Jeff Moore: Hey all! First chat in a while so I'm ready to get rolling. Tons of great questions lined up but don't let that stop you from sending more in. Stop working, it's a Monday. Let's talk about prospects instead!
Alex (Anaheim): Better long-term prospect: Severino or Judge?
Jeff Moore: The classic ceiling vs. floor matchup. Judge is going to be quite good. Big league regular and potential all-star some years if things go right. Severino could be a number two starter, which is really good. He could also be a reliever. So it's wide open. Depends on your preference.
We were quite close on this debate in the off-season Yankees top-10.
sykklone (IA): What are your thoughts on Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon??
Jeff Moore: Big big fan of Trevor Story. I think a lot of people got off the bandwagon when he didn't light the Cal League on fire in 2013. He has some holes that will lead to some strike outs, but I'm not too worried about it. He's going to do plenty of damage in between whiffs. When I saw him in the AFL this October, he was playing second base and he could be really good there defensively. I believe he can still handle shortstop, though the arm isn't a true asset there, or at least it didn't look to be in the fall. I believe Tucker Blair is going to get another look at him in the next week or two and we're going to try to decide whether or not he can stick at SS for sure or if he'd be below average there. Either way, the bat is above average at an up the middle position, and that's a rare profile in this game.
McMahon has his strong supporters and there's a lot to like there too. The big thing is that he has enough power to be an everyday third baseman, something that is becoming more and more rare in today's game. He has some contact issues as well and doesn't offer the up the middle profile of Story, but if he can ensure that enough of his power plays, he'll be just fine.
Al (Wayne): Is Nick Williams a top 25 prospect for you with this new, refined approach he's developed? Is he higher than that? Thanks Jeff and keep up the awesome work!
Jeff Moore: We're still working on the exact rankings behind the scenes for our Midseason Top 50 (tentatively slated to break July 6th), but he's somewhere in that range. No one has ever denied the talent, even me. I've been hard on him because with his approach he was essentially trying to get away with a level aggressiveness that exactly zero current major leaguers had done in the minors. It just wasn't going to work. But nothing makes me happier in terms of prospect development than when a player improves in his area of biggest weakness, and that's exactly what williams did. I'm on board.
Pickled pickle (Condiment land): What would an up-to-date scouting report on Steven Matz say?
Jeff Moore: About the same as it did when I wrote him up a year ago, though with slightly more refinement. Here's what I wrote:
The curveball is still inconsistent, but the good ones have reportedly been even better than the 55 I slapped on them last year. A few more starts in the minors couldn't hurt, but we all know it's better to get out of Vegas a day early than a day late.
Anthony (Minnesota): Between Adam Brett Walker and Max Kepler, who do you think is the better prospect? And do either of them have staying power in the majors? Thanks!
Jeff Moore: Kepler is more refined but Walker is a lot more fun. He's one of my favorite prospects in the game, and not because I believe in him but because he treats every bat like it's home run derby. It won't work of course, but it's a lot of fun. He can find a niche as a platoon outfielder who just crushes lefties and runs into a number of home runs because the power is legit, but there are too many holes and absolutely no approach. Kepler is more well rounded and is beginning to hit like people expected. I'm still a little confused as to why the Twins have him at first base, though. He's not a great outfielder but unless something happened since I saw him last year that has completely evaporated his range, he's good enough to handle a corner. He could be a big leaguer.
Ali (Chicago): If you're Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, what are you willing to give up for Chris Sale if he becomes available?
Jeff Moore: My first born.
contori66 (Indianapolis): Can Mallex Smith hit like this in the majors? Could he be the leadoff hitter for the Braves next year?
Jeff Moore: No I don't think so. There's a lot to like about Mallex, mostly the energy he brings to every plate appearance, chance in the field, etc. He's fun. But I don't think he's going to hit enough to play every day and if he does, it shouldn't be as a leadoff hitter. Perhaps he could bat 8th on a good team. I think he's a 4th outfielder/energy/platoon/glue guy on a good team.
Pelecos (The Chi): You listed Tim Anderson as a 2B on the MiLB Update? Care to explain? His future position, if so, why not list him as a CF?
Jeff Moore: Probably a Freudian slip because, yes, there are questions about his ability to stick at SS. 2B is an option, as is CF. But for now, he's still a SS so I just messed up.
Mark (Virginia): Can Alex Reyes rival Lucas Giolito in terms of pure stuff? Can anyone in the minor leagues, when healthy, rival Giolito, or is he really in a league of his own?
Jeff Moore: Yes, amazingly enough. I said after seeing him earlier this season that Reyes' has the best stuff of any pitcher in the minors besides Giolito. Now, his stuff isn't nearly close to being as refined as Giolito and he's not anywhere near that level of pitcher yet. But the fastball/curveball combination is as close as they'll come. I'll still take Giolito's because the fastball command is leaps and bounds better, but the easy velocity is just as impressive and the curveball needs new adjectives in order to properly describe it.
