Prospect Hot Sheet Chat

Kyle Glaser: Hey guys, I’m pinch-hitting on the chat for a bit with Josh and J.J. both tied up. I’ll hand off to them as soon as they are ready. In the meantime, let’s get started

Jeff (Arizona): Does Nick Solak have a path to NY or is he totally blocked by all the higher level prospects? Trade bait?
Kyle Glaser: It’s not just prospects blocking him. Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius are 27 and in their primes. Remember these guys have to unseat the big leaguers, not other prospects. So does Solak unseat those guys AND jump Torres (when he returns), Tyler Wade, etc? No.

Mike Francesca (Boston): Can you rank the following pitching prospects on who you would rather have in your farm system- AJ Puk, Mitch Keller, Chance Adams, kolby Allard, or Jay Groome?
Kyle Glaser: A.J. Puk above all. Lefthanded arms this electric come around maybe once a decade. He’s easy No. 1 in that group, followed by Allard, Keller, Adams, Groome

Thomas D (Long Beach, CA): Will Grant Holmes ever put it all together, and what's holding him back from doing so?
Kyle Glaser: Holmes has a chance, but his issues dating back to last year in the Cal League were poor mechanics and flat stuff because he doesn’t generate any plane or deception. He’s an arm strength guy who just kind of throws as hard as he can by torqueing his upper body. Unless he is willing to devote himself to the needed work on his delivery, mechanics, and release point, it’s not going to get better

Bo (Myrtle Beach): Last year macmahon was a top 50 prospect. Then he really struggled and fell of the face of the planet. Now he's cut his K rate, is making more contact and thus finding the power again. So is he back to high billing status (i.e. First division regular) or are there lower expectations/ reasons to be skeptical?
Kyle Glaser: McMahon absolutely has a chance to be a first-division regular. He was an athletic kid challenged with a tough assignment to Double-A which, in the context of other horrendous years in the minors, wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t good, but when that is your bottoming out you’re OK. McMahon is a good player with a bright future

Joey Bagadonuts (Fluffia, PA): Alex Verdugo's path to 2018 playing time will be a) full-time LF, with Bellinger at 1B and AGONZ bought out; b) reserve OF grabbing 250 ABs; or c) on another team. Is the HR upside 12-15, or is there more coming?
Kyle Glaser: Reserve OF grabbing 250 ABs in 2018 before taking over a full-time spot in 2019. And power is often the last thing to come. Verdugo is such a good hitter with such advanced feel for the barrel, it would not be a surprise if he grows into 20 HR pop in his prime

Jim (Little Rock): Daz Cameron tools aside is it to early to label him a bust?
Kyle Glaser: Nope. He’s a bust. Third professional season hitting .202 in LoA. Full bust status. That’s how toolsy HS OFs are. The boom is great, the bust is too. Every draft class has them. Cameron isn’t the first to bust and won’t be the last, either.

Keith (Providence, RI): Brandon Marsh has only played three games this week, but since they were the first three of his pro career and he did so well (8/15 2 2B 1 HR 1 SB 2 BB 1 K), I thought I'd ask for your opinion on him. I heard good things about him earlier in camp this year as well. Thanks.
Kyle Glaser: Brandon Marsh has been raved since last fall by almost everyone who saw him at the Angels complex in Tempe. He’s likely the third-best prospect in that system, behind recent draftees Jo Adell and Griffin Canning. It’s still very early, but all reports are golden so far

Ryan (NYC): Have you had an opportunity to see Jordan Humphreys at all? He's just getting the FSL, but his numbers have been rather impressive. Does he have a shot to be a mid-rotation guy down the road?
Kyle Glaser: I have not personally seen Jordan Humphreys, but a scout brought him up unprompted me to during a conversation last week about various guys. I’ve learned when the scout brings the guy up without you saying anything, pay attention. There is definitely something there that has people’s attention

Anthony (Maryland): JJ and team were talking highly of walker buehler on the Podcast this week. Any updates on him? We are seeing good command and a four pitch mix right? That's #1 or 2 ceiling right if the velo holds?
Kyle Glaser: Walker Buehler absolutely has a No. 1 or 2 starter ceiling. As long as he stays healthy, he has a chance to slot in behind Kershaw as the Dodgers No. 2 for quite a few years.

