Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: July 25

Q:  Anton from the Bronx asks:
Do you think its time for Jesus Montero to see pitching in High-A ball , or is he defensively too raw for the jump?

Ben Badler: Hello everyone. Heading off to see Wade Davis pitch for Durham tonight, so let’s crank this out.

Ben Badler: Montero is still 18, so there’s no need to rush him up to High-A. He can work on his defense anywhere—which, by the way, seems to be getting better—so just let him get a full season in Charleston and move him up next year, where he’ll still probably be the youngest player in the Florida State League.

 Q:  Matt from Tampa asks:
I’ve heard it said that with Jeremy Cummings being added to the US team, it will leave a spot open for David Price. Do you see this happening, or will he get jumped straight to the Majors in the coming months?

Ben Badler: I can’t see a scenario in which Tampa would let any of their good prospects play for Team USA, especially a player like Price would could help them in September and possibly the postseason.

 Q:  Chad from Connecticut asks:
Can you rank these 3 A’s pitching prospects as far as ETA in MLB and performance when they arrive (Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Henry Rodriguez)?

Ben Badler: For expected value: Cahill, Anderson, Rodriguez. For ETA, I’d bump Anderson slightly ahead of Cahill because his command is more advanced.

 Q:  Brandon from Nashville, TN asks:
With David Freese (not a great prospect, but not doing too bad) blocking Allen Craig at 3B in AAA, would Craig be able to handle a move to 2B?

Ben Badler: He’s a below-average runner with limited range, so I don’t think he would make that move. But one manager in that league did call Craig the best defensive third baseman he’s seen this year.

 Q:  Jorge V from Bronx, NY asks:
Would the Giants promote Tim Alderson to Double A already? He’s pitching well above average for a 19 year old kid!

Ben Badler: Maybe at the very, very end of the season just to get a taste of Double-A, but he’s in a good situation right now pitching in San Jose (on the West Coast near his home turf of Arizona), so they might be better off letting him spend a full pro season there rather sending him cross country to their Double-A affiliate in Connecticut

 Q:  Navin from Pasadena, CA asks:
How likely do you think Samardzija can sustain his play at anywhere near this level?

Ben Badler: Given his track record, I think it’s unlikely

 Q:  Lorenzo from Springfield, MO asks:
Did Dopirak get consideration for your Blast From the Past section, and is there still hope for him to become the player the Cubs drafted back in 2002?

John Manuel: How could he not have, with six home runs in a week? I think I’m the only one in the chat who was on the editorial side when we put Dopirak on the cover of an issue as the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect, and a couple of scouts I know were very wary of that ranking. He’s always going to swing and miss a lot, and he’s always going to have huge raw power. He’s 24 now and raking playing in his hometown. I guess when he shows he can do it outside the FSL, I’ll start to believe.

 Q:  Paul from Tallahassee, FL asks:
Nice to see Brandon Wood back in the groove. However, are you (and Angels’ management) optimistic that he can perform like this in LA, or is he potential trade bait?

John Manuel: He’s had some chances in LA. He just doesn’t seem to be a Mike Scioscia type of player; this is a manager who hits Maicer Izturis three-hole and wins. Wood seems to be trade bait. I was mulling him over today and thought his best-case scenario career is a kind of Andruw Jones offense—lots of homers, OBP fluctuating with his batting average—mixed with decent defense at SS and 3B. He’s just 23; he has value. Not sure which team would give him that chance, and the Angels’ lead is so large in the AL West, they seem in no hurry to make a move. So right now, he’s just insurance.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from on the road again.. asks:
Thanks for taking my question, Does Dexter Fowler’s ability to take a walk really improve his prospect status? Is the anthesis of Jeff Francouer? Thanks again!

Ben Badler: Fowler shows a pretty good feel for the strike zone, which is impressive for a guy who has missed a lot of developmental time due to injuries. Some scouts still have questions about whether the power will come around, but with his frame, his youth and his command of the strike zone, I think that he’ll at least hit for some moderate pop if not better. Lots to like there.

 Q:  Kyle from Tempe, AZ asks:
Triunfel’s numbers haven’t been spectacular this year, as his season has been a series of highs and lows, but how has he progressed as a player?

