Talk prospects with Mark.
Mark Anderson: Hello everyone! I'm looking forward to doing a little prospect talk with all of you today. I have a couple of calls I will likely have to take throughout the afternoon, so there may be occasional pauses, but to make up for that I will do a little bonus chatting later tonight when I get home.
With that said, let the chatting begin!!!
Raymond (NY): Would you revise downward your expectations of Profar based on his injury?
Mark Anderson: I'm not prepared to do that quite yet. I still think he is a potential superstar caliber player and one that can be a face of the franchise type talent. Until he gets back on the field and demonstrates that he is somehow a markedly different player post-injury, then I'm holding on his projection.
Rick (Detroit): What kind of prospect package would a pitcher like Rick Porcello net the tigers in a trade today?
Mark Anderson: I've been driving the train that says Porcello is criminally underrated by Tigers fans for the last few years. He's not flashy and he has not reached the lofty expectations established for him during his minor league career, but he is a quality arm that logs plenty of innings and typically performs to a roughly league average level. That is an incredibly valuable asset.
That said, that asset is incredibly valuable to the team that posseses him, not necessarily on the trade market at mid-season. I think the Tigers could get a solid package for him, but nothing overwhelming and certainly nothing that would necessitate them dropping everything to work out the deal tomorrow.
flashtheleather (Over the wall): Which pitchers do you see rising into the top 20 by the end of the season?
Mark Anderson: He doesn't need to move far, but Hunter Harvey could cement himself as a Top 20 prospect by the end of this season. He was awfully close in our discussions leading up to the revised Top 50 release.
I also believe you could see another jump from someone like AJ Cole, and with a rebound in the second half, Mark Appel could re-assert himself as a top prospect without much trouble.
Jay (PHX): He's not exactly young, and his delivery is, well, unorthodox, but Matthew Bowman a.k.a. Princecum keeps chugging along up the ranks of the Mets organization. What's the BP take on him right now? Can he stick in a rotation?
(Side question: Is "Princecum" the worst nickname in the minor leagues?)
Mark Anderson: I saw Bowman with Binghamton earlier this year and wasn't terribly enamored with him. I don't see the raw stuff holding up at the Major League level. In the start I saw, he got by more on mixing his arsenal and locating, rather than pure stuff, and it didn't help that he was facing a pretty poor lineup. I think he's a reliever at the highest level, and not an impact or high leverage one at that.
And yes, that nickname is quite terrible for a variety of reasons.
Steve (Philly ): Which areas and leagues do you tend to scout, so we can ask about the prospects you've seen firsthand?
Mark Anderson: Over the course of the year, I tend to scout all over the country. As a percentage of my games, teams in New England tend to represent a higher number than elsewhere. I typically hit quite a few games in New Hampshire, Pawtucket, Portland, Lowell and Connecticut. When my "real job" takes me elsewhere in the country, I catch games in those areas, and then I generally take a trip in spring training and the fall to do some back fields scouting.
GrinnellSteve (Grinnell): How do you see the Brady Aiken situation shaking out?
Mark Anderson: In the end, even the reduced bonus the Astros are reportedly seeking will likely be a significant enough sum that it would be nearly foolish for Aiken to turn it down. I think you'll see a reduced bonus and Aiken signing at the deadline.
Jim (St Paul): Where would you rank Nick Gordon among Twins prospects right now? Do you see him as a fast mover, or will the Twins take their usual slow approach with him?
Mark Anderson: I don't see the Twins altering their typical developmental strategies for Gordon. He's a really nice player and one of their top prospects right out of the gate, but I don't think you'll see him forcing an accelerated timeline like Buxton has done.
As far as where he ranks in the system, I'd put him in the 5-6 range behind Buxton, Meyer, Sano, and Stewart. At least initially, and because I'm a fan of Berrios, I would be more inclined to place him 6th.
Frank (Chicago): Are you a believer in Carlos Rodon?
Mark Anderson: Very much so. I think he's going to be a front-of-the-rotation horse for a very long time.
Paul (Denver): Are you concerned about Eddie Butler's health? Where would you put him on the midseason top 50 if he were eligible?
Mark Anderson: Any time a pitcher's shoulder is involved during a trip to the disabled list, I'm concerned. Butler still likely would have rated highly for me, probably still in the Top 30 range even with the questions about his shoulder.
Bob (Raleigh): Nick Williams has a .865 OPS so far this year. Do you see a promotion in his near future, and what are your thoughts on his MLB future?
