2013 Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects Chat With JJ Cooper




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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.

Moderator: J.J. Cooper will answer your Reds questions beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did sandwich pick Jeff Gelalich get any love for your list? Would you consider him a potential 5-tooler?

J.J. Cooper: Hi everyone. Thanks for coming out. I always enjoy talking prospects, but the Top 10 chats are especially fun. To start off, we'll take a look at a guy who didn't make the Top 10. Gelalich didn't miss the top 10 by much, but no, I don't think he's a 5-tool guy as I think that's too strong on his bat, power, arm and defense. If you want to call him a cheap 5-tool guy with a lot of 45s and 50s, I could agree with that.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Is Yorman Rodriguez still residing in your top 30? Thoughts on his year?

J.J. Cooper: I'm actually a little higher on Yorman Rodriguez this year than last year. I still think there are plenty of reasons to doubt that he will ever be a regular big leaguer, but he did show improved effort in 2012. In 2011, he often looked like he simply did not care to play defense and took bad at-bats into the field and the dugout. This year, especially after his demotion back to Dayton, he was a more focused individual. That was a big first step, because no matter how talented you are, if you aren't putting in the work to get better, than you aren't going to succeed. That being said, he's still a long ways from turning his excellent tools into on-field production. He'll get a chance to go back to Bakersfield and answer a lot of those questions in 2013.

    Frank (Chicago): Do you see Kyle Lotzkar's command improving? If he stays healthy, are you optimistic about him?

J.J. Cooper: Like that caveat you threw in there. Yes, if you could guarantee Lotzkar's health, he'd be a top 10 prospect in the Reds' system. But no one can guarantee that, and at this point, it seems less likely he will stay healthy than that he will continue to battle injury problems. Lotzkar has had some of the best stuff in the system since he was drafted including an awesome curveball, but there is a reason he hasn't made the past two top 10s—he just can't seem to stay healthy for a full season. He did make it past 100 innings pitched last year for the first time in his career, but even then, his stuff backed up significantly as the season dragged on and he wasn't 100 percent by the end of the year. And all of that happened with the Reds treating him extremely carefully—Lotzkar came out to pitch the sixth inning once in his last 12 starts and he was limited to less than 85 pitches in 10 of his last 12 starts. If healthy Lotzkar's command should be enough to succeed, but if you're looking at his walk numbers from last year, do note that he walked 27 batters in his last 35 innings pitched before being shut down. It's less a command problem them a health problem.

    Frank (Chicago): Is Amir Garrett simply a lottery ticket, in your opinion? What are his best attributes? Future SP or RP?

J.J. Cooper: Sure he's a lottery ticket, but it's a lottery ticket for a $200 million Powerball, not some $3 scratcher. It's too soon to really say whether he ends up as a starter or a reliever, but it's a very high ceiling arm. For the Reds, this gamble comes down to whether Garrett has a long-term career in basketball or not. If Garrett, who is averaging 7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for St. John's as a sophomore eventually finds he's not going to be an NBA star, then the Reds get an outstanding arm with great athleticism. For now, Garrett is getting just enough innings to make some modest strides. But with no spring training or instructs because of school, he won't make any major steps forward as long as he's a two-sport guy.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Does Didi Gregorius evoke any comparisons to a "young Derek Jeter" in any way, shape or form to you? Where would he have ranked, had he remained with the system?

J.J. Cooper: Gregorius was ranked fifth before the trade. He's a shortstop with a great arm, excellent athleticism, some gap power and a ways to go with the hit tool. I think he could hold his own this year as a rookie for the Diamondbacks, but I think he's more likely a solid average big league shortstop if it comes together.

    Carlos (Miami, FL): Amidst the best arms in the 2011 draft, does Stephenson rank in the top tier (Bundy, Fernandez), or slightly below it?

