Dustin Dopirak: Hey everyone. Here to discuss today’s story on the top 20 prospects in the PCL, which you can read here. Let’s have your questions.
Tyler'sBiceps (Memphis): Did the positive finish to my season after coming over from Seattle improve my postseason prospect stock, or has it taken too much of a hit this season?
Dustin Dopirak: Believe it’s fair to assume you’re impersonating Tyler O’Neill here, and it’s also fair to assume that he has helped his stock at least somewhat. It can only be so far down when you hit 31 home runs. That being said, O’Neill seems to be what he is at this point. He has power and athleticism, he walks a little bit and he strikes out too much. He’s going to get major-league work at a corner outfield spot at some point in the not too distant future, but we haven’t seen proof that he’s going to get a lot better at his deficiencies yet.
J.P. (Springfield, IL): What did scouts have to say about A.J. Reed, after a disappointing 2016? Was he close to making your list, and do you see him a trade bait?
Dustin Dopirak: He wasn’t that far from making the list. The now-departed Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco was impressed with what he did in terms of approach, especially in the second half of the season. Said he was doing a much better job of being short to the ball and figuring out what to layoff. The strikeouts were still high, but the walks were up significantly from a season ago and obviously the home runs were back to where they were in 2015. DeFrancesco said he was also impressed with what he did defensively, likes his hands, his footwork for a big guy, and his arm for sure, as he was a pitcher at Kentucky. I wouldn’t say he’s trade bait, but I wouldn’t say he isn’t. The Astros are starting a 33-year-old at first base at Gurriel, so there’s clearly could be a future for Reed in Houston as a high-strikeout, high power first baseman, but he’s not untouchable as a prospect.
Grant (Albuquerque): Was Yency Almonte close to making this list? What's his projection?
Dustin Dopirak: Wasn’t really close to making this list, but I could certainly see why you’d ask and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on it a year from now. The numbers in Albequerque weren’t great on the whole, but he obviously finished strong, and he was terrific in Double-A this year. With a mid-90s fastball and a power slider and that big 6-3 frame, he has a lot of potential, just needs to put it all together.
Kelly (Oakland, CA): A bit surprising not to see Renato Nunez on this list of 20. Is power the only thing he brings to the table, in your estimation?
Dustin Dopirak: He wasn’t that far off and I wouldn’t say that’s the only thing he’s got. There’s a little bit of athleticism there, and it bodes well that he’s getting some work in corner outfield spots because the A’s seem to be in good shape with Matt Chapman at third for the future. Nunez is also drawing some more walks, so that’s a plus, but the strikeout figures are still way too high and the OBP isn’t high enough. The power still has to carry him a long way.
Jerry (St. Louis, MO): Did Dakota Hudson not log in enough innings to qualify? Would he have made your list if he had?
Dustin Dopirak: I’m pretty sure he was being evaluated as a Texas Leaguer. If he didn’t make my list he probably would have been close, just because he’s moving so quickly through the minors and showing a lot of potential. Got really good movement on the fastball and good offspeed stuff and there’s a lot you can do with that 6-5 frame. He didn’t really have much time to figure out the PCL and dominate it, but when he does next year, I imagine you’ll see him on this list.
Ben (Seattle, WA): Dan Vogelbach - prospect or suspect?
Dustin Dopirak: Probably more suspect than prospect. I think there’s a place for him in the majors just because he’s got some pop, but at 6-foot, 250, he doesn’t have a whole lot else. He has patience at the plate and that .390 career minor-league OBP looks OK, but I’m not sure he’s an every day first baseman for anybody. Could see him sticking around for a while as a left-handed bat off someone’s bench, though.
Willie (NYC): Why is Rosario a better prospect than Yankee prospect Torres. Torres has better power and hit tool. Rosario fast but the MLB is more about power than speed.
Dustin Dopirak: Didn’t say he was. BA has Torres the No. 3 overall prospect and Rosario No. 4. Torres isn’t on this list because Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, is in the International League.
Drew W (NoVA): Do you see Yairo Munoz as a super-utility guy? Is there a landing spot for him on the big league roster?
Dustin Dopirak: I do, just because they’ve clearly been using him everywhere and trying to get him more outfield work. He’s still young, so the A’s don’t have to rush anything to get him up there, but on a team that’s going througha complete youth movement, I think there’s absolutely a chance that things shake out in such a way to give him a shot, It seems like they have most of their infield of the future up now with Olson, Barreto and Chapman, but there’s still some time there, and there’s some long-term opportunity in the outfield as well. He’s shown a little bit of pop with the defensive versatility, so that could get him a roster spot in a year or two.
Justin (Tucson): Is Rosario more Orlando Arica or more Francisco Lindor? Or is there a better comp?
Dustin Dopirak: That’s a great question I’m not sure I have the answer to. Defensively, I think he compares well with either one of them. His power doesn’t show up as much as Arcia’s let alone Lindor’s at the moment, but his average and OBP really stands out over the last two years. It’s hard to compare him to Lindor right now when Lindor has 30 home runs, but he could lean in that direction eventually and be a better all-around hitter. I’m kind of blanking on a better comp right now.
Brian (Rock Chalk): No love for what Colin Moran did this year?
Dustin Dopirak: Didn’t say that. He wasn’t on my list of guys to evaluate. Not sure if that’s because he was called up last year or because he only played 82 games. Not sure where he would have been if he was, but he certainly had an impressive year.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Why so low on Barreto?
Dustin Dopirak: I probably could have moved him up a couple of spots, but I’d say the things that work against him are the low walks, high strikeouts, and a tendency to take routine plays for granted at short. He’s still a really talented guy who can hit for average and power, really good athlete and runner, but those shortcomings knocked him down a couple of spots for me. I’d listen to arguments that had him higher, but those were my thoughts.
Roger (Greenville, SC): What is the league top 20 schedule this time? Are the AAA leagues coming first in a departure from the usual schedule, or is the PCL a one-off deviation?
Dustin Dopirak: Not sure. That one’s above my paygrade.
a.j. (las vegas): Did you guys pick the mvp award for the league? A 26 year old power hitter in an extreme hitters park??? Seems like a few guys on the list are blocked (Walker, Carson Kelly, etc.) Are they trade bait or ML back-ups for a few years.
Dustin Dopirak: We did not. That’s a league award. There’s a reason you didn’t see Christian Walker in the Top 20. Not sure which Walker you mean, but my guess with Kelly is that he stays as a backup for a while until its Molina’s time to move on unless the Cardinals get an offer that really works for them.
Dustin Dopirak: Thanks so much everybody. Enjoyed the chat.