Talk prospects with Minor League Update man Jeff Moore.
Jeff Moore: Welcome everyone. It's a sad day in the baseball world with the passing of Tony Gwynn - a true 80-grade hit tool and a true 80-grade person.
There's lot of great questions in the queue and I've got all afternoon to answer them, so we'll see if we can kill as much of the time as possible before the USA takes on Ghana tonight. I can't believe I just talked about soccer in a baseball chat. I need a shower.
Here we go!
howling wolf (Bethesda MD): Hey Jeff: thanks for your frequent updates on prospects.
When 2014 is over, what players do you anticipate will have made the biggest jump up the ranks of prospects?
Jeff Moore: Joey Gallo has to be among the leaders in the clubhouse for that honor. He was near the bottom of our Top 101 before the season because of the questions about his ability to make contact against better pitching. He's answered them with a vengeance. Any time a prospect makes great improvement at his biggest weakness, it's significant.
Other candidates include Raimel Tapia, David Dahl, and Hunter Dozier.
Jake (NYC): So everybody is making a big deal about Joey Gallo and his improved BB rate and reduced K's. What about Lewis Brinson? He is doing the same thing! Is he still a ML for Texas?
Jeff Moore: Yes, Brinson has taken strides too, but Gallo features true 80-power, which is certainly reason for excitement, and his K:BB ratio is 1.34 while Brinson's is still 2.62. Brinson is a great prospect, but the excitement surrounding what Gallo is doing is completely justified.
pmitchell60 (NOLA): Do you see Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun ever returning to form? I realize with Kemp it's more of a role/morale issue, is there anything indicating that their struggles are related more to a declining skill set or a mental rut?
Jeff Moore: For Braun, he may never return to MVP levels because perhaps he wasn't really an MVP. Regardless, he's still having a pretty good year so he seems to be fine. With Kemp, there's probably not a player in the game that could use a chance of scenery more than Kemp. The biggest surprise is his all-of-the-sudden inability to man center field, but you have to wonder if some of that is just his mental state. Remember how we had all written off Hanley Ramirez when he was in Miami and decided he couldn't play shortstop any more? Well, he's not great at it, but he seems to be doing ok in LA when he can stay on the field. Kemp is the center field equivalent of Ramirez. I could see him getting traded somewhere and absolutely exploding.
Chris (Baltimore): What should I do with Franco? Worth holding for 10 greenbacks in a NL next year?
Jeff Moore: I don't know anything about auction style fantasy baseball, so I don't know the value of your 10 greenbacks. Here's the deal with Franco. He's a naturally talented hitter with some pitch recognition issues. He's going to have some struggles but also hit for some power at a position where power is at a premium right now. As long as he stays at third base, I'll bet the overall package could be an above-average third baseman. Not sure how that stacks up in fantasy.
Jon (Boston): Do you have any concerns with Kris Bryant's K rate at the major league level? Do you see this limiting the utility of his power tool?
Jeff Moore: Concern is relative. I think it may be enough to make him a .280 hitter in the big leagues rather than the .350 minor league hitter he's been thus far, but with his power, that will be plenty good enough to be an all-star.
dtothew (Atlanta, GA): Mr. Moore - thanks as always for doing these chats and for delivering the MLU every day! I wonder if you'd share your thoughts re: Pompey? Seems like a major breakout guy this year - could you comp him to someone perhaps?
Jeff Moore: Pompey is a legit dude. He's a better hitter from the left side, where his power will play more, but I don't think it's enough of an issue to hold him back. It's not a great comp because they are built very differently, but I could see him putting up Shane Victorino-like numbers in his prime.
Gregory (Flushing): You've mentioned on twitter how impressed you've been with Dilson Herrera - has he improved his stock in your eyes? What's his ultimate ceiling?
Jeff Moore: Yeah, he has improved himself. I saw him early this spring, then about five times in April. At the time he looked like a utility guy. I just saw him for about 10 more at-bats last week and the swing was much shorter and to the ball. He may still not be an everyday player, but he's got a better shot than I initial thought. He's heading in the right direction and could be a nice second baseman.
max (Boston): Can Mookie be better than mlb average in Boston this year? Upgrade over JBJ?
