You. Jason. Prospects. Go.
Jason Cole: We've got the draft recently completed and the minor league season in full swing. This is a fun time of year. Time to answer your questions!
Buxton (Buxton): Buxton buxton buxton. Buxton buxton buxton buxton... buxton buxton? Buxton buxton buxton buxton buxton buxton buxton, buxton buxton Buxton buxton.
Jason Cole: BUXTON!
Mark (DC): You've previously mentioned Chris Arhcer, Alex Colome and Alex Torres as "tweener" types whose future in the major leagues are late-inning relievers. Now that all three have made major league starts with improved secondary offerings, has your view on their ML future changed in any way?
Jason Cole: Well, Archer is a starting pitcher for me, a 2/3 type who's probably more of a no. 3 because of the command. The stuff is top of the line, though. There's always that chance he ends up in the bullpen because of the two wipeout pitches, but I do believe in Archer as a starter. Colome and Torres are still relievers for me, but they can be good ones. Whatever the Rays have done with Torres is working, as most scouts I was speaking to had written him off by the end of last season. It's a plus fastball and it's an absolutely nasty changeup. An Alex Torres throwing strikes is a good big league reliever. I'll give Colome a slight more chance to start, but still think that's a seventh- or eighth-inning type of arm.
Nick (Michigan): What can you tell us about Julio Urias, the 16-year-old pitching for the Dodgers' Midwest League affiliate?
Jason Cole: Urias has been highly impressive given his age, and the stuff is solid. He's a polished lefty with a smooth delivery who can run his fastball up to 94 mph and flash a very advanced changeup. Not many 16-year-old pitchers could be getting outs in Low-A and Urias isn't just doing that, he has kind of dominated.
JoshuaGB (Chicago): Dynasty league, only start one catcher, in a vacuum: Mauer for Pedroia. Who do you take?
Jason Cole: I'm tempted to say Mauer, but I've also never played fantasy baseball, so I'm probably not a good person to ask. Sorry!
Henry (Montreal): Is Carter Capps Seattle's closer of the future? The near future?
Jason Cole: I like Capps, and he's loads of fun to watch, but I see him as more of a solid setup type than long-term closer. I'm sure he'll pick up some saves here and there down the line since, with his stuff, he'll always be pitching near the back-end of a bullpen. But for me, as good as the fastball is, the stuff can get a little flat at times. I think there may always be a little bit of inconsistency there, but I'd take him on my team as a 7th/8th inning type, for sure.
padremurph (San Diego): Who is the Padres #1 prospect at the moment? Fried or Hedges?
Jason Cole: Still Hedges for me. Missed some time due to injury, but he's heating up at the plate – now at .280/.375/.450 through 30 games this season.
stewbies (Rochester, NY]): Best guess for when Buxton gets called up to the Show? Would you bet on him to be a productive MLBer in either 2014 or 2015?
Jason Cole: At this point, you have to think he makes it up at some point in 2014. But I'd say the safe money on him getting serious action would be 2015. A lot of it will depend upon just how aggressive the Twins want to be, though.
Shawn (Office): Thoughts on the ultimate ceilings (SP or RP) of smaller fireballers like Yordano Ventura and Carlos Martinez? It seems to me if the delivery is easy and repeatable with good mechanics (which I've read both of their's are) then why worry so much about body size? I'm not comparing to Pedro or Oswalt becuase that isn't fair, but they had similar smaller body types and excelled as SPs.
Jason Cole: Both have the pure potential to be top-end starters, and I'd give Martinez a little more of a chance than Ventura to do that. You're right, both of them have solid deliveries. The body size is a durability issue. Pedro and Oswalt are rare – they're the rare exception. Few people are saying Ventura and Martinez absolutely cannot start, but I think a lot of people are aware that Ventura has a lot working against him given the history of pitchers his size.
Martinez is a better bet to stick as a starting pitcher. Most scouts I've spoken to believe he's a starter. Everyone (including myself) is pretty split on Ventura. He has the repertoire and should have the command, but the big question is whether or not this guy is going to be durable for 175-200 innings annually. I'm not sure that's a question anybody can answer right now.