Mark Anderson: I'm not sure a promotion makes a ton of sense this year. Williams is performing well, but there are still a ton of things he needs to work on in his game, and when you're already three years younger than the average age of your entire league, this might be the appropriate level for him to endure that developmental work.
Jim (Kansas): How would you rank Kevin Plawecki, Blake Swihart, Jorge Alfaro, and Kyle Schwarber offensively? Also, Who on that list should be starting by this time next season? Cheers
Mark Anderson: In terms of ceiling, I think Alfaro has the highest overall offensive ceiling of that group, followed by Schwarber, Swihart and Plawecki. That said, Alfaro also comes with arguably the greatest risk in his offensive profile, so that has to be taken into account as well. I'm a pretty big believer in Alfaro, so I tend to think even if he doesn't reach his ceiling, he is still going to be an impactful offensive player.
I'm not sure any of these four guys are good bets to be starting in the Major Leagues by this time next year. Swihart and Plawecki would be the most likely bets, but I wouldn't put money on either one at this point in time.
howling wolf (Bethesda MD): Do you think there's a good chance Mookie Betts gets moved back to the IF next year? Drew is a one year rental and obviously not doing so well.
Mark Anderson: It's possible that the Red Sox decide to make a move like that, but I'm not sure where he plays. I don't like the defensive profile for Betts at shortstop and I don't see Boston moving Pedroia to another position or out of town. That leaves third base and I'm not sure they'd be eager to make that move with other options there, including possibly Bogaerts if they go another direction at shortstop. Betts may be in the outfield for the forseeable future.
DR70095 (Raleigh): Jorge Soler has hit everywhere he has been and he is obviously a physical specimen. Can I ask why he is not a top 50 prospect? I understand the injury concerns but also Buxton, Correia, and Russell have missed significant time this year. I think a big part of the reason he misses so much time is the Cubs being overly cautious.
Mark Anderson: As you noted there are injury concerns with Soler, as well as with players like Buxton, Correa and Russell. What those other three players lack are the makeup concerns that are all too frequently associated with Soler. On top of that, the other three play premium, up the middle positions, while Soler is a corner guy with a more difficult profile.
Alex (Anaheim): Do the Cubs have the #1 system now?
Mark Anderson: Any gap that existed between the Twins and Cubs entering the season has to at least be closer, right? The Cubs collection of position player prospects is otherworldly, and the injuries to Buxton and Sano may pull them back from a healthy lead, but I still tend to like the balance on display with Meyer (who has taken additional steps forward), Stewart, and Berrios; three arms the Cubs can't match. It is much closer than it was entering the year though, and we're just splitting hairs at this point.
ryan (colorado): With Beltre signed through '15 (option in '16) what does the Joey Gallo timeline look like? Do the Rangers move him to 1B next year with Prince going to DH or put him in a COF spot?
Mark Anderson: Well, the Rangers did just begin giving Gallo time at first base in Double-A, so we may be looking at the first hint that his timetable has accelerated enough that they are looking at other options. With the questions surrounding Prince Fielder going forward, it may be easiest to slide him into first base in the short term. I wouldn't rule out his arrival around mid-season next year.
Jim (Kansas): With Nolasco's injury and Yohan Pino's 15 minutes almost up, do you see Trevor May and Alex Meyer making their debuts soon? What can we expect from them?
Mark Anderson: I think both will be up in Minnesota in the second half of the season. I've always been much higher on Meyer than I have May. To me, Meyer has always been a starter and a quality 2/3 starter at that. I've never been that enamored with May's long term outlook, and never saw the high-end arm that some did. To me, he's more of a #4 starter; still valuable but not nearly as impressive as some would lead you to believe.
childgrambino (Richmond, VA): Do you see Jorge Alfaro as a potential first-division or all-star player?
Mark Anderson: I think Alfaro is going to eventually blossom into one of the best catchers in the game today. He's going to take time, particularly when he first faces the challenges of the upper minor league levels and the Major Leagues, but his talent is so compelling that I think it ultimately comes together.
Joe (Chucktown): Have a prospect fantasy question. Guy offered me Taveras, Springer, and Polanco for Josh Donaldson and Bryant. Do I have to take this even though I don't need all those OF's and it leaves me somewhat depleted at 3B? 10 team H2H dynasty. Building for the next year.
Mark Anderson: I'm not the best guy for fantasy questions, but I would be inclined to take it. If nothing else you're compiled assets that you can move at a later date.
Sean (My Moms Basement): Any thoughts on Ken Giles? He can really sling it but until recently the only ones shaking in the boots were the Team Mascots, ala Bull Durham.
