Top 100 Prospects Chat

Nick (Ohio): Why did Albies drop in the rankings so much? Isn't he having arguably his best season yet and that's at the AAA level.


John Manuel: That one surprised me as well, but our scouting reports indicate he’s still struggling to drive the ball from the left side, which will be where he gets the vast majority of his ABs. He’s crushing lefthanded pitchers, but we were scaling back some of our expectations about just how much impact he may have offensively based on the lefthanded swing. He’s got time this season to prove us wrong, and he is still super young.

Shoe (Chicago): Jorge Mateo. He was just promoted to AA and has been hitting well since his callup. Do you see him jumping his way back into the Top 100 prospects? It seems as though he's become a forgotten man amongst the Baby Bombers!


John Manuel: Still fast, still has twitchiness and tools, but the dude stagnated at high Class A and has had some makeup issues, not handling it well when he was left in Tampa while former teammates got promoted. It’s a small sample but he’s responded well at Double-A, particularly with improved strike-zone judgement. That will need to continue; he got himself out a lot in high A. His tools aren’t exactly the same, but his path reminds me a bit of Eduardo Nunez, who had a couple of years in the wilderness in the minors before developing into a perfectly fine major leaguer.

Neal Frantz (Fremont IN): How close is Magnerius Seirra to making the top 100 list? IF the Marlins have a fire sale what players/prospects from the Cardinal organization do you think it would take to get him.


John Manuel: Not sure what it would take, that would just be speculation. But we definitely talked Magneuris Sierra in our top 100 meeting. I think the question again was the impact; how much power is this guy going to have? He might wind up being a guy we were light on, because he can really run, can really defend and is showing bat-to-ball skills. He’s the kind of athlete that the game is trending toward, all-around guys. I hope that trend continues.

Colonel (Oxford, Mississippi): Thank you! Who do you think will be a better hitter in the Majors, Scott Kingery or Willie Calhoun?


John Manuel: Better hitter? Calhoun … better overall prospect? Kingery. I got a Kinsler comp on him again the other day, although I acknowledge just how good Ian Kinsler has been. Maybe 85% Kinsler, which would still be plenty good. I was disappointed to see Kingery didn’t play more in the Futures Game, but the Flo God Brandon Rodgers, Nick Gordon and BoBichette got the lion’s share of playing time for the U.S. team. That’s a pretty stout middle infield for the US.

James (DET): Why did Alex Faedo receive such a substantial jump? He jumped a lot of guys rated higher in your top 50 draft prospects list. Is it something more than his CWS success?


John Manuel: It’s the finishing kick and the fact that as he got further away from the fall knee surgery, his fastball got firmer, his slider tightened up and he shoved. As a pro, he’ll work more off the fastball and throw the changeup more. I’m a believer in Faedo; he was the top pitcher on the college side coming out of last summer, right there with Brendan McKay, Kyle Wright and JB Bukauskas. He finished better than all of them, and that’s reflected in his ranking. WE had him around 10 on the BA 500; I still don’t know how he slid to 18.

Nick (Chicago): Is there any reason why Andrew Suarez of the Giants doesn't show up in the top 100? His K/9 and BB/9 are great and he has a steady track record.


John Manuel: I’d actually contend that this K/9 isn’t great; it’s fine, but it’s not great. Most of the guys in the top 100 are a 9k/9, I’d guess, and he’s not. But Suarez does have a steady, long track record, also with some shoulder issues (labrum surgery). I’m happy for him to be staying healthy and having success in pro ball, good dude who has a chance to be the best Dade County pitcher since Gio Gonzalez.

GPro (Philippines): Hello JJ. I'm always wondering about this. Christian Arroyo is scorching hot in Sacramento and got a cup of coffee in the Majors but he got hurt. No disrespect to Chris Shaw but why is Arroyo omitted in the top 100 and why is he ranked below Shaw? Thanks a lot!


