Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: April 23

    Chuck (Wichita): How about Moustakas's AA debut
    last night? Perhaps he and Hosmer will live up to their draft status after all.

Matthew Eddy: In a way, the Hot Sheet is a slave to the
small sample. We review one week in a player’s life — for pitchers that’s often one start. Moustakas appeared no worse for wear in making his debut with NW Arkansas last night, going 3-for-4 with a double and 2
dingers. He even mixed in a walk. But he’ll have to keep it up to qualify for next week’s Sheet.

In my opinion, it was unwise to get off the Moustakas bandwagon in the first place. Prospects have bad years. Even Justin Upton slumped in the Midwest League. But don’t overlook the role that home park plays. It would be great if every player played in a neutral environment, but Moustakas had to endure Wilmington last year. On the road, he batted 287/323/460 — still less patience than you’d like to see, and we’ll see
if he addresses it this season.

    Mike (Chicago): How good would you say the cubs
    farm system is now, with the big league team not doing good, is there hope?

Matthew Eddy: The Cubs’ system has to rank as one of baseball’s most improved. In addition to Castro, Jackson and Vitters earning Hot Sheet nods, the High-A Daytona squad has as much offensive talent as any team at that level — Kyler Burke, Brett Jackson, D.J. LeMahieu, Vitters and Co. But much of that talent resides in the low minors. Let’s focus instead on the players the system has ushered to Chicago in the past few seasons: Geovany Soto, Esmailin Caridad, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, Randy Wells. Not to shabby.

    Fernando (Chile): Is Lars Andreson for Real?

Matthew Eddy: The offensive bar is set very high for first basemen — especially those groomed for large revenue, max exposure clubs like the Red Sox — but so far this season Anderson is meeting it.

    JAYPERS (IL): I'm curious as to why Hosmer went
    AWOL this week from your list? His LASIK certainly has helped thus far,
    and this week was no exception.

Matthew Eddy: Hosmer hit .409 (9-for-22) but with one extra-base hit (HR) among them. A nice week for sure, but not one of the
top 20.

    Rush (San Diego): The Hotsheet said that Simon Castro will soon follow Mat Latos...what kind of upside do you see in both of these guys? Can they be a legitimate 1-2 punch?

Matthew Eddy: Both young Padres have high ceilings, Latos a bit moreso on a pure stuff basis. It’s hard to argue with plus-plus velo and two strong secondary pitches. Castro could eclipse him, though, because he’s more efficient and more focused. (The Padres LOVE his mental makeup and work ethic.) That’s not to belittle Castro’s stuff: his fastball and slider are legit.

    john (ct): Jesus Montero has been curiously absent from your first two Hot sheets and yet seems to be off to a good start in AAA ball. Has he been just good?

Matthew Eddy: Montero is just now hitting his Triple-A stride. We still like him lots and lots, but geez, he had just four hits
last week. Granted two of them were HRs, but those five whiffs are probably the most he’s ever accumulated in 14 at-bats.

    Jose (Louisville): Did Jonathan Meyer (Astros' 3B prospect playing for Lexington) get any consideration for the hot sheet? How is he viewed by scouts, etc.?

Matthew Eddy: Extra-base hits are the key to my heart, especially for corner players. Meyer is a solid prospect who had a nice week, but three doubles in 28 at-bats isn’t going to make the Hot Sheet grade for a third baseman. It’s great for Meyer’s development, though.
For more on the scouting community’s take on Meyer, then check out our Prospect Handbook or the Appy League Top 20 from last year.

    Ty (NM): How often does BA's staff use the G/F ratio to justify a pitcher's appearance on the Hot Sheet, typically? (i.e. Jay Jackson)

Matthew Eddy: The rate of groundouts compared with flyouts isn’t as crucial as strikeouts and walks, but it does tend to signify a pitcher who is locating down in the zone. We considered the Twins’ Kyle Gibson, for example, because in his 2 starts for Fort Myers he sported a 16/0 G/F.

I think of it this way: Most batters are looking to get a ball at the belt and to hit it on a line or in the air. A pitcher who induces lots of groundouts is typically working ahead of batters and forcing them to swing at his pitch — for groundball pitchers, a sinker, a breaking ball
or change. Either that, or he’s facing an impatient lineup.

    Jon (San Fran): When do you see Peter Bourjos getting the he basically waiting until someone gets hurt to make his imprint on the big leagues?

Matthew Eddy: The Angels can afford to be patient. Not only would Bourjos benefit from a full year of reps at Triple-A (remember, he’s been banged up in each of the past 3 seasons), but with Torii Hunter in CF and Reggie Willits the fully capable backup, there’s little to justify a promotion.

    Mike (Utica, NY): Does Thompson have more upside than anyone in the Whitesox system?

Matthew Eddy: You could make that case. But Jared Mitchell might have something to say about that when all’s said and done.

    Rob (Anchorage): Haven't seen anything on Patrick Schuster or Nolan Arenado yet. Have their leagues not started yet or are they toiling away in obscurity somewhere?

Matthew Eddy: I can speak for Arenado . . . he’s in extended spring training, gaining reps and recovering from a spring groin injury. He should join Low-A Asheville within a month.

    Jean-Paul (Springfield, IL): Does being fortunate enough to have more than one start over a week give a starting
    pitcher a leg-up over those who don't when considering him for the Hot Sheet?

