Prospects Chat With Ben Badler

Moderator: Ben Badler will chat about prospects and the Prospect Hot Sheet beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

    Max (Canada): What's Carlos Santana's upside, and how fast does he reach it? Is there a chance the Indians move him to third?

Ben Badler: This might be a slow chat. I assume most
people have the day off from work so that they can observe Matt Wieters
Santana has the upside to rank among the top five catchers in baseball
annually. I don’t know why he’d move to third base. His receiving
skills still need work, but he has the ability to play the position,
with more athleticism and just as much if not more arm strength than
most catchers.

    Jeff (Idaho): It's gotta be asked. How does
    Hanson find his way in Atlanta? Glavine injury/retirement/inefficiency?
    Kawakami struggles? The Braves could use him as a shot in the arm and
    he's showing he has little left to prove in the minors.

Ben Badler: I don’t know. He needs to be up now. Well, earlier than now, but ASAP.

    Mike (NY): Jesus Montero has hit at every
    level now, but still struggled at catcher. If hes moved to the outfield
    (likely option for Yankees), how far do you think he can be ranked as a
    top 100 prospect next season?

Ben Badler: Even if he’s moved off catcher, I don’t
see how he wouldn’t be among the top 20 prospects in baseball. Even
when we rank him now, we’re not ranking him as a catcher, we’re ranking
him with confidence intervals of X percent chance he plays catcher, Y
percent chance he moves to first base or possibly a corner outfield
position. Even if he’s just a first baseman, he’s an elite prospect
because the bat is special.

    Jeremy (Chicago): Are the White Sox rushing
    Beckham? Sure Josh Fields is playing himself out of the majors, but
    might the on the horizon promotion be a little premature? Reassure me

Ben Badler: He mashed in college, he was a consensus
top bat last year in the draft, he mashed in the AFL and he’s mashed in
Double-A. We’re not dealing with enormous sample sizes, but I don’t
think he’s being rushed.

    Kevin (Bakersfield, CA): What's happened to Matt Dominguez?

Ben Badler: He’s a good prospect, but he’s struggling
right now. I talked to a scout who thought he was getting tied up
inside a lot and wondered whether Dominguez would be able to hit for
enough power in the big leagues. I still like him and his glove is
plus, but there are scouts with concerns about the bat.

    Dan (Work): Do you have any info on Yorman Rodriguez OF in Cincy? I cant seem to find anything on him, thanks.

Ben Badler: He’ll start playing in the Gulf Coast League later this summer

    Max (Florida): What can we expect from Beau Mills this season?

Ben Badler: He’s at a crucial point. He had a good
year last year in High-A, but he was also prone to chasing pitches out
of the strike zone, and I think that’s starting to catch up to him
right now. Some e-mailers told me I ranked Lonnie Chisenhall too
aggressively in the Indians’ system last year by putting him at No. 6,
but frankly I thought about putting him at No. 5 and putting Mills at
6, and now I wish I did.

    Greg (St. Louis): What are your impressions of Tim Beckham so far?

Ben Badler: A super-toolsy hitter who needs some work on his pitch recognition

    Greg (St. Louis): How concerned are you about Lars Anderson?

Ben Badler: Uh, not concerned at all. He’s showing
power, he’s showing patience, he’s not striking out too much and all
the ability is still there. The kid is 21 years old in the Eastern
League. Anyone who’s down on him right now is going to look silly
pretty soon.

    Matt (San Francisco): Does Bumgarner's command
    set him apart from most other pitching prospects? It seems like he is
    in another league in terms of k to bb ratio... have you heard any
    reports of development of his secondary stuff or better yet, seen it
    first hand?

Ben Badler: I haven’t seen Bumgarner since last
August; I’m trying to schedule a trip to see him later this summer. His
fastball is one of the best pitches in the minor leagues when you
account for both velocity and command. It’s amazing to see a lefthander
who pitches at 92-94 command the ball to both corners of the plate the
way he does at 19 years old.

    carlos (nyc): please answer this for come angel villanova gets more hype than jesus montero

Ben Badler: Does he get more hype? Montero’s No. 1 on
the Hot Sheet, leading the BA homepage, and AnVil is nowhere to be
found, right? I think there was legitimate debate as to who the better
prospect was when they both signed and soon thereafter, but going into
the year Montero, for me, was the better prospect, and while I like Big
V, I think Montero’s ahead of him by a significant margin.

    Gary (CLE): Are you disappointed by Carlos Rivero's performance so far in 2009?

Ben Badler: More confused than disappointed. In the
past he’s had raw power but hasn’t shown a great approach at the plate.
Now he’s showing more plate discipline, but the rest of the performance
hasn’t followed along for the ride.

    Vin Mazzaro (Sacramento): Am I good enough to be a 3/4 starter in the bigs or will my lack of a dominant pitch leave me as a AAAA-player?

Ben Badler: I think there’s league-average starter potential there.

