Baseball America Kyle Glaser Subscriber Chat (5/18/23)

Kyle Glaser hosted a subscriber chat to discuss Gavin Williams‘ prospect status, Alek Manoah‘s struggles and more. You can read the transcript below.

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, thanks for coming out. Let’s chat.

Patrick Faust (London):

     Hey Kyle! Would love for you to answer either of these questions! 1. With Romo and Veen struggling, it’s making me sad as a Rockies fan. Which of the Rox prospects in the bottom half of their system could turn into above average regulars? 2. Who do you think could be a top 10 reach this year, like Rocker and Mozicatto the past two years?

Kyle Glaser: Well, technically Brenton Doyle ranked in the bottom half of their system coming into this year. He has to cut down on the strikeouts, but he has the tools to become an above-average regular if he can do that. That’s a big “if” though. As for your second question, that’s going to depend on who is willing to sign for significantly below slot as Rocker and Mozzicato did. That’s why they went in the top 10. There is no way to definitively know who that will be at this point.

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi Kyle, thank you for the chat today! Is Gavin Williams the best pitching prospect left in the minors now? Also, his reports say he has #2 upside, Is he now showing he actually has ace upside?

Kyle Glaser: My pleasure. Thanks for joining. There is a legitimate argument to be made that Williams is the best pitching prospect left in the minors. The control and the durability (he’s never completed seven innings in a start as a pro) are going to have to improve for him to become a true ace.

Molly B. (New Jersey):

     What’s your opinion on Cristian Mena? Is he for real and this is a start of a breakout or is it mostly result of the pre-tacked ball? Does he have top 100 in his near future. Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: Cristian Mena is a good pitching prospect, pre-tacked ball or not. Fastball is solid, curveball is a really good pitch and the changeup is coming along and shows flashes. He can fall in love with his breaking stuff too much at times, but we’ll see if he grows out of that as he matures. In general, Mena projects as more of a back-of-the-rotation starter than a mid to front, which would keep him outside of the Top 100, but we’ll see if he continues to keep getting better.

Taylor V (Seattle, WA):

     I’ve heard people mention that with all the graduations this is a rather weak top 100 and there has been talk of both Jackson Holiday and Dylan Crews (when he’s drafted) making a case for #1 overall prospect by next year. BA’s current #1, Jackson Chourio, appears to be heating up after a slow start at AA (and dealing with the ball). Is he special enough to stave off these other prospects from taking his #1 spot or do you see him more of a top 5 prospect, but not a true #1. I could see the trio of Holiday, Crews, and Chourio next year being similar to what Adley, JRod, and Witt Jr. were two years ago. Thank you for your time!

Kyle Glaser: Jackson Chourio is talented enough to be a true No. 1 prospect in baseball. Jackson Holliday looks like he might be, too. It’s premature to put Crews up there. We’ve asked this question of a lot of special assistants and front office executives who see both the minors and the draft guys and they have Crews as a No. 10-20 prospect when he gets drafted (which is still exceptional and indicative of his star potential). As for the propsect groups, Adley and J-Rod were better than a potential Chourio-Holliday combination. Adley and J-Rod were two potential generational talents. (Witt was a clear No. 3 in that trio due to his strike-zone discipline/swing decision issues.) That was rare.

John B. (So Cal):

     You mentioned in an earlier mailbag the Dodgers saw River Ryan and Sheehan as more relief types, can you explain the reasoning for that? Both have looked pretty good as starters.

Kyle Glaser: Sure. River Ryan has a long, long way to go to build his innings and durability (he still hasn’t completed five innings this season) and Emmett Sheehan is so extremely fastball heavy that he’s going to have trouble getting though major league lineups multiple times. Both are very talented pitchers, but even the Dodgers fully acknowledge both are likely to end up in relief. Now, if Ryan starts showing he can hold his stuff for 6-7 innings (or even 5) and Sheehan’s secondaries take a significant jump, that will change and enhance their chances of remaining starters.

Luke (Minnesota):

     Is Emmanuel Rodriguez early struggles worrying the prospect industry? Also is David Festa emerging as a top 100 prospect?

Kyle Glaser: It’s the first month in the Midwest League so you want to give somewhat of a grace period, but given just how bad it’s been, there is some concern about Rodriguez, yes. Also, just to clarify – there is no such thing as a “prospect industry”. Major leaguers, minor leaguers, draft prospects – it’s all part of the baseball industry. There is no separate “prospect industry.”

Will (Baltimore):

     Given how well Holliday is hitting in Aberdeen, which has been a very difficult place for even the best Orioles’ prospects, are you tempted to up his hitting grade to 65 or 70? His eye and bat to ball skills seem extraordinary for someone his age to my admittedly untrained eye.

Kyle Glaser: At this point, Jackson Holliday is showing he has a chance to be a .300+ hitter in the major leagues, yes, and thus his hit grade needs to come up.