Jeff Moore: Well, he could probably do better than Bradley has done thus far, but that wouldn't be terribly hard. Ultimately, it's still way too early to write off JBJ, and I don't know if CF is a long-term home for Mookie so much as it's just a way to give the Red Sox options or showcase him as trade bait.
Derek (New York): What can you tell us Mets fans about Blake Taylor? Good get for Ike Davis?
Jeff Moore: He's about what it was going to take to make this an even trade - a guy with a chance. We won't know what the Mets got for Davis for a while because Taylor is just 19 and hasn't pitched this year. but he was just a second round pick last year and is a tall, projectable lefty, so that's something.
Ace (PA): Will you make an appearance at the school if you're ever elected to the York College Athletic Hall of Fame?
Jeff Moore: I would be honored and would absolutely return to accept the award.
Mark (Long Island New York): Lucas Golito? Where do you see him as far as ranking prospects for mid year grade? And how is he doing so far?
Jeff Moore: We're going to be coming out with our mid-season top-50 soon, and I can tell you that he is in the discussion among the top pitchers in the game. He's been fantastic this season and will soar as soon as the Nationals take the reigns off of him, which probably won't be any time soon.
Graham (Richmond, VA): When do you see Buxton coming up? September? Will he be impactful in 2015?
Jeff Moore: I'd be shocked if Buxton is in the majors this September, given that it's mid-June and he's barely played this season. That may have been a reasonable possibility before the season, had he been healthy, gone to Double-A and continued to hit the way he did last year, but this year appears to be a bit of a lost cause. Wrist injuries have a way of lingering like that. When he's ready, he'll probably return to the Florida State League (I can only hope!) and get his game feet back underneath him.
Cianna (New York): Amed Rosario future star in your eyes ?
Jeff Moore: It's far too early to say future star for a guy who is just in short-season ball, but I saw him in spring training and like the package. He moves well for a tall shortstop and i liked the swing in BP. Lets see how the hit tool plays in games though before we start anointing him.
JoJo (SD): I know that Parks was aggressive in arguing Alex Reyes into the BP 101 and touted him as a potential big riser in season. Has the opinion on him changed at all with his continued control issues or just typical development of a young arm? Seems to still be missing bats consistently and generating weak contact. Thanks.
Jeff Moore: I don't know that any opinions have changed on Reyes so much as this is just the sort of thing that happens with young prospects all the time. Many are poised to make a jump. Some make it, others don't. It doesn't mean he won't The talent is still there. Sometimes it's tough to harness it.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you think it takes another injury for Oscar Taveras to be called up again this year?
Jeff Moore: They've got to have at-bats for him right? The last thing they want to do is have him sitting on the major league bench, though once he's back down for a few weeks and the service time issues have passed, he could be back up and playing 3-4 days per week. He'll be back up at some point. Too much talent not to have in the lineup that frankly could use a jolt.
Ian (NYC): What is your job outside of baseball?
Jeff Moore: I work at a golf course. I enjoy it, but I wouldn't go if I didn't have to.
Graham (Richmond, VA): What do you attribute to the log-jammed AL Central? Is it a case of the Tigers slipping (if so, why) or the contenders playing better? Can the Royals actually win that division?
Jeff Moore: Dombrowki made the cardinal sin of trading away pitching depth this off-season and now the baseball gods are making him pay for it.
The Tigers are just coming back to the pack. That's what happens when guys get older (Torri, JV) and young players don't develop as quickly as you'd hoped (Castellanos, A Jax) but you're forced to rely on them. They're still the best team in that division, but it's more wide open than we thought.
Trevor (Conneticut): Jeff, where does Baez stand on your Concern-O-Meter these days? Has to be higher than a 2, right?
Jeff Moore: Yeah, maybe a little higher. All of this just means that he needs a fill season in Triple-A. That wouldn't be a big deal if he hadn't been rocketing through the minors. For anyone else it would be normal. I'm probably at about a 3.
Vinnie (NYC): What's your prediction for the USA - Ghana game??
