Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With JJ Cooper

 Q:  Rotogeek from Argeekia asks:
Thanks for taking my question. Just picked up Daryl Thompson. What is his stuff right now — where would he slot in a typical rotation if he can keep up his performance?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone thanks for stopping by. I’ve been trying to get a full report on Thompson’s stuff and have not yet managed to track down a scout who’s seen him this year. But the reports we’re getting from Chattanooga are that his stuff is fully back to his pre-injury level (up to 93-94 mph and maybe a tick more). Before his injuries, Thompson was considered one of the better prospects in the Nats’ system. If he continues to build off his strong start, he could end up as a No. 3-No. 4 starter down the road.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Did Savery get consideration?

Moderator: Savery was on the original worksheet, but this week was just a notch below what made the Hot Sheet. The 4 Ks in 8 IP was the stat that worked against him.

 Q:  Dave from Bronx NY asks:
Hellickson has been so dominant thus far. What level do you see him finishing up the year in?

J.J. Cooper: The Rays have taken it slow with Hellickson so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend most of the year in the FSL. A late-season bump to Montgomery a la Wade Davis and Jake McGee in 2007 would make a lot of sense. For more on Hellickson, head over to our Prospect Blog where Ben Badler had some notes on Hellickson earlier this week.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:
Wes Hodges or Beau Mills? Why?

J.J. Cooper: Beau Mills. For one thing I’ll take the 21-year-old hitting in high Class A to the 23 year-old in Double-A. And if given the choice, I’d rather have a lefty bat than a righty bat. Mills has more questions about his eventual defensive position, but he’s got more power than Hodges and there’s not that much difference between them defensively.

 Q:  Cory from St. Paul asks:
JJ, Deolis Guerra has been lights out so far. Is he getting closer to ‘Hot Sheet’ status? Is this the breakout we’ve been waiting for?

J.J. Cooper: Guerra was another guy on the original worksheet, but he only had one start this week and his previous week he had a 5 BB game that helped knock him off the list. Guerra’s ERA is pretty gaudy this year, but I don’t know if we’re seeing the breakout yet. His stuff hasn’t made the jump that everyone is hoping to see eventually, and while his ERA is great right now, if you look at the rest of his stats, he’s not pitching much better than he did last year (17 baserunners in 15 IP), he’s just done a great job of working out of trouble.

 Q:  Anton from the Bronx asks:
At what point will the Yanks decide to shift Montero to 1B? He’s hitting very well but racking up passed balls too. Its time to move him, and with that bat he’ll move UP the ladder quick. What’s your take?

J.J. Cooper: There are plenty of questions about Montero’s glove. But why move a guy off a more difficult defensive position until he proves he can’t handle it. One interesting tidbit about that though. As part of research for an upcoming draft story, we looked at the background’s of big league first basemen. It’s amazing how many of them are former catchers. By our count there are seven: Konerko, Garko, Morneau, Barton, Jacobs, Delgado, Votto/Hatteberg. So Montero would be following a familiar path.

 Q:  Talin from Penn asks:
What are your thoughts on Still, solid big league starter or backup?

J.J. Cooper: Still can hit, but there are definitely questions about whether he’s even a backup catcher in the big leagues defensively. I’d see him more as a potential big league bat who hangs up the catching gear.

 Q:  Mike Smith from Chicago asks:
Some Cubs farm hands are having good seasons. Were any of them close to the list?

J.J. Cooper: Jeff Samardzija is defnitely worth keeping an eye on. He’s following up on his late season Double-A success with more of the same, although his lack of K’s is still very puzzling, and his tendency to give up fly balls is absolutely baffling considering his stuff.

 Q:  Shane from Miami asks:
JJ, as always thanks for the chat. I was surprised about the comment about Weiters not showing too much power. He hit another bomb last night to give him 4 already. For someone playing his first year in pro-ball with minimal at-bats, that seems pretty impressive to me, what am I missing?

J.J. Cooper: We’re giving Wieters lots of love as he’s the only repeater from last week’s Hot Sheet. From our High Class A beat guy Nathan Rode: Wieters had two home runs this week, but aside from that he has only one other extra base hit all season. Obviously one home run per every 8 at-bats is nothing to sneeze at, but expect to see him at plenty of doubles to that total before the season’s finished.

 Q:  Kevin from DRaysBay asks:
Will Jeremy Hellickson finally get some respect on the top 100 list this coming off-season?

J.J. Cooper: Oh, the dreaded respect card. That’s what we do here at BA, spend hours figuring out who we can disrespect the most. It’s especially funny coming from a Rays fan, as we just ranked the Rays No. 1 in our talent rankings. We ranked Hellickson No. 8 in a stacked Rays system this past offseason, which is actually pretty good. The seven guys above him in the system included two guys now in the big leagues, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, two of the best pitching prospects in the minors, Reid Brignac and Desmond Jennings. The main thing for Hellickson is to prove that he can do it over a full season. Hellickson has only 195 innings in three years coming into this season. If everything goes well this season he should throw at least 130-140 innings this year. If he does that and continues to succeed he’s almost a sure bet to be in next year’s Top 100.

