Carolina League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Lacy Lusk
It's not quite 2, but I'm already 37
comments behind so let's get started. Thanks so much for chiming in to
chat about Carolina League prospects.
JAYPERS (IL): How far off the list was Aaron
Crow? He seemed to figure things out at the end of the season, but what
was the word on his stumbling during the majority of it?
Actually, Crow would've made the list, but
he fell a couple of innings short of the innings minimum (1/3 for every
game your team plays). Even had a shot on the last day of the season,
but he had a rocky start in the finale. The start before that, he fanned
13 and really impressed Myrtle Beach manager Rocket Wheeler. His
fastball was touching 94-95. Just needs to be a good on a lot more
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Thank you for the
chat Lacy. Seeing Hosmer several times this year with his control of the
zone, discipline, swing mechanics which should produce power and
average; I was actually reminded of Jason Heyward at the plate a couple
years ago. I know Hosmer lacks Heyward's athleticism and defensive
value, but could he end up being a comparable hitter?
Yes. He may well exceed Heyward at the
plate, especially in terms of hitting for average. Plus, that power
binge in the Texas League playoffs showed what nearly everyone says
about him — that the power will come, too.
Blake (STL): What are scouts telling you about Steve Lombardozzi?
Scouts don't love him as much as managers
and other players do, but the way he has hit — including in his 100 or
so at-bats in Double-A — it's hard to think he doesn't at least have
the one tool. Amazing how he seems to play just like his dad, who also
made a move to second base while in the minors.
JAYPERS (IL): Had he played enough to qualify, would you have considered Ryan LaMarre for this list, and what does he best project as?
He had just 27 at-bats in the CL but had a
nice year at Dayton in the Midwest League. Didn't really ask around him
because the cutoff is one at-bats pwer your team's games, but he's a
nice athlete who has good gap-to-gap power.
Paul (VA): Did Brandon Short and Jon Gilmore get any consideration? Both performed well at the plate, but how about in the field?
Both received lots of attention, and both
are solid defensively. Short runs the ball down and has a decent arm.
Gilmore's arm motion is a little unusual, according to one manager, but
he gets the job done at third.
Chuck (Wichita): How close was it between Teheran and Hosmer/Lamb/Myers?
Very, especially with Hosmer. They're both
very polished for high Class A. It was practically a tossup. Lamb is
maybe a notch below that right now and there's some question as to
whether Myers will catch long-term, but they're right there with the
Ty (Indiana): Does Abner Abreu impress you and scouts?
I only saw a little bit of the K-Tribe this
year, but scouts do like his tools. The 130-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio
seems like the biggest thing the 20-year-old needs to improve upon.
Ben (Leland Grove): Where would Vizcaino have slipped in on your list, had he qualified?
Don't think he's quite ready to make the
list, but Arodys' three starts at Myrtle Beach showed that he has a
power arm and is someone to watch. Those Rome numbers are really nice,
so maybe next year.
Ben (Leland Grove): How far did Stolmy Pimentel's stock drop this year?
Not much. He was almost in the top 20. Another big, strong guy with a power arm. He has more than a fastball, too.
Bryan (San Francisco): How the heck does Joe
Gardner not make this list??? He's big, age-appropriate, second in the
league in ERA, second in wins despite starting in the MWL, and first in
BA against by a long shot. He also has one of the better ground ball
ratios around. I know these lists are by definition subjective but this
one is a head-scratcher.
Another one who has a great shot at making
it. Doesn't throw as hard as some of the other pitchers we've mentioned,
but he has a great feel for pitching. His sinker is outstanding, and
there's plenty of use for that kind of pitcher. Could certainly wind up
with a better career than some of the guys who made the top 20.
Adam (Clinton): Obviously the Red Sox are set
at 2B for quite some time. Do you think Tejeda could be an everyday guy
if he weren't blocked or do you think he does ultimately fulfill the
utility role? Does he end up being trade bait?
