CJ has seen your favorite prospect, and he has seen your next favorite prospect, the guy you haven't even heard of yet. He's here to make your future brighter.
CJ Wittmann: I am much funnier, better looking and a better evaluator than Mort. I am #MortBlood. Let's begin!
Tim (TX): Hi CJ, does Clint Coulter stick as a catcher? Thanks, Tim
CJ Wittmann: I haven't seen Clint Coulter myself to tell you. I don't catch a lot of the Brewers minors but if the bat plays then they will find a position somewhere for him.
MonkeyEpoxy (Amarillo): Do you love, like-like, or just like Nomar Mazara? What about Ryan Cordell?
CJ Wittmann: LOVE and that may be an understatement. Mazara oozes talent. I sat on a series last season when he was in Hickory. He plays with such confidence and the barrel skills are there. The raw power showed in BP and in-game, along with him making good reads and throws from the outfield. The promotion to AA at age 19 didn't surprised me a bit. Although, it did sadden me since I missed him coming to Myrtle Beach.
baseballjunkie (SF Bay Area): Hi CJ, My season is pretty much shot so time to start making keeper decisions: Sano vs Gallo? Myers vs Taveras? Frazier vs Longo? Thanks!
CJ Wittmann: Gallo, Oscar, Longo
baseballjunkie (SF Bay Area): Hi CJ, One of your colleagues likes to use K% minus BB% in evaluating pitchers. Do you agree and would that also be useful for evaluating hitters?
CJ Wittmann: I also like to check out the K% compared to the BB% for pitchers. I wouldn't say it is my first way to evaluate pitchers but it is a useful tool. I look for hitters who have OBP skills in the minors and how well they can translate to the major league level based on my viewings of the players. I don't think there is one formula to evaluate.
Justin (KC): Soooo, Tyler Glasnow....
CJ Wittmann: is legit. He has a huge fastball with good secondaries. Dealing with a young prospect, I think fastball command is the most important tool they can have. The Pirates organization puts emphasis on this and that's why the K numbers can look a little skewed. For example, Gerritt Cole did not strike out a ton of hitters but had the fastball command to let his secondaries play up or be effective at the highest level. Glasnow is striking out hitters while putting up video game numbers. AA is the big test.
Javier Baez (Chicago): How annoying is it when people pose questions as if they are a certain player/gm/owner?
CJ Wittmann: I find it really funny actually. Javy, you hit the cover off that ball last night. Please continue. Sincerely, Everyone.
joe (navy): who moves up in prospect world for oakland with addison being traded?
CJ Wittmann: I think Daniel Robertson becomes the top prospect there. He has the skills to hit and can play SS.
pat (chicago): Minor had his 1st decent game in awhile Sunday against Oakland. Is this a sign of things to come (fingers crossed) or just a positive blip on a lost season? Any thoughts on him getting back to form in '15?
CJ Wittmann: I am a big fan of Mike Minor and I think he can return to form in 2015. He is a good pitchability guy with good stuff. Mid-rotation to backend piece. Pitchers have down seasons.
Ryan (under the bleachers): I thought Dan Straily might've been a good bet for a rebound and a solid get for the Cubbies. Do you agree or was he a flash in the pan, leaving this past weekend as the new norm?
CJ Wittmann: I think Straily is a good candidate also. Seeing what the Cubs have done with Arrieta, Straily could once again be a major league contributor.
dshemie8 (Montreal, QC): How do you evaluate bat speed? Like, how can you tell between, say 40 bat speed and 70 bat speed?
CJ Wittmann: I don't necessarily grade bat speed on the scouting scale in terms of grade. But I look at what kind of athlete the player is, how strong the wrists and forearms are and how well all of the moving parts in a swing work together. For example, the fastest bat speed I have seen all year was Nick Williams. Williams is a quick twitch athlete with exceptional hand-eye coordination. His wrists and forearms are so strong and he gets the bat into a prime hitting position and has a short path to the ball. When the swing starts, the ability he has to bat to the ball with plus bat speed since he has the quick, strong wrists.
Mike (Virginia): Is Manny Margot real? He has been tearing the cover off the ball in August after being heralded as a raw but toolsy OF.
CJ Wittmann: I know Chris Mellen thinks so. I trust him more than many evaluators. #Diesel knows.
