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Prospect Hot Sheet Chat (5/2/18)

Ben Badler: Hey everyone! I’m back from New Hampshire, where somehow Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was even better than advertised. Let’s get started.

Warren (New London):

    Jeisson Rosario is really impressing me so far this season. Is his stock up, or was he supposed to be this good? Will he stay in CF as he moves up?

Ben Badler: We ranked him as one of the top international prospects in the 2016 class. He’s an athletic CF, definitely an arrow up guy.

J. Walter Weatherman (The O.C.):

    Kevin Smith is crushing the ball in Lansing and the strikeouts are considerably down. Should Toronto fans get a bit excited that he's potentially figured something out? I know that he was a potential 1st round pick after his Cape Cod performance before imploding in his JR season at Maryland.

Ben Badler: It’s a very good sign. It’s still only a month, and it’s a college player in Low-A, but it’s a a lot of very encouraging signals early on.

Doug (Chicago):

    Who are some under the radar 1B prospects you think will turn some heads as the season progresses?

Ben Badler: Mason Martin with the Pirates. I thought that was a great pick. Good combo of patience and power in the lower levels.

Sean (SD):

    Edward Oliveras came over to the Padres in a trade over the winter. He hasn't gotten much attention due to how deep the Padres system is. What have been scouts feedback on him? He's on the older side for HiA but seems to have some serious 5 tool upside. Would he be a top 10 prospects in half of the minor league systems?

Ben Badler: Good tools but still a crude hitting approach. He has to become a more selective hitter to get by against better pitching.

Jon (WI):

    Freddy Peralta is off to a nice start in a tough pitching environment. I know the stuff isn't supposed to be that good, but he keeps on racking up Ks. Do you think he can surprise as a mid-rotation starter or is that too rich?

Ben Badler: Probably a fourth starter, with a chance to pitch above that role some years.

Nick (Ohio):

    Do you have a couple of guys inside the top 100 or outside of it that you think is going to really jump up the rankings by mid season re-ranking?

Ben Badler: Juan Soto, Jesus Sanchez, Austin Meadows (health is a big one with him obviously) are all arrow up guys in there now. Dane Dunning too if he repeats his success in Double-A.

David (Toronto):

    What are your thoughts on Bo Bichette so far this season?

Ben Badler: Extremely impressed. Tremendous swing, drive the ball with impact to the middle of the park, very advanced hitter's mindset. The bat isn't a surprise but his defense has been. He put in a ton of work on the defensive side this offseason and you can see the difference this year. Some of whether he stays at shortstop is going to be circumstantial, but he looks like he can play shortstop at the big league level, which is a change in his talent level from 2017 and the reason we gave him a slight bump in our new Top 100.

William (NYC):

    Do you think Josh Naylor could stick in left field? And if so could he be promoted to the padres this summer? His bat is ready now. Thanks.

Ben Badler: No on LF. He has a chance to be up by the end of the year, but he's not on the 40 man now and I don't know that it makes a lot of sense for the Padres to push him up quickly in 2018.

Joe (CHI):

    How far down top 200 prospects would u drop Zach Collins? He continues to not hit and even though improving behind the plate do u see him as a productive everyday C for the white Sox

Ben Badler: The reports on him from scouts haven’t been great. There’s a patience/power combination that’s good for a catcher, but it’s not a lot of quick-twitch in the swing and there’s risk a lot of those walks will go away once he’s facing better pitching. He’ll get to the big leagues but I’m not comfortable projecting him as an everyday guy.

Matt (Seattle):

    Don't know if this is the right chat to ask this, but what happened to the draft database archive? I hope it's not gone now, because I really liked that feature. Maybe I just can't find it with the new web page format? Thanks!

Ben Badler: My understanding is that it’s coming back and the ETA is next week. It’s a high priority for us too. I don’t have any involvement when it comes to website stuff, but I know there’s a lot involved on the back end to get all the data transferred over to the new website and then making the database more user-friendly with better search/sorting functions to comb through everything. We appreciate you guys bearing with us as we go through all the hurdles of moving everything over to the new site. 🙏

Rachel (NYC):

    Even including last night, Tatis Jr. has been cold to start the season. Are you worried at all he won't finish the year as a strong top-10 prospect?

Ben Badler: It’s a slow start. I’d like to see more contact, but all the other tools are there, and he’s still a 19-year-old in Double-A, so nothing to panic over right now.

Nate “JPS” Hunter (IBC Land):

    How would you compare Juan Soto’s ceiling to Gregory Polanco? In 3 years, could you see Soto as a more dominant MLB player?

Ben Badler: Big fan of both as prospects or when Polanco was a prospect, but they're different types of players. Soto isn’t as physical or athletic as Polanco but he is a better pure hitter. He’s one of the best pure hitters in the minors. I think he’s going to be a big time, middle of the order bat.

Old Yeller Dorman (Houston):

    If you had to pick one prospect to be the most feared big league hitter in 2 years not named Vlad Jr. who would it be?

Ben Badler: In that time frame… probably Eloy is the best bet.

Something Clever (Iowa):

    Blake Rutherford - Yelich 2.0?

Ben Badler: I don't see it. Yelich had better barrel control, better approach. He was also in the big leagues at 21, while Rutherford (in part for being old for a high school draft pick) is still in High-A.

John Paul “Aunt Minnie” Starkey (Stamford):

    What’re your thoughts on Pete Alonso? With no clear cut 1B in Queens and AG struggling, could he get his first taste post ASB?

