R.J. Anderson: Hey folks. It's a little earlier than scheduled, but let's get this chat going.
Alex (Anaheim): I was in the ballpark for Austin Hedges' first career homer yesterday. What are the odds he ever becomes a starter?
R.J. Anderson: Are we talking about starting for a few seasons, or for half a decade? If it's the former, then I would say very high. This isn't a Christian Bethancourt situation, where Hedges is 90 percent arm and nothing else. Hedges is a more complete defender, and I think we've seen how those types can latch on as starters without producing much with the bat-be it Mike Matheny, Brad Ausmus, young Yadier Molina, Jose Molina, Rene Rivera, whoever. Is a team going to build around Hedges, or make him a lifer? No; he's not going to hit enough for that-but employing Hedges as a starter until they find an upgrade? Yeah. Absolutely.
AA (FL): Assuming that all of the prospects that have been called up this year exhaust their prospect status, what would be your updated top 5 at the moment?
R.J. Anderson: I don't have a list because I'm not a prospect guy. If I did make one I'd probably have some combination of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Corey Seager, Miguel Sano, and J.P. Crawford.
Cal Guy (Cal): Hi RJ, Is Giolito still the top pitching prospect in the minors or has Reyes or anyone else surpassed him?
R.J. Anderson: As the previous answer suggests, I believe it's fair to say Giolito remains the top arm in the minors.
brad (NJ): Any updated on the MRI Arthagram on Dylan Bundy?
R.J. Anderson: No update so far as I know.
John (San Francisco): Chad Pinder is having a pretty decent season in AA for Oakland so far. He's back at shortstop after spending most of last season at second because of the now traded Daniel Robertson. Can Pinder be a passable shortstop in the majors? Do you think he will be ready at the start of 2016 (and allowing Marcus Semien to shift over to second base)?
R.J. Anderson: My understanding is Pinder has the arm for the left side but not the actions. For most teams, that would mean a shift to second or third base. For the A's? Who knows. They haven't prioritized shortstop (or catcher) defense the past few years, so it's possible he gets a look there if he keeps hitting. Of course, Marcus Semien might prevent that from happening.
Trevor (Boston): What's Jeff Hoffman's ceiling look like?
R.J. Anderson: Ceiling? No. 2 starter.
AA (FL): What's your opinion on Manuel Margot? Top 50 on the midseason list?
R.J. Anderson: Probably? Margot ranked 61st on the preseason list and hasn't done anything to harm his stock. I would guess he has a solid chance at cracking the top 50-or, at minimum, not losing ground.
padremurph (Los Angeles): As a Padres fan, how excited should I be about Ruddy Giron?
R.J. Anderson: Probably not as excited as you would like to be. Giron is young for the level and having a nice year, but we're early in the season and he posted a .427 OPS in '14. He could be interesting, he could be nothing. Too soon to know either way.
Incubus (Here): If you were the Rays would you fire Cash for Black?
R.J. Anderson: Black is an upgrade over most (all?) rookie managers, but I wouldn't make that switch. I think there's something to be said about sticking with your guy when he's done a good job. Cash has guided a team that has no business being above .500 to first place. That doesn't mean he's wholly responsible for the overachieving, but I would find it difficult to Rick Renteria him. (Which is part of the reason why I'll never be in position to do so.)
jdc1989 (Houston): In a dynasty league, who you taking? Derek Fisher or Brett Phillips?
R.J. Anderson: Depends on your scoring system and your roster, but I would say Fisher. He could give you 20 homers, 20 steals. Phillips probably becomes the better real-world player (due to his defense and position), but from a fantasy perspective his production isn't as notable.
AA (FL): Now that Jeff Hoffman has a few starts under his belt, what's your opinion on how he has been progressing?
R.J. Anderson: The most I've seen from Hoffman this season is an Instagram video, so I can't give you a firsthand verdict. That he's on the mound again is a good sign though, and what reports I've heard and read have all been positive.
MP (KY): R.J., thanks for the time today. Stephen Piscotty has gotten off to a sluggish start this season. He doesn't figure to be a power hitting RF, but would an Alex Gordon offensive comparison be reasonable? Less power for Piscotty?
R.J. Anderson: Seems plausible. Maybe with fewer walks?
AA (FL): Adalberto Mondesi- In your opinion, is is he a potential top 10 candidate for next year's list?
R.J. Anderson: I'm not a prospect guy, nor am I involved in the rankings process. That said, I would anticipate him being a top-10 candidate.
Incubus (Here): Next 6 yrs -- Wil Myers or Steven Souza?
