Josh (Joisey): Is Aaron Judge too good for his level? Do you see him boarding a flight to Tampa soon?
J.J. Cooper: He’s a college bat with a first-round pick pedigree who has spent half the year in low Class A. And he’s producing. Yes, I think a midseason promotion to Tampa would make a whole lot of sense.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Assuming he's healthy, do you see Buxton participating in the Futures game, despite lack of playing time? I'm sure the Twins' faithful sure hope so.
J.J. Cooper: At this point, it’s hard to see it, but I could be wrong. He’s played five games this year so far. He’s got to shake the rust off again once he returns to action. I would think it’s almost unfair to ask a guy who’s likely to be rusty to try to face some of the best arms in the minors in a situation like that. But the game is going to be in Minneapolis, so that’s some incentive for him to be there.
Eric (Queens , NY): Once Conforto signs, does he immediately become the Mets' top prospect, or does Thor still hold that title, despite injury?
J.J. Cooper: It’s still Syndergaard (aka Thor) for me. This wasn’t a great draft for college bats.
Harvey (Topeka): Is Josh Hader an underrated prospect, it feels like he's flown completely under the radar despite having an amazing season pitching in the CAL league. What is his upside,
J.J. Cooper: His delivery leads to some skepticism over whether he can be a starter long term. It’s a funky, deceptive delivery. But he has plenty of velo (91-93 from the left side) and hitters rarely square him up. If it all breaks right, he could be a middle-of-the-rotation starter. It’s more likely he ends up as a useful lefty reliever.
Frank (Chicago, IL): So, if it's not injury, lack of rest or the tandem system, what do you believe has gone wrong with Appel?
J.J. Cooper: He’s just not been very good. He’s not locating well, his secondary stuff is inconsistent and he isn’t sequencing pitches very well. Scouts who saw him in the Midwest League had many of the same concerns last year. If you’re the Astros you hope he just hasn’t been the guy he’s going to be long-term yet, because so far, he’s been a mediocre pro pitcher at best. Way too early to give up on him, but it’s hard to find many guys who go from where he is right now to big league ace.
Ben (Columbus, OH): Jesse Winker's numbers are great, but he's playing in a notoriously hitter friendly league. Once he's promoted to AA Pensacola, what do you expect his numbers to look like?
J.J. Cooper: He’ll keep getting on-base with some pop. Winker is an average/OBP hitter with good pop, rather than a slugger who can hit. The power is part of his game, but the hit tool is better than the power.
Pryznaquard (Chicago): Would it be unfair to call Kris Bryant the best prospect in baseball?
J.J. Cooper: Definitely in the discussion. We’ll be rolling out our midseason top prospects list before too long, so we’ll have an answer for you at that point.
Tyler (Nj): Best C in the minors n y ?
J.J. Cooper: Hedges or Swihart. I’ve been asking guys lately if it may be Swihart, and you can get some good arguments between scouts on that question.
Daryl (Why-oming): Who are some guys that are making a case for the top 100? Especially bats. Tapia and Pompey?
J.J. Cooper: No on Tapia. He’s hitting .243/.310/.287 away from Asheville right now compared to .381/.403/.619 at home. I like him, but for a guy whose bat will be his biggest calling card, he’s not ready to make that jump into the Top 100 yet. His teammate Ryan McMahon is the same age, plays a tougher defensive position (generally although Tapia does play some CF) and is hitting .267/.343/.542 away from Asheville. I’d be considering him before Tapia. Very nice season for Pompey, he’s helped his stock. He’s an interesting top-of-the-order type.
Tyler (NJ): Corey seager really seems to b turning the corner. Is he a top 20 prospect n just how good can this guy b? Thanks
J.J. Cooper: He can really hit. Legit prospect, just not a shortstop.
The Flute (Levine, NY): Josh Bell: More Sterling Marte or more Gregory Polanco?
J.J. Cooper: Neither. Just not the athleticism of either of those guys. Much more of a bat-first guy than those two.
Tyler (NJ): Any concerns about hunter harvey ?? Or just a rough stretch
J.J. Cooper: Nothing to get too concerned about yet. If there’s anything to watch for it’s that last year he wore down as his high school season wore on. You do want to keep an eye on how his stuff holds up over a significantly longer season. His control has come and gone this year, but I wouldn’t be all too concerned about that yet.
Tyler (NJ): Glasnow seems to b unhittable when throwing strikes what's this guys ceiling if he puts it all together ?
J.J. Cooper: No. 2 starter. Hard to see him going from where he is now to having No. 1 starter command, but he could be the kind of guy whose lack of hits allowed allows him to be a little less fine with his command than most starters.