Mark Anderson: It is impossible to ignore the arm strength and the potential impact at the end of games that he could provide, but I'm still skeptical of his ability to throw strikes and ultimately locate his arsenal. I do think some of his recent improvements are real, and I believe enough of the improvements are real to allow him to be effective at the MLB level. How much sticks going forward will determine whether he ends up a 6th/7th inning arm or a potential setup man or closer.
Scott (Lincolnshire): Infield left to right of Baez, Russell, Castro, Rizzo. Outfield of Bryant, Almora, Soler. I am still missing Alcantara, Schwarber, McKinney and others. How sexy is that projected lineup?!?!?
Mark Anderson: I'm not sure sexy is sufficient to describe that lineup if it were to fulfill potential and come to fruition (mind you, that's a tall task even with as advanced as some of these prospects are). I do believe Alcantara forces his way into the lineup, even if it means the Cubs end up parting ways with Castro.
scott (az): Starting to hear a lot a buzz about Steven Matz, sp, Mets. Would could you tell me about him?
Mark Anderson: I haven't seen Matz yet this year but I have heard very good things from industry sources and others on our BP staff. With potential for three average to above-average pitches, Matz has mid-rotation potential if he can continue building on his progress to date. Here's a link to Jeff Moore's recent scouting report on Matz - http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=72
Hoser (Bob n Doug's Kitchen): With Aaron Sanchez's control issues and possible move to the bullpen, is it safe to say Daniel Norris and Sean Nolin are the best in house starter prospects? When do you project they get their chances, eh?
Mark Anderson: I'm not prepared to say Sanchez is destined for the bulllpen in any way. Even as much as I question the projection of his control/command, I still think he can succeed in the Major Leagues as a starter. He may end up more of a #3 than a #2 that his raw stuff suggests he should become, but that's still a damn valuable rotation piece. I still consider Sanchez the best starting pitching prospects in the Blue Jays organization and the gap between Sanchez and Norris/Nolin is considerable for me.
sneakyjay (Queens): Is it crazy to view Matt Adams as a legit power source in yrs to come, taking into account possibility of current "overperformance" and playing time concerns? Wondering how playing time might shake out in the taveras/Craig/Adams situation. Which two would you keep in a standard 5x5 dynasty league and which one would you shop?
Mark Anderson: Like I said earlier, I'm not the right guy for fantasy-related questions. Taveras has the highest ceiling among that group, and it would be hard for me to go another direction.
DJ (Detroit): Thanks for the chat!! What's your evaluation of Nick Castellanos at this point in the season??
Mark Anderson: Castellanos has been just about what I expected at this point. The defense at third base has been hit or miss and generally below-average in my opinion. The offense has had swoons, but he has demonstrated an ability to make adjustments and develop as a hitter. The power is still evolving, and will continue to evolve as his approach matures. I still think he's a borderline All-Star caliber player at his peek and nothing that's happened this season has caused me to shift off that opinion.
Billy (Arlington): Is a Rougned Odor the front runner at this point for the Rangers second base job in 2015??
Mark Anderson: Odor has handled his jump to the big leagues much better than I anticipated this year. Whether he is the front runner or not depends largely on what happens with the rest of the infield, including the recovery of Jurickson Profar. If Profar is healthy and performing at expected levels, Odor can't match that and any apparent grip on that job would have to be tenuous at best.
Matt (Cambridge): Speaking of A.J. Cole, how convinced are you that he ends up a starter in the short term? I mean he has a dynamite fastball and plus control/command, but the lack of quality secondary stuff seems concerning. Any chance he ends up in the pen given the glut of SP in Washington and is told to throw hard and pound the zone out of the pen?
Mark Anderson: I still think Cole is a starter long term, but the Nationals will likely have an opportunity to try and alternative developmental track with him if they so choose. He could succeed in an MLB bullpen right now, but given his long-term potential, I would be inclined to wait on such a move. One significant injury in that rotation and he suddenly looks like an intriguing back-end starter with considerable upside beyond that as he completes his development.
Dylan (Boston): Why do we see so little scouting stuff on players in the major leagues? It would sure be nice to hear from scouts on why Eric Hosmer has been awful or why Garrett Richards has finally become the guy we thought he was. But I feel like scouts stop caring about guys once they make it yo the majors
Mark Anderson: It is not so much that scouts stop caring, but rather they have a different role once players get to the Major Leagues. Advance scouting is a completely different animal from minor league scouting. With advance scouting you're looking for the tendancies, holes and ways to exploit opposing players. It wouldn't be very beneficial to the organizations to broadcast that type of information, and while media types that talk to advance scouts may have this information, it is not as readily or easily shared. The different motives of the two scouting circles drives information disemination more than a lack of caring.
