Prospect Hot Sheet Chat: July 3

Moderator: We’ll answer your questions about the Prospect Hot Sheet and major league rookies, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Moderator: Hey folks, thanks for stopping by.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Bottom line: if the season ended today, who are the proud winners of the NL/AL ROYs?

Matt Eddy:
Longoria is the easy choice in the AL, and over in the NL, it would be
Soto . . . right now. A full season of catching, though, may cause his
numbers to diminish. I would view Fukudome as the full-season favorite.

 Q:  Michael from Atlanta, Georgia asks:
Is Jason Heyward a really good prospect who’s just having a great season, or is he really as good as the numbers would indicate?

Jim Shonerd:
There’s no reason to think Heyward’s not legit. He can hit for average,
for power, he can steal bases, and his plate discipline has gotten
better as the season’s progressed.

 Q:  Daron from Minnesota asks:
than Michel Inoa coverage there wasn’t much information on the
international signings as of July 2nd. Who did the Yankees sign?

Ben Badler:
That’s mostly because the teams have not announced most of the signings
yet… it’s not like the draft where you know immediately who drafted
which player. Only a few teams have made anything official, but we’ll
have more on that on our web site a little later today, though it would
have been earlier had I not completely shredded a tire this morning.
The Yankees did sign Dominican shortstop Giancarlo Arias (though for
less than I had originally reported), but the plan is to have more on
that later today.

 Q:  Lyle from Needles, CA asks:
Gamel need to learn a new position before being considered for a callup
and if so, where would he be best suited? Or, is he potential trade
bait for a possible Sabathia deal?

Ben Badler:
I saw him for four games the other day… going from that and from what
scouts tell me, it’s time for him to learn a new position. If you keep
him at third base, then in a perfect world he becomes a below-average
defender. He’s athletic, which helps, but athleticism does not mean a
guy can stick at third base. It’s everything from his footwork, his
actions and his throwing problems, and I think it’s gotten in his head
a little bit just from talking to him. I think a move to the outfield
would be best because he’s an excellent hitter who has more than enough
bat to stick at a corner outfielder position. I wouldn’t give him up
for a Sabathia rental, but it’s hard to see where he, LaPorta, Braun
and Fielder all fit into the mix with no DH option available for

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Prince Fielder go bye bye, does LaPorta have a shot at filling his
spot, or is management set on keeping him in the outfield?

Ben Badler: LaPorta has been taking some ground balls at first base, but I don’t think there’s any reason to trade Prince.

 Q:  Dan from NC asks:
me stunned – stunned – that Jhoulys Chacin didn’t make the cut. If
that’s not some kind of error, he couldn’t have missed by much at all.

Jim Shonerd:
I’d be stunned too, Dan. Chacin undoubtedly would’ve made it, but we
decided to shift him to the All-Surprise team, which will run in an
upcoming issue of the magazine.

 Q:  Big Dave from Arkansas asks:
season ending injuries to Jake McGee and Chris Marrero will they still
be considered for the top 100 prospect list? How much does this effect
their stock?

Ben Badler:
I liked Marrero’s season until he got hurt, so I think he’ll bounce
back. It hurts his stock, but there’s a good chance he’s still the top
prospect in that system at the end of the year. McGee’s injury is more
disappointing and may lead to an eventual move to the bullpen, which a
couple of scouts have told me they would have done with him anyway
regardless of his health. But I think you leave him as a starter and
see what he can give you.

 Q:  Rory from NYC asks:
is your take on Wilmer Flores? He is tearing up the Appy league at the
age of 16? What is his projection and is the best prospect in the Mets

Matt Eddy:
It would be practically impossible for Flores to make a more positive
first impression in pro ball. At age 16 he’s hit .377/.405/.638 in the
Appy League, ranking second in the league with nine extra-base hits.

Matt Eddy:
Signed during last year’s international signing period for $750,000,
Flores has advanced pull power and approach for a player his age. He’s
6-foot-3 and 175 pounds now, with plenty of room to add strength. If
you haven’t yet seen a picture of Flores, then check out the feature
Austin Maloney wrote on him in our current issue, No. 0815 with Jesus
Montero on the cover.

Matt Eddy: Flores could merit
consideration as the organization’s top prospect, sure, but Fernando
Martinez has returned to action at Double-A Binghamton and looks to
have finally hit a groove, with 9 hits (two doubles, homer) in 25
at-bats since coming back. Other farmhands who might challenge for top
spots: Jon Niese and Ike Davis, and perhaps Ruben Tejada, Nick Evans
and Dan Murphy.

 Q:  Big Dave from Arkansas asks:
What pitcher threw the filthiest pitch you’ve seen this year?