Ben Badler: Not too much. The Cal League is a pretty sweet place to hit, especially High Desert, where all of Triunfel’s games were this week in his recent hot streak. There are a lot of question marks with him.

 Q:  jr from valencia,ca asks:
With Russel Martin entrenched as the Dodgers’ cather for the next decade or so, who becomes his backup? Santana or Lucas May? who has the higher ceiling?

Ben Badler: May’s had some defensive problems and his offensive game has dipped lately. Santana has the edge… obviously it’s the Cal League so we’re always a little hesitant, but he’s always shown control of the strike zone, and his offensive game has taken a leap forward this year.

 Q:  Mr. Twinkee from MN asks:
The Twins have a seemingly weak farm system, as far as offensive potential goes, but perhaps some of their OF prospects could become MLB players…who out of this group could make the biggest impact: Revere, Parmelee, Benson, Morales, Hicks?

John Manuel: It’s not the greatest system right now, I’d agree, but they’ve got a lot of recent grads in the big leagues (Slowey, Baker, Blackburn in the rotation, plus Span and Kubel contributing offensively). Revere has made the Twins look great in his debut season; most teams had him as a second- or third-rounder but he’s hitting like a first-round guy. Benson got hurt in a car wreck, and he wasn’t exactly tearing up the Midwest League in repeating that league. Big tools, but at some point, he needs to perform. I like Parmelee and his power but his inability to make consistent contact has to be a concern. A majority of teams (a slight one) seemed to like Hicks better on the mound because of some length to his swing and lack of power. He’s all tooled up and having a great debut but he’s clearly got a high ceiling. Angel Morales also has a great body and big tools but has 43 K’s already in 100 at-bats. It’s good to see his tools playing, as they didn’t last year, but he’s a ways away, as is Hicks. The guy you left out is Rene Tosoni, who skipped a level to high Class A this year but went down in May with a hand injury. He has the best hit tool out of all these guys, except perhaps Revere. His other tools also grade out as average; he’s a guy.

 Q:  Steve from Maine asks:
Has Colby Rasmus stock dropped because he is injury prone? What type of numbers does he project to have in the majors?

Ben Badler: A player’s inability to stay healthy is always a concern, but he’s still one of the game’s best prospects. Losing him was a huge blow to Team USA though. He still projects to put up high OBP, moderate to high slugging with good defense in center field.

 Q:  Austin Jackson from Trenton asks:
What does a brother have to do to get some love?

Ben Badler: Jackson was probably the last cut from the list. Travis Snider has a pretty good case, but Austin Jackson’s right up there with him as the best prospect in the Eastern League right now. Snider’s the better hitter, but I’m not sure Snider is going to be anything better than a below-average defensive left field, whereas Jackson will stick at a premium position in center.

 Q:  John from Pennsylvania asks:
Where would you rank Zach Mcallister amoung the yankees top 10 prospects assuming he would be up that far, and where do you believe he will fit in with the big league club?

John Manuel: He’s clearly moving up, because they have had graduations, attrition, injuries . . . and because he’s performed. He’s a big-body guy who has taken a bit of time to adjust from being a sinker-slider guy in high school to a power pitcher with New York. He’s still figuring out how to put guys away—his K rate at high Class A is quite modest. But he is showing control and he has velocity, so he’s going to move up. I’m a fan of the profile of guys like him that have good stuff AND don’t walk a lot of guys.

 Q:  Doug from Flushing asks:
Simple question(albeit a loaded one)- Vitters or Moustakas?

John Manuel: Moustakas, which I said last year. Vitters has a bum ankle right now and he’s missed a little time. They have similar ceilings, Moose has more power and is a LH bat, giving him the edge, for me.

 Q:  Jason from Cedar City, Utah asks:
What are the Rays going to do at the trade dead line? Will Mitch Talbot be apart of any deals?

Ben Badler: I don’t see the Rays making any big moves, mostly because they don’t have to make any big moves. Maybe a complementary piece here or there, but it’s not worth it for them to deal away any of their top 10 or so prospects. There are scouts in on Jeff Niemann right now. He’s pitched well in Triple-A, but he is already 25 years old and there are still some command issues. Guys his size sometimes have different developmental timetables, so there are reasons for optimism with Niemann, but for the Rays he’s probably expendable in the right deal.

