to rank 1-2 among position players.
Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Matt, thanks for chatting today! Similar to Ryan's question regarding Bubba Starling, how concerning is Courtney Hawkins' strikeout rate at this point? Would a demotion to Kannapolis be a prudent move?
Matthew Eddy: Similar answer, though the mitigating factor, of course, is that Hawkins is in High-A while Starling is older and in Low-A. Also, Appy League managers last year worried only that Hawkins was too aggressive, not that his swing mechanics might not work.
Mike (Indiana): I thought Mat Wisler was every bit as good as the other highly regarded best pitchers in the MWL last year including Archie Bradley, Nicolino, Syndergard, etc. What is your take on the Padres farmahnd?
Matthew Eddy: Padres High-A RHP Matt Wisler is one of the better under-the-radar pitching prospects, but he won’t be obscure much longer if he keeps pitching the way he has thus far for Lake Elsinore. He made a loud statement last season, ranking No. 9 in the 16-team Midwest League and then No. 6 in a deep Padres system. Despite taking both Cory Spangenberg and Joe Ross in the first round of the 2011 draft, Wisler is the prospect they’re most optimistic about.
Matt (Madison): If you are the Phillies do you bring up Morgan and put him on the 40 man or do you use one of the 40 man options (Martin, Pettibone, Cloyd)?
Matthew Eddy: I would turn to RHP Tyler Cloyd to fill in for Lannan for the short term. You know what you’re getting with the veteran, but in the back of my mind I would be hoping that either Ethan Martin or Jonathan Pettibone show enough improvement to seize the spot on a more permanent basis.
Jeff (Northern MA): Thanks for taking my question, Matt. Is Stratton still considered a better long-term prospect for the Giants' rotation than Blackburn?
Matthew Eddy: Yes, for sure. Correspondent Andy Baggarly, the Jeopardy! champion and longtime Giants beat man, ranked Stratton three places ahead of Blackburn in the offseason prospect ranking. Plus, if there’s any organization with a first-round pitcher track record you don’t question, it’s the Giants. Think Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler.
Matthew Eddy: Awesome questions. We’ll return Friday with another exciting installment of the Prospect Hot Sheet. Hit us up on Twitter if you have more questions.