Prospect Hot Sheet Chat With Matt Eddy

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 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

Did Bumgarner garner consideration? He had a great week, from what I can see.


Matt Eddy:
You bet he was. The tall, flamethrowing lefty struck out seven in six
innings this week, issuing only one walk. He still has yet to allow a
home run to SAL batters in 34 innings.

 Q:  Luke Hughes’s Clone from Midwest asks:

Where am I?


Matt Eddy: Luke, we can only hope you’re in New Britain, preparing for your game against the Sea Dogs tonight.

Matt Eddy: Seriously, Hughes was 1-for-5 yesterday with a home run. Check out Ben Badler’s blog on Hughes to find out why he missed time.

Matt Eddy:

 Q:  Jay Bruce from Louisville asks:

How much longer can it be until I finally start getting at bats over Corey Patterson?


Matt Eddy:
The ability to drive the ball is most crucial to Bruce’s future success
(and he’s shown that), but the Reds want to make sure he’s got a firm
grasp of the strike zone before setting him loose against NL pitchers.

Matt Eddy: While we don’t have data on how many bad
pitches Bruce has chased this year, we do know that he’s drawn seven
unintentional walks in 39 games this year. I’m not trying to paint this
as a concern—just pointing out the Reds’ line of thinking.

 Q:  Chris from Gaylord, MI asks:

so many great players coming through the minors. When do you see the
reds contending? When will we finally see Bruce and Bailey?


Matt Eddy:
Playing in the NL Central, the Reds could conceivably catch lightning
in a bottle and contend in any season. And you can’t write them off
this year, either. Dunn won’t slug .413 all year, and Bruce should give
them a boost when he gets called up.

Matt Eddy: For the Reds, the stars seem to be aligning
for 2010. By that time, Cueto, Volquez, Bruce, Votto and Bailey—barring
injury to any of them—will all have one to two seasons of experience.
And Dunn and Griffey will have been traded for younger players. Harang
will be exiting his theoretical peak, but then his career arc has been
so unconventional that it’s anybody’s guess what he’ll do.

 Q:  Steve from Fairfax, VA asks:

have read some conflicting reports on Chris Tillman, as some scouts
think he has ace potential, while others only consider him a back of
the rotation guy. Where do you think he falls?
Also, when do you think Wieters and Arrieta will be joining Tillman at


Matt Eddy:
The impression I had when I ranked him third with the Mariners last
year was future No. 2 or 3 type. His terrific curveball gets plenty of
swings and misses in the minors, but the fastball command has to
progress—as it does with almost all young pitchers—to set it up. If it
does all come together, he’s a 2, at worst, but he’ll pitch in the big
leagues one way or another.

Matt Eddy: Wieters is a safer bet for an early Double-A promotion.

 Q:  Chris from New Jersey asks:

Michael Taylor had a very nice week. Any reason for his omission from the hot list?…thanks….Chris


Matt Eddy:
Taylor’s a 22-year-old outfielder drafted in 2007 (from Stanford) who’s
tearing up Low A competition (.400-.444-.840 last week with 3 HR).
Let’s wait until the Phillies move him up to Clearwater before going

 Q:  Travis from Ewa Beach asks:

should we expect to see Chris Davis in Texas? Ben Broussard and Jason
Botts have already been designated, Frank Cattalanatto and Chris
Sheldon are platooning and Nate Gold looks more like a journeyman Minor
Leaguer than a prospect.


Matt Eddy:
Davis may not be far off. He’s got 60 home runs in 231 minor league
games (he turned pro in 2006, so that’s not even two full seasons), and
he could get his feet wet with the Rangers in the second
half—especially if he continues to minimize his strikeouts while still
hitting for power, as he did this week.

 Q:  Jorge from Bronx, NY asks:

Cahill is better than Kershaw! (They both are really young) Aree or disagree with that disputable comment?


Matt Eddy:
Disagree. Cahill is intriguing, but Kershaw has two otherworldly
pitches (fastball, curveball), a 6-foot-3 frame and a track record to
match. In 37 innings this season, Kershaw has struck out 40 and not
given up a home run — in Double-A. Best of all, he’s trimmed his walks
this season. He’s issued 11.

 Q:  Andrew from New Haven asks:

Not to pick nits, but Tillman isn’t Tillman a month younger than Kershaw? Not that a month matters too much for development…


Matt Eddy: Kershaw was born March ’88, and Tillman in April ’88.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:

Denard Span is still relatively young. Any chance he can become a starter? Maybe not in Minnesota, but somewhere else?


Matt Eddy:
He’s got a chance, but he might fit best as a quality bench player or
second-division regular. Despite his speed and center-field defense, it
would be tough to project him as a first-division regular at this
point, unless he’s really turned a corner offensively. But he’s gotten
progressively better from the midpoint of last season to now, so who

 Q:  Santino from Cincy asks:

– Francisco is off to a good start. It’s a bit weird because his
strikeout ratio is down a bit down this year, but the walks aren’t up
at all. Out of Francisco, Frazier, Waring (and maybe even Valakia), who
do you think is the Red’s best option at third long term?


Matt Eddy:
Francisco is very intriguing, and he’s the guy I’d go with in that
group. He’s a switch-hitting third baseman with power from both sides
of the plate (he led the MWL in HR last season), but you do have to be
a little concerned about his strike-zone discipline. A scout recently
said that he loves Francisco’s hitting hands and bat actions, but
wonders if his swing-at-the-first-pitch approach would hinder him as he
moves up the ladder.

