Hot Sheet Chat (4/25/23)

Image credit: Jackson Holliday Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

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

Lou (Philadelphia):

     The second go at AA for Zac Veen off to a Rockie start. What is the level of concern that his a below-average hit tool? Speaking of hit tools, Sterlin Thompson. Am I right?

Geoff Pontes: Hey Lou! I think it’s the impact more than anything, the underlying contact, zone contact and approach numbers are solid. His swing bleeds out some power and I think until he figures that out he might not get as much out of his skills as he should. I’m as concerned about that as I was a year ago. Should be interesting to see how it progresses.

Chauncey (Centennial):

     Are you starting to get concerned about Jacob Berry ? He seems to be striking out a lot!

Geoff Pontes: It’s not great and there were certainly corners of the industry that weren’t that enamored with the profile. Concerns were that the power wouldn’t play in pro-ball the way it did in college. The hit tool concerns showing early are worrisome. So far it doesn’t look like a very good pick considering the options that were around him in that draft. That said, it’s early and it’s the Midwest League in April. Bad trends are obvious though.

Dan (Milwaukee):

     Any consideration for Tyler Black on this week’s list?

Geoff Pontes: I looked at him but he wasn’t up to par with the production from some of the other choices. Good to see him hitting for power and getting on-base. He’s been the second baseman on my pre-season breakout team two years running. Really like the profile and he’s fully healthy unlike last season.

Julian (Miami):

     Did you forget about Pat Monteverde?

Geoff Pontes: No, he was a consideration but I think it’s the industry’s questions around his stuff (sitting 88-90 mph on his fastball) that led me to other choices. Certainly was worthy and his performance has been great, there’s just not a ton of believers out there. I tend to lean more hitter heavy.

Mike (Oconomowoc, WI):

     I was excited last year when Chase Silseth was promoted to LA but he got hit hard in his 7 starts. He’s putting up good numbers again, now in AAA. Any reason to believe he’s turned a corner and can be a viable major league starter that can give you 6 good innings?

Geoff Pontes: I think so, the stuff is there and he’s continued to improve his sequencing. It’s probably a back of the rotation profile but it wouldn’t shock me if he’s up soon, if not later this week.

Red (Sacramento):

     What do you make of Brent Rooker? Flash in the pan or legit producer now that he’s getting regular PT? He had the 3rd-highest HR/PA rate in the minors last year (min. 300 PAs) and his statcast data seems to suggest these numbers aren’t just a fluke.

Geoff Pontes: It’s tough to know for sure, the two biggest changes I see are the launch angle is up and he’s chasing less. There’s still swing and miss in the profile but the guy has always had legit power. He’s going to get a lot of runway with the Athletics, should come back down to earth but not likely immediately.

Tom (Cypress, CA):

     Thanks for taking the time to answer, Geoff! Is Brady House going to be able to shake off back issues and be a slugger in the majors for the Nationals? Is it health reasons that he is not playing every day right now in Low A? And is he more likely to be at 3B instead of SS if he makes it to the big league level? Thanks!

Geoff Pontes: Thanks for the question, Tom. He’s already making the move to third, all of his starts have been there and that’s all he played this spring. Not sure on the back issues they’re certainly playing it safe with him.

Oliver (Boston):

     Thanks for chatting. Ryan Ritter ended last week with a bomb then hit three more while going 8 for 20 with 8 walks to 4 strikeouts at Rancho Cucamonga, capped by drawing 4 walks to go with a homer on Sunday. After a rough start to the season, Rancho is a good spot to let it fly, but he still had to face a decent pitching staff. Any reason to believe his hit tool could exceed expectations, and tap into significant over-the-fence pop?

Geoff Pontes: It wouldn’t shock me, Ritter has had different versions of his profile just in the last two summers on the Cape. In 2021 he was a hit tool first guy with questionable power and the following summer he was a power over hit guy before getting drafted. If he can marry the two and find a middle ground he could get there. He’s a very good athlete with skills in the field, definitely a name to watch.

Reagan (Nashville):

     How much longer does Samuel Basalo need to keep this up to be considered a top 50 prospect?

Geoff Pontes: Hey Reagan! Into the summer and the feedback from industry sources would have to match. The rate he’s going it wouldn’t be crazy, but that said it’s very early.

Jim (Berlin, NJ):

     Strong start of season for Ben Brown. I know SP remains the goal for him but is this the kind of arm that can reinforce the back end of a suspect Cubs bullpen late in 2023?

Geoff Pontes: He could for sure, it’s very loud stuff. I hope they follow through on the starting path as he could be a good one. Cubs pitching development has turned a corner.

Andrew (Chicago):

     Can Cristian Mena be the next young double A breakout prospect this year? Any more information you can provide on Mena?

Geoff Pontes: Josh Norris had him pinned as a name that scouts were buzzing about this spring. Low-90s fastball with a lot of ride and three secondaries he mixes up. High level of pitchability with projectable stuff.

Joe (NYC):

     Hi- Love the hot sheet chats. Last year I was able to add Chourio due to this chat in early May last year. Do we see any prospects coming this year that will be this years Chourio? Thanks!

Geoff Pontes: That’s great to hear Joe! The name I’ll put out there is Roman Anthony. The skills are really good and he has legit plus power. Not on the Chourio level but already getting Top 100 buzz.

MC (CA):

     Is Druw Jones hurt. Noticed he is not playing. Can you guys do a minor league disable list?

Geoff Pontes: That’s a good idea, we should run an injury update. Tricky to get details on all of the injuries. Jones hit the IL on Wednesday with a quad injury.

JD (Austin):

     Anything different that is spurring Jorbit Vivas’ great start to the season? I wonder if, for instance, he has added strength. Generally I wonder about guys like him, with a plus hit tool but lack of size (Cole Young might be another one) and whether it is easier for them to add the strength to get to more power (like you see with Altuve or Jose Ramirez) rather than taking guys with natural power and try to get them to develop an adequate hit tool.

Geoff Pontes: I think you’re idea is probably correct, it’s easier to get strong than to go from a below-average hit tool to an above-average to plus hit tool, the latter almost never happens. As for Vivas it’s just good angles on contact, the EV data doesn’t say he’s added significant strength.

Dan (NY):

     How have reports been on Jackson Hollidays defense so far? He might have the bat to play anywhere, but do scouts think he stick at SS or will need to slide down the defensive spectrum?

Geoff Pontes: All reports have been positive, that said it’s 13 games, we’ll see how it holds in High-A.

Brad (NJ):

     Any love for Shane Drohan, so far this year 17IP 1ER 19K and only 4 BB, for 0.53ERA and 0.82 WHIP in AA still 24 and lefties some take longer to develop?

Geoff Pontes: Another serious candidate, and Drohan is kind of fun. The stuff isn’t great but he mixes five pitches a couple of fastball shapes and keeps hitters off balance.

James (North East, MD):

     With the depth of SS for the Orioles in the majors / minors, what position does Holliday eventually end up at?

Geoff Pontes: Tough to know at the moment, I’d bet on him sticking at shortstop but we’re likely a few years away from that being an issue.

James (North East, MD):

     It seems that the Orioles have several minor leaguers with nothing left to prove (Cowser, Westburg, Ortiz, Norby). In you opinion, what should they do with with these guys?

Geoff Pontes: I think we’ll likely see some trades, whether they move prospects to upgrade the major league roster or move some major league players with a mix of prospects for an upgrade. They have a lot of assets that’s clear.

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