Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With J.J. Cooper

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. Thanks for the questions. Lets get started.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Tyler Matzek put up an incredible outing (for him, anyway) last week and a decent one this week. Did he get any consideration?

J.J. Cooper: You summed it up quite well, he had a great week two weeks ago considering his backstory, but even that wasn’t
a dominating outing, and his start this week (6 IP, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 Ks) wouldn’t get him within shouting distance of the Hot Sheet. But for a guy who was headed in the wrong direction, these last few starts are a glimmer of hope.

    Matt Moore (Durham, NC): What, just because I gave up a couple of runs disqualifies me from the Hot Sheet this week? Man, you guys are a tough crowd at BA.

J.J. Cooper: Yeah…maybe that was a little harsh, but hey by Matt Moore’s standards a two-run outing is a bad outing. Wouldn’t
be surprised at all to see him back on the list next week.

    Mark (San Diego): Small sample, but Donovan Tate has been hitting well with a 13/9 BB/k ration since returning from suspension. Is he starting to show some baseball skill or tools being manifested in a small sample?

J.J. Cooper: He’s got some developing skills, but yeah,
it’s a small sample size. I’m more concerned about how far behind he is
in terms of at-bats. He’s a 2009 draftee who will head into next season
with less than 300 pro at-bats. That’s a whole lot of lost development time.

    Tim (Oakley, CA): Is the SA Missions starting staff, the overall deepest and most talented staff in MiLB? Despite the
    rough July Oramas has been a stud for much of the year, how does he stack up as a prospect?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry, I’d argue that crown began the year
in Clearwater (May, Cosart, Colvin, Pettibone), but it’s now shifted to
Gwinnett (Minor, Teheran and Delgado). Oramas is a solid middle-of-the-rotation prospect. He’s sort of a Robbie Erlin-lite although his delivery isn’t as clean.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Did Reds Low A 3B David Vidal get any consideration for the hot sheet? The 21 year old has been
    blowing up the pitcher friendly Midwest League to the tune of a 1.041 OPS since the MWL all star break.

J.J. Cooper: Took a long gaze at him for this week’s Sheet, but in the end, he was just a notch below the guys who made it this week. He has done a lot to put himself on the Reds’ prospect map however. He’s been better at third base than I expected. There was some talk when the Reds drafted him that he could end up at catcher.

    Rocco' (Da' Village, NY): What's BA's take on the A's switching Grant Green from Shortstop to Center Field? Doesn't that really dim his Prospect status? Or can he still profile as another Robin Yount now?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry, but Green never profiled as a Yount. Yount was a big leaguer at 18, and by the time he was Green’s current age, he was working on his sixth big league season. It has always been hard to find scouts who thought Green could handle shortstop
defensively. There are still some similar concerns when it comes to center field, as he’s not a plus runner. If Green can handle center defensively, then he should be OK, but he doesn’t really look like an impact player in the big leagues.

    itto (PR): Brett jackson is having a good start
    in AAA, but it looks like most of the hitters have good numbers in the PCL. Does he have the tools to be an above average CF and leadoff hitter?

J.J. Cooper: There aren’t a lot of things about Jackson
that are above-average, but he’s notable for how many things he does at
an average level.

    Tony (Frederick, MD): Most 21 year olds in AAA get some attention. Nick Struck, not so much. Sure, his ceiling isn't huge (mid-rotation at best), but he's still developing and is touching mid-90's more consistently this year. What can you tell me about his secondary pitches, and how do you feel about his future?

J.J. Cooper: Struck’s secondary pitches are below average now, but his future success probably depends on whether they can
become average pitches down the road. His delivery isn’t the greatest which sometimes affects his command, but the pieces are there to be a back-end of the rotation starter.

    jason (muskegon, mi): Atlanta would be smart to trade one of their pitchers for a bat right?

J.J. Cooper: At some point I would assume they will make some move like this. They already did to get Bourn, they just didn’t have to give up any of the big four prospects to do it.

    jason (muskegon, mi): Delgado a 2/3 or more of a 4/5?

J.J. Cooper: Delgado a 2/3 or more of a 4/5?

    TJ (Frederick, MD): Color me a bit curious at why there are people buzzing for Hak-ju Lee as a top 10 prospect. I tend to think you guys got it right for the midseason rankings (23rd or so, which I guess means he'll be roughly top 30 when adding in the new draftees). That said, his offense declined since April and he's still raw defensively. This isn't a knock on Lee, I like him, but one would think that a top 10 prospect would be more polished and with more consistent production than Lee.

J.J. Cooper: I’m a fan of Lee now, have to admit I was light on him last year, but I don’t see him as a Top 10 prospect. He doesn’t and likely won’t hit for power. If I’m ranking shortstop prospects, there’s a pretty significant gulf from Machado and Profar to Lee.

