Baseball America Prospect Chat

Ben Badler: We’ve got more July 2 reports coming, the midseason prospect update in the works, the best College World Series coverage in the game and our draft guys are cranking away at the fields right now on the 2017 class. Just the usual awesome chaos behind the scenes right now in Baseball America Land!

Greg (SD): Can the Padres really sign all the guys that are linked to them? Seems like they could be spending crazy amounts.
Ben Badler: Yes. Ownership is giving them a huge amount of cash to spend. They’ll probably wind up spending at least $30 million in bonuses before accounting for the 100 percent overage tax.

Dave (New york): Which RF has the better remaining years Pence or Kemp?
Ben Badler: Pence. He’s the better player right now, and the way his swing path works is more conducive to aging well as he loses bat speed over time.

Travis (Chicago): Ben, Thanks for your great chats as usual. When will the futures game rosters be announced?
Ben Badler: We’re in the midst of helping to select the rosters now. I would think they will be released within the next week or so.

Brian (Chicago): Who's got the best chance of being a future ace or very good #2 of Mitch Keller, Sandy Alcantara, Marcos Diplan? Just looking at "A" pitchers that are 19-20 any others that should be in this list to watch for?
Ben Badler: Alcantara has the most electric stuff of that group. Needs better location, but it’s a starter profile.

Kevin (Alabama): Has Austin Riley's first season lessened BA's expectations for him?
Ben Badler: His stock is definitely down. All his value is tied into his bat, and he’s just not doing anything well at the plate this year.

Larry (Ga): Is Ona a done deal to Padres?
Ben Badler: Nothing is done until the contracts are signed and approved, and MLB still hasn’t cleared to sign him yet. But I would be surprised if Ona ended up signing anywhere other than San Diego.

Gus (Bronx): Domingo Acevado's numbers look good & he throws hard. Why does the hype around him seem minimal & is he a legit prospect?
Ben Badler: He pitched about two innings in full-season ball last year and we still ranked him as the Yankees’ No. 5 prospect coming into the year, and he’s only looked better this year, so I wouldn’t say he’s lacking any attention.

Sam (San Francisco): Snell was ranked higher that Cody Reed as a prospect. Doesn't Reed have a higher upside and projects as a No. 1 starter.
Ben Badler: I think they’re both No. 2 starters.

Joe (pennsylvania): Any concerns with Dansby Swanson? Seems to be struggling a bit at the plate at AA.
Ben Badler: No big concerns. He hasn’t been great, but he hasn’t been terrible either. Still a polished hitting approach, a simple swing with good OBP skills for a shortstop.

Brian cashman (New York): Can I get Robles or Torres for Andrew Miller?
Ben Badler: Those are the right players to ask for, but I wouldn’t give up either one for a reliever if I were those clubs.

Steve (Wilmington): Are you surprised that once again Philadelphia appears to be staying within their International Allocation amount rather than busting it like half the league has already done?
Ben Badler: No. For one, they have the biggest bonus pool in the game at $5.6 million. You can find a ton of talent with that much pool space, plus they can trade up for another couple million if they want. Then you have to remember that their GM only got hired at the end of October, and by that time, a lot of the top players for 2016 already had oral agreements in place with other teams. So if you want to go over your pool at that point, you’re already off to a late start and playing from behind. I like what their plan is this year and I think there’s still room for them to do more given their pool allocation.

Kismet Kid (Chicago): What is happening with Alex Jackson of the Mariners? What has been his problem and can he fix it?
Ben Badler: He just looks bad. There’s still power in there, but he has trouble getting on time and there are more holes in his swing than initially anticipated. I was lower on him than a lot of people coming into the season and he’s only sunk further since then.

Mendel (Miami beach): What do you think of the Pulaski Yankees roster? Who excites you the most?
Ben Badler: Wilkerman Garcia and Estevan Florial are the two best players on that team. Both have big tools, Garcia’s the better prospect because he’s more polished as a hitter and with his overall baseball IQ right now, but Florial could shoot up our list quickly after the season.

Connor (Sarasota FL): Who do you think has the higher ceiling: Anderson Espinoza or Jay Groome?
Ben Badler: Espinoza. A little more electricity on the fastball with a track record against pro hitters to raise the certainty level in the evaluation with him over Groome, but I’m a big fan of both.

