Talk prospects with Minor League Update man Jeff Moore.
Jeff Moore: Hey all!
We've got a few hours of chatting ahead of us so get your questions ready. I'm sitting outside on my balcony because it's 80 degrees and sunny here and I'm a jerk. Hope everyone's staying warm as they brace for more snow.
Pandora's up and running and so are we!
proffitt9 (Tampa): You think Kris Bryant will crack the top 10 list in 2014
Jeff Moore: You mean the top 10 in next year's top-101? I would guess no because he'll probably have already used up his prospect eligibility in the majors this season.
Leo (Milwaukee): Is it me or does Robert Stephenson's arm look late? He seems to square his body well and remain closed with good balance but at foot-strike, his arm and elbow are not raised to the preferred 90 degree angle. Is Stephenson someone whose mechanics have been praised or does he need some cleaning up? Is this cause for injury concern?
Jeff Moore: I haven't heard too many concerns about his delivery or mechanics. Stephenson is a very good athlete and the delivery is pretty effortless. Of course, he's a young pitcher so there is always injury concern, but no more than anyone else.
Alex (CA): I have the #1 in my dynasty league. Tanaka's available, but so is Sonny Gray, and he really intrigues me. He's shown what he could do against major league players already. Who should I take?
Jeff Moore: I may not be the guy to ask, because I have a bias towards short pitchers (which is strange because I'm neither short, nor was I a pitcher), but I really like Gray. I don't know much more about Tanaka other than the video that's out there for everybody to see. I didn't get to see him in the WBC or in Japan or anything like that, but the general consensous seems to be that he's a 2 or high-3. Gray should fall into that mold as well. If nothing else, the big park in Oakland could be the tiebreaker. Then again, Tanaka could make us all look stupid.
Chris (Towson): I'm in a 15 team 35 round league.....My ideas for last couple round picks include Mondesi and Dahl. Anyone else I should consider?
Jeff Moore: Hey, Towson, I lived there for about a year.
If you've listened to Parks and Ferrin on the Fringe Average podcast at all (when they actually get around to doing one), you know all about Dahl. Parks freaking loves him and thinks he could absolutely blow up this year. I haven't seen him in person, but I'll take the boss' word for it.
Craig (Troy): Need to add a infield prospect.. Tim Anderson or cj cron?
Jeff Moore: I would think the positional scarcity alone would push you towards Anderson, plus he'll steal some bases. Cron is probably the better player, but from a fantasy standpoint, he'll basically just be a HR/RBI guy at a position where that's easy to find.
Bwilkins10 (Portland): What is your talk on Carson Kelly one of the 18 NRI for STL? What is his ceiling? Where do you see him ending up this year?
Jeff Moore: The Cardinals are moving him behind the plate, so there's a process that needs to unfold there. I'll get a good look at his progress behind the plate in the next month, as Jupiter is the closest park to where I live. Heard great things about his makeup, so that bodes well for making the transition.
Jason (Ohio): What could the tigers get for Rick Porcello in a trade? 1 top 100 prospect and more?
Jeff Moore: Considering they didn't get one for Doug Fister, I doubt it.
Tim (NYC ): You seem pretty certain Sebastian Valle won't gain any more plate discipline as a player. Do you think players have the ability to improve plate discipline?
Jeff Moore: Players can improve plate discipline to a certain extent, but there aren't too many examples of extreme changes in approach. Valle's plate discipline is near the absolute bottom of the chart, so even with some improvement it would still be poor.
Wesley (Utah): College baseball is just around the corner! What leagues will you be seeing the most?
Jeff Moore: I should get a good look at Conference USA because Florida Atlantic University is just around the corner. I can also get in some ACC action if I make the hour drive down to Miami, which I will do a few times. The D-II Sunshine State Conference usually has some good talent as well, and Lynn University is nearby as well.
Bonus (Buffalo): Keeper question - 12 team 6x6 rotisserie league
Already keeping Miguel Cabrera, chris Davis and darvish. What 2 should I keep out of the following? Jason heyward, jurickson profar, Xander bogaerts and David price. Or I could trade Cabrera for Evan longoria and Jason kipnis. Suggestions?
Jeff Moore: Boagerts and Profar, though it should be mentioned that my fantasy teams always have great offense and terrible pitching.
Shawn (CT): Is Lucas Giolito being talked about enough? This is a guy who could have two elite pitches. How many pitchers in the the majors can even boast that?
Jeff Moore: He is in the (hypothetical) BP hallways. We love him here. If there wasn't the injury history, he'd be a no-doubter, but frankly, TJ doesn't scare me the way it once did, once the player is back healthy and throwing.
Adam (Austin ): What was the most frustrating part of coaching college baseball players?
Jeff Moore: Putting the success of your entire career in the hands of 18-year-olds and their ability to make good decisions.
