GCL Top 20 Prospects Chat With Nathan Rode
JAYPERS (IL): Could I get your thoughts on Wes
Freeman so far? He was billed as having potential 5-tool ability when
drafted. What are scouts telling you about him lately?
Greetings everyone and thanks for coming
out for a GCL prospects chat. I'll try to get to as many questions as I
can. Freeman is a physical specimen and was definitely considered. As a
second-year pro you would hope for better numbers but has some tools.
He has a good arm and shows some pop. He can handle center field but is
likely headed to a corner. He just needs to develop some consistency in
his swing. His load and timing are off which obviously makes it
difficult to hit. If he can figure that out, then he has some promising
Ben (Leland Grove): Which of the names on this list do you see rising through his farm system the fastest, and why?
Brewer would be an easy answer for this
just because of his age. Injuries have held him back so if he can stay
healthy his stuff should move him along. Hermsen's command is a good
attribute that might help him along. Just remember that this is the
GCL. Most of these guys have a long way to go.
Paul (FL): Where can we find a schedule of
BA's League Top 20 lists? I figured the AZL would have been the first
one to have been covered, as was the case last year. Thanks!
It should be posted soon. Bill Mitchell
will be chatting on the AZL tomorrow. We switched days because I'll be
out of the office tomorrow.
KaneCoKeith (Chicago,IL): What can you tell me about Oswaldo Arcia, the OF for the Twins, and how close was he to making the list?
Arcia was actually a very, very late cut.
I had written him up for the list but we wanted to bring a guy in late
and it cost Arcia a spot. He's a switch-hitter with a strong frame. He
showed power from both sides and had great plate discipline (18-15
strikeout-walk). He's a prospect for right field with his power and
plus arm. He's an average runner but fearless on the bases and did
sometimes run himself into outs this season.
Gerry (Toronto): Were any Blue Jays close? Carlos Perez had a good year, and Gustavo Pierre was a big bonus signing, were they mentioned.
Well, Carlos Perez checked in at No. 5
thanks to his defense and contact ability. Gustavo Pierre is very raw,
but has some tools. Pierre needs to gain experience and obviously work
on plate discipline. He struck out 45 times while walking just three.
Fred (Ohio): Hi- Is Gift Ngoepe a prospect or simply a great story? Thanks!
I was really hoping someone would ask
about Ngoepe. He is certainly a great story. He gets bonus points from
me because he was pictured in that Sports Illustrated article reading
an issue of Baseball America. As a prospect, Ngoepe is interesting but
certainly needs work. He showed a lot of ability defensively and would
be above average at second base. Offensively he just needs a lot of
time. He is inexperienced being from South Africa and just needs to
gain experience by playing in the U.S. It would be great if he
developed into a good prospect but the bat needs work.
Hector (Orlando): Did Enrique Hernandez get consideration? I sa him play this summer and he raked
Hernandez did get some consideration.
There are lot of questions in the queue about why a certain player
didn't make it. Mostly, it comes down to there are 16 teams in the
league and only 20 spots. A lot of talented players were left off the
list. Hernandez is one of them. Overall he's raw but he's a high-energy
guy. He projects as an offensive middle infielder. He can handle short
but lacks the range to play there every day. He has an above average
arm and would be a good defender at second base. He's more of a doubles
guy than home run power but can make good, hard contact.
Steve (Omaha): How good was Hobgood in your views?
Hobgood didn't play in this league. Check back with Matt Eddy on Friday for the Appy League list.
Dale Berra's Stash (Pittsburgh): Where would
some of the Pirates above-slot HS pitcher draftees have ranked, if
eligible —- Zack Von Rosenburg, Colton Cain, and Trent Stevenson?
There's a couple question about the
Pirates high school signees. The Buccos took a lot of heat for taking
Sanchez so early, but looking back I liked some of their later picks.
I'm a big fan of the German Assassin (aka ZVR, check out a story on him
from the spring:
He would have made the Top 10 if he qualified. He is very polished for
a high school arm and should really move along now that he can
concentrate on pitching instead of playing shortstop on off days. Cain
is interesting. He's a big-bodied guy that actually was considered as a
first baseman in the draft. Stevenson has a very tall, thin frame. He
was 87-92 this summer and is learning a changeup. Had they qualified
all three would have likely made the Top 20.
Dave (San Diego): I have four kids that I
watched as they grew up and I believe they were all in this league.
Could you let me know how Giovanni Mier, David Nick, Nolan Arenado, and
Tyler Bighames all did and what their projections are in the future.
Only Bighames was in this league and he
had a tough year (.216/.300/.330), but was only a 31st rounder. Check
back on Friday with Matt Eddy's Appy League chat for Jio Mier and then
on Monday for his Pioneer chat for David Nick and Nolan Arenado.
David Stoner (Atlanta, GA): Why is so much
emphasis NOT put on numbers that guys produce at lower levels? I know
it's a delicate balance between projection and production, but if a guy
can't produce at lower levels, is it realistic that he'll produce at
higher levels? I have a tough time buying into a guy like Pedro Baez a
couple years ago when he couldn't produce in the GCL (the scouting
reports on him were endearing)...but I'll take my chances on a guy like
Adrian Salcedo any day, as he's dominated the GCL to the tune of a 20:1
K/BB ratio, as well as a 1.00 WHIP. What are your thoughts - do you
rely more on the scouts' opinions, or do you take players' production
This is too good to pass up. One of our
photographers getting in on the action. When we're talking about
production at low levels I see your argument for levels like Low A and
High A. With the Gulf Coast League a lot of these guys are first-year
pros or still very young. They're getting used to the speed of the game
and sometimes adjusting to wood bats. I'll take my chances on Salcedo
as well, but I'll also rely on projection for guys this young. In 1992
a young man from Kalamazoo, Mich. hit .202/.281/.312 in 47 games for
the GCL Yankees. He now has four rings and passed Lou Gehrig as
all-time hits leader for the Yankees. I'll be concerned about lack of
production in the full season leagues, rather than the Gulf Coast
matt (philly, pa): Your thoughts on 2 prospects; Marlon Mitchell and Daniel Santana. thanx
I saw Marlon Mitchell at the Tournament
of Stars in 2008 and liked him. Thought he was a solid catcher that
would do well in college. I was very surprised (and disappointed) when
he signed as I would not be able to see him at NC State. Santana is
interesting and was considered for the back end of the list. He really
improved this year and showed plus range with a plus plus arm. He has a
little pop but is more of a gap to gap guy that would fit at the top of
a lineup. He's a switch hitter and was clocked at 3.6-3.7 down the line
on drag bunts from the left side. That's pretty fast. However he can be
a little over aggressive at times.
