Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Matt Eddy

    Will T. (Cary, N.C.): What kind of power do you see in Zach Cox's future? 20-25 HR guy or more of a 12-15 HR guy?

Matthew Eddy: Split the difference and say 15-20, which
when factored with Cox’s feel for hitting and solid defense gives you average production from the hot corner.

    Will T. (Cary, N.C.): If Domingo Santana were to reach his ceiling, what kind of power are we talking about with this guy? Most raw power in the minor leagues?

Matthew Eddy: Definitely not most raw power in the minors because I doubt that type of talent would be available as a throw-in for Hunter Pence. No offense to Pence. Santana has prototype right field tools: 20+ homer potential, a strong arm and good range and feel for hitting.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): For all the upside and hype Billy Hamilton is getting in his quest for 100 steals, the Reds AA SS Didi Gregorious is just 21 (one year older than Hamilton) and is hitting .300 with very good (and much more polished) defense at SS. Is Hamilton that much a better prospect than Gregorious who is also a very good athlete himself?

Matthew Eddy: Among Reds shortstops, Hamilton draws much of the attention because of his quest for 100 steals, sure, but also because he was one dominant tool that plays at his position: 80 speed. However, I think it’s fair to say that Didi Gregorius is a bit more well-rounded at this stage because he’s an above-average runner, defender and thrower. Plus, he’s got big league bloodlines. His father Didi pitched in Hoofdklasse Honkbal, the Dutch major league.

    Tom (Atlanta): Thanks for the chat Matt. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on Brandon Drury - he just turned 19
    this week, and has an OPS of 906 in the Appy League. What are the scouting reports on him?

Matthew Eddy: Suffice it to say that Drury will appear on the Appy League Top 20 Prospects list, though I’m not sure yet at which position. He’s batting .352 with eight homers and 22 doubles for Danville and he can handle third base, so with a little more polish (five walks, 34 strikeouts) he could be a significant prospect. In case you’re wondering, Drury is a Braves 2010 13th-rounder from an Oregon high school. Good pick.

    Halvy (Seattle): Erasmo Ramirez was one of the youngest players at Double-A at the start of the season, and now he's pitching at Triple-A. He hasn't exactly been lighting the world in fire in his last few starts, but he's obviously young for his levels. How does he project as a big leaguer at this point?

Matthew Eddy: Mariners 21-year-old righty Erasmo Ramirez has been hammered for 15 runs in 10 innings over the course of his past 2 starts for Triple-A Tacoma, but don’t fret he’ll be all right. He gets a little overlooked because he doesn’t post gaudy strikeout rates, but he’s quite polished for a young pitcher. Ramirez throws four pitches with two of them registering as above-average (fastball, change). He could be pitching in Safeco during the second half of next season.

    jon (SC): Can you give us your thoughts on RHP David Walters closer for Delmarva?

Matthew Eddy: I’m a sucker for nondrafted free agents, so I’ll take this one. What’s the difference, really, between a college senior 30th rounder and an NDFA who signs right after the draft, as Walters did out of Francis Marion in 2009? Anyway, Walters throws an average sinker and slider, but the results are not overwhelming for a 24-year-old in Low-A: 1.45 WHIP, 6.5 strikeouts per nine.

    Sam (Queens): Reese Havens seems to be finishing strong. On the outside chance he's still healthy next spring,
    would you give him a shot to win the 2B job with the Mets?

Matthew Eddy: Havens’ ceiling is considerably higher than Justin Turner’s, but Turner has been a valuable replacement find for the Mets, one who has proven himself as a (future) sub around the infield. He’s fallen pretty hard in the second half, batting .233/.311/.338, which is an offensive hurdle Havens ought to be able to clear pretty easily. (Huge caveat: assuming he stays healthy.) Havens is
batting .295/.379/.454 in 183 at-bats for Double-A Binghamton.

    Commish (NYC): I'm going to throw this out there and see if it sticks. Anthony Gose = Eric Davis with a little less power. Other comp might be Carl Crawford with a little less BA. Thoughts?

