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Kyle Glaser MLB Prospects Chat (6/22/21)

Bobby Witt Eddiekelly
(Photo by Eddie Kelly)

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, hope you're having a good start to your week so far. Look forward to chatting with you. Let's get started.

Robbie C. (Michigan):

    Is the 53% strikeout rate for Puason a concern?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. I saw him when Stockton came down to Rancho and the most concerning thing is just how utterly noncompetitive so many of his at-bats are. He's not ready for the level he's at, offensively, defensively or on the bases. He's athletic and you can see the talent, but he's nowhere near ready for full-season ball right now.

Zak (Boston):

    Thanks for the chat. What is the ceiling for Brayan Bello? I've always read that he's a low ceiling prospect and wondered why that is the case?

Kyle Glaser: He's generally seen as having the ceiling of a No. 4 starter. The main reason was he was just so hittable even at lower levels, as I wrote about in this week's Prospect Hot Sheet. He's made big strides in that regard this year, so that perceived ceiling could change if he's able to continue that growth in the upper levels. But right now, the changes he made are what was needed for him to be even a solid back of the rotation starter, which is still very valuable and would represent a more than fine outcome.

Zak (Boston):

    Who do you like in the long run; Reid Detmers or Chris Rodriguez?

Kyle Glaser: Entering the year it was clear Rodriguez had the better arm, there were just a lot of concerns about his durability and injury history. Now that the Angels have put Rodriguez in the bullpen and Detmers' stuff has ticked up, I think you have to go with Detmers.

Robert Hall (Medford OR):

    Alec Burleson,Joe Gray,and Garrett Whitley. Any of these guys destined for a midseason top 100 slot?

Kyle Glaser: That's a bit aggressive. They've all been really good so far, but you have to remember it's been all of about six weeks. There are lots of other guys seen as having higher ceilings who are also off to great starts and aren't in the 100 yet.

Zak (Boston):

    Have you seen or spoken with any scouts that has seen Nick Yorke this year? Statistically speaking, he had a terrible May, but appears to have turned it around in June.

Kyle Glaser: There's a lot of confidence Yorke will hit. A lot of guys struggle in their first month of pro ball, make some adjustments and begin to figure things out. That's especially true this year with 2020 draftees not being able to get their feet wet in the AZL or GCL. He's turning it around and the guy we've seen these last two-plus weeks is the guy a lot of people think he'll be.

Jhon Torres (Trending up?):

    Thanks for chatting with us today Kyle. What are scouts thoughts on Jhon Torres this year? He looked great in the Appy league in 2019 but really struggled with a 40% k rate in LoA. He's cut his K% down below 22% at HiA this year while consistently making hard contact (13 doubles) which started to turn into homers the past week. Do you think he has the upside to eventually work himself into the top 100 conversation?

Kyle Glaser: Torres has the physical tools to do so. It really just depends on him continuing to refine and improve his approach, which has been an issue in the past. He certainly appears on the right track in that regard. Seeing how it holds up past just these first six weeks will be the main thing to watch.

Joe (Georgia):

    Some slightly off the beaten path prospects I have added include Alec Marsh, Evan Carter, Alec Burleson and Korry Howell. How do you view them going forward?

Kyle Glaser: Marsh has a chance to be a really solid starting pitcher, Carter has a chance to be an athletic outfielder who gets on base a lot, Burleson has a chance to be a power-hitting corner outfielder and Howell's offensive jump combined with his athleticism makes him a really intriguing potential everyday center fielder. Now, the odds of all four of them making it is pretty small, but they're all real guys who have a shot.

Greg Jones (Tampa Bay):

    It seems like I've grown into some power this year and made some strides offensively, correct me if I'm wrong, but can I really play shortstop? If not, when should the Rays going to start experimenting with me in other positions?

Kyle Glaser: Jones has the athleticism for shortstop but you have to be more reliable than he has been to stay there. There's no reason to rush moving him off the position right now because if he can clean some things up with reps and development that will only serve him well moving forward, but center field has always been a viable backup plan. The Rays shouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger if it becomes clear he's just not improving enough and he starts carrying his struggles to the plate with him, similar to how the Padres moved Franchy Cordero and the Cardinals moved Oscar Mercado in the minors.

Steve (NJ):

    The bat seems to be coming around for Ezekiel Tovar. Is he someone you’re gaining interest in? What’s his ceiling as a hitter?

Kyle Glaser: What impressed me about Tovar is he's got some real sock in his bat. He's a skinner guy and you wouldn't necessarily expect it, but he makes some loud contact. Even his outs were deep fly balls to center that were pretty loud off the bat. He's really interesting and someone to keep an eye on, for sure.