R.J. Anderson: Myers. I like plenty about Souza-ranging from his game to his seeming intellectual approach-but I think Myers has the higher ceiling due to his age and athleticism, and I think there's a real chance Myers is better right now. Granted there are four big issues with Myers: 1) his defense, 2) his work ethic, 3) his haircut, and 4) his wrist. But, uh, Souza isn't a good defender either, and he seems to grab his wrist twice a month, so....
Alex (Anaheim): Does Severino get to the Bronx at all this season?
R.J. Anderson: I suppose there's a chance. I'm not inclined to say he'll see a ton of action, however.
Kurt (PIT): Who has the better career: Syndergaard or Archer?
R.J. Anderson: I almost always go with the established MLB player on questions like this. Not because I hate Syndergaard or prospects-I enjoy watching Thor and I think he's going to be a good one-but because Archer's career-to-date is essentially money in the bank. Archer has nearly 450 MLB innings with a 123 ERA+ and 2.94 strikeout-to-walk rate. Maybe Syndergaard matches or tops that, but I'm not going to bet on it for most young pitchers; not when the chance for injury/attrition is what it is.
Brian (Mass): Marcos Molina was a buzzy name I heard about seemingly every time he pitched last year. Haven't heard much about him this season though. how has he followed up his breakout year?
R.J. Anderson: Not so great. Last I saw Molina was undergoing evaluation for Tommy John surgery. That was a couple of weeks ago and he hasn't pitched since, so.
Chris (Phoenix): I'm not a Royals fan but I voted all Royals for the all star game because I enjoy chaos and discussion. Think that the game will be altered in the future because of this "incident" But as the guy say, vote for someone else if you don't want them in.
R.J. Anderson: Honestly, I don't care about the controversy or the game itself. None of it moves or interests me.
mattstupp (NYC): If you were the Mets, what would your infield configuration be for the rest of the season (with Wright and without)? Has Tejada done enough at the plate to start getting consideration for more playing time at SS?
R.J. Anderson: If I were the Mets I probably wouldn't have the same collection of players for the remainder of the season. That doesn't mean Tulo, but I'd shop around to see how I could rearrange the parts. Maybe that means trading Daniel Murphy, maybe it means trading Wilmer Flores. Either way, the Mets have too many options at second and third and not enough at shortstop, so trying to snag a Jordy Mercer (who is admittedly having a poor season) or someone along those lines would appeal to me.
As for Tejada, I would reckon he has done enough to earn more PT. Even so, I'm not banking on him keeping it up (in terms of hitting or playing time)-in part because the Mets aren't sweet on him (reportedly due to work ethic concerns).
mbeemsterboer (Chicago): When did people really start to know that Mike Trout was going to be 'best player in the world Mike Trout'? It seems like some of our superstars grew into their role (Goldy, Rizzo) and some come with the attached pedigree. (Miggy, Kershaw, Harper) To me, Trout fits more with the first two.
What I'm getting at is - we don't always foresee a player rising to the superstar ranks, but sometimes they just do. Any thoughts on why we see some so obviously and others sneak up on us? (Maybe I'm dead wrong on which camp Trout belongs in...)
R.J. Anderson: Well, if you believe the story, his signing scout thought he would be pretty good. The rest of us, I think, needed to see it for ourselves before making such a proclamation.
The go-to explanation as to why Trout didn't go higher in the draft is his location. Teams were (supposedly) biased against northeastern players because they're tougher to judge. In other cases, it seems like maybe this skill or that attribute were underrated or unseen. For instance, I think Keith Law has wrote about him missing Goldschmidt's athleticism (or not appreciating what that could mean for his development). You have other cases where the factors are internal; maybe this guy put in more work, or took to instruction better, or took better care of his body.
I guess what I'm saying is, a lot of these cases stem from the unpredictability of human beings. People grow/mature/develop at different rates in all kinds of professions and ways, so why shouldn't it be true for baseball?
Freddy (Dallas): Are you a fan of Lewis Brinson at all? You think he could be anything special?
R.J. Anderson: I am a fan of Lewis Brinson. He has a beautiful story, a great deal of athleticism and, based on the progress with his hitting mechanics, enough desire to put in the work. He could develop into something special-a center fielder with power and speed-if it all clicks. It probably won't, but I hope it does.
Mike (Detroit): What's the word on Stephen Gonsalves? Seems to be having a breakout year...ceiling of a 2nd or 3rd starter?
R.J. Anderson: Haven't seen him, haven't asked around about him. That does appear to be his ceiling though.
