Steven A (Chicago): Springer continues to rake at every level while striking out 30% of the time. Do people still believe he can't succeed at the next level unless he cuts down on the k's?
Matt Eddy: A healthy skepticism is encouraged in the case of high-strikeout prospects like Springer. That’s not to say that he can’t succeed, just that he’s going to be operating with a balls-in-play handicap (compared with players with lower strikeout rates) that means he’ll have to capitalize with extra-base power when he makes contact. Also, we have to consider the possibility that his K-rate won’t remain static in the big leagues, and that it could rise above his Triple-A rate. However, I do personally believe Springer will have a long big league career because he can contribute in multiple facets of the game, I just don’t expect he’ll hit much higher than the .250-.260 range with any frequency.
George Springer (Oklahoma City): WHEN CAN I BOOK MY FLIGHT TO HOUSTON? WHEN CAN I BOOK MY FLIGHT TO HOUSTON? WHEN CAN I BOOK MY FLIGHT TO HOUSTON??
Matt Eddy: We at Baseball America would like to see you stay at Triple-A so that you can make a run at a 40-40 season. That will enliven our Minor League Player of the Year discussions. I’m sure you have other priorities, though.
jeff (portland, or): Who are you most excited about seeing at the futures game?
Matt Eddy: I would have to say the prospects with the freak 70-80 tools: Joey Gallo’s power, Christian Bethancourt’s arm, Miguel Sano’s power, Archie Bradley’s fastball, etc. I also have soft spots for more well-rounded prospects like Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich, and seeing the low-level arms is always a highlight—guys like Taylor Guerrieri, Noah Syndergaard (just four starts at Double-A), Miguel Almonte, Rafael De Paula, Kyle Crick, etc.
Rich (NJ): Assuming he continues to playwell, do you think the Phillies will call up Miakel Franco if Young is traded?
Matt Eddy: I would have to think Triple-A 3B Cody Asche would be next in line. He’s hitting .293/.351/.460 with 10 HR at Lehigh Valley and made the IL all-star team.
Eric (Atlanta): Happy Friday to you. How has Noah Syndergaard made the transition to AA look so easy?
Matt Eddy: He seems to have that scary ability to control a double-plus fastball, which goes a long way against minor league competition. In some ways Syndergaard’s ascension is reminiscent of Zack Wheeler when he was at Double-A last year in that he gets a ton of swings and misses on the fastball and that he can work deep into games because of his pitch efficiency. I don’t want to say that Sydergaard’s fastball has the same late explosion that Wheeler’s does, but he compensates with better feel for a second pitch (changeup).
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Matt. Who has the higher ceiling, CJ Edwards or Tyler Glasnow? Does Glasnow's age -- almost 2 full years younger -- give him the edge?
Matt Eddy: I would probably give the edge to Glasnow given his youth (as you cite), his higher peak velocity (96 mph) and his height advantage (6-foot-7). Though in Edwards’ defense, I know the Rangers expect him to fill out his frame considerably, and because of the natural cutting action he imparts on the ball, he throws a ball that literally no other pitcher can throw in exactly the same fashion. Also, to go from the 48th round to such a complete, young pitcher so quickly bespeaks a high level of natural athleticism.
Wilmer Flores (AAA): Hi, this is the same question I asked last week. I am a 21 year old 2B in AAA with very good numbers that have improved at every level. When will I get some love from BA? Did I mention that I'm 21 years old in AAA?
Matt Eddy: Remember the time we ranked Wilmer Flores No. 6 on the Hot Sheet? That was awesome. Or No. 2 in the Appy League in 2008? Or in the Mets top 10 four times, including this year?
Jim (Berlin, NJ): Second half promotion to AA for Jace Peterson? He continues to show plate patience, modest pop, and base stealing ability.
Matt Eddy: I don’t think the Padres are in any rush to promote Peterson to Double-A. Maybe he goes up later in the year to prepare for the Texas League playoffs, but otherwise I’m not sure there’s much to be gained. He’ll begin next year with San Antonio, and from there he could move quickly to the majors, but for now his focus should be quality at-bats and consistent defensive play.
