Kyle Glaser MLB Prospects Chat (7/27/21)
Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, Been a busy week already, but it's been a good busy. Let's get chatting.
- Is Eddys Leonard a potential top 30 Dodgers prospect?
Kyle Glaser: Leonard is moving up. You can find out exactly where he is when the Dodgers Midseason 30 is released this week. He can really hit and the bat is real.
Ken (Brick NJ):
- What happened to Simeon Woods Richardson in the top 100, Has he fallen that far.
Kyle Glaser: Our previous reports had Woods Richardson's fastball at 91-95, but when I saw him this year (my first in-person look at him) he was 90-92 and topped out at 93. The delivery is a little stiff and he doesn't have a lot of deception. Hitters see his fastball and track his secondaries pretty well, even though the movement on them is good in a vacuum. He's still young and has time to make some adjustments. His physicality and the raw qualities of his curveball still have bullish evaluators seeing him as a potential back of the rotation starter, but you can find others who think he's going to be more of a multi-inning reliever.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- What are the scout's explanations as to why JJ Bleday is having such a hard time? Is he possibly injured or is there still hope that he'll turn it around?
Kyle Glaser: To be honest, the scout reviews on Bleday have been very lukewarm since he entered pro ball. From the moment he debuted after being drafted, scouts have been underwhelmed. Now, the same was true of Jonathan India and Pavin Smith and they've turned into solid everyday big leaguers, so there is definitely hope for Bleday turning it around like they did. But the guy we're seeing this year isn't really a decline, it's a continuation of what scouts have seen since he debuted and now he's facing upper-level guys who can exploit his shortcomings.
- Appreciate you for the chat Kyle! Besides Cristian Pache, are there any other prospects you like with elite, gold-glove caliber defense who have the potential to be everyday players purely because of that? Thanks!
Kyle Glaser: You have to hit to be an everyday big league outfielder, period. Manuel Margot and Victor Robles were other guys with Gold Glove potential and were much better hitters than Pache, and Margot is an extra outfielder and Robles has performed like one. Pache is going to have to improve considerably on offense to be an everyday outfielder in the majors, no matter how incredible his defense is.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- Are there any players that have earned a change to their scouting grades this first half? Michael Busch has never hit above .245 as a pro yet his hit tool is graded as a 60. Is this still accurate?
Kyle Glaser: Funny you ask because I've been diving in on that. The plate discipline is elite, but yeah, hitting .245 in the minors does not equate to hitting .280 in the majors (the bar for a plus hitter). His grade is likely going to tick down a bit come Prospect Handbook time.
- Love seeing Noelvi Marte climb up to your 10 spot. He seems like the real deal. The numbers look great this season - what are you hearing from scouts?
Kyle Glaser: Marte has a chance to be a special player. It's big power out of an easy swing and he has really good at-bats for his age. He makes enough quality contact to project as an above-average hitter with plus power at maturity. That's All-Star level offensive production whether he's at shortstop or third base, and he's shown enough for evaluators to give him a chance to stick at short. Soft hands, has the arm, has the actions, moves well for a big guy and has just enough twitch. He has to maintain his body and clean up some of the sloppy, careless plays he makes to stay at short, but he has a shot. Again though, the bat will still play to All-Star level even if he ends up a third baseman, where he'd be a really good defender.
Barkoo (The Lab):
- Kristian Robinson is no longer a top 100 prospect. I think he is. What do you think?
Kyle Glaser: Robinson hasn't played a game in almost two years and there were a lot of red flags in his performance at the alternate site and instructs last year, followed by his legal troubles this year. When projecting out who are the 100 prospect-eligible players who project to have the best major league careers when all is said and done, it's hard to feel great about putting Robinson in that bucket given all the uncertainty surrounding him both on and off the field.
- Heard Quinn Priester added a cutter? How has he looked in his first year compared to off-season hype? His numbers are somewhat meh thus far on the year.
Kyle Glaser: Priester's performance has been more solid than exceptional, but he's maintained the velocity uptick we saw in instructs last year and his curveball remains a hammer. He's still a young kid from a cold-weather background playing in a league where he's more than three years younger than average. The stuff is there, the body is there and evaluators expect it'll all click in time.
