Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Matt Eddy

Moderator: Matt Eddy will answer your prospect questions beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

    Matt (San Diego): Do you see Rymer Liriano as a serious prospect or a toolsy guy who might put it all together someday?

Matthew Eddy: Padres Low-A RF Rymer Liriano has shown power, speed and arm strength at various points in his pro career. Unfortunately, he’s rarely shown them all at once, but that’s what player development is all about. He’s a player I’d be cautiously optimistic about, but with the understanding that we won’t know heads or
tails for probably 3 more years.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Helena's Nick Ramirez has been laying waste to the Pioneer League, and I'm surprised not to see him on the Hot Sheet in any capacity. Can you explain? Thanks.

Matthew Eddy: He’s in the team photo. We consider that to be part of Hot Sheet. We go to 20, but only the top 13 get photo treatment. We’re superstitious like that.

    Dee (Denver, CO): I know he's not on the 40-man, but does Tim Wheeler have a shot at a September callup? I'd really like to see his power on display at Coors.

Matthew Eddy: Charlie Blackmon’s injury and Dexter Fowler’s flailings might open the door for Wheeler ever so slightly . . .
but Colorado’s outfield appears to be fairly set for next season. And if the Rockies don’t think Wheeler will help them next year, then they probably will not rush to add him to the 40-man before they absolutely must. Expect a Blackmon-like 2012 for Wheeler — if he hits in the Springs, then he’ll be up.

    Ebenezer Scrooge (London, England): Bah humbug!
    Too many of your Players listed on your weekly Prospect Hot Sheet are playing in the Rookie level or Low Single A ball. 7 out of your 13 listed players on today's Sheet in fact. Way too much love for guys that are going to melt like snow in summer time as they progress up through the Minors.

Matthew Eddy: Interesting take. On weeks that I arrange
names on the Hot Sheet, I make it a point to skew the list toward players in the upper minors. If you’ll notice, 6 of the top 7 play at Double-A and above. Or put another way, I feel that players in the low minors have a higher bar to clear. However, our readers are interested in a cross-section of prospects, so that also must be a consideration.

    Bart (Boston): Ryan Larvarnway and Jesus Montero are both catchers with questionable receiving skills. Larvarnway
    has been a very good hitter for the last 2 years - better average and power than Montero. However, Montero is consistently rated a much better
    prospect. What skills or projections does Montero have that makes him a
    more highly rated prospect?

Matthew Eddy: Age. Montero is two full years younger than Lavarnway, yet he has nearly 700 more plate appearances at the Triple-A level. It’s this potential for future growth that makes him the
superior prospect. But perhaps Montero’s youth is illusory. Not every player improves as he matures, and some players are as good at age 19-20
as they ever will be.

    Sammy (Mobile, AL): One Wheeler on the Hot Sheet is good, but two is even better. How did Ryan miss out?

Matthew Eddy: You’ve seen The Simpsons episode where young Homer is barred from a children’s hangout because of its “No Homers” policy, right? Same thing here, only with Wheelers . . . but seriously, Double-A Mobile 3B Ryan Wheeler went 12-for-28 (.429) with 2 homers, 3 doubles and a triple this week. It wasn’t an isolated event, and he’s got a strong case for inclusion on the Sheet. R-Wheeler has been another positive prospect development for the D-backs this season. He’s batting .314/.372/.506 with 13 homers.

    KyleS (East Islip, NY): Should Diamondbacks fans be worried about OF Wagner Mateo's numbers so far this season? Those strikeouts look gross.

Matthew Eddy: In light of what we know about Mateo’s nixed deal with the Cardinals and his contact issues in the DSL last year, I say yes.

    Phil (Chicago, IL): Did Roman Mendez get any consideration?

Matthew Eddy: I’m glad you mentioned Rangers Low-A RHP Roman Mendez, because he could turn out to be the key to the Saltalamacchia trade. (You didn’t have your money on Michael Thomas, did
you?) The 20-year-old Mendez appears to have turned a corner in July, going 2-0, 1.64 in four starts with a 30-to-6 SO-to-BB ratio over 22 innings.

    Brian (San Diego): What's a reasonable expectation for the kind of hitter Jedd Gyorko can be?

Matthew Eddy: Because of his stocky body type and line-drive hitting stroke, Gyorko is a somewhat divisive prospect for scouts. Those who like him, such as the Padres, see a high-average hitter who can thrive in a big yard like Petco while making the routine plays at third base. Those who may be more aesthetically inclined see not the home-run power to profile at third and too few supporting tools to paint a complete picture. The 22-year-old Gyorko is doing just fine with the stick after a bump to Double-A (.856 OPS in 16 games), and that’s what he’ll have to continue doing. Great year: .357/.424/.611 with 20 homers, 38 doubles and 86 RBIs already.

    Dylan Bundy (OK): No love for my brother's CG this week?

Matthew Eddy: Hard to argue against High-A RHP Bobby Bundy’s gem: 9 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts. He’s part of the Hot Sheet extended family.