Jeff Moore: Everyone will get all fired up when something ALMOST happens because soccer.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): What do the Dodgers do with Joc Pederson? They can't let him waste away in Triple-A all year, can they?
Jeff Moore: He's hardly wasting away in Triple-A, having just turned 22. Would be still be there if he were on any other team? Probably not, but it's not like he's old and watching his career go by. He still has less than 300 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors and is striking out 29.5 percent of the time. Let's let him work on those things before hew start replacing Matt Kemp.
Justin (Chicago, IL): I know fantasy questions usually suck when it comes to the prospect stuff, but I traded Corey Seager for Mark Appel at the beginning of the season. How bad did I screw up?
Jeff Moore: Somewhere between Bartman and Buckner.
Howie (NYC): See any of Michael Fulmer down there in the FSL?
Jeff Moore: Yes, here's a link to the report I wrote on him.
He's built like a starter but his arsenal says reliever. Two-pitch pitcher with below average fastball command. I should see him again at some point this season so hopefully there's some improvement to get excited about.
The Dude (Office): What's the sandwich du jour?
Jeff Moore: Late bagel for breakfast. Nothing cooking at the moment.
padremurph (Los Angeles): What do the Padres end up doing when both Liriano and Renfroe and ready to play RF at Petco?
Jeff Moore: Celebrating the fact that they've actually developed two hitting prospects and worry about where to play them later. These things work themselves out. They always do. They'll both play somewhere. I doubt Seth Smith will still be blocking one of them in left.
Dave (Queens): I know you saw Gabriel Ynoa on one of his lesser outings - what can you tell us about him? Rafael Montero 2.0?
Jeff Moore: Different type of pitcher, but I guess you could say that in that they both project to be 3/4 starters with good control.
Shawn (Cubicle): Could Marco Gonzalez be the next Cole Hamels? Nothing special in terms of velocity from the left-side, but oh that changeup...
Jeff Moore: Maybe a poor man's Hamels, who continually gets overlooked among the best in the game. Marco's ceiling isn't that high and Hamels has routinely sat from 92-94, which Marco won't do. His change up is good, but Hamels possesses the best lefty change up in the game. Marco's is very good but it's not an 80. I guess you could say that it's a similar package but at a much lower ceiling.
TJ (Arlington): If Odor keeps hitting does he keep the second base job next year or is Profar ahead of him? Thanks for your insights!!
Jeff Moore: When Profar is healthy, he'll play.
Howie (NYC): Who are the SS and Rookie ball prospects you're most excited to see (GCL) or hear about (NWL, Appy, AZL, etc.)?
Jeff Moore: Not sure because GCL rosters haven't been announced yet, but the top two picks in the draft were high schoolers by orgs with GCL teams, so I have my fingers crossed.
Lee (Grand Rapids): Who was your favorite player when playing ball?
Jeff Moore: I grew up a Phillies fan and caught the tail end of Mike Schmidt's career. I was 10 for the '93 Phillies and loved Lenny Dykstra because I batted left handed, led off, played center field, and was too young to understand about things like PED's tobacco and being crazy.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Thoughts on Jake Marisnick's call-up? Do you think he will be more successful this go around? Do you see him as a George Springer-lite, contact issues with 20 HR power and maybe 10 SBs?
Jeff Moore: No, I've been quite low on Marisnick from the start. The tools are great but I've never seen any pitch recognition from him that makes me believe he won't get carved up by major league pitching. Springer recognizes pitches, he just swings through a lot of them. I don't think Marisnick recognizes them properly. I'm expecting more struggles, but hope to be wrong.
Mitch (Atlanta): Thoughts on Corey Seager and his potential. Any chance he sticks at ss?
Jeff Moore: He's going to be a very good hitter on the left side somewhere. I've read two reports from two of our scouts here at BP, both of whom I respect. One believes he'll have to move to 3B, one believes he'll be able to stay at SS, and they're far from the only ones split on the topic. That just goes to show you that we simply don't know at this point. Either way, he's going to be a good player.
Shawn (Cubicle): What SP prospect currently in minors make biggest impact in 2nd half of the year?