J.J. Cooper: On pure arm strength he compares, but Bundy and Fernandez are both more polished and have a little better feel. Stephenson is a very good pitching prospect, but I'm not willing to put him in the Bundy/Fernandez category. Ask me that question again after he has a full season in pro ball so we can see how his stuff looks in start 25 of the season.

    Bob (Riverside): What have the Reds done differently than others clubs in their approach to the draft that has allowed them to have more success than most with their higher picks? Is it simply better scouting or do they have a certain philosophy they adhere to?

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. I do think they have done an excellent job of scouting under the previous scouting director Terry Reynolds and the current scouting director Chris Buckley. That goes well beyond those two and includes excellent jobs by a lot of cross checkers and area scouts. But if you asked me what the philosophy has been there are some things that definitely stand out. Cincinnati has generally played it safe in the first round in recent years, and I mean that as a compliment. They like to take extremely productive baseball rats with a lot of their early picks. Todd Frazier, Yonder Alonso, Mike Leake and Yasmani Grandal were all extremely productive college players. You know every year the Reds will take one or two productive college shortstops—Chris Valaika, Zack Cozart, Devin Lohman, Frazier, Red Turner, Ryan Wright are some of the examples of that. And when the Reds do take a little bit bigger risk in the draft, it's still a very calculated risk. Drew Stubbs was a riskier pick when they took him, but picking him at No. 12 they knew what they were getting, an excellent CF who had power and could run but had contact issues. That's exactly what they've gotten. Devin Mesoraco was a little riskier as well, but the Reds really believed in his mental approach as well as his athleticism (for a catcher) even when he struggled early on with injuries. And then, Cincinnati has done an excellent job of finding some less high profile gems like Chris Heisey, Tony Cingrani and now Dan Langfield. Add in a very productive Latin American scouting side (Cueto, Corcino, Gregorius etc) and it's a smooth running machine.

    John (Fresno, CA): Any chance Stephenson starts the year in High A? I know some teams don't like sending their best arms to the Midwest league early in the season because of the weather. If he doesn't start in Bakersfield how soon do you think he gets there?

J.J. Cooper: It's more likely he starts in Dayton. Yes, the weather is a worry in the Midwest League, but the 9-run innings that come with a bad day in High Desert are equally frightening for a young pitcher. But I do think he spends half a season at most in Dayton if he's pitching well.

    Laura (Baltimore): How many of these guys are top 100 worthy?

J.J. Cooper: The top four. I think Corcino has a very solid case to be a Top 100 guy. After him, I don't think anyone else in the Reds system would make a Top 150 and no one may make the Top 200. The system can really be thought of as the top four guys, big gap, then from No. 5 to No. 20 or No. 21 guys are all bunched pretty close together.

    Andrew (Waterloo, ON): Curious to hear your take on this - Billy Hamilton is a super speedster with bat questions and mediocre defense/arm. Anthony Gose is a super speedster with bat questions but a very good defender with a cannon arm. Why is it that Billy Hamilton seems to be held in much higher regard, is there that much of a difference in speed? Who would you prefer?

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question but I have a couple of problems with your supposition. For one, yes, there is that much difference in speed. Gose is one of the faster players in baseball, but Hamilton is the fastest player almost anyone in the game I talk to has ever seen. That may not seem like much of a distinction, but it means Hamilton has the extra gear to get an extra base or turn an out into a base hit more often the Gose. Also, I think there are less questions about Hamilton's bat than there are about Gose. Hamilton is coming off a season where he posted OBPs above .400 in both high Class A and Double-A. Gose's highest OBP of his career was his .366 OBP in Triple-A Las Vegas this year. Hamilton strikes out less than Gose, walks more and hits for a higher average generally. That's a big difference when you are talking about a potential leadoff hitter. And when you say Hamilton has mediocre defense, I think that's selling his potential in center field way short. Scouts I talked to largely think he'll be an above-average center fielder, while some think he'll be the best CF in the game long-term defensively.

    brian (indiana): Can tucker barnhart stick in the bigs, or more of an organization guy?