 Q:  Anthony from Staten Island, NY asks:
Let’s talk Mets prospects – With guys like Flores, Holt, Carp, Evans, Niese, Martinez, Havens, and Davis now in the system, where would you currently rank their system? Seems that they have a few high end talent guys in that group and some very serviceable players that could help the major league club. What’s your thoughts?

John Manuel: I probably wouldn’t rank it as high as you would. Carp and Evans still look like platoon guys to me; Havens hasn’t played in the field yet, and might lose development time to that. I was never super sold on him anyway. I like HOlt more than most because of his fastball, and I’m an Ike Davis guy as well. Flores and Jefry Marte and some other of their young Latin guys are having nice years but are very far away. Niese and Murphy having success at Double-A, plus Eddie Kunz, those are good signs. Fernando Martinez generally staying healthy, good sign. But I don’t see any of those guys as future stars, including Martinez. I think those are more solid regulars, and maybe Martinez mashes his way to an all-star game appearance here or there. But I don’t see him as a star.

 Q:  Jake from KC asks:
What are you expecting out of Wade tonight?

Ben Badler: Something solid but not dominant, which has been how Davis has performed thus far. He’s still one of the better pitching prospects in the minors, but I thought he would take off this year and he just hasn’t done that. He looked excellent early in the season when I saw him pitch in Double-A, the fastball was plus with good command and his breaking ball was an out pitch, but the strikeouts are way down this year. Mostly I want to see if the stuff is still at the level it was at earlier in the year.

 Q:  Tony from Seattle asks:
Where do you see Wladimir Balentein’s ceiling being in the major leagues? He looked terrible during his first stint.

Ben Badler: Guys who have trouble controlling the strike zone and adjusting to off-speed pitches sometimes have trouble adjusting as they move up a level, especially when that jump is to the big leagues. Balentien fits into that mold, so he’s going to need a team to be patient with him. Luckily the Mariners are nowhere near contention, so they should give him the opportunity to develop against major league pitching. But I have no idea is they will.

 Q:  NatsFan from Nats Land asks:
Should I be hoping my team loses the rest of their games so we can get Strasburg or is Alex White a good enough consolation prize?

John Manuel: Strasburg’s the class of the ’09 draft but White is a legit option for sure. He’s 96 mph with his fastball regularly and when he stays on top of his slider it’s a heck of a second pitch. His split was big for him this year against LH hitters, so a team that doesn’t like split-finger fastballs would probably shy away from him. I love him for the velo, the easy delivery and the athleticism and consider him a very solid consolation prize. But he’s not Strasburg.

 Q:  SprungOnSports from Long Island asks:
Are the Cubs rushing Samardzija to the majors to justify his contract or can he really contribute down the stretch?

John Manuel: I honestly don’t think so; have you seen what he’s done in Triple-A? You may have heard, they haven’t won jack in 100 years, so they’d like to, you know, win this year. That trumps the money they gave Samardzija, but he’s going to their bullpen because they think he can contribute. Jim Callis reports that the Cubs have always believed a bit of improvement from his secondary stuff would go a long way toward making his hard, heavy sinker more effective. He just needs hitters to respect his offspeed stuff a bit, and that seems to be what’s happening, a little improvement on the secondary stuff. Of course, out of the bullpen he could just come out blowing mid-90s sinkers and not worry about much else. We might get to see it today. I’m happy for the Cubs that it’s working out.

 Q:  Jimmy from Chesapeake, VA asks:
Thanks for the chat. Is the A’s trio of Cahill, Anderson and Gonzalez the best in the game. Where would Inoa fall among those three as a prospect?

Ben Badler: For trio of pitching prospects yes, just slightly edging out Price/Davis/Hellickson (or McGee), although Price is the best of that bunch. When Matusz takes the field the Orioles will be solid with Matusz, Tillman and Erbe, and the Giants are in the conversation too with Alderson/Bumgarner/Sosa.

