Ben Badler Chat (6/26/19)
Ben Badler: Hey everyone. Let's get started.
- At what point do you get excited by what players do in the Dominican League? Is what Pirates Alexander Mojica doing as a 16 year old (.353/.500/.706) rare or a case of a small sample size?
Ben Badler: It is a small sample, but the reports are good too. Big power, the swing works with his bat speed and path to the ball, and he’s showing a good approach, especially for someone who’s still 16.
- Surprised to see Alexander Canario back in AZL to start season. How soon is SF likely to bump him to Salem, and what are the keys for the next phase of his development. If there's an organization that could use some good news on OFers, it's the Giants.
Ben Badler: Very soon. He’s just rehabbing a shoulder injury, should be in the NWL shortly. Fun group they have out there though with him, Marco Luciano and Jairo Pomares.
Leody Taveras (AA):
- Even though it's been a bumpy road for me, I've finally started to deliver on the hype bestowed on me since signing back in 2015. I'm still only 20 years old and have now made it to AA. If I keep up the same production the rest of 2019 I showed in HiA, am I a post hype candidate to climb my way back into the top 100 list?
Ben Badler: It’s possible, but he’s going to have to start driving the ball with more impact. Plus defense at a premium position, the swing itself works and he’s not up there flailing at offspeed stuff, but the concern from a lot of scouts is it’s just very light contact when he connects. He’s still 20, so that could come, but that’s the key risk factor with him right now.
Drew Waters (Underrated?):
- I've been steadily moving up the top 100 list as I pace the Southern League offensively as the 2nd youngest player. With that being said, am I actually under-ranked when you factor in my tools/production/age? Since I've stepped it up to another level in June, should I expect my biggest jump yet in the top 100 once July's update is released?
Ben Badler: It’s loud tools, with even more raw power than is showing in games right now. I think where there’s a split camp on Waters is on his pure hitting ability, where some scouts think he’s going to develop into an above-average hitter, where others have concerns about swing length and chase tendencies. But overall, yeah, what he’s doing this year as a 20-year-old in Double-A is trending up.
- So the annual "International Reviews series" would be coming out sometime around late November into early December correct?
Ben Badler: I expect we'll have them out before December.
Warren (New London):
- Deivi Garcia is currently 89th on BA's top 100 list. In last week's Hot Sheet chat, JJ Cooper defended this ranking, saying his stuff and control don't match his numbers. Since then Garcia has had two dominant games, his best of the year, and I'm wondering if your own view is different or if the consensus view at BA has changed at all. Also, might we see Garcia in the major leagues this year, either in the bullpen or in the rotation?
Ben Badler: I think (not 100 percent sure on this one) that I’m probably the high man in our group on Garcia. I know a lot of scouts who saw Garcia this year came away projecting him as a No. 4 starter with a chance to be a 3, but I’m more bullish than that on his future. The track record of swing-and-miss is outstanding, the stuff generating those empty swings should continue to miss bats against MLB hitters, and the size concerns some scouts have are not ones that I share.
- What is the ceiling for Kolby Allard at this point? I read an article a few years back, where he claimed to throttle-back his FB on purpose, and concentrate more on location and secondary pitches. That isn't working out too well, right?
Ben Badler: Looks like a 5-ish starter.
Michael Smith (Canada):
- Hey Ben the Jays seem very quiet this international signing period! They usually always get at least one of the top 10 guys. Any idea why they seem so quiet this year ? Thank you
Ben Badler: They're going to be very active. Rikelvin de Castro, Robert Robertis, Estiven Machado, just to name a few, and there's more.
Charley (Washington, OH):
- hi Ben, thanks for the chat. Should the reds give Aquino an extended look, or is his extended hot streak more of an extended fluke? He still doesn't walk much.
Ben Badler: I think the approach and pitch recognition issues prevent him from being an everyday guy, but he’s way outperforming what I would have expected this year, even with the Triple-A Titleists, so I think he has to at least get an opportunity at some point.
Devon (San Francisco):
- Hi, Ben. Do you think Wander Franco has 70 hit/70 power upside?
Ben Badler: On hitting, the upside is an 80.
Ben Badler: He's a special, special hitter.
Wet Blanket (Your Dynasty Team):
- OK. Can you go ahead and splash some water on Luisangel Acuña? Feel like if he didn't have that last name we'd view him differently.