Miggy (Chicago):

     Is Tyler Locklear creeping into the Top 100?

Kyle Glaser: Not quite, but Locklear is hitting well and it hasn’t escaped our notice. The power is very, very real.

Ranger Fan (NC):

     Why is Texas so inept at developing pitchers? It is so frustrating to see Atlanta and LA Dodgers produce quality pitchers seemingly every year, while the Rangers never seem to be able to produce anyone. Is the issue the players that they are drafting and signing or are they failing in the development process. It cannot be attributed to bad luck alone at this point.

Kyle Glaser: The Rangers scouting and development processes were among the worst in baseball for a very long time. They’re getting better under Chris Young, but it’s going to take time. It was frankly shocking some of the things the previous front office was doing and saying – notably how out of touch with reality some of their internal evaluations of their own players were.

David (Seattle):

     What should we make of Harry Ford’s walk rate? His WRC+ of 134 is obviously solid but the current 20.5% walk rate is heavily influencing that.

Kyle Glaser: That Harry Ford is a patient hitter with excellent strike-zone discipline. I’m not sure why you’re seeing this as an issue. This is a good thing.

Bob (PA):

     I was surprised not to see any mention of Bryce Miller in the RoY candidate’s article. Are you just not buying the fastball heavy arsenal playing that well over the long haul?

Kyle Glaser: Bryce Miller is excellent. He’s also made only three starts. As he gets more innings and continues to excel (and I believe he will) he’ll get some love in our midseason rookie update.

Mike (Toronto):

     Can you help me make some sense of what is going wrong for Alek Manoah? Do you think he can make the changes to have an effective ROS? Have these first nine starts impacted his dynasty value?

Kyle Glaser: Manoah has always been a big guy, but just to the naked eye he looks even bigger this year. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s why both his velocity and control have regressed. It’s concerning, there’s no two ways about it.

Jack (WA):

     Emerson Hancock’s strikeouts are way up this year. Is that a sign of an uptick in stuff? Winter reports seemed to be pointing more to a back end starter, but would like to think his draft pedigree means there might still be a little more there.

Kyle Glaser: Hancock’s strikeouts are up, but so are his walks. The outlook hasn’t changed. The best case scenario is still back of the rotation starter, and most external evaluators think he’ll end up a reliever. That’s been true since 2021, Mariners fans just don’t seem to want to accept it.

Jack (MO):

     I know the Midwest League is tough early in the year, but Gavin Cross has been terrible. Is it too soon to worry?

Kyle Glaser: It’s tough. Even some of the scout reviews last year when Cross hit well in his pro debut were lukewarm. Cross has been better in May than he was in April, so that’s encouraging. Let’s see what he does here now that the weather is warming up. That’ll give us a much better idea of what is real and what isn’t.

brad (NJ):

     Skenes vs Crews? You would assume the hitter is safer, but not sure I like Crews scouting report comparing him to Dustin Ackley.

Kyle Glaser: You’re underselling Crews there. I will say there is more confidence that Skenes is a “once in 10 years” type of prospect who fits in the Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strabsurg tier of elite college pitchers than there is with Crews and whether he fits in the Kris Bryant/Adley Rutschman tier of elite college hitters. (It’s split opinions whether Crews does, while everyone agrees Skenes does). They’re both excellent prospects. I have started to lean Skenes a little more, personally.

Michael (Raleigh):

     I read Parker Meadows had made swings changes in the offseason and had a new approach at the plate. But so far the results at AAA are meh. How likely is it he will even approach his ceiling and become a major league regular. Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Meadows’ ceiling is generally seen as a 45, which is a second-division regular. He’s got tools, but he’s long been a below-average to fringy hitter. A lot is going to have to click for him to exceed that. Never say never, but average regular hasn’t really been seen as a realistic possibility for a few years now.

Tatum (Clearwater Fla):

     When does Gavin Williams get the call? How does he compare to Bibee and Allen? how do you rate the three?

Kyle Glaser: Williams has the best stuff of all of them. The Top 100 is your answer to how all three rate. The highest-ranked guy is the best guy, pretty simple.

RJ (Wathena):

     Does Tyler Soderstrom get the call soon, as bad as the A’s are – why the wait?

Kyle Glaser: Soderstrom still has some approach things to work on (as well as his defense). He’s played only 70 games above the Class A levels and it’s not like he’s killing it in Triple-A. There’s no reason to rush him before he’s ready, especially to play for one of the worst teams of all-time. He still has things to work on before he’s ready for the majors, and Triple-A is the best place to let him do that.

Tatum (Clearwater):

     Kyle- can Ceddanne Rafeala stick in the OF? He is producing at AA, just wondering how long until he gets his shot, maybe 2024.

Kyle Glaser: Rafaela can play center field, yes. He can play a lot of different positions, which is what makes him so interesting. If the Red Sox decide to sell at the trade deadline and open up a few spots, I could see a scenario where he debuts later this season. In general, 2024 is probably more likely.

