Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With JJ Cooper

    Robert Goldberg (Lyndhurst, NJ): JJ - question about another JJ, this one being Hoover. Is he a top 100 guy for you?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone, I was going to jump in a little early here, as I may have to leave early to do a couple of interviews for upcoming stories. In my mind, no. Hoover’s stuff is good,
but not great and his delivery has some effort to it. I think the Braves will have a number of pitchers in the Top 100 (Teheran, Vizcaino,
Minor and Delgado), but Hoover won’t be one of them—just my prediction.

    tyler (sacramento): do u think branden belt will be a top 25 prospect next year?

J.J. Cooper: Not a top 25 guy, he’s having a great, great season, but I’d be looking at him more as a back end of the top 100 guy, not a top 25 guy. He’s a first baseman who doesn’t project to hit a whole lot of home runs, which means he’s going to have to hit a whole lot of doubles and hit for average. He’s done that very well this year, but as a first baseman, you better be very confident he’ll keep doing that year-in and year-out in the big leagues before you start moving him into the top 50.

    marty kohl (omaha,ne.): Hey J.J. Love Talking Prospects.I Know All The BA Staff Loves Mike Trout And Now Puts Him The #1 Prospect In All Of Baseball With The Domonic Brown Call Up.But isn`t number 1 being a bit to proud of this guy as he isn`t exactly tearing the cover off the ball at High A.I Mean To Be Number 1 shouldn`t we wait
    to see how he handles AA And AAA To Be A Number 1 in all of baseball.I Know He`s Young But Is This The Only Justification You Have In Being #1.Please Clear This Up,THANKS J.J.

J.J. Cooper: If we waited to rank prospects No. 1 until
they proved what they could do in Triple-A we’d have missed out on ranking a lot of prospects. We ranked A-Rod No. 6 on our 1994 list before he’d ever had a pro at-bat, because scouts were nearly unanimous that this guy was a once-a-generation talent. We’re not basing this entirely on stats—we’re basing it on production in part, sure, but it’s
also coming from talking to scouts, and you’d have trouble finding a scout right now who’s seen Trout and didn’t love him.

    Just Curious (Myrtle Beach,SC): If Dave Sappelt
    of the Reds was two inches taller,would you finally relent and put him on this sheet?He was on a tear last week and has been for most of the year hitting .356/.404/.539 in the tough Southern League.Prospects come in many shapes and sizes.Some without draft pedigrees.Thanks

J.J. Cooper: Sappelt has made a pretty good case for multiple weeks, but what he does (get on base, steal bases) sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when other guys are hitting four home runs in a
week. Sappelt has done a lot to help his stock this year, but you also are right, his lack of size is a knock against him. Prospects do come in
all shapes and sizes, but there is legitimate favortism for tall, strong guys, partly because there is a lot more past history of those guys going on to be successful big leaguers than short guys. It doesn’t mean Sappelt can’t be one of the exceptions to the rule, but scouts’ bias against short hitters (and pitchers) isn’t just an arbitrary decision. That being said, it’s pretty easy to see Sappelt making it to the big leagues, especially if he can improve his basestealing prowess.

    john (ct): So I'll ask the obvious question- where's Jesue Montero?

J.J. Cooper: The Yankees’ Jesus Montero. He was 2-for-15 this week, but we didn’t feel like there was any reason to put him on not hot considering the month he was having.

    MJ (Valpo): Any concerns with Mike Trout now that he's been exposed to more advanced pitching, and the fact he's struggling right now? Or just basic growing pains?

J.J. Cooper: None at all. I wish all prospects could struggle to a .259/.358/.414 line in their first two weeks in high Class
A as an 18-year-old. He’s still got his speed, he’s still drawing walks
(9 walks compared to 14 strikeouts). He did have a four strikeout game this week, but he’s actually adjusting pretty well for a guy who is way ahead of most teenagers’ promotion schedule.

    Steve (Ohio): Is Erik Cordier still considered a
    prospect? He's having a nice season at AA and has had a great July. Any insight into his scouting report after two TJ surgeries would be appreciated. Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: I’d say yes. Even with all the injuries he still has a plus fastball and an idea of how to use it.

    Ian (Plover, WI): Hi J.J. I was just wondering why it seems that the Yankees and Red Sox are always seemingly asked for
    much stronger packages in trades. Just now it was reported that the Jays want Montero from the Yankees, and either Kelly or Iglesias from the Sox for Scott Downs(!). This after Arizona seemingly gave Dan Haren away for a much lesser package than the Joba-Nova-McAllister combination
    they were requesting from the Yankees. Can you please help me understand this? Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: I don’t think it’s necessarily a bias here, the Jays just seem to be shooting for the moon when it comes to trading away Downs. As far as the Joba-Nova-McAllister combo, the key word there is you said that was what they were requesting from the Yankees? We don’t know if it’s even certain that was what they were asking for, but we also don’t know if that wasn’t an opening offer—the same way you start high and then get down to a reasonable offer when you’re making a fantasy baseball swap.

    Rod (Chicago): I understand the Hot Sheet and know Matt Long's (LAA OF in Low-A MWL) lack of prospect status keeps him
    off the list but I wanted to point out his July: .411/.491/.600/1.091 this is in 90 at bats and 24 games. Thank you for taking this question in order to give Matt some recognition. Much appreciated.

