Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (Aug. 18)

Jack C (New Jersey): Which 2016 draftee has the higher ceiling as a starter: Forrest Whitley or Joey Wentz?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Happy Friday, everyone. It’s Whitley. He’s got stuff and knows how to pitch. Wentz has great pitchtability as well, but lacks the pure talent of Whitley.

Monte (Springfield): What's the prospect status of Sandy Alcantara? His run prevention has been great but the peripherals are still awful

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: To me, it remains strong, but that might be bias because I saw him pitch at his best in the MWL. His stuff is undeniable, and he still has projection. I think he still has time to have a breakthrough.

Waltharius (Tokyo): From the time you have updated the top 100 prospects, were there any player who increased their stock significantly? Was there anybody who were not listed in the last list you would put on the list?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Even though he ranked at No. 10, I think the BA staff as a whole would probably move Ronald Acuna up even higher.

Rhett (NC): Joey Wentz with a 6.4 H/9 on the season with a 4.2 H/9 in his last 9 games. Does he have that unhittable top of rotation stuff? Plus fastball, curve and change?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: He doesn’t, but what he does have is poise and ability to add, subtract, pitch in and out. Velocity isn’t everything, as a sage pitching coach like Burt Hooton will tell you.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (Higher in the top 100): Have I proven my ability to make adjustments to breaking balls with my scorching hot 2nd half? Is it safe to say that I'm not a top 30-40 prospect when 2018 rolls around?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I believe so, and scouts agree. I think he’ll at least be a top 50 prospect, if not higher next season.

Taylor Trammell (No Love): Why don't I get more love from the Baseball America crew? I'm showing advanced approach and patience with LOUD tools backed up by production (21 2b, 9 3rd, 11 HR, 33 SB)! That is an insane line for being my first full season and thriving in LoA. Should I expect to be a top 50 prospect in 2018 with projection for much higher?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Ha, I don’t think this is true at all. We have excellent reports on Trammell and his tools. I think Top 50 might be high, but he’ll be in the 100, I would think.

Tom (Virginia): No love for Mckenzie Gore? He has been pretty unhittable? Is there any reason he hasn't made the hot sheet?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Just not long enough outings per the time frame; Hot Sheet covers a week in time; He pitches three or four innings at a time; we favor longer outings for starters. But he’s a gem.

Rich (NJ): Mickey Moniak has really fallen off the cliff recently; is It the grid of a long season for a young player or do you see something more problematic? Thanks,

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Depends on who you listen to; some are ready to jump off the campaign; some preach patience; I think, like with Blake Rutherford to an extent, physical maturity and adjustments to pro ball take time. He’ll be OK.

Ryan (Spring Hill): Will Randy Arozarena ever be a top 100 guy?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I don’t think so.

Bill (DC): Robles or Acuna...who would you rather have?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I’ll say Acuna just because of recency bias.

Doug (Houston TX): Another strong outing for giolito, how close was he to making the list?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Not close; I can only pick 20.

Jim (Chicago): Any love for Kiebert Ruiz? What are the chances he appears on next year's top 100?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Oh plenty. I think he’s got a shot; he’ll likely be in the MWL Top 20 (sneak peek into that list).

Jeff (Minnesota): How worrying are Moncada's poor big league performances (last year with the Red Sox and so far this year)? Are the strikeouts and issue with pitch recognition? Tools don't do much good if he doesn't make contact.

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: It’s a good point, but the tools are so good I’m not throwing in the towel. Switch-hitters take extra time because mechanics can get screwed up, and he’s not doing stuff with smoke and mirrors. He’s a specimen. I think he’ll be fine.

Brack (Itaska): Acuna and vlad jr the top prospects in the game?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think there is a good case to be made for that.

Rich (NJ): since being called up, Nicky Delmonico has hit well for the White Sox. Do you see his bat being valuable enough to be an everyday player?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I’ll always root for the Eye-talian, but I’m not sure. He is showing good control of the zone.