J.J. Cooper: There are a lot of smart baseball people who think he could be a big league backup. The next guy who tells me he thinks he will be a big league starter will be the first one.

    Travis (TX): Are Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran now considered prospects or suspects? Where did they fall on the Reds top 30? Thanks for the chat.

J.J. Cooper: Both are prospects with plenty of reasons to be suspect about them, how's that? At this point the chances that Duran is going to put it together is much lower than Rodriguez. Rodriguez could be a plus defender in the outfield with a plus arm and a plus runner, so it's all about keeping his head straight and showing he's figured out how to hit. Duran has plus-plus power and a plus-plus arm, but he's very poor defensively, he doesn't run well and he doesn't make enough contact for scouts to project him to be even an average hitter. So what does that give you? For Duran to make it he has to improve his bat to the point that his power comes into play, which is hasn't really yet. But even if he does that, you're still talking about a limited defender who strikes out a lot and doesn't hit for average. Tough to get from that profile to the big leagues.

    Dave (NW Conn): Other than Cingrani, who are the other best LH candidates to help in the bullpen the next 2-3 seasons?

J.J. Cooper: None of the above is probably the best answer. Maybe Guillon makes it as a reliever instead of as a starter. Amir Garrett could end up in the pen. Chris Manno or Ryan Dennick have a slight chance, but lefthanded relievers is not really a position of strength in the system for the Reds right now.

    David (Clifton): Any catching prospects in the system other than Barnhart?

J.J. Cooper: No one that right now projects to be a big leaguer. Brandon Dailey is a name to watch if you're looking for a sleeper.

    Dave (Wash, DC): What is Drew Cisco's ceiling?

J.J. Cooper: If it all comes together he's a Mike Leake type who doesn't have overpowering stuff, but has enough feel and command to make average stuff work.

    DB (Clifton, VA): Sleepers in last years draft the 1st 10 rounds. Jackson Stephen? Jose Ortiz?

J.J. Cooper: I take it you mean after the top 10 rounds because both those guys are post 10th rounders. To hedge my bets on whether you mean top 10 or post 10, I'll pick 10th rounder Jeremy Kivel. He has excellent stuff, but like Amir Garrett, he's a lottery ticket as he's already had surgery on both knees.

    David (VA): 2B. Avain Rachel or Ty Washington. Who do you like better?

J.J. Cooper: Rachel, but neither are top 30 guys.

    James Arnott (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada): thanks for the chat Mr. Cooper !!! Please compare and contrast Cingrani and Guillon. I read the reports and it sounds like you are talking about the same person. Left handed, great changeup, lacking a third pitch and pretty much the same velo on fastball. Cingrani's struggles in college sound like Guillon's struggles in minors. Cingrani is three years older. Will Guillon have the same ceiling as Cingrani three years from now?

J.J. Cooper: Nice work to put that together, as I hadn't really thought of it that way, but you make some good points. Cingrani's delivery is a little cleaner and he has a better history of throwing strikes, which is a big difference. Yes, if Guillon puts it all together, he could have as high a ceiling as Cingrani, but for now Guillon needs to develop better consistency from start to start.

    Ryan (Baltimore): Has Amir Garrett made any progress with his delivery and the consistency of his pitches? I know he didn't pitch much last year, but there's always instructs! :)

J.J. Cooper: Talked about Garret some already but to add some more detail, he showed significant improvement in his delivery through his short stint in the AZL last year. But no, he doesn't have instructs. He's a student at St. John's when instructs are going on. Your smiley face may mean you already know that.

    David (Taipei): In your opinion, would Billy Hamilton slot into the Top 15 prospects overall?

J.J. Cooper: I'm probably not willing to go that high on him. As great as his speed and athleticism are, there are enough questions about how much he's going to hit to put him in the top 15.

    Ron (Mobile, AL): What position do now consider the weakest in the Red's pipeline after all of the player movement the last two off-seasons?