Jeff (Anaheim, CA): Lets talk about the Angels farm system.. Have you seen or heard of any improvements to the system since Billy Eppler took over as the GM?
Kyle Glaser: Keep in mind that Eppler’s new scouting director Matt Swanson did not take over until AFTER the 2016 draft, so we only have one draft class to really go on and frankly that’s not enough to remake an entire system. The Angels 2017 draft was promising, though, and their first-round pick actually made sense, unlike the previous two years, so that counts as progress.

Casey (Morgantown): Time to sound the alarm on Carson Fulmer? Is the velo declining or is it finally time to move him to the bullpen?
Kyle Glaser: It has been fairly unanimous among scouts that Carson Fulmer’s future is in the bullpen. That’s where his home should and eventually will be

Casey (Morgantown): Does Jesus Sanchez break into the midseason top 100? Pretty young dude with some good pop. Middle of the lineup potential?
Kyle Glaser: Jesus Sanchez broke into our Top 100 update in May and has performed well since. There is a good chance he remains in the midseason Top 100. But trying to nail down exactly where a 19-year-old kid in LoA fits into a future big league lineup is a fools errand. Just enjoy watching a talented kid progress.

Tommy Boy (Milwaukee WI): Monte Harrison has great tools, but hit enough to make it to the majors?
Kyle Glaser: This is Harrison’s third consecutive year at LoA Wisconsin and he is about league-average age. Tools only take you so far. You have to turn them into baseball skills. Without that, your tools mean nothing. Harrison is playing well right now, but his baseball skillset as far as a hitter is lacking. If he makes a big jump in his skill development, great, but skepticism is warranted.

Tyler (Tampa): After a terrible start, Willy Adames has been pretty darn good offensively. Everyone seems to talk up Rosario as the best shortstop prospect right now, but how much better is he than Adames?
Kyle Glaser: Willy Adames is really, really good. Even when his numbers weren’t great, he was having good at-bats and making hard contact at Durham. He is an elite prospect. At the same time, Rosario is just flat-out better. He is a better natural hitter, has more thump in the bat, and is more refined at SS (Adames has a habit of botching balls hit right at him). They are both top 10 prospects, but Rosario is a clear tier above Adames

Casey (Morgantown): Is Brady Aiken doomed to be the biggest former #1 overall flop? Or is it still to early from his return from Tommy John to write him off?
Kyle Glaser: No matter what happens, Brady Aiken won’t be the biggest No. 1 overall flop because he got hurt. Brien Taylor hurt himself, and Mark Appel just flat out isn’t very good. But Aiken should serve as a reminder that not all TJ guys recover. We celebrate the ones who do and ignore the fact that most don’t. It’s a mistake. It is a major, major surgery and one that has killed a lot of promising careers. Aiken’s is on life support, we’ll see if he can turn it around

Dave (Boston): Can Chavis play anywhere other than third? With Devers not far off, there won't be a spot for both those guys...
Kyle Glaser: Theoretically the move from 3B to 1B is doable. But this is a good problem to have, multiple promising prospects at one spot. Depth is never a bad thing

Tom (Ohio): Bradley Zimmer has has a nice start to his mlb career. The strike out are still an issue, but how good a player can he be?
Kyle Glaser: Zimmer can definitely be a solid everyday player. An All-Star caliber one would be a reach given the expectations big league pitchers will eventually poke the holes in his swing, but an everyday CF in the major leagues is nothing to sneeze at

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, J.J, Cooper is going to take over now. Thanks for chatting

Tom (St. Louis): I seen a tweet that Jordan Hicks hit 101mph. What's his status? Potential top 100 guy?
J.J. Cooper: Yes, we’ve heard multiple reports of 100+ for Hicks. No, that doesn’t make him a Top 100 guy yet. He’s an interesting prospect with arm strength and intriguing secondary offerings but there’s still a good bit of polish he needs to add as far as command/control and consistency of his pitches.

