Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With J.J. Cooper

Steven A (Chicago): Springer continues to kill minor league pitching while k'ing too much. Are people starting to get less concerned about the k rate since it has yet to prevent him from hitting at such an elite level. Or do they still believe major league pitchers will finally exploit him?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone, thanks for coming out. The K’s are still a concern, but it’s more of a limiting factor on his ceiling than something that should preclude him being a big league regular. Springer’s other skills (speed/defense/power) are good enough to give him a chance to play regularly while he continues to make adjustments to improve his hit tool.

Jason (Austin): Who do you think will be the first player from this years draft to reach the majors? I have heard the Astros only want to get Appel to AA, but is there in any chance he gets a start in Houston before the year ends?

J.J. Cooper: Can’t really see a reason for the Astros to rush him. For one, the difference between winning 58 and 60 games is pretty much insignificant and for two, after a full season at Stanford, it makes sense to keep Appel on a pretty relaxed workload this August/September. Pitching in the big leagues is not exactly low-stress innings. But I’d say Appel is a favorite to be the first 2013 draftee to make it to the majors.

Jerry (San Diego): Do you envision Marcus Semien as the White Sox 2nd basemen of the future? What type of production would you guess he might have in his best seasons as a big leaguer?

J.J. Cooper: I do. Although I think he’ll end up having to battle Micah Johnson for that spot eventually. He’ll get there first. I think of him as a No. 2 hitter who fits both old school baseball guys (handles the bat well, he’s a second baseman batting second!) and new school guys (tons of walks leads to a good OBP, more pop than the average second base prospect). One thing I’ll be interested in watching is how his home/road splits look now that he’s in AAA. He has a pretty significant home/road split when he was in AA and we don’t know much about how Birmingham park plays since it’s a new park.

New Yorker (Long Island): Once again Marcus Stroman has another good outing but no love does not make hot prospect sheet. Keith Law has labeled him reliever do you agree and when do you see the Jays calling him up?

J.J. Cooper: I’m not saying he’s a reliever. His secondary stuff is pretty good and he has some feel for setting hitters up. Sure, he could end up in the bullpen, but I see no reason the Blue Jays aren’t going to give him a chance to start and I think he has the stuff to make it as a starter.

Rob (Alaska): So, I have to ask, is this prolonged outburst by Stassi changing the industry perception about his potential role/ceiling, or is still too SSS to evalute?

J.J. Cooper: With Stassi the biggest question has been can he stay healthy? That’s the question we still don’t have an answer to. His role/ceiling is largely tied up in proving he can stay healthy for a full season, something he hasn’t been able to do up to now.

Venus Fly Trap (Cincinnati): thanks for the chat! I've been following Mike O'Neill more as a curiousity than anything else....but this guys hitting approach and strike zone judgement has to be up there with some of the greats in the history of baseball. Is his defense really so bad that he wouldn't be an offensive upgrade over Jon Jay in the Cardinals OF? Is there any hope of a future for this guy?

J.J. Cooper: No, O’Neill isn’t better defensively than Jay in center field. O’Neill has not played one game in CF this year in the minors. The Cardinals do not view him as a viable CF option. And there are a lot of scouts who still question whether his approach is going to work in the big leagues. O’Neill does not hit for any power really, so when he faces pitchers who can consistently hit their spots, there are scouts who think he won’t get the walks he’s getting now because pitchers will simply challenge him to beat them. I personally think his ability to spoil pitches gives him a shot as a backup OF, but even I, an O’Neill fan, don’t see a bigger role than that.

Jordan Tucker (Florence, KY): Does Billy Hamilton put up Campana type numbers as a pinch runner in Sept? Will they keep Choo, or give him a shot a CF next spring?

J.J. Cooper: I see very little chance Choo is back next year. As good as he has been, the Reds payroll has a breaking point, and after re-upping Votto and Phillips and with Latos/Bailey getting more expensive, a long-term deal for Choo doesn’t make much sense for the Reds. Yes, I think Hamilton comes up in September and causes havoc on the bases, while also serving as a useful late-inning defensive replacement for Choo. With Choo gone, I would imagine that Hamilton will get a shot at the CF job in spring training next year, but he’ll probably have to battle an inexpensive veteran who will be brought in as insurance.

Herb Tarlek (Cincinnati): I'm a big Cecchini fan in the RedSox that they have traded Iglesius, do you see maybe Boegarts staying at SS and Cecchini at 3B?