Mike (Virginia): Eduardo Rodriguez is looking like an absolute steal in the Andrew Miller trade. Is his upside higher than Henry Owens or Brian Johnson?
CJ Wittmann: I was a big fan of ERod last season. I saw 90-94; working both sides of the plate. SL flashed plus, CH average. I think they play 55, 50 at the highest level. I had him ranked #3 in the system behind Bundy and Harvey. But I really enjoyed Henry Owens. Owens fastball worked the same and the CH was much better. ERod's SL could be better than Owens' CB. Pick your poison.
Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks C.J. Could you rank these prospects in terms of ceiling: Nomar Mazara, Franklin Barreto, and Manuel Margot.
CJ Wittmann: In the order you have them, in my opinion.
padremurph (Los Angeles): How do you feel about Hunter Renfroe's season?
CJ Wittmann: I saw Renfroe in the Cal/Car league ASG. I really like the raw strength and power. the swing is short to the ball with a long finish giving him extreme post contact extension. His arm is a weapon in the outfield and in my limited look, he flashed an approach at the plate. According to Mike Ferrin, he is a very intelligent player and realizes what he needs to do to improve. Looks like a big leaguer to me.
CyMature (Cooperstown Retirement Home): Time to dish: any news on Hunter Harvey's elbow? Is this a TJ prelim? Tendonitis? Dan Duquette wants to know. Us, too. Thanks.
CJ Wittmann: I wish I knew. Harvey was one of my favorite prospects I saw this season. I hope it is just an elbow sprain and nothing is wrong with the ligament. But who knows with prospects these days.
pmitchell60 (NOLA): Roster advice: 10-team/12 keeper league, prepping for the playoffs, currently holding on to Michael Pineda (small sample, hope he's healthy), Taijuan Walker (fingers crossed for another Sunday start), Kevin Gausman (steady contribution), and Jake McGee (slew August) on the pitching staff....looking to add Dexter Fowler for depth at the plate (he'd be first off the bench)...Would you drop any of the pitchers for Fowler?
PS: Staff FWIW: Greinke, Stras, Lester, Kluber, Archer, Rosenthal, Robertson, Jansen w/ Wacha on DL
CJ Wittmann: I would stock up on RB/WR first unless you can snag a top QB in rounds 2/3. Really depends on how teams and league scoring. Manning, Rodgers, Brees are head and shoulders above the pack while you can stock pile useful PPR WR/RB late.
pmitchell60 (NOLA): Has Taijuan Walker's last couple starts cemented him into Seattle's rotation come September?
CJ Wittmann: I would hope so. I am a Walker fan and I think he would have been pitching in the big leagues all year if not for the injuries. With them being involved in the wild card race, Walker gives them another weapon in the rotation.
Daniel B (KY): I've heard the 80 scale is set up to mirror standard deviations. But i've also read that having an 80 hit tool is incredibly rare relative to power. Is that possible? Do some tools have a different variance?
CJ Wittmann: That is correct. There are so many things that factor into having an 80 hit tool. There are less factors to having 80 raw power. Some prospects in the minors can have the extreme raw strength to have 80 raw but don't have the barrel skills or neurological aspect to have the hit tool to allow the power to play to that level.
Martin (Lawrence): What do you think about Manuel Margot? Could he sneek into the top 100?
CJ Wittmann: It's not out of the question.
ChiSoxFan (Chi Town): CJ, would appreciate your thoughts on two White Sox prospects, Tim Anderson and Micah Johnson. What do you see for their ultimate roles / ceilings, etc. Thanks!
CJ Wittmann: I didn't see Micah Johnson personally but I know he can really run and hit a little bit. Tim Anderson was electric for me. He hits out in front and has premium bat speed. The K numbers were a result of him struggling during an adjustment period and being extremely raw. I think he will end up in CF where his speed will be utilized and his bat will be more than enough for the position. Anderson has plus raw power and the hit tool for it to play. I think he's the total package.
Rocky Mountain Hi (LoDo): Your colleagues at BP are all over Raimel Tapia for his "hit tool." He certainly seems to be doing well at Ashville this year. Former Rockies player Dexter Fowler was also a skinny guy as a prospect. What gives Tapia a greater likelihood of developing some HR power (if anything)? He's young, but his frame doesn't scream "masher" to me. Thanks a lot!
