John Manuel Midseason Prospects Chat
Sorry to get started a shade late. I'll try
to stay 'til 5 p.m. ET.
Brent (Appleton): Considering his performance
this year, I expected Mike Montgomery to be higher on your Top 25. Is
his forearm injury that big of a concern, or is he just not the
potential ace that I thought him to be?
Only reason he wasn't higher was the
injury; that's indicated in the writeup. Pitchers get hurt, I understand
it's to be expected, but when you're doing a snapshot kind of list like
this, I think you have to acknowledge an injury like that in some way.
Ceiling remains very high; chances of reaching it took a hit when he had
to be shut down.
Brent (Appleton): Logan Morrison has more walks
and a better average, but Freddie Freeman has more HR and 2B and is two
years younger. What makes Morrison the better prospect?
The scouts that I have talked to like
Morrison's bat a bit better. He does more than control the strike zone;
he makes consistent hard contact, and he's showing some pop even coming
off his shoulder injury. Also, Morrison's played a bit of left field
this year, and one scout I talked to who had seen him do it thought it
was a definite option. You can certainly make a case for Freeman between
the two, but I think the bats are quite comparable, slight edge to
Morrison, and Morrison's a bit more well-rounded. We made the comparison
between the two last year as well, as the 1B wing men for Stanton and
Heyward, and that has not changed.
JAYPERS (IL): Which player(s) in the 26-50
range have the best chance of making the Top 25 by the time your Top 100
list comes out in February?
Consider than in February we'll also be
considering all the 2010 draft picks who sign, and the answer may be
none of them. However, Wil Myers has made a very strong impact with the
talent evaluators I talked to. I was hesitant to rank him top 25 because
the reports on his defense are such that most people seem to think his
bat is so good, he'll wind up in RF instead of C. He was No. 26 for me
and has the best shot at having a big finishing kick to his second half
and moving up our list.
Ben (Leland Grove): What is John Lamb's
ceiling? Could he beat Montgomery to KC if he gets more playing time?
He could win the race. Lamb is quite
legit; No. 2 ceiling doesn't seem to be too lofty. Knows how to use his
fastball and runs it up to 95; change and curveball lack consistency but
he could have a plus fastball, average command and average secondary
Brent (Appleton): I haven't read much about
Zach Britton this year, and was surprised to see him this high on the
Top 25. Can you tell me a little more about his progress? Is the spike
in his ranking primarily performance based, or have his pitches
The fastball is a true plus pitch;
improved slider, solid average to a tick above-average, giving him a
second weapon; and he's started to improve the changeup. It isn't where
it needs to go but it's making progress. He's performed; he's got a
great fastball; he's durable. Pretty complete package.
JAYPERS (IL): If the Phillies were to trade
either Ibanez or Werth before the 31st would Brown step right in, or
would they give him more time at Lehigh Valley first?
He's showing that his bat is ready. He
still needs polish defensively, where he has tools to be above-average
but remains a bit unskilled. Offensively, he's as ready as any prospect
in the minors.
Skrip (Chicago): John,
Thanks for the chat. Can you tell me more about Martin Perez. I have
heard Johan Santana comparisons, is this a fair comparison? Also, what
do you see as his ETA? I realize he is 19, but could he be in Arlington
next year if he finishes strong this season?
One point I'll make on Perez is, if he
were in high Class A, he'd probably be dominating like Julio Teheran is.
But the Rangers' high A affiliate is in Bakersfield, and they just
don't want to send him to arguably the worst affiliation situation in
the minors. I don't think there's much difference in the ceiling of the
two, but it's impossible to ignore a 5.50 ERA and 5 BB per 9 IP like
Perez has now. He'll be fine. The comps to Santana start physically,
like all comparisons, then extend to his stuff. He definitely can be in
Arlington next season, but he's clearly got work to do in terms of
fastball command before he gets that call.
JAYPERS (IL): If you had to pick your Milb POY
today, how close would it be between Dom and Trout?
I thought it would, but then you look at
it a bit more and it would have to be Brown right now, right? He has a
better OPS, and while Trout probably is a better defender and has a ton
of steals, do those make up for doing it as Brown has at upper levels?
It does not for me. I would go Brown.
