Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Ben Badler

Ben Badler: Chat queue is loaded up. Let’s get started.

    Kevin (Duluth): Ben, are Miguel Sano's 69 walks
    a sign of real on-base ability or just a product of the level he's at and/or pitchers fearing his power? Also, what do scouts think the ceiling of his hit tool is, can he hit .280 at the Major League level? Thanks for the chat.

Ben Badler: He’ll run some deep counts because he gets pitched around and because he’s not a high contact hitter. There’s thunder in his bat and big offensive potential, but the strikeouts are a
real concern.

    Harry (NJ): Would you consider Bundy ready for Bowie?

Ben Badler: Yes, but I don’t think there’s any rush there either.

    Itto (PR): Will we see Cubs RHP JC Paniagua pitching this year?

Ben Badler: His contract still has to be approved by MLB, so 2013 is more likely.

    Chris (NJ): Is Gregory Polanco on pace to be a top 100 prospect next year? Could you give us a quick run down of his tools?

Ben Badler: Absolutely. Potential to hit for average and power, with 60-70 speed and average defense. Huge breakout guy.

    Diego (Portland): Great to see Torreyes' bat coming around. How does his glove rate, and is Altuve a fair comp for what we might expect to see from him?

Ben Badler: He’s a good defender at second base. There are some similarities to Altuve, but there just really aren’t any comps for a guy who’s maybe 5-6, makes contact like he’s hitting off a tee and
can do some decent damage when he connects too. At the same age, Torreyes is more advanced than Altuve was, both offensively and defensively.

    Itto (Puerto Rico): Christian Villanueva hit 2HR in his first game with Daytona. Is he still a BA top 100 player by the end of the year? Is his prospect status increase this year?

Ben Badler: Solid prospect, but there’s enough questions from scouts on how much impact is there with the bat that I think he’s on the periphery of that list going into next year.

    Ryan (Chitown): Once Vizcaino recovers, do you believe he'll be a SP or RP? Would you consider him the Cubs' top minor league arm at present?

Ben Badler: The track record of his inability to stay healthy just screams reliever. That said, his stuff is absolutely filthy, so there’s potential for him to be a dominant reliever. Given the lack of pitching in that system, yeah, I’d say he’s the Cubs top pitching prospect.

    Gary (Oakland): Love your work at BA. What's Addison Russell's ceiling? Does he have a good chance to be a superstar?

Ben Badler: Superstar is getting a little ahead of ourselves. I want to see how the swing mechanics play at higher levels still, but there’s big-time hitting and power potential there.

    Mike (Orlando): Do you see Oscar Taveras getting a call up this year?

Ben Badler: Seems unlikely. Triple-A time maybe, but sounds like he may just finish the year in Double-A.

    Jeff (Arizona): Who has the greater upside, Miles Head, Jackie Bradley, or Tyler Austin?

Ben Badler: Bradley. Not going to make many outs at the plate and he’ll save a ton in the field.

    Matt (Jacksonville,FL): Hi, Where do you think Billy Hamilton would start 2013 at: back at Pensacola, Triple-A, or leadoff for Cincinnati?

Ben Badler: It’s going to depend on what they do with Gregorius and whether they’re going to leave Hamilton at shortstop. I would just stick Hamilton in center field and let him fly, but the Reds want to let him figure it out at shortstop. So if Gregorius is in Triple-A next year, Hamilton’s probably going back to Double-A unless they want to put him in the outfield.

    Danny ('Joisey): He hasn't had a wow week yet, but what are the reports on mega-bonus baby Adalberto Mondesi, who turned 17 this week? I thought he was a glove only guy at signing but have heard the opposite now?

Ben Badler: A lot of surprise from international scouts
when he signed for $2 million, but the only reports I’ve gotten from guys who have seen him this year have been positive.

    Yoan, no wait, Yeison (Ft. Wayne): Given the age revelation last winter, are you surprised I'm still out here in Ft. Wayne rather than getting a bump to Elsinore to finish out the season? Would you try to jump me straight to the Texas League next spring even if I finish the season in Low-A?