    Tony (Charleston): I got a chance to see Gary Sanchez hit two home runs on Wednesday. The first one was a shot and the second one cleared the road over the fence (both opposite field). Then saw about 3 or 4 passed balls, then throw out a runner with a perfect throw. Your assessment of Sanchez post-team suspension?

J.J. Cooper: That sums him up pretty well. Very raw defensively and may not be able to stick at catcher, but there are some tools there and the offensive potential is still quite significant.

    Vic31 (San Diego): JJ - Another really solid week by Profar. If the season ended today, is he in your overall top 10? Is there a guy you liken him to, does the Asdrubal Cabrera of this year make some sense?

J.J. Cooper: Yeah, I think he would be. I can’t find a scout who doesn’t love him. Hard to put any limits on a guy doing what he’s doing at 18.

    Greg (LA): Gary Sanchez ready for Tampa?

J.J. Cooper: No.

    Stelios Alengakis (NYC): How is it possible that Gary sanchez was nowhere on your prospects list for this week? That
    seems absolutely incredible. A 19-year old kid with a near .400 average, .460 OBP, 1.000 SLG and 1.400 OPS and 7 HR and 13 RBI in 10 games doesn't earn a spot? Incredible. By the way, with his recent performance, is he looking more like he could be a Jesus Montero-type hitter someday with better defensive ability? Thank you.

J.J. Cooper: How is it possible that Gary sanchez was nowhere on your prospects list for this week? That seems absolutely incredible. A 19-year old kid with a near .400 average, .460 OBP, 1.000 SLG and 1.400 OPS and 7 HR and 13 RBI in 10 games doesn’t earn a spot? Incredible. By the way, with his recent performance, is he looking more like he could be a Jesus Montero-type hitter someday with better defensive ability? Thank you.

    Aaron (Toronto): Hi, what's your take on the Beede situation? Is it all smoke and mirrors or is he really not likely to sign?

J.J. Cooper: I’m not getting too worked up on it if I’m
a Blue Jays fan until 11:30 on Monday night. At this point there is understandably a lot of posturing going on. It’s fair to say that Monday
is going to be one of the craziest days in draft history, and it’s all because MLB’s slot process is simply broken.

    Tony (Frederick, MD): Arby's or McDonald's? I ask that in jest, due to the comments from Mike Haven on minor-league eating habits (in the article about Chih-Hsien Chiang learning to deal with his diabetes better this year). That said, why don't teams spend a
    bit of money to try and get guys good meals? It would seem to be in their best interest, and overall, it likely wouldn't hamper the budget all that much.

J.J. Cooper: It’s something I don’t really understand myself. A couple of years ago there was talk about upping the minor league per diem and it was shot down. If players don’t get a decent meal
at the clubhouse after the game (which is a crap shoot, especially for road teams), then there aren’t a whole lot of healthy options available for guys without a car at 11:30 p.m., especially if you are getting a very modest per diem.

    Avi (New Jersey): Do you see Mason Williams as a top 100 prospect this off season? What kind of player does he project to become?

J.J. Cooper: Probably not yet, but a good season next year will likely get him there for 2013.

    James (Guthrie OK): JJ if you were the Astros would you name Trevor May as the player to be named later or would you hold for another position player like Jiwan James?

J.J. Cooper: He’s not the PTBNL, but I’d take May over James.

    Larry (NY): It took me a while but I finally signed us a member! Could I get a question in please? Could you rank these 3B prospects in terms of offensive upside: Middlebrooks, Arenado, Cowart, F. Martinez, Olt, Castellanos.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for signing up. Rough order, just my personal opinion, Middlebrooks, Olt, Castellanos, Arenado, Cowart, Martinez. Not a real bad prospect in that bunch.

    Trey (Boston): I know you guys have said d'Arnaud is the 2nd best catching prospect behind Mesoraco, but what type of ceiling does he have in the power and bat department?

J.J. Cooper: 60 bat, 60 power if it all comes together. That’s really good for a catcher.

    Jake Trenton (Tampa, Fl.): Huge Tampa Rays fan,
    with the the middle infielders as in Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac not performing as well as everyone hoped. Is there any middle infield prospects we could see in the big leagues at the end of this year? Besides the obivous emergence of former number one pick Tim Beckham. Thanks for the time.

J.J. Cooper: By the end of the year? No. But the Rays have a nice long list of shortstop prospects with Beckham at Triple-A, Hak-Ju Lee at Double-A and Derek Dietrich in A ball.

    Mike (Colorado): Thanks for the chat JJ. Seeing
    that Valdespin was recently promoted to AAA and playing SS. Is he the Met's replacement for Reyes at SS if Reyes leaves via FA?

J.J. Cooper: Valdespin is having a breakout year, but I
don’t think he’s ready to be the shortstop in New York next year if Reyes is gone. He’s just too raw. But if you had asked me at this point last year whether Justin Turner could be the team’s second baseman, I’d have said no way, so I guess it’s possible.

