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Chat: Ronit Shah

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday February 18, 2014 2:00 PM ET chat session with Ronit Shah.


Talk potential 2014 draftees and other prospects with Ronit in his BP chat debut.

Ronit Shah: Honored to be kicking off the Derek Jeter farewell tour with a chat. Let's do it.

Chris (Bay Area): Which prospect in the Giants system besides Crick has the most upside?

Ronit Shah: One of their arms. I'll go with Adalberto Mejia, who has a chance for three plus pitches. Someone could make a case for Edwin Escobar, but I won't do that.

Benji (DC): I've heard from numerous people in the business that if you were the Astros you would take Hoffman over Rodon, please explain your reasoning?

Ronit Shah: I wouldn't necessarily take Hoffman over Rodon. Rodon is the No. 1 guy right now, but I don't think he's in a class of his own as some would argue.

Maxwell (Florida): What is Lucas Sims ceiling? Possible #1?

Ronit Shah: That's a bit bullish. There are only a handful of guys you can dream on becoming an ace. Sims is more of a No. 2 upside.

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?

Ronit Shah: The drop and drive delivery can give you that perception, but I didn't reach that conclusion from the two starts I saw from him live, nor have I heard this from other scouts. However, there is effort in the delivery, and not the cleanest (head bobble/neck snap).

locdog284 (Dallas, TX): Back in September, Jason Parks answered in a chat that he preferred Luke Jackson over CJ Edwards as a long term prospect. I was wondering if that is the consensus among the experts, and if the Rangers were indeed correct to trade away CJ Edwards rather than Luke Jackson. While Parks stated that he would take Jackson over Edwards, it is Edwards who is ranked on the top 100 list (#81), and I have seen him ranked much higher on other top prospects lists like in the 30s at MLB.com. Who do you think has more upside and a higher probability of being a good starting pitcher?

Ronit Shah: The Jackson vs. Edwards debate was heated internally. The consensus was Jackson over Edwards long-term.

Jake (NY): Do you believe Bogaerts is overrated? Seems like the majority of the other top SS prospect have better tools (from scouting reports), yet Bogaerts is ranked higher than all of them.

Ronit Shah: Depends what you mean by overrated. I don't believe the folktale that he's capable of hitting 400 foot home runs with a 12-inch ruler. But I do think he's going to be an excellent player.

xavier (texas): Appel or Stephenson - who do you prefer?

Ronit Shah: I'll take the younger Robert Stephenson, because of projection. I think he possesses ace upside while the floor is pretty good. Athletic body with a chance for 2 plus-plus pitches and a plus change.

Astroke (Toronto): Thanks for the chat. When ranking a pitching prospect does the players organization play any part of the ranking level? i.e. Kyle Crick being in the SF org vs say the Brewers or Jays who have had less success developing pitchers. The same for a pitcher with the Braves or Cardinals.

Ronit Shah: Great question. I don't consciously do it, but I think it's always in the mind when you're talking about a pitcher reaching his ceiling versus underachieving given the talent.

gotwins0912 (Taichung city): Thanks for the chat. I knew you had ever watched Robert Stephenson. After reading your writing for him, I wanted to ask you did you think he was the Top 5 pitching prospect in the minors? Your vedio on him is #legit.

Ronit Shah: Yes. I think he's one of the few starters in the minor leagues with a chance to become a No. 1 and the best has yet to come.

abcgooap (Boston): Give me your thoughts on Tyler Kolek. Also, is he the best high-school pitching prospect in the last 2 years?

Ronit Shah: I have too much Kohl Stewart stock to say yes, but Kolek will have all the scouts looking up directions to Shepherd, Texas. He's 6'5'', 245 -- maybe bigger. Sat in the mid-90s at the Area Code Games; touched 99 in San Diego. Big leg kick with an advanced curveball.

Here's some video: https://vimeo.com/73041426

Colby Rogers (Chicago): I'm a big fan of changeups...so I was wondering about ECU's Jeff Hoffman. I was reading about his latest start and his changeup was working well, but it was noted that he throws it from a lower arm slot to get some extra movement on it. Is that a worry to its usefulness in the future or is that a common adjustment made at the professional level?