Justin (Chicago, IL): Speaking of Hedges, do you think he's going to hit enough at the big league level? Obviously his defense is going to carry him like maybe Yadier Molina BEFORE he started hitting double digit homeruns?
Jason Cole: Given Hedges' defense, "enough" for him to be an everyday guy would be about Mendoza line. So he's going to hit enough, yes. I don't think the bat will be a total black hole, and it could even surprise a bit. He has a feel for what he's doing up there.
Alex (Anaheim): Will Jagielo's power play in the big leagues?
Jason Cole: In a vacuum, his power will play anywhere. It's plus raw power with a potential average hit tool. If he's able to reach those future grades, then you've got a solid big league corner bat, whether it be at 3B, 1B, or a COF spot.
CarlosCorrea (Houston): Did you think Buxton is overrated? I think Correa is underrated. Correa is better than Buxton.
Jason Cole: No. Correa is flying under the radar a bit and is having a very, very good season. There's plenty of reason to be excited about him, but I haven't spoken to a scout this year who thinks Correa is better than Buxton. I doubt I will.
Frank (Boston): Lots of prospects are on the move so far in June, but there isn't much talk of Xander Bogaerts moving despite his good numbers. What's the plan for him?
Jason Cole: Let me match you up with...
Frank (Boston): Xander Bogaerts just promoted to AAA! As a giddy Red Sox fan I'm spreading the good news.
Jason Cole: Oh wait, you're the same person! Anyway, Bogaerts was hitting .311/.407/.502 through 56 Double-A games this season. Really like the bat.
William (Pensacola, FL): You had to start a MLB team from scratch, what player would you select first out of the Southern League now that Puig is gone ?
Jason Cole: Off the top of my head, it's gotta be Taijuan Walker.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Before the season it was thought Addison Russell could be a sleeper to make the jump to #1 prospect in baseball as early as next year. Now that spot seems to be permanently reserved for Byron Buxton in the near future, but what has happened to Russell's stock so far this year? I know he's struggled, but is in an advanced league for his age. Is he still a potential star or has he faded a bit?
Jason Cole: Yeah, it's difficult to see a scenario in which Buxton isn't the game's #1 prospect after this season. Even if Russell doesn't make that jump (which was predicted by some), it hasn't done anything to his stock. The suppressed numbers (he doesn't turn 20 until January, and he's in High-A) are keeping the overall buzz down, but there's nothing wrong with hitting .234/.324/.435 at that level and at his age right now.
Cal Guy (Cali): ETA on Springer, and what do you see as an average year for him once he is established?
Jason Cole: It's almost too easy of a comp, but think Chris Young in his good years with Arizona. I think we may see just a little bit more out of Springer in the average department, but similar production in the power, BB, K (Springer might K a bit more), SB, defense department. Springer has really impressed me with his glove in center this season.
Frank (Boston): Sorry about the double Bogaerts submissions. I sent my question, and then five minutes later saw the news of the promotion. Excited!
Jason Cole: No problem!
Booker T (STL): Kolton Wong continues to hit, does it take an injury for him to get a cup of coffee this year?
Jason Cole: It may take an injury, yeah. The first-world problem of having a loaded big-league team. But you never know what will happen. Not long ago, it looked like the Cardinals wouldn't have any room in their MLB rotation for all those solid starting pitchers down in Memphis, and now three-fifths of them are on the big-league roster. Wong has been really impressive this year. I'll see him (and the Memphis squad) next week in Round Rock. Can't wait for that series. I'll be writing it up at BP, for sure.
captnamerca (Clown College, Bro.): Will Jonathan Villar develop into a decent enough offensive MI at the MLB level?
Jason Cole: Love your location. He has the talent to be an above-average regular at second base with some potential with the bat, speed, and good defensive tools. Call it a gut feeling, but I say he doesn't develop into an everyday guy.
padremurph (San Diego): What are your thoughts on Walker Weickel and Zack Efflin?
Jason Cole: Weickel is a 6'6" projection arm with talent, but a lot of that is still in projection. Eflin is a 6'4" guy with a mature body and the much more mature arsenal. I'd take Eflin right now. He'll move quicker and could be a durable mid-to-back rotation starter.
