Josh Norris Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (9/6/18)

Image credit: Francisco Mejia

G4 (Milwaukee):

    Hi Josh. Digging a little deeper into the hot sheet: 1) Hit tool never been in question, but has Mejia’s power profile improved at all in 2018? 2) How about C. Stewart’s defense, approaching passable yet? 3) And for Bichette and Madrigal, how many HR/year are we looking at? 15-20? Thanks!

Josh Norris: 1) I don’t think his power profile has improved (he hit the same number of home runs in 2017 as he did in 2018), but I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more power than expected if the baseballs stay the same in 2019 as they were in 2018, if that makes sense. Additionally, he was traded from an org that has done a great job developing power in the major leagues (see Ramirez, Jose and Lindor, Francisco), so it will be interesting to see if he can apply some of the lessons he learned in Cleveland with the Padres 2) Stewart has reportedly gotten better in the outfield. It’s still more likely he fits in the DH mold over the long-term, however. 3) Bichette and Madrigal are wildly different players. I could absolutely see Bichette posting 15-20 homers in the majors some day. His swing is geared toward hard, powerful contact. Madrigal, however, hit eight homers in three seasons at Oregon State and hasn’t hit one yet in pro ball, so it would be quite surprising to see him approach 15-20 bombs.

Ronnie (Los Angeles):

    Former 5th Rd pick Jared Walker posted a .910 OPS between LoA & HiA, playing 1B, 2B & 3B at the age of 22. Is that a fluke? If not, where should Walker fit on the Dodgers top prospect list?

Josh Norris: It’s an interesting year, to be sure, but it’s notable that his power production went way up when he hit the hitter-friendly Calfiornia League. Worth monitoring on both fronts.

Bryce Edie (Kenora, Ontario, Canada):

    As a young catcher, what are a few fundamental tools that you work on every single day?

Josh Norris: I’m going to answer this to clear up some confusion that seems to be occurring in the chat. I am not Francisco Mejia, nor is Francisco Mejia with me here in Durham. Apologies if this somehow came across as such.

Scott (Buffalo):

    Gavin Lux has had a very nice year. I dont see a lot of excitement for him with Baseball America. Does he project as an all star, league average 2b or platoon player?

Josh Norris: We have Lux at No. 81 on our most recent Top 100, so we’re pretty excited about him. We believe he could stick at shortstop in a pinch but in the long run he’s more likely to slide over to second base. No matter his position, he’s going to have more worth in his bat, which has improved this year with added weight to his frame.

Georgie (Tampa):

    Who are your top sleepers in the Rays sytem?

Josh Norris: This system is loaded, stuffed, packed, bursting and filled with potential high-end prospects at nearly every level from the top down. Tony Pena was a particularly interesting guy over my recent three-game look at the Rookie-level Princeton Rays. He has big-time bat speed and makes very loud contact. He does strike out a ton, which is concerning in the very low minors, but the tool set is intriguing to me. Also keep an eye out for a guy named Moises Gomez, who spent the season at low Class A Bowling Green and earned comparisons to current Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Same caveat though, with the big-time strikeouts.

Rick (Georgia):

    With the way Eloy showed in AAA is Tatis still a better prospect?

Josh Norris: Yes, because Tatis is going to have significantly more defensively than Eloy.

Josh Norris: That should say more *defensive value than Eloy

jeffrey (bowling green):

    is vidal brujan the next jose ramirez?

Josh Norris: I don’t think he is, no, but he’s going to be an outstanding power in his own regard. His season was outstanding from open to close and he’s shown an intriguing blend of skills, from elite footspeed to bat-to-ball with a modicum of power. There’s enough speed and athleticism, even, that he could move to center field someday if necessary.


Chris (Pittsburgh):

    Along with Hot Sheet Laureate Ke’Bryan Hayes, Cole Tucker seems to be improving as the year progresses. What are the chances of seeing both of these players in Pittsburgh some time next year?

