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Cincinnati Reds 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

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Nolan Gorman (Photo by Paul Gierhart)

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Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody. Been a while since I've chatted, looking forward to getting back on the horse. Let's talk Cardinals.

Ryan (Detroit):

    How close was Jhon Torres to making the top 10?


Kyle Glaser: Torres is in the 11-15 range but wasn’t really in Top 10 consideration. You see the youth and the tools and the body and can dream, but his strike-zone discipline and pitch recognition drew very mixed reviews and have a long way to go. Even in the Appy League where his numbers were good, there was a lot of concern about his ability to separate balls from strikes and swing at good pitches to hit. There’s promise, but in a system with so many upper-level performers with plenty of tools as well, Torres was pretty firmly outside the Top 10 in the eyes of both Cardinals officials and opposing evaluators.

Wes (Wautoma, Wisconsin):

    Most of the Cardinals top minor leaguers are above low A ball. Any players I should be excited to see with low A Peoria in 2020?


Kyle Glaser: Mateo Gil earned a lot of admirers at Johnson City this year and should open at Peoria next year. Torres and Malcom Nunez will likely be back after dropping down to Johnson City this year as well.

Wes (Wautoma, Wisconsin):

    Any updates on Delvin Perez or Nick Plummer? Last year this chat advised Delvin's ceiling was a minor leaguer and Nick was pretty much dragging his bat around. Has anything improved?


Kyle Glaser: Plummer is still a non-prospect. Has been for three years. Perez's defense remains solid at shortstop, but until he adds strength—there's still zero impact on contact—he's an organizational minor league shortstop. He was still only 20, but evaluators don't see a frame for him to add a lot of muscle. He's not in the Top 30. Neither the Cardinals nor opposing evaluators felt he needed to be, either.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

    Hi Kyle. Thanks for the chat. After reading their write ups, thinking Knizner's defense will keep him from being a full time catcher, despite his good bat? Also looks like Lane Thomas is destined to be more of a 4th OF than regular unless there is a big improvement from him?


Kyle Glaser: Keep in mind Knizner has only been catching for a few years so there's still room for development as he gets more reps and experience. If he stays as he is? He's going to be a part-timer. If he improves? He's got a chance to be an everyday guy. It's really just about the steps he takes, and there is a sense he has a chance to become an average defensive catcher in time, although it's not a slam dunk. As for Thomas, it's more about health with him than anything else. The consensus is he probably is a 4th OF, but the one time he actually stayed healthy enough to play a full season (2018) he showed there might be more in there.

Zak (Boston):

    I know going into the draft, not a lot of scouts had a chance to take a look at Trejyn Fletcher. What's the early reports on his bat and how close was he making it to the top 10?


Kyle Glaser: Very, very, very raw. The stance, the swing, the pitch recognition...it's very, very far behind his contemporaries. Opponents just threw him breaking ball after breaking ball and he was done. There's a lot of work ahead for him to even be in Top 20 consideration, let alone Top 10. He was not close.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

    Any chance Ponce de Leon becomes a SP for St Louis? Or did he not impress enough last year?


Kyle Glaser: There's certainly a chance. Obviously you want the walks to come down a bit, but there's no denying his stuff plays and he's largely delivered when called upon. He's an option, for sure.

Warren (New London):

    Why wasn't Dylan Carlson taken sooner than 33rd overall in the 2016 draft? Lots of good scouts must have seen him multiple times, and they would have known how young he was. He's certainly improved a lot, but isn't that what scouts are for?


Kyle Glaser: He was still still a first-rounder. It's not like he dropped to the ninth round or anything. He was still one of the top 15 high schoolers taken in the entire nation. I wouldn't exactly call that a scouting miss.

Zac (NY):

    Which of Knizner and Herrera do you feel more strongly about replacing Molina as the Cards' everyday catcher? Related, what are your thoughts on Julio Rodriguez?


Kyle Glaser: Man, I had that conversation over and over again with evaluators and front office officials inside the Cardinals organization. Ultimately, the reason Herrera got the nod as the higher-ranked prospect and catcher in the projected 2023 lineup was there's a pretty solid level of confidence he'll both hit and defend. With Knizner, there's confidence he'll hit, but there was a lot more uncertainty about his defense. Knizner obviously reached the majors already and will get the first crack to replace Molina, and he certainly could seize the job, but the overall expectation, by a slight margin, was that Herrera will be the guy once he's ready.

MK (Vegas):

    What are your thoughts on Dylan Carlson? All things in the world working out perfectly, who is a good player comp for Carlson? Any other Cardinals prospects you excited about? Thanks!


Kyle Glaser: A switch-hitting Andre Ethier came up a couple of times as a comp for Carlson. A darn good player who hits in the middle of the lineup for playoff teams and makes a couple of All-Star games at his peak. He's got a chance to be very, very good. Helsley's and Cabrera's pure stuff is obviously pretty exciting. I think any time a catcher as young as Ivan Herrera shows as much prowess with the bat as he does, it's certainly intriguing.

