Prospects/Trades Chat: July 31

    Chuck (Wichita): Why was Eric Hosmer promoted to Wilmington? Do the Royals really think he is ready for that level?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. This should be an
interesting chat as we have trades flying left and right. But we’ll
start off with some prospect questions. The Royals do think Hosmer is
ready for high Class A and having seen him last week in a game against
a lefty (I know, it’s a very small sample size) he didn’t look
overmatched. His stats don’t look that great, buthe was hitting
.278/.365/.426 in July before the promotion. What was interesting when
seeing Hosmer with Wilmington is a little change he’s made. He’s now
wearing clear prescription glasses when he bats, something he started
doing a month and a half or so ago.

    jim (Atlanta): Would it be close to say that Heyward, Montero, Stanton... for top 3 prospects next year?

J.J. Cooper: Not if Stephen Strasburg signs and an
Aroldis Chapman signing could jumble things as well, but otherwise that
sounds very logical, although I’d go Heyward, Stanton, Montero.

    JAYPERS (IL): Juan Francisco put together a good week, did he get any love?

J.J. Cooper: Definitely on the worksheet. In fact got
some votes for Team Photo, so he was very close. It’s crazy to say that
a player with 17 walks and 83 strikeouts has really improved his plate
selectivity, but for Francisco that is a big improvement. At the same
time, he’ll have to improve it a lot more to not be carved up by big
league pitchers.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): If it's not too early to start thinking about MLPOY (it's never too early, is it?) who is competing with Santana for the honor?

J.J. Cooper: I assume you’re talking about Minor
League Player of the Year. If the season ended today, I’d probably vote
for Jason Heyward. He’s hitting .331/.407/.575 having made it to
Double-A as a 19-year-old having played in pitcher’s parks.

    Bubba Brown (Roy, Utah): Who ya got? Heyward or J. Upton? And how close is it?

J.J. Cooper: I’ll take Heyward on that, although it’s
close. Heyward’s hit tool just seems to be very special (plus his 39-34
K-BB ratio is excellent), and he’s got athleticism and power to go with
it. But while they have different body types, that’s a closer comp than
you make think. We all know about Upton’s strikeout problems at times
in the big leagues, but he had a 54-37 K-BB ratio in Double-A as a
19-year-old, so it wasn’t like Upton didn’t have an idea of the strike
zone as well.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Knapp, Carrasco,
    Graham, Barnes: how does all these guys fit into the Indians' future
    pitching plans? Who will be a starter? Who a reliever? When could they
    reach Cleveland? Is there a high ceiling for anyone other than Knapp?

J.J. Cooper: Don’t give up on Carrasco being a middle
of the rotation starter. He definitely has the stuff to fill that role.
Knapp is a future starter, Carrasco is most likely a No. 4 starter who
could end up moving to the pen and I’d be guessing Graham and Barnes
are more likely relievers if they make it.

    JAYPERS (IL): Thoughts on Moose-taco's sudden
    resurgence? Is he just not a first-half kind of hitter? Also, who would
    you name KC's #1 prospect at present, him or Hosmer?

J.J. Cooper: Can’t really say it’s a first-half thing
this year as his big slump came after the all-star break. He’s been
eaten up by his home park this year. But that being said, I’d probably
put Hosmer as the No. 1 prospect over him now. Hosmer’s hit tool seems
to be better and the power is right there with Moustakas. Danny Duffy
and Mike Montgomery will give those two a run for their money this year
as well and if Aaron Crow signs, the battle for No. 1 will be pretty

    Ray (Ohio): The Cubs just advanced former Kent
    State RHP Chris Carpenter to AA, his 3rd stop up the ladder in 2009. If
    Carpenter keeps getting guys out, any chance of a September call to

J.J. Cooper: I’d say that’s still a longshot, but
Carpenter has done as much as anyone in the Cubs organization to raise
his stock (although Jake Fox may make an argument). Carpenter’s a very
interesting prospect. But he’s also a second-year pro who threw 33 pro
innings last year with a history of injuries in the past. Asking him to
throw high leverage innings in September after he’s already thrown 130+
minor league innings may be asking a little much.

    Craig (Brooklyn, NY): Better Cub Shortstop prospect: Starlin Castro or Hak-Ju Lee?

J.J. Cooper: I’ll go with Castro. I’m getting very good reports on him while working on Florida State League Best Tools.

    shouldntbother (wontanswerthequestion): give me a reason why mike stanton is a higher rated prospect than jesus montero?

J.J. Cooper: He’s a much better athlete who has value
both at the plate and in the field. Montero is a great hitting
prospect, but all of his value is tied into the bat. His best position
in the majors is likely 1B or even DH while Stanton could be very good
in right field with equal power and potentially a very similar hit tool.

    Brian (Milwaukee, WI): I heard a Gammons
    report that Jason Heyward could be up this year as the Braves look to
    add some power to their lineup. I know he's tearing the cover off the
    ball but are they rushing this guy? I could see him making the team out
    of spring training next year but would like to see him get a little
    more seasoning.

