2012 Minor League Player of the Year Chat

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J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping by and thank you for all the interest in how we pick the Minor League POY.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): I would be curious to know how Oscar Taveras missed out on this honor. Just a couple of his attributes - he was skipped a level at age 19 after winning the MWL's batting title, then won it for a second year in a row in the Texas League. He never went more than three games without a hit this entire year (which occurred only once), struck out only 56 times in 477 AB's, as opposed to 52 times in 308 AB's last year, and is considered to be a true five-tool talent in every sense of the word. Finally, he is the second youngest player in the league. Thanks for the chat.

J.J. Cooper: Hi Jaypers. Most of what you said is true (although five-tool may be stretching things with Taveras' defense), but most of what you said explains why Taveras is a great prospect. It doesn't by itself explain why he's the Minor League Player of the Year. Yes he skipped a level, and yes he struck out less. But this is not our No. 1 prospect in the game award, we award that in February when we unveil our Top 100 Prospects list. The Player of the Year award is given to the top prospect who had the best season.

    jason (muskegon, mi): How close was Oscar Tavares to the top spot? How did the voting breakdown?

J.J. Cooper: Taveras and Profar were the next two in some order. Billy Hamilton's unreal season got some mentions, and if Dan Straily hadn't been promoted to the big leagues as early as he was, he would have likely gotten even more consideration.

    Greg (Fremont, CA): Little surprised to see Myers win the award. Oscar Taveras is clearly a better hitting prospect who struck out less than HALF the number of times Wil Myers did and was nearly two years younger. I know there are some people at BA that have been on the Myers ban wagon for the last few years and were not on the Taveras wagon until recently. I think BA will look at this in a few years and wish they went with Taveras who looks to be a hitter with no real weakness and ridiculous upside. Please don't say Myers is more athletic and better defensively as that is just not correct if you have seen both of them play on a regular basis. Myers might be better defensively right now because he has more experience but he is not more athletic than Taveras. Can you please explain why Myers over Taveras in some detail ?

J.J. Cooper: Greg. Again, this isn't to say that Taveras won't rank higher than Myers when we unveil our Top 100 Prospects list, that's going to be an interesting debate. But there seems to be some confusion. This is an award that largely looks back at the past year, not ahead to what we think the player will be 10 years from now. When you're picking the Player of the Year, the fact that Myers hit significantly more home runs at a level higher (while being admittedly a year and a half older) while putting up similar batting average and on-base numbers to Taveras (with a higher slugging percentage) is what helps lead to the decision. It's not anything about which one is a better prospect. If we're picking the best prospect, we likely would have gone with Profar as POY, but again, this isn't the top prospect award.

    Alex (Tempe, AZ): Did Jose Fernandez get any serious consideration?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. The pitchers really weren't that close this year, but if we had picked a pitcher, Fernandez was on the very short list.

    Aaron (Duncanville): How much consideration did Profar get? And who do you like better long term Wil Myers or Jurickson Porafr?

J.J. Cooper: On the podcast Matt Eddy and I both said we think Profar will have a better big league career. Nothing against Myers, but Profar is an insane prospect with the defensive ability and offensive potential he shows already as a teenager.

    Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks JJ. I'm not confident that the Royals will call Myers up this September, but I'm really hoping he gets the starting RF job next April. Is my hope in vain?

J.J. Cooper: The story we ran announcing the Player of the Year award spells out that it looks unlikely he'll be a Sept. callup, but yes, I think at worst he'll be the Royals' starting RF next May or June (maybe they hold him back for arbitration reasons, not that any team would ever admit that publicly).

    Sean (Conyers, GA): Was anyone in the discussion for MiLB POY that at the start of the season you couldn't have imagined being in the equation for the award?

J.J. Cooper: Dan Straily. If we had listed 1,000 candidates for the award at the start of the year, he wouldn't have been included. By the time we made the decision, the A's pitcher was one of the finalists.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Following up on my first question in this chat, approximately what percentage of performance versus ceiling goes into consideration for this award?

J.J. Cooper: Rough guesstimate is 75 percent performance, 25 percent prospect status. Darin Ruf has an amazing year, but he wasn't going to win this award because of his age/prospect status. The same story could be said about John Lindsey a few years ago. The better way I could explain it is you have to be a pretty elite prospect to be considered, but once you've passed that cut, then it largely comes down to performance in the context of the leagues they played in. A 22-year-old in the Midwest League is held to a higher standard than a 19-year-old in Double-A. I think if you polled everyone in the office involved in the decision, everyone of them would probably say that Profar is a better prospect than Myers. But it's a lot harder to say that Profar's year was better than Myers' year (although considering his defensive value and his age, you can make that argument).