Tom (NJ): With all the trades the Phillies have
made, I think their system is still quite strong. Are they top 5 in
The subcriber-only piece I did (Prospect
Pulse) as a companion talks a bit about that. Not sure if they're top 5
but the system is definitely replenished. I would assert no other org
has as much talent in its two A-ball full-season clubs as the Phils, and
their best prospect is getting ready at Triple-A in Brown. Everyone I
talked to mentioned how good Clearwater and especially Lakewood are, and
Lakewood probably is the most talented roster in the minors, especially
when Cosart was healthy. Cosart & Colvin were quite a combo — got a
report that Colvin touched 97 in the seventh inning of a recent start
— and Pettibone has made significant progress. The hitters got all the
attention at Lakewood early this year, and the pitchers deserve some as
well. Then Justin DeFratus hit 98 in the FSL all-star game and
Clearwater started getting almost as much praise.
Ryan (Michigan): Logan Morrison has nothing
left to prove in the Minor Leagues. When can we expect to see him debut
with the Marlins?
When Gaby Sanchez stops hitting, or when
the Marlins decide to move Chris Coghlan back to the IF? It doesn't seem
like there's an immediate opening.
Streeter (WA): Assuming Jesus Montero is in
fact headed our way, who gets the nod for #1 M's prospect, him, Ackley,
That would be an interesting discussion.
Right now I'd go Montero. I would assume he would move to 1B as a
Mariner; if the Mariners think he can catch, they're in a distinct,
dwindling minority. I used to hear people say, "Well, he can be Piazza
defensively if he's Piazza offensively." I didn't even hear that faint
praise for his defense this year. He's not a C. So he's going to have to
be a 1B or DH. That's fine, Seattle needs a 4-hole hitter and most
scouts believe Montero can do that.
Brent (Appleton): Is Brett Lawrie's bat good
enough to make him a full-time major league outfielder in the NL, or
will his defense be a problem there as well?
He's athletic so he should be fine in the
OF. He's got a different body type for sure but he kind of reminds me of
Ryan Braun. I always thought Braun could stay in the dirt if he'd had a
passion for it but he's better in the OF, and Lawrie could be similar. I
do think it's more LF than RF now, got a report that his arm strength
has slipped, his value is in his bat; thankfully for the Brewers, he can
really hit and really run.
JAYPERS (IL): Mike Trout made quite a jump in
your rankings since the Top 100 prospects list came out. To your
knowledge, has any prospect made a bigger jump in your Top 100 than him
over the years?
I'm sure someone has jumped in similar
fashion. Frankly, JAYPERS, I thought you would be the one who would know
. . . Also keep in mind this is July, not a Top 100, it's a snapshot.
But I didn't hear one negative on Mike Trout, just some regrets from
teams that passed on him in 2009.
Cody (The 865): How does the best hitter in the
PCL not make the top 50? Arencibia is you're wondering.
Because he's kind of poor defensively and
because, for me, I've been fooled by Arencibia before. I was on the
bandwagon in 2008 pretty hard. I just don't see him starring, and I
asked about catchers a lot, and his name was never mentioned in the same
breath with the guys we ranked — Ramos, Rosario, Romine. I guess also
it would have helped if his name started with R, although it does SOUND
like it starts with R.
Tim (Dallas): Peter Bourjos sure looks a lot
like Mike Moustakas, doesn't he?
Both Greek-American (at least in part) and
locks for our 2013 WBC lineup.
Brent (Appleton): Which players listed 26-50
just missed making the Top 25?
The aforementioned Lamb and Myers; Cosart
and Vizcaino, whose recent shutdowns with elbow pain kept them off;
Jonathan Singleton, who is one of the minors' more exciting hitters;
Brett Jackson, who got some Curtis Granderson comps.
Steven Alengakis (Brooklyn): with Brackman,
Betances, Noesi, Warren, Stoneburner, Gary Sanchez, and several other
Yankees prospects (Laird, David Adams, etc) having really strong years,
why were the Yankees not considered one of the rising organizations?
Montero despite a down season thus far is still very highly regarded. I
was just surprised they did not receive more credit considering they
have had some really strong seasons from many of their prospects. Is it
fair to say the Yankees system has increased its standing this season?
You make some good points and I would say
it has been more good than bad this year for the Yanks' farm system. I
would counter Warren and Stoneburner are not elite guys; you left out
David Phelps, who's probably a better prospect than either of them, and
has had a nice year. Sanchez just was getting started in the GCL when we
were doing this; I like Noesi a lot but he's a back-of-the-rotation
guy. You left out Brandon Laird, who's gone from org guy/4A talent to
second-division regular in most scouts' estimations. Also, the Yanks'
No. 1 prospect, Montero, was having a poor season; Banuelos has been
hurt; Bleich was bad, then hurt. Montero's poor season probably weighed
on my mind more than it should have when considering "up" orgs.
