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Prospects Hot Sheet Chat -- 5/30/18

Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody. Hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend, look forward to chatting with you. Let's get started

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for all your questions, and have a great rest of your week

Cody (Iowa): 

    Myles Straw is having an outrageous season in AA hitting .363/.461/.434 with 31 SB and 32 BB. He also looked great in spring training defensively. Is this kid ready for the show? Does he fit in the Astro's long term plans? I can't help but think a team like the Cubs who lack a true leadoff man and strike out a ton could use a hitting profile like Straw's.

Kyle Glaser: It’s going to be hard for Straw to play everyday in Houston’s outfield long-term, seeing as George Springer and Kyle Tucker are going to take up two spots, and Derek Fisher/Marwin Gonzalez/Jake Marisnick are all still in their 20s and part of the future. Straw has always profiled as a big leaguer, but it’s just going to be up to each individual team whether they can live with a lack of power from a starting outfielder. Most likely you’re looking at kind of a righthanded Travis Jankowski. Excellent defense, can run, contact bat, can be a top of the lineup catalyst, but most likely settles into that fourth OF/second division starter type.

Neal (Columbia, SC): 

    Just saw the Low A West Virginia Power play a few games. Very impressed with Cal Mitchell and the massive height/growth of Oneal Cruz. What do you think of those two guys. Am I crazy to be high on them?

Kyle Glaser: You’re not crazy to be high on Calvin Mitchell. Bat is real. Defense overall and throwing in particular can be sketchy, but a lefthanded impact bat with his track record is not one to doubt. Cruz is going to be a little trickier just because you can see him growing into his body and being a muscular masher or growing into his body and never really getting his long levers under control. He’s almost 6-7 now, is a mess at shortstop, going to have to move. You can project good things for Cruz, but Mitchell is someone you feel a little more confident about.

Scott (New Hampshire): 

    Corbin Burnes looked like he was coming around with a 13 K performance early this month. Since then he has been mediocre, like he was before that. What are your thoughts on him? He is pitching in the PCL so that plays into it.

Kyle Glaser: People got caught up scouting the stat line with Burnes last year. He’s a good pitcher, a starter, but his stuff and command was never that of a front of the rotation guy. Some of this is Colorado Springs, but’s it’s also a little who he is. Control was never great, advanced hitters are laying off, and when he makes a mistake it’s not like its 96 with a ton of room for error, its 92-93 (what he actually pitches at) and mistakes at that velo get crushed in the thin air of Springs (and would too in Miller Park). Burnes is a good pitcher. He has the ability to mix his pitches and elevate for swings and misses and has a knack for making big pitches in big spots. But it wasn’t hard to see even in his dominance last year that he would run into a little trouble at higher levels. He’ll work through it and get to the majors, but think of him as more of a No. 4-ish starter.

J (DC): 

    I can’t find any scouting reports on Pablo Lopez (MIA). I can see he’s putting up microscopic numbers at AA and is on the 40. Any thoughts on his stuff? How does he project, as I expect he’ll get called up at some point this year. Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: Lopez ranked No. 25 in the Marlins system in the Prospect Handbook (and No. 31 in the Mariners system the year before), so scouting reports on him are available to subscribers. Short version – pitchability strike-throwing righty who sits in the low 90s with a tick of deception. He touched 94-96 in 1-2 inning spring training outings this year to get people excited, but when he’s actually pitching in games it's more 91-92, touch 94. In Lopez you basically have an average fastball that plays up with deception and command and some average secondaries. He’s pitching really, really well right now, and there is back-of-the-rotation potential there, but the reports are less loud than the numbers. Having fastball command is critical and will help him, but you kind of need an out-pitch secondary to excel in the majors as a starter and he’s short there.

Roger (Oklahoma City): 

    What is going on with Michel Baez? His performance in his first 7 starts back has been less than what stellar coming off last year's performance and the hype he was getting in the offseason. Was he just old for the level last year or is there some underlying issue?

