Prospect Hot Sheet Chat

 Q:  Jake Levine from South Orange asks:
At this point who do you believe will pan out in the MLB better? Daniel Cortes or Wade Davis?

Matt Eddy:
A slight edge to Davis for now, because his stuff grades out a bit
higher, but Cortes is closing the gap. A few more performances like
Cortes had this week and they could be neck and neck.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Ben Revere – again? He’s made the Hot Sheet only once and the Team
Photo once this year. I guess a .413 average in Low A doesn’t scream at
you folks anymore. Has the sound of the ball hitting his bat night
after night become white noise?

Jim Shonerd: Hi everybody, great to be here for another Hot Sheet chat.

Jim Shonerd:
I’m probably the biggest Ben Revere fan in the office here, but he only
played two games during the time frame for this Hot Sheet thanks to the
MWL’s all-star break. That said, I talked to a scout earlier in the
week who said his .413 is a legit .413. The Juan Pierre comp that we
hear a lot about Revere isn’t necessarily inaccurate, but Revere has
enough pop that he can do more than beat out infield singles.

 Q:  Mike from Dallas asks:
When will the Rangers DFA Chris Shelton and bring up Chris Davis!?

Matt Eddy:
Maybe toward the end of the season so that Davis can build some
momentum for 2009. Staying in Oklahoma also exposes Davis to tougher
lefty breaking balls and changeups from righties. But at this point,
Davis clearly is Texas’ first baseman of the future—or at least until
Justin Smoak enters the picture. Good thing they have a DH.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
appears as though Daryl Thompson is going to be pitching for the Reds
against the Yankees on Saturday. Is he major league ready at this
point, or is he being rushed because of the Reds gaping hole in their
number 5 starter spot?

J.J. Cooper:
He’s the most major league ready guy the Reds have, especially among
the 40-man roster options. A scout who’s seen Thompson this year told
our Ben Badler that he felt Thompson could have big league success now,
and that was when he was pitching in Double-A in April. The biggest
thing Thompson has going for him is his ability to command the
fastball, which is the first and most important thing for any big
league pitcher. My worry is how well will his secondary stuff hold up
the second time through the order?

 Q:  mikeyt from east hampton asks:
how good of a prospect is Jon niese who is doing well at AA this year

Matt Eddy:
Only Chris Tillman is appreciably younger than Niese in the EL, but you
wouldn’t know he was one of the league’s youngest pitchers based on his

Matt Eddy: Niese committed to conditioning
this season and got out of the gate strong. His ERA took a step back in
May, but his peripherals remained solid, and now in June he’s given up
three runs in three starts while striking out 20. Niese sits in the low
90s and touches 94 with a solid curveball and change, meaning he’s got
midrotation starter potential.

 Q:  James from North East, MD asks:
Compare Erbe to Tillman. Who is better now? Who has a better chance to make it to the majors?

J.J. Cooper:
I’d compare ’em this way. Tillman is like investing in an index fund.
It’s likely to give you a pretty good rate of return and it’s a pretty
safe investment. Erbe is like investing in a risky international fund.
You have a chance for some great returns, or you could lose your shirt.
At his best, Erbe’s stuff is a touch better than Tillman’s. He’s hs a
little more velo and his slider is sometimes plus. Tillman is more
polished, even if he is younger, and he’s shown much more success at a
higher level. If you asked me to choose, I’d pick Tillman. Erbe’s ups
and downs make it a lot harder to figure out what he’s going to turn

 Q:  Mikey from CLEVELAND asks:
no love for Kelvin de la Cruz? He didn’t make the top 30 in the
handbook, and I haven’t seen him on a hot sheet all year. Is his 1.60
ERA not low enough?

Jim Shonerd:
De la Cruz is intriguing. He’s not overpowering, but has a nice
curveball and mixes in changeups as well. His curveball is really tough
on lefties when he locates it. He’ll probably end up on Helium Watch
sooner than later if he keeps up what he’s doing, as that’s the route
we usually take with guys like him who didn’t rank highly in the
Handbook but have great weeks.