Josh Norris: If either of them do make it there, it should be later in the season. Obviously there’s a wave of guys in front of them at their respective positions (Newman, Kramer, Moran) who are young and deserving of playing time as well, so there’s plenty of time season Tucker and Hayes at Triple-A Indianapolis next year.

Rick (Tempe, AZ):

    Padres Luis Patino should he be on the top 100 list?

Josh Norris: He was very close for us at the end of the year for our final update, and is likely to be in the Padres’ Top 10 once the Handbook rolls around (we’re already starting work on our respective lists). He’s definitely among the top two or three biggest breakouts this year (Franco, Kirilloff also come to mind).

Danny (Brooklyn):

    Do you think Deivi Garcia remains a starter and do you think he can make it into the Yankees rotation next year?

Josh Norris: I think he’s got a chance at remaining a starter for sure, but there are evaluators out there who have serious concerns with his mechanics and how they’ll drive his future going forward. The stuff is very, very good, and he’s proved that he doesn’t shy from big-time situations (clinched the division for Double-A Trenton and is lined up to start Game 5 should it get that far), but I don’t think he has a chance at the NYY rotation next year.

MV83 (Toronto):

    Saw you guys wrote up Alejandro Kirk in the hot sheet. I’ve been waiting for people to take notice of the guy. He’s quite “big-boned” but he just seems to rake with very good bat-to-ball ability. Is he Lansing-bound (Low-A) next year, or is the bat advanced enough to skip to Dunedin (+A)?

Josh Norris: I wrote that Helium short about him because I watched him for three straight game in the Appy League playoffs. His ability to spit on breaking balls and annihilate fastballs was particularly impressive, but he’s still a few months away from 20 years old, so I would go ahead and send him to Lansing. Side note: Juan Soto, who has a strong case for NL Rookie of the Year, is less than two weeks older than Kirk. How crazy is that?

MV83 (Toronto):

    Every interview I see Nate Pearson give all he talks about is velocity, trying to throw hard, and eventually breaking Chapman’s record for hardest pitch thrown. Mentality-wise is this someone who is more likely to be pitching out of a major league bullpen, or can/should Blue Jays coaches get him to dial it back enough to actually start. There aren’t many starters I know of who try to throw the baseball through a wall with every pitch. Thanks.

Josh Norris: Even though it was only a backfields start, Pearson had some of the freak-nastiest stuff I saw all year. He threw a 99 mph pitch that nailed one of my cameras, which was kind of funny, and backed it up with filthy breaking stuff. As for starters who try to throw the ball through a wall every pitch, Michael Kopech comes to mind in recent memory and it’s worked for him so far, though his MLB career is obviously in its very early stages.

Jeff (Idaho):

    Brusdar Graterol has had an impressive season this year between A and A+. Do you see him as a top 20 prospect by season’s end next year?

Josh Norris: You know what, The Bear is feeling bullish today. With the arsenal he possesses, I would not be surprised at all to see him in the Top 20 at this time next year. He’s nasty.

Bill (St. Paul):

    Does Royce Lewis stay at shortstop or do you see him moving to another position?

Josh Norris: I think he’s a shortstop in the long-term. Had a scout this year compare him to a young Derek Jeter.

Pat (Colorado Springs):

    Do you see Garrett Hampton as a stater or more of a versatile bench player?

Josh Norris: He’s probably a guy who moves around the diamond and gets playing time similar to a starter but isn’t what you’d consider a starter, if that makes sense. Rodgers is obviously ahead of him on the depth chart in terms of path to a long-term starter’s role.

PlowKing (Washington, DC):

    I like Alek Thomas. Do you like Alek Thomas?

Josh Norris: We like Alek Thomas. We ranked him No. 57 in this BA 500 entering the year and think he has a chance to stick in CF long-term.

Jeff (Idaho):

    Favorite breakout catcher from the low minors this year? William Contreras? Ronaldo Hernandez? Someone else?

Josh Norris: I’m riding with Ronaldo Hernandez. That whole team was stuffed with studs.

Josh Norris: That’s all for today. Thanks, all, and will chat with you again once Top 20 season rolls around.

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