Image credit: Casey Mize (Photo by Tom DiPace)
Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, sorry for the delay. Had some internet issues and had to run down to the nearest Starbucks. So, greetings from the Yucaipa (Calif.) Starbucks. Let’s get chatting
Michael (Regina, SK):
- Is Tyler O’Neill going to continue to see pinch hit duty or is he going to get an extended run in the Cards outfield?
Kyle Glaser: Given how much money the Cardinals have invested in Dexter Fowler, they’re going to give him every chance. At some point though, they’re probably going to have to pull the plug. Even with how much he’s owed, at a certain point if you’re serious about contending you have to put your best players on the field. Once they do, right field is O’Neill’s.
- Have you heard anything on Anderson Espinoza? How has he looked? And is healthy so far?
Kyle Glaser: At last update Espinoza was healthy and throwing off the mound and looking good. He’s going to be on the Chris Paddack plan – he’ll go out from extended to Lake Elsinore in late April/early May and be on a roughly 85-pitch limit, with a target of around 90 innings for the season. That’s been the plan for a while and as of last update, he’s still on target for it.
- With all the middle infield talent the Rays have, assuming they all progress at the median projection, what do they do with everyone? Franco, Adames, Brujan, Lowe, etc…
Kyle Glaser: You can never have too much middle infield depth. Keep in mind Lowe and Brujan are versatile enough to bounce around to the outfield, and I personally actually think Franco ends up at 3B when all is said and done. If they keep them all and it ends up Brujan at 2B, Adames at SS and Franco at 3B and Lowe bouncing around 2B/LF with maybe some 3B and RF mixed in, that wouldn’t shock me. Equally or more likely though, someone will be traded at some point.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN):
- Is the Milb app as bad for you as it is for others? No box scores, no functioning push notifications, no video. Pass the word, hopefully they’ll listen. Have a great weekend.
Kyle Glaser: Yes. But I’ve also been a part of plenty of new website/app rollouts that don’t go smoothly at first, so I can’t be too hard on them for not being 100 percent perfect on MiLB opening day, as frustrating as it is from a user experience. That said, removing box scores (and making you click the gameday link to go see them) is kind of a dumbfounding error in judgement, and hopefully one they’ll rectify ASAP.
- At this point, I feel like Nick Senzel is similar to Zion. When do the Reds realize that they are just risking their future asset putting him in minor league games that just don’t have enough benefit vs the risk?
Kyle Glaser: I love how people who don’t know Zion Williamson have just decided what was best for him, as opposed to letting him and those closest to him make that decision. But I digress. If the Reds are truly trying to make Senzel a center fielder, keeping him in the minors is the right call. Throwing him in the deep end trying to adjust to major league pitching while learning a new position up the defensive spectrum on the fly – that wouldn’t bring any benefit to either the Reds as a team or Senzel individually. Now, if they would just let him play 2B while Gennett is out, it’s a different story. But if they are really trying to make him a CF, letting him go through that process in the minors is absolutely the right call.
- Hey Kyle! How goes it? What do you think about Clint Frazier? Will the Yankees finally give him a shot to start every day? Or is he the classic “change of scenery” type of former prospect? Love these chats, my dude!
Kyle Glaser: Hey Clayton, doing great my man. Thanks for checking in. More than being a change of scenery candidate, it’s just about Frazier staying healthy. The lasting concussion symptoms last year were obviously scary, for beyond just baseball reasons. But he’ll still be just 24 for most of this season, he’s about to get a prime opportunity for some everyday ABs with Hicks and Stanton out with injuries, and with Gardner a free agent at the end of the year, there’s a path for him to be an everyday part of the Yankees OF/DH rotation next year with Hicks, Stanton and Judge (and yes, I say that knowing Jacoby Ellsbury will still be under contract). It’s just about health. The talent is there and New York isn’t a bad spot for him opportunity-wise.
