Ben Badler MLB Prospects Chat (9/21/21)

Ben Badler: Hey everyone. Thanks for all the questions in there already, let’s get started.

Stephen (NYC):

     1) As a Yanks fan I think for this year the prospects traded with the highest upsides are Kevin Alcantara, Alexander Vizcaino & Roansy Contreras. Whats your thoughts on alexander vargas, Antonio Gomez & Anthony Garcia would you look at all 3 as potential mlb prospects?

Ben Badler: Gomez for me is the most interesting of that group. Garcia is a gigantic human being who makes other large people look small even by comparison and his raw power is huge, but he’s going to have to hit a ton as a first baseman and I think it’s a lower probability bet for his hitting ability to play against better pitching. Vargas is a slick shortstop, I know some folks liked him who saw him in the FCL. Gomez has been held back by health stuff, but he has hit when he’s been on the field, he will stick behind the plate and his arm is up there with the best in the minors.

Shawn (Manitowoc, WI):

     What is the buzz on Hendry Mendez. He was one of the few who jumped from DSL stateside this year. The fact his K rate was so low along with a lot of projectability would seem he could skyrocket up the ranks next year. Is this an accurate assessment? Thanks as always!

Ben Badler: Yes. He’s going to be much higher on the Brewers list this offseason. He’s made huge strides over the last couple of years, both physically and as a hitter.

Kismet Kid (Las Vegas):

     Hi Ben! Always looking ahead for the next great stick – is James Triantos set to explode onto the scene next year?

Ben Badler: It wouldn’t surprise me if he followed a Nick Yorke type of path and found himself in the Top 100 conversation eventually. Another extremely advanced high school hitter with the swing and zone discipline that will translate with wood bats.

Zak (Boston):

     I see Casas got promoted to AAA. Do you think a strong showing there would propel him into the top 10 in the prospect rankings?

Ben Badler: He’s No. 15 on the Top 100 now, so he certainly could be.

Corey (Seattle):

     Emmanuel Rodriguez is showing an extreme profile, he seems to be selling out for fly ball power. Does he project a hit tool to make the adjustments to a better all around hitter?

Ben Badler: The power is exciting to see… those are not small ballparks for an 18-year-old to be hitting balls out like that, and he’s probably going to be a corner guy long term. His swing itself doesn’t look like he should be striking out 37% of the time, but that’s obviously a big red flag in rookie ball.

Ben Badler: I do think he can make adjustments to trim that strikeout rate if he learns to stay through the middle of the field better, but it’s a different shape to his offensive profile than I would have expected from when he signed a couple years ago.

Nick (Bronx, NY):

     I am wondering if the BA crew is saying about Miguel Vargas. His performance was great this year as a 21 year old in AA and his track record is pretty darn good too.

Ben Badler: I’m very in on Vargas. I’ve seen him since I think he was maybe 15 or 16, he has always stood out to me for his pure hitting ability even with his defensive questions. He controls the zone, controls the barrel, makes a ton of contact and he has power that he’s starting to tap into as he learns which pitches he should try to pull for damage.

Julie (G):

     Who do you think demonstrated better overall stuff this year, Daniel Espino or Bobby Miller?

Ben Badler: Espino. Another gear to his fastball.

Cristian Hernandez (Cubs):

     Where is a realistic place I start next year? Any chance the cubs are particularly bullish with me next year because of their wealth of lower level SS?

Ben Badler: Normally I would say Low-A, which is aggressive for an 18-year-old but in line with how we see the best international players like him get pushed. But the Cubs also have Reggie Preciado who will be ready for Low-A next year at shortstop and James Triantos will fit into that lineup as well somewhere around the infield, so I could see him sticking around Bill Mitchell territory in Arizona.

Mike (Virginia):

     Hey Ben – do you plan to have any additional coverage regarding the next international signing period in the upcoming months? Always appreciate your work. Thanks!

Ben Badler: Yup. I don’t have exact dates yet, but our international big board is up with reports and will be expanded as the Jan. 15 signing date gets closer. Obviously the reality is that a lot of these players have had unofficial agreements in place for years now and aren’t going to public workouts or showcases any more, so we need to be careful and thorough in our process to keep up to date with these players.

wrburgess (KC):

     Is a prospect like Matt Brash an SP in the majors or a one-dominant-pitch (slider) reliever once promoted?

Ben Badler: His slider is FILTHY, but he’s also consistently mid-to-upper 90s, so he’s definitely more than a one-pitch guy. As long as he throws strikes and proves he’s durable, I think he can be a dominant starter.

David (Los Angeles):

     Next Yankee shortstop is Volpe or Peraza? Does the loser to move second?

Ben Badler: Volpe is the better prospect overall, but Peraza might get there faster because he’s a level ahead and generally gets better grades on his defense, though I do wonder if some of Volpe’s defensive ability gets undersold because he’s more of an instinctive shortstop than a quick-twitch, athletic mover at the position.

Leo (NYC):

     Hey Ben, thanks for the chat! My question is about 2 Reds prospects who have underachieved this year: Austin Hendrick, who struck out once every two at bats, and Mike Siani, who hit under 220 at high-A. Do you think either or both has a chance to one day help the Reds, or are they looking like busts?

Ben Badler: What everyone loved about Hendrick is still there—jarring bat speed, huge raw power—but the concerns I had on him as an amateur with pitch recognition and contact frequency are looking like bigger red flags now in pro ball. Siani has more defensive tools to fall back on, but I know some scouts who saw him this year thought he was trying to sell out for power, which probably isn’t what his offensive game should be built around.

ted (st louis):

     What are the stats you would look at for young players in the complex leagues, and how wide was the gulf between the Florida Complex League and the Low A Southeast league?

Ben Badler: For hitters, strikeout rate or swing-and-miss rate is a big one. If you’re having trouble putting the bat to the ball in the complex leagues, it doesn’t get any easier as you move up five more levels to the big leagues. A player swinging and missing a ton in rookie ball is a big red flag, while a hitter who makes a ton of contact often has a good base to build from with pure bat-to-ball skills as he gets stronger or makes swing adjustments to tap into more power as he gets into his prime.

Ben Badler: For pitchers, strikeout rates and walk rates matter since pitchers have the most direct control over those outcomes, but mostly I’m projecting those players based on stuff, delivery, athleticism and physical projection for what their stuff might look like in the future.

Andrew (California):

     Who are some Angels prospects to keep an eye on heading into 2022?

Ben Badler: From a national perspective, Arol Vera and Sam Bachman are the two I think could be the biggest risers next year.

Ben Badler: I have to head out, thanks again for all the questions and supporting what we do at BA. Talk to you all again soon.

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