Thedave (North port, Fl): I have the 7th pick in a 10 team Head to Head CBS points league. Is that too early to grab Fielder?
Jeff Moore: My goodness, yes.
gerrybraun (san diego): Jeff: Could you describe a three-day weekend of Cactus League games you'd like to take in? What teams would you watch, and what will you be looking for?
Jeff Moore: Unfortunately I'm stuck in Grapefruit country, but if I was going to Arizona again this spring, I'd be sure to check out Cubs, Rockies and Rangers. That's probably your best bet to see young talent on the back fields, assuming you can get there. And if you have time, go see Francisco Lindor field ground balls in batting practice. And take your kid, if you have one. You won't see a better exhibition of fluidity and grace with a glove than that.
If you're looking to go to games, Camelback Ranch (White Sox and Dodgers) is one of my favorite parks. It's just really scenic.
Kevin (Penn): Do you see any top-tier prospects not panning out like we all think they may, due to something like organizational mismanagement? Sometimes, I think the Phillies messed around with Dom Brown too much and he's currently closer to his floor than his ceiling (minus last May).
Jeff Moore: I'm with you that the Phillies did Brown no favors. As a prospect guy, one of my biggest pet peeves is yo-yo-ing a guy back and forth or calling him up and letting him rot on the bench. The Phillies did both to Brown. It's hard to predict organizational mismanagement, but history shows us that the Marlins are always an odds-on favorite to do something wacky, like they did last year by calling up Marcell Ozuna or Jake Marksnick way too early.
Paul (Pittsburgh): How can you tell which scouts are legit people vs just associates or bird dogs?
Jeff Moore: Visors. Big-time scouts wear visors.
padremurph (Los Angeles): Who do you like more? Austin Hedges or Yasmani Grandal?
Jeff Moore: Hedges, but don't rule out Grandal. He's been overlooked because of the suspension and injury, but he can still do a lot of things well.
RWarriors13 (Illinois): Keeper league draft where I need OF/P since I already have 2 MiLB top 10 infielders. Guys available in the range I'll draft: Marcus Stroman, Andrew Heaney, Alex Meyer, Clint Frazier, Joc Pedersen. Anyone jump out at you?
Jeff Moore: My man-crush on Marcus Stroman has been pretty well documented. I'm driving the Stroman-as-a-Starter bus.
Bubba (STL ): What are you going to be doing with your free time now?
Jeff Moore: Haha, good one Bubba. There is no free time. The MLU is on a 2-3 week hiatus until there are some games to talk about again, but I am still contributing some behind the scenes stuff here at BP, maintaining my own site, going to games, oh, and until I can make enough money to not have to, I'm still going to work 40-hours a week.
When I get a second to breathe, however, I usually spend it playing golf.
Larry S. (Chicago): Should I really just wash my hands of any expectations I have for Mike Olt on the Cubs this year? .250 and 20 homers seems reasonable..
Jeff Moore: That seems reasonable. Don't wash your hands of Olt. There's still something there. He probably should never have been lumped together in the same category as Profar when it came to the future of the Rangers, but he's still going to be a major leaguer of some sort.
srplayton (Princeton, NJ): Since you are in Grapefruit land, which are the best places to visit spring training games on the east coast?
Jeff Moore: Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter is beautiful, as is the small area surrounding it. A few nice places to grab a bite to eat and a beer if you're into that sort of thing.
My favorite Florida spring training site, however, is Bright House Networks field in Clearwater, and not just because I'm a Phillies fan. The grassy area out in the outfield is a great place to lay out and watch a game on a sunny afternoon, and there's a tiki bar in left field. Hard to beat that.
Man, I'm ready for baseball season.
Reed (Texas): Keith Law said he prefers Marcus Semien to Kolten Wong. Can you go find him and beat some sense into him?
Jeff Moore: I'd rather have Wong, but it's not a ridiculous statement. Wong is more of a high-floor than a high-celing guy. If Semien turns into an everyday player, it will be close.
Kyle (CA): What's a realistic ETA and what should I expect from Jorge Soler? Been holding him in a dynasty league but have had him at a fairly high salary.
Jeff Moore: If he beings the year in Double-A, then he could only be a phone call away. I think he still needs a full season of AB's in the minors at some level and the Cubs seem to be pretty dedicated to the process here and not wanting to rush their prospects. He could get a cup of coffee this fall and compete for a job in 2015. Of course, if he goes all Javy Baez on Double-A, it could speed up everything.
MRubio52 (Chicago): Any local college/HS kids worth keeping an eye on?