 Q:  John from DC asks:

have 1/4 of the season in the books. Would your top 10 minor league
prospect list be any different today as opposed this winter? Has anyone
in the top 10 moved up or down in your mind based on their performance
thus far this season?


Matt Eddy: I’ll leave this one for Jim Callis. Drop him a line and I’m sure he’d relish in answering your question in Ask BA.

Matt Eddy: Jim:

 Q:  John from DC asks:

Better bat and power, today and in the future, Jay Bruce or Justin Upton?


Matt Eddy: Upton on both counts. He’s just a special player with gigantic offensive upside.

 Q:  Big Dave from Arkansas asks:

the main reason Jaime Garcia was left off the Top 100 list this year
because of injury concern? Because it doesn’t look like he’s fallen off
his game any.


Matt Eddy:
The elbow injury was, in fact, the primary reason for Garcia’s
exclusion. But he’s pitched very well whenever healthy, and he’s
probably the least-appreciated pitching prospect at Triple-A right now.

 Q:  Braden from Richmond, Va. asks:

Morton’s having a tremendous season at Triple-A Richmond. You wrote
about him in last week’s Hot Sheet and I was wondering if you think the
Braves should give a shot in their rotation sooner rather than later.


Matt Eddy:
The Braves probably will wait until the second half to test drive
Morton, who needs time to refine his fastball command. He’s also never
made it through an entire year of full-season ball as a starter (not
because of injuries, but because of demotions to the bullpen), so it’s
important to carefully monitor the number of stressful innings he
throws this season.

 Q:  Brandon from Charleston, WV asks:

Valaika – the next Michael Young? Is that a fair comparison? Same
college, similar hitters, and both lack solid range at SS?


Matt Eddy:
Not the worst comp in the world, but Young is and was much more
athletic. And while he’s not an ideal shortstop, Young is playable at
the major league level. Valaika is a hitting machine, but he’ll
probably break into the big leagues as a second baseman, like Young did.

 Q:  Grigsby from Athens, GA asks:

– Heyward’s been on the Hot List roller coaster! This kid looks like
he’ll be something special…power, speed, a cannon of an arm. Do you
think the Braves will promote him to High-A, or do you think he might
stay at Rome for the year, and they’ll push him a bit more next year?
ETA mid-2010?


Matt Eddy:
He’s certainly in the top handful of prospects at Low A, that’s for
sure, but the Braves are generally conservative in promoting their
high-school drafts. They may make an exception, though, if Rome
continues to play so poorly, because there’s no sense in exposing
Heyward to prolonged losing.

 Q:  Ron from Mobile AL asks:

you guys really think the only reason Bruce is still in AAA because of
his walk total? Or is it more likely that it is because of the glut of
LH OF on the Reds roster? I just cant see Bruce getting everyday starts
over Dunn or Griffey, and Bakers love fest with Corey Patterson has
many Reds fans pretty disgruntled. If you were Walt Jockety … what
would you do?


Matt Eddy:
You have a point in that being a powerful lefty bat is probably working
against Bruce right now because of the presence of Dunn, Griffey and
Votto (and others).

Matt Eddy: Griffey really can’t hit his 600th homer soon
enough, can he? Once he does, the Reds have to strongly consider
trading him. And Dunn, too, if they can find the right trading partner.
If not, let him walk and take the draft picks. Either way, Bruce could
be in Cincy by June.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:

Has Gamel’s amazing hitting taken a vacation this week in your eyes?


Matt Eddy:
Gamel was our final cut. He hit .357/.367/.750 on the week, with two
doubles, three homers and 7 RBIs. I have a feeling he’ll be a mainstay
on future Hot Sheets.

 Q:  Neftali Feliz from Clinton asks:

Why no love for me? I have only tossed 20 consecutive shut out innings.


Matt Eddy:
In Feliz’s 20 1/3 innings, he’s allowed only one run while striking out
25. Impressive, but when you’re throwing five innings a start it’s
harder to get noticed among the pitchers who are going six-plus.

 Q:  MJ from Valpo asks:

the chats…but no Ben Revere?!?!? Surprising. Do you think he’ll be in
Ft. Myers later this year? How does his upside compare with other ’07
draftees, like Heyward, Fairley, etc.? Thanks.


Matt Eddy:
Like the Braves, the Twins generally are conservative with first-year
players out of high school, so don’t count on the Fort Myers promotion.
Fun Revere stat: On his brief career, he has more triples (13) than
doubles (10).

 Q:  kevin from ca asks:

does Craig Italiano have to do to make the hot sheet? In his last 7
starts he’s allowed 1 earned run in 36 innings with 47 k’s, 13 walks
and 18 hits


Matt Eddy:
Like Gamel, Italilano was considered for Hot Sheet. The number are
staggering, but we’re wary of fourth-year pros beating up on Low A
competition. He deserves mention, though, so thanks for bringing him up.

 Q:  Adam J. Morris from Houston, Texas asks:

Max Ramirez vs. Chris Davis — who do you take right now? And could Max handle first base if he can’t stick behind the plate?


Matt Eddy: Ramirez, but as a first baseman and not a catcher. Love the bat.

 Q:  Jacob from NYC asks:

long is it until the floundering friars call up Chase Headly? At this
point it just seems like they are trying to pinch pennies.


Matt Eddy:
The Padres don’t want to call up Headley now for two reasons: 1) they
don’t want him to feel as if he’s there to save their season, and 2)
they don’t want him around the losing atmosphere right now. The Padres
are an MLB-worst 15-27.

Moderator: Thanks for your questions. We’ll return next week with another Hot Sheet chat.