    Jadam (18th Floor): Two major power prospects with a lot of questions with good results so far..but if you had to choose one, who would you rather have? Joey Gallo or Dan Vogelbach?

J.J. Cooper: Gallo. More athleticism (although he also could end up at 1B like Vogelbach) with just as much hitting ability and power.

    Josh (Texas): What consideration was given to Jedd Gyorko? I am aware that he is not considered a top prospect, but does a player have to be a top 20 caliber prospect to even win?

J.J. Cooper: Gyorko could win it I think, but he would have to have a significantly louder year than the one he had. He was three years older than Myers in the same league, played in the more offensive portion of the league (with more trips to Reno, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs) and didn't match Myers' numbers.

    Miguel Sano (Minnesota): As of right now, am I in your top 5 candidates to win MiLB POY next year?

J.J. Cooper: I'd say Sano is a definite candidate. Other guys to watch would include Jose Fernandez (may make it to the big leagues too soon to really contend for this next year), Jurickson Profar (if the Rangers don't swing a trade that gets him to the big leagues), Francisco Lindor is a nice sleeper candidate to me.

    mick (cali): Do you see Myers eventually becoming more Jay Bruce or more Ryan Braun? I've heard comps for both.

J.J. Cooper: Jay Bruce seems like a pretty decent comp to me.

    Jake (Baltimore): Was Bundy in the running? Do you think he starts next season in the majors?

J.J. Cooper: In the running, but hard to see how we could have picked him ahead of Jose Fernandez. Fernandez's numbers were very similar, but he also threw an additional 30 innings more than Bundy. Not Bundy's fault, but when picking a POY, that does matter.

    Jim (Frederick. MD): We all know that the Royals desperately need starting pitching at the major league level, yet their Minor League Player of the Year is a power hitting outfield/third baseman. Do a GM ever think about trading a talent like Myers for pitching, or is too risky to trade a middle-of-the-order position player with Myers' ceiling for pitching?

J.J. Cooper: If you're the Royals, I think you'd have to consider it if the right offer came along. If the Royals' current lineup remained the same (without Myers) and they just added a cheap free agent in right field to get Francoeur out of the lineup, but they also added a No. 1/No. 2 starter, that would probably help them more over the next couple of years than Wil Myers will, right? But how often do teams shop No. 1 or No. 2 starters?

    marty (iowa): Thanks For The Chat.How close was oscar taveras in winning this award.He seems to be the best of both worlds.Barely 20 yrs.old a power hitter who hits for AVG And unlike wil myers doesn`t strikeout very often all while jumping 2 levels to do so.Impressive to say the least.THANKS,Marty.

J.J. Cooper: One last point on the Taveras-Myers debate. The less strikeouts are impressive, but they are impressive from a prospect status standpoint. They really don't carry a whole lot of weight as far as which player had a better year. Unless someone has seen some study that indicates differently that I've missed, I've seen multiple studies that say that strikeouts don't really make a huge impact as far as runs created. They do mean something for projecting a minor leaguer's future potential.

    Paul (DC): JJ, did you draw the short straw in the Baseball America bullpen to "win" the right to answer angry questions about how wrong this year's selection is? Or did you volunteer for this beat down pleasure?

J.J. Cooper: Don't mind the duty at all. Glad people care passionately about our award.

J.J. Cooper: Don't mind the duty at all. Glad people care passionately about our award.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Taylor Guerrieri had an amazing first season. Do you believe he's ready for full season ball next year?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. He probably was ready this year, but the Rays love to take it slow with their pitchers. Seeing the success rate they have with pitching prospects, it's hard to say they should change things up.

    daniel (miami): I know Christian Yelich was injured on and off in the beginning of the year, but if he was healthy the whole year, where would he have placed in the voting?

J.J. Cooper: Give him 30 more games and he would have been in the discussion. I don't think he would have made the final three however.

    Jack (MA): Oswaldo Arcia has put up monster numbers with solid strikeout and walk rates, yet has gotten very little press. How high is his ceiling?

J.J. Cooper: Got to differ on the very little press comment, he's been making BA rankings since 2009, and he's been a Twins Top 10 prospect twice already (and will make it a third time this offseason). His ceiling is as a corner OF who can hit for average and power, which is quite valuable.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks everyone for the questions. I've got to keep making my Florida State League top prospect calls. Jim Callis will stop by tomorrow for his regular Wednesday chat.