Jeff Moore: Tons, I'm just trying to get a handle on who and where. I'm just getting back into the amateur side of things having been out of it since I stopped coaching a few years ago. I've been doing mostly minor league stuff since then. Faleris is going to get me pointed in the right direction and I'll go out and just scout. Touki Toussaint is right in my back yard, however, so I know I'll get out to see him sometime soon.
Larry (Las Vegas): When coaching college ball what team would you hate playing the most?
Jeff Moore: I didn't have anyone I truly hated coaching against, but coaching in the America East conference, it was clear every time we played Stony Brook that they were in a different class than we were.
As a player, however, I hated playing against Salisbury University (Md.) with my entire heart. They were in our conference. They were very good and so were we so it was always a big game. They were loud and obnoxious (not the word I'd like to use) and they all did that stupid thing where they dyed their hair bleach blonde every year. It was a long drive to get to their place and it was always overcast and dreary and miserable. And their field was half astro turf. Yeah, you read that right. The infield was astro turf and the outfield was grass. What the hell is that? And it wasn't even nice turf, it was like they took what was left over from Veterans Stadium. It was just a brutal place to play.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): Given your feelings on steady mgmt of youngsters, what would you do with Eddie Rosario this spring? After the suspension would you leave hit at 2b or send him back to LF to hit and keep advancing?
Jeff Moore: He's an outfielder for me.
Jordan (Vegas): Javier Baez... Give me a ceiling and a floor.
Jeff Moore: The ceiling is Gary Sheffield. The floor could be any powerful young player who fails to make adjustments at the major league level once the league sees him the first time around. That's the key. Baez is going to come up and amaze everyone for a little while because he's ridiculously talented. Then the league will get a book on him and pitch him differently. What happens from there will determine his future. If he adjusts back after the league adjusts to him, it's on.
noone99 (Ann Arbor): Can Teheran or Medlen be a legit 1?
Jeff Moore: Medlen, no. Teheran, probably more of a two at his best.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): How is Rymer Liriano doing in his recovery/rehab from TJ surgery?
Jeff Moore: As far as I've heard, he's ready to go full speed this spring. He was playing a little bit in winter ball so everything looks good to go. The road back from TJ for a position player isn't nearly as arduous.
JT (Battle Creek, Michigan): Will you be the first BP writer to get my name? Also, what's your take on Austin Meadows? Far to say less safe than Polanco but far higher ceiling?
Jeff Moore: Nope, I don't get the reference. Sorry. I don't think it's safe to say that Meadows has a higher ceiling than Polanco at all. Polanco is a stud. Definitely an above-average major leaguer and potential star. I'm not nearly as high on Meadows as certain prospect writers are. I'm not sure he can definitely even stay in center field, and if so, he won't be better than average defensively.
Dave from Pittsburgh (Boston): Thoughts on the Pirates 3 catching prospects: Mathisen, McGuire, and Jhang, which one wins out and why?
Jeff Moore: McGuire is head and shoulders ahead of the other two, though the other two are prospects in their own right. McGuire is going to make a leap this year and will be the best catching prospect in baseball as soon as Hedges and Jorge Alfaro graduate to the majors. His makeup is off the charts, and his tools aren't exactly terrible either.
R.A Wagman (GTA): Jeff - so far, great start with the MLU!
One question, one request.
R - for myself and others who crave order - would you please alphabetize your daily lists?
Q - Going forward, how much of the content will be your own observations and how much will be information from your sources?
Jeff Moore: I'm still trying to decide how I'm going to organize the MLU this season, so alphabetically is certainly one possibility. I'm a little OCD when it comes to this kind of stuff.
I will include as much of my own observations as possible, but I have to use information from the other BP guys as well unless you want an MLU that is almost exclusively about the Florida State League. That's the one downfall to living down here in paradise - I'm not in great part of the country for MiLB. I am hoping to make a few trips this summer though so hopefully I'll get to expand on who I see. Either way, the MLU will contain as much in-person scouting as possible, whether from myself or the rest of the BP crew.
Jordan (Chicago): I put the Albert Pujols comp on Kris Bryant the other day. Am I coo coo for co co puffs?
Jeff Moore: Yeah, that's too much. Pujols was the greatest right-handed hitter of his generation, and will probably go down as a top-5-10 all-time RHH. I don't make definitive statements too often, especially in chats, but Bryant isn't going to do that.
nsacpi (Oakland): Have you thought of rating positional abundance/scarcity of top prospects relative to historical norms for each position? It would be interesting to know what bottlenecks might emerge in terms of filling out a roster.
Jeff Moore: No, but thanks for the article idea. I'll stash that one away for a day when I get writer's block.
Nate (Nashville): Vanderbilt baseball is going to be pretty good this year right?
Jeff Moore: They always are. Good coaching and good recruiting seems to have that affect.
Justin (Chicago, IL): With Houston DFA'ing Brett Wallace on Friday, do you think Jon Singleton has a shot to start the year in the big leagues?