Jeff Moore: In the majors? It would have to be Andrew Heaney, who is both very good and very ready. I can't see him not being in the majors by the end of the month.
John (CT): Do you think George Springer's sore knee is contributing to his recent offense falloff or are pitchers learning how to pitch to him?
Jeff Moore: Some of both, most likely.
Craig (DC): Jeff,
Thoughts about Tim Anderson. Slow start but has been very good over the past month. All Star Ceiling?
Jeff Moore: He's hitting now, which is good. He's still extremely raw so there's room for improvement. I haven't seen him but our guys who have absolutely rave about his tools and are comfortable that he'll take the necessary steps. The K:BB rate still scares the hell out of me, but I'm admittedly a plate discipline guy and put a lot of stock in those sorts of things. He'll have to improve in that area, but our guys are comfortable that he'll be able to, and I trust them.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): IF--big if--Taijuan Walker's shoulder woes are behind him, couldn't be the SP prospect in the minors who makes the biggest impact?
Jeff Moore: Yes, that's true. I ruled him out because he's already been in the majors.
Willie (Springfield): In your opinion which couple of batters and pitchers have seen their stock rise the most this year.
Jeff Moore: I mentioned a few hitters earlier, but I'll touch on some pitchers, I've been extremely impressed with Twins prospect Jose Berrios this season, as have a few of our other guys who have seen him. The reports are extraordinary. He wore down late last season, which is a concern, but also something that happens to a lot of guys in their first full season. It's really the only concern about him right now, so if he makes it through the rest of the season without any major drop in velocity or production, he could really shoot up our rankings, or at least he will if I have any say in the matter.
Ben (Baltimore): If you had to pick one guy out of this years draft to have the best combination of MLB impact and ETA, who would you choose and why?
Jeff Moore: Aaron Nola is the best combination of the two. He's not just a safe pick, but has some ceiling too, but should also move quickly.
Nick (Colorado): Jp Crawford or Adalberto Mondesi?
Jeff Moore: The reports on Crawford have been fantastic and he just got promoted to Clearwater so I should get a look at him soon. I'll take him. Don't tell Parks though. He loves guys named Adalberto.
Ryan (SF): Rodon - Future Stud?
Jeff Moore: Current stud?
Jim (Boston): Garin Cecchini hasn't hit for power this year, and lately he hasn't hit for average either. Is he overrated?
Jeff Moore: He's probably not going to hit for much power, which means he won't be your typical third baseman. As long as he keeps getting on base a ton, however, he'll be fine. Not overrated.
Henry (Houston): Carlos Correa looks ready for the majors today, but I realize he's a ways off. Does he have a shot to start 2015 with the Astros?
Jeff Moore: I guess anything's possible, but that seems aggressive to me. Correa could probably be tossed into the major league fire right now and hold his own because he's not only that good but also that poised and polished, but there's just no need yet. The Astros have been conservative with their guys and have a track record of letting them fully develop, so that's probably what they'll do.
John (CT): Any reason for concern regarding the location of Buxton's injury?
Jeff Moore: Wrists are always a concern, not necessarily long-term but for the length of the recovery time. Even when he returns, I'd expect his power to be zapped, especially for a player whose power came all from his wrists anyway.
Noel (Calgary): Jeff, what's your take on Alen Hanson's progress? He seems to have struggled some at AA, but has the scouting report changed at all? Also, one observation, his production has been remarkably better from the #2 slot than hitting leadoff this year. I assume this is just noise, but it is interesting. Thanks.
Jeff Moore: I wouldn't put much stock in production in small samples in different spots in the order, but it is interesting. He still has a bit of a twiner profile, because if he doesn't hit .300, he doesn't get on base enough for me and I'm not sold he can stick at short. Still looks like a nice utility guy though.
The Dude (Office): Any updates on when Addison Russell will be back?
Jeff Moore: Just spent the past week in the California League and I believe he should be moving back up to Double-A Midland any day now.
Chris (Baltimore): Scouring the wire for keeper eligible players like Velasquez, Peraza, Shipley, Harvey. Please rank.
