Prospect Hot Sheet

Moderator: The Baseball America staff will chat about the new Hot Sheet at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Moderator: Hey everyone thanks for stopping by.

 Q:  Confused Reds Fan from Florida asks:
Who in gods name is Juan Carlos Sulbaran and how did he get 500k from the Reds in the 30th round? He was more highly paid than any Reds pick and there is literally no info on him anywhere. Can you shed some light on this kid? Thanks

Moderator: JJ here. We have something on him here at BA. Check out Jim Callis' draft blog on the signing: He's from Curacao originally, low 90s fastball, feel for a breaking ball and a changeup. And you can watch him pitch in the Olympics, as he's on the Netherlands' roster for the Olympics, although he hasn't pitched yet. He's definitely not a 30th round talent, but was one of those players who was going to cost some money to sign, after seeing him shut down Cuba in the Honkball Tournament, the Reds apparently were impressed enough to pony up the money.

 Q:  Danny from Philly asks:
Are kidding me, how is Michael Stutes not on this list?

Jim Shonerd: Stutes made the Hot Sheet watch list, but missed the final cut. The pool of pitching candidates was just too crowded this week. Stutes has been downright sick since he got to Lakewood, only allowing eight hits in 26 innings, which is most impressive. You have to give him credit for putting a disappointing season at Oregon State behind him, and we'll give him recognition if he keeps performing at such a high level.

 Q: from Stoughton, WI asks:
Do you see the Yankees promoting Kelvin De Leon to the US this season? He's doing well in the DSL. Is he the Yankees Top OF Prospect behind Austin Jackson? Will he be better than AJ?

Matt Eddy: Guess it depends whether Brett Gardner loses his prospect eligibility. As to why De Leon's still in the DSL . . . one year after challenging Jesus Montero with a GCL assignment, the Yankees have been quite conservative with all their top Latin signs from 2007. Only RHP Arodys Vizcaino drew a U.S. assignment, to the GCL. 3B Elio De La Rosa, OF Henry Pena and OF Eduardo Sosa all began their careers in the DSL.

 Q:  anthony from astoria asks:
will neftali feliz be in the rangers rotation in 09?

JJ Cooper: Not yet. I think we'll have to see more refinement of his secondary stuff before he's ready to make an impact in the rotation. The fastball is already there, so the Rangers decision will be whether to get some immediate help in the bullpen, or let Feliz take a little more time to fit into the rotation.

 Q:  Louie from Kinston asks:
I see Nick Weglarz has had an impressive showing for Canada in the Olympics so far...after a very mediocre season here in Kinston, where is he on the Indians' radar now? AA in '09, with a chance at a Sept. call-up in '09?

Nathan Rode: Very mediocre? A .273 average may seem mediocre, but the Carolina League tends to favor pitchers. Not to mention the fact that Weglarz is one of the youngest guys in the league, his on-base is .400 AND he's hitting for some power. He's still one of the top guys in the system so he's been on the Indians' radar for a while. Double-A next year is a safe bet, but I wouldn't go as far as a late call-up. That all depends on how the team is playing, how Weglarz is playing and a bunch of different factors that we don't know a year beforehand.

 Q:  Paul from Tacoma asks:
With Carlos Triunfel's second half performance, is there any softening on your view that he might be the real deal?

Matt Eddy: If you're asking if we believe in his potential, the answer is yes. Despite his advanced youth (still 18) and level of competition (High A), Triunfel has hit .361/.412/.550 in the second half. Of course, High Desert is one of the best places in the world to hit, and Triunfel's hit just .269/.324/.333 on the road, with one of his eight home runs.

 Q:  T. Snider from Syracuse asks:
A 20 year old hitting over .400 in his first week at AAA didn't even get into the team picture???

Matt Eddy: No joke. Snider hit .450/.476/.650 in his first week of Triple-A, but he missed three games, and that lack of playing time is what held him back.

 Q:  tony from queens asks:
What is Mike Stanton's mlb eta? What kind of offensive player will he be?

Jim Shonerd: 2010 may be a possibility, but 2011 is more likely. Stanton's calling card is his power and he may never be a .300 hitter unless he keeps cutting down the strikeouts, but he has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order hitter.

 Q:  Trevor from Toronto asks:
Glad to see Brad Mills make the list and positive comments about Cecil and JP, but what are your thougts on David Cooper so far?