Kyle Glaser: I can not repeat this enough: Low A baseball is a terrible, terrible level of play. Your only reaction to seeing someone tear it up in low A should be “cool, look forward to seeing him in high A”. You should never, ever, ever get excited about someone’s major league potential based on how they look in low A, unless they are 18-19 and crazy young for the level. In Baez’s case, you’ll notice MWL teams did a little better against him the second time around, and one of the issues that came up was he’d get around his fastball later in games and it would start flatten out up in the zone. The consistency of his secondaries also needed work. He was just so big and threw so hard that it didn’t matter against low A hitters, but high A hitters have that extra tick of pitch recognition and barrel control that make a difference. Baez still has front of the rotation potential, but he has things to work on to get there. He’s way better than Yadier Alvarez, so this isn’t that 2.0. But again, as a general rule, don’t get excited about prospects until they get to high A at the least — especially pitchers in their 20s who throw hard and can just overpower inexperienced/poor/younger hitters at low A.

Alex Kirilloff (Cedar Rapids): 

    I missed all of the 2017 season after TJ surgery but used the time to gain muscle and work on my body. I've come back in 2018 bigger and stronger. Even though I haven't been featured much in hot sheets, I've put up huge numbers. Am I creeping close to making the top 100?

Kyle Glaser: Yes

Mj (Valpo): 

    Jamie Westbrook has always hit well, now he's slugging at a high level, so what does his future look like with the Dbacks? Seems like he could be a sneaky sleeper prospect moving forward. Thoughts? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Westbrook is kind of interesting. He's been around so long you forget he's not even turned 23 yet, and you look at his progression and everything is moving in the right direction. There's still not a sense he's ever more than a utilityman at the big league level, and likely more of an up and down guy, but he's definitely put himself onto the radar a little bit

Roger (Oklahoma City): 

    Esteury Ruiz has stolen 5 SB in the last 2 games. I have heard Alfonso Soriano comps. I'm not yet convinced on the power just yet. Is he top 100 or top 50 prospect mid-year? What do you think his ceiling is?

Kyle Glaser: Ruiz is a very young kid still growing into his home run power. It’s a lot of doubles right now, some of which will become homers as he gets older and bigger stronger. He's very good and you see the power-speed combination that can be so tantalizing, but I don’t expect him to ever challenge for 40-40 like Soriano did, and he’s got a lot of work to do to stay at 2B (which Soriano managed to do for his first five MLB seasons). Ruiz is talented, but the Soriano comp is overly rich and no, he’s not a top 100 guy at midyear yet. Lot of work to do for him still hitting wise and on defense.

Hank (The Arch): 

    Is edmundo Sosa the Cardinals' SS of the future?

Kyle Glaser: Sosa certainly hitting better than anyone expected, although part of that is he’s finally healthy. But considering Paul DeJong was actually playing a well above average shortstop defensively before he got hurt and is a cinch for 20+ bombs a year, no. DeJong is the Cardinals shortstop of the present, short-term future and long-term future. Sosa is more a potential utilityman.

Gilbert (Natoma, KS): 

    Jose Suarez has been rocketing through the minor levels earning a promotion to AAA this past week. Do you see him in the majors this year? Does he have #3 ceiling?

Kyle Glaser: A lefty with a 90-94 mph fastball, a 60-grade changeup and an improving breaking ball he can land to both sides of the plate – yes, that’ll work in the majors and gives Suarez a chance to be a No. 3, provided he stays in shape (he’s already pretty plump at age 20) and he continues to refine his breaking ball. Whether he pitches in the majors this year will have more to do with injuries to the rest of the Angels rotation than him. Richards, Ohtani, Heaney, Skaggs, Tropeano and Barria are all healthy right now, plus you’ve got Parker Bridwell down in Triple-A. Unless three of them all get hurt all at the same time, I’d be surprised to see Suarez in the majors this year.

Gilbert (Natoma, KS): 

    It is a small sample but Kyle Lewis' comeback seems to be on the right track. 12 hits in the last 7 days with 2 HR. Overall he has only 2 hitless games 14 games. He is old for his level so how many more games do you see he needs under his belt before bumping to AA for more appropriate competition?

