Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With J.J. Cooper

Moderator: J.J’s a little tied down right now, so Matt Eddy and Jim Shonerd will fill in. Fire away!

    @Jaypers413 (IL): When will your Minor League Player of the Year award be announced?

Matthew Eddy: The Minor League Player of the Year will appear in the issue we just sent to press. Look for the announcement on the site next week. Who do you guys like?

    Ben (Denver): What are your thoughts on Trever May? Do you think if he can get his control figured out he would be a top of the rotation guy?

Jim Shonerd: You hit on the big issue with May. He’s got the stuff to be really good, but the hurdle is whether he can throw enough quality strikes at higher levels.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Corey Dickerson = the next Joe Koshansky?

Matthew Eddy: Dickerson can play some corner outfield, which gives him an advantage on Koshansky, but Asheville so drastically distorts HR numbers that it’s hard to take them at face value. (It’s a great city to visit, though.) Let’s check back on Dickerson in Double-A because in Low-A he’s batting .200/.289/.376 in road games.

    Pete (Toronto): Where do you see J.D. Martí­nez and Ryan Lavarnway fitting into their respective clubs in 2012?

Matthew Eddy: Martinez has a clear shot to playing time
as one of Houston’s corner outfielders. Nice debut to build on. Lavarnway’s path is more obstructed. He’s a superior offensive player to
Martinez IMO, but will Boston want to carry him as backup C and part-time DH? Probably not. With a smaller pitching staff they probably could carry a bat-first player like Lavarnway.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Who's the better prospect, Eddie Rosario or Oscar Taveras? Although Taveras is a level ahead, they're only 3 months apart, and some might say that there's a lot of luck in Taveras's avg, as he's hit .517 on balls in play at home.

Matthew Eddy: I would take Rosario. Better glove, pure lefty stroke, a bit more speed.

    Pete (Toronto): TOR's Hutchison's ceiling? Thanks

Jim Shonerd: He should be able to be a No. 3 starter with the weapons he has now. Whether he can be more than that will depend on how much he’s able to tighten his slider to give him a second above-average pitch to go with his fastball.

    Stephen (Sacramento, CA): Good Afternoon J.J. thanks for taking the time to answer questions. How much is there to worry about Mike Foltynewicz, does he just need to build up his secondary pitches in the off season since his overall stuff hasn't dropped and where do you think he fits in on the Astros Top 10? Additionally, would the same issues apply to Peter Tago or was he promoted to Single A too early and lost confidence in his game?

Matthew Eddy: The Astros aggressively promote their prospects drafted out of high school. Some adapt quickly and move up, like Jordan Lyles. Others require more patience, such as Foltynewicz, Jio Mier, Delino DeShields, et al. In Folty’s case, he’s probably not ready for full-season ball. In another org, he probably spends his 2010 draft year in the GCL and then moves to another short-season club this year. Remember, he’s going straight from the Upper Midwest to the Appy League to the Sally League. A close comp might be Jake Odorizzi of the Brewers/Royals, a Midwest prep pitcher who spent his sophomore pro season in rookie ball before advancing to Low-A in Year Three.

    Mike (Valpo): Could you give us an "ALL-Surprise" team for 2011?
    Guys who really made a name for themselves in the prospect community...and aren't just one-year wonders.
    That would be fun!

Matthew Eddy: We published an All-Surprise team in our Midseason Prospect Update issue, No. 1116, Bryce Harper cover. On that team were Lavarnway, Matt Adams, Jose Altuve, Jermaine Mitchell, Collin Cowgill, Edwar Cabrera, Brad Peacock and Joe Wieland, among others.

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. Sorry I’m late to the chat, but thanks to Matt and Jim for filling in.

    Jim (Coconut Grove, NJ): No complaints with Nolan Arenado's season. Are scouts predicting 25-30 HR production when he arrives in Colorado, or is he 20 HR and steady RBI guy in the mold of
    a Kevin Youkilis?