Brent (Appleton): What's your latest assessment
of Madison Bumgarner? Where would you rank him on the Top 25 if he were
He'd rank high for me; I was always the
high man on him in the office. Sounds like he's added a curveball, which
has helped him this year, but he'd be the top pitching prospect for me,
just ahead of Hellickson. They aren't that different; Hellickson's
changeup is the best secondary pitch of the bunch, but Bumgarner's
fastball is at least one grade better thanks to its life, and he's a
lefty. If MadBum's done in the minors, as I suspect he is, here are the
final numbers: 34-6, 2.00, 356 IP, 299 H, 14 HR, 77 BB, 315 SO.
Troy (Toronto): In your prospect hot sheet
summary for Kyle Drabek you mention that scouts are saying that he is
sitting 90-91mph this year. In the no hitter he just pitched, the
local(Union Leader) news reports, have him sitting at 95-97mph into the
9th. What accounts for the discrepancy between the two reports? I know
you have to take some readings with a grain of salt but doesn't a 5-7mph
difference seem a little excessive?
I don't know what game(s) the scouts I
talked to saw, but I know they weren't at the no-hitter. They said he
was sitting 90-91, and my notes from one scout here say, "He can hit 93
or 94 when he needs it, but he was sitting 90-91, whereas last year when
I saw him, it was 90-94 and he was hitting 96 or so when he wants."
Mike Smith (New York): Graham Stoneburner is
pitching really good and was a overslot draft pick. Is he for real and
does he stay a SP?
I love the chats!!!
I'm not feeling it. Fastball's straight,
scouts I have talked to consider him a future reliever.
Chris (CT): No love for Ryan Kalish?
He was considered, I threw his name out to
several evaluators, didn't get a bite for Top 25, whereas pretty much
everyone in the 26-50 range did. He feels like a sure Top 100 guy to me.
Could he be Boston's No. 1 or No. 2 prospect right now? Not a great
year on the farm for the Sox.
Nicky Peaks (Cali): Juan Oramas is a young Sp
for Padres and has been pitching lights out. what is his upside and do
you have a scouting report on him
Asked and answered, counselor, by Matt
mlbpark (Korea): What do you think about hak ju
Is he near the midseason ranking 50?
I'm excited to see him at the Futures
Game, but I didn't see him as a Top 50 guy right now, would like to see
more out of the bat. Too much projection, not enough production to rank
him that high yet.
Kris (Burlington): Hi John, thanks for taking
our questions. Where does the Blue Jays system rank?? They have had many
players performing this year.
It's bound to be quite a bit higher after
bounce-back year by Arencibia, additions from the Phillies in the
Halladay deal and obviously a huge influx of talent from the draft, as
they had so many extra picks. I liked their draft too. Guessing they
won't be 19th next year.
Bo Jackson (BIRMINGHAM): I know that the braves
have a stockpile of good arms in the minors, but other than Freddie
Freeman, is there anyone who you could see being an impact bat in the
next 2-3 years. Obviously we could use some more power and I would hate
to have to give up a Teheran or Delgado to get it.
I really don't, but I think you knew that.
Nate (Maryland): What is Mike Minor's ceiling?
He's improved quite a few things this year, but I don't know that I've
heard any revised estimates as to what he can be.
Minor, to me, is in a similar spot to
where he was in the summer of 2008, when he was our summer college POY
and ace of Team USA. He was in our Top 10 college prospects at that
time; then he went and messed with a curveball in fall ball as a junior,
his arm angle went up, and he lost the life on his fastball, slider and
change. Instead of a guy with an avg fastball, avg. slider and plus
change, he became a four-pitch guy with no plus pitch. He's ditched the
curve, and his stuff is sharper. I don't think anyone was anticipating
his velo jump, not even the Braves, but I got several reports he's
hitting 95-96 mph consistently. As a result, he's not quite throwing as
many strikes as he used to. For me, he's more of a No. 3 starter
now�chance to be a 2 if he maintains the velo and improves his control.
When he was drafted, I thought he was a No. 4 at best.
Steve B (Chicago): No Derek Norris? I'm
surprised to see all the catcher in your top 50 but no Norris. Why?
Because he's in A ball, hitting .240 or
whatever, and not slugging .400. It's a snapshot ranking and right now
that picture isn't enticing.
Sherlock (Fayetteville, Ga): One Met Prospect?
No Wilmer Flores, Javier Rodriguez?