 Q:  Steve Levine from Tallahassee, FL asks:
I’m curious as to where Mike Carp fit into the discussion. He certainly had a fantastic week! He is only 21 (I believe), and is playing in AA. I know he also had a couple errors… do defensive miscues figure into your discussion?

Moderator: It’s very weird but I answered this question once only to have it eaten by the Internet. Carp’s writeup was left off the Team Photo accidentally in the first edition, but that has been corrected. The consensus was that Carp wasn’t prospecty enough to crack the Top 13 yet until he proves it a little more. It’s funny that I’m doing the chat this week as I’m probably the biggest Carp fan in the office. When he was in the FSL two years ago, scouts and managers liked him, so I ran him up to No. 8 on the FSL Top 20 Prospects list that year. John Manuel, also in the Hot Sheet meeting today, is the Carp curmudgeon of the staff, did the Mets Top 30 Prospects list last year and found a lot of baseball experts who are more circumspect about Carp’s big league chances. To sum up Manuel’s argument: Carp’s swing may give him problems against good fastballs, he’s consistently struggled against lefties throughout his career, his power is only OK and he struggles to field his position. Add that up and John sees a second-division platoon first baseman. To quote my counter argument: Carp has a good batting eye, as a lefty bat he’s the good side of a platoon, and can give a team a valuable 350-400 at-bats even if he can’t hit lefties, and as a 21-year-old doing it in Double-A, he’s showing that there’s plenty of reason to keep an eye on him. I lost the argument this week to get him into the Top 13 this week, but we’ll continue following him.

 Q:  Russ from Grass Valley, CA asks:
The A’s low-A rotation in Stockton is loaded with prospects (Cahill, Anderson, De Los Santos, and Rodriquez). Do each of these guys profile as ML starters? Do any have front of the rotation ceilings? Who will I see first in Oakland?

J.J. Cooper: All four could profile as starters, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rodriguez end up as a reliever because his secondary stuff is still very much a work in progress. Cahill, Anderson and De Los Santos are all guys with varied repertoires that should allow them to stick in the rotation. As far as first to the show, I’ll predict Anderson since his stuff is so polished.

 Q:  Tyler from CT asks:
Trevor Cahill compares best to what current MLB pitcher?

Moderator: Going to give you a little bit older comp: Chris Kline has mentioned before how there’s some Mike Moore in him.

 Q:  Jo from Jersey Shore asks:
Of all the pitchers listed, who do you think will make the biggest impact in the bigs (assuming they make it)?

J.J. Cooper: I’ll go with Hellickson. You could argue Scherzer, but I think Hellickson’s stuff will give him a better big league impact, assuming he can work through the massive Rays pitching logjam.

 Q:  Dan from SF, CA asks:
I’m surprised that neither Bumgarner nor Alderson got off to fast starts to qualify for this list, after all the talk about how both, notably Alderson, could advance quickly. Are they showing anything that indicates that Giants fans should be concerned (i.e. Alderson not pitching out of the stretch)? We’re now used to Giants pitching being overrated, but I still hope!

J.J. Cooper: Hard to say that Giants pitching is overrated as Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Kevin Correia and heck now even Merkin Valdez have shown that the Giants can develop pitching. Saying that Giants hitting prospects are overrated is much easier to do, especially considering the track record of the past decade or so. Alderson actually has gotten off to a great start, and we had him on the worksheet this week, there just were too many guys with great weeks for his good week to qualify.

 Q:  Anton from the Bronx asks:
Major props to the fellas at BA — this is my favorite chat of the week. Who’s a better bet long-term: Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner for the CF gig?

J.J. Cooper: I’ll go with neither. Long term I’d predict Austin Jackson will end up as the Yankees CF, but Gardner fits the CF profile a tick better than Cabrera and could give the Yankees a table-setter if they want to go that route down the road.

 Q:  Sam Malone from Woodbury, NY asks:
What do you see in the CARDS (get it) for Bryan Anderson? He’s blocked by a Molina, but if I were the CARDS I would shuffle (get it again) my lineup to try and get him in there.

J.J. Cooper: Sam gets the Try Hard Award for today. Say hi to Woody and Diane. To me, Anderson and Molina seem like the perfect combo at catcher down the road. You’ve got a great glove and a potentially very good bat. Let Anderson catch some to spell Molina, and if he develops enough defensively eventually he could replace Molina. But these are the Cardinals, and LaRussa values defense at catcher.

 Q:  Bobby from ca asks:
No love for Craig Italiano? Last 2 starts – 10 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 19 K’s

J.J. Cooper: We gave Italiano some love last week. The only thing keeping him off the list was the fact that he lasted only 4 1/3 innings in his only start of the week. Can’t blame a team for being cautious with their starters, but for the Hot Sheet you want to see a starter at least go five.

