Chat with Baseball America's Ben Badler
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Ben Badler (2:00 PM)
Just polished off a story of 2,000 or so words on the investigations of July 2 prospects that should be up at BA some time soon. Let's talk prospects.
Mike: (Chicago, IL):
So besides Josh Vitters, is there anybody in the cubs system that I should get excited about, such as a Chris Carpenter or Dan McDaniel?
Ben Badler (2:01 PM)
RHP Jay Jackson, their ninth-round pick from last year who's already in Double-A. He got off to a so-so start, but at this time last year the guy was a two-way player at Furman. His last start was outstanding, his peripherals are solid and the stuff, especially his fastball and slider, are legitimate weapons.
Alan (Austin, TX)
Ben are you @Badler on Twitter?
Ben Badler (2:02 PM)
No, I'm @BenBadler, and I'm starting to get into it. I have no idea who that other account is.
Yanks havent won since 2000. The one thing that hasnt changed during that time is the GM. When does he get blamed?
Ben Badler (2:03 PM)
They've also averaged ~97 wins per year from 2001-2008. And that's supposed to be a mark against GM?
Chris (Hoboken, NJ)
As per Bill Simmons, going forward, please refer to Stephen Strasburg as the "Anchorman" .. because he is from San Diego (the same as Ron Burgandy) and because he will obviously Anchor the Nats staff.. thank you for your support. Do you expect Cahill to increase is strike outs, or is he bult in the mold of a Chris Volstand and Mike Pelfrey? Who do you take of those 3? I know it's not Pelfrey
Ben Badler (2:05 PM)
I wouldn't put Volstad and Cahill in the same family of pitchers as Pelfrey. Volstad has three swing-and-miss pitches, and Cahill has two in his fastball and his curveball, and they both have heavier sink on their two-seamers than from what I've seen of Pelfrey. Cahill's just learning on the job right now, but his K rate will go up at some point.
Without a first round pick in the draft, I am hoping the Phillies will be more active internationally than they have been in the past? Any support for this notion?
Ben Badler (2:07 PM)
They might be, though that's more of a speculative guess than anything else. I'm sure a revenue boost from winning the World Series wouldn't hurt, and a month or so ago they spent around $330K on Domingo Santana, an OF from the Dominican Republic with some tools.
Dan (Atlantic City, NJ)
Is Dominic Brown blossoming into a top-15-20 prospect?
Ben Badler (2:08 PM)
Very early, but he could be by the end of the season. He's one of the top five outfield prospects in the minors right now.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Are the D-Backs rushing Bryan Augenstein, or his he ready for the show after great AA numbers?
Ben Badler (2:12 PM)
It's worth a shot, and I'm sure A.J. Hinch is extremely familiar with Augenstein's abilities. I saw his last minor league start on Saturday, when he threw three perfect innings before a rain delay ended his night. He's a sidearmer, FB sits in the high-80s but ranges from 86-92 and a sweeping slider. He doesn't have the platoon split (yet) that you might expect from a siderarmer, possibly because his changeup is a pretty good pitch. I was surprised at how many swings and misses he was able to get.
Ben is kyle drabek the real deal? He has been dominating the FSL so far, but the phillies (cole hamels aside) havent been the best at developing starting pitching
Ben Badler (2:13 PM)
The stuff has always been very good and the early results are encouraging, but with him I'm more concerned about his ability to stay healthy and maintain that quality of stuff a few years down the road when he should be ready to pitch in the big leagues.
Derrick (Tulsa, OK)
Is there any way the padres can get as much for Peavy during the season as they could've before the season?
Ben Badler (2:15 PM)
It's possible, but it's also going to depend on the number of teams who think they are still contenders at the deadline and the quality of their farm systems. I think the package the Braves were said to have offered them might be one they regret passing on, if true.
Should Pirates fan be worried about Pedro's slow start in single A?
Ben Badler (2:17 PM)
I wouldn't say worried, but just understand that he's going to be a guy who will hit for power and draw walks but also strike out a lot and maybe struggle some against LHPs.
Mike (Elk Grove, Il)
Is Chia-Jen Lo the Astros future closer? What do you think his ETA is?
Ben Badler (2:19 PM)
Not a closer, but he should be a big league reliever in a few years.
Ben Badler (2:19 PM)
Flooding the chat queue, by the way, is not going to get your questions answered.
Cody Johnson is showing ridiculous power (esp considering the home park) as well as high propensity to strike out. How do you see this playing out ? Adam Dunn without the walks ?
