Pacific Coast League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Nathan Rode
@Jaypers413 (IL): Nate, are you privy to the reason(s) why Hultzen's command suddenly diminished as much as it did?
Good afternoon (morning still for you West
Coasters) everybody. Let's get this party started with Hultzen's
command because I'm sure everyone is asking the same question as
Jaypers. When I talked to managers and scouts they couldn't put their
finger on any one thing that made his command disappeared. They pointed
out that Triple-A hitters don't chase as much because they have more
experience, so he pitched behind in the count a lot, but they also made
the point that they see why he was drafted so high and think he can be
special if the command comes back around.
Rick (LA): Did any of Albuquerque's roster come close to your list?
I originally had Tim Federowicz at the
back end of the Top 20, but he was a late cut because of questions about
the bat. He's at least a backup in my mind as he provides very good
defense and has some pop. If he can concentrate on staying up the middle
and not being a dead pull guy, he could hit for enough average to hold
down a starting job.
James Arnott (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada):
Thanks for the chat !!! Will Skaggs start the year in the diamonbacks
rotation or will he play second fidle to Bauer as the Diamondbacks have a
ton of bonus money invested in Bauer and need results from Bauer to
justify spending it?
Skaggs had a nice audition down the
stretch for Arizona and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the
rotation, but it really depends on what those guys do in spring
Alex (MA): Do you see Adam Eaton as solid regular or a 4th outfielder? He sure looks like an impact player to me.
Managers loved Eaton and he would've
ranked a lot higher if this were just a straight poll not factoring in
upside. With that said, I think he can be at least a solid regular. He
handles the bat well, plays good defense and is a plus runner.
Brad (Chicago): Travis D'Arnaud appears to have
nothing left to prove at AAA and is the best catching prospect in
baseball. Do you think the Jays will try to deal Arrencibia in the off
season and make D'Arnaud their Opening Day starter at catcher?
If he hadn't gotten injured I think
d'Arnaud would've found himself in the big leagues by the end of the
regular season and pushed for a spot out of spring training next year.
But given that it's a knee injury and he's a catcher I think the Blue
Jays will probably start him off again in Triple-A next season. I'd hold
onto Arencibia (and they have Mathis too) for right now until d'Arnaud
makes his debut and shows that he's healthy and ready to stick.
Chris (KC): Nathan, I was surprised not to see
Martin Perez; did he have too much MLB service time to still qualify as a
prospect? Or did he just not make the list?
Several questions about Martin Perez, as I
expected. He did qualify, just didn't make the list. I went in thinking
he would make it, but the lack of strikeouts and walk rate is
concerning and ultimately kept him off the list. His upside isn't what
it was once thought to be. He could be a force out of the bullpen, but
he needs to miss more bats to have success in the big leagues.
Casey Hudson (Bothell, Wa.): Hi Nathan! New
subscriber, first time asking a question. Thanks for the chat.
What did you see and hear about Nick Franklkin's performance in the PCL?
Did you hear anything positive about him as a defensive shortstop?
Just like if you're looking at the
numbers, evaluators weren't blown away by Franklin, but they acknowledge
that he was 21 in Triple-A playing a premium position. He could be an
everyday second baseman, which would obviously raise more questions in
Seattle. He doesn't seem like a long-term solution at shortstop, but
he's still young and only got a taste of Triple-A so we'll see what he
can do next season.
Andrew C (Chicago): Wow is it me or is this
list LOADED? Interesting to get your opinion on what the cubs will do
with Jackson. Last year the coaching staff reworked Rizzo's swing after
struggling in his initial call up last year, placing his hands lower,
causing a quicker swing and improved contact rate. I have heard this is
something that they plan to do with Jackson this offseason. Have you
heard similarly that is the plan with Jackson? Do you think his swing
has the ability to adjust enough to improve his contact rate enough to
hit .250-.260 in the majors?
I do think it's a pretty strong list. Good
players always get left off because it's a 16-team league, but I felt
there were more this year than last. I haven't talked to the Cubs about
that specifically, but I don't see Jackson following that parallel.
Rizzo's strikeout rate was by no means alarming while Jackson's is.
Also, it's more than just swing mechanics for Jackson. He doesn't make
the necessary in-game adjustments. Pitchers noticed that and ate him up.
He's a good athlete with solid tools across the board, but I'm
Jim H. (Sphinx Park, CO): What is the likely career peak for Odorizzi? Seems like a #3 starter, but am I overrating or underrating him?
