Hot Sheet Chat (4/18/23)

Image credit: Andrew Abbott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

J.J. Cooper hosted a chat to discuss today’s Hot Sheet. You can read the transcript below.

Steve (MA):

     With pop up prospects being completely off the top 100 to surging, what whispers are you hearing about the next prospect to surge? Similar to Chourio, and Franco from recent years.

J.J. Cooper: Those don’t happen every year, especially as Franco didn’t surge exactly like that. Franco was a Top 100 Prospect for us before he ever played a minor league game. He did fly up from No. 96 pre-Appy League to No. 4 the next year, but he was a top prospect who just confirmed what we were hearing. Chourio was a different type, but even he was a Brewers Top 10 Prospect who surged into the Top 100 quickly when he hit full-season ball. We have some names we’re working on who may meet these criteria, but the key is to getting the insights and the reporting to feel comfortable moving them into the top 100. We’re not there in the process yet. Sorry.

Matt (Orlando):

     I know he wasn’t on the sheet, but what is your level of concern for Emmanuel Rodriguez and the k’s so far? How much benefit of the doubt should he get after a lot of time off due to injury?

J.J. Cooper: How about it’s time for some cautious concern. He’s making the jump from Low-A to High-A despite having less than 50 games in Low-A, and he is coming off a long layoff. Cold weather has not been a massive issue so far, as Cedar Rapids has had more games with an 80+ degree start temperature than games with a sub-60 degree start temp. But in watching most of his 17 strikeouts he’s posted in 7 games this year, he just looks a little off. His patience isn’t working with him so far, as he’s taking way too many strikes. There’s a lot of breaking balls he doesn’t seem to be seeing all that well that he’s taking for strikes, and he’s struggling with fastballs, especially up. It’s 7 games and 34 plate appearances, so I’m not willing to make too much about it, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on.

Jose (Santa Ana Ca):

     How close is Andrew Abbott to a call up? He is definitely dominating AA, at least he should go to AAA.

J.J. Cooper: I think there’s a step to AAA along the path, but it’s worth noting that the Reds have three rotation fixtures (Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft) and two starters (Cessa and Overton) who need to get a whole lot better quickly to stick in the rotation. And if you look at Triple-A, who would be the candidates to replace them? Brandon Williamson is struggling. Levi Stoudt has walked nine in 11 innings and the other three Bats starters are all more of the veteran minor leaguer rotation-stalwart. So the logical step is to send Abbott to Triple-A before long, as he has plenty of Double-A experience, and then see if he’s the best option for one of the potentially soon-to-be-open spots in the Reds rotation.


     JJ- good afternoon. How did Dominic Keegan not get mentioned? He is hitting .600 (leading all Minor leagues)- white hot….

J.J. Cooper: League context does matter, that’s why. Keegan had nearly 600 PAs in the SEC in four years at Vanderbilt. He then played well at Low-A Charleston last year. So it’s kind of surprising to see Keegan back in Low-A again this year. I’d expect Keegan to dominate Low-A, because he has tons of experience at comparable levels of competition.

Zak (Japan):

     Did Tiedemann miss the list because he only pitched 3 innings? Do you think it’s realistic for him to be up in the majors by the summer?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. Nine strikeouts in three innings is great, but it was three innings and less than 50 pitches. It’s possible he could be up later this summer, but there is still development to go unless the Blue Jays are happy with developing him as a reliever. Tiedemann hasn’t finished the fifth inning of a start since July 1 of last year. He hasn’t pitched in the fourth inning of a start in any of his past five starts. I’m not expecting to see Tiedemann to turn into Sandy Alcantara, but getting him stretched out to throw 4-6 innings regularly is a realistic goal.

