Baseball America Kyle Glaser Subscriber Chat (5/11/23)

Image credit: Jackson Chourio, Pete Crow Armstrong (Photo By Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kyle Glaser hosted a subscriber chat today to discuss Carson Williams‘ hot start, Jonatan Clase’s ceiling and more. You can read the transcript below.

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, hope you’re having a great week so far. Let’s chat.

Tim (SLC):

     What are the possible points to fire a GM? I’m not a White Sox fan, but it seems clear that Hahn/Williams are not the guys to build a consistent winner in a division where they should consistently win. Shouldn’t you fire them now before Hahn has another draft, and a summer of sell-side trades? Or is it not possible to fire a GM and hire a replacement in the next month.

Kyle Glaser: You can fire a GM at any time, but you’d be getting an interim GM for most or all of the rest of the season. You generally aren’t going to get the best potential pool of candidates for a permanent hire made available to you for interviews until after the season. It’s clear the White Sox need to make wholesale organizational changes – the roster construction is a mess, players aren’t getting better and the overall track record in the draft is very poor, especially since 2015. I think it’s clear at this point change is needed, but if you fire Hahn/Williams now (or a month from now) you’re going to get an interim, not a permanent hire. That’s going to likely have to wait until after the season.

Wavy (The ocean):

     3 prospects off to slow starts at the plate: Lawlar, Cartaya, Merrill. Who are you most and least concerned about? Does anything change or is it all still April noise at this point?

Kyle Glaser: Ignore Midwest League stats completely until May 15. Just ignore them. No judgement should be rendered on Merrill whatsoever at this point. If he’s struggling in July or August after it has warmed up, then be concerned. Right now, the concern level on him is zero – just as it is for any MWL prospect who is struggling. Lawlar hitting under .200 in Amarillo is concerning, but he’s hitting the ball hard and getting on-base at a decent clip, so it’s not a full panic-button situation yet. Cartaya is the one to be most concerned about. His swing keeps getting longer and his defense keeps getting worse. He’s going in the wrong direction. Some of the concerning trends cropped up last year and they’ve gotten worse, not better, this year.

Erubiel Durazo’s .400 season (somewhere warm):

     Has Carson Williams’ hot start changed the industry opinion of his hit tool, or are scouts tempering their expectation until they see a reduced K rate or sustained success in AA? He’s seen rapid progress not unlike Gunnar Henderson, but Gunnar cut down on K’s drastically, which Carson has yet to do.

Kyle Glaser: Williams is doing some really nice things, but he’s still going to have to cut his strikeout rate down quite a bit before the contact concerns are quieted. He’s still at 32.5% right now at Double-A, a tick higher than his K rate last year. There are not many players who have gone to have sustained success in the major leagues with K rates higher than 28% in the minors. He’s talented and he has time, but he’s going to have to cut the K rate down before opinions start changing.

Nick (Phoenix):

     What are you seeing and hearing about the perceived major league readiness and positional futures of Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis? How do you see that playing out over the next year or so?

Kyle Glaser: Endy Rodriguez is closer than Henry Davis in terms of major league readiness. Rodriguez is the better, more athletic defender behind the plate – that’s always been the case and hasn’t changed. I think the most realistic outcome is Rodriguez gets most of the reps behind the plate while Davis is more a C/DH type, similar to an early-career Mike Napoli. He’ll catch some, but Rodriguez is the better defender who should get the lion’s share of the reps as long as he stays healthy.

MLB HOF Custodian (Cooperstown, NY):

     Going into yesterday, Elly De La Cruz struck out 44% of the time in his first 39 plate appearances. In his next 39 plate appearances, it was 22% of the time. As the actual HOF custodian, should I start arranging a spot for Elly’s plaque? But seriously, if this guy keeps his K% below 30%, he’s gotta be the consensus #1 prospect, right? We certainly know the game power is elite after the exit velos he posted recently

Kyle Glaser: Elly’s strikeouts were the only question in his game. If he’s able to maintain his improvements over an extended period at Triple-A, he’ll be the No. 1 prospect in baseball very, very soon.

Kirk (Virginia):

     Could we see Langford to Washington instead of Skenes? He’s probably considered a “safer” pick considering bat vs. pitcher. This is a big debate in Nats land with the new draft rules limiting how high the team can select in ’24.