- Who says no first: Jon Gray for Clint Frazier in a 1 for 1 deal.
Kyle Glaser: The Rockies
Brian harris (Arizona):
- So Ryan Weathers had really good numbers in his opening night start do you think he could be a good #3 in the bigs if he reaches his ceiling?
Kyle Glaser: Most see Weathers’ stuff as more of a No. 4, but he’s the type of guy with the pitchabilty and poise to pitch above his stuff and potentially perform like a No. 3-type starter
- What are the Phillies doing with Kingery?? They give him a contract, then move him to positions he’s barely played, then seem frustrated with his struggles, and now block his path. What happens to him now? Thanks for the chat, amigo!
Kyle Glaser: As I’ve said for the past year, the roadmap for what the Phillies did with Kingery – give him an extension to force him to the majors before he’s ready, then play him woefully out of position at an incredibly difficult spot he’s almost literally never played before – is pretty much the roadmap of exactly what not do with a prospect. Now they’re stuck. His development is so stunted he needs to go back to Triple-A, but with his contract they probably won’t do that. It’s a mess, and a cautionary tale of everything not to do. The good news, from the Phillies perspective, is that their offseason moves this year were so strong that the mistake won’t hurt them as it did last year.
- Is Byron Buxton basically Devon White?
Kyle Glaser: Devon White was a three-time All-Star who was roughly .260/.320/.420 in his career and hit .280ish/.340ish/.450ish in his best years. Buxton is a career .231/.286/.389 hitter after more than a 1,000 PAs. Buxton has a long way to go to become Devon White. If he can get even there, the Twins will be doing cartwheels.
Nick Madrigal (Eventually South Side):
- Do I have the potential to be another short-statured 2B with a high BA and speed…similar to a certain someone in Houston???
Kyle Glaser: I saw Jose Altuve at HiA. I also saw Madrigral at HiA. Altuve was twitchier with a faster, better swing that resulted in a lot more barrels. That said, Madrigal was coming off a long college season last year, so I want to see how he looks this year. But first impression was no, Altuve was on a different level when I saw him with Lancaster circa 2011.
- Looks like Jarren Duran has picked up where he left off. How aggressive do you think the Red Sox will be with him this year and any chance he climbs up into top 100?
Kyle Glaser: Long Beach State middle infielders become big leaguers. It’s what they do. It’s an incredible line to go back and look at. Learning the outfield might slow Duran’s path some, but honestly I expect him to be in Double-A by midseason and it wouldn’t shock me if he finishes the year in Triple-A. As for Top 100, that’s a bit of a different conversation just because he’s profiles more as a really nice, versatile complementary player with his speed as opposed to a first-division regular, which is the minimum for Top 100 position players. But if he keeps hitting and starts to add some more power, then that changes and he starts putting himself into the conversation. We’ll see how his bat unfolds as the year progresses.
Chris (Colombus, OH):
- Does Tampa see something in Lowe that the rest of us don’t see? That contract seems to indicate he’ll be a (presumably solid) regular in their lineup. Is he more of a utility guy?
Kyle Glaser: We ranked him in the Top 100. If we didn’t think he had a chance to be a regular (and a first-division one at that), he wouldn’t be in there.
- KG! Happy Friday bro! Tyler Phillips had a really good start last night. Is he a guy that could make some noise if he continues progressing? He’s not talked about much, because he’s not a velocity darling, but it sure seems like he has some #4 starter potential.. maybe more with increased velocity? Thanks!
Kyle Glaser: Hey JP, happy Friday to you dude. Any time you see a HS draftee with pinpoint control like Phillips, you have to be impressed. And it’s not like he’s pitching with fringy stuff. Fastball with sink that sits comfortably in the low 90s, potential plus changeup. Getting that breaking ball improved will be key for higher levels as much as any velocity uptick, but there’s definitely a chance for a back-end starter in there, maybe more as he matures physically and fine tunes that breaker. There’s definitely a nice foundation there.
