MLB Prospects Hot Sheet Chat (4/23/19)

Image credit: Drew Waters (Photo by Tony Farlow)

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, sorry I’m a few minutes late. Just wrapped up recording a podcast with JJ Cooper, so look for that a little later today. In the meantime, let’s get started

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): 

    After a good spring, Oscar Mercado continues to do well at AAA. Has he turned a corner in his development where he is now more than a 4th OFer?

Kyle Glaser: Mercado looked the part of an everyday outfielder last year. That’s when the corner was turned. He’s just continuing that trend into now.

Ken (Lakewood CA): 

    Hi Kyle. Always look forward to your very knowledgeable chats. I am wondering what your take is on OF prospect Dylan Carlson (STL)? I think he is in AA right now. Cardinals already have too many OF guys. Does Carlson project to possibly rise to the top or is he just another OF prospect for them in your eyes? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Hi Ken, thanks for the kind words. Carlson is a very promising prospect we highlighted as a potential riser before the season. He’s always held his own while being very young for his level, and all the physical skills have continued to grow with age. A strong eye, good outfield defense and savvy for the game have been there, now we’re starting to see the power show up as he matures. The Cardinals internally have always liked him a lot. He was their No. 10 prospect going into the year and he’s going to keep rising with graduations and his own performance. He’s a good prospect with a big league future, although what role he exactly fills down the road for the Cardinals will also depend on factors independent of him, such as Bader and O’Neill’s offensive progression, if Fowler can maintain this bounceback, if Ozuna re-signs with the team, etc.

Bobby (Best Coast): 

    So both A-Rod and Stanton were traded to da Yanks within a couple years after signing their mega deals. Is Mike Trout in the Bronx in 2021 or 2022?

Kyle Glaser: No. We’re not talking about the Rangers under Tom Hicks—who you’ll remember had to sell the team to satisfy his creditors a few years later and also took the Dallas Stars into bankruptcy—or the penny-pinching Marlins here. The Angels have been big spenders under Arte Moreno and Trout’s contract won’t be the albatross for his team the others were on theirs. He’s an Angel. That’s not changing.

bk (Vancouver, BC): 

    Jordan Groshans is off to a really hot start. Are the reports as good as the numbers?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. Ben Badler who does the Blue Jays system for us was right on it when Groshans started earning glowing reports last year. I actually talked to a scout the other day who said the first time he saw Groshans he assumed he was a college guy because he was so advanced at the plate, he was stunned to learn he was a high school draft pick. The reports are good, the numbers are good, and kudos go to Ben for being on it and getting Groshans onto our Top 100 early.


Frank (Milwaukee): 

    What is the upside of Chris Rodriguez on LAA? Are we looking at mid rotation upside or more of a frontline starter?

Kyle Glaser: As his pitching coach at Inland Empire Michael Wuertz said, “That’s elite stuff.” Up to 97 with command of three secondaries, all three of which flashed plus in the eyes of one evaluator in attendance the game as I was at, is that of a front-line starter. Now, showing he can maintain that over the course of a season is a huge challenge and will be what determines if he truly has frontline SP potential or not, but on stuff alone, what he’s showing right now is special.

Michael (Louisville): 

    Hi Kyle, can we get a sneak peak at the biggest risers in the May update for the top 100? Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: His name rhymes with Rolan Worman

Frederick (Boston): 

    How do you view Jazz Chisholm’s season so far? He only has 6 hits, but 5 of them are XBH. He has continued to strikeout a bunch, but has seemed to have started walking more (14 BBs so far including spring training). Should one be encouraged or discouraged from this start?

Kyle Glaser: It’s kind of his MO. Lot of impact when he connects, lots of strikeouts. The jump from HiA to AA is huge and he only had 36 games at HiA last year, so it’s not a shock he’s struggled with the level adjustment early. I wouldn’t get overly discouraged at this point, but if nothing is improving into June or July, it’s a bit of a different story.

Molly (Burlington): 

    Which catching prospect do you like more: Daulton Varsho or William Contreras? How do their ceilings and floors compare?

Kyle Glaser: William Contreras. More belief in the bat and the defensive tools are stronger too. You can see him as an everyday catcher in the majors, kind of a slightly lesser version of his brother, while Varsho has always projected as more of a lefthanded Austin Barnes type who can bounce out to the infield as needed. Both big leaguers, but one is clearly better than the other.

Mike (Denver): 

    How special can Tirso Ornelas be in terms of a hitter? And how much power is in that bat?