Chris K (Western territories ): When are we gonna see you flee Florida and come out west for a bit? Cal League is a must on all prospect bucket lists
Jeff Moore: When BP pays me enough that I don't have to have another job and can just travel the country providing content for everyone. Let's get a kickstarter going for this.
Marcus (NJ): Is Tim Anderson a top 15 prospect? He's having a good year, but I'm still waiting on the power as he only has 1 HR. Also a bit concerned about the plate discipline.
Jeff Moore: You and me both, Marcus. I've been saying forever that eventually the lack of approach is going to catch up with him. It has to. Everything in recent baseball history tells us you can't get away with being that aggressive in the major leagues without pitchers exploiting you. I really thought it would catch up to him in Double-A, but it hasn't. It's a testament to his raw ability. Still, he does need to take a step forward because it's going to be an issue eventually.
Pelecos (Chicago): I'm a 20 year-old that lives in Chicago, knows a bit about baseball, and wants to become a scout. What do I do?
Jeff Moore: Go to games, go to games, go to games. There is absolutely to replacement for going to games, and I wouldn't trust any scout or writer you read who doesn't. There is just no substitute for seeing things for yourself. Use the stats, talk to people, and listen listen listen. There's a ton of knowledge out there. But don't be afraid to think for yourself and question what you hear and read. But most of all, go to games. It's the only way to begin to develop a feel for what's good and what's bad, what works and what doesn't. There is no substitute.
Chris (Phoenix): Re: Yankee prospects.
Does Mateo jump both of them next season?
Jeff Moore: In terms of Severino and Judge in the rankings? I expect Judge to be in the majors by the time we do an off-season ranking, but if he's still eligible, no. Same for Severino. Mateo is really good and really athletic, but his bat has a ways to go and those two are knocking on the door of the majors.
Mike (AC): Worried about Buxton's slow start?
Jeff Moore: Nope, not at all. He probably shouldn't be in the majors yet, so the struggles are to be expected.
The Dude (Office): First things first- Sandwich status?
Jeff Moore: None at the moment. Late breakfast has pushed lunch back. Might overlap with happy hour. Goofy schedule today. Sitting at Starbucks with a vent iced mocha though.
Grizz (Chi): Better career: Jordan Zimmermann or Noah Syndergaard?
Jeff Moore: Syndergaard could end up with a better career, but that's a pretty high bar to clear. Zimm has already had a heck of a career. If Syndergaard ends up with 75 percent of that success Mets fans will be happy.
Jim (Phx): How many AZL games have you attended? How do you scout hitters there?
Jeff Moore: I'm in south Florida, so I haven't hit the AZL, though I hit a lot of Gulf Coast League games which are very similar. The key is to try to do it without melting. It's strange scouting hitters there because there is very little power. It's mostly just about swing mechanics and how they square up pitchers. It's also about gauging the level of competition, since there are often young teenage latin american kids facing off against 23 year old senior sign college guys. It's a weird level. I love it.
Steve (Corpus Christi): Time to move Brett Phillips and AJ Reed up to AA? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of challenge at the Lancaster launching pad.
Jeff Moore: Probably, just because they are clearly not being challenged in the Cal League. That league makes it very tough to gauge hitters because the offensive environment is so hitter friendly. How legit is the power? How about the plate discipline? Are they drawing walks because so many of the pitchers are afraid to throw strikes for fear of getting crushed? It's probably time to give them a better test and see whats real and what isnt.
Greg (NYC): So Dominic Smith......just kidding! Do you think Robert Gsellman is top 100 worthy?
Jeff Moore: I'm gonna push for him to sneak in the back end. I think he's very legitimate as a potential number 3 starter. We'll have to see how that plays out in the off-season and how he handles the transition to Double-A.
Henry (ATL): Eddy Julio Martinez the next Andruw Jones?
Jeff Moore: There are players throughout history who should almost never be used as comps because of the rarity of their talent levels and Andruw Jones is one of them.
Mitch (Cali): Is the Miguel Sano the next Stanton?
Jeff Moore: Stanton is quickly becoming another. Stanton should rarely or never be used as a present day comp. Others include Trout, Harper, Kershaw.
Shawn (Cubicle): Congrats on the wedding, Jeff! Lance McCullers Jr. seems to be performing at a level no one really predicted for him (not a knock on scouting reports). It seems that there are always a couple of these young guys that come up and exceed expectations for a few starts, if not more, before generally falling into role that scouts/prospect evaluators pegged them for. Why do you think it is that some guys come up and seemingly perform way above expectations initially? Is it mainly because there is no book out on these pitchers and maybe some of the minor league info is outdated? Do MLB players just assume a newly called up pitcher (who isn't hyped to the extreme) just isn't that good yet?
Jeff Moore: Hey thanks!
The reports on McCullers were actually always pretty darn strong. Chris Rodriguez put a 60/70 on the FB/CB potential before he left for a scouting job with the Dodgers. The issue with him was always health.
