Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Jim Shonerd

Jim Shonerd: Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks for stopping in for the latest Hot Sheet Chat. Let’s get to it.

    Ken (Raleigh, NC): Barring a injury rehab assignment, do you see the Nationals sending Bryce Harper back to the minors in the foreseeable future or is he there to stay for good and is Anthony Rendon, with his injury history, the answer at second for the Nats?

Jim Shonerd: I do think Harper’s up for good. As for Rendon, we’ll have to see how he bounces back from his latest lower body
injury, a fractured left ankle. He had the tools to get a shot at second base, but you have to wonder about the toll these injuries will take.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Is Cody Buckel physically maxed out, or is there still room for more projection? Does he have more
    command than his friend Trevor Bauer?

Jim Shonerd: I wouldn’t expect Buckel to get much more physical. He has to get everything out of his body that he can—and he knows it and embraces it. You always wonder a little bit about how well he’ll be able to repeat that delivery, but it hasn’t been an issue so far, and Buckel has advanced pitchability.

    Jordan (Dallas, TX): Two of the more intriguing
    bats in the draft last year (in my opinion) were Daniel Vogelbach and Brandon Nimmo. Any idea on when we might see them in game action this year?

Jim Shonerd: Expect them to make their 2012 debuts when the short-season leagues get underway in June.

    Mick (Cali): Are the Royals speeding up Myer's ETA by playing him at 3rd, and where and when do you see him making his ML debut?

Jim Shonerd: I’d still expect him to make his debut in the outfield sometime this year if he keeps up his production in Triple-A. Third base is an experiemnt and if it doesn’t work, you can always put him back in the outfield.

    Erik R (Jackson, NJ): What exactly has happened to Michael Choice?

Jim Shonerd: Even though Choice has just three homers in Double-A after hitting 30 in the Cal League last year, I don’t doubt the power is still in there. The A’s have tried to simplify his swing a bit—he had some moving parts coming out of college. He’s also making more contact and cutting down his strikeouts, but he may not be looking to drive balls as frequently and has to find that happy medium.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): How has Donnald Lutz with
    his crazy numbers so far (on pace for 40 HR and 90+ extra base hits) not even get a mention in any prospect hot sheets yet?

Jim Shonerd: You might see Lutz, a first baseman with the Reds’ high Class A Bakersfield squad, in a Man Among Boys section one of these days, but I wouldn’t expect much more than that when we’re talking about a 23-year-old in the Cal League.

    Erik R (Jackon, NJ): Which of these A's prospects is more likely to straighten out and become a legitimate prospect again, Rashun Dixon, Ian Krol, or Max Stassi?

Jim Shonerd: I have the most faith in Stassi of that group, but all the injuries have really stalled his development. The feel for hitting is there with him; we’ll have to see how much power he ends up developing.

    Joe (Phila. Pa): I was wondering how good do you think the Phillies top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle will be? Do you think he is a future number 1 or 2 starter?

Jim Shonerd: I’d say a No. 2 is his ceiling, with a No. 3 being a more realistic expectation.

    dan (nky): where is miguel sano most likely to end up defensively?

Jim Shonerd: He’s got the arm to stick at third, and the Twins will let him stay there as long as possible until he proves he
can’t make it. A move to first base or an outfield corner is possible depending on how his body develops and what kind of speed he can maintain (it’s fringy now). The good news is he has the power bat to carry him anywhere.

    Kyle (Phoenix): About how far from Phoenix is Matt Davidson? Would you give him a cup of coffee in September?

Jim Shonerd: Had Ryan Roberts not starting picking things up in May, I expect the drumbeat for a Davidson callup would be getting pretty loud by now. Even so, Davidson should get his first look at the majors this year, no later than September. He’s improved his walk
and strikeout rates (dramatically in the case of walks) while still showing power. That’s pretty loud.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Can a reliever make the hot sheet? Reds AA LHP Donnie Joseph has dominated the Southern League with a 0.45 ERA and striking out over 12 per 9 inning.