Kyle Glaser: Ornelas can be very special. Middle of the order, 25+ home runs type, if not more. His approach is advanced and there is real, real power in his bat. The emphasis for him has just been putting together consistently good swings, and the start so far this year has been promising. We have to see him maintain it over the course of the full season of course, but the talent and makeup are certainly there to see a potential above-average or better everyday player with an impact bat.

Chance Sisco (Norfolk (for some reason)): 

    What exactly are the Orioles doing with me? Wasn’t this season supposed to be mine to figure it out in the majors?

Kyle Glaser: It makes zero sense. Go with Sisco and Severino, two young catchers who can make strides and improve. For where the Orioles are right now, starting Jesus Sucre is mystifying, to say the least.

Mel Kiper (ESPN Studios): 

    If the Oakland Raiders select Kyler Murray with the 4th Pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, what are the chances that they would let him play a half a season for their Stadium neighbors, the Oakland A’s ? Or has that ship sailed? The A’s still hold his Baseball rights, correct?

Kyle Glaser: The ship has sailed. The only way Kyler Murray plays baseball again is if his NFL career doesn’t work out. That’s it. And yes, the A’s still hold his baseball rights.

Mark (San Diego, CA): 

    What’s your take on Ryan Weathers thus far? Performance as expected, too advanced for the league, and/or has the stuff ticked up this season?

Kyle Glaser: He’s been excellent. He’s extraordinarily advanced with his feel to pitch so it’s not a huge surprise to see him carving up Low A even though he’s the same age as his peers in the league. I have not gotten any velocity reports yet so I can’t speak to whether there’s been an uptick in his stuff or not, but he’s always been very advanced for his age and it’s a testament to him and big part of why the Padres took him as high as they did. As I wrote in the Handbook, he’s got a chance to move real fast.

Gio Gonzalez (Free Agent Limbo): 

    Will I be Signing with my hometown Marlins finally?

Kyle Glaser: I would imagine someone off to a surprisingly decent start and needing SP innings would make you an offer, and I would imagine that would be much more appealing than signing with a team headed for a top 5 draft pick, even if they are your hometown team.

Alan (Boston): 

    Is Alex Reyes just not made to come out of the bullpen or are his control problems just a result of early season rust? He has a 50% strike percentage when coming out of the bullpen this season, but in his first start on Saturday he was at 62.5%

Kyle Glaser: We’re talking about a 10.2 inning sample in his first action coming off a season-ending surgery. I wouldn’t draw that strong of a conclusion yet.

dave (grayson, ga): 

    Any reports on the Braves’ Victor Vodnik?

Kyle Glaser: That was a great pick by the Braves in the 14th round last year. Throws mid-90s and fashioned himself a pretty good self-taught slider that you could imagine jumping as soon as he got some instruction in pro ball. Seeing his control thus far has been the most impressive thing. He projected as a future two-pitch power reliever out of the draft, but if he can keep that control in line and develop a third pitch, we may have something more.

Brian (Los Angeles): 

    What kind of player do we think Tucupita Marcano becomes? Is he more of a utility player or is there much bigger upside there?

Kyle Glaser: The Padres internally think he could be a top of the order high average, high OBP everyday guy. Opposing evaluators are more skeptical and think he’s more of a utility bench guy. It’s not unusual to have such varying evaluations on guys as young as Marcano. We’ll see which one he turns out to be.

Pablo (Ioea): 

    Is Omar Estevez legit? He’s been playing some shortstop too, is that a potential long term home for him or is he for sure a second baseman?

Kyle Glaser: He’s a second baseman capable of filling in at shortstop in a pinch. The adjustments he made at the plate are really something. He’s going to have to hit his way to the majors, but at the rate he’s going he just might.

Beauford (Reno, LV): 

    I’ve noticed that Outfielder Skye Bolt is off to a sizzling start in Triple A. Can you provide a comparison big league player for him, Josh Reddick perhaps?

Kyle Glaser: No. Reddick is a corner guy with much better hitting ability and significantly more power. Think of Bolt more in the 5th OF who plays a really good CF tier. His power is growing some, so maybe that changes and he becomes more, but we’re still not talking Reddick level. On a sidenote, keep in mind that everyone looks like a superstar in AAA right now with the introduction of the major league ball, so eye offensive numbers there very, very skeptically, especially in places like Las Vegas

Drew Waters (Next Great Braves OF?): 

    I was predicted by many as a likely breakout prospect in 2019. After finishing 2018 in HiA most expected me to start 2019 back in Florida. However, I ended up being aggressively assigned to AA as a new turned 20 year old and have been an extra base machine. Would it be reasonable to expect that I’ll be a top 30-50 prospect before the 2019 season is over?