Ernie (Seattle): DO you know where Luiz Gohara is and when he'll debut ?
Jason Cole: Gohara pitched at extended spring training in Arizona. I was going to watch him in a sexy matchup against the Rangers' Yohander Mendez while I was out there, but Gohara got scratched that day because he was sick. Tough luck for me. I didn't end up seeing him. Not sure where he'll debut. I could see anywhere from the AZL to Everett, with Pulaski being the most likely. But that's a shot-in-the-dark guess.
Kyle33 (Toronto): What do you think of Toronto prospect Andy Burns? He's putting up a pretty good stat line. Can you give us your scouting report on him?
Jason Cole: Solid prospect having a very nice season. Recently spoke to a scout about him, and he liked him. A strong guy who can show some power to all fields, and the glove plays well at third base. Might be more of a very good bench bat – has struggled with breaking balls a little.
padremurph (San Diego): How quickly can Kris Bryant make debut? Can he win a job out of spring training next year?
Jason Cole: The bat has a chance to move somewhat quickly, but that's probably too aggressive.
Chesty (New Bern,NC): Jason,With Erasmo Ramirez in the wings is it time for him in Seattle.
Jason Cole: Have to think Ramirez gets his shot at some point this season, but he has only been back for two Triple-A starts, so I think they'll give him a little more time to settle in and get his feet underneath him before giving him the MLB challenge unless it's absolutely necessary. The back of the Seattle rotation has been messy all season, so he'll get his opportunity.
OakTown (The Office): Does Grant Green have a future in Oakland or is he forever a 4A guy? Getting a little old to be still doing well in AAA and still no cup of coffee!
Jason Cole: While I've never been the absolute biggest Grant Green guy, I think he has a big-league future, and there's no reason to believe he doesn't have a future in Oakland. The versatility is intriguing and makes me think he could be a nice super-utility bench guy, but he's got a shot as a 2B. I'm surprised Oakland hasn't given him an opportunity yet. That should come at some point, though. Most scouts I've spoken to who have seen him this year like him enough and think he deserves that chance this year, so I wouldn't throw a 4A tag on him – especially before he plays in the majors.
Jim (Detroit): Who are you early favorites for the top-five prospects overall for 2014?
Jason Cole: In no particular order, and this is with my assumption that these guys won't exhaust prospect eligibility this year, I'll go with Buxton, Taveras, Bradley, Lindor, and...Bogaerts, Yelich, Sano duking it out for the last spot.
Mario66 (Toronto): Geez, that debate over Chisenhall and Moustakas for title of 3B of the future sure looks different today. Which is the better bet to become a productive every day 3B?
Jason Cole: No doubt. I'll still go Moustakas there, but wow, he has been absolutely brutal this season.
Scout (San Diego): Will Max Fried be the top lefty propsect in baseball by this time next year? Do you like him or Guerrieri better?
Jason Cole: Guerrieri by just a little bit, and yeah, Fried has a chance to be that. When you think about it, so many of the top arms in MiLB right now are right-handers. Fried has big potential, and he's doing well for himself this season.
cracker73 (Florida): Why the concern for the height of starting pitchers, like Carlos Martinez? He is bigger than many HOF starting pitchers like Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn. They were durable, even though they pitched every 4th day, and completed may of their games? Are today's pitchers soft?
Jason Cole: I don't think it's all on height. In fact I think little of it is. I think Martinez is a starting pitcher. For a guy like Ventura, he has added weight over the last few years, but he's still a very small-statured guy without a lot of meat on that frame. Even a lot of the shorter starting pitchers that we see today who have mostly held up (Vargas, Cueto to name two of them) have bigger frames despite the height. You won't find many big-league SPs that are Ventura's size, but I still think there's a decent chance to start because everything else works so well.
Dan (Joisey): Seen any Vince Belnome in AAA watching? TB seems like exactly the org to give him a shot as a util, no?
Jason Cole: I saw a lot of Belnome in 2011 at Double-A San Antonio, when he hit .333/.432/.603 in a full season there. He's a very nice Triple-A player, but I don't see an impact MLB future there. He may very well get his shot someday, but it's just probably not an impact guy even if he does make it.
