J.J. Cooper will chat about prospects and the Prospect Hot Sheet beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
Erik (NYC): No Matt den Dekker, JJ? Really? He's had an absurd week.
Hey everyone. Thanks for taking time out
of your Friday afternoon to stop by. As far Erik's question, it's been a
very good week for Den Dekker, and he was one of the last guys we
dropped off. Den Dekker is one of a number of Mets having very good
starts to the 2011 season. He definitely could have made the list, but
it's hard to say his week was better than the guys we put on.
@Jaypers413 (IL): I'm surprised Matzek didn't make the Not-So-Hot list this week. Are you concerned with his season thus far?
There's some definite cause for concern,
but it all comes down to him getting comfortable with a delivery and
repeating it. The Rockies tweaked some things last year, so that
explains part of it, but he has to get his control straightened out if
he's going to have success. To get there, he needs to log plenty of
innings, but then, if you're walking eight guys in an outing, it's hard
to pile up innings.
Nate (Washington): At what point do we start worrying about Ackley? With the exception of the AFL, the results just haven't yet been there.
Personally, I'm worried more than maybe
most. The following is my personal opinion, and I don't think represents
a scouting or BA consensus. The move to second base may end up making a
lot of sense for the Mariners, because if he can pull off the position
defensively (and there are questions about that), the offensive demands
are less than if he was playing first or center field. Ackley's swing
leaves him in such good position to run to first that his home-to-first
times maybe skew the perception of his speed. He's not really shown he's
a speedster on the basepaths—which explains why he had 10 steals last
year, not 30. Even if Ackely's hit tool ends up being above average,
let's say he's a 60-hit, just not the 70-hit tool some project him to
be, he'd be a 60 hitter with a tick below average power, above-average,
but not game-changing speed and adequate defense. That's good, but maybe
it's not as much of an impact player as some expect.
Chris (Boston): Were you tempted to put Met OF
prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the team photo either of the past 2 weeks?
Last week he hit .417/.440/.625 with 2 2B and a HR. This week he hit
.250/.455/.667 with 4 2B, 2 HR, and 7 R. More generally, what do you
think of Nieuwenhuis as a prospect? Thanks.
I took a long look at him this week, but
that .250 batting average helped keep him off. We care more about the
OBP and SLG lines, but it still is something you at least look at.
Nieuwenhuis is one of those guys who needs some breaks to avoid ending
up as a fourth outfielder. If he falls into the right situation (and a
lost Mets season or two may help on this) he could get 500 at-bats as a
above-average corner outfielder who slides over to center to give the
regular center fielder a day off. But his lack of plus power or the
ability to hold down center fielder every day more likely makes him a
very valuable fourth outfielder who can play either corner, center field
in a pinch and is a handy lefty-hitting bat off the bench as well.
Bill (Altoona): Ive read a lot of prospect
reports over the years, and I was wondering why Matt hague never gets
mentioned as one of the Pirates better prospects. He has never hit
under .293 as a pro and has a exellent K:BB rate. From what ive heard
he also plays a pretty good 1b. Is his power really that concerning (he
did have 15 HR last year in AA) or is there a hole in his swing that
just doesn't project well to the majors?
Hague's a right-right first baseman, which
is one of the toughest profiles if youre going to make it to the big
leagues. You are right that he has a very good K:BB rate, and he did hit
15 home runs, but he also slugged .442 as a slow, defensively limited
first baseman who turned 25 during the season (and he slugged .412 the
year before). He's slugging under .400 early this season. It's not that
he has a hole in his swing, it's just that to be a right-right first
baseman in the majors, you have to be some plus tools. Hague's power
ranks as average at best (maybe below), which is the most important tool
as a first baseman.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Are the preseason concerns about how Paul Goldschmidt would handle more advanced pitching still valid?
You want to see him keep doing it over a
full season, but he's definitely helped his stock with an outstanding
April. The comments about right-right first baseman in the Hague answer
apply here too, but if you follow up leading the minors in home runs by
leading it again for a second year, you are demonstrating the kind of
well above-average power teams look for in a righthanded hitting first
Jeff (Idaho): I noticed Bryce Harper has stolen
a few bases in his early minor league career. Is that just being
aggressive on the base paths, or does he project to steal 15-20 at the
major league level?
