2013 Pacific Coast League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Matt Eddy

Moderator: Matt Eddy will answer your PCL questions beginning at 2 p.m. ET

Ben (Leland Grove): Did Grant Green come close to making this list? Your thoughts on the trade that sent him to the Halos?
Matt Eddy: I thought the trade made sense for the Athletics, seeing as Alberto Callaspo really stretched out their lineup versus LHPs and also gave them another infielder with the flexibility to cover multiple positions. As to 2B Grant Green, he’s an interesting bat, but not an impact one, and Oakland won’t ever receive a do-over with that 13th pick from the 2009 draft. So it’s best to move on.

Grant (NYC): Carlos Triunfel - prospect or suspect?
Matt Eddy: I’d stop short of saying suspect for Mariners SS Carlos Triunfel, but I don think a change of scenery is in order after thee carbon-copy seasons at Tacoma. He’ll be 24 next season and has clearly been passed by many infielders on Seattle’s depth chart. Give him a chance with the right organization and with his steady glove, strong arm and contact-oriented bat, he could hit his way into some playing time.

Frank (Chicago, IL): Will the trade to the Cubs give Mike Olt a better shot at playing everyday? Was he considered for this list?
Matt Eddy: Cubs 3B Mike Olt hit .197/.302/.368 in 104 games at Triple-A this season, giving him the lowest AVG among qualified PCL batters. He did manage 14 home runs, and he probably will once again approach 30 at Triple-A once his vision problems are cleared up, but his feel to hit is in serious question after a troubling season. He may too closely resemble early-Rockies-career Ian Stewart to be a reassuring presence for Cubs fans.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Gut feeling, Matt - is Ventura a SP or RP in a couple years' time?
Matt Eddy: So many factors here. Royals RHP Yordano Ventura has improved the power and rotation on his curveball, but he’s still a lean, sub-6-foot righthander. Even if he’s not especially durable, the Royals’ talented bullpen might be able to cover for him while he learns on the job. Desperation once forced the Royals to keep Luke Hochevar in the rotation for too long, and I bet they’ll give Ventura every chance to put it together as a starter. So I’ll say starter for Ventura.

DG (Paris, France): So, was Travis d'Arnaud omitted from the list because he wasn't top 20 material or because or his relatively few at bats? If the latter is the case, where would he have ranked if he qualified?
Matt Eddy: Mets C Travis d’Arnaud fell more than 60 PA shy of qualifying (one needs 144 PA in the PCL) and probably would have ranked in the vicinity of No. 9 Nick Franklin and No. 10 Yordano Ventura.

Jon (NC): Was the ranking of Singleton based primarily on his history? His spike in SOs was alarming.
Matt Eddy: Astros 1B Jonathan Singleton obviously didn’t have the year he or the organization wanted. Look past the surface stats — he hit .220/.340/.347 in 73 G — and one will find core attributes of the encouraging nature. Among PCL players who are 24-and-under and who qualify for our Top 20 ranking, Singleton ranks third in walk rate (15.6%), 17th in isolated power on contact (.199) and 18th in BB/SO ratio (0.52). That’s a good foundation.

Kramer (CT): With Jon Jay's struggles this season (and more specifically last night) I hear more and more people saying the cardinals need a CF replacement. Even considering the ankle surgery and lost time this past year any chance Tavares can be that guy in CF for a few years?
Matt Eddy: That seems to be what the Cardinals envisioned heading into 2013, but in a competitive, tightly-bunched division such as the NL Central, they may want to reevaluate that decision. Many scouts like to see at least a 60 runner in CF, and Oscar Taveras is more of a 50 (before the injury). I also wouldn’t want his bat to be affected by taking on more defensive responsibility than he can handle, nor would I want to test that surgically-repaired ankle too much initially.

John (Chicago): Do you think Montero's frame can handle a full starter workload?
Matt Eddy: Pitcher injuries can come out of nowhere, but Mets RHP Rafael Montero is pretty well insured against them based on a smooth arm action and repeatable motion. He also throws a steady diet of fastballs and changeups, which some believe spares the pitcher less stress than breaking balls. Montero also is much more pitch-efficient than many starters. I would look at him as a relatively safe No. 3 or 4 option.

Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): Was there support for anyone besides Tavares and Profar at #1?
Matt Eddy: No, not really. They entered the year as the Nos. 1 and 2 prospects in the game, and while neither Taveras nor Rangers SS Jurickson Profar set the world on fire in 2013, their potential was evident. Keep Profar’s youth in mind. In terms of Baseball-Reference’s OPS+ metric, he ranked side by side with other 20-year-old, big league middle infielders such as Elvis Andrus and Edgar Renteria, and like them, expect Profar to improve dramatically in 2014-15.

Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): Probably splitting hairs here but it is interesting that after Oscat Tavares season of mostly rehab that he jumped Profar who was the concensus #1 prospect going into this season. Any thoughts?
Matt Eddy: I know that PCL author Glen Rosales was put off a bit by some of the feedback he received about Profar, but I think there’s a hair’s width difference between him and Taveras.

Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Matt. Do you think Oscar Taveras ends up a better MLBer than Yasiel Puig? Does Taveras' hit tool outweigh Puig's athleticism and possible edge in raw power?
Matt Eddy: When all’s said and done, yes, I think Taveras will be more productive than Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig. Taveras has that rare combination of feel to hit and plus power, so as you say, he could be a 70 hitter with 60 or better power. That probably will outweigh Puig’s advantages in arm strength and running speed.