Ben Badler: I’m hoping to see him in person soon to get a better read on him. The power is obvious and I like what I’m hearing about the strides he’s making with his selectivity at the plate. He gets dinged for his defense at first base, but I think that’s overrated. If you’re a first baseman, I want you to mash.

Casey (NJ):

    Will we see vlad g jr this year?

Ben Badler: Maybe. The Blue Jays don't know what they're going to do yet, and I'm sure they would like to milk another year of service time control out of him if they can. As a hitter, he's major league ready right now. That sounds wild to say about a 19-year-old, but my goodness, I don't know how you pitch to him because he is such a complete hitter. In BP, he's hitting line drives to RCF that carry to the wall and smoking balls out of the stadium to his pull side. Then in the games, he has such incredible bat control and plate discipline. He's one of the best teenage hitters I've ever seen. But defensively, he does need work at third base. You can't bring him up at DH him because that would legitimately stunt his long-term development; wherever he plays, he needs to be playing third base every day to get better on the defensive side. But wow is he incredible to watch when he's in the batter's box.


Austin Gomber Earns Role With Versatility, New Pitch

The 26-year-old lefthander caught the Cardinals' attention with his versatility and earned a bullpen role as a result.

Mark (Virginia):

    Has the overall evaluation of Jesus Luzardo changed? What are your current thoughts on his potential ceiling?

Ben Badler: We have some extremely strong reports on Luzardo from the scouts who've seen him pitch this year. The durability is a risk factor but it's big time stuff and bat-missing ability.

Gilbert (Natoma):

    Jose Suarez seems to be a freight train through his first 3 outings in AA despite keeping his pitch count to mid-70s. Could he possibly be in AAA this year? What do you see in his performances?

Ben Badler: As long as he’s healthy, the only way he doesn’t finish the year in Triple-A is because he might be pitching in the big leagues. Super impressive start for him.

Barry (Halifax):

    Does Reid-Foley’s performance so far indicate a small sample size or that something has clicked?

Ben Badler: A little of each. I've seen two starts of his this year, including today's when he struck out 10 with no walks. His slider looked sharp both times, flashing plus to work as a putaway pitch, and today he was up to 95 mph. The thing last year with Reid-Foley was consistency. Not in the wishy-wash way teams use sometimes to talk about their own players, but legitimate consistency start to start and within a start, where the slider, curveball or changeup might be there some nights and not others, or things would suddenly collapse on him within an outing. So I want to see him hold this over a larger body of work, but I've definitely seen an improved player from 2017.

Joe (LA):

    What are your thoughts on Knitzer being the future C for the cards over kelly? How close to the top 100 list is he and what MLB player comp can u compare him to? Thanks

Ben Badler: He came up in the Top 100 discussion. I’d take Kelly ahead of him right now, but I’m very excited with what Knizner has shown as a hitter.

Matthew (DCA):

    Who would you rather pick to build a team with; Vlad Jr or Acuna?

Ben Badler: Vladdy.

Andrew (Boston):

    IF Juan Soto keeps performing like this, where does he end up on next winter's Top 100?

Ben Badler: He's talented enough to be a top 10 guy. He's just a such a good hitter. We pick these guys apart but it's hard to find any significant flaws with him as a hitter.

CyMature (Cooperstown Retirement Home):

    Hi Ben, not a question, but an exclamation: Fernando Romero!

Ben Badler: I can't argue with that.

Tommy N. (San Diego):

    Cal Quantrill elevating his stock this year?

Ben Badler: Not for me. I know others at BA are higher on him than I am though.

Larry (Queens):

    Aquino or Trammell, based purely on top end potential?

Ben Badler: Trammell. Another arrow-up guy.

Greg (Kellyville, OK):

    What non-top 100 SP and Hitter have impressed the most thus far in terms of stats and what you see? What Top 100 SP and Hitters have most disappointed thus far?

Ben Badler: Max Schrock just continues to hit. The rest of the tools are ordinary at best, but the plate discipline and bat control are real. On the other side, I like Hunter Greene--the 80 fastball and terrific athleticism are hard to miss--but not quite to the degree others are on him. He's of the players I'm most curious to see how the rest of his year shakes out.

Kevin (augusta):

    Willie Calhoun has been in the minors working on his defense and Rangers fans are wondering how that's going? Thanks!

Ben Badler: His defense.... it's.....welllll.... he can really hit!

Jesus and Taylor (HiA Bashers):

    Both Jesus Sanchez and Taylor Trammell have had a great start in the historically pitcher friendly FSL with both sporting OPS of .900+. Why did neither move up in the updated May top 100 rankings? Can we expect both to be in the conversation of top 15-20 prospects come 2019?

Ben Badler: We were probably erring on the side of being conservative after a month with just about everyone, although I did lobby for pushing Sanchez higher. Given the way they're trending this year I could see them both jumping into the top 30-ish mix by midseason with the upside to keep climbing.

BL Chew (Canada):

    Lots of hype surrounding Heliot Ramos, being he's so young, you see him having the tools to be impact MLBer?

Ben Badler: On pure tools, yes. I have more concerns about the offensive approach and swing-and-miss tendencies at higher levels.

John (Houston):

    What do you think about Astros' Corbin Martin so far in his early professional career? Is he starting to build up enough hype to rise in top 100 lists or is he pitching out of his mind right now?

Ben Badler: He came up in our most recent Top 100 discussion. Very strong reports on him from scouts who've seen him this year.

Ben Badler: Thanks for all the questions! Even if I didn't have time to answer all of them, it's always helpful for us to know which players you're interested in for us to follow up on. Time for me to get back to writing reports and slicing up more videos. Enjoy the rest of the week.

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