Ben Badler: You have to promote players based on talent, not age. The reality is that there are a whole bunch of players in the minor leagues right now playing with fake ages and even fake identities. I could see Asencio getting a bump to Double-A next year based on talent, but I wouldn’t let the jump in age affect that decision.

    esteban (miami): ive heard some good things about baez's power.. would you call me crazy if i compared it to sano's power?

Ben Badler: I’ve gotten 70 grades on his power, but I’d still give the edge to Sano there. As a complete hitter, Baez all day.

    Regurgitating Gordon Wood (New Orleans): What happened to Cheslor Cuthbert? Is it time to temper our expectations? Thanks!

Ben Badler: I guess, if the expectations were that a 19-year-old with his baseball background would come out and rake in a tough park for hitters in the Carolina League. I did think he’d show better than this, but all the underlying talent is still there, so I’m still high on Cheslor.

    BleacherCreature (NY): Ben,
    is it officially time to jump ship on Teheran? there has to be more here than normal ups and downs for a prospect...right?

Ben Badler: Jump ship? No, but if you want to start eyeing the life boats, I think it’s fair to be ready. There just hasn’t been a lot of progress there.

    john (ct): UConn's George he the next Rob Deer or will he eventually cut down the whiffs and become a solid hitter with speed?

Ben Badler: Love the tools, but Lancaster is doing a lot to mask the contact issues.

    John (Chicago): In what order would you rank Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo, and Domingo Tapia?

Ben Badler: Tapia, Montero, Mateo. The first two have the best chance to start, but that’s three big league arms.

    Chris (Texas): Profar's ceiling?

Ben Badler: At this point, it would be disappointing if he didn’t turn into a perennial all-star.

    Jon E (Iowa): If Nick Castellanos were summoned to Detroit tomorrow what is your guess at his slash line over about 200 PA's?

Ben Badler: .270/.275/.400? He’s going to be good, but he needs more time.

    Brian (Chicago): Jorge Bonifacio or Gregory Polanco?

Ben Badler: You know I love Bonifacio, but Polanco has the greater range of skills and projectable tools at this point. With Bonifacio, its all in the bat, but yeah, it’s a good bat.

    brad (nj): I understand that Tijuan Walker is young for AA, but his numbers are just ok. I am worried that he will become Julio Teheran and not the next King Felix. What are the worst and best case scenario's for Walker, in 2014?

Ben Badler: Walker’s breaking ball is much better than what Teheran has ever shown. There are some concerns from scouts about Walker’s command and whether his arm action will impede that, but with his stuff, even if it’s just average command, you’ve got at least a No. 3
starter with the upside for a true frontline guy.

    Shannon (Atlanta, GA): Obviously Lindour is too
    young so do the Indians have any position players at AA or AAA that are
    worth bringing up if they cut Johnny Damon? Can they get any MLB quality contributions from Goedert, LaPorta, Canzler, etc?

Ben Badler: You still run into the scout who sees potential still there in LaPorta, but there are holes in his swing that big league pitchers have exploited that he needs to prove he can cover up.

    Michael (West Virginia): Hanson and Polanco get
    the all the hype as far as WV Power players and deservedly so, but what
    about 1b Jose Osuna? He's younger than both (few months on Hanson) and had a monster July to follow a solid showing last year in the GCL. Is he a top 20 prospect in the Pirates system? 15? 10? Is he the best 1b prospect in the system, with Alex Dickerson and Matt Curry being the other candidates?

Ben Badler: Osuna’s a hard guy to figure out. It’s a very limited profile, the hit tool is there, but the question scouts have is whether the power will be enough to carry him at first base. Then he goes out and hits nine home runs last month. You’ve got to be a monster at the plate to be a first base prospect, but Osuna is definitely intriguing.

    Steve (Canada): With the recent voided contract of Luis Castro, do the Blue Jays have any links with any other international prospects. Thanks

Ben Badler: Haven’t heard them on anyone else yet, but that’s because they weren’t planning to play on any other pricey international players the rest of the year with Barreto, Urena and Castro tying up all their pool space until deal with Castro fell apart.

