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Chat: NL Central Top 10 Chat

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday January 23, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with NL Central Top 10 Chat.


Discussing the NL Central Top 10 Prospect Lists, with Lead Prospect Writer Jeffrey Paternostro.

NL Central Top 10 Chat: What a long strange trip it's been

Jeff (STL): What can you tell us about the regression of Elehuris Montero? He was incredibly young for his age and injuries were certainly a factor, but he struggled last year and swings at everything. Entering 2019 he was getting a lot of love in prospect circles, but Ben Carlsey seemed to hit the nail on the head in last year's top 10 piece when he questioned his upside.

NL Central Top 10 Chat: A lot of it might be the injuries, but the hit tool questions aren't trivial. The good news is the defense has improved at third base some this year, and the plus-plus raw power is still there. We are down on him relative to last year, but I wouldn't give up on the upside quite yet.

Enrique (Utah): As a Cubs fan and dynasty fantasy owner, how excited should I be about Brailyn Marquez? What do you think is his most likely outcome?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: There's significant reliever risk here, but the staff was all very bullish on his 2019 performance and it's high end reliever upside if that is where he ends up.

boatman44 (Liverpool): Not the greatest division for prospects in my opinion, but hopefully you have left the best 'til last one Dylan Carlson, am I right?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: It is indeed not the greatest division for prospects, but Carlson is the best of the bunch by a fair bit. The Cards system isn't super deep but it probably has the most interesting names overall of the NL Central as well.

James (Pitt): Seems like there are a lot of pitchers in the minors with incredible stuff, but can't command it which ultimately forces them out of the rotation and into the bullpen. Does Tahnaj Thomas have similar fate? I've seen 70 on his fastball and 60 on his curveball, but feels like he has bullpen written all over him because he doesn't have a third pitch. Do you believe he develops one and improves his command?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: Projecting command and changeup gains for short-season arms is often an exercise in frustration. Sometimes you are just giving a guy a changeup grip and it works (although the Pirates uh haven't had great success there). I can write some platitudes here on his general athleticism portending command gains or his feel for spin helping with the changeup, and there's certainly a kernal of truth there, but until the jump happens it's difficult to project.

brad (NJ): Oneil Cruz everyone talks about his big power and size and if he can stick at SS, I wonder can he make enough contact for it to work. Is he a sell high on the power hype before the contact issues could take its toll on his value?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: He has long levers as you'd expect, but the approach and feel for contact aren't awful. His K-rate's have been a tick above-average as a pro, but he's been young for his levels, and if he can even just maintain that, the power will play.

sanott (Norfolk): Nico Hoerner projections/opinions seem to be everywhere...is he legit or not?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: High probability above-average regular, probably not a *star*, how "legit" that is depends on your definition I suppose

Brad (NJ): Nico Hoerner seems like a nice player, had some big hits down the stretch but they say he lacks power and that means lineup position will dictate his fantasy value. Would you sell him now? I can buy low on Voit in return. Thoughts?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: Better question for Jesse tomorrow.

Sammie (Oxford, CT): I think it is fair to classify Jared Oliva as a breakout prospect this year. He didn't make baseballprospectus pirates list last season even though he was able to reach AA this year. It is difficult to read into AZL stats because of the small sample size, but he was able to become a Fall-star. Is it fair to call his breakout real? What type of ceiling would you put on a player like him?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: Sure, the breakout was real enough. Still on the older side, and may lack a carrying tool to be an everyday guy, but non-zero chance everything plays up enough that he's a solid everyday guy. Probably more of a good fourth outfielder/fringe starter type though.

Brandon (MO): Do you feel like the cardinals are underutilizing Ryan Helsey using him in the bullpen?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: I think it depends somewhat on how you value a good late inning arm versus a potential backend starter. We also have more evidence he's the former.

Matt (IL): I find myself very intrigued with Zack Thompson, will he make it on to the BP101 or will he have to answer durability questions first?

NL Central Top 10 Chat: The latter, although he was in the conversation.

NL Central Top 10 Chat: And that's a wrap on the team lists. I'll be back on Monday for a Top 101 chat and then I am taking a long nap.

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