For every called up prospect, both pitchers and hitters, there is an initial period where the rest of the league is operating blindly against them. It lasts about 2 weeks. They have a chance to exploit that early on which is why we see some hot starts. Then the league gets a book on them and figures out what they have to offer and there is typically a period of struggle. What happens next is completely up to the player's ability to adjust to league adjustment. Here's what you do, now the league knows, so what are you going to do now that the league knows what you can do?
Steve (St. Louis): What would you say is the ETA and upside of Luke Weaver? Thanks!
Jeff Moore: He could be in the majors by next season, though the Cardinals organizational pitching depth will probably prevent that. He's probably a high 4 starter, perhaps a solid 3 if the breaking ball takes a step forward. I like him a lot though and he's quite refined. He could move quickly. Another hit for the Cardinals front office.
Chris (Phoenix): Is Buxton the next Eric Davis?
Jeff Moore: Yes, actually, though hopefully with a better end result. People don't remember how good Eric Davis was. He had a stretch from 86-88 where he averaged 30 home runs and 55 steals a season. Averaged! It's a better comp for Buxton than the Trout comps thrown around because of the body type. I'm big on that when it comes to comp. Trout's neck is thicker than Buxton's waist. It just doesn't work.
John (North Carolina): You mentioned above that if someone wants to get into scouting, they need to go to lots of games. Check. Then what? I try to not bother scouts at games bc they're working, and I'm curious how one transitions from "obsessive fan who imitates scouts" to "actual scout."
Jeff Moore: That's valid question. Scouts don't like to be bothered while they're working, so that can be tough. Just go on your own accord, listen rather than talk, and gain a base of knowledge and stay out of the way. If you want to sit near them (this isn't too tough at games that don't draw much of a crowd), go for it. Take notes. Be attentive. You're there to work not drink beers and catch foul balls. If they talk to you, feel free to ask questions. They're good guys (most of them) and encourage anyone who wants to learn about the game. If they see you putting legitimate effort into seeing consistent action, they'll start asking who you are and why you're crazy enough to come to games on your own. That's your in.
Tyler Kolek (Miami): Should my horrible start to this season be cause for significant concern, or should this be expected since I'm such a raw prospect?
Jeff Moore: Yes, it should be a concern, not because of the numbers, but because I had a scout text me two days ago and tell me that you were only sitting 92-93 with your fastball and touching 95 and that your body looks sloppy. That's what worries me.
Pelecos (The Chi): What is the difference between pitch "tilt" and "depth."
How do you evaluate barrel control/feel for bat head for hitters? Thanks!
Jeff Moore: Tilt is the angle of the breaking ball. 12-6, 11-5, etc. Picture a clock in the strike zone from the catcher's point of view. That's the tilt. The depth is the distance between the mound and the plate over which the break takes place. Is it a long, sustained break or a short, quick break. That's the depth.
Barrel control and feel for the bat head are great examples of why a scout needs to go to games. I use numbers to help me translate what I'm seeing more than most scouts, but no number in the world, literally I mean no minor league stat, will tell you a hitter's feel for the barrel or bat control, etc. That's the hit tool. I don't care what he's hitting. There are too many variables in play there. You just have to see it for yourself. I wish I would describe it better than that, but that's why the hit tool is the most difficult to grade and why it's so important to go to games and watch baseball. Barrel control is like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's definition for porn in 1964..."I can't describe it but I know it when I see it."
agetting (Queens): Is Wilmer Buiccerra a real prospect? or is he overrated
Jeff Moore: I don't think he's overrated because I'm not sure that he's rated all that highly. He's a real prospect in that he has one raw carrying tool (power), but there is a ton of work to do and not much approach. He's not all that indifferent to Adam Walker, who I discussed earlier. He's got potential though.
Chad (Minnesota): What are the early season reports on Jeff Hoffman so far? Is he a top 5 pitching prospect in all of the minors?
Jeff Moore: Reports have been awesome in terms of the raw stuff, but inconsistent in terms of the execution. That's pretty standard when it comes to Tommy John rehab, so I see it as a positive. He's going to be highly rated. This is a guy who probably would have gone 1.1 last year if he hadn't gotten hurt, and certainly no lower than 1.5. He's a dude, and that's an industry term.
John (New York): News out of Yankee camp is that Aaron Judge has been promoted to AAA. Good move? Is he actually ready for a September Call-up?
Jeff Moore: He might be. The gap between AA and AAA isn't that large. He's pretty much ready to go at this point. It'll depend on the Yankees situation in the standings and their needs, but yeah, it's not a stretch. And given how many prospects have been called up at this point, why not?
ssauve25 (SF): What's going on, Jeff. Thanks for all your work. Is the pitchers version of hit tool for you? In that I mean with the hit tool it seems that it's the hardest for hitters to learn or grow into. You either have it or you don't. When I see a pitcher with command issues I always right off their OFP because it just never seems to come together. Does this seem accurate to you or did I watch too many Jonathon Sanchez games over the past decade?