Ronit Shah: He's quite the athlete, so I don't think most organizations are going to be trying to change it. I wish I had video or was able to see him throw, so I could give you a better answer.

Daniel Schoenfeld (Evanston, IL): What does your scouting schedule look like for the next few months?

Ronit Shah: I'll mostly be going to college games and hopefully I'll be able to make a trip or two to spring training in Arizona. I've been to some college scrimmages, but I'm glad to be starting up the college season this weekend at USC (that's Southern California). Was supposed to be at NC State and Santa Barbara last week, but the series was cancelled.

MKPJ (Chicago): Trea Turner has been attached to the Cubs #4 pick by numerous people. Should this make Cubs fans excited or might we do better than Turner? Thanks

Ronit Shah: I wouldn't be too excited about that as of right now. It's a pitching heavy draft with the bats quite a ways behind, as of right now. I had just read the other day that the Cubs want to load up on arms in the amateur draft: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-15/sports/chi-chicago-cubs-pitching-draft-20140215_1_chicago-cubs-aaron-nola-baseball-america

Cal Guy (Cal): Welcome, Ronit. Is Rodon a better prospect than Price was coming out of college?

Ronit Shah: As a pitching prospect, no. David Price had more projection and size. He couldn't hit a lick, though!

onthereg527 (Boston ): What will Matt Kemp's 2014 season look like?

Ronit Shah: Hopefully a healthy one, but I can't see it given his injury history over these past few seasons.

onthereg527 (Boston ): Taijuan Walker - what is his ceiling, realistically? Who does hd compare best with at the major league level?

Ronit Shah: Realistically, a No. 2 starter. I think more people would be surprised if he doesn't reach that ceiling. I can't think of a lazy comparison at the moment.

Myrick (Charleston, SC): Was Corey Seager just slumping on his promotion last year or did any concerns pop up?

Ronit Shah: I only saw him for one game; not enough to have a confident take on him. But in that one game, he looked a little fatigued and was lunging at off-speed offerings.

matzabal (Colorado): How realistic is it for Danny Salazar to be a top 25 SP this season? I love him, but in some mock drafts he's been going for as much as $15, where do I draw the line?

Ronit Shah: I have no idea how auction leagues work, so I won't comment on the $15 price tag. But in terms of fantasy, he's going to strikeout a lot of guys. His arsenal of pitches is just ridiculous. I just hope he can become more efficient and average more than 5 innings a start.

Joe (SC): Took over a team in a 10 team H2H Dynasty. Looks to be middle of the pack, but I have Cabrera. Would you trade him for a package of Harper or Stanton, and Matt Moore, Sonny Gray, and Addison Russell? Other option is Goldschmidt, Machado or Cole, and Sano. I'd have to add some things to get either done. Which is better or hold out until the season starts to see if my team is performing better than expected?

Ronit Shah: I own Miguel Cabrera in a 12-team head-to-head dynasty league with 25-man rosters with 5 prospect slots. I have a top heavy team and wouldn't move him for 3 clear cut keepers, especially since he still possesses third base eligibility. I'd strongly consider pulling the trigger on the Goldschmidt, Machado and Sano trade.

John (Boston): Hey Ronit,can Tyler Beede maybe go in the top three in draft or is that not realistic and can Kyle Schwarber maybe go in the top seven or is that too high as well??? Thanks.....

Ronit Shah: I think you are too bullish on both.

Schwarber could go higher than he would otherwise if he can convince teams he's sticking at catcher, because this draft class just hasn't shown any impact bats as of yet.

Meanwhile, it's the opposite situation for Beede, who is "just another" right-handed starter in a draft full of right-handed starters at both the college and prep ranks.

Roger (CA): Is there any way that Alex Torres steals a starting pitching spot with SD?

Ronit Shah: I think the Padres are content on keeping him in the bullpen, and I think that's where he belongs.

Jackson (OH): Best young pitcher stash - Stroman, Gray, or Duffy with hopes of getting 2014 production?

