Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Ben Badler

Ben Badler: Zack Greinke sounds like he’s not too excited about the Royals’ farm system, but he might be the only one.

    Andrew (York, PA): What are your thoughts on the Astros promoting Jordan Lyles to AAA? Too soon, or does he have nothing left to prove in AA?

Ben Badler: I don’t see the argument against moving
him to Triple-A. Sure, he’s 19, but that doesn’t matter. He’s already
mastered Double-A, so what else is left for him to show at that level?

    Truck Starkey (117 Grissom): When will we finally see a Dellin Betances promotion to AA?

Ben Badler: From what I’ve heard, 2011.

    Larry W (Michigan): Seeing as KC has no other good options behind the plate, doesn't Myers still have a good shot at sticking?

Ben Badler: I don’t think that matters much. What
matters is whether Myers can catch, and I don’t think he will be able
to, not unless you want to keep him in the minors for another three or
four years, and even then it’s not a guarantee. It doesn’t mean he
WON’T be able to do it, but if I had to put money on his future
position, I’m going with right field.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Ben, I think Bo
    Greenwell made the list early in the season when he had a power surge
    in the Midwest League. He has kept hitting, in the 320 range, after
    promotion to High A Kinston. But the power has gone away. Serious
    prospect or not quite?

Ben Badler: He’s worked his way to become a prospect.
Not a great one, but a decent one. He’s got a good approach, a short
stroke and he can use the whole field, but to have success at higher
levels he’s going to have to develop more power.

    Dan (Work): Yorman Rodriguez, best 17/18 year
    old in baseball? .340 average, .808 ops, potential top 100 prospect
    next list? If not him who is the best 17/18 year old?

Ben Badler: I don’t see him as a top 100 guy. He’s a
great athlete but the approach has a long, long ways to go before I get
that excited about him. Raw Pioneer League numbers need a heavy
discount for hitters because of the offensive environment of that
league. The second part of your question is easy: Mike Trout (18) and
Bryce Harper (17), although if you want a 17-year-old in pro ball right
now, it’s either Miguel Sano or Gary Sanchez.

    Theodore Logan (San Dimas, CA): Where would
    Brandon Belt rank / project? I keep reading conflicting things on
    whether he's playing over his head or whether this is a real breakout.
    If this is a breakout, what's his ETA?

Ben Badler: Can’t it be both? I think it’s a real
breakout, but nobody’s true talent level is a .471 OBP/.639 SLG. He
should be ready to contribute next year, but I’m not going to play the
guessing game with big league ETAs for the Giants.

    Mudcatsfan (Raleigh): From checking Box Scores
    over the last month, I have Jesus Montero at 8 for his last 22 runners
    CS for a 36%. This seems like a vast improvement and even mirrors his
    improvement toward the latter half of last year at AA Trenton.
    Have you heard anything about this, and is it legit or a fluke?

Ben Badler: It’s a small sample size that doesn’t
change anything. I know one scout who did call Montero’s agility behind
the plate “surprising” in a good way, but you can’t read much into
those numbers.

    Jeff (New Hampshire): Is Wil Myers a top 5 talent in terms of pure hitters? Thanks!

Ben Badler: Definitely. Frankly, he’s in the discussion for the top five among ALL prospects in the minors.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Ben, Jason Kipnis
    keeps appearing on the Hot List with regularity. Meanwhile Cord Phelps
    is hitting in the mid-300's in AAA and Jason Donald is swinging a solid
    bat with the Indians. What does Cleveland do with all these 2nd
    basemen? Trade bait? Position switch?

Ben Badler: These things usually work themselves out.
Weren’t the Rangers supposed to be loaded with catchers like Jarrod
Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden just a couple of years
ago? If it comes down to it, sure, they could move one of them, but
second baseman usually don’t seem to have great trade value, and my
money is on them not all reaching their perfect-world scenarios.

    Randall (Seattle): Is Yonder Alonso going to be able to handle LF in the bigs?

Ben Badler: It wouldn’t be pretty, but if they
absolutely had to, he might play out there. You would be talking
below-average, maybe -10 to -15 defense out there, though.

    Patrick (Fort Wayne, IN): Ben, Robinson
    Chirinos is having an outstanding year in AA. Since he took to catching
    last year, he has becoming a late blooming prospect for the Cubs. Do
    you think he will play ML baseball? If so, does he have the ability to

Ben Badler: I don’t see him as a starter, but I do see
him as a major leaguer at some point, probably as a reserve. I thought
someone would Rule 5 him last year.

