Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Matt Eddy

Q:  Josh from Warrenton MO asks:
of all love the Detlef reference…BOOM SHAKALAKA!
Volstad keeps mowing them down and Badenhop has not been impressive in
his brief stint with the Marlins. How much longer do you see Volstad
staying down?

Matt Eddy:
Volstad is a divisive prospect because he’s never struck out a lot of
batters, but he’s now compiled nine- and six-whiff games his last two
times out. And his groundout-to-fly out mark on the year is a gaudy
3.35, so he’s still sticking with what works (heavy sinker), while
getting more swings and misses on his curve and change.

Matt Eddy:
Given that Florida has almost an entire rotation on the disabled list
(Johnson, Sanchez, VandenHurk, Mitre), Volstad could be up by the
all-star break if he strings a few more outings like this together.
Remember, there was talk of calling him up last year, and the Marlins
will likely skip him over Triple-A Albuquerque because Isotopes Park is
so unfavorable for pitchers.

 Q:  John from NYC asks:
Mike Pontius for Lake County has been untouchable so far this season – why no love for the young relievers?

Matt Eddy:
It’s easier for relievers to dominate in short stints, when they can
max out on every pitch and not have to worry about setting up batters
for at-bats later in the game. Relievers are vital to success with the
way the game is played today, but most of the top big league relievers
rose through the ranks as starters.

Matt Eddy: Those are the two big reasons why we don’t consider relievers on equal footing with starters in prospect evaluations.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Do you find it odd that both LaPorta and Michael Burgess homered on the same day in nearly all instances?

Matt Eddy: I do . . . now.

 Q:  Tyler from Connecticut asks:
Do you guys really see Chris Carter having a big league impact with his only real tool being his power?

Matt Eddy:
Long term, your instinct is correct, I believe. Carter’s ranking here
is reward for hitting five home runs and driving in 12 last week, which
is no easy feat, even in the Cal League.

Matt Eddy: But
for an unathletic, righthanded-hitting first baseman, like Carter,
there’s nowhere to go but down. Sometimes these guys turn into Billy
Butler, but more often they’re Brian Dopirak. In general, how many top
prospects need two years in Rookie ball? And how many are traded twice
before they reach the majors?

 Q:  TJA from Connecticut asks:
Who is called up to the bigs sooner: Laporta or McCutchen?

Matt Eddy:
Have to go with McCutchen on this one. Corner outfielders and
righthanded power are about the last thing the Brewers need, so if
you’re Milwaukee why not wait to see how LaPorta handles his first dose
of adversity?

Matt Eddy: While the Pirates have been getting good
play from CF Nate McLouth, potential trades of Jason Bay and Xavier
Nady could open the door for McCutchen and Steve Pearce.

 Q:  Greg from Vista, CA asks:
Where is Eric Sogard or Hunter or any of the Lake Elsinore Hitters?

Matt Eddy:
Padres 2B Eric Sogard, the scrappy second baseman taken in the second
round from Arizona State last year, is off to a fantastic start, and
will be in the running for future Hot Sheets. His numbers last week:
.556-.654-.722 with 3 doubles, 8 RBIs and 7 walks. That’s what you like
to see.

Matt Eddy: CF Cedric Hunter scuffled a bit last week (.200-.250-.200), so he was never a serious candidate this time around.

 Q:  wayne from Camarillo C.A. asks:
How could Midland 3B Jesus Guzman with a .444 BA 5 HR 27 RBI not be on the Hot Prospect list?

Matt Eddy:
It depends on how loosely you define prospect. Guzman also put up
monster numbers with high Class A High Desert last year while in the
Mariners organization — but that was after two seasons in Double-A.
The trouble is, Guzman turns 24 in June and he’s already accrued enough
service time to reach minor league free agency (the A’s signed him in
the offseason) and he has yet to put Double-A behind him.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Ga asks:
Dexter Fowler? Break out year?

Matt Eddy:
Most definitely. And if you’re around John Manuel enough, you’ll hear
him say things like, Dexter Fowler is as good or better than current
prospect darling Desmond Jennings.

Matt Eddy: All five
of Fowler’s tools have been on display thus far — though the
switch-hitter has been markedly better from his natural right side —
and he was the last cut from this week’s Hot Sheet. Maybe that was a
mistake. He hit .375-.444-.542 this week with a double, a homer, three
walks and two steals.

 Q:  Doug from NYC asks:
What’s to make of Adam Miller’s start the other day? What does he have to do to get to the big show now?

Matt Eddy:
It’s a simple equation for Miller, who’s had two injury-shortened
seasons in the last three: Stay healthy and the rest will follow. His
mid-90s heat and sick slider are more than enough for batters to handle.

 Q:  Tony from Easton, MD asks:
Chris Davis is tearing up AA, what else does he have to do to make this list?

Matt Eddy:
Like Fowler, Rangers 1B Chris Davis was another late cut. But you’re
right, it’s hard to argue with a .385-.429-.846 week with 4 home runs,
6 RBIs and 9 runs. The one thing holding him back: 10 strikeouts in 26

 Q:  Dave from Chicago asks:
on Sean Doolittle? I’m trying not to get too excited because it is the
hitter friendly Cal League and a small sample size.