Kyle Glaser: Lewis impressed quite a bit last year when he came back too even though the numbers weren’t as loud. Keep in mind he’s actually still younger than the league average in the California League. But yes, he’s at just over 50 career games in HiA now and is showing his knee is healthy. I’d be surprised if he’s not at Double-A by the time the second half starts.

Ryan (New York): 

    Do you think that Alonso has the opportunity to have a similar trajectory to Rhys Hoskins?

Kyle Glaser: It’s starting to look like it. Once concern with that comp entering the year was that Hoskins hit same-side pitching much better than Alonso did, but then Alonso went out and hit .350/.467/.642 against righties this year. If Alonso came up to the majors in August and had a crazy power Matt Olson/Rhys Hoskins power outburst over the final two months, I wouldn’t be shocked.

Bo (Myrtle Beach): 

    Fernando Tatis Jr is on a ridiculous tear. Of course baseball is a game of adjustments so we'll need to see how AA pitchers adjust to him, and how he adjusts back. Still, do we see a Manny Machado like future for this kid?

Kyle Glaser: That still remains the best-case scenario comp, yes.

Tim (Lonesome Dove): 

    Is drew waters becoming a top 100 prospect?

Kyle Glaser: Not yet, but he's moving in the right direction

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Andrew (Plattsburgh, New York): 

    Everyone seems to be down on Vlad Jr's defense -- Is he making progress defensively or do you think he will be a substandard/league average defender?

Kyle Glaser: He’s worked hard and all indications are he’s shown he can stand at 3B at least for the first few years of his career. He’s still a first baseman long term but hey, so was Frank Thomas, and you take that dude over 99 percent of up the middle players in the game. Vlad’s arm is fine, hands are fine, lateral range is solid, he’s just a big boy who will only get bigger as he gets older, and eventually that means a likely move to first. Which, again, does nothing to change the fact he’s the best player and prospect currently in the minor leagues, by a wide margin.

Justin (Believeland): 

    With Shane Bieber coming up this Thursday, what kind of future can we expect? We all know the story of elite command but only average/above average stuff. Many in the industry slept on Kluber who had a similar profile. While it's too aggressive to suggest Bieber is the next Kluber, can we all agree there's more in this kid than we originally thought?

Kyle Glaser: Bieber’s slider is pretty good, but it’s not Kluber-level. Kluber is also more sinker/cutter, more about the movement, while Bieber is more about the command. But as far as Bieber being more than originally thought, he did what good players do – he got better. These kids are not finished products at 21-22. So he was what he was at 21-22, he got better, and now he’s appropriately regarded as such. He’s still mostly 90-93 and touch mid 90s as opposed to sitting in the mid 90s, but with his command and a solid secondary that’s enough to stand as a back-of-the-rotation strike-thrower at least, maybe mid-rotation if his command has more days as elite than merely above-average, which is still pretty good.

Scott (Arlington, tx): 

    Who would be the higher ranked prospect? 18 year old McKenzie Gore or 18 year old Julio Urias?

Kyle Glaser: Urias had a 2.77 ERA in Double-A as an 18-year old and had proven his stuff played against full-season hitters in actual competition, not just on paper. It would be Urias, and it’s not close.

Scott (Arlington, tx): 

    Any news on James Kaprielian's rehab?

Kyle Glaser: Kaprielian started experiencing shoulder soreness right around the time he was expected to get out to Stockton, so he's down again. There is no set timetable for his return.

Scott (Arlington, tx): 

    Likelihood of the following players being up this season to stay? Jesus Lezardo Luis Urias Michael Kopech Justice Sheffield Kody Allard

Kyle Glaser: Urias would be the guy given the combination of his position and where his MLB team stands, but he's got some things to work on at Triple-A. In the search for more power his leg kick has gotten unwieldy, and it's cost him the balance that made him such an elite hitter to begin with. He needs to make the adjustment to tame that down and get back to being who he is and what he's best at - lining the ball hard to all fields, quick stroke, get on base. Once he makes the adjustment back to what he does best, he'll be ready

Kevin B (Washington DC): 

    What are the chances Keegan Akin makes his big league debut this year? The Oriole's rotation is a hot mess right now.