Jeff Moore: I could see someone being scarred by Jonathan Sanchez. One of my favorite in-person baseball memories (probably 3rd or 4th on my personal list of games I attended) was when he plunked Chase Utley in the 2010 NLCS and Utley tossed the ball back to him as only Chase can and the benches emptied. It's one of the few times I've seen my dad look like he wanted to charge the mound from the stands. But to answer your question...
No, I think there is much more potential for a pitcher to improve his command than for a hitter to improve his pure hitting ability and feel for the barrel. That's much more innate. A pitcher can improve his command by refining his mechanics, release point, gaining strength, etc. For a hitter, the ability to barrel up a baseball involves a lot of neurological skills that hitters either have or they dont. They can do some things to improve them, but you're not going to see major strides. It's like singing ability. I could take singing lessons and probably get a little better, but I'll never be any good. My younger bother, on the other hand, is an incredible singer. It's natural gift. That's how hitting is to a certain extent. There are things you can do to get better but you won't see a guy going from being a 40 hitter to a 70 hitter. You could see a guy going from having 40 fastball command to perhaps 60 if they make a lot of progress.
The Dude (Office): Did BP do a "best tools in the minors" series this year? I don't remember one being done, but I could have missed it. If not, off the top of your head, who in the minors has the best:
Power (Game and Raw)
Jeff Moore: Chris Crawford did a few pieces earlier in the year about the hit tool and power that reflected his own lists, but we haven't done a comprehensive one with the entire team. For me personally, the raw power discussion begins and ends with Sano now that Gallo is in the big leagues. He's a notch above the rest, and it plays pretty well in games. These are deep questions that require a lot of thought. Look for something like this in the off-season when we can put together a more comprehensive list.
Shawn (Cubicle): Who are some of the top guys to see in the Cape League this year?
Jeff Moore: That's a good question for Al Skorupa, our Cape Cod League representative. Check him out on the Twitter @alskor.
Nick (Boston): Being a Sox fan, I'm a little worried about Moncada's start so far. I know we gotta be patient, but I thought he'd at least hit for a little so far. Has your opinion on him changed or have you heard anything new about him? I still think he's a top 10 prospect in the entire league, but I'm hoping to see at least some life this season.
Jeff Moore: I wouldn't worry. He's extremely talented and already physically well built. He'll end up doing just fine in the Sally League. You have to remember that he hasn't played in a while. Workouts are great, but there's no substitute for game speed. It takes a while to get back into it.
Kent (Houston): Is Mark Appel still a mid rotation starter for you or has he fallen from that?
Jeff Moore: Yeah, I don't think the book on Appel has ever changed. He's been a prototypical big league starting pitcher since last few years of college. Sometimes he gets a little bored, or lets the league get the best of him, or whatever's happening with him. I don't know exactly what it is and I don't know if the Astros do either. But the stuff has never really wavered. He'll be just fine.
Shawn (Cubicle): How much do you think they surrounding city/town/environment affects performance for MILB guys. For example, there was some talk that maybe Syndergaard had some poor performances last year bc he was a 21 yo living in Vegas. On the flip side, what if you're a 21 yo playing in a middle of nowhere town with nothing to do and you'd rather be anywhere else. Think any of this matters? (Excluding kids coming from Latin America in this question as changes in countries/cultures obviously has its difficulties)
Jeff Moore: I think it plays a role much more than people anticipate. I know if you had sent me to Las Vegas at 21 with six figures in my bank account I wouldn't have been a very good baseball player. Those craps tables are open all night, man.
I can't speak to Syndergaard, but I think it's an issue and is at least part of why Vegas is typically the last place standing when teams play affiliate musical chairs every few years. That and it's a terrible place to have to pitch.
Chipshot212 (Ma): And to tag on, which is generally preferred? Long sustained break or sharp quick break? Does it depend?
Jeff Moore: Well, ideally long and sharp is best, but that's hard to do. I tend to like a sharper break and will give up length for that, but it depends on the pitcher and situation. For instance, if you have a guy with a low arm slot, a big sweeping breaking ball can be pretty deadly. Every situation is a little different.
Chipshot212 (MA): What do you think the A's end up getting for Kazmir?
Jeff Moore: He's in the last year of his deal, so it's a two month rental, which means not much. If the A's can get one usable piece for the future for him, that's win. Gone of the days of teams acquiring, well, Scott Kazmir, for two months of Victor Zambrano. Teams are much smarter about their future assets than they used to be. Still, he could be a difference maker for a team down the stretch and there should be multiple suitors, so it could be a decent piece.
Ben (SD): Yoan Moncada - Future #1 prospect?
Jeff Moore: Possibly, depending on how long he's in the minors. I will say though, I can't remember the last time a 2B was a top overall prospect. Doesn't mean it shouldn't happen though.
Steve (Philly): So what sort of work do you do outside of BP? And what player would you compare your work performance to? Eckstein is my guess.
Jeff Moore: Are you calling me gritty? It's the beard isn't it?