Jim Shonerd: Yeah, he probably projects in 20-25 homer range most years. Some scouts worried his swing looked a little stiff at
times but he’s still had a productive year as a 20-year-old in high A, albeit in the Cal League.

    harry (poughkeepsie, NY): Michael Fierr and Junichi Tazawa. Are they "MLB ready" for next year

Matthew Eddy: Michael Fiers has been a second-half monster for the Brewers. (I’m assuming that’s who you meant.) At Double-A and Triple-A he’s got a 1.67 ERA over his last 15 starts with a
strikeout per inning. The stuff’s a bit short to feel confident projecting Fiers as more than a No. 5 guy or reliever, but his recent performance merits attention — especially because he began the year as a

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Drew Smyly has been making the EL look like a piece of cake. This week he put together two rather impressive starts. Was he considered?

J.J. Cooper: Definitely considered, easily could have been on the list. Ended up just missing, but if you want to argue he was
just as deserving as some of the backend guys on the list, I’m not going really argue too much, as he was very close.

    Paul (Modesto): I am at a loss for words when I
    see Edwar Cabrera take the mound. No one will touch his Milb-leading K totals this year, and he struck out 15 in his past 2 starts. Any Hot Sheet love for him?

J.J. Cooper: Edwar has been a very frequent member of the Hot Sheet this year, but to be honest we expect more out of Edwar than a 11 IP in 2 starts with a 3.27 ERA. Very good, but Edwar has had much better weeks than this one.

    rob (St. Joseph): Speaking from an AL perspective and a pitcher and position player outlook, who will be 2012's Mike Moore and Mike Trout?
    Thank You

J.J. Cooper: If you mean the best AL pitching and hitting prospects in the game next year? I’ll say Jurickson Profar as the position player. The top pitching prospect is a little tougher, Hultzen and Bundy from this year’s draft will be in the discussion, but I
don’t think either of them will be No. 1 a year from now, but I don’t have a better answer then them. Amazing how much of the top pitching talent in the minors right now is concentrated in the NL.

    Pete (Toronto): Henderson Alvarez or Nate Eovaldi? Thanks.

J.J. Cooper: I’ll take Alvarez.

    Jarom (Mesa, AZ): What's the chance the The D-backs rotation in 2012 features Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, and Jarrod
    Parker? Any chance that they are all on the opening day roster?

J.J. Cooper: Highly unlikely you’ll see them all on the
Opening Day roster. The D’back are in first place in the West in part because of the pitching of Kennedy, Hudson, Collmenter and Saunders and they are all under contract for next year. Could you see one of those guys cracking the rotation? Sure, but the veteran pitchers are going to get first crack when they are coming back on a successful team.

    Pete (Toronto): Oscar Taveras or Cheslor Cuthbert. Thanks.

J.J. Cooper: I’ll go Cuthbert but it’s close. Taveras has a better bat, but Cuthbert plays a more difficult position defensively and he plays it better and probably has more power.

    Tex (Texas League): If you grafted Sonny Gray's arm on to Teheran for curveballs, is Matt Moore still better?

J.J. Cooper: Since Moore throws lefty, yes.

    Sox of SM (Los Angeles): Why has Addison Reed of the White Sox gotten so little (any?) attention in the prospect reports this season?

J.J. Cooper: Tough for a reliever to crack the Hot Sheet because they get so few innings in a normal week, but he will rank
very highly on our White Sox Top 30, I can promise you that.

    Greg (Kentucky): What happened to Yorman Rodriguez? After re-injuring his shoulder a while back Yorman has disappeared - I heard he went to rehab in Arizona, then I heard he split
    after his first child was born recently. Dayton manager Delino DeShields said he "didn't know" where Rodriguez had gone. Whats going on?

J.J. Cooper: Haven’t heard any substantiation that he’s
gone missing, but he’s shown significant makeup questions this year. If
you’re the Reds, you hope it’s immaturity that he needs to grow out of.
If not, it could be a serious impediment to him ever getting the most out of his significant tools.

    Steve B (Philly): Julio Rodriguez continues to perform at each level, but standing line on him is "have to wait and see
    at higher levels" - which of course is the easy answer. So how does a scout look at someone like him and really gauge the odds of him being successful down the line. Any magic there?

J.J. Cooper: Well, it sounds like a pat answer, but there is some truth to it. When a guy with plus stuff dominates in the lower minors, it’s easy to project that to still work at the upper levels. But when a pitcher with average stuff does it, you have to dig deeper to determine whether he’s succeeding because he has a good changeup or because he gets guys to chase out of the zone. It’s not magic, but we get scouts who do tell us that line, so we’re passing it on.

