Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Ben Badler

Moderator: Ben Badler will chat about the new Prospect Hot Sheet at 3:15 p.m. ET.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Where is the love for Nick Noonan? 16 for his last 39 ABs certainly impressed me. Why not you?

Ben Badler: Hey everyone. They want me to chat after John Manuel? This must be what Carson Daly feels like every night.

Ben Badler: Noonan was in the mix, probably in that next 10 or so group of guys. Weekly stats: .417-.462-.542 in 26 PAs with one extra-base hit. He’s having a solid year for Augusta

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
With pitchers afraid to throw to Wieters in High-A, when do you anticipate him packing his bags for Bowie?

Ben Badler: Not soon enough. There’s nothing left for him to prove in the Carolina League.

 Q:  Marcus from Silver Spring asks:
Chris Marrero is finally turning it around will he make the sheet if he can keep on this pace?

Ben Badler: Yes, Marrero was the last cut. I think people are overreacting a little bit to the raw numbers while forgetting the context. In fact, I will argue that Marrero’s performance so far has NOT been awful; I think it projects quite favorably. He’s 19 years old in the Carolina League, he’s drawing walks and he has a slugging average 200 points higher than his batting average. Those are good numbers. Doing that, in Potomac, and with his tools at the plate (but even independent of them) projects very, very well.

 Q:  Michael from IN asks:
Was Ryan Tucker’s call-up a complete surprise to you guys? Would it have been Chris Volstad if he was not on the DL? Is Volstad next, say in mid-July?

Ben Badler: I wouldn’t say it’s a complete surprise, but I think that if Volstad was not on the DL (he’s coming off it today, so I’m going to watch him pitch tonight against Birmingham), he would be up there. Volstad’s had a couple of tough circumstances that have affected his numbers, whether it’s been pitching into a nasty crosswind (which damaged the quality of his curveball) or getting hit by a line drive on the hip/upper leg in one game that damaged his effectiveness the rest of the way (and led to a slightly bizarre incident on the field that would make Steve Lyons proud).

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Did Justin Thomas get any consideration? He had a great 9 innings recently, striking out 10 without a run.

Ben Badler: Thomas is interesting, a lefty who uses his changeup as his best pitch… shocking, right? I saw him earlier in the year and the changeup was plus, but he’s 24 in Double-A, he really struggled last year and the rest of his repertoire is fringy to solid at best.

 Q:  Mikey from Ft Worth asks:
What are the Rangers going to do with Davis, Ramirez, and Smoak?

Ben Badler: Luckily they’ll get to DH one of them. Obviously if Ramirez doesn’t stick behind the plate they’re not going to be able to play all of them, but odds are that at least one of them won’t pan out (even though I like all three), which is why you always take the best player available in the draft.

 Q:  Taylor from Houston asks:
Where is John Manuel and the CWS chat? The link flips me over here to the hot sheet chat.

Ben Badler: Sorry, that’s our old chat software kicking in. We’ll have the link up to John’s chat transcript up shortly.

 Q:  Brian from Philly asks:
At what point will BA wake up on Lou Marson? He’s gotten an honorable mention ONCE this season, yet hes put up a line of .353/.467/.457 at AA as a 21 year old CATCHER. Sure, the power hasn’t emerged yet, but how many 21 year old catchers lead AA in hitting and put up an OB% over .460? In his last 10 games he’s hitting .379. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Ben Badler: Do you think Lou Marson is a true .353 hitter, or do you think there might be a bit of noise and good fortune in those numbers? I like Marson’s line-drive approach and his knowledge of the strike zone. So when Marson is back to hitting .280 (or maybe .260, his career minor league average) and slugging in the high 300s, how valuable is that? I think his power has the potential for some moderate growth, but 220 or so good PAs aren’t going to turn a guy into a star prospect. That’s not to say I don’t think he can be a big league regular… let’s just not get carried away.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
How many years away is Fowler from contributing in Denver?

Ben Badler: Probably by 2009.

 Q:  Benny from Miami asks:
Did any other Cardinals get consideration, such as Colby? He had a good week, considering.

Ben Badler: Colby got some consideration but didn’t make it, as you can see. I wrote a little bit about Rasmus today in the blog in Triple-A Dish. I can understand people’s frustration with a player struggling who has superstar potential, but this guy has all the tools, he’s a 21-year-old in Triple-A and in trying to do it all in Memphis, a tough park for hitters. I talked to a scout who saw him when he was really struggling earlier in the year and he said Rasmus was by far the best player on the field.

 Q:  steve from new jersey asks:
do you think that with chris tillamn dominating for he is at double A ball at the age of 20 years old that he could possibly see time with O’s this season, maybe as a september call up? or do they want him to develop and finish the year in the minors even if he is dominating?