CJ Wittmann: I think Ryan Parker would be more capable to answering this. I think the natural lift and bat speed give Tapia a greater advantage. He is skinny but I have heard he has the work ethic to add weight. Should be an interesting prospect moving forward.
Alex (Anaheim): If Refsnyder getting overhyped, or do you see a good future for him?
CJ Wittmann: Overhyped. When I caught a glimpse in Trenton, I saw a major league quality arm pick him apart. I think that will be a reoccurring theme.
Alvin (Chicago, IL): Hi CJ. A Rangers fan here. Really enjoyed your report about Gallo earlier this year. I think you noticed his change before a lot of people did. My question is about Mazara: Is there any report for Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara in AA? He still looks comfortable there as a 19 yo. Also, has anyone seem him earlier and late this year and known what adjustment he made to break out? It doesn't seem to be a hot/cold thing.
CJ Wittmann: Thank you, I like to think I was on Gallo early. I don't think we have anyone in that area but I know that when I saw him last season it was small tweaks in approach and minor adjustments in "the game within the game". He would get down on himself so easily and lose focus for the duration of the game. But that is common for a young prospect.
Javier Baez is Lord (DeKalb ): You might not be able to answer this but who are the top evaluators on the internet-side of the scouting world? In your opinion. Which guys have the skills to work for teams? Is that your long term goal?
CJ Wittmann: I think BP can't be compared with anyone else on the internet. I think we have the hardest working and most knowledgable team and that's not a debate. My ultimate goal is to work for a team. I am trying to break into the game early and feel I have what it takes to eventually work for a team. Right now, my focus is with BP.
mqtman (Marquette MI): Is Jacob Lindgren a great srikeout pitcher or is he just feasting on weaker competition and small sample size.
CJ Wittmann: I received NSFW texts from Tucker Blair after watching Lindgren the other night. Legit pitcher.
mattymatty2000 (Portland (left one)): He's not really a prospect anymore, but what do the struggles of Jackie Bradley say about the differences between Triple-A and the majors? Is it greater than we've previously thought?
CJ Wittmann: The MLB is hard. Bradley has the make-up and work ethic to make adjustments but hasn't shown them yet at the highest level. Bradley is still a top of the scale defender in CF and I think he will make his way back onto the big league roster.
Rich Adams (Elmer): Witt,
Is it true that you are in last place and 60 games out in your home fantasy baseball league?
CJ Wittmann: Yes because you wouldn't trade me Miggy
Shawn (Cubicle): Which league(s) do you see most often?
CJ Wittmann: I see the Carolina League the most. Wilmington is about a half hour drive.
Goldeye99 (LowerInTheStandings): Hi CJ, thanks for the chat! What's more surprising, Billy Hamilton outhitting Oscar Taveras at the major league level or Billy Hamilton not leading the league in steals? (of course with the understanding that both those trends may not continue beyond 2014!)
CJ Wittmann: I think Hamilton outhitting Oscar. A lot of players can run and it's a matter of having the OBP skills to get on base and have the utility skills to read pitchers. Taveras has struggled bit but he will adjust. It takes a while; I am more surprised Hamilton has adjusted so well.
Chuck (a deep-ass league): Give me two prospects that wouldn't be in a top 20 right now, but will be this time next year.
CJ Wittmann: Nomar Mazara, Hunter Harvey.
Dave (Kcmo): C.j how good is the potential of the royals young pitching throughout their organization? Thanks for the great work.
CJ Wittmann: I really liked Zimmer. I thought he was better than Jameson Taillon last season. The injury was unfortunate. I see Zimmer still as a no. 2 starter; Almonte #4; Binford #5 just to name a few. Manaea has made mechanical changes and I think with more consistency he could a no. 2 starter.
Scott (Lincolnshire): Baez! Baez! Baez!
But seriously, Javier Baez!
No, wait. Real question: McKinney. Can he stick in CF, or will the bat play enough to move to a corner spot?
CJ Wittmann: Baez is God. McKinney is a useful 4th OF, imo.
