Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: April 13

    Grant (NYC): Holmberg so far - 13.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K. Where is the love, Mr. Cooper?

J.J. Cooper: Hey Grant. The best answer for Holmberg and several other pitchers is that there were too many guys to love this
week. Jed Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Dallas Keuchel, Holmberg and Adys Portillo were just a few of the pitchers with excellent weeks who couldn’t crack the list. To be honest, Holmberg wasn’t even the first guy to miss, as I’d have put Chafin and Bradley on ahead of him. But that does point out just how insane the D’backs pitching crop is right now. With Bauer, Skaggs, Corbin, Bradley, Chafin, Miley, and a ton of other guys, they have pitchers starring seemingly everywhere.

    PD (SK): Thoughts on Austin Hedges surprising offensive start thus far? Think he can develop his offense anywhere near
    how great his defensive skills are?

J.J. Cooper: The reports on Hedges offense keep getting
better and better. The glove is still the first thing scouts notice, but there is more and more thought he could be a solid hitter as well. I
wouldn’t be surprised to see him climbing up the Top 100 at the end of the season.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): How long till Bauer gets called up? If he keeps performing like this, the Dbacks won't wait long will they?

J.J. Cooper: A lot of that depends less on Bauer and more on what happens with the Diamondbacks’ big league rotation. Josh Collmenter had a bad first start, but he was good enough last year that Arizona is going to give him plenty of chances to prove he can match what he did last year. If Collmenter straightens it out and no one gets hurt, then who does Bauer replace in the rotation?

    Kyle (Minneapolis, MN): Good to see Aaron Hicks developing some pop. Did he get any consideration?

J.J. Cooper: He was on the watch list, although he didn’t come that close to making it. That being said, three home runs in
a week is a great sign for Hicks as he’s always struggled to show in-game the kind of power the Twins know he has.

    Allan (Wi): JJ, Would never have guessed Brad Miller on this list, an advanced College hitter in a hitters league. Why
    go against normal Cal league bias.

J.J. Cooper: To go to high Class A in your first full pro season is still a pretty advanced assignment. Then you add in that he’s a legit shortstop with 32 total bases plus six more walks in the first week and it overcomes the definite bias against a hitter from High
Desert. The bar for making the Hot Sheet out of High Desert/Lancaster is quite high, but it’s still possible to overcome it.

By the way, the logic that an advanced college hitter in the Cal League should be discounted would also have kept us from putting Brandon Belt on the list in the first half of 2010. As you may remember Belt was a frequent Hot Sheeter and one we’re glad to say was a Hot Sheet regular.

    Mahmood Darwish (Easton, PA): Can you please rank the following pitchers by best-case ceiling in your opinion and then by the likelihood of reaching that ceiling, again in your opinion?
    Jose Campos, Daniel Norris, Enny Romero, Daniel Corcino, Neil Ramirez and for pure curiosity JC Sulbaran and Austin Wood. Thank you

J.J. Cooper: I don’t mind doing the ceiling/likelihood questions, but when you put seven guys it makes it a little tougher to actually sit down and map it out. Top three ceiling: Campos, Norris, Romero. Likelihood: Corcino, Ramirez, Campos.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Billy Hamilton already 6 for 6 on stolen base attempts this year. 2 Over/Unders. First: Over/Under 100 SB in 2012. Second: Over/Under: 90% success rate stealing bases in 2012?

J.J. Cooper: Playing in the Cal League will give Hamilton even more on-base opportunities than last year, so barring injury I’ll say over on 100 SB. As far as the 90 % success rate, I’ll go
with the under. I heard an estimate that 1/3 of Hamilton’s steals in 2011 came on pitchouts, but that did limit him to an 80 percent success rate last year. Hamilton never steals a base by surprise, so I don’t think he’ll ever get up to 90 percent.

    Steve (Memphis): Did Nolan Arenado just miss the list? Does he project to be a .300 hitter with 20 hr power in the bigs?

J.J. Cooper: Arenado didn’t miss by much but his lack of any home runs kept him off (4 2Bs in 11 H last week). Scouts loved him this spring in big league camp and said he isn’t that far away. Those projections aren’t outlandish for him.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): OK, so he doesn't hit a
    bunch of homers but Francisco Lindor's defense is a given and he's hitting 353 with a couple doubles and a couple triples and three steals.
    Not even "in the Team Photo"?

J.J. Cooper: As mentioned above, there were probably 35
guys I’d be happy to see on the list this week. We’ll have other weeks where it’s a struggle to get to 20. Count Lindor among those 35 guys.

    Sean (Tempe): What's your take on how ARI and BAL are handling Bundy and Bradley? It seems like ARI is letting Bradley do his thing while Bundy is being handled with kid gloves.

