Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Matt Eddy

Steve (St Louis): Wacha's FIP isn't all that impressive. Anything to be concerned about? Does he have the stuff to be a #1?

Matt Eddy: If you polled a large number of scouts, they’d probably tell you Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha is more of a mid-rotation arm than a No. 1. As to his fielding-independent ERA, one thing I kept in mind when including him this time is that his strikeout rate has trended up lately — he’s got 26 over 31.2 innings in his last six starts. Plus, his swinging-strike rate (11% in that time) is up significantly over his first three starts (5%) when he was getting his feet wet at Triple-A. (All rates according to the wonderful split pages at B-Ref, by the way.) He’s allowed five HR in eight starts in a tough pitcher’s league. One possible downside risk example strikes me, and that’s Mike Pelfrey. Like Pelfrey, Wacha is a tall college righty who relies on a power sinker and changeup with limited feel for a breaking ball. Even still, Wacha is much more effective out of the gate than Pelfrey was at Triple-A.

George (Houston): A lot of people look at George Springer's k rate and say he'll never succeed, but all he has done is rake so far. How good is he and how good can he be?

Matt Eddy: For a prospect like Astros CF George Springer, it’s not so much about the strikeout rate as it is what he does when he puts the ball in play. If he gets on base at a good clip and hits for power, then nobody will talk about his strikeouts (except when it comes time to negotiate a contract!). But as a general rule, the fewer balls in play, the fewer opportunities one has for positive outcomes like doubles and homers. Still, I think the downside for Springer is still pretty high: maybe a Chris Young type center fielder.

Jason (Austin): Would you say that Wil Myers stats were over blown last year because of playing in the PCL? Now playing in the IL he seems to have taken a step back.

Matt Eddy: To a smaller degree than you might think. Over the 2011-12 seasons, Omaha played as only a slightly favorable HR park, about +5 percent for a player playing half his games there. (Durham is about +10 percent compared with other IL parks, but I can attest that it’s been a cold spring here.) At Triple-A in 2012, Myers didn’t concentrate his HR in bandbox parks — he had one in Albuquerque, but for the most part he hit them in the PCL’s Midwest locales. His trouble this year appears to stem from pitch recognition/over-eagerness as he’s striking out in roughly 1 of 3 plate appearances. In the end, I expect talent will win out. Remember how terrible Bryce Harper played for Syracuse last April?

J Pierre Starkey (CT): In the longterm picture, Michael Wacha, or Shelby Miller?

Matt Eddy: You have to take Shelby Miller based on his repertoire and short, but impressive track record in the big leagues.

Phil (Southington , CT): What is Drew Vettleson's ceiling and eta for the Majors?

Matt Eddy: One level at a time for Rays RF Drew Vettleson, same as it is for every other system farmhand. That puts him on target for a debut at some point in 2016. Some scouts see Vettleson as a first-division right fielder, and I tend to agree, but I have a soft spot for sweet-swinging lefty corner bats, especially those with a feel to hit and the strength for HR.

Brien p (Nyc): This time next year, is Max Fried the best lefty prospect in baseball?

Matt Eddy: That’s a safer assumption than I would have thought, given the lefties who ranked ahead of him coming into the year: Skaggs, Hultzen, Ryu and Heaney.

Ryan (Salem): Has Cecchini made a hot sheet this year?

Matt Eddy: No, Gavin Cecchini is in extended spring training with the Mets. Oh you mean Garin. Here’s the BA search results, so see for yourself:

Ryan (Chicago): Does Christian Villaneuva have enough power to be an everyday 3rd baseman in the Bigs?

Matt Eddy: That will be the determining factor. Scouts see Villanueva as being right on the borderline now between first- and second-division in the HR department. His glove will allow him ample time to develop his power approach at Triple-A if that’s what stands in his way of playing in the bigs.

Rick (NYC): I like seeing guys who work hard to improve and overcome adversity -- speaking of Phegley here. Do you hear of real improvements in approach or is this a SSS we are seeing? Thanks!

Matt Eddy: In all probability, we’re witnessing the best four weeks of Phegley’s career, but I’m with you in that I like seeing him succeed after all he’s been through. The White Sox catching situation is pretty dire in the big leagues, so Phegley probably will receive a real opportunity to establish himself in Chicago. It’s up to him how much he wants to work to improve his receiving, which is the major ding on his abilities.

Matt (Madison): Cameron Perkins continues to mash in the FSL. The biggest concern is that he is putting everything in play (0 BB 3K) over his last 10 games. What do we make of it?

 Matt Eddy: The early success of Phillies corner OF Cameron Perkins (sixth round, Purdue, 2012) is a testament to the organization’s area scouts’ ability to identify college players who are ready to step into pro ball and contribute right away. They had similar success with 2011 draft picks Adam Morgan and Cody Asche, both of whom are in Triple-A today.

Ratt (Brooklyn): Rainy Lara had 15 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 17 K this week. Any specific reason he wasn't even in the team photo? Any information about this guy? Thanks.

Matt Eddy: Mets RHP Rainy Lara has a 1.17 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 9-1 K-BB ratio for Low-A Savannah this season, but scouts are concerned that he’s getting results primarily with a low-90s sinker and a funky arm action. Questions about the secondary stuff and that arm action suggest to many that he may be headed to the bullpen. Keep in mind also that Savannah is probably the No. 1 pitcher’s park in the minors.

Charles (Richmond, VA): Thoughts on Corey Dickerson...hitting for high average in AAA. Also, long term projection for Adam Brett Walker?

Matt Eddy: You have to give Rockies LF Corey Dickerson credit: Even in a system that features the most hitter-friendly collection of ballparks around, he goes above and beyond. He went 13-for-27 (.481) with two homers, four doubles and a triple this week, spending most of his time at home at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He just missed the Hot Sheet, and some scouts see him a starting-caliber left fielder based on his power. As to Walker, that’s a great start, but for a maxed-out corner guy in Low-A, he’s got to keep mashing.

AndrewCharles (Denver, CO): Oscar T. or Antony R.? Who has the highest floor/ceiling. Of the two who would you want on your dynasty team and why? Thanks for your time!

Matt Eddy: I would take Oscar Taveras based on his rare combination of elite power potential and contact skills. Plus, his health track record is sterling.

Peter (Toronto): Can you see Kevin Pillar as the lead off man in Toronto next year?

Matt Eddy: It’s getting harder and harder to write this guy off. Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar is hitting .326/.373/.471 at Double-A, and while his tools don’t excite scouts, he obviously has a knack for hard contact and could carve out a career as a reserve/occasional starter.

Jake Smythe (Huntington, PQ): Speaking of Gavin Cechhini, he's going to Brooklyn, right?

Matt Eddy: Yes, Cecchini will play for Brooklyn, just like Brandon Nimmo did. The Mets believe this is a crucial player-development step for young players because it’s a unique minor league atmosphere, where the fans are enthusiastic and the team has a winning tradition.

Casey (Texas): Reportedly Buxton's walk off grand slam last night went 450 feet. While Buxton only has 6 HRs move of them have been no doubters. What is his future power potential?

Matt Eddy: Substantial. Think of all the five-tool big league center fielders playing right now. He can be one of them in time. You don’t need to apologize for Buxton having “just” six homers. He’s got 20 extra-bats hits in 38 games as a middle-diamond teen in the Midwest League (.594). That’s amazing.

Cal Guy (Cal): Which pitching prospects profile as true #1 starters?

Matt Eddy: This would be a good Ask BA question for Jim Callis. Be sure to include your name and hometown.

Matt Eddy: Thanks for the great questions. The Hot Sheet returns next Friday.