Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (5/22/18)
Ben Badler: Hey everyone. We’re moving full throttle right now at BA with draft, July 2, college, minor league prospect and MLB coverage right now. Let’s get started.
Matt (Los Angeles, CA):
- How high do you think Jo Adell will climb this year in terms of both minor league level and in the top 100? He’s been displaying his prodigious power recently and was promoted to high A today.
Ben Badler: We have him at No. 43 right now and ticketed to move up in our next Top 100 update. He could be a top 25 guy soon, with the type of tools to be a top 10 type if he keeps hitting like this as he moves up.
AJ P (SD):
- When should we call up Luis Urias?
Ben Badler: I’d give him more time in Triple-A. Reevaluate in the second half.
- Hi Ben. Is Jazz Chisholm breaking out? Is the strikeout rate concerning or is it passable?
Ben Badler: A little of both. The swing-and-miss is still high, but it’s moving in the right direction as he’s finally healthy and just getting more quality game experience that he didn’t have much of when he entered pro ball.
- Is Garret Hampson’s breakout for real? Do you think this OBP is a sign of things to come?
Ben Badler: I think he’s an everyday guy. Swing works well, he controls the strike zone and the speed is a plus-plus tool. Arm to me looked like it would be stretched at SS, but everything should play at 2B or in CF.
Chris (St. Catharines, ON):
- With Cavan Biggio’s swing changes and the production that’s come from them early this season, how much has his ceiling gone up in your opinion? Is it still more of a second division regular profile or is there a chance for more than that?
Ben Badler: I’ve seen him a bunch this year. I thought he was a borderline org guy coming into the year. He’s totally changed my mind. The power is real, he has a patient approach and puts together a lot of quality at-bats. There are some swing holes where you can beat him and it’s more of an offensive-minded profile, but the patience/power combo play well enough to give him a chance as an everyday 2B.
- What do you see as Vlad Jr’s offensive ceiling?
Ben Badler: An MVP. He could win a batting title, lead the league in OBP or slugging. When we dropped an 80 future hit tool on him last year, I know that surprised some people, but I think everyone’s seeing it now. He is such a complete hitter, it’s amazing to watch from a 19-year-old.
Matt H (Houston):
- J.B. Bukauskas seems to be stuttering. She we be concerned?
Ben Badler: Based on the feedback we’ve had from scouts who’ve seen him this year, yes.
Jason (Los Angeles):
- With these recurring blister issues is Mackenzie Gore going to be the next Rich Hill? Exaggerating but it’s concerning when I’ve never heard of these issues for him in the past
Ben Badler: Can’t say it’s a long-term concern right now, but in the short term It’s definitely frustrating. He’s super talented.
- What is Shane Bieber’s ceiling?
Ben Badler: Midrotation starter. I think he’s probably a No. 4 SP with a chance to play above that in his best years.
- What’s going on with Indian prospect Triston McKenzie?
Ben Badler: Rehabbing in Arizona, threw a few days ago.
Tommy N. (San Diego):
- Any thoughts on Chris Paddack?
Ben Badler: Hard to post better numbers much better than what he’s done in his four starts. He’s a strike-thrower with a 70 changeup, which is a recipe to annihilate A-ball hitters. The breaking ball and durability are risk factors going forward, but it’s a great sign to see him back healthy and pitching like this.
- From last weeks’s hot list (sorry I’m late) but Is the offensive growth of Kevin Smith real? Does he now profile as a solid average big leaguer?
Ben Badler: It looks real. He’s a true shortstop and the power was there when they drafted him, but the swing and the resulting contact issues were the red flag. We have a good story up today for BA subscribers detailing some of the swing changes he made over the offseason to increase his contact rate, and it’s helped him close up a hole in his game. His stock is way up for me.
- How similar or different is Christian Pache as a prospect, compared to Byron Buxton as a prospect? And in what ways? Thank you.
Ben Badler: Both elite defenders and runners. Buxton’s hitting ability and power potential were well ahead of Pache’s at the same age.
Cuban Cigar (PA):
- How were you able to get a comp of Victor Robles on Victor Victor Mesa? Is this “another” one of those generational talents we all dream of?
Ben Badler: I’ve been watching him play since 2014. He’s a talented prospect but I don’t see anything once in a generation there.
- I’ve always like Eric Jenkins as a premium, fast-twitch athlete. He’s shown some flashes in the past, but can he make 2018 his true breakout? (he’s on the right path)
Ben Badler: It’s a step up from last year, but still a lot of crudeness there offensively.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD):
- What are your thoughts regarding Elehuris Montero? He’s had a nice start in the MWL. Do you think he sticks at 3B?
Ben Badler: I’m a believer in the bat. A lot of hitter-ish tendencies, and I do think he has enough defensively to handle 3B.
- Should be worried about Cal Quantril
Ben Badler: Yes, although I know I’ve been lower on him than others for a while.
- Luis Robert or Jo Adell? Which do you like more?
Ben Badler: Jo Adell
- Are there any ‘17 J2 signees that are making strides in extended in Florida or Arizona? When do you start rolling out your 2018 class rankings? Who is in the running for number 2 behind Victor Victor?