Matt Eddy: Along with Snider, Cecil and Arencibia, Cooper will be clustered near the top of the Jays' Top 10 prospects. His hot hitting this year is not a mirage. Cooper grinds out quality at-bats and has enough power to profile at first base. Gotta love the composite .336/.402/.521 line with 33 strikeouts in 52 games.

 Q:  K.M. from Washington, DC asks:
Will Angel Morales make enough contact to get to the big leagues? The Twins already have a decent mix in the outfield with Young, Gomez, Span, and Cuddyer, but among Revere, Morales, Tosoni, Parmelee, Hicks, and Benson, who is/are the most likely to make it to Minnesota?

Matt Eddy: Don't forget Hot Sheeter Jason Pridie! It's early, so all their numbers look superficially better, but give me Ben Revere, Rene Tosoni and Aaron Hicks as the next-best Minnesota outfielders. Angel Morales is an intriguing power prospect, so if he can get his strikeouts in check (he's 19), he'll be a keeper.

 Q:  Tom from Las Vegas asks:
I realize this is an unfair comparison when Hosmer hasn't played yet, but Eric Hosmer or Lars Anderson?

JJ Cooper: I have to go with Anderson here. Hosmer's scouting report coming out of high school is a little better than Anderson's but when you're comparing a high school kid to someone who is already doing it in Double-A, the scouting report needs to be significantly better to me to side with the high schooler. Anderson is not that far away, while Hosmer is still at least a year or two behind Anderson. With that being the case, side with the pro in Double-A. Two years ago there was a lot of debate over whether Bill Rowell or Travis Snider was the top high school bat in that class. Two years later, we have a lot more information on that having seen them perform for three years in the minors.

 Q:  Sean from Spencerport, NY asks:
Could Micah Hoffpauir be a legitimate replacement possibility for Derrek Lee at First Base when his contract ends after 2010? Or will Micah be dealt beforehand?

Matt Eddy: Hoffpauir will be 30.5 at the end of the 2010 season. For his sake, let's hope he's with a different organization by then, because he can hit: .377/.402/.779 with 21 homers and 30 doubles in a half-season at Iowa.

 Q:  Travis from Saskatoon, Canada asks:
How do JP Arencibia's catching skills compare to the catching skills of Matt Wieters?

Matt Eddy: Part of what makes Wieters so special is his skill on both sides of the ball, but a scout contacted this season was quite impressed with Arencibia's catching tools. Early in the season, he liked his defense better than his bat, in fact. Nearly 30 homers later, it's safe to say that Arencibia has power, at the very least.

 Q:  PT from NH asks:
Will Pablo Sandoval beat Posey to the big leagues?

Nathan Rode: Yes, by a wide margin...but that's only because he already did. Sandoval made his major league debut yesterday against Houston and went 0-for-3 with a SAC fly. That's quite a ride for Sandoval.

 Q:  PT from NH asks:
Will Venable: Does he get a chance to compete for a job in SD next spring? He's hit for a lot more power this year.

Matt Eddy: Indeed. Venable is one of those players who goes a bit under the radar because 1) he's 25, and 2) he's good at many aspects of the game, but overwhelming in none. He'll definitely get a look in the big leagues next year, though with lefty-hitters Brian Giles, Jody Gerut and Chase Headley (switch, stronger from left) already in the outfield, the Padres may need to be creative to work Venable into the mix.

 Q:  Mr. Red from Redsland asks:
Juan Francisco has been tearing it up in Sarasota. You had him on the not-so-hot list earlier. Doesn't he get some props?

Nathan Rode: We've also had him on the Hot Sheet a couple times this year. He has turned it back on lately and was a strong candidate this week, but the pitchers were so strong it was tough to work him in.

 Q:  Starkey from Chester asks:
When will matt weiters stop making the hotsheet?

Nathan Rode: Never! Well, at least when he's no longer eligible.

 Q:  adam moore from West Tenn asks:
When do I start getting some pub and end up on the sheet? I can hit, catch, and throw. Ballpark I play in hurts me but....what else do I need to do

Matt Eddy: Nothing. If you weren't impressed when Moore hit .307/.371/.543 in the Cal League, at High Desert no less, then how about .313/.391/.490 with 11 homers and 31 doubles in the Southern League. He's 24 — as is Triple-A catcher Rob Johnson, who also has enjoyed a breakout year — meaning that Seattle is just swimming with catching prospects. (And that's not even counting Jeff Clement at the big league level.) How many organization's can say that?

