Image credit: Riley Greene (Getty Images)
Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, hope you’re having a good week so far. Let’s get started.
- Hey, How impressed have you been with Anthony Volpe? And is the star potential real?
Kyle Glaser: Volpe has been very impressive. Really competitive at-bats, hitting the ball harder, runs the bases well, solid defensively. There really isn’t anything to knock. Just a really good all-around player. Most observers see a really good, above-average regular rather than a star, but with his work ethic and feel for the game, I wouldn’t put it past him to take another jump and get to that level.
- If Tanner Houck can develop an average splitter. Does he have a chance to be a #2 starter?
Kyle Glaser: A number 2 starter is a bit much. Stephen Strasburg was a No. 2 starter on the Nats’ World Series team (behind Scherzer). David Price was the No. 2 starter on the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series team (behind Sale). Number 2 starters on championship clubs are perennial All-Stars who are often true aces in their primes/best years. Realistically Houck is more of a No. 4 starter, which is still a very good outcome and nothing to be upset with. He’s a good pitcher and someone the Red Sox can win with in their rotation moving forward.
- Should I worry about Orelvis Martinez struggle in High A?
Kyle Glaser: It’s been 11 games. No.
Roger (Greenville, SC):
- Now that we have midseason lists, which organizations weathered the minor league shutdown best and worst in terms of continuing to develop the players already in their systems?
Kyle Glaser: It’s an interesting question. A lot of Mariners, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees prospects took big jumps forward this year. Those are the organizations that stand out right away as having seemed to have weathered the shutdown better than others in terms of players continuing to develop and not stagnate. As for the other side, a lot of Royals pitchers went backward and a LOT of Cubs prospects got hurt. How much of that can be directly attributed to the shutdown vs. the nature of pitchers being fickle and injuries being part of the game, it’s tough to really know.
Jason (Port Colborne, ON):
- Any recent news on Dodger’s Luis Rodriquez?
Kyle Glaser: Yeah, and it’s not great. Rodriguez is in the ACL and just taking giant hacks without any real attempt to actually hit. He looks the part, but his approach, swing length, strike-zone discipline and pitch recognition are all very problematic, even compared to other 18 year old international signees in the ACL right now. He’s got a long, long way to go and a lot of things to fix.
Eddys Leonard (Michigan):
- I have a .300/.400/.550 line as a 20-year in Hi-A while showing a lot of versatility on the field (SS, 3B, 2B, CF). What do I need to do to rank higher in your Dodgers Top 30?
Kyle Glaser: Leonard ranked where he did solely because of the insane depth of the Dodgers system (including a lot of guys who also crushed in Low-A and were still doing it in HiA/AA/AAA). Now that he’s made the jump to High-A and the Dodgers system has thinned out some with trades and graduations, he’s going to move up quite a bit. His ranking was more a reflection of how deep the Dodgers system is, not any knock against him.
Rich Dauer’s Glove (Maryland):
- Thoughts on Cleveland starter Cody Morris? His numbers though limited across AA and AAA this year are very impressive. He’s a potential rule 5 guy this offseason as well.
Kyle Glaser: Morris looks good. Fastball really plays. Curveball is a good pitch he can land or get chases with. Changeup flashes above-average. The way he’s pitched and looked at Triple-A, I’ll be very surprised if the Indians don’t protect him. If they don’t, I would jump on him very quickly in the Rule 5 draft.
- Any DSL standouts so far?
Kyle Glaser: Gabriel Gonzalez with the Mariners is getting some early love. He was a big money guy and someone to keep an eye on.
- Is Brandon Lockridge an every day level prospect or 4th OF who can play CF?
Kyle Glaser: Lockridge doesn’t really project as a major leaguer in evaluators’ eyes right now (thus, he wasn’t on the Yankees Top 30 at midseason). He’s been old for the levels he’s been at and this hot 28-game start at Double-A is an outlier compared to the rest of his career. Now, if he can keep up what he’s been doing at Somerset, maybe that will change some minds. But right now most see him as a minor league organizational outfielder.
- Standout Braves prospects for you through 2021 to date?
Kyle Glaser: I mean the list starts with Michael Harris. He’s been really impressive all the way around. Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder and Joey Estes have all impressed on the pitching side and project as major leaguers. Estes in the bullpen, Elder as a back-end starter and Strider getting a lot of split camp reviews (the Braves internally see a potential mid-rotation starter, outside evaluators see a hard-throwing, two-pitch reliever who pitches in the middle to late innings).
Elliot (Youngstown OH):
- Do you think Daniel Espino will move to the back of the bullpen or make it to the majors in the rotation?
Kyle Glaser: That’s kind of the million dollar question. Espino has a chance to start but the fastball command and changeup have to improve a decent amount for him to get there. It’s honestly 50/50 in the eyes of a lot of evaluators. The right thing to do is just keep him as a starter for as long as he can, see if the fastball command and changeup quality improve, and go from there.
- All things considered, meaning injury risk, upside, floor, team, park, who would you rather have Nate Pearson or Kirby?
Kyle Glaser: I’m the guy who typically says take the upper-level player who has proven it against better competition 99.9% of the time, but this instance is probably the 0.1%. Pearson’s injuries are worrisome and I don’t fully trust him to command all that horsepower consistently. I would take Kirby (and thus, Kirby is higher on our Top 100).
- How is Lora looking?
Kyle Glaser: Assuming you mean Rangers outfielder Bayron Lora, the answer is not good. He’s just not showing any reason to believe he will make enough contact to be a productive hitter.
Tommy S (Austin):
- Outside of the top 100 Mariners prospects, which Mariner prospect should I get excited about?
Kyle Glaser: People are very high on Matt Brash after what he’s done this year.
Elliot (Youngstown OH):
- Cleveland has a dozen kids who could deserve protection for Rule 5. What are your thoughts on: Aaron Bracho who was underperformed? Jose Tena who has perhaps overperformed? Jhonkennsy Noel who is in Low A hitting up a storm?
Kyle Glaser: They won’t need to protect Bracho. He’s not showing the body, tools or performance for evaluators to think highly of him. He’s not a threat to be taken and if he somehow is, he’s likely to be returned. Tena is a better player than Bracho, but again, taking A-ball infielders isn’t something teams really do in the Rule 5 draft (at least not with any success, anyway). Noel is a corner power hitter in A-ball. Even corner power hitters in AA/AAA don’t get taken (see: Max Muncy and Franmil Reyes). Honestly the Indians probably won’t need to protect any of them. If they do have to protect one, it’s probably Tena.
Elliot (Youngstown OH):
- Question about a couple Guardians OF of the future: Nolan Jones still walks and hits some doubles and homers but his average remains around 220. What’s he doing wrong this year that he can or cannot correct? George Valera’s 250 average looks a lot better with a ton of home runs in the last month along with plenty of walks. Is he ready to crack the top 100?
Kyle Glaser: Jones is having a really tough time with upper-level breaking balls and changeups and is hitting the ball on the ground far too often (mostly because he’s making very weak contact against those breaking balls and changeups). He’s going to need some time to make some adjustments to be more competitive against secondary stuff. As for Valera, he’s in the Top 100. https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/2021-top-100-prospects/
Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out, and hope you have a good rest of your week.