J.J. Cooper: Catcher and lefthanded relievers. Second base is pretty weak as well.

    Smith (Bula): Jesse Winker not listed on the 2016 lineup, doesn't have a position or do you think he can't crack MLB?

J.J. Cooper: This is chance to offer the reminder once again that our 2016 lineups are purely talent based. So in this example, this doesn't mean we think Choo will re-sign with the Reds, it just means on a talent standpoint he will likely be better than any potential farm system replacements in 2016. For Winker, his three possible positions are RF (a stretch), LF or 1B. Winker isn't going to be better than Jay Bruce in 2016. He's not going to be better than Votto in 2016 and I think it's unlikely he'll be better than Choo. So it's not about him not having a position, it's just he's not likely to be better than three very productive big leaguers who are still young enough to be good players in four years.

    Dan (Pittsburgh): Billy Hamilton races the Baseball America editorial staff in a 60-yard dash. What happens?

J.J. Cooper: Hamilton reverses the spin of the axis of the Earth a la Superman and time goes backwards. Hmm, but if we had an all editorial staff 60-yard dash, my money's on Nathan Rode winning because I think he's least likely to blow a hammy.

    Terry M (Hillsboro Ohio): What happened to Jonathan Perez last year ?

J.J. Cooper: Banged up and the Reds were very cautious with him from what I heard. He's likely to be in the AZL next year.

    Rich (NJ): Are the major leagues in the future for Josh Fellhauer; what do you see as his upside potential? Thanks,

J.J. Cooper: He could end up with a fourth OF type role. Hard to see if with the Reds though, as I think Ryan LaMarre fits that role better for them over the long-term.

    Shawn (Lexington): Abel De Los Santos had a bunch of strikeouts in rookie ball. What is his stuff like?

J.J. Cooper: Pretty average stuff. Think of him more as this year's version of Alejandro Chacin.

    Jack (Salem): What kind of prospect is Nolan Becker? I didn't understand why the Reds drafted him so high?

J.J. Cooper: He's an 11th round pick who signed for $100,000, that's not a guy being taken high. By the 11th round, you're taking some org guys to fill out rosters. To give an example, if you look back at the 2003 11th round, there wasn't one solid big leaguer taken. By that point in the draft, it's generally org players and high risk high ceiling guys.

    Bryan (Chicago): With all the attrition from LY Top 30 and the depth not being there, how far will Reds fall in organization rankings AND how long will it take them to reload to get back in top 10? Considering state of major league roster it isn't a major concern, but with few impact prospects they are probably limited in flexibility for next 1-2 years at minimum.

J.J. Cooper: The top four prospects in the system are likely top 100 guys which will keep the Reds from falling too far in the org rankings, but when you consider that Hamilton, Cingrani and Corcino all should be in the big leagues by late 2013, the system could get to looking worse before it gets better. But I think you phrased the question properly. Will it impact the Reds' flexibility to make further trades? Maybe a little, but what big moves are they going to be looking to make. If they need to swing a deal, Cingrani or Corcino would be a very good cornerstone to build a trade around. For that matter, if Chapman's move to the bullpen works, the Reds will find themselves with 6 SP for 5 spots, so if they wanted to deal Mike Leake, they also could do that. I think if you're a Reds fan, you may hope the Reds aren't in the top 10 org rankings for a while. If they keep having the success they have had in recent years, they are going to be picking too late in the first round to add a lot of premium draft prospects.

    Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): Can we assume the Reds are finally going to stop tinkering with Chapman's role, or are they going to continue to use him as a human yo-yo?

J.J. Cooper: Hard to say they've screwed him up too much up to now. He started out as a starter, moved to the pen because of a need in the big leagues. Contributed to the big league club, quickly turned into an elite closer and now is going to have a full offseason/spring training to get ready to start. I think Chapman can start and be quite good as a starter. And if you can get 175+ good innings out of him, that's more valuable than getting 60-70 outstanding innings.