 Q:  Matt from Tampa asks:
Apparantly you misunderstood my David Price question earlier. I wanted to know if he will get promoted to Durham now that Cummings’ spot is vacant in their rotation, or is TB planning to jump him straight to the Majors instead?

Ben Badler: Ah, I see. I don’t think Jeremy Cummings’ absence is going to affect the Rays’ plans for Price. The Rays’ recent history has been to promote their pitching prospects one level at a time, including Triple-A, but they’ve also never been in a pennant race before, so they might just jump him straight to the big leagues.

 Q:  Jimmy from Roxbury, CT asks:
Hey any words on Evan Scribner who was traded to the Padres for Tony Clark

Ben Badler: Scribner played in the Pioneer League last year and almost made the league top 20 as a middle reliever with a good breaking ball. The Padres have a pretty good track record of finding useful bullpen parts on the cheap, so it’s worth taking a shot on Scribner.

 Q:  Amin from Los Gatos asks:
How Close was Pablo Sandoval to making the list? And where does he rank amongst minor league catchers?

Ben Badler: Very frustrating with Sandoval, who could have ranked here, he just had an odd schedule. He has torn up the Eastern League, a very encouraging sign that he’s doing it after leaving the Cal League. He just didn’t get enough playing time this week, and then before that he missed time for the Futures Game and because the EL was off for its all-star game. His stock has moved up, but scouts have questions about his ability to stick behind the plate. He’s enormous (he gave me a bear hug at the Futures Game and someone nearly had to send out a missing persons report for me). The power is very real, but he might end up moving to first base if he stays with San Francisco, especially with Buster Posey in the mix. They’ll still give him every opportunity to stay behind the plate as long as he can though.

 Q:  Dave from Wisconsin asks:
What are Aaron Poreda’s long-term prospects The ChiSox are reportedly dangling him in front of Oakland (along with Josh Fields) to get Jason Ducscherer? Should Poreda be untouchable?

Ben Badler: He looks like a reliever with a power sinker… that’s definitely not untouchable. The arm slot is always going to inhibit the slider, and we’ve seen the adversity people predicted he would face as he’s moved up the ladder.

 Q:  AL from NYC asks:
Interesting choice at #1 in Brandon Wood. Interesting because his teammate, Sean Rodriguez, is actually having the better season, despite being shuffled back and forth between LA and Salt Lake. He’s also a month younger than Wood. I suppose you feel Wood’s re-emergence is legit (as opposed to being a bi-product of playing in the hitter friendly PCL) since he’s at #1. What about Rodriguez’s re-emergence? Has he proven that he’s a legit starting 2B prospect or does he still project as a utilty man in the bigs?

Ben Badler: Like we always say, the Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of the top prospects in baseball. It’s a look at which prospects have put up the best recent performances within the context of their environments, with emphasis on the last week’s performances. So when Wood hits five home runs in a week and has an OPS .900 while playing shortstop, that’s pretty good, whereas Rodriguez hit .182 this week. That’s not a knock on Rodriguez, just the nature of the Hot Sheet. Wood’s almost the anti-Angels prospect: a swing-and-miss guy, doesn’t put the ball in play, doesn’t steal much, etc., and that’s not a common profile you see from any shortstop. Someone just needs to give him a chance to see regular big league pitching, and I have a feeling he might have to get that opportunity with another club.

 Q:  c.y.teng from malaysia asks:
Greetings from Malaysia……… Appreciate your assessment of these Oriole’s pitchers – David Hernandez – Brad Bergesen – Jake Arrieta Is Wieters worthy of a Sept call up based on his progress so far? Thank you.

Ben Badler: Salutations from North Carolina… Arrieta’s probably the best of that group with his power fastball, which can sit at 95-96 mph in one-inning stints. He’s made some mechanical tweaks this season that have helped throw across his body a little less, but there’s still some command issues there and I’m not sold on him. Bergesen and Hernandez are decent prospects to have in a farm system, Hernandez strikes more guys out with deception, a low-90s fastball, high-70s curve and a changeup, whereas Bergesen will keep the ball on the ground with his two-seamer.

 Q:  mike from durham asks:
Any thoughts on the season Andrew Lambo is having in the MWL?