    Jason Pennini (Boston): What will it take for the Royals to call up Wil Myers? When do you expect his call-up?

Ben Badler: Given where the Royals are in the standings, might not be until April 2013.

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): Would you add Michael Ynoa to the 40-man if you were the A's? If not, do you think a team takes a risk on him? The reports on his stuff in BA yesterday weren't great.

Ben Badler: Only if there are no other close calls to make. Understandable given the injuries, but I really haven’t heard a great report on him since July 2, 2008.

    Brian (Greensboro, NC): Speaking of hard to figure out guys....Marcell Ozuna - a legit prospect with power or power only prospect??

Ben Badler: Definitely a power over pure hit with Ozuna, but the bat has made real strides over the last two years. Absolutely a legit prospect, but it may take some patience for him to make more adjustments at the plate before things click.

    Mike (TO): Any details about Castro? Have voided conracts happened frequently?

Ben Badler: Just that he failed his physical. It’s happened before, in the draft and internationally, but the draft just throws a different dynamic into it and guys either sign with the team that picked them for a reduced bonus, go to school or have a case like Barret Loux. Wagner Mateo’s probably the most famous example for an international signing.

    Bryan (Cincinnati): Is Dylan Bundy a better prospect than Matt Moore was? Based on the reports on Moore at the beginning of the season, Moore seemed to be regarded as better than the typical #1 pitching prospect and I was wondering if Bundy is in that same class. Thanks.

Ben Badler: At the same age, Bundy was well ahead of where Moore was at 19. I’d stack 2011 Matt Moore over 2012 Dylan Bundy, but it’s also a bit of semantics since those are both No. 1 starter profiles.

    dave in ny (ny): Jesse Biddle or Adam Morgan?

Ben Badler: Biddle, but wow has Morgan come on and narrowed that gap this year.

    STU (St. Joseph, MO): When is Hultzen getting the call to the bigs? And has Chris Archer finally worked out his control issues?


Ben Badler: Woah, I think Hultzen has to find a way to throw a few more strikes and get his ERA under 5 in Triple-A before he’s
in the mix for Seattle. And he should, but he may end up back in Tacoma
to start 2013. Archer has had a nice stretch, but the control is still very much a work in progress. There’s mid-rotation starter potential there, but given the control and the way his fastball would play up in the pen and complement his slider, that has to be a very tempting option
for the Rays.

    Jonthan Singleton (CT): Will I be the starting 1b next year or will Brett Wallace give me more time in the minors? The
    DH and Brett being able to almost play 3rd base may help me.

Ben Badler: Well they have been playing Wallace at shortstop . . . but long term, Singleton is the answer at first base. For next year, given how bleak the outlook is going to be for Houston at
the big league level, I don’t see any reason to start Singleton’s clock
on Opening Day. Maybe by midseason if he forces the issue, but he could
spend another year in the minors.

    Grant (NYC): Ben - as BA's international guru, I
    wanted to know if you would consider Puig and Beras worthy of being in their respective teams' overall top 10 prospect lists?

Ben Badler: We’re going to need more information on Puig, but given what’s in the Dodgers’ system, he has a chance to be in there. Beras has a chance, but the Rangers have a top-notch system, and the age questions on him are significant.

    Justin (Santa Clara, CA): Just another 21/almost 22 year old 6' rhp or is Rafael Montero something much more? Can you expand on him a bit?

Ben Badler: His feel for pitching is WAY beyond his experience level. There’s no out pitch in his arsenal to hang your hat on, but he’s commanding a plus fastball and showing a very encouraging uptick in his strikeout rate since the move to High-A. Saw him as maybe a
5th starter things clicked coming into the year, but now there are scouts putting mid-rotation potential on him.

    Matt (Philly): Any thoughts on Maikel Franco, only 19 years old and really starting to put together a nice second half?