Matthew Eddy: It absolutely does. Not only do they get a
chance to accrue more of the good stuff (whiffs, scoreless innings) but
it also gives us a larger sample to work with.

    wayne (camarillo): I know Mike Trout has shown a
    lot of speed and hit for a high average but will he develop any power?

Matthew Eddy: Survey says: Yes. He’ll learn to pull the
ball in time, but for now the Angels are delighted to have a young hitter who looks middle and opposite field first.

    Eleanor (Altoona): I saw Tony Sanchez was part of the hot sheet this week. As a Curve fan I am anxious to have him as part of our AA team. If he keeps up the pace he is with now, how long until he will be making the jump.

Matthew Eddy: Hang in there. He’ll be up at the all-star break, if not sooner.

    Shoshana (Down the Road): Any support for Hobgood in this weeks hot sheet? He's been pretty good his last couple of starts. Also Avery and Hoes seem to be doing a better job with plate discipline this April (albeit in incredibly small sample sizes)

Matthew Eddy: Yes, we definitely looked at Hobgood. A credit to him for coming out firing after a last year’s lackluster Appy League debut, in which he regularly topped out in the high-80s and appeared to be a bit heavier than he was in June. For Low-A Delmarva last week, he tossed 7 shutout innings, surrendering just 2 hits and striking out 6.

    KO (Pittsfield, MA): Any chance the Mariner's shift Dustin Ackley to 1B or OF to get his bat going? Also what is his ETA?

Matthew Eddy: Flirting with an average that begins with
a zero seems to have motivated Ackley. At the end of play Tuesday, his AVG sat at .109. Since then, he’s gone 4-for-6 with a double to shoot to
.173. A part of me wonders why they didn’t start him out with High-A High Desert, where he could have hit .350 for a month before tackling Double-A. Look for him in Seattle next season, probably June or later.

    George Torre (Guate): Hi. Thanks for answering all the questions! What do you think of how Jason Donald has started the
    season? He has not been amazingly good, but he is doing pretty well right now. Do you think he can help Cleveland in the majors this season?

Matthew Eddy: Donald is a good all-around player (also read: he has no one outstanding tool) who will help the Indians in time.
He won’t supplant Asdrubal Cabrera at SS, obviously, but look for him to siphon at-bats from Valbuena at 2B and Peralta at 3B in the second half.

    Josh (Leavitt): Which Low-A baller is everybody
    sleeping on?

Matthew Eddy: I like D-backs SS Chris Owings with South
Bend. Clinton SS Nick Franklin (Mariners) has gotten a lot of the early
attention out in the Midwest League, but last week Owings (41st overall
pick last year) went 11-for-31 with 2 2B, 2 3B and a HR. Look for him on a Hot Sheet in the near future.

    Mike (Connecticut): No love for Buster Posey yet on the Hot Sheet?

    He's off to a hot start, how much longer do you see him in the minors?

Matthew Eddy: That’s fair. I usually like to give the nod to players at the higher classifications (esp. those playing premium
positions) but out Hot Sheet slants very far to lower minors this time,
doesn’t it? I guess everybody’s obsessed with finding the next breakthrough prospect. Posey hits .400 for a week . . . ho hum.

    Paul (CT): Can you compare 2 of your Hot Sheet 3rd-baggers?

    Who's bat do you like better at the MLB level between Josh Vitters and Mike Moustakas?


Matthew Eddy: I prefer Moustakas: lefty bat, big-time power, same defensive concerns as Vitters, though Moustakas would profile better at 1B or LF.

    Michael (Canada): Are you expecting Smoak to stick in Texas for the season? What are your expectations for this season and in the future?

Matthew Eddy: The Rangers definitely will stick with Smoak. They had to add him to 40-man roster to call him up, so this is not a temporary move. The only way he goes back down is if he completely
bombs. And that’s a long shot.

    shawn (chippewa falls,Wi): How worried should my Brewers be about Eric Arnett? Also I see Aaron Poreda has been coming
    out of the pen.Is this permanent? Thanks

Matthew Eddy: Should you be concerned about Arnett? Maybe a little, but put aside his success at Indiana. He’s pitching every five days now for the first time in his life. He’s using a slightly different baseball. The transition to pro ball is harder for some prospects than others. At this stage, you’re hoping to see short stretches of dominance by Arnett. If that happens, see if he can build on it.

As to Poreda . . . Not only did he land in bullpen, but he landed in the
Double-A bullpen after finishing last season in the big leagues. Yes, the Padres view him as a relief prospect now, but that could change if he rediscovers the form that made him a first-round pick.

    cal (b-more): What happened to Chris Tillman? Can he turn things around?

Matthew Eddy: For those not following Tillman’s every move, he’s lost his first 3 start for Triple-A Norfolk, giving up 9 runs
and 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings. The 10-4 K-BB mark and the no HR allowed are encouraging signs, but something appears to be off slightly. Maybe he’s bummed about not making the Orioles out of spring training. He did spend much of the second half in Baltimore last year, after all. But be warned: at least one scout was not impressed with Tillman’s spring showing, calling his fastball straight, his curveball inconsistent and his delivery not at all deceptive. Historically, these are pretty common
traits among 22-year-olds.