 Q:  lang from atlanta asks:
Where’s Tommy Hanson? Do you see a midseason promotion to AA? Braves system hasn’t produced a frontline starter in a while.

J.J. Cooper: We gave Hanson all kind of love last week when we made him No. 1 on the season’s first Hot Sheet. This week his 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 R, 2 HBP, 1 BB, 6 Ks was good, but not enough to get him back on the list. If he keeps up how he’s been doing, he’ll definitely pop back up on the Hot Sheet. Considering Hanson had 60 IP at Myrtle Beach before this season began a midseason promotion would seem very likely.

 Q:  Gino from PG County, MD asks:
Was Justin Snyder and Jesus Montero of the Yankees a possiblity for the Hot Sheet?

J.J. Cooper: Montero made the Team Photo, which means he just missed making the Top 13. Snyder’s been great as well, but he’s more a potential Helium guy than a Hot Sheet guy right now.

 Q:  TJ from Miami asks:
How can Mike Stanton not be on the Hot Sheet?? THis is a 18 yr old who is detroying the SAL,only negative is his SO. Before last night game was hitting 435!!!! Also where do you see him playing the future?? Ir RF or 1B?

J.J. Cooper: He’s on the Team Photo so he wasn’t that far away. The K’s are the concern, as he’s struck out in 35 percent of his at-bats this season. I do think he has the athleticism to stick in right field, which will help as he profiles better there than he does as a R-R first baseman.

 Q:  Ben from Rochester, NY asks:
In terms of long term success, will hellickson do better than davis/mcgee in Tampa?

J.J. Cooper: Still got to go with Davis and McGee. Nothing against Hellickson, but two guys who have stuff that’s as good if not better who have had success at higher levels. Add that up and they’re easier to count on long term.

 Q:  john from ny asks:
nick evans has done nothin but hit so far this year.why doesnt ba give him any love?

J.J. Cooper: How about that entire Binghamton lineup. As a team the B-Mets are hitting .308/.364/.467. Evans and Dan Murphy both deserve shout outs as well for what they’ve done early this season. Add it up and it’s hard to explain how the B-Mets are only 8-6 this year.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
Fascinated by Iorg. I first noticed him because Detroit emptied their top 30 list and he went all the way to number 2 even with no real recent performance to go on. What do you think his ceiling is? (I realize this is hard to gauge, but nobody else is better qualified to answer right?)

J.J. Cooper: While there wasn’t recent performance to go on, if you go back to 2004, we had Iorg as one of the top talents in a loaded Tennessee high school class. To quote the scouting report from back then: “He has big league tools—athletic ability, plenty of range and arm for shortstop (though he did have shoulder surgery in 2002) and natural infield actions” That’s all still true now, and we’re seeing him turn tools into production.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
Parmelee, letting true talent come through, or inflated success due to the repeated level?

J.J. Cooper: Too early to say. As mentioned in Hot Sheet, he’s gone back to his old swing. Maybe that’s the difference early this year, but he’ll have to prove it for more than a month. But if you’re going to repeat a level, dominate it. That’s what Parmelee is doing.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
As the Reds reporter, and considering both players continue to succeed,,,,are you happy with the Hamilton/Volquez win-win situation?

J.J. Cooper: It’s working out well for both teams. The Reds needed pitching more than an outfielder, while the Rangers could use a middle of the order outfielder. Volquez needs to figure out how to work more than five innings an outing, but has anyone else noticed how Dusty Baker has kept a tight leash on him and Cueto. For all the knocks on Baker, he’s being careful with the young arms.

 Q:  David from Toronto asks:
No Rhee? He’s been phenominal. What does he have to do?

J.J. Cooper: He was a Helium guy last week so we’re trying to get him noticed.

 Q:  Rusty Lynn from Atchison KS asks:
I’m sorry for asking this, but I’m just getting back into the swing of a new season. It’s probably been answered already, however I must have missed that chat. Why has BA cut the number of the Hot List down to 13 this year? Seems a bit low, and tougher to make. Sorry, but I’m used to the good old days when there were 20 at least on the list, I believe. Just curious as to why you picked 13 to be the number of prospects each week now on your Hot List. Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: We found that last year with 20 guys that we were not giving the detail about each guy on the list that we feel the list deserves and needs. Instead of just spouting off that Pitcher X is 1-0, 0.00 with 12 Ks in 8 IP this week, we want to make sure we provide some additional context and detail. To do that, we decided that it was better to cut the list back to 13, with plenty of additional guys in the Team Photo so that we could give better detail. We’d love to rank 30 guys, but the time it takes to put the worksheets together, rank the guys, write ’em up and then format it for the Web already makes for a very frantic Friday. As a bonus to make up for cutting back on some of the number we list, we’ve also added the chat this year.

Moderator: Sorry guys, I have to call it quits on that last question and go send out BAPR for today. Thanks for all the questions and have a good weekend.