Arizona Diamondbacks: Top Prospects Chat With Will Lingo

Arizona Diamondbacks: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

Q:  Travis from TX asks:
No Roemer? What kept him off the top 10?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Welcome everyone to another week of prospect chatting. The Diamondbacks sent just about their entire top 10 from last year to the big leagues, so there's plenty of upheaval this year. Let's get right to it...

Will Lingo: Roemer just got squeezed out of the top 10 when Chris Carter was acquired from the White Sox. (You're getting the updated list on the Web; readers of the print edition will see Roemer as No. 10.) I guess the relevant question is why Enright ahead of him, and I'd say it comes down to Enright being a bit more polished. Their stuff is very comparable. Both got limited work after getting drafted because they piled up innings in college in the spring, so it will be fun to watch them in 08 as they likely pitch in the same rotation at Visalia.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
I was very surprised to see Anderson rated ahead of Scherzer. Anderson doesn't throw hard and was knocked around in Hi A ball. Scherzer has a much higher upside with a chance to be a dominant pitcher, and he performed better than Anderson during the season. What's the rationale for ranking Anderson higher than Maxie boy.
 A: 

Will Lingo: This was definitely one of the more-discussed placements in the BA offices as well, with Parker thrown in that mix as well. The bottom line is that because of Scherzer's mechanics, it seems highly likely he's going to end up in the bullpen, and he certainly looked good in a relief role in the Arizona Fall League. He can also help the big league team almost right away coming out of the bullpen. Anderson, on the other hand, has better secondary pitches, better feel and command, better mechanics and a better chance to be a starter. So that just makes him a bit more valuable.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
How close was the top 4 of this list? I actually was surprised Gonzalez was #1, I had figured it to be on of the pitchers.
 A: 

Will Lingo: This sort of continues on the previous point. Gonzalez I think is just a safer bet than any of the three pitchers. His tools are undeniable. Will he ultimately show those tools off in Phoenix? I don't know, but if not he should be a valuable trade chip.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
The projected 2011 lineup does not contain E. Bonafacio...is that indicitive of his talent, or Drew & Hudson's likelyhood to be on the team?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Oh, how we love the 2011 lineups here at BA International HQ. That's more an indication of Drew and Hudson's staying power than anything else. One of the rules of the lineups is that incumbents hold their spots unless they're no good or will be so old by 2011 that they likely won't be playing. I do think Bonifacio has the talent to play every day at second.

 Q:  Casey from Nashville asks:
Thanks Will for your time. Love the chats. Where does Emiliano Fruto fit in the the D'Backs' plans? He was once described as having one of the better arms in the Mariners' system. Will he ever be able to harness his stuff to make it as a setup man?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Fruto still has the stuff that will get him chance after chance, but it's not a good sign that he couldn't make any headway with the Nationals, an organization that was desperate for big league pitching. He'll figure into the D'backs top 30 for the handbook, and I think they'll definitely give him a look in the bullpen in spring training. Whether he'll finally fulfill his promise, your guess is as good as mine.

 Q:  Jay from DC asks:
How do you rate Parker ahead of Anderson and Scherzer when the latter two have dominated a minor league level and Parker has yet to throw a pitch?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Might as well go ahead and look at the Parker angle with the top four. Parker throws harder than both Anderson and Scherzer, and has the best breaking ball among the group as well. As discussed before with Scherzer and Anderson, Parker has a better chance to start and has better mechanics. So that's why they line up that way, even though Parker hasn't pitched professionally yet.

