2019 California League Top 20 Prospects Chat (10/1/19)

Image credit: Joey Bart (Photo by Zach Lucy/Four Seam)

Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody, happy Wild Card day. Let’s get chatting

CD (Ohio): 

    Where there any other San. Jose Giants close to making the list?

Kyle Glaser: Sandro Fabian got some consideration at the back, along with Stockton’s Austin Beck, Rancho Cucamonga’s Miguel Vargas and Visalia’s Eduardo Diaz. He came back a lot stronger and more physically ready for the league this year after missing the first part of the season with a thyroid problem. His pitch selection really improved too. He’s trending up

Justin (Tucson, AZ): 

    Joey Bart’s scouting grades of a low average, plus power and solid defense sounds like Mike Zunino. Is that accurate?

Kyle Glaser: That was a comp on him out of Georgia Tech, but Bart should be a much better hitter. Most see him hitting .250ish. Zunino is a career .202 hitter.

Noel (Portland): 

    Is Gore in San Diego after the super 2 cutoff date?

Kyle Glaser: Certainly has the potential to be. He could even be there sooner.

Justin (Tucson, AZ): 

    Any chance Julio Rodriguez can debut in Seattle by age 20 and have a Juan Soto impact? How do they compare?

Kyle Glaser: There’s definitely a chance Rodriguez could be there by 20. He’s special. I’m not going to put what Soto did on him (highest OBP and OPS by a teenager in major league history as a rookie) but Rodriguez certainly is showing the traits of the kind of players who make big impacts right away. Soto is probably more pure hit and Rodriguez is more athlete, but both are special all-around.

Kev (Texas): 

    Is Eguy Rosario worth protecting in the rule 5 draft?

Kyle Glaser: The Padres aren’t actually going to have to worry about this. I checked with them, and because Rosario signed in August of the 2015 signing period – after the conclusion of the DSL season – he won’t be Rule 5 eligible until after next year. It’s the same situation that happened with Luiz Gohara a few years back http://legacy.baseballamerica.com/minors/luiz-gohara-taught-rule-5-draft-eligibility/

Patrick Tsai (Taiwan): 

    How will you rank Visalia’s Alek Thomas and Geraldo Perdomo if both of them are eligible?

Kyle Glaser: I didn’t dig in on that too hard with scouts and managers because I knew both of them wouldn’t eligible, but if I had to roughly handicap Thomas would likely have landed in the 10-13 range and Perdomo probably somewhere in the 12-14 range. They’re both very, very promising

Patrick Tsai (Taiwan): 

    Josh Green, do you think his heavy sinker draws comparisons with former Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang?

Kyle Glaser: I did not receive that comp specifically, but I like where you’re going with it and you definitely have the right idea. The thing to remember with Wang though is he also had a swing-and-miss slider early in his career. He pitched mostly with his sinker, but he also had the putaway slider. Green doesn’t have that yet and will need to develop it to approach the levels Wang did in a his prime (a front-of-the-rotation starter on playoff contender)

Moose (Seattle): 

    Do the M’s have future middle of the order OF’s in Kelenic and J-Rod? How soon can we expect them up there?

Kyle Glaser: It might be No. 2 and No. 3 in the order, but either way yes, you’re looking at two cornerstone hitters. And 2021 is the safe bet, 2020 isn’t entirely impossible.

Julio Rodriguez (If I Qualified…): 

    for the Cal League top 20, would I have been #2 behind Gore? Even being up to #33 overall, it still seems light. If you had to guess, do you think I’m a top 10 prospect in all of baseball at some point in 2020?

Kyle Glaser: It’s funny, I had this exact conversation with a couple of managers late in the season. Honestly, him vs. Gore at No. 1 would have been a very, very interesting discussion. He would have been top 5 without a doubt.

Matt (Northern VA): 

    Why Joe Rizzo isn’t on the list is stupefying. 6th in BA, 3rd in total number of hits, 3rd in 2Bs, voted best defensive 3B by the opposing coaches (that was a BA survey!), playing almost every game, and leading the whole Mariners org in hits. At least a third of those doubles were off the wall in a park that depresses output from LH hitters. He was one of the most consistent hitters in the league. What is your rationale?

Kyle Glaser: You are absolutely correct that Rizzo had a much, much improved season in his second year in the Cal League, and his defensive improvements were very real. He has on-base skills and some feel to hit, but what ultimately pushed him off was he’s strictly a corner bat with very, very questionable power – most evaluators see him as an up-down guy long-term because they don’t see the power (present or potential) to project an everyday 3B or 1B in the majors, which is where he’s going to have to play. That was even taking Modesto into account. I asked a lot of managers and scouts about him, none felt he was a Top 20 prospect in the league.