Wilmer Flores . . . damn. He should be on
there. He's a definite 26-50 guy. Sorry to see one slip through the
editing process. It would be more 40-50 but I see a couple of players
I'd take Flores over, such as Zach Wheeler. Thanks for pointing that
tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): Hi John, what's
the deal with Zach Wheeler? It looks like he finally got back on the
mound after I believe a cracked fingernail. Do you have a comparison
for the type of pitcher he could become? Also, does ANYONE down on the
farm besides Wheeler have any trade value? The system seems to have
fallen off a cliff!
Wheeler's calling card as an amateur was
the fastball — athleticism, arm quickness, velocity and also a chance
to have real control, maybe command. It's hard to see that in one or two
months of pro ball though. I think he's the org's No. 1 prospect right
now and agree, there's a gap behind him because the Richmond hitters
haven't responded. I wouldn't say it's fallen off a cliff, but no one
has stepped into the breach to replace Bumgarner & Posey, and it
lost some depth to trades the last two years as well. Who's left —
Clayton Tanner? Henry Sosa? I agree, it's not a pretty picture.
Nate (Maryland): If arodys vizcaino hadn't
gotten hurt, where would he have ranked?
Top 25; still would have him behind
Teheran, because Teheran's a bit bigger, does it easier, better change.
Vizcaino has a better breaking ball; Vizcaino also now has two straight
seasons ended by injury, and not freak injuries either, back and now
elbow. Not encouraging.
Troemner (On Lake Erie): Do the Reds have the
prospects to get Cliff Lee?
They might; they have a catcher they can
deal in Mesoraco (since they just drafted Grandal). They have pitching
depth (they've tapped the farm team heavily this year, remain in
contention and will get Volquez back soon); they have up-the-middle guys
who are attractive, like Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius; and they have
an aggressive, creative general manager who can make things happen.
Eric K (Chicago): What are your thoughts on
Wilin Rosario? Does he project to be the Rockies catcher of the future
and when will that future begin?
Hearing reports of significant raw power
with him, his best tool. Also got a Miguel Olivo comp on him and asked
several people about him as "best C prospect in the minors," and was
repeatedly told, "No."
tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): I was happy that
Brian Sabean was able to get Michael Main in the Bengie Molian trade.
Can you give us an update on what we can expect from him at this point?
I believe he's repeating HiA ball? Anything in particular go wrong for
him last year that he's tried to right this year?
One more from Tiffy, as it's been a while
since we spoke . . . Main got promoted to Double-A Frisco before the
trade but hadn't pitched there yet. The big concern with him is
durability. He's not quite regained the arm strength he had as an
amateur, when he hit 97-98, and we do know the Giants loved him in Fla.
in high school. Then again so did most teams. His stuff bounced back
some this year, he's a long-toss guy and he was responding well to the
Rangers' long-toss program. He's really pretty small, he's a small-boned
guy, thin wrists, thin ankles, so it's hard to project a ton of
physical development with him.
dan (denver): Brett Lawrie and Reese Havens
seem to be similar players. Do you agree? What kind of ETA do you see
for both? What is Haven's most recent DL trip about. Thanks
No. Havens doesn't have Lawrie's
explosiveness and has a better chance to stay in the dirt. It's an
oblique strain for Havens.
Kevin (Toronto): How did Matt Moore drop from
35th in your top 100 right off the list? His numbers this year are okay,
and been ever better recently only allowing 4 runs in his last 5
Just have had several people say we were
too high on him in the first place, because they think he's a reliever.
John (Washington D.C.): Who do you see being
the better SS for the Nationals in the future, Ian Desmond-Danny
Espinosa or Rick Hague?
Rick Hague, not to be mean, is not a
shortstop. I'll take Danny Espinosa.
Dan (ny): john - which guy do you see having a
beter overall career, Jordan Z or Hellickson? thanks
Mike (Baltimore): Josh Bell, Michael Taylor and
Matt Moore dropped from mid-30s preseason off the list. Your thoughts
on those three now?
Bell wasn't eligible; in MLB on July 4.
Matt (Seattle): Did Nick Franklin recieve any
consideration for the top 50? Would he at least crack your top 100?
Definitely was considered, still some
doubters out there on Franklin's ability to stay at SS, I think he's a
top 100 guy for sure.
Sorry, I have 250 questions left and
cannot possibly get to all of them. In fact, I have to go now. Hope
everyone enjoyed the list, feel free to keep commenting on the blog and
I'll try to get to as many as I can. Also you can hit me up on Twitter,
@johnmanuelba, and I'll try to get to them. We'll be at the Futures Game
all weekend (me, Ben Badler, Jim Callis), and I'll be on the radio call
for XM Radio live from the U.S. dugout, should be a lot of fun. Take
care and enjoy the weekend.