 Q:  Butch from Portal, GA asks:
What makes Enright better than Brooks Brown? Brown is 9 mos. older and already has 12 season in AA. He had a 2.81 ERA in a hitters league (Cal League), with a .224 BAA. He had 12 starts in AA and seemed to pitch well there also. He was drafted higher and signed for twice as much. I'm curious as to why 10 scoreless inn puts Enright ahead of Brown.
 A: 

Will Lingo: Other than the four guys at the top, the lack of Brooks Brown and Greg Smith in the top 10 would probably be the other big questions. The short answer on Brown is that most scouts see him as a middle reliever because neither his fastball nor his breaking ball look like plus pitches. Enright's fastball and slider are a bit better, and he should have better command as well. That said, they're like two spots apart on the top 30 list, so it's not like we see a huge difference between them.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Do you see Andrew Fie rebounding in 2008? Will his HULKING BODY translate to HULKING STATS?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Unfortunately, his hulking body was a bit too hulking in 2007 and he's probably going to fall off the top 30. He was one of the my favorite back-of-the-list guys last year, so let's hope he returns to form next season.

 Q:  Steve from Tucson, AZ asks:
Where is Greg Smith on this list? I've always heard comparisons to Glavine with Smith bc he has great command and throws strikes. He seems to be the most major league ready of the D'backs pitching prospects as he proved in AAA last year (after his 1st 2 starts) and the AZ Fall League. Where's the love?
 A: 

Will Lingo: As discussed with Brown, Smith's stuff isn't overpowering so his margin for error is small. His moxie and lefthandedness give him a better chance to start than Brown, in my opinion, so he'll rank just ahead of him in the Prospect Handbook. And again, he's in the same general vicinity as Enright and Roemer, so there's not a huge separation between any of those four guys.

 Q:  Skelly from Madison, WI asks:
How does Chris Carter rate defensively at first base? Does he project to be an average first baseman, defensively? Or will he be much worse?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Carter rates as barely adequate at first at this point, so he'll have to work to be average there. His value is completely tied up in his bat.

 Q:  Eric from Elk Grove asks:
Aaron Cunningham sounds suspiciously like the second coming of Eric Byrnes, but the D'Backs already have the real thing. I suppose there are worse fates, but the kid is only 21 and has hit at every level up to AA. So he shouldn't be dismissed as a tweener just yet, right?
 A: 

Will Lingo: That's an interesting point. I know one scout who absolutely loves this guy, and another who sees him as a big league platoon player at best. When we bring these things up, we're not saying that's what he'll become, we're just letting you know the range of opinion and why people have those opinions. I personally think Cunningham will be a solid big leaguer, but not a star, and really that does sound a lot like Byrnes.

 Q:  Patrick from Sandpoint, Idaho asks:
Where did Dallas Buck rate on the top 30 and what is your outlook for him? He had some pretty decent numbers before he got hurt, especially his last several starts.
 A: 

Will Lingo: Buck will be on the back end of the 30, though unfortunately I don't think we've seen the real Buck for a couple of years and won't see him at full health until 2009 because he finally had Tommy John surgery late this summer. He showed his moxie by trying to pitch through his injury, but his stuff clearly wasn't there this year. I wish he had the surgery sooner, rather than trying to rehab it, but I think that just goes to the kind of player he is.

 Q:  Mike C. from Lynchcurg, VA asks:
How high do you see Carlos Gonzalez ranking in the top 100? Will his 'attitude' keep him from reaching all-star status?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I see Gonzalez somewhere in the 20-30 range, though it's hard to tell until we all actually line everybody up. There are always a few surprises. I don't think his attitude is particularly a problem; I think it's more of a lack of focus at times, which makes it look like he's coasting. In other words, it's something that should get better as he matures. Still, he seems more to me like a player who is more likely to be good than great.

