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June 24, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Ben Badler

Ben Badler
  (2:00 PM)

I'm running on four hours of sleep eight days out from July 2, fueled by being able to watch Bryce Harper play yesterday. Let's get to it.

scott (chi ridge)

what do you think of jordan danks so far? he has slowed a bit lately but what is his upside?

Ben Badler
  (2:02 PM)

Power was one big question mark on Danks coming out of college, but he's starting to show some pop as a pro. If he can just hit for average power in the big leagues, he has the potential to be an average to above-average big leaguer.

PJ (Naperville, IL)

Are you at all concerned with Hosmer's troubles to date? His stats are looking pretty bad.

Ben Badler
  (2:05 PM)

Not really. Scout know the raw power is there and his approach at the plate is relatively patient for a player his age. It's hard to knock a kid a year out of high school based on his first-half stats in the Midwest League.

steve (Pittsburgh)

Big Ben:What are your thoughts on Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman? What type of major leaguer do you see him developing into?

Ben Badler
  (2:08 PM)

He's one of the toolsier prospects the Pirates have in their lower levels of the system, but all that swing-and-miss is a pretty big red flag right now.

Jimmy (Hayward)

Ben, Love your work. You got to be excited with July 2nd coming up. Any news on Wagner Mateo. Are the Giants going to land him and/or any other big international player?

Ben Badler
  (2:09 PM)

To me, the Cardinals are the favorites to sign Mateo, but the Giants and Mariners could also get involved.

Dominic (MD)

What are your thoughts on Harper, is he the real deal?

Ben Badler
  (2:13 PM)

I can't make a judgment after seeing him for just one game, but his tools--his arm strength, his bat speed, his swing, his athleticism--all look outstanding. He even scored from second base when the second baseman dropped a line drive in the infield. That was impressive.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH)

The Reds made a big splash in the international free agent market last year by signing Yorman Rodriquez for $2.55 million and Juan Duran for $2 million. After extended spring training, the Reds appear to be ready to start both of them in the GCL this year despite being only 16 and 17 respectively until the latter part of the season. Are the Reds moving too fast or do these kids have that much talent that they can compete professionally at an age where they would be juniors in high school if they were American? Any rumors on the Reds in this years international market?

Ben Badler
  (2:14 PM)

I do think they are going to be overmatched, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the wrong move to place them in the GCL. They're both raw, but having them find out that they're going to have to make a lot of adjustments to be able to hit even the lowest levels of pitching in pro ball isn't such a bad thing.

Joshua (annapolis, md)

What's Dee Gordon's ceiling? is he a top 50 or 100 prospect next year?

Ben Badler
  (2:18 PM)

Very good prospect, ranked him fourth in the Pioneer League last year even though he didn't play college ball that spring. He's a great athlete with outstanding speed, he just doesn't have much power right now. He will start to drive the ball with more authority though once he gains some weight, and at that point he could really take off.

John (Va)

Hey Ben, the red sox have been linked to a lot of latin american free agents, do you expect them to be one of the more active teams on July 2 this year?

Ben Badler
  (2:18 PM)

Yes. I think they will be among the top five spenders this year internationally.

Greg (Augusta, GA)

Ben, can the BA podcast addicts ever expect to hear a draft wrapup?

Ben Badler
  (2:22 PM)

I'll mention it to Jim Callis and John Manuel. Right now most of our BA draft gurus are either unwinding from 2009 draft coverage or getting a head start on the 2010 guys over at the Tournament Of Stars.

Dominic (MD)

Matt Wieters looks like he is getting comfortable in the batters box hitting .357 in his last 10 games. Do you think he has a shot at the ROY, or was he brought up too late in the season?

Ben Badler
  (2:23 PM)

He has the talent to finish the year well enough to win the award, particularly in a year in which there don't seem to be any other rookies running away with it.

cjb (madison, wi)

J. Weeks has gotten off to a hot start, has his perceived upside gone up? Is he a top 20 prospect?

Ben Badler
  (2:24 PM)

I probably like Weeks more than most people, but he's going to need more than 19 good games in the Cal League to be a top 20 prospect in baseball. He has good bat control, good plate discipline, strong wrists to generate power and good speed, but he's barely been able to get on the field since signing a year ago.

Anthony Narag (Thousand Oaks, CA)

Other than Bumgarder and Alderson, what prospects in the Giants orgianization do you see realistically contributing to the Giants by next year.

Ben Badler
  (2:27 PM)

Buster Posey should be ready by 2010, though he might not reach SF until May or June.

John (Goshen,NY)

Thoughts on Zach McAllister the Yanks farmhand?

Ben Badler
  (2:29 PM)

One of the few underrated Yankees prospects in the minors.

Daniel (Brooklyn)

What're your thoughts about Esmil Rogers?

Ben Badler
  (2:30 PM)

Good athletic righthander with a good fastball/curveball combination and good control. It's amazing how well the Rockies scout Latin America.