Here's the lowdown on me: when my college playing days ended I got right into college coaching. After about 4 years at it, I met my now wife, who coached college softball at the same school. About 3 years ago she got a job opportunity in south Florida and I jumped at the chance to move with her because there's a part of me that wishes I was Jimmy Buffet. I mean, I'm wearing turquoise boat shoes right now for crying out loud. Moving meant the end of college coaching for me, which was when I got hooked up with BP and Jason Parks, and the rest is history. I had to find something to pay the bills, so I work at a golf course. I could be doing worse, but I wouldn't do it if I had to. It's a job, albeit one that comes with free golf privileges, so that's cool. Baseball is my career though and will continue to be.
chiefs1 (Jose Jose Jose): How big is the gap between 19 year old Jose Reyes and 19 year old Amed Rosario? What chance does Rosario have at becoming as good as Reyes?
I always look for the daily updates and enjoy listening to the new pod, thanks.
Jeff Moore: Reyes is far ahead of where Rosario is right now. At 19, Reyes was finishing the season in Double-A and was in the big leagues by the next year. Rosario is in High-A ball but should really be in Low-A. That's not a knock on Rosario. I actually like him a lot. Reyes was just very advanced and has/had borderline HOF talent had he been able to stay healthy.
Patrick (Texas): At what point do you start to really worry about D.J. Peterson? He's been pretty horrible, and the Mariners are notoriously bad at developing bats.
Jeff Moore: I dont worry too much about the mariners track record, though when it gets to a certain extent, it's something worth noting. His struggles this year are concerning though. I saw him in the AFL this fall and liked him but didn't love love the bat, considering it has to carry him. He doesn't offer much with the glove, so he has to hit and I like the bat I just didn't love it. If it's all he's offering, you have to love it. I haven't seen him this season so I don't know what;s going on there but the struggles are become more prolonged than I expected. He's a better hitter than this.
Greg (Chi Town): JP Crawford the top Prospect once Seager is called up?
Jeff Moore: Lucas Giolito says hello.
Frank (Brooklyn): who do you expect to have a bigger MLB 2015 impact: C. Seager or Schwarber?
Jeff Moore: I'm not sure how many more opportunities Schwarber is going to get once the Cubs get back to NL parks. The Cubs are pretty dedicated to working with him as a catcher (and I agree with them, because I believe he's adequate enough behind the plate to get to the point where he can catch 40-50 games a year). I hear Seager, on the other hand, could be up soon, so I guess him.
Derek (Palm Beach (Florida)): Rank Palm Beach arms Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes, and Rob Kaminsky in terms of stuff and ceiling. Most intriguing position player at Palm Beach?
Jeff Moore: Reyes..............Weaver....Kaminsky. The gap is notable between Reyes and the other two, and that's testament to him not a knock on the other guys. All three are quote good, Kaminsky's ceiling is the lowest, but he knows how to pitch with what he has. Weaver has a little bit better stuff and knows how to use it as well. Reyes is a stud though. He just needs to learn how to use it.
Festivus313 (Phoenix): Who stood out in the FSL all star game? Thoughts on Jarlin Garcia specifically? Do you see him as a MLB SP? 3/4 starter?
Jeff Moore: Love the arm. There's some effort in the delivery that could limit him to a relief role, but he'd thrive there with his fastball/slider combo. There's no reason to stop developing him as a starter though and yes, he could fall into that mid-rotaiton ceiling category.
BuckyDent (Trenton): Which prospect has the higher offensive ceiling, Bradley Zimmer or Nick Williams?
Jeff Moore: Williams has a higher ceiling than Zimmer, though both are very good hitters. Very different though. Even with his improved approach, Williams is still an aggressive hitter, and should be. It's part of his DNA. He's just learned how to control it. Zimmer, on the other hand, falls into the same profile as big leaguers like Christian Yelich and Nick Markakis and fellow prospects like Austin Meadows and Brandon Nimmo as big guys who don't hit for the big time power you'd expect from them but instead use a patient, balanced approach to be more well-rounded hitters. There's a lot to like with Zimmer.
Chuck (Miami): Brendan Rodgers going to Colorado seems like a perfect match for him. How much potential does he have? Does he stick at short? Where would you presently place him on a prospect list? Top 30? Top 25? Top 20?
Jeff Moore: Any hitter going to Colorado is a perfect fit. He has tons of potential and I like him a lot. He can stick at SS for the time being, with his ultimate destination being how he fills out. He doesn't have elite range right now, so if he fills out and loses a step he's a 3B. That's down the road, however. He's got the left side arm, though, so that's huge. We don't rank this year's draft picks in the mid-season top 50 because it would involve comparing amateur and pro scouting reports against once another, but he's in that range for the off-season 101, depending on how he adapts to pro ball.
The Dude (Office): Would the BP Prospect Team ever consider posting a schedule for the games they will be attending? Would be a cool way for some of us who get to games to meet some of the team. Obviously you guys are there to work, not to shoot the shit with us fans, but it'd be cool, knowing when you guys were in town.