Ben Badler:
Kershaw’s curveball. I only saw it for that one inning in the game
right before the Dodgers decided to promote him to LA, but it was
impressive. And Chris Volstad’s two-seam fastball isn’t a pitch that
looks nasty, but he gets plenty of weak contact grounders with it.

 Q:  Jack from San Francisco asks:
With the A’s securing Inoa where would the Athletics top 10 list look like with him included and assuming they get Weeks signed?

Ben Badler:
Pretty loaded. I don’t think I’d have the aggressiveness to put him
ahead of Cahill, Anderson or Gio yet, but he’s immediately one of the
better pitching prospects in the game.

 Q:  Joe from San Diego asks:
Is Bourjos a future star in CF?

Ben Badler:
Star is a little aggressive right now, but he has the instincts, speed
and range in center field to be above-average there, and the line-drive
approach and the ability to hit to all fields make for a potentially
strong offensive player if he can get a little more patient at the

 Q:  Jon from DC asks:
Isn’t Smiley Gonzalez doing similarly impressive things in Rookie ball?

Ben Badler:
If you’re comparing him to Flores, you’re talking about a 16-year-old
vs. an 18-year-old. That’s a HUGE difference in baseball growth.

 Q:  Charlie from SD asks:
Alexei Ramirez – what’s his ceiling?

Matt Eddy:
Regular second baseman with 30- to 40-double potential who may hit .300
in some seasons. Ramirez never will be a high on-base guy or a Gold
Glover, but he’ll do enough things well to be worth keeping around.

 Q:  Ross from CA asks:
Kershaw graduating, Price looking like he may soon as well, and McGee’s
TJ surgery, who are the top 3 LHP prospects remaining for 09?

Ben Badler:
I think Price will still be eligible for our 2009 list, but other than
him I’d put Jaime Garcia, Brett Anderson and probably Brian Matusz once
he’s ready to go.

 Q:  Jackson from Milwaukee asks:
No Salome? Oh, the humanity…

Ben Badler:
Salome’s not even close to Wieters. Salome’s having a great year, but
there are legitimate positional questions with him. He’s about
5-foot-7, 200 pounds of solid muscle (believe me, the swelling in my
hand is just starting to go down after shaking his hand last week), so
he can kind of get away with his unorthodox habits at the plate because
of his strength. But he’s also a below-average defensive catcher
(below-average pop times, needs more accurate throws, etc.), so teams
can run on him all day. And if he doesn’t stick at catcher, where do
you put a guy who’s 5-7, 200 pounds and is a 25 or maybe a 30 runner? I
think he has a big league future, but these are just some of the
legitimate concerns that scouts have about him that I can see.

 Q:  Sweet Todd from San Francisco asks:
What is Bumgarner’s Ceiling?

Jim Shonerd:
If he develops his slider and/or changeup, he can be a No. 2 or better.
But right row he’s very reliant on his fastball and it’s more than good
enough to get him by in Low A, which makes him look more like a No. 3
at the moment.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
offense guys, but I really have to disagree with Coghlan over Cardenas
at 2B. Cardenas is only a level below Coghlan (High A v. AA) is 3 years
younger and has an OPS 60 points higher. Also has a significantly
better SB%. I guess you will point to the fewer ABs because of his
early season injury.

Ben Badler:
I think that was one of those coin-flip decisions (but with more heated
arguments that coin flipping), although the playing time difference had
to weigh in. From a prospect standpoint, I would put Cardenas ahead of
Coghlan, although I like both.

 Q:  Mike from Tampa asks:
What could be the Rays top 10 next year? Do you think Price will pitch over 50 innings in the majors this year?

Ben Badler:
I think it will look similar to last year’s, with Price taking over for
Longoria at No. 1 because I don’t think Price will pitch 50 big league
innings. McGee will move down a bit, Hellickson will move up some and
then obviously Tim Beckham fits in somewhere in the top of that list

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Any status on Carlos Carrasco’s arm injury?

Ben Badler:
Just that he was removed for precautionary reasons after feeling
shoulder tightness in warmups. It’s not cause for panic, but obviously
not a good sign.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:
Eric Eiland is the next…?

Matt Eddy:
Like Cardinals outfielder Daryl Jones, Eiland was a raw, toolsy,
lefty-hitting center fielder and standout football player at his Texas
high school. It’s taken Jones three years to catch up to even A-ball
competition, as he has this season, so don’t expect Eiland, Toronto’s
second-round pick in 2007, to grow by leaps and bounds early in his

Matt Eddy: Encouragingly, Eiland hasn’t been overmatched in a full-season league assignment in Lansing this season.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Was Michael Taylor considered at all? What is his ceiling? Is he legit or just average?