With his bat, he may well end up somewhere
on an everyday basis. "Super" Joe McEwing knows a thing or two about the
utility role, and he and many others think Tejeda is athletic enough to
end up at third or in left field if he doesn't stay at second.
larry (chicago): How close was Eduardo Escobar to making the list?
Probably the best shortstop in the league,
but there are still questions about him striking out too much. He does
have a plus arm and is dangerous from both sides of the plate. The AFL
should be a good test for him.
Biz (Denver): What can you tell us about Brett Oberholtzer? #3-4 starter?
That could be a good assessment. He throws strikes, that's for sure.
Dave (Atlanta): Any support for other Braves pitchers like Brett Oberholtzer, Cory Rasmus, or Paul Clemens?
Didn't get much interest in Oberholtzer, but
it's not the first time the lefty's been overlooked. He breezed through
the Sally and pitched pretty well for Myrtle Beach. Neither Rasmus nor
Clemens received much support either, but they both had pretty good
JAYPERS (IL): Did Anthony Rizzo have a spot in your top 10 if he'd qualified, and is he a candidate for a callup next year?
No question. I think he even made this top
20 last year. I didn't do last year's list — in fact I think it's been
nine years since my last BA chat — but Rizzo played his way up to
Portland and off this list this time.
Dave (Atlanta): What did those around the league think of Braves SS Mycal Jones? Can he stay at short?
Aside from the Pelicans in the top 20, he had the most support. Sounds like he could stay at short.
Greg (Chicago): Do you think Infante can harness his control and be the White Sox closer of the future?
That's always tough to call. Santos Rodriguez might even profile better as a closer, but it's nice to have both of them.
AC (Atlanta): Had he qualified, where do you think Mike Montgomery would have fallen on this list?
Somewhere in that Dwyer/Myers/Mesoraco grouping. Certainly in the top 10.
AC (Atlanta): Bo Greenwell: prospect or suspect?
Still prospect. He had a nice year at Lake County and Kinston.
Chuck (Wichita): Patrick Keating was pretty dominant out of the bullpen for Wilmington. Does he have closer potential?
Could be. Big strikeout numbers for the
ex-Gator this year. The AFL will be good for him, too. Would have a
touch act to follow in Joakim Soria, yesterday's end of the streak
AC (Atlanta): How close to making this list did TJ House come?
Not very, but he does have a good repertoire and is still just 20. Did receive some positive comments.
Frank (FL): Why did Melville stumble so much this season?
His command was never quite there as he went
2-12 with an ERA of almost 5. Certainly has the build and the stuff
where you could still hope for a lot more, once he figures out the
Kyle (West Plains, MO): What made BA side with Hosmer over Myers? To me it's splitting hairs. Both have so much to offer.
Some of it is the uncertainty about Myers
being able to catch in the majors, but it's mostly about Hosmer being
considered such a good hitter, maybe even a tick better than Myers.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): I've heard people talk
about Dwyer being the closest of the KC 4 LHPs to the big leagues. What
do you think about that statement and when is his ETA? (Montgomery,
Lamb, Duffy, Dwyer)
That sounds like a fair assessment. Would think all four of those could arrive at some point in 2011.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): Can you talk a little
about Christian Colon? What does he need to clean up? The Royals
talked about his footwork being tied to his errors? Where would he rank
in all SS prospects?
I do think he's polished enough where he can
stay at short. For the most part, he's considered steady but not
flashy, so I'm sure those small footwork points are something he'd be
able to work out.
Richard (NC): Thanks for the chat. Did Alex White not pitch enough innings to qualify? If so, where would he have ranked had he qualified?
Exactly. Just a little short of the 46-47
innings it takes (one-third of an inning per game). He definitely
would've been top 10, if not in the top half of it. Seasoned pitcher
from UNC who has done better than just about every arm the Indians
traded for in recent years.
Kyle (Oxford): Did Cody Puckett get any consideration for the list? How well do you see his power playing as a rightfielder at higher levels?