Jeff Moore: No, I don't think so. He really struggled in the minors last year, and I don't think it's the message the Astros want to send. Smoke weed, get suspended, show up fat and struggle, have a good winter, make the major league roster. For an organization that is putting all its eggs in the basket of developing a young nucleus, that's not the message I'd want to send to the rest of talent. I'd make him wait and prove in Triple-A that he really wants to be a big league ballplayer. That may be the college coach in be talking, however.
SJLedet (Alex, La): Been offered the #1 pick in our dynasty draft (I'd take Kris Bryant) for Matt Adams and Dylan Bundy. Would I be giving too much? I have 3 other 1b, including Goldschmidt.
Jeff Moore: If you've got the pitching to be able to afford to trade Bundy, then go for it. I don't see Adams as a huge fantasy asset.
Gila Monster (Boston): Do you think teams are too quick to banish hard throwing pitchers with possibly starting repitores to the bullpen? Especially because very few guys that go into the bullpen are given a chance to start. For example Trevor Rosenthal comes to mind. He is banished to close while Wacha or Joe Kelly get to start.
Jeff Moore: Some teams, maybe, but in the case of the Cardinals and Rosenthal, I think it was a matter of necessity and depth. In almost any other organization, he'd probably still be starting, or at least would have had more of a chance to fail at it. The Cardinals simply didn't need to wait for that. He was more valuable to them closing games and they have plenty of other guys who could start. It's a nice problem to have.
chopper (indy): What kind of player could Raimel Tapia be, and what do you think the ETA in Coors would be? Thanks.
Jeff Moore: A very good one. He just turned 20 and hasn't reached full season ball yet, however, so he'll need at least two full seasons in the minors. 2016 at the earliest?
MikeyLo34 (Lisle, IL): Better career: Xander or Profar?
Jeff Moore: Profar, by a nose. As a full-time 2B, he could have a Robbie Alomar-type career.
Ryan (Minnesota): Keith Law said Kohl Stewart might be a good five years away from the majors, but baseball prospectus wrote he should move faster than most high school arms. If he is a thrower not a pitcher, why he can move faster? I wanted to know which is true? If Kohl Stewart sucks, I am so disappointed at that pick.
Jeff Moore: I can't remember the last prospect that spent five years in the minors and worked out. If he's there that long, it's because he's not panning out as a prospect. He has the goods to be among the best pitching prospects in the game. He'll take some time because he's a high school arm and hasn't even reached a full-season league yet, but five years seems ridiculous. Even if he spends a full year at each level, that's only four more years.
Chris (TX): Headed to Rangers camp late March. Which of the Hickory bombers do you see taking off this year and who should I keep my eye on that may not be on the radar?
Jeff Moore: Joey Gallo is one or two adjustments away from becoming a stupidly good player. The strike outs are a concern, but the power is ridiculous. Few people can do what he can do to a baseball. If he reigns that in slightly, he's gonna take off.
Nate (Indy): Speaking of second basemen prospects...do you prefer Wong over Alcantara?
Jeff Moore: For now, though Alcantara's power might give him the nod on their ceilings.
CJR (West Palm Beach): Jeff I will be at Roger Dean for spring training would like to say hello to you. How will I recognize you?
Jeff Moore: I'll be the guy in a polo shirt with a radar gun.
Richard (Reno ): Rank these jobs in order of desire:
Head baseball coach at a new JUCO in Vermont
Head of the Phillies Analytics department
Head of the MLB Scouting Bureau
New co-host of Effectively Wild
Jeff Moore: You couldn't pay me to move to Vermont, and trying to coach baseball up there is a ridiculous thing to attempt. Doing analytics for a major league team would be cool, but I'm not biggest analytical guy and I've already had jobs where no one knew I was there. I'm good.
MLB Scouting Bureau would be cool, but I'd rather scout for a team where I would actually help make selections and build towards something. Still, the scouting opportunities would be awesome.
Clearly the winner is co-hosting Effectively Wild. Who do I have to sleep with to get on a podcast around here anyway?
Dastard (CA): are you in the Trahan's-a-catcher camp?
Jeff Moore: Only because I'm afraid he'll beat me up if I say know. Have you seen that dude? He's on the short list of guys I wouldn't want to be in an octagon with.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Early picks for Al and NL Rookie of the year?
Jeff Moore: Billy Hamilton because people are infatuated with stolen bases (remember this? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/9588/index.htm), and Xander Bogaerts because he's really freaking good.
Bill (Bozeman): Do you still follow the college game for organic reasons as opposed to scouting? What are the storylines you're looking for follow in college baseball this year?