DJ (Plantation, FL): Is Joc Pederson's K-Rate (28.6%): A) Not concerning B) Concerning C) Alarming
J.J. Cooper: B) Concerning. It’s a pretty significant jump from what he’s ever shown before. You have to wonder how much of it is him getting a little antsy to make that last jump to the big leagues. It’s a concern. but I’m inclined to believe it’s a blip more than a long-term problem.
Mark (Oakland): Can you make an argument that Matt Olson is becoming the best 1st base prospect in baseball?
J.J. Cooper: No. It’s a pretty talent bare position in the minors, but Olson’s been solid but unspectacular as a pro, something that has been true in 2014 as well. He draws some walks, get on base and hits some home runs, but he’s never hit for average. Part of that is bad luck on BABIP this year but it was true last year with a better BABIP as well. He’s a prospect worth keeping an eye on, but he’s not a Top 50 prospect at this point.
Roger (NJ): Hey JJ thanks for taking the question. Comparing the weeks of Winkler and Josh Bell, it is pretty clear that Bell had the better week and therefore should've been on the hot list over Winkler. With that said, do you think that Bell is starting to show the promise of a top prospect again? Thanks
J.J. Cooper: Actually it’s not clear to me. Winker had a significantly better OBP (100 points better) and a near-identical SLG. Both had good weeks, and yes, Winker plays in the Cal League which is better for hitters, but I went with the guy with a better wOBA, better runs created, better OPS, better OBP and near same slugging percentage this week. As far as Bell is concerned, yes this is a great thing to see. The Pirates have had AWFUL luck with injuries this year in the minors, so it’s good to see Bell giving some good news to go with the bad news.
Nate Dizzy (Dtown): Whats up with my man Biddle? Why the ups and downs this year? He's been a roller coaster.
J.J. Cooper: He’s regressed in his return to Double-A. At some point, we’ve got to see better control if he’s going to take a step forward. His stuff is just not good enough to succeed if he’s not hitting his spots. He was throwing more strikes in April, but his control has fallen apart since then.
Sam (Lexington): With Roman Quinn in Clearwater, what do the Phillies do with JP Crawford? Going forward will Quinn move positions?
J.J. Cooper: I don’t think Quinn is a road block whenever Crawford is ready for a promotion. To quote one of my favorite shows, J.P. Crawford is the man who knocks in that system. Other shortstops have to get out of his way.
Noel (Portland, Oregon): Who do you like better long term: Domingo Santana or Teoscar Hernandez? Are those 2 guys plus Springer the future OF on Houston?
J.J. Cooper: Good question. Santana is more of a profile guy. He’s going to hit for power and he has the big outfield arm, but with lots of strikeouts and not all that many walks to go with it. Lancaster inflated numbers aside, I don’t think Hernandez is going to hit for as much power, which makes him a less conventional corner outfield candidate. Neither profile as a everyday first-division impact guy, but both have a solid shot to have lengthy careers. Santana has more star potential, Hernandez is a safer pick because he’s more likely to hit for average and runs better. If either of them hit lefty, I’d feel safer about their chances to be long-term everyday guys.
alex (miami): What is up with Matt Davidson? Kept thinking just a slow start, but he's 200 at bats into the season and still not hitting .200? Is he still the future at 3B for the Sox?
J.J. Cooper: Right now that’s very iffy. It’s an awful season. No one can strike out 33 percent of the time and have success long-term, which is what Davidson’s current K-rate is.
Eric (NY, NY): The control/command is still developing, but with Tyler Glasnow not even using his curveball and still having this type success, is he a top 20 overall type of prospect?
J.J. Cooper: Not yet because he can walk four in a row in a heartbeat with his current control, but he can then strike out the next three, which is why he’s a top 50 guy.
Alfredo (MN): Haven't heard much on Buxton lately...any news on the great hope? Is he still a better prospect than fast risers like Betts/Gallo, or have the injuries dimmed his star?
J.J. Cooper: Long-term I don’t think this has hurt Buxton at all. The Twins have some experience with this. Joe Mauer missed a full season at the point where he was big league ready and that was no big deal. Same with Chipper Jones. In the long-term, this is frustrating but nothing else.
Greg T. (Twin Cities): How did Joey Gallo miss the list??? AA debut as a 20-year old was pretty impressive, no??? Or maybe he's met his HOT LIST quota already???
J.J. Cooper: Because of the promotion and I think a rainout, he didn’t play but four games this week. 3 HR in those four games, but 5 total hits. Just not enough counting stats. If you follow me on Twitter (@jjcoop36) you may notice that I can’t go to sleep at night until I see if Gallo or Bryant has hit a home run that night.
SK (Boston): Preston Tucker just keeps on hitting - is he one of those guys that sneaks up on people and turns into an above average regular?
