Josh Norris MLB Prospects Chat (8/3/21)
Josh Norris: It is chatting time. Let us chat.
- There doesn’t seem to be any activity from Carlos Colmenarez, has there been any update? Is he injured?
Josh Norris: If I remember correctly, Colmenarez had an injury he was dealing with, thus the absence. I want to say it was his hamate bone.
- During the first half of the year, I kept hearing about hiow Bradish, Alec Marsh, and Luis Medina were on the rise and definitely keep an eye on them because they were going to make noise. Now? Not so much. What is the current status of these three? Are they as good as the hype from the first half?
Josh Norris: They're all still plenty intriguing. Marsh is hurt and hasn't pitched since June 15. Medina still has outstanding stuff but needs sharper command and control. Bradish has an interesting pitch package whose benefits pop up analytically beyond what shows up if you watch a game in person.
- I heard that Blaze Jordan got promoted to Salem today. Do you think there is a possibility he cracks the top 100 by the end of the season?
Josh Norris: He did indeed get promoted to Salem today. He ranked No. 13 on the Midseason Top 30 Red Sox prospects released today, so it would be very difficult for him to crack the Top 100 by the end of the season. Red Sox Top 30: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2021-boston-red-sox-midseason-top-30-prospects-update/
- Is it possible for Anderson Espinoza to ever regain his old form?
Josh Norris: Sadly, probably not, and I was so high on Espinoza when he was still with the Red Sox lo these many years ago. Four years without any game action tends to take a toll. I'd love to see it happen, though.
Tom (Medfield, MA):
- Cristian Hernandez got bumped out of the Top 100 at the midseason update. Was that a statement about something BA saw in this performance as a pro so far or just a reshuffling of new breakouts and the 2021 MLB draft picks?
Josh Norris: Just the latter. He was on the back end of the list and we added enough draft guys that he got bumped as a result. He should be back in soon enough, given that Wander Franco and Jo Adell are likely to graduate this week, in addition to anybody else who crosses over the prospect threshold over the next two months.
- When will Ken Waldichuk start getting more love and moving up the ranks? He's been absolutely shoving it all year and hasn't slowed down. What are your thoughts on him?
Josh Norris: Waldichuk's numbers are indeed excellent, but scouts view him *somewhat* skeptically considering the type of funk generated in his delivery. He was obviously superhuman at High-A and now has performed at levels reserved for mere mortals after a bump to Double-A. The command and control in particular need to improve, given he's walking five hitters per nine innings at Somerset.
- What are you hearing from scouts about Jairo Pomares and when do you expect him to be promoted to Hi A?
Josh Norris: Quite simply, he got stronger and unlocked the power the Giants hoped would come along when they signed him. He got a late start this year and has obviously jumped out the gate strong. As for when he'll get promoted, he's only played a month and change in Low-A, so it could be a little while. That said, guessing when promotions will happen is a fool's errand.
- I am seeing Elly De La Cruz pop up a lot recently. Can you provide some details on him? Who would be a fair MLB comparison?
Josh Norris: 1) I do not do comps. 2) De La Cruz is indeed one of the hottest names in the minor leagues. He's scalded the ball in both the Arizona Complex League and the Low-A Southeast. Scouts who have seen him see a switch-hitter with solid feel for the barrel, current power and the projectability for more. Nobody is quite sure where he will wind up on the diamond; some think corner outfield, some believe he can handle third base. Either way, a switch hitter with power and room to grow is definitely a prospect to watch.
- Hi Josh. Rank these SS prospects: Bobby Witt, Marco Luciano, Orelvis Martinez, Noelvi Marte. Why the order?
Josh Norris: I will refer you to the Top 100 list, in which we ranked them Witt, Luciano, Marte, Martinez (with plenty of others in between, like Tyler Freeman and Oneil Cruz and personal favorite Jose Barrero.
Jerry (San Diego):
- How special is Bobby Witt and does he overtake Julio in the prospect rankings?
Josh Norris: He is very special. The five plus tools we put on him preseason are still accurate. In fact, I have asked evaluators point-blank if it would be accurate to put 60s across the board on his card, and they said that, yes, it would. He is looking more and more like the real deal.
- Any word on Austin Wells and Josh Breaux's defense? Both having OK offensive seasons but there was draft year criticism that they wouldn't stay behind the plate.
Josh Norris: Austin Wells' defense has not gotten good reviews at all. His arm has gotten below-average or well below-average reviews, and his blocking and receiving are not great, either. Breaux's reviews are not great, either, but better than Wells' somewhat. He needs to sharpen his receiving in particular (though with the inevitable arrival of the ABS, that might not matter)
Sam (Los Angeles):
- Thanks for the great Matos piece-- what an exciting player. Two questions: is the (relatively) low walk rate anything to be mildly concerned about, or is the aggression even a positive at a level that he is handling so well? Also, any chance he starts next season in AA? If not, when do you expect (or hope) his first taste of upper minors to be?
Josh Norris: I am the leader of the Luis Matos fan club. That is certain. I'm not concerned about the low walk rate, because he's also not striking out a ton and is producing. In other words, he's doing a good job of making contact with pitches he can drive. That's a pretty nice trait to have for someone who is in just his first real full season in the minors. As for Double-A, I would not expect him to start there next year. Probably somewhere in the middle of next season, if he keeps going the way he is.
Jonathan (Syracuse, NY):
- Thanks for all the hard work that went into a massive update! Out of curiosity, do you guys have any plans to do quick post-deadline edits for the mid-season lists?
Josh Norris: We sure do. Those will come as fast as we can churn them out, as well as organization rankings shortly thereafter.
JD (New York):
- Some low minors guys starting to show up. Reginald Peciado, Eury Perez, Yoendrys Gomez… do you like any of them a lot for any reason? Any stand out? And why? Thanks!
Josh Norris: Big fans of all those guys. Eury Perez is 18 and performing with big stuff in the former FSL. Reggie Preciado got good early reviews in the ACL, and Yoendrys Gomez has always had intriguing stuff but has had a stop-start year in 2021 because of injuries and (now) Covid.
Ken (Brick NJ):
- I am amazed at how many catchers are in the top 100. I don't remember so many top catching prospects before. It is the one position I feel like takes the longest to develop. Do you think that most of these prospects will make it as catchers or end up moving positions by the time they get to the Majors.
Josh Norris: This is a nutso crop of catchers for sure. Gabriel Moreno has the best reviews of any player I've spoken about with scouts this year, period. I think a lot of them have really good chances of sticking. Tyler Soderstrom has long had questions about whether he can stick, though, but Moreno, Adley, Alvarez should stick there.
Josh Norris: That's all for this week. Thanks.