Paul (Barrytown): Love the Hot Sheet and Chat, thanks for all you guys do. I like the new format this year with the week's stats, but any chance you guys can add another row and also show the YTD stats for the players? Just a suggestion.
J.J. Cooper: Let me see what we can do about that. Can’t promise we’ll do it but it’s a solid suggestion.

Ilya (New York): About a month ago, you weren't high on Andujar. Has that changed? Also is Acevedo the real deal?
J.J. Cooper: This is all about which prospects had the best weeks. Andujar had a great week. That doesn’t really change anything about his prospect status overall for good or bad. Domingo Acevedo throws really hard, locates his fastball and has a good changeup. That means he’ll have some sort of big league role if he remains healthy. The quality of his breaking ball will determine how significant that role will be.

Steve (Atlanta): What short-season player are you most looking forward to getting some reports on? (not counting guys just drafted)
J.J. Cooper: Kevin Maitan. Can’t wait to see him get regular ABs in games that count.

Guy (LA): I LOVE Willie Calhoun! Any chance he gets a shot at second base this year??
J.J. Cooper: Probably not because he’s not really ready defensively to play second base in L.A. day in and day out. We’ve heard better reports about his defense in left field than we have for him at second even though he has a lot more time at second than in left.

Robert (New York): Considering Moncada is a premier 5-tool talent, cut in the Mike Trout mold, who is the next Moncada on the AL side?
J.J. Cooper: He’s not cut in the Mike Trout mold. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were cut in the Mike Trout mold. Moncada is a very good prospect, but I don’t think he’s a future 80 hitter like Trout is. If you’re saying who can be a power-speed-hit guy in the lower minors, most of the guys are missing one aspect. Acuna and Robles don’t have 30+ HR power in my mind. Eloy Jimenez doesn’t run well enough to be a true five-tool guy. He’s a longer ways away and it’s a lot of projection, but Leody Taveras is a potential five-tool guy.

Alex (Bay Area): Has Josh Ockimey now climbed into the top 5 of Boston's farm system? While not top 100, has he put himself in the top 150 range of prospects?
J.J. Cooper: I think he’s in consideration for the Red Sox’s Top 5–we’re just starting work on our midseason updated top 10s we’ll roll out next week. I don’t think that will get him close to the top 150 right now. He had a great first half last year as well, this year his goal is to have a second half that matches his first half.

Julian (Austin): Which stat is more indicative of Estevan Florial's long term outlook: 152 wRC+ as a teenager in full-season ball, or a 31% k rate?
J.J. Cooper: I’ll be annoying and say yes. Both are part of who Florial is, a tools monster who will always strike out. The K’s are a concern, but he has enough tools/skills to survive even with a reasonably high strikeout rate.

J. Meg (New York): So, no a good week for Yankee prospects eh?
J.J. Cooper: South Atlantic League and Florida State League both missed most of the week because of the all-star break, so that means that most of the Yankees Class A guys didn’t get enough ABs to even be considered.

Dr. Torch (Columbus, OH): How much further would Kyle Lewis be up the prospect list if he had been drafted by any team but Seattle? Have you had a chance to see him since his return from injury?
J.J. Cooper: He would still be ranking right around where he is now, don’t really understand the first part of the question. We tried to see him last week with Kyle Glaser in the Cal League, but Lewis was out with a bruised knee. He has played 2 games, three at-bats, so it’s hard for anyone to see him so far other than in extended spring.

Steve (Cincinnati): Is TJ Friedl entering the conversation as a Top 100 prospect?
J.J. Cooper: No. He was a college guy who had a good first half in low Class A. That’s good, but also expected. That hasn’t really changed much of his preseason assessment.

Kent (St. Paul): I'd like to know why Jason Martin was omitted and overlooked for the Astros' top-30? Even after tearing up the CAL last season, he couldn't crack their top 30?
J.J. Cooper: Because the Astros are loaded in prospects. Martin’s season in Lancaster was solid, but a .270/.357/.533 slash line in Lancaster isn’t tearing things up, it’s putting together a solid season. He was below the team average in batting average and on-base (admittedly roughly at team average) and was above-average in slugging. He’s had a very productive 2017 as well and fits with Myles Straw and Ramon Laureano in the second tier of Astros OF prospects behind Tucker/Fisher/Teoscar Hernandez. Laureano was significantly more productive than Martin last year, Martin has been dramatically more productive than Laureano this year. Laureano’s tools are better, but Martin’s hitting has been much better than Laureano this year.