Matthew Eddy: I think you’re shooting too high. Gose will play in the big leagues because he’s a plus fielder and runner, tools that most every high-quality center fielder possesses. You have to
project an awful lot on the bat to get him anywhere near Crawford’s career average (.293) or Davis’ power (.482 slugging, finished 18 homers
shy of 300 for his career).

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Reds SS Zack Cozart had tommy john on his non throwing arm a couple weeks back, what kind of impact will that have on a position player going into next year? They say he should be back by spring training but will his glove hand have full mobility and will it affect his swing?

Matthew Eddy: This is a great question. Can anyone suggest a sample of position players who have had TJ surgery on their non-throwing elbows?

    Dan (Chicago): Josh Vitters walked TWICE! in the same game yesterday and has 5 in his last 9 games. Small sample size
    that means nothing or good sign that he may finally be learning some patience???

Matthew Eddy: I’ll go farther than that. Vitters has seven walks in 23 August games for Double-A Tennessee, giving him roughly one-third of his totals for 2008-09 in 185 games. Real progress?
We’ll see, but this was an amusing question.

    Nick (New Jersey): Can Jonathan Galvez stick at SS? Are his numbers legit or just inflated by the CAL league?

Matthew Eddy: The overall picture is attractive — a 20-year-old middle infielder who has a career line of .282/.383/.445 who
has a 58-walk year and a 35-double year — but Galvez never has done much for scouts because with slow feet and hard hands he’s probably not a
middle infielder down the line.

    Craig (Charlotte): It was nice of BA to mention
    the hardships of pitching in the PCL, but if you were to take off the kid gloves would Mike Montgomery still be viewed as a top of the rotation guy or just an innings filler? Should they think about moving him to the bullpen?

Matthew Eddy: Yes, Montgomery has top-of-the-rotation potential. No, the Royals should not move him to the bullpen. With just 13 starts above Class A, Montgomery could be expected to struggled this year. For whatever reason he’s missing the strike zone too much this season and walking batters. The Royals think he needs to challenge with his fastball rather than trying to induce swings and misses all the time. But don’t judge him at his lowest point.

    bob (kansas city): about time edwin carl got some love! his numbers this year are unbelievable. certainly will be interesting to see how he does next year against more advanced competition.

Matthew Eddy: Nothing to add here. Just a nod to the long-suffering Edwin Carl fans.

    Mark Pascuzzi (Pittsburgh): Any consideration given to Robbie Grossman for the Hot Sheet? .299 BA/121 runs/100 BB/13 HR/31 2B on the year and 9 for 20 with four doubles and a homerun this past week. Just sayin'.

Matthew Eddy: Yes, Grossman was considered. He’s been much better in his second run through the FSL, batting 9-for-20 this week with 2 homers and 4 doubles.

    Bryan (Palo Alto, CA): My question relates to a
    guy who made last weeks Hot Sheet, Tommy Joseph. The kid has been putting up pretty impressive offensive numbers in San Jose this year especially for being a catcher and he's also one of the youngest players
    in HiA ball (and SJ isn't quite the bandbox the rest of the league is).
    But what shocked me was that he was voted as the top defensive catcher in the Cal League since I thought he was an all bat guy? What are people
    saying about his projection and has he really elevated his prospect status this season? Thanks for taking the time to answer my question!

Matthew Eddy: The Cal League managers aren’t alone. We also have a scouting report that indicates that Joseph has major league starer-caliber defensive tools. And you have to love the power potential
as well.

    Landon (Kelowna, BC): Who do you like better as a CF prospect for the Jays, Marisnick or Gose?

Matthew Eddy: I’ll say Gose because he’s much closer to the big leagues and because he has more classic center-field defensive tools.

    Landon (Kelowna, BC): Tough question but settle this debate, who is the top catching prospect in the minors? D'Arnaud or Mesoraco, and why?

Matthew Eddy: I prefer d’Arunad because he’s more polished defensively and has just as much offensive potential.