J.J. Cooper: Interesting that this question comes up
after the Upton-Heyward question. I’d say they’re best off leaving him
in the minors this year. At the same age, with a similar prospect
profile and with a very similar season at high Class A and Double-A the
Diamondbacks promoted Justin Upton to the big leagues. Upton proceeded
to hit .221-.283-.364 for the rest of the season. Competing for a job
in spring training after a stint in the AFL seems like a good track for

    tom (texas): How is Hank conger doing? How come we dont hear more about him? Where do you rank him among all other catchers?

J.J. Cooper: He’s had a good season that’s helping his
prospect status. The big thing is that he’s showing he may be able to
stick at catcher, which makes him a much better prospect than he would
if he had to move out from behind the plate.

    Brent (Columbus, OH): Seems like every year BA
    talks up a strong pitching prospect in the Rockies organization—Jeff
    Francis, Jason Hirsh, Franklin Morales, Jhoulys Chacin... now Christian
    Freidrich—just to see them flounder at the major league level. How
    much of this is due to Coors Field, and do you think the ballpark can
    ever produce a true ace?

J.J. Cooper: Aaron Cook, former Rockies prospect is
10-3, 3.87 and Ubaldo Jimenez, former Rockies prospect, is 7-9, 3.85 so
there are former Rockies prospects who aren’t floundering on this
year’s staff. And Chacin hasn’t floundered at the big league’s
either—he’s thrown two scoreless innings in his only two outings. I
think that the Rockies can have a true ace, it just may be because of
the ballpark that an ace in Colorado will have an ERA a half-run higher
than he would in another home park.

    Salvatore Botchagaloop (Phila): How is Matt
    Dominguez being viewed by scouts these days? Understandably, HR total
    not high for FSL but does he have 20-25 HR potential in the bigs?

J.J. Cooper: I had a scout say that playing with
Stanton really worked against Dominguez because it’s hard to stand out
when you’re playing next to Hercules. He’s an excellent defensive third
baseman who does have a decent chance to hit. Yeah he still had 20 HR
potential, which to go with his defense would make for a very solid

    Deywane (Memphis, TN): Do you think that Yorman Rodriguez will get Top 100 consideration after the season?

J.J. Cooper: If he keeps this up, yes.

    THB (CT): I see you included some players from
    rookie level ball in your hot sheet, so why no Julio Teheran? 8 IP, ER,
    BB, 11 K seemed like it could make it, and he didn't reach 100 pitches
    through 8, with a perfect game going into the 6th.

J.J. Cooper: The problem was he gave up five runs in his previous start, so overall it was a solid but unspectacular week.

    Russ (Who Dey): Lots of talk recently about Travis Wood. Not a great second start in AAA. Whats his ceiling? 2nd or 3rd starter?

J.J. Cooper: Because of his stuff I’d still have to
say No. 4 starter, but then, I would have never predicted he’d have a
sub 1.30 ERA in late July, so I could be wrong again.

    sean (seattle): what can you tell us about nick hagadone?

J.J. Cooper: When Jim Callis ranked Nick Hagadone No.
3 in the Red Sox system before the season it was a pretty controversial
pick because he was coming off of a season lost to TJ. But up to now
he’s lives up to Callis’ lofty ranking. He has a plus fastball and has
been mowing down low Class A hitters. His command is not always there
right now, but that is something that often takes a while to come back
after elbow surgery because you have to relearn the “feel” for pitches.
He’s a very intriguing arm.

    Dave (DC): I love the O's Sherril trade. How
    is McPhail not getting way more credit for what he has done over the
    last 2 years? I mean we got Jones, Tilman, Bell, Luke Scott,
    Albers,Patton, Sarafate, and a few other quality lower lever arms for
    Bedard and Tejada. We actually have hope as O's fans. Why was there no
    traction on Huff or any of our other bullpen arms?

J.J. Cooper: I’m with you. The Orioles have an actual
plan going forward for the first time since Cal Ripken was playing. And
you have to like how they are sorting through the second-tier of
pitching prospects in the big leagues to figure out which ones will
stick to pitch around Matusz, Tillman and all going forward.

    Larry (Pembroke Pines): Is there any active player that Mike Stanton resembles?

J.J. Cooper: He’s not active, but the comp I’ve heard is Dave Winfield.

    Dale (Atlanta): Why do you think that the Reds
    are not promoting Drew Stubbs to the majors when they need outfield
    help? Is it because, as some people believe, that they have lost faith
    in him?

J.J. Cooper: It’s definitely not a vote of confidence
for him. I know teams don’t want to rush players, but in Stubbs’ case
he’s a 24-year-old who has had 430 Triple-A at-bats (and nearly 500
plate appearances). He now has 1,500 minor league at-bats after coming
out of a major college program. If the Reds don’t believe he can help
out when the team has lost two of its starting outfielders and puts
Wily Taveras (.240/.279/.290) out there every day, it’s hard to see how
they think Stubbs will be ready to help them come next spring training.