The Cat in The Hat (Hollywood, CA):
- What do you think of Elehuris Montero? He was a top 100 spec at one point and he is currently hitting like one. As a younger dude people seemed to like his hit tool. As he has gotten older he has predictably grown into a monster power type dude. I get that he is bat-only but what do you think of the bat?
Kyle Glaser: Montero's struggles in 2019 really threw people off, but he was never really healthy that season. I think the hitter we're seeing now is closer to who he really is, and most importantly he's matured in his plan and approach and been a lot more patient. He's got a chance to hit moving forward as long as he keeps this improved approach.
The Silver Surfer (NYC):
- Arol Vera is having a good start to his season. He was a high profile J2 signing a few years back. Is he getting any buzz at this point?
Kyle Glaser: Vera is. He'll figure prominently in the Angels Top 30 midseason prospects coming out later this week.
- Dodgers have been very careful with Bobby Miller's workload - is that concern going forward, and is he more a bulk reliever profile? How has he looked?
Kyle Glaser: The Dodgers have been careful of everyone's workload throughout their entire organization. Miller was just one of many guys (really, all of their guys) who were capped at 4-5 innings per start early in the season. Obviously you need to see how he holds his stuff over longer outings before you truly know what you have, but right now it's not a concern just because the Dodgers have done this with almost everyone. He's looked nasty in those short outings for what it's worth. He'll be very high on the Dodgers midseason top 30 coming out this week.
The Kraken (Pacific Ocean):
- I am surprised to see a down arrow next to Grayson Rodriguez' name. What does the guy need to do for an up arrow? He should certainly be ahead of kids in Low A IMO. I think he should be #5 overall at the lowest. If there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, then there shouldn't be catching prospects either.
Kyle Glaser: It's a function of our rankings module that I don't particularly care for. Nothing about Rodriguez has fallen. He's still a stud. The arrow just automatically pops up when a guy moves any spot from their previous ranking. He moved down one spot because someone else moved into the top 10, and thus the down arrow automatically shows up. He's great, and there is nothing "down" about him.
Osmosis Jones (Inside):
- More of a comment than a question. I think that the BA lists are getting way too young and there are way too many huge swings. I get that the rest of the pretenders have to shake up the lists to get clicks, but BA doesn't have to do that. Stick with the scouting, which doesn't change that much over such a short period of time.
Kyle Glaser: I agree with you that upper-level players are often underrepresented. I'm the guy on staff who pushes most for upper-level guys to be moved up and to not just fall for the newest shiniest prospect torching A ball. (i.e. Keibert Ruiz is still ahead of Francisco Alvarez was a function of many points I raised during our Midseason Top 100 meeting). Ultimately we do stick with the scouting, but one issue that has popped up is scouts are now seeing a lot more of the lower level guys as teams shift away from in-person scouting at the upper levels. It's become common for teams to only scout the Class A levels and below in person while leaving Double-A and Triple-A to video and data scouting, where you don't get the same quality of looks. It's part of the changing landscape of scouting and something we've had to adjust to when we make our calls because you're right, it's very easy to find scouts who have seen kids in A ball they are excited about, but haven't seen the Double-A/Triple-A guys and just don't have as much info on them (or enthusiasm about them). It's something I'm aware of in particular and I promise you the discussions about not banging upper-level guys who have proven themselves in favor of young kids who are all projection are a big part of our meetings when we line up our Top 100 lists and send them out for feedback.
- What did the experts at BA see in Jose Barrero, Bobby Miller, and Jose Miranda which fueled their big rises in the rankings? Thanks!
Kyle Glaser: Barrero is a stud defensive shortstop who makes loud contact and has improved his approach and gotten stronger. Miller has a vicious arsenal and has been trending upward in almost every way (stuff, control, deception) since being drafted. Miranda can really, really hit and there is growing confidence he can step in and be the Twins third baseman if they move Donaldson.
