New York-Penn League Top 20 Prospects Chat
Aaron Fitt answered questions about the NYP
Aaron Fitt will chat about the New York-Penn League beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Matt (Austin, Tx): I noticed that LHP Mark Cohoon had a pretty solid campaign this season for Brooklyn. Was he close to making the cut?
Hello everyone, welcome to the Penn League
chat. Let's get to it. Cohoon had a great year thanks to his advanced
feel for pitching, a skill that often translates into success at this
level. His stuff is not overpowering — he's an 86-89 guy — but he has
a very good changeup and the ability to throw his breaking ball to
lefties and righties alike. He's definitely someone to keep an eye on,
but I don't see a lot of upside.
JAYPERS (IL): Could I get your impressions of
Zach Collier after his first pro season? What specific factors led to
his poor showing this year? Would you consider him an overdraft by the
It's certainly too early to give up on
Collier. He has a high ceiling — power potential, speed, and the tools
to be a good defender. He really wasn't an overdraft; in fact, the
Phillies got a decent value on him in the supplemental round relative
to his perceived value, as there was some interest in him in the
mid-first round. But yes, he struggled this year. He really just needs
to become more consistent with his approach and improve his plate
discipline. He's very much a free-swinger at this stage. The Phillies
probably never expected him to fly through the system, but he hit very
well as a high school senior and I'm sure they expected better results
to this point in his career.
Dale (Fayetteville): What does the future look like for Dallas Keuchel (Astros)?
Keuchel is similar to Cohoon — both are
lefties without overpowering stuff who rely on their moxie. Keuchel
worked in the 84-88 range this summer but moved his fastball in and
out, up and down. It does play up because of its life, and he's got a
great changeup, but his breaking ball is fringy. I love his
competitiveness, however, and I think he could find a home in the
bullpen because of his aggressive mentality if he doesn't stick as a
jose (san diego): Exactly what do you think
Hewitts potential is or will be? And how long will it take him to reach
it? How many years away? And is he a top 10 for the phillies this year?
His potential is enormous — there aren't
too many guys out there with 70 raw power, 65 speed and 70 arm
strength. He's built like Ron Gant, but he has a better arm. I think,
first of all, that the Phillies need to give up on the infield
experiment and move him to the outfield, where seemingly everybody
thinks he's going to wind up. He's got enough work to do on his
offensive game without having to worry about learning third base too,
when there's very little chance he sticks at third — he just doesn't
have infield actions or infield instincts. Hewitt is just a classic
high risk, high reward prospect. He's still extremely raw, and it's
going to take him a lot of time to work his way through the minors. But
if he figures it out, he could be very, very good.
Andrew (York, PA): How close was Tri-City's
J.D. Martinez to making the list? We didn't hear much about him this
season, but he absolutely raked from start to finish—what kept him out
of the top 20?
Martinez can really hit — he has a good
short stroke, plenty of bat speed and an aggressive approach. But he
was a 22-year-old DH/left fielder (and not a good left fielder) in the
NY-P. He just doesn't profile very well, so he's going to have to hit
like crazy at every level. Of course, I left Adam Lind off this list
for similar reasons five years ago, and he's hit his way to the big
leagues and become a valuable player for the Blue Jays. But I don't
think Martinez has the kind of impact bat that Lind has.
Gerry (Toronto): No Doubeldays on the list.
Was Wellinton Ramirez anyway close? Ochinko and Gomes look like
experienced sluggers without a position.
Ramirez was very close — he was No. 21,
in fact. Welinton got plenty of support from league managers and from
one scout I spoke with, but I'm just not sold on his profile. He spent
five full years in Rookie ball, including four years in the DSL, which
is a bit of a red flag for me. He was a bit old for the Penn League at
22, and he's a corner outfielder who has never hit for power at any
level, though he has bat speed and some evaluators project some pop.
But I want to see some of those doubles start to translate into home
runs before I'm buying. The Blue Jays don't have a very good track
record in recent years when it comes to developing homegrown
international players. I also like Ryan Goins and Ryan Schimpf. Both
had standout college careers, and both are stronger than you'd think
given their smallish statures. Goins is a better infielder and has a
chance to carve out a nice career as a utilityman or maybe even a
starting second baseman; he has a nice compact stroke and is a good
runner. Schimpf has more offensive potential but must improve at second
base. I think he's got a chance though — he has the tools to play the
infield, he just needs to become more consistent. As for the catchers,
both have some power potential (though Gomes has yet to really tap into
his). Gomes is a good receiver who had some throwing problems this
summer. Ochinko isn't as good defensively, and I think he might wind up
at first base, where he played most of this spring for LSU. I like
Gomes a bit better because of his defensive edge.