Mike (Tampa, Florida)

Ive been a faithful Rays Fan for awhile ( not a band wagoner) and im just curious to see what an analyst thinks. can the rays still make a playoff run? i think they can

Ben Badler
  (2:33 PM)

Yes, just look at their runs scored and their runs allowed. It's as good as any team in that division and a better barometer going forward of what to expect from the Rays.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

Last year the Padres were very active and apparently came away with a haul during the international signing period. I haven't heard much about them this year in that regard. With their new facility, that I assume is still the best out there, I was hoping these high profile signings would be a yearly event. What have you heard about the Padres for July 2nd this year? Is this year's group as good as last years group in general?

Ben Badler
  (2:36 PM)

I don't think they will sign three seven-figure bonus guys the way they did last year, but I would expect them to get one or two top-level prospects this year. I will have a team-by-team breakdown for July 2 next week over at BA.

Nick (Detroit)

what do you think of rick porcello so far. he's having a great year.

Ben Badler
  (2:39 PM)

An outstanding young pitcher and probably the frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year right now. If he still had prospect eligibility, he'd be the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball.

Josh (New York)

What's wrong with JP Arencibia?

Ben Badler
  (2:41 PM)

He's pretty much the same guy as he was last year: a power-hitting catcher without a great approach at the plate, and it looks like that lack of plate discipline might be catching up to him this year.

Joshua (annapolis, md)

Does BA actually pay to send you on company junkets to see the players in Venezuela and the DR or do they force you to work the phones out of a windowless cubicle?

Ben Badler
  (2:47 PM)

Even if I saw all the top July 2 prospects myself, I don't have the mental database of 16-year-old prospects to be able to properly evaluate them. All of the reports you read on BA about July 2 prospects come straight from the scouts I have talked to who have seen them play and have decades of scouting experience. (And we refer to the cubicles here at the BA offices as The Bullpen, if you were wondering.)

Mild Gypsy Woman (Sands of Time)

Jesus Montero seems to be handling AA well. Why does everyone believe he can not stay at catcher. Even if its 3 games a week, then DH the others. I know hes a big boy, but so is Joey Mauer.

Ben Badler
  (2:49 PM)

They're the same height, but Mauer's arm strength, arm accuracy, receiving skills, athleticism and agility are all light years ahead of Montero, who is only going to get bigger and heavier with age.

Chris (Vermont)

The Yankees have been widely rumored to be very likely to sign Gary Sanchez come July 2. Is that still true and are there any other big names that the Yankees are linked to come 7/2?

Ben Badler
  (2:52 PM)

I would be very surprised if the Yankees didn't end up signing Gary Sanchez. They Yankees are always going to be linked to other top names in the international market because they have the biggest budget and agents and trainers as a result are usually eager to have the Yankees see their players. And on a similar note, it also behooves the Yankees to have themselves linked to as many prospects as possible, to create some leverage on their side against the agents, who know the Yankees have deep pockets. But I'm sure they will sign some of the other top names on the market aside from Sanchez as well.

Greg (NC)

Dustin Ackley or Miguel Sano?

Ben Badler
  (2:54 PM)

Ackley. Sano has a monster ceiling, but proximity to the majors and the greater certainty with Ackley is an overwhelming mark in Ackley's favor.

Kyle (Beverly Hills)

What's up with Rafael De Paula? Will he be free to sign anytime soon? And whoa re the front runners for him?

Ben Badler
  (2:55 PM)

Suspended, won't be eligible to sign until next year.

Ryan (Las Vegas)

I think that Phil Hughes, with his strikeout stuff, should be starting over Wang. Phil finally appears to be making good on all the promise he has shown in the minors. Your take?

Ben Badler
  (2:56 PM)

I would put Hughes in the starting rotation.

Kyle (minneapolis)

This is not a slight against you and all the minor league and international scouts, but do you ever actually watch MLB games? I mean is there enough time for you to just enjoy the highest finished product?

Ben Badler
  (3:03 PM)

Usually I will go to a minor league game at night, then come home and do some work while watching a west coast game. If I don't go to a game, I'll catch a couple of big league games on the Extra Innings package. But your thinking is right: I probably spend at least 90 percent of my waking hours thinking about minor league or 16-year-old Latin American prospects, leaning more heavily toward the latter in recent weeks. And I love it.

Dan (Tulsa)

Is the lack of walks a concern for Rasmus?

Ben Badler
  (3:05 PM)

Not really, he's shown patience before in the minor leagues and he's only 22. I wouldn't be surprised if he showed an Adam Jones-type breakout next year.

Michael (Old Lyme)

Do you see the Yankees sliding in and grabbing Mateo or Sano at the last moment like they always seem to do?

Ben Badler
  (3:08 PM)

Doubtful on Mateo, and probably not on Sano, but I really don't have a great feel for where Sano will land. The Twins and Pirates have strong interest in Sano, but if some of these other July 2 deals fall out of place at the last minute (possibly due to some suspensions), the bidding could get heated for Sano.

Ben Badler
  (3:13 PM)

It's always enjoyable to chat but it's time to get back to some scout calls. Jim Callis will be back next week. In the meantime, you know where to find me (BA, Twitter, etc.) for daily July 2 updates over the next eight days. If there's anything in particular you want to read about, I'm always open to new ideas.