Jeff Moore: I follow it as a fan because four years of playing college baseball was one of the definitive parts of my life and I love seeing the passion among the players and watching them go through that experience. I scout it as well, obviously, but I'm a fan too. I'll take any storyline that has an underdog team overachieving, and any team from the north having real success, because I know what a ridiculous disadvantage that is.
mmcd (ottawa): Hi Jeff. Loved the winter ball reports. I'd like to get a handle on just what kind of hitter is Jesus Aguilar. Does Cleveland have a big time sleeper here or more likely a quad A bat? What a winter!
Jeff Moore: You and me both. And so would the Indians, I think. The general consensus entering this off-season was that Aguilar had some power but not enough to really stand out at first base and that his hit tool had enough holes in it to prevent him from ever using that power fully. Then he went out and did what he did this off-season and screwed everything up. It's winter ball, so it must be taken with a grain of salt, but man that was impressive. He'll have to show it's for real this season, but it puts him more firmly on our radar than he was on six months ago. He's a guy I want to get reports on this year.
joott41 (Wisconsin): Computer sim league question. Would you deal Miguel Cabrera and Randall Delgado for Wei-Yin Chen and Anthony Rizzo? Getting picks for next year too but those are the players.
Jeff Moore: Are you getting all of the picks? If not, no.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Can Zack Walters make enough contact at the MLB level to take advantage of his speed & power and be a useful player?
Jeff Moore: Useful, absolutely. Everyday player? its borderline. He does enough things well to have some value, however.
Alex (Anaheim): Does Ellsbury have enough power upside in Yankee Stadium to take him in the second round of a 12-team mixed league? Also, what's snow?
Jeff Moore: Probably. His R and SB numbers should be enough even if he only hits 10-15 HR's, which he can do if healthy.
Jordan (Las Vegas): If you were the Cubs picking at #4 and you had a choice between Trea Turner and Tyler Beede who would you choose right now?
Jeff Moore: I love me some Trea Turner, but they could use pitching. I hate when teams draft for need, however. I'll tell you in a few months after we see some more of Beede.
NightmareRec0n (MA): Is Medlen the next in line of the Capuano/Jamie Garcia type of enigma pitcher? Pounds the strikeout,generates whiffs and low contact; but doesn't have strikeouts stuff.
Jeff Moore: I can't make a comp that includes two lefties but he does pound the strike zone. He's got better stuff than Capuano ever had though.
Biscuits (San Jose): I saw a twitter feud (if you can call it that) between Sporer and Guru this weekend about Jorge Alfaro... Is he really as brutal and "completely lost" behind the plate as Sporer claims? Seems harsh to me, and if he can make some strides with the swing and miss, a catcher with an elite arm, 20hr pop and 10 steal potential seems like an extremely valuable asset
Jeff Moore: I saw that too. I'll say this: Sporer's comments were the harshest I've heard about Alfaro. He's not great with the glove, but I haven't heard too many people say that it won't improve to the point where he can at least remain behind the plate.
maxpowers (Chicago): How good can Eddie Butler be??
Jeff Moore: He can be extremely good, and while I have no research basis to back this up whatsoever, I feel like the hard two-seamer/change-up combo will give him the best chance to succeed in Colorado as compared to other pitchers who have struggled there.
matt (MI): What are your thoughts on Marcell Ozuna? Do you think he starts this year and what's your projection for him? Long-term projection?
Jeff Moore: I think he is talented but will never get to make the most of it because the Marlins have handled him poorly. He will probably be one of their starting outfielders this season and should probably in Triple-A. Or, he wouldn't need to be in Triple-A this year if they had left him there last year. The guy only got 10 (!) total games above A-ball in his minor league career despite being seen as a raw prospect. I hate the way they've handled him, though most of it was probably coming from Loria.
Oliver (Boston): Villar's strikeouts will probably block him from being a high average hitter but do you expect him to raise his BB/SO enough to get on base at a clip that would make him a viable top-of-the-order bat? He combined for 44 extra-base-hits last season, so can we anticipate at least decent gap power?
Jeff Moore: If he's a top-of-the-order bat, it's only because the Astros are still a bad team.
Guest (my cubicle): Who would you rather own in a Dynasty League, Lucas Giolito or Clint Frazier? Who do you think reaches the bigs first?
Jeff Moore: I could see Giolito moving fast once he hits full-season ball, but both are still too far away to put that exact of a timetable on them. I'd take Giolito though for the upside.
Archie Bradley (AZ): Everybody loves me, but I'm concerned that my fastball is too straight and has zero deception. Should I just throw my super-sweet curveball every pitch?
Jeff Moore: Aww, poor Archie and his 97-mph fastball that's too straight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVsPyaLSzJM
RatedRookie (Atlanta): When Carlos Rodon is drafted, I should probably be on my computer refreshing my league page until he made available and immediately pick him up, right?