Brian (Mass): Who are some prospects who are getting a lot of pub so far but you think people may need to pump the brakes on a little bit?
R.J. Anderson: I don't have any names in mind (I promise I'm not a prospect guy), but younger prospects in general. We're all fixated on finding the next big thing, and that leads us to overrate (or over-expect) the youngsters. For instance, we talk about this teenage arm having the chance for three above-average pitches-well, that means he has the chance for three, not that he has three above-average pitches. Stuff like that.
ssauve25 (SF): What's up RJ. How high are you on guys like ( and specifically) Anthony Alford? Is there any track record of extremely athletic, baseball limited guys becoming truly successful? Or do most of them just because lost heart throbs?
R.J. Anderson: 1) I don't have any opinion on Alford.
2) Yeah, absolutely. I don't know how their stories compare to Alford, but Carl Crawford, Todd Helton, Gabe Gross, Tony Gwynn, etc. were all multi-sport guys. Teams like multi-sport guys because it's a sign of greater athleticism and/or competitiveness. Heck, I just read last week about how the Red Sox became sold on Jacoby Ellsbury based on him dunking the ball during a random basketball session.
3) I would guess most of his ilk bust, but that's true of all prospects.
padremurph (Los Angeles): What do you make of Michael Gettys' season thus far? Impressive to be holding his own in full season ball?
R.J. Anderson: I would disagree that Gettys is holding his own (statistically, at least). That said, he's young and raw; his production isn't going to matter for years.
Brian (Wis): 2 young arms from last year's draft. touki and spencer adams. have you seen them in person this year or gotten any first hand reports on how they've looked? I know Touki just started his season. Adams had some rough starts early on but seems to have rebounded a little bit.
R.J. Anderson: Haven't seen either. Again, not a prospect guy. I do know Adams had a lot of helium entering the year and Toussaint remains polarizing, if talented.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): With the news that Wil Myers will undergo wrist surgery, does that mean Rymer Liriano is up sooner rather than later?
R.J. Anderson: Depends on whether the Padres would prefer Liriano to get consistent playing time. If so, then I'm not sure there's reason to promote him.
Eric (The couch): What are your thoughts on Gleyber Torres? Should I grab him in my dynasty league?
R.J. Anderson: He's young with a fairly high ceiling and good makeup. You're in a better position to judge whether he's someone you should snatch up.
Jake (Gettysburg): Do you think Phillip Ervin's early season success is for real? What kind of fantasy impact can this kid bring to a team?
R.J. Anderson: Could be-he's a former first-round pick for a reason, and he's shown massive improvement in the strikeout-to-walk department. In a perfect world, he gives you double-digit steals and home runs from a corner spot. I wouldn't bet on him living up to that expectation, but I'm not going to write him off entirely, either.
brentdaily (colorado): Why don't we see teams paying enough to allow minor league guys to be year round employees? Aside from minimizing injury risk from working construction (an example only), they could be honing their craft (even the non-physical ones). Throwing an extra $5M toward those players would be roughly 25k each to stop eating shit, focus on ball, and avoid getting hurt. Small price considering it takes only one player having a single year of average play at league minimum pays for more than two years of it.
R.J. Anderson: It's a good question and the answer seems to be greed-or, at minimum, a reluctance to spend more than absolutely necessary.
Douglas (A Computer): Who are two recently hyped prospects that you are now out on as the season progresses?
R.J. Anderson: Honestly, nobody. I'm just not a prospect guy; not to the degree required to answer this question in a meaningful way.
Jason (Georgie): Does Jon Singleton ever become a legit 25-30 home run a year guy with high walk totals? Maybe something similar to Chris Davis?
R.J. Anderson: I'm skeptical because I'm always skeptical about guys with massive hit-tool, athleticism, and makeup questions.
fightingmoose (Manitoba, Canada): Who in your opinion has the highest offensive ceiling of these three 3B prospects: Matt Chapman, Jomar Reyes, or Jhoan Urena? Can they stick at 3B at major league level?
R.J. Anderson: For the sake of you getting an accurate response, I would suggest asking one of the prospect team members-Crawford, for instance.
kylanje (FL): How similar are Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant over the next handful years?
R.J. Anderson: Similar in terms of production or style? Because Bryant will probably strike out less often and stick at third base for longer (if only due to his team's complexion). Both are going to slug though.
R.J. Anderson: Thanks for your questions and time today, as well as your continued support of the site. We'll do chat again soon; you can always email/tweet me in the interim.