Prospect Hot Sheet

Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
If Jennings can stay healthy throughout the entire season, could you project his stats for us? Also, is a trip to Durham and possibly Tampa out of the question before season'e end?

Kary Booher: Matt and I are double-teaming today's chat, just to help the process since we got somewhat of a late start on today's Hot Sheet. Hope everybody is doing well and enjoying the season so far. With that, away we go ...

Kary Booher: Jennings figures to enjoy a big year in the Southern League since anything he does will certainly trump last year, when a back injury limited him the first two months at high Class A Vero Beach. He hit two homers in 85 at-bats there and also had to undergo shoulder surgery, so he played only 24 games. Let's see, why not project at least 18 homers and at least 80 RBIs? He's off to a nice start and probably will experience the rigors of Double-A. That could cut into some of his stats. As for reaching Tampa? It seems a bit of a stretch, just because he needs playing time before heading to the majors. But Triple-A Durham should be within his reach.

 Q:  Matt LaPorta from Columbus asks:
How am I doing so far this year? When will I get called up to Cleveland?

Kary Booher: Thanks for checking in, um, Mr. LaPorta. It's been awhile since we've seen you. It was Durhamm, right? With Team USA last August? You're hitting .360/.429/.640 with three homers, three doubles, a triple and nine RBIs. As for a callup to Cleveland? Ah, I'd say the over-under would be pre All-Star break. But you have Mark Shapiro's number, right?

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Reimold has been putting up staggering numbers thus far, but seems to be blocked from Camden. What do you see in his future, and was his age what excluded him from the list?

Matt Eddy: Seeing Reimold crush no-doubt home runs in the first two games of the year (including one off David Price) really piqued my interest. Ultimately, Reimold fell just a bit short this week, but .500-.600-.700 with a homer, a double and 8 RBIs and 5 walks is nothing to sneeze at. If we had a do-over, Reimold should have made the Hot Sheet.

 Q:  Andrew from York, PA asks:
Collin DeLome's power seems to be legit, but will he ever hit enough to be a major-league regular?

Kary Booher: It's nice to see DeLome off to a strong start at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he's already cracked six home runs in 54 at-bats. Overall, he's hitting .296/.345/.630 but also has struck out 11 times. If he can cure his penchant for strikeouts — he had 138 in 463 at-bats last year in Class A. At this point, scouts see him more as a fourth outfielder, capable of playing mainly left field.

 Q:  Jordan from Carrboro asks:
When did Mike Stanton get traded to the Giants? As a Giants fan I am ecstatic.... No love for Brandon Crawford? He has turned into the second coming of Brandon Wood.

Matt Eddy: A sloppy error by us. Thanks for catching the Stanton mistake. As to Crawford, he probably deserved a closer look by us. The Giants' fourth-rounder last year from UCLA is off to a fast start in the Cal League, batting .382-.477-.727 with 5 HR in 14 games. But as Jordan notes with the Brandon Wood reference, the strikeouts have been a problem — Crawford has 19 in 55 at-bats.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:
Do you think Gio Gonzalez will be the ace that we thought a few years ago?

Matt Eddy: I'd go with power reliever or No. 4 type starter. That breaking ball's a killer, but not sure he has fastball command to be a front of the rotation guy.

 Q:  Max from Florida asks:
What kind of numbers do you expect Dominic Brown to put up this year?

Kary Booher: We rated Brown the No. 1 Phillies prospect in the Handbook after he hit .291/.382/.417 with nine homers and 54 RBIs at low Class A Lakewood. But now he's in the Florida State League, known more as a pitcher's circuit thanks to the cavernous ballparks. Brown still needs to fill out, so the home runs may not necessarily be overwhelming. But watch his doubles and also keep an eye on his walks, which he did very well in last year. Here's some food for thought as well: Two other lefthanded bats that have come through the FSL in recent years, the Cardinals' Colby Rasmus and Daryl Jones, combined for only 11 homers in 500 at-bats.

 Q:  Arma from Washington asks:
We are in a deep NL league. Can you rank the following based on future offensive potential only; Alvarez, Posey, Alonso, Wallace, Flores, Freddie Freeman, Tabata? This is the order they were drafted in our league. Also, is there a significant break or difference in talent in this group. Long time subscriber and never asked a question before.

Matt Eddy: Considering only offense: Alvarez, followed by Alonso and Wallace (toss-up), Posey, Flores, Freeman and Tabata. Freeman has proven himself at a higher level, but Flores has an special blend of raw bat speed and hand-eye coordination that should translate into high averages and HR totals.

 Q:  James from Whiteman AFB, MO asks:
Do you see Chuck Lofgren making a comeback this year and making some appearances on the hot sheet?

Kary Booher: Great to hear from the Armed Services, especially in my old stomping grounds of Missouri. Unfortunately, it looks as if Lofgren is in a free fall. Scouts weren't impressed with him in the Arizona Fall League, and he also fell from the Top 10 in the 2008 Handbook to completely out this year. His results so far (1-0, 1.80) at Double-A Akron are encouraging, but it's still a small sample size (10 innings).