Ben (Leland Grove): Which of these 20 players do you see making it to the Majors first and why?
I could really see Kipnis flying through
the minors. He's a very mature hitter with an advanced approach and a
clean swing. He's pretty polished in all phases of his game. As for the
pitchers, I suspect Alex Wilson could move pretty quickly in a relief
role, and Adam Warren should have little trouble continuing his
domination in the low minors. He could reach Double-A in a hurry.
Joe (DE): Were Austin Hyatt and Matt Way too old for the level they were competing or did they not qualify for other reasons?
Hyatt got quite a bit of support,
actually. He really dominated this league (as you'd expect from a
college senior), and his stuff played up in short stints in relief. I
had one report that he was up to 94, but his comfort zone is more in
the 86-91 range. He leans heavily on a solid-average changeup in the
75-77 range, and it's very common to see older college pitchers with
good changeups dominate the Penn League — he's going to have to prove
himself at higher levels. The knock on him has always been his lack of
a quality breaking ball, but Williamsport manager Chris Truby said his
slider made a lot of progress this summer and could be an average pitch
down the road. One scout I spoke with said he saw a well-below-average,
rolling breaking ball, however.
As for Way, he's in the same mold — a college senior with a fringy
fastball and an excellent changeup, though his change is even better
than Hyatt's. I want to see a better breaking ball from both of these
guys — neither showed a great ability to spin one in four years in
college. They're going to need better breaking balls at higher levels.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): Aaron:
Mahoning Valley pitchers Clayton Cook and Marty Popham performed very
well, Cook as a teenager in a mostly college age league. Do they
impress as prospects?
Cook didn't get a lot of love from
managers or scouts, but Popham's an interesting sleeper. He has
excellent size and plenty of arm strength, and he complements his
fastball with a promising slider. Nice under-the-radar prospect.
Mike (Tampa): What are your impressions of J.P. Ramirez, and how close was he to this list?
I like Ramirez as a hitter. He has a very
nice, compact swing, and he just really loves to hit. He can drive the
ball all fields, and I think he'll hit for average down the road as
well as some power — maybe in the 20-homer range. But he does have
plenty of work to do offensively, as he tends to chase balls out of the
zone and must improve against lefties. He's also going to have to hit a
lot, because he's not a good defender and he'll be tied to left field.
J.P. wasn't that close to making this list.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): When Kipnis was
drafted there was some comment that he might be tried at second base.
That same experiment was the death of Trevor Crowe but that time the
Indians waited until Crowe was in AA. Is Kipnis sticking in the OF, or
will he get a second base test?
I think they'll leave him in the outfield.
People have been speculating he could be a fit at second base for
years, but I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): Outside Kipnis, who on
the Scappers impressed as a prospect? Lots of stat lines posted by
pitchers and some of the hitters, too.
As good as that team was, it was not the
most prospect-laden bunch. Just a bunch of well-coached, hard-nosed
scrappers, if you will. Bo Greenwell was there early and got some
support thanks to his nice lefthanded stroke. And Kyle Bellows has good
size and athleticism at third base, as well as some power potential.
He's someone to keep an eye on.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): Jordan Henry led the
NYPL in on base pct and stole a fair number of bases. Is he a leadoff
prospect for the Indians? Is he a centerfielder?
Henry is a true center fielder (he even
pushed Kipnis to left, and Kipnis can play center field himself) with
excellent defensive skills and 70 speed. I do think he's a prospect
because he knows how to use his speed and he can really go get the ball
in the outfield, but he has never shown that he can hit the ball with
enough authority to be anything more than a Jason Tyner type.
Trevor (NJ): What's the upside on Neil Medchill? Word is he needs surgery on his wrist. That would explain his slow end to the season.
I did hear an Adam Lind comp on Medchill.
I think he's more athletic than Lind, but I suppose he could be that
kind of offensive player — he's physical and very strong.