John Manuel: John Barr will laugh at this if he sees it; the Giants’ scouting director just mentioned Arroyo to me the other day at USA Baseball complex. He always has believed in Arroyo, and we’ve always been light on him. Our reports on Arroyo always have been similar–good player, good feel for the barrel, modest power if not fringy, and he’s probably not a SS, which puts more pressure on the bat. We may be wrong — John thinks so! — but we see him more as steady than having a chance to be spectacular. That’s why he’s not on the 100. We’re trying to follow the lead of most of the clubs who seem to be prioritizing power, at every position, and that hurts guys like Arroyo.

Jason (Corolla, NC): Hello there. How close did Ryan Mountcastle come to making the cut? Is it lack of position/not projecting to be a SS that worked against him? Cedric Mullins get any consideration? Thanks!


John Manuel: Yes, lack of position is what got Mountcastle, though his name was brought up. I think he’s going to wind up in left field; his lack of arm strength is a problem. It would seem to be an issue that he could work to improve, but the reports we have are that his arm strength hasn’t gotten better. Mullins didn’t get top 100 consideration, but he does have tools, some pop and speed, to be a big leaguer. Not sure I see him as a regular but the guy does have enough pop to be one. Not sure he has the feel for hitting and plate discipline to bring it out consistently against big league pitching.

JP (Canada): Jason Groome understandably went backwards in the rankings and I'm sure his health dictated that. He's put together a few good outings now, can you see him surpassing his previous rank of 41 by seasons end?


John Manuel: His health did dictate most of it; a lat muscle strain that basically kept him off the field, maybe we over-reacted to it because he did come back with two strong scoreless outings. He’s very young, potentially sturdy body, big stuff. … I could see him rocket back up with a healthy second half. The midseason update gets a little reactionary out of necessity; we’re trying to hit a moving target. That’s not the case at the end of the season, and we also have more information at that time. Best info we had was that not only did he get hit hard early, he just didn’t have the same stuff he’d shown as an amateur.

Rob (boston): Moncada is a pretty clear cut number 1-how many prospects were in consideration for the #2 spot?


John Manuel: I wouldn’t put it that way. We discussed Vlad Jr. for No. 1. Did you see his hands yesterday at the Futures Game? There’s no question in my mind that he is a purer hitter than Moncada; the thought is, Moncada hits well, has power and impacts the game with his speed and defense as well as the bat. Vlad is the better hitter though, I’m not out on a limb there. Not a ton of separation, for me, in our top eight guys.

Mitch (Oakland): For the top pitching prospects (In order: Reyes, Honeywell, Keller, Buehler, Kopech, Quantrill, Allard, Mckenzie, Puk) was this a consensus order or were there differences of opinion on how they should be ranked?


John Manuel: There’s never consensus with pitchers … never. We’ve had at least a couple of scouts tell us that Buehler is the best pitching prospect in the minors, but when you’ve never gone more than 5.5 innings as a pro by age 23, well, I know the game is changing, but I don’t think we’re just hoping for 5 innings from our No. 1 starters (or, in the case of someone on Kershaw’s team, a No. 2). But those top five guys … there’s some separation there, I think. I like Quantrill a lot, maybe he should make that a sextet, but Kopech … whoo, that was filthy yesterday in Miami. And I love Honeywell & Keller. That top 5-6 is the group but consensus there is hard to find in our office or across the game.

Rich (Philadelphia): At what point do "scouts" just say all Dylan Cozens does is hit dingers? He has his faults, but the guy is the biggest run producer in AA and AAA in back to back years. Not to mention, he was/is young for both leagues.


John Manuel: He has his faults … like striking out a lot even for today’s game. I don’t know that he’s shown that he can hit advanced pitching, and you also have to play defense in the major leagues. We still hear he needs a lot more work on that. If the Phillies thought he could hit big league pitching, they’d call him up—it’s not like they have someone standing in his way. I do not see him as a first-division player personally, despite his power and athleticism. Too much swing and miss, not enough defensive ability.

Brian (Washington): How close were Tyler O'Neill, Sam Carlson and Evan White to cracking the top 100?


