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Chat: Jeff Moore

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday March 17, 2014 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jeff Moore.

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Talk prospects with Minor League Update man Jeff Moore.

Jeff Moore: Hello everyone, and Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope everyone in the northeast is staying safe and warm. I should probably leave that at that, but I'm a jerk, so I'll tell you that I'm nice and warm here sitting outside of this Starbucks about a mile from the beach. I'll make it up to you, though, with a nice, long chat with lots of questions. Anything's on the table today - beer, food, and even some baseball. Let's go!

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Jeff, Ripken Jr is the only player in MLB history to stand 6'4" and make at least 1000 plate appearances as an MLB SS. Will Correa be the next?

Jeff Moore: He's the best bet right now. 1000 plate appearances is about two seasons worth of full playing time. He should be able to stay at short longer than that, if not permanently.

David (Indiana): What do you think about Justin Nicolino?

Jeff Moore: Saw him in the FSL last year. I always like a good FB/CH congo but Nicolino doesn't have much of a ceiling. He needs to command his fastball better within the strike zone. Throws a ton of strikes but not good ones, and he got away with it in the big parks of the FSL. I thought he might get hit around a little in AA and he did. Nothing he can't fix and he'll be a ML starter, but more towards the back end.

cmoore44 (Columbia MO): What do you think of Jon Gray so far? Any doubts on the elite ceiling? I compare him to Bradley as a big RHP for some unknown reason but his slider appears nasty on video and his control appears better than Archie's. Thoughts? Up in 2014? Long time listener, first time caller here.

Jeff Moore: The Gray/Bradley comp isn't terrible, as both are big right-handers, but Gray's breaking ball is a slider whereas Bradley's is a big 'ol yakking curveball. I love Gray, and he's going to be very good. His change-up is very good as well, and is probably his worst pitch. I'd like to see him get a full season in the minors but don't expect it.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): If the Mets were offering Noah Syndergaard in a trade, what kind of player could they ask for?

Jeff Moore: I assume this is hypothetical because he is one of the least available players in all of baseball, but it would have to be another upper-upper echelon prospect with 6 years of team control remaining.

NatsGM (Bethesda MD): Who is your favorite "sleeper" prospect in the Nationals system? Pick one, Addison Russell or Francisco Lindor? Finally, what's your favorite restaurant in Delray? Thanks-

Jeff Moore: The Nats system isn't super exciting, but there are some dudes. I really like Zach Walters, though i dont know if he qualifies as a sleeper, and that's probably just because I love prospects who profile as super-utility guys (for no particular reason). I don't know if Walters can play every day but I think he can be a valuable guy on a roster because he can play all over, switch-hits and has some pop. I like valuable, versatile roster guys like that.

Lindor is so #smooth in the field it's ridiculous, but Russell has more upside with the bat because of his power. It's a toss up for which you prefer, but I like Russell a little since I've read some encouraging reports about his ability to stay at short. If that changes, I'll take Lindor all day.

Favorite restaurant in Delray is Park Tavern on Atlantic Ave. I've never had a bad meal there. In fact, I can see it from where I'm sitting right now.

Nick Williams (Surprise, AZ): =(

Jeff Moore: Sorry Nick, I forgot to include you in the Minor League Update last night. Can I blame it on St. Patrick's Day?

Silverback38 (VA): I saw your writeup of 3B Jhoan Urena this morning. I love newfound prospects. If you were to anticipate, what would be a best case Comp. for him and where do you think he will rank at the end of the year amongst all prospects?

Jeff Moore: It's so hard to put comps on guys that are this far away, but my first thought when I saw him was, "I wonder if this is what Pablo Sandoval would've looked like if had been in better shape." He's a bigger guy too but moves well with it, switch-hits and plays third base so that's about the best I could do for a guy so far away. Has to prove the hit tool is that good, but it's got a chance. Love the swing from the left side, waiting to see him face a lefty one of these days.

Silverback38 (VA): Raimel Tapia and Alexander Reyes came out of nowhere with a lot of hype this year. Who has the best chances of being their equivalent next year?

Jeff Moore: In today's scouting notes, I wrote up Marlins pitching prospect Jorgan Cavanerio. It's not too often that I see a guy I've never heard of and am wowed by his performance, but that's what happened with Cavanerio. He's already quite good and if he takes another step when he gets off the complex leagues, everyone will know about him.

Rob (Baltimore): Any thoughts on Carlos Rodon's slow start to the season? Just a month or two ago he was undoubtedly the #1 pick for this up coming draft, has this changed or are people jumping the gun?

Jeff Moore: I have exactly zero long-term concern for Rodon based on the past month, but given the other talent available this year, it might be just enough to keep him from going 1-1.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): Yordano Ventura. 5th starter. ROY? What kind of stats do you expect to see?

Jeff Moore: He'll be the 5th starter to start the season but if they have a playoff series, I'll bet he starts Game 2.

Vic (Baltimore): What are your thoughts on Urias?

Jeff Moore: The definition of #smooth. The best 17-year-old mechanics in the world? We need to be careful not to inflate his ceiling based on what he's doing at such a young age. You can't extrapolate pitchers like that. But what he's doing and the age at which he's doing it is nothing short of incredible.

Rob (Alaska): Hey, Jeff, thanks for the chat. I'm wondering - with all the love for Lindor's glove and leadership, and all the other big hitting prospects currently at SS, are we actually underselling Lindor's offense? I think he's going to have a more well-rounded offensive game than Andrus. Maybe better than Segura, too. Where do you come down?

Jeff Moore: He's a different player than Segura, and should be more patient at the plate. I agree that he'll be a better offensive player than Andrus. Think Andrus with more pop.

Al Harrington (Bucketsville NC): Where would Amed Rosario and Marcos Molina go in the Rule 4 draft if elligible?

Jeff Moore: Both would be 1st rounders and in the conversation among the better high school players in the country. I saw Rosario a few weeks ago and loved him. He's going to stick at shortstop and put together a mature round of BP. Looking forward to seeing him in some game action.

dtothew (Atlanta): Will Middlebrooks - call your shot. Also, eye of the tiger!!!

Jeff Moore: He is what he is. Low OBP, good power. On years he hits .270 he'll be an above-average offensive player. On years he hits .230, he won't be. Expect fluctuations from year to year, which are never fun in Boston.

Mustard (Kingston, Ontario): Where does Archie Bradley make the D-Backs rotation, or does Delgado have the inside track for the 5th rotation spot?

Jeff Moore: With every pitcher that gets hurt, Bradley's chances of making the rotation out of spring increase. Delgado probably gets the spot, however, because he's out of options and their bullpen is pretty well set. Bradley won't be down for long, though.

Ali ( Chicago): comparing the current group of Cubs hitting prospects to the former prospects of the Royals (Hosmer, Gordon, Moustakas), who would you or did you grade higher?

Jeff Moore: That's an interesting question. I like the Cubs group a little better because I think Baez and Bryant are both as good or better than any of the Royals trio. The lack of plate discipline for Moustakas always scared me. If you include Sal Perez and Wil Myers into the conversation, however, it becomes a different story.

Joey (St. Paul): Billy Hamilton has put up impressive numbers so far in spring training, especially when you look at this on base percentage. Small sample size and all, but his performance has to be encouraging, right?

Jeff Moore: Hamilton is in a classic "nothing in spring training matters unless it's bad" situation. Having success this spring doesn't really mean anything, but if he was batting .180 we'd all be panicked right? Still, it's better than he's doing well, isn't it?

Ralph (Montana): What kind of injury concerns should we hold over Oscar Taveras? He took a really long time to get back from the ankle injury, and then right when he came back he hurts his hamstring, as his body was probably compensating. Outfielders with leg issues scare me.

Jeff Moore: The thing that scared me more was that he was afraid to test it in a game long after the Cardinals doctors had cleared him. That's a mental thing. This thing has been lingering on long enough now that it's reason for at least a little big of concern. There is still no question about his talent, but we've gotta see him back on the field. His days of playing center field may be numbered too.

Jason (Kentucky): Nick Castellanos has absolutely been on fire this spring. What type of contribution do you think he makes this year for the Tigers?

Jeff Moore: I think he'll be a slightly above-average player overall, hitting better than most third basemen in the league but with slightly below average defense. Not expecting a ton of home run power just yet, but it'll come. He's going to rack up some doubles this year though.

Rob (Baltimore): What are your thoughts on Jonathan Schoop starting in the majors this year? Do you think this is temporary until Machado is back or he will be up for the long haul?

Jeff Moore: I think he's going to win their second base job, partly because he's good and partly because his competition for the spot is just so freaking terrible. He needs more time in the minors but probably won't get much of it. His ability to be a backup at SS and 3B are perhaps his most valuable assets. Another super utility type I like for that reason.

Don't envy you being in Baltimore in the snow, by the way. Lived downtown in Federal Hill during the back-to-back 30-inch storms we got in 2010 (?). Didn't move my car for almost two weeks. Luckily I could walk to Magerks.

Shawn (Cubicle): Does Kohl Stewart have #1 upside? ETA?

Jeff Moore: Yes, that's his ceiling, putting him alongside only a handful of prospects about whom you can accurately say that. He's still quite far away, though. In my ETA series I had him at 2017, but we're all just guessing at this point, really.

dastard (ON): any feel on the Rockies CF situation?

Jeff Moore: I feel like they shouldn't have traded Dexter Fowler.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Besides Giolito, who do you think could be some of the top pitching prospects in the minors at this time next year?

Jeff Moore: Stewart is going to jump up rankings as soon as he takes the mound. After that, Urias, Stephenson, and Harvey oculd all be in the mix.

Victor (Dumfries): Does Hunter Harvey have the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the lower levels?

Jeff Moore: Giolito has him beat, but Harvey's ceiling is up there. I talked to some scouts who said they didn't get the hype surrounding Harvey, but then the hype just keeps getting better and better. And when I say hype, I mean hard, factual reports flowing through the back channels here at BP that I trust very much. He's legit.

The Dude (Office): What kind of ceiling are we talking for Buxton? 30/50?

Jeff Moore: That is Troutian, isn't it? Yeah, it's within reach. Don't know for sure if he's a 30-homer guy, but 20/50 is certainly doable and actually quite realistic.

MarLo (CA): Does the move to OF from C basically kill Stryker Trahan as a fantasy prospect?

Jeff Moore: Yeah, pretty much. He's still a prospect because he will hit for some power and power is at a premium right now, but a move from the top to the bottom of the defensive spectrum (from C to LF) requires an awfully big bat to pull off.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you concur with the recent glowing reports on Albert Almora and Sean Manaea?

Jeff Moore: 100 percent yes.

Lodi (California): In a 20 team $260 cap dynasty league would you give up Gyorko at $5 for the rest of the year and you can extend him for as long as you want for $5 more each year for Gausman or Zimmer and Jorge Alfaro? If so which combination?

Jeff Moore: I have no idea how to answer this. I've never done an auction league. Consult the Bat Signal. Those guys know all the different fantasy formats. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22647

The Dude (Office): Who are a few prospects who could really break-out this year and be top 50 next year?

Jeff Moore: Every time I heard Jason Parks asked this question around the time the Top-101 came out, his answer was David Dahl of the Rockies. Literally, every time. I'd go with him.

Brian C. (Bronx): Does mason Williams become anything more than a fourth outfielder? Or is Garry Sanchez have any shot at sticking at C, and if not could he be a top bat at first?

Jeff Moore: I don't think he'll hit enough for first base. The Yankees have some time to ease him in behind the plate and I'll bet he and McCann split the catching/DH duties for the last few years of that contract. Williams may never hit enough to play every day.

Shawn (Cubicle): Based on what you saw as a prospect, do you think Martin Perez take another step forward in the bigs?

Jeff Moore: His pure ability was always a little better than the performance that went with it. He's always looked like he should be great but in reality was just good (which is fine, by the way). He's still just 22 though so sure, there's always another possible step left to take.

Vic (Baltimore): Carlos Rodon? Do you think he's more Gray or more Appel?

Jeff Moore: I don't like cross-handed comps. Lefties and righties are just so different.

oscarbluth (Madison, WI): Rodon and Hoffman seemed like near locks to go 1-2 this year, but both haven't played up to expectations. Where do you see them being drafted right now? I'd still bet on Rodon to the Astros, but have any of Kolek, Jackson, Gatewood Turner or Beede shown enough to knock Rodon from the top spot?

Jeff Moore: I think it's still far too soon to tell. If Rodon and Hoffmon shove it in April or in post-season, all of this will be forgotten. That said, I'll bet the Astros take a college pitcher of some sort.

mblthd (SF): thoughts on Mac Williamson?

Jeff Moore: For players with standout tools but questionable hit tools, Double-A is always the biggest test. We'll know a lot more this year.

chri521 (NY): Is Dee Gordon a better hitter than Billy Hamilton? Dee plays a more "premium" fantasy position so can he be more valuable?

Jeff Moore: No. Amazingly, Gordon actually has *less* power than Hamilton, hard as that is to do. Neither has any power, but Hamilton's speed translates into doubles and triples, while Gordon's hasn't. Sure he's bulked up, but I need to see it first. And Hamilton is faster. If Gordon wins the 2B job, he won't hold onto it for long.

Riley (Minnesota): Any thoughts on Jeff Hoffman's struggles this year? I remember Gerrit Cole was another guy that didn't dominate the way people expected in college, but obviously he figured things out. So I guess this is a two part question: your thoughts on Hoffman, and why some pitchers don't seem to put it all together until the majors.

Jeff Moore: Hoffman will be fine. I'll bet we've forgotten all about this by May. I'm still very much looking forward to him coming to town in late April.

As for pitchers, it's a tricky thing. Some guys are literally too good for the college game, in that their strengths don't really matter to college hitters. For instance, a pitcher with an upper-90's fastball and a good changeup actually does himself a disservice against most college hitters to throw them the changeup. It may be his best pitch, but college hitters can hit it when they can't hit 97. Good pitchers like Cole or Hoffman (I'm being hypothetical here) will throw their good stuff anyway but sometimes it ends up getting them hit. That's why Stephen Strasburg dominated in college. He had the changeup, but he rarely used it. It was just 99,98,99,100, big freaking curveball, strike three. Most pitchers don't do that, however. They throw what they have and sometimes it costs them, but they are better pitchers for it in the long run.

dastard (ON): Do you see Chris Owings coming away with the SS job in Ari?

Jeff Moore: If not on opening day then my Memorial day, yes. He's a better hitter and a good enough shortstop. Only reason he won't is because they want Didi to play every day and dont want to send him down. Owings is better though.

Joe (NY): Please rank for 2014 fantasy purposes: Alex Wood, Ventura, Bradley. Thanks!

Jeff Moore: Ventura, Wood, Bradley, unless Bradley makes the Diamondbacks rotation this spring. Then Ventura, Bradley, Wood.

Shawn (Office): Offensive ceiling for Manny Machado?

Jeff Moore: Do you realize that Machado was a below-average offensive player last year? 99 OPS+ That's shocking, given the big deal we made about all of his doubles, but that just goes to show you what an ultra-aggressive approach can do to pure talent. Machado has to get that under control a little, and it's why I would like to have seen him spend some more time in the minors. That ship has sailed now so he'll have to learn on the fly, which is awfully tough. He's still a very good player because of his defense and power potential for his position, but he's got to take a pitch every now and then or he's at risk of becoming a serial out-maker.

Vic (Baltimore): Franco went front the Phillies #8 prospect to its Top prospect in one year. Who might be 2015s Franco?

Jeff Moore: In the Phillies system? JP Crawford is the only healthy player with that kind of ceiling. He's already pretty highly ranked though.

Joe (NY): Apparently Skaggs is throwing mid-90s in the spring. How much do you think this news affects his prospects for this season and long-term? Where would you slot him in with that Ventura/Wood/Bradley group?

Jeff Moore: If he was healthy, it would be Ventura, Skaggs, Wood, Bradley or Ventura, Bradley, Skaggs Wood, depending on Bradley. But if he's actually hurt, hes going to have surgery is he not? That shuts him down for the year.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Will Jorge Alfaro hit enough to reach his ceiling (or close to it)?

Jeff Moore: If we knew if prospects would hit enough to reach their ceilings, none of this would be any fun. What we can say with some confidence, however, is that Alfaro has enough power potential to be an above-average bat behind the plate, regardless of whether he hits .230 or .280. The difference between those two is what will determine whether he becomes Jared Saltalamaccia or Brian McCann.

Rich (Maryland): Saw the post of Alexander Reyes earlier; how good can he be?

Jeff Moore: "Reyes has the highest ceiling of any arm on the Cardinals farm." That's a direct quote from our Cardinals top-10 from Parks about Reyes.

Joe (NY): I wasn't aware of Skaggs having any injury concerns, and I'm not seeing anything online... What are you referring to?

Jeff Moore: Shoot, I mixed him and Pat Corbin up. I've been doing that for years, ever since they were traded from the Angels to the Diamondbacks together. Thank you.

Mike (San Diago): Just want to clarify - are you saying Skaggs is hurt and likely to have surgery?

Jeff Moore: To clarify, I mixed up Skaggs and Pat Corbin, a mistake I make a lot. Skaggs is fine and in that park should be pretty good. I like him above Alex Wood in the previous question.

Michael (GA): Are you holding out hope for Aaron Hicks to put it together or is he a bench bat?

Jeff Moore: I think Hicks can still be fine. He was rushed last year and should have been in Triple-A. He also had some underwhelming years in the low minors early in his career. Unfortunately, he only has 2014 to turn it around before he's replaced by Byron Buxton.

higgsboson (guelph): Is Hembree now the closer in waiting in SF?

Jeff Moore: Yeah, he looks like he could handle the job soon. Should be nice bullpen piece for the Giants this year and helps lengthen their pen.

Getting a little dark and stormy here. Hmmmmmm......

Mike (Miami): better third base prospect. Jhoan Urena or Miguel Andujar?

Jeff Moore: Haven't seen Andujar in person yet and with the really young guys I like to see them for myself. I do really like Urena, though. Will make a point to see Andujar in the GCL this summer.

Joe (Chucktown): What are you thoughts on Puig this year? In a 12 team H2H 6x6 with OBP, I had him as a keeper in the 20th round. Just had our draft last night, and I can trade him for Heyward. Puig would cost an 18th rounder this next year. Heyward a 3rd rounder. Not too worried about keepers since we only keep 3. I am worried about Puig's regression and coming in out of shape. Make the move or am I overreacting?

Jeff Moore: Here's what I think about Puig and Heward. One of these years, Heyward is going to stay healthy and put it all together and everyone will wish they had him. Puig is going to come back to Earth slightly. I just don't know if anyone can hit .319 consistently with that approach, even with his natural ability to put the barrel on the ball. He's going to hit for power and he's going to run, howver, so even .280/.320/.480 with 25/25 HR/SB is a nice little player. I don't know anything about the rounds/keepers conundrum you talk about. I've never done a league like that and I'm not a fantasy expert. I's a prospect guy. I am in a multi-sport fantasy league, however, where I traded Matt Kemp this off-season for Jamal Charles who won me my football league, so there's that.

chri521 (NY): Kole Kalhoun going to put up the numbers that Adam Eaton was supposed to last year?

Jeff Moore: Ehh, different players. I'll bet Adam Eaton does though.

stein840 (Milwaukee): Dynasty league I am in need of some SP. I have Soler and Sano in the minors. What type of SP would you need in return to move one of these guys? Ventura, Bradley, Taillon, Syndergaard, Gausman, Cingrani. Looking for someone who may be able to help this year.

Jeff Moore: Any of those except Cingrani would work. Too much of a chance they end up sticking him in the pen at some point.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): In a dynasty league (16-keepers, keep forever) Appel or Jon Gray? Why?

Jeff Moore: I like Gray a little better as a pitcher, but from a fantasy standpoint, I don't like pitchers in Colorado until they prove they can pitch there. The altitude has screwed with more than a few good pitchers.

ewoudstra (SF Bay Area): Does Jaime Garcia come back in May and contribute in the Cardinals starting rotation?

Jeff Moore: If I was a betting man, I'd say no. It's been a while since he's been healthy and the Cardinals have plenty of other options. No need to rush him.

Oh wait, I am a betting man...

Michael (GA): Are you buying Andrew Heaney's hype?

Jeff Moore: Yep, sure am. And with it being the Marlins, he should be up by mid-summer.

Mitch (IA): Is there any reason to hold on to Medlen even in a deep dynasty?

Jeff Moore: Sure, pitchers have come back from second TJ's before. Depends on your roster setups, etc, but there no reason he can't come back and be an effective pitcher.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Who's your final 4?

Jeff Moore: Literally haven't watched one college basketball game this year that didn't include VCU in it.

Duke Montgomery (Colorado): Can you name a few prospects that have taken a step forward this spring?

Jeff Moore: Unfortunately, spring doesn't work that way. Only bad things happen in spring. We can't give any player, prospect or otherwise, credit for much of anything that happens in March. If anyone takes a step forward in spring, it's only because the person handing out that achievement hasn't seen them before or in a while.

Frank (Detroit): In China they say it's the Year of the Horse, but in Houston it's going to be the Year of the Peacock. Right?

Jeff Moore: This is getting weird.

Frank (Seattle): Dustin Ackley. This is the year he puts it all together, right?

Jeff Moore: It could be. Again, we can't base anything off of what he does this spring, but its better than him hitting .150 all March, right? There's something to be said for settling into a spot on the field and just worrying about hitting. It worked for Alex Gordon after his initial struggles when he moved to the outfield. Ackley was learning a new position while trying to get to the majors. Not easy. Maybe he just needed to be left alone to hit. Who knows.

Shawn (Office): Interesting to hear someone pump the breaks a little regarding Machado. Sounds like you are lower on him than almost everyone else I've read?

Jeff Moore: Yeah, I probably am. He wouldn't be the first extremely talented player who the league figured out and failed to adjust. I'm not saying he can't. He could adjust this year and take off and be among the best hitters in the game. He has the talent. But if he doesn't get a little more patience, the league will exploit his aggressiveness and he'll never hit enough to make up for it. Take a look at Juan Samuel's B-R page sometime...

R.A. Wagman (Markham): Jeff - have you had a chance to see any backfield action from the Blue Jays system? If so, anything catch your eye? Also, a more generic question. How many views do you want of a guy before you are comfortable making a scouting judgment? Thank you

Jeff Moore: Haven't gotten up to Dunedin just yet. Still working full-time until around April in addition to my BPro commitments so I only get to fields a few days a week until the busy season ends down here.

As for your second question, it's a good one. There are certain things you can tell right away. I saw Mets SS prospect Luis Guillorme take two ground balls and knew he was a plus fielder. One round of BP can tell me a lot about a hitter's swing. In-game at-bats, however, are another entity altogether. I need to see 5-10 at-bats before I can really get a feel for what a hitter can do, and preferably against different types of pitchers. If they're all against the same thing (all against FB/CH righties, for example), it may take more.

Chris (KC): The only starting pitcher to have two TJs and come back is Chris Capuano. The track record of two-TJ pitchers isn't exactly great, except for relievers. Just sayin'.

Jeff Moore: It is significantly better for relievers, but it's also a pretty small sample size, especially of guys that have already had major league success. It's a long road, for sure, but he's far from done. He's also far from pitching again.

Billy (Ocean): What are the three mechanical things you look for in pitchers? Hitters?

Jeff Moore: With pitchers, I look for arm speed and the ability to repeat his mechanics. I'm not a mechanics guru like some of the guys we have here, but what I do want to see is the ability to have the same mechanics every single time. We can't project injuries anyway so unless they're really bad, they don't concern me too much. If you can't repeat them, however, you can't throw strikes. You can do a lot of things wrong, as long as you do them every time.

For hitters, i want to see bat-speed and the ability to create backspin on the ball. You can refine the swing but you can't teach bat speed. Some guys have great swings but underwater bat speed. You can't help that guy. Backspin is what creates more power. When the ball has backspin off the bat, it carries. That's how small guys like Chase Utley hit for so much power. Bat speed and backspin.

dastard (ON): Any inkling on if JR Graham is bullpen bound or do the recent injuries impact that at all..?

Jeff Moore: Haven't heard the Braves say anything along the lines of them using him differently because of his injury. If he ends up in the bullpen, it'll be because of ability, not injury at this point.

Anybody had any green beer yet?

chri521 (NY): Hutchinson and Stroman surprising you at all this spring? Both going to make the roster or just hutch?

Jeff Moore: I doubt Stroman will. He had an outside shot entering the spring but has gotten hit around a little bit. I still love Stroman, but he's showing us what will happen to him if he doesn't keep the ball down. It's the plight of all short pitchers who can't generate good downward plane to the plate. If the fastball is left up, it's very hittable.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): With at least two well-heeled teams looking for SS, who else (beyond beyond Franklin and Gigi) is out there in AAA land that could be promoted? How realistic is it for NYY and DET to promote from within?

Jeff Moore: There isn't really anything available. In fact, it's rare that there are two young, team-controlled shortstops (though Franklin is really a 2B) available. There are plenty of guys floating around who can play short defensively, but few-to-none who can hit. That's why guys who can do both are so valuable. This is basically the reason Elvis Andrus just got paid so much money.

Silverback38 (VA): Lewis Thorpe. How are scouts raving about him already when he is so far away? Also, with him being so young and from Australia, has he even faced any competition to predict his ceiling?

Jeff Moore: Scouts can rave at any time if they've seen him in person. Predicting his ETA is a bit futile (believe me, I've tried) because he's so far away, but talent is talent. Even if it's seen in a bullpen next to a kangaroo, you can still see it and rave away. He hasn't faced a ton of high level competition, but he did play in the Australian Winter League this off-season about much older competition. That's something. He'll get off the complex and hit short-season ball this year.

Jeff Moore: Ok everyone, it's been fun. Thanks for all of the questions and everyone stay safe out there for St. Patrick's Day.


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