Steve (Columbia): What are you thoughts on Staten Isl. DeAngelo Mack? Is he a legit prospect or how high is his ceiling? Thanks
Mack doesn't profile particularly well,
because he lacks the speed for center field and doesn't have the
premium power for a corner. But he made a lot of progress offensively
for South Carolina this spring, and he carried it over to the summer,
squaring balls up consistently, using both gaps and showing good pull
power. He's a tough out and he has solid-average power potential —
he's got a chance.
Grant (NY): Any Orioles' prospect is near this list?
There was not much at Aberdeen, but
18-year-old shortstop Garabez Rosa does sound intriguing. He's not very
polished in any phase and must learn to play under control at short,
but he showed easy power, even to center field, and he can make
spectacular plays at times in the field. And I think Justin Dalles has
a real chance behind the plate. Another South Carolina product, Dalles
is big and physical with a bit of power and a good idea at the plate.
He's also a solid defensive catcher with an average arm.
Fred (Ohio): Where do you see Brock Holt's deffensive future? How would you evaluate his season as a whole.
He's a second baseman down the road,
though he really can handle shortstop ably. I like Holt as another
sleeper — he plays with a ton of energy, he's a solid-average to plus
runner, he has great instincts in the field and on the basepaths, and
he has decent arm strength and range in the middle infield. His range
is probably a little short for shortstop, but you could at least plug
him in there and make him a useful utility player. He's also stronger
than he looks given his 5-foot-10 frame, and he can hit hard line
drives and even some home runs. He's just a very good all-around player
— don't sleep on him.
Fred (Ohio): Thoughts on Luke Murton?
He's big and has some power, but he was
brutal at first base, which is where he's going to have to play. He
played the outfield at Georgia Tech, so he'll have to learn first, and
he's got a very long way to go. Scouts were unimpressed by him in the
Fred (Ohio): How close was Deangelo Mack to
making this list. He had a really good start to his career. It seems
like you put a bunch of guys on at the end simply based on draft status
and not results.
How do you figure? Were Jim Fuller, Kyle Conley and Neil Medchill big draft guys? How'd I miss that?
Michael (NY, NY): I see that only Jim Fuller
made the list, although nearly all of the Brooklyn staff had a good
year statistically. Could you provide some information on the other
Brooklyn starters (McHugh, Cohoon & Moore) and whether they were
under consideration for the Top 20?
I already addressed Cohoon, but the others
got some interest also. McHugh has arm strength and pitches downhill
with a good sinker and a decent little slider. Moore has a fringy
fastball in the 87-91 range, but he hides the ball well and has good
feel for a four-pitch mix, which also includes an average slider in the
81-84 range, a fringy curveball and a fringy change. All three of those
guys were in the mix at the back of the top 20, but there's nothing
flashy about them.
carl (ny): heard a couple of reports about adam warren hitting 96 at times, any truth to that?
I think that's very unlikely. Give Warren
credit, he has really strengthened his arm since his college career
started, and he can now reach back from 93-94 pretty much anytime he
wants, while pitching in the 88-92 range. But 96? He's never going to
be that guy.
Dan (Hartford, CT): Hi Aaron. Thanks for the
chat. Based on his $1 mil bonus as a 15th rounder last year,
expectations were pretty high for J.P. Ramirez going into this season.
His first extended pro action in the NY-Penn was pretty disappointing.
Too soon to give up hope on a guy Jim Bowden once compared to Brian
Giles, or $1 mil Bowden might have been better off spending on another
one of those barely-replacement-level UT he was so fond of?
I do think Ramirez will hit, but I also
thought $1 million was too steep for a high school left fielder without
big-time power. He doesn't have anywhere near the athleticism Giles
had, and he's never going to hit 38 or 39 homers like Giles did in his
prime. That's a pretty ridiculous comparison.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Aaron, great work as
always. A couple of questions about Westmoreland: 1) I'm guessing Kelly
has to be rated ahead of him, but at this point is he, in your mind,
the #2 prospect for the Sox? 2) Is Ellsbury with more pop a fair comp?
Thanks, Joe. I'm no Red Sox prospect
expert, but I know that organization thinks extremely highly of
Westmoreland, and he's certainly in their top five, and maybe even No.
