La Flama Blanca (Parts Unknown): How do you
view the future of Brad Peacock in Oakland? Does he look as good this
year as he did last year, even though his surface stats aren't all that
impressive, or has he taken a step back?
It's probably most accurate to say that
Peacock's performance last season was a bit aberrational and that this
season he's pitched quite well at home in Sacramento (2.40 ERA, 29-8
SO-BB) — for whatever five starts are worth. He still has the
three-pitch repertoire and control to fit as a mid-rotation arm,
possibly as soon as the second half.
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Matt. Can't wait
for Rookie and Short-Season ball to start. What are your expectations
for some big names from last 2 drafts, ie. Bubba Starling, Byron Buxton,
and Carlos Correa?
I expect that talented first-rounders
like the ones you cited will be exciting to watch in person. Some may
succeed, some may fail, but don't get too wrapped up in the numbers. We
at BA definitely hope to get a chance to catch Correa and Buxton in Appy
League play this summer. Starling is already confirmed with Burlington
(giving the franchise its best prospect since perhaps Sabathia in 1998),
and it looks like Cecchini will head to Kingsport.
All Cubs fans (Wrigleyville): THERE IS NO REASON TO WATCH THIS TEAM. WHEN WILL THEY HAVE MERCY ON US AND CALL UP RIZZO?
Probably the most satisfying way to
follow a beleaguered, veteran-bloated big league club is to simply root
for the young homegrown players. Take satisfaction when a prospect who
rose through the ranks performs well — right now I guess that's Starlin
Castro and Darwin Barney — but keep looking forward to second-half
callups such as Rizzo and Brett Jackson.
Ben (Columbus, OH): Tony Cingrani's numbers so
far in the minors have been ridiculous. How does his stuff project in
the majors? Does he have the ability to be a front line starter, or is
he more of a 4 or 5?
Cingrani left Rice as a reliever, but
he's obviously experienced nothing but success as a starter in pro ball.
If you're inclined to bet on his future, expect to see Cingrani's
strikeout rate continue to decrease as more advanced hitters grow
accustomed to seeing his changeup and funky mechanics. He could be a
pretty nasty late-game reliever, though, and he could get there quickly
if starting doesn't work.
Stu (St. Joseph, Mo): Hultzen is tearing up AA
(other than the walk rate), when is he getting the call to the bigs?
Where do you see him, front end ace or mid 2 or 3 starter. Thanks
You'll definitely see Hultzen in Seattle
during the second half, perhaps after a few tune-up stats with Tacoma.
Initially, he'll probably endure some growing pains, but by Year 3 in
the bigs he ought to be a No. 2-caliber starter.
Matthew (Salt Lake City): What would you grade Ozuna's power at from 20-80?
If Ozuna continues to improve his pitch
recognition, then he has 70 raw power waiting to be unleashed. His
future success hinges on his ability to identify pitches he can drive
and making enough contact to punish those pitches. He's got a chance to
win his second minor league HR title this season.
Les Nessman (Cincinnati): All I hear are rants
and raves about Jay Marisnick in Toronto, but I don't see anything to be
excited about, at least in his stats. What do you think of him now,
and where he fits in future for Toronto?
Jake Marisnick is a fine prospect, one
who would stand out in any system in the game as a five-tool center
fielder. He's got plus tools where it counts, too — power and speed.
Marisnick probably shifts to left field in Toronto because of the
presence of Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose, but he can be a solid regular
there or a fringe all-star in center.
John Havok (Lethbridge, AB): Urena, Fernandez and Conley vs. Syndergaard, Sanchez and Nicolino. Who's the better rotation?
The Blue Jays trio has ridiculous growth
potential and plenty of "now" stuff and results. As good as Jose
Fernandez has been, I think the nod goes to the Lansing Three.
Ken (Raleigh, NC): Last year everyone was
talking about the Royals farm system as one of the best in baseball. A
few have graduated to the Bigs (Moustakas, Hosmer, and others). Wil
Myers is having a great year thus far. But the pitching seems to be
going in the wrong direction and Cheslor Cuthbert looks completely lost.
Should Royals fans have concerns about the farm or is it just part of
the growing pains of putting together a long-term big league club?
Royals fans have a right to be concerned
with the state of pitching development, but patience is advised.
(Remember, Zack Greinke didn't complete his first 200-innign season with
an above-average ERA until 2008, his fifth year in K.C.) Organizations
like the Giants or Rays, who seemingly populate their rotations with
homegrown all-star pitchers, really are the exception . . . and even
can't-miss lefty Matt Moore has endured his growing pains this season.
