BA Subscriber Mailbag: Jasson Dominguez's Slow Start, Cal Mitchell's Status And More
Kevin from Delaware, OH asks:
Q: At what point do we start taking Cal Mitchell more seriously?
A: Mitchell has ranked in the Prospect Handbook for the Pirates five years in a row. He’s a prospect. Always has been. Not sure what you mean by “take more seriously.” He’s always been a legitimate, serious prospect who can hit, and has been ranked as such.
Shady from Dayton, Ohio asks:
Q: Thoughts on Elly De La Cruz's start to the season?
A: Lot of extra-base power, lot of strikeouts is pretty much what was expected. He’s extremely aggressive and it’s not a surprise to see that be exploited at High-A, which is where the pitching starts to get real. The key will be seeing what adjustments he makes as the year goes on.
Barry from (Maryland) asks:
Q: Has Logan Davidson restored his prospect draft status? His hit tool appears to be back since the AFL.
A: It’s interesting. Davidson played well for me the final week of the AFL last year on both sides of the ball and he’s carrying it over. It’s a repeat year at Double-A and it’s only been 14 games, so you don’t want to go too crazy, but he was better than I expected he’d be in the AFL last fall and things certainly appear to be trending in the right direction this spring. He still has a long way to go before he lives up to his draft status as a first-rounder, but he showed enough last fall to where I wouldn’t discount him entirely.
Mark from Canada asks:
Q: What’s up with the Martian? Is he just a product of the Yankee hype machine?
A: He’s a young kid who has been rushed and is struggling. Keep in mind he just turned 19 and is in the Florida State League, where offense goes to die. We see young players struggle a lot the first month of the season (go back and check out Fernando Tatis Jr.’s April numbers in 2017 and 2018). Let’s see what adjustments he makes first. It’s a long season.
Tim from Ft. Lauderdale, FL asks:
Q: What are the rumblings and early reports on Jonatan Clase so far? Will the hit tool and game power catch up enough to his defense and speed to make a big jump this year? Thanks!
A: Clase’s power really started to come last year and the added impact is making him a better hitter all around. He has the tools to be a Top 10 prospect in the Mariners system, but it’s about health with him. He’s off to a great start and the production is real. We just need to see him stay on the field, which he’s struggled to do.
Brian from Port St. Lucie, FL asks:
Q: What are you hearing from scouts so far on Deyvison De Los Santos? The power would seem to be legit pole to pole ... any signs that the hit tool will progress enough to be a back-end Top 100 guy by end of the year? Thanks!!
A: De Los Santos’ approach needs to be refined and there will always be some swing and miss to his game, as there is with most power hitters. He shows the flashes of being able to stay in the strike zone, use the whole field and emphasize contact in the right situations, so it’s in there for him. Just about consistency right now. I can see a scenario where he progresses enough as a hitter to get onto the back of the Top 100, but he needs to show it more than he currently is.
Doug from Centennial asks:
Q: I noticed that James Wood has not played for the last several days… is he injured?
A: Wood missed 10 days with a sore wrist/hand. He’s back now.
Alex from Baltimore asks:
Q: Orioles fan here, trying to stay sane by focusing on our minor leaguers—I see Colton Crower's K rate has doubled and his walk rate has halved... small sample size but it's a bit alarming considering his profile. Any thoughts? Should I just relax and chalk it up to the adjustment from A to A+?
A: I would relax for now. It’s not uncommon for guys to get off to slow starts, especially guys in their first full seasons. If he’s still struggling like this a month from now and not making any adjustments, then it’s time to be concerned.
Rod Belding from Pacific Palisades, CA asks:
Q: Do you think the Oakland A's will eventually end up in Las Vegas and do you think that franchise could move sooner rather than later?
A: All signs are pointing to a move, whether it’s Las Vegas or somewhere else. John Fisher and the A’s are using the tried and true playbook for relocation—let the stadium fall into disrepair, strip the team down to the studs, raise ticket prices and then complain fans don’t support the team and you need to move. As a San Diegan, I just keep seeing all the parallels to what the Spanos family did with the Chargers. Barring a drastic turn of events—or, more bluntly, a drastic change in behavior from Fisher and Co.—I expect the A’s to move as soon as they secure a new stadium somewhere else.
Brentwood Swiney III from Hiltons, VA asks:
Q: Evan Carter off to a hot start with the High-A Hickory Crawdads. What has impressed you the most about the Rangers prospect that nobody knew much about when he was drafted a couple of years ago?
A: The physique and the plate discipline. He showed those two things right away in instructs in 2020. He looks the part physically and he’s got the approach and plate discipline to be successful moving forward.
Chris from Worcester, Ma asks:
Q: Who’s the best amateur player you have ever seen ?
A: Mike Leake. Best high school player I ever played against and then we went to the same college (ASU) so I saw him a ton there. I remain convinced that he could have made it to the big leagues as an everyday shortstop if that was the route he was put on, but ASU needed him more on the mound. Considering he jumped straight to the majors without ever spending a day in the minors and had a solid 10-year career with a peak as a No. 2-3 starter on playoff teams, I’d say it worked out just fine.
Adam Lazarus from Miami asks:
Q: What prospects do you see being called up prior to the all star break?
A: That’s going to depend a lot on injuries and health. If Adley Rutschman is healthy by then I expect he’ll be up. He’s the main one.
Michael from Raleigh asks:
Q: Aaron Zavala. Lots of walks. Not many hits. Any change in your assessment of him based on early season returns? Thanks.
A: No. Don’t try to draw any conclusions about the first month of guys’ first full seasons. These guys are just trying to get familiar with the routine of playing every day and living out on their own for the first time. Give these guys some time.