J.J. Cooper: I think he has a solid chance to sneak up to be an average regular, which is really good. He’s a left fielder in the big leagues, but he has legit power and doesn’t strike out all that much. Lot to like.
John Paul Vacek (FF): What improvements does Gallo need to make in order to get promoted, just his Strikeout rate?
J.J. Cooper: He just got promoted because he has made significant improvements in his approach, his selectivity and his plan at the plate. All of those things are great signs for his long-term success because many hitters with his kind of power never make those adjustments. He’s on the fast track as it is–he’s playing at the same level as Kris Bryant right now and he’s nearly two years younger.
Brett Zalaski (High School): Now that Polanco has been called up, who in your opinion is the most exciting player to watch?
J.J. Cooper: Gallo. Same was true when Polanco was in the minors. Give me one guy in the minors to watch when everyone is healthy and I’m debating between seeing Buxton and going to see Gallo. Fortunate enough to say I’ve seen both of them in person multiple times. For a guy I haven’t seen, I’d want to go see Kris Bryant (hopefully the Futures Game will fix that).
JohnHavok (Lethbridge, Alberta): Daniel Norris seems to have taken a huge leap forward this year. Is he top 50 material at this point?
J.J. Cooper: He’s in the discussion. If Astros fans need to get some consolation about Appel’s awful start, Norris is a good guy to look to. He’s been great this year, and for the first 5 months of his pro career, he was beyond awful. 8.00+ ERA and followed that up with a 10.07 ERA seven starts into last season. Since then, he’s been excellent.
Stephen (Sacramento, CA): What is the take away with Kaleb Cowart? He was hot in April, went ice cold in May. Everything but the bat still appears to be good with his speed and defense. Can he be the starting 3B for the Angels in 2016?
J.J. Cooper: There are no indications right now to say he can ever be the Angels’ everyday third baseman. Not trying to be harsh but those are the facts. He really struggled last year in the Texas League. The hope was that he could fix those problems in a return to the same league. But right now, he’s posting near identical numbers to what he did last year. He’s been one of the worst hitters in the Texas League this year, and third base is a hit-first position.
SK (Boston): Rio Ruiz is underrated as a prospect. Think he'll end up a .280/20HR guy with an average glove at 3B?
J.J. Cooper: Not so sure he can stick at third base long term. Defense is a question.
Pat (Florida): Give us your take on Teoscar Hernandez. He's gotten a lot of pub lately given his Cal League stats. Is it all Cal League or do you see a little something you didn't see last year?
J.J. Cooper: He ranked No. 16 on a very deep Astros list coming into the season so he isn’t coming out of nowhere. I don’t know if you see all that much more than you saw last year. He’s improved, but this isn’t far out of line from what could be expected from him, especially when you factor in the Lancaster effect.
Chris (Pittsburgh): If Glasnow figures out his control (a la Randy Johnson), where does he fit into the Gerrit Cole-Jamison Taillon continuum?
J.J. Cooper: If Tyler Glasnow has a Randy Johnson control transformation which means he goes from 20 control to 65-70 control then he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Big Unit walked more than 7 batters per nine innings in each of his first three pro seasons. But there are very few pitchers in MLB history to make those kind of strides with their control.
mjk (wyckoff,nj): Hi...would you swap Baez for Syndergaard? Which side would need a sweetener? thanks
J.J. Cooper: One of those trades that doesn’t happen because both sides have too much to lose. Either side that proposes it leads the other side to think “what do they know that I don’t.”
Trey (Virginia): Thoughts on Alex Reyes? He had a stretch of about 20 really rough innings recently, but then got it together for a great start. Does he have elite stuff or just a middle of the rotation guy?
J.J. Cooper: We’re in June and Reyes’ outing I saw in spring training may still be the best pure stuff I’ve seen this year. Great fastball velo and a knee-buckling breaking ball. Actually saw a hitter dive out of the batters’ box because he thought he might get hit, and it was a strike. Lots of control problems but at his best, he has outstanding stuff.
Steve (New England): What are scouts saying about Trey Ball?
J.J. Cooper: Not good reports in the early going. His stuff hasn’t been special. He’s a Northeastern kid in his first full pro season, so you hold off on making sweeping generalizations, but it’s not a great start to his career.
Brendan (NY): How much of Gabriel Guerrero's success this season is due to his league / hitting environment vs growth / development?
J.J. Cooper: Yes? I think all three are true. Talked to guys who have seen him this year who are impressed.
Garrett (Seattle): Are D.J. Peterson's numbers been more of a product of the hitter friendly Cal league or are they legit? Is he in line to be promoted to AA post minor league all-star break?