John Manuel: O’Neill was quite close and was on one earlier iteration. Like I said, he were aggressive in moving folks around. We didn’t want to be status quo with this list, conscious decision. White would be closer than Sam Carlson; I like Carlson but high school pitchers don’t usually jump onto the Top 100 2-3 weeks into their pro careers unless they get drafted in the first 3-5 prep arms of the draft. That wasn’t the case with Sam.

Z (Wisc.): How close were Corbin Burnes, Corey Ray, and Isan Diaz to making the top 100 list?


John Manuel: All three were discussed; Diaz was the closest. We weren’t shy about dropping Ray. I love Corey and want to see him succeed, but our reports on him out of Carolina frankly aren’t good. Too much swing and miss, not enough adjustments, not enough acknowledgement of the need to adjust. Burnes … that’s a good success story for Eric Valenzuela’s Saint Mary’s program. Burnes is moving quickly and hasn’t hit a speed bump as a pro; it sounds like his ability to command his secondary stuff is advanced, and he’s throwing fastball strikes as well as keeping the ball in the ballpark. Maybe we SHOULD have considered him more. Deep system in Milwaukee!

Craig (Seattle): How concerning is Kyle Lewis' knee going forward?


John Manuel: Quite concerning … It was a significant injury, and I think everyone just has to be patient. Rooting for the kid, enjoyed having him and Mickey Moniak in my back seat while ferrying them to the Winter Meetings and the BA Gala last year. Good times.

Jimbo (Russell, Ontario): Chance Adams has been dominant in the minors and the High minors. What makes him so hard to hit? (5.4 h/9 lowest since 1991 in a single season, and he's doing it 2 years in a row)


John Manuel: It sounds like the key is just throwing four pitches for strikes at any time and not falling into pitch patterns. All four are at least above-average; I almost feel like we’re light on him. He feels like Adam Warren with better stuff, a guy with more of a chance to start, but damn, Adam Warren is pretty good.

Charlie (Tampa): I'm a little surprised White Sox prospect Alec Hansen didn't make the top 100. Where would you rank him at this point, and are you bullish or bearish on his future?


John Manuel: For me, I just need to see more … Pretty good stuff, but he was in low A as a guy coming out of college. He should dominate. Now he’s moved up to high Class A; let’s see if he can throw consistent strikes against better hitters. I have my doubts; I think he’s a reliever.

Patrick (New Jersey): Would you expect Sixto Sanchez to move up more and more as he gains experience and proves that he is durable enough to be a starter?


John Manuel: All in on Sixto … and I still had to temper his rise in our rankings. I just would like to see him do it over a full season before anointing him, having seen how Anderson Espinoza has struggled so much since we jacked him up our list entering 2016. By the way I just told Josh Norris that Kershaw > Koufax … is that a hot take or not? I’ll leave that to JJ Cooper as he takes over.

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. I’m sitting at Miami’s airport delayed on my way home, so it’s a perfect time for me to talk prospects. Thanks to John for stepping in.

Jobu (Cleveland, OH): From a purely hitting standpoint (hit/power), who has the best shot to jump into the top 5-10 in the offseason? (draft players ok to include)


J.J. Cooper: That’s going to be tough for anyone and everyone because there are very few players who are likely to graduate out of the top 10 before the season is over. OK, maybe Mets SS Amed Rosario graduates, although the Mets’ big league slide doesn’t exactly give extra reasons for them to call him up and start his service clock. The same could be said for No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada. Other then them, we know that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (youth), Gleyber Torres (injury), Brendan Rodgers (youth), Eloy Jimenez (youth), Victor Robles (youth) and Nick Senzel (rebuilding team means no reason to rush him) are unlikely to graduate either. What can be said for Senzel makes even more sense for Ronald Acuna in Atlanta, as he had no experience above low Class A when the season began. So the top 10 is almost all going to be there in the offseason and the hitters who are 11-20 on this list are generally more likely to graduate (Wily Adames, Lewis Brinson). If you’re looking for a hitter further down, if Bo Bichette does in high Class A what he did in LoA, the questions about his swing will keep receding further and further into the distance.

Phillip (Kentucky): Love the midseason update. Ozzy Albies saw a modest drop in his rank after an up and down start. Was his stock boosted from his resurgence after his most recent return from the DL or was it too late to make an impact on his ranking?