Jim Shonerd: It’s very, very rare for a reliever to make it since they generally won’t pitch enough innings in a week to get
the same consideration starters do … along with the fact that the vast majority of the top pitching prospects are starters.

    Henry (Dallas): What are your thoughts on Hak-Ju Lee performance so far in AA? Do you still feel he is a above average prospect and future SS for Tampa

Jim Shonerd: Lee’s game is predicated on speed and his contact rate has been solid enough that I’d expect his numbers to pick up. Not going to write him off after a tough couple month in Double-A when he’s still pretty young for the level at 21.

    Adam (NYC): Is den Dekker a future solid regular to you, or more of a 4th OF?

Jim Shonerd: Fourth OF is probably the safe bet, but with the numbers he’s putting up in Double-A (.305/.363/.543 so far), we’ll have to reconsider that projection if he sustains it. He has the range to be big league center fielder, how much he’ll hit has been the question.

    Brett (Altoona): Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are both putting together respectful numbers. When do you see them going to AA?

Jim Shonerd: I’d expect Cole to get there first, probably in the not too distant future if he keeps up what he’s been doing in the last couple weeks.

    Kolten Wong (St Louis): How do I compare to Jason Kipnis?

Jim Shonerd: Similar statures. Both are lefty swingers.
Tools-wise, Kipnis probably has a little more power in his bat while Wong has a stronger throwing arm, though that’s less of a distinction at
second base. Both are advanced hitters, which is what their teams bought into.

    John (philadelphia): Is Cody Asche (Clearwater) a legitimate prospect? If so, can he stick at 3rd?

Jim Shonerd: There’s something there. Asche was the Phillies’ fourth-rounder last year out of Nebraska on the strength of his power and mature approach. He hasn’t hit for much power so far in Clearwater (just two homers), though the FSL is a tough place to do it. There are doubts about whether he can stick at third. His arm is enough to get by, but his actions at the position raise questions.

    Scott S (Saint Louis, Missouri): Was any consideration given to Corey Brown (Nationals)? Yes, I know he is on the
    old side to be considered a prospect. Any chance he gets to the majors?

Jim Shonerd: The 26-year-old Brown is having a nice year so far for Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .286/.402/.500 with seven homers, which easily outstrips his production at the Triple-A level in past years. He’s always had tools, chiefly power. Encouragingly, he’s cut down on his strikeouts this year, which has always been the biggest red flag for him. On the down side, he’s still struggling to hit lefty pitchers (5-for-26), another problem for him historically. Nonetheless, I’d expect him to get a chance in Washington if the injuries keep piling
up, though he’d have to be added to the 40-man first.

    Archie Bradley (South Bend, IN): Indiana is nice... but I want to get out to California for the summer... Can you give me a time table of when I will get moved to Visalia? Thanks

Jim Shonerd: Trying to predict when players will get promoted is risky (teams don’t tell us these things), but the best answer I can give is it could happen any time after midseason. As we all
know, the Diamondbacks have enough pitching prospects ahead of him that
there’s no need to rush Bradley, and letting him spend half or even a full season in low Class A won’t put him behind schedule.

    Brian (Minneapolis): Does Matt Barnes project as a top or back of the rotation starter?

Jim Shonerd: Closer to the top. He can be at least a No. 3 starter and possibly more depending on how well he maintains his secondary stuff.

    JoeyO (Reseda, Ca): What are your thoughts about Miles Head?He is really off to a great start in Cal league. Do you see him in double A soon?

Jim Shonerd: Head has the bat to take him to the majors, which it’ll have to. Even if you take the Cal League as a mitigating factor in his power production (eight homers in 37 games), we’ve known the power was in there, he’s just got a mature approach that
doesn’t always tap into it. He’s another guy we could see get a bump around midseason.

Jim Shonerd: Time to call it a day. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here next Friday for another Hot Sheet chat.