Josh Norris MLB Prospects Chat (5/11/21)
Josh Norris: Once again, it is chat time. So, let us chat.
- Given that last season was so unusual with no minor league baseball games and only development at alternative sites, do you see teams being aggressive in promoting young players with strong showings early on?
Josh Norris: I always kind of considered it a fool's errand to predict when dudes are going to be promoted during normal conditions. Now? It's going to be doubly hard. As for the young guys who have hot starts at the lower levels, there might be guys in front of them at the upper levels who need those reps too, so you can't just displace the other guy because the prospect below him is off to a hot start.
- Are any teams using a 6 man rotation given how the minor league schedule is played out this year?
Josh Norris: Yes, yes some are. Plenty, in fact. For example, the team I watched for four days, High-A Greensboro (Pirates) went Priester-Thomas-Burrows-Ashcraft-Cruz-Mlodzinski. JJ Cooper wrote a whole article about the options teams have when it comes to setting their rotations:
- What’s the current status of Brennen Davis? Injured? Any idea when and where he’ll get back to playing?
Josh Norris: I believe he got hit in the head with a pitch during MiLB ST. Once he is activated, he should head to Double-A.
Travis (Omak, Wa):
- How does Kelenic not make this list? Apparently it will be your only chance this year to put him on this list and you missed out.
Josh Norris: Man, there's so many dudes who could have made this list. Problem is, there's only 20 spots and there were like 50 outstanding weeks. I was extraordinarily frustrated on Friday night trying to put the group together, knowing somebody or somebodies would get left off. No slight to Jarred, of course, and I think if given the choice of a promotion to Seattle or a spot on the Hot Sheet, he'll take the former.
- Any standout prospects from the first week that you are particularly excited about?
Josh Norris: All of them? I'm seeing some combination of Wander Franco, Joe Ryan, Vidal Brujan, Taylor Walls, Jose Devers, Lewin Diaz and Jesus Sanchez tonight in Durham, so that's a pretty good group! I want to see Evan Carter and Luisangel Acuña with Down East, the big three starters in Kannapolis, Michael Harris in Rome (sometime this week) and countless others. The prospect I most want to see, however? The guy I've never heard of who pops up somewhere on the backfields. That's the guy I get most excited about.
- Trevor Hauver's start is fun (he leads the minors in HRs even after having a day off) but shouldn't he be in High A because he's 22 and 1/2 and played more than 2 years of college baseball?
Josh Norris: I would put him in High-A too, but they have Oswald Peraza and Ezequiel Duran ahead of him at Hudson Valley, so there's a bit of logjam.
- If the Orioles called up Adley Rutschman tomorrow, would he be their best option at catcher in the majors? Is there anything in particular that the Orioles want him to work on in the minors? Reading the reports, it seems like defensively he is ready to handle the major league pitching staff. Putting the wear and tear of catching on his body in the minor leagues seems unnecessary if he is already their best option.
Josh Norris: He would not be their best option. It is hard to overstate how difficult major league baseball is. Like any prospect, he needs time to develop his game on both sides of the ball. He'll get there, but he needs time.
- Whether it is injury related or control issues, why do you think so many of the top pitching arms in the minors have struggled with their transitions to the majors? (Mize, Skubal, Pearson, Luzardo come to mind)
Josh Norris: Short answer: MLB is very difficult. Long answer: Pitchers take time and patience (and some just aren't going to be as good as we and the industry thought), and development isn't done as soon as they become big leaguers. Most guys have to take their lumps.
- Thanks for the chat, I'm so happy to see the Hot Sheet back Anyways, nice week for Trevor Hauver, but any love for his teammate Anthony Volpe, who also had a great week?
Josh Norris: That whole team gets some love! 78 runs in six games is insane! But like I mentioned to the earlier chatter, there were way more than 20 players who had excellent weeks. Plenty of guys were getting left out.
Bob from Texas (NC):
- Pache looks way over matched. Are you surprised he has struggled so much and what does this say about his timeline? Is he still a top prospect?
Josh Norris: I still consider him a top prospect. As the saying goes: Development is not linear. There have been plenty of conversations in our various Zooms and Slacks and Carrier Pigeon Exchanges about how we might have him overranked. My argument is always that he's still very young (younger than Adley Rutschman, for example) and had only 26 games over Triple-A, so his development path has always been weird.
- How did the staff at BA handle Jarred Kelenic reportedly being upset with you guys for ranking J-Rod over him?