J.J. Cooper: John Manuel and I talked about this in the
podcast this week and I’ll have a story for later today after talking to Bundy’s pitching coach about the Orioles’ approach. Baltimore wants keep Bundy’s innings down, but they also want to see him pitch the entire season, so that’s led them to severely limit his innings early this season before stretching him out more (remember they are on a six-man rotation as well). Arizona is letting Bradley pitch what is clearly a more normal approach. John and I are both proponents of letting young pitchers work into at least the middle innings of games if
they are being efficient enough to do it without piling up massive pitch counts, so I think you could say that we’re both in favor of what the Diamondbacks are doing with Bradley, but at the same time holding Bundy to three innings a start in April 2012 is unlikely to harm his development, especially if he’s allowed to work in to the seventh in June.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): With Brandon Phillips extended and Cozart playing well, what do the Reds do with rising prospect Didi Gregorious if he pans out?

J.J. Cooper: Good problem for the Reds to have. We’re just a couple of weeks into the Cozart era, but it is notable about how he already seems to have made a mark in Cincinnati. If Cozart ends up locking down that job, Gregorius could be a very useful trade piece for the Reds down the road, much like the role Grandal and Alonso ended up serving this offseason.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Reds OG Yorman Rodriguez has 14 K in 25 at bats. Should he be demoted back to Low A, or is that jumping the gun?

J.J. Cooper: Jumping the gun.

    Levine (Hard 8 Heart Break, NY): Of all the players on this week's hot sheet, who carries the biggest "risk" of never getting to the big leagues???

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. Limiting it to the Top 13 guys, I’d say Cody Buckel because a) he’s still in A ball. b) his
stuff isn’t as overpowering as Wood or Campos so he’s less likely to get a cup of coffee as a reliever if it all goes downhill for him.

    Keith (Manchester, CT): It's Hot Sheet Season Again, WHOO-HOO! Thanks JJ. I've been hearing buzz that Archie Bradley might have a higher ceiling than Dylan Bundy? Your thoughts on both?

J.J. Cooper: Love Bradley and we heard all kinds of good things about Bradley from instructs last year, but all that being said, I think Bundy’s better.

    Gerrit Cole (Parts Unknown): #1 overall, pitched great, but yet still I feel like I have this sign on my back that says "BUNDY or BAUER, not YOU." Am I doomed for lack of coverage?

J.J. Cooper: Lack of coverage? Here’s the link to the story we wrote about Cole’s first start:
Cole missed the Hot Sheet because he had only one inning’s limited start and unlike Bundy, he actually had the temerity to allow baserunners. It was a solid debut, but it didn’t match Bauer or Bundy’s first week.

    Kevin (MN): Speaking of Twins, did Dozier get any consideration? Probably not as good of a prospect as most guys on the list, but he's really hitting.

J.J. Cooper: He wasn’t really close to making it, but we do like him as a prospect and would expect to see him in Minnesota at
some point this year.

    Mark (Miami, FL): Do you think Jose Fernandez can become a frontline starter for the Marlins in the future?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. He has all the stuff to be a No. 2 if he develops.

    Trav (Lansing): This year at the end of my dynasty league draft I took a flyer on Dan Vogelbach (Cubs). He has a ton of pop and some compare him to Prince Fielder because of the similar
    size & raw power I guess. Do you see him doing anything? like possibly cracking your Top 100 next year?

J.J. Cooper: The fact that he’s still in extended is going to hurt his chances of making next year’s Top 100 because an an all-bat guy, performance will play more of a role in him making a Top 100 than say an Andrelton Simmons. We had him as a guest on the Baseball
America Show on XM/Sirius Radio a couple of weeks ago. He’s a great guy
who can really hit. If he hits like we expect, I wouldn’t be shocked to
see him make a Top 100, but maybe not by Feb. 2013.

    denis (marshall): Does didi gregorious have the talent to send billy hamilton to the outfield?

J.J. Cooper: No. Nothing against Gregorius, but Hamilton’s ability to play SS defensively will play a much larger role in that decision than any external factors. Right now Gregorius has to show he has enough talent to move Cozart off the position.

    TPX2 (Taiwan): Jason Parks said aside from Trout and Harper, not many players in the minors have a higher ceiling than Jordan Akins. Do you agree?

J.J. Cooper: No. But Akins is an outstanding athlete who could be special if it all comes together. He’s drawn some Mike Stanton comps, although he’s not nearly as polished as Stanton was at the same age.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): No Blast from the Past?! Will that be coming back to the Prospect List?

J.J. Cooper: Check again. It’s there as John Manuel further explains his love for Jason Lane.

    Jon (DC): I realize this is an if, but let's assume that Rendon gets healthy and starts mashing like we project. Could a package centered around Rendon pry Trout away from the Angels and give the Angels the 3B they desperately need?

J.J. Cooper: I don’t think Rendon, four more prospects and a crowbar could pry Trout away. When you have a guy like Trout, you don’t trade him for anything because the rule is you don’t trade the best guy in a deal. You especially don’t do it for a guy facing his fourth significant injury in the past four years.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Could you give us a quick list of the guys who just missed? (The difference between the 35 and what was actually on the sheet)

J.J. Cooper: I’m going to leave a few off here, but Adam Conley, Andrew Chafin, Dallas Keuchel, Jed Bradley, David Homnberg,
Justin Grimm, Adys Portillo, Tyler Thornburg, John Stilson, Tony Cingrani, Telvin Nash, Chris Dominguez, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Hicks, Austin Hedges, Derek Norris. I could go on, as it was a great week for prospects.

