Hot Sheet Chat (6/20/23)


Image credit: Ronny Mauricio (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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

Jim (Berlin, NJ):

 Does Sterlin Thompson defend well enough to stay on the dirt and how soon will he get bumped to Hartford? He’s only had 126 PA at Spokane but his outlandish OPS suggests he may be ready for a bigger challenge.

Geoff Pontes: Hi Jim thanks for chatting. I think it could be post-draft, so very shortly. I think he’ll likely end up in a corner outfield spot, so it’s 50/50 on if he sticks at third.

Lou (Philadelphia):

 The early DSL numbers on Luis Guanipa are encouraging. Has anyone at BA seen him live or reviewed tape on this kid? I’m a Phillies fan who really does not want to see an “Acuna-lite” show up in 4-5 years. How good can he be?

Geoff Pontes: We’ve chatted with some scouts who have seen him. I have not gotten Acuna-lite myself, but he has some plate skills and the power is showing up. It’s not Luis Baez-like EVs but well above-average for 17. Would like to see how the plate skills progress.

Daron (Edina, MN):

 Why isn’t John Cruz on the Hot Sheet this week?

Geoff Pontes: I ended up going with some other hitters, but a great week by Cruz. The bat-to-ball skills are worrisome but he has shown solid swing decisions and he knows how to barrel up.

Brian (Denver):

 Thanks for the chat! With the embarrassment of riches the Dodgers have at AA and now adding Justin Wrobleski to the mix, it is tough to sort out how all the pitchers stack up. Would you do a revised 2027 projected rotation using only pitchers that started in the minors this year?

Geoff Pontes: Bobby Miller Emmett Sheehan Gavin Stone Nick Frasso Landon Knack The funny thing is this eliminates Pepiot from consideration and I’m still not sure it’s any easier. You still have Natrini, Hurt, Ryan, Kopp, Bruns and Wrobleski.

Miggy (Chicago):

 I recall at the end of last season someone at BA mentioning Angel Genao as a guy to keep an eye on, how has he looked so far this year?

Geoff Pontes: The reports have been mixed. The plate skills have shown up well, he’s not swinging and missing or chasing but the quality of contact and amount of ground balls are a concern. Still very early and he’s extremely young.

Roger (Washington DC):

 Does Victor Bericoto hit enough to work the R/R 1b profile he likely fits into ultimately?

Geoff Pontes: That’s the big question with Bercoto. He’s very borderline considering the profile. He has plus power and the exit velocity data backs that, but it’s average plate skills that don’t have much room to back-up. If he takes a step forward with his swing decisions and contact remains the same he has a shot.

Adam (Bluff City):

 I know he isn’t on the Hot Sheet, but what do you make of Michael Mercado’s early season dominance? He is pitching full-time from the bullpen for the first time in his career and his K% has exploded. But, he might also be fully healthy for the first time in awhile. So is his stuff playing up because of his transition to the bullpen, or is he back to being a legitimate prospect?

Geoff Pontes: Hi Adam, I suppose what the definition of legitimate is. He’s definitley a legitimate relief prospect and I don’t mean that as a slight. It’s a role he’s succeeding in. He has good ride and above-average velocity on his fastball, he throws his slider hard and has a curveball and changeup he can utilize effectively.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

 Thanks for the chat. With Gallo and Kepler struggling (both hitting less than .200), what’s keeping the Twins from bringing up Wallner? Is there something Wallner lacks that keeps him from being in the big leagues?

Geoff Pontes: It’s likely a reluctance to swap out two older players with contracts for a player who may not be a clear upgrade. I do think Wallner will get a chance shortly but you’re likely asking them to DFA one of those two. The difficulties of roster management sometimes keep players in jobs others are better fit for.

Edward (New York):

 hi, thanks for the chat, will we see Connor Phillips in Cincinnati this year, I for one would rather the Reds get him to the majors ASAP as opposed to trading prospects for another starter.

Geoff Pontes: I had this discussion with Josh today on the hot sheet podcast. Yes, I do think we could see Phillips in the major leagues within a month. The stuff is excellent and the bump to Triple-A puts him just a step away. Reds are in contention too, it makes too much sense.

