John (Chicago): Do you see Michael Fulmer as a starter or reliever at the big league level?
I like Fulmer's chances to stay in a
rotation for the foreseeable future. The Mets weren't the only team to
have him on their board in the top 50 last year, and teams don't spend
draft picks that high on HS arms they project as relievers. As with most
high school arms, Fulmer needs to refine a changeup to the point where
he can go to it as at least a chase pitch.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Is Alex Colome more likely to become a mid-rotation starter or a reliever, if you had to predict his future right now?
Give credit where credit is due: Colome
had a great week in Double-A. However, I think the red flags raised in
the Hot Sheet capsule are quite valid, so I'd lean toward 8th or 9th
inning reliever. But we know one thing: the Rays will give Colome every
opportunity to work through his problems in a minor league rotation.
Ben (Leland Grove): Could you rank these Cubs prospects for us in terms of potential - Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Albert Almora? Thanks.
Cubs fans really must be excited by the
hot start of Javier Baez in a difficult Midwest League setting, and
while I hate to automatically side with the shiny new toy, I think I'd
gamble on Almora as the best bet of the bunch. True up-the-middle
profile as a CF with significant offensive upside. The separator might
be the plus makeup to grind through a difficult five-month season and
endure the inevitable failings.
Andrew (Chicago): I am really intrigued by
Arsimendy Alcantara, he seems to have come out of nowhere. Does he
project to stay at SS? and is he making a case for the Cubs top 10?
Yes, Alcantara is a legit SS pop-up
prospect. Coming into the season, scouts regarded his best tools as his
speed, arm and fielding range/consistency, so adding any sort of offense
to his credentials boosts his stock considerably. Now he looks like at
worst a switch-hitting utility player.
Fred (New York): Was Travis d'Arnaud dropped in
th top 50 due to his injury? Do you see it as just a delay or something
that changes his outlook?
No, I don't believe we dinged d'Arnuad
for his knee injury, if only because he's the top prospect at most
difficult position to play. I would still project him out as a
first-division regular with power, defensive acumen and reasonable feel
John (Chicago): After the futures game, how
tempting is it to say "I told you so" to everyone who questioned the
Jose Fernandez ranking on the midseason top 50?
I'm pleased that Fernandez substantiated
his advance billing with the buzz he generated at the Future Game. He's a
fine prospect, who we underrated a tad coming into the season. To some
degree, Fernandez doesn't have the lean, projectable body type that
typically cows evaluators, but then he's already plenty good as is.
Pat (Wisco): Who has the most legitimate shoot of prying Garza away from the Cubs and what prospects do you think they recieve in return?
If the Cubs could stomach dealing Garza
to a division rival, then the Cardinals make a fair amount of sense. St.
Louis has a strong offense, an acute need for another starter following
injuries to Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, and the type of
pitcher-friendly ballpark where a flyballer like Garza could thrive.
Plus the Cardinals have enough prospect depth at the upper levels to get
a deal done.
Rich (Solvay, NY): Hi Matt,
What are your thoughts on the long term prospects of Trevor Story? Thanks.
Big fan of Rockies SS Trevor Story and
think he has first-division potential. Give him 3-4 years to develop and
you might have a shortstop with 50s across the board.
Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): How did Daniel
Straily miss the List? I don't believe he gave up a Run in his last 2
starts and still leads the Minors in Strikeouts.
One of the best stories in the minors
this year, Athletics RHP Dan Straily has continued to pitch effective at
Triple-A. This week he tossed seven shutout innings with 3 H and 7 SO,
and he would have made the Hot Sheet had we not had so many qualified
Mike (Orlando): Does Jorge Bonifacio have the athleticism to play CF? If not, does he have to bat to play RF?
Bonifacio already is solidly built at
6-foot-1, 200+ pounds, doesn't run well and definitely *looks* like a
corner outfielder at age 19. As such, it will be all about the bat
development. Assuming his pitch selection improves, he hits with enough
authority to all fields to have a chance.
Ray (Boston): Ryan Lavarnway has turned things
around this season finally. Will he ever be given a chance in Boston or
does he have to be traded in order to play?
I like Lavarnway's bat but wonder if he's
a fit for Boston given that he's probably not a first-division catcher
or first baseman. He might be most valuable to the Red Sox as a trade
chip, perhaps for a pitcher because they appear set on the offensive
front (assuming Ellsbury's return goes as planned).