James (VA):

    It seems like there is a promising group of young offensive catchers behind Adley, to include Francisco Alvarez, Gabriel Moreno, and Diego Cartaya. Do you think their early offensive production and the likelihood of an electronic strike zone change their ETAs and potential future value?

Kyle Glaser: No on the ETAs. Even with an electronic strike zone, catchers still have to withstand a tremendous physical toll and things like game calling, blocking, handling high-end velocity and breaking stuff, etc. still take a huge amount of reps and experience and really can't be rushed. As for their future production, it would represent a change simply because they wouldn't be docked on their framing abilities. They'd be measured statistically more like how catchers were in previous eras, by their offensive production, passed balls and errors and caught stealing rates. If all those things are good, the fact they might not be good framers won't matter, whereas today guys who do those things well but are poor when it comes to pitch framing get docked.

NormC (Connecticut):

    Any thoughts on Garrett Whitley's resurgence in AA? And more generally, is reducing your K rate from 40% to 30% significant?

Kyle Glaser: It's good to see, and yes, reducing your K rate from 40% to 30% is hugely significant. He's at 27% right now. It's really good see, but as with all players, we need to wait to see how he maintains it over the course of the entire season.

Marcal (Los Angeles):

    Rodriguez, Kelenic, Luciano, Abrams, Greene, Rutschman, Torkelson, Witt Jr... Which two or three of the top position player prospects in the Minors do you see as most likely to eventually reach elite, MVP-level results in the Majors? And how much does your prognosticating have to do with your faith (or lack thereof) in their organizations?

Kyle Glaser: Adley Rutschman and Julio Rodriguez. It has nothing to with what organizations they're in. Those two are simply the best players. Tork and Abrams are two others I can see getting there, and everyone here in this group is really good, but Rutschman is in a tier all his own compared to the rest of the guys you named (he was the clear No. 2 prospect in baseball behind Wander Franco, no one else was close) and Rodriguez, for me, is the best of the next group.

Tyler Soderstrom (Promotion soon?):

    How impressive have scouts been with me so far this year? My offense seems to be as advertised after the As raved about me during the alternate site and instructionals last year. My defense is obviously still lagging well behind. However, with my bat being so advanced, how long will the As hold me down in LoA before giving me a new offensive challenge in HiA?

Kyle Glaser: Soderstrom's bat is the real deal. There's no secret there. He's legit. As for a promotion, there's really no reason to rush it. He's played 40 games, only 26 of them at catcher, and there is no reason to push him off the position yet. Just let him stay back there, see how he progresses, and promote him when he's ready on both sides of the ball. Letting him continue to rake at a level he can handle while growing as a catcher defensively is the right thing to do as opposed to pushing him up a level when he's only ready for it on one side of the ball.

Oneil Cruz (Top 25 prospect?):

    How impressed have scouts been with my offensive and defensive development in 2021? On the surface, I am tapping into my massive raw power more consistently while keeping my K% to a very palatable 23%. Is the industry now convinced that I can realistic stay at SS or is an eventual move to RF still inevitable? If I will eventually have to move, why not do it sooner rather than waiting so I can learn the position? With graduations and attrition, do you think I'm a top 25 prospect by end year?

Kyle Glaser: Cruz continues to impress with just how athletic he is at shortstop for his size, but the general belief is that yes, the outfield will be his long-term home. As for the bat, everything is moving in the right direction. Where exactly he'll fit in the Top 100 will depend on factors independent of him (how other players are performing, what their perceived ceilings are compared to his, etc.) but there is no question he's trending up.

Reagan (Maryland):

    How close would you say Jordan Westburg is from top 100

Kyle Glaser: Westburg is an interesting player but he's also a college guy who raked in Low A. He (and every other college player) needs to prove it in High A over an extended period before we start talking about them as a potential Top 100 prospect. He's only been at Aberdeen for 15 games. It's going to be awhile before we know what his true talent level is. College draftees crushing in Low A is to be expected, and it's worrying if they don't.

Bob (Florida):

    Two prospects I am interested in are Samad Taylor and Glen Otto. Thoughts on both please.

Kyle Glaser: Otto's got a great arm and is a legitimate prospect. Taylor's power surge has been a really interesting development. I saw him as a speed and defense utility type back to his high school days, but he's changed a lot over the years. We need to see how this holds up over the course of the season (again, it's been less than 40 games) but he's certainly intriguing. Even if the power spike doesn't hold, his speed and defensive versatility still give him a path to the majors.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

    Jahmai Jones is thriving in AAA. Former top prospect for the Angels. Is he just experiencing a hot streak or is he possibly for real and has figured some things out? Not much in his way to making it to the Oriole roster. Yet nothing is being written about him. What is your take on him? Thanks for your chats. Always enjoy and value them.