Kyle Glaser: You’ll see Yefry Ramirez and Tim Melville and Asher Woj before you see Akin.

Rob (Redondo Beach, CA): 

    What are your expectations for Dennis Santana in Los Angeles?

Kyle Glaser: Santana’s sinker/slider combo makes him effective against righties right now. He’s worked on his changeup a lot and it’s progressed, but whether it’s enough to consistently neutralize major league lefthanded hitters multiple times through an order is up in the air. That’s going to be key to watch, and will help determine if he can make it through 5-6 innings or if he runs into trouble in the 3rd-4th and ends up serving the Dodgers better in 2018 as a right-right matchup guy out of the bullpen.

Anderson (washington DC): 

    What's ailing Bobby Bradley this year? Can he regain promising prospect status?

Kyle Glaser: Opponents keep pounding Bradley away away away he's just not making the adjustment. And then on top of that, his swing has gotten longer since last year. The 70 raw power is still there, but a long swing with no adjustments isn't a recipe for success. He's gotta get that fixed

Brian (Philly): 

    At the start of the year your staff touted JoJo Romero as a breakout candidate. I believe he even sneaked into the back end of your top 100 at one point. Are there concerns about his performance this year?

Kyle Glaser: You do have to take pitching at Reading into account and how it's a hitters-haven, but even with that Romero's stuff simply just hasn't been as firm as you'd like to see. Will be interesting to see if he makes the adjustments here as we move into June to unlock some of the better stuff we saw in flashes last year

Warren (New London): 

    With Gavin Lux breaking out there are now three really interesting infielders from the 2016 high school class, including Bo Bichette and Carter Kieboom. How would you contrast the three? Who is most likely to stay at shortstop?

Kyle Glaser: Bo’s got the most impact in his bat and has the best chance to stay at SS, although Kieboom isn’t far behind in that department. Lux is the third of the three – his arm is a liability and won’t allow him to play SS at the major league level, and even with his breakout you’re still looking at more of a utilityman who can bounce around between 2B, 3B and a little bit of SS.

Chet (Knoxville): 

    Is Enyel de los Santos still thought of as a back-end starter, or does he profile as something more with his apparent improvements this season?

Kyle Glaser: De Los Santos is having an excellent year in Triple-A and is a big league arm, but he needs to get his breaking ball better and more consistent to be a mid-rotation caliber pitcher. You’re still looking at more back of the rotation/late relief as a fastball heavy righty whose best secondary is a good but not great changeup. He’ll help a big league team though.

Travis (Omak, Wa): 

    How far outside the top 100 is Evan White? Do you think he finished the year in AA?

Kyle Glaser: He’s in the convo to join soon. And yes.

Derek (San Diego): 

    This is probably the best month that Fernando Tatis Jr. has ever had in his career. What are your thoughts on his improvement from April?

Kyle Glaser: There was a lot of overswinging, a lot of expanding the zone on breaking pitches on the outer half, and his swing got sloppy. Tatis' swing has a lot of moving parts and can be pretty high maintenance. The Padres addressed his head position and keeping his head still, and once he did that he started seeing the ball better, and you began seeing less chases and better swings. The best thing about Tatis is not his tools - it's that he adjusts so quickly. He was off, he took the coaching to make the adjustments needed, and applied it in games immediately. That's a separator and what separates the tools guys who never put it together and the stars. That, as much as anything, is why Padres fans should be so excited about Tatis and his future

Matt (Va): 

    Who are some of the short season prospects your most intrigued to watch or track?

Kyle Glaser: Hans Crouse will be interesting. Guy who always had big stuff and room to grow stronger, had some other issues that needed to be addressed, but he looked fantastic after he signed last year. Seeing what Crouse looks like physically and how he handles the next step up the ladder will be something I'll be keeping an eye on

AJ (Carlsbad): 

    Is Tatis the second best prospect in AA?

Kyle Glaser: I would refer you to our BA Top 100 rankings

Mike Modano (Dallas): 

    Is Jonathan Hernandez someone with mid-rotation potential at this point?

