Top 100 Prospects Chat

Moderator: Jim Callis, John Manuel and other BA editors will answer your Top 100 Prospect chat questions beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Glad to be here to discuss the Top 100. I'll go for about 45 minutes, then John Manuel will come in after that. Fire away!

    @Jaypers413 (IL): I'm a bit surprised that the top farm system according to BA didn't have more representation on this list, namely Meyer, Purke and Goodwin. Who came the closest, and what are your thoughts on this?

Jim Callis: We ranked the Nationals No. 1 before the Gio Gonzalez trade, which would have given them two more Top 100 guys. Meyer was very, very close, and I voted for him to make the Top 100. He has a lot of upside, but not a long track record of success, and I think the other editors involved (eight of us put together the list) as whole wanted to see more. Same with Goodwin — high upside, want to see more. Purke would have been an easy Top 100 guy if there weren't questions about his health. This answer is getting long-winded, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a balance of upside and risk. If you want to focus more on upside and worry less about risk, all three of those guys could make it.

    Jay (Illinois): Can you give us 10 names that just missed the top 100? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Giants C Tommy Joseph was No. 100 until Yoenis Cespedes signed. Others who just missed, in no particular order: Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn, Astros SS Jonathan Villar, Rangers RHP Neil Ramirez, Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna, Royals RHP Kelvin Herrera, Nationals RHP Alex Meyer, Padres C Austin Hedges, Yankees RHP Jose Campos, Pirates RHP Luis Heredia.

    Mike (NY): Jim, an org ranking question - about where would you rank the Mets' farm system? I remember reading you wrote 10-15 but based on this list it seems like they'll be more 20-25.

Jim Callis: I always seem to estimate high during the season. They were No. 24 in our preliminary rankings in the Prospect Handbook, and the A's will move ahead of them after all their trades and the Cespedes signing.

    Steve (Kansas): Was Jeurys Familia any close to making the list?

Jim Callis: One of the eight editors voted him in their Top 100, and two others listed him in their 101-150 range. So not particularly close for Familia. If someone sends me a question about it at (include name and hometown), I'll run the complete list of everyone who received votes (and how many, and how high their highest ranking was).

    Ben (Leland Grove): Between Justin Nicolino, Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard, who ranked the highest on your top 150 lists?

Jim Callis: The Jays have the deepest system in baseball, I think, but they only landed four players on the Top 100 because I don't think we had a real consensus on how to rank their high-ceiling, less-advanced pitchers (the three Ben mentions) against lower-but-solid-ceiling, more-advanced pitchers like Drew Hutchison and Deck McGuire. All received several votes, with Nicolino and Syndergaard getting the most support.

    Jim (Philly): Only 1 Philly representative in Trevor May is disappointing. How strong of a case did Biddle and Valle make?

Jim Callis: The system really has thinned out with promotions and trades. Biddle and Valle are intriguing, but they're not particularly advanced and both have a lot to address. Neither was very close to the Top 100, though they received Top 150 votes.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): With many 2012 predicted debuts at the top of the list, who do you think wins the two rookie of the year awards?

Jim Callis: Yu Darvish, Zack Cozart.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Which 80 tool stands out more in it's own category, Harper's power or Hamilton's speed?

Jim Callis: Great question. Both are off the charts, really. I think if you were grading them, maybe Harper has 85 power and Hamilton has 90 speed. I think Harper's power will make more of an impact than Hamilton's speed, if that makes sense.

    Harry (Pittsburgh): I'm surprised Josh Bell didn't crack the top 50. He seems to have all the tools to succeed. Can you tell us more about him?

Jim Callis: He's a very good prospect, but I think his $5 million signing bonus clouds the fact that had he been considered signable, he would have gone in the 11-20th range of the 2011 draft. He wasn't an elite prospect in that regard. I think he'll hit for considerable power and average and wind up in right field.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): With most projecting Mesoraco with just average defense and an average arm, will he have to move off C in the future or is he good enough to stay there if he has a 10+ year career (barring injury naturally)? Could his bat be good enough to play 1B down the line?

Jim Callis: I think he'll stay at catcher. If he has average receiving and arm strength to go with a strong bat for the position, that's an all-star catcher.

    Marcus (Kentucky): How come Miguel Sano ranks so high in comparison to players that seem very similar and are more proven than him such as Nolan Arenado, Xander Bogaerts, or Cheslor Cuthbert?

Jim Callis: His power upside puts him ahead of those guys. He has well above-average power, maybe as much as any prospect besides Bryce Harper.

    Greg (OH): If Billy Hamilton moved to CF how would his ranking change?

Jim Callis: Not much, really. I'm not sold that he's going to stick at shortstop, but his speed is a game-changer wherever he plays.