Kyle Glaser: The Angels didn't do Jones any favors in development. Changed his position, constantly tinkered with his swing, changed his approach...they really never let him get comfortable. They were always messing with him in some form or fashion and it hurt him. Given the chance to just be himself, I think he has a chance to hit a little bit and be a utilityman who bounces around between LF and 2B in a bench role. Everything looks good in Norfolk so far. I'm sure we'll see him in Baltimore at some point this season.

Brayan Rocchio (strength gains?):

    Brayan Rocchio was unable to get to the US last summer due to the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, he got off to a slow start in May moving from the NYP league in 2019 to HiA this year. However, he's caught fire in June while hitting for more power than he's ever shown. His 6 HRs in 2021 is just 1 behind his total combined prior to this year. He's already expected to be a sure thing to stick at SS, but what do scouts think his offensive ceiling will be? Does a 60 hit/45 power projection seem within reach? If so, doesn't he have the starter kit of Vidal Brujan albeit with less pure athleticism?

Kyle Glaser: 60 hit/45 power is a bit rich. That's .280 with 15-17 HRs per season. Rocchio is generally seen as a 55 hit, 30 power type (.265ish with 5-9 HRs) although with this recent power spike you can maybe project he gets to 10-14 HRs or so (40 power). A .265 hitter with 12 HR and good defense at shortstop is a good player. That's generally the range we're talking about with Rocchio.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

    Campusano struggled when up with the Padres early in the season. Continued to struggle when sent down, but now seems to be righting the ship. Is he going to be a legit catcher in the big leagues? Maybe even see him on a future Hot Sheet?

Kyle Glaser: Yes, Campusano is a legit future everyday catcher in the majors. Like many, many players, he got off to a slow start this year and is beginning to round into form. He's still the same guy who projected to be the Padres everyday catcher of the future before the season. He'll be fine.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

    He's not on the Hot Sheet, but he has been doing great. Do you see Cal Raleigh as the future catcher for Seattle? Possibly later this year?

Kyle Glaser: I do. Raleigh a big guy and there have been concerns about how his body will hold up defensively and how athletic he'll really be back there, but looking around Seattle's organization right now, he's the catcher of the future. Something where he is the offensively-driven starter and Luis Torrens is the defensively-driven backup is the arrangement most people expect.

Snapper Bean (Greater Kensington):

    Bryson Stott? Great MIF prospect? or Greatest MIF prospect?

Kyle Glaser: Good infield prospect.

Dylan (Toronto):

    How close is Andy Pages from cracking the top 100? Who are some of the names poised to enter the list upon further graduations?

Kyle Glaser: Pages is not close. There are a bunch of other guys in the Dodgers system who are closer (Bobby Miller, Miguel Vargas, Ryan Pepiot, to name the main ones). There are some very real contact issues there people have been way too eager or quick to overlook.

James (VA):

    Is it reasonable to assume that Mackenzie Gore's prospect status has fallen significantly? If so, do you think the Padres are better off holding him or trading him prior to the deadline?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. His delivery is a mess and his command has fallen apart. The Padres would be selling very low on Gore right now. It probably makes more sense to hold onto him and see if you can work through these issues with him, although it depends on what the trade in question entails.

Kyle Weatherly (Florence, South Carolina):

    I have been hearing & reading a lot of hype on the 18 year old Ranger's SS prospect Maximo Acosta. Even read where he could be a top 5 prospect in baseball by the end of 2023. Do you agree with that hype or do you think he is over-rated?

Kyle Glaser: I think we need to wait for him to take a professional at-bat before we declare him a future top five prospect. Looking good on the backfields and instructs is one thing. Performing consistently over a long season against high-level professionals is another entirely. He's talented and someone to watch, but it's way premature to be making statements like that.

Alex (Kansas City):

    You guys dropped Asa Lacy ~50 spots on your top 100, is the command cause for legitimate concern or do you think it’s just a blip on the radar? The stuff is still ++.

Kyle Glaser: I didn't take part in the most recent Top 100 update (I was in Florida covering the Olympic qualifiers) so I can't speak specifically to why he dropped that much. In general, there were some concerns about his command at Texas A&M and the fact he's walking more than seven batters per nine in his pro debut is very concerning. The stuff is great, but you have to throw strikes for it to matter. We'll see if he can right the ship here as we move deeper into the season.

Chris (Nebo, NC):

    Both Pache and Waters appear to be flops - do the Braves need to rush Harris?

Kyle Glaser: No. Rushing a prospect because some other prospect is struggling is probably the worst thing you could do. Move a guy up when he's ready. That's the only criteria they should be considering with Harris (or anyone else). On a separate note, I'm not sure how you declare Waters a flop when he's hitting .272/.371/.404 in Triple-A. The strikeout rate is too high, but it's been 29 games and a lot of guys' timing was off the first month of the season. Let's see how he progresses throughout the rest of the year before we declare him a "flop". As for Pache, this is your annual reminder that you have to hit to be a big leaguer, no matter how great your defense is. Victor Robles, Manuel Margot...all these guys had Gold Glove projections, but at the end of the day, you have to hit to be an impact player.