Ben Badler: I would hate to see the Orioles call up Tillman. The Mariners pushed him really fast, as they do with a lot of their prospects, but Tillman’s shown he’s been able to handle it so far. He’s one of the top pitching prospects in the game, but his command is not big league ready. I would leave him in Bowie for the rest of the season, then let him try his hand at Norfolk next season if the rest of 2008 goes well.

 Q:  William from Chicago asks:
How would you rank these guys, in terms of future MLB success? Cahill, Tillman, McAllister, Hellickson, Volstad, Jaime Garcia, Betances, Bumgarner, and Jarrod Parker…I know, it all depends on health, but what do you think? Thanks.

Ben Badler: Off the top of my head, Cahill, Tillman, Volstad, Garcia, Parker, Hellickson, Bumgarner, Betances.

 Q:  Seth from Cali asks:
Bumgarner has obviously done better than Alderson this year, even though on your preseason list it was the other way around. If you could choose one right now, which would you take?

Ben Badler: Obviously? Alderson is a 19-year-old in the Cal League. I’m not knocking Bumgarner, but Alderson’s environment is a much greater challenge. I’ll still take Alderson until I hear better reports on Bumgarner’s breaking ball.

 Q:  Drew from Boston asks:
Yamaico Navarro, major league potential or playing above his head?

Ben Badler: He’s an nice “sleeper”-type prospect, although covering 900 or so prospects as my day job might make my definition of sleeper a bit different the most people’s.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Regarding Matt Wieters’ assault on High A pitching, aren’t stud college bats from a top NCAA program supposed to tear up High A pitching? There are a bunch of good hitters in higher levels that are one or two years younger than Wieters, including a couple in the pros already named Justin Upton and Jay Bruce.

Ben Badler: Not making outs in 2/3 of your plate appearances this week is about as good as anyone can do. It’s not Wieters’ fault that the Orioles have him in the Carolina League. He’s going to keep hitting at any level.

 Q:  jay from Madison asks:
I’ve heard varying reports on Tilman’s stuff. Is he a top of the rotation guy or an innings eater? Also, is Z. Britton starting to push his way into the team photo? gotta love the gb/fb ratio.

Ben Badler: Tillman is a front of the rotation candidate. Britton hasn’t been close to the Team Photo, but he’s worth keeping an eye on as he makes his way through that system.

 Q:  Jeff Chisholm from New York, NY asks:
Better MLB pitcher in their prime: Cahill or Bumgarner?

Ben Badler: Cahill. I think he’s still a good ways ahead of Bumgarner right now.

 Q:  Drew from Boston asks:
So……….. what makes your sleeper definition different than most?

Ben Badler: Just because we have to cover and be knowledgeable about so many players, our perceptions vs. fans’ perceptions of a player’s stock may be a little bit different. For example, someone from a Baltimore paper interviewed me the other day and asked me for sleepers in the Orioles system. He said a guy like Brandon Erbe would qualify for that, but to me he’s one of the better pitching prospects in the game. I think it just has to do with us covering these guys in such depth every day that it affects our view of who would qualify as a “sleeper.”

 Q:  Anthony from Staten Island, NY asks:
Will Carp be able to make a contribution to the Mets next year or will we have to look to free agency to fill our hole at first base? Also do you project him to be a middle of the order bat? Thanks.

Ben Badler: At the beginning of the season I was skeptical of Carp, but I’d rather him at first base right now than Carlos Delgado. Now maybe he cools off a bit down the line, but right now based just on true talent and not name recognition, I think Carp is the better player.

 Q:  Eric from Hillsborough, Ca asks:
It has been reported the Giants have signed Rafael Rodriguez for 2.5 mil. Can you give us any scouting report on the young man?

Ben Badler: This is completely, unequivocally, 100 percent false. Rafael Rodriguez cannot sign until he turns 16, which is on July 13. I have heard him strongly linked to the Giants and I believe he will sign with them for $2.5 million, but he has not signed yet. We’ll have more on him and plenty of other July 2 guys next week.

 Q:  Matt Hahn from Welcome, KY asks:
Jeff Clement has really found is stroke back in the minors. Why on gods earth is he still here with the big team struggling so much?

Ben Badler: I’m as bewildered as you are.

 Q:  Jonathan from GA asks:
I am sure it is hard to narrow things down but I cannot imagine anyone being hotter than Micheal Stanton

Ben Badler: You’re right on the first count and you could make a good argument for the second as well. The thing is if you’ve ever been to the park at Greensboro, you see a lot of balls just carry and carry and carry, which helps Stanton a lot. But still, what he’s doing at his age is outstanding. I think you have to credit Heyward as the best positional prospect in the SAL league, but Stanton’s up there too with Burgess, Villalona, Freeman and Noonan, at least among guys with significant playing time. The Marlins have a pretty nice situation on their hands with Stanton in Greensboro and Morrison in Jupiter. Is there a better positional prospect in the FSL than Morrison? Maybe Adrian Cardenas or Desmond Jennings, but that’s about it.