Zach Mortimer (New Jersey): Tell people the truth you like your time in the northeast better than Texas.
Jason Cole: I saw Gray and Appel here during the amateur season (along with a number of other high picks), saw Wisler and Foltynewicz in San Antonio two and three days ago, and Martin Perez last night in Round Rock. I'm pretty happy with the amount of talent I see in this state!
Mike (Springfield): What do you think of Ryan Jackson? Should he be playing SS for the Cardinals instead of Kozma?
Jason Cole: I think so. Another guy that I'll likely see this next week. Bat has improved (though not quite as good as his current .326/.394/.450 line would suggest), and he's a plus defender.
Mario66 (Toronto): How did Martin Perez look last night?
Jason Cole: Honestly it may have been the best I've ever seen him. He gave up some hits, but they were literally all bloopers/bleeders. Stayed within his delivery and commanded his fastball down in the zone, sitting 92-94 and getting 95-96 whenever he needed. Changeup was good, curveball was the sharpest I've seen it in a couple years, and he mixed in quite a few sliders as a fourth pitch. For me, he's a better rotation option than Justin Grimm and Josh Lindblom right now.
captnamerca (Dunedin): Speaking of Folty, what did you think of him in person? (If I missed an artcle detailing this, I apologize)
Jason Cole: Will answer the first part in a question to come in just a second. No writeup yet––it'll come next week in the Eyewitness Accounts series, along with Wisler, probably Brad Miller, and maybe one more guy. At least those are the reports that will come from me. I'll also see Foltynewicz on Saturday in Frisco.
Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Mike Foltynewicz seems to have taken a pretty big step forward this year. Aside from a slightly high walk rate, he's been dominating the AA Texas League for a while now, and I keep seeing reports of him consistently lighting up the gun at 100 and 101 MPH. Prior to the season, BP said he has the upside of just a #3 starter. Has he improved his stock in your minds with his performance? Why and why not?
Jason Cole: I still think it's about a #3 starter or dominant closer. He's a no. 3 starter if the fastball command gets to average. If you don't think it will, then it's probably a closer. He has the ability to spin a breaking ball. I think it's a going to be a solid-average to plus breaker. Inconsistent at present; the arm speed can falter at times. But he'll flash good curveballs and sliders here and there. Only threw one changeup the other night. It's seriously elite velocity, and it moves. Not a ton of deception, but it's easy and sitting 97-99 and getting 100 to 101 (if not more) a handful of times per start. There probably won't be a wipeout secondary pitch to complement it, but I think they can be good enough to where – on the back of his 80-grade fastball – it'll work as a no. 3 starter if the fastball command progresses enough, and I think it can.
I don't think Foltynewicz will be fully ready this season though. He might need another full year in the minor leagues to finish his development, despite the extreme-of-the-extreme velocity. It's a really fun arm to watch. If you're in or around Texas or the Texas League, I recommend going out to see him this season.
Mario66 (Toronto): Thanks Jason, but saying that someone is a better rotation option than Justin Grimm and Josh Lindblom is like saying he's a better NBA prospect than Tyrion Lannister. Can Perez reclaim a ceiling as a #3, or is he more back of the rotation fodder?
Jason Cole: I think he's a no. 3, just one that hasn't developed quickly. The stuff is actually improving – he's showing the feel he showed at times last season with the pure stuff that he had shown a couple years back. Despite the fact that he has been on the prospect radar for a long time, it's easy to forget that he's still just 22 and will be all season. He's only three months older than Mark Appel!
Todd (MN): Best collection of hitters in the minors? Cubs? Twins? Another team?
Jason Cole: I'll take the cop out. Best top two, Twins. Best top four, Cubs. You can't go wrong either way. But I don't think another team contends with that collection right now. The Rangers have a nice group, but save Profar and Olt, they're all the way down in Low-A.
LittleRon (WV): Do you see Javier Baez reaching the majors this season? Is he worth stockpiling for 2014 in a 5x5 Keeper?