Jason L. (Pleasant Hill, CA.):

    Need way more of a Scouting Report on Nolan Gorman’s defensive prowess. Is he so challenged that we are talking about a future DH here or is he simply staring at a move to 1st Base?


Kyle Glaser: Not at all. As the reports says, he's got a chance to become an average big league third baseman, which is pretty good. "Average" in our everyday vocabulary is very different than "average" on a major league scouting scale. That means you have a legit, everyday-caliber major league ability. He's a big strong kid who is going to have to stay mobile. If he doesn't then yes, a move to 1B is likely, but barring that he has all the tools to remain a third baseman.

Chuck (Indiana):

    Not sure if he qualifies, but can you give me some good news on Alex Reyes’s outlook?


Kyle Glaser: Alex Reyes has graduated from prospect status so he did not qualify for the list. There's not a whole lot of good news you can draw from a guy who has now had three straight-season ending injuries.

Brandon (San Mateo, CA):

    Did much did Gorman's year affect is long-term outlook?


Kyle Glaser: Not a ton. It was more just a year where he learned he's going to have to make some adjustments to his approach and can't rely on just overpowering the ball. That's what the minor leagues are for. Evaluators are still pretty bullish on his long-term outlook and see a potential All-Star third baseman at the level of like a Kyle Seager.

Owen (Arizona):

    Mateo Gil seemed to hold his own in the Appalachian League and showed surprising flashes of power, even hitting a 442ft bomb in game. Does he have the tools to be a Top 100 Prospect?


Kyle Glaser: We're a long way off from that. He's a pretty good all-around player but there's no huge tool there and evaluators mostly see a potential solid big leaguer, not an All-Star. As we studied last year, there are about 110 future All-Stars in the minor leagues in a given year (I was shocked how high the number was, but it was what the findings showed). The Top 100 is mostly reserved for those guys who project as potential future All-Stars. Gil, while a good player, isn't seen at that level at this time.

David (Tennessee):

    Gorman and Montero are very intriguing prospects, especially since both are playing 3B right now. Who has the higher floor? Who has the higher ceiling? Do you see any big league comps for them?


Kyle Glaser: I really dislike talking in terms of "floor" and "ceiling". They're overly generic terms and people artificially raise players' "floors" way too high. Both Gorman and Montero are talented power hitters who could very well never get past Double-A if they don't improve their approach. There is no "major league floor." The floor is they're minor leaguers. As for who is seen as the better future major leaguer, I would refer you to our Top 10 ranking. Whoever is ranked higher is who projects to be the better major leaguer. It's pretty straightforward.

KB (NY):

    Patrick Romeri showed some pretty good pop for an 18 year old in rookie ball, though he did strike out a lot. Does he have the defensive skills to makes it to the majors?


Kyle Glaser: Sure, but it's going to be his bat that determines whether he makes it or not...which is true of every minor leaguer. If you can hit, someone will find a spot for you.

Rich (NJ):

    Can you please provide your thoughts on Malcom Nunez with respect to his 2019 performance and outlook for future results. Thanks


Kyle Glaser: The first year in the U.S. is a tough transition for any international teenager, and that's doubly true for Cuban players who are largely coming into an entirely different world. Nunez a big boy built like a fullback and when he hits it it's loud contact. He was just very, very raw in his plate approach and very inconsistent on defense. There is still an impact bat you can dream on and he's still firmly in the top 20 of the Cardinals prospects. Year two in the US is probably going to be a lot more telling about his actual ability than year one.

Adam (TN):

    Do you see this system cracking the top 10 anytime soon?


Kyle Glaser: Not necessarily. Most of their best prospects will be in the majors soon and there isn't a lot at the lower levels to backfill it. I would say the Cardinals system is probably going to slide backwards more than jump forward over the next year. At the same time, it'd be dropping for the right reasons - graduating a lot of talent to the majors (Flaherty, Hudson, Hicks, DeJong, Edman, Bader since 2017) and using other prospects (Gallen, Alcantara, Kelly, etc) in to acquire impact players in trades (Goldschmidt, Ozuna), without which the Cardinals don't win the NL Central last year. Which again, is the point of all of this. I really wouldn't sweat the Cardinals farm system dropping - it'd be dropping because guys graduated and became important major leaguer contributors, which is a good thing and what every organization strives for.

Paul Ivice (Jensen Beach, FL):

    The Cardinals seem to be developing a glut of utility infielders in the upper levels, and not much need for them now, so where do Ramon Urian and Kramer Robertson fit in?


Kyle Glaser: You can never really have too much infield depth. Urias' ability to play 3B, 2B and SS gives him a shot to be in the majors next year once injuries arise. Robertson isn't really seen as more than an up-down option, but you certainly need those guys when the time calls. It really just depends what happens in front of them.

JD (AZ):

    Kyle, thanks for the chat. Where do you expect the Cards system will rank?


Kyle Glaser: It's probably somewhere in the 12-15 range right now because of the strength at the top, but keep in mind with trades and other offseason moves ahead they may be somewhere different in February when our organizational talent rankings come out.