    Kelly (Toronto, ON): Only # 46 for Marisnick? Every article I've read say he's a legit 5-tooler and I believe you could make a case for him to occupy the same range of your top 100 as Starling, Myers and Arenado. Explain?

Jim Callis: He's actually No. 67, but that's lower than I would like. I ranked him 44th on my personal list and prefer him to fellow Jays outfield prospect Anthony Gose. As for the three guys you've mentioned, Marisnick has great tools but Starling's are better, and Myers and Arenado have proven themselves at higher levels. I'll digress here, but there are no right and wrong answers on this stuff.

    DJ (NYC): Xander Bogaerts - % chance he hits 35Hrs at peak. % chance he stays at SS? If not SS, move to 3rd should be seamless, no?

Jim Callis: Considering he has only played a half-season in low Class A, I'd be conservative on Bogaerts. 35 homers = 70-75 power on the 20-80 scouting scale, and that's stretching it. I don't think he'll stay at shortstop, more because of his size than a lack of athleticism, but yes, his tools profile well at third base.

    Scott (Pittsburgh): I know your publication ranked Bundy as the top arm available in last years draft and looking at the rankings then and now you list he and Bauer ahead of Cole in the rankings. Did the Pirates in your mind make a mistake with Cole over those two? Also, are Cole and Taillon your top duo of arms in the minors? Thanks

Jim Callis: I wouldn't say a mistake—all three of those guys were close and Cole has the most electric arm of that trio. I would have taken them in this order—Bundy, Bauer, Cole—but you can defend any order. I'd take Cole/Taillon, but our Top 100 would slightly prefer Bauer/Skaggs.

    Matt (Toronto): If he was still eligible for this list, where would you slot Brett Lawrie into the mix? Does he make it a clear "top 4", is he part of the next group of talent in the top 10, or is he an afterthought?

Jim Callis: He'd be No. 4 for me. I'd put him ahead of Darvish.

    cy (western Mass.): Fabulous work, gentlemen. Thank you. Always looking to the future, did Enny Romero receive consideration for this list? Does he have the potential to be a fast riser? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Thanks, Cy. Romero received one Top 150 vote. I don't think he's going to move quickly, but he's a nice sleeper with a high upside. Just what the Rays need—another potential dominating lefty.

    Lloyd (Lakewood): Dylan Bundy with an ETA of 2013? Is he THAT good?

Jim Callis: He's that good. I bet he's up before the end of 2013.

    Joel (KCK): I've heard of one scout saying that next to Matt Moore, Taijuan Walker has the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the country. Is that a careless statement, or is the upside really that high? Thanks?

Jim Callis: Not a careless statement, you can definitely make that argument. He's extremely athletic, has an electric arm, and he showed more polish more quickly than expected last year.

    Ty (Oakland, CA): Why don't peripheral contributers such as Andy Baggersly, Derrick Goold, Tom Haudricourt, Phil Rogers, Matt Forman, etc get a vote as to where their respective team's top prospects should appear within the top 100? Just saying.

Jim Callis: They do, in the sense that they help compile the rankings and scouting reports for their teams. But as good as those guys are, I think they'd tell you that they don't have the sense of the overall prospect scene that our editorial staff does. Matt, who worked in our offices for an extensive period of time, did participate in the Top 150 balloting.

    Jorge Soler (Chicago): Where would I have ranked if I signed last week?

Jim Callis: In my latest column (, BA subscription required), I said I'd put him at No. 43, between Nolan Arenado and Mike Olt. Not sure if the rest of the BA staff shares that view.

    Jason (Austin): In your comments you say Cory Spangenberg is the best 2B prospect in the minors and that is obviously contingent on Rendon not moving to 2B. Do you think he will be future All-star at 2B? Maybe Pedroia with less pop?

Jim Callis: In yesterday's Ask BA (, I projected Spangenberg as a 2015 all-star. I'm not completely certain he'll stay at 2B vs. CF, but I do think he'll hit for a high average with gap power and plenty of speed.

    Alex (Mass): Arenado so low? Seriously?

Jim Callis: Is 42 really that low? I had him 35th on my personal list.

    Trey (Boston): Out of the top 7 players drafted from the past draft, who is most likely to live up to their potential and least likely?

Jim Callis: Most likely: Trevor Bauer or Anthony Rendon. Least likely: Bubba Starling.

    russinfortworth (Fort Worth): The only thing keeping Harper off the opening day roster is the ability to move back free agency back a year by bringing him up in June correct? Also, is Matt Purke close to this list?