Ronit Shah: Marcus Stroman for 2014. Start the campaign.

Gary (New Jersey): Does Baltimore's signing of Jiminez indicate that Gausman will be returning to the minors for more AAA starts or would you guess they keep him in Baltimore??

Ronit Shah: I'm inclined to say he begins the season in the minor leagues. If that does happen, he'll force his way into the rotation soon enough.

Alex (Anaheim): What college senior could have the biggest impact in the majors?

Ronit Shah: You've stumped the Shah. I will need to get back to this. Ask me on Twitter @Rontrarian.

Dave M (Tampa): Junior Lake was listed #10 on BP's Cubs under 25 ahead of Vogelbach, Candelario, etc. This surprised me. Do you believe in him in any way shape or form?

Ronit Shah: Not a long-term believer. I don't believe in the hit tool or the approach.

The Future Is A Present (The Present Stinks): Ok, now I know everyone says that picking as high as the Cubs do, you just pick best available, but at some point don't you need to draft pitching?

Ronit Shah: Theo Epstein has said the Cubs are focused on loading up with arms, so you're not wrong. I linked to the article earlier in the chat. If I had to guess, they play the board with their top pick.

Max (Florida): Who is more likely to end up at 3B long term, Bogaerts, Baez, or Correa?

Ronit Shah: Carlos Correa. I think he's too big to make it work at shortstop.

Josh (Chicago): What is your favorite name in the minors?

Ronit Shah: Rock Shoulders. The only way it could be better is if it was Boulder Shoulders.

Henri (Dominos): What is Mookie Betts ceiling?

Ronit Shah: Above-average regular at second base.

higgsboson (Guelph): Can Gary Brown come back from his awful last year at the age of 25, or is he done?

Ronit Shah: Gary Brown: You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Joe (KS): Higher ceiling: Miguel Almonte or Noah Syndergaard?

Ronit Shah: Noah Syndergaard.

higgsboson (Guelph): Is Hunter Morris still the future at 1B for the Brewers?

Ronit Shah: If he is, that's a problem. He looks to be a platoon player.

nubber (tx): If you were to guess who the top position player prospect and top pitching prospect are a year from now, who would you pick?

Ronit Shah: Byron Buxton and Lucas Giolito. The dream is real.

John (Lexington, KY): Opening day 2014 is J. Singleton in the majors or AAA? Thanks

Ronit Shah: Triple-A. But I don't see him spending much time there before a call up.

Bubba (St. Louis): Last year the Cardinals LHP looked barren. This year they had Kevin Siegrist and drafted Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky and had Tim Cooney take a step forward. What gives?

Ronit Shah: They felt like having a farm system with no weaknesses, I suppose. This is what they do.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): You guys gave Thor an EIGHTY grade fastball, along with a potential seven grade curve and slightly below plus plus change up.. What is the likelihood he could become an ace? Has all the atrributes!

Ronit Shah: I don't think he does; think Wheeler has a better chance. The stuff is real and it's a great name. I'm obligated to mention he's a Texan.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): Thor is Syndergaard by the way. And who would you rather have out of these three long term: Robert Stephenson, Jameson Tallion, or Noah Syndergaard?

Ronit Shah: Long-term, I'm going with ceiling. So I'll take Stephenson.

Alex (Anaheim ): Where will you mainly be this college baseball season?

Ronit Shah: Southern California. From San Diego to Cal State Fullerton to UCLA. Lots of programs to checkout.

Pete (El Paso): Favorite Quad-A player?

Ronit Shah: Jesus Montero. Too soon?

Cecil (Atlanta): What do you think Alex Wood's role with Atlanta will be this year ?

Ronit Shah: Looks like they might try him in the rotation as the No. 5, but I think Atlanta puts him in the bullpen sooner rather than later.

Larry (LA): Do you think having power at the corners is overrated? Can't a guy just play baseball without worrying about HR?

Ronit Shah: Depends on roster construction and the player. I'm not complaining if it means getting Joe Mauer into my lineup a dozen or two more times as a first baseman.

AJ (Phoenix): Trea Turner & Jacob Gatewood. Do they stick at SS? What kind of projection are we looking at?

