Murph (San Diego): Taijuan Walker or Archie Bradley?
Matt Eddy: I think I’m taking Diamondbacks RHP Archie Bradley with the hope he smooths his mechanics to the point where he throws consistent strikes. He’s really difficult to square up, and in many ways he’s the prototype RH starter prospect.
Ben (Leland Grove): No Kyle Gibson this week? And do you believe he's officially Major League ready?
Matt Eddy: No, not this week, though I did vote for Twins RHP Kyle Gibson to start the Triple-A all-star game for the IL. He made two starts for Triple-A Rochester, going 1-0, 2.08 with 10-2 SO-BB in 13 innings. I’d look for Gibson to be among the next wave of prospect callups.
John (CT): No one seems to be mentioning Gary Sanchez is this year of the Yanks looking to the future. Has his star diminished?
Matt Eddy: No, I don’t think Yankees C Gary Sanchez’s stock has changed. If it has, it’s probably only by proxy to Jesus Montero as a hyped Yankees catching prospect with defensive questions. But Sanchez still has an elite bat for the catcher position. I’d take 10 HR and a .200 ISO from a catcher in the Florida State League, wouldn’t you?
@Jaypers413 (IL): What do you make of Mason Williams' season thus far?
Matt Eddy: A batting line of .246/.331/.331 through 60 games at High-A Tampa is not how the Yankees would have drawn up the season for CF Mason Williams. We could be looking at a transition year. Watch the second half for improvements.
Tim (Palm Beach): Who has a better next 5 years in the big show,T. Walker or Z. Wheeler?
Matt Eddy: Mets RHP Zack Wheeler is 2+ years older than Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker and has more upper-levels experience, which gives him a bit of a head start. I’ll take Wheeler given those pieces of evidence as well as the fact that he can get outs with his fastball versus major league hitters.
Michael (Dallas): Thanks for the chat. Now that Zunino has been promoted, who are the top 5 C prospects in the minors?
Matt Eddy: I’d say the conversation begins with the Padres’ Austin Hedges (High-A), the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez (High-A) and, depending on one’s tastes, could include the Braves’ Christian Bethancourt (Double-A), the Pirates’ Tony Sanchez (Triple-A) or the Phillies’ Tommy Joseph (Triple-A). No, the position does not to be at a particularly high tide right now in the minors.
nb (philly): Seems like Edward Salcedo is an incredibly streaky hitter who had a hot streak this week. Was he close to at least the team pic? Prospect or suspect? Thanks!
Matt Eddy: Yes, Braves 3B Edward Salcedo was close to making the Hot Sheet this time. He smacked 6 XBH at Double-A Mississippi (2 HR, 4 2B) and went 8-for-21 (.381) at the plate.
Ryan (Indianapolis): It's hard to ignore the numbers Joc Pederson has put up as one of the youngest players in Double-A this season. Has he played his way into the top 50?
Matt Eddy: I’ve liked Dodgers OF Joc Pederson since his days in the Pioneer League in 2011. He would be in my personal top 50. I think he’s kind of snuck up on people because while he doesn’t necessarily have loud tools, he has refined baseball skills and could be a borderline first-division starter on an OF corner (in my opinion). He’s hitting .297/.381/.500 with 10 HR and 20 SB in the Southern League. You have to like that.
Ken (Riverside): Re: top minor league catchers... has D'Arnaud fallen that far that fast, or just an oversight?
Matt Eddy: Just an oversight. You’d have to keep Mets C Travis d’Arnaud near the top of the catching prospect list. Him, Hedges and Sanchez are probably top 3 for me.
Chris (Phoenix): Jake Marisnick has been hitting the ball well lately with power and speed. Does the lack of walks concern yourself and scouts and when do you see him up in Miami?
Matt Eddy: I think most scouts are willing to overlook Marlins CF Jake Marisnick’s less-than-ideal walk and strikeout rates for now, in light of his total body of work. He has a rare combination of power, speed and range in CF. At the very least, the Marlins felt comfortable in cutting Marisnick some slack, seeing as he was the headliner in the Jose Reyes-Josh Johnson-Mark Buehrle deal.
Ryan (NYC): Are there any pitchers in the Mets organization outside of Montero and Syndergaard who other teams could targer for a potential trade?
Matt Eddy: As far as trade centerpieces, I think RHP Noah Syndergaard is probably the only one who qualifies, but what the Mets do have is the depth to package multiple pitchers together in one deal. Guys like Rafael Montero (mid-rotation ceiling, and close to reaching it), Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia, Cory Mazzoni, Jake deGrom and Gabriel Ynoa have various things going in their favor. And if an org really wanted to roll the dice, they could target Low-A LHP Steve Matz.
Ken (Raleigh, NC): Has Brian Goodwin progressed or has he regressed? I haven't heard much of him this season.
Matt Eddy: Looks like he’s feeling the Nationals’ general first-half malaise. Harrisburg CF Brian Goodwin is still trying to catch up to the speed of the game at Double-A, what with a .255/.356/.386 batting line, 13-for-21 showing in SB and 77 strikeouts in 68 games.
David (San Antonio, TX): Yeison Asencio has now reached 60 plate appearances in the TL with three strikeouts and zero walks. What on earth do you make of him and his truly unique 800 OPS at this point?