Jim Callis: That's a little strong ... it's not like Harper tore up Double-A. The Nationals could delay his free agency by waiting 2-3 weeks to promote him, and I'd be shocked it they don't delay it. I addressed Purke earlier ... if we knew for sure he'd regain and maintain full health, he'd make the list.

    Scott (Chicago): When do you see Anthony Rizzo becoming the Cubs starting 1st baseman?

Jim Callis: By the end of the season.

    Jared (New Jersey): What is Jedd Gyorko's ceiling?

Jim Callis: Solid regular, possible all-star, I really love the bat.

    Andrew (St. Paul, MN): With Andrus signed long-term and Kinsler there for a while, why haven't the Rangers traded Jurikson Profrar yet? Isn't he completely blocked?

Jim Callis: He's athletic and gifted enough to profile well almost anywhere on the diamond. No reason to trade him.

    Ryan (Milwaukee): Where can we find your organization rankings? I haven't gotten my handbook yet, and I'm curious.

Jim Callis: Only in the Handbook to this point. We'll update them and have them in our upcoming Minor League Preview.

Jim Callis: I'm going to hop out now and turn this over to John Manuel. Enjoy! Feel free to send questions to as well (including your name and hometown). Thanks.

    Hard 8 Starkey (Bands, Pa): Was Ryan lavarnway on the bubble?

John Manuel: I'll take the baton from Jim Callis here ... Lavarnway had a modest amount of support in our internal discussions; no one had him in their top 100 but he had several top 150 supporters. The questions about his defense and how much he'll hit big league pitching kept him out of the list, for me.

    Grant (San Diego): No Hedges, Wieland or Erlin? Who will likely make it to Petco first?

John Manuel: All three had support; JJ and I talked about that in last week's podcast. I think all of us in the office would have different answers; I'm a Wieland guy. Matt Eddy strongly advises caution on all young catchers, and that helped us keep Hedges out of the back of the top 100. He came the closest to making it, as his upside is considerable. But catching is hard, so we decided to be conservative with him.

    Andrew Brotherton (Atlanta, GA): We all know about Mason, Manny, and Dellin, along with newly acquired Jose, who are the next wave of Yankee prospects to make the Top 100 prospects? Could you see Montgomery, Bichette, Ravel Santana, Jake Cave, Murphy, Flores, Austin entering the list?

John Manuel: Glad to see a Yankee fan so giddy about their prospects; it's so rare ... Ravel Santana and Dante Bichette Jr. are my picks to click out of that group to jump into the Top 100 next year, but Austin is a good sleeper. I like Mike Montgomery a lot but he's likely a future setup guy, and there are really no setup guys (in terms of realistic ceiling) in this top 100. That's what kept Lance Lynn, for example, out of the top 100. Check today's podcast when it's posted to hear some more discussion on that point.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): With the Reds #3 prospect Zack Cozart at #75 overall, how close were #4 Dan Corcino and #5 Robert Stephenson to making the list?

John Manuel: Shockingly, I was the high guy on Corcino; he was in my top 100, but I was the only one. Stephenson didn't get that kind of consideration but was on three of our ballots. Obviously the system took a hit with the Latos trade but one that I think was worth taking in that deal.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Was Luis Heredia's timetable (4-5 years away) what kept him off the list?

John Manuel: I would word it that he's so far away and we really haven't seen much of what he can do. Also the 19 walks in 30 innings ... performance doesn't mean much in Rookie ball as you know but that's a worrisome combination. I'd like to see progress there before ranking a 17-year-old.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Given that he should be a day one starter, could Zack Cozart be a darkhorse rookie of the year candidate?

John Manuel: Another Reds question ... Cozart is a darkhorse favorite for me; we'll have our Top 20 rookies rankings in this issue, should be online in two weeks. I like Cozart quite a bit, despite a somewhat unconventional swing. He's consistently hit for solid pop for a middle infielder. He's got a lot of 5s and 6s in his toolset.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Do you believe Arenado's CAL and AFL numbers were inflated at all, and is that what led to ranking him where you did?

John Manuel: I think we're trying to be more aware of Cal League numbers in general. We're always a bit circumspect on AFL numbers. More impressive to me was his defensive improvement. We thought he could hit last year at Asheville. See this blog post from July 2010:

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is Jurickson Profar the early favorite for the 2013 #1 Prospect ranking?

John Manuel: That's a good way to put it. I'd throw Anthony Rendon (if he can show his shoulder is healthy), Taijuan Walker and Miguel Sano in that mix as well.

    Randy (KC): I notice Shelby Miller and Dylan Bundy both have 2013 ETAs Which is later/earlier respectively than I would have anticipated. I realize that's just an estimation and things can change quickly, but do you stand by that assessment?

