League Top 20 Prospects

2012 California League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Jim Shonerd

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Moderator: Jim Shonerd will answer your California League questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

Jim Shonerd: Hey everybody. Lots of close calls on this year's Cal League list, as there wasn't much separation after the top two. So there's plenty to chat about. Let's get to it.

    James York (Modesto): I watched Cristhian Adames play all year long and it seems to me that he's going to be a gold-glove shortstop. Why isn't he on this list?

Jim Shonerd: Scouts and managers do like Adames' glove, but even though he hit well in the second half, it was tough to project him to have enough in the bat to be more than a utility player. He struggled to catch up with good fastballs and has little power, but his glove is good enough at a premium position that he'll have a chance to prove himself at higher levels.

    Pierre (Ottawa, Ontario): Could Miles Head be a regular major league player one day?

Jim Shonerd: Absolutely. The bat is good enough for him to get there, the question is just where he'll land defensively. Opinions were mixed as to whether he can stay at third base, and my gut feeling is he'll end up a 1b/dh.

    Bryan (Palo Alto, CA): What did managers/scouts have to say about Andrew Susac? Obviously did not put up top 20 numbers (especially in the Cal League) but he was held in very high regard coming out of the draft.

Jim Shonerd: As you say, the bat didn't stand out, but guys did like Susac's defense. He's got nice athleticism behind the plate, calls a good game and has a quick release on his throws.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did Nick Tropeano not play enough to qualify? If so, why did he miss this list?

Jim Shonerd: Tropeano did qualify, and he wasn't far off the list. I'd say he would've been in the mid-20s if we went that deep. He didn't blow people away in the Cal League, but they liked how he was an aggressive, quick worker who locates well. He generates good sink but will have to develop his slider more.

    James (Palo Alto): Any other Giants prospects outside of Panik to keep an eye on? Please give me hope

Jim Shonerd: One more Giants question. Adam Duvall, their third baseman, obviously got some attention for his 30-homer season. The power is legit, not a Cal League mirage as San Jose is one of the league's few parks that doesn't favor hitters. None of his other tools stand out though. Duvall has good plate discipline but scouts see holes in his swing and his defensive ability was just adequate. Sorry if that's not exactly filling you with hope, but hey, you've got the playoffs to focus on!

    Brent (Los Gatos, CA): Did Visalia's Anthony Meo and Kyle Winkler get any consideration for your list?

Jim Shonerd: Meo got some mention. He can run his fastball up to 94 and shows a nasty slider at times, but he needs to use his changeup more as he was basically a two-pitch guy this year, which would indicate a future as a reliever. Scouts worry about a wrap in his arm action, and he needs to be more efficient on the mound, as he was one of those guys that would routinely run up 100 pitches in five innings.

    Grant (NYC): Stack up this list of 20 against last year's - which one gets your vote?

Jim Shonerd: Last year's. I would say Hamilton-Springer is a stronger one-two that last year's of Skaggs-Gyorko, but last year's list was deeper.

    Brian (NC): Is Taylor Lindsey just off your list, or a little bit further down the road? Is he on a track to get to Anaheim as a utility guy in 2014?

Jim Shonerd: Lindsey got some support but not as much as I was expecting, I have to say. Just not enough tools that really wow people, but I'm sure he would've been in the top 30. There was some movement in his swing early on though he worked to clean that up. He's a good spray hitter and a real grinder, one of the toughest guys to strike out in the league. As for his ETA, I don't think mid-2014 is unrealistic.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): What are your opinions of the enigma known as Tyler Matzek? There seems to be two sides to him each time he toes the rubber - the in-control version and the out-of-control version. No happy medium.

Jim Shonerd: Enigma is right. Matzek was a tease this year. He'd show good stuff with a low 90s fastball that touched 95 and could mix his pitches well. But scouts still saw some issues in his delivery and the bottom line was he just didn't throw enough strikes. His stuff was good enough that I wouldn't give up on him yet, and I do think this year was a step in the right direction, but it was a small step. He still has a pretty long road ahead of him and isn't a sure thing.

    Carlos (Dallas, TX): How many of these guys are you fairly certain will make BA's top 100?

Jim Shonerd: The top six will probably be there, and I think Cron, Head and Parker will be in the conversation.