    Sam (Miss.): Jason Heyward has hit nine home
    runs this year. Are those doubles beginning to turn into home runs from
    last year? Is he getting closer to being the number one prospect for
    next year?

Ben Badler: Part of it is Heyward gaining strength and
learning to better leverage the baseball, but mostly I think his raw
home run output was suppressed last year by his environment. Rome is a
tough park to hit home runs in (I think the HR factor in that park is
typically around 0.8 or so). Not that Myrtle Beach is a great place to
hit for power either, but Heyward has always been able to hit missiles
since he’s signed, so I think the talk of how much his home-run power
has truly “improved” needs to be tempered.

    Max (Florida): What has happened to Brandon
    Allen's power? Do you think he will turn out to be the Brandon Allen of
    last year or this year when he makes it to the majors?

Ben Badler: He’s another guy in a park that suppresses
home runs. He’s hitting nearly .300 with a SLG near .500, so I don’t
think there are any Big Papi power outages there. He’s been one of the
most improved players in the minor leagues over the last couple of

    Jason ((San Diego, CA)): Hey Ben, do the A's have a good chance to sign Jacob Beltre or Miguel Angel Sano?

Ben Badler: I’ve heard the A’s have interest in some
of the top players from Latin America this year, so I think their
commitment to Latin American is going to extend beyond a one-time
payout for Michael Ynoa. But it’s too early to know if they’ll sign one
of those players. There’s just a lot of information out there being
pushed by certain people that isn’t true regarding some of these
players. If I hear something I feel comfortable with, it’ll be here on

    Greg (St. Louis): Will Martin Perez be moved up to high A this year?

Ben Badler: His talent looks good enough for a
promotion to the High-A, but I can see the benefits to leaving an
18-year-old from Venezuela, is in his first full season, on a
relatively tight leash in terms of workload, in the same place all year
and letting him avoid the Cal League.

    Tyler (Philly): Dominic Brown or Michael Taylor?

Ben Badler: Taylor’s good; Brown’s better

    Drew (Cleveland): Lonnie Chisenhall seems to
    be having quite the breakout season. Is he the long-term answer for the
    Tribe at 3b? I think there potential for a .300 avg and 20 homers.

Ben Badler: I think so. He’s the best third baseman in
that system, easily. He has the pitch recognition and the hands to hit
.300, and he should have enough power to hit 20 HRs as well.

    Riley (Denver): Thanks for the chat! My
    question is whether you think Karexon Sanchez, a second basmen at Low A
    Lake County, has a chance to be amongst the Indians top 10 prospects
    next year? He has a legitimate chance to be a 20/20 guy this year

Ben Badler: He has a chance to crack the 30, but I
don’t see him as a top 10 guy. His range at second base is very
limited, and he’s got a little too much swing and miss.

    Mark (Bay Area): The A's went into the season
    with one of the top systems in baseball. With Anderson and Cahill with
    the big club do the A's still have enough talent in their system to be
    a top 5 minor league system as of now.

Ben Badler: I think they’ll drop out of the top five,
similar to how the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have in recent years by
graduating a sizable chunk of top prospects to the big leagues. But
there’s still plenty left in the pipeline.

    John (Vegas): when will ynoa pitch finally?
    Ynoa/Dixon are my only hope of star level upside among A's prospects
    and havent even played in 09 yet.

Ben Badler: He should debut at some point this summer in the Arizona League. Right now he’s just in extended spring.

    Andrew (Detroit): Was Justin Jackson bad April due to injury or will he continue to inconstent at the plate?

Ben Badler: I think his contact issues leave him with very limited potential

    mike (florida): if both stay at 2b longterm...

    g. beckham or jemile weeks?

    is the gap huge between their upside in terms of all around player?

Ben Badler: Beckham, and I think there is a
significant gap. Weeks hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy, either
last year or this year, while Beckham looks like he could play either
second base or third base and be one of the best hitters in baseball.

    Travis (Seattle, WA): Who is the currently the Mariners top prospect? How does Michael Saunders' game translate to the major league level?

Ben Badler: Saunders. He’s a great athlete with plus
power and good bat speed, and his speed and arm should make him an
above-average fielder in RF.

    james (philly): jason donald or cliff pennington? utility types or starting level SS's?

Ben Badler: Pennington looks like more of a utility
type unless the power comes along quickly. Donald has the potential to
be a starting second baseman in the big leagues.

    Terry (NYC): Hey Ben, I was just curious as to
    you new of any updated info on Logan Morrison and his injury and what
    his return date might be?

Ben Badler: Nothing new. I expect he’ll be back by mid-June, and it sounds like he’ll be getting some action in LF once he’s back.

    TJ (Miami): Will the Marlins finally jump back into Latin America or what?

Ben Badler: Maybe in the future, but from what I hear, I wouldn’t count on anything big for 2009.

