Josh Norris: Happy Friday, all. Let’s chat.
MPGA (Denver): Mateo is hot. What will he be doing in 2019?
Josh Norris: I assume this is the Yankees’ Jorge Mateo. If so, I think there’s a good chance he’s in another organization by 2019. Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius are both locked up for years, and Gleyber Torres could be the answer at third base. If he finds a place in New York it would most likely be in the outfield, but the Yankees are loaded with OF prospects for both the short (Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler) and long (Blake Rutherford, Estevan Florial) terms.
Will Hibbs (Lakewood): I know I am a RP, but a 0.00 ERA in 24 IP and only 7 hits allowed this year sounds pretty hot to me, wouldn't you say?
Josh Norris: Sure does, but you’re also a 23-year-old reliever in low Class A. A college arm pitching against teenagers begs for flashy numbers.
Jeff (Arizona): Dane Dunning did great in LoA but has gotten smoked since coming up to HiA. Will he adjust ok? And when do you think Austin Hays will make it to Baltimore? Thanks.
Josh Norris: This answer will be similar to the last one, in re: Will Hibbs. Dunning should have dominated in low Class A. He was a college arm from the SEC, so the South Atlantic League shouldn’t have posed the biggest challenge. Having seen Dunning in person this year (albeit in a start that saw him get hit with a line drive), it’s easy to see why the White Sox wanted him included in the Adam Eaton trade. He’s got dynamite stuff, but he’s also working his way back to starting after being a reliever for the bulk of his college career. It might take a little bit of time, but he’s got the potential to be a good one.
James Madison (Virginia): Does Kingery have a good chance of being a very productive hitter for the Phillies? Why wasn't he in the top 100?
Josh Norris: Kingery does have a chance of being a very productive hitter for the Phillies. He’s a polished bat with a college pedigree. We didn’t put him on the Top 100 in part because we didn’t see this power surge coming. He’s got 14 home runs this year in 165 at-bats. In 783 previous at-bats he had eight home runs. Kingery’s getting the ball in the air more often and hitting it with the authority to drive it out of the park. That’ll raise your prospect stock in a hurry.
Roger (Greenville, SC): The Braves have a streak going of at least 1 Brave on the hot sheet each week this season. Do y'all keep track of streaks? If so, how does this stack up with past streaks?
Josh Norris: We do not do this (although it sounds like something we’d do!), but I’d bet on the Braves keeping that streak going for a while. Their system, as you most assuredly know, is very, very impressive.
Doug (Sacramento): How close were Matt Chapman and Matt Olson to making the list? They both have been hot for the last few weeks. The A's farm system doesn't get enough love. They have guys blowing up throughout the minors.
Josh Norris: Matt Olson was the last cut, for me. And, yep, Franklin Barreto and A.J. Puk are having excellent seasons thus far.
Alfred (Chicago): Giolito started the season talking about getting his mechanics right, then got off to a terrible start. But, as BA points out, he's been getting better of late and last night--Wow!!!--he had the game of his life. Do you think he's turned a cornerr?
Josh Norris: I think Giolito’s problem going forth is going to be consistency. He’s a big boy, and guys who look like him can have trouble keeping their mechanics in sync. The hammer curveball is still there, and although the fastball hasn’t been 80-grade he’s got the stuff to dominate if he can command it. In short, I’m not sure he’ll ever be an ace, but he’s still got a shot at being a decent rotation piece.
Michael (Nashville): How early do you see guys like Mejia, Collins, Kelly, and Sisco starting for their prospective clubs? Are they the best 4 catchers in the minors or is there someone else that measures up to these guys?
Josh Norris: Kelly, Sisco and Mejia could be options over the next couple of seasons, but Collins is farther behind. He doesn’t have a lot of evaluators who believe he can be a catcher long-term, and a hand-hitch in his swing have those same scouts questioning how much he’ll hit at the highest level, too.
Rudy (Orange County, CA): About where do you expect Luis Robert to fit into the White Sox organizational prospect rankings?
Josh Norris: Without knowing if Lopez, Moncada or Giolito will graduate from prospect-hood this year, I’ll just say he’ll be way up there.
PB (Milwaukee): Thanks for doing this! Hes not on the hot sheet but, any chance we could see kyle tucker in AA this summer? And have you heard anything about what level Luis Robert could start at?
Josh Norris: I do think we could see Kyle Tucker in Double-A after the all-star break, but it’s not a certainty. Luis Robert has the talent to start at either low Class A Kannapolis or high Class A Winston-Salem, though our Ben Badler says the DSL is also a possibility.
Scooby (Las Vegas): Josh We continue to hear that this is a weak crop of college hitters who will be available in this years MLB draft. What College hitters should be on our radar for next years 2018 MLB draft?