    Ben (Durham, NC): I'm surprised to see Domingo Santana on the list, not for a lack of talent, but because of his career 35% K rate. Although still super young at 19 in Cali league. Has he shown and improvement in swing selection? Realistically, what's his ceiling/timetable?

Jim Shonerd: There's hope for him there, as he showed he could dial back his approach as the season went on. There's certainly no need for the Astros to rush him, so he should get a full season at Double-A next year and then maybe another year of Triple-A depending on how things go. Very high ceiling. Plus power and arm with speed and defense at least average. Just depends on the hit tool and how it comes along.

    Fonz (Milwaukee): So, where would Chris Reed have ranked anyway?

Jim Shonerd: In the top 10, probably neck-and-neck with teammate Zach Lee for the distinction of the league's top pitching prospect.

    Darren (San Fran): Did Garrett Gould get any support for your list? Thanks Jim.

Jim Shonerd: Not much support. Gould's curveball was as advertised, a quality strikeout pitch, but he was otherwise a disappointment. His fastball velocity wasn't the same, sitting at 90-91, but his biggest problems were not throwing strikes and not using his changeup enough. Gould fell behind hitters much too frequently and then had to lay fastballs in there, which, as you might expect, didn't lead to good things given where his velocity was.

    Dustin (Winnipeg): With the season Donn Roach had, I'm quite surprised he didn't rank higher on your list. What is his ceiling, a #3? As well, do you think Rymer Liriano will be more of a table setter or a run producer?

Jim Shonerd: Yeah, it's hard to see Roach as more than a No. 3 unless his curveball makes some real strides, but he can be a reliable, innings-eating mid- or back-of-the-rotation guy. As for Rymer, I'd put him more in the run producer category. He's got five-tool potential, though as noted in his writeup, his speed will likely continue to tail off some.

    Steve (Chicago): What's the likelyhood that Maronde stays a starter? His he a 55 ceiling with high/medium risk?

Jim Shonerd: I think he's got the tools to make a go of it as a starter, probably a No. 3-4 type. If we were talking about our Prospect Handbook grades, that would peg him as a 50 or 55 with medium (instead of high, since he's already pitched in the majors) risk in my opinion. For the record, Maronde was a 50/High last year.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Will Springer always be a guy who K's a lot? He did well in the hitter-friendly CAL, but looked lost at AA.

Jim Shonerd: Yeah, the K's will probably always be a part of the deal with Springer. He has some things in his swing where his back knee collapses and his shoulder flys out that leave him susceptible to breaking pitches. He also didn't dial down his approach with two-strikes. But I do think he can cut down on the whiffs a bit if he makes some tweaks there.

    Norm (Connecticut): Thanks for the chat, Jim. Does Panik hit well enough to hit near the top of the order or do you see him more as a 7-8 guy?

Jim Shonerd: Doesn't have the speed to be an ideal leadoff guy, but I could see him fitting in as a No. 2 hitter, a kind of guy who you can make things happen with.

    Jake (San Diego): Many would say Cingrani had the best year of any Reds' arm. What led to him not making it into the top 10?

Jim Shonerd: His slider. He didn't need it much in the Cal League since his fastball and changeup were so good, but it has to get better. That was what put Chafin ahead of him despite the gap in their Cal League performance.

    Bill (Bakersfield): I know he was there for just a few weeks but what impression did Puig make in the Cal league? Thanks.

Jim Shonerd: Puig only played 14 games in the Cal League, so not many guys got any extended looks at him, but his tools did leave an impression. Good runner with a cannon arm. He didn't tap into his power much in his brief Cal League time but it's in there.

    Allen (Charlotte): How close did Steven Proscia and John Hicks from High Desert come to the top 20?

Jim Shonerd: The two former University of Virginia teammates both had big years at High Desert (who doesn't?), but Hicks was pretty clearly seen as the better prospect. Neither was that close to the top 20 though. Hicks is a smart, well-rounded catcher with gap power. Proscia has some strength but struggled with breaking pitches at times and some scouts thought he looked like a future DH.

    jeff bagwell (atlanta): First U Conn guy to majors... Springer or Matt Barnes?

Jim Shonerd: Finishing up with a Jim Callis-style lightning round question ... Barnes.