Jim Shonerd:
Taylor’s age worked against him here like it has all year, as far as
making the Hot Sheet goes. He put up some sick numbers in the Sally
League for sure, but his FSL career has gotten off to a rocky start as
he’s hitting .190 through his first 11 games. It may be that his big
first half in the SAL was just a product of the environment, but we’ll
see if he can adjust to the FSL. He wasn’t healthy last year and put up
poor numbers in the NY-Penn League as a result, so he’s a little hard
to judge.

 Q:  Justin from Columbia, MO asks:
Bryan Anderson continues to hit. Is he a legit top 100 guy?

Matt Eddy:
He is. Only 21, Anderson has proven he can hit for average in Triple-A.
His power and throwing arm lag behind for now, but he should learn to
identify pitches to drive as he gets more experience. And that .481
slugging in June was an encouraging sign.

 Q:  mike from oakland asks:
corey brown/sean doolittle above avg major leaguers or fringe star types? the k’s seem to be the main issue

Ben Badler:
I’d be more concerned with Brown’s strikeouts than Doolittle’s. Scouts
I’ve spoken with like Doolittle and think the power is legitimate, not
just a Cal League creation. He was a two-way player at Virginia, so
he’s added some strength to his upper body that he didn’t have in
college when he needed to pitch. Between the extra strength and the
temptation to put the ball in play more when you’re hitting in the Cal
League, I think that’s detracted somewhat from Doolittle’s plate
discipline, but I think he’ll regress to a more disciplined style at
some point.

 Q:  Kelly from St. Cloud asks:
Hellickson’s rocky beginning in AA hurt his stock at all in your eyes?
(I assume you created this sheet before his promotion.)

Ben Badler: Only by a tiny increment, since every outing matters. He’s still the exact same guy he was two weeks ago.

 Q:  Colin from Utica, NY asks:
do you think will be the top three prospects at season’s end for the
Marlins? Also, what is the projection for Sean West? And do you think
Mike Stanton will be able to improve his plate discipline enough to
become a perennial all-star? Thanks.

Ben Badler:
I’d go Maybin, Volstad and either Morrison, Dominguez or Stanton,
depending upon how the second half of the season plays out. Those last
three guys are all excellent prospects. Stanton does strike out a lot,
but remember that he’s still just 18 and he’s huge, already has
big-time power and projects to hit for more power. I’m not calling him
a perennial all-star, but he has big-time potential with the bat.

 Q:  Steven from Philly asks:
Been hearing a lot about J.A Happ lately. Is he a legit prospect or just another minor league arm?

Matt Eddy:
He’s a legit back-end starter option, especially now that he’s got his
walks under control in Triple-A. He sits 88-92 with the fastball and
locates it well to both sides of the plate. His changeup is good enough
to attack righties with, and was actually better against them in
Triple-A this season.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
Did Todd Frazier get any consideration? Do you think he is about ready for AA? How about an ETA?

Ben Badler:
I think he’s a significantly better prospect than Juan Francisco, so I
would base Frazier’s assignment around what’s best for Frazier’s
development. He’s playing some shortstop, but I’d give him some time at
third base at Chattanooga before the end of the season. It’s not a bad
idea to give him more time in the FSL, but the sooner he can develop
his defensive skills at a corner position the better, and he can
develop his fielding at any level.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Is Michael Durant a right-handed Ryan Howard?

Ben Badler: No. Durant is enormous, but he’s a dead red hitter who struggles against any decent breaking stuff.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Is Joe Savery’s bad season a fluke or a sign of times to come? FSL is perenially a pitcher’s league.

Ben Badler: I think it’s the latter, not the former.

 Q:  Mitchell from NYC asks:
Biggest upside Jesus Montero or Wieters??

Jim Shonerd:
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that would pick any minor league
catcher over Wieters. He was rated as the top catching prospect in the
game before the season and hasn’t done anything to jeopardize that
title. He’s the whole package.

Jim Shonerd: Taking nothing
away from Montero, who has the makings of a big time player himself,
particularly offensively. But Wieters is in a class by himself right

 Q:  wayne younger from Camarillo C.A. asks:
Gio Gonzalez has been incosistant all year, do you think he will get it together?

Ben Badler:
I think so, eventually. Good stuff, good K rate, still 22 in Triple-A,
good track record, good delivery… lots of things to like.

 Q:  mike from stl asks:
would harden for garcia/anderson/perez be too much from STL?

Matt Eddy:
That would be too much for the Cardinals to surrender for a year or two
of Harden. His medical history is so extensive that he’d be a huge risk
to take on even for one of those players.

 Q:  Jose from Miami asks:
What’s your take on Teheran? How good is he really?

Ben Badler:
A scout just the other day said Teheran had possibly the best arm he
had seen in the last couple of years covering the low minors.

Ben Badler: That’s it for today. Enjoy the holiday everyone!