Josh Norris: After consulting the draft gurus in the other room, the consensus is that the key names to watch will be Oregon State’s Nick Madrigal, TCU’s Luken Baker and Clemson’s Seth Beer. Expect lots of Baker and Beer puns from Mike Lananna next spring.
Josh Norris: BRB. Have to take a call.
George Washington (Virginia): Any change Lewis Brinson gets called up. What can we expect once he gets up.
Josh Norris: I do expect Brinson to get a chance this year. When he gets called up, expect a powerful center fielder who can make an impact on both sides of the ball. His average and slugging marks have dipped this month, but his OBP has remained excellent. Always a good sign.
Dub (Iowa): What has kept Ryan Mountcastle off everyone's top 100 lists given his stock as a first round pick and solid production at every level? Most notably his performance in the Sally league as a 19 year old.
Josh Norris: The question about Mountcastle revolves around his defense. His bat is legit, but his arm might dictate that he has to move off shortstop, which would obviously diminish his prospect stock some.
Greg (NY): Where do you see Dustin Fowler fitting in with the Yanks? Will his inability to take a walk force him to the lower half of the batting order?
Josh Norris: I think Fowler will be a trade chip this summer if and when the Yankees go shopping for reinforcements (assuming they keep this up). That is not to say that the Yankees are down on him, but rather that the industry is high on him. He’s raised his stock significantly.
Richard (Roseville CA): With the way Eloy has hit the ball early on, how long before he gets bumped to AA ?
Josh Norris: I mean, he’s played nine games at high Class A, so I wouldn’t count on it happening any time soon.
Richard (Roseville CA): Ronald Acuna has been really impressive in AA. Showing high average, power, patience and lots of speed at just 19 years old. Many times this year I have read he has hit tape measure HR's including one 450 feet. It appears his power is up considerably from last year and the initial scouting reports, kid looks like he has it all ?
Josh Norris: You’ve got it. The Braves have been aggressive with their prospects when they feel they’ve earned it, and Acuna got moved really quickly. Fire Frogs manager Paul Runge said it all to our Ben Badler earlier this year. “He runs real well, he’s got life in his bat, he’s got power, he plays good defense—he’s got it all,” Fire Frogs manager Paul Runge said. “He’s started out a little slow here at the plate, but nobody here is concerned about that. He’s another guy that wants to excel and he has all the ability to have that kind of year this year.”
J (Philly): If you're the Phillies, how long do you wait before sending Kingery to AAA?
Josh Norris: I think it happens pretty soon. He’s got 311 Double-A at-bats under his belt and the IronPigs have an opening there after Jes Valentin’s injury.
James (Sherbrooke): On a scale of 1-10, 1 being Who? and 10 being OMG! How excited should I be about Estevan Florial?
Josh Norris: I’m probably the high guy on Florial in this office. He’s got a lot of well above-average tools but his strikeout rate of nearly 30 percent is a concern going forth to be sure. So, to answer your question, maybe a 7?
Steve (Brooklyn): What more could you ask of Bichette at this point in the season? Does he get promoted before the Fourth of July? Top 50 guy this offseason?
Josh Norris: He very well could get bumped at midseason. He and Vlad could take their show back to Dunedin and wreak havoc on the Florida State League.
Jake Levine (M.S.): Tell me more about Tomas Nido. What do you see his ceiling as?
Josh Norris: We have him in as a possible everyday catcher in the big leagues when you combine his offensive and defensive abilities. He’s a stealth prospect for sure.
Brett (Calgary): Is Kyle Funkhouser for realz?
Josh Norris: He drew lots of good reviews in instructional league last year and did what he was supposed to in low Class A. I think he’s got a chance at a mid-rotation role.
Matt (Virginia): Hey Josh, thanks for chatting with us!! I have dubious a question about promotions. When do teams make a promotion? How long does a prospect need to prove themselves before being moved up? Guys like Bichette Jr, Guerrero Jr, Duplantier, Chavis, Welker, and Burrows among others...What could they have to possibly prove at this stage? We are 40 games into the season..thanks again!
Josh Norris: I think you and I have different opinions on what 40 games represents. Personally, I think it’s a pretty small sample and normally I wouldn’t promote a guy based on that much time. Some elite guys force teams’ hands (Gleyber Torres last week) but in a lot of cases there are things teams are looking for in a player you can’t see in a box score. Maybe they want them to develop a pitch more or get more comfortable at a spot on defense or refine an approach at the plate. There’s no one answer about when guys get promoted. It varies from system to system.
Josh Norris: Thanks for the questions y’all. Chat with you later this year.