As he gets older and even bigger, Harper
will likely slow down and become an average runner, but with his
aggressiveness and feel for the game, he could steal 10-15 a year early
in his big league career. The Nationals are comfortable putting him in
center field some this year because of his athleticism.
Kyle (Philly): Your thoughts on Harper's altercation with the WV Power pitcher (sorry, his name escapes me)?
It was with Tyler Waldron, the Pirates'
2010 fifth-round pick. Didn't seem like anything significant to me,
nothing you don't see multiple times during the season in the minors.
Apparently they exchanged some words, but nothing more. I know that
Harper carries a knock in some circles for having bad makeup, but I must
be talking to different people. His Nationals teammates got along well
with him during spring training, which isn't easy when an 18-year-old
kid is the most famous guy in camp. He's intense, but so have been a lot
of the better players in baseball history.
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks for the chat,
J.J. What's the ceiling on Keyvius Sampson? Was he hyped coming into
this year or did he just burst onto the scene?
Definitely hyped before now. He's not
coming out of nowhere. He's always had good velocity, and he was
considered one of the better arms in the 2009 draft (although he slipped
to the fourth round in part because of bonus demands). The biggest
question with Sampson was whether he could stay healthy. He hasn't
managed to do that in the past, but the early signs this year are good.
Greg (New york): Hi thanks for the chat. Two
way question, who has a higher ceiling Brett Jackson or Slade Heathcott?
And if/when they make it to their respective big league teams who makes
a bigger impact?
Higher ceiling? Heathcott. More likely to
get their sooner and more likely to reach his ceiling? Jackson. Hard to
believe Jackson won't play in the big leagues for a good while,
Heathcott has a good ways to go to prove the same, but then if he does,
he has better athleticism.
Steve J (Wisconsin): No Yasmani Grandal after
his breakout week? How likely are the Reds to move him off the plate in
order to get his bat to the big leagues sooner? And if they do that,
what position is he likely to end up at?
Grandal hit .222 with no extra base hits
this week, so he wasn't really a candidate. As far as the position, he's
a catcher. He was drafted as a catcher, and really there is no
consideration of moving him off of the position. His value is tied up in
being a solid catcher with solid offensive tools. If Mesoraco ends up
claiming that job for good before he reaches the big leagues, he could
be the No. 2 catcher in Cincy down the road or he could be traded, but I
don't see a situation where the Reds move him off the position.
Michael B (Detroit): Why doesn't Brett Jackson
get more love? He gets ranked high enough on most lists, but all I ever
read is that he doesn't have any one special tool. But all he has done
is hit for average and some power along with steal bases. And this
year he's got a nice K:BB ratio to boot!
If you are a subscriber, I hope you saw Ben Badler's report on Jackson
earlier this week. You summed it up pretty well, Jackson is a very safe
bet to be a solid big leaguer. He should have enough power and plays
well enough to be an OK big league center fielder, but it's the lack of
any clear plus-plus tool that keeps anyone from going crazy over him. He
should hit 15 home runs or so, he could steal 15 bases. He should be OK
in center, not great. He's a very solid player, just not a spectacular
Will T. (Cary, N.C.): Can Brandon Snyder be a starting first baseman in the majors?
It doesn't seem like even the Orioles
still think that—they talked about him being a versatile utilityman
when he was in the big league camp in spring training.
Matt (Whippleville, NY): Jeurys Familia has the stuff and the prototypical build, but does he have the ceiling of a number one?
That's too steep for me. Familia has a
good frame and a plus fastball, but there's a lot more to go from that
to being a No. 1 starter. Part of being a No. 1 is having plus-plus
command, Familia's a long ways from that. It also involves having a
plus-plus secondary pitch—Familia's working on developing an average
slider. There's a lot more chance he ends up as a bullpen arm than as a
No. 1, and that's coming from someone who likes Familia.
marty kohl (omaha,ne): Hi J.J. As you well know
it`s all about the prospects.2 Questions-Do you know why wil myers
hasn`t been in the naturals line-up the last 3 or 4 games??? 2nd
question-Eric Hosmer vs Anthony Rizzo who has the better MLB Career??