- Several position players in the top 25 of BA's rankings have now logged some time in the Majors, including Franco, Kelenic, Bart, and Duran, and every one has struggled at first (often in very small sample sizes). To what extent do you see that as a new normal?
Kyle Glaser: It's not a new normal. It's always been the norm. Trout struggled. Judge struggled. A-Rod struggled (see his 1994-95 lines). Jim Thome needed multiple callups over multiple years before he figured it out, and now he's in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Tatis, Acuna, Soto who come up and rake right away are the exceptions, not the "normal". The fact that Franco, Kelenic, Bart, Adell, etc. struggled in the first taste of the big leagues is entirely normal. There's nothing new (or worrying) about it.
- Dodger's Alex De Jesus struggled in May/June, but in July has more BB than Ks (from 24/68 to 21/17). Has something clicked or just a hot streak? His July OPS (.989) is impressive considered he was hovering in low .700 prior.
Kyle Glaser: De Jesus got into some really bad swing habits during the offseason and it has taken a few months to "unlearn" all the bad habits he picked up. He's slowly but surely getting back to the hitter he was before.
- George Kirby quietly moving up 65 spots and is now the 3rd ranked pitching prospect. Has his stuff improved at all or is control and consistency what bumped him up so far?
Kyle Glaser: Stuff has improved to elite. Control is still elite. Everything has been A++. He's getting consensus front of the rotation projections, which almost never happens. We'll have the full report and details in the Mariners Midseason Top 30 coming out this week.
- I'm getting irrationally excited about Jordan Walker. Is this a guy with the potential to fly up the boards into the top 25 this off season?
Kyle Glaser: The exit velocities Walker is posting are eye-popping. (One pro scouting director said Walker has "basically broken their model" with the numbers he's posting at his age). At the same time, there is a lot more to hitting than just posting big exit velos. Seeing how his approach, contact skills and just general hitting ability translate in High-A will be key to watch before he jumps into the Top 25 discussion.
Ray (La Verne, CA):
- What would you do with the Dodgers "Problem" of having Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz, and even Diego Cartaya in the system? which would you trade? Keep?
Kyle Glaser: Keep Smith, trade whichever of Ruiz or Cartaya gets you the best starting pitcher.
- BA warned that Ha-Seong Kim would need time to adjust to MLB pitching. How is his adjustment coming along? If he were still eligible for the top 100 list, would he be about the same ranking or different?
Kyle Glaser: Kim has slowly been getting better. He hit .195 the first two months, has hit .227 these last two months. This was always going to be a multi-year adjustment, not one that was going to magically click in half a season. He's moving in the right direction, even if there is still a ways to go. As for the Top 100, he was placed there with the understanding this would likely be the path, so not much would really change.
- In the fallers, you guys didn’t mention Jo Addell, but I’m curious to see what you are hearing from people that made you guys rank him so low.
Kyle Glaser: I still think Adell is going to figure it out and be a good player when all is said and done, but there's just been a general sense, even within the Angels organization, that he won't be more than a 40-45 grade hitter. The hope was always he'd be 50-55, but that hit grade has fallen enough in the eyes of evaluators that the expectation is that he'll be more of a .240, 30-HR type of player rather than they .270, 30-HR type.
- What is going on with Kody Hoese? I know he was injured for a bit this year but his numbers are pretty alarming, no?
Kyle Glaser: There was a lack of bat speed that was very concerning in opposing evaluators' eyes, although the Dodgers say the intercostal strain was bothering him even before he went on the IL and that's why the swing didn't look great. I think we'll get a better sense of who he really is once he comes back from this injury.
- Is Kyle Stowers turning a corner and moving into a top 10 in the system, or is it to early to get excited?
Kyle Glaser: Stowers is definitely rising. You can find out exactly where he lands when the Orioles Midseason Top 30 comes out this week.
- How would you rank the pirates farm system at this point? Do they have a chance to overtake the rays as #1 given their strong draft and trade acquisitions?
Kyle Glaser: No. Not close. The Pirates farm system is improving, but the Rays (and Mariners, pending future trades) are still head and shoulders ahead of the rest of MLB.
- What are your thoughts on Hunter Brown? His K rate in AA is off the charts. Potential future ace?