Josh Norris: This is actually the first time I'm hearing of that (but it wouldn't be the first time something like that had happened). In any case, I'm very excited to see him go out and be a big leaguer. Hope he crushes and gives Mariners fans something to cheer for, for a very long time.
- Do you think Luis Medina has turned the corner in his control issues? I haven't seen the 3 Inn 6 walk starts in quite awhile AND is this the real Trevor Hauver or just a springtime mirage. thank you
Josh Norris: I think there were signs of it before the pandemic, too, when he went on a tear to close the season at Low-A and High-A. Part of it was that he changed the way he mixed his pitches. He's never going to be a big-time control/command guy, but I think he'll get to the big leagues with his stuff. Hauver is probably not going to do what he did this week for the entirety of the season. I know I'm out on a limb there. Seriously, he is probably more advanced for the level and he's also been the beneficiary of a very hitter-friendly roboump strike zone. The way it's programmed now, the zone basically doesn't have any inside or outside corners, so advanced hitters can pretty much key on anything over the plate and spit on anything even close to outside or inside. In short, a lot of factors have led to it being a very hitter-friendly league so far.
Mark (United States):
- Do the Pirates have enough in their system right now to produce a compete team in 3 to 4 years?
Josh Norris: I'll say this: I think the Pirates have a really awesome farm system, especially when it comes to arm talent and middle-diamond players. They did really well in the Musgrove/Taillon/Bell trades, and some of their recent draft picks have looked really good. As to whether that'll equate to a competitive team ... time will tell.
Blue Jay Matt (Toronto):
- Where would you rank Ohashi on the Jays top 30? Any other sleeper prospects in the organization that we need to keep an eye on.
Josh Norris: I would not rank Ohashi in the Blue Jays Top 30 just yet. I put him in the Helium spot because he is one of the youngest players in the league, was making his first professional appearance, and silenced a very potent Tampa group. These are the kind of factors that get me very intrigued, and I hope to see him pitch at some point this year.
- Is it possible Alexander Mojica will be the Pirates #1 prospect by the end of the season?
Josh Norris: I do not think so. They have an outstanding farm system and plenty of guys are ahead of him who will not graduate this season.
- Any concern with Luciano’s slow start?
Josh Norris: Not at all. Taking a more global view, I am not concerned with any prospect's slow start and am not overly amped about any prospect's hot start. This is the first time the bell's rung for most of these guys since 2019, so there's going to be a lot of fluctuation in performance as we get going.
- Thoughts on Evan Carter and Alec Marsh please.
Josh Norris: We are big fans of Alec Marsh here at BA. The pitch mix and body and athleticism are intriguing. He gets lost in the shuffle with all of the various Royals pitching talent, but he shouldn't . Carter is the youngest player in the Low-A East, which is enough to raise eyebrows off the bat. I'll be very interested to see how he does the rest of the year given how much surprise he garnered simply by getting drafted in the five-round format.
- What pitchers stood out in their season debuts?
Josh Norris: Roansy Contreras really opened my eyes with Altoona. The fastball being up to 98 is a jump from the last time I saw him, and the breaking ball is devastating. Alek Manoah showed out in Trentuffalo (#ThunderingHerd), and Jake Eder carved in Pensacola. Max Meyer did really well with the Blue Wahoos, too. DL Hall and GrayRod did their thing for the Orioles, and Luis Medina continued to show positive signs. Plus, my cheeseball Kyle Harrison whiffed seven in three innings.
- Is Francisco Alvarez a top 10 prospect at seasons end?
Josh Norris: At season's end, maybe not, but it's hard to predict that sort of thing without knowing who will graduate. At some point in his career, I don't think it's out of the question. I very much hope to see him this year in St. Lucie or Brooklyn.
Corbin Carroll (Future top 10 prospect?):
- Do you think I'm a dark horse to be a top 10 overall prospect by end of the year? I'm showing the same advanced hitting I've shown since being draft while hitting for power. Is a 70 hit/55 power/70 speed tool set now within sight?
Josh Norris: Similar to Alvarez, it would surprise me if Carroll were a Top 10 guy *by the end of the year* but, like Alvarez, the tools are there to rank in the Top 10 at some point in his career. Side note: His home run last night was LOUD.
Josh Norris: All right, I have to go get ready for a game tonight. Thanks to all for chatting. I'm so happy to have MiLB back.