    Shoshana (Boston): Can Hoes' bat play in LF? And can Schoop stick at 2B?

J.J. Cooper: No on Hoes (in my opinion). Yes, I think on Schoop, although there’s also an argument he could be a well above average 3B.

    Jake (TX): Is Oscar Taveras the definition of Man Amongst Boys? I think he knows how to hit....

J.J. Cooper: But he’s a 19-year-old in low Class A. Man
Among Boys is for a guy dominating a league filled with younger players, Taveras is completely age appropriate.

    Stephen (BC): Rank the following for please (long-term projection): Henderson Alvarez, Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins, Nestor Molina, Drew Hutchison, Asher Wojciechowski, Sean Nolin, Justin Nicolino, Noah Syndergaard, Tucker Jensen, Aaron Sanchez, Myles Jaye, Tyler Ybarra, Joe Musgrove, Adonys Cardona, Jeremy Gabryszwski, Deivy Estrada, Kevin Comer, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna....okay, maybe just a
    top 5 or 10. It's good to be a Jays' fan right now.

J.J. Cooper: Glad I got to the end of this question and
saw you weren’t being serious about me ranking them all…yes, it’s a very good Jays’ system nowadays.

    John Havok (Lethbridge, Alb): Some publications
    had Brett Lawrie not able to stick at 3b defensively, and perhaps not having a plus bat for a corner OF spot. Small sample size rules apply but are we seeing a guy here who could actually be a much better defender than anyone gave him credit for at 3b where his bat will most certainly play?

J.J. Cooper: I think he could hit enough to play a corner. As far as sticking at 3B, with Lawrie it’s always been whether he’s interested enough in defense to make it work. He has the tools, but
he’s always been more focused on hitting than defense.

    Dan (New Jersey): Dylan Axelrod had another strong week (12 innings 9K's: 4BB's 0HR). You guys said he had the best control in the White Sox system last year but he didn't make your top 30. Can we get a scouting report on this guy with a 2.69 ERA and 3 homers allowed in 150 innings this year?

J.J. Cooper: Good command/control with average stuff. Not really a plus pitch there. Bet he’ll make the Top 30 this year.

    Jason (MO): Am I insane for thinking Taveras should be a top 20 prospect in baseball?

J.J. Cooper: A little steep there. He can really hit, but he’s a corner outfielder without a lot more plus tools, and most importantly he’s still in low Class A. That being said, lot to like there.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Ia): The USA Today weekly sports mag has Paul Goldschmidt as the minor league bout them apples

J.J. Cooper: We’ll announce ours next week on Sept. 6.

    Colin (Raleigh N.C.): ATL obviously has some great arms, (teheran,minor,delgado, etc..) I see 35+ year olds on the left side of the infield for the big club, and little talk about prospects being able to fill for them in a year or two? is there any hope or are trades/free agency their best option?

J.J. Cooper: At some point they will have to. There aren’t enough rotation spots for all the arms they have coming up.

    Paul (Fall River, MA): Is Shawn Tolleson the next Craig Kimbrel? Tolleson's minor league stats suggest he will be.

J.J. Cooper: His stuff isn’t that good, but you are talking to a serious Tolleson fan. Enjoyed doing a story on him back when he was just dominating low Class A
(for subscribers)

    Jeff (Houston): Edwar is 24 years old. Why are people so impressed with what he is doing in A ball?

J.J. Cooper: He didn’t sign until he was about to turn 21, so there is some explanation for his advanced age. Some concerns because a changeup guy can have a lot of success in A ball, but there’s something to keep an eye on there.

    ELLIOTT (TORONTO): I heard Toronto GM Alex A say they recieved many offers for Nestor Molina, whats your take on him, top of rotation pitcher?

J.J. Cooper: He’s done a lot to improve his stock this year, but he’s more of a 3/4 at best. Not a lot of front end of the rotation RHPs sit at 89-92 mph.

Moderator: Thanks to everyone for the questions. And thanks for checking in every week for the Hot Sheet during the season.