    Hunter Pence (Philly): Seeing as 2 of the 4 guys are on the hot sheet this week... was i worth as much as i got traded for?

Matthew Eddy: Well, Hunter Pence has batted .322/.402/.540 with 5 homers in 23 games in the big leagues, so I’d take
a wait and see approach. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jonathan Singleton is the player form that trade who has the most impact in Houston.

    Erik R (Jackson, NJ): Any hope for or recent updates on Michael Ynoa?

Matthew Eddy: The A’s hope he mends enough to pitch in the Dominican League this winter. Beyond that, maybe we’ll see him in the New York-Penn League in 2012.

    Kyle (Philadelphia): Better package of prospects Cosart, Singleton, Santana, Zeid or Drabek Taylor D'Arnaud? 1
    was for the best pitcher in baseball 1 was for a 5th hitter.

Matthew Eddy: Interesting question. d’Arnuad could be the best player in either deal, and that would go a long way toward settling in favor of the Cliff Lee package. All the players in the Pence
deal still have their A-ball prospect sheen because they haven’t yet failed. Let’s wait to see if Santana develops or if Cosart can handle Double-A and beyond before passing final judgment.

    Dan (Toronto): Rank 'em: Player A with 70 hitting and 50 power, Player B with 50 hitting and 70 power, Player C with 60 hitting and 60 power. Does it depend on position?

Matthew Eddy: We publish a tools priority depth chart at the front of each edition of the Prospect Handbook. We don’t just make it up. It’s culled from actual scouting departments. On that chart all four corner positions (1B, 3B, LF, RF) list power as the No. 1 criteria, so for those positions you’d take your 70 power with some trade-off in average (50 hitter). Power is not so crucial at the up-the-middle posts (2B, SS, CF), but his is partly a function of those players requiring agility that bulked-up sluggers often do not possess. (Catchers are a different class.) But in reality, an offense with as many 60 and 70 hitters as possible (assuming 50 power for each, which isn’t a fair real-world assumption) is probably going to score the most runs because of a correspondingly high on-base percentage.

    Ben (Columbus, OH): After not hitting better than .255 in his last four minor league seasons, Denis Phipps is now hitting .337 in AA and AAA this year. Has the light bulb just turned on
    for Phipps? Should Reds fans expect him to continue this kind of output, or is a fall back to earth inevitable? Also, if you were Walt Jocketty, would you add him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the
    Rule 5 draft?

Matthew Eddy: I don’t envy the Reds for having to make that call on Denis Phipps, but they know him better than any other org, and they re-signed him last fall rather than risk losing him to minor league free agency. He’s made good this season, so I suspect they’ll retain him to see if he can keep performing in 2012.

    Dan (Chicago): Tyler Colvin had TJ surgery on his non throwing elbow several years ago.

Matthew Eddy: . . . Passing along the first answer I’ve seen on the subject . . .

    Whit Manley (Sacramento CA): Seems like the Giants are being very conservative with Gary Brown. When do you think he might make it to the big leagues?

Matthew Eddy: Brown could reach San Fran next season. Remember, it’s not unusual for players to earn a callup after a half-season in Double-A. As to this season, Brown began the year at an appropriate level, and I bet the Giants simply want to expose him to a winning atmosphere in High-A, where San Jose has a shot to win the league title. Brown can tackle Double-A/Triple-A next season and be right on pace.

    Fred (Houghton, MI): Top 5 farm systems next year 1.Texas, 2. Tampa Bay, 3. Toronto, 4. Arizona, 5. Pittsburgh. Am I close or far off?

Matthew Eddy: All very strong contenders. The Rays having Matt Moore could be a separator for me.

    Steve (Buffalo): Hate to nitpick, but the D'arnaud package was for Halladay, not Lee. The Phillies got Lee for a bag of balls...not even baseballs...used tennis balls.

Matthew Eddy: This is correct. Thanks for the correction.

Matthew Eddy: Thanks for the great questions. We’ll return next week with the final installment of Hot Sheet for 2011.