Jeff Moore: I don't know, maybe. I think most people generally know where our guys are located, and if you follow us on twitter, you know when we're at the games. Stalk away. We might do something in the future in terms of a meet-and-greet if we have a few guys in one place at one time, if there's interest in that sort of thing. It might even be at a ballpark.
Colin (Chicago): Do you think Gausman is attainable right now? I'd think the Cubs could put together a solid package, seems like the O's org isn't as high on him as they used to be.
Jeff Moore: The O's are still very high on Gausman, you just wouldn't know it because they keep sending him to the minors and bouncing him in and out of their rotation. I hate everything about how they've handled him, but no, I don't think he's available. I think they still love him, you just wouldn't know it.
MP (KY): A bit removed from prospect status, but how much better is Jose Altuve than Kolten Wong??? Me thinks the gap is closing...
Jeff Moore: The gap is only closing if you really believed Altuve was a .340 hitter. He's very good and I'm a big fan, but that will go down as his career year. This season is much closer to his career norms, which is still a very good player. Wong is very good too. They go about things differently, but the end results are similarly effective players.
Jack (Saratoga): Heard you tweeted out a few weeks ago about Trea Turner adding some power to his offensive profile. How much power do you now see with him? 12-15? Is he a top 35 guy for you? Is a 12 HR, 40 SB, and a .270 AVG type of season realistic out of Turner for the future?
Jeff Moore: I think he tops out in the 8-10 homer range, but that'll be enough to keep pitchers honest, which is all that matters. He's still going to have to earn any walks he gets. He's only getting 40 SB's if he gets on base at a decent clip, but yeah, that could be realistic.
The Dude (Office): Consider this a formal request for the Cincinnati Reds to hire you to teach Billy Hamilton how to bunt.
Jeff Moore: I could do this. I could still drop a bunt in a hula hoop if called upon.
Steve (Phila): Rank the Greenville infielders in order of wishing they were Phillies: Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Mauricio Dubon, Javier Guerra, and Yoan Moncada? (I put them in alphabetical order for you to avoid any cognitive bias based on how they initially appeared)
Jeff Moore: Love this question. I'll take Devers, Moncada, Guerra, Chavis, Dubon. I love Devers. He's got that innate bat speed and barrel feel I was talking about earlier. It's just natural and pure. Mondada is great for the obvious reasons we've talked about. I also love Guerra. He's a stud and a legit big league shortstop defensively, and he has more pop than you'd expect from his thin frame. I've seen him go out opposite field and it's impressive.
It's too bad the Red Sox have played themselves out of the need for Cole Hamels, because that's a system deep enough for the Phillies to make their demands and actually have them obliged.
Mike (Minneapolis ): Thanks for the chat, Jeff!! What are your thoughts about a comp for Miguel Sano?? Also, when should we expect to see him in Minny?
Jeff Moore: Troy Glaus. He could be up by the end of this year, though he's still getting his timing back. A year away from the game is a long time, especially for a guy who already struck out a lot. If he hadn't missed a full year, he'd already be in the majors. The Twins are also getting some production from Trevor Plouffe so there's no desperation there, though they need another bat, especially a power one, so they could find a way to squeeze him in the lineup somehow.
Alex (Pittsburgh): Jeff, if you get a chance, Anderson Espinoza was promoted to the GCL the other day. I'd love to hear a full report on him and his stuff as I hear it's a pretty intriguing pitching profile. He lit up the DSL and I've heard pretty good things, but what's the word on him in the industry? Thanks Jeff and congrats on the wedding.
Jeff Moore: I don't have one yet but stay tuned. Ft. Myers is only 2 hours away so I'm going to try to make a trip over there and check out their GCL team at some point in the next month or so.
Steve (Cleveland): Rymer Liriano still a guy worth watching or is he becoming a quad A player?
Jeff Moore: Somewhat of both. He was always a guy who had some pitch recognition issues and some flame out potential, but he's still just 24. He's blocked right now for this season, but don't rule out the potential for him to figure it out and be productive next year if/when Justin Upton leaves and there's a competition for an outfield spot. The additional time in AAA isn't hurting him. Remember, this is a guy who missed a full season.
Chris (Phoenix): Matt Olson isn't hitting with the same power but the plate discipline is still there. Just the usual adjustment needing to happen or more reason to be concerned?
Jeff Moore: There was bound to be some letdown with Olson after his monster Cal League season. He's far from the first person to experience the Stockton-to-Midland hangover. The maintained plate discipline is a positive sign, and has the potential to be his saving grace for a hit tool that has some holes in it. Still, at higher levels, he'll need to hit for power to give pitchers a reason to avoid him. He'll earn his walks because he has a strong understanding of the strike zone and a patient approach, but if you don't scare pitchers at least a little bit with your bat, you won't walk in the majors. We need to see a little more from him in Double-A, but to be honest, not much has changed in terms of the scouting report.