Michael (Raleigh):

 Gabriel Gonzalez. Performing well but I don’t remember him making a Hot Sheet. Latest scouting reports on Gabriel. Thanks.

Geoff Pontes: I believe he made one a few weeks back but I could be misremembering. He’s up to No. 72 on the Top 100 list and has performed well this season. Aggressive hitter but there’s contact and power.

Frederick (Boston):

 Hi Geoff, thanks for the chat! Between Wrobleski, Arrighetti, and I want to throw Yu-Min Lin in there as well, who do you like the best? What is best case scenario for each of them?

Geoff Pontes: I like Arrighetti the most at the moment. You’d like to see a little more velocity but he has a deep pitch mix with good fastball shape. He’s been on fire of late and has a shot at the majors by the end of the season if the situation played out correctly. As for the other two give me Wrobleski who could develop into a good #4 type of starter. I’m less into Lin, it’s backend stuff with a two-seam fastball in the 87-89 mph range with a changeup.

Molly B. (New Jersey):

 I know you’re the high man on Jud Fabian and into the fantasy side of prospecting at BA. How do like Fabian profiling in a fantasy league that is good for high-OBP players but also has negative points for Ks? Could he turn into a similar player to Lars Nootbaar perhaps? Thanks!

Geoff Pontes: I think maybe more Ks than Nootbaar but we’ll have to see. I think he’s maybe a tick better for just straight OBP that doesn’t value strikeouts w/ negative points.

Reagan (Nashville):

 With all the hype seemingly around Jackson Holliday, how likely do you see Mayo cracking the top 25 by seasons end.

Geoff Pontes: Mayo has a few more prospects to climb within his own organization by then, though graduations and trades could happen. The issue for Mayo in the Top 25 is the defense at third base isn’t great and some scouts worry he’ll end up at first. It’s hard to move up high without true positional value. His bat certainly has been up to the task so far. I wouldn’t write it off.

James (North East, MD):

 Long term position for Coby Mayo? Too many other options for third base, right. So, 1st base, RF?

Geoff Pontes: I think he sticks on the corner infield, third and maybe eventually slides over to first base.

Matt (Co):

 Any idea when the Future’s rosters will be released?

Geoff Pontes: It should be shortly.

Frank (New London, NH):

 What type of offensive ceiling do you see for Xavier Isaac if everything clicks? Are the Ryan Howard comps real or just lazy?

Geoff Pontes: I’ve heard Ryan Howard, but I think Xavier Isaac might have better plate skills. It’s an all-fields approach right now and he’s shown plate discipline and solid-average bat-to-ball skills. The power is there too, if it all clicks we could be talking about one of the best hitting first baseman in the game. That’s of course a 99% outcome.

John (San Diego):

 Hi Geoff thanks for doing the chat today! Do you think it’s more likely Luisangel Acuna makes it to the majors with the Rangers or gets traded? That entire stud infield is locked in for the next 4 years along with Ezequiel Duran as a utility guy.

Geoff Pontes: I do think he’s in a position where a trade might make sense. They have depth in the infield, he’s fairly close and the Rangers are real competitors this season. Let’s make it happen, John!

Nick (San Carlos, CA):

 Kyle Nevin’s had a nice start to his career in low-A. Is there any potential there? What’s a realistic hope for him down the line — can he develop into a real everyday contributor, more of a platoon option, or is it a real outside shot for him to make the majors at all?

Geoff Pontes: Might be more of outside shot but you can’t write off Dodgers prospects and he certainly has family bloodlines. He is fairly old for the level.

Brad (NJ):

 Geoff, How do you compare a high ceiling spect like chourio who may not translate at higher levels but also could be a superstar, vs Mayer who is slow and steady with a high floor but ultimately be a good but not great player?

Geoff Pontes: I think you just have to weigh the pros and cons of each player and access their risk. I believe that Chourio has more upside at the plate and in the field and believe players like him have higher floors than we realize. So I look at how the player contributes and remove the idea of floor or ceiling and look at what they do well and how that translates.

