League Top 20 Prospects

2012 Carolina League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Josh Leventhal




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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.

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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 be above-average.

    Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Josh, what stood out, in Trayce Thompson's development this year that got him promoted so quickly?

Josh Leventhal: 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 leagues.

    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 prospect?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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 specialist/utility player?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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!?

Josh Leventhal: 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?

Josh Leventhal: 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 secondary pitches.

    Vern (Corpus Christi): Matt Lipka, is he healthy now? What kind of future does he have?

Josh Leventhal: 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.

Josh Leventhal: 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.