Ben Badler: Excellent season, especially encouraging after tearing up the GCL a year ago. One of the best bats among prospects in that league, though he’s probably a 30 runner and he’s limited to a corner outfield position or first base.

 Q:  chrisg from BMB asks:
Hi, with the good week that Kila Kaaihue had was he in consideration to be on this list? If so, what kept him off?

Ben Badler: He got strong consideration and he’s having a fantastic year. He’s probably a guy who is getting a little overlooked, but he has tremendous plate discipline and his power stroke is emerging. He’s 24, so he’s a touch old for Double-A and he’s going to have to have his bat carry him, but it’s a promising skill set if he can prove it at a higher level.

 Q:  Tom from Des Peres asks:
Did Will Inman impress at the futures game, or did his non-normal delivery make people question his decent stats?

Ben Badler: I didn’t realize—and I think a lot of scouts didn’t realize—just how funky that delivery really was, and that’s what most scouts who saw Inman that day likely will take away from that game about him.

 Q:  John from Wisconsin asks:
O’s fan here. Appears the free fall has begun. Give me hope with some of the farm hand besides Weiter & Matusz.

Ben Badler: You didn’t have any serious aspirations for big league contention this year, right? The Orioles were out of it from the start of the season, but their goal obviously (and finally) is to build a sustainable infrastructure of cost-controlled, homegrown talent for the future. They’ve slowly built up one of the better farm systems in the game now, adding elite prospects like Matusz, Wieters, Tillman and Jones all within the past year. If they have the patience to stick it out, the Orioles should be contenders a few years from now.

 Q:  Phil from Grand Rapids asks:
Why hasn’t Chris Withrow, the dodgers 1st rounder last year, pitched yet this season?

Ben Badler: In spring training, Withrow grabbed a plastic snorkeling mask while he was on the beach. When he threw it, part of the mask cut his hand pretty bad. I’m not making that up, by the way. So that set him back, and then he went through a bit of a dead arm period too.

 Q:  ben bowman from toronto, canada asks:
Hi, thanks for the chat. How high is Arencibia’s ceiling? His power and contact seem great, but he’s not walking at all at AA. Is this a concern for his performance at higher levels?

Ben Badler: Players (at least major leaguers) in the aggregate tend to walk more as they age, so sometimes a guy who needs a little more patience but who also has excellent bat control or power can learn to take a little bit of a better approach and see marked improvements in his offensive output. But when you see he’s not walking at all in AA, that’s almost literally true: one walk in 38 games. How is that even possible? That’s definitely a concern going forward, but the power is clearly there.

 Q:  David E. from Athens, Ga asks:
Can we start talking about Jason Heyward the 1b instead of Jason Heyward the LF? Am i the only one who questions how that body can stay in the left field once its done maturing?

Ben Badler: His speed is a tick above-average, his arm is plus and he has feel for the outfield, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t stick in right field.

 Q:  Corey from Toledo, OH asks:
Matusz, Tillman and Erbe? You would take Erbe over Arrieta???

Ben Badler: I’m probably in the minority opinion on that one, but yes, I’d take Erbe over Arrieta. Erbe’s a year and a half younger than Arrieta and they’re both at the same level. I already touched a little on Arrieta earlier, but Erbe’s a guy who’s in the mid-90s and there’s good reports on his slider. Maybe he ends up in the bullpen, but he’s got plenty of talent and his control is already better than Arrieta’s.

 Q:  Doug from Flushing asks:
What’s the story on Gamel- he’s been slumping a bit this past month. Has he been exposed without Laporta or just hitting a slump?

Ben Badler: Gamel’s production at the plate almost certainly has nothing to do with LaPorta. He gets visibly frustrated with himself when he has a stretch of below-average offensive performance, but he’s still an excellent hitter with a quiet, balanced stance. I saw him play yesterday, and while I won’t go call him a good defender, he made several very good defensive plays last night. He made one catch while running into foul territory over his shoulder and snared a couple of other short hops. He’s not the smoothest over there—remember, third base is where a lot of former shortstops play in the big leagues, and it’s an underrated position in terms of defensive difficult—but it was nice to see him have a good game defensively over there.