Keep up the good work and thanks!!
Myers has a bruised knee, according to
former BA staffer Kary Booher. I'll take Hosmer, because he could have
Rizzo's power combined with a 70 hit tool.
KyleS (Loudonville, NY): We talk about the
Royals a lot, but they have other prospects who are hidden behind the
top 15 or so. How good can RHP Tyler Sample be? Still young enough to
find himself? The blazing fast ball has to be the best in the system,
Sample's good, but I wouldn't put his
fastball better than fifth in the system. Just counting guys who had
prospect eligibility at the start of the year: Mike Montgomery
(especially because it comes from the left side), Kelvin Herrera,
Yordano Ventura and Aaron Crow, then maybe Sample (although I'd probably
put Jason Adam there instead). The question with Sample comes down,
like a lot of young pitchers, to command/control. Sample has made some
strides in Wilmington this year, but he's still walking as many as he
strikes out. Until he starts throwing more strikes, there are plenty of
reasons to worry.
Jeff (Milwaukee): This week's prospect sheet is
really full of lower level prospects.
Question regarding 3B prospects. Who has the higher upside offensively,
Brett Lawrie or Lonnie Chisenhall? I suspect at this point Chisenhall
is the better defensive 3B prospect.
Thanks for the chat!
Chisenhall's better defensively, and he's
got a sweeter swing, while Lawrie could end up with more power and more
speed. I'd be happy to have either one.
Bryan (San Francisco): Love the list. Any
chance Erlin finishes the year in AA? Seems like last year he was too
advanced for Low A, and this year might be the same in High A. Any
thoughts on his ETA in Texas? Thanks!
No way of knowing, but yeah, if he keeps
doing what he's doing, a midseason bump up could make sense. He's a very
advanced pitcher for the Carolina League.
Mark (Sydney): Mr. Cooper, what's going on with former first round pick Matt Hobgood? Thanks.
Hobgood is trying to work his way back
from a shoulder injury. I wouldn't expect much out of him over the first
half of this season. If he can start pitching competitively in June or
so and stay healthy the rest of the year while showing pre-injury stuff,
I bet the Orioles would be very happy.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Where is Levon Washington? Wasn't he projected to begin the year in low A?
He had a knee injury in spring training
that set him back. Barring any setbacks he should be added to Lake
County's roster before too long.
DAvid Cooper (On a plane to New York): I'm
joining the Jays after my callup from Vegas and I've struggled at AA for
the past 2 years, but this year I am killin git in the PCL. Hitters
league aside, do I have what it takes to play in the bigs long term at
Cooper had a good spring, and a great
start in Las Vegas, but man, I have some concerns. Cooper had more than
900 at-bats in Double-A over the past two years where he was below
average for a first baseman. Now he's had 81 good at-bats in Triple-A.
It could be a breakthrough, but I'm going to stay skeptical. In the past
he's had trouble with off-speed stuff, he'll get the final exam on how
well he's made adjustments now that he's in the big leagues.
AJ (Wisconsin): If Soria gets traded, do you think Crow or Jeffress will get a chance to close, or will it be someone else??
If Soria gets traded (and that's a big if) I think Crow ends up as the closer.
If Soria gets traded (and that's a big if) I think Crow ends up as the closer.
Ben (Shreveport, LA): Ben, what's the scoop on
Neil Ramirez? The whole story of him going basically from Low-A (one
start in Hi-A) to AAA and doing what he has done is just mind blowing.
What kind of stuff does he have? Potential frontline starter?
Ramirez's stuff has never really been the
question. He was a supplemental first-round pick out of high school
because of his stuff, and it's still there—92-94 mph fastball and a
feel for how to spin the ball. It's taken Ramirez a while to make some
mechanical adjustments, but it seems like he's now processed and
perfected those tweaks. There's no reason to think this improvement
isn't for real.
Tom (NY): Thank you for taking the question.
Long term, is your feel that the Met's Famiglia stays as a starter, or
is forced to move to the pen?
I'm sticking with pen.
Grant (wpg): No mention of Marisnick or Cooper?
Must be the anti-Jays bias on display. (Joking - but I assume
something like that makes up about 40% of your questions in the chat.)