Kyle Glaser: Yes, we could see that. Wyatt Langford is a really good player. I wouldn’t classify such a selection as a “safe” pick. Langford is a very good player on his own accord and worthy of the No. 2 selection on talent.

Jim (Berlin, NJ):

     From the existential files: the alarming K rate (37.5%) continues for Cristian Hernandez at Low A. His ability to put bat to ball is particularly poor behind in the count. How do organizations work with hyper-aggressive prospects, who may be trying to prove the worth of their signing bonus on every swing? Are the Cubs worried about their $3M investment, even at this early stage of development?

Kyle Glaser: Every organization has a different approach to working with hitters. There are a lot of pitch/zone recognition drills that exist to help young, hyper-aggressive hitters. As for whether the Cubs are worried, there was definitely recognition on their part last year that Hernandez wasn’t quite as good as he was hyped to be offensively and that the ceiling was lower than anticipated. It’s not full blown panic, but even they’ve lowered their expectations.

Matthew (Portland, Oregon):

     I keep hearing how Paul Skenes is likely to be the second pick in the draft, and Nobel Myer, a high school pitcher, could get picked in the top 10. I’m sure these guys deserve those spots (or similar) based on talent, but I’m wondering about the wisdom of selecting a pitcher that high up in the draft. Injuries are so prevalent and they can cause not just time missed, but a genuine degradation of talent. If I was running a draft room for a team with even a top 15 pick, there’s no way I’d select a pitcher. What are your thoughts?

Kyle Glaser: If you would never select a pitcher with a top 15 pick, you would have missed out on Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Madison Bumgarner, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Trevor Bauer, Jose Fernandez, Max Fried and Aaron Nola – all of whom were top 15 picks. Even with injuries and other assorted issues, on talent, those guys are/were impact players among the best in the game at their peaks. Pitchers are undeniably riskier, and you have to bake that into the decision-making process, but you should never ignore or refuse to select an elite talent because of a profile issue. As long as the makeup and health records check out, just take the best player – even if they’re a pitcher.

Danny (Brooklyn):

     I know its too early to link them to any player 2 months out but do you think its more likely the Yankees draft a college hitter given their recent history (’20-’23) and they are missing their 2nd and 5th picks?

Kyle Glaser: The Yankees should take whoever the best available player is. It’s impossible to say who that will be at No. 26. They’re not going to – and it shouldn’t – artificially limit themselves to one demographic.

Alex (Bay Area):

     Thanks for the chat today! Why doesn’t Owen Caissie get more love? I know his BABIP is inflated and his K% is still high, but just like last year, after a month he’s adjusting and his K% has come down noticeably in May. What is he doing the first 5 weeks in AA that he wasn’t last year in HiA is absolutely crushing the ball. He already has 7 HR and a impressive OPS for one of the youngest guys in the league. Do you think he’s getting closer to the top 100 list?

Kyle Glaser: Owen Caissie’s power is really, really impressive, and he’s made some really nice strides as a defender. He’s a good prospect. At the same time, a 39% K rate is really, really high, even for a 20-year-old in Double-A. Striking out that much in Double-A does not bode well for success in the majors, not matter what other tools you possess. He’s going to have to make adjustments as a hitter and cut that significantly to project to be one of the 100 best future major leaguers in the minors. He’s on our radar, but he’s not really going to be in Top 100 consideration until that number is in the low 30s at a minimum.

Michael (Raleigh):

     Zack Gelof. Lots of walks but too many Ks at AAA imo. Regressing or progressing? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Gelof has certainly had more strikeouts than expected early on. That said, it’s 21 games and his first full month in Triple-A. Let’s see how he adjusts as the year progresses.

Jon (So Cal):

     Which of the following prospects do you see as having the highest ceiling? Yanquiel Fernandez, Anthony Gutierrez, Spencer Jones, or Jonathan Clase. Thank you

Kyle Glaser: You certainly picked some very, very high variance prospects here. Clase’s combination of power and speed probably give him the highest ceiling, but we’re talking about very low probabilities here. Ultimately, what gives you the biggest ceiling and makes you the biggest star in the major leagues is your hitting ability. All of these guys have some very, very big questions about that.

Kyle (IL):

     If you could only keep one, would it be Edouard Julien or Connor Norby? And do you like either long term over Nolan Gorman. Thanks

Kyle Glaser: I think Edouard Julien can really, really hit, so he might be my preference between the two prospects. With the improvements Gorman has made as a hitter, I probably lean him long-term.