Josh (Texas): When do you think the Rangers will make the call to bring Mazara up?
Jeff Moore: The way this year is going, probably the day before we release the midseason Top 50. Anytime soon would be rushed though. He's fantastic, but he also skipped High-A ball. He's holding his own, but Low-A to the majors in less than 12 months is insane.
TK (Queens): What does Nimmo's ceiling look like now? Is he a 5 hitter with 5 power? Also does he stick in center?
Jeff Moore: It's the same as it was when I saw him last year. Don't worry about the numbers. His level of competition changed and he had to adjust. He's also coming around. I think he's a 50/55 hitter with strong plate discipline which helps his overall offensive production play up. Remember, don't be fooled by the fact that he's 6'3" and built like a middle-of-the-order hitter. He's a table-setter, and I believe he can be the leadoff hitter on the next good Mets team.
Pelecos (Chicago ): When a pitcher in the Lower minors is throwing a slurvy pitch, what's the remedy? Are scouts suppose to assume the pitcher will fix it? Is there anything wrong with a breaking ball stuck in between Slider and curve?
Jeff Moore: No, not necessarily, as long as it's a good pitch. I'm sure the pitcher himself calls it one or the other, we just like to define them. What I do like to see, if the pitcher throws two different breaking balls, is that they are noticeably different and thus make the hitter look at two totally different things. I want to see different planes, breaks, and velocities.
Steve (Peoria IL): Michael Wacha's shoulder broke last year after 100IP. He's around 80 already this year. Should he have an innings limit? What about Martinez? This should be a huge STL story down the stretch.
Jeff Moore: There's a fine line here between protecting a young pitcher and getting what you can out of him before he breaks because, lets face it, they're all breaking at some point. It's also easier to do when you're not competing. The more interesting story for me is how those two maintain their effectiveness down the stretch and not whether or not they continue throwing, because I fully expect them to keep pitching.
LeBron (Cleveland): Do you believe in the Cavs next year??
Jeff Moore: As long as you're there, yes.
Steve (STL): Having seen your share of Palm Beach early on, what's your read on Magneuris Sierra? Was he just overmatched for the time being or was last year in short-season ball an anomaly?
Jeff Moore: He's actually in Peroia, but I saw him a bunch last year in the GCL. I liked him a lot last year, but I think he's a case of everyone getting over-excited because he put up a gaudy number like a .386 batting average. He's got some strong tools and some quick-twitch athleticism that I like a lot, but assuming he was just going to slide right into full-season ball and hit was unrealistic. Still, a sub-.200 batting average is surprising. He's better than that.
Cory (Pitt): JP Crawford called up this season?
Jeff Moore: Probably not, given that the Phillies have been pretty conservative with their promotions recently, but a September cup of coffee isn't out of the question if he continues to hit the way he has.
MickeyRivers (Trenton): Do you think Zimmer should be moved up to AA?
Jeff Moore: College bat, strong pedigree, strong idea of the strike zone, already 22...yeah he could probably handle it. No need to really rush it though.
John (North Carolina): Is a good general rule: The lower the level, the less meaningful the stat line?
Jeff Moore: Yes.
Rowdy Tellez (Tor): Am I becoming a legit prospect? I just seem to be able to hit. I feel like I'm sneaking into the TOR top 10!
Jeff Moore: Yes, you're legit. Top 10 TBD, keep hitting and we'll talk in November.
Shawn (Cubicle): If he came up right now, based on his stuff, could Lucas Giolito be a top 100 SP?
Jeff Moore: Oh my goodness yes. There are only 150 starting pitchers in the big leagues, so on pure stuff alone he'd certainly be better than 50 of them. Look at the crap the Phillies and Rockies are trotting out there.
Austin (Phoenix): Does Michael Conforto have 20 HR power? Is a .280 AVG and 20 HR's just about his ceiling?
Jeff Moore: 20 homers is probably his ceiling, and he'll need to reach it to be a first division regular because he doesn't offer much defensively or on the bases.
John (North Carolina): Who are some of the guys you're most excited to see in the GCL this year? Curious for your take on Leonardo Molina too.
Jeff Moore: Kyle Tucker should be fun to watch, and I'll see plenty of Josh Naylor in my back yard. I'll see a lot of Nick Plummer too.
brad (NJ): Where do you see Mazara in the prospect rankings now? Is he top 20? top 15? top 10?
Jeff Moore: He's one of the guys that, as we've begun our discussions, has the widest range among our team. Some guys want to run him way up there, others are more conservative. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. One of the biggest upside v. present debates.
Grizz (Chi): If you had to make an educated guess, who is the next prospect to receive a major league promotion?
Jeff Moore: Seager
bhoreth (Chicago): Who's 2017 lineup do you prefer, Astros, Twins, Cubs or Red Sox? Does anyone else as currently constructed deserve consideration along with these teams in terms of offense?
Jeff Moore: That Cubs lineup will be tough to beat if they can manage to have Rizzo, Castro, Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, and Baez all in it at once.