Aaron (New York): There's been all this talk
about top prospects like Bundy, Bauer, Jose Fernandez, but can you give
us some insight on Zack Wheeler, who hasn't had as much hype as some of
these other guys. How does Wheeler compare to some of these other power
Look for more on Zack Wheeler next week
in a BA feature. He's a potential frontline guy, with strong velocity,
good control, a pair of breaking balls and the sort of mound demeanor
clubs look for in starting-pitcher prospects. Ironing out the changeup
and overall command will be something he'll continue to work on in the
big leagues, but he could be a very good one, and maybe as soon as 2014.
Brad (MO): Is there anything in the new CBA to
prevent Mark Appel from signing a 1 or 2 year deal with a Japanese or
Mexican team, then entering free agency?
Good question. Send this one to Jim Callis at Ask BA and he might use this in a future column.
Landon (BC): What kind of triple slash line could we expect from D'arnaud in his prime years?
He's a 20-homer catcher who might hit .280 in his best years, though he may never be an on-base machine.
brian (Greensboro, NC): If you had to build a team starting with one player who is currently in the SAL, who would it be?
I think I'd select Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez. Who would you take with the second pick?
Patrick (Atlanta): What's your take on Cody Asche's success this year? Can he stick at 3B, and do you see more power potential in the bat?
A 4th-rounder from Nebraska last year,
Phillies 3B Cody Asche should be able to add power to his game as
improves the load in his swing. Check back in two years, but so far so
wayne (camarillo ca): Is Cron a likely DH? I
have seen him in person 5 times and he lacks range at first, has stiff
hands and is a clogger on the basepaths.
C.J. Cron, the Angels' first-round pick
last year, certainly will have a difficult time supplanting Albert
Pujols at first base in Anaheim. If he steps up his power production
then some team will give him a shot in the bigs, at DH for the Angels or
at first for another organization. Thanks for the update.
brian (Greensboro, NC): I would probably take Gary Sanchez - can't wait to see them both tomorrow in Greensboro!
I also considered him with the top pick in the SAL draft.
Lloyd (Lakewood): Hi Matt,
In your write-up of Adam Lind you said "Las Vegas, a place so favorable
for hitters that making evaluations based on results is practically
impossible." How does that affect your opinions on D'Arnaud, playing in
the same stadium?
The widely disparate league and park
contexts in the minors really add a layer of intrigue (sometimes
frustration) to prospect evaluation. I try to take those factors into
account when ranking prospects for Hot Sheet — and d'Arnaud played four
of seven games in Vegas this week — but in his case he's a 23-year-old
catcher who has a track record of success and who has hit equally well
at home as he has on the road this season. Then there's the unanimous
praise he receives from scouts who've seen him play. The degree of
confidence we have in d'Arnaud's ability to approach his Vegas
statistics at sea level is quite high.
Mike (Philly): In regards to the SAL pick, 2nd overall Henry Owens
A vote for Red Sox lefty Henry Owens of Greenville.
vince (Cleveland): With Harper and Trout in the majors now, are there any five tool players in the minors that can do it all?
Sure, there are five-tool players left
behind, though perhaps none who flat-out excel in so many areas. I'd
nominate Jurickson Profar as the best multi-talented prospect in the
Shad (Maryland): If your life depended on it (i
know heavy stuff!) would you say yes or No.....Billy Hamilton has a 100
SB season in the major leagues. Thanks. I know I'd be tempted not to
bet against him.
I would bet against Billy Hamilton
stealing 100 bags in the big leagues . . . though perhaps the game will
continue to see decreased run scoring to the point where one-run
strategies will rule the day. Plus, I bet the Reds will reign in
Hamilton before he puts the wear and tear on his body associated with
120-130 steal attempts. For the record, the only players to steal 100 in
a season since the dawn of the 20th century are Rickey Henderson (three
times), Vince Coleman (three), Lou Brock and Maury Wills (once each).
Roger (Greenville, SC): In regards to the 3rd SAL pick, I'm considering Rougned Odor, Tyler Austin, and Alen Hanson.
All good nominees . . .
Tony (Seattle): If you had to pick 5 pitchers in the minors right now to create a 5 man rotation for 2015 who would it be?
Dylan Bundy, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs,
Jameson Taillon and let's say Zack Wheeler. Who would you choose? Have
to look at Hultzen or Cole or Shelby Miller or Taijuan Walker, don't
Matt (Virginia Beach): What keeps Hultzen from
having No. 1 potential? Every scouting report has No. 2 ceiling, but is
that entirely based on his pitches. Can he get a bump for feel,
competitiveness, or smarts? What pitch would need to improve to get to a
So all the reports agree with one another
and . . . they're wrong? With a swing-and-miss breaking ball Hultzen
could profile as a No. 1 because, while he's plenty good, he's a pitcher
who's going to have to rely on his defense to succeed because he won't
be a huge strikeout guy. And that's fine, but to profile as a true ace, a
pitcher needs to reliably be able to get swings and misses and
strikeouts to get out of second-and-third-with-one-out jams.