J.J. Cooper: I think Bogaerts is a SS for the next several years. The Red Sox will have to decide in the offseason if Bogaerts is ready to be the everyday guy on Opening Day 2014, but it’s hard to see him not playing SS at some point next year in the big leagues. As far as Cecchini, it’s a battle between him and Middlebrooks to be the team’s long-term 3B.

bkobs (Massachusetts): What is Tyler Glasnow's potential ceiling? Can he be a frontline starter??

J.J. Cooper: Absolutely. You can make a case he has the best stuff in the Sally League. He has a ways to go, but his stuff and frame scream front-line starter.

Spencer (Waterloo, ON): Is Mike Montgomery still an interesting name? There was talk that the Rays may be able to turn him around, it's hard to say from the stats if that's happening or not. Also, Cheslor Cuthbert is stalling in AA but had a good 60 games repeating Wilmington. Think he has a chance to make the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: Montgomery is having an OK year, but the stuff is not the stuff he had when he was dominating in high Class A. What was once an 91-95 mph fastball is now 88-92. What was once a plus changeup is more of an average changeup and his breaking ball is still below average. No. I don’t see Cuthbert as a Top 100 guy. The power hasn’t developed as hoped and at this point it’s also hard to project him as a plus hitter. He’s still young, but there’s a lot left to show and prove.

Addison Russell (Oakland): What left do I have to prove before moving up to AA? I'd like to see a 2014 September call up...any chance that happens?

J.J. Cooper: No real reason that the A’s will promote Russell from high Class A where his club is in a pennant race to send him to a Double-A club that is dead last in its division. It may sound insignificant but teams like seeing their prospects perform in playoff pressure, and it’s more likely that Russell can get that in high Class A. A Sept. 2014 callup is possible, but really it comes down to whether the A’s want to start his service time clock then or wait til 2015.

Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa): J. J.; who has more long term upside; Cory Seager, or Maikel Franco? thanks

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. I do think both end up as 3B and I think both could end up as guys with plus hit and plus power. I’ll say Franco, but it’s so close that I could make convincing arguments either way.

Stan (Hickory): I have seen Joey Gallo play quite a bit this season. He seems to be able to hit all type of pitches out of the ballpark, very far. He also obviously is striking out a lot as well. His batting avg. is obviously too low now to carry into the big leagues, but at what rate should it be to be able to progress?

J.J. Cooper: Right now Gallo hasn’t yet started to process the adjustments you expect him to make as he moves up. His approach is a grip and rip approach. He’ll eventually learn a two-strike approach. His strikeouts are an obvious concern, but at this point, I expect he’ll make some adjustments to tone that done over the next couple of years.

Stray (Detroit): Will Kolten Wong make it to the Cardinals this season?

J.J. Cooper: Barring injury there’s no real spot for him. He’s behind an all-star 2B and Wong really doesn’t have much position versatility. It’s waiting time for now, barring injuries.

Matt (Austin, TX): Does Stassi have the talent to surpass Castro in a couple of years as HOU main backstop?

J.J. Cooper: I don’t see that happening. He could end up as Castro’s backup. Castro is a better all-around catcher with just as much bat.

Ken (Cleveland): Does Syndergaard get a cup of coffee this year and does he get a shot in the rotation sometime next year?

J.J. Cooper: That would be rushing him in my opinion. I’d say a later 2014 ETA is more realistic.

Zach (Boston): Seems like every expert ranks Sano as the better prospect when compared to Bogaerts but I don't get it. They're about the same age, but Bogaerts have produced at a higher level and plays a harder position. Is there something the scouts see that's putting Sano over Bogearts?

J.J. Cooper: Don’t get too hung up when you’re talking about guys who are ranked so close together like Bogaerts and Sano. The answer on them, much like the Harper/Trout debate of a couple of years ago is “yes, I’ll take either one for my team.” Bogaerts has more defensive value and a better hit tool. Sano has better power, maybe the best potentially usable power in the minors.

Brock (Houston, TX): Where is the Love for Midland LHP Carlos Hernandez? This guy had like a 30-Consecutive Innings scoreless streak going. Can't ask for more than that.

J.J. Cooper: Its a great run he’s on. I don’t know if his stuff is going to translate into big league success. Reports I’ve heard don’t really project a plus big league pitch although the changeup might get to be a 6.

Ben (Seattle): Is Ji-Man Choi a legit prospect?

J.J. Cooper: He’s a prospect, but one who still is more likely to end up as an up-and-down guy than a big league regular. He’s had a solid season, but there are questions whether his power is enough for a first baseman.

chris (phoenix): Winker/hamilton/ervin. Potential OF of the future for the reds?

J.J. Cooper: Don’t think Jay Bruce is going anywhere.

J.J. Cooper: Everyone. Thanks for coming out. I’ve got to wrap this one up so I can get some other stuff up on the Website before the weekend arrives.