Kyle Glaser: Certainly in the range of possibility. There’s a lot to like.

Adam (Las Vegas): 

    Weathers vs Liberatore has me wondering: when a high drafting team prefers one player over the industry consensus top player at the same position, how often is that team actually right?

Kyle Glaser: I haven’t studied it so I don’t want to give you an incorrect answer. I will say you can find plenty examples to advance your argument on either side, but I don’t know the percentages on it. That’s actually a good idea for my next project. Thanks 🙂

Adam (Las Vegas): 

    How does Tirso Ornelas compare to, say, Jake Bauers? Is he more floor than ceiling?

Kyle Glaser: There’s a lot more power in Ornelas’ bat. Bauers’ pure swing draws more raves. Bauers is more contact, Ornelas is more power, although both have enough of each.

Curio (City): 

    Francisco Mejia, Michel Baez, and Cal Quantrill for Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. Who says no?

Kyle Glaser: The Blue Jays. Quickly.

Waters or Pache? (Who’s Better?): 

    The Braves look to potentially have the most dynamic trio outfielders in the Acuna/Pache/Waters. We all know Acuna is a generational talent. Who would you rather have between Waters and Pache and why?

Kyle Glaser: We ranked Waters higher than Pache in the Handbook and I literally just had this conversation with a scout over the weekend who told me he has Waters over Pache. So yeah, that’s your answer. More belief in the bat is main reason why.

Jay (Toronto): 

    Thoughts on Gavin Lux? Is he the Dodgers starting 2b in 2029?

Kyle Glaser: Great player, great person. He’s real. And while I shy away from predicting what anything, in any aspect of our lives, will look like 10 years from now, I will say he does project to be the Dodgers 2B of the future.

Steve (Houston): 

    The Astros are loaded! But there one weakness is first base/DH. I have a trade proposal…Alvarez to the White Sox for Abreu. Who says no?

Kyle Glaser: We’ve seen it become very, very rare for a team to surrender a top prospect for someone whose contract expires at the end of the year even if they are a superstar (see: Paul Goldschmidt), and Abreu is not on that level. As such, I would be very, very surprised if the Astros would make that trade, especially considering Alvarez can honestly just be the DH on his own just fine.

Tom (Toronto): 

    Why is Cavan Biggio not more highly touted? His numbers have been fantastic since last year. Is he just a future utility guy or will he be an everyday start?

Kyle Glaser: There are a lot of questions in here about players putting up fantastic numbers in Triple-A to start the year. This a good time to repeat – be very, very, very wary of the big numbers you’re seeing at the level right now. As for Biggio, he ranked as a top 10 prospect in a top 5 system in baseball entering the year. That’s pretty well-touted to me.

Michael (Regina, SK): 

    Hey Kyle thanks for chatting. Is Jered Kelenic’s future a corner outfield spot or does he have what it takes to be a CF?

Kyle Glaser: He has the instincts to stay in CF. Like every other teenager, it’s just going to depend on how he fills out and how he physically matures whether he actually does or not. But the ingredients are there. You can see it.

Justin (Tucson, AZ): 

    The more I read about Griffin Canning the more I believe he’s grossly underrated. He’s pitched phenomenally well in the Cal and PCL (both offensive friendly leagues) but he’s not mentioned with the Luzardo’s and Whitley’s. Is Canning a potential 200 IP, sub 3.5 ERA, 200 K guy?

Kyle Glaser: 200 IP is a bit rich, and thus the 200 Ks might be, but I agree that Canning is a top 10-15 pitching prospect in baseball, and I know of at least two other organizations outside of the Angels who agree.

Rob (Shelby Twp., MI): 

    Another dominant start by Casey Mize today. Where do you expect him to end the season and what is a realistic projection for him over the next few years?

Kyle Glaser: He certainly will be in Double-A and I would imagine Triple-A is a strong possibility by the end of the year. He has a chance to be a front of the rotation starter. That’s why he was the No. 1 overall pick in a solid draft class. Seen generally as more of a No. 2 than a No. 1, but no one will be shocked if he’s one of the American League’s better starting pitchers in a few years. It’s in there.

brad (NJ): 

    kyle, What do you see from Austin Hays when he returns? 2018 Hays or 2017 Hays?

Kyle Glaser: Probably somewhere in the middle.