Kyle Glaser: He's certainly looking like it. His slider needs to get more consistent in its shape and location, but there is the raw ingredients there to project a really, really good starting pitcher

CM (LA): 

    Given the injuries and performances thus far of Yadier Alvarez, Mitch White and Jordan Sheffield, is Caleb Ferguson the next pitching prospect to watch after Dennis Santana?

Kyle Glaser: Dustin May still gets the nod just because there is a lot of really projectable upside, but Ferguson has definitely made all the right strides with his control. I wouldn't give up on Mitchell White yet, but Yadier Alvarez pretty clearly wasn't actually all that good a year ago (again, closer upside but not a ton of likelihood he gets there) and Jordan Sheffield has always been just a guy who throws hard but isn't actually that great of a pitcher. I'd order it White, May, Ferguson

Sleepy Steve (Xland): 

    Is Anderson Tejeda's long-term position at shortstop or at third base? And what do you think of his chances of making enough contact to be a viable major league regular?

Kyle Glaser: Tejeda can certainly play shortstop. That arm is a cannon and he has the range for the position, although he still boots some routine plays he'll need to make moving forward. And it's interesting on his bat. You see the bat speed and the quick twitch, but in each of my looks at him it's been a lot of flailing over breaking balls and questionable pitch recognition. But then, in looks by others, they see a much better bat. So that's the million dollar question, but there does seem to be a growing sense that he has the ability to eventually make enough contact to be an everyday guy.

Tony (California): 

    Thoughts on Hudson Potts? Seems to be having a good month and year as one of the youngest players in the cal league.

Kyle Glaser: It's kind of the same deal with Potts. Power, nice swing, recognizes the strike zone, but there's just a lot of swing and miss in the zone, too much for evaluators to turn him in as a future everyday player. He's got plenty of time on his side to address that, but it's something he will need to

Hunter (Springfield, MO): 

    How close are Pratto, Lee, Matias, and Melendez to top 100 territory?

Kyle Glaser: Pratto would be the one, and he's done OK for himself, but the strikeouts are alarming - although, as Rustin Dodd pointed out in a recent article, Pratto is getting victimized by some poor Low A umpiring. But he's a guy in the discussion, it's just there are still a handful of others ahead of him on the pecking order right now

Dave (Tampa, FL): 

    Does Hu have any shot at returning to starting for the Rays, or is he strictly a RP going forward?

Kyle Glaser: He has a shot, but for the better part of two years now they seem to be grooming him for a long-relief type role whenever he's back down in Durham

Fisher cats (toronto): 

    Lots of spotlights for Vlad Jr. recently. I want to shift it back to his batting partner Bo Bichette a bit. He was in a hitting slump for a while in the month of May. How's his offensive look to you thus far? Furthermore, can you expand a bit on his defensive development?

Kyle Glaser: Bichette struggled because he started getting way, way overaggressive swinging at the first pitch. Double-A pitchers saw that and started throwing him a bunch of sliders, which he has struggled with. That's been one thing evaluators have noted with him this year, sliders that are lateral he can foul away or put in play, but anything with depth gets a swing and miss over the top. He's still hitting fastballs hard, but sliders to get ahead and to finish him have been a problem. Defense it's been interesting, he's showing the glove and range to his left, but his arm is drawing mixed grades. As one evaluator put it, Bichette fools you into thinking he has a plus arm because he shows you one moving in and to his left - aka when his momentum is taking him towards the first base bag - but when he has to go to his backhand its exposed a bit as an average arm. I've run into a couple evaluators - and even had some last year - who thought Bichette was an average second base prospect in spite of his big numbers, because his approach would give him trouble at higher levels and some of the defensive holes would get exposed. But, he's only 20, he's succeeded everywhere he's ever been, and he has the right competitive edge to prove people wrong. Seeing how he adjusts his approach and to sliders with depth will be key to watch moving forward.

Mace Tyrel (Highgarden): 

    Explain why Austin Riley is bad.

Kyle Glaser: He's not. He's really good and is going to hit plenty of home runs in the major leagues.

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