J.J. Cooper: Duly noted and worth noting that Long can run some too. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

    Chuck (Wichita): Why has NW Arkansas been such a good hitters ballpark this year?

J.J. Cooper: I’m trying to figure that out myself. Along the same lines, the Wilmington park (Royals high Class A) has played much more neutrally this year than last year it seems.

    Mac (Fort Lauderdale): Which guy is the more solid prospect Sands or Belt and which one's rise do you find more surprising?

J.J. Cooper: I’d say Sands is more surprising. Belt was
the top hitter on one of the top teams in college baseball last year. I’d also say that Sands is a better prospect, if just because he can play 1B or RF and because his power potential fits the profile for that position more. I like both of them.

    Ryan (Los Angeles): I don't get it. Every single week J.P. Arencibia has been tearing the cover of the ball and yet he never cracks the how sheet. Why do you guys don't give him any love?

J.J. Cooper: He hit .179 this week with no home runs.

    Dan (Syarcuse NY): Whats Chris Archer have to do to get some love? give up a run?

J.J. Cooper: He was a tough omission this week, and yeah, you could definitely make a case for him. But it was one start where he walked nearly as many batters (four) as he struck out (five).

    raymond (New York): Hi JJ
    thanks for taking my question

    so far, 5 ft 7in lefty Tim Collins has continued to pitch very well at the AA level, now with the Braves
    Is it possible he can help them down the road as a situational lefty or a setup guy ?

J.J. Cooper: Absolutely. A lefty with two plus pitches can and likely will pitch in the big leagues.

    Brent (Appleton): Martin Perez went from #17 on
    Baseball America's preseason top 100 to #8 on the midseason update despite getting clobbered at AA for most of the season. I understand there have been a lot of promotions to the majors, and this year's draft
    picks were not eligible for the updated rankings, but clearly he's doing something wrong and that "something" hasn't affected his standing much. What's going on here? Is he really this talented, or are the rest of minor league prospects really that weak?

J.J. Cooper: You’ve got to allow for the fact that he’s
a teenager pitching in Double-A. He’s prone to overthrowing and getting
into ruts where his control isn’t what it needs to be to get Double-A hitters out, but he’s learning more by struggling in Double-A than he would by dominating A-ball hitters. You also hit on a key point—there has been a ton of the preseason top 100 move on to the big leagues and as of yet no one from the draft class of 2009 is included in the lists.

J.J. Cooper: I’ll be back in a minute. I have to take a phone call.

    Francisco Peguero (NYC): Am I a legit prospect?

J.J. Cooper: Yes.

    Shane (Miami): I had a chance to see Wilmer Flores and was impressed not only with his bat, but what he did defensively. Didn't look slow at all, and made a big DP. Think he will get to the bigs as a SS and then be moved, or they move him to 3B/OF next year?

J.J. Cooper: I think he can get to the big leagues as a
shortstop, but if he does, he won’t be staying at the position for long. It really comes down to the question of organizational need. Playing SS for another year or two won’t diminish his ability to make a position switch down the road.

    Joe (San Francisco): I notice that Brandon Belt
    has started playing left field for Richmond. If he successful proves that he can play the outfield. Would that not improve his prospect status?

    Also will John Bowker ever be more than a 4A player?

J.J. Cooper: There has been some thought that Belt can play in the outfield. He’s not a slug as a runner and he’s got some athleticism. It would improve his prospect status, but the same profile concerns are there as a left fielder—will they want more power from the

    Leon (Florida): Does Chris Archer (Cubs) Tennessee have major league potential?

J.J. Cooper: Absolutely. Great arm, great slider.

    Kyle (Atlanta): So what do you make out of this
    Brandon Beachy kid? I caught some of his AAA debut and besides a 2-out
    3 run HR in the 9th (in a blowout) he was dominant over 4ip's.

J.J. Cooper: Beachy is the pop-up of all pop-ups this year. We’ve written about him on the Hot Sheet before and elsewhere on the site. He has true plus stuff and surprising feel for pitching for a conversion guy. It’s hard to believe at this point that he won’t be a big leaguer, which is quite a climb for an undrafted free agent.

    Ewen (Kansas City): Any consideration for Hosmer? How do you compare his power potential to Moose?

J.J. Cooper: Hosmer was on the worksheet, just missed. Moustakas has more power, but Hosmer has a better feel for hitting—uses
the whole field more.

    Robin (LA): Who is the safest bet out of all the Royals prospects to make the biggest impact? My money is on Hosmer

J.J. Cooper: You asked two separate questions…One is who is the safest bet among the Royals prospects—I’d go with Hosmer. The second question who could make the biggest impact—I’d go with John Lamb, but that’s just a gut feel.

    Pete LaCock (Chicago): What type of pitches does the young Royal farmhand Lamb possess? just wondering what kinds of
    2-8 grades he would have on each pitch for a OFP?

J.J. Cooper: Not going to throw 2-8 grades here, you’ll
have to wait for the Royals Top 10 for that, but at his best he’s got at least two plus pitches (fastball/change) an average to tick above average curve and excellent command for a 20-year-old.

    Joe (DC): Has a Nats player ever been on the Hot List? I check every week and never see one. Do they have any minot league teams?

J.J. Cooper: A guy named Strasburg seemed to make it on here a lot before he was promoted.

J.J. Cooper: Sorry I can’t answer any more, but more interviews await. Thanks for all the questions.