Josh Norris Chat (7/3/18)
Josh Norris: Hello, America. July 2 is in the books and independence day is on the horizon. Let's chat.
- Is Miguel Amaya a legit prospect? Stats are great for the level he’s at and sounds like he’s a decent catcher. But haven’t heard much buzz
Josh Norris: Yes, yes he is. In fact, he's among the best prospects in the system. His plate discipline has taken a big step forward, as noted by a walk rate that has nearly doubled. That improved eye has allowed him to get to his power more often, and he's hit 10 home runs in 71 games this season after hitting just four over the first 116 games of his career. He's one to watch.
Tommy N. (San Diego):
- Does Weathers crack the Padres top 10 for you?
Josh Norris: I'm sure I'm going to repeat this a lot in this chat, but we are releasing updated Top 10s for every organization next week. Draftees and J2 signings will be included among those lists.
SAL fan (SALLY Land):
- Is there a more unique player these days than Oneil Cruz? 6-8 shortstop leadoff hitter, hitting over .300 with power? It feels like he doesn't get as much prospect hype as others, but it feels like he is one of the top 3-5 guys in the league.
Josh Norris: First of all, I'm going to be *that guy* and tell you that it is impossible to be more or less unique. By definition, unique means "one of a kind." Second, he's at the back end of our Top 100, so he's certainly getting recognition. As far as raw power goes, Cruz took the most impressive batting practice I've seen since Joey Gallo. The ball shoots off his bat. He's hitting .300 as you noted, and is at least above-average as a runner and has a big arm too. He's a four tool player who probably won't stick at shortstop but possesses skills to fit nicely in right field one day.
Norman (Chicago, IL):
- What's the status of pitcher Nate Pearson.
Josh Norris: He has a broken arm and is currently recovering. It's a shame, too, because his stuff was among the dirtiest I've seen this year in person.
Bob (Best Coast):
- When Ohtani comes back, should the Angels just make him a hitter. Or is it time to flip him for prospects?
Josh Norris: No. And no.
- Keibert Ruiz's average keeps on sliding but the strikeout numbers are still ridiculously low. Any reason for concern, or should this eventually regress back to the mean?
Josh Norris: Not really. I'm a big age/context guy, so it's going to take a lot (big injury, steroids) for me to be concerned about a 19-year-old in Double-A.
- People talk about the Phillies being a good trade partner for the Orioles with Machado. But I don’t see it. To me besides Sixto The Phillies don’t have much. Don’t the Orioles have to get something back similar to the Chris Sale package?
Josh Norris: I don't think they do. They should get some good players, but another part of Sale's allure (beyond his awesomeness) was his extremely team-friendly contract. That is not the case for Machado, who will require nine figures next year. They should get a top-50 prospect for him but it might not be two Top 50 guys like the White Sox got for Sale.
- Will the Mets call Tim Tebow up in time to get into the NL ROY race? I think he could chase down Soto and Acuna if they would just call him up now!
Josh Norris: No, they won't, and no, he couldn't.
- Can we please stop with the Willians Astudillo charade. I get that you like him because he never strikes out, but he's just a gimmick player right? Give it a rest, we need actual ballplayers to make the playoffs.
Josh Norris: I will not have you coming in here and disparaging Willians Astudillo. No, he's not going to be a Hall of Fame player or an All-Star or anything. But he's as much fun to watch as anyone in the game because of his preternatural ability to make contact. There's a large subset of fans who are tired of the player who walks, strikes out or homers. Astudillo will not do any of those things very often. Plus, he's built like Bartolo Colon, and fans ADORE Bartolo Colon. As far as the playoffs are concerned, the Twins are 10 games back in the division and 17 back of the second wild card. Astudillo being up isn't going to make or break the Twins' chances.
- Over/under: 20 HRs by season's end
Josh Norris: I'll probably go under for this year, but he should have plenty of 20-plus homer seasons in the future.
- Rank these players: Moniak, Haseley, C. Randolph, Bohm
Josh Norris: We are releasing new Top 10s next week, and I'm sure this question will be addressed in the Phillies' re-ranking.
Steve B (Philly):
- Hey Josh, Thanks, as always, for the chats! Quick question about the Lakewood rotation. Lot's of very good numbers being put up by the starters who aren't, for most, the "name" prospects for the Phillies. Any good long term prospects amongst the bunch? Thanks!
Josh Norris: Yes! Spencer Howard, who has arguably the best stuff of the bunch but the worst numbers, is a solid long-term prospect. I also wrote about Will Stewart here: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/unheralded-will-stewart-taking-a-step-forward-in-year-four/
- When do futures game rosters come out? Thanks. Can't wait.
Josh Norris: This Friday on MLB Network
- The Yankees have several 17 year olds putting up big numbers in the GCL, including Anthony Garcia and Antonio Cabello. Are any of these guys generating early buzz?