    Tanner (Cedar Falls, Iowa): How is Wilmer Flores handling his first year of pro-ball at Savannah? Has his defense improved?

Ben Badler: He’s struggling, but we’re talking about a
17-year-old Venezuelan kid playing full-season ball. Almost no
17-year-old kids ever hit well (at least the ones who are really 17) in
Low-A. One thing we do know is that he’s not going to be a shortstop in
the future. He’s a below-avg runner with some arm strength and a quick
release, so he could play third base, but I advise patience with the

    Brad (Macon, GA): Are you concerned about
    Jordan Schafer's struggles thus far? The Ks are piling up and it seems
    he can't catch up to major league fastballs. Is his wrist injury more
    serious than he's letting on perhaps?

Ben Badler: I just never thought he was ready for the
big leagues. He’s a good prospect, but the suspension last year
hampered his development. He just belongs in Triple-A right now.

    Trevor (Anaheim): Tim Beckham is drawing
    comparisons to Barry Larkin, what do you think about that? Do you see
    him developing into a 20/20 guy with a .300 avg?

Ben Badler: Maybe from a physical standpoint, but not
in terms of their baseball abilities. They’re good athletes, 6-foot,
RH-hitters who can play shortstop, but Larkin’s feel for the game, his
pitch recognition and feel for the strike zone were much better, and he
was one of the better defensive shortstops in his prime. That’s really
a loft comparison to a guy who was one of the best players of his
generation, and maybe an underrated one right now.

    cjb (madison, wi): Chris Heisey, everyday player or more of a 4th OFer type?

Ben Badler: Potential everyday player, though I’m not sure if it’s for the Reds

    john (boston): michael bowden or vin mazzaro?

Ben Badler: Mazzaro

    Dave (Freson): Why is it that we do not see
    teams that are top level prospect rich in pitching talent (ie the
    Giants) trade with teams that are top level prospects rich in hitting
    talent (ie. the Brewers)? Is it that GMs dont want to take the risk to
    be known as the guy who traded away the next great hitter or pitcher if
    the deal fails on one side? It would seem like deals like this would
    make a lot of sense for teams looking to fill needs.

Ben Badler: I think that fear is one of the main
reasons. Teams also tend to overrate their own prospects if the people
who drafted them are still in the front office, which makes trading
them less likely to happen.

    Jack (Toronto): Moustakas or Vitters?

Ben Badler: Vitters has a great swing, but I’ll take Moustakas.

    Colin (Mesquite): Are the Rangers expected to make a big splash during the international signing period this year? Thanks.

Ben Badler: I think so, but it’s going to be a strange
year between last year’s July 2 market growth, the downturn in the
economy, more mid-market teams following Oakland’s lead to get more
involved in Latin America, other mid-market teams dropping back for
financial reasons, more media attention on July 2 and all of the age
investigation stuff going on. I think we could see some wacky things
and some ticked off teams and buscones come July 2.

    SJT (Chicago, IL): Does Ramiro Pena hit enough in the big leagues to push Jeter to LF in 2010?

Ben Badler: I don’t think there’s anyone outside of New York who thinks that is a possibility.

    Larry (Streetsville): Brandon Allen or Tyler Flowers?

Ben Badler: Flowers, even if he has to switch positions

    Thomas (Seattle): Justin Smoak or Pedro Alvarez?

Ben Badler: Smoak. I still think Alvarez will be good, but I think Smoak will be better.

    dave (boston): if both remain relievers long term: justin masterson or andrew bailey?
    should both be given a chance at full time starting?

Ben Badler: Masterson could start for a lot of teams.
Bailey’s better suited for the bullpen. The A’s put him in that role in
the AFL and he’s found a niche there pounding his cutters in against
hitters in short stints.

    Brandon Snyder (Warehouse): Am I moving into the top 10 1B prospects in the game or do I still trail guys like Mills, Blanks and Allen?

Ben Badler: No, too many other 1B ahead of Snyder to
be a top 10 guy. Lars Anderson, Logan Morrison, Yonder Alonso, Justin
Smoak, Freddie Freeman, Kyle Blanks, Angel Villalona, the Kila Monster,
Chris Marrero, Chris Carter… that’s 10 just off the top of my head
I’d take over Snyder.

    Jensen (Chicago): Will Andrew Cashner ever sniff the Cubs rotation?

Ben Badler: It’s possible, but the bullpen is more likely

    BL (Bozeman): Is there any chance the Kila Monster gets a shot in KC, given the presence of Butler, Jacobs and Teahen?

Ben Badler: I would have given him the starting 1B job
before trading for Mike Jacobs, so I’m not sure how he’s going to get
playing time now in KC. If I were the Mets, I’d be on the phone trying
to pry him away from the Royals right now. That’s all for today.
Stephen Strasburg is pitching tonight on ESPNU and Matt Wieters is
making his major league debut, so I’ve got a nice little Friday night
planned. You guys take care.