2012 Carolina League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Josh Leventhal
Thanks for tuning in, everybody. As
seems to be typical for an eight-team league, the Carolina League had
plenty of talent at the top but thinned out toward the bottom of the
list, leaving plenty of room for debate about who should be included. So
let's go ahead and get started.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Could you enlighten us as to why Brandon Workman missed this list? Thanks, Josh.
Always a pleasure, Jaypers. There
certainly wasn't overwhelming support for Workman on this list. I'd put
him among a group of five guys or so who were in the running for the
back of the list. He's got a strong arm and pounds the strike zone with
his fastball. He's got good feel for his curveball, but seemed to tire
down the stretch.
Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Josh, thanks for the
chat! Would Courtney Hawkins have ranked ahead of Carlos Sanchez if he
had enough plate appearances to qualify? Ahead of Buckel, even?
The back-flipping Hawkins didn't join
Winston-Salem until the final five games of the regular season, so it
would be tough to really compare him to Sanchez and anyone else. He hit
two homers for the Dash in the playoffs. Look for him on here in '13.
Ben (Leland Grove): Had he qualified, about where would Alex Meyer have fit in on your list?
Meyer would have been up toward the
top, probably competing with Buckel for the second pitcher's spot. He
impressed during his brief time with Potomac, drawing raves for the
command of a late-breaking curve and for locating and changing speeds
with his fastball.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Josh, who were the biggest suprises and disappointments from evaluators and managers in putting this list together?
Managers really loved J.R. Graham and
were impressed by his polish as a pitcher. Carlos Sanchez's ability to
seemingly play anywhere on the infield also impressed. I think some
folks expected a better second full season out of Brandon Jacobs, who
still seems pretty raw at the plate and in the outfield. There was talk
about a lack of focus from Edward Salcedo.
Frankie (SF CA): Besides power, what else does Jesus Aguilar bring to the table?
Power is definitely his best tool. He's
not bad at first base. His range is just average but he's got sure
hands and has worked hard at improving his defense.
Derek (DC): If you compared this list to last year's, which one wins out?
They're similar in that both are top
heavy, but I'd lean toward last season. The top of that list was a lot
closer to the majors than this year's, as five of the top seven from
that group has already made it to the big leagues. I don't think you'll
see a repeat of that from this year's list. I'd put Bundy, Bradley and
Sanchez (and maybe Bogaerts) as the three closest this year.
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): What did you hear
about the progress of Luke Jackson this season? Did managers see more of
a pitcher than thrower in the second half?
One observer said of Jackson that he
simply needs to throw more strikes. He's probably still more of a
thrower who has shown flashes of dominance.
Sammy (Miami): Was Cody Martin given consideration? Why or why not?
He was definitely given consideration,
but the uncertainty over his future role was the difference. A good
fastball-slider combination. His fastball isn't overpowering but it has
good movement and he commands it well, and his slider has potential to
Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Josh, what stood out, in Trayce Thompson's development this year that got him promoted so quickly?
Winston-Salem manager Tommy Thompson
raved about his defense and how hard he worked at it. I think that was
one thing, and that he had been working on shortening his swing. That
seems to be the one thing that could hold him back . . . He was
described as having 25-25 home run-stolen base potential in the big
Elliot (Youngstown OH): Tony Wolters, the other
half of the 2b/SS platoon for the Mudcats, seems more consistent in the
field than Rodriguez, but is he more likely to wind up at 2nd? Wolters
spent a month hitting .100 but showed offensive improvement. A
Wolters was described by a couple of
people as profiling best as an offensive second baseman. He split time
with Rodriguez at second , but doesn't have quite as good range or as
strong an arm. More of a top of the lineup hitter with the potential for
adding more pop.
Tom (Atlanta): Tommy La Stella put up some pretty good numbers this year, what did the managers think of him?
Described as a good, lefthanded-hitting
utility player at the big league level. He hits both lefthanded and
righthanded pitching well. Does the little things well offensively—can
hit behind the runners, bunt. He's improved but still a little lacking
defensively. He got better at turning double-plays but struggles with
groundballs to his backhand.
Dave (Atlanta): Lynchburg's Juan Jaime was old
for the Carolina League, but he had a solid season after missing two
full years. He supposedly hit 100 and 101 several times this season. Is
he all fastball or does he have any other pitches?
It was a good bounce back season for
Jaime after missing two years following Tommy John surgery. He was
consistently in the 97-98 mph range, and hit 101 on the radar gun. His
changeup has a chance but the breaking ball is pretty fringy.
Phil (North York): As refernced in the scouting
report, Carlos Sanchez doesnt have much power. Will he be able to
survive at the major league level? Isnt he more of a defensive
I think he's more than that. His
defense is good enough for second or shortstop at the big leagues now.
But he's still learning to hit. A switch-hitter who is better from the
left side, he showed in the Carolina League that he can hit line drives
to all fields. The defense is what could get him to the big leagues
quickly, but he has potential to be a good, line-drive hitter.
James Arnott (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada): If
you were the Red Sox, do you keep Bogaerts in AA all season due to his
age or do you promote him to AAA if he has a good first half next year?
He hit .326 in 23 games at Double-A at
the end of last season. I wouldn't think they'd keep him in Portland if
he keeps that up next season.
Sholom (Smithtown, New York): When I read a Dylan Bundy scouting report it reminds of Dwight Gooden. Fair comparison?
Both teenage phenoms, but I think
comparing anyone to Dwight Gooden is a bit unfair. Bundy isn't long and
lanky like Gooden was. He has potential for three above-average pitches
though in his fastball, curve and changeup. It'll be interesting to see
if the Orioles let him bring back his cutter next season.
Willis (Chicago): Who wins in a fight between
Dylan Bundy and a hurricane? But wait: what if I told you the name of
this hurricane is Hurricane Ditka!?
I just enjoyed this question. That's all.
Elliot (Youngstown OH): The Indians say they
like Danny Salazar who had good numbers before his mid-season promotion
to AA. Did he impress you and other league managers?
He pitched sparingly at the start of
the season coming off Tommy John and really struggled with his command
early on. He was 95-97 once he got going and had a good breaking ball
and some feel for a changeup. Kind of similar to fellow Mudcat Trey
Haley in that he could move quickly once he gets better command of his
Vern (Corpus Christi): Matt Lipka, is he healthy now? What kind of future does he have?
He improved defensively in center field
as the season went on. At the plate, he was described as giving
pitchers too much credit and needs to be more aggressive. Still working
on improving small-ball approach and do a better job with bunting to
take better advantage of his speed.
Sorry that I didn't get to everyone's
questions. I appreciate you taking the time to chat. Have a great
weekend and enjoy the playoffs.