Jason Cole: Maybe he gets there at some point next season, but at this point, I don't think it's likely that he sees significant action in 2014. Player development and situations like these are always fluid, but I think that's the smart bet for now at least.
boneil33 (Boston): Thanks for posting the video of Foltynewicz on Twitter! Any other thoughts on Folty as a prospect?
Jason Cole: No problem! Obviously already answered the question (I had a ton of Folty questions in the queue today). In case you haven't seen the video that boneil333 is referencing, you can check it out here: https://vimeo.com/68236446
petelunchbox (Handsome City): Are there any players who have basically come out of no where this year to the point where they are a top 50 type prospect? For example someone like Gregory Polanco last year.
Jason Cole: You could say perhaps Raul Adalberto Mondesi, coming off his short-season resume last season. Sonny Gray has done a very nice job of reclaiming his prospect status (if not even surpassing it out of college).
Mario66 (Toronto): Speaking of short guys, if it's found that Bartolo Colon has been using articial means to maintain his physique, could Sonny Gray step in tomorrow and be a solid, #3-type starter?
Jason Cole: There may be some initial growing pains but I think he could have some success this season and will be that. I've missed him personally this season, but gotten a lot of reports and all have been very good. The velocity has been good, the life on the fastball good, the angle a little better, the curveball sharper. After I got a lot of very iffy (with a couple solid) reports in 2012, they've been consistently very, very good this year.
philip (san diego): Jankowski or Fuentes? Who is the better prospect
Jason Cole: They're pretty similar. Both likely profile as big-league reserve outfielders down the line with the speed/defense. I pretty much wrote Fuentes off after his terrible 2012 season in San Antonio, but he has been a lot better this season and generally more aggressive overall while being a fairly selective hitter and making harder contact. Recent report I got on Jankowski was "6+ defender, 4 arm, 7 runner, lots of questions about the bat."
Lamp (Dallas): Archie Bradley: Currently the best pitching prospect in the minors?
Jason Cole: Yup.
LoyalRoyal (KS): Going along with the starting pitcher stature discussion, what are your thoughts on J.R. Graham's future?
Jason Cole: I've written that I think he has a chance to stick as a starter. Smaller but well-built, overall good delivery, commands the fastball well, able to get good downward plane despite his lack of height, shows a 6 slider, and a decent enough changeup. And then, of course, he went and got hurt right after (shoulder strain). Haven't heard anything about his status since he went on the DL, but he's been on the shelf for about a month now.
Shawnykid23 (CT): What are your thoughts on Rafael De Paula? Legit or just overpowering inferior competition?
Jason Cole: Both! He and Eddie Butler have probably been the two best arms in the Sally League. By the way, Eddie Butler doesn't get enough love! I've written him up twice on the Monday Morning Ten Pack. I had a scout tell me "best pitching prospect in the Sally League" earlier this season, and then after Butler was promoted to High-A, another scout told me "immediately the best pitching prospect in the Cal League." 2/3 starter potential with a 7 fastball and plus-plus life.
Lamp (Dallas): Re: Perez, how do you think he has progressed mentally? It seems to me like he still suffers from the same problem as he did when he first started scuffling a bit in the minors. He kind of goes into the tank when he makes a mistake to a hitter.
Jason Cole: Martin Perez: he absolutely progressed mentally last season, and it seems like he is continuing to progress mentally this year. That has been the only thing keeping him from reaching his ceiling, really.
I talked to Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman after last night's game. He said the key is keeping Perez from throwing "emotional pitches," where he starts to overthrow and pulls himself off-line in his delivery, which leads to bad side-to-side misses. He's doing a much better job of staying within his mechanics right now, even when he's having to battle. Not a finished product there yet but it is certainly better.
Harold Reynolds (MLBN Studios): Mark Appel to start this weekend, right?
Jason Cole: Why not tonight?
Harry (MA): At the risk of inflating the unreal amount hype as he's already gotten, do you see Buxton as a generational talent along the lines of Trout, Harper, Machado?
Jason Cole: I'm not one for hyperbole at all, but when a scout tells me "I've never put an 8 on a prospect, and I put an 8 on Buxton," then I have to think the answer is yes. He has a chance to be that.
