2018 International League Top Prospects Chat
Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody, I'll be tag-teaming the IL chat with Josh Norris today. Look forward to your questions. Let's get started
Jared Sandberg (Durham, NC):
- Brandon but not Nathaniel as well? I take exception to that, on his behalf. Please explain, BA staffers. And thank you.
Kyle Glaser: Nathaniel Lowe did not have enough plate appearances at Durham to qualify for the International League Top 20 list. He had 110 PAs with the Bulls, short of the 140 needed to qualify. He did qualify, however, for the Southern and Florida State League Top 20s, and (spoiler alert) you’ll see his name on at least one of those top 20 lists when they come out next week.
Warren (New London):
- Did Dylan Cozens change anyone's mind in his second try at the IL?
Kyle Glaser: Not really.
Pat (South Side):
- As a slow, poor-fielding power hitter on Chicago's South Side, is Eloy Jimenez the next Frank Thomas? Or what's a realistic ceiling/floor for him? Thanks!!
Kyle Glaser: Poor fielding is a little harsh. Eloy won’t win a Gold Glove out in the left field but he’s fine out there. Certainly not poor. As for what he can be, honestly, playing half his games at Guaranteed Rate field with major league balls jumping like they are, Eloy can hit 35 homers annually and get to 50 in his best years, while hitting .280-plus. He’s going to be one of the premier power hitters in all of baseball and a franchise cornerstone.
- What is the ceiling/floor for Austin Meadows?
Kyle Glaser: An everyday outfielder hitting in the top half of the lineup. Meadows is growing into more home run power, and how much that really develops will determine if he’s more a No. 2 hitter or if he can slide into No. 3, but there’s a lot of hard contact, usable speed and not much swing-and-miss. H a good athlete who can handle both left and center depending on where you need him and, most importantly, he can really, legitimately hit. He’ll be starting in the Rays outfield making an everyday impact shortly.
- What do the Padres do with Francisco Mejia? I've heard they will try him again at C but is he destined to wind up at 1B? If so, where does Eric Hosmer go?
Kyle Glaser: First base isn’t an option for Mejia. He’s too short. Most think he ends up in left field, based both on what he showed at Columbus and El Paso, but the Padres are genuine in giving him the chance to show he can improve enough as a catcher to stay there. So we’ll see, but the debate is really catcher or left field, with a teeny bit of consideration for third base. First base isn’t in the cards.
Cam (Deeee Troit!):
- We could really use Willy Adames in Motown right now. Did Tampa know something that others didn't when they quietly traded for him or was he just a well-kept industry secret at the time?
Kyle Glaser: Adames was pretty well-regarded as an amateur and was the Tigers’ most expensive signing in the 2012 international class, so he was fairly well-known to those in the industry. By the time the Rays traded for him, he was hitting for power as an 18-year-old in full-season ball, so that only furthered the confidence evaluators had that he could be a pretty good player. It was just a good job by the Rays grabbing a player most projected to be pretty good and living up to it before he got too hot.
- Is Robles a future SB champ? Gosh!
Kyle Glaser: Robles has the raw speed to be, but his baserunning instincts have a long, long, way to go for him to contend for that title. He gets thrown out on the bases a lot, both on steal attempts and trying to take an extra base, and scouts and coaches have lamented quite a bit how much he’ll run his own team out of an inning. You see it quite often. Too often, actually. Learning to pick his spots better is going to be key for Robles to get the most out of his speed and become a proficient basestealer.
Ryan Zimmerman (Washington):
- Is Nick Senzel the next me? Or will he be more like his teammate, Joey Votto?
Kyle Glaser: More Zimmerman than Votto. The better comp on Senzel is David Wright. All the attributes of an impact hitter like they both were plus the ability to steal bases as Wright had.
Rod (Northville, MI):
- Did any Toledo players other than Stewart receive consideration? Does Robson project as more than a 4th OF?
Kyle Glaser: Not really. And Robson mostly does fit that fourth OF profile, although you can see him possibly starting on a second-division team for a little.
- Of all the major prospects the White Sox acquired in the Eaton/Sale trades, who looks like the best bet(s) to really be good major leaguers? Is Moncada going to get better? Will Kopech come back healthy? Will Giolito ever figure it out?
Kyle Glaser: Reynaldo Lopez is probably your best bet at this point. Moncada just doesn’t seem to be making any strides whatsoever with his plate discipline (it’s actually gotten worse). Kopech could be the guy if he comes back healthy, but that’s a question mark. Right now, Lopez is your guy given everything, and he still has some things to figure out.
Rich (Trenton, NJ):
- Did Michael King come close to making the Top 20?
Josh Norris: He did not qualify for the list.
David (Fort Worth):
- Did Kolby Allard receive any consideration whatsoever? Just wondering if evaluators saw anything redeeming in his arsenal given the batting practice fastball (in terms of both velo and location) he's displayed so far in the bigs.
Kyle Glaser: Allard is one of the toughest guys to get a grasp on. One the one hand, he absolutely received consideration, and you can't fake your way to a 2.72 ERA in Triple-A as a 20 year old. But at the same time, nothing he throws is good enough to get big league hitters out in evaluators eyes. It's more than just his fastball, it's that none of his secondaries really are all that great either. He hits his spots and knows how to pitch, but at the end of the day you have to have a pitch you can go to in big spots to get a swing and miss or weak contact, and he just doesn't have that. He's newly 21, and there's time for something to click developmentally, but if his arsenal stays exactly as it is now, there's just not enough there to get big leaguer hitters out.
- How long until Wander Javier destroys the International League?
Josh Norris: Not for a very long time.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- Who has a higher ceiling, Eloy or Adell?
Kyle Glaser: Eloy's pure hitting ability is better, which is going to allow for him to hit for a higher average and get to his power more frequently. To me, that makes him the higher upside player, but Jo Adell is ridiculous as well and has a chance to put up big power numbers as well with a lot of stolen bases and way more defensive value, so there's certainly a way to argue for him too.
- Is Michael Chavis power legit? Where do you see him fitting in Boston?
Josh Norris: He's got legitimate power, but it's going to be hard to break in with the Red Sox if Rafael Devers sticks at third base. That would mean Chavis would have to move over to first base, where he's not helped by being a shorter player and the fact that he's still learning the ins and outs of how to play there defensively.
- Who duo do you predict having the better careers. Eloy and Adames, or Acuna and Gleyber?
Josh Norris: I can't speak for Kyle (this is Josh Norris), but I would take Acuna and Gleyber. I think Acuna is going to be one of the very, very best players in the game for a very, very long time. That alone gives that duo the edge. Gleyber's going to be pretty good too.
- No love for Fernando Romero on the list?
Josh Norris: His time at Rochester was a little underwhelming, with 3.2 walks per nine innings and just less than 7 strikeouts per nine innings. It wasn't a *bad* stint, but with only 20 guys some worthy dudes are going to get left off.
- Do you think the Pirates can start the year with Kramer at 2B and still have realistic WC aspirations? Should they?
Josh Norris: It obviously depends a lot on what they do this offseason, but their starting pitching base (Archer, Taillon, Williams) is good. That said, they really need to upgrade their offense.
- What is a viable comp for Eloy Jimenez in the field? At the plate, a friend and I use Manny Ramirez as his upside comparison, but it's starting to sound like that may be a good comp defensively as well.
Josh Norris: I don't want to do defensive comps (or comps at all, because they're incredibly misleading) but I will say that he's probably not going to be much more than a fringe-average defender but he also won't hurt you terribly out there.
Josh Norris: For Kyle Glaser, I'm Josh Norris, and this has been another episode of International League chat.