 Q:  jon E blaze from columbus, oh asks:
When can I expect the following prospects to hit the MLB scene: David Price, Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel?

Ben Badler: Price in September, while Gamel and LaPorta will likely be up next year just after their service clocks are delayed long enough to keep them away from arbitration for an extra year.

 Q:  Clooch from Phoenix asks:
What’s Franklin Morales’ problem?

Ben Badler: Lack of control and mechanics that make me think that control might never materialize, at least as a starter.

 Q:  Louie from Park City asks:
After the Olympics are through, will the US players report back to their respective minor league teams to finish the season—always been curious about that!

Ben Badler: The Olympics are in August and the minor league season concludes at the end of August, so they won’t play in the minors at the end of the season. Some of them will probably play in the Arizona Fall League though to get some more reps.

 Q:  Dave from Florida asks:
Michael Stanton’s power numbers are impressive for someone so young. Do you think he will be a solid pro or are the strikeouts a concern?

Ben Badler: Everything you said is right. I think he’s a great prospect, I talked to a scout who was enamored with him, but the strikeouts are a problem. When you’re a power hitter like Stanton though—and he has HUGE power, especially for someone so young—it’s less of a concern.

 Q:  Manny from Guayaquil, Ecuador asks:
who do you think will be the best 3 baseman between, Dominguez(Florida) , Rowell(baltimore) or Hodges(cleveland). Thanks

Ben Badler: Dominguez should be the best with his run production/prevention combination, although Hodges is growing on me and should at least be a solid big leaguer.

 Q:  Antonio from Whittier, CA asks:
I wasn’t aware of the season Austin Gallagher was having. Any chance he’ll be the future at third base for the Dodgers insead of Blake DeWitt or Andy LaRoche?

Ben Badler: Gallagher got a late start to the season, so he sneaked up on people a little bit. I think LaRoche is or at least should be their future at third base, while scouts don’t seem to think that Gallagher will stick at third base.

 Q:  willy from pitt asks:
Where are the player pictures on the Hot Sheet?

Ben Badler: Some technical malfunctions. We expect them to be back next week.

 Q:  Thadeus Young from Providence, RI asks:
Do you ever see Matt Harrison being an effective MLB starter? A No. 4 or 5, maybe? He has excellent control and limits good hard contact (well, at least he did in the minors). Also, how much more will the Red Sox regret the Gagne trade once Beltre reaches the majors?

Ben Badler: I’m very skeptical on Harrison… No. 4 or 5 sounds about right for me. In retrospect I’m sure the Red Sox would like to have Beltre back, but while he’s loaded with tools, he also has a long, long way to go in terms of approach.

 Q:  Tim Collins from Lansing asks:
What do I have to do to get someone’s attention?

Ben Badler: You got JJ Cooper’s attention, and JJ has plenty to do around here at BA, so that’s a pretty good accomplishment!

Q:  Jason from Pittsburgh asks:
Earlier someone asked a question about whether or not Sean Rodriguez has really established himself as a very good 2B prospect this year. You answered the question but didn’t respond to that part of it… can you? How legit is Sean Rodriguez?

Ben Badler: I hate doing that… answering a question, and then not answering a question! That must be annoying. I think Rodriguez is doing a better job putting the ball in play, which was a problem last year. I’m skeptical (but of course I always am!) of whether it’s true improvement because he hasn’t had that many at-bats this season, but like Wood he deserves regular time to develop at the big league level.

Ben Badler: I’m heading off to watch Wade Davis pitch for Durham, but I’ll leave you with this: IBAF (the International Baseball Federation) has instituted a new rule this year for extra-inning games in the Olympics. Starting in the 11th inning and continuing into perpetuity if the game remains tied, teams will begin the inning with runners on first and second base. That’s just what baseball needs, right? An injection of the Arena Football League? Aren’t extra innings (at least once you’ve gotten that far) about as fun and compelling of a thing you can see in baseball already? Does IBAF just want to artificially inflate the leverage index in these games? This baffles me.

Ben Badler: Olympic ramblings aside, thanks again for all the great questions. We’ll be back here again next week, so enjoy the weekend!