J.J. Cooper: There is some of that. We start really bearing down on this list about a month before it comes out, and a lot of our feedback from scouts and front office officials was already in hand before Albies’ recent hot streak kicked off. Albies is a split camp player anyway, as some scouts question his impact (and don’t like his swing from the left side), while others think he has the strength to be a dynamic top of the order hitter with defensive value as well.

Brian (Bourbonnais): Any consideration for Yordan Alvarez or Yanio Perez?


J.J. Cooper: Yordan Alvarez didn’t miss by much. It’s my expectation that we’ll see him in the Top 100 at some point this year or by next February’s offseason list. Really good hitter for his age with power that is starting to play in games. Great trade for the Astros and one that could pay off for years to come. If Houston asks for a prospect on your team who is in the lowest levels of the minors and you’re another team, just say no.

Thomas (Chattanooga): Can you offer a scouting report on Yordan Alvarez? Hit/power projections, plate discipline, athleticism, etc? I'd never heard of the guy a couple weeks ago!


J.J. Cooper: If you bought your Prospect Handbook last offseason you’d be all caught up on him (plug for buying the book), as he ranked on the Astros Top 30 despite having never played in the U.S. at that point (he had 16 games in the DSL). Cuban who signed with the Dodgers, was traded to the Astros for Josh Fields and has taken his excellent hitting approach to a new level this year. He’s big and strong and that power has shown up in games this year in a way it didn’t when he was in Cuba. Considering his age, that’s not a shocking development.

Alex (CT): Was Andres Gimenez in the equation for a spot? How are scouts currently viewing him?


J.J. Cooper: It’s a very promising year and he’ll rank high on our Mets Midseason Top 10 that will be coming soon. To hold your own in the Sally League at his age with his defensive skills and tools is a very encouraging sign for long-term success.

bryan (LA): How did Yadier Alvarez look yesterday? Have his problems this year been mainly due to command of his fastball, or does it lack movement? Hitters yesterday seemed to be sitting fastball and then making solid contact.


J.J. Cooper: When you can’t throw your fastball for strikes, you put yourself in bad situations where hitters can look for a pitch in a certain spot and tee off, even if you throw 97+. That’s been the case for Alvarez this year and his struggles to throw his slider as anything other than a chase pitch makes it even tougher. That’s been Alvarez’s consistent issue. That’s the tricky part of projecting with pitchers. Right now, it’s a clear problem for Alvarez. Now, will he figure it out? The positive signs are that the arm works really well and his delivery is pretty easy, so it’s not like he’s humping up to get to that velocity.

Alex Clement (North): Is Dilon Tate back on the top 100 radar?


J.J. Cooper: No not yet. Encouraging bounce back as his stuff has been better so far, but he has to do that for a while longer with some consistency to climb back to top 100 consideration.

Patrick (New Jersey): Is Scott Kingery looking like a Brian Dozier esq player? Also do you think he can successfully switch to third base and be an above average defender there too?


J.J. Cooper: I think Kingery could play third–above-average defense there may be a stretch- but I kind of think he makes even more sense as a bounce-around Zobrist type. He’s played outfield in the past and has the athleticism and speed to do it, so play him some at second, some in left and some in center and maybe a little at third and let him hit at all those spots.

Dr Q (Nippon): Does Tatis Jr have the potential to be a top 10 spec by end of next year?


J.J. Cooper: No. Don’t see that happening. As noted above, the guys in the top 10 aren’t going to move out in most cases. Tatis is a really good prospect, but his issues (plate discipline) while understandable considering his age, aren’t going to all clear up in the next 60 games where he would likely vault that high. A year from now? Maybe.

Alex (Chicago): After the first half Alec Hansen had (dominating LoA and starting well in HiA), was he considered for the back end of the Top 100? Do scouts believe his FV command will be average so his pitches play up to have a mid-rotation ceiling?


