Baseball America Kyle Glaser Subscriber Chat (4/27/23)

National writer Kyle Glaser hosted a subscriber chat to answer questions regarding up-arrow prospects, Brady House’s breakout and more. You can read the transcript below.

Kyle Glaser: Hello there. Happy Ohtani Day to those who celebrate. Let’s chat.

Joey J (Dallas):

     With Bobby Miller set to make his AAA debut this week, do you think he continues his rise to become a member of the Dodgers rotation over the summer or has he been passed by others in the system? Or is he being viewed as a power bullpen arm for the big league club?

Kyle Glaser: Bobby Miller is still the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect. He projects as a starter but he can slide into a bullpen role too. It really is just going to depend on what the Dodgers need most when he’s ready. Right now, they need help in both spots.

Taylor V (Seattle, WA):

     Hi Kyle, I was wondering who are the biggest up arrow guys for you to start the season? Maybe a few bigger names, but also a few off the radar guys too. Thank you!

Kyle Glaser: It’s still very early so I wouldn’t go overboard on anyone. That said, Junior Caminero has looked really good and is getting a lot of love. Robby Snelling is a really good-looking young lefthander as well.

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi Kyle, thanks for the chat today. I was wondering if you knew anything about Wilmer Flores’s two blow up starts where he allowed 6 and 7 ERs. Is this just an early season blip or cause for concern?

Kyle Glaser: Bad starts happen. Especially early when it’s cold. Flores came back and threw four scoreless in his most recent start. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Adam (Texas):

     Any updates on Kumar’s stuff & delivery? The results look promising compared to his fall league stint.

Kyle Glaser: Yup. Rocker is moving a lot better in his delivery and his fastball command is much crisper than it was in the AFL. You have to remember he had a pretty long layoff and it wasn’t a surprise for him to be rusty in the AFL. It’s not surprising to see his delivery smooth out and his fastball command to come back now that he’s pitching regularly and on a consistent schedule again.

AJ (Washington):

     Elijah Green has struck out in more than half of his plate appearances. Is there reason to be worried about him?

Kyle Glaser: Yeah. This was the concern about Green coming out of the draft and it has shown itself to be a real problem. At the same time, we’re less than a month into his first full professional season. Let’s give him time and see what adjustments he makes.

Molly B. (New Jersey):

     How has Gabriel Gonzalez looked so far? There was some concern over his swing and approach in the offseason. Have there been early signs of that improving this season? Also, is he hurt right now? Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: Gonzalez has looked really good at the plate so far. Small sample obviously, but so far so good. I don’t have specifics on why he’s been out the last few days. He made a routine catch in the first inning against Lake Elsinore and didn’t show any signs of injury, but he came out and hasn’t been back since. I don’t have an update as to why right now.

Bob (Texas):

     Evan Carter, now hitting HRs in AA, gets to AAA in blank and makes his MLB debut in?

Kyle Glaser: I can see a scenario where Carter gets promoted to Triple-A at midseason and maybe gets an end-of-season callup to the majors. Again though, he’s 20 years old with 14 games played above the Class A levels. There’s no reason to rush him.

Adam (Bluff City):

     Impressions of Xavier Isaac thus far?

Kyle Glaser: Isaac’s patience at the plate has been nice to see and he certainly puts some pretty swings on balls, but he still has work to do as a hitter to tap into his power. This is what player development is for, and again, it’s less than a month into his first full professional season. Let’s see how he grows throughout the year.

Jake (PA):

     There was a lot of talk last year that the level of play in lo-a was down. How are things this year? Any signs the decrease in quality has followed those lo-a players up to hi-a this year?

Kyle Glaser: The caliber of play in Low-A has been much better this year than it was in 2021 and 2022. It’s been noticeable and nice to see. It wasn’t just talk that it was down before – it was objectively down, as I wrote about a few times. Things seem to have leveled out a bit now that we’re further removed from the canceled 2020 minor league season and minor league reorganization. Pitchers are throwing more strikes, defenses have been crisper. It’s been a welcome development

Adam (Bluff City):

     Mason Montgomery was in the Top 100, but fell out after the most recent update. Was there anything about him that made him fall out of favor, or was it just the influx of prospects onto the rankings?

Kyle Glaser: Mason Montgomery was never in our Top 100. He does some nice things but has never crossed that threshold for us.

Jim (Berlin, NJ):

     Overpaying slot ($1M) for a 7th rounder in Smith-Shawver seems to be a risk paying off so far for Atlanta. Is the profile a 2-3 starter or back of the pen? What does the 2023 development plan and path look like for him?

Kyle Glaser: Smith-Shawver’s control and durability are going to have to come a long way for him to reach a No. 2 or 3 starter. He’s got great stuff, but you need a lot more than just stuff to be a front to mid-rotation starter in the major leagues. He projects more to be a hard-throwing back-end starter or late-inning reliever, both of which are perfectly respectable outcomes. He’s a good pitcher and the Braves did well to get him in the seventh round.

DH (Pittsburgh):

     Some teams build a competitive advantage. For example, Cleveland seems to know what kind of pitcher they’re looking for, draft them, and improve their performance to make them stars again and again. The question is, how could those kinds of advantages possibly be this durable? How do the techniques stay secret? Why weren’t there 29 other teams grabbing Bibee before pick 156?