Ronit Shah: I think Turner sticks at shortstop; Gatewood enters pro ball as a shortstop, but ultimately ends up as a third baseman or in right field.

Ian (NYC ): You are a stud HS pitching prospect and have the option to sign with any of the 30 teams of your choosing. What team would be first on your list, what team would be last on your list based on who you think would develop you to the best of your abilities

Ronit Shah: St. Louis Cardinals are first. There are a few candidates for last; I'll go with the Yankees.

Joe (SC): In a 10 team H2H 5x5 dynasty league. Took over a team that has Cabrera and not much else. Would you trade him in a package deal for Harper or Stanton, Moore, Sonny Gray, and Addison Russell or Goldschmidt, Machado or Cole, and Sano? Which would you prefer or just hold onto him til later in the year?

Ronit Shah: I think I already answered this. Would think about the second trade with Goldy, Machado and Sano, but I'm not a fantasy expert.

nubber (tx): Which starters in the minors do you think have #1 upside?

Ronit Shah: Walker, Bradley, Giolito, Gray, and Stephenson.

JimDog (Ontario): Tony Cingrani gets criticized for using his fastball too much. Do you think that he can still succeed without developing a good off speed alternative?

Ronit Shah: Not a long-term believer in a one-pitch fastball pitcher, even though he creates insane deception.

Dave (Kcmo): Hi Ronit with 5 picks in first 90 or so this June, what do you see the royals doing in a deep draft like this? Can they get impact players?

Ronit Shah: I could definitely see any team with that many picks looking to cut a deal with a prospect using their top pick, then using the savings elsewhere. Lots of arms in this draft.

bloodmoney (detroit): I feel like people are over looking $ano this year with the mad influx of top prospects, which seems foolish the more I think of it. any insight as to why the slight hate on the guy because I have him projected as a bad man on the diamond ?

Ronit Shah: Absolutely agree with your view, but also cannot think of reasons as to why the slight hate. Perhaps because there isn't a clear picture of where he will play? I'm not sure.

Kyle (Atlanta): When will the Baseball Prospectus 2014 handbook be avialable for iBooks? Last year it released Feb 15th.

Ronit Shah: You can ask the head honcho on Twitter over at @JHamrahi. I have no clue how those things work.

OB1 (N.Y.C.): Hi Ronit, Hope your having a good day. I was recently offered this trade what are your thoughts. traded Nolan Arenado, Col 3B receive George Springer, Charlie Morton,I have no inside info on this guy Morton

Ronit Shah: Don't worry, you don't need it. I'd rather have Springer than Arenado in fantasy to begin with.

Lou (DC): Everyone is talking Rodon and Hoffman; however, Newcombe and Nola can be frontline starters too, correct?

Ronit Shah: Absolutely. There's a ton of pitching in this draft, and the season is just beginning. Hard to see Newcomb making the jump over Rodon and Hoffman, though, because of the poor competition he'll be facing.

Vic (Dumfries): Trea Turner, Michael Gettys, and Michael Conforto are 5 tool players. I've read negatives on all three. Who is the best of the bunch or is there someone better? A theoretical 5 category player.

Ronit Shah: You can dream on Gettys for days. So many tools.

Ellis (retirement): What is your outlook on Daz Cameron? Yes, I know he is a Junior in HS.

Ronit Shah: My outlook consists of soft pillows and a blanket. Dream as much as you can.

Don (Chi-town): Baez for M.Harvey - who says no???

Ronit Shah: Don't see the Mets trading the face of their franchise, even if he's on the shelf right now.

Dan (Idaho): Thoughts on Aramis Garcia (C, FIU) and his OFP. Thanks!

Ronit Shah: I don't have any, but I will see if Jeff Moore of the prospect team knows anything when we record a podcast later this week.

Silverback38 (VA): Who has the better bat skills: Alex Jackson or Braxton Davidson?

Ronit Shah: Tough question. I think I'd give the slight edge to Braxton Davidson as of right now; he's a Brandon Belt type for me. Saw the tools from Jackson at Long Beach, but wish he had performed a little better.