    Trader J (Indy): Wilin Rosario has been on a
    quite a tear since July 1st, though it looks like his season could be
    over with an injury. What's his prognosis and is he a top 50 candidate?

Ben Badler: Torn ACL, done for the year, not a top 50 guy for me.

    James (Whittier, CA): What is Jordan Lyles upside overall? Solid #3 or possibly a number 2 and is he a top 20 prospect overall?


Ben Badler: He has the stuff to be a
top-of-the-rotation starter. He’s 88-93 but he locates it incredibly
well for his age to both sides of the plate, his breaking stuff has
improved to become more usable and his changeup is a swing-and-miss
pitch that could be a 70 down the road. You know I’m not crazy about
comps, but in some ways, he reminds me of a taller, more athletic
version of Jeremy Hellickson.

    Kevin (Phoenix): Thoughts on which one of
    Bochering or Davidson sticks at the hot corner? Body wise, it appears
    that Davidson is more athletic. Which bat do you prefer?

Ben Badler: They’re both going to have to put in a lot
of work to stick at the position, and sitting on the bench while their
team is in the field half the time really isn’t an ideal situation. It
sounds like Davidson might have a small edge there, though. Not a
flashy defender, but he has the arm for the position, he can make the
routine plays and he shows some aptitude for charging the slow roller.

    Koy (Columbus, Oh): Doesn't really have to do
    with the hot sheet but is it time for Braves fans to write off Jordan
    Schafer? What has been his problem all year?

Ben Badler: I wouldn’t dismiss him completely, but I
will say he was one of the hardest players for scouts to get a handle
on when he was in the minors after his HGH-related suspension. I know
there were guys who liked him, but I know a lot of scouts who told me
they thought he was more of a part-time platoon guy, and right now
those scouts look like they might have been on to something.

    Jani (Toronto Canada): Ben,
    What will Nolan Reimold become, a star, just another guy, a flop????

Ben Badler: Could be an average regular, but there are
some holes in his swing he’s going to have to figure out how to make
the adjustment now that the league has a handle on him.

    Ryan (Toronto): How on earth does Anthony Gose get caught stealing so often? He's obviously fast, so what's going on?

Ben Badler: He’s just going on raw speed right now,
which isn’t uncommon for a raw player with his wheels. Once he learns
how to read pitchers better and get better jumps, you’ll see his
success rate go way up.

    Steve (Philly, PA): Why does it seem like international free agent signings have completely ground to a stop?

Ben Badler: Sorry for the delay, but my computer just
crashed. They have slowed, but I think that’s typical. Teams know who
they want to sign for July 2, they lock those players up quickly, and
then you’re left with players who are still asking for far more than
what teams are willing to spend. I think we’re going to see some more
official signings in the next week, and then after the draft signing
deadline goes by, we’ll see some more high-profile guys find a home.

    Mike (NJ): As far as pitching prospects go,
    where would you rank Matt Moore? Top 5 in minor league baseball? He has
    tremendous stuff, and seems like he is getting his control in check as
    of late ... Is he a true #1 starter?

Ben Badler: I don’t think he’s a top five pitching
prospect right now, but I think he has the potential to be there at
this time next year. You’re talking with a lefty who has the potential
for three plus pitches and possibly a plus-plus curveball. All he has
to do is show more reliable control, and I don’t see anything in his
delivery to make me think he won’t be able to repeat it more often once
he gains more experience.

    Bill (Galloway, New Jersey): Given the season
    that Mike Trout has had in Lo A and the way he is performing in High A.
    If the Angels are still in the race in September do you see them
    calling him up to the Big Club. If not for anything then to take
    advantage of his speed as a late inning pinch runner in a close game.

Ben Badler: This might sound crazy, and I still don’t
think it will happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did bring
Trout up in September. It sounds like Mike Scioscia is about as high on
Trout as anyone (and Trout does almost seem like a player created in a
lab made specifically to Scioscia’s specifications), so I wouldn’t rule
it out. Unless he struggles next year, I’m expecting him to be up at
some point in 2011.

    Todd (Santa Fe): Do you see Michael Montgomery as a no. 1 or 2 considering all of the quality young pitching in KC, majors and minors?

Ben Badler: Between Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Matt
Moore, John Lamb and Martin Perez, those guys for me are the five
lefties with the best stuff in the minors. Montgomery could be an ace,
but he comes with a lot more risk than we thought a few months ago
given his inability to stay healthy.