J.J. Cooper: Not yet. He’s had a very good year and the White Sox and Hansen get a lot of credit for the massive improvements he’s made. That said, his control and command are far, far away from big league ready. When you watch Hansen pitch, he currently loses the strike zone on a pretty regular basis. He does a better job of battling back from it now, but the delivery does cause some of his control issues.

Alex (IL): Will Bo Bichette dominates HiA to the same tune as LoA the 2nd half, are we seeing a top 15-20 prospect come 2018?


J.J. Cooper: Probably more 20-30 at that point, but yeah, he could climb with further production as track record does matter.

Joe (Maryland): Comparing Ronald Acuna with Victor Robles, who has the higher ceiling, and who has the higher floor?


J.J. Cooper: I’d say Acuna has higher ceiling because he has more power than Robles with similar defensive skills and a slightly (ever so slightly) lesser hit tool. Floor? I’ll go Acuna again. He’s produced at a higher level than Robles is at this year and he doesn’t have as much injury risk as Robles’ on-base percentage is boosted by him getting hit by pitches on a very regular basis.

Ryan (Phoenix): When do you expect Acuna to reach the majors?


J.J. Cooper: Next year.

Proswagonist (Liberl): Bukauskas unranked a result of signing late? Faedo comes in at 53 yet was four spots lower on the draft rankings. Where would you slot Bukauskas now that he has signed?


J.J. Cooper: Bukauskas is in the didn’t miss by much range. It didn’t have anything to do with him signing late. Faedo was pitching like a top five pick in the final month of the season and in Omaha and he has more starter traits. Both are really good pitching prospects.

Jon (St. Louis, Mo): BA left Jack Flaherty off the FSL Top 20 list last fall because he had yet to take that next step forward as a prospect. Now that he's cracked the midseason top 100, has Flaherty taken that step forward for you guys to rank him so high? And now that he is a top 100 prospect, what does his ceiling as a major-leaguer look like?


J.J. Cooper: Yes. His stuff has gotten a lot better. In the past, scouts have been concerned about the quality of his fastball, but he’s gotten stronger and has steadily added velocity, which has made everything play up. He’s a good mid-rotation starting prospect.

Brett (Calgary): Fernando Tatis Jr. is getting a lot of buzz this year. Do you feel you might be a little low on him with this updated ranking?


J.J. Cooper: Not really. We talked to a lot of scouts to put together this list and reflected that in our rankings.

Hank (Twin Cities): A little surprised Ryan MOUNTCASTLE didn't find his way in. He's had solid seasons at such a young age up to this point...is he close?


J.J. Cooper: The big question with Mountcastle is where is he going to play. We can’t find any scouts who have seen him who think his arm can stick at shortstop. Most don’t think second or third base is an option either. Left field or first base is the most likely landing spots, which puts a lot of pressure on his bat. He’s really hit so far, but that’s what kept him off the top 100.

Leo (San Diego, CA): Compared with a lot of other franchises with up to 6-7 players, it doesn't look like the Padres have that many top 100 guys. Do you see this as a failure of AJ Prellar, his process or what?


J.J. Cooper: I think the Padres have one of the best farm systems in baseball. They have five guys in our top 100 and another 5-10 who aren’t that far off. The Padres are really, really loaded in arms and hitters in the lower levels of the minors. Not all of those will pan out obviously, but the depth of the Padres’ system ranks with the best in the game. Trying to limit them to 10 prospects in the midseason list is really hard as we’re going to leave off a lot of prospects we really like.

Proswagonist (Liberl): Your colleague, Kyle Glaser, has proclaimed Daz Cameron "a bust" at the ripe age of 20. Agree?


J.J. Cooper: Not ready to say that just yet, but I will say that the chances of him being a big league star at this point are very slim. Cameron is roughly two years behind development schedule–the best HS OF bats (like Kyle Tucker) from his draft class are in Double-A right now. He’s in low Class A and even with his recent hot streak, his numbers in the Midwest League are only fair. On his Quad Cities teams, among hitters with 100 or more plate appearances this year, he ranks ninth in OPS. If you look at players of similar profiles in the past, it’s very hard to find any who end up being big league regulars.