    Nick (New Jersey): Everybody talks about Goldschmidt, Borchering, and Davidson from the Diamondbacks 2009 draft class, but what about Ryan Wheeler? He's having a great season at AA. What's his offensive potential and can he stick at 3B?

Matthew Eddy: As to the last part of your question: Few
seem to think Wheeler is a third baseman long term, but those other players you note give the D-backs three big reasons to keep Wheeler at the hot corner for now. But in a world where Russ Branyan logged nearly 600 games at third base, anything’s possible.

    hendu29 (New York): Regarding Oscar Tavares, how high a ceiling does he have and who would you compare him to in the big leagues right now. Thanks man!

Matthew Eddy: Exercise caution with a Low-A player with
limited playing time, such as Cardinals Low-A RF Oscar Taveras. I like him if for no other reason than the Appy League connection, but until he
proves himself at Double-A, I’d view him more as future part-time outfielder. He’s got the profile: lefty hitter who makes contact, fields
well enough, throws well enough, runs well enough, but doesn’t excel in
any one area.

    Tommy (Detroit): How is Tyler Moore missing ? 7/15-7/21 he hit .483 with 3 doubles and 4 HR. Just about the same as your #1 guy and Moore isn't mentioned. Sorry, guys, you missed one.

Matthew Eddy: Tyler Moore is a 24-year-old righty-hitting Nationals 1B with Double-A Harrisburg, in case you’re wondering. Lavarnway is younger, had a better week, at a higher level, while playing a more demanding position.

    Dan (Milwaukee): I know the Brewers had a brutal system going into the year, but do you still think they are among
    the worst if they sign their draft picks? Are the Crew quietly having a
    good year on the farm? Thanks for taking the questions!

Matthew Eddy: I like Peralta and Thornburg, but what if
they’re “just” a No. 3 starter and a late-inning reliever? Don’t read too much into the Helena performances because playing in the Pioneer League is like playing in the Cal League, only better. Sorry, but the Brewers potential for impact talent still places them in the bottom third of organizations. This is not an indictment of Milwaukee scouting or player-development. Lawrie and Odorizzi are fine prospects who yielded significant value in trade.

    Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): No love for Michael Choice this week? He hit 2 more bombs and has 26 on the year now. I also think he batted over .300 again this week. Man, tough crowd.

Matthew Eddy: Athletics High-A CF Michael Choice merits
a mention. He batted 11-for-24 (.458) this week with 2 HR, 3 2B and 4 RBIs, but that’s not hallowed ground for the Hot Sheet. Interesting player.

    Wendy (Miami): If you had to choose between Machado and Profar as the SS for your fantasy team, who wins and why?

Matthew Eddy: With all due respect to Profar, I give the nod to Machado at this point because I think the offensive upside is
higher. He could hit in the vicinity of .300 with 20 homers, though nobody seems to think he’ll be anything more than average on defense.

    Brian (State College, PA): Alex Presley has been tearing it up for the Pirates at the top of their order while Jose Tabata has been on the shelf. Yet, no one is really taking about Presley
    as a prospect for the Pirates. What type of prospect is he now? and will he stay in the majors once Tabata comes back?

Matthew Eddy: We ran a Triple-A feature on Alex Preseley, your current IL batting champ, about a month back. I think he’s a fine player to have if he’s your third best outfielder. Lefty bat
who hits for average, defends and can run a bit.

    Bob (Tampa, FL): How long will the Rays go with Brignac at SS?

Matthew Eddy: One would have to think Brignac would have a short leash . . . if only Tampa had a suitable replacement. But I
hadn’t realized just how bad Brignac has been this season: .193/.234/.219, 32 OPS+. Running a quick Baseball-Reference play index query, Brignac appears to be the second most inept offensive SS since 2000, min. 200 PAs and as judged by OPS+. No. 1? Tony Pena Jr. in his historic 2008 season of .169/.189/.209 (7 OPS+) hitting. Jack Wilson, 2001 Pirates, checks in at No. 3 (40 OPS+); Alex Gonzalez, 2000 Marlins,
is No. 4 (40 OPS+); John McDonald, 2008 Blue Jays, is 5 (41 OPS+), etc.

    Kevin (Omaha): Beltran for Mike Minor or Beltran for Dominic Brown, which one would you do knowing the value of starting pitching?

Matthew Eddy: Brown would be awfully hard to resist, but it’s hard to foresee Philly parting with him for a rental player like Beltran.

    mhed (Valpo): The Padres have some impressive power prospects on the horizon (Rizzo, Gyorko, Darnell, Blanks, Decker, etc.)...considering this, does the front office brass move in the fences
    at Petco Park anytime soon to help their hitters out?
    Goodness knows they need some offense and should give their hitters an edge for once...their pitchers have been benefiting for years now!

Matthew Eddy: The Padres seemingly are taking the opposite approach by emphasizing average, on-base skills and speed. And when you think about it, an offense centered on average and on-base percentage is one that can succeed in any environment. Those hitting skills translate to Petco as well as they do Coors.