International League Top 20 Prospects Chat

Carlos Collazo: How’s it going everybody? Thanks for all the questions you’ve submitted so far, let’s see how many I can get to for you all. Should be fun.

Roger (Greenville, SC): While Acuna's season was certainly very impressive, he did carry a roughly .400 BABIP all season, which should be due for at least 50 points of regression, maybe even 80. How much really depends on his hard contact %, which anecdotally is high. Where do you think he settles in?

Carlos Collazo: Acuna has always had a high BABIP. His lowest was .292 during a 37-game stretch back in 2015, which would only be slightly under the 2017 league average of .300. Every other year it's been significantly higher than that thanks to his plus-plus speed and his ability to barrel the baseball. While it would definitely be optimistic to expect him to carry a .400 BABIP throughout the Majors every year, I would still expect him to consistently post better-than-average BABIPs in the MLB.

Alex (Mass): What do you make of JP Crawford being moved all over the diamond? Heading to be a platoon? Still long term answer at SS?, or is Franco doomed at 3b?

Carlos Collazo: I wouldn't make too much of it, as far as Crawford's future long term. Crawford played the first 111 games at shortstop this year with Lehigh Valley before playing some third, second and short during late August before his promotion. He's got the tools to be a really good defender at short with an above-average arm, and he picked it much better during the second half this year as well. Crawford is definitely the future shortstop. Not sure about Franco, but a .684 OPS isn’t too exciting.

Brad (Tampa, FL): I'm counting 8 of your 20 names who have graduated from prospect status, so how are they here? Second, how many of the other 12 are likely to make your next top 100 list? Thanks guys.

Carlos Collazo: For these lists, a player is eligible if they entered the season with rookie eligibility and spent at least a third of the season in the league. For position players that means 1 PA per team game and for pitchers that means 1/3 inning per team game.

Gerry (Toronto): Danny Jansen moved through three levels this year. Did he spend enough time at any level to qualify for a top 20 list? Did he qualify for this one?

Carlos Collazo: This is a great example for the previous question. Jansen spent time at high Class A, Double-A and Triple-A this season, getting 136, 210 and 78 plate appearances at each level, respectively. That means he just misses qualifying for the Florida State League and he also doesn’t qualify for the International League. 210 is enough to qualify for the Eastern League list, however.

WILLIE (NYC): If he had enough at bats were would Gleyber Torres be ranked and why is Clint Frazier rated so low at 16 and how come Tyler Wade did not make the list

Carlos Collazo: Torres would certainly make this list if he hadn’t gone down with that injury. He was our No. 5 overall prospect at the start of the year and then moved to No. 3 during our midseason update. I would imagine he’d be solidly in the top 3, sliding Hoskins out. Frazier is at 16 because of questions about how much he’ll hit and the fact that he’s likely a corner guy. He’s got legit power, but if he can’t get to it regularly what does it matter? That’s the primary concern with him at this point, but he should still be very good player. Wade was in consideration for the list, but didn’t quite make it. The IL had a ton of talent this year.

Roger (Greenville, SC): There were reports that Albies worked with Chipper Jones on his left-handed swing early in the season. Did scouts see progress over the season?

Carlos Collazo: As mentioned in the report, this is the one big question with Albies currently. During his time with the big league club he’s hit .264/.333/.424 vs. righthanders and .342/.432/.605 vs. lefthanders. That’s a tiny sample size, but it illustrates the point scouts have made. It’s something to watch in the future for sure, as that’s the wrong side of the platoon to be on.

Justin (Tucson): How does Kingery compare to Utley? Does Kingery have the same ceiling?

Carlos Collazo: I like this question because before the season it probably would have been easy to scoff at, but now it’s actually pretty hard to answer. Kingery will need to cut the strikeout rate and walk a bit more to reach that kind of level, but he has a chance to be a plus defender at second. I think he’ll end up with less power and more speed than Utley, but who knows with the home run environment we’ve seen lately.

Frank (The quad): The Louisville Bats had their share of former top prospects throughout the year, but missed out on the list. Were any of them in consideration for the last few spots?

Carlos Collazo: Tyler Mahle was a guy who had a chance after posting a 2.73 ERA over 59.1 innings with the Bats this season. Sounds like he’s got a few things to work out in his delivery, but we’ve heard that stuff has been improving, particularly his changeup.

Ben (Georgia): Why no Meadows? Wasn't he like top 30 overall in mid-season rank? He actually played better since that list before another injury and that injury wasn't even hamstring injury. I don't think oblique strain is a major injury. Is it?

Carlos Collazo: Meadows was a tough one and a guy who certainly had a chance to make the list. The tools are obvious, but he hit just .250/.311/.359 during the IL this season, and while this list isn’t about just the numbers it does make it harder to crack when there’s a lot of other talented players who performed. His mechanics were bad earlier in the season and he also expanded the zone a bit. There are certainly some managers and evaluators who are convinced he’ll bounce back, but he’s yet to perform at Triple-A. The injury is less concerning than his issues in the box in my opinion.

Tony (Chicago): Am wondering about the studly ChiSox starting pitching depth. Giolito made this list, but not Lopez and Kopech wasn't eligible. How do you/BA rate those 3 in terms of individual and comparative upside?

Carlos Collazo: Lopez was probably the first guy out on this list, if that makes you feel any better. Questions about whether he was really a starter prevented him from making it and the strikeout stuff hasn’t yet translated to the bigs. Giolito has a better chance to start, but there are some real questions about his upside now, with the velocity down and the inconsistencies between starts this season. He’s got to figure out his delivery.

Kevin (Stamford): Do you see Sean Newcomb as a starter or reliever long term? He seems to be getting a little long in the tooth to be developing decent control.

Carlos Collazo: I think he’ll start. The managers I spoke to thought his command was better than the numbers illustrate and I heard from several evaluators who liked the starter traits he has as well. Whenever Jon Lester’s name is thrown around as an upside comp it’s much easier to buy into him being a starter. He’ll get every chance to crack it in the rotation, but yes, a BB/9 over 5 isn’t exactly ideal. If he can’t figure that out, his stuff from the left side should play extremely well out of the pen.

Mike (Toronto): Rhys Hoskins justly has been getting a ton of press post-promotion, based on his home run tear. I surprisingly never see any comments on actual math of his total damange - the fact he hammered 29 HRs in the minors too, bringing him to 47 YTD! Who was the last guy to hit 50 HRs with at least 20 in each of MilB and MLB in the same year?? That's amazing!

Carlos Collazo: Yep, the guy has gone crazy. It’s impressive to watch. I don’t know the best way to search that specific question off the top of my head but it’s one to look into. One of the exciting things for Phillies fans is that Hoskins’ ability to make adjustments was praised from managers in the IL. Previously there were concerns that he would only be able to consistently punish mistakes, but that definitely doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Richard (So Cal): Ronald Acuna or Vlad Guerrero Jr ?

Carlos Collazo: Why not both??? But if you’re going to make me pick I’ll side with Acuna. He’ll do a lot more for you defensively and is much closer to the bigs.

Carlos Collazo: I think that’s going to have to do it everyone! Back to the grind. Thanks for all of your questions!