Brett (Denver): You are a pitcher and the Colorado Rockies are calling...do you answer?
Mark Anderson: Yes. Regardless of ballpark impacts, developmental/injury history, or anything else you want to throw out there, this is still a business, and if the Rockies are offering the best business opportunity (read, money), then you have to at least listen.
Hank (Detroit): Why are you so down on Steven Moya?
Mark Anderson: I don't think anyone has ever accused me of being down on Moya. During the debates on the Tigers Top 10 entering this season, I advocated for him to be rated higher than he ultimately was. I also currently believe Moya is in the midst of making a pretty big jump as a prospect. The approach is still rough, but he's doing some things that demonstrate some learning and an understanding of what he needs to do. His approach will never be good, but I am seeing enough improvement that the hit tool could play to .250, and even with the swing and miss, that may allow enough of his immense raw power to play for him to be a regular. I'm probably the high man on Moya on the BP Prospect Team, and my view of him is that his likely role projects out to a solid regular in LF/RF. If that means I'm down on him, then I'm really "down" on a lot of prospects.
tomshipley75 (Chicago): Are the Cubs buyers are sellers this time next year?
Mark Anderson: I think you're looking at marginal sellers. Next year is probably too early for them to start buying to win. I think that time comes in 2016. They won't have a ton of significant pieces to sell outside of a few guys, so they'll be in the mix at the trade deadline, but I don't think they will be a primary player.
scott (az): Could you please compare Dalton Pompay to Lewis Brinson? Who has the highest upside and the lowest floor?
Mark Anderson: Brinson may have both the highest upside and lowest floor. He could be a star caliber player and he could never make it out of Double-A. Pompey has some flaws and some rawness in his game, but he is far closer to realizing his potential when compared to Brinson. Both are toolsy, very talented players, and I like them both, but I think Pompey ends up the better player long term.
Joe (Chucktown): Think Mike Minor turns it around? Peripherals all look pretty much the same as last year. What was he projected to be when he was coming up through the minors?
Mark Anderson: I'm not too worried about Minor at this point. He's a quality pitcher that has good feel for his craft and will ultimately figure it out. I always pegged him as a #3 starter and I still think he settles in that range for quite some time.
Brad (Glendale): Thoughts on Ryan McMahon? Future stud?
Mark Anderson: I admit, McMahon surprised me a bit this year. I had plenty of amateur guys that liked him in conversations prior to his draft, but I never had the impression he would have this much success, this fast. He's put on quite the show so far and while I have yet to see him this year, I'm not hearing a lot of glaring weaknesses coming out of multiple reports on him throughout the first half. It's an impressive profile that gives the Rockies three (along with Tapia and Dahl) really talented position players on the way.
Daniel (KY): When do you think Stephenson will make it to the big leagues, and give me more reasons to get excited (in addition to his rise in the BP50. I'm greedy.
Mark Anderson: I saw Stephenson earlier this year and really liked the total package; seeing a pretty strong #3 projection with a possibility he gets a little higher than that. The overall consistency and the control/command need to continue coming along, and I believe they will as he matures, but he is an impressive prospect. With the development he has remaining, I wouldn't plan on seeing him in Cincinnati until sometime next summer.
Scott (CT): Very curious about Rowan Wick. Is the power for real, or is this just a case of an early season hot streak?
Mark Anderson: I'm looking forward to seeing Wick this summer in the NYPL -- assuming he sticks around long enough for that to happen. His raw power is certainly real and he's found a way to tap into it during the first couple weeks of this season, but the couple of scouts I have spoken to so far this summer still question whether the hit tool will ultimately play to such a level that he can find this type of power consistently. Like I said, I'm curious to lay eyes on him and formulate my own opinion.
Jake (Boston): So according to Billy Beane in today WSJ, I need an ivy league degree to get into baseball. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/billy-beane-on-the-future-of-sports-a-tech-driven-revolution-1404762964)
What do you think the future of scouts will be?
Mark Anderson: I don't believe the future of scouts is all that different than the present. There is still going to be a need for guys with the scouting skill set in the game, regardless of how tech driven the industry becomes, or how hyper-intelligent front offices continue to become. There may be more of a need for scouts to be able to do a variety of things, but the ultimate skill set of laying eyes on a player and making evaluations/projections will always be an important part of the game. I don't discount what Beane is suggesting in the article, but I also wouldn't make the leap that such a trend in front offices means the death of the scout.
John (CT): When the dust has settled in three years, who is #1, 2 and 3 on the Orioles starting pitching staff?