John Manuel: Those ETAs would not be the same if they were in different organizations. The Cardinals have pretty good starting pitching depth and have handled Miller carefully to that point; that said, that was a conservative ETA. We hemmed and hawed on hit quite a bit, and if we're wrong and he establishes himself in 2012, I would not be shocked. Bundy ... he was the best pitcher in the 2011 draft, has uncommon polish for a prep product and is in a poor organization that likely will fast-track him. Hence they got the same ETAs, which I admit on the surface looks odd. If anything, I'd move Miller up to 2012, but it's likely he'll still be rookie-eligible for 2013 . . . in which case he should be in my previous answer about 2013 Top 100 guys who could rank No. 1.

    Neal (Toronto): Hi Jim, Quick question on your apparently implying that Aroldis Chapman isn't living up to the hype? While you'd obviously like to see fewer walks, seems to me that a guy who allowed less than half a hit an inning and struck out better than 1.4 an inning at 23 years of age is well on the way to matching the hype, even the Randy Johnson comps seem still well within reach.

John Manuel: I'm not Jim obviously, but the difference is that Chapman got $30 million before ever pitching in the majors. Meanwhile Randy Johnson got 4-5 years in the minors and took a couple of big league seasons where he took his lumps a bit before emerging. So both can be true ... the comp can be in reach, and Chapman has failed to live up to his hype generated by the $30 million contract. I do believe the way Chapman has been put in big league relief for two seasons has hurt his long-term development, and I think that's one of Jim's larger points as well.

    Raphael (Vancouver, BC): What does Jarrod Parker have over James Paxton? Paxton is a lefty who struck out more at the same level, has similar stuff, and doesn't have Parker's injury history.

John Manuel: A longer performance track record. Paxton wasn't that dominant as an amateur (5.86 ERA as a junior in 2009) and then basically missed a year. Even with the missed year, Jarrod Parker has performed in pro ball and came back pretty strong after his TJ. Parker's greater pro experience also means he has a deeper repertoire; he's a 4-pitch guy and also has both a two-seamer and four-seamer, while Paxton's a three-pitch guy. Slight edges for Parker. But considering how many minor leaguers there are, 26 to 52 isn't exactly a chasm in the rankings.

    Brian (NY): Who do you feel moves up this list significantly in 2013? For example, Skaggs was #82 in 2011, #13 this year; Profar was #74 in 2011, #7 this year.

John Manuel: We talked about this in today's podcast as well; two of my picks to click were 2011 draftees Daniel Norris and Taylor Guerrieri. JJ Cooper's included Cheslor Cuthbert and Jonathan Schoop. I'll let you listen to the podcast to hear Jim Callis'.

    Matt (Scranton): Are there any real concerns that you have heard on Mike Trout after a disappointing end to his season and a weak showing in the AFL? Or was this just him being worn down after a long year?

John Manuel: Not from me or the scouts we've talked to; Jim had one scout's note in one of the sidebar pieces he did that talked about Trout's hand-eye coordination being fairly ordinary, which is the first I've heard of it. I do not have any concerns that stem from his AFL stint though.

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): I know Jim Callis said he was being conservative but I was surprised to see Jorge Soler hypothetically rated in the 40s. If he signed with the Cubs, I was expecting Soler to be their top prospect and not rated about 10 spots behind Brett Jackson. Why do Cuban defectors rarely live up to the hype, as Jim Callis suggested?

John Manuel: Navin, I think we're just being realistic there. We had a report on Soler back in Nov. 2010 and remain excited about him. Honestly, I'm surprised Jim would rank him ahead of Javier Baez, who sounds similar and has a chance to stick in the infield. I'd rank Soler behind the (a) polished guy ready for the big leagues who is going to be a steady hitter and defender if not a star and (b) the infielder with similar offensive upside. To me, that's just realistic.

    Jeremy (Washington, DC): Did Tommy Joseph get any consideration for this list? Huge power potential with the chance to stick at catcher, right?

John Manuel: He was No. 100 before Yoenis Cespedes signed and got bumped off the list at that time. He was one of the players we spent a lot of time deliberating. I think we'd love to see a bit better plate discipline, and it's hard to have conviction about A-ball catchers who have questions about their defense.

    Chris (Hicksville, NY): Is Gary Sanchez from the Yankee system a Jesus Montero situation all over again in terms of can Sanchez play another position if he can't make it as catcher? I love the podcasts by the way.

John Manuel: Thanks for the kind words on the podcast. We're excited about the fact that they are going well. I think JJ Cooper deserves a lot of credit for that; I'm proud to work with him. As for Sanchez, I think the safest thing to say is yes, he's similar to Montero, though he's more of a pure hitter in terms of his swing. The makeup or maturity of Sanchez is more in question than it was for Montero at a similar stage. But he's not as big as Montero; I wouldn't give up on him as a catcher just yet. He can grow up; Montero couldn't stop being 6-foot-4, 225.