Donald Loria (Milwaukee): I'm a velo whore, so guys like Tyler Kolek make it move for me. I probably would have taken him 1-1 this year (I also really really like big framed Texan gunslinger SP's- I swear I am not related to Parks). What's the scoop on Kolek?
CJ Wittmann: Huge fastball. Everything else needs work. Long developmental path but he throws 100. So he throws 100.
Shawnykid23 (CT): At this time next year is the Lucas Giolito hype train (rightfully) out of control?
CJ Wittmann: I will be driving this off of the rails. Giolito is the best arm in the minors.
Francois (Toronto): Betances: 8th or 9th inning next year? NYY or elsewhere?
CJ Wittmann: 9th. With Robertson in front of him.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): Thoughts about Alex Wood (with the exception of comments on how wonky his mechanics are)?
CJ Wittmann: I think his stuff is underrated. My limited looks at him, he has impressed me each time. If his shoulder holds up, mid to back rotation piece.
Francois (Toronto): Greg Holland: closing for ___insert ballclub here___ in 2015.
CJ Wittmann: Kansas City Royals.
Festivus313 (Pittsburgh): Will Steven Moya hit enough for the power to play in MLB?
CJ Wittmann: No
RatedRookie (Atlanta): Have you seen any of Carlos Rodon's starts/appearances for Winston-Salem? Will you be watching his start for Charlotte tonight? If so, what will you be looking for?
CJ Wittmann: I haven't and that is out of my area. I have heard Rodon fastball velocity is up to 96 with a double-plus SL. If I was there, I would focus on the utility of his CH. The importance of a 3rd pitch is crucial for a potential front line starter.
George Brett (Outside the Bellagio): My Vegas story notwithstanding, the best baseball story you have heard?
CJ Wittmann: It involves Pat Burrell. Leave it at that.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Highest offensive potential of Raimel Tapia, Nick Williams, or Josh Bell?
CJ Wittmann: Tapia, at the highest level.
Carlin (Los Angeles): What were your impressions of Luis Severino when you say him?
CJ Wittmann: I didn't see frontline starter. I didn't like the overall delivery and it was a whippy arm action. the stuff was legit but I don't think he has the consistent delivery, command or body to withstand a 200 IP season. 8th inning reliever.
Teddy (Old Lyme): Do you believe any of the position players currently at Trenton, (Austin, Bichette, Bird, and Sanchez most notably) end up turning into first-division regulars?
CJ Wittmann: Not in my viewings. 2nd division regular at best for Sanchez.
Max (Cinci): You think we get a glimpse of Carlos Rodon this season (out of the pen, of course)?
CJ Wittmann: I think we could. It wouldn't make sense to me just because he has a lot of mileage on his arm this season.
Eric (Michigan): Kennys Vargas, Legit?
CJ Wittmann: Raw power is. Hit tool utility is not.
Brett (New Jersey): When can we expect the Diambondbacks trio of double A arms in Blair, Bradley and Shipley to reach the majors? How would you rank the 3 moving forward?
CJ Wittmann: I would rank them Bradley, Shipley, Blair. All of them being #3 starters at least with Blair having the lowest floor. Bradley and Shipley have the ceiling of #2 starters.
Shawn (Cubicle): Any high-profile potential September call-ups you see having regular playing time?
CJ Wittmann: Kris Bryant.... I hope
Mort's Alter Ego (Hawkin's House): Best MiLB relievers you have seen this season?
CJ Wittmann: Myrtle Beach team, early in season. Claudio, LeClerc, Knapp, Kela. Also, Trevor Gott and Matt Hobgood were really good.
hotrod (garage): Which BP prospect team member is most likely to fight a wild animal? And what kind of animal would it be?
Also what do you think about Johan Camargo?
CJ Wittmann: I would say Jordan Gorosh and I would tag team fight a lion WWE style.
The Dude (Office): In addition to baseball, BP has resident experts in Beer, Sandwiches,Fruits,Vegetables. What is your area of expertise that we can add to the list?
CJ Wittmann: Women
Shawn (Cubicle): Does Baltimore have an issue with developing good starting pitching? Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, and Tommy Hunter are all now in the bullpen. Jake Arrieta is excelling in Chicago. Should Kevin Gausman be hoping for a trade?