Alex (NY): If you could have only one, which right hand pitching prospect would you want?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think Kopech. That combo of stuff and hard edge are tough to beat. He just wants to beat you.

Adam (LA): Is Verdugo a star level player if the power comes at the bigs?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think so, and the Dodgers clearly believe that. Great strike-zone awareness, above average hit ability, improved makeup.

Kenneth (Arnold, MO): After Reyes, which Cardinals pitcher has the highest upside? What is that upside? Thanks for the chat!

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Thanks to his velocity uptick, Flaherty for sure. I think he can be a No. 3 starter.

Ryan (Houston): Forrest Whitley is the 24th ranked pitching (including Brendan McKay in there) prospect according to BA's latest update, what is keeping him from being rated as a top 10 pitcher? He has the size, mid 90s velo, command, and a changeup!

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think it was just a matter of inexperience. Now that he’s made a couple of jumps, he’ll move up.

Bryan (Chicago): Do you think Kopeck will clean up his walk rate and command enough to become an Ace?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I do think so. And if not, he’ll be a lockdown closer.

Jeff (Idaho): Any comps for Ronald Acuna? Do you see him as an Andrew McCutchen type hitter/player? Someone else?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think that’s fair; maybe not as much power. I guess that remains to be seen.

William (Pensacola, FL): How close was Senzel to making the list and what are the concerns with him going forward ?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Close and I’m not sure there are real concerns. Maybe you want to see a corner guy hit for more power, but he should have average power at least.

Warren (Texas): As a Tigers fan, it is nice to see two Tigers on the Hot Sheet! As far as Burrows is concerned, how would you rank the Tigers' RH pitching prosects? (Burrows, Funkhouser, Manning, Faedo, Baez) What number starter do you see each as in the future? Thanks for the Chat!

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I would slot Faedo ahead of Manning, but I think that’s fair. Another guy to think about is Anthony Castro. Curve is potential plus pitch and one evaluator liked him more than K-Funk.

Chris Ilitch (Detroit): How wrong would I be to inform Al that we should resolve our burgeoning 3B dilemma in the following way: Castellanos to RF; Spin down Lugo to 2B, if at all possible; Candelario to 3B; and Eaves goes to the OF. A plethora of choices indeed! Thanks for the chat!

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I presume you can tell Al anything you like, Mr. I! But yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Brian (Greensboro): Who was the last player/prospect to have such a meteoric rise through the minors at such a young age like Acuna? He seems to be getting better the more advanced level he gets to

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Probably Andruw Jones, which makes a lot of sense given the organization likes pushing players.

Mike K. (san diego): What is the general consensus from scouts now on Tatis jr? i know most thought his future is at third, I've watched a few games and he look like he can stick at short. Is the power/speed combo for real?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Yeah, I think he can stick at short too, even as big as he is. I got to see him in person and he was bigger than I thought. So he’ll probably move eventually but for now leave him there. Yeah, that combo is real. He’s good.

a.j. (las vegas): lots of representatives from my two favorite systems (padres, white sox) #tankingworks. my question is has De Los Santos pitched himself into a rotation spot going forward or is he still behind Quantrill, Lamet, Lauer and Lucchesi with Morejon, Espinoza, Baez and Gore coming behind him?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Those things are not mutually exclusive, IMHO. I think de los Santos is probably behind those guys, but could still be a part of the 2018 rotation before being bumped.

Brian (Greensboro): Can i get a mention for the Grasshoppers lab Yogi who passed away yesterday? Babe, Yogi and LouLou work tirelessly entertaining fans, players and even umps. Yogi will be missed!

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: We wrote about it yesterday! http://www.baseballamerica.com/business/greensboro-bat-dog-master-yogi-berra-dies/

Darren (Indianapolis): Ronald Acuna is the best prospect in baseball right? If not why not?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Probably.