Matt Eddy:
Don’t rule out the possibility he could be pulling an Antonelli — as
in Matt Antonelli. Regarded more for his athleticism, defensive prowess
and plate discipline (sound familiar?) while at Wake Forest, Antonelli
went 17th overall to the Padres in 2006, and proceeded to hit zero home
runs in his pro debut. Doolittle, of course, connected for 4 homers in
the Midwest League last year, but still slugged only .347.

Matt Eddy:
Not saying Doolittle will continue to tear it up, but sometimes it’s
possible for even mature college prospects to take huge leaps forward.

 Q:  Chase from Long Island, NY asks:
are we to make of Ian Stewart and Jeff Clement’s chances of seeing ABs
this year? If Stewart continues to hit, doesn’t it make sense for the
Rockies to start talking to other teams about making a move? Johjima
isn’t hitting in Seattle. Are we going to Clement anytime soon and if
so, is he going to catch?

Matt Eddy:
At some point the Mariners will have to face up to the fact that Jose
Vidro is not the answer at DH. For Clement’s sake, let’s hope that
epiphany comes sooner rather than later. He’s big league ready now, of
course, but you’ll excuse the Mariners for wanting to give Johjima a
chance to break free of his early season doldrums. He’s got one of the
strongest throwing arms in the AL.

Matt Eddy: It’s more
difficult to be optimistic of Stewart’s situation, because the Rockies
don’t have DH at-bats to distribute. Stewart’s a steadier defender at
third than is Garrett Atkins, but the latter is a much more proven
commodity at the plate. And as long as the Rockies are in the race,
it’s hard not to defend their position. But because Colorado retains
the rights to Atkins for two more seasons after this one (and Stewart
is their top position prospect), they could conceivably get a good
return in trade on either of their third basemen.

 Q:  J. Yujuico from Matt LaPorta or Ryan Braun asks:
Do you think LaPorta’s ceiling as a power hitter is even higher than Ryan Braun’s?

Matt Eddy: I can see that, but I’m not sure I’d say it too loudly at this point.

 Q:  Bryan from Leesburg, Va asks:
Marrero is looking terrible at the plate for the Potomac Nationals. Is
he feeling the pressures of being the top hitting prospect or is he
just been overhyped?

Matt Eddy:
You said it. Marrero was the other finalist for High A Not-Hot status.
You can make a case for his being over-hyped, as he’s a guy who has to
hit to have value, but don’t lose faith. Give him another month or two
before passing judgment.

 Q:  Drew Stubbs from Sarasota, Florida asks:
I am turning things around big time here, how much consideration did I have for the list?

Matt Eddy:
Not a lot this time, Drew, but we have noticed your turnaround since
last year’s all-star break. For the record, you hit .348-.385-.609 last
week with 4 doubles, a triple, four steals and seven strikeouts. You
had surgery to repair a toe injury from last season, and the results
are reflected in your speed indicators (triple, steals).

 Q:  R Nitelight from Newark, NJ asks:
You’d think a guy with an 0.71 ERA in 25 innings in the Eastern League might at least get his picture taken.

Where’s the love for Jon Niese?


Matt Eddy:
If Niese keeps pitching as he has, he could make the Hot Sheet
eventually. A lefty with a chance for three pitches, he’s been good but
not overwhelming thus far. This week, he went 1-1, 0.98 in 9 2/3
innings, 11 hits, one earned run, 8 strikeouts and 3 walks.

 Q:  Shoshana from Chapel Hill asks:
love for Garret Olson? or is he no longer eligible? He’s just been
toying with people down at Triple – A. Also how soon do you think the
O’s start thinking about moving some of their Frederick prospects i.e.
Weiters and Erbe up to Double – A?

Matt Eddy:
Oh, he’s out there. Call me an Olson believer, but I think opposing
batters — not to mention the Orioles — are having a hard time knowing
what to do with him. He’s not your average fastball-changeup lefty, so
he’s tough to pigeonhole. We can only hope Baltimore gives Olson a
chance to redeem himself after his brutal 2007 big league showing.

Matt Eddy:
Look for C Matt Wieters and RHP Brandon Erbe to be considered for
callups to Double-a closer to the all-star break — though getting
Wieters experience there could hasten his big league arrival next

 Q:  Herb from NYC asks:
been surprised that Mike Carp hasn’t made any of the Hot Sheets yet
with a BA around .450 with 5 HR in double A at a young age. How come?

Matt Eddy:
We looked at Carp for this edition, but the way it broke down, he
batted “just” .333-.379-.407 with a pair of doubles this week. He’s
fighting his way back onto prospect lists after a down year in 2007.
Give him time.

 Q:  Jose from Florida asks:
How close was Max Ramirez (texas) to making the list?

Matt Eddy:
Ramirez was a contender, as he’ll likely be every week. The man can
hit. Can he catch, though? Will it even matter? Ramirez batted
.444-.565-.667 last week with a double, a homer, 5 RBIs, 5 strikeouts
and 5 walks.

 Q:  Thomas from New York asks:
What kind of line does Fernando Martinez need to put up this year to validate his lofty prospect status?

Matt Eddy:
This is a great question. With prospects, especially raw ones like
Martinez, the final output is not always the point of emphasis. And we
may not know what kind of player Martinez will be until he reaches the

Matt Eddy: What I would look for to gauge
Martinez’s progress this year would be smaller things, like did he hit
for more power, especially when putting the ball in play? Did he
improve his walk-to-strikeout ratio? Did he stay healthy?

Moderator: Lots of good questions this week. Be sure to save a few for next week’s Prospect Hot Sheet chat.