 Q:  Greg Chisholm from New York, NY asks:
Can you give me a quick scounting report on Jeremy Hellickson?

Ben Badler: Low-90s FB that touches 95, good feel for the curve, outstanding command, quick and easy arm action from a fluid delivery, very advanced for his age.

 Q:  Jay from Madison asks:
So if Tilman and Erbe are among the best pitching prospects in the game and Weiters surely among the top hitters and their just nabbing the top pitcher in the draft — the O’s must be loaded, no?

Ben Badler: It might be shaping up that way. I’m probably more in the minority in my stance on Erbe, but with those three, Reimold, Rowell and Matusz once he signs, that’s a pretty formidable group. If that team can truly commit to building a sustainable infrastructure that emphasizes developing homegrown talent rather than their old stuck-in-the-middle strategy, they will be headed in the right direction.

 Q:  Eric from Phoenix asks:
How soon do you think SS Todd Frazier (CIN) and C Pablo Sandoval (SF) might earn promotion to AA? ETA for the bigs?

Ben Badler: I think we all want to see what Sandoval does away from the Cal League. I think he’ll be up in the EL some time after the all-star break. It seems like the Reds are starting to try Frazier as a utility man, although he’s more of a corner utility man than your typical glove-first, no bat utility guy. So he’s not blocked by Valaika any more, which means I think he could end up in Chattanooga some time in August. Any of these predictions though are just our best estimates based on the player’s talent, performance and the team’s history of promoting players.

 Q:  Lance from Arkansas asks:
Where in the world is Jess Todd? I’m guessing if he were a Yankee, he’d be #1? He’s not much different from good ole Ian Kennedy.

Ben Badler: I’m almost certain we’ve only had one Yankee on our Hot Sheet all year, and that’s been Austin Jackson. The rest of that system has been either largely disappointing (Tabata, your boy Ian Kennedy, Horne, etc.) or one of their many Tommy John survivors. Jesus Montero and Zach McAllister have looked good though. Now that I think about it, we have had way more Cardinals prospects than Yankees prospects on Hot Sheet, but I don’t think any of us here ever think about the list that way. Their organizations are irrelevant to me.

Ben Badler: Nobody’s forgetting about Todd, which is why he was one of our five helium guys at are two-month checkpoint Hot Sheet last week. This week Todd had one start: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K. So that put him in the mix, but just missing.

 Q:  nick from astoria asks:
No mention of Danny Duffy? Last two starts he has been lights out. Do you view him as a sleeper? He has some serious potential, and doesnt get mentioned too much.

Ben Badler: Duffy put up some pretty silly numbers last year. Good fastball, potentially plus curve and there’s a lot of deception there that throws off hitters in the low minors. There’s a bunch of mechanical issues there too in terms of his ability to get extension and repeat. He’s a guy I could get behind more once I see him have more success at a higher level, but the ability is there.

 Q:  Heddy from Office asks:
When can we expect to see some of the ’07 draftees take the field, like Kyle Lotzkar, Nick Barnese, Wendell Fairley, Michael Main, and Danny Rams?

Ben Badler: Short season ball starts next week. Most of those guys and the 2008 draft picks should get their starts then.

 Q:  Bigfan from Central Coast asks:
Please compare Bumgarner to Aaron Poreda if you could…they seem pretty similar to me, yet Poreda is obviously out of College, while Bumgarner was a prep prospect. Which do you take at this point and why?

Ben Badler: Not a bad comparison at all. Both are big lefties and they are two of the hardest throwing southpaws in the minors. That’s tough, since I’m skeptical about both of them. Poreda has a pretty good sinker, but I don’t think either of them have very good secondary stuff at this point. I’ll take Bumgarner right now because there’s more uncertainty with him, which in this case is a point in his favor.

 Q:  Jaypers from IL asks:
Going back to my Noonan question, and your answer, do you see him hitting for the kind of power needed to be a solid MLB 2B? Or will he just be another one of those guys that never really had the HR power that is required to stick in the bigs?

Ben Badler: He’s not going to be a power hitter, but he doesn’t need to be one. He’s got a strong fundamental swing with a line-drive approach, so he’ll put the ball in play plenty, provide you with some on-base ability and drive the ball, which makes for a potentially valuable second baseman.

 Q:  john from denver asks:
If you had to predict the Top 5 prospects on next years preseason list,who would you pick?

Ben Badler: Maybin, Rasmus, Heyward, Price, McCutchen and Wieters are all in that discussion.

Ben Badler: Thanks everyone. Same time, same place next week.