Ratt (Brooklyn): Rogelio Armenteros is dominating Double-A, but it's impossible to find much information about him. Can you tell us anything about him?
J.J. Cooper: Ratt, we have gobs of information on him if you are a Baseball America subscriber. He was in the Astros Top 30 this year (#24). Here’s a link for a full scouting report:

Buck (Huntsville): You said last week that Tyler Mahle now has "front end stuff." What's he doing differently this year? Think he has a #2 ceiling now?
J.J. Cooper: Everything is sharper than it used to be. The velo is up, the breaking ball is better. No. 2 or 3 starter now, yeah.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Luis Castillo's major league debut is tonight against a stacked Washington lineup. I think the fastball and changeup are there, but has the slider progressed enough to be a viable third pitch against MLB hitters?
J.J. Cooper: I think it could be just enough. It still needs to be better, but if he shows the feel he has for it on a good night, it’s a fringy 40-45 pitch, which with his fastball-change combo should be just enough as long as he’s locating his two best pitches.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Most likely CF for the Reds after Billy Hamilton: Taylor Trammell, TJ Friedl, Stuart Fairchild, or other (FA/Trade)?
J.J. Cooper: I’ll go with other for now. Trammell is likely a corner OF by the time he reaches the big leagues as he’s going to keep getting bigger. I’m not ready to annoint Fairchild as the future CF when he’s just getting ready to be a pro. Friedl might be it, but he may end up more as a good fourth OF.

Keith (Farmington, CT): Thanks JJ. Am I wrong to be amazing by Keibert Ruiz's hit tool as an 18-year-old in the MWL?
J.J. Cooper: It’s very impressive. Very solid catching prospect. There was a reason he was No. 20 in a pretty good Dodgers’ system coming into the year before he ever reached full season ball.

Jim (Berlin, NJ): Pardon my French, but vis a vis the Phillies, when is the last time you saw a MLB team's winning percentage as disparate from its minor league system's performance? How does an organization lose 39 out of 50, and no one runs into a guillotine (more French)?
J.J. Cooper: This actually happens a good bit now. The 2013 Astros had a .315 winning percentage at the MLB level while the minor leaguers had the second best winning percentage in the minors at .549.

Jack (St. Louis): What level of the minors would you compare SEC or ACC baseball to?
J.J. Cooper: It’s much like indy ball. The caliber of player varies wildly so it’s not fair to say it’s Class A or short-season caliber. The depth of a minor league team is much, much deeper, so if you put an SEC/ACC team in short-season ball, I don’t think they’d win the title–those college teams have 3 to 4 starting pitchers and 2-4 bullpen arms they trust while a short-season pro club has 5-7 starters and 3-5 relievers with that much talent or more. The backup position players on the pro team are a similar story, if an injury crops up, they have reinforcements on hand that the college team doesn’t have. But at the same time, the best players on an SEC/ACC team are better than the best players on a short-season team, so if you said that it was a three-game series, I’d give LSU or Florida a chance to beat Staten Island.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Safe to assume Gavin Lavalley will make the 2018 Prospect Handbook after not making the Reds top 30 in the 2017 Prospect Handbook?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. He’s remade his body again and has found the strength he lost which has brought back his power.

Jimmy (Palo Alto): Who do you prefer Keibert Ruiz or Mario Feliciano? Couple of 18 year old catchers in the Midwest League.
J.J. Cooper: I’ll take Keibert.

Jeff (CA): With Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger both in the majors who is the prospect with the most power?
J.J. Cooper: Productive power? I’ll go with Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez. I’d put Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the same category. Both have enough hit tool to get to significant power.

Alex (IL): I think you should say Mike Trout is cut in the Mays and Mantle mold. You know, because he came so much later?
J.J. Cooper: It’s the same mold. Yes, Mantle and Mays were pressed out of the mold before them, but Trout is on track to be the best of the three in my mind.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks everyone for coming out and the great question. We’ll chat about prospects with the Prospect Hot Sheet chat again next Friday.

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