League Top 20 Prospects

GCL Top 20 Prospects Chat

Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Was Hewitt an overdraft for the Phils, in your opinion? Will strikeouts always be his Achilles' heel? Who would you compare him to?

Matt Blood: Hi Everyone. It is great to be back on the live chat scene. I hope you enjoyed the writeup on the GCL, and I am ready to answer your questions. Fire away! I wouldn't call Hewitt an overdraft as there were several teams who really liked his abilities. Hewitt was one of those players that gained steam as the 2008 draft approached. I would call Hewitt a risk with the chance to produce great rewards but also fail. The Phillies fell in love with his athleticism and great upside. Hewitt has monster power that wows observers during batting practice, but he has trouble making consistent contact during games. The Phillies are hoping that with more at-bats, he will be able to make adjustments and reach his potential. It is hard to make a comparison on him right now but maybe Greg Golson or Ron Gant would be accurate.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How would you rate each of Collier's tools on the 20-80 scouting scale?

Matt Blood: Collier has five legit tools, but his bat stood out the most in the GCL. He showed the ability to hit for average, even against lefthanders, and an advanced eye in the strike zone. I would grade his hittability: 60, power: 50, foot speed: 50, arm strength: 50 and defense: 50. He profiles as a left or right fielder and is a great athlete.

 Q:  John from Pensacola, FL asks:
Did the Braves' Tyler Stovall and Brett DeVall not pitch enough to qualify for the list? Would they have made the list if eligible?

Matt Blood: That's a good question, as before I realized he was ineligible, I had DeVall listed in back half of the top 10. However, he only pitched 10 innings this summer due to fatigue and arm soreness. DeVall offers an upper-80s fastball and a plus changeup. He also throws a curveball consistently for strikes. DeVall's manager was impressed with his mound presence and also feel that he will add velocity to his fastball as he matures. Stovall pitched 20 innings and did not pitch well enough to make the list. He finished the season 1-1, 6.30 in seven appearances.

 Q:  brian from washington dc asks:
Does Aaron Hicks stack up with the great outfield prospects from the 2005 draft? And what major leaguer would you most compare him to?

Matt Blood: I would say Hicks has the potential to fit in with that great group of players. His five-tool potential is exciting, as he can impact a game in so many ways. Scouts only concern with Hicks entering his professional debut as a position player was his bat. He seemed to answer those questions this year. He, without question, has the skills to be an above-average every day center fielder. I would compare him to a switch-hitting Grady Sizemore.

 Q:  Oscar Perez from Florida asks:
Why have Skipworth so high on the list if his numbers pale behind Marte and Almanzar?

Matt Blood: Interesting question, and some may feel that Skipworth should have been lower on this list due to his poor performance in the GCL this summer. However, he still displayed many of the core tools that made him the sixth overall draft selection in 2008. Scouts feel he will be able to stay behind the plate, as he has a tremendous arm and his defensive actions have improved. At the plate, he showed his power potential, and everyone feels that his batting average will increase with experience.

 Q:  Joe LeCates from Easton, MD asks:
I'm a little surprised to see Destin Hood as low as he is given his projection - just curious if there was any internal office descent regarding his position?

Matt Blood: Ranking Hood was a tough task, as he has projection but is still raw. Hood could be a 30 homer guy in the future, as he has tremendous bat speed and makes adjustments well. However, he is a left field only prospect and still has work to do there to become average. Hood played shortstop in high school but against poor competition. He moved to left field due to lacking arm strength.

 Q:  Joe LeCates from Easton, MD asks:
What type of power do you see Aaron Hicks developing over time? Seems like more of a 50-55 guy at best, but it sounds like many think he could really develop substantial power w/ 25-30 HR power.

Matt Blood: Power is the one question mark I had when comparing Hicks to Sizemore a few questions earlier. Hicks combines a quick bat and an athletic body that is in-sync at contact, creating his power. He should hit for average power at the major league level, but he may surprise people and hit for more than that a couple years in his career.

 Q:  Ramp from MIA asks:
I know Isaac Galloway and Kyle Skipworth made the list but where any other Marlins close? What about Daniel Pertusati?