Mike Dunn (Chicago): 

    On the surface it looks like Brusdar Graterol has dominated to start the season. 24 Ks in 22 innings with a .94 whip, but also has 10 walks. Is this a case of his stuff being too good for the level and as he gets promoted the walks will become a problem?

Kyle Glaser: The jump from HiA to AA is when you really start to see guys stop chasing out of the zone. (And it takes another jump in AAA). It’s always a good indicator. He’s going to have to get those walks down and stay in the strike zone more before we start talking about being promoted. The stuff is great, but those walks need to come down. Lot of season left for him to make it click.

Nickrand (Michigan): 

    Is Lucas Erceg’s quick start worth believing in? His production and plate approach are off to nice starts, but he’s been inconsistent in the past.

Kyle Glaser: See my earlier answers about Triple-A offensive numbers. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t figured something out, and the BB-K ratio is certainly a nice improvement to see, but let’s not go crazy yet.

DH (PA): 

    BA had Kelenic ranked a few spots ahead of Gorman on the top 100. Is that still true? Also, very few guys reach their top ceiling, so what do their 75% outcomes look like?

Kyle Glaser: You’ll have the answer to your first question when we update our Top 100 on May 1. As for your second question, a 75 percent outcome is still pretty good. Gorman that’s probably a 28-32 HR, .260ish hitter playing ok but not great D at 3B. Kelenic it’s probably a high average, moderate power corner everyday corner OF.

Brendon (Toronto, ON): 

    Alejandro Kirk seems to have a very legitimate bat, but not an ideal frame. Will his bat be enough to carry him to the bigs?

Kyle Glaser: The No. 1 most important thing for a prospect is the bat. He and every other prospect in existence is capable of getting to the majors if they hit, regardless of any other tool. If you hit, you’ll get a shot, period. Easier said than done, of course.

Vivek (Rockville, MD): 

    What are your thoughts on Grayson Rodriguez and does he move into Top 100 by mid-season if his success continues? Thank you!

Kyle Glaser: It’s been an excellent start that is exactly what you want to see. Just like D.L. Hall last year, if this continues he absolutely he has a shot.

Nico Hoerner’s mom (His childhood home): 

    I would ask you to splash some cold water on the Nico Hoerner hype train, but with a .305 average and as many walks as strikeouts in his first taste in double A I think that is impossible. Do you think the cubs move him quickly? If I gave you 5 to 1 odds that he makes his major league debut this season, would you take it?

Kyle Glaser: I would take those odds, yes.

DH (PA): 

    What do you think of Luis Robert so far? Is he just too good for A+? He’s about the same age as Taylor Trammell- are they similar players?

Kyle Glaser: He’s finally healthy and we’re starting to see what he’s really capable of. They’re different players, but both have All-Star potential

DH (PA): 

    What should we expect from Sixto Sanchez? How worried should we be about his health going forward?

Kyle Glaser: Anytime you have a hard-throwing young pitcher yet to throw more than 100 innings in a season and has had elbow issues, you should be concerned. But the stuff is there to expect a lot of triple-digit radar gun readings, plenty of swings and misses and really impressive control. We’ll see if he can stay on the mound when he gets back.

JoeyO (Northridge, Ca): 

    Austin Beck striking out like 45% of the time. He does have 6 doulbles, 1 triple and a homerun. But he is not walking much. What do you think of him as a prospect moving forward?

Kyle Glaser: He’s 15 games in while jumping to a new level. The minor leagues are for development. Let’s see how adjusts as the season moves on before we start dinging him. Now if June/July roll around and nothing is changed, it’s a different story, but for now he and most other guys off to poor starts aren’t going to get banged yet based on 15 or so games.

Neal (Columbia, SC): 

    I get to watch alot of Low A Mets games here in Columbia and Mauricio is impressive. He seems to be very aggressive early in counts and is jumping on pitches for singles. With his hot start, does he stay at this level all year or head up to High A to work on pitch selection against better competition?

Kyle Glaser: Like most other top prospects, a jump from LoA to HiA after the minor league All-Star break is a reasonable expectation if he continues to perform.

DH (PA): 

    1st round high school arms who signed from ’18; Ryan Weathers, Grayson Rodriguez, Cole Winn, Liberatore, Denaburg, JT Ginn, Ethan Hankins. Any of those arms jump out- good or bad? Or is it too early?

Kyle Glaser: It’s way, way, way too early. Give Weathers and Rodriguez credit for jumping out and performing immediately, but there’s a loooooonnnnnngggggg way to go before you can draw any definite conclusions.

john (fresno): 

    Is Luis Medina losing believers in his ability to ever harness his stuff?