    Jon (Baltimore, MD): Who projects as the better pitcher right now, Tillman or Matusz?

J.J. Cooper: Right now, Tillman by a good bit. Long term, Tillman by a little bit.

    Alonso (Florida): How does 16 year old Yorman
    Rodriguez compare to fellow 16 year old phemon Bryce Harper if they
    were both eligible for the draft in 2010?

J.J. Cooper: Harper’s a much better prospect. Nothing
against Rodriguez, but there are some scouts who don’t like his swing.
Scouts can’t gush enough about Harper at the plate.

    John (New York): Wilmer Flores is still
    extremely young, when he fills out what do you think his ceiling will
    be and do you see a move to 2B or the Outfield because SS and 3rd are
    clogged by Wright and Reyes.

J.J. Cooper: It wouldn’t matter if SS was clogged or
not. It’s hard to fine anyone who thinks Flores will be able to stick
at SS as he matures. His ceiling is as a bat-first guy wherever he
plays. He doesn’t run well at all already and probably won’t have much
defensive value, but the bat will determine his eventual value.

    Jim (Minneapolis): The Reds just traded Yonder
    Alonso and Encarcion for Scott Rolen! Is there something I missed? How
    can the Reds make a trade like this?

J.J. Cooper: Actually it’s Zack Stewart, Edwin
Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke for Scott Rolen. Alonso and EE for Rolen
would have been historically bad in the Kazmir-Zambrano bracket of bad
trades. This one still seems absolutely baffling for the Reds. They
pick up a 34-year-old 3B with an 11-million contract for next year who
traded straight up for Troy Glaus just a year and a half ago. Rolen
makes the Reds a better team for the rest of the year, but the
difference between being a 74 and a 78 win team is absolutely
meaningless. Our Reds correspondent John Fay reported recently that the
Reds payroll for next year will likely be static or down from this
year’s payroll, signing Rolen adds another expensive, injury-prone
player on the downside of his career to a club that needs some more
young, cheap talent. It’s a great trade for the Blue Jays as Stewart
could be an impact arm either as a very solid starting pitcher or as a
potential closer, Roenicke is a plus-arm reliever who needs to sharpen
his command and Encarnacion is a much younger and cheaper third baseman
than Rolen who has been a solid hitter when healthy.

    Kyle (Lexington, KY): Dan Hudson's been a lot better than I think most people thought he would be. What is his ceiling?

J.J. Cooper: I’d still say he’s more a back-side of the rotation or bullpen guy, but those guys are quite valuable.

    Greg (Anaheim): Thomas Neal, is he in the
    running for MLPOY? Has he established himself as a legit LF prospect
    for the Giants? Even the Cal league is a hitters paradise, SJ Municipal
    Stadium, his home park, is a pitchers park and he is still putting up
    better numbers than his more heralded teammates.

J.J. Cooper: He’s in the running. It’s hard to believe
he’ll top Montero, Heyward or Bumgarner when you consider their
prospecty-ness, but he and Jon Gaston are having seasons that are so
good you have to take a look at them.

    Billy (Austin, TX): Is there a reason Jon
    Gaston hasn't been promoted from Hi-A? His numbers are pretty
    ridiculous, and even playing in a hitters league you have to be pretty
    good to lead the minors in XBH.

J.J. Cooper: His numbers are ridiculous and he’s
having a great season, but you do have to run them through the
Lancaster filter. At home this year he’s hitting .318-.408-.751. On the
road he’s a very good, but much more mundane .270-.368-.546. That’s a
great season, but it does show what having Lancaster as your home park
can do for a hitter.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa 50702): Love the
    hot sheet, and the chat. did Julio Teheran merit consideration for the
    team photo? What are your thoughts on his potential? tks

J.J. Cooper: He has an astronomical ceiling. We had a
couple guys at his start last night and he looked phenomenal. But as
you would imagine with a young pitcher who’s still in the Appy League,
he has a long way to go to get to the majors.

    Joe P (Buffalo,N.Y.): No love for Jeff Bianchi?

J.J. Cooper: Only 2 XBH this week did him in, but he’s
done a ton to help his prospect status. The biggest thing is now that
he’s healthy again he’s shown that he may be able to stick at SS, which
makes him a much better prospect than if he has to move to the other
side of 2B.

    mick (Norcal): Where do you project Chapman to
    stand in the preseason prospect rankings. And for that matter, if
    Darvish were to be posted and come to the US where do you see him

J.J. Cooper: If Chapman signs before the Top 100 comes
out, I’d say his floor is somewhere in the Top 5. I’d have Darvish
higher than Chapman if they both were to come to the U.S., but I also
don’t expect to see Darvish in the U.S. next year.

J.J. Cooper: Well everyone I need to wrap this up to
try to get some trades written up before heading home. Thanks for the
questions and have a good weekend.