    Dick Mullaney (Glastonbury CT): No love for Melky Mesa on the Hot Sheet. This guy sure looks the part. Is he a potential Top 10 prospect for the Yanks?

Ben Badler: He was the last cut on the Hot Sheet and
we had a hard time leaving him off. All of the tools are at least 50s
or 60s except for the hit tool, which, you know, is sort of important.
He has the bat speed and quick wrists to kill a fastball, but when the
pitches start to bend, he gets in trouble. He’s not in the Greg Halman
category, but his strikeout rate is just on the cusp of what I’m
comfortable with for a guy at that level, so I don’t see him as a top
10 guy in that system if and until he makes more adjustments at the

    Mike (Pitt): I know he doesn't really count as
    a prospect anymore, but what is new Pirates' starter J McDonald's
    ceiling? Higher, lower, or same as Brad Lincoln?

Ben Badler: Higher, partly because I see Lincoln as a
No. 5 starter or a middle reliever, and partly because I think the
Dodgers sold way, way low on McDonald. He’s a three-pitch guy whose
stuff wasn’t conducive to a bullpen role, so I never understood the way
the Dodgers used him. He could be at least an average or better starter
in the big leagues.

    Larry W (Michigan): Danny Espinosa is having a nice season thus far. Any chance we see him in Washington next season with Desmond moving to 2B?

Ben Badler: It’s possible, but I don’t think his bat
is going to be major league ready by Opening Day. He also has the type
of offensive skill set (read: strikeouts) that tends to make managers
pull the plug too quickly on a young player if he struggles early in
his big league career, so if he does get called up, my only hope is
that the Nationals give him regular playing time and stick with him.

    Dale (Denver): There was a Stanton comp for Arcia's numbers this year. Do you think he has that type of upside?

Ben Badler: Woah, no, not even close. Just to be
clear, we were just pointing out how ridiculous his performance has
been in the Appy League, not saying his prospect status is similar to

    Sam (Toronto): Do the Jays make any more significant forays into the international market this year?

Ben Badler: I think so. I’m hearing they still have a lot of money to spend in that arena.

    john (ct): Why do you think so many of the O's
    prospects have been slow to develop? Will Showalter help speed up their
    development? Don't know if would be good to promote someone like Zach
    Britton if he's going to get shelled.

Ben Badler: I don’t think it’s anything systematic as
much as it is that you just have a lot of young players all breaking
into the big leagues at one time. You have advanced, polished players
like Buster Posey and Carlos Santana who can come in and dominate
immediately, but most of the time even elite prospects like Phil
Hughes, Clay Buchholz, Delmon Young, etc. come up and have to make some
adjustments before they find success. I think it’s more the volume of
young players all coming up at once than anything the organization is
doing wrong with these guys.

    Dan (East Brunswick, NJ): Rubby De La Rosa has
    earned two hot list mentions this year, but there seems to be little
    scouting data on him other than his fastball mph. What does he offer in
    terms of repertoire movement and make-up, and what's the ceiling?

Ben Badler: Hard, heavy fastball up to the mid-90s, a
slider with sharp bite that grades out around average and feel for a
changeup, although as a reliever for most of the season he hasn’t used
that pitch as much. He’s still learning how to mix all three pitches as
a starter and I know some scouts see him as a late-inning reliever, but
I see him developing more feel for how to pitch with experience and
sticking as a starter.

    Adam (Ft wayne, IN): How big a hit has the
    indians system taken given the promotion of Santana and the
    underperforming Chisenhall? Also, is Alex White's year better than
    expected or about what you expected?

Ben Badler: Losing Santana hurts but I’m not concerned
about Chisenhall, who’s been fine since he came back from the DL.
White, Kipnis and Nick Weglarz could all join Chisenhall has potential
Top 100 guys, and there’s some mid- to back-rotation pitching depth
behind them, so I still think their system is one of the better ones in
the game.

    Doug (Brooklyn): Is Betances hot run plus top notch stuff enough to get him on the top 100 and if so, any chance he hits top 50?

Ben Badler: He’ll be in the Top 100 discussion, but 50
might be a little aggressive. The medical record concerns me, but his
stuff is the best in the system.

    David (Hartford, CT): Five catchers in
    full-season ball have posted an OPS north of 900 this season: Carlos
    Santana; JP Arencibia; Buster Posey; Wil Myers; and Jason Hagerty. What
    can you tell us about the Padres' fifth-rounder out of Miami last year
    who's putting up great numbers at a level that's probably too low for

Ben Badler: Not a guy I’d put in that class. More of a
fringe prospect who handles a staff well and who should have success in
the lower levels, but there are questions scouts have about whether
he’s going to be able to hit more advanced pitching once he gets to

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did the A's buy themselves a lemon in Michael Ynoa?