Matt Eddy: You may remember him as Yoan Alcantara, the No. 1 prospect in the 2011 Arizona League, but by any name, Padres RF Yeison Asencio is a truly unique prospect. Put it this way: He has more outfield assists (29) the past two seasons than walks (26). A lot of times prospects like this have a tough time adapting when they see fewer and fewer fastballs, but the flip side of the coin is that Asencio can barrel up most any pitch type. If he continues to hit for power, some team will find a role for him in the big leagues.
Esteban (Miami): Swihart's and Alfaro are playing well atm and I'd be delighted to have them in my farm. That's a pretty strong top 8
Matt Eddy: Yes, I should have mentioned the Rangers’ Jorge Alfaro and Boston’s Blake Swihart at the back of the top catching prospects list.
Dave (Portland, OR): How much longer until Brett Jackson goes from Not Hot to not a prospect?
Matt Eddy: The early returns are not promising, but I’d let Cubs CF Brett Jackson work through his issues with his new swing at Triple-A Iowa before passing final judgment. The Cubs have had some success in this department, having worked some remedial magic with Anthony Rizzo previously.
Dan (Philly): Hey Matt, just wanted to request you guys bring back the "Blast from the Past" portion of the Hot Sheets! It was always fun to see what former well known prospects or players were still toiling around trying to get another chance!
Matt Eddy: Your request has been taken under advisement. The natural candidate this week would have to be Reno 1B Mike Jacobs, who showed his gratitude for being back in affiliated ball (and back in the PCL) by hitting six homers and going 12-for-28 (.429) at the plate. The reason we eliminated the Blast, by the way, was that we too frequently felt we were just spending too much time shoehorning players into that spot during weeks where no obvious candidate existed. We hoped that that would lead to faster publishing times for the Hot Sheet.
Eric (DC): Who are some of the most interesting guys to look for in the short season affiliates?
Matt Eddy: I’ll give you three international prospects to monitor, though they don’t necessarily constitute a top three. They’re just interesting. One would be Mets Dominican SS Amed Rosario, who signed for the largest bonus of any international prospect in franchise history. He’s bypassing the GCL and heading to Kingsport of the Appalachian League. The Mets field staff raves about Rosario. Two more would be Red Sox players at short-season Lowell: Taiwanese SS Tzu-Wei Lin and Dominican CF Manuel Margot. Margot in particular is intriguing because of his advanced feel for the strike zone, his power and his basestealing instincts.
Ian (OK): Who has the best farm system now, after the draft?
Matt Eddy: I don’t know the answer to your question, but I know which organization’s hitting talent I feel the most confident in, and that would be the Cubs with 3B Kris Bryant, SS Javier Baez, CF Albert Almora and RF Jorge Soler. They also have a nice second wave with guys like 1B Dan Vogelbach and 3B Jeimer Candelario. Many organizations have more balance (and thus deserve higher rankings) because of pitching depth, but pitchers are volatile, and this group of hitting assets is fairly stable.
Ben F (California): Thanks for the chat. With SS leagues getting started, are there any players we should pay special attention to?
Matt Eddy: In addition to Rosario, Lin and Margot from the previous answer, I’d also nominate Boise RHP Paul Blackburn (Cubs) and Missoula C Styker Trahan (D-backs). We’ll actually have an entire post about this next week, highlighting one short-season leagues prospect to watch for each organization.
Gregory (Jacksonville): The Braves seem to have a knack for developing pitchers and not so much hitters. Who would you rate as their best all-round hitter in the system? Kubitza, La Stella, Elander or someone else entirely?
Matt Eddy: If you factor in speed and defense, the answer may be Low-A SS Jose Peraza, but outside of him Double-A 2B Tommy La Stella is making a strong case with a nice season for Mississippi.
J (United States): Do you see Travis Jankowski developing some power? He looks like a safe bet for a 4th OF now, but if he hits for more power with his size he could be another Jacoby Ellsbury.
Matt Eddy: I don’t know that I’d project much HR power on Padres 2012 supplemental pick CF Travis Jankowski, who leads the Cal League with 45 steals. He’ll leg out his share of double sand triples, but I think getting under the ball is the last thing the Padres want to see Jankowski do, given that Petco Park kills LH power.
Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa): Matt; Cesar Puello's stats look pretty good this year. Read somewhere, that he could be tied to Biogenisis; What is your take on him, and have you heard of any drug related issues with him?
Matt Eddy: Prior to his finger injury, Mets RF Cesar Puello ranked among the Eastern League leaders with 13 HR and 17 SB. He looks like a player who’s consolidating his tools and finding a hitting approach that works for him after years of teasing us with flashes of raw ability. I’ve liked him for a few years, and it’s important to remember he’s still just 22, despite being a known commodity on league prospect lists for five seasons.
Danny (Philly): Hey Matt thanks for the chat. Can we get a little Philly love? Wats the general consensus on Maikel Franco and how high has he vaulted up the prospect lists?
Matt Eddy: We ran a cool feature on Phillies 3B Maikel Franco last week, in case you missed it. As long as he continues to produce power with a swing that isn’t exactly textbook, then he’s going to rank among the best 3B prospects in the game. I think his new straightaway hitting approach will serve him well. I’m cautiously optimistic about his development.