 Q:  Grover Cleveland from Buffalo, NY asks:
I heard Neftali Feliz’s fastball has been clocked at 98 mph. Is this true? What about his teammate Blake Beavan?

J.J. Cooper:
We’ve heard Feliz has hit 99. Beavan hasn’t run it up there that high,
but he’s not far behind—he’s hit 96-97 mph, although Feliz’s velocity
is more consistent. With Feliz, Beavan, Kasey Kiker and, when healthy,
Michael Main and Thomas Diamond, the Rangers have plenty of guys with
lots of velo.

 Q:  Ryan from Madison, WI asks:
Bigger upside Austin Jackson or Fernando Martinez? And when is Fernando Martinez scheduled to make a return from the DL?

Matt Eddy:
I like Martinez as much as anybody here, but at this point I’d side
with Jackson. It’s a difficult comparison to make because Jackson is
two years older, but setting aside offense, he projects to be a greater
asset defensively and on the bases. Martinez could develop into a
top-flight offensive player, but we won’t know for several years. We
already have a vague picture of the type of offensive player Jackson
will be based on his performance in ’07 and ’08.

Matt Eddy:
Martinez’s hamstring injury was more serious than initially reported.
He missed his three-week timetable, of course, and has only recently
resumed running, according to Brian Moritz at the Binghamton Press
& Sun-Bulletin.

 Q:  Franklin D. Roosevelt from Bradford, WY asks:
Where would you rank Henry Sosa among the San Jose starters, since he was not mentioned at the bottom of the page?

J.J. Cooper:
He wasn’t mentioned because he doesn’t rank among the Cal League ERA
leaders, but I’d rank him as a better prospect than English, Snyder or
Pucetas, behind only Alderson among San Jose starters. We talked about
the Stockton rotation a lot at the start of the season, but the San
Jose rotation, as far as results, is one of the best in the minors.
Sosa, Snyder and Pucetas did the exact same thing last year with
Augusta as well.

 Q:  Allen from Norcross, GA asks:
No Dexter Fowler or Hank Conger this week?

J.J. Cooper:
They were on the radar. Fowler’s week was good, but just not good
enough—11-for-30 with 5 2Bs, but he also had 7 Ks. Conger was in the
same boat. He has been very solid since returning from injury but a
6-for-20 week with two extra base hits is rarely going to get you on
the Sheet. However, his overall hitting since returning from the DL has
been a very encouraging sign.

 Q:  Rick from UT asks:
you think Brandon Wood’s MLB future is with the Angels or do you think
they would consider dealing him at the deadline or in the off season?

Matt Eddy:
Wood has had a devil of a time getting back into a groove in Salt Lake,
and he could be a Not-Hot candidate if it continues. It being the
.167/.265/.267 he batted this week with one homer and nine whiffs in 30

Matt Eddy: Wood deviated from the Angels’ profile
so much that it’s difficult to see him finding a role with them.
Because they’ll still hold a minor league option on him next year,
though, the Angels may hang on to him just in case.

 Q:  Tim from Cali asks:
Peguero seems to be having a very solid season in High Class A (.307,
10 HR, 64 RBI). He also had a terrific past 10 days, batting .429 with
13 RBI. Did he get any consideration for the list? Also, is he
considered a top prospect? He’s got great size, and is still pretty
young as well.

Matt Eddy:
Peguero is an intriguing power prospect (he led the AZL in SLG in ’06),
but his command of the strike zone (84-9 K-BB) has a long way to go. At
6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, the 21-year-old’s power output this year is
not an aberration (though it is aided by High Desert), but it also
means he has a larger strike zone for pitchers to exploit.

 Q:  Josh G from Sacto,CA asks:
Is Jesse English now the 3rd best prospect in the San Jose rotation behind Henry Sosa & Tim Alderson?

J.J. Cooper:
I’d go with Snyder before English. Snyder’s a crafty lefty with four
pitches, enough fastball and a rock solid injury history. He’s a legit
prospect who sometimes gets overlooked a little.

