Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With J.J. Cooper

Moderator: J.J. Cooper will answer your Hot Sheet and prospects questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): JJ, you know I respect BA's staff and their choices for the Hot Sheet on most weeks, but I gotta say
    you dropped the ball BIGTIME with respect to Hudson Valley's Jason McEachern. His past 2 starts this past week are Hot Sheet worthy to say the very least - 11.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 16 K. I am DYING to hear your explanation for his omission this week.

J.J. Cooper: Hi Jaypers. I’m going to start the chat a little bit early. In the case of McEachern, there’s a simple explanation: context matters. McEachern is an ’08 draftee who made 11 starts in Hudson Valley back in 2009, and he threw 120 innings in the Midwest League last year. The stats are great, but when a guy is essentially repeating the NYP (or a higher league in the case of the MWL) for a third year, it’s more a Man Among Boys consideration than top
of the Hot Sheet consideration. The Rays are as patient as anybody when
it comes to young pitchers and it works quite well for them, but we need to see McEachern do it for a couple of more weeks before he’s really in Hot Sheet consideration for the main sheet.

    Jason (Patterson): Who's a better prospect Jerry Sands or Trayvon Robinson?

J.J. Cooper: Was just talking to a scout who once again
repeated the mantra, tie goes to the athlete. Robinson plays a tougher position defensively, and while he’s not the hitter that Sands is, it’s not as significant a difference as some may believe. I’m still going to go with Sands because of his power, but it’s closer than one might think.

    Ike (DC): No Jason Kipnis? You've gotta be ribbing us.

J.J. Cooper: Looked hard at putting Kipnis on the list this week, but he also had nine strikeouts in 27 at-bats. Striking out in a third of your ABs was enough to keep him off the list.

    Dee (GA): Far be it from me to question your choice for #1, but there were pitchers who put up better numbers than Holmberg this past week. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were taking more than his past week's start into account - such as his entire
    scoreless innings streak? If so, that defeats the whole purpose of a WEEKLY list of hot players. Let's hear from you now.

J.J. Cooper: It’s a weekly list, but overall performance does matter. Go back a couple of years and check out Tommy Hanson’s appearances on the list week after week. Partly it was because of Hanson’s dominance that week, but part of it had to do with the consistency with which he was doing it. If we have two prospects who have similar weeks, one of whom is having a great month and one of whom is having a bad month, I’m going to generally go with the guy having the
great month. But as far as his numbers, Holmberg’s numbers this week also match up pretty well with pretty much anyone else on the list. He allowed one baserunner while striking out a batter an inning.

    Matt Dominguez (Florida): When will I get the call? I've been playing well until recently. And what numbers do you see me producing in a full season starting in 2012?

J.J. Cooper: I think Dominguez can battle for a Gold Glove in the big leagues, he’s that good defensively. I also think he’ll
struggle to hit enough to be more than a bottom of the lineup hitter. There are some scouts who believe he will put it together offensively, but more of the scouts I talk to think he’s never going to be an impact bat. And yes, he’s hit better lately, but a .257/.321/.417 line in Triple-A isn’t screaming for a call-up.

    John Havok (Lethbridge AB): Drew Hutchison was on a lot of sleeper lists this year, is it safe to say that he's now a legit prospect worthy of top 100 status? Where would you slot him today on the Jays farm rankings?

J.J. Cooper: I’ve been screaming his name since spring training. He’s legit. A definite Top 10 prospect in the Blue Jays system
and a guy we’re talking about for our Midseason Top Prospects update.

    Chris (Long Island): It seems like more and more scouts are hopping on the Carlos Martinez train. We have heard the
    "Pedro-like" comparisons, so who would you say has better pure stuff over Carlos Martinez that is currently pitching in the minors?

J.J. Cooper: I’d throw Matt Moore out there as having better pure stuff—better secondary pitches, nearly as good a fastball coming from the left side. You could put Shelby Miller and Jameson Taillon up there with Martinez as far as pure stuff from the right side.
Maybe Julio Teheran. It’s a short list.