Josh Norris: Cabello and Garcia were both among the incomparable Ben Badler's international Top 30 prospects last year. Cabello might have been consideration for the team's Top 30 had he signed before the Handbook went to press. Here is a more detailed look at Cabello: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/yankees-to-sign-top-international-prospects-raimfer-salinas-antonio-cabello/
Sugar Shane (Tuscaloosa):
- Thoughts on these two RHP's: Shane Bieber I continue to hear backend of the rotation starter but he seems to be more than that when looking at his performances. Thoughts? Funk Freddy Peralta is he a top of the rotation guy if his command takes a step forward? Thoughts?
Josh Norris: I've heard as high as mid-rotation on Bieber because his stuff has gotten better in pro ball, and I tend to agree with that assessment. He's fascinating, and I've loved watching him pitch on MLB TV this year when I've gotten the chance. Freddy Peralta is one of my favorite prospects of the last two seasons. His raw stuff won't blow you away, but he's the owner of the one game's finest Invisiballs. Hitters simply do not see him, and it's been that way all through the minor leagues. He and Colin Poche matched against one another would be fascinating, for what it's worth.
Ray Chapman (Kentucky):
- Wondering your thoughts on Nationals' prospect, Luis Garcia.
Josh Norris: I like him very much. Though his overall numbers this year are weighed down a little bit by an April spent suffering through the cold of the Northeast, he's been excellent from May 1 through today. He's getting work at spots other than shortstop, but he's still considered a shortstop in the Nationals' eyes. He's been in consideration for the back of our Top 100 prospect lists this year.
Dave (San Jose):
- Who has the higher ceiling between 19 y/o's Soto and Tatis? And who do you prefer?
Josh Norris: You can't go wrong with either player, but I'll side with Soto here. That's a departure from my tastes, which usually involves siding with the middle infielder. But Soto is just that special. He's performing out of his mind as a 19-year-old in the big leagues with about 20 minutes in the minor leagues. His batting eye is otherworldly, and he's already shown huge pop and hittability in the majors, and is the frontrunner at this point for the NL Rookie of the Year. That said, Tatis is super awesome. Super duper awesome, in fact.
Alan (St. Petersburg):
- What kind of scouting reports have you gotten on Wander Franco? The numbers are rather encouraging.
Josh Norris: I'll see him this weekend in Burlington. Watch my Twitter (@jnorris427) for videos and tweets about him and whoever else catches my fancy.
- What are your thoughts on a lesser known rays prospects, Moises Gomez? 19 at Bowling Green and performing well.
Josh Norris: Never seen him play, but he was featured in this week's Helium section of Hot Sheet, which I wrote. "Tampa Bay’s system has seen several players take steps forward this year, including the low Class A Bowling Green trio of second baseman Vidal Brujan, catcher Ronaldo Hernandez and Gomez, the 19-year-old outfielder who bears similarity to Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He needs refinement at the plate and in the field, but the raw tools are there for Gomez, who signed with the Rays out of Venezuela in 2015, to make his mark among a slew of talented prospects."
- Why the big drop in Alex Faedo's ranking?
Josh Norris: Faedo's velocity has dipped significantly, to the 89-92 mph range, which is why we dropped him.
- Is Yasel Antuna overrated by scouts? The stats don’t look very good this year.
Josh Norris: As a rule of thumb, it's a bad idea to scout the stat line. It's a really bad idea to scout the stat line of an 18-year-old in low Class A. Scouts still like the bat, but he, understandably, needs to work on his approach at the plate, and he's drawn high marks for his defense as well.
- Where would Marco Luciano fit into the Giants prospect list and do you have a player comp for him? Thank you,
Josh Norris: Once more, we'll have new Top 10s for each team starting next week. New draftees and J2 signings will be considered.
- Jorge Mateo has vanished from the top 100. Has it gone that sour? Is there hope for a turnaround?
Josh Norris: There sure is. Though the numbers aren't what you want them, scouts who've seen Nashville still like the raw tools—the 80-speed, the surprising raw power and the defense to stick up the middle. He just turned 23 late last month, so time is still on his side.
- Esteban Florial was showing promise before the injury. Is his stock up from last year or down?
Josh Norris: It's down a bit. The swing and miss was a bit of a problem last year, and his strikeout rate went up at high Class A (though his walk rate increased too), but I am concerned about what will happen to his power once his wrist heals. Still young and still full of tools, though.
- How soon do you believe Justin Dunn and Anthony Kay could contribute to the Mets? Any other pitchers you see helping out soon like Nabil Crismatt or Peterson?
Josh Norris: For obvious reasons, Dunn could be the quickest contributor in Queens. He's made significant strides in Double-A since last year, and could find his way into the Mets' rotation sometime next year. As an aside, he should be ecstatic that the Mets are getting out of Las Vegas next year. He'll be cold, but he won't be in the pitching hell of the Pacific Coast League.
Josh Norris: When does this chat end? 1. It's 2. Really 3. Hard to know. 4. Sometimes 5. Depending on 6. Who's chatting 7. But for me 8. It's now 9. Enjoy your holiday 10. Bye!