    Johhny (From the spot): I bet the capsules was written by John Manuel.

John Manuel: You bet right! We were shooting for breezy, since we're so hard-core most of the rest of the time. Hope you enjoyed them. I'm handing it off to JJ now ... thanks for all the attention, enjoy the top 100!

    Joel (KCK): Until Boston or the Yanks can actually develop a prospect and have them have sustained success at the major league level, is it that off-base for the majority of baseball fans to feel that ALL Bos/NYY prospects are overrated by the majority of the industry experts?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry Joel, you're missing something here. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester would seem to qualify as homegrown talents with sustained success as do Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon. On the Yankees side, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova and others would like to differ with your assessment.

    cy (western Mass.): Is this something of a make-or-break year for Martin Perez, where ability needs to be matched by results? Thank you.

J.J. Cooper: I wouldn't completely give up on him if he had a bad year because pitchers can "find it" on differing timetables, but yes, it's no longer an excuse to say he's young for the league. He needs to miss bats.

    Marcos (NY): Can Xander Bogearts play CF in the future? Can you give me a scouting report on Blake Swihart. Is he the next Buster Posey?

J.J. Cooper: I wouldn't see him making it as center fielder. Xander is more likely to move to a corner, as he's got a chance to end up being pretty good sized. As far as the Swihart scouting report, we've broken him down for subscribers here: In the scouting report we said he had the Posey starter kit. Long way to go to get there though.

    Mike (Toronto): I love the top 100, look forward to it every year BUT...I was let down by the format this year. A grid with some details and then a joke about their name or a short "funny" blurb? That's so Yahoo or ESPN! Why would BA trade in their trademark serious informative approach for gags about how many Bubba's or Shelby's there are?

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for your input. We've done different lines of skinny in different formats over the years, but the reality is that we've already written 250-500 word scouting reports on each and everyone of these guys this offseason. So we were just trying to do something different for the Top 100 list. If you are a subscriber, we have a very in-depth scouting report on each and every one of these guys here:

    Anthony (NYC): Ravel Santana, how far is he from Top 100 worthy?

J.J. Cooper: A good 2012 away. Just a little far away to put him on yet. Another solid season and he'll be on next year's list.

    jon (sc): How close was Heath Hembree to making your top 100. I know he is a releiver but he led minor leagues in saves last year and has a big fastball.

J.J. Cooper: His name was discussed. We analyzed a couple of potential closers for spots at the tail end of the list. He wasn't the closest reliever to making the list who didn't make it, that would be Kelvin Herrera or Lance Lynn, but he was discussed.

    Perry (Las Vegas, NV): How far out of the top 100 are the Blue Jays young starters (Nicolino, Sanchez, Syndergaard, Hutchison, McGuire) below Norris?

J.J. Cooper: Not that far. I have said a couple of times recently that no organization has the potential to have a bigger 2012 as far as the farm system than the Blue Jays. If most of their young talent takes steps forward, they could have the No. 1 farm system in baseball heading into 2013. They remind me somewhat of where the Royals were heading into 2010. But now their prospects have to go out and succeed at higher levels, which is the tough part.

    Jason (Austin): By my quick count I counted 19 players on the list from the list from the 2011 draft. Is that number high compared to past years, and is that a product of a really really deep draft?

J.J. Cooper: It was a very deep draft. It was as good of a top 10 as we can remember in years.

    D.Cornell (Madison, WI): What's the deal with Angel Villalona? Will he play in 2012? Do you see him reaching the BIG LEAGUES? Could he make the Top 100 Prospects List in 2013?

J.J. Cooper: If he can get his visa to the US he will play in 2012. But he's lost a lot of time and was struggling before that. I don't see him ever making a future Top 100.

    D.Cornell (Madison, WI): Didn't Wilmer Flores on the list - what happened to him? Is he the NEXT Miguel Cabrera?

J.J. Cooper: He's not the next Miguel Cabrera. At Flores' age, the current Miguel Cabrera was a solid big leaguer, Flores is looking to get out of high Class A. The bat isn't as special as we once thought, and although he's listed as a shortstop, there's a decent chance he ends up at first base long term.

    Jake (Grand Rapids): What prohibited Eddie Rosario from making the list? I would have thought his stock would rise in light of his projected move to 2B.

J.J. Cooper: Nothing prohibited him from making it, but he doesn't get credit for being a second baseman until he shows that he can handle the position. A strong 2012 and I wouldn't be shocked to see him on the back end of next year's list.