Kevin (Delaware, OH):

     Will Termarr Johnson improve his K/AB rate of 58%?

Kyle Glaser: He’s going to have to. Johnson’s ability to make contact is his greatest skill. If that isn’t there, he doesn’t have much to fall back on.

Elliot (Youngstown OH):

     Cleveland can use a catcher who can hit and who can avoid passed balss and wild piches. When do we get Bo Naylor. I see he’s hitting for power, drawing lots of walks but not too successful at nailing basestealers. How is the rest of his defensive game?

Kyle Glaser: The Guardians need a lot of players who can hit. Talk about a struggling offensive team. Yeesh. As for Naylor, his throwing is a real problem. He struggled to get the ball to second base in the air during the WBC and it was a problem last year too. Especially with the new rules encouraging teams to run, there’s a threat of a track meet breaking out when he’s behind the plate unless he makes enormous strides. You can’t put him behind the plate in the major leagues until he fixes that.

Tom (Oakland):

     If you could pick one pitcher from the Tulsa rotation to be an impact SP at the MLB level who are you choosing and why?

Kyle Glaser: Man, that’s a tough call. Nick Frasso has the best arm of the group, but it’s a very effortful delivery and he tops out at five innings (with a lot of 4 and 4+ inning starts) so it’s hard to pull the trigger on him as a big league starter. Landon Knack has always been the most starter-ish of the group in terms of pitch mix, command and feel, but I wouldn’t call him an “impact” SP in the majors. This is a tough call and I’m not sure I have a definitive answer for you. They’re all really good.

Oliver (Boston):

     Hi Kyle. Gavin Williams made my jaw drop with a lightning quick pickoff move in his latest AAA start. I hardly ever read about which pitching prospects have plus base running prevention traits, and it’s virtually impossible to locate stats about successful pickoff throws for prospects, never mind stat cast data. Can you think of a few arms that are adept at getting outs in this unheralded way? I’d love to read more on the topic if this piques the curiosity of you or another BA writer.

Kyle Glaser: You are correct that holding runners is a critical and underrated skill in pitchers, especially now with the rules changes. Taijuan Walker is probably the best righthanded pitcher who is good at holding runners and picking them off. Max Fried is probably the best among lefties. And that is an interesting story idea I’d be interested in doing. Good idea.

John (DC):

     Hey Kyle: Curious what you’ve heard about Moises Ballesteros? Seems like he’s off to a great start this season with a good approach to boot — and may fly under the radar compared to other top catching prospects? Is much of his status tied to staying in shape/keeping weight down? Could he ever be a top 100 guy?

Kyle Glaser: Ballesteros is a very good hitter. Staying in shape and keeping his weight down is going to be the No. 1 determining factor of his success moving forward. Seeing how he handles that in the coming years – and what effect it has on his defense – will determine whether he projects to be one of the 100 best future major leaguers in the minors.

Steven (IL):

     Who do you see as the next starting pitching prospects to get the call to the majors? Could Ben Brown be up this year?

Kyle Glaser: Ben Brown is certainly charging hard. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the call this year. Gavin Williams is a candidate to get the call in short order. I have no idea why Matthew Liberatore hasn’t been called up by the Cardinals yet. That should have happened weeks ago.

Dalton Rushing (LA):

     Could you see me getting promoted to Double-A this year? And is my future going to be a C/1B/DH hybrid so that my bat is in the lineup as much as possible?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. And yes.

David (Appleton):

     Do you think there is a big difference in the caliber of play in A ball after the elimination of the short season leagues?

Kyle Glaser: We’ve talked about this and written about this extensively. The quality of play in both Class A levels – especially Low-A – has dropped precipitously.

Metsox (NYC):

     “Nate the Great” Martorella. The best 1b prospect no one has heard of? Can he make it in leftfield? Is he actually a real prospect?

Kyle Glaser: Martorella is certainly interesting. He has great plate discipline and contact skills. The question has been about whether he can get to his power in games, and he’s showing he can so far. He is a real prospect. First base is going to be the best position for him. He’s a bigger, bulkier dude who shouldn’t be asked to run around the outfield on anything other than a limited basis.