Jeff Moore: The reports on Harvey have been fantastic, with Shipley's not too far behind.
Eric (Atlanta): The Nats' Michael Taylor is putting up George Springer-like numbers. What's the future hold for him?
Jeff Moore: He's going to be a major leaguer because of his power, speed and defense, but the hit tool may hold him back. There's just so many strikeouts. We're becoming more accepting of them, especially if he hits 20 home runs and plays strong defense up the middle, but it may be enough to keep him from being a productive regular.
Ace (PA): Do you think Clint Coulter makes the Brewers top 10?
Jeff Moore: Yes. He was in it a few years ago but fell out last year. With the year he's having, I don't see how he doesn't get back in.
Dave (Boston): People shouldn't be down on glasnow, should they? He's still awesome for a 20 year old in high A, right?
Jeff Moore: Correct. Don't get down on him. The control is a problem but his ceiling is still exceptionally high.
nottes (MD): Dylan Bundy had a pretty nice comeback game yesterday. Do you expect to see him in Baltimore at all this year?
Jeff Moore: Wouldn't shock me at all, especially if they are in the race. If not, they may not feel the need to push it. He's a hard working kid, though, so it's not surprising that he got himself back into shape quickly.
Kip (San Antonio): You are building a roster for an expansion team, are there any Quad-A guys that you would like to give a full season of playing time to?
Jeff Moore: Oh that's a fun game. I'd have to research it, but probably not, They are Quad-A guys for a reason. There are some blocked prospects and former prospects, however, that I'd like to see given a chance, even just for curiosity's sake.
Jim (Houston): Jorge Alfaro's batting average isn't great this year, but he seems to be doing everything else pretty well. What are your thoughts on his future?
Jeff Moore: Alfaro is another guy where there is a gap between the tools and the production thanks to the lack of plate discipline, yet his production is still pretty good. That should speak to where his tools are. If it all comes together, we'll have a stud. As it is, we're almost guaranteed to have a catcher who hits for above-avearge power, runs well, and has a hose.
So Many Strikeouts (Everywhere): Is this the biggest problem facing baseball going forward? So many K's?
Jeff Moore: I don't know why its a problem. We have a different way of valuing things now and we understand that the stigma of striking out 100 times or 150 times a year is worst than the reality of it. Players can still be quite productive even if they strike out a ton. As long as a player can recognize pitches, he has a chance, even if he swing through a lot of them.
SK (Boston): Best practice for these chats: Ask questions involving the entire players name and spell correctly. This allows the chat question/answer to show up on the player page.
Jeff Moore: Good advice. Also allows me to click on the player's name in my queue for easier reference on things.
Dave (Boston): Josh Bell, should the Pirates move him to 1st base? Looks like the outfield is pretty full.
Jeff Moore: A move may be in the cards down the line, but it will have nothing to do with their currently crowded outfield. It's far too early for that to be a problem.
Angelo (Maine): 2015 draft top pick will be....
Jeff Moore: Got a couple of these. This time last year, Aiken wasn't even in the mix and everyone was sure it would be Rodon. Way too early to tell.
Frank (Boston): Blake Swihart has looked great so far this year. Does he become Boston's everyday catcher at some point next season?
Jeff Moore: Yeah, maybe at some point next season, though I don't think he'll be far enough along at the end of this year for the Red Sox to be able to rely on him. That said, he, not Mookie, is the Red Sox top position prospect.
Nate (Chicago): What is your take on Gary Sanchez? Is he still the top hitting catcher prospect in the minors? Thoughts on his future?
Jeff Moore: No, he's not. It would help his future if he'd stop violating his team's rules and forcing his manager to suspend him.
Frank (chicago): with Barney hitting .190 and Bonafacio DL,
do expect the cubs to take a look at Alcantara at 2B.
Jeff Moore: Yeah, I'd expect it, but Alcantara currently has a .313 OBP in Triple-A. Remember, the grass isn't always greener. Ok, well it's greener than Darwin Barney, but you get the idea.
Mike (San Antonio): Has Jake Lamb alleviated concerns about his bat with his performance this year? Out of the Cal League yet the power is up and the Ks down. Future above avg regular?