Answered one Cooper question already. To
be honest, if Cooper's double-streak this week had come almost anywhere
other than Las Vegas and Colorado Springs, he would have likely been on
the list, but those are great places to hit. Marisnick had a very good
week, but it's hard to say it's better than the guys we put on the
list—.455/.556/.682, 1 2B, 2 3B, 4-for-6 on SB.
Tom (NY): Thank you for taking the question.
Long term, do you expect to see any of the Met's STL offensive trio
(Puello, Marte and Flores) make it to the majors, and for that matter,
make an impact?
They all have a shot at the majors, but I'll pick Puello as the player with the best chance to make an impact.
Chad (White Rock, BC): Fernando Martinez is off
to a nice start. Any chance he ends up being the star he was predicted
to be? He is still only 23, though it seems he has been around
Not trying to bag on Martinez, but he's
also already spent time on the DL this year, which is a continual
problem for him, that's why he's only had 34 ABs this year. Martinez's
chance to be a star are likely gone, but there was always some healthy
skepticism when it came to his chances of being a star. He's a
below-average runner now which limits him to a corner, more likely left
field. With that being the case, he has to improve his below-average
selectivity to ever be a regular.
George (KC): Thoughts on Aaron Hicks? When does he start to get downgraded because the off-the-charts tools aren't leading to performance?
Hicks seems to be a slow starter year
after year, but you have to downgrade him at least a little bit. Hicks'
2010 was a very solid season, and with tools like he has, it could all
click where he takes off and becomes a stud. But Hicks may be one of the
rare cases of a guy who needs to be more aggressive. We really haven't
seem him sting the ball like he's capable of yet. He's seems more
comfortable going the other way and drawing walks. Some guys develop
that skill, others never do.
Jeff ((CA)): Who is the better pitching prospect for the Dodgers, Rubby De La Rosa or Zach Lee?
Lee, but I think it's pretty close.
Spencer (Baltimore): Who do you think is the long term answer at first base for the orioles, Joe Mahoney, Brandon Snyder or someone else?
Ed (San Diego): What do you think of Simon Castro's struggles in AAA? How does he project? Enough fastball to be #1 or #2?
The fastball won't keep him from being a No. 1/2. But his command very well could.
Devin (orlando): when is the next podcast?
Great question. We've had two that we
recorded lost to computer failures in the past two weeks. We have since
fixed that computer (well actually, think Office Space and the copy
machine). We've gotten a new podcast computer and now that it's seen
what we did to the other computer, it's very cooperative. We hope to
record a new one either late today after this chat or early next week.
Brian (Illinois): What do you think of Will
Middlebrooks long term outlook? He feels old to me in AA at 22 going to
turn 23 this year. I know it was talked about in the article a little.
I Just wanted to get your take on what you see him as in a couple of
Age-wise he's fine. If he keeps this up,
he could be in Triple-A as a 23-year-old next year, that's not a problem
at all. The Red Sox are still very high on him, and tools-wise, he's
been a guy to keep an eye on for quite a while.
Vic (San Diego): Mike Olt has been
uber-impressive so far for High-A Myrtle Beach. Is this more an
advanced college hitter and age relative to league thing, what are
How about both. He's advanced for the league, but he's also showing a lot and impressing a lot of people.
David (KC): Rey Navarro: .420/.461/.623 and not
even in the team picture? Has he become a prospect or just a guy who
is a little old for his league?
He is repeating the league, but no, he's
not too old for high A—he'll play the whole season at 21. Keep up
anything close to what he's been doing and he'll be in the Royals Top 30
next year. The scouting report on Navarro was solid glove with
questions about the bat. That hasn't been a problem so far.
Tim Collins (Kansas City): How dare you...
Actually this gives me an opportunity to
fix an oversight. Forgot that Jeremy Jeffress was also prospect eligible
at the start of the season—he'd be No. 1 or No. 2 on that list of the
Royals' fastballs. Collins has the best fastball of a 5-foot-5 guy, but
he himself believes his offspeed pitches are better than his fastball.
Sorry guys, I have to wrap it up with a lot of good questions still in the queue. Thanks again for stopping by.