    Ryan (Baltimore): Reading the scouting reports, it sounds like Langfield has more upside than Guillon. Guillon may be on the 40 man, but developmentally he isn't any closer to the bigs. What puts him two spots higher on your rankings?

J.J. Cooper: The jury is still out on whether Langfield is a starter. He made some big strides in that direction, but his delivery has been a long-term concern about whether he fits as a starter. He's toned down some of the bigger concerns and is now pitching with less effort, but really it comes down to showing that over a full season in 2013 before I'm ready to move him ahead of Guillon. A year from now, Langfield may have passed Guillon.

    Grant (NYC): Does Jon Moscot have #4-5 SP potential? Does he still employ a "head whack" during his delivery?

J.J. Cooper: Delivery isn't all that pretty but isn't awful. Yeah he could end up being a No. 4 starter if it all comes together, but the "he's a long ways away" disclaimer applies. But yes, I do like him.

    Morrie (NJ): Would you consider Beau Amaral top 30 worthy? Is he a better defender than Hamilton, in your opinion?

J.J. Cooper: Not a top 30 guy for me. He's a better defender in CF than Billy Hamilton right now. But give Hamilton half a year in CF and I don't think that will be the case anymore.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, JJ. How far off the top 10 was Tanner Rahier? What did scouts have to say about him during his time in the AZL? Is third base his best position?

J.J. Cooper: He wasn't really close to making the top 10. Some questions about his hit tool and his pull-happy approach. Yes, third base is his best position.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Is there any place in Cincy for Ryan LaMarre in the forseeable future, or is he likely to be a platoon guy? Is he still in your 30?

J.J. Cooper: I like him as a fourth outfielder type who can play all three positions and runs well enough to have real value on a big league club. If he gets healthy (he had foot problems in 2012) and the hit tool and his contact ability improve I might be selling him a little short, but fourth outfielder is his most likely role.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Do you hold out any hopes for Travis Mattair, who seems to have discovered some power? How about Brackman?

J.J. Cooper: Mattair is worth keeping an eye on. At this point Brackman is the $3 scratcher lottery ticket.

    Joe (Clintonville): What are the chances Corcino can stay a starter?? I assume it's not REAL high because the Reds are loaded with starters and could use a stud closer to groom for the future. Thanks for the chat, BTW.......

J.J. Cooper: Two different questions really, and hey I love these chats. Thanks to everyone for subscribing, as we couldn't do what we do for you all without the support. I think Corcino has the stuff to be a starter. But yes, whether he CAN stay as a starter and whether the Reds need him in the bullpen might be two separate questions. For now, there is no reason to move him to the bullpen as the Reds are deep in the pen in the big leagues. He has more value as a guy who could come up to start in the second half of the season if injuries cropped up.

    Dave (NW Conn): Who do you like as the best 2013 sleepers?

J.J. Cooper: I'll throw out Pedro Diaz. You can read a lot more about him in the Prospect Handbook, but the shorthand explanation is he could be the next Daniel Corcino if Corcino is the potential next Cueto.

    Dave (NW Conn): With the Reds continuing to draft/sign middle infield baseball rats, who among the current group, HRod, Ryan Wright, Brodie Greene, Devin Lohman at upper levels has the best shot of contributing. What about Tanner Rahier, Ty Washington, Brent Peterson, and Zach Vincej lower down? Thanks

J.J. Cooper: Crazy enough I'll throw Devin Lohman out because he's the best defender of the guys at the higher levels. I know a lot of Reds prospect watchers like HRod, and yes, he can hit, but defensive issues are really the biggest issue standing between him and a big league job. There is no logical everyday job for Rodriguez in Cincinnati barring injuries in the next 1-2 years. So his best chance is to make the club as a backup. But while he's an adequate third baseman, he's below average at second and well below average at shortstop (Todd Frazier would be a better option in a pinch). He's going to have to hit a lot to overcome those defensive questions.

