Prospects/Trades Chat: July 31

J.J. Cooper chatted about prospects and deadline day deals

    Chuck (Wichita): Why was Eric Hosmer promoted to Wilmington? Do the Royals really think he is ready for that level?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. This should be an interesting chat as we have trades flying left and right. But we'll start off with some prospect questions. The Royals do think Hosmer is ready for high Class A and having seen him last week in a game against a lefty (I know, it's a very small sample size) he didn't look overmatched. His stats don't look that great, buthe was hitting .278/.365/.426 in July before the promotion. What was interesting when seeing Hosmer with Wilmington is a little change he's made. He's now wearing clear prescription glasses when he bats, something he started doing a month and a half or so ago.

    jim (Atlanta): Would it be close to say that Heyward, Montero, Stanton... for top 3 prospects next year?

J.J. Cooper: Not if Stephen Strasburg signs and an Aroldis Chapman signing could jumble things as well, but otherwise that sounds very logical, although I'd go Heyward, Stanton, Montero.

    JAYPERS (IL): Juan Francisco put together a good week, did he get any love?

J.J. Cooper: Definitely on the worksheet. In fact got some votes for Team Photo, so he was very close. It's crazy to say that a player with 17 walks and 83 strikeouts has really improved his plate selectivity, but for Francisco that is a big improvement. At the same time, he'll have to improve it a lot more to not be carved up by big league pitchers.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): If it's not too early to start thinking about MLPOY (it's never too early, is it?) who is competing with Santana for the honor?

J.J. Cooper: I assume you're talking about Minor League Player of the Year. If the season ended today, I'd probably vote for Jason Heyward. He's hitting .331/.407/.575 having made it to Double-A as a 19-year-old having played in pitcher's parks.

    Bubba Brown (Roy, Utah): Who ya got? Heyward or J. Upton? And how close is it?

J.J. Cooper: I'll take Heyward on that, although it's close. Heyward's hit tool just seems to be very special (plus his 39-34 K-BB ratio is excellent), and he's got athleticism and power to go with it. But while they have different body types, that's a closer comp than you make think. We all know about Upton's strikeout problems at times in the big leagues, but he had a 54-37 K-BB ratio in Double-A as a 19-year-old, so it wasn't like Upton didn't have an idea of the strike zone as well.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Knapp, Carrasco, Graham, Barnes: how does all these guys fit into the Indians' future pitching plans? Who will be a starter? Who a reliever? When could they reach Cleveland? Is there a high ceiling for anyone other than Knapp?

J.J. Cooper: Don't give up on Carrasco being a middle of the rotation starter. He definitely has the stuff to fill that role. Knapp is a future starter, Carrasco is most likely a No. 4 starter who could end up moving to the pen and I'd be guessing Graham and Barnes are more likely relievers if they make it.

    JAYPERS (IL): Thoughts on Moose-taco's sudden resurgence? Is he just not a first-half kind of hitter? Also, who would you name KC's #1 prospect at present, him or Hosmer?

J.J. Cooper: Can't really say it's a first-half thing this year as his big slump came after the all-star break. He's been eaten up by his home park this year. But that being said, I'd probably put Hosmer as the No. 1 prospect over him now. Hosmer's hit tool seems to be better and the power is right there with Moustakas. Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery will give those two a run for their money this year as well and if Aaron Crow signs, the battle for No. 1 will be pretty spirited.

    Ray (Ohio): The Cubs just advanced former Kent State RHP Chris Carpenter to AA, his 3rd stop up the ladder in 2009. If Carpenter keeps getting guys out, any chance of a September call to Chicago?

J.J. Cooper: I'd say that's still a longshot, but Carpenter has done as much as anyone in the Cubs organization to raise his stock (although Jake Fox may make an argument). Carpenter's a very interesting prospect. But he's also a second-year pro who threw 33 pro innings last year with a history of injuries in the past. Asking him to throw high leverage innings in September after he's already thrown 130+ minor league innings may be asking a little much.

    Craig (Brooklyn, NY): Better Cub Shortstop prospect: Starlin Castro or Hak-Ju Lee?

J.J. Cooper: I'll go with Castro. I'm getting very good reports on him while working on Florida State League Best Tools.

    shouldntbother (wontanswerthequestion): give me a reason why mike stanton is a higher rated prospect than jesus montero?

J.J. Cooper: He's a much better athlete who has value both at the plate and in the field. Montero is a great hitting prospect, but all of his value is tied into the bat. His best position in the majors is likely 1B or even DH while Stanton could be very good in right field with equal power and potentially a very similar hit tool.

    Brian (Milwaukee, WI): I heard a Gammons report that Jason Heyward could be up this year as the Braves look to add some power to their lineup. I know he's tearing the cover off the ball but are they rushing this guy? I could see him making the team out of spring training next year but would like to see him get a little more seasoning.