Josh (Texas): In the midseason top 100, Fernando Tatis Jr took the last spot. Given his continued success, how high up do you believe he will land in the off-season 100? Top 50? Maybe even Top 25?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Top 50 at least.

Brett (Calgary): What kind of pro do you see Brian Anderson turning into? is 260-20-80 realistic? Or is there more in there?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think he can pull that off. Maybe not in 2018, but at his peak, that sounds right.

Guy smiley (Sesame Street USA): Heliot Ramos or Brandon Marsh?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I love Guy Smiley, and Heliot Ramos, if only as an homage to my buddy Hudson Belinsky.

Matt (San Diego): Why did BA have Tatis Jr (101) so low on their midseason list? And don't give me the you have to be really good to be ranked 101st rhetoric. I understand the K% preventing him from elite, but I personally believe his combo of very rare in game power at 18/walks/athleticism/good defensive value (even if he moves to 3B). Should make him a consensus top 40 prospect, what gives?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: At midseason, we hadn’t seen the Tatis we have since. He’ll move up, for sure. He’ll be in the tippy-top of the MWL Top 20.

Gregg (Minnesota): Are we looking at co-players of the year? I seem to recall Hamilton & Patterson did this. Don't see how to rate Acuna over Vlad Jr, or vis versa. Incredible what they are doing at their age in their leagues.

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: It’s an interesting dicussion and has to include Bo Bichette as well, when you think about age relative to league.

Nathan DJ (Panama): Who are a few guys you think are underrated in the prospect world or think will surprise some people? Thanks

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: It’ll be MWL heavy, as that is the league I’m focused on; Cam Gibson of West Michigan is an interesting guy; son of Kirk, hard-nosed like dad; Jason Foley, RHP of West Michigan as well. Bowling Green LHP Brock Burke, who has been comped to Cole Hamels, body-wise Peoria RHP Mike O’Reilly, a pitchabilty-over-stuff guy who was just promoted Lansing’s Edward Olivares, who one evaluator today said was the most underrated guy in the MWL Isaac Paredes, recently traded by the Cubs in the Justin Wilson deal. I could go on and on, but . . .

Pavan Smith (Smith Pavan): Do you think I can reach 50 power or will I ultimately fall short of that?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think that’s possible. As Leslie Nielsen would say, “We’re all counting on you.”

Bobby (Newport): Can you compare Isaac Paredes to a recent prospect or a current major leaguer? I have trouble wrapping my head around what kind of guy he is.

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: This is what I was told today about him: Good instincts. .275 with 20 HRs a season at the MLB Level are well within his reach. Yep, he’s a dude.

Tyler Mahle (CIN): What's my upside? I've heard TOR potential and I've heard 4/5. Thanks

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Another guy who depends on who you listen to and when you’ve seen him. Some reports were stellar, with knockout stuff. But a recent one found him to be rather ordinary. Sometimes you just have to trust that the numbers look good but might not add up.

Stacy (Chicago, IL): We hear a lot about the stockpile of young position players in Chicago and rightly so, but who do you see as the Sox future #1 starter to anchor the staff in the coming years. I need to know who is going to be the ACE of my team. Thanks

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I think it’s Michael Kopech. He has the stuff, physicality and hard edge to pitch at the top of the rotation.

Tatum (Clearwater, Fla): Can you rank Mike Kopech, Triston Mckenzie, AJ Puk, and Forrest Whitley please? Who has the highest starter ceiling?

Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: I’ll go, Kopech, McKenzie, Whitley and Puk, and that’s because Puk’s long levers and offspeed inconsistencies give me pause. Kopech probably has the highest ceiling of any minor league righthander. McKenzie’s lack of physicality puts him behind Kopech. And with that great question, I’m going to close up shop for Friday. We’ve got plenty of good stuff coming; Summer League top prospects; a Women in Baseball package for next week, League Top 20 Prospects and more. Stay tuned to baseballamerica.com!

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