Jeff Moore: Is your league one big waiver-wire free-for-all? That sounds like a disaster. But yes, you probably should.
navarra (Ukraine): What do you think about Ryan Lavarnway and his perspectives as MLB player?
Jeff Moore: Poor man's John Buck?
guest (CA): Is Hicks a bust? At best, he seems to be keeping Buxton's seat warm, no?
Jeff Moore: Well we're all just keeping Buxton's seat warm. No, Hicks isn't a bust, he was rushed. He had just one really good season (in Double-A in 2012) and rather than make him follow that up and repeat his success, the Twins threw him to the fire.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm typically very conservative when it comes to promoting prospects.
uvasuperman (Atlanta): Dynasty league 5th pick overall in a vacuum: Kris Bryant, Jose Abreu, Jonathan Gray, Mark Appel. Please rank since 1 or more might go before me. Thanks!
Jeff Moore: Bryant, Gray, Appel, Abreu. I hate fantasy pitchers from Colorado and first baseman.
Oliver (Boston): Seems like only yesterday that Justin Grimm was projected to be a future mid-rotation starter. Now he gets less mention on their rotation depth discussions than Kyle Hendricks. What do you know about the Cubs' plans for Grimm, and do you think he could be a force as a late-inning reliever instead? Who is the next SP to make Chicago's rotation in case of injury?
Jeff Moore: The mid-rotation starter thing was a ceiling. It didn't mean it was going to happen. He's depth for the Cubs. He probably won't make their rotation this season, but he'll probably be up at some point. He's in their plans as one of the 8-9 starters teams lineup that they know they'll need over the course of a long season. If not, he'll settle in as a middle reliever.
Doug (OH): Thoughts on Domingo Santana?
He's been young for the level, but hitters paradise...
Jeff Moore: The power is legit and he is patient enough at the plate to get on base at a decent clip despite the strike outs. .250/.340/.460 is a realistic possibility and that's a nice player.
smitty99 (Federal way WA): Phillies fan, eh? Me too. After Franco, Biddle and Crawford, it seems you can fill out the next 17 spots on a top 20 prospect list with any of around 30 guys in any order you want and make sense. Considering Watson, Morgan, Quinn and Joseph are all hurt it is even more dicey. Do you agree or do you think there are some definite top ten or 20 guys who should be on every list?
Jeff Moore: After those top three, the Phillies system is a potpourri of mediocrity. The Phillies love toolsy players and have drafted as such for years. What that leaves us with is a system full of players who have more projection than the average prospect. When that happens, you can toss rankings out the door, because at that point we're just assessing what we know and trying to come up with some semblance of an order. You could re-order everyone from 5-15 and make a decent argument.
uvasuperman (Atlanta): What are your expectations for Buxton this year (level, stats, promotion, awards, etc.)? I got crazy excited about him last year because he went to the same small rural high school in south Georgia as my mom, so I probably over-drafted him in a few dynasty leagues and then loved his productive season and ascension to the top of the prospect lists.
Jeff Moore: He'll start in Double-A and the Twins will go from there. If he does the same unconscious things he did last year it will be tough for the Twins to hold him back. If he performs like a actual human top prospect, he could spend the whole season there. My guess is first-half in Double-A, second half in Triple-A, late August callup, perhaps in the mold of Mike Trout circa 2011.
Thedave (North port): #7 pick in a 10 team head to head league... Cano, A. Jones, Car-go, votto, Harper?
Jeff Moore: Votto, Harper, Cano, Cargo, Jones.
Cris E (St Paul, MN): What can coaches do to help players stay healthy? Some guys are more durable than others, but is it something that guys can work on as they move thru the minors? Is it a priority in organizations? College? (I'm not necessarily asking about pitcher deliveries here, since that's so elemental to performance.)
Jeff Moore: If you can figure out how to prevent pitcher injuries then you're going to be a billionaire. There is no exact answer to that question, but there are things we see that we know are just bad ideas. From the college standpoint, I think it's just a matter of giving players enough time to build up their arm strength before the season begins rather than asking them to go out and throw 120 pitches in February.
K (Hawksbury): Did you do instructs this year? Anybody on the Jays stick out?
Jeff Moore: I did, but I stayed on the east coast this fall. Haven't been up to Dunedin since the spring.
Mark (SF): Has Joe Panik completely fallen off as a prospect? Is he even worth keeping in a dynasty league because of his position?
Jeff Moore: He's probably not going to be much of a fantasy contributor, and if he is, you'll be able to grab him. Not worth hanging onto in fantasy. As an actual prospect, well, basically the same thing.
tonynelson19 (MN): Let's pretend both Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson cut down on their strikeouts and figured out how to hit around .285. Who would you rather have? The power guy with a potential for 40+ HR, or the power/speed combo with plus defense in center?