    Eric (VA): Which pitcher has a higher ceiling, Jacob Turner or Carlos Martinez?

J.J. Cooper: Martinez. He may have a higher ceiling than the Sistine Chapel.

    Matt (Whippleville, NY): Is it just me or has this been a poor year for the Mets' farm? It seemed to start out well, but the hitters have been completely underwhelming and only a few arms look mildly promising.

J.J. Cooper: I think several arms have taken steps forward. At this time last year, Brad Holt and Jeurys Familia were completely lost. Now they are either back on track (Familia) or at least
not a disaster (Holt). Matt Harvey is having a very good year. As far as the position players I’d agree with you in the case of Flores and Puello, but Nieuwenhuis has been just as good as before and Duda keeps improving. It’s a pretty mixed year on the farm for the Mets.

    Kiefer Higgins (Lynnwood, WA): How did Kyle Seager not make the top 13, I know he made team photo but I want to understand why he didn't make the top 13 please elaborate thanks.

J.J. Cooper: It’s a great week, but in his case it somewhat comes down to his future projection. Seager projects as a utility infielder. The guys ahead of him generally project as regulars. If you’re asking why doesn’t he project as a regular, it’s largely because he’s a tick below average defensively at second base. He doesn’t
profile at third base and his arm may be a question over there as well.

    Madison (Chicago): Why a #3 starter for Peacock when he's showing front of the rotation stuff right now.

J.J. Cooper: Because he isn’t showing front of the rotation stuff. The scouts I’ve talked to say he’s got a 60 fastball, but neither his curve or changeup is plus. And to be a No. 2 starter, the profile is two plus pitches, an average third pitch and average command. The profile for a No. 3 is one plus pitch and two average pitches—that describes Peacock very well right now according to the reports I’ve received.

    Jim (Granger, IN): JJ, In reading Jake Odorizzi's bio in the 2011 Handbook, it speaks to his projected multiple
    plus pitches, command, etc. The Handbook write up makes him sound like a
    future Cy Young candidate. Yet, he's termed more "mid rotation" type than frontline starter in that same bio. Am I missing something? Has his
    performance this season raised those expectations?

J.J. Cooper: He’s definitely raised the expectations, but if you read our writeup in the handbook we said he could develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in time. That’s a pretty similar report to
what we would say now.

    SS dilemma (California): Appreciate the chats. Could you please rank these SS in terms of offensive ability - assuming
    all 5 stay at SS: Derek Dietrich, Nick Franklin, Tim Beckham, Wilmer Flores and Schoop.
    Thank you.

J.J. Cooper: The problem is there’s virtually no chance
that Flores and Schoop stay at SS and I think there are significant doubts about Beckham and Dietrich long-term staying there either. And even Franklin is a question mark defensively, so the premise of the question is doubtful. Offensively, I’m going with Franklin first. After that Flores, Beckham, Deitrich, Schoop. But after Franklin there’s not a
whole lot of separation offensively.

    David (Tempe, AZ): Where is the Diamondbacks' farm system headed in overall rankings? Seems like a lot of their prospects are really moving this year (Skaggs, Goldschmidt, Holmberg, Davidson, etc...)

J.J. Cooper: Headed way up. They are having a great year, especially on the mound.

    Tom (MA): Is there any comp for Jose Altuve? Is his upside MLB starter, or utilityguy?

J.J. Cooper: No. He defies comps. But all that being said, you still will have to search far and wide to find a scout who believes he’s a major league regular. But considering how unique he is, it’s really hard to scout him, because he’s not a player who you can compare to previous players of a similar type.

    Matt (NY): Great Sistine chapel line. Does Martinez crack the top 50 next year?

J.J. Cooper: Yes.

    Dylan Bundy (Baltimore, MD): Any word on progress of signing myself or fellow high schooler Bubba Starling?