Justinpain (Chicago): Who are your top five minor sticks and arms

Ronit Shah: Buxton, Taveras, Bo, Baez and Russell.

Bradley, Walker, Gausman, Syndergaard, Stephenson.

Justinpain (Chicago): Polanco or Soler. Who's has the better power att he next level.

Ronit Shah: I'll go Soler.

John (Charlotte): Yelich, Profar, and Rendon all struggled last year in limited time. Do you still project them as stars?

Ronit Shah: I don't think Rendon will be a star. Yelich's stick and Profar's overall skill set still have that ceiling.

Javier Baez (Smashville): I want to hit home runs very very far at Wrigley Field. Will I do that after June 1st?

Ronit Shah: If you continue to build on everything from last year, ... maybe. Patience.

Justinpain (Chicago): Can Cueto stay healthy? I've heard that he changed his mechanics at the end of last season and looked good his last two regular season starts.

Ronit Shah: Even Cueto doesn't know if he can stay healthy.

NightmareRec0n (Boston): What do you make of it when we see highly touted prospects who still have excellent stuff don't produce the results we expect? Garrett Richards comes to mind. He throws gas,has a plus slider/curve, but can't strike anyone one out. Chris Tillman is another guy good fastball with life, dropping curve ball, and a slider with a ton of movement

Ronit Shah: The gap between the highest level of the minor leagues (Triple-A) and the major leagues is the biggest gap across any professional sport. I think Tillman could still be a good starter, though.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): 2B seems like a pretty shallow position fantasy-wise. Any chance rostering Javier Baez in hopes the Cubs bring him up to replace Barney in 2014 pays off?

Ronit Shah: There's a non-zero chance, but it's very slim. Arismendy Alcantara might have the better shot at that.

Javier Baez (Fast Track to Wrigley): Given my questionable defense and Starlin Castro's presence, I'm going to end up at 2B or 3B (most likely). Which one do you see me at?

Ronit Shah: I see third base more likely than second base.

Mark (Minneapolis): What is your process of note taking when scouting? After the game how do you transform those reports into what we see? Where do you keep them stashed for reference?

Ronit Shah: I like to get to the games earlier than most to prepare. See who is playing, who is scouting, watch BP, infield, etc. In the beginning, I wrote down everything -- even on guys that won't get out of High-A (and those that didn't even belong in High-A. It just wasn't very productive. It's all in my notebook.

Joe (KS): Do you see a bounceback year out of Felipe Paulino for the White Sox? Looked strong in 2012 for the Royals.

Ronit Shah: I'm a Paulino fan. Just hope he can stay healthy.

Jake (Flagstaff): Would you take Danny Salazar or Koji Uehara in a standard 5x5 fantasy league?

Ronit Shah: Salazar.

Mark (Boston): Better hitter, Odor or Betts?

Ronit Shah: Odor. Betts will need to answer questions in regards to strength as he moves up.

Justinpain (Chicago): Is DJ Peterson gonna be the real deal?

Ronit Shah: I don't think he'll be a star. Could be an above-average regular with an interesting profile.

Jackson (OH): So based on your "2014 Stroman campaign" - he should have the opp over K.Drabek, agree or disagree?

Ronit Shah: Over Drabek and his medicals, yes.

ob1 (NYC): How would you rank these guys upsides. Marisnick Ozuma, Khris Davis Oswaldo,

Ronit Shah: Put Oswaldo at the top. Rest is OK.

OB1 (NYC): were are the upsides on Paxton and Peacock and which if you had the choice would own.

Ronit Shah: Both are low ceiling guys for me, but major league ready. I'll take Paxton.

AJ (Phoenix): What 2015 draftees should we be keeping an eye on (collegiate and prep)?

Ronit Shah: I'll be busy enough with '14. The Perfect Game guys have you covered on '15, and beyond: http://www.perfectgame.org/

Ronit Shah: That was a good 2 hours and 15 minutes of chatting. My laptop is ready to run out of battery, so I'll need to end the chat here. You can follow me on Twitter @Rontrarian.

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