Billy (Brandywine): Better chance: Billy
Hamilton is passed for the California League SB title or Billy Hamilton
wins both the California League and Southern League SB title? When was
the last time a player led multiple full-season leagues in a major
category in the same season?
It's tempting to bet that Lake Elsinore's
Rico Noel will rack up the 44 steals needed to pass Hamilton, but
that's an awful lot to expect — even for a player with 61 steals
already. There has to be a reason why nobody had swiped 100 bags in a
decade prior to Hamilton last year, right? So I'd bet Hamilton's odds of
winning two league SB titles would be more favorable. Can anybody out
there recall a player winning two league categories in one season?
Presumably it would need to be a counting stat.
Guy (LA): I'm curious to hear your thoughts on
Johnny Hellweg. He's coming off an 8IP 1BB performance in his last
start and has, for the most part, improved steadily with his control
issues this season. But the problem is his K/IP and H/IP rates are also
drastically down from last year. Has he sacrificed some of his
previously plus velocity to gain better control/command of his pitches?
If that's the case, does he still project as a possible #2 in the long
No. 2 would be the best-case scenario for
Angels Double-A RHP Johnny Hellweg, but I think the progress he's made
with pitch efficiency this season will serve him well in the long term.
He hasn't lost the ability to blow the ball past hitters, but he's
de-emphasized that ability in favor of better location. The results
since June 1 have been encouraging: 2.87 ERA, 3 HR allowed in 8 starts,
2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 44 hits in 53 IP. I bet Hellweg will
strike a better balance between his old and new pitching forms, but you
might have to hold out 3 years for the real reward.
Brett (Harrisburg pa): With injurys to weiland- erlin-Kelly does donn roach move to the top of the pack regarding padre arms? Thanks
It's been a nice breakthrough season for
Roach, but I bet most other clubs would still ask for the three other
pitchers you cited. The injury to Kelly really hurts because the
scouting reports and the results seemed to be aligning, and in the PCL
no less. Then an elbow injury shuts him down.
Gregg (Cleveland): when will yelich get his much needed promotion? we already see that he has produced against highA, when does he debut in AA?
I'd bet health is the biggest thing
holding Yelich back this year. He's been a bit snake-bitten with the
fluke elbow injury in spring training and then the concussion in May. I
bet he remains in the Florida State League and then tackles Double-A
next year, when he'll be a phone call away from Miami.
Dave (DC): Given Gilmartin's rise and Minor's struggles: who is the better pro long term?
I think you'd have to take Minor. Better
performance in the minors, much higher draft position, his best pitches
are a tick better.
Jon (LA): If Kaleb Cowart keeps up his strong performance in the CAL is he a top 75 prospect and a top 5 3B prospect?
You know, the breakout of Angels 3B Kaleb
Cowart has been a bit underrated. He really earned his bump to High-A
by batting .293/.348/.479 with 9 homers in the Midwest League. Given his
age, profile tools and production, then yes he shoots into the heart of
the Top 100 discussion.
Tim (Sarasota): Javier Baez or Alen Hanson?
I would side with Baez's bat, but if Hanson can stick at shortstop he becomes very, very interesting.
AC Slater (Atlanta): Do you think the fall of
Julio Teheran is something Braves fans should be worried about? I dont
understand how someone could go from being one of the nastiest pitchers
in Minor League baseball last year to an average minor league pitcher?
Seems like every Braves pitching success
like Brandon Beachy or Craig Kimbrel is counterbalanced by a stumble by
Teheran, Jair Jurrjens or Mike Minor or injury to Tommy Hanson or Arodys
Vizcaino. I guess it proves the hoary old cliche that a team can never
have too much pitching. Ultimately, the Braves will wring value out of
Teheran, in my opinion, because his changeup is legitimately an
outstanding swing-and-miss pitch and his fastball control, when he's at
his best, is also excellent. If he can't iron out the command and the
curveball, then he still has a career in the bullpen.
Mark (Seattle): Is Gregory Polanco a legitimate OF prospect or is he just a young kid having a good year in low-A?
Pirates Low-A CF Gregory Polanco is a
pop-up prospect, along the lines of the Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara.
Polanco has performed well this season and has room to grow into some
Justin (Cincinnati): I know last week you guys
at BA published your Mid-season Top 50. Will the next list be the one
before next season, or do you guys do one after the season is over?
Thanks in advance.
We will publish our next overall ranking
in February, though you'll have access to more than 1,000 scouting
reports between now and then. You can read 320 reports during our league
Top 20 rankings and then 900 more in the Prospect Handbook.