Matt from Trapped in Ohio asks:
Q: Oooooo a mailbag? Something else to look forward to other than my twice daily peanut butter sandwich that the masked man brings me. Who comes to mind for players who will take massive jumps in the rankings if they continue to do what they're doing this early on?
A: I wouldn’t be surprised if Marcelo Mayer makes a 10-plus spot jump and is a top-five prospect in baseball. He’s that good.
Steven from Cranford, NJ asks:
Q: Hi Team BA! Thank you as always for the fantastic work you all do. What impressions have you heard about Jack Leiter’s start in Double-A and when do you think he could get the call to The Show? Best, Steven
A: Thanks Steven. Appreciate it. As for Leiter, the walks are obviously too high and he hasn’t been particularly efficient, but again, it’s his first month of his first season and he jumped straight to Double-A, which is an enormous step up from college. His timeline to the majors is going to be determined by how quickly he can make some adjustments to get in the strike zone more, simple as that. Give him some time to acclimate to pro ball. The stuff is there. He’s a good one and he’ll be fine.
Players Making Significant Jumps Up Central Top 30 Prospects Lists
Breaking down players who made a jump up their team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Michael from Raleigh asks:
Q: Any new looks or reports on Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Seattle. I am intrigued by the potential. thanks.
A: Nope. Those will come once ACL play gets going.
Mossy from Mansfield, Ohio asks:
Q: Jordan Walker In AA as a 19yr old. Any chance he cracks big league by 20? Seems like AA is a jump he’s handling already. Or next player who could make jump to MLB as a teenager?
A: He’s certainly put himself in striking distance of the big leagues by 20, which is incredibly impressive. He turns 20 on May 22 and I don’t see a scenario where he’s in the big leagues before then. But say he moves up to Triple-A in the second half of the season, an injury or two hits and all the sudden they need to bring him up and he’s there at 20? It’s certainly a possible scenario. We’re still a ways off from that and a lot of that is going to be determined by factors outside of his control, but he’s certainly taking care of the parts he can control so far.
Eddie from NYC asks:
A: The order they’re in the Top 100, although Espino is certainly making a strong case.
Norberto from New York asks:
Q: Which teams have you guys identified as having the best pitching philosophies to identify pitchers in the draft/international and develop them once in the organization. Is there any org out there doing such a great job that everyone should copy them. And conversely which teams are having trouble ever developing pitchers?
A: The Guardians and Dodgers are the standard bearers right now for best pitcher development out of the draft/international signings. The Rays do a good job fixing/improving guys drafted or signed by other teams (Glasnow, Baz, Patino, etc.). The Marlins don’t get enough credit for how good their pitching identification and development has been the last few years with guys they drafted, signed or traded for as prospects (Alcantara/Gallen/Lopez/Rogers/Hernandez/Richards/Anderson/Thompson + Perez/Meyer/Cabrera in the minors right now). They’re in the top tier with these other teams. The Angels have struggled to develop pitching for years, although Patrick Sandoval (acquired from the Astros in Class A) might end that drought with the way he’s been pitching here in 2021 and so far in 2022. The Pirates have struggled to develop pitching for a long time, as well.
Scott from Boston asks:
Q: Dominic Canzone’s hot streak carried over to this season, and he’s already earned a promotion to AAA. How long until we see him in the show?
A: He’s on track to be up this year, especially with how little production the D-backs are getting from their outfielders right now. As long as he stays healthy, there is a good chance we see him in Arizona at some point.
Zach from Baltimore asks:
Q: Connor Norby is doing pretty much everything you could ask for in High-A. Could he rise enough this year for top 100 consideration?
A: Good start, but again, it’s been 14 games. We’re a long way off from Top 100 talk.
Brownie from North Carolina asks:
Michael from Raleigh asks:
Q: Gavin Williams. High-A Lake County, 24 Ks in 13.2 innings. Will this player be on Cleveland's fast track and what can we expect? Thanks.
A: Williams has always had huge stuff, the question was just his control. His walk rate is still a little high here early, so seeing how that develops over the course of the season will determine how quickly he moves. The stuff is there for him to rise quickly and be a hard-throwing rotation piece, no question about that.
Oliver from Boston asks:
Q: Moises Gomez was highly regarded but was so lost in 2021, I barely blinked when I saw the Cards signed him as a free agent. Can you identify any specific change in his approach that might explain his phenomenal turnaround after just a couple of weeks in Springfield? Is this more than just a small sample size fluke?
A: We’re about to find out. Keep in mind Springfield is extremely hitter-friendly, but he’s been performing out of this world even in that context. I’m really intrigued to see what he does over a larger sample once the league gets familiar with him and sees him the second time around.
Ben Kairalla from Loxahatchee FL asks:
Q: Marcelo Mayer. I guess that's not really a question. Just thought his name should be mentioned here...
A: Already mentioned :)
James from NC asks:
Q: Do you think Jerar Encarnacion is a big league regular? He is off to a great start. Is he related to Edwin?
A: He’s going to swing and miss too much to be a regular. Power is real, but the hitting ability is a touch short. No relation that I’m aware of.
Carson Williams from Future top 100? asks:
Q: Was I overlooked in the 2021 draft since I split time both as a starting pitcher and shortstop in high school? There were reports that I had added more strength over the offseason and it's really starting to show in the first couple weeks of the 2022 season. Nearly half of my hits have been for extra bases. Does a future 55 hit/60 power/50 speed/55 defense/60 arm feel like a real possibility? If so, would Williams be a top 10-15 pick in a redraft?
A: Williams wasn’t overlooked. He was one of the fastest risers in the draft and everyone was on it. The power isn’t surprising given what he showed last year, the question was just how much contact he’d make with how the swing worked. So far, so good. He’s a good player, but it’s way, way, way too early to be doing redrafts.