CJ Wittmann: Kevin Gausman will be just fine. I don't think their player development is the greatest but that also has to do with the players' makeup and willing to make adjustments and work.
The Ole Ball Coach (The Woo): What exactly is this cult like following known as "Woodie Ball"
CJ Wittmann: Mort would enjoy this. Woodie Ball is a sad way to play baseball in which I was involved in in high school. Thanks for the question Rebman
T (Shea): Do you think Rafael Montero is part of the Mets' rotation in 2015? How well does his success in the minors translate to the bigs?
CJ Wittmann: I think it's very possible towards the middle of the year. I think his utility of his pitches and ability to work the strike zone work to his advantage. How does Harvey, Wheeler, Noah, Montero, DeGrom sound?
andygamer (Boston): Boston has three young players who have had trouble making the next adjustment to ML pitching: Bradley Jr, Bogaerts, and Middlebrooks. What is your take on these guys? Is there an organizational pattern or is it just hit or miss, and who should fans be worried about long term?
CJ Wittmann: Fans should be worried about these guys. The majors is hard and there is an adjustment at each level. Even if that adjustment period is 500, 1000 or 1500 at-bats. All three are likely candidates of players not making adjustments right away and are being exploited by more experienced players. All three are very talented and will be fine long term.
Thomas (NY): Why is Michael Taylor not talked about as 1 of the best OF prospects? He seems very similar to George Springer to me.
CJ Wittmann: Taylor was a toolsy OF that many didn't see putting the total package together. He did and it is loud. He will always strike out but he can play defense and the power has shown up along with the stolen base utility taking a step forward. Legit prospect.
Matt (Cambridge ): No a real prospect question, but what is the common causes of failure of struggles of top prospects at the major league level? Listening to old Up and In episodes, I see a guy like Eric Hosmer who flashed his 6-7 ceiling last year, but looked replacement level too. Or a guy like Jesus Montero that should have had the bat to carry him at 1st or DH, but is now the butt of a joke. Especially because these players had exceptional and developed hit tools and "hitters hit"
CJ Wittmann: The ability not to make adjustments. That is what this game is based on. Some players do, some players don't.
The Dude (Office): Re Understanding Women: That's a lie, sir, no one does
CJ Wittmann: Hahahaha. I thought you would like that joke
Thomas (NY): How impressive are the adjustments that Brinson made at single-A this year?
CJ Wittmann: Brinson is a big raw power guy. I thought he showed flashes of having the neurological aspect of recognizing spin out the hand but just had holes in his swing. The strike out numbers are there but the approach has improved and mechanical adjustments in his swing have been helpful. Big time player.
Doug (Denver,CO): Witt. Like most, you seem to be very low on Bubba Starling. As someone who sees him a lot, what can he do to be successful? Not necessarily what are his flaws, we know those, but what corrections or attempted corrections would you put on him? Five years from now do you see him as a 4th OF or someone who can play ~80-90 games a year through good defense/baserunning?
CJ Wittmann: I have seen Bubba setup a million different ways at the plate. He's not the top runner he once was and I have questions he has the true barrel skills and ideal pitch recognition skills. In 5 years, Bubba should be playing his senior year on the Gridiron throwing the pigskin.
Chris (Oakland): I was a big fan of Brandon Finnegan before the draft. Do you think he's a rotation guy (like perhaps a left Marcus Stroman)? Ceiling as a #2 but most likely a consistent #3?
CJ Wittmann: So was I. I thought 60 FB, 55 SL, 55 CH. #3 starter ceiling, 7th/8th inning reliever floor. Nice player.
Kyle (New Jersey): Hi CJ, good chatting with you. With all the promotions to Frisco and whatnot, who on the Myrtle Beach crew is the best to watch for the remainder of this season and beyond?
CJ Wittmann: Lewis Brinson and Chris Bostick
Felix (El Paso): The Fielder-Kinsler trade has gotten a lot of flak from the Rangers' side. In your honest opinion, what do you see Fielder contributing for the remainder of his contract?
CJ Wittmann: Not the remainder of his contract. That's a long time.
Mr. Ambulance Driver (DC): The latest installment of What Scouts Are Saying had quite the statement on Bryce Harper. Have you heard anything personally about his makeup? I see a guy with great eye black who plays hard, speaks his mind, and makes his team better every time he's on the field. Hard to argue with that or say he's a "distraction."