Dan (SD): 

    Is Xavier Edwards ready for AA? Will his current swing work against upper level pitching?

Kyle Glaser: That’s going to depend on Edwards offseason work and what he looks like in spring training. At this exact moment I’d hesitate, but six months of workouts and offseason improvements can make a difference. And yeah, his swing consistently puts the barrel on the ball – that will work at any level. What’s going to have to happen is some strength is going to need to be added, which should come over time even though he’s a smaller guy.

Bob (Best Coast): 

    Is Kelenic the next Mike Trout?

Kyle Glaser: No

Steve (The Big A): 

    Edwin Diaz for Jared Kelenic. Who says no?

Kyle Glaser: I see what you did there. The answer is the Mariners.

Roger (Washington DC): 

    Hi Kyle, thanks for chatting with us today! Can you talk a little more about the Jered Kelenic/Heliot Ramos comparison. Two OF at virtually the same age and level. What are the similarities? Where are the distinctions? How close are there potential value/probabilities in your mind?

Kyle Glaser: Hey Roger, my pleasure. Thanks for joining. Kelenic is a better hitter and lefthanded, Ramos has more power. That’s the main thing. Kelenic has plenty of power though and Ramos has plenty of hitting ability, it’s neither like either one is lacking. Kelenic more looks the part in center field but Ramos is actually the better center fielder of two. Again though, both are capable of playing the position and can shift to a corner without issue either. Kelenic gets the edge because you bet on the pure hitting ability and the lefthandedness, but they’re both really, really good young outfielders any team would love to have in their system.

Roger (Washington DC): 

    Outside the three guys from the San Jose team who made the list, are there any sleepers or other potential contributors?

Kyle Glaser: I mentioned Sandro Fabian earlier as someone who quietly looked good once he came back at the end of the season. Matt Frisbee is interesting and has a chance to be something. Locates his 93-95 mph fastball to go with a nasty, hard-breaking curveball. Pounds the strike zone, has some movement on his stuff…there’s very much a chance we look back in five years and he’s had a better career than some of the players that cracked this list. That’s a heck of a 15th-round pick.

Roger (Washington DC): 

    What’s the over/under on Game remaining in Joey Bart’s minor league career. And what would you guess is going to be the workaround for Bart and Buster Posey co-existing in a lineup for the next couple of years?

Kyle Glaser: Keep in mind Bart has only played 22 games above A-ball. I would imagine we’re looking at at least another month in the minors and probably more—barring injuries, of course. As for co-existing, what comes to mind is Posey primarily plays 1B, Belt primarily plays LF and Bart does the bulk of the catching, but that’s a lot of positional gymnastics and it depends on how willing the veterans are to change their roles. Honestly, that’s a down-the-road problem. Right now Bart still has some ABs to make up and more reps behind the plate needed to fine-tune his receiving and framing. They’re both going to be good, but it’s not like they’ve completely reached their potential yet. It takes time and reps, which he still needs.

Tim (SLC): 

    Where do evaluators stand on Austin Beck?

Kyle Glaser: Scouts who saw him from afar in short stints liked him as a lottery ticket. Coaches and others who watched him more frequently and up closer are less bullish, although they’re not completely out. You see Beck’s plus arm, plus speed and plus center field defense, but there’s a ton of overswinging and pretty much no adjustments at the plate. You’ve gotta hit to be a big leaguer – even a reserve one – and there is a very split camp on how much Beck will hit. He has the tools, but needs to overhaul his approach.

Miles (Iowa): 

    Can Nick Allen be an everyday big leaguer even if he were to post a ~65 wRC+ at his peak? Is he that valuable at SS?

Kyle Glaser: No amount of defense excuses that level of offensive production. Only last place teams with no other options put up with that. But Allen can be better than that. He has the hands and hand-eye coordination to be a decent hitter, uses the whole field and has more strength than you think. He’s a good player who no one should be surprised when he pops up in the majors in a few years. His defense will define him, but he’s got a chance to hit too and not be an offensive sinkhole.

Roger (Washington DC): 

    Camilo Doval once again had huge strikeout numbers this year to go with elevated walk rates. What’s the best guess for his future? Does he develop into late innings/high leverage guy or too unpredictable?