Twinkie (Minneapolis): Does Oswaldo Arcia have 30 HR potential or his his ceiling closer to 20 HR?
Jason Cole: Split the difference and say 25.
Brian (LA): Any sleeper candidates to make the Rangers Top 10 this offseason?
Jason Cole: Nick Williams and Rougned Odor, if you want to consider them sleepers. Maybe Luke Jackson.
captnamerca (Dunedin): What do you think of MLB having a game in Australia? Brilliant marketing move, or NFL Europe-esque waste of time?
Jason Cole: I like it. I know it's not a consensus opinion, but I enjoy the games in Japan and would welcome them in Australia and the Netherlands down the line. Doesn't hurt to try and grow the game in those places. Europe doesn't produce NFL players – Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands do produce MLB players. There are some baseball fans in Australia, but the extreme time difference means you often need to be a diehard to watch. I like showing it to them first-hand.
sdsuphilip (San diego): Matt Wisler's eta? This year or next?
Jason Cole: Next year, and maybe not even early next year. No need to rush him. Still only 20. The stuff is good, but there's quite a bit of refinement needed.
Jim (NY): So if Gallo cuts down on his Ks he will grown into a Jim Thome. I actually don't think that sounds too crazy. You?
Jason Cole: I think the most accurate comp is probably an Adam Dunn type.
Shawn (Office): Could Nick Franklin be a 20/20 guy in his prime?
Jason Cole: I think that's a little heavy on him. Big leaguer but more of a second-division guy for me. He'll pop one out once in awhile but the power should be more gap-to-gap, and he'll steal a base every once in awhile but would probably be a 15-20 guy playing every day.
John Boy (Chicago): Miguel Almonte or Folty ?
Jason Cole: Good question. They're close. Give me Folty.
Kaya (Toronto): If the Blue Jays traded Josh Johnson at the deadline what could they realistically expect in return? Would Rougned Odor from Texas or Kolten Wong from St. Louis be feasible?
Jason Cole: I think it'll all depend on how Johnson performs and, perhaps mostly importantly, how the stuff looks leading up to the deadline. I think there are a number of teams curious about the direction Johnson will go over the next month. But those types of prospects would be at the very least what Toronto could probably get.
Lamp (Dallas): Shelby Miller or Jose Fernandez? If you're building a staff from scratch, who would you take?
Jason Cole: Miller, but can't go wrong either way there.
Mike (Illinois): Are you surprised at Kyle Hendricks success this season at AA for Tennessee (Cubs) and should he be considered one of the Cubs top pitching prospects?
Jason Cole: The Cubs are obviously very bat-heavy in their system, and many of the top arms are either hurt (Vizcaino) or at the lower levels (Pierce Johnson in Low-A, Dillon Maples in Low-A, Duane Underwood in extended spring). So by default Hendricks is one of their better arms at the upper levels.
There's nothing too sexy about Hendricks, but he can really pitch, so I'm not surprised he's having success this year. I saw Hendricks a couple times last year in Myrtle Beach. Haven't gotten a report on him last year but here's what I saw – located and mixed deep arsenal very well. Not a lot of life on anything but sat 87-91-ish with his fastball but showed the ability to pop 92-93 and the occasional 94 when needed. Very deceptive changeup that also didn't have a lot of movement. He also had a cut-slider and big get-me-over curveball. The stuff is very fringe and it's probably a no. 5 starter at best, but he can locate and mix, so that gives him a shot.
The Dude (Work): Gausman just seems to have that "It" factor of a #1. His struggles remind me of when Kershaw came up and got smacked around, but now look at him. Not saying he's gonna be Kershaw good- but he's still a top of the rotation arm despite his struggles- agree?
Jason Cole: Yep. I think it's a top-of-the-rotation arm.
Mario66 (Toronto): It's likely that Didi Gregorius' hitting is due for some regression to the mean. What is that mean?
Jason Cole: It's possible, but to me at least, he's better than a lot of people (including myself) thought he would be. You have to tip your cap to the Dbacks pro scouting department. Damn good job there. They went out and got their guy, and the still-somewhat-early returns are fantastic.