Kyle Glaser: There weren’t that many believers to begin with

Dusty (Colorado): 

    Thoughts on Wander Javier? What’s his upside?

Kyle Glaser: Dusty is nothing if not reliable. Let’s see what Javier looks like when he gets back before we re-assess his upside. A lot can change – good or bad – after a year away. Need to see what it looks like in real-time

Colton Welker (Top 100 Soon?): 

    Hi Kyle, thanks for chatting with us today. Is Colton Welker on the brink of making the top 100? He hash been lauded for his hit tool but there always seemed to be a debate on his eventual in game power due to his swing path. Are scouts seeing a guy who is starting to tap into his power this year (3 HR already)? Can his ceiling be a 65 hit / 55 power guy or are both a half grade too high?

Kyle Glaser: It’s been a good start, and Welker is absolutely in the Top 100 conversation. You’re still a half grade too high on both counts (and some scouts would tell you you’re a full grade too high on the hit), but even a 55 hit, 50 power third baseman is still a good everyday player, even if it’s probably not going to be with the Rockies now that Arenado is locked up long-term.

Leody Taveras (Bounce Back 2019?): 

    Since arriving state side in 2016, I’ve been aggressively assigned at each level. Repeating HiA in 2019, I’m finally turning tools into production. Do scouts still see the across the board above average – plus tools in the past? Do have a have chance to re-establish myself back to being a top 100 prospect?

Kyle Glaser: The hit is average at best and the power is below-average, so no, there are not five above-average to plus tools in there for Leody. That all said, it’s good to see him get off to a good start. Now we have to see if he can maintain it. Truthfully, he’s not really in the Top 100 discussion at this point.

Kuan (CA): 

    Jorge Mateo has a great start this season. Is he going to be top100 again?

Kyle Glaser: Once again, take Triple-A numbers with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially Las Vegas.

2018 Draft Class (HS Hitters): 

    Of the 2018 draft class HS hitters, would you rank Gorman, Kelenic, and Groshans in that order? I assume Gorman is at his own level now but how close are Kelenic and Groshans to each other?

Kyle Glaser: I would refer you to our Top 100 to see how close Kelenic and Groshans are to one another.

Jimmy (Chesapeake, VA): 

    Is Luzardo a future #1? What’s his ETA? Thanks for the chat.

Kyle Glaser: Most have seen him as a top-flight No. 2, but honestly no one would be shocked if he ascends into that No. 1 starter tier. Durability is going to be big with him though. Holding up over 32 starts and then the postseason is a big, big part of being a true No. 1, and Luzardo’s injury and durability track record is concerning enough to have doubts whether he’d be able to do that.

Miles (Iowa): 

    Are you a believer now in Tyler Phillips as more than a back-end guy or do we need to wait until he sees AA

Kyle Glaser: Similar to Chris Paddack, seeing how the stuff plays in Double-A will go a long way toward convincing evaluators he can be more than a back-end guy without a breaking ball. But for now, Phillips is doing everything you can ask of him performance-wise.

Daniel (Brooklyn): 

    Would like your take on two Yankees pitchers who have delivered inconsistent results through the first couple turns through the order: Clarke Schmidt and Luis Medina

Kyle Glaser: Medina just doesn’t throw enough strikes to be consistently competitive. He can do it in spurts, but there’s not a lot of belief he’ll be able to do so over the long-haul. As for Schmidt, seeing a little bit of inconsistency in his first real action back from Tommy John surgery isn’t out of the ordinary.

Taylor Trammell (Finally Tapping Into Power?): 

    Taylor Trammell has always had the projectable frame for a guy who will eventually hit for 25+ HR, he just hasn’t done it yet since being drafted in 2016. Now 21 and in AA, he’s starting to show that power this year. Is a line of 60 hit / 55 power / 60 speed realistic? Do you see him jumping into the group of top 10-15 prospects in all of baseball after some of the top guys’ prospect eligibility expires?

Kyle Glaser: Power is the last tool to develop. It’s really not surprising to see him start to tap into it at age 21 (which is when a LOT of guys do). We saw the power in the Futures Game last year, now we’re seeing it start to click on larger scale. Those are the tool grades we had on him in the Handbook, and he’s certainly got every chance to be in the mix of those top 20 prospects

Kyle Glaser: Alright everybody, that will do it for today. Thanks for chatting with me, and have a great rest of your week.

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