- Can we expect Everson Pereira in Charleston soon?
Kyle Glaser: We have a minor league Opening Day roster analyses that look at every player who didn’t break camp on a full-season roster and what their status is. Check it out https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2019-milb-opening-day-rosters-analysis/
Neal (Columbia, SC):
- Any updates on Jake Burger and his recovery? His bat seemed ready to move through the minors .
Kyle Glaser: He started taking ground balls at the end of March. I have not heard or seen a timetable for a return to game action
Logan Field (Michigan):
- If Casey Mize pitches like he did yesterday how high can he climb on the top 100?
Kyle Glaser: Mize is already No. 16 so he’s not far off the top 10 as it stands. Keep in mind the question with Mize was never his stuff, more his durability. Showing he can hold up as the innings increase while maintaining his stuff would be what gets him into the top 10.
- Hey Kyle, how are you doing? What do you think Aaron Hernandez ceiling is? When he was drafted Callis said he had an 4 pitches above average (FB, Curve, Slider, Change) that sometimes flashed plus. Did you see any of that yesterday?
Kyle Glaser: Hey Andrew, I’m good. My look at Aaron Hernandez yesterday was very reliever. It’s a reliever delivery with an average FB, above-avg SL and a CH he didn’t throw much but was closer to average. And the velo dropped from 93-94 to 90-91 once he got into his fourth inning of work. Didn’t throw a curveball. One of the scouts in attendance has seen him a lot and said this was him. He’s a good arm, there’s something there, but it’s a reliever delivery and there really wasn’t anything plus. Just a first impression, but I came away thinking reliever and most of the scouts in attendance who have seen him more than I have share that view.
- Was there anything in Ian Happ’s prospect profile that would ever hint of his woeful contact rate (57% last year) as a major leaguer with nearly 800 ABs? I look at the Cubs OF mix and see opportunity. How do Cubs insiders feel? Is there hope?
Kyle Glaser: The red flag with Happ as a prospect was he always kind of took giant cuts and never made two-strike adjustments. He always struck out a lot, but still this is beyond what was expected. Just another example of you can have strength and bat speed and power and all the tools you want, if you don’t adjust or shorten up your swing in the right situations at the plate, major league pitchers are going to eat you alive. I still have some belief in him and think he can be a good everyday player, but it’s going to be up to him to make the adjustments he needs to.
Gilbert (Natoma, KS):
- Big time guys like Kristian Robinson, Cabello and Everson didn’t get the LoA assignments like some of us hoped. Do you feel this is the right call or the teams need to slow play these types of prospects?
Kyle Glaser: Every single one of those guys will be 18 the entire season. They would be high school seniors. Taking it slow with them is the right way to go. There is no reason at all to push them if they aren’t ready.
- Hunter Greene’s TJ surgery is so unfortunate and disappointing. His prospect status seems to fall every year and will understandably fall again after missing at least a year now. Do you expect him to still be a Top 100 prospect next year?
Kyle Glaser: Greene is still in our Top 100 now. Unless there’s a giant setback, I expect him to remain right about where he is now until he returns.
- Have there been any reports on Mike Soroka’s shoulder? Healthy?
Kyle Glaser: Word at the end of spring was the Braves expected Soroka to return by late April/early May, and he opened on Gwinnett’s active roster, not their injured list, which is always a good sign. We’ll see what it looks like when he gets back on the mound.
Seth Ferguson (Evansville):
- Just curious why Mitch Keller was moved down a little. Is his upside still a #2?
Kyle Glaser: Keller’s upside had dropped to a No. 3 in a lot of evaluators minds last year and he’s still struggling, so we bumped him down to reflect that. Part of the issue is the secondaries. He’s still working on getting his breaking ball over and his changeup isn’t thrown often or effectively enough. Those are going to have to come for him to reach his potential, which is still pretty high.