Trent (El Paso): One sports writer was ruminating over the possibility of a trade of Jurickson Profar for a power hitting outfielder like Jose Bautista. He's in the prime of his career and has a very team friendly contract. Is this even a viable trade possibility. Who loses that trade if it ever happened?
Jason Cole: I don't think the Rangers will trade Profar for an outfielder who turns 33 in October. Bautista is currently in his prime, but he's likely to be exiting it soon. If the Rangers unload Profar, it's going to be for a younger player with his best years ahead of him – like a Giancarlo Stanton.
Mat (Toronto): When do the cubs give up on Brett Jackson ever being a meaningful player?
Jason Cole: Honestly, I don't think it's all that likely that he ever becomes an impact guy at this point. I did like his brother (freshman at Stanford) when I saw him early this season! Although Drew didn't end up hitting at all this year.
sdsuphilip (San Diego ): Franmil Reyes scouting report?
Jason Cole: He's one of the largest 17-year-olds I've ever seen. Pretty serious power potential in there.
Shawn (SF): Giants need Crick in their rotation asap. Assuming he returns soon and does well, do you think Sept could happen?
Jason Cole: Don't think so. It's mid-June and he's only got three starts above Low-A. I don't think the Giants are going to rush somebody quite like that.
sdsuphilip (san diego): Higher ceiling: Hunter Renfroe or Rymer Liriano?
Jason Cole: Haven't seen a lot of Renfroe yet, but probably Liriano.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Who seems to have the highest ceiling of Kyle Gibson, Jesse Biddle, J.R. Graham?
Jason Cole: Weird question because I think Graham has the highest ceiling of that group just barely, though he also has the highest chance to end up in the bullpen. Biddle is second of that group for me, with Gibson third.
Marv (Home): Iglesias! What gives, yo?
Jason Cole: I...yeah...ride the wave!
JJ (Work): Former Aggies pitcher John Stilson is pitching pretty well for Buffalo AAA. When is he likely to get the call to Toronto? There seem to be conflicting reports on what his best secondary pitch is, is it his split/change or curve and how would you grade them?
Jason Cole: Not certain on the when, but both his breaking ball and changeup can flash plus.
Steve (IL): dyson v pierre ROS? May need to drop Pierre to free up salary for a trade, Do you think Dyson can fill the steals gap? Will there be a significant difference?
Jason Cole: When healthy, I'll go Dyson.
Aaron (Long Beach): Favorite hitting prospect yet to play full-season ball?
Jason Cole: I'll limit this to guys I just saw in extended spring training in Arizona, since they're on the top of my head. Stryker Trahan with Arizona. One prospect to watch out for – Jose Rondon, a young SS prospect with the Angels.
Aaron (Long Beach): Does Oakland call up Nakajima soon?
Jason Cole: The reports I've gotten have all been very fringy.
nsmith3 (Dallas): Any props for the St. Ed's baseball team? Made it to the semifinals of the D2 World Series!
Along those lines, how is Stephen Johnson progressing? Nice K rate but looks to be walking too many folks. Same stuff as he showed last year on the Hilltop?
Jason Cole: Absolutely! I'm a St. Edward's guy. Really enjoyed being able to watch Stephen Johnson there. He's still showing elite velocity and the breaking ball flashes, but the command is inconsistent. That has led to flashes of dominance with some very rough outings in between. Interested to see what the Giants can do with him...and also congrats to St. Edward's 2B Taylor Johnson, who went 40th round to the Tigers!
jaymoff (Salem): Do Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazara appear to be living up to their international hype? Are they Top 100 types by the end of the season?
Jason Cole: Probably not top 100 types this year, but they have the potential to be down the line. Living up to the hype so far, for me.
adragone (Hoboken): Taylor Lindsey is scorching and now has a nice season line. Is he the Angels best prospect right now and who do you compare him to?
Jason Cole: I wouldn't write off Kaleb Cowart yet, despite the rough season so far. He just turned 21 about 10 days ago. Still very young and there's too much talent to write off. I'd still go Cowart on ceiling, but Lindsey is having a nice season.
tarcoal (Rome): Did you ever delve into why the Dutch Antilles produce so much talent? Is there a structural reason or is it luck? The current young generation is amazing! (Profar, Bogaerts, Schoop, Simmons, Gregorius)
Jason Cole: It's awesome. Feels like Curacao (and you can throw Aruba in there for Bogaerts) is the new San Pedro de Macoris. As for why, that may make for a good story and research later this season...