John (CT): BA featured Henry Urrutia earlier this week. What do project from him in the majors? Where does he fit in the O's current roster? Appears to be too talented to leave in the minors.
Matt Eddy: The comparison doesn’t quite fit, but when I think of lefty-hitting, mid- to late-20s Cuban imports who are limited to the corner—but don’t necessarily have corner power—I think of the Rays’ Leslie Anderson. Granted, Anderson was a couple years older than Urrutia is when he first played in the U.S., and Urrutia appears to be the superior offensive player, but I would wait for Urrutia’s performance to stabilize at Triple-A before dreaming too big.
EricJ (SF): What is Chris Owings ceiling?
Matt Eddy: Coming out of high school and early in his pro career, Owings seemed to many scouts to be a profile second baseman, someone with the quickness to play up the middle and the feel to hit to not have to be buried at the bottom of a lineup. I think that still holds. The improvement he’s shown with his SO-to-BB ratio in recent weeks is encouraging.
Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Thoughs on Sonny Gray's debut the other day for the A's? Who is the odd man out in their Rotation?
Matt Eddy: Thumbs up for Sonny Gray, the major league starter. He showed resiliency in rebounding from a mediocre year at Double-A in 2012 to improve his performance across the board at Triple-A, in a tough league for pitchers to boot. Who would you bump from the rotation? Straily is the least tenured, and he’s missing the most bats. You could make a statistical case for bumping Jaorrd Parker, but he’s been much better lately. Griffin and Milone provide volume. Tough call, but the rookie usually draws the short straw in these cases, and that would be Straily.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Matt - just to correct an earlier answer of yours, Joey Gallo has been pulled from the Futures game due to a groin strain (meaning the Rangers will have no representation whatsoever, as Alfaro is also out), and Taylor Guerrieri is also out, due to "shoulder fatigue", according to the Rays. Thanks.
Matt Eddy: Yikes.
Aaron (Louisville): Any prospects from this year to next that you see making a huge jump in the rankings? Kind of like Oscar Taveras when he went from 74 to 3 from 2012 to 2013.
Matt Eddy: I would be looking at Pirates Double-A CF Gregory Polanco for that honor.
Coy (Pinetop, Az): Where does Springer now rate as an Astros prospect?
Matt Eddy: He has a strong case for No. 3 behind No. 1 overall draft picks Mark Appel and Carlos Correa.
Steve (Philly): Severino Gonzalez has put up some impressive numbers this year, even as he's being stretched out. Any thoughts?
Matt Eddy: This is a point worth expounding on. Correspondent Jim Salisbury singled out 20-year-old Panamanian RHP Severino Gonzalez as the Phillies prospect who had taken the biggest step forward this season. He spent last season in the VSL but had adapted extremely quickly to full-season ball, opening the season in the High-A Clearwater bullpen (10.9 SO/9, 1.0 BB/9, 27 IP) before moving into the Low-A Lakewood rotation for the second half (2.45 ERA in 3 starts, 11.7 SO/9, 0.6 BB/9). The Phillies have to be excited by his potential. He’s added velocity as he’s matured, and now his performance has really captured attention.
Matt Wisler (AA Texas League): Howdy Baseball America. I know I am not on your midseason top 50 list, and I was wondering why? What about my talent and my performance so far keeps me from being discussed as a top 50 talent?
Matt Eddy: Personal preferences, biases, etc. Once you move past the top 20-30 prospects on any list, the gradation between prospects becomes smaller and smaller, so that the difference between No. 31 and No. 51 can be largely subjective. I don’t think Padres Double-A RHP Matt Wisler would look out of place in the top 50.
T Ham (Napa, CA): Is there a systemic problem with the BlueJays drafts? First Bedee, now Bickford?
Matt Eddy: A great question for Jim Callis at Ask BA. Be sure to include your name and hometown when you ask him.
Mike (Orlando): Any concerns on Profar being played at 6 different positions as a rookie?