Jeff (Pittsburgh): It's great to see the league top 20s start to emerge!
I've heard good things about Brandon King. Was he close to making the list?
The Nationals really like him. He wasn't
real close but he's interesting. I've actually know about him for a
while. I grew up about 30 minutes from his high school, albeit I'm
several years older, and his high school coach grew up with my high
school coach. Kind of like a six degrees of separation thing. Anyway,
he was mostly 87-88 this year and flashed 90. He has a mid-70s breaking
ball that he can throw for strikes and he has a good changeup. He was a
very early Tennessee commit but opted to sign when he decided against
becoming a "proud vol".
Brian Daniels (Water Logged Georgia): Nathan,
Greetings from Waterworld (or so it feels). My question is about
Betancourt, De Leon, and Hood, do all three of these prospects make a
leap to full season ball next year?
I don't think it's out of the question
but that's going to depend a lot on how they show up at Spring
Training. If they are in shape and perform well then there's an
argument for it. But the GCL to a full season league is a considerable
jump so I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these guys go to
extended then end up in short-season ball.
Brandon (Charleston, WV): Did Harold Johnson or Juan Silva get any consideration?
Both got considerable consideration but
it again came down to lots of good candidates for very few spots.
Johnson is a big righty with an average to above fastball. He showed
good command with a potential average breaking ball and changeup. Silva
had a very good year after struggling in high school events. He can run
and has a good arm. He shifted from right to center once Yorman
Rodriguez was promoted.
Joseph (Fort Worth, TX): I thought it was
interesting that there wasn't a single lefty on the list, and I was
curious if there were any that came close? Thanks for the chat Nathan.
That is interesting. Manny Rivera had a
great season. He showed good feel for a changeup and was stingy in
giving up hits. Danny Rosenbaum was 88-89 but touched 92 with a good
curve and change.
Gary Karp (wilmington, de): The Phillies had
the most prospects on your Gulf Coast top 20 list besides Marlon
Mitchell who you have already talked about are there any prospects that
show promise or excite you from that Phillies team?
Kelly Dugan didn't have a great year but
the Phillies spent their top pick on him in 2009. He has some power and
is a decent runner. Kyrell Hudson has some tools but there were some
makeup questions in high school. I would keep an eye on those two.
Hudson didn't qualify for the list. Brody Colvin made only one
appearance but he's certainly worth noting. He has a quick arm and can
run his fastball up to 94.
Fred (Ohio): What did scouts think of the two Indian pitchers the Pirates signed.
They're good stories of course. The
lefty, Singh, has more projection and shows some arm strength. They
both have a lot of learning to do as they never previously played
baseball. Singh's fastball ranged from 80-87 so one would think that he
can get up to the high 80s if he's adding strength and learning to
Nate (North Carolina): Not really much of a
prospect, but what did you think of Lance Niekro's conversion? If you
had to put a percent chance on his reaching the majors as a pitcher,
where would it fall? I can't imagine it's more than 5% right now, but
he's a nice story.
Nice story yes, but from talking to
managers he sounds like any other knuckleballer. If it's on, it can be
good. But it wasn't on much. I'm with you on the percentage. I'll cheer
for him, but won't get my hopes up.
Titus (Blackwell St.): Speaking of the 2008 Tournament Of Stars Alumni, whats your take on all names 1st teamer Brooks Pounders?
Blackwell St. eh? Sounds familiar. To
answer your question Sir Titus, he doesn't offer the velo I'd expect
out of that kind of frame. When I saw him in Jupiter in the fall he
flashed a couple 94s in his first inning, but was 87-88 afterward so I
don't think we're going to see much more than what the report says.
Scouts did like his secondary stuff in high school and it sounds like
it rang true in his stint this summer. I'll hold off on passing
judgment until we see a little more. But it is a pretty good baseball
name isn't it?
Gary (Columbus, OH): Juan Duran had an abysmal year statistically. Were the scouting reports on him any better than his numbers?
Duran is very raw. When he signed he was
6-foot-5. I had one manager tell me he's up to 6-foot-7 and another
said he wouldn't be surprised if he's taller than that. He has above
average raw power and a good arm. His height may end up relegating him
to first base but he'll be allowed to roam a corner outfield spot for
now. There are some holes in his swing and he'll obviously have some
extra work to cut it down with that huge frame.
Nate (North Carolina): What do you guys expect from Billy Hamilton in 2010? Will he repeat the GCL, or could the Reds push him a level?
He's learning to switch-hit and needs to
gain experience after being a two-way guy in high school. I believe
he'll get some work in extended and then maybe head to the Pioneer
League if he doesn't repeat. I'd be extremely surprised if they pushed
him any further than that.
Ok folks, that's going to do it for me
today. I've got to get going on some Blue Jays calls for the Top 30.
Great questions as always. Tune in tomorrow to talk about the Arizona