Mike (Nj): Any chance the Mets bring Andres Gimenez to the States this year? Is he just off to a hot start or too good for the DSL?
Ben Badler: I could see him coming over to the GCL this summer. There’s a lot more that goes into the decision to bring a first-year Latin American kid over to the US for the first time than just game performance, but he’s talented enough to play in the GCL right now. It’s an exciting combination of tools, athleticism, hitting ability and overall game awareness at a premium position.

Jose (Washington, DC): Who's the next generational prospect (Harper-tier hype level). Doesn't seem like that person is currently in the minors. Is it Yoan Moncada?
Ben Badler: There is NOBODY who is a prospect at the level of Bryce Harper. He was an absolute mutant who was so much better than every other high school player in the country even when he was 16. Every now and then I see people call some player or another the next Bryce Harper. These people are clueless.

Dave (LA): Is Yadier Alvarez in the same category as a guy like Alex Reyes stuff wise?
Ben Badler: His stuff isn’t at that level. Alvarez has feel for a slider that’s still inconsistent. Reyes has one of the best curveballs in the minors.

Jack (MN): Do you think the Twins will give Jorge Polanco a full time job down the stretch to try and see how he might fit in next year? What do you think his upside is?
Ben Badler: I hope he gets an opportunity to play every day because he’s one of the most under-appreciated young players in the game. Quick hands, high contact hitter with a lot of line drives and just enough power to do damage when he connects even if it’s not flashy power or athleticism, and he can play in the middle of the diamond. I think he can be an above-average regular.

Junior (San Diego): Are you concerned about Javier Guerra's slow start?
Ben Badler: Yes. I’m still a big fan of the defense, but I wasn’t quite as high on him as others coming into the year because of the concerns I had about the bat. I still didn’t think he’d look as lost at the plate as he has this year, but the hitting questions are becoming more of a red flag.

Steve (Onalaska, WI): With the change in the Brewers front office, do you see them being more active in the international market?
Ben Badler: Not more so than they were the last few years, at least not in 2016.

Nick (Pennsylvania): Is oswaldo Cabrera of the Yankees really a stud or is it just a hot streak?
Ben Badler: He’s a good player and a nice signing by the Yankees for $100,000, and I’m sure it didn’t hurt that his older brother was already in the organization. Not super tooled-up guy, but he’s a smart, instinctive player who’s been a consistent performer against live pitching going back to last year with quick hands at the plate and good bat-to-ball skills. Definitely a sleeper to watch.

Joe (Texas): Obviously SSS, but Leodys Taveras continues to hit while showing a good approach with more BBs than Ks. Have you heard any updated reports on his hit/power tools? Intl signees typically have considerable risk, but is there anyone outside the system's top 10 with more helium and potential future value?
Ben Badler: He’s looked as advertised, which is why we ran him into the Rangers top 10 into the season. Nobody else behind him in the system has the same level of upside. I love the swing, love the athleticism and speed, and the power is mostly to the gaps but it’s a lot of hard line drives with the physical projection to grow into more power too. He’s exciting.

Tony (Rhode Island): Is Kevin Maitan the type of July 2 guy that could go to ROK ball in 2016 rather than wait till 2017?
Ben Badler: The 16-year-old players who are going to sign contracts when they become eligible to sign for the first time on July 2 are all signing 2017 contracts, so they can’t play in any official games until next year. He might play in the Tricky League (an unofficial league in the DR for July 2 signings) and come to the US for instructional league, but you won’t see him or any of the other 16-year-old signings for this year in the DSL or US complex leagues until next season.

Frank (Cincinnati): Have you ever seen another situation like the Reds have this year, where they seem poised to spend 90+% of their international budget on 1 player (Alfredo Rodriguez)?
Ben Badler: A couple of years ago, the Brewers spent $3,097,500 to sign Gilbert Lara, which was their entire bonus pool plus a little extra, just slightly under 5 percent over their pool to avoid any future signing restrictions. So he was basically their entire international signing class. Lara was a good prospect at the time, but I’m not a big fan of pinning all of your hopes for the year on one player.

Neal (New Zealand): What is Brady Aiken's ceiling right now? His velocity is down to the high 80's, does that limit him to a #3 starter ceiling?
Ben Badler: He’s just getting back into games after Tommy John surgery. Way too soon to say until we see him further removed from the rehab process.

Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions. I’ve got to get back to scout calls and writing up more July 2 reports. Lots of rankings, scouting reports and team by team forecasts going up next week for BA subscribers.

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