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Ga asks:
Brad Emaus is tearing up the Eastern league, yet doesn't make it into the Team photo? What gives? Also, does Stanton make the Fish by the end of the year? How soon do we see him in Jax? Thanks

Matt Eddy: How about that Brad Emaus? An 11th round pick in 2007, he's one of my favorite underdog players to root for. He tore up the Florida State League in '08, then walloped Hawaii Winter Baseball pitching, then made a strong showing in big league camp, and now he's off to a .327-.403-473 start for the Fisher Cats.

Matt Eddy: Emaus grinds out at-bats and has modest power, but he doesn't have a natural position — unless you count the batter's box. Still, I wouldn't bet against this guy having a significant big league career.

 Q:  Mike from CA asks:
Any thoughts on Angels LHP Alexander Torres, who leads the Cal League with 23 strikeouts?

Kary Booher: Torres was one of those under-the-radar stories last year except for those such within the Angels system. A 2005 sign out of Venezuela at age 17, he has moved slowly through the system. Well, until last year when he opened in the Rookie-level Arizona League and then was supposed to head to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga only to fill in. But he ended up sticking and finished 3-2, 3.91 in 53 innings, striking out 62. He doesn't have ideal size as a 5-foot-10, 160-pound lefty but he varies his arm angle and worked on a changeup and tightening his curve last fall. I wonder how much that he and fellow lefty Trevor Reckling, a starter at Rancho, are picking each other's brains. For a lefty to have another lefty on staff, it's gotta be nice.

 Q:  Jim from Near Philly asks:
No Kyle Drabek??? He put up two great starts over the past week. What gives, Mr. Eddy?

Matt Eddy: Drabek made last week's Hot Sheet, so he's clearly on our radar. A tip of the hat for his performance during the past week: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 10 K, 2 BB.

Matt Eddy: And going back two starts: 13 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 BB and 19 K. Both were against Lakeland, though, so maybe there's something to that.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:
Matthew Sweeney is off to a terrific start, not Hot Sheet worthy, but very solid. Is he the comeback player of the year or is it Desmond Jennings?

Kary Booher: He could be if he keeps it up. Just a quick glimpse at Sweeney: He's hitting .355/.375/.645 with 11 extra-base hits, including three homers, in his first 65 at-bats at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The Angels were very excited about him in spring training, since he looked ready after missing all of 2008 with an ankle injury.

 Q:  Matt from Florida asks:
Tim Beckham has been impressive thus far. Did he get any love from your staff this week?

Matt Eddy: You have to be encouraged by the quick start for last year's No. 1 overall pick, especially in light of his Appy League struggles. However, as good as a batting line of .381-.391-.476 is, it doesn't quite rise to the level of Hot Sheet. That's 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 run, 5 whiffs and 1 walk.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:
Should Viciedo have started out a class or two lower? It seems like throwing him in the fire in Birmingham was perhaps a bit too much for him to handle right now.

Kary Booher: The White Sox actually kicked the tires on sending Viciedo first to Triple-A Charlotte, but he was moved to the Double-A roster in spring training, just about a week after being optioned down. Not to give away too much in our upcoming Prospect Pulse — we're featuring Viciedo, by the way — but scouts think he'll do fine once he learns his strike zone. Sliders are eating him up, and he'll continue to see a lot of them in Double-A until he learns to recognize pitches. Still, I think he's in the right spot. That club has a lot of big names, guys he is probably going to be moving up with through the system. And he's got Ever Magallanes as manager. Magallanes, a former Angels minor league manager, should be a calming influence, as he speaks Spanish and seems to have a necessary understanding of an international player debuting in a new country.

 Q:  Mike from Ixonia, WI asks:
Best long term prospect: Mike Stanton or Jason Heyward?

Kary Booher: Is there money riding on this? Hmmm. I like both, especially after reading Ben Badler's epic piece in our 0909 issue (the one before last). I'll give a slight edge to Heyward because I like his overall athleticism, but you can't go wrong with Stanton, either. Heyward, to me, gets the edge.

 Q:  Rory from NYC asks:
What are your thoughts on Reese Havens? Will he get promoted to Double A Binghamton at some point soon? He really looks the part as a potential offensive minded second baseman. Anyone else on the St. Lucie roster to watch out for..Zach Lutz maybe?

Matt Eddy: Sit back and enjoy the ride. Havens doesn't figure into the big club's plans for '09, so a late-season promotion to Double-A may be in order if he continues to perform. And yes, I agree with you. Havens' approach is a breath of fresh air for an organization that hasn't really focused on grinding, professional hitter types in recent years.

Matt Eddy: Two St. Lucie players (who didn't crack our Top 30) to watch: 22-year-old LHP Angel Calero, who's posted an 0.82 ERA to go with 10-4 K-BB in 11 IP. Also, 21-year-old CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Mets' third-rounder last year from NAIA Azusa Pacific (Calif.). He's not hitting at the moment, but he's a physical lefty batter who may emerge with enough repetitions.

