Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (April 14)

Josh Norris: Editorial assistant Carlos Collazo is next to me bumping the new Kendrick Lamar, so be on your best behavior, chatters. Let’s go!

Dan (MD): Juan Soto and Carter Kieboom are pretty exciting to watch. Stars in the making?
Josh Norris: We certainly think so. Kieboom put in the work in the offseason to ready himself more for his first pro season after getting a taste last year. Doesn’t hurt to have Spencer in the system with him, either. We like him as a shortstop with the potential to make an impact offensively as well. Soto isn’t quite a toolsy as Robles, the system’s top prospect, but he’s got a chance to make a difference with the bat as well.

MJ (Texas): Willie Adames is off to an awful start. Has his stock taken a hit?
Josh Norris: Not to me, no. He’s 21 years old and in Triple-A for the first time, where he’s facing guys like Mike Pelfrey and polished college arms like Carson Fulmer. He might struggle some, but the Rays having confidence enough in him to give him that assignment is an excellent sign. Plus, his makeup will allow him to handle it.

Jose (Not here!): Has Ian Happ's strong AFL, spring training, and strong work in the early season raised his ceiling at all among talent evaluators? It's too much awesomeness for too long to just be considered a hot streak, right?
Josh Norris: We always knew he could hit. That’s not questioned. It’s why he’s No. 2 in the Cubs system and No. 63 in our Top 100. His position (second or outfield) is an issue both for him and the Cubs. That said, if he keeps hitting he’ll get to the big leagues whether it’s with the Cubs or as part of a trade.

Gabe (Dallas, TX): We realize your "top" prospects (in the Handbook) get preferential treatment when it comes to this list, but it would behoove us all not to at least mention Ti'Quan Forbes' season thus far. That is all.
Josh Norris: Yep. He’s started off quite well for sure. And a scout this week mentioned him to me as a guy who’s impressed him a little bit, too. I’m excited to see if he can keep it up and continue once he gets to Down East (Kinston)

MJ (Texas): What are your thoughts on Yandi Diaz thus far? Does he earn a full time job at some point...even when Kipnis returns?
Josh Norris: My thoughts on Yandy Diaz are the same as ever. That he was someone who was unanimously brought up by EL managers a couple of years back as an interesting player who showed leadership qualities and the ability to play multiple positions well. I think he could start on some level, but he’s a perfect superutility type of player, too.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Do you think Honeywell could crack the bigs this year if the Rays sell off a starter or two like Archer and Cobb at the deadline?
Josh Norris: I don’t believe Honeywell will be in the big leagues this year, simply because the Rays typically like to take it slowly with pitchers. I’m excited to see him in Durham at some point, but there are other guys in front of him like Chih-Wei Hu or Jacob Faria or, when he gets healthy, Jose De Leon.

MJ (Willie Calhoun): The kid's bat in undeniable! Has his defense improved enough to the point that the Dodgers would consider using him? Or is he bound for the AL as a DH?
Josh Norris: His defense is beyond suspect. A scout this offseason threw 30-grade range on him. Even so, the same scout still loves his bat. He probably does need to move to a team where he can DH, yes.

Michael (NYC): When will Yadier Alvarez and Kevin Maitan leave extended spring training and play in minor league games?
Josh Norris: Maitan is 17 years. It’s understandable that he’s not in minor league games yet. Expect to see him in the GCL once their season begins. Starting him at Rome would have been an incredibly aggressive assignment.

Harry (Chicago, IL): I thought Moncada was off to a great start, but he got left off the list? Can you enlighten us, Josh?
Josh Norris: Moncada did have a really good week, for sure. But a lot of guys had really, really good weeks and there are just 20 spots on the list.

Manny the Cab driver (Bronx, CA): Has BA considered producing a College player Hot Sheet version, similar to this minor leaguers' version? Also, can BA please produce another Mock Draft? It's been a month since the last one. Us fans of the Lottery teams are starving for updated info. Thanx.
Josh Norris: The College Hot Sheet is a fantastic idea, so: Thank you! As for the mock draft, John Manuel is writing the lede to the next one right now. Stay tuned!

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): How dominant does a reliever need to be to make the hot sheet? Reds High A reliever Tanner Rainey struck out 10 of the 12 batters he faced and hasn't allowed a base runner yet. He's throwing in the high 90's and has been lights out since they gave up on trying him as a starter in the latter half of 2016.
Josh Norris: One needs to look only as far back as the final Hot Sheet of last year, when Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder made it. It can happen, but you have to be *insane* to do it.

Jerry DiPoto (Seattle, WA): Asking for a friend. How come a certain prospect (who I've yet to trade away) who happened to excel on the mound thus far didn't make your list? Hint: initials are N.N.
Josh Norris: Nick Neidert’s week (1-0, 1.69, 10 Ks in 10.2 IP) is really good, and there were others who were really, really good (like Honeywell punching out 20 in 14 innings or Dunning K’ing 21 in 14 innings). FWIW, we also considered Andrew Moore, too.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Doesn't it seem like a stretch that Bo Bichette sticks at SS long term? Seems like he could be an offense oriented 2B maybe, and corner OF at the worst, but SS seems a bit rich.
Josh Norris: The Blue Jays will give Bichette every chance to stay at shortstop, but the industry believes he could shift to third base at some point as he matures physically.

Josh Norris: Time out. I have to take a call.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is there any chance the Cubs don't trade Ian Happ for pitching this summer? Happ as a centerpiece for Archer seems like a fit.
Josh Norris: I wouldn’t bank on it necessarily. Everybody thought they were going to have to trade Javier Baez at some point, but they held strong and now it’s paying dividends. They like Happ a lot, and if he keeps hitting they’ll find a spot for him.

Roger (Greenville, SC): Were any other Braves close?
Josh Norris: Mike Soroka was close, for sure.

Sergio Q (Tijuana, Mexico): How close was Joey Lucchesi on making this week's list, what do the Padres have in him?
Josh Norris: I think we’ll learn more about what the Padres have in Lucchesi once he gets up to a level befitting his competition. He’s got stuff for sure, but a 23-year-old in low Class A should dominate.

Josh Norris: That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for coming by.