J.J. Cooper: Interesting that this question comes up after the Upton-Heyward question. I'd say they're best off leaving him in the minors this year. At the same age, with a similar prospect profile and with a very similar season at high Class A and Double-A the Diamondbacks promoted Justin Upton to the big leagues. Upton proceeded to hit .221-.283-.364 for the rest of the season. Competing for a job in spring training after a stint in the AFL seems like a good track for Heyward.

    tom (texas): How is Hank conger doing? How come we dont hear more about him? Where do you rank him among all other catchers?

J.J. Cooper: He's had a good season that's helping his prospect status. The big thing is that he's showing he may be able to stick at catcher, which makes him a much better prospect than he would if he had to move out from behind the plate.

    Brent (Columbus, OH): Seems like every year BA talks up a strong pitching prospect in the Rockies organization—Jeff Francis, Jason Hirsh, Franklin Morales, Jhoulys Chacin... now Christian Freidrich—just to see them flounder at the major league level. How much of this is due to Coors Field, and do you think the ballpark can ever produce a true ace?

J.J. Cooper: Aaron Cook, former Rockies prospect is 10-3, 3.87 and Ubaldo Jimenez, former Rockies prospect, is 7-9, 3.85 so there are former Rockies prospects who aren't floundering on this year's staff. And Chacin hasn't floundered at the big league's either—he's thrown two scoreless innings in his only two outings. I think that the Rockies can have a true ace, it just may be because of the ballpark that an ace in Colorado will have an ERA a half-run higher than he would in another home park.

    Salvatore Botchagaloop (Phila): How is Matt Dominguez being viewed by scouts these days? Understandably, HR total not high for FSL but does he have 20-25 HR potential in the bigs?

J.J. Cooper: I had a scout say that playing with Stanton really worked against Dominguez because it's hard to stand out when you're playing next to Hercules. He's an excellent defensive third baseman who does have a decent chance to hit. Yeah he still had 20 HR potential, which to go with his defense would make for a very solid player.

    Deywane (Memphis, TN): Do you think that Yorman Rodriguez will get Top 100 consideration after the season?

J.J. Cooper: If he keeps this up, yes.

    THB (CT): I see you included some players from rookie level ball in your hot sheet, so why no Julio Teheran? 8 IP, ER, BB, 11 K seemed like it could make it, and he didn't reach 100 pitches through 8, with a perfect game going into the 6th.

J.J. Cooper: The problem was he gave up five runs in his previous start, so overall it was a solid but unspectacular week.

    Russ (Who Dey): Lots of talk recently about Travis Wood. Not a great second start in AAA. Whats his ceiling? 2nd or 3rd starter?

J.J. Cooper: Because of his stuff I'd still have to say No. 4 starter, but then, I would have never predicted he'd have a sub 1.30 ERA in late July, so I could be wrong again.

    sean (seattle): what can you tell us about nick hagadone?

J.J. Cooper: When Jim Callis ranked Nick Hagadone No. 3 in the Red Sox system before the season it was a pretty controversial pick because he was coming off of a season lost to TJ. But up to now he's lives up to Callis' lofty ranking. He has a plus fastball and has been mowing down low Class A hitters. His command is not always there right now, but that is something that often takes a while to come back after elbow surgery because you have to relearn the "feel" for pitches. He's a very intriguing arm.

    Dave (DC): I love the O's Sherril trade. How is McPhail not getting way more credit for what he has done over the last 2 years? I mean we got Jones, Tilman, Bell, Luke Scott, Albers,Patton, Sarafate, and a few other quality lower lever arms for Bedard and Tejada. We actually have hope as O's fans. Why was there no traction on Huff or any of our other bullpen arms?

J.J. Cooper: I'm with you. The Orioles have an actual plan going forward for the first time since Cal Ripken was playing. And you have to like how they are sorting through the second-tier of pitching prospects in the big leagues to figure out which ones will stick to pitch around Matusz, Tillman and all going forward.

    Larry (Pembroke Pines): Is there any active player that Mike Stanton resembles?

J.J. Cooper: He's not active, but the comp I've heard is Dave Winfield.

    Dale (Atlanta): Why do you think that the Reds are not promoting Drew Stubbs to the majors when they need outfield help? Is it because, as some people believe, that they have lost faith in him?

J.J. Cooper: It's definitely not a vote of confidence for him. I know teams don't want to rush players, but in Stubbs' case he's a 24-year-old who has had 430 Triple-A at-bats (and nearly 500 plate appearances). He now has 1,500 minor league at-bats after coming out of a major college program. If the Reds don't believe he can help out when the team has lost two of its starting outfielders and puts Wily Taveras (.240/.279/.290) out there every day, it's hard to see how they think Stubbs will be ready to help them come next spring training.

