League Top 20 Prospects

Pacific Coast League Chat

 Q:  Aaron from Media, PA asks:
Did Ian Stewart make enough strides this year to become a full-time regular for the Rockies in 2009? What do you make of his 12 starts at 2nd base? Thanks!

Jim Shonerd: Hi everybody, thanks for coming out. Let's get started.

Jim Shonerd: Stewart has shown he can handle Triple-A, though he still has some things to work on. He should be given a shot at an everyday role in spring training, but there may not be room for him unless the Rockies move Garrett Atkins. I wouldn't read too much into his time at second base, he's not a long term solution there.

 Q:  Craig from Canada asks:
Why was Adenhart so hittable in the PCL after his call-up? Does he have a chance of making the Angels out of spring training?

Jim Shonerd: He really struggled with his command after coming back from the callup. It's possible he could earn a spot with the Angels in spring training, but the general opinion among the people I talked with about him was that he needs another full year at Triple-A. He's still only 22, so that wouldn't be the end of the world.

 Q:  Kelly from St. Cloud, MN asks:
What's the latest on the Joe Koshansky front? Why is he still playing away his days in the minors? Is he still slated to take over for Helton one of these days, or is he trade bait?

Jim Shonerd: The opinion I got on Koshansky was that he's not much more than a career 4-A type of player, due to a long swing and not enough bat speed. He certainly raked this year in Colorado Springs, but he's already 26 and needs to prove he can hold his own against big league pitching.

 Q:  Kevin from San Diego, CA asks:
Thanks for the chat Jim. Can you explain why Will Venable was left off the list? He put up nice numbers, and definitely held his own after getting called up to the Pads. He seems like a guy who'd grade out as average-to slightly above average in every tool category. Thoughts?

Jim Shonerd: Venable got some support, but most of the managers and scouts I talked to didn't see him standing out. He's an astute player—not surprising, he went to Princeton after all—and he should get a shot at a major league job next year.

 Q:  Patrick from Chicago, IL asks:
Which Iowa Cubs were closest to making the list?

Jim Shonerd: Jeff Samardzija and Sean Gallagher both would have if they had spent enough time with Iowa. Samardzija in particular impressed, not only with his fastball but with his competitiveness and ability to reach back for an extra gear when needed.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
What's been the main reason for Rasmus' offensive struggles this year? Can he push for a starting OF job out of spring training, or will he be returning to Memphis no matter what?

Jim Shonerd: Most observers chalked it up to inexperience. Veteran Triple-A pitchers were able to take advantage of his aggressiveness early on, but he was getting better by all accounts before his season was cut short. He needs to control the strike-zone better, but if he tears it up in spring training, I think it'd be hard for the Cards to keep him out of St. Louis.

 Q:  Ulysses from Downers Grove Ill asks:
Is Matt Antonelli still one of the Padres' top 10 prospects?

Jim Shonerd: He has a shot, though Matt Eddy, who's doing our Padres Top 30 again this year, is the best person to ask about that. His bat looked slow this year, but he can still help a major league club. His glove isn't great, though he made progress defensively and you have to give him credit for holding things together and putting together a good month in August, when he hit .290/.391/.473.

 Q:  keith from lincoln asks:
Do you think Carlos Rosa is a starter or reliever down the road? The games I saw Rosa pitch he held his velocity deep, but his off speed pitchers were pretty inconsistent, although nasty at times.

Jim Shonerd: His changeup will be the key. One of the scouts I talked to said it's still below average, but he made progress with it.

 Q:  PT from NH asks:
How close was Eulogio De La Cruz to making the cut?

Jim Shonerd: He was in the conversation and was one of the later cuts. He has a good arm and ran his fastball up there at 94-96 mph, but his command and breaking ball still needed work.

 Q:  Peter Marcus from NYC asks:
Better SS long-term ... Brandon Wood or Reid Brignac?

Jim Shonerd: Brignac is a better defender, though Wood is no slouch. Offensively, Wood has more pop but Brignac should hit for a higher average and both are average runners. So it probably depends on what you're looking for. Brignac struggled with consistency this year, but long term, I might lean towards him if he can improve his plate discipline.

 Q:  Chad from Ohio asks:
Max Scherzer was used by Arizona this year as a starter and reliever, what do you see him being long term? Thanks Chad

Jim Shonerd: His role will likely be dictated by whatever Arizona's greatest needs are. He has the stuff to be a starter, and I would keep him as a starter until he proves he can't handle it.

 Q:  Matt from Seattle asks:
Do you think Jeff Clement will be able to stay at catcher for the Mariners? Does he hit well enough to possibly slide over to firstbase?

Jim Shonerd: Clement's bat would play at first base, though obviously it wouldn't have as much value there as it would if he can stay at catcher. I think it'll be hard for him to stay at catcher, but he's got a great work ethic and I don't think it's entirely beyond the realm of possibilities, though some of the scouts I talked to are convinced he should move to first.

 Q:  Toby from The Bronx asks:
Where would Mike Saunders have ranked here, had he not missed out on the necessary number of ABs?

Jim Shonerd: He would've been in the top 10 at least. His numbers with Tacoma weren't overwhelming, but he's got plenty of tools and would've rated highly.

 Q:  Katie from St Louis asks:
With Molina entrenched at starting catcher, when does Anderson get his shot?

Jim Shonerd: Probably not in 2009, at least. Another year in Memphis wouldn't hurt Anderson so he can keep refining his defense, so that buys the Cards some time. But Molina is under contract until 2011 (with a 2012 option) however, and the Cards will have to make a decision on the two of them at some point.

 Q:  T. Miller from Las Vegas asks:
No Cubs prospects??? After another first round sweep, I need some good news about next year!

Jim Shonerd: Is Daytona's winning the FSL crown any consolation?

Jim Shonerd: As far as Iowa is concerned, I already touched on Samardzija, but Micah Hoffpauir swung the bat very well this year (as his numbers attest), plus he's a good clubhouse guy and should get a shot to be the Cubs' fourth OF next year.

 Q:  Chris from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
What is the current assessment of Andy LaRoche? He was awful with the Pirates, and there have been suggestions that he's not a hard worker. Has his work ethic held him back?

Jim Shonerd: LaRoche can still be a solid, every day major league third baseman, but likely not a star. One scout called him a third base version of Marcus Giles. He tends to get sloppy defensively sometimes, but he can be a solid regular if he commits himself.

 Q:  Todd from Tosa asks:
To what do you attribute to Greg Reynolds poor showing in the majors this year. Is he a legit prospect or are we looking at another Adam Johnson?

Jim Shonerd: PCL observers who saw him that I talked to felt that Reynolds' stuff is simply too hittable. He has good command, but lacks a true plus pitch.

 Q:  John from St.Louis, MO asks:
I'm confused. You rated Mitchell Boggs the Best Pitching Prospect in your Tools issue, yet he's the 5th or 6th ranked pitcher in the Top 20. What gives?

Jim Shonerd: I'll wind it up with this one. The Best Tools lists are a straightforward survey of league managers, whereas these Top 20 lists are made based on the opinions of managers and scouts. With Boggs, he seemed like the kind of pitcher that doesn't always wow scouts, but managers love him. His stuff isn't overwhelming, but managers raved about how he attacks hitters and was very difficult to predict. The old "he's a pitcher, not a thrower" line came out several times. I like Boggs, but it was hard to rank him on the same level as guys like Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez.

Jim Shonerd: Thanks for all the great questions. I hope you guys enjoyed the chat as much as I did. Come back tomorrow as J.J. Cooper brings you the best prospects from around the independent leagues. Take care, everyone.