Kyle Glaser: Brown's stuff is real. His command is going to have to come a long, long way to be an ace.
Matt (Colorado Springs):
- Grant Lavigne - not trying to scout the stat line and all, but is he figuring things out? It seems like he's moving in the right direction? What's his upside these days?
Kyle Glaser: Lavigne's done some good things this year and the swing is in a good place, but the issue remains that for a guy as big as he is, he just doesn't have anywhere near as much power as you'd think. He's more of a consistent contact, gap-to-gap type of hitter. He's still a poor defensive first baseman and that's really the only position he can play, so he has to mash. Even taking into account he's big and young and comes from a cold-weather background, there just isn't enough power there to project him becoming an impactful major leaguer.
- What is a realistic ceiling for Robert Hassell? Have you seen or heard anything that would potentially bump his 50 in-game power grade higher?
Kyle Glaser: Hassell has a chance to be an above-average everyday center fielder and maybe even an All-Star. He's not particularly broad shouldered to where you could project him filling out significantly and it's a lot of top-spun line drives, so the power projections are still in that 45-50 grade range (15-18 HR, maybe gets to 20 here or there). He'll crush mistakes and he's a good enough hitter he'll run into some homers, but the best version of Hassell is when he's focused on just driving the ball on a line.
Jim (St. Pete):
- Is there any hope for Brent Honeywell to make it as a starter at this point, or is his only possible future in relief? Also, same question, but for A.J. Puk.
Kyle Glaser: A big part of being a successful starter is staying healthy enough to take the ball every fifth day and log innings over the course of a long season. I think it's hard to project either Honeywell or Puk to do that at this point.
- Leonel Valera was an early season hot sheet resident, but he's cooled off a bit statistically since then. Is he still showing the same potential?
Kyle Glaser: Valera is still showing the athleticism and improved power that gets you excited, but he's been chasing out of the strike zone way, way too often. The tools are there, but he's going to have to improve his plate discipline significantly to have any kind of sustained success at higher levels.
Billy (Best Coast):
- Why isn't Ohtani in the Olympics? Feels selfish to be prioritizing a .500 team over his country
Kyle Glaser: MLB did not allow players on 40-man rosters to compete in the Olympics. I've written about it many, many times, and in fact broke the news back in June. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/tokyo-olympics-baseball-rosters-will-not-include-40-man-players/
- With Kirby, Lodolo, and Detmers moving way up the rankings, is this a sign that BA is placing more value on pitching prospects with good control/command, who are able to add velo or to their pitch mix later? Or is their rise purely performance based, as all three have looked great?
Kyle Glaser: It's a sign that all three have shown nasty stuff with excellent control and project as front to middle of the rotation starters in the majors.
- Whats going on with Deivi Garcia? He's had a rough year in AAA.
Kyle Glaser: Garcia's stuff just hasn't been as good as it was reported to be. We saw him flash a 97 in a one-inning stint during the Futures Game, but he's been mostly 91-92 in the majors and at Triple-A this year and he doesn't have enough command of the slider to make it an effective pitch against upper level hitters. The stuff just isn't there to succeed right now. He was supposed to have a plus curveball, but again, it hasn't been anywhere near that good in the majors or at Triple-A.
- In trade chats, I get a lot of people who say, I know Joey Bart is a top 20 spect, but I just don't like him, or I just don't believe in that ranking. How would you reply or convince them that he is legit?
Kyle Glaser: He's really good defensive catcher with easy plus power who has shown he can handle upper-level minor league pitching. That would be my response. He's a very aggressive hitter and there are some holes he's going to have to close, but there is a lot to like and his premature MLB debut, which he was nowhere near ready for, has swung people way too far to the negative on him.
- Brendan Rodgers seems to be putting together a healthy stretch of baseball and is hitting well at MLB Level. So all encouraging signs. Including Coors factor, do you see him being a .270 25HR 15SB guy?
Kyle Glaser: Yes, those are all very attainable numbers for Rodgers. The biggest thing with him is just health, always has been. If he stays healthy for a full season, and that's a big if, he can reach those numbers.