 Q:  MJ from Valpo asks:
Greetings~ What has happened to Cyle Hankerd? After an awesome summer of '06, his '07 numbers dropped, though still not bad for high A ball...in a very crowded AZ OF, have the D-backs given up on him already? He's got a great eye at the plate, a bit of pop, and seems like a doubles machine. I guess he's a bit slower than some, and an average fielder. What's his status and future like? Thanks~
 A: 

Will Lingo: Hankerd's wrist bothered him all season and he had surgery in the offseason to correct it. He should be healthy for next season. He is limited to left field and will have to hit to have any value, but I think it's fair to give him a mulligan for 2007.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Is it safe to assume Upton will be the starting RF in Arizona on opening day and that we've seen the last of him in the minors? Even if he struggles out of the gate?
 A: 

Will Lingo: That is safe to assume. He's not a finished product by any means, but I loved the flashes he showed in the playoffs. I was very sad not to be able to rank him on the Diamondbacks list at least one more time.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Heart of the Triangle asks:
Hey there Will, Regarding C-Gonz, I saw him last year on his trip through Zebulon, and he looked like he was guessing at pitches. Beautiful swing, but his head was looking out at the right field wall after missing a pitch by about a foot. Has this been brought up in your discussions about him? I've heard varying reports on him from attitude, to injury, to work ethic, and I was wondering what gut feeling you get about this kid. His upside is very intriguing to me. Thanks so much,
 A: 

Will Lingo: I think a lot of energy has been expended trying to figure out what makes Gonzalez tick, but the bottom line is that he's 22 and on the doorstep of the big leagues. The most interesting guess I heard at Gonzalez' mindset was that he tries to do too much when he first gets to a level. It was interesting to talk to people about when Upton and Gonzalez were both at Mobile, and how they would try to one-up each other. As I noted in Gonzalez' writeup, he doesn't have quite the same level of talent as Upton where he can coast at times and still excel.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Rumor has it Car-Gon, Anderson and Bonifacio could get traded to Oakland for Haren. Should this happen, will the A's be quicker to bring Gonzalez up, and do they have a permanent spot for him?
 A: 

Will Lingo: They would almost have to be quicker, with Byrnes, Young and Upton looking pretty set for the next couple of seasons at least unless something strange happens. The A's have Swisher, Kotsay and Buck in their mix, but I think they could move Swisher to first and find a spot for Gonzalez if they think he's big league ready.

 Q:  jamie from jonesville, va asks:
Hey Will, Being that Conor Jackson is a average at best major league first baseman and hasn't shown a great deal of power, will the Carter trade fill that power hole eventually?
 A: 

Will Lingo: That's something that could happen down the road, but it's way too early to think about that with the questions about Carter's defense and the fact that he just played in low Class A in 2007.

 Q:  stan from san diego,ca asks:
What is Brett Anderson's ETA and what is his ceiling?
 A: 

Will Lingo: If he pitches great this season, you could see him in the big leagues at some point based on the team's needs, but I think it's more likely to look for him sometime in 2009. I see him as a No. 3 or 4 guy, but I suppose it's possible he could be a No. 2 starter.

 Q:  Gob Bluth from California asks:
Any truth to the Rumors that Leyson Septimo is throwing 100 MPH as a pitcher? If this is true what kind of ceiling does he have and is he in the top 30?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I don't think anyone has clocked him that high off the mound. I think the 100 mph number comes from gun readings scouts got from some of his throws from the outfield in pregame action when he was playing out there. He's more mid-90s off the mound, which is still plenty good for a lefthander. He will be in the top 30, and he should be an interesting lefty reliever—too early in his pitching career to speculate any more than that. He'll open in the bullpen in one of Arizona's Class A teams.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
What's your guess for Bonafacio, Star 2B, MLB 2B, or Utility guy...and why?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I'm guessing regular second baseman because I think he will produce enough offense to play every day but not enough to be a star. The key will be in whether he can improve his approach at the plate and get a little bit stronger.