Definitely did. He's versatile and tough.
Probably has enough power to make it work in the outfield. He apparently
has a bit of a leg kick where he can be pitched inside, but he's good
at making adjustments.
John (Acworth,GA): How close did LJ Hoes and
Ryan Berry of Frederick come to making the list? I have been hearing
very good reports on Hoes from another web site. Also did big Joe
Mahoney or Ronnie Welty merit any mentions? Thanks!
More mentions on Hoes and Welty than the
other guys. Hoes took a step forward this year, and Welty has good power
and is a plus defender in right field.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): I got to see John Lamb
throw one time this last season and I was not overly impressed with his
curveball. He had an off night so I think that could have been partly
to blame. What are the reports on the curve?
As you said, it's tough not to judge on just
the one outing. It does seem like you have a point, though. I think his
changup is ahead of the curve for now.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): How close was Salvador
Perez to making this list? To me he seems like a legitimate top
catching prospect. He has a solid game behind the plate and swung the
stick a little in a tough ball park. To me he is KC's future behind the
plate. What are reports on him?
I'd say you just asked about No. 21. (Don't
think we'll put out a separate booklet, like the No. 31s for the
organizations, but Perez is right there.) He's excellent defensively and
has improved his strike-zone judgment. Reminds some of Sandy Alomar Jr.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): The Royals had two
highly touted RHPs in Wilmington this year. Tim Melville had some
injury issues and Aaron Crow was sent down from Northwest Arkansas.
Reports on Crow were great velocity but poor control. I didn't hear
much on Melville. What are the opinions on the two RHPs for the Royals?
Mentioned both of these power arms earlier. They could both could use better command.
Frank (Columbus, OH): Did any other players
from Kinston receive consideration? Their pitching was pretty strong
this year (Gardner, House, McFarland, Burns), and I'm a little surprised
that none of those guys cracked the list.
There were positive comments on all dour —
maybe a little more on Gardner and Burns from the rest of the league,
but they are all indeed good prospects.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): The Braves had a great trio of RHPs this year at Myrtle Beach. What can we expect from this trio moving forward?
There was definitely a pecking order where
everyone loved Teheran, thought a lot of Delgado and then not quite as
much of Hoover. That order could certainly change, though, as any "Five
Years Ago" list will show.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): I got a chance to see both Delgado and Hoover pitch this season. Both were dominant. Can you expand a little more on each?
Delgado was maybe a little more consistent,
but they both have excellent arms. Hoover throws pretty hard and has a
nice changeup and curveball. Delgado brings it, and his offspeed stuff
James (New York): In the next few years will the Royals' minor league hitters or pitchers make the bigger impact at the major league level?
I'd vote for hitters.
Dusty Baker (Cincinnati ,Oh): No Brad
Boxberger? Me thinks you paid too much attention to his stats in double A
when he was moved to the bullpen to limit his innings.He was very good
in the Carolina League with a fastball up to 95 and showed an above
average change and slider.
Sorry Dusty. The Double-A numbers didn't
play a big factor, but they didn't help. Brad does have very good life
on his fastball, so the move to the bullpen may even work out fine. Good
luck against the Phillies.
Ryan H (Baltimore): Love the chats! I'd love
to hear more about some other Keys. What did you hear from scouts about
LJ Hoes, Joe Mahoney, Ronnie Welty & Ryan Berry. Berry is the one I
was most disappointed to not see in the top 20. What bumped him off?
Former Rice pitcher Ryan Berry has a lot of
know-how and a good repertoire. Wouldn't say he was "knocked off." He's
another good prospect who didn't quite make the cut. Welty received the
most support out of the rest of the Keys.