Satch (Las Vegas):

     Hey Kyle- Noah Cameron is killing in the Royals system – he is only at Quad cities, but does he have the stuff to climb to the bigs? thanks

Kyle Glaser: Cameron is a big lefty who throws strikes. Those guys will get ample opportunities to get to the majors and stay there. I saw him last year and wasn’t blown away by the stuff, but he’s pitching well and there is always a demand for lefties. It would not shock me to see him in the majors at some point down the road.

RJ (Wathena):

     Does Evan Carter get to big club this year? Can he be a 20-20 .270 guy? or more of a speed plus, then a little power? Either way, an exciting prospect.

Kyle Glaser: Evan Carter is very talented. He’s also played 29 games above the Class A levels. There is absolutely no reason to rush him (and the Rangers are doing just fine without him). Maybe he gets a shot, but a lot of that is going to depend on what happens in front of him on the big league roster. .270, 20/20 while playing a good center field is definitely in the cards. He’s a good player.

Tatum (Clearwater):

     Kyle – I love Spencer Jones, where does he end up the season, AA? can he crack NY in 2024?

Kyle Glaser: It’s certainly reasonable for Jones to end this season at Double-A. That would put him within striking distance of the majors in 2024, yes.

Jordan’s Walker (StL):

     Statement first: Cards don’t seem to be in sync. If walker had things to work on, he shouldn’t have made opening day roster. That felt like 1 1 of 2 things. The manager viewed current Walker as better than the 25th man on the roster, and put a few wins above Walkers development. Or 2, the Cards are descending into a poorly run organization where the front office doesn’t agree on what to prioritize. Questions: Does this change any of Walkers long term outlook, if indeed the Cards front office isn’t on the same page, or does talent generally overcome? Thanks!!

Kyle Glaser: It was very aggressive putting Jordan Walker on the Opening Day roster given his lack of Triple-A time, his inexperience in the outfield and the Cardinals outfield logjam. To the Cardinals credit, they realized it wasn’t the best situation for him to succeed in and sent him down. They did the right thing, even though it wasn’t the popular thing. That doesn’t change Walker’s outlook – he needed more time in the minors and now he’s getting it. Being willing to adjust to the situation on the ground as it unfolds is a good thing, and the sign of a healthy organization. Obstinately sticking to something that clearly isn’t the best option would be the sign of a poorly run organization – which is not what the Cardinals did.

David (SF):

     Hey Kyle: What do you make of Grant McCray’s slow start this season? It seems like Ks will always be a part of his game, even in last year’s breakout. Is it simply the risk of a K profile and low BABIP or have you heard anything else?

Kyle Glaser: McCray has to make more contact. It’s that simple. Hitting .203 with a 34% strikeout rate in High-A isn’t going to translate even to Double-A, let along the majors. It’s going to be on him to make the adjustments to improve. We’ll see what changes he makes over the course of the season.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Thanks Kyle. Your chats are always the best for me. You deserve a raise! St Louis just brought up Liberatore. His velocity was said to be up this year. What would you rate him going forward? Is he the real deal potential wise? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Haha thanks Ken. I’ll make sure and pass that along to my bosses. I’ve always been a tick lighter on Liberatore because of how often I saw his fastball get hit, but that was typically when it was 89-93. If he can hold the velo increase over a full season, that changes the equation and moves him potentially from a back of the rotation starter to a mid-rotation starter for me. The secondaries and feel to pitch are really good. It just comes down to the fastball.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     You mentioned Denzel Clarke in a previous chat. He’s in AA. Any updates for your opinion on him? Progress?

Kyle Glaser: Clarke is making more contact, getting on base more and striking out less – all good things. There is progress being made, which is encouraging. He’s a crazy good athlete and we saw his plate discipline improve last year from the start of the season to the end of it in the AFL. If he can keep that improvement going over a longer stretch and show it’s sustainable, the A’s might really have something.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Detroit seems to have a huge hole at 3B. What do you hear about their long term future at 3B? Malloy? Keith?

Kyle Glaser: Colt Keith is the likely long-term answer there. Malloy can hit but doesn’t really have a position you feel good putting him at. Keith has a better chance, although he’s a big guy and there is a chance he has to move to first if he gets too big. For now, he should be ok at third.

Chuck (Fountain Hills, AZ):

     Is the Unbreakable Casey Schmitt for real? What are your thoughts on his amazing record since hitting the big leagues? What do you think he can do ROS. Think he will be the Giants starting SS next year? Inquiring minds want to know.

Kyle Glaser: Casey Schmitt is a good player. He’s obviously not going to hit .417 over a full season, but he can hit for power, the swing has gotten better and he’s a Gold Glove-caliber defender at third base. The fact he’s turned himself into a viable major league SS is super impressive, and I’m not going to sit here and say there is zero chance he ends up being their starting SS next year.

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

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