Ben Badler: Everson Pereira with the Yankees. I have a whole updated scouting report on him in our Yankees international review, and the power is translating into games right now in extended. 2018 rankings will roll out later in June.
- Thanks for posting the video of Vlad doing his defensive work the other day. Cool to see stuff we dont normally get to watch. Do you think he can stay at third base?
Ben Badler: Thank you, I appreciate it. That video got a great response. I had people in the game message me to say how it meant a lot to them for me to share an example of the work that coaches and players put in that doesn’t typically get recognized, so it’s cool to see how many fans responded so well to it. I’m hoping that’s something I can find more ways to do going forward. I do think Vladdy has a chance to stick at third early in his career. He has the arm, his hand-eye coordination and body control/awareness are assets over there, he’s just such a big guy that it limits his first-step quickness and range. Eventually I think he outgrows the position, but if he keeps working at it, I do think he can start his major league career as a third baseman.
Luis Medina (Thinly veiled self advertisement):
- Which short season pitcher are you most excited to see?
Ben Badler: Eric Pardinho
Fernando Tatis, Jr. (Double-A):
- Will my strikeouts prevent me from overtaking Juan Soto as the youngest player in the MLB later this year?
Ben Badler: I don’t think the Padres push Tatis up this year. The Nationals are contending for a playoff spot and had an immediate need on their big league club. I wouldn’t rule out seeing him in 2018, but I think 2019 is more likely.
Leody Taveras (Figuring it out?):
- Since I’ve consistently been one of the youngest at every level I’ve played, people forget that I’m still only 19 for the entire 2018 season. Still one of the youngest in HiA I’ve finally started to show the offense profile many have projected while increasing my BB% and keeping my K% fairly low. Many scouts predicted I’d eventually be a top 10 prospect. Have those opinions changed?
Ben Badler: With what we’re seeing from players like Acuna, Vlad Jr and Soto, yeah, I think it can get overlooked just how young Leody and Andres Gimenez for their level. Tools are the same as last year, lower half swing mechanics are different and he’s being a more selective hitter at least so far. I don’t know when but I think at some point everything is going to sync up and click for him and we could see his numbers explode.
- Keibert Ruiz is only striking out in 8% (!!) of plate appearances as a 19 year old catcher in Double A. How good is this kid? The bat to ball seems pretty special.
Ben Badler: I love him. Going to stick behind the dish and should be one of the top hitting catchers in the game.
- There’s a lot of love for young hitting prospects. Where’s the love for Taylor Trammel? He’s young and killing it in A+.
Ben Badler: No. 44 on our Top 100 with the arrows pointing up. Great blend of hitting ability and athleticism.
- Manny Margot… Whahahappend?!
Ben Badler: I think he turns it around, but, yeah…. yikes.
Von Hayes (Philadelphia):
- Thoughts on Willie Calhoun’s struggles in AAA so far – its been approx 200 ABs now…Do you still project him as an MLBer who can hit 30 HRs (although maybe as a DH). Also, do you project Blake Rutherford as an MLBer someday…for fun, is there a player comp for him? Go Phils.
Ben Badler: Still a believer in Calhoun. Clean swing, a lot of barrel accuracy and the power is still in there when he’s swinging at the right pitches he can drive. I’m more skeptical on Rutherford, although he has hit well so far this year.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. (New Hampshire):
- When am I called up? June after the Super Two deadline or more likely in September when rosters expand.
Ben Badler: I don’t know. The Blue Jays really don’t know yet either. I think they overestimated their playoff chances this year, missed on an opportunity to reset the organization in the offseason and didn’t expect Vlad to be hitting demolishing Double-A like he is right now, so they’re still figuring out what the best plan is for the organization and for Vlad’s long-term development.
- Do you think some of the smaller markets would be better served to bring up their 19-20yr old “generational” prospects (Vlad, Harper, Trout, etc) and start their clocks – knowing they will not be signing them later on? In other words, bring them up now, save the 300mm in 6 years and they can always trade them in the year before FA for new high level prospects? Do you think the tide will change? The game is moving younger, after all…
Ben Badler: I think it depends on the specifics of the circumstances. With Juan Soto, the Nationals are a contending team with a specific need right now. If Soto is the best option, it’s super aggressive, but super talented players like him tend to break the conventional plans and schedules. Same with the Red Sox and Rafael Devers last year. Whereas with a team like the White Sox and Eloy, being more patient is probably the right play for them.
- Any Orioles prospects making their way to the top 100? Any breakout players?
Ben Badler: Been more breakdowns than breakouts for the Orioles this year.
Derek (San Diego):
- How much has Josh Naylor’s stock risen this year? Seems like he has figured something out. Thanks!
Ben Badler: It’s way up. He’s always had huge raw power you could see in BP. Now we’re seeing it show up with more frequency in games with a more selective approach and more loft to tap into that home run power.
Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions. Before I head out, I know we’ve had a ton of new people sign up for a BaseballAmerica.com subscription recently. I just wanted to say thank you, to our new subscribers and those of you who have been with us for years, for supporting what we do at BA. It means a lot to all of us. This is a crazy time of year but it’s fun to put it all together. We appreciate it. ??Have a great day.