 Q:  Big Dave from Arkansas asks:
Was David Bromberg in the discussion this week? His 12 shut-out innings and 18 K's were pretty nice. What's the scouting report on him?

Jim Shonerd: Bromberg has a high ceiling. One of the most encouraging things about his season is how much better he's done against lefthanders, who put up an .844 OPS against him last year but have hit only .266/.332/.438 against him this year. He already threw a fastball in the low 90s, and he could develop more velocity thanks to his projectable frame. His problem is he needs to throw more quality strikes, as he's given up 135 hits in 130 innings on the season.

 Q:  mike dejaeger from virginia beach asks:
What does Rick Porcello need to do to join the list. He is 19 year old. First year of pro ball and pitching at High A Lakeland. His ERA is 2.76. Isn't The Florida State League known as a hitters league? Please comment if you will. Mike

Nathan Rode: Porcello has been very good this season, but somewhat of an enigma for the Hot Sheet. He hasn't racked up the strikeouts like a lot of other candidates and he hasn't gotten a lot of run support so he doesn't get a ton of wins either. Don't let it mislead you though. He's still very much of an impact prospect. And the FSL is actually favorable to pitchers. The parks are generally spring training facilities so they're bigger since the big leaguers use it. The air is heavy and humid, knocking a lot of balls down. And they're closer to sea level so there isn't that thin-air carry.

 Q:  john from toronto asks:
so i saw gio gonzalez couple mlb starts. his stuff doesnt look too impressive.fastball was only 88-91 w/ some control he a #3 type or better upside? how is he a top 25 type?

Matt Eddy: That has to be a concern. Gonzalez has dominated minor league competition with a killer curveball, but that pitch won't be working for him in every start, or even in every inning. Can he be a frontline guy throwing his fastball in fastball counts? And his changeup needs to come a ways before it will be a weapon vs. righties. A No. 3 upside sounds about right.

 Q:  Tom from Las Vegas asks:
Are Jordan Walden's struggles in the California League a surprise to you and something to be worried about or were early struggles expected? Is he still just trying throw fastballs by everyone or is he becoming more of a pitcher rather than a thrower?

Nathan Rode: I wouldn't jump on him for his Cal numbers just yet. It's an extremely difficult league to pitch in unless you keep the ball way down in the zone. If he had enough innings he'd be only about a 1/2 run out of the ERA leader board. At Low A his K-BB was a tick below 3-1 and he got a lot of ground outs so I would bet he's not just trying to blow it by guys. It's a small sample size of innings (29.1) so I'd give him a little more time in the league to make any judgments...but then I'd also grade him on a curve for being in the Cal League.

Nathan Rode: The phones are calling my name so that does it for me everyone. Lots of good questions left so it's up to Jim, Matt and JJ to keep you entertained. See you next week.

 Q:  JAS from Saratoga Springs, NY asks:
Who has the brightest future of the Mariner OF trio, Halman-Saunders-Balentien? Do you envision all 3 as the OF of the future after Ichiro leaves?

Matt Eddy: For me, it's Saunders, then a speculative gamble on Halman (very real Alfonso Soriano/Andrew Dawson potential), and then Balentien. If they all develop, then the M's will be in good shape, seeing as Balentien would be their third-best outfielder.

 Q:  john from arizona asks:
whats your take on aaron cunningham...4th OF type or better? can he get by in CF defensively? he's produced at every level.

Matt Eddy: Cunningham is better than 4th outfielder material. He's no star, but he does a number of things well enough to project as a regular. Who gets pushed aside in Oakland, though? Travis Buck? Carlos Gonzalez? Ryan Sweeney?

 Q:  Jeff from NJ asks:
When might Freddie Freeman arrive in the bigs? Atlanta would seem to have a hole at 1B.

Jim Shonerd: Casey Kotchman's presence means the Braves shouldn't need to rush Freeman. Kotchman is arbitration eligible after this season and can become a free agent after the 2011 season. Freeman should be ready by then, if not sooner.

Jim Shonerd: That's all for me this week. Thanks for another great chat everyone.

Moderator: Thanks for all the questions, we'll be back next week.