Matt Eddy: Interesting question. The Rangers intended to make Leury Garcia the guinea pig in that experiment, but he hit .192 and washed out (for the first half anyway) after 25 games. From what I’ve been told about Profar, he’s the got the right kind of attitude/makeup to handle a lot of change. Plus, if he has a productive second half with the bat, just think how valuable Profar will be in fantasy and sim formats! On a serious note: In the Rangers own franchise history, they do have a precedent for a multi-position rookie. Ten years ago, Mark Teixeira played at least 10 games at all four corner positions before settling at first in 2004.
Dale (Pa): Do you agree with the Rangers on how they our using Jurikson Profar. A game here and there at different positions. Saw that game on TV last week where he played shortstop. WOW, made a couple super plays there. Should be playing shortstop everyday somewhere.
Matt Eddy: This will be one of the fascinating storylines to follow this offseason: How will the Rangers resolve the shortstop position for 2014? Do they consider trading Profar, the blue-chip rising sophomore, or Elvis Andrus, at $118 million through 2022?
Roger (Greenville, SC): Let's compare 2 pitchers that just debuted. Sonny Gray vs Danny Salazar - Who has the higher upside, and who is closer to reaching it?
Matt Eddy: Indians RHP Danny Salazar might have the higher ceiling based on two plus pitches (and he might the answer to the trivia question: where does Cleveland’s next impact arm come from?), but he’s been performing at this level for only a year (roughly). Athletics RHP Sonny Gray, on the other hand, has a much longer track record and has never had his elbow reconstructed. For those reasons, I think most would agree that Gray is a much higher-probability play.
Ryan Ricotta (Sarasota, FL): Which prospect is most likely to be traded before the deadline in your opinion?
Matt Eddy: I would become familiar with the farm systems of the Rangers, Red Sox and Tigers. Those are the organizations that have the prospects, the playoff aspirations, the money to take on salary and the obvious holes on their major league rosters.
John Stilson (Buffalo): Are Relief Pitchers automatically 'off the radar' due to low 'IP/Week rates', or do I have a chance at showing up with my 10 IP/5H/8K/1R in my last 6 outings back to June 24?
Matt Eddy: As a rule, relievers do not appear on the Hot Sheet based on their low innings totals. We really don’t consider starters who pitch fewer than five innings in a week, and that would be a high weekly workload for a reliever in today’s game.
(another) Matt (Fantasy Land): What are your thoughts on Rosell Herrera? Do you see him over Story as Tulo's heir apparent?
Matt Eddy: A lot of evaluators think Rockies Low-A SS Rosell Herrera will fill out and move over to 3B one day. He just might have the bat to survive the position switch.
Ryan Ricotta (Sarasota, FL): Met have Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergard, and Montero. Pirates have Cole, Taillon, Glasnow, and Heredia. Which of these 2 staffs would you rather have in 5 years? Is there another organization that has better young pitching talent than these 2?
Matt Eddy: I’m biased in that I know the Mets system more intimately, but given what Harvey has shown us in MLB thus far, I think I’d take the Mets’ front three and worry about the incidentals later.
steve (Toledo): bigger bust: Juan Duran or Yorman Rodriguez?
Matt Eddy: Hit up J.J. Cooper during his next chat and ask him about these two Reds prospects. He has the most perspective. He’s been covering the Reds seemingly since Chris Gruler was a going concern.
Jeff (Chattanooga, TN): Lucas Sims: Future #1 starter for the Braves?
Matt Eddy: If he stays healthy, he’s “a” future starter for the Braves.
Darren (Boston, MA): How would you rank these pitching prospects who seem to have increased their stock this year: Robbie Ray, Cody Martin, Taylor Jordan, and Julio Urias? Thanks.
Matt Eddy: I’m cautiously optimistic about Braves Triple-A RHP Cody Martin based on his ability to miss bats as he climbs the ladder (9.9 SO/9 this year) and Nationals RHP Taylor Jordan based on how quickly he regained control of his pitches following Tommy John surgery.
Mick (Chicago): This years futures game is kind of a bummer. Other than a scrap or two there is no representation from other countries beside D.R. and Venezuela.
Matt Eddy: I too wanted to see more representation from the Far East and smaller Latin American countries, but we just couldn’t find strong enough prospects this year. That’s just the way it goes. Talent ebbs and flows.