- Why do some teams seemingly avoid the international market? And with so much talent coming from the international ranks, why wouldn’t teams be doing everything they could to collect international signing money to sign the next Guerrero, Acuna, Tatis, Jimenez, etc.? It seems like there’s plenty of talent to go around!
Kyle Glaser: Fewer and fewer teams (read: the Orioles) are avoiding the international market, so mostly everyone is involved in some form or fashion. But you have to understand a lot of people, on moral principle, have reservations about the way things are done over there, and rightfully so. Baseball Cop by Eddie Dominguez is a good book that details some of the issues. I’d definitely suggest picking it up.
Juan (San Antonio):
- It seems that every year one or two draft prospects drops. And every year those prospects turn out to at least partially justify their original lofty status. (Rodgers should’ve been #1 instead of #3, Puk dropped, Groome dropped, Singer and Liberatore dropped, Turang dropped). Do you think this will happen to Bobby Witt Jr., too? Is he the next prospect to suffer from “prospect fatigue” and then drop a few – or many – spots in the draft?
Kyle Glaser: Alex Bregman should have been No. 1 in 2015, not Rodgers, let’s be clear there. But a lot of times-not all, but a lot-the drops are more due to signing bonus issues than teams underestimating the talent. Everyone has a pool and knows how they want to spend it. Four of the guys you named dropped because of that, not because of mis-evaluating the talent. As for Witt, as long as he does what he should and his bonus demands are reasonably in line with what teams are willing to pay him, he’ll be fine.
- What type of a season does josh bell need to have to hold off Will Craig?
Kyle Glaser: Will Craig is not a threat to Josh Bell
Mike (San Diego):
- A lot of talk about the Padres acquiring a SP if they remain in contention, given IP limitations with their young starters they’re likely to encounter. With more pitching on the way are they better off running the kids out there then making a commitment to Keuchel? Also how valid is the chatter that with the Pads unafraid to move their arms quickly, it’s possible Gore/Patino could see MLB this season?
Kyle Glaser: The arms the Padres have moved quickly – Lauer, Lucchesi, Margevicius – are college arms or guys in their 20s (Paddack/Lamet). Teenaged HS/international arms are very, very different, and the Padres have rightly been more methodical with those (L. Allen, J. Nix, Morejon, Lawson – it’s been level by level.) Gore and Patino, as talented as they are, aren’t seeing MLB this season. Getting them to 100-plus innings and up to Double-A is the goal.
Drew 60 (Rochester ny):
- Hey who do you like better long term? Wander Franco or Guerrero Jr and why? Juan Soto or Acuna and why ? Thanks
Kyle Glaser: The answer to your first question is in our Top 100. The answer to your second question is in last year’s Top 100.
- Prior to the draft Nate Pearson was said to have a plus changeup but post-draft I haven’t heard much about it and most grades list it as average. Is this the case of the pitch backing up in pro ball, or the projections falling short?
Kyle Glaser: Projections falling short. Keep in mind almost no one in the minors (low minors especially) or coming out of the draft has a present, major league plus secondary. It’s almost all projection, and sometimes those projections don’t pan out. You’ll also sometimes have amateur scouts grading things higher than pro scouts, which is a common occurrence. The pro scouts seeing how a pitch plays against actually pro hitters can get a better read on it.
Ryan (San Diego):
- Are you excited to see Gore tonight. As this time next year do you think he will be the best pitching prospect in baseball if he stays healthy this year?
Kyle Glaser: I’m very intrigued to see Gore tonight, yes. And yes, the potential is there for him to become the best pitching prospect in baseball.
Bored Lawyer, Esq. (Office):
- Any reason Kristian Robinson was not sent to Kane County? Was expecting he’d be ticketed for Low A. Ditto Bryan Rocchio. Are teams just saving them from a cold April?