Jeff Moore: If Gallo was just a power guy, then it would be Brinson, but Gallo is a good third baseman. That's got some real value too. Brinson is a true center fielder, so that has more value than a good third baseman, but there's a much bigger chance of Gallo figuring it out than Brinson.
Kenny B (Cicero): What should tiger fans expect from Nick Castenellos this year? Also, long term ceiling?
Jeff Moore: He should be a nice contributor on a good team. He's a good pure hitter, but doesn't offer a ton of additional value. He'll be able to stick at 3B, but won't win any gold gloved down there. He could develop 20-homer power, but it's not there yet. He gets a lot of hype because he's the clear-cut top prospect in a bad system, but I don't see a star there. Still, an everyday third baseman is a good prospect. He has the luxury of not having to be the star in Detroit.
redsoxin2004 (Columbia, CT): Who will have a better year in AL H-H league? Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Chris Archer. (both FA would be eligible in our league even if they're in NL). Also, salaries are equal, who would you rather have Greinke or Joe Mauer?
Jeff Moore: Archer, Greinke.
Brad (Boston ): Besides BP rankings, what other prospect sites do you take an interest to reading?
Jeff Moore: I read as much as possible, but now that I've been through my first year of helping with the prospect rankings, I will say that I'd be shocked if any other site goes through as long and painstaking of a process to do their rankings as we do here. The behind-the-scenes effort by the entire team would astound you.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): Keep Gattis or throw him back for one of: Castro, Pinto or Gomes?
Jeff Moore: Your league doesn't care about defense right? His power alone should make him a solid fantasy catcher.
The Dude (MIA): Alex Reyes (STL) has gotten a lot of hype from Parks and recently on fangraphs as well. What are your thoughts on him?
Jeff Moore: Love him, from the little I've seen. I should get a good look at him this spring and secretly hope he stays in extended spring training for that reason. He probably won't though. Signings like that are why the Cardinals are the best organization in baseball.
Barry Melrose (Winnipeg): MIke Zunino showed the hit/power tool that made him the #3 overall pick in the minors but flopped in his first stint against MLB pitching. Did the M's rush him too quickly through the system? Will he surprise the detractors and become an above average hitting catcher?
Jeff Moore: Yup, he sure was. The M's got a little desperate in an attempt to save some jobs last year and rushed some prospects to the majors. Zunino was struggling in Triple-A when he got called up. That being said, he's still the same prospect he was. He'll have a nice career as a major league catcher.
perryknick101 (CT): what made scouts so giddy about k. gausman last summer? he looked pretty mediocre in baltimore as a starter.
Jeff Moore: Two plus pitches and the potential for a third makes me pretty giddy too. He's another one what was rushed, although it wasn't because anyone in Baltimore was worried about losing their job. They just needed pitching help and he was the most talented option. The Orioles have a terrible track record for developing pitchers, led by their strange infatuation with not letting pitchers throw cutters (more applicable to Bundy than Gausman), but Gausman is still very talented. He got yo-yo-ed last year, but once he settles in in the majors, he should be very good.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): Describe Sano's power in the most evocative terms available to you. Then, predict when he gets called up.
Jeff Moore: Remember that feeling the first time you got behind the wheel of a car and pulled onto the highway, lowered your windows and cranked up the music?
hardball (San Diego): What type of player do you see Franco becoming at the MLB lvl? Impact bat?
Jeff Moore: I think he'll hit enough to be an above-average third baseman, but probably not be able to stay there defensively much past his mid-20's. He does some major things wrong in his swing, but his natural ability to get the barrel to the ball makes up for a lot of them.
Bill (Bozeman): Were you ever able to make sense of the at-large selection criteria, because I can't. Also, are there a couple prospects in Division III to keep an eye on this spring? I have a son playing D3 ball as a freshman this year, so I hope I can go to you as an expert analyst!
Jeff Moore: Yes, a D-III baseball question!!!
I played D-III ball myself and loved it. There are always some prospects in the D-III level (Jordan Zimmerman is the poster child for this). The difference in the level is the difference between the top and bottom. What most people don't realize is that the top level D-III teams could absolutely compete with the bottom level of D-I teams. There is some overlap there (though you won't find one D-I coach in the country who will admit that). Having coached at both levels, I can tell you it's absolutely true. What you'll find, however, is that the D-III level has some teams who just don't put the effort in to be real college baseball teams (things like a full-time staff, their own facility, etc.) where as that almost never happens at the D-I level.
The point is, there is always some real talent at the D-III level and there is some really good baseball being played there. I don't happen to know who they are right now, but we'll get to the bottom of that this year.
Paul (Chicago): What am I missing with Alfaro ? .260 hitter in Low-A with a ton of strikeouts. I know he has power but I'm not seeing another Pudge behind the plate.