J.J. Cooper: He’s been good, but he hasn’t been great. A midseason promotion wouldn’t shock me. Neither would him at some point going on a power tear, because the power is legit.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the Hickory Crawdads all pitchers and catchers are over 6 feet tall, with outfielders averaging a little over 6'4". what are the pros and cons of having player of this size?
J.J. Cooper: Wandering the back fields of Rangers camp two springs ago made me feel 5-foot-5 (I’m 6-feet tall). The Rangers value athleticism and big frames. The advantages are you can get guys with excellent power potential and athleticism (two things the Rangers emphasize). The disadvantage is that the world of guys who are 6-4+ with athleticism and feel for hitting is a very small group.
Franco (Southie): Cecchini or Middlebrooks as a 3b prospect for the Sox?
J.J. Cooper: Bogaerts long-term? I like Cecchini’s bat, but not so sure he’s good enough defensively to play there long-term.
Tim (Chicago): What is your take on Francellis Montas? He has seemed to find his control this season, what is his ceiling?
J.J. Cooper: He’s got monster stuff. Reyes may be the best stuff I’ve seen personally this year, but Montas is in that top group. Still not sure he’s a starter, but he’s got a very good shot at being a power reliever.
Trey R. (Virginia): Assuming Gallo continues on his tear and moves through AA and AAA over the next year or two, how many HR do you see in a single season at his prime?
J.J. Cooper: Well, we have seen 50 from home run leaders recently. If anyone else can do that, I think Gallo could at his best. Seriously, there is no one in the minors in years who hits home runs at the rate Gallo does. Giancarlo Stanton hit 91 minor league home runs in 1,226 minor league at-bats. That’s exceptional. Gallo has hit 86 home runs in 820 at-bats. That’s unreal.
steve (pensacola): Corcino or Stephenson--which, if either, gets promoted this year?
J.J. Cooper: Not saying Corcino won’t get promoted, but at this point the star on his prospect status has lost an awful lot of its luster.
Nick (Montreal): Steve Souza Jr. is having a monster year for the Nats' AAA team. He always had the tools, but semed to have really put it all together last year and it has seemingly continued thus far. Why is he not hyped more?
J.J. Cooper: We ranked him 10th in the Nats’ system last year, which is a lot of hype for a guy who was a 24-year-old play everywhere utilityman. He’s having an outstanding year, but this is likely at least a little beyond his (or anyone’s) actual performance level. If he was a sure-bet center fielder, he’d be more conventional. But at this point, he’s earned himself another shot in Washington at some point.
Dave (Portland, OR): Can you compare Kyle Schwarber to Dan Vogelbach? The seem to have similar body types with Schwarber being more athletic but Vogelbach lost a lot of weight last offseason.
J.J. Cooper: Schwarber is significantly more athletic. Not trying to bang on Vogelbach, who is an outstanding guy in my dealings with him, but Schwarber caught and could at least try to play in the outfield. Vogelbach has a shot to play first base, but most scouts see him as best fitting as a DH.
Jock (SoCal): What do you hear on the injury status of Angel RP RJ Alvarez?
J.J. Cooper: Throwing again and should be back in action before long. The Angels shut him down when he complained of a tight forearm, but they found no structural damage. Good job by Alvarez to notify the team and get it taken care of early instead of trying to tough it out, hide the injury and possibly cause more problems. Hopefully we’re seeing more and more pitchers do that.
Jmac (Miami, FL): Seems like BA gets enamored at some guys at catcher that do not pan out. Case in point Travis D'arnaud, who has shown in the bigs he is not an every day player. On the other hand Yadier Molina, the best catcher in the big leagues, was never really seen by BA as a future star. I argue that while not on that same level, Elias Diaz of the Pirates is that type of guy. Premier makeup. Premiere defensive ability. Late -blooming bat. Am I wrong? Thoughts?
J.J. Cooper: Jmac, so how has D’Arnaud already shown he’s not a big league everyday player? Molina didn’t post a league average OPS until his sixth MLB season. Devin Mesoraco hit .225/.282/.359 in his first three MLB seasons. This year he’s hitting .303/.348/.590. Catchers take a long time to get adjusted to the big leagues in many examples. D’Arnaud has 220 big league at-bats so don’t go writing him off yet. I just want to see him stay healthy for a full season, but not sure if that will ever happen. I’m not in any way writing him off yet. That being said, I like Diaz and think he could be a productive big leaguer.
Steve (Chicago): Tim Anderson has racked up some big error totals so far this year, but have you heard anything recently about his ability at SS?
J.J. Cooper: He’s making a lot of young player errors, but there are questions about whether he has the hands and actions to stick there long term. Worried less about the errors and more about whether he’s got true shortstop actions.
J.J. Cooper: Better wrap this up. Sorry there are still a lot of great questions in the queue. Thanks for coming out and have a good weekend.