Jeff Moore: Scouts tend not to change their minds about things like bat speed, so I doubt it, but his performance speaks for itself. He's made the biggest jump in the minors and not only handled it, but has improved. The strike outs being down is a big thing for me. Scouts miss on guys like this sometimes because the tools aren't crazy. Same thing happened with Paul Goldschmidt.
Everybody calm down now. I'm not making a comparison of Lamb to Goldschmidt. It's just an example of how sometimes we overlook production because of a simple physical flaw. Goldschmidt had bat speed concerns too. His production was much better than Lamb's, but you get the idea. The point is, Lamb's production is now more than we can simply ignore.
JoJo (SD): Thoughts on Sean Manaea? Weird stats: 67k in just 48.1ip but 25bb and and opponents hitting nearly .300. I don't think he's pitched into the 6th inning all year, coming off injury and battling control issues. I thought as a college guy with pedigree he could be a relatively fast mover but it seems he has a ways to go.
Jeff Moore: Hey man not move as fast as some had expected, but the reports on him have been excellent. He's just figuring out how to put it all together.
Dave (Scranton): What is the ETA on Hunter Dozier? Do you think he is going to be an above average 3B option for the Royals?
Jeff Moore: Two of our guys have filed reports on him. Both believe he can be an everyday third baseman and have his ETA at 2016.
Todd (MN): Thoughts on Trevor May's season? Stat line would indicate good things. . . still have a chance to be a solid 3/4 workhorse type?
Jeff Moore: His best control yet gives him a chance to stick as a back end guy. The production has never quite added up to the stuff. He could still stick or would still make a good pen piece.
Ryan (Louisville): Tell us as much as you can about Jesse Winker.
Jeff Moore: Plus hitter, good power, plus plate discipline. Not a toolsy guy, but a pure hitter, and that's a good thing.
So Many Strikeouts (Everywhere): I was thinking more from a baseball is entertainment point of view. I know there's value in a three outcomes player, I just don't know that there's entertainment in strikeouts after a certain level, and we seem to be reaching that level.
Jeff Moore: Yeah, I could see that. If it gets too out of control it just becomes home run derby. On the other hand, watching a pitcher throw a 12-strikeout game is pretty fun, so there's always that.
Marcus (LA): Give us your analysis of what the Miami Heat need to do next year in order to win the NBA Finals next year
Jeff Moore: Wait, what's happening here.
Chris (KC): Thanks SK for the chat suggestion. Another great reason to use the prospect's name is that some of us out here don't know the pet nicknames folks have for their teams' prospects. I keep seeing references to "Thor" in chats and I have no idea who that is.
Jeff Moore: Thor is Noah Syndergaard, and is a fantastic nickname. Your point is well taken, though.
Dave (Boston): Also, looking at the Pirates current rotation, how badly does Taillon getting hurt suck for them? If he was up and pitching well, the Pirates are a playoff team.
Jeff Moore: It's not quite that simple, but yes, it does hurt. There's no doubt that they'd rather have Taillon pitching than Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton or Vance Worley. That said, it's been their lack of offense (before Polanco arrived) and their previously sharp bullpen that have hurt them this year. You can't make definitive statements like that about a prospect and a team making the playoffs. They're just not factual.
SK (Boston): Strikeouts are up in baseball because almost all SP today have at least a usable changeup, which is the hardest pitch to recognize and make contact with.
Jeff Moore: That's a stretch to say that almost all have a usable change up. There are two main reasons strike outs are up - pitcher velocities are higher than ever and there's a direct correlation between velocity and swings and misses, and hitters are no longer afraid to strike out and are willing to sell out for power. The hitting approach has changed.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): What sort of progress do you see former-prospect Trevor Bauer making on the MLB learning curve?
Jeff Moore: He's been willing to attack the strike zone more, which was a mental barrier rather than a physical one. That's huge for a notoriously stubborn player.
Jeff Moore: Ok everyone, that's going to be it for today. Great questions, even better than usual today. Enjoy the rest of your Monday.
USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!