Jeff Moore: You're missing a lot. Here's the tools subsection from our Top-10 writeup of Alfaro:
The Tools: 8 arm; 6+ power potential; 5 glove; 6 run
That's prospect porn.
JusitnG (Pittsburgh): Dayton Moore just said that Yordano Ventura could throw 200 innings this year. Would that go poorly?
Jeff Moore: While I don't buy the strict adherence to the Verducci Rule that some teams seem to use, I do appreciate its general principle. That being said, jumping from 150 to 200 innings would be a lot. Still, the fact that Moore is that committed to keeping Ventura as a starter is a good sign. He's 5'11" and I love that.
Hippo (C-bus): If Anthony Rendon were still a prospect where would you rank him in this year's Top 100?
Jeff Moore: Probably in the late-teens or early-20's, somewhere in the Bryant, Hedges, Springer, Polanco, Bradley Jr group
Bill (Bozeman): Where do you see Cheslor Cuthbert going from here?
Jeff Moore: If it were me, back to Northwest Arkansas until he proves he can hit there. I hate promoting prospects before they master a particular level, even if they were young for that particular level.
Scott (Lincolnshire): Can CJ Edwards be a top of the rotation starter in the bigs at 155 lbs? I know it's not exact but when I watch video on him the ball looks like it's out of his hands faster than a jackrabbit late for a date.
Jeff Moore: Scott wins the award for best reader analogy today. Presently, no, but we were all 155 pounds once, weren't we? I was my freshman year of college when I was 18 and by the time I graduated I was at 185. It's gone up from there. Edwards is 22, he'll fill out. If he can't be a top-of-the-rotation starter, it won't be because of his weight.
Colby Rogers (Chicago): Guys like Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez and the like were projected to have no chance to stick at short and now it looks increasingly possible that they can/will. Is this just erring on the side of caution or are several prospects unexpectedly bucking the projections?
Jeff Moore: Bogaerts got a bad rap, and I'm not sure why. There were many who immediately wrote him off as a shortstop, but there was always a crew that defended its possibility. Baez doesn't have quite that same support, but he has the hands to stay there. Projections are tricky however, especially when it comes to projecting how a young man's body will develop. In fact, sometimes its borderline creepy.
Rick (Santa Fe): What do you think of the new NCAA laws? Better for the sport?
Jeff Moore: Which laws are you talking about specifically? In general, I think most of the decisions the NCAA makes are ridiculous and criminal.
anon (CA): There's a rumor the Mets plan to have Flores take reps at SS, dare I dream?
Jeff Moore: I wrote a whole article on this last week and got wholly ripped for saying I think it's a great idea. I don't know how much they'll do it, but I hope he plays there some.
Look, Flores will be a terrible major league shortstop, largely because he was a terrible minor league shortstop and now hasn't played the position in a few years. The Mets 2014 season, however, is basically 162 games of auditioning for 2015 when Matt Harvey returns. They need to see what they have in players like Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Flores. Flores needs to get 400 at-bats this season. He'll get some at third, second and first, but as long as Davis, Duda, Murphy and others are still in town, he won't play there regularly. I think its worth dealing with some bad defense if it means getting him the AB's he needs to find out if he's an everyday hitter. If they can get him those at-bats somewhere else, then by all means do it. But I dont see it. You can't play him there every day because the pitchers will revolt, but 1-2 says per week at SS while also working him in at other positions seems like a good idea to me.
The Mets are going to be bad this year regardless. They might as well find out what they have in Flores to see if they can count on him for next year.
Justin (Chicago, IL): Thoughts on the White Sox off-season?
Jeff Moore: They seem to know where they are and what they have, and they jettisoned some unnecessary expenses for young, cheap talent. I like the plan. The Abreu signing was interesting, but he'll be around long enough that they can be good while he's there.
Colin (Chicago): Speaking of Jordan Zimmermann (my brother was his roommate in college!) is he trade bait at some point next year? Nats have a lot of money going and a lot of pitchers too, maybe someone thinks he's a solid two on a contender and grabs him? (Cubs, Brewers, etc)
Jeff Moore: He is a solid two on a contender, but that's the Nationals and it's right now. That would be a shame if he happened to be the odd-man out when it comes to contract extensions, but the Lerner's have tons of money. They are among the games richest owners and have given Mike Rizzo the go ahead to spend a lot of it. Even with their terrible contract situation, I don't see the Nats losing too many players because of financial restrictions.
Bruno (Flagstaff): Thoughts on Ian Kennedy bouncing back this year ?
Jeff Moore: Pitching in Petco should help.
Jeff Moore: Ok guys, two and a half hours is going to do it for today. Thanks for all the great questions and hopefully I'll get another chat again soon.