Ben Badler: He's good. Comes come from a great baseball family, so his baseball IQ is way beyond his years. Advanced plate discipline, the swing works, good plate coverage and he has the strength to sting the ball pretty well for someone who's about 5-8, and he's an above-average runer. Probably fits best at 2B.
Lou (New Jersey):
- What is the read on first-rounder Connor Scott's season at Clinton? Numbers look kind of flat (save for SB). Is this the normal adjustment for a 19-year-old cutting teeth in LOW A? Would it be fair to expect significant second half gains with his all-around hit tool?
Ben Badler: You hope he makes adjustments in the second half, but the reports we have from scouts who’ve seen him haven’t been encouraging.
- Kristian Robinson has yet to hit a Home Run this year. I know that it’s only been a handful of AB’s, but should there be concern about the lack of power so far?
Ben Badler: He did knock one out yesterday, but generally speaking, no. Plenty of bat speed, strength and impact to mash the ball, which you can see in BP. Better pitch recognition and swing decisions to improve his contact quality against live pitching is what will get him to fully tap into that power in games.
- I recently saw Matthew Liberatore pitch in person and he was blowing hitters away with his fastball. I'm surprised he's ranked so low on your top 100 list, his stuff looks dominant?
Ben Badler: Well, we he was the No. 16 overall pick last year and we had him as the No. 2 prospect in the draft last year behind Casey Mize, and he’s already the No. 41 prospect on our Top 100 after 41 innings in Low-A. Hard for me to understand a case that we’ve been low on him.
- Hey Ben, a question on a couple of Rangers positional prospects with some recent helium...are you higher on Sam Huff or Sherten Apostel, and are either entering the top 100 convo at this point?
Ben Badler: Our reports from scouts are better on Huff right now. I still have pretty significant questions on the free-swinging tendencies, but he's always had big power and the reports on his swing and defense this year are much improved from last season.
- Where will the Blue Jays rank in farm system rankings after so many graduations (Vlad, Biggio, Thornton, Jansen)? Also, what have you heard on Jays catching prospect Gabriel Moreno? 19 year old, 154 wRC+ in A-ball with as many walks as strikeouts.
Ben Badler: Vladdy alone is going to drop them—the historical value of the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball is enormous—but that's still a strong system. Bichette, Pearson and Groshans are all top 50 guys, and there's depth behind them.
Ben Badler: On Moreno, athletic catcher with great hand-eye coordination. Sometimes that's to his own detriment, because he can put balls in play on pitches outside the strike zone, but he's tightening that up this year and showing more power than expected. Arrow up guy.
- Any idea why McKenzie Gore hasn't been promoted to AA yet?
Ben Badler: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ben Badler: I’d be shocked if he wasn’t there after the Futures Game, if not earlier.
Fred Vincy (Illinois):
- Thanks for the perspective on this year's J2. Since we'll be waiting a bit for detailed coverage of this class, can you tell us which affiliate assignments for last year's class surprised you or seemed particularly meaningful?
Ben Badler: Alex De Jesus with the AZL Dodgers and Javier D'Orazio with the GCL Blue Jays. I thought they would both spend the year in the DSL. I never got to see De Jesus live, but it sounds like a really intriguing hit/power combo, with position TBD. On D'Orazio, no loud tools, but smart player, leader behind the plate type, probably not a high upside guy but may end up being more advanced than initially expected as an amateur.
Dan (So Cal):
- Thanks for the chat. When will new team top tens be out with draftees?
Ben Badler: Working on those now. Believe mid-July is the target, after the signing deadline.
Roger (Greenville, SC):
- With the Braves limited to the $10k exemption, what approach do you expect them to take? A wide net with a lot of signings to try to get quality from quantity, a very quiet year, or something in between?
Ben Badler: Quieter than usual, given the limits, but they still have players they like they're going to sign. Position players at that level are tough, but you can still find good pitchers who have projectable qualities and develop later on into legitimate guys.
- Jo adell is on a tear maybe top baseball prospect?
Ben Badler: That's Wander Franco, but the reports on Jo Adell are glowing. Explosive tools, star level impact potential.
Ben Badler: Thanks everyone for all the questions. Enjoy the rest of the day.