    D.Cornell (Madison, WI): Were Juan Duran or Yorman Rodriguez - both Reds Propects - close to making the Top 100 Prospects List?

J.J. Cooper: No. In Duran's case he's got a lot of swing and miss. As good as his power can be, he doesn't really have another potentially plus tool. He's a liability in the outfield defensively, doesn't run all that well and doesn't project to hit for average. He could fix some of those problems, but those are too many concerns to come close to making the Top 100 currently. As far as Yorman Rodriguez, he has the tools to be a Top 100 player, but his defense right now is quite bad, and he's missed a lot of time with both injuries and makeup problems. He needs to mature and string together a strong full season, not flashes over a month or two, to make a case for a Top 100 spot.

    B. (Dublin): What's the top 100 of the BA staff look like!?

J.J. Cooper: I don't feel qualified to rank that, but I'd be happy if I crack the Top 50 (we're not that big of a staff).

    Dale (Wisco): Why is Jungmann ranked so low with his outstanding stats and quality pithcing at Texas. Seems like should be higher, potential ace or number 2/3? Where is Wily Peralta just outside top 100?

J.J. Cooper: We actually felt that Jungmann ranked pretty aggressively, there was some feeling in our Top 100 meeting that he might have been a little high. The way he tailed off at the end of his junior year did lead to some concerns.

J.J. Cooper: Taking a quick siesta to watch Jim on MLB Network TV, will be right back.

J.J. Cooper: My mistake, he's taping at 4 p.m. not going on live. I'm back.

    Bob (KC): Cuthbert seems to be getting pretty big (hype wise) but the numbers seem lacking. 3B demands a pretty good hit and power tool right? What can he do in the future?

J.J. Cooper: Cuthbert is a great example of how you have to go deeper than a cursory look at the numbers. He was dominant in May-July and then simply ran out of gas in his first full pro season (he was one of the youngest players in the league). The bat speed that was apparent in June was gone by August. Long-term he's a potential impact bat and I believe he can stick at third base.

    Ken (Lakewood CA): Pastornicky looks to be the starting SS for the Braves, yet didn't make the Top 100. Was he at all close? What are his limitations as a prospect and is he merely keeping the SS seat warm for Simmons. Thanks.

J.J. Cooper: There are differing opinions among scouts as to whether he's a solid everyday shortstop or a very good utilityman. Pastornicky's ceiling is significantly lower than Simmons, but he is a quite safe bet to be a useful big leaguer. He likely has a couple of months to prove he can do the job, but in a tough NL East, he'll have to produce pretty quickly.

    Jim (Granger, IN): You're starting a franchise. First pitcher selected....Shelby Miller or Stephen Strasburg? Strasburg has proven himself in The Show but is also coming off TJ. Thoughts on their ceilings?

J.J. Cooper: I'm taking Matt Moore.

    Jeff (Baltimore): Do you see Jon Schoop at 3B or 2B long term?

J.J. Cooper: I'd say 2B, but I've talked to scouts who disagree and think he should be an third baseman, where they see all-star potential.

    Johnny (San Diego): What was your biggest hesitation in ranking Daniel Corcino? Size? Lack of upside?

J.J. Cooper: There are differing opinions on his long-term role. If you like him, he's a Johnny Cueto clone who could be a solid No. 3 starter. If you don't, his size and effort in his delivery scream reliever.

    Dan (Maine): How far off was Eddie Rosario? Seems like he has been talked a lot about this year and he ranked #3 on Twins list (whereas Charles Villanueva only ranked #9 on TEX).

J.J. Cooper: I'll put in a plug for the Prospect Handbook (which can be purchased here ( In our BA Grades in the handbook, Villanueva is a 60 High while Rosario is a 55 High. So we ranked Villanueva higher than Rosario, he's just in a much more talented farm system. That's one of the reasons we added the BA Grades this year as is makes it easy to figure out how prospects rank across systems.

    Sam (New York): How much consideration did Grant Green get for the top 100? What does he have to do in AAA this year to earn his way back on the list? Thanks.

J.J. Cooper: Personally I need to see a good bit more power. I don't see him as an impact player in the big leagues, especially after his move to center field. The only time Green has reached double digits in home runs in college or the pros is during a year in the Cal League. He can be a useful player, but he seems more like a second-division regular to me. Jim Callis would disagree, as he views Green more highly than I do.

    Peter Kennedy (San Diego): The most under represented position is 2B. Coincidently, 2B is also under represented in the Hall of Fame. Any thoughts on why 2B does not have more superior ball players?