    JIM (OAKLAND): People always says guys have ceilings of a #1,2,3,4 or 5 starter. Whats the difference between them? Can you give an example of a pitcher in the majors who fits each number

J.J. Cooper: Every year in the Prospect Handbook we have a page that spells it out. To give you the short version, the difference between a No. 1 starter and a No. 2 is really plus-plus command. The No. 2 starter has the same stuff but with less command. From a No. 2 to a No. 3 you see the difference between a guy with two plus pitches and a third average and one plus and two average pitches. No 4/5 guys are ones without a plus pitch, average velocity and command of two major league pitches, while showing both a decent breaking ball and changeup.

    Dave (Portland, OR): Can we find a podcast of that Vogelbach interview anywhere on the web?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry since XM/Sirius is a subscriber service they don’t podcast the interviews.

    Dave (Illinois): Has Josh Vitters finally figured it out?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry, I’m not willing to go there off of a good week. It’s a good sign, but let’s check back in mid-May.

    John (Phoenix): Is there any future thought about moving Billy Hamilton to 2B?

J.J. Cooper: He’s already played there some, but with Brandon Phillips’ new contract it sure seems like he’s looking at SS or CF for at least the near and not-so-near (through 2017) future. Scouts who don’t think he’s a big league SS are divided as some say move him to
CF, where they expect he could be a gold glover. Others, like his former manager Delino DeShields, thinks he could be a very good MLB 2B.

    Shoshana (Boston): Machado is off to a good start at Double-A, curious what the difference is between him and Profar
    (another teenage SS at Double-A) as prospects? I know Profar was ahead (slightly) in the BA rankings.

J.J. Cooper: Machado may be a tick better offensively (especially his power potential). Profar is better defensively, although
Profar may have to move because Andrus is the Rangers’ big league shortstop. They are the two best shortstop prospects in the game, but Profar’s all-around game makes him a tick higher on our rankings.

    Bruce (New York): Did Jacob Realmuto miss the list because his only RBI was on a solo HR? How fast does he move, and what's his ETA?

J.J. Cooper: No he missed because his only extra-base hit was that home run. To be honest we don’t really look at RBIs for the
Hot Sheet unless it’s some kind of insane number. He’s a catcher, so a level a year seems like a pretty safe prediction for his development.

    TPX2 (Taiwan): Has Engel Beltre finally figured it out?

J.J. Cooper: See the Vitters comment, then double it. Let’s see where Beltre is in mid-June. It’s his third full season in Double-A and he hit .250 for the first week of the season. In another team’s farm system Beltre would be a guy to keep a close eye on. In the Rangers’ system, he’s got a lot of work to do to keep up with the ton of
other talent in the system.

    H. Levine (Hard 8 City): Mike Trout is No. 8 on
    this list for this week. How many times do you think we will see him on
    this list before he is up in Anaheim? Need an over/under, baby!

J.J. Cooper: Let’s throw out two more times as a guess.
Vernon Wells is still doing a good imitation of an albatross around the
Angels’ neck, so by mid-May it likely will be time for the Angels to accept that they will be paying for the Wells’ mistake for years to come, but they don’t need to exacerbate it by playing him every day.

    steve (green bay): hello, I was just wonder if you could tell me about royals class A cather Jin-Ho Shin I Know it's not a prospect hot sheet question but just wondering

J.J. Cooper: I don’t see him having a major league future if that’s what you’re asking. He has a long ways to go with the bat.

    Luke (Toronto): Do think think Adeiny Hechavarria's results in Las Vegas are for real or just an extended hot streak?

J.J. Cooper: It’s Las Vegas, so you look at everything through that filter first. It’s really hard for teams in extreme ballparks like that as it really does affect team’s development plans. You don’t get as good a read on player’s readiness for the big leagues and it also affects decisions on whether to promote players—the Blue Jays have kept several pitchers back in Double-A to avoid them having to
deal with Las Vegas.

    PHil (Chicago): Is May too early to expect to see CF Jackson and 1B Rizzo?

J.J. Cooper: With Bryan LaHair posting a 1.000+ OPS in the first week? Probably so. The Cubs know they are in a long-term rebuilding mode, so there’s no rush, especially with Jackson.

    Shoshana (Boston): As an Oriole fan I guess I would prefer Bundy gets most of his innings at a more appropriate level,
    I'm just not sure I get starting him at low-A

J.J. Cooper: We talked about this on the podcast. Low Class A is a pretty aggressive starting assignment for a high school pitcher. If he shows he’s too good for the level (as he is showing) then
you can easily move him up. It’s also good from a development level as far as fitting in with teammates and all to start him with players his own age. Bundy isn’t pitching in Baltimore this year, so there’s no real
reason to worry about whether he gets some starts in low A.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for all the questions. We’ll be back against next Friday for another Hot Sheet chat. And Jim Callis will
bring back his normal Wednesday chat beginning next week.