Ben Badler (2:20 PM)
No, he has a ton of raw power, but I think his hit tool and lack of a more well-rounded skill set might limit him to a Triple-A slugger. By the way, the Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard comps that I see fans throw around all the time for any slow minor league hitter with raw power and contact issues is one of my pet peeves. Dunn struck out a fair amount when he was in the minors, but never at an alarming clip, and he was also a good athlete who stole 20-plus bags two years in a row. I think people forget that.
Jeremy (Utica, NY)
Austin Jackson is off to a nice start in AAA, hitting .361 so far. Is he the Yanks starting CF next year?
Ben Badler (2:21 PM)
Yes, I think he should be.
Who has the best prospect outfield trio in baseball right now? Are the Phillies (Dominic Brown-Michael Taylor-John Mayberry Jr. in the discussion?
Ben Badler (2:22 PM)
Possibly, though mostly because of Brown. I'd still take the Braves with Jason Heyward, Gorkys Hernandez and anyone else over those three, and the Twins are close with Aaron Hicks and Ben Revere.
Scott (Allenton, WI)
How does Clayton Kershaw stack up against Strasburg? I understand the hype (most of it) but wouldn't Kershaw who is the same age have ridiculous hype as well if he were pitching at the collegiate level?
Ben Badler (2:25 PM)
Agreed, though if Kershaw were still in college, he wouldn't have accumulated the minor league track record he has now to give teams more certainty about his future. Kershaw lost his prospect eligibility last year, so maybe he would be getting more hype if he hadn't done that. For me, he would've been the No. 2 prospect in baseball behind Matt Wieters.
Raul (Miami, FL)
If Logan Morrison moves to LF, wouldn't he and Michael Stanton be better than the Twins pair.
Ben Badler (2:26 PM)
Yes, but he's a first baseman for now.
Whatever happened to Fautino De Los Santos, and where is he now? Still recovering from surgery?
Ben Badler (2:27 PM)
He had Tommy John surgery last year. I expect him to be back around midseason.
What on earth has gotten into Adam Jones? He's not quite this awesome, is he? Believe me, I'm fine if this is the answer.
Ben Badler (2:30 PM)
No, he's not 1.090 OPS/.460 wOBA good, but he's a future all-star CF. Pretty much what scouts thought he could be when he was a five-tool minor leaguer with Seattle.
After an uncharacteristically quiet 2008 IFA period, any word of my beloved Mets being more aggressive in the 2009 market?
Ben Badler (2:32 PM)
I think they will be. Last year they had two first-round picks and a supplemental first-rounder (No. 33, I think, off hand), so that might have cut into the budget, but this year they don't pick in the draft until late in the second round because they lost their first-rounder to the Angels for signing Francisco Rodriguez. I'm betting they make up for it in Latin America.
Villanola been hitting great so far this year. Anything he's doing differently or is he just maturing as a hitter?
Ben Badler (2:34 PM)
Just general maturation of a talented 18-year-old hitter, and with numbers inflated by the Cal League.
Curious as to your take on Jesus Montero. Try to make it work with him behind the plate as that's where he'd have the most value... or move him now since it may be a foregone conclusion that he won't be a catcher and his bat'll be up in the majors sooner this way?
Ben Badler (2:35 PM)
Leave him behind the plate as long as you can. I'm not saying I think he necessarily stays at the position, but there's no need to move him off the position yet, so why make the move? It's certainly not hurting his bat.
Obviously it's not an enormous sample, but what do you think of Jesus Montero's drastic offensive splits as a catcher and a DH? As a catcher, he has a .599 OPS, while as a DH, it is a ridiculous 1.299. Not a huge sample size, but the trend was similar last year. Should these splits be reason for the Yankees to move Montero off of catcher? Also, if one views Montero as a DH/1b long term, would it be legitimate to disregard his mediocre production as a catcher when evaluating him?
Ben Badler (2:38 PM)
That's a very, very small sample size, and I can't imagine the Yankees would make a mistake based on that type of misleading evidence. It's like day/night splits or saying you should bench him on Tuesdays because he hasn't hit well on Tuesday games so far.
luke (los angeles)
Ben, I have heard that the calif leage has inflated numbers but what does this mean? same size ballparks, same number of folks on the field? is it the quality of the players?
Ben Badler (2:40 PM)
It's the same level as the Carolina League and the Florida State League, so it's not the quality of the players. It's the ballparks, where fly balls tend to carry thanks in large part to the winds. Lancaster (Red Sox) and High Desert (Mariners) are among the most notorious hitters parks, with winds regularly reaching 25 mph in Lancaster. Not only does it make the balls carry and increase home runs, but it makes it more difficult for outfielders who have to deal with balls in the wind as well.