 Q:  Chris from Somerset,NJ asks:
Matt Any thought on DJ Mitchell making the list?

Matt Eddy: Great performance thus far from the Clemson product. His sinker is too much for Low-A batters to handle. This much we know. The Yankees are working with him to throw a curveball (he threw a slider in college), and his ceiling is dependent on that pitch's development.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:
Lightning Round: Andrew Brackman vs. Dellin Betances

Matt Eddy: I'd lean Brackman, but it's close.

 Q:  Josh from SI, NY asks:
Who will make more of an immediate impact when they get to the Majors....Logan Morrison (injury notwithstanding), Yonder Alonso or Matt Gamel (moving from 3rd eventually)?

Kary Booher: If I were predicting, I'd say first Alonso, then Morrison and then Gamel. Alonso has the plate discipline already to compete at the higher levels and demonstrated his patience in that Reds Futures Game against the big league club earlier this month in Zebulon, N.C. Morrison won a lot of admirers in the Arizona Fall League as he showed off his power. Gamel is off to a nice start after struggling in the second half last year.

 Q:  Alex from East Bay, CA asks:
Do you think Adrian Cardenas will be able to stay at SS or will he eventually have to move to second or third base by the time he reaches the majors?

Matt Eddy: Signs point to no. But a lefty-batting second baseman with a feel for hitting is going to get all sorts of big league opportunity.

 Q:  Tyler from Harrodsburg KY asks:
Who do you like better? Tim Alderson or Jhoulys Chacin?

Matt Eddy: Slight edge to Alderson for his breaking ball, which would suggest that he has a better chance to remain a starter as he moves up.

 Q:  Bryan from San Francisco asks:
What are your thoughts on Toronto's Eric Thames? First season in pro ball is high-A and he seems to be holding his own. I know he was a big prospect before a pre-draft injury and was curious what you thought. Thanks!

Matt Eddy: You have to be encouraged by how well Thames has played, being thrown into the fire at High-A without benefit of a summer in the NY-Penn League. He has power to rival any Jays' farmhand and he's a definite sleeper.

Matt Eddy: I had my chance to look really smart and rank him in last year's Top 30, but I whiffed. I at least named him sleeper prospect, just like Brad Emaus the year before.

 Q:  SSJames from (Orange, CA) asks:
I didn't see any mention of Ethan Martin (LAD, Lo A) pitcher on the Hot Sheet. He is off to a great start with a 0.60 ERA and striking out 19 in 15 IP. Did he get any consideration for the Hot Sheet this week?

Kary Booher: Martin has been very impressive so far and was nudged out this week only because we had a number of others worthy of Hot Sheet as well. It wasn't anything he did wrong. The Dodgers have to be very happy with his performance so far, considering he didn't get much time to work on pitching last fall after tearing the meniscus in his right knee while covering the first base bag. I think it helps him a lot to have Danny Darwin, a former big leaguer as his pitching coach, at Great Lakes. Darwin seems genuinely interested in working with prospects in the low minors, and Martin should be one of his best and most eager pupils. In camp, both talked about the excitement of Martin becoming a pitcher, not just a thrower, since he really didn't focus on pitching until his last two years in high school in Georgia.

 Q:  Jack from ft. Lauderdale, Florida asks:
Any chance Tyler Flowers or Carlos Santana get called up this year and how do you think they will fare at the major league level. Also... do you still project Fernando Martinez as an elite prospect?

Kary Booher: It's difficult to envision either one getting summoned, unless it's as a September callup. The White Sox are set with Pierzynski, and the Indians with Victor Martinez in a division in which both consider themselves contenders. Probably better to let Flowers develop behind the plate, especially on his blocking, and Santana to continue to work with a pitching staff (and his English, something he wants to zero in on).

 Q:  Rich from Boston asks:
And Daniel Bard (9 IP, 1 hit allowed, 16K's, 1.00 ERA) didn't make the hot list because? With Papelbon established as the Sox' long-term closer, what do you foresee as Bard's future? It would seem to be a waste to make him a set-up man. Could he be traded for a big bat come July?

Matt Eddy: Bard, who cracked our inaugural Hot Sheet, nearly earned Not-So Hot status for his shaky work on the week. Think about it: His ERA increased by a full run and his opponent average ballooned by nearly 40 points.

Matt Eddy: No, seriously, the reason Bard didn't make it was because he threw just three innings on the week, striking out 7, walking one and giving up one hit (a solo bomb).

Matt Eddy: It's always possible Bard could be traded, but the Red Sox won't do so solely because of the presence of Papelbon. Though Papelbon is 28 and seems like he could keep rocking forever, rare is the closer who has an extended shelf life as an absolute top-flight reliever. Perhaps by the time Papelbon hits free agency in 3 years (assuming his contract is not extended), Bard will be ready to step in and close.

 Q:  Derek from Little Rock asks:
Stanton or Heyward? Both ETAs?

Kary Booher: What the heck ... Stanton 2010, Heyward 2011.

Kary Booher: That'll do for this week's chat and apologies if we didn't get to your question in the past 90 minutes. Have a great weekend and see you next week.