Brett (Boston):

    MLB Combine - good idea or bad idea?

Kyle Glaser: Neutral idea. They didn't need it, but it's not terrible they're having it either. The thing I'm going to be most curious to see is if any team overreacts to a great combine performance, as we see happen with the NFL Combine.(Mike Mamula being the poster child for this). Or, the other way, if we see a team overreact to a bad combine performance and miss out on a great player (i.e. Terrell Suggs).

Bill (Ct):

    Martin(Toronto) ,Casas(Red Sox)Gorman(Cards).Biggest ,most likely impact

Kyle Glaser: The strides Nolan Gorman has made has me thinking he's the guy...

Kretin (Sacramento):

    How has Matt Thaiss looked defensively behind the plate? Can he become good enough to be a backup catching option?

Kyle Glaser: He's going to need years of reps to be a legitimate backup catching option in the majors. This isn't something that he'll be magically ready to do midway through this year. He hasn't caught in five years and has a lot of catching up to do.

Owen Bertelsen (Flagstaff, AZ):

    Luis Matos has impressed as one of the youngest players in A-ball this year, posting a near .300 batting average and a very low K rate. Do you think Matos contends for the #2 prospect ranking in the Giants organization by end of the season?

Kyle Glaser: That will depend on if Joey Bart graduates.

Roger (Greenville, SC):

    As players have knocked the rust off, has the level of play in the A ball levels ticked back up towards their past norms? Or are they still basically playing down a level compared to the past?

Kyle Glaser: It's getting better but it's still down. It's just not pretty right now, there's no real easy way to say it.

William (Fort Worth):

    Has your evaluation of Nate Pearson changed any so far this season? Do you see him as a front line starter, or do you think he eventually goes to the bullpen? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: My personal evaluation hasn't changed because I've always been concerned about how many strikes Pearson was going to throw as well as his durability. He's got great stuff, but you have to throw strikes and be able to take the ball every fifth day and pitch deep into games to be a true front of the rotation starter. They're doing the right thing by continuing to use him as a starter at Triple-A and letting him go progressively deeper in each start. I think if he starts you're looking at a hard-throwing but inconsistent mid-rotation arm. The idea of him in the bullpen really intrigues me, a la how Alex Reyes and Michael Kopech have become dynamic bullpen weapons (Reyes as a closer, Kopech as a late-inning dynamo who can also go multiple innings and give you a spot start).

Steve (Kalamazoo):

    With Mayer likely gone, would Tigers take Lawlar, Leiter, or House with 3rd overall pick?

Kyle Glaser: That will depend on who else goes in front of them. They've been tied to House and Leiter so both theoretically are options, but it's the worst-kept secret in the draft that the Tigers REALLY want Mayer. With such a lack of clarity at the top of the draft and teams hunting for underslot deals, I wouldn't completely rule it out that the Tigers get him.

Andrew (Alberta):

    What type of player do you feel Gabe Moreno will be once he reaches and stays in the MLB? Will he be a full time catcher or is there another position that fits him better?

Kyle Glaser: He projects to be an everyday catcher, and a good one.

SBNY (Philadelphia PA):

    Francisco Alvarez continues to rake in Brooklyn. What do you think is a timeline to get to AA and ultimately to the majors? Is there a comp for Alvarez? Where are the holes in his game that he needs to focus on over the next year?

Kyle Glaser: It's possible Alvarez finishes this season in Double-A. In theory that puts him in striking distance of the majors next year, but that would be EXTREMELY aggressive having a 20-year-old catcher in the major leagues. Keep in mind Keibert Ruiz was on an even faster track than Alvarez (Ruiz spent his entire age-19 season in Double-A) and three years later he's still at Triple-A working through some things. The attrition rate of catchers is very, very high, so it's always wise to play it conservative with them, even as impressively talented as Alvarez is.

Dan (So Cal):

    Would you rather have Wander or Tatis for the rest of their career.

Kyle Glaser: Tatis.

Mark (Catskills):

    Wander Franco finally got his long-awaited callup but I feel like Vidal Brujan has been having as good a season, and has found the power! Is this guy going to slip under the radar or will and Franco team up to keep the Rays a dominant force in the next few years?

Kyle Glaser: Brujan is not flying under anyone's radar. He's prominently in the Rays long-term plans and should be in Tampa with Franco in a short time.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out, and have a great rest of your week.

Jackson Chourio (Photo Courtesy Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

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