Ben Badler: Big fan of his defense and what he’s done the last month at the plate is encouraging. The swing is unorthodox so I’m not sure whether the bat will play at higher levels, but the hand-eye coordination is making it work.

    Ian (MPLS): Can you suggest a sleeper in the Twins system for weary Twins fans?

Ben Badler: We’ll go for a deep cut: Felix Jorge in the GCL. Not sure if he’ll remain a starter, but huge power arm potential.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Does Roberto Osuna have a top of the rotation profile, or is he a midrotation type with too much polish for short season ball?

Ben Badler: I don’t think we know at this point. If we’re talking about a 23-year-old, unless a guy learns a cutter or makes
a slight variation in his arsenal, the stuff pretty much is what it is.
With Osuna, at 17, there’s still potential for the quality of his pitches to improve, for him to grow (vertically or horizontally) or to make changes in his delivery that it’s hard to put a profile on him yet.
Scouts look at him now and yeah, you could project a mid-rotation guy down the road, but there’s so much that could change over the next few years that you might end up selling him short.

    Emsi (Washington): Should Trevor Bauer fans be worried about this time off, or glad that the D-Backs are being careful with his body?

Ben Badler: No reason to worry, either about the rest or the major league performance. Given the underlying control issues Bauer was having in them minors, I was confused why there was so much clamor to call him up in the first place.

    Nate (New York): Greetings! Sleeper for the Yankees system?

Ben Badler: Mark Montgomery is going to be a nasty reliever one day.

    Scott (Montgomery): Do you think David Dahl has a chance to move up quickly in the Rockies organization? Looks like he's off to a nice start.

Ben Badler: Yes. This guy could skyrocket up the prospect rankings next year.

    Brian (Greensboro, NC): Is Jose Fernandez the real deal or just a flamethrower that was able to overpower Sally League hitters?

Ben Badler: Oh, he’s very, very real, and he’s got swing-and-miss breaking stuff too. Becoming a favorite of scouts who’ve seen him this year.

    J.B. (Seattle): I'm a big Trevor Bauer fan, but
    it seems there are legitimate concerns with either his control or his non-standard approach to batters (trying to K everyone, pitching high in
    the zone, etc). His rap game has a pretty weak flow as well. How worried should we be?

Ben Badler: Long-term, I’m not worried. He has plenty of stuff across the board to miss bats and beat hitters in the strike zone, it’s just a matter of throwing more pitches in the strike zone, especially earlier in the count. I look at Yu Darvish and even he’s still trying to figure out how to do that against major league hitters. Lincecum was the same way when he was Bauer’s age. It’s still something he’s working at, but once he gets it, there’s true ace potential, and I don’t give that out lightly.

    jb (Iowa): Any chance Cubs could have a top 5 system by next spring ? t

Ben Badler: That would surprise me.

    Jordan (Dallas): Does Nick Castellanos 5/46 BB/K ratio in 50 games at AA scare you?

Ben Badler: It does, but he’s one of the youngest players at that level, and it still seems to work for him. He does some things that are unconventional and make you wonder if it’s going to work
against better pitchers, but the guy just has a knack for hitting and making adjustments during at-bats and during the season. Once he gets stronger and starts to be able to do more extra-base damage, pitchers are going to start being more careful to him, his approach will continue
to improve, and that might be when he really takes off.

    Andrew (NY): Rougned Odor has been slumping a little recently, but had an impressive first half for Hickory. What do you see the future holding for him?

Ben Badler: Most of the international players his age, other than a few guys like Miguel Sano and Gary Sanchez, are either in Rookie ball, a short-season league or even repeating the DSL. There’s no
in-your-face tools with Odor, but it’s still a sweet, simple swing with
a great approach for his age. That bat is going to play everyday at second base.

    Jeremy (D.C.): Trayce Thompson. Bullish or bearish?

Ben Badler: Can’t write off a player with that kind of power, but man oh man is that a lot of strikeouts.

Ben Badler: Chatting’s been fun. Thanks for all the great questions. We’ve got our Best Tools winners coming out in the very
near future, so be on the lookout for that soon. Have a great weekend.