James (Toronto): No question JC, just wanted to say thanks for answering our questions. Cheers.
Jason Cole: No problem at all, I enjoy it. And I have about 100 questions unanswered right now, so sadly won't be able to get to all of them.
George (Arlington): Nick Willimas HighA promo coming soon?
Jason Cole: Maybe late in the season. But I wouldn't be shocked if they kept that position group together in Hickory pretty much all season.
Sam Hale (Mark Holtz Lake): Do you feel in the Texas system that the depth is spread out in an odd way? It's never a bad thing, but you've got some guys who are MLB ready(Profar, Perez, etc) and then the middle is a little soft while High A and below is stocked. How does that effect the short term of what Texas might want to be doing?
Jason Cole: It's definitely lacking in Triple-A and Double-A right now. There are the guys you mentioned (Profar, Perez, Olt), and then there's a big drop off until you get to High-A and below. The next wave is coming, but it's still a few years away. By far most of the Rangers' depth is at the lower levels right now, but as of last year, the majority of it was at the upper levels.
Shawn (Office): Which prospects have really broken out so far this year? Tyler Glasnow has to be one of them right?
Jason Cole: Yep. And Archie Bradley is one of the bigger ones. After showing good stuff but walking a ton of hitters last year, he has really refined everything and looks like the best pitching prospect in the minors right now. He's the big breakout guy for me.
Ben (LA): Ariel Ovando received the biggest international signing bonus from HOU a few (3?) years ago. He's really struggling at Quad Cities this year. Even though he is still young (19), should we call this one a miss already?
Jason Cole: Maybe too soon to completely write him off, but even last year the reports weren't all that glowing. They have a lot better in their system.
Rob (Alaska): With Bogaerts moving to AAA, I'm kind of curious: how do you see AA vs. AAA in terms of player development? Some teams promote guys straight from AA to the majors, and I was increasingly under the impression that AA was the final test for a prospect. While AAA is increasingly older and post-prospect or non-prospect oriented - where guys like Kevin Kouzmanoff end up, to pick just one example. I'd love to have your take. Sorry for the long-winded quasi-question.
Jason Cole: No problem at all. Every team seems to approach this differently, and I think many teams approach it differently depending upon the prospect. There's no doubt that Triple-A baseball is a step above Double-A baseball. But one factor you get in Triple-A is the clubhouses. While you're around older, more mature players, a lot of times they're guys who are just playing it out. You can get kind of a stale feeling around many Triple-A clubhouses, and that's not always the best thing for an up-and-coming prospect. Lots of older guys who are just kind of showing up to the ballpark and going through the motions. I know that's one thing some teams like to avoid subjecting their prospects to. It can become kind of a grind up there. In a lot of Triple-A clubhouses I've been around, you have a mixture of still hard-working veterans happy to help the team out, a mixture of players frustrated that they aren't in the majors, and a mixture of players who are just "eh, I'm in Triple-A and I'm playing it out here."
ylin42 (Chicago): Despite incredible strikeout rate, Rangers prospect Brinson has done much better job on walk rate and batting average recently. How do scouts see his approach now?
Jason Cole: It's a pull-happy approach and he sells out for power a little bit right now. But he's a plus makeup guy who works hard and has some aptitude. He's capable of making the adjustments, and it's good to see him improving as the season progresses. I would love to be able to hit the fast-forward button and see where these Hickory hitters stand developmentally this time next season.
tarcoal (Rome): If you had to pick one from Corbin, Cashner and Parker, long term, who would it be?
Jason Cole: At the risk of subjecting myself to recency bias, I'll go Corbin, Parker, Cashner. Part of me still wants to take Parker there though.
Jason Cole: After nearly three hours of chatting, I'm going to have to end it here. There are still about 100 questions in the queue, so my apologies if I wasn't able to get to your question. As always, it was a lot of fun. Let's do it again next month!