    Jon (Baltimore, MD): Who projects as the better pitcher right now, Tillman or Matusz?

J.J. Cooper: Right now, Tillman by a good bit. Long term, Tillman by a little bit.

    Alonso (Florida): How does 16 year old Yorman Rodriguez compare to fellow 16 year old phemon Bryce Harper if they were both eligible for the draft in 2010?

J.J. Cooper: Harper's a much better prospect. Nothing against Rodriguez, but there are some scouts who don't like his swing. Scouts can't gush enough about Harper at the plate.

    John (New York): Wilmer Flores is still extremely young, when he fills out what do you think his ceiling will be and do you see a move to 2B or the Outfield because SS and 3rd are clogged by Wright and Reyes.

J.J. Cooper: It wouldn't matter if SS was clogged or not. It's hard to fine anyone who thinks Flores will be able to stick at SS as he matures. His ceiling is as a bat-first guy wherever he plays. He doesn't run well at all already and probably won't have much defensive value, but the bat will determine his eventual value.

    Jim (Minneapolis): The Reds just traded Yonder Alonso and Encarcion for Scott Rolen! Is there something I missed? How can the Reds make a trade like this?

J.J. Cooper: Actually it's Zack Stewart, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke for Scott Rolen. Alonso and EE for Rolen would have been historically bad in the Kazmir-Zambrano bracket of bad trades. This one still seems absolutely baffling for the Reds. They pick up a 34-year-old 3B with an 11-million contract for next year who traded straight up for Troy Glaus just a year and a half ago. Rolen makes the Reds a better team for the rest of the year, but the difference between being a 74 and a 78 win team is absolutely meaningless. Our Reds correspondent John Fay reported recently that the Reds payroll for next year will likely be static or down from this year's payroll, signing Rolen adds another expensive, injury-prone player on the downside of his career to a club that needs some more young, cheap talent. It's a great trade for the Blue Jays as Stewart could be an impact arm either as a very solid starting pitcher or as a potential closer, Roenicke is a plus-arm reliever who needs to sharpen his command and Encarnacion is a much younger and cheaper third baseman than Rolen who has been a solid hitter when healthy.

    Kyle (Lexington, KY): Dan Hudson's been a lot better than I think most people thought he would be. What is his ceiling?

J.J. Cooper: I'd still say he's more a back-side of the rotation or bullpen guy, but those guys are quite valuable.

    Greg (Anaheim): Thomas Neal, is he in the running for MLPOY? Has he established himself as a legit LF prospect for the Giants? Even the Cal league is a hitters paradise, SJ Municipal Stadium, his home park, is a pitchers park and he is still putting up better numbers than his more heralded teammates.

J.J. Cooper: He's in the running. It's hard to believe he'll top Montero, Heyward or Bumgarner when you consider their prospecty-ness, but he and Jon Gaston are having seasons that are so good you have to take a look at them.

    Billy (Austin, TX): Is there a reason Jon Gaston hasn't been promoted from Hi-A? His numbers are pretty ridiculous, and even playing in a hitters league you have to be pretty good to lead the minors in XBH.

J.J. Cooper: His numbers are ridiculous and he's having a great season, but you do have to run them through the Lancaster filter. At home this year he's hitting .318-.408-.751. On the road he's a very good, but much more mundane .270-.368-.546. That's a great season, but it does show what having Lancaster as your home park can do for a hitter.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa 50702): Love the hot sheet, and the chat. did Julio Teheran merit consideration for the team photo? What are your thoughts on his potential? tks

J.J. Cooper: He has an astronomical ceiling. We had a couple guys at his start last night and he looked phenomenal. But as you would imagine with a young pitcher who's still in the Appy League, he has a long way to go to get to the majors.

    Joe P (Buffalo,N.Y.): No love for Jeff Bianchi?

J.J. Cooper: Only 2 XBH this week did him in, but he's done a ton to help his prospect status. The biggest thing is now that he's healthy again he's shown that he may be able to stick at SS, which makes him a much better prospect than if he has to move to the other side of 2B.

    mick (Norcal): Where do you project Chapman to stand in the preseason prospect rankings. And for that matter, if Darvish were to be posted and come to the US where do you see him ranking?

J.J. Cooper: If Chapman signs before the Top 100 comes out, I'd say his floor is somewhere in the Top 5. I'd have Darvish higher than Chapman if they both were to come to the U.S., but I also don't expect to see Darvish in the U.S. next year.

J.J. Cooper: Well everyone I need to wrap this up to try to get some trades written up before heading home. Thanks for the questions and have a good weekend.