John B (NJ):

    Is Alex Reyes no longer a prospect? Where would he rate if he was?


Kyle Glaser: Reyes graduated from prospect status when he made his first appearance last season. Just given the risk attached to a guy who has had three consecutive season-ending injuries, I don't know if I could have put him any higher than No. 3, and I could see the argument to go as low as 9.

Scott R (Springfield, IL):

    I like the young pitchers taken in the 2019 draft. What to you think of Pallante, Ralston, Yasenka, Gragg. Do you think they can stay as starers?


Kyle Glaser: The Cardinals have already moved Jack Ralston to the bullpen and plan to keep him there. Pallante has a shot to stick as a starter and the early reviews were good on Michael YaSenka, although his sinker/slider combo might play better in relief than as a starter long-term. All are good arms who have a chance to help in some form or fashion.

Rick (MO):

    What do you make of Gorman's lack of power after his big start to the season? Sometimes bats warm up when the weather does in the MWL.


Kyle Glaser: He just got out of his approach and then went to the FSL, where power goes to die. That's especially true in Jupiter. He just got extremely pull-oriented and began pulling off the ball. If he gets back to previous form, he'll be fine.

Johnny (TX):

    What did we find out about Jhon Torres this year that we didn't now a year ago? BA touted him as a possible breakout guy going into 2019 and I was real excited too.


Kyle Glaser: That his pitch recognition and plate discipline weren't as advanced as previously thought. Again, he still put up good numbers in the Appy League and is a good prospect firmly in the Top 15 of the system, he's just got a little further to go and is more raw as a hitter than previously thought.

Bryan (Illinois):

    1. What's Connor Capel up to? 2. Genesis Cabrera seems crazy high, what am I missing?


Kyle Glaser: Capel's a good defender in center field and that certainly counts for something. He's just not much of a hitter and projects as an up-down guy for most evaluators, at best. As for Cabrera, you've got a major league-ready lefthander with premium stuff. He's following the track of previous guys who clearly weren't cut out for starting (or even long relief), but you put them in the bullpen and you have an All-Star closer. If not for Jordan Hicks, Cabrera would've been penciled in the Cardinals closer of the future.

Terry (kentucky):

    Who of the outfield prospects has the best chance of breaking through in the majors in 2020?


Kyle Glaser: Well, Lane Thomas' ability to play center field has him in good position if Harrison Bader's bat falls flat again. He's a better center fielder than Dexter Fowler at this point and really stung the ball in his short big league time last year. I think it's also very, very likely we see Dylan Carlson during the season. If Marcell Ozuna leaves and Fowler or Tyler O'Neill scuffle, the door will be open and I expect Carlson to bust through it.

BEN (Jackson):

    Thoughts on Montero? Is the glove good enough to remain at 3b? Was last year just a blip or did his injury hinder his offense that much?


Kyle Glaser: His hand and wrist injuries really hindered his offense. That was the root of all his struggles. Defensively he's a big boy who probably does end up at first base. What's most important is he comes back next year and shows what he can do fully healthy.

Elehuris Montero (Still In Top 100?):

    Hi Kyle, it's interesting that I am still in the top 100 but fell all the way to #9 for the Cardinals top 10. Is it safe to say I will not be in the top 100 come February? What were scouts' thoughts on my hit/power tools in 2019 that everyone was so bullish on to get me into the top 100 to begin with? 60/60 still possible?


Kyle Glaser: You are correct Montero will not be in the Top 100 come February. There were some scout reservations about the swing length and his pitch recognition certainly went backwards, but overall there are still bullish opinions out there about his future ability as a hitter. 60/60 were never the hit and power grades on Montero. They were 60/55 at their peak. If you take a look at the Top 10, you'll see the hit grade dropped a tick, but there's still a sense he has the ingredients to be an above-average hitter.

BEN (Jackson):

    I see Randy Arozarena didn't make your 2023 outfield. Why no love for Randy?


Kyle Glaser: Plenty of love. We ranked him in the Top 10 in a good system. He's just going to be more the 4th/5th OF of that group than an everyday starter. Speed and defense are good, bat and baserunning are too inconsistent to put out there every day if you're a first-division team as the Cardinals are.

BEN (Jackson):

    Who makes the jump this year, like Carlson this year. Someone on the radar but just takes it to another level. Zach Thompson? Loche?


Kyle Glaser: Keep an eye on Johan Oviedo. He keeps figuring out his long limbs more and more and keeps improving his velocity and the consistency of his secondary stuff. He's up to 98 now, the slider is becoming a swing-and-miss pitch and the changeup is good enough to keep hitters honest. Just needs to get that delivery down and repeat it. If he does, there's a chance he's the top pitching prospect in the Cardinals system and a Top 100 prospect at this time next year.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out. Have a great Thanksgiving and travel safe.

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Young Cardinals Outfielders On The Cusp

The Cardinals are counting on a talented group of Triple-A outfielders to supply needed offense in left and center field in 2020.

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