Matt Blood: This year's GCL class was very deep. Names like Daniel Pertuasit, Blake Brewer and Edgar Olmos did come up in conversation with managers and scouts but were not considered in the top-tier of this group.

 Q:  Eddie from Acworth, GA asks:
Do managers think Hoes has as shot to stick at second? What was the cause of most of his 15 errors? Thanks

Matt Blood: The Orioles do expect Hoes to stay at the second base position. He is a very good athlete, moves well and has a strong arm. The errors are a tribute to him learning a new position. Second base is one of the easier positions to learn, and he should be able to make the transition. However, offense will always be the name of Hoes' game.

 Q:  Kevin from Glenshaw asks:
It seems like there is too much projection in these rankings...does performance count for very little? I know it's the GCL and these guys are 4-5 years away, but Hewitt at #13 is very generous. He's a real project that has all the makings of a 1st round bust. There were also a lot of guys with so-so stats that are projected to move to 1B or corner OF spots, not premium positions, over guys with are projected to stay at positions like SS and CF. Just wanted to hear some of the thought process for the rankings I guess.

Matt Blood: This is a fair observance and a great question. My job at BA mostly deals with covering amateur prospects and the draft where projection is a main element. These rankings were probably impacted by that. However, as you stated, this is the GCL, and most of these prospects are straight out of the draft. It is common for top-tier prospects to struggle in their first professional season. For example, Derek Jeter hit .202 in the GCL in 1992 with 36 strikeouts in 47 games.

 Q:  Mike from Boston asks:
Should the Red Sox look to keep Derrik Gibson at SS and what sort of power projection has he got?

Matt Blood: Gibson is playing mostly third base for the Red Sox. However, if things don't work out there, he has the athleticism and ability to play center field. Power projection is the reason why he would have to make a move form the corner position. However, the Red Sox really like his bat and project that he will hit for average power.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
Matt, are any of the Twins' pitchers worth any interest?

Matt Blood: Lefthander Edgar Ibarra had an impressive year in the GCL and came close to making the top 20. He was 4-0, 3.12 in 49 innings, striking out 51. Currently his fastball sits between 88-90 mph. His fastball has plus movement and he commands it well. Ibarra also throws a changeup and curveball but the Twins are still trying to determine whether he will be a starter or a reliever at the major league level.

 Q:  Tyler from Baltimore asks:
Why doesn't Xavier Avery fit on this list?

Matt Blood: Avery was in the discussion to make the list. He had a solid first year at the plate, batting .280 in 175 at-bats, and yes he was one of the fastest players in GCL, as he stole 13 bases. However, Avery is still raw and doesn't have quite the projection of the players that made the list.

 Q:  Tricky Kid from Surprise, AZ asks:
Jarek Cunningham seemed pretty low for an 18 year old SS/3B, with the stats and consistency he put together. That said, can he stay at SS or is 3B in his future? Did the Pirates get a big steal here?

Matt Blood: Cunningham was lower on the list for the same reason he fell to the 18th round of the 2008 draft. He is still recovering from a knee injury and has not been able to display his full abilities. He played mostly third base this season, but after a full recovery could wind up at shortstop. Regardless, his showing at the plate in the GCL makes him a definite steal for the Pirates. Cunningham was considered one of the top pure hitters in the league, as he combines the ability to hit for average and power. If it turns out that he can play shorstop as well, the deal gets even better.

 Q:  Freddy from Naples, Florida asks:
Dont u think Esmailyn Gonzalez should be rated higher after he won the batting title of the league and led his team to the GCL championship series?

Matt Blood: Gonzalez had as good a year as anyone in the GCL, but you have to keep in mind that this was his second go-around. He is projected to hit for average and some power but never to be better than average defensively. "Smiley's" projection isn't quite as high as those ahead of him on the list. However, he projects to be a solid big leaguer in the future.

Matt Blood: That's all the time I have for today. Thanks everyone for the questions. Check back tomorrow for coverage from Matt Eddy on the Appy League.