Dave (Appleton, WI):

 He’s not in the minors anymore, but his start was definitely Hot Sheet worthy, what has Emmet Sheehan done differently or changed from the start of the season where he was only listed as the Dodgers #14 prospect?

Geoff Pontes: He’s been going deeper into games and getting outs. He has his fans internally, but ranking all of the talented Dodgers prospects isn’t easy. You can see 10-12 players performing above their ranking within a few years.

Will (Los Angeles):

 What does the underlying data say about Jefferson Rojas? What’s his upside? He’s off to a hot start in A ball for an 18 year old with low K rates.

Geoff Pontes: It’s very early so there’s not a ton of data. He does have above-average exit velocities for his age, a high barrel rate and good but not great plate skills. He could be an above-average regular based on reports but it is very early.

Ryan (San Francisco):

 Thoughts on Derek Bernard’s start in the DSL? Worth watching or is his success likely because he’s repeating the level?

Geoff Pontes: Dylan’s Roboscout article points him out as a name to watch. The data is incredible, big raw power and plate skills, definitely a name to watch.

Jesus (Arizona):

 Any word on 2022 draftees Landon Sims and Adam Maier and their return from Tommy John?

Geoff Pontes: Adam Maier was active in instructs and Sims has been pitching in the ACL over the last couple of weeks.

Ziegfried (Hawaii):

 ok lots of attention is being given to Ethan Salas…and rightly so…zero attention is being given to Alfredo Duno. both are 6-2…duno is maybe 25 lbs heavier salas bats L/duno bats R Duno is about 5 months older hitting .400 in ROK w 1.156 ops…20% k rate very small sample for sure…only 6 games Salas is hitting .193 in Low-A w .637 ops…30% k rate larger sample but still small…only 15 games are they really that far apart? Is salas that much better than Duno?

Geoff Pontes: Hi Ziegfried – Salas is a few levels higher and is an excellent defender at catcher. Maybe the hitting ability is close, but Duno has DH’d while Salas is a top notch defensive catcher.

Sir Charles III (The Island):

 Thanks for the chat. Comparing Jefferson Rojas, Yasser Mercedes, and Luis Baez… A) Who has the best evs? B) Who has the best approach? C) Who has the best speed?

Geoff Pontes: Thanks for the question! I’d go Baez easily for the best power and EVs, his data is loud. Best approach is early but I’ll go with Rojas. The fastest is Yasser.

Grey Albright (Los Angeles):

 Do you think Ryan Bliss has a chance of cracking the top 100?

Geoff Pontes: Maybe by seasons end, he’s certainly hitting like one.

John (Madison):

 Geoff, love your work, followed you from PL. Does Luis Lara look like a potential stud? Have you seen him yet?

Geoff Pontes: Hi John and thanks for your support. I have not but Josh Norris has, he’s got great plate skills. Good bat-to-ball and apporach, smaller guy so the power is fringe-average projection.

Benny Funk (Loxahatchee FL):

 Nice to see Blaze Jordan getting some love. Has he not been promoted to AA because he’s limited to first base and Kavadas can’t seem to hit his way to a AAA promotion a level ahead of him? Is Jordan young/athletic enough to play a passable OF corner, or is he locked into being a 1B/DH-type already at the age of 20?

Geoff Pontes: I don’t think he can play in the outfield, it’s a first base only profile but he keeps hitting which is what he needs to do. I’d like to see more pull-side power myself.

David (Appleton):

 Tyler Black has 37 stolen bases for Biloxi this year. He is far from a speedster, so how is he pulling this off?

Geoff Pontes: He’s in great shape this year and he looks a little faster too. Awesome baseball instincts all around really work.

Edwin (Dayton):

 hi, I was wondering how long you think Rece Hinds will need to demonstrate his increased walk/decreased strike out rates before we can say he’s turned the corner?

Geoff Pontes: I think he needs to get closer to a 30% K-rate than a 40% k-rate before we can buy into that fully.

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