I could see that as his realistic ceiling.
He doesn't blow you away with his stuff, but his pitchability is
advanced and helps it play up.
Jack (Toronto): Did Josh Vitters get any
consideration for the list? It always surprises me that even though
he's been around for ever, he is young for his competition and this year
he put up some nice numbers.
Vitters is perplexing prospect. He has a
knack for making contact and doesn't walk much because of his uncanny
ability to put just about everything in play. He got a little bit of
consideration, but not a lot of support. He puts together good at-bats
so he can be successful. He's not a great defender at third and there's a
split camp on whether he'll stay there. He's not a star and won't be
the center of an offense, but could carve out an everyday role.
Chris (KC): I know everybody says Wil Myers is a
RFer, but do observers think that he can play CF without killing you,
at least for a few years?
Guys I talked to felt he handled center
field fine but fit better on a corner. He showed good instincts to make
up for his speed and can play it in a pinch, but I wouldn't expect full
seasons out of him at that position.
Eri (Oakland, CA): Was Brad Peacock a late cut from the list? Did his stock much to you since this time last year?
He was on other versions of the list, but
got squeezed out so he'd be in the next group of five or so players. He
pitches to both sides of the plate and threw all of his pitches for
strikes. He can fit in the back of a major league rotation.
Bryan (Grand Prairie, TX): Looking at Rosenthal, do you think he'll be a Dan Bard type? Lots of power out of the bullpen, but won't pan out as a starter?
I didn't ask about Rosenthal in the PCL
because he didn't come close to qualifying, but other reports point to
him being a starter down the road. He is pretty fun to watch out of the
Jack (Toronto): Did Welington Castillo get any
consideration? His numbers weren't that great in the PCL, but he looked
like a starting catcher in Chicago over the last couple months.
A little bit, yes. He's a good catch/throw
guy and has some power, but he needs to use the whole field more to hit
for enough average.
Larry (Midwest): Thanks for the chat. What are your thoughts on Fresno RHP Heath Hembree?
It's tough for relievers to make the list
in a 16-team league and Hembree didn't get enough support. However, he
has a plus fastball and good secondary stuff so he has some upside. He
just needs to cut down on base runners allowed.
Frank (Chicago): Did Wily Peralta get consideration for this list? Thoughts on his pitches? Future #2-3 SP?
Initially yes, but after a few
conversations it was evident that he didn't really impress anybody. He
has good stuff, but needs to command it better.
Dan (Atlanta): Of those eligible, how many of these guys are likely to make BA's top 100?
I'd have everyone in there through Hultzen
(minus Rizzo obviously). Gose and Grandal won't qualify either. I might
have Gyorko, though he'd be teetering on the edge I think.
Ben (Leland Grove): Why do you believe the
Cardinals give Adams such a brief look in the Majors before sending him
down again? Many would gladly take his plate discipline over someone
like Allen Craig.
I just don't think there was room on that
roster to give him enough at-bats. I really like Adams, but don't sell
Craig short. He can really hit and his on-base skills aren't poor by any
stretch. And he doesn't strike out much either.
Ben (Leland Grove): It's fairly safe to say
there is a large assortment of talent on both your list and the Texas
League's list. Do you believe the PCL has a higher collective ceiling
than the TL's?
I think the Texas League's collective
ceiling is higher. And I'm not just saying that to suck up to Will
Lingo. We leave that to Aaron Fitt.
Dan (Ohio): Best hitting prospect — Matt Adams or Jonathan Singleton? Who has the best power potential?
It's close. I probably give the hit tool
to Singleton, and I'm the low-man on him in the office I think. I'll
give the power edge to Adams, though that's close as well.
Scott (Toronto): Do you think Gose made enough
of an impression with the Jays in September to warrant a starting CF job
next season? Rasmus tailed off quite a bit in the second half.
It depends on the health of some players
as I think that's really what warranted Gose playing in the big leagues
this year. He still needs to make adjustments at the plate, but has big
tools elsewhere in his game.
A Blue Jays questions seems like a good
spot to wrap things up as I have one more call to make this afternoon
before turning my Blue Jays Top 30 into Sir Jim Callis. Thanks for the
questions! Check back tomorrow to chat with J.J. Cooper, who has a
borderline unhealthy obsession with indy ball. If you're not following
me on Twitter, you should. I'm @bahighschool and will be heading to
Florida next week with my sidekick Conor Glassey (@conorglassey) for the
World Wood Bat tournament to see some of the top draft prospects for
2013. Have a good day!