    Albert Cordero (Savannah, GA): Why didn't I make the Hot Sheet? (12 for 24, .500/.555/.750, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3
    BB, 2 K) Am I not a good enough prospect for you?

J.J. Cooper: Not yet. Still think he’s a decent glove guy who probably won’t hit enough to be a big league regular.

    Tung-Jim (Frederick, MD): DJ LeMahieu was driving the ball a bit better in AA before that pointless call-up to the
    bigs. What's happened since he went down, as he's certainly not driving the ball? And can the Cubs please make a decision on LeMahieu and Flaherty's positions? I think it would do both of them well to have
    1 main position.

J.J. Cooper: It would do both of them well if they end up being big league regulars, but if, like me, you think they end up as utilitymen (especially in LeMahieu’s case), then the versatility isn’t a
big problem.

    Mike (Colorado): JJ. Come on now!! How can Matt
    Dominguez have not made the hot sheet?? All he did this week was go 12-22 (.545), 2HR's, 8RBI's and only 1 strikeout.

J.J. Cooper: He was No. 21, really. It’s been a nice bounce back in the second half for Dominguez. As we’ve said before, he doesn’t have to hit a ton because his glove is so good.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Did Reds LHP Matt Fairel get any consideration for his dominating start in the hitter friendly CAL league coming off of a year long injury?

J.J. Cooper: Maybe man among boys.

    David (Midwest): Hey JJ, awesome article on the
    projection of Appalachian League players, I really enjoyed it. Did I read it right, near the bottom, that Sano has a present 20 grade hit tool? What would you say his hit tool project to be? Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for saying that. Yeah, if he moved to the big leagues right now, he would be expected to hit less than .240, so that’s a 20 hit tool. You might get a scout who loves him to say he could be a 70 hitter, but I think the consensus right now would at least project him to be a 60. That’s why scouting rookie ball is so tough.

    Tony (Frederick, MD): Dae-Eun Rhee has shown flashes this year. Any reports on how his stuff is showing?

J.J. Cooper: Plus stuff, up to 94-95 mph with his fastball with a good changeup.

    James (Guthrie Ok): What is your take on Oscar Taveras. I spoke with a friend who is a scout in the Marlins Org and I asked who is a player that has impressed you that no one is really talking about? He mention Oscar says the guy just knows how to hit. Which I take as a good sign for the cardinals who could use some new position talent.

J.J. Cooper: Taveras is a very good prospect, but as a BA reader, you have been hearing about him. He was No. 5 on our Appy League Top 10 last year (
and I wrote an update on him last month for subscribers (

    Paul (Milwaukee): Can you scroll back up, there
    was an error answering the Gary Sanchez question. I'd also be interested in the answer. Thanks JJ.

J.J. Cooper: Sorry for the technical issue…The actual
answer was: Because he made it last week with a good bit of that 10-game production you’re citing. It was a very good week this week, but
last week, when he made the list, was better.

    Ben (Columbus, OH): Will Denis Phipps be a contender for the Reds LF position in Spring Training next year? Or is his ceiling still as a 4th or 5th outfielder?

J.J. Cooper: Can’t really see it as he would be battling Heisey, Frazier (potentially) and Sappelt. The Reds first have to decide whether to put him on the 40-man, as Phipps is a potential minor league FA who is also Rule 5 eligible.

    Chad Dubick (White Rock, BC): Who do you like better James Paxton or Danny Hulzten? How do you see them working into the Mariner rotation?

J.J. Cooper: Hultzen, but Paxton is definitely opening his eyes with a great year.

    Bob (MA): I'm new to the grading/prospect world. You said 60 for bat and power for darnaud. What would Carlos Santana's bat and power grade out to? Just to get an idea of what the grades could turn into. Is there any article you guys have posted about grading?

J.J. Cooper: Bob,

Thanks for the question. My best suggestion would be to get a copy of our Prospect Handbook. In it we spend a page to explain the scouting scale. For a couple of examples, a 50 hitter is roughly a .270-.285 hitter, while a 50 fastball is 90-91 mph and a 50 power is a guy who hits 16-20 home runs a year.

    Jordan (Dallas, TX): Does Shawn Tolleson have good enough stuff to be a closer for the Dodgers?

J.J. Cooper: Potentially…he’s one of my favorite sleeper prospects. More likely a setup man, but if everything falls right he could close.

    Matt (Philly): Is Julio Rodriguez going to just
    have to prove it on every level to keep advancing. His 20-win pace, fluke or does he deserve attention for his season?

J.J. Cooper: Prove it at each level. Great win total this year, but his stuff is a touch above fringy,

Moderator: Sorry everyone, I need to work up our Under Armour coverage and get two mammoth podcasts on the draft signing deadline ready. Thanks for all the questions.