Kyle Glaser: A lot of it has to do with having better coaches, technology and infrastructure in place. Finding and hiring good coaches is never easy, no different than hiring personnel in any industry. It’s not a secret what Cleveland does – they’re just better at it than everyone else, and a lot of that has to do with the coaches and systems they have in place. In general, the way a player developed in one organization does not mean they would have developed the same way in another organization. I think it’s fair to say it was a perfect marriage of a pitcher like Bibee with Cleveland’s coaching, philosophies and infrastructure that are not easy to replicate.

Matt (Used to be stuck in Ohio escaped to NC):

     Nelson Rada is the youngest player in full season ball. He is struggling. Did the Angels mess up rushing him to LoA so soon?? What is the word on the streets?

Kyle Glaser: Yeah, Rada just isn’t ready to be at the level physically. The Angels have been VERY aggressive with a lot of their guys. Some of them have worked (Neto, Silseth, Quero), others haven’t. Rada’s swing decisions have been fine and you see the instincts, but he’s just getting overpowered by older, more physical, more experienced pitchers. He’s super young and just isn’t physically ready for full-season ball.

RH (La Vergne, TN):

     Are there rules against strange turf colors in college baseball or has no one decided to go that route?

Kyle Glaser: I’m not aware of any rules mandating turf color. It would be kind of fun to see Boise State-style smurf turf on a diamond somewhere. I’m not aware of any schools that have ever done something like that, though.

Danny (Brooklyn):

     Trey Sweeney is off to a nice start (albeit slowed down in the last couple games). Does he look any different to you in the early going? I think BA was down on him after his first full year showing in the minors.

Kyle Glaser: We need to let things play out a little longer with Sweeney It’s only been 14 games. And it’s not that BA was down on him – the entire industry was. He really didn’t do much to impress anyone on either side of the ball last year. Let’s see what he’s able to string together over longer stretches before we make any definitive statements.

Joe (GA):

     In leagues with 300+ prospects, are River Ryan or Chase Bright worthy stashes?

Kyle Glaser: I’m not dialed into fantasy baseball, but speaking generally, River Ryan is someone worth being high on.

Logan (Mi):

     Thanks for doing this Kyle! Could you see Walker Jenkins to the Tigers at 3 being a fit? Big fan of Jenkins. Who are some late 1st round names that you like that the Tigers could look at in the comp round and / or 2nd round? Thank you as always

Kyle Glaser: It’s possible. Right now Dylan Crews, Paul Skenes and Wyatt Langford are considered the consensus top three, but Jenkins is getting a lot of love and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him sneak into the top three. In terms of comp/2nd round, there are a lot of high school shortstops that fit into that range this year. Walker Martin, Eric Bitonti (who will move to 3B), guys like that.

David (Seattle):

     Bryce Miller rebounded in his 4th start but struggled a bit in his few starts, any indication if he is working on something or just early season struggles?

Kyle Glaser: Just early-season struggles. Miller will be fine.

MichaelG (Raleigh):

     What do you make of Conner Capel? Inflated BABIP aside, does Capel have the potential to be a regular.

Kyle Glaser: Realistically Capel fits more as a bench/up-and-down option, although for a team as bad as the A’s, he can start.

MichaelG (Raleigh):

     I have a Yankee fan friend who insists Andres Chaparro has a real chance to be the Yanks future 1B. He loves the guy and his 8 AAA HRs. I look at his numbers and think major league pitching will eat him alive. Is Chaparro making progress I am missing that leads to a viable major league player? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Chaparro is fun and can hit balls hard, but no, he is not the Yankees 1B of the future. In theory he could get a couple ABs in the majors as a callup at some point, but that’s pretty much it.

Roger (Greenville, SC):

     Curious for your thoughts on Nelson Rada vs Josue De Paula and Yasser Mercedes. Pre-season it sounded like there was more hype for De Paula and Mercedes, so Rada making full ball and De Paula and Mercedes not has been somewhat puzzling to me. Do we need to pump the brakes somewhat on De Paula and Mercedes, or are the Angels just more aggressive, as they also had other aggressive assignments like Quero to AA?

Kyle Glaser: De Paula and Mercedes have yet to play above the DSL. Keeping them in extended spring and letting them start in the complex leagues is the right move. The Angels were just very aggressive with Rada, and he’s not ready for it. The Dodgers and Twins made the standard decisions – there is no reason to hold it against De Paula or Mercedes at all. Both they and their teams will be better for the time in extended and the complex leagues rather than being rushed.

Steve (Boston):

     What is the offensive ceiling and floor to Marcelo Mayer? Who is your favorite SS below A+ with a chance to stick at short?

Kyle Glaser: Mayer’s ceiling for me is a .290-.300 hitter with 20-25 HRs and lots of doubles. He has a chance to be a star. His floor is that he’s a minor leaguer – just like every other minor leaguer. No one has a major league “floor.”

Andrew (Boston):

     Is the Brady House breakout real?

Kyle Glaser: You have to remember House was never really healthy last year. Covid and a back injury is a bad combination that is going to sap anyone’s strength. The House we’re seeing now that he’s healthy is more indicative of the “real” Brady House offensively. He can mash.

John (Mpls):

     What are your thoughts on Kevin Made? He’s young, and seems to be at another gear this year.

Kyle Glaser: Made is a really good defender with excellent instincts and a hose from the left side of the infield. He’s likely always going to be glove over bat, but it’s good to see his consistent ability to make adjustments and improve at the plate year over year. He did it from 2021 to 2022 at Low-A and he’s doing it again from 2022 to 2023 at High-A.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out. See you next week.

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