Kyle Glaser: Too unpredictable, and for as hard as Doval throws, his fastball sure seems to find a disquieting amount of barrels. His arm strength is special, but he’s got a lot to work on.

Joshua (Los Angeles): 

    If the rest of the minors adopted the superball, it feels like quantity and quality of contact would be the obvious way to evaluate guys in the Cal/Pioneer/Eastern/AZL leagues, stat lines mostly go out the window (though scouting stat lines is somewhat of a fool’s errand anyway), and that it would be murder on young pitchers. Any thoughts on the subject?

Kyle Glaser: Nothing you said is incorrect. I don’t know of anyone – scout, manager, farm director – who thinks it would be a good idea to put the MLB Ball in the lower minors.

Mila (Atlanta): 

    isnt Ryan Vilade a better option at 2B? There are concerns about him sticking at SS, and 3B was mentioned as a possible destination, but he doesnt seem to have the pop for 3B- but enough pop and wheels for 2B. Your opinion?

Kyle Glaser: Vilade doesn’t move well enough to play the middle infield. That’s the problem. He’s a bulky guy without much lateral range. He steals bases with his instincts and can move a bit once he gets underway, but the range as an infielder is limited. You can maybe get away with him at 2B in spurts with shifting, but most see him as that 2B/3B/LF bench type without a true position or enough power to really profile at any of them on an everyday basis. He plays hard, has some feel to hit and projects for many as a future big leaguer, it’s just on a reserve basis.

Bob (Best Coast): 

    Would have said Kelenic is the next Trout if he played for the Dodgers?

Kyle Glaser: No.

JD (AZ): 

    Hi Kyle, can you tell us a bit more about Eduardo Diaz, his stock must be up given he was close to the top 20. Thanks

Kyle Glaser: Diaz was one of the final candidates for No. 20 on the list. He’s a plus runner and very good defender in both center and left field, and he’s got enough arm for right field too. It’s just going to be about the bat. He’s a very, very aggressive hitter. He’s started using the middle part of the field much better, which has allowed him to stay on offspeed more and drive the ball gap-to-gap, but he’s going to have to sustain it and not fall back into his previous ways. Evaluators generally lean more fourth outfielder than everyday starter on Diaz because they aren’t 100 percent convicted he’ll maintain his approach and hit upper-level pitching, but he’s moving in the right direction and certainly has the tools and makeup to outdo those projections.

Matt (Los Angeles): 

    Why does Heliot Ramos seem to rank a little lower than other guys who have similar age/performance (ie, Kelenic)? Does he have any flaws in swing/scouting report? And would Adam Jones be a good comp?

Kyle Glaser: It’s not Ramos having flaws as much as the other guys being really, really freaking good. This was a great year in the Cal League talent-wise. He’s one of many players who would rank a lot higher on other league lists. Ramos’ bat is going to play, probably in the middle of the order, and he’s got a chance to stay in center field if he maintains his body. Kelenic just projects to be a little bit better, but both could be All-Stars.

Bob (WA): 

    The Cal Raleigh report suggests a pretty strong all around game. Is his upside a fringe All Star or more an above average regular?

Kyle Glaser: More a regular, but we’ve seen the bar for catchers drop so much he could sneak into an All-Star game or two at his peak.

Bob (CA): 

    It was a lost season for Tirso Ornelas. Was there anything positive to take from it?

Kyle Glaser: His swing underwent a much-needed overhaul when they sent him back to Arizona and looked a lot, lot better when he returned. The other thing you take is Tirso still maintained his happy, positive demeanor on the field through it all. That says a lot, that a young kid could struggle like he was and not let it defeat him. He then put in the work in AZ and came back to finish strong. That says a lot about his mental fortitude and ability to take coaching and apply it in a relatively short time.

Dodgers Fan (LA): 

    After beating the drum for Jeter Downs I see he’s finally made BA’s top 100! He seems to really have turned a corner during the season and went from a toolsy MI prospect to actually translating his above average hit tool into some loud production as the summer went on. Although his hit/power/speed are currently average-above average, do you think they all play up because of his high baseball IQ and aggressiveness on the base paths? Do scouts think his hit/power can tick up to 60/55? If so, would that push him to the next tier of top 50 prospects?

Kyle Glaser: Downs certainly does a good job getting the most from his tools and his improvements over the course of the season can’t be understated. The hit ticking up to 60 is more likely than the power ticking up to 55.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone. That will do it for today. Thanks for coming out, and enjoy tonight’s game.

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