Mike (Baltimore, WI)
Is it me, or do these "five tool prospects" tend to not turn out. For every Adam Jones, aren't there a bunch of guys like Mike Cameron, who was once billed as such, but could never consistently hit for a decent average.
Ben Badler (2:41 PM)
I would hope most teams would be happy if their toolsy prospects turned out to be like Mike Cameron. Though I do think the term "five-tool player" has become more of a catch-all for any great athlete with some above-average tools, even if the hit tool is a bit short, which is why some of those guys tend to not pan out as hoped.
SSJames (Orange, CA)
Devaris Gordon (Tom's Son) is off to a really nice start at Low-A for someone who is supposed to be very raw. What is his ceiling? And is he really a Shortstop?
Ben Badler (2:44 PM)
I'm not putting a ceiling on a guy with no college track record, half a season in the Pioneer League and a month in Low-A. But he is a great athlete, a 65 or a 70 runner on the 20-80 scale and a guy who should hit for a high BA because of his speed and contact skills. Defense is still a work in progress, but he has the tools to be a good defender there with more reps.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY)
Is Christian Friedrich the real deal, or an old man for his league playing with boys.
Ben Badler (2:45 PM)
Both. Every start he makes for Asheville surprises me.
Steve (El Paso)
As good as Bumgarner has pitched this year, this strikeout totals are down from last season. Is this a concern?
Ben Badler (2:47 PM)
Not a concern. All players' strikeout rates, generally speaking, decrease as they move up the minor league ladder. It doesn't necessarily imply any deterioration of skill.
Ike (Hell, MI)
What's the latest on Jake McGee's comeback? ETA?
Ben Badler (2:48 PM)
He'll probably start pitching in the FSL at some point around midseason. A lot of scouts I talked to before the surgery thought he might be a closer candidate; now every scout I talk to thinks he's a future closer.
michael bowden is tearing up batters in triple A...top tier prospect?
Ben Badler (2:49 PM)
I see a 4th or 5th starter, but I'm probably in the minority on that one.
Who wins the race to SF, me or Maddy?
Ben Badler (2:50 PM)
Probably Alderson by a hair, but they could be up at the same time, a la Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson with Oakland this year.
Zac (San Diego)
Salem is the Sox Single A affiliate now. Lancaster is deep, and is gone.
Ben Badler (2:51 PM)
You're right, brain slip. Lancaster's with the Astros now.
Any chance we get two BA chats with you and Jim weekly on ESPN??
Ben Badler (2:54 PM)
Jim Callis is in a bunker somewhere, working like a madman on all of our draft coverage. He should be back next week, but we have prospect chats every Friday over at BaseballAmerica.com, and I'm sure our draft crew will have some draft chats coming up as well over around that neck of the woods.
Don (NY, NY)
Chris Tillman or Bowden?
Ben Badler (2:55 PM)
Tillman. I don't see that as particularly close, either.
is there a bigger draft blunder over the past 5 years than the pirates passing on weiters?
Ben Badler (2:56 PM)
Past five years or past five drafts? Matt Bleepin' Bush in '04 might be on par.
What do you make of Lars Anderson's current struggles?
Ben Badler (2:58 PM)
21-year-olds in Double-A are allowed to struggle for a month. No worries, he's still an elite prospect.
Ben, Brackman's getting groundballs like nobody's business. Other than some shaky post-TJ command he looks like he's holding his own. Is this what the Yankees expected out of him?
Ben Badler (3:02 PM)
Yeah, the potential and high ceiling are still there. I love how I get e-mails asking me what's wrong with Andrew Brackman, as if a guy who's nearly seven feet tall is supposed to come back from surgery to be painting the black to both sides right out of the gate.
Jake H (Kansas City, KS)
Ben, can you tell me about these 2 latin guys(Rafael de Paula and Gary Sanchez) who are looking to get taken up on July 2nd?
Ben Badler (3:06 PM)
Rafael DePaula was supposed to be a July 2 guy last year who was still unsigned, but he will not be signing because MLB has suspended him. I'll have more on Sanchez at BA soon, but he is one of the top prospects for this July 2.
Casey Crosby or Juan Ramirez?
Ben Badler (3:06 PM)
Ramirez, who apparently is now going by J.C. Ramirez
Can you tell me anything about Matt Hoffman? 5-0 1.12 era for West Michigan. I know the Tigers went over slot to sign him.
Ben Badler (3:07 PM)
His delivery's more under control this year, which has helped him throw more strikes. Check BA in the next couple of days for a story on him.
Buchholz or Bowden?
Ben Badler (3:08 PM)
Ben Badler (3:13 PM)
That's all for today. Jim Callis should be back next week to quench your thirst for anything related to the draft. Take care.