2 or so. One scout I spoke with actually did make the Ellsbury with
more power comparison, so yes, I think there's something to that. If
his shoulder can stay healthy, he'll probably show a better arm than
Ellsbury, too. Before his injury, he showed solid-average or better arm
strength, which of course is much better than Ellsbury.
Paul (Miami Fl): Is Caminero a future starter, or is his scorching stuff more suited for the pen?
Bullpen guy all the way.
Petey Pablo (Carrboro): Going forward, where does CLE/MV UT Greg Folgia profile - as a corner OF or at second? Did anyone like his bat?
I've always thought he fits better at
second — he's undersized for a corner outfield spot, and I don't think
he'll hit for enough power out there. Nobody talked much about him in
the Penn League, but I liked his bat in college and in college summer
ball. His swing is short and compact, and I think he'll hit. He's a
sleeper, I think.
Doug (Phx): After reading your article about
Lobstein earlier in the year about how hig the Rays were on him I was
thinking he would be alot closer to the top of the list. What is
holding him back from being a really elite prospect?
He really got mixed reviews from scouts
and managers. Some saw good stuff and flawless mechanics, others saw a
low-energy guy with a mid-80s fastball, fringy secondary stuff and an
overly manufactured delivery. I came down somewhere in the middle.
Merv Crumpton (Oneonta): Did either Clemente
Mendoza or Luis Sanz get any consideration? I know their fastballs are
only average, but they both have pretty good curveballs and changeups
and both had pretty good seasons. I know they probably both have
back-of-the-rotation ceilings, but are they both at least considered
legitimate prospects? Anyway either one of them could end up among
Detroit's Top 30 next year?
Sanz got a bit of consideration, and
Mendoza got none. Sanz actually touched 93 early in the year but
couldn't throw strikes because he was trying to strike everyone out. He
did a better job pitching to contact as the year progressed, settling
into the 89-91 range. He works fast, holds runners and fields his
position well. He has a decent three-pitch mix, with a changeup and a
curveball, and he'll mix in a slider as a show pitch. I could certainly
see him on the back of Detroit's top 30.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown,,Delaware):
Delaware guy Tyler Townsend was drafted by the Orioles to give their
system some long distance pop. Do you think Townsend is the guy that
can do this? Guess for me if you think he will be back at 1st base for
Aberdeen, or at a higher level in 2010.
He had a brilliant spring for FIU on the
heels of a strong summer in the Valley League, but honestly I'm not
sold on his bat long-term, and I don't know that he'll hit enough to
hold down first base, where it looks like he'll have to play. I thought
he was a bit of an overdraft in the third round, but we'll see. I would
imagine he'll move up to low Class A to start 2010 despite his poor
showing in the Penn League — you rarely see college guys repeat
Scott (Henderson, Nevada): How close was Sean Black and Gavin Brooks to making the top 20?
Not very, although Black was good at
times, working in the low 90s and throwing his curveball for strikes.
Other times he was more in the 86-89 range. Command is an issue for
Brooks, and I just don't think he's ever going to live up to the
promise he flashed in high school and as a freshman at UCLA. The stuff
just isn't what it once was.
james (texas): Nick Hernandez of williamsport had nice numbers, where does he stack up in the NYPL.
He's a funky lefty who works in the 88-90 range and leans on a good changeup. There's not a lot of upside there.
David (Massachusetts): How about some names we might not have heard who put themselves on the prospect map?
How bout Juan Jaime, a righthander for
Vermont? He's an older guy with some violence in his delivery, but he
can run the fastball up to 98 mph and sits in the 93-96 range. His
curveball and changeup remain works in progress, but it's hard to
ignore his arm strength, and he dominated both in Vermont and
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Aaron, as the Nats prospect authority, who are you higher on at this point: Hood or Burgess?
Hood. I think he's got a much better
chance to hit, and he's a better overall athlete, though he doesn't
have Burgess' arm strength.
Kevin G (New Brunswick, NJ): Do you have any
info on Rays SS Tyler Bortnick? He was an older college guy but I've
heard good things about his defense and he posted a pretty good stat
Bortnick's just a solid player who can
hold his own all around the infield, he runs OK, and he's a decent gap
hitter. I could see a future as a utilityman, but his tools aren't loud
enough to suggest he'll be an everyday player.
OK everybody, that's all I have time for today. Thanks for all the
great questions, as usual. Stop by again tomorrow for Conor Glassey's
Northwest League chat.