Kyle Glaser: Most 18 year old international signees begin in extended. When I asked the D-backs about Robinson for our minor league opening day roster analysis, the response was along the lines of “of course we’re starting him in extended”. Like it was never even a question. The few outliers who move super fast warp our perceptions sometimes about the path most minor leaguers take, even top prospects. Robinson and Rocchio beginning the year in extended is a normal path, and the expected one. They may see LoA in June or so, but they also could very well be sent to the short-season affiliates (Missoula/Hillsboro for Robinson, Mahoning Valley for Rocchio) and again, no one should be surprised or concerned if that’s what happens.
- Any chance Hunter Bishop is still around by the time Toronto picks or is he more likely to go in the top 10 at this point?
Kyle Glaser: That question – and all draft questions – are best directed to our draft writer Carlos Collazo. Reach out to him on Twitter at @CarlosACollazo or check back next week for a draft chat.
- Sleeper prospect in the Jays farm that could move up?
Kyle Glaser: I’ve always kind of like Dom Abbadessa. Josh Norris would tell you to get on the Alejandro Kirk bandwagon.
Moe (Key West):
- Should the Rockies trade some of their extra corner infield prospects to boost up an area of greater need such as the OF?
Kyle Glaser: If the trade is right, yes. With Arenado and Story plugged into 3B/SS for the long run, not all of Rodgers, Welker, Nevin, Lavigne are going to have a future with the Rockies (Lavigne gets thrown into this mix because Welker and Nevin would have to be at 1B to have a long-term role with the Rox). But again, they’re all talented players and the offer has to be right.
- Kyle, were there any opening season minor league assignments that surprised you? I was a bit surprised to see Jordan Balzaovic of the Twins sent back to high A and a little surprised to see Luis Patino of the Padres put in high A to start this minor league season.
Kyle Glaser: We have a full list of surprising assignments for all 30 teams in our minor league roster analysis. Check it out. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2019-milb-opening-day-rosters-analysis/
- Wander Franco didn’t skip a beat in his full season debut last night. Where do you think he’ll end the year?
Kyle Glaser: High Class A, with a slight chance of Double-A
Gilbert (Natoma, KS):
- Appreciate the chats. What is the plan now for Brent Rooker now that Alex Kirriloff is going to be put at first base? Hope to be used as trade piece if they are in the running for the playoffs?
Kyle Glaser: Rooker was already playing more left field than first base in pro ball. The only thing this really changes for him is it just puts more pressure on him to improve defensively out there, knowing the 1B fallback isn’t there as much as it was before.
Celeste (Waldo, KS):
- Obligatory Oscar Mercado question. The AAA OF last night consisted of him, CarGo and Maybin. How do you feel this plays out for him this season or will he spend another season mostly in AAA?
Kyle Glaser: I honestly have a hard time imagining him not getting an opportunity at some point over Jordan Luplow and Greg Allen, their starters in LF the last two days. But with Han Ram now DHing, which forces Santana to 1B and Bauers to LF most days, it does make it a little trickier. I still think he’ll be up, especially as injuries hit, but the picture is certainly more clouded since Hanley’s signing and the domino effect it had.
- When will we see Casey Mize in Erie?
Kyle Glaser: Right after the minor league all-star break at the latest.
- What does a fair extension look like for Vlad and/or Bichette to you? Slightly more than Acuna’s (110 × 8) for Vlad, and about the same as Jimenez (75 × 8) for Bichette?
Kyle Glaser: Go a little lower. Acuna is better than Vlad (we had Acuna ranked No. 1 over him, remember) and he got the extension after a Rookie of the Year campaign. Think more Eloy’s extension for Vlad if we’re talking about one right now (maybe 8 x 85) and something a bit above the Kingery range for Bo (8 x 65 if options are picked up, something around there). Of course, it’s impossible for the public to know if those players would accept that, but those are the ranges of a fair offer based on the precedent established these last two years.