Molly B. (New Jersey):

     Not on the hot sheet this week, but off to a fantastic start is Tanner Bibee. Does the fact that he’s carried over his velocity from last year (and even added to it) and is looking great in AAA mean that he’ll rocket up the top 100 in the May update? Do you still have a similar evaluation of him from the offseason or has he reached a higher level of projection? Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: He will likely be moving up. He’s one of the players we’ve been talking about for a great start. His stuff is even better this year than it was last year (which was already really good). He’s thrown 80 fastballs. He’s thrown 53 strikes (66%). Only 12 have been put into play (10 outs, 2 singles). He’s gotten 10 called strikes, 18 foul balls and 13 swinging strikes, seven of which finished off strikeouts. And then you throw in his slider. He’s thrown 27 of 44 sliders for strikes (61%), he has 6 called strikes, 4 foul balls, three balls in play for outs, 2 singles and 12 swinging strikes. It’s reasonable to say he’s shown he may even be a little bit better than what we thought he was going into the season, and we really liked him coming into the year.

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi J.J., thanks for the chat today! What upside do scouts see for Cole Young and how fast could he go through the minors? Is being a top 25 prospect and making it to AA by the end of the season at all possible?

J.J. Cooper: There’s an up arrow on him, and he already was one of the more promising young shortstops in the game. But let’s hold off on putting him in AA. He has less than 20 games in Low-A so far counting last year.

J.J. Cooper: There’s an up arrow on him, and he already was one of the more promising young shortstops in the game. But let’s hold off on putting him in AA. He has less than 20 games in Low-A so far counting last year.

Alex (Chicago):

     I’m not sure what to make of Owen Caissie. The power is big and he’s shown it already this year when he really scuffle last April. However, even with a small sample size he’s striking out 50%+ of his PAs. Is this just the same adjustment period to an aggressive assignment like he experienced at the start of HiA in 2022? Is he close to making a debut in the top 100 prospect list if he continues to impact the baseball being so young in AA?

J.J. Cooper: I have to be honest, I’m more concerned by the 20 Ks in 35 PAs than I am encouraged by the .303 average and 7 XBH. A .667 BABIP is bound to go down a lot over the upcoming months. It is an aggressive assignment, but also a logical one after he spent all last year at High-A. As I’ll say with everyone, don’t make any sweeping decisions on anything yet based on less than 2 weeks of baseball. Let’s see how he settles in.

Frederick (Boston):

     Any need for worry yet about Jackson Chourio?

J.J. Cooper: There have been some highlights and too many pop ups to first base so far. It’s early, let’s give him a month-plus to settle into the season.

Ben (CA):

     Thanks for chatting, it’s appreciated. Talk of an Evan Carter mid-season call-up seem far fetched to me. Am I wrong?

J.J. Cooper: It’s not all that crazy. Carter is already in Double-A, and his skills are of the type that can be pushed more than a player with louder tools but weaker pitch recognition. If you push a free-swinging power hitter with tons of home runs but few walks and a lot of strikeouts too fast, you run the risk of him being utterly exposed by major league pitching. Carter is the opposite of that. You can feel confident that he’ll work counts and put together good at-bats. He’s unlikely to get to massive power early in his MLB career if he’s pushed too fast, but he’s unlikely to fall flat on his face if his timetable was sped up.

Elliot (Youngstown OH):

     Cleveland fans are less patient than the front office. When can we start to see Allen Bibee and Williams starting to arrive in Cleveland?

J.J. Cooper: There are three starters in the Cleveland rotation who the Guardians will likely want to give several starts to show if they can figure it out, Quantrill and Plesac in particular have enough past success to not get overly worried over slow starts. I could see one of those three replacing Gaddis in the not-to-distant future. If they can stay healthy all three will likely pitch for the Guardians at some point this year, and that’s a wealth of options to choose between, something not many teams can say.

Tom (Medfield, MA):

     Where does Mason Miller make his next start and is Melissa Lockard in danger of ingesting footwear?

J.J. Cooper: Mason Miller’s on his way to the major leagues. Melissa was all over it with an excellent prediction.

Greg (Canada):

     Given his sudden profile is Mason Miller now clearly a starter? There had been talk about him moving to the pen.

J.J. Cooper: Why move him to the pen if he can hold up as a starter. Few pitchers can maintain the kind of stuff he’s shown so far for five innings. If he can’t hold up as a starter, moving him back to the pen is always a fallback option.

J.J. Cooper: Sorry everyone but I need to go make a call for a story. We appreciate all the questions and I want to especially thank BA subscribers for supporting all that we do.

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