J.J. Cooper: Check back when the calendar says August. MLB is not going to allow any of those big money guys to sign this soon.

    mike (Mpls): Delois Guerra - future as a reliever? I mean, that's all they have left from trading Santana....

J.J. Cooper: His fastball has gotten better again, so he at least has a chance at a big league bullpen role, but even that is still a long shot.

    ted (columbus): three of the Reds' most promising prospects—Duran, Hamilton, and Rodiguez—are all struggling at Dayton. Of the three, who is the most disappointing and who do you think has the best chance to right himself and end up a productive major

J.J. Cooper: To me Rodriguez is the most disappointing because he seems to have shown poor makeup to go with his struggles at the plate. With Hamilton, even with his offensive struggles, he still has shown a likelihood of being a big leaguer (with that speed and his defense he’s at least a utility infielder) and if he can improve at the plate, he still could be a very solid regular. Rodriguez has some growing up to do to go with a need to refine his approach.

    Tom (Idaho): Is Matt Harvey a #1 type starter?

J.J. Cooper: No. The secondary stuff isn’t good enough to project him as a No. 1. But he does seem to be answering questions in
a good way of whether he’s a big league starter vs. a big league reliever.

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): I always have a tough time getting a read on short season prospects: What are your thoughts on
    the hot starts for 19-year olds Pin-Chieh Chen, Wes Darvill and Reggie Golden at Boise?

J.J. Cooper: Generally I don’t get too excited about a hot start statistically for anyone in short-season ball. Not that it’s not notable, but it’s easier to dominate rookie ball or short-season ball than it is the upper levels. So my advice is to be a little excited, but don’t get too crazy about them yet.

    Joseph (Pittsburgh, PA): No Manuel Banuelos? Heard his stuff wasn't great, but the results are still there and he still the same guy.

J.J. Cooper: It was a very solid start so he wasn’t far
off the list, but it was hard to make it with only five innings pitched. And yes, the stuff for Banuelos has diminished a tick.

    joe (buffalo): how fair are the Daniel Corcino/Cueto comps?

J.J. Cooper: Pretty fair. Stuff is similar. Builds are similar. Backgrounds are similar.

    Jose (Bronx, NY): How about a right handed Luis Polonia for an Altuve comp

J.J. Cooper: Sorry, can’t buy that Polonia comp, although I appreciate the fact that it made me go dig out my old Scouting Report books from the early 90s to confirm my memory that Polonia had 70 speed or better. The reasons I can’t buy it is because Polonia had significantly better speed, and because as you noted Polonia
was lefthanded. Polonia had a 12-year big league career, if he had been
righthanded, you could argue that career could have been shortened by half.

    Efrim (Norwalk, CT): Speaking of steps back, how about the Braves farm? There seems to be little talent in the lower levels because of underwhelming drafts the last two years. Do you think this is the year their org ranking is outside the Top 15?

J.J. Cooper: The Braves’ pitching depth in the minors is still impressive. Between Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino and Paul Clemens
(who has taken a step forward) that’s a pretty impressive group of arms. But I’ll agree with you that I’d have a much tougher time listing a
lot of impressive bats in the Braves’ system.

    Shawn Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): What exactly
    does Tyler Thornburg have to do to get a little respect from you guys? So far all I've seen is a 'in the photo' from him. Did I miss something or has he just been overlooked? Also, would you say he is now their top prospect? Thanks

J.J. Cooper: As mentioned in the Banuelos answer a guy with five innings pitched this week has a tougher time making the list. Thornburg is having a great year, but there still is a lot of thought that with his delivery he’ll end up as a reliever. With that being the case Peralta and Scarpetta are in that mix battling him for No. 1 in the
Brewers system (well at least til Jungmann and Bradley sign).

J.J. Cooper: Sorry guys I’ve got to cut this a little short today as I have more calls to make for the Midseason Top 50 Prospects report. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and remember to listen to the Baseball America Show on MLB Network Radio Sunday night at 7 p.m. on XM/Sirius radio.