- How would you grade the pirates farm after all the new additions
Kyle Glaser: We're going to have our midseason org talent rankings after the trade deadline. It's hard to say where they stand right now because everything is going to change in the next three days.
- Baz one of top 2 pitching prospects at season’s end?
Kyle Glaser: Certainly has a chance to be. He's been excellent all the way around.
- Where do you think Nolan Gorman lands in the field? He seems miscast as a 2B. Do you think he's potential trade bait going into the deadline? Or is he a guy that you think should be working in the corner outfield? There doesn't seem like a logical non 2B place for him.
Kyle Glaser: I don't think 2B is very viable for Gorman. Third base is really where he needs to be. I think getting him to an organization that needs a third baseman and will just let him play his natural position would be best for his long-term potential. Teams playing guys out of position rarely get the best versions of them (see: Nick Senzel, Luis Urias, Scott Kingery, Josh Naylor, etc.)
- Do you think Tyler Soderstrom’s bat is worth moving him off catcher, or too early to do that? Seems like he could be a super fast riser like Harper light if taken off the position?
Kyle Glaser: I've dug in on this a lot out here in the Cal League. What's interesting is even though 15 passed balls in 38 games behind the plate is certainly ugly, Soderstrom is showing enough defensively for scouts to give him a chance to stick at catcher with more work. He keeps the ball in front, is able to get small for a big guy, is pretty agile and sticks pitches in the strike zone. That's a good place to start. Multiple scouts have said his defense is not as bad as they were led to believe. There are certainly cases where teams are kidding themselves about a guy realistically being able to play a position (see my previous answer about Kingery, Naylor, etc.) but this doesn't appear to be one of them. He's shown enough to where pulling the plug after only 38 games would be premature.
Molly (New Jersey):
- Thanks for the chat! What are you and scouts seeing with Kyle Harrison? What would his ceilings and floors be like, do you think?
Kyle Glaser: Harrison has bulked up and the 90-92 with late zip I saw at the Area Code Games in 2019 is now 93-97 with late zip. It's a plus fastball and the breaking ball and changeup have each flashed plus at their best, although not consistently. Now, with that newfound power has come iffy control (5.3 BB/9) so he's still going to have to find the balance between velo and strikes, but he's young enough and athletic enough to make some adjustments and figure it out. Bullish scouts see mid-rotation potential, but the control has to come. Otherwise we're just looking at one of many hard-throwers with poor control who struggle to get out of the minors. We're talking about a pitching prospect in Low-A, so the spectrum of possibilities is REALLY wide.
- George Valera has had a promising return Is there anything you've seen as a noticeable change or is this just the production catching up to hype?
Kyle Glaser: He's starting to mature a bit. He's got plenty of bat speed and power potential, but he's a free swinger who will have some head-scratching chases. We'll see if he tightens that up more as he gets older and more experienced.
- While still young for the league, Malcom Nunez seems to be struggling at AA. Do you see any improvement there and what do you think of his future prospects?
Kyle Glaser: Nunez is a big guy with a lot of raw power, but his approach and swing are not conducive to success against upper-level pitching. It's a grip it and rip it approach and swing that's more suited for BP than actual games. There are a lot of adjustments that are going to have to be made for him to reach the majors.
- Anything you can report on Luis Medina and Luis Gil? Have either moved the needle about likelihood of remaining in the rotation?
Kyle Glaser: Medina just doesn't have the command to start. He's a 100 percent reliever. Gil's chances a little better, but he's still likely a reliever in the end. Having two big-armed relievers is nothing Yankees fans should be disappointed about. Those guys are valuable.
- Mark Vientos is doing well at AA for the Mets. Do you see him more as trade bait or as a future Met with a power bat? Thanks again.
Kyle Glaser: Could be either. Vientos doesn't project to be as good as Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith and those guys project to be the 1B/DH combo moving forward (assuming the DH comes to the NL next year as expected), but if he can improve his defense at 3B he has a chance to stick around and break through with the Mets. It's a "maybe" he sticks at 3B.
Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out, and have a great rest of your week.