Barry (Wyoming): Better Single-A SS prospect: Richard Urena, Javier Guerra, or Ruddy Giron?
Also, thank you for the prospect chat that is both lengthy and girthy.
Jeff Moore: I don't get described as girthy all that often, so thank you. I'll take Guerra. I really like him.
Steve (Cedar Rapids): Mau put a OFP of 70 on Nick Gordon. That's pretty high praise. Is he that well-liked amongst the other BP Prospect writers?
Jeff Moore: Well Mau is a ridiculous human being. So is Nick Gordon though so that doesn't make it wrong. Let's look at it this way: as it looks now Gordon is showing the skills to be able to stick at shortstop. That puts him in a certain class right there, and it's one that's filled with a bunch of guys, most of whom can't really hit. Gordon shows a potential plus hit tool and some power, which puts him ahead of 90 percent of the guys who can stick at shortstop. Now, as Mau pointed out, there's a lot of development left. Gordon is far away, so he's a high risk prospect. But we assign OFP's without regard to risk. That's what makes it an OFP. Gordon is very good, he's just very far away and there's a lot of development ahead of him.
Mike (Minnesota): So what does Jason Parks do now?
Jeff Moore: You'll see him again in the Cubs eventual World Series parade.
Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible): Agent Moore:
This mission, should you choose to accept it, involves pitching to Bryce Harper with the bases loaded, 2 outs, and with a 1-run lead. Your goal is to end the threat. Please explain how you are going to achieve this result.
Jeff Moore: I'd probably let the message with my task explode near me and kill me before a line drive to the brain does.
bhoreth (Chicago): So in order to have all those bats in the lineup at once, do you think either Baez or Castro could move to CF? And is there a reason you don't include Soler with that group (you think Bryant in RF and Schwarber in LF)??
Jeff Moore: Nope, just forgot Soler. Damn, they're deep. In order to get everyone in the lineup, Schwarber has to catch. Baez could slide to 3B and Bryant could handle a corner OF spot with Soler manning the other. It's a stretch defensively, but that's a hell of a lineup. There are a lot of options and variables and we probably never see too many lineups with all seven of those guys in there, but the Cubs are creative and it's a nice problem to have.
Peter (Pittsburgh): When looking at pitchers how do you grade the FB? I was always told that you go by command, movement, then velocity. For example, a pitcher such as Erik Cordier might have a true 80 FB but plays down so much because of lack of movement and command, would you downgrade the pitch to a 70?
Jeff Moore: The ceiling has a lot to do with velocity. A guy who tops out at 89 mph will never have an 80 fastball no matter how good the command is. But in terms of effectiveness, I've always said that the order of importance is location, movement and then speed in that order.
Steve (NJ): If you had ten at-bats against any batting prospect in the minor leagues, which one do you think you could strike out the most out of those ten at-bats?
Name names, please. Don't be a chicken. (GOB impression)
Jeff Moore: I couldn't strike anybody out. For one, I wasn't a pitcher. For another, my shoulder feels like its getting stabbed with an ice pick every time I try to air it out.
Grizz (Chi): Tucker Blair put a future 40 hit, 30 power on Javier Guerra back in May...would you agree or do you think the bat could exceed those grades?
Jeff Moore: He might have a little more power than that, but it's about right. He's a plus defender though, so 40/40 would be enough to be an everyday shortstop and a darn good one with that defense. I talked about where the bar is offensively with Mellen in one of the early podcasts.
Tim (Boston): So the Red Sox just announced they are going to retire Pedro's number, how long until York retires your number?
Jeff Moore: I don't think they have any retired numbers, so I'd probably have to donate some money or something. Of course I don't have any money, so that's an issue.
Jesse (NY): Adrian Rondon? Do you have any updates or know what roster he will be on? Even the short season rosters don't seem to have him listed.
Jeff Moore: He's batting second for the GCL Rays as we speak.
Steve (Re: Parks): Jason Parks will be the drunk guy shouting out the word "hashtag" in the background of different players' speeches.
Jeff Moore: Despite his persona, Jason is much more together than you'd think and is an awesome scout. Finding a wife will do that to a guy. I still go to him for advice on a regular basis and he's only helping an already strong Cubs front office.
Steve (NJ): Francouer wasn't a pitcher, technically, and he still threw a few innings out there. Stop selling yourself short and K up Gareth Morgan already.
Jeff Moore: Remember that second inning Francoeur threw? Yeah...
Brian (Wis): With eduardo rodriguez in the majors and kopech having a monster year so far, does he have the best stuff of any Sox SP in the minors? What's his ceiling?
Jeff Moore: Yes, Kopech probably has the best pure stuff in the Red Sox system. He's got some real potential and should feature prominently in our lists over the next few years.
Jeff Moore: Ok everyone, that's going to do it for today. Great questions all around and I'll do another chat soon. If you have more questions, send them to me on twitter @jeffmooreBP or submit them to the @RawProjection podcast. Thanks everyone!