Blackie (Cincinnati, OH): Hi, Lacy. I was
interested in the remark about Mesoraco needing to improve his plate
discipline. Were there any remarks in particular that support that? His
walk and strikeout rates were actually extremely solid in both Lynchburg
(16% K, 10.5% BB) and Carolina (17.5% K, 8.5% BB), and though he struck
out quite a bit in Louisville (~24%), he also maintained the same solid
walk rate (10.3%). I see this sort of comment regularly for players who
look this good statistically, so I'm wondering what league observers
saw that belies these rates.
I think the overall assessment was that he
does a solid job of getting on base and that he already has improved
with the strikeouts (after 76 in 312 at-bats at the same level last
year). Probably did base that on his small sample size at Louisville and
should've worded that differently.
Reed (Claremont (CA)): How close did Frederick's LJ Hoes come to making the top 20? What kept him off?
L.J. has a lot of backers in the chat today.
He did a great job getting on base this year and has a lot of tools, so
maybe he'll prove he should've been on here. He just didn't receive
enough attention from the managers outside Frederick to make the list.
Kyle (Oxford): What do you think we can expect
from Devin Mesoraco in the big leagues? .270 hitter with 25 homers and
above average defense reasonable?
Reasonable. Defense might be more like average, but he's a good leader.
Brad (MO): Were Wilmington's Salvador Perez or
Will Smith mentioned by scouts when making the list? Where would
Montgomery had ranked if eligible?
Have mentioned Perez and Montgomery. Smith's
another interesting guy — 51-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in this league,
but he didn't quite make it.
Adam (New Orleans): How close was Mycal Jones
to making the list? Any other Pelican hitters close (I am guessing
not)? The Braves seemed stacked with pitching, but the hitting is just
not there in the minors with Heyward and Freeman having made it to
Not much love for any of the Pelicans hitters, but Jones had some support.
Kory (Columbus): Dan Remenowski followed a
dominant 2009 campaign with another very strong year. Why are the Sox
moving him so slowly? He was too old for the league all year and his
numbers suggest he should have been promoted early in the year. Whats
Think Remenowsky had an injury issue this year, but he was too good for the league. Always tough for undrafted free agents.
David (Nairobi): It is nice to see Kinston's
Kipnis and Henry recognized. Most of the other Indians had middling
years, but RHP Joe Gardner and C Chun-Hsiu Chen had break-out years.
Were they close to making the top 20, and what kept them off of it?
Seemed like a deep league in prospects this year, but Joe was 12-6 with a
2.65 ERA and a dominant sinker and Chen had an OPS of .966. Chen is
still raw as a catcher, but the Indians' front office say that he has
the skills to stay there.
Gardner has been mentioned before, but also
wanted to get Chen's name out there because he also almost made the
list. Is still raw, but had a tremendous year and is certainly a
Dan (D.C): Even though this appears to be a
strong list, I was surprised to see the #4 pick in the draft that low.
Is Colon nothing more than a league average 2B in the end?
Still think he could be a shortstop, but I
too was surprised at how lukewarm some of the comments were on Colon
from the people I talked to. A spot in the top 10, though, isn't too
Brian (Ft. Lauderdale): What are your thoughts
on Derek Norris? With the acquisition of Ramos, does he shift to an
outfield corner? Is he a future middle of the order presence for
Outfield corner seems like a good bet to me.
Once Bryce Harper moved to the outfield, I was wondering whether Norris
would be the catcher of the future, but that seems to have answered
itself with the Capps deal. Word is that the power is still as
impressive as anyone in the league. Expect his Fall League and 2011
showings to tell us a lot.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): You've already answered
about the absent Joe Gardner, but what about Alex White? He had enough
innings in the Carolina League to qualify, didn't he? Had everyone
forgotten him by the end of the year?
Didn't forget Alex. He came about as close as you can to the one-third of an inning per game cutoff. Would've been top 10.
JH (berkeley): Just a heads up: it seems that your Will Middlebrooks stat line is off.
It is indeed. I'll pass that along. As you
know, he hit .276/.331/.439 in 435 at-bats for Salem. A fine season, and
the consensus is that he's just starting to show what he's capable of.