Ben Badler: I wouldn’t put it that way because of how
much scouts liked him in ’08, but he’s been healthy enough to pitch
just 10 innings in two years. That’s a huge concern and I’m not
expecting him to come back any time soon this year. Look, obviously I
like Latin American prospects as much as anyone here, but we need to
exercise some caution before getting too excited about 16-year-olds
with no professional track record.

    Louis (Louisiana): Jay Austin or Anthony Gose?

Ben Badler: Gose. He’s still raw, but I think there’s more you can project there with the bat than with Austin.

    Joe (New York): Whats your take on Dustin Ackley and what can we expect at the MLB level from him.

Ben Badler: Very good prospect, outstanding
strike-zone judgment and a good hitter with feel for the barrel, but
I’m not quite as high on him as some others are. Don’t get me wrong, I
like him, but the power right now is playing as a 30 tool and I think
it’s going to take more time than people realize for him to be ready
for the big leagues as a result. Once he gets into his mid-20s he might
become at least an above-average regular, but I don’t see him making an
impact right away next year.

    Travis (Canada): If Adonis Cardona were in the draft rather than an IFA, on talent alone where does he get picked?

Ben Badler: Probably the second or the third round. I
don’t think there’s any international player from this year’s class who
would go any higher than that, other than possibly Heredia.

    Lou (Berlin, NJ): The Marlins can't catch the
    ball. Does that aid Matt Dominguez ascent? I know he's only 20, but the
    bat seems pedestrian for a corner guy.

Ben Badler: There are scouts who think he could be a
70 defender and save 10-15 runs a year in the field, but he’s not going
to be a big leaguer until he can hit. It sounds like he has made some
adjustments at the plate to give him a looser swing and a simpler
setup, but the numbers have to start coming up at some point.

    Nick (Long Island, NY): Cesar Puello is on a
    tear lately in the Sally. What's your opinion of him as a prospect? Any
    chance he can get some Top 100 love next year if he keeps this up?

Ben Badler: I think he’s one of the most improved
prospects in baseball. He’s made adjustments at the plate and showing a
better overall approach to hitting than he did a year ago. The reports
I’ve heard from scouts on his bat have been surprising, given that his
hitting has always been Puello’s big question mark, but he has shown
good plate coverage and he can drive the ball to all fields, even if
he’s not hitting it over the fence yet, and the speed and arm strength
are obviously still there. I don’t see him as a Top 100 guy, but he’s
definitely a breakout candidate.

    andy (san diego): is cederic hunter a legit prospect?

Ben Badler: He’s a prospect, but most likely a reserve OF unless he can get stronger and hit for more power down the road.

    fjmanuel (atlanta): Could you expound on
    Lutz's defense at third? You say it's average; any shot he could slide
    to second and save us all from Luis Castillo?

Ben Badler: He doesn’t have the skill set for second,
but he has a chance to stay at third base. Nothing flashy, not going to
make the high-value plays that come with great range because that’s not
who he is, but he’s a steady, adequate defender who can make the
routine plays.

    JC (STL): Outside of Shelby Miller who else in
    the Cards Org will be getting consideration for the Top 100? Let's
    assume that Cox signs and Wilson doesn't from the 2010 Draft.

Ben Badler: Joe Kelly has to be in the discussion with
a fastball up to 99 mph and two quality breaking balls. I don’t think
he’s going to have any problems moving up the ladder with his stuff,
but I would like to see a former college player perform outside of the
Midwest League and get a longer performance record of him as a starter
before running him up too high just yet.

    Tug (Neosho, Mo): I must say, I expect to see Aaron Crow on the Not-So-Hot-Sheet every week. What gives?

Ben Badler: Command is a big issue for him, but I also
think his stuff isn’t quite as good as people think. He’s got a great
fastball, up to 98 mph with heavy sink, and it’s a great pitch. His
slider looks good at times but he just doesn’t seem to miss too many
bats with it and he throws his changeup too hard to be more than just a
show-me pitch. With his arm action, I think he’s always going to fight
his command, so I see him more as a solid reliever than a frontline
starter that others have projected.

Ben Badler: Thanks for blowing off whatever work you
were supposed to do this afternoon to join in on the chat. Callis
should be here on Wednesday to answer all of your frantic will-he-sign
questions before the deadline. Until then, enjoy your weekend!