Greg (GA): Hey JJ. I'm curious about the significant Albies drop. He started the year slow in his first couple weeks while coming off the broken elbow, but since then, he has been on fire. Even with the early struggles, he's still slashing .292/.336/.451 as a 20-year-old at Triple A. The power has spiked, the defense is still really good at an up-the-middle position, and he's got 21 SB to 2 CS. Can you clarify what I'm missing that could cause him, not just to drop, but to fall 14 spots while doing this at such a young age in AAA and without ever facing a pitcher younger than him in his minor league career?!


J.J. Cooper: I’ve answered this earlier, but I’ll expound a little further. This is our most volatile list, much more so than our offseason rankings. The process of gathering the info needed to put together an informed Top 100 list means it takes a whole lot of calls, in-person observations, etc. A lot of the feedback we got came when Albies was struggling. Since June 1, he has raised his OPS by nearly 100 points. If he keeps this up, the feedback from scouts over the second half of the season will likely be more positive. But as much as him dropping, there’s also other guys climbing. To give another example, when we started putting this Top 100 together, scouts who had seen Jay Groome had seen him struggle in low Class A, get hurt and then look only OK in his first start in short-season ball. Since then, he has looked better, but the feedback we were getting from front office officials three weeks ago was move him down.

Steve F (Los Angeles): Raimel Tapia hit very well at AAA and continues to do well in the majors, yet dropped 18 spots in the rankings. Was there some red flag that showed up that isn't reflected in his statistics?


J.J. Cooper: We continue to get questions about how much impact he will have. He can definitely hit. He can run, but he has limited power.

Regan (Denver): I'm a huge fan of BA and thanks for taking my question! Who would you say has the best future big league offensive profile(either future projection or now) in the top 100? What about overall future big league skillset currently now or in the near future?


J.J. Cooper: Eloy Jimenez. Power and an advanced hit tool. Pretty good combo.

Michael (Louisville): If you're building a dynasty right now, would you rather have guys like Giolito, Snell, and E. Rodriguez or would you cut bait for a Honeywell or Kopech? Seems like both of them should turn into #1 or 2 starters.


J.J. Cooper: You’re being way too optimistic, which will likely have you end up disappointed later. The number of future No. 1 starters in the minors at any point is likely 1 or 2 at most. Kopech could be really good, but his control/command has to improve a whole lot to be a future No. 1 or 2. Honeywell is really good, but more scouts we talk to see him as a very good, nearly big league ready No. 3 than those who think he is a future No. 1. That said, I’d rather have him and Kopech then the Giolitio-Snell-Rodriguez combo.

Josh G (Philadelphia): Just curious about the ranking of Luis Uriias over Scot Kingery in the midseason updates. Kingery appears to have a similar hit tool with better power and speed at a higher level. Is the defense or arm of Luis Urias the reason for the higher ranking?


J.J. Cooper: I’d say Urias has a better hit tool than Kingery and is better defensively. Both are really good prospects.

Kyle (Toronto): Thanks for taking the tine to answer all of these questions. If Bo Bichette continues to tear apart the minor leagues, Is there a chance he gets a taste of AA before the end of season, or starts next year at AA?


J.J. Cooper: How about there’s a good chance he could be in AA by next May. Theoretically he could rake in HiA for 2+ months this year, go back there for a month or so next year and then get bumped up to Double-A next year early in the season.

Jimmy (Kentucky): What is keeping Taylor Trammell off the Top 100? He seems to have better numbers than several on the list that are same age and at same level with main difference being that Trammell was drafted behind them (Mickey Moniak, for example)?


J.J. Cooper: Moniak is a center fielder, Trammel likely ends up in left field, which means he has to hit a lot more. And at this time last year, I’d say most every team had Moniak pretty significantly ahead of Trammel on their draft boards. Two years from now, that won’t matter, but we’re not far enough away from the draft for that not to still have some impact. But Trammell didn’t miss the top 100 by much. Really good prospect.

Joel (St. Louis): Why is Meija ranked above Kelly?