    Matt (Boston): Would you say Nick Travieso's debut was disappointing based on the helium he had headed to the draft? What is the future upside of his slider and change?

J.J. Cooper: It was a step back. He didn't show as much stuff in the AZL as he did down the stretch in the high school season. That's not all that unusual for a high school guy at the end of a long season. But it does make it all the more interesting to see what he does in 2013.

    DB (DC): Gabe Rosa struggled trying to play through an injury last year. What do you think his position will be and what type of prospect is he considered know?

J.J. Cooper: I think he ends up staying in the infield for now. Because of the picks of Rahier and Mejias-Bream, I think he ends up at shortstop in 2013 as he didn't look awful there pre-injury. Long-term I think he ends up in the outfield as either a CF or RF. It was a lost season for him but he's young enough to bounce back from that. To continue the theme, he's a Powerball ticket for the drawing after they had the big payout the previous week. After the top four prospects, the Reds' system is largely filled with high ceiling high risk guys in the lower minors and a lot of potential role players in the upper levels of the system. Rosa fits right into that description for the high risk group.

    Steve (Dayton): Sal Romano held his own in the Billings rotation. What does his future look like?

J.J. Cooper: Romano made the top 30 for the Handbook. He's a raw Northeastern arm with some intriguing potential.

    Ken (Rochester, N.Y.): What's the report on SP Chad Rogers? He has had some pretty good success over two years.

J.J. Cooper: He's in the top 30. I think he ends up in the pen long-term, but he's got a chance to be a big league contributor.

    Dave (VA): With a prospect (Reynoso) ranked 8th that will be a 20 year old at Billings and is many years away does that mean that you don't think much over their other OF prospects (LaMarre, Rodriquez, Waldrop, Gelalich)?

J.J. Cooper: No guarantee he doesn't make it to Dayton in 2013, as the writeup points out. Compared to the other guys, Reynoso has more of a chance to be a big league regular. As I've said previously in this chat, the rankings from No. 5 to No. 20 or so on this list don't have a lot of separation. When I started working on my Reds Top 30 this year, I had Reynoso No. 30, which seemed a reasonable spot for a young guy who had a very solid season in the AZL. But as I made my calls, I kept talking to sources inside and out of the organization who were clearly higher on him than that. So I started bumping him up the list. By the time I got around to writing the list, it was clear that scouts from other teams see much more of a chance for Reynoso to be a big league regular than any of the other guys you just listed. Heck, I had scouts who told me they like him better than Jesse Winker. But yes, the rest of the guys all either have significant questions about their hitting ability/makeup (Rodriguez) or project to likely be role players at the big league level. Maybe that sells Waldrop or Gelalich short, but that's the general consensus. Reynoso if it all comes together could be an impact big league regular, which in for the rankings here put him ahead of the other guys even if he has higher risk.

    NB (Cincy): Any thoughts on the son of Fonzie (Jesse Winkler)? Seems like he's off to a good start. 4th OF type?

J.J. Cooper: Not to get pedantic, but it's Winker, not Winkler, for one thing. But yes, he can hit. A lot of Winker's future depends on how much speed he can retain as he fills out. He's not much a runner now, and he doesn't have to be a burner, but ideally he ends up as a solid defensive left fielder, not a limited one because of lack of range.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the three 1st rounders (Travieso, Winkler, and Gelalich) who do you figure is most likely to surprise you by exceeding expectations?

J.J. Cooper: Winker because hitting ability is such a hard thing to develop. He already has it.

    Reggie (Palm Springs): Was Rahier an overdraft and do you think not playing for his HS team, which traditionally has a strong program, hurt his baseball development?

J.J. Cooper: Not really an overdraft, but not a great debut. I'm never a fan of seeing a player not play for his high school team. I think there is a lot to be gained from playing for a team that's less about draft status and more about winning a state/district title.