J.J. Cooper: Because the best second baseman in the majors are playing other positions. Second base is a position you usually end up at because of your limitations. If you're a great middle infielder, you play shortstop. If you're a touch too slow for shortstop but with good arm and power, you play third base. Most second basemen end up there because they either lack the arm or the power to play at short or third. Because of that, many future MLB second basemen are playing SS in the minors.

    Scott (FL): Hi! Where would Kyle Gibson rank if he was healthy this year? He appeared to be a Top 20 candidate before his 2011 season.

J.J. Cooper: Top 20 seems a little steep to me. We had him No. 34 before the 2011 season. If he bounces back he could end up back in the 50-100 range in 2014, but considering his age, and the fact he won't be back to full strength until 2013, when he will be 25 years old, I wouldn't see him cracking another top 50.

    Sam (New York): If all three are in the rotation on opening day, who would you expect to have the best 2012 season among Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, and Tom Milone?

J.J. Cooper: Peacock, Parker and ............................ Milone. Big difference between those top two and that third one.

    Dave (San Francisco): Is there a pitcher in this group that will be the next Henderson Alvarez or Michael Pineda that will increase his velocity to the upper 90s and succeed above expectations?

J.J. Cooper: Dave, I'd love to answer that question but if I could figure that out, some club would be paying me big bucks. Not trying to be flippant, but predicting which pitcher is going to gain 4-5 mph like Alvarez did is quite hard to do.

    D.Cornell (Madison, WI): Domingo Santana (Astros Prospect) - Boom or Bust?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. He's going to be a boom or bust. Hard to say for sure which one yet. He's like trying for a three-team teaser. You're unlikely to pull it off, but if you do, the payoff is quite large.

    Ryan (WA): Will there be "BA Grades" released for these players as has been done in the past?

J.J. Cooper: We put BA Grades on each and everyone of our 900 prospects in this year's Prospect Handbook.

    Jason (Boston): What has Vizcaino so low? Is it the injury questions, the bullpen role, or are you just not as high on him as some others in the industry? Thanks.

J.J. Cooper: I think where we have him ranked is right around the industry consensus. Obviously people have differing opinions, but if you polled a sample of 10 pro scouting directors, I think where we have Vizcaino is pretty close to where they would have him. He's most likely a reliever, a very good one, but a reliever nonetheless. And he's had injury problems most every year—last year was the first time he topped 100 IP in a season—he's been a pro for four years.

    Bob (DC): I am in a strat league that allows us to draft minor league players. I hate to give up on a player too soon but guys near the bottom of the top 100 are readily available. Is it time to give up on Chris Carter and Anthony Ranaudo and bring in a couple of guys near the bottom of the list?

J.J. Cooper: Yes on Chris Carter. As far as Ranaudo, if you hope for him to be a back-end of the rotation starter, he still could be that with a glimmer of a chance to be more. But if you're asking me if I'd rather have Ranaudo or Daniel Norris or Taylor Guerrieri, I'd rather have the younger guys if I'm talking about long-term potential.

    Shawn (Dallas): Go out on a limb and project Moore's first season. Do you think he has a better season than Price off the bat?

J.J. Cooper: Yes because he's more polished. Price was a two-pitch guy a lot (and sometimes a one-pitch guy) in his first season. Moore is a three-pitch guy already.

    Amy (Boston): How concerning is Mike Montgomery's 2011 struggle?

J.J. Cooper: Definitely a concern, but the stuff is still there and he was a 21-year-old who turned 22 while pitching in the PCL. He has plenty of time to add the final refinements.

    neil (new zealand): where's the love for james paxton?? was he close to the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: He made it. He was No. 52.

    Ryan Winkel (Rogers, AR): Where would a player such as Mark Appel or Lucas Giolito rank? How many from this 2012 draft could we expect to see make the top 100 list?

J.J. Cooper: Check out Jim Callis' column we posted today for that answer: (subscribers only).

    Jaypers (Il): Gary Sanchez: #30 last year, #82 this year. Did his stock really fall that much, or is this an acknowledgement that you guys might have jumped the gun with him last year?

J.J. Cooper: His stock fell. He hasn't made the strides defensively that were expected of him and his makeup was a concern this year.

    Gus (Durham): Rendon and injuries. Is Rendon's current ranking partly a product of uncertainty over his shoulder? Would he have ranked higher had he played in the AFL and shown a healthy shoulder? If he never shows better than the player he was his final year of college, do you still stand by his current rank?

J.J. Cooper: Absolutely he would have ranked higher if he had played in the AFL and showed he was healthy. I was one of the lightest in the office on Rendon and it is almost entirely because he hasn't yet demonstrated that the shoulder injury is behind him.