CJ Wittmann: I haven't. And personally, Bryce Harper is one of my favorite players.
Jesse (L.A.): Marcos Molina's been a beast at Brooklyn this year. What's his upside?
CJ Wittmann: No. 3 starting pitcher? So hard to determine though, he is 19.
Kyle (New Jersey): Is anyone getting eyes on Luis Ortiz in hickory this season?
CJ Wittmann: I would like too when they go to Delmarva. He has been quite impressive. Scout I talked to had him up to 97 with a plus SL now.
RatedRookie (Atlanta): Care to give BP readers a preview of what the Giolito hype train will look like?
CJ Wittmann: I envision the train to be somewhat similar to the Silver Bullet train. People can heard it coming due to Giolito's elite CB, double-plus fastball and plus CH.
Charlie (Rockville): Besides Giolito and Cole, and now that Souza and Taylor have both played in MLB, is there a Nats minor league prospect worth talking about?
CJ Wittmann: I have heard Reynaldo Lopez has been hitting triple digits.
J Parks (Outside of the Mondesi house.): How long are we going to have to wait for the new report on Mondesi?
CJ Wittmann: I have a 20 game sample on Mondesi that I am currently breaking down and finishing up a report. Soon.
Mike (TX): Does Nomar Mazara have All-Star potential with the bat or is that being too optimistic?
CJ Wittmann: i believe he does. Plus in both aspects of hit and power.
Bagger Vance (Bellevue, WA): Has this season been a disappointment for Robert Stephenson?
CJ Wittmann: I wouldn't say disappointment. Obviously, the expectations were high and he may not have reached them. Big time ceiling still.
DJ (Dallas): Would you grade your hit tool on women at an 80??
CJ Wittmann: Absolutely not
Gila Monster (Boston): What happened to Jason? It feels like he has been missing for a couple weeks.
CJ Wittmann: Jason Parks is also Jason Bourne.
John (Fort Worth): Are you concerned at all about Nomar Mazara's struggles vs LHP the last couple years?
CJ Wittmann: It is a concern but he has shown the ability to adjust. I don't think he will get torn apart at the bigs but it may take him a while to be consistent.
DF (Wilmington, NC): How do you track MiLB injuries? It's much harder than it seems, even just getting a sense of time tables for returns.
CJ Wittmann: Talking to scouts, people in the press box, etc. It is tough, I agree.
Charles (NYC): If Bubba Starling doesn't take a step forward next year, would you try him on the mound perhaps? An excellent arm and a nice 6'4" athletic build seems like it could work on the mound.
CJ Wittmann: I'd try him as my QB
tbwhite (San Diego): How do you identify players who can make adjustments ? Are the guys who struggle when they first get promoted to a new level, before finally succeeding, actually good bets if they have a solid scouting profile because they have proven they can adapt and overcome ?
CJ Wittmann: I get an overall feel for the player by talking to scouts who are familiar with the player's make up. I dive into what kind of approach and neurological sense the player has for pitch recognition. I think if the player has good makeup, barrel skills and has the ability to identify pitches then there is hope. It is all up to the players to put these skills together and succeed.
jamesmcevoy (San Diego, CA): Has Raul Mondessi finally figured out high A or is this just small sample size?
CJ Wittmann: He has made adjustments that have impressed me. I will explain soon.
Jason (Javier Baez): what is Jen Ho Tseng's Realistic future role?
CJ Wittmann: Jordan Gorosh knows. But if I had to guess, #3/#4 starter. Long way away.
jamesmcevoy (San Diego, CA): What do the Royals do when Hosmer returns? Hope that he doesn't?
CJ Wittmann: They put him in the middle of the order and let him hit.
Brett (New Jersey): All the love for Mazara aside, has any prospect recently anointed themselves for end of season/off season prospect lists in the past month or two that wasn't on the radar before?
CJ Wittmann: Margot I would think and the recent draftees.
Piz (Merica): Thor>Zimmer>Bradley?
CJ Wittmann: I am a fan of this
CJ Wittmann: Alright everyone I gotta run! Thank you everyone who submitted questions! I had a great time and would love to do it again. #MortBlood