Colin (Flagstaff):

     does Jackson Holliday have the best plate approach among all big time prospects right now? A .490 OBP in his pro career seems ridiculous for a 19-year-old regardless of the level, even if it’s only been 45 career games And apparently there’s another Holliday in the prospect pipeline?? Incredible bloodlines there

Kyle Glaser: Holliday certainly has a very impressive approach. Saying it’s the best in the minors is a stretch given the level of competition he’s facing. Lots of prospects have similarly excellent approaches against better stuff in Double-A/Triple-A. That said, Holliday has been excellent at every step so far. He’s a really good young player with excellent bloodlines, of course.

David (Appleton):

     How do you properly evaluate pitchers in the Southern League using the pre-tacked baseballs? Do you just have to wait until the second half and the normal ball comes back?

Kyle Glaser: That’s going to be a part of it. I do think comparing how pitchers are faring compared to one another is useful. They’re all using the same ball and getting the same advantages, so seeing guys like Coleman Crow and Patrick Monteverde at the top of the league leaderboard is noteworthy.

Zach (Baltimore):

     I was honestly pretty shocked to not see Coby Mayo’s name on the list of players just outside the top 100. He’s still only 21 in AA and he’s shown massive improvement in his plate discipline so far. What’s the knock on him?

Kyle Glaser: It’s not a knock on Mayo. There are just other good players in the minors right now who project to be better. He’s made some nice strides. The contact piece still needs to improve, but the plate discipline and power combo at Double-A are good to see.

Brian (Seattle):

     What grade would you give the Mariners player development? Is that grade different for pitchers vs. hitters? It feels as if we’re a top team in developing pitching but struggle to develop hitting… Related – how far are the Dodgers ahead of everyone else in terms of hitting development?

Kyle Glaser: Mariners PD has been one of the best at developing pitchers in recent years. Hard not to give them an A there. Position players have been more hit and miss, but in the context of the entire major leagues, it’s been solid overall in terms of getting guys to the big leagues and seeing them have success (Julio, Raleigh, now Kelenic, plus Crawford and France got better as hitters under the Mariners instruction). I could see a B. As for the Dodgers – they’re on their own plane in terms of hitter development. No one else comes close.

Marc (NYC):

     The note on Noelvi Marte was a little cryptic. He’s fallen down the defensive spectrum but since the start of May he’s been crushing the sticky ball; still showing power and speed combo. What’s the biggest concern here?

Kyle Glaser: Frankly, the biggest concern with Marte is his effort and focus. When he turns it on, he’s great. But there are still way too many stretches where he gives away at-bats, dogs it on the bases and is inattentive in the field. These problems have been persistent for years and haven’t gone away. He can be as good as he wants to be. The talent is there. It’s honestly 50/50 whether he gets the most from it or becomes a frustrating underachiever. It’s really up to him.

Jay (Miami):

     What’re the odds Denzel Clarke is up at some point this year? Is he a guy that you see could contribute immediately?

Kyle Glaser: In the majors? That would be extraordinarily aggressive. Nothing is impossible, but I’d put it close to zero. Clarke is an otherworldy athlete and he’s consistently improving as a hitter, but there is still a lot of rawness there. The best thing for him would be to have a full year at Double-A/Triple-A and maybe come up in 2024 if everything goes well.

GH (North Carolina):

     Not quite a prospect question. It seems to me we are seeing a lot of late 20s, early 30s being brought up to the majors, although many just as fill ins. When did this become the norm? Does it reflect a lack of prospects are a change in thinking about bringing them up for short bursts.

Kyle Glaser: It’s an interesting question, and it does look like the number of percentage of players making their debuts has steadily crept up. Last year, 162 of 303 (53%) of all players who made their debuts were 25 or older. That number was 48% in 2018 and 42% in 2013. In general, it makes sense to bring up older guys as fill-ins rather than top prospects – you want your prospects playing every day, not every few days with inconsistent playing time. But it is notable how the percentage has increased. I hadn’t caught on to that. Good observation.

Kyle (Saginaw):

     Is Justyn Henry-Malloy actually good? Or good “for the Tigers” i.e. 2nd division starter type. Jeimer vibes.

Kyle Glaser: Henry-Malloy can hit a little bit. The lack of a real defensive home might make him more of that 45-grade, second-division type. We’ll see.

Mark (CT):

     Is it crazy to think Roman Anthony could surpass Miguel Bleis at some point? Bleis’s hit tool seems concerning.

Kyle Glaser: Not crazy at all. Anthony has been very impressive so far.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out. We’ll chat next week.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone