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Chat: Jason Cole

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday August 14, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jason Cole.

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Jason tells you what you want to know about prospects.

Jason Cole: Let's talk some baseball!

steve (Pittsburgh): Tell me something good and something bad about Eddie Butler? Would you bet on him being a starter long term?

Jason Cole: This is a good place to start, as I'll see Eddie Butler on Friday (plus Taijuan Walker tomorrow, so this is a pretty solid prospect week for me). The good on Eddie Butler: he'll flash three plus pitches including a plus-plus fastball with big life. It's nasty, nasty stuff. The bad: it's not 100 percent a starting pitcher. The delivery has some scouts thinking he may end up in the 'pen. But the good news on the back of that is that even if he does, it's closer-type stuff. The command is progressing, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he shows me on Friday.

padremurph (San Diego): Where you guys out in San Diego for the Perfect Game All American game? I caught a little BP on Sat and the first few innings on Sunday. Are you guys going to do a write up? Who were you most impressed with? Thoughts on Jacob Gatewood?

Jason Cole: I was not out there, but Jason Parks and Joe Hamrahi were. They are writing about it – look for it on the site tomorrow!

Bubba (STL): Kolten Wong at SS, just crazy enough that it might work?

Jason Cole: Yes. I don't see the Cardinals doing it, and Wong wouldn't be ideal as an everyday guy over there, but he can play some short in a pinch. While it's a below average arm, those instincts and quick feet would do okay at shortstop, I think. Not saying he'd be a gold glover or anything, but I think he'd hold his own or at least not kill you there.

chris (Vermont): How has Yordano Ventura looked in AAA so far? You think he will be given a chance to compete for a SP role next Spring?

Jason Cole: Reports I've gotten have been solid with obviously plus-plus (is there a plus-plus-plus?) velocity. Decent breaking ball and changeup and decent command. The Royals absolutely love him and seem to believe he's a starter. Time will tell whether or not he's a SP long term, but I think all that points to him getting a chance to win a SP job next spring.

izzy2112 (New York): How many hands does one need to count the pitching prospects better than Noah Syndergaard?

Jason Cole: I'm admittedly a huge Syndergaard fan, and probably more so than most others. But just one hand for me (so top five pitching prospect in the game).

GTM (Denton): Edwin Escobar anything more than a back end starter?

Jason Cole: Most likely not. Throws strikes with decent, though not great, stuff. Good get for the Giants back in spring training 2010. The Rangers wanted to hold on to Rule 5 pick Ben Snyder after he didn't make the opening-day roster, so they sent Escobar (who hadn't played above the complex league) to the Giants to retain Snyder. He's turning out nicely.

Brian (Cleveland): Do you like what you see in Esteban Yan? What do you see him doing in future years?

Jason Cole: No stats for Esteban Yan in the Mexican League this year. End of an era.

Nelson Cruz (Republica Dominica): My fantasy owners should be holding, or buying on me for 2014, true or false?

Jason Cole: Depends on what you're looking for. I don't think this suspension is going to do anything to Nelson Cruz as a player. I think the real Nelson Cruz is likely somewhere between his 2012 production (.260/.319/.460) and 2013 production (.269/.330/.511). So if you like that, buy. The suspension doesn't change anything for me.

Matt (West Chester): Do you prefer Appel or Gausman?

Jason Cole: Gausman for me.

Liam (Dallas): Is Lucas Giolito one of the top 3 pitching prospects in baseball a year from now?

Jason Cole: I'll say that no, he's not. Has that kind of potential, but coming off the injury and in his first full season ball, we may not see a total breakout until 2015.

mmcd (ottawa): Hi Jason. Shouldn't the Cubs have done better than C.J. Edwards and Leury Garcia for Garza? Since the Cubs braintrust knows what they're doing can you describe the ceilings of Edwards and Garcia. Thanks

Jason Cole: I...think you're confused. The Cubs got Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, and at least one (potentially two) PTBNL for Garza. That's one hell of a haul for less than half a season of Garza. Leury Garcia is a White Sox.

Fish72292 (New Hampshire): Who is your favorite starting pitcher prospect out of the group? (Most likely to stick at SP taken into account) Mike Foltynewicz, Tyler Glasnow, Eddie Butler, Aaron Sanchez, and Lucas Giolito?

Jason Cole: That's a tough list, especially since we're comparing upper-level pitchers (Folty and Butler) with complex-league pitchers (Giolito). I like all of those guys. I'd probably go Butler though, because we're talking ceiling + probability of big leagues with the Double-A guy. Highest ceiling of the group? Probably Giolito. Which makes it a tough one to answer.

Brad (San Diego): Who in the Padres system do you see as a potential number 1 ace going ahead towards the future?

Jason Cole: Don't see a future ace in the system, although they are loaded with impressive arms. Highest ceiling is probably LHP Max Fried.

Angry Mets Fan (Queens): Grrrrr Ike Davis....Can't we just put Wilmer Flores at 1B and watch him rake?

Jason Cole: Hey, Ike Davis is hitting .350/.530/.550 since the ASB! I don't think Davis is a superstar, but it's far too soon to give up on him, especially when we're talking about a bad Mets team. Flores has some talent with the bat and maybe a little more in the hit tool, but it's a little less power. I don't think he's a lock to be a better stick than Davis.

Sbarrow (Chicago): Has Gohara's prospect status diminished this year, or does he still have role 7 potential?

Jason Cole: I don't think his prospect status has diminished; he's still flashed the massive raw talent and, by the way, he turned 17 two weeks ago. The Mariners are understandably being extremely cautious with him. There are some questions (as there were coming into this season) about how he would hold up – he's got a huge body and throws extremely hard for his age. Hopefully he can stay healthy next season and get a little more experience in. But I don't think his status has diminished. The legit stuff has flashed.

K. (Frisco): Is Austin Hedges worth driving 3+ hours to see in San Antonio because he DH'd the last day of the Frisco series?

Jason Cole: He'll likely be back in San Antonio to open the 2014 season, so if you don't mind waiting awhile, you don't need to make that drive. But I'll be down in San Antonio for the Frisco series next week. Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler, Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas, Luke Jackson, and more. That's a fun series.

Frank (Boston): Xander Bogaerts just hit a three-run jack for Pawtucket. Why is he not doing this in Boston?

Jason Cole: I won't pretend to be tuned into the Red Sox front office, but I still think he gets up by the end of this month/start of September.

ttt (Manhattan): Thoughts on Raul Alcantara? Is this the step forward the A's wanted to see?

Jason Cole: It's an intriguing arm, and definitely a nice step forward in an A's system that really, really lacks depth right now. Most scouts I've spoken to on Alcantara this season believe it's a major league arm, but likely a reliever.

Matt (San Diego ): Higher ceiling: burch smith or keyvius sampson?

Jason Cole: I wrote up Smith very strong early in the season, when he was holding 92-96 mph and touching 98 and showing plus command. He's had trouble holding that same velo and staying on the mound since. So I'll go with Keyvius Sampson, although neither one is a surefire MLB starter. I'm really interested to see which Burch Smith shows up in spring training 2014 – the dominant early-season Smith of this year, or the MLB version that was sitting 89-92 mph by the third inning.

Matthew McConaughey (Uvalde, TX): Jason, love the coverage, alright, alright: How come you and Jason Parks don't include me in the Texas fan club? Am I not #wet or #rig?

Jason Cole: You're very #wet. And I love the Uvalde location.

Aaron (Chicago): Any thoughts on Wacha's move to the bullpen? Obviously the Cards still intend on him to be a SP long term, but between this and how they've handled Carlos Martinez's role, I've been a bit baffled by their decision making this season with their top pitching prospects.

Jason Cole: I don't see a problem with it. This isn't a Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain situation where the organization is sending mixed messages. These guys are going to be starters long term, but for now, their best benefit to the team is out of the 'pen. Wacha and Martinez aren't going to suddenly forget how to be starting pitchers because they came out of the bullpen a few times during the season. Either way, Wacha has shown massive stuff out of the bullpen, working 95-98 with big downhill plane and the wipeout changeup. He could be a serious difference maker down the stretch.

Or (Dallas): Has Rougned Odor become the Rangers' top prospect?

Jason Cole: I'll answer another couple more in-depth Odor questions soon, but he's probably #2 for me right now, behind Jorge Alfaro.

Alex (Anaheim): Did Betances just have a bad night yesterday? His AAA numbers were good.

Jason Cole: The command has always been a big issue, despite the good stuff. I didn't see last night's outing, though. I was planning on catching it on MLB.tv a little later today.

Armin (Salt Lake): Jackie Bradley or Joc Pederson?

Jason Cole: Oooh, good question. Give me JBJ by a hair.

MKPJ (Chicago): Get out your Crystal Ball: What does the Cubs rotation look like in 2016? Good enough to compete? Thanks Jason

Jason Cole: Something tells me most of those 2016 Cubs starting pitchers aren't even in the organization yet, so my crystal ball is of no use there! It's going to be interesting. I love what the Cubs are doing, and I love the system, but they're obviously going to need to piece together more top-end arms to go along with the plethora of impressive bats.

liltroy17 (Arlington ): Japhet Amador. When will someone rescue him from mexico? we need him!!

Jason Cole: Sorry, bro. I think your ship may have sailed. You're 26 and hitting .368/.419/.693 in Mexico City (36 HR, 121 RBI in 104 games!), but you're also 6'4" and about 330 pounds these days. I don't know what Amador's contract situation is like there, but I'd bet that Mexico City will want more money than is worth the risk for an MLB team to grab him. I hope he gets a shot someday though.

Alex (Houston): What's your take on Preston Tucker? Could he develop into an everyday Major Leaguer or 4th OF?

Jason Cole: Maybe second-division every day guy, but I think the Astros may have enough OF talent soon that he won't need to be forced into a role. I've yet to see him (hoping to get Corpus Christi one more time before the season ends), but the scouts I've spoken to like the swing and eye at the plate and think it's more doubles than HR at the end of the day. He's a fringy defender. Platoon type of bat that can have success in the right spot.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, Texas): So this Max Stassi guy is looking good. How good do you think he might end up at the Major League level?

Jason Cole: I think he's Houston's future backup to Jason Castro, and that's not a bad thing. Has an chance to be an everyday guy back there. Does okay with the bat, shows some pop, and does okay behind the plate.

William (Pensacola, FL): Thoughts on Andrew Heaney and what he can become ?

Jason Cole: The stuff has really ticked up this year, and he looks more than legit as the no. 9 overall pick in last year's draft as of right now. He's flown a bit under the radar this year but it's absolutely a guy to be excited about.

Jeff (Kansas City): I'm in a keeper league that includes a 12 player minor league roster for the future. I currently own Stetson Allie and Rafael De Paula, my question is would you drop either or both of them for any of the following players: Alex Dickerson, Franklin Barreto, Eddie Butler, Lucas Sims? Thanks for your help!

Jason Cole: I'd take all of those guys over Allie, and especially Butler and Sims.

AJ (Phoenix): Have you seen/heard any on Lucas Giolito? Surface stats would appear to show that stuff is there but the command (usually last to come back (along with velo)) has yet to return? Still the vaulted ceiling?

Jason Cole: Answer to the last question: yes, but it's not easy to accurately judge when a guy is just coming back like he is. I haven't heard anything too in-depth, but I did get an early report that said that he was already showing the serious velocity, and that's really all I needed to know at that point. His walk rate is down in the last few starts. Also keep in mind that this is basically Giolito's first actual pro experience, so there's also likely to be some growing pains there. But from everything I've heard, it has been positive and encouraging.

J. Baez (Kodak, TN): Why, in some circles, am I getting so much less love than Miguel Sano when we have fairly similar games? I understand he walks a bit more than I do, but I'm walking more lately and at least am still at shortstop. Are we really that different?

Jason Cole: I think you're getting quite a bit of love. You're a very, very good prospect, but your approach does leave some questions. It's still going to have to be tightened up to have sustained success at the upper levels. Sano's always going to have some whiff in his game, but the approach is better and he has impressed with the glove at third base.

Steve (Chicago): Do you see Marcell Ozuna beating out Yelich or Marisnick for a starting OF spot for the Marlins next year if Stanton is still around?

Jason Cole: Yes. Marisnick has excellent talent, but he's flat-out not ready. I understood Yelich, but the Marisnick call-up was a head scratcher to me.

Jim (Yellowstone): How many swings of the bat would it take Javier Baez to knock open my Spiderman pinata? Also, as far as Cubs prospects go, we hear much about Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler...how does Vogelbach fit into that group. Has his defense improved enough to warrant legitimate prospect status (beyond DH)?

Jason Cole: Just one swing. Baez does not get cheated. Vogelbach is behind those guys because of the defensive profile. I've heard he has improved a bit at first base, but it's never going to be ideal there. The bat makes him worth watching though, and he's definitely a prospect...just behind those guys you mentioned. Don't see him getting into that group.

Tex2045 (Augusta, Georgia): How much fun has it been for you seeing the steps forward Martin Perez has taken this year since you've covered him since he signed?

Jason Cole: Lots of fun. It's never been an issue of not caring. In fact, it's been the opposite. Perez often had a tendency to overthrow in the past, which would cause him to fly open in his delivery and led to side-to-side misses. Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman told me that they simply had Perez take a deep breath between big pitches, and that helped him slow the game down and relax. As a result, everything worked a lot better. Funny how simple things can be, sometimes. Either way, he's looking like at least a no. 3 starter. The stuff is taking a slight step forward, the command has mostly been strong, and he's looking more and more confident with each start. If the Rangers reach the postseason, he may have to be one of the four starters, given this week's news on Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis.

Mike (New York): Any insight into what's going on with Kolby Copeland this season? He's still on the restricted list after serving that 50-gamer for refusing a drug test this spring. And by the look of his Twitter feed (@KolbyCo9), it would appear as though he's not growing up anytime soon. Thanks dude.

Jason Cole: I don't have any update for you there. But I think I should start a service that teaches high school prospects how to be smart on Twitter. Area scouts all follow these guys on Twitter leading up to the draft, and they get impressions of the player through that. The vast majority of them are all about the high school drama, too. I don't think a lot of guys that age really stop to think about who's watching and evaluating their makeup in part by what they are saying on Twitter (in other words, what they're saying when they think nobody is watching).

Shawnykid23 (CT): Is Rymer Liriano going to get an opportunity to make the Padres next spring if healthy?

Jason Cole: Hard to see that as a possibility. I saw an update from MLB.com's Corey Brock a couple days ago that said Liriano wouldn't be back this season but might get some time in winterball. Either way, that's a long time off, and he's only played ~50 games in Double-A. If all goes well, he could be up at some point in the second half next season, but a lot needs to happen before we reach that point.

redguy12588 (Pittsburgh): Josh Bell is having a very underrated season considering he's coming off of a serious injury. 35 doubles, 11 homers. Top 100 prospect?

Jason Cole: Not sure about top 100 right now, but I do agree that it has been an underrated and fairly promising season.

psul34 (Boston): What do you make of Odor's future with Andrus, Profar,and Kinsler all seemingly blocking his path to the big leagues?

Jason Cole: I still think we may see Kinsler make a move to LF over the offseason and open up a spot for Profar at second base. The Rangers may have to get creative with Odor. My personal idea (and I think he could handle it) is a Martin Prado type of role. He has got a little more athleticism than Prado. But it'll be interesting to see how it's handled.

achaik (Maine): Michael Ynoa... happening? Not happening?

Jason Cole: Anybody's guess. The stuff flashes and he shows the potential that we all know he has, but it's very inconsistent from outing to outing and has been going back to last year. Still only 21 (he'll be 22 all of next season), and the important thing for me at this point is that the stuff flashes. This is really his first full healthy season in pro ball. Total wild card though.

Spirou (Montreal): When the season's over,Noah Syndergaard will climb up the charts like Zack Wheeler did.Right ?

Jason Cole: Already covered Syndergaard on here, but we ranked him #23 on our mid-season top 50 (and #28 coming into this season), so there's not much more room to move up. He'll climb though.

Kate (Texas): Thoughts on Luke Jackson?

Jason Cole: Very good arm. Lively fastball that he gets up to 96-97 mph in just about every start. Changeup has really taken a step forward. Curveball a slight step back but has flashed easily plus in the past. Having said that, I do think it's likely a reliever long term. He has trouble working down in the zone and there's definitely energy/effort to the delivery. There's a slight chance to start though.

Jay (San Rafael): Impressive 52 games from Yan Gomes so far. Can he keep this up?

Jason Cole: I don't think he's going to be a .300 hitter long term, but I've always liked the bat and pop. Good role player.

John (CT): Prospects Garin Cecchini of the Red Sox and Roughened Odor of the Rangers have similar skill sets. Which one do you think will have the better MLB career?

Jason Cole: I like both, but Odor for me.

Colin318 (Chicago): Do you see Mike Olt as the Cubs starting 3B in 2014? How about 2015?

Jason Cole: Ideally, yes. I still think Olt is an everyday guy (though more of a role 5 than role 6), and he's a solid defender at third base. I'm interested to see if getting out of this season, clearing his mind, and starting fresh in 2014 helps. He's better than he has shown this year.

eddiegaedel (LA): I seem to remember people being high on Junior Lake a couple years ago and now I am hearing to reserve excitement about him... What should we expect of him in the coming years in Chicago?

Jason Cole: He'll flash all the tools at you, and that makes him an exciting prospect. But he's had trouble putting them together with consistency and bringing them into full game utility. The lacking approach has been a factor in that, even though the bat speed is a lot of fun to watch. I agree with those who say tap the brakes a bit. However, there is raw talent and potential.

Kyle (Denver): Are you worried about Billy Hamilton at all? Is he just all speed at this point or is there still a good chance his bat develops?

Jason Cole: Still a chance the bat develops, but yeah, I am a little bit worried. He's a big-leaguer in some form regardless of his bat because of what he can bring with the speed and potential glove. And I think he'll hit more than he has shown this year, but there's a little worry for me.

Andy (Houston): I'd like to hear your latest prediction for George Springer. Will he be an impact hitter in MLB? An All-Star?

Jason Cole: I think an impact hitter in MLB and potential for some All-Star caliber seasons. There will be strikeouts, he may hit .250-.260, but there will also be home runs, some walks, and some stolen bases with good defense in center field. The strikeout rate really worries a lot of scouts, but I think everybody agrees that he's, at the very least, an average everyday guy in CF with lots of people seeing him as plus.

Josh G (Stockton, CA): When you saw the AZL Giants did you happen to see Jonah Arenado or John Riley? Did anyone outside of Arroyo/Jones/Mella leave a lasting impression on you?

Jason Cole: I got a very quick look at Riley, but that was it. I actually showed up that day because it was Mella's day to pitch. As luck (or bad luck) would have it, he had his start skipped to watch his innings. Arroyo had a very quiet game, but I did like Jones' swing. It was really more of a "let's see what these guys look like for one game" type deal. I'll get a closer look at instructs, no doubt.

Brian (LA): Any sleepers for the Texas Top 10 next season?

Jason Cole: Is Nick Williams still a sleeper? Natural feel to hit, good athlete, body is maturing and showing raw power. Hitting .302/.344/.569 in Low-A and turns 20 in September. No-doubt top five guy in the Rangers' system right now.

tsweber (Reno, NV): Jason, Rougned Odor has been raking since call up as youngest guy in AA, 1 Aug. SSS, but do you see this season as a breakout enough to get him into top 50? Will he get a cup of coffee next year?

Jason Cole: I'm hesitant to touch the top 50/100 projections since I haven't really sat down and thought about it. He's probably the no. 2 prospect in the Rangers' org for me right now, though, and he could see the majors at some point next season.

Kcroyals2012 (Omaha): What do you see in Jorge Bonifacio and Orlando Calixte? Calixte seems quietly impressive.

Jason Cole: I really haven't seen much of Bonifacio yet and sadly probably will completely miss NWA during the regular season. I should get a look at both during either advanced instructs or the Fall League. Saw Calixte and Wilmington last year and was intrigued. While he's not a top guy, he can flash a little with the glove and bat. Maybe utility future? There's talent though.

Mike (Columbus): Can Ryan Rua be an everyday player in the majors?

Jason Cole: Will get a closer, longer look this coming week. I've seen a lot of him in the past but just one game this year. I'm skeptical, though. Don't think it's an everyday guy at all, but interested to see if I think he has any sort of big-league future.

Gary (LA): How often are you on the road?

Jason Cole: Between July 5 and August 5, I was at home for two nights. Luckily I'm getting a nice little stretch at home here, aside from going out for some Round Rock and Texas League coverage through the end of the regular season. Jason Parks and I will be out at instructs in Arizona for at least two weeks. I'm already looking forward to that.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Thoughts on Kyle Crick? Does he have #2-3 potential? Are the Matt Cain comparisons legit or is it just because they are in same system.

Jason Cole: Just because they're in the same system. Crick does have that kind of potential, but they're really not all that similar as pitchers. Reminds me of how every Braves LHP prospect was compared to Tom Glavine for awhile.

Shawn (Cubicle): Do you see Will Middlebrooks as a Starter-caliber 3B?

Jason Cole: I do. Not a star, but solid.

dylanram (San Diego): What's your view on Reymund Fuentes, can he be an everyday CF?

Jason Cole: Don't think so. More of a solid reserve OF who can do a little with the glove, speed, and contribute some with the bat. The approach has been better this season and I've seen him play the game with more confidence in general. I really didn't like him last season, but I liked him a bit this year. I've also seen the occasional mental mistake or braindead play in San Antonio out of him.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you think Addison Russell can stick at SS long-term? Is he closer to 20 or 30 HR power?

Jason Cole: Can easily see plus raw power, so in that 25 range I think, and yes, has a nice chance to stick at shortstop.

J. Samardzija (Chicago, IL): Do I have a gear beyond what I've shown right now? Clearly I think I'm going to be a top-level starter, and the front office is backing me up on this, but at 28, the clock is ticking on me being much more than I am right now, isn't it? I know I don't have a ton of miles on my arm, but eventually just the aging process is going to catch up with me, right?

Jason Cole: You're right. I love you, but the clock is ticking and that sitting mid-90s velocity likely won't last forever. You've come a long way in the last couple years and I still see some improvement in there, but I think it's safe to say you're just a solid (but not frontline) starting pitcher with bat-missing stuff.

Dayton Moore (KC): I love me some UTIL IF, I just traded for another one today! Do you think this strategy will work though?

Jason Cole: You've had a promising season, and I still think the Royals have a decent future, but you're just 7.6 percent to reach the playoffs as of today, per the Baseball Prospectus postseason odds. It's not going to be easy considering you have 15 consecutive games against the Tigers, Indians, and Rangers in September.

Bob (Tampa): Is Hunter Harvey really this good???

Jason Cole: I wouldn't take too much away from complex-league performances, but yeah, he's got a legitimate arm.

Jamey (Dallas): Is Alexander Claudio the Rangers closer in 2015? Or is 2016 more realistic?

Jason Cole: Why not September 2013?

Sbarrow (Chicago): is Kaleb Cowart showing any signs of life? Do you think he can make the necessary adjusments to regain his high-6 potential?

Jason Cole: Haven't gotten a recent report on him. I got a quick look earlier this season, and he looked solid at third base but was really struggling to square the ball up. Yes, he's young (turned 21 in June), but there's no doubt it has been a disappointing season. I'll start asking around on him.

Freddie (New York): What's the latest on J.R. Graham? Will he pitch again this season?

Jason Cole: Last I heard, his shoulder was taking a long time to heal but wouldn't require surgery. I really loved him when I saw him in Mississippi earlier this season. He turned in probably the best pitching performance I've seen all season, flashing plus command and sitting mid-90s with big life. Not sure if he will pitch again this season though.

Scott7015 (Houston): Is Lewis Brinson more likely to get closer to his ceiling than Gallo? Do other tools make him a better prospect?

Jason Cole: Gallo is more likely to get closer to his ceiling. Brinson is a bit of a wild card because of the questions about contact/hit tool. Gallo has so much power that it can show even with all the swing and miss. Brinson has the more complete profile, though. He profiles as an easily plus defender in center on top of the bat speed/raw power/solid run.

cpernia (work): Thanks for the chat! Matt Wisler is the youngest pitcher in AA or above to have pitched at least 80 innings in the high minors, he has a plus fastball, a four pitch mix, he is only 20, as well as many other positives. Yet none of the main prospect sources gave him a mid season top-50 ranking. For you, why is he not considered a top-50 prospect, and what would he need to demonstrate (that he already hasn't) to make him a consensus top50 prospect?

Jason Cole: Wisler was right on the bubble of our top 50. I really like him. However, there is some legitimate question about the delivery, which is arm heavy and doesn't really incorporate much of the lower half. A lot of those guys tend to end up in the bullpen because of durability issues. I do think he's a starter, but that question definitely exists. I imagine he'll be right on the top 50 bubble this offseason as well. That'll be an interesting debate we have when constructing the list.

DS (LA): Thoughts on Tyler Skaggs? What do you see as his floor / ceiling?

Jason Cole: It's been a slightly disappointing season, no doubt. I think the floor is as a back-end rotation guy and the ceiling is as a mid-rotation (#3) guy. Still think there's a decent chance he gets to #3 status.

Shawn (Cubicle): Do you think Alex Wood gets a rotation spot next year in the ATL?

Jason Cole: A big part of it will depend on the Braves' need. I still think he's a little more likely to end up in the bullpen, but he has a better chance to start than I'd initially thought. He's going to be a very successful big leaguer either way, and already is really.

Mikey (Louisiana): Are you concerned about Jonathan SIngleton's struggles this year?

Jason Cole: I wrote about him in this week's Ten Pack. I'm not crazy concerned about the bat, because he still shows the tools there. He came back out of shape and the range at first base was way down from last year. I liked him at first last year, but it was fall-down range when I saw him in June. From what I've heard, he's dropped a little bit of weight since then. He'll need to continue getting back into shape this offseason, and if he does that, I don't have a ton of concern. Still think he hits at the end of the day, and that's what's important.

marjinwalker (Land of Make Believe): Welcome to the big leagues, Kevin Pillar. Shot to be a good regular?

Jason Cole: I haven't seen him personally, but a scout that I really trust says this: "Second-division regular. The kid has good instincts and has hit everywhere. Heck, he may be an everyday guy at some point."

Shawn (Philly): So you have touched on one of your top 5 pitching prospects (Syndergard)....Who else do you have?

Jason Cole: Top of my head, only guys who haven't pitched in the big leagues: Archie Bradley, Taijuan Walker, Syndergaard, Jameson Taillon, aaaaand...let's go Robert Stephenson. Disclaimer: not much thought went into that.

ThunderAce41 (OKC): What happened to Matt Purke? Such talent and now diminished velo with that delivery is hard to watch.

Jason Cole: Injuries kill. Just not the same guy he was out of high school or after his freshman season at TCU. Still a prospect to some extent, because he can pitch a little bit, but nowhere near as exciting as he was in the past.

Johny D (Mass): In a dynasty league, who would you rather own - Miguel Sano or Trevor Bauer? Can you talk about each of their upsides and when you expect to see them in the majors?? Thanks!

Jason Cole: Keep in mind that I don't play fantasy baseball, so I definitely don't know how to be good at it. But I'd take Sano. Sano has serious raw power and should produce big in that department at any level. I have serious questions about Bauer's command profile. To me, Bauer has a mid-rotation ceiling, but he's not going to reach that until the command improves. Sano's a safer bet.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Jason, I know they are extremely young & far away from the show but any thoughts on Tyler Glasnow, Luiz Gohara & Julio Urias? Are all 3 possibly role 7 pitchers as there ceilings?

Jason Cole: Like you said, they're all a long way away with serious risk (especially Gohara), but very good ceilings. Urias has been really exciting this year. Flirting mid-90s in every start from the left side with a feel for pitching and a very advanced changeup.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Are you higher, same, or lower on Kevin Gausman now, than at the start of the year?

Jason Cole: About the same (which is high).

TPX2 (Taiwan): What happened to Cody Buckel?

Jason Cole: Whether you want to call it the yips, the thing, or just flat-out losing control because of a mental issue, Buckel has it. It's not quite Ankiel bad, where balls are just flying to the backstop, but it's a mental block that's keeping him from locking into his delivery and throwing strikes. If he comes out of it, he'll be better for the experience. If not, his career will obviously be over. Still very young and the Rangers will give him at least a couple years to figure it out. But whether he can actually come out of it is anybody's guess.

Steve (Chicago): Thoughts on Kyle Zimmer? Could we see him in the Royals rotation in 2014?

Jason Cole: Saw him a few times in spring training and liked him a lot. Glad to see my suspicious being confirmed that he was better than he showed in High-A. It's a pure ceiling of a no. 2 starter, but I'd probably back up to more of a likely no. 3 future because the fastball does seem to be a little visible to hitters. Despite the elite velocity, guys tend to put decent wood on it a little too often. The curveball is near wipeout though, and his slider and change are both usable secondaries. Definite big league starting pitcher to me with a good delivery, solid command/control profile, and very good stuff. Should reach the majors at some point in 2014.

TPX2 (Taiwan): Do you see Alec Asher as a major league starter?

Jason Cole: Last answer should say "suspicions" and not "suspicious," obviously. On Asher, I see a major league quality arm with a chance to be a no. 4 starter or so. Big body with a decent delivery. Throws strikes and shows a plus fastball with okay secondaries.

Seth (SF): What are you hearing on Zach Lee?

Jason Cole: Good things. It's maybe not the totally dominant stuff that some thought we'd see in pro ball, but it's definitely good stuff with a very nice overall feel for pitching. I've somehow yet to see him in person. I really hope he gets to the Fall League for a bit or something so I can lay some eyes on him.

liltroy17 (arlington): favorite non baseball aspect of going to a game?

Jason Cole: Whether it be scouts, fans/readers, or people who work for the teams, I've made a lot of good friends by going to games over the years. Aside from that, I absolutely love instructs and the rookie Arizona League because it's just back-field baseball without cheesy promotions, a crowded stadium, music, or fans. It's just baseball. I guess that's not completely a non-baseball aspect, but if you're ever around Arizona or Florida during instructs or complex-league ball, I highly recommend going to check it out.

Bill (New Mexico): Any idea what Ryan Jackson did to get himself so deeply planted in Mike Matheny's doghouse? I mean, he's not going to be a star, but at this point, he'd be an upgrade on Pete Kozma, wouldn't he? Not that that's a very high bar...

Jason Cole: I agree and I've wondered the same! Jackson was stuck out in LF when I saw Memphis back in June, and that confused me as well.

Mike (Tampa): With Taylor Guerreri down with TJ, Hak-Ju Lee also hurt most of the year, who is now the new Rays number 1 prospect?

Jason Cole: Well, I will preface this by saying the graduations of Wil Myers and Chris Archer have been very positive this year. Odorizzi has contributed just a bit as well. But it's no doubt a system in transition right now with the graduations and now injuries. I'd have to think about it a little longer on the no. 1 prospect. Ryne Stanek wasn't exactly the model of consistency at Arkansas this past spring, but he can flash the pure stuff to at least be in that discussion once he gets going.

Jonah (Redwood): Rank if you will according to ceiling (high to low): Kevin Gausman, Carlos Martinez, Jameson Taillon.

Jason Cole: Hmm...Gausman, Martinez, Taillon.

Rick (NY): Is there any hope left that the Royals give Christian Colon a legit chance at 2B? Esp in light of the Carroll and Bonifacio acquisitions the past 2 days. Colon is hitting very well since the break and seems to be an in-house solution to the 2B hole they have.

Jason Cole: Colon is okay, but I don't really see an everyday guy there, and it's tough to make it as a utility guy who isn't going to provide you with a plus glove at shortstop and will just be "okay" with the bat. For the stretch drive, I understand the Royals wanting to go a little more veteran on the team. And although Colon is hitting well since the break, there isn't much thunder in the bat. The hit tool is okay, but I don't think the Royals are missing out on much upside by going with some more veteran guys in a playoff race. He'll probably get a look in the big leagues someday; it's just likely not anything to get too excited about.

Cal Guy (Cal): Jason, what is your ETA on Correa? He may be young, but we have seen that age has not held back some prospects who have shown they are ready for MLB.

Jason Cole: Not much reason for the Astros to rush him. I think 2016 is a good bet. 2014 in High-A, perhaps some of Double-A. 2015 at the upper levels. Up in 2016. Maybe he could beat that slightly. But not full-time until 2016, I'd think. Been a very good season for him. He doesn't turn 19 until September 22, and he's hitting .324/.406/.474 in Low-A. That's exciting.

Jason Cole: Alright, I think this is a good enough place to end it after about three hours of chatting. I'll try for another one in early September and we can look back on the 2013 minor league season. Thanks for all the questions, and my apologies if I couldn't get to yours!


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