Brian (Ft. Lauderdale): Can Will Middlebrooks be a regular somewhere if traded? Is his bat legit?
Sure. As for the second part, his defensive skills may be ahead of his offense, but his bat is pretty legit, too.
Greg (new york): Hello,do you see Lamb ever becoming a #1 starter or is that asking to much?
Probably a good No. 2 is more likely, but not all No. 1s throw 100 mph.
Josh T (TC Robertson): When will we see Chris
Dwyer in the bigs? Heard he has a million and a half dollar arm, but a
five cent haircut... Can he handle it by the end of 2011?
Can't find any examples of the bad haircut,
but the pitching ability is definitely there and yes, he could be
effective in Kansas City at some point in 2011.
Dylan Paul (Chapel Hill, NC): Where does LJ
Hoes rank in comparison to some other CL second basemen? What is his
overall prospect value now/future ML projection?
He and Lynchburg's Cody Puckett were the top
two second basemen who didn't make the top 20. Would say Hoes could
well be an everyday major league second baseman. Has the bat and the
range to stay in the middle of the infield for sure.
TT (Seattle, WA): What sort of major leaguer
does Mesoraco project as? Is he a middle-of-the-order bat, or more of a
good #6/#7 hitter? Could he become Victor Martinez w/ better
defense/arm? Or is he more of a Rod Barajas/Gerard Laird type? Thanks!
He's not a switch hitter like Martinez, but his bat should be more on that level.
MJ (Valpo): Is there any reason to believe
Hosmer's monster year was "fluk-ish" based on his terrible 2009 season?
One good season does not make a sudden All-World player, right?
Shouldn't we wait another year or two and temper his expectations until
he can repeat and prove it again?
Probably a good word of advice.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): Pitchers have to throw a 1/3 of an inning per game the team played, what about hitters?
1 at-bat per team's game, so generally 140
Jason (Charlotte): What kind of chat is it if
the #1 prospect doesn't get a full question devoted to him ? ... So who
does Teheran comp to ? Pedro Martinez ? When does he make the Braves
starting rotation July 2011 or Sept ?
Don't want to answer that first question. As
for the rest, he should have a place in the rotation by the end of next
season (if Brandon Beachy can do it, why not?). Wouldn't even say that
would be rushing him. He's done all he can do in high A ball, for sure.
He's bigger than Pedro, so I'm not sure if there's another 19-year-old
Colombian to compare him to. Can throw three pitches for strikes at any
time, and probably doesn't need that many most nights.
Mark (NYC): No love to any Yankee prospects?? Did any of them impress at all??
The Florida State League is coming Wednesday. Andy Pettitte's Prince William Yankees days are long gone.
Dave (Atlanta): Is it hard to get managers and
coaches to comment on other organizations' players? Are most amenable to
participating in the making of these lists?
Most are quite amenable. Seven of the eight
got back to me in a two-week stretch at the end of the season, and I
really appreciate all their help. By the end, the list looks more than a
little different from what I originally thought it might be.
Chris (desk): While I can certainly understand
tempering expectations regarding Hosmer, and wanting to see another
year, it's worthwhile to remember a few things: 1. His draft pedigree
was excellent, and this is exactly what scouts expected. 2. He was
injured for most of 2009 (broken knuckle). 3. He couldn't see, a
problem which has now been fixed. Given all that, his 2010 doesn't look
so flukish. He may not always be THIS good, but he'll be good.
Good points, all. I'm sure all Royals fans hope you're right on the money.
jr (wilmington): i saw dwyer pitch several times. is his curveball one of the best in minor league ball? h
Definitely one of the best. Can't say I know
enough about the rest of the leagues, but his was picked as the best in
the CL by the managers this summer.
Thanks so much to everyone for all the great
questions. Sorry if I didn't answer yours — I tried my best to get to
all of them and to combine questions that were similar. Hope everyone
keeps finding baseball somewhere in these two days between the MLB
regular season and playoffs.