    Ian (Columbus): How much of a concern is Julio Teheran's lack of a breaking ball?

J.J. Cooper: It's a definite concern, one we've written about multiple times. But Teheran has made strides with it and he's shown durability and success for multiple years despite his young age. I expect he'll refine it to the point where it's not a hinderance for him. His changeup is good enough that he just needs it as a useable third pitch.

    Hard 6 Starkey (Uncasville, CT): Derek Norris: JUST outside top 100? I mean, his babip last year was what, .250? Good defense, good walk rate...has to be close to the top 100, no

J.J. Cooper: We are talking about a guy who hit .235 in 2010 before hitting .210 in 2011, so either his BABIP is a case of extreme bad luck or there is something that makes one think he's not going to hit for a whole lot of average while putting up solid OBPs. He's a solid prospect, but no, I didn't personally have him just on the cusp of the Top 100. More like 130-150 for me.

    Gus (Durham): I assume you do not take ballpark factors into account when considering prospects. Realistically, in a park like Safeco that favors lefty pitchers, might Hultzen have more value for the Mariners than he would as a prospect in isolation?

J.J. Cooper: We don't really, partly because we can't be sure a guy won't be traded. Robbie Erlin's ERA's likely will look better now that he's been traded to the Padres, but as far as what his value is compared to other prospects, he's still the same guy. That's how we try to treat it.

    Daniel (Montana): Thanks for the work guys. Regarding Bundy, does Baltimore's inability to develop pitchers through the Major Leagues worry you? Or is he just too good to be messed up?

J.J. Cooper: No one is too good to be messed up, and the Orioles' track record with pitching prospects is troubling. But Bundy's talent is immense, and not every O's pitching prospect flames out, so you have to like his chances.

    Aaron (Dallas): Why was Martin Perez so low? Some scouts say he is a top 20 prospect with ace stuff.

J.J. Cooper: Not trying to be flippant, but which scouts told you that? I was hearing that back in mid-2010, but Perez's recent struggles in 2010 and 2011 have left a lot of scouts wanting to see a little more success from Perez and better command, no matter how good his stuff is.

    Ted (Twin Cities): What happened to Eddie Rosario? I thought he was a lock for top 100????

J.J. Cooper: Getting a lot of Rosario questions. If you have our Prospect Handbook and break out the BA Grades, it would give you a pretty strong hint we didn't see him currently as a top 100 guy. He's a 55 High, while a number of 55 Medium's didn't make the Top 100.

    Jason (Salem, OR): Have the results (or lack thereof) finally outweighed the projection/upside of the many tools of Aaron Hicks? A previous Top 100 guy, I'm not surprised to see him miss the list this year. Thoughts?

J.J. Cooper: At some point you have to start seeing things click. The tools are still quite impressive, but he's yet to put it together and at this point, he's got a pretty long track record of struggling.

    Greg (Boston): Mike from Toronto is in the minority (I think). After breaking down 900+ prospects, we really don't need to read more than one or two lines about these guys when it comes down to the final ranking. Keep up the great work, all of you.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks for the kind words.

    MC (Boston): Did Oswaldo Arcia get much consideration for the list?

J.J. Cooper: Not much. I'd expect we would have seen Rosario and Hicks both from the Twins on the list before Arcia. A healthy 2012 would give him a chance to move up, but the elbow injury really set him back last year.

    jda (New York): How much of Zack Cozart's value is tied up in his above-average defense.

J.J. Cooper: Not a whole lot. I'd say he's a solid big league shortstop defensively. Where he stands out is he has more power than the average big league shortstop.

    Justin (San Diego): Not too many strictly bullpen arms get ranked on these lists. Can you give us a few of the top bullpen arms that were not ranked in the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: Sure. Kelvin Herrera, Heath Hembree and Lance Lynn all didn't miss the list by much.

    Jose (Dallas): Why Yu Darvish over Julio Teheran?

J.J. Cooper: He is older, but Darvish's overall stuff is better. His breaking ball is better and his command is better. I'd be happy to have either one, but those were the differntiators.

    CJ (Boston): Where was Robbie Grossman? Concerns that his numbers were a product of repeating a level?

J.J. Cooper: That's part of it. There also is a question of whether he's a tweener. Grossman did have a breakout year last year, but it's hard to see how he profiles. He lacks the plus power like you would want out of a corner outfielder and he's limited defensively in center field. It was a great 2011, but he still looks more likely to end up as a useful fourth outfielder than as a big league star.

J.J. Cooper: After nearly three hours we need to wrap this up. Thanks for all the questions and thanks for all the interest. Top 100 day is always one of the busiest days of the year traffic wise here at BA and we appreciate everyone of you for stopping by.