Russell (New York): Does Wilmer Flores have a chance to be an MLB average 2B, or even close to average?
Matt Eddy: Thankfully for the Mets’ Wilmer Flores, many teams are willing to sacrifice a bit of defensive value to get an extra bat in the lineup at second base. If Flores hits, the Mets will play him at second or first base, as needed. For that reason, there’s actually more pressure on his bat than his glove IMO.

kramer (CT): Seems like a STACKED group of prospects...with all other leagues top 20's already being released how would you stack the PCL to the others?
Matt Eddy: I turned in the PCL as a 4-star league because while the top two guys are stud prospects I’d love to add to my Strat-O-Matic team, the fact is they didn’t perform as well as expected. Beyond Taveras and Profar, none of the starters *quite* profile as No. 1 arms, though again sign me up any time for Zack Wheeler, Michael Wacha, Taijuan Walker, Yordano Ventura or Sonny Gray. We had the following leagues listed at 5 stars: Southern, Florida State and Midwest. Check out those top 20s!

Kent (sonoma, ca): Thank you for the chat Matt.
Do you know what the consensus evaluations are for Ehire Adrianza and Heath Hembree?

Matt Eddy: You see players similar to both of these Giants prospects in the majors. SS Ehire Adrianza has a classic utility profile because he can play either middle-infield spot, switch-hit, run a bit and bunt. With a big fastball and quality slider, RHP Heath Hembree has a career as a late-inning reliever in front of him. If he converts a few save opps early in his career, he might even be a closer option.

John (Chicago): Juan Lagares didn't qualify and probably wouldn't have been anywhere near this list if he had, but did his spectacular defense come up at all? It seemed like the scouting community never really saw it coming.
Matt Eddy: Mets CF Juan Lagares parlayed a spring injury to Matt den Dekker into incumbent status for the Mets. Signed as a shortstop then converted to left field, Lagares didn’t really play CF every day until Double-A in 2012. After that season I ranked him No. 31 in the Mets system based mostly on his defensive versatility, strong arm and feel for the barrel. So while his on-base skills are lacking, Lagares has improved his defensive play to the point where he could have Franklin Gutierrez-type value. I think you’re mostly correct in stating that his defensive prowess came as a surprise to most.

Roger (Greenville, SC): Can you be more specific, what put off Rosales about Profar? The writeup really doesn't have any negatives.
Matt Eddy: Profar ranked as the near-universal No. 1 prospect in the game. He graced the cover of our 2013 Prospect Handbook. The Rangers talked of shifting Ian Kinsle to make room for him in Arlington. I think what Rosales encountered was Rangers field staff trying to dial down the hype for a such a young, albeit talented, player, especially after he had no clear path to playing time this season.

Curtis (Seattle): What can we expect from Kolton Wong in 2014?
Matt Eddy: The Cardinals must get creative to work in 2B Kolten Wong with the entrenched Matt Carpenter already at the keystone. Perhaps the latter will move to 3B or corner OF, because Wong is ready for MLB play and his arm won’t play at any other position. Expect plenty of quality at-bats and a high batting average from Wong, who also will run into his share of homers. First-division starter at 2B.

James Milton (Sac City): What did managers/scouts say about Omaha's Christian Colon and Chris Dwyer? Relief arms Mariot, Will Smith, Baumann or Joseph? Thanks.
Matt Eddy: I’ll tackle the first portion of this question. Royals 2B/SS Christian Colon, the No. 4 overall pick in 2010, will force his way into the lineup if he hits for average and converts all defensive chances. But with below-average power and speed, he has little chance of becoming an impact player, let alone a first-division one.

John (Chicago): With Flores above Skaggs, the crowd may need a PSA reminding that this list does not reflect how BA will rank the top 100.
Matt Eddy: This is true, especially at the Triple-A levels, where the rankings seem so much more fluid based on preseason expectations and initial MLB exposure.

Jesse (Minneapolis): How do you feel about Jack Leathersich? What is his ceiling?
Matt Eddy: Mets LH reliever Jack Leathersich has a swing-and-miss fastball and breaking ball, but he’s also one-inning pitcher who walked 29 in 29 innings while allowing 32 hits. A 2.10 WHIP is just not going to cut it, not even in a hitter’s league like the PCL. Long-term I think he’ll be a solid bullpen lefty because hitters just don’t seem to pick up the ball against him.

Mike (Boston): Asher Wojciechowski has righted the ship since his trade from Toronto last year. What did scouts have to say about him? Does he figure to be a workhouse type starter for Houston starting in April?
Matt Eddy: Yes, I think Astros RHP Asher Wojciechowski will be a reliable No. 5 type on a good team based on a three-pitch mix of 45s and 50s. Aggressive approach, strike-thrower with a low-90s fastball and a track record for durability. A lot to like here.

Michael Choice (Oakland, CA): Do you think I have the potential to hit 30 home runs in the majors? What do you see as my statline upside?
Matt Eddy: Twenty to 25 homers may be a more attainable ceiling, but Athletics RF Michael Choice is actually a more productive offensive player now that he’s tightened his strike zone than he was when he hit 30 bombs for Stockton in 2011. He’s hitting with more authority straight-away than he used to, and of course he’s got plus power to his pull side. Peak Choice could be something along the lines of .270, 20 homers, .340 on-base pct.

Lance (Memphis): Can Jacob deGrom be a solid piece of a major league rotation?
Matt Eddy: Mets RHP Jake deGrom began the 2012 season as a Tommy John surgery alumnus at Low-A Savannah. He finished 2013 with 14 mostly-good starts at Triple-A Las Vegas. Like org-mate Rafael Montero, he has the sort of efficiency and firm stuff to profile as a fine complementary starter in a rotation. The Mets are going to need those, too, even if Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard all reach their upside potential.

Matt Eddy: Great questions in a strong year for the PCL. Thanks for stopping by.