J.J. Cooper: Because the dude falls out of bed and goes 2-for-4 or 2-for-5. Mejia hit over .330 over the past year and a half as an age appropriate catcher at three different levels. Kelly is a better defender but Mejia is a significantly better hitter.

Adam (Washington): What makes vlad jr. such a highly ranked prospect versus his teammate bo bichette who put up better numbers in the first half of the season?


J.J. Cooper: Scouts are more more confident that Vlad Jr.’s hitting and approach will translate over to the big leagues. Time and time again we’d talk to a scout who saw Lansing and they would rave about Guerrero’s approach, swing, hitting ability and power. Then we’d say “what about Bichette?” And they’d say: he’s a really solid prospect, but he’s not going to hit like Guerrero will. They could be wrong. So could we, but that’s reflected in the rankings.

Vinny (OH): Tigers finally have multiple prospects in the top 100 (3). How far off was Christin Stewart (last season's Tigers #1 on the Midseason Update) from jumping into the top 100. 150? 200?


J.J. Cooper: Still defensive questions but he’s hit enough to be in the top 150 or so.

Sam (NYC): Jack Flaherty went from pre-season outside the Cardinals' Top 10 to Top 100 prospect - what changed to account for his ranking? Thanks -


J.J. Cooper: His stuff keeps getting better. What was once a below-average fastball is now at least average to above-average.

John (Pittsburgh): Austin Meadows has a growing injury history and has hit about .240 at AAA going back to the end of last season. Still only 21, but how down are scouts on him right now?


J.J. Cooper: We have a Stock Watch addressing that very question coming out this week for subscribers.

Jason (St. Pete): Garrett Whitley is flashing the power/speed combo the Rays dreamed on when they drafted him. He's still young and raw, but is he a guy that has some "helium" in the near future?


J.J. Cooper: It’s a somewhat similar answer to the Daz Cameron answer. He’s behind as far as the normal progression for HS OFs in the minors and he’s been solid, but unspectacular in the Midwest League this year. The track record of first-round high school hitters who have followed a similar progression is not good.

Steve (Milwaukee): A big jump from Woodruff? Is he best Brewers Starting Pitcher prospect or is it still Hader? What is Woddruff's upside?


J.J. Cooper: There is more consensus belief that Woodruff can start than Hader, although Hader’s pure stuff is a little better (and he’s a lefty).

Joey T. (Riverfront): How about Jesse Winker? He was once ranked pretty highly, and hasn't regressed or put up poor numbers in AA/AAA. So why the knockdown on him?


J.J. Cooper: Because if you are a left fielder with limited defensive value/speed, you have to hit for power. Getting on-base is a very valuable skill, but it’s real hard to find players of Winker’s skillset who slug sub-.400 in the upper minors and then blossom into impact big leaguers. Guys in the past with similar skillsets that come to mind are players like Sean Burroughs. Winker could end up with more power than that, but right now he hasn’t done enough to push Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler aside.

Thomas (Durham): Did I miss Jake Bauers or was he left off for some reason? Thought for sure I'd see him in the bottom half?!?


J.J. Cooper: Look again. He’s ranked at No. 66.

Nick R. (San Diego, CA): Out of the J2 kids from 2016 for the Pads, who has been most impressive so far? Michel Baez? Luis Almanzar? Adrian Morejon?


J.J. Cooper: You went 3-for-3 there, but I’d say Gabriel Arias is right in that same group. Morejon obviously closest to the big league. I bet there are some good debates in Padres offices about who is better Arias or Almanzar. No clear answer on that yet.

James N. (Scranton): Impressed with Billy McKinney this season thus far? Wasn't that long ago that he was a highly-ranked A's prospect. Will he see Yankee Stadium this summer?


J.J. Cooper: It’s similar to what I said about Winker. It’s been a great first 10 games for McKinney in Triple-A, but he’s going to have to keep that power up to be a big league regular.

J.J. Cooper: After two hours with a lot of great questions still in the queue I need to wrap up. Thanks everyone for coming out, sorry we couldn’t get to every question. Kyle Glaser will have All-Star Game coverage over the next few days from Miami and we’ll be rolling out the midseason top 10s for subscribers very soon.

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