 Q:  Bernie from Cambridge, Mass asks:
With a 43137 bbk ratio in 158 innings last year at Visalia you'd think Matt Torra had a pretty good year. How do you explain the 186 hits given up and the 6.01 era ? Is that mostly a product of the California league ?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I think he's still getting his stuff back after shoulder surgery following the 2005 season. Scouts who saw him in the second half of the season liked his stuff. He was touching the mid-90s with a power curve, so let's see what he does next season to get a true reading on his future.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Heart of the Triangle asks:
Does Scherzer have two different colored eyes? That photo of him in the scouting reports is freaking me out. Very Bond Villain-esque.
 A: 

Will Lingo: I'm pretty sure we've written about this before when Scherzer was in college, but he has heterochromia, which is just a genetic anomaly that makes your eyes different colors. One is blue and one is brown, I think, but there's not really much more to it than that. Great conversation starter, I'm sure.

 Q:  Mike from Phoenix asks:
Where would you say the DBacks system ranks now?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Probably middle of the pack now. I still think there are 30 legitimate guys on their prospect list, but definitely fewer stars or surefire regulars. And I think the pitching is deeper than the hitting.

 Q:  Tim from West Coast asks:
I see you placed Cris Carter at number eight; how do you see that impacting Byrne and Brito who have moved each year upwards?
 A: 

Will Lingo: He's definitely ahead of those guys. Brito is the next guy on the first base depth chart, but I'm not sure he has enough power to be a big league regular there.

 Q:  Travis from TX asks:
Did Taylor Harbin make the top 30 and what is his ceiling?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I think Harbin will be just off the top 30 this time, but he's definitely on the radar. We'll see in his first full season if he looks like a potential big league regular.

 Q:  steve from visalia, ca asks:
where do you have stange? he led the pioneer league last year in saves, the california league this year? he throws mid-90's and a mid to upper 80's slider?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Stange definitely would have been in the top 10 had he not gotten hurt. He generated a lot of excitement this season, but he had Tommy John surgery in August, so he probably won't be back at full speed until 2009. He's in the top 30 anyway.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How far off was Clayton Conner from the list, and what excluded him?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Kudos to Travis from Texas, by the way, for beating Jaypers to the punch with the first chat question today. As for Jaypers' question about Conner, he'll be in the top 30, and his bat is very intriguing. Questions are about his defense, which was not good at third. So we'll have to see if he has enough bat to play first, or is athletic enough to play in left field.

 Q:  TJA from Connecticut asks:
Is the power coming for Parra, or his he just going to be hitting for average in upcoming years?
 A: 

Will Lingo: He has the bat speed to suggest he can add power, and that obviously will be key to his future value.

 Q:  sportznut from Clinton Township, MI asks:
Who is not in the top 10 that you think is one to watch out for?
 A: 

Will Lingo: A lot of solid not spectacular guys in the 11-30 range, but a guy who could have a big ceiling is Tyrell Worthington, an outfielder picked in the fifth round out of a North Carolina high school in June. He was better known as a football player in high school, but his baseball tools draw comparisons to Chris Young. So keep an eye on him.

 Q:  Adam from NYC asks:
Any news regarding the enigma that is Jason Neighborgall? Is the orgnization doing anything to try and get his control to an semi-respectable level?
 A: 

Will Lingo: Nothing new to report here, I'm afraid. It wouldn't be a D'backs chat without a Neighborgall question, but so far no one has figured out how to get him to throw the ball straight.

 Q:  mike from phx asks:
where do you see stange in 2009 after he comes back from surgery? what do you see his ceiling being at?
 A: 

Will Lingo: He has the raw stuff to pitch at the back of a bullpen, so you'll just have to see how he performs to see if he can back that up. He was on the fast track before he got hurt.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
How would you rate the White Sox essentially trading Carter and Cunningham for Quentin and Richar? Which team do you think will come out ahead in that deal?
 A: 

Will Lingo: I definitely like those deals for the Diamondbacks more. Not that any of those players will turn into Babe Ruth, but Arizona got two potential big league starters for two players who were essentially spare parts for them. Not like anyone pictured Quentin or Richar in Arizona's short- or long-term plans.

Will Lingo: Well that's it for today. Thanks for all the great questions, and come back on Wednesday to talk Rockies prospects with Tracy Ringolsby.