 Q:  Jeremy from Maryland asks:
know the strikeouts are worrying, but would it be a stretch to say that
the Marlins Mike Stanton is now one of the best power prospects in the

Jim Shonerd:
He’ll earn his way into the conversation if he keeps this up. He’s
gotten incredibly hot in June, slugging over .700 for the month and
taking over the Sally League home run lead. However, his home ballpark
is very hitter-friendly and the majority of his home runs have come at
home, so there are some grains of salt to be taken there. But he
definitely has tons of power potential.

 Q:  Russ from Grass Valley, CA asks:
chats make Fridays even better! Cliff Pennington’s stock has dropped
quite a bit in recent years. Is his recent performance simply a hot
streak that coincided with his promotion to AAA, or does he still
possibly have a future with the A’s?

Matt Eddy:
Don’t go crazy on Pennington just yet . . . but an intense offseason
workout regimen has clearly paid dividends. The most likely scenario
probably is as a part-time middle infielder who teams can plug into the
top of a lineup. He won’t dominate any one area of the game, but he has
the potential to do a lot of smaller things well, like get on base, run
the bases and handle an up-the-middle position (he’s played both SS and
2B) for the River Cats.

 Q:  Josh G from Sacto,CA asks:
Buster Posey now the Giants future Catcher & Angel Villalona the
Giants 1b of the future, where does that leave C Pablo Sandoval?

J.J. Cooper:
If the Giants ended up with three legit position prospects for two
positions, that would not be a problem. In fact considering the Giants
recent history of developing hitters, that might be a sign of the
apocalypse. Seriously, the Giants don’t have to worry about that
problem for a couple of years. For now they’d just love to see Sandoval
keep on developing.

 Q:  Nick from Astoria asks:
you view Daniel Murphy as a sleeper? Could he possibly take over for
Castillo next season? Also, he has not played for a while, is he

Matt Eddy:
If Dan Murphy takes over anywhere for the Mets in 2009, it will be at
first base or in left field. But corner players are expected to produce
right away, so he may need another season in the minors to prepare. A
third baseman by trade, Murphy is a below-average defender there, and
it’s one position where the Mets don’t need help at the moment.

 Q:  Matt from Tucson asks:
Great to see Gio on the hot list. Between him, Anderson and Cahill, who do you see as 1,2 & 3 for the A’s when they arrive?

Matt Eddy:
Cahill appears to be the class of this particular trio, with Gio and
Anderson vying for No. 2 honors. Gonzalez has proven more at this point
and has more fastball and a more overpowering breaking ball, so he’d
rank second for me.

 Q:  Jeff Chisholm from New York, NY asks:
Giants prospect do you feel will eventually be the better pro: Alderson
or Bumgarner? I know Bumgarner’s secondary pitches are a concern, but
he only really started throwing them 3 years ago (his father didn’t let
him until his junior year of high school).

Jim Shonerd:
I lean towards Alderson, but that’s contingent on whether Bumgarner
develops his secondary pitches. A lefty who can throw 94-95 like
Bumgarner is always tough to pass over, but Alderson is a more complete
package and he’s doing his work in a more challenging environment.

 Q:  Dave B from Pittsburgh asks:
Not too many 2nd basemen on the Hot Sheet this year. In your opinion, who are the top 2nd basemen in the minors right now?

Matt Eddy:
The Marlins’ Chris Coghlan has forced his way into the discussion, but
I’d also nominate the Padres’ Matt Antonelli, who’s struggled badly
this year, and the Phillies’ Adrian Cardenas. The Blue Jays’ John
Tolisano could develop into a top offensive second baseman, but he’s
got to work to be average there defensively.

 Q:  Jerry Figilo from Las Vegas asks:
a guy who throws as hard as he does (reportedly even hitting 100 mph)
Jordan Walden’s K rate of 20% is disappointing. Do you think his
fastball too straight to succeed in the higher levels?

Jim Shonerd:
Walden’s velocity hasn’t been what it was in the past, even though he
doesn’t have any obvious health issues that we’re aware of. His
fastball hasn’t been getting above the low-90s, but he’s still been
trying to pitch like a power pitcher even though his velo isn’t what it
was last year.