    Dave (Virginia): Why do you think of Sean Buckley and Junior Arias and what positions do you see them playing?

J.J. Cooper: Both still have a chance. Buckley if he can get healthy is still one of the better bats in the system. But position logjams means he's playing a position he's less suited for both profile wise and aptitude wise. If Arias doesn't make it as a hitter, I wouldn't be shocked to see him develop into a solid pitcher. In fact, I think he's more likely to be a big league pitcher than hitter. If it happens, hey, remember you heard it here.

    DaveB (Wash, DC): Any sleeper latin players who played in the rookie leagues last year?

J.J. Cooper: If you want a half-gallon of Nyquil sleeper, check out Aristides Aquino.

    Brian (Mass.): If Mesoraco was still eligible, would he be above Hamilton or no. 2?

J.J. Cooper: After the season he had last year, No. 2. But it would still be close. It's really hard to break into the big leagues as a catcher. Probably the hardest position in baseball for a rookie.

    MJ (Valpo): Jesse Winker and David Dahl are 2 guys from the 2012 HS draft class who rocked the Pioneer League pretty well. Any comparisons to the two, or is Dahl superior in just about every facet of the game?

J.J. Cooper: Yeah Dahl's just better. No knock on Winker, Dahl's pretty special.

    Tyler (Cincinnati): Ty Washington seems like a pretty good athlete despite being a bit on the shorter side. He has been limited so far in his playing time with an injury, but what could his future look like?

J.J. Cooper: He is a good athlete. Pretty much a wait and see guy. Keep an eye on him, but he needs to show what he can do in full season baseball before you get too excited, as he has some significant limitations (size, lack of power) to go with some nice assets like his speed and athletic ability.

    Ezequiel Cirigliano (Santo Domingo): With all this Hall of Fame talk.... Pedro Martinez has to be a first ballot Hall of Famer? No ifs or buts.

J.J. Cooper: To me, absolutely, but then several guys on this year's list are first ballot guys for me too.

    Dave (Columbus OH): It seems like the Reds have been awfully quiet this year on the international front. Have you heard of any signings?

J.J. Cooper: Nothing earth shattering, but then they have had a lot of success with low-cost signings like Reynoso, Corcino, Pedro Diaz, Cueto et al. So let's see who pops up in the AZL in the next year or two.

    David (Virginia): Vaughn Covington who pitched coming off Tommy John surgery in the rookie league last year was terrible. Is he still considered a prospect?

J.J. Cooper: He's not a top 30 guy or close to it, but yeah, you want to see what he can do a year further away from TJ. He's a guy who has to show something, as right now he doesn't project as a future big leaguer.

    Thomas (Billings): Carlos Sanchez crushed the ball for the Mustangs. He is undersized, but the numbers were strong. Can he keep hitting like this?

J.J. Cooper: More reasons to be skeptical than optimistic, as as you note, he was a 21-year-old 5-foot-10 first baseman in a league that is very offensive.

    Dan (Augusta, ME): Is there still a chance for Kyle Waldrop to develop into a starting caliber OF? Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: Yeah, he's got a chance. He's a left fielder, so it's an uphill battle to make the big leagues as the requirements for the bat are so steep, but he's one of the better hitting prospects in the system.

    Anthony (Joliet): Cingrani has had eye-popping stats (Ks per 9, KK/BB, WHIP) at each level the organization has tested him (including brief appearance in Majors). What separates him say from a Madison Bumgarner-type pitcher? They seem to have similar deliveries (across the body) and velocity. I just don't feel the love given by the scouts from the results his churned out over the last few years!

J.J. Cooper: He's going to be a top 100 prospect just a couple of years after he asked the Rice coaches if they wanted him to just go home or come back for his senior season. That's a pretty meteoric climb to getting some love as I see it.

J.J. Cooper: Time for me to wrap this up. If you want to hear some more, I'll be going on ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati at around 3:40 p.m. ET. Thanks again for subscribing and for all the great questions.