- Hi Kyle, Does Brock Burke or Dylan Cease get to the bigs this year? Who do you like more long-term, assuming both are rotation pitchers as opposed to Cease ending up in the pen.
Kyle Glaser: Dylan Cease is in the top half of our Top 100. Brock Burke is not. That’s your answer on who we like more long-term.
Satchel (Las Vegas):
- Kyle, How does Sean Murphy in the Oak organization compare offensively to other young catchers- for example Gary Sanchez? Thanks
Kyle Glaser: Murphy isn’t quite the hitter Sanchez was coming up, and he doesn’t project to get to Sanchez’s 2016-17 numbers (we’re going with that’s the real Gary Sanchez for now). But Murphy is a lot better defensively – a lot a lot – and still has a chance to be one of the top 10-hitting catchers in baseball to go with potentially exceptional defense. That’s a darn good player and one the A’s are lucky to have in their system.
- who is a good comp for Oneil Cruz
Kyle Glaser: That’s kind of the deal with Oneil Cruz. There really isn’t one. 6-foot-6 guys with the athleticism to play in the dirt are almost non-existent. He’s kind of his own guy, without a natural comp. That’s part of what makes him so interesting.
Juan Again (San Antonio):
- Mi amigo thank you for answering my question! Just a follow-up: I meant that Rodgers should’ve gone #1 ahead of Bregman and Swanson ONLY because BA ranked Rodgers as the #1 prospect that year. That aside, why on Earth is Vaughn considered to be a Top 5 (Top 3?) prospect when he has zero defensive value? Sure he can hit, but would any NL team actually consider him? Gracias mi amigo!
Kyle Glaser: No problem Juan, my pleasure. The answer is because Andrew Vaughn projects to hit 30-40 bombs in the middle of a lineup every year while hitting for average and getting on base. Defensive value is great. Mashing is better. Nelson Cruz is a defensive zero and he’s been one of the top 20 position players in baseball this decade. Edwin Encarnacion, same vein. That’s what we’re talking about here. Those guys make every single team they’ve played for in their prime significantly better, solely with their bats. Vaughn can be that level of guy, and that’s why he’s a surefire top 5 pick and probably top 3.
- Regarding your earlier answer of a guy with #4 stuff but playing up and getting results of a #3, who in the past 10-20 years have you seen that had the biggest gap between stuff and results in the majors?
Kyle Glaser: Cliff Lee is probably the best example of this. Go back and read his old reports and nothing was plus, everything was essentially average or below velocity, but the dude just carved hitters up. Moved them up and down, in and out, made them uncomfortable, mixed his pitches and threw a ton of quality strikes. He had stuff don’t get me wrong (his CB in particular left me with some vivid memories), but no one saw ace-level stuff and he was an absolute ace. A bonafide ace with an incredible peak, and a lot of it was his ability to mix and locate and just stay in complete control at all times. He was special.
- Do you see any other player actually succeeding as a legit two-way player in the near future? I don’t mean Ohtani level, but simply doing both on a fairly regular basis. Maybe Jared Walsh for the Angels? McKay seems likely to just pitch in MLB…
Kyle Glaser: I think we may see some people be able to do it on like a Matt Davidson-level. Hit bombs and do fairly well for themselves in relief. But Ohtani was such a freak athlete who was doing things at a level no one had ever seen before, I’m very skeptical we’ll see another two-way player of his caliber in our lifetimes.
Will Benson (Cleveland):
- Will I ever figure out how to hit? any Khris Davis possibility down the road?
Kyle Glaser: Khris Davis hit .285/.389/.501 in the minors with a 20 percent K rate. Will Benson is a career .202/.330/.409 hitter with a 32 percent K rate and has yet to get out of low A. He has a long, long, long way to go to project as even a fringe major league hitter, let alone an everyday player who makes enough contact to lead the majors in home runs over a three-year span.
Kyle Glaser: Alright everybody, that will do it for today. Thanks so much for all of your questions, and have a great weekend.