Mark Anderson: Gausman, Bundy, Harvey, in that order, though I don't think there will be a considerable gap between any of them. All three are monsters.
Mark (Brooklyn): Are you a big Matt Reynolds fan?
Mark Anderson: I saw Reynolds earlier this year for a three-game set and came away with a modest opinion of him. He's not a shortstop for me when (if) he gets to the highest level. I just don't see the lack of speed/range working at the position. He can handle second base defensively and looked solid there when I saw him play the position. He can hit some but there is no power and relatively minimal secondary traits to the offensive game. It's a second division profile at best in my opinion.
Chris (Baltimore): I don't understand why Michael A. Taylor isn't getting more love. He has hit for average (.330) and power (18 HR) and has 27 stolen bases. And he is considered a potentially elite defensive center fielder. I know that he strikes out a lot, but seriously, what more does the guy need to do?!
Mark Anderson: I've seen Taylor at several stops along his developmental path, and I think he's getting exactly the type of love he deserves. He does have power and speed and he's hitting for average (for now), but the approach at the plate is very rough and there is a ton of swing and miss in the game; always has been and it's been just as bad in Double-A this year. I could see a Chris Young type of career arc, which makes him a useful player, but not a guy that should be hyped to the heavens while moving through the minor leagues.
Dylan (Boston): Is Bryce Harper simply going to end up like Stanton with a bit less power and a bit more speed complete with injury concerns? Not like that is a bad player or anything...
Mark Anderson: You mean like Stanton this year, complete with a .305/.402/.559 slash and on pace for 35+ bombs? Is that all Bryce Harper is going to end up being? That's a ridiculous player, and that's still what Bryce Harper is capable of. The guy is still just the rough equivalent of a college junior, playing his third full season in the Major Leagues. As my Grandmother used to say...."Patience is a virtue."
Mike (Chicago): The Cubs have now signed all of their top 22 picks. Are the high school arms they signed good enough to offset maybe taking Kyle Schwarber a little higher than most rated him and signing him below slot a bit?
Mark Anderson: I think it was a good gamble to take. It's not like they didn't get an MLB caliber bat with Schwarber, and with a dire need for arms coming through the system, it can't hurt to spread out your resources and see if you hit on one of these high ceiling prep guys. It's not a bad strategy in a deep draft that saw guys with high-round stuff fall to later rounds because of the glut of overall talent.
Guy (Place): Who do you think will be better long term, Buxton or Harper?
Mark Anderson: This is a fascinating question. Slightly different skill sets, but both immensely talented. For as talented as Buxton as, and as impressed with him as I have been in my viewings, I'm still partial to Harper over the long haul. His ceiling is off the charts.
Sam (LA): Does Bumgarner have mid-rotation starter stuff that plays up with command or his stuff much better than it looks at first glance?
Mark Anderson: It sounds like a cop out, but the answer is legitimately both. It can take some time for his raw stuff to truly jump off the page at you, but after you watch him closely, it really does. On top of that, he commands it all really well, and it plays up even beyond the expected level. Very special pitcher that can get it done with raw stuff when he doesn't have his sharpest command, and can locate you to death when he doesn't have his top-shelf stuff.
scott (az): Better Texas pitcher: Chi Chi or Luke Jackson?
Mark Anderson: I'll take Chi Chi going forward. I think he's more likely to settle into a consistent mid-rotation arm.
NightmareRec0n (Boston): If you are the Royals, do you give up on Bubba Starling? Do you try him on the mound? Send him to play football?
Mark Anderson: Given the investment, I think it is still too early to seriously considering doing anything with him but continuing to let him play and develop. With talented athletes like Starling, the light bulb can go off tomorrow, sometime four years from now, or not at all. He'll get chance after chance to figure it out with the Royals, and when they decide they're done trying, he'll probably get multiple chances with other organizations.
Tupac (???): Gun to your head - pick 1 for the better career: David Dahl or Tapia?
Mark Anderson: I'll take Dahl; up-the-middle defender and more power potential.
Frank (MD): Dylan Bundy has been 90-94 since coming back from Tommy John. Is his velocity where you would expect it to be for a pitcher just over 12 months post-op?
Mark Anderson: I have no problem with what I'm hearing coming out of his first starts back. While it is generally assumed that velo comes back first with all pitchers recovering from TJ surgery, there's not hard and fast rules in the process. For Bundy, the recovery process may be slightly different. At this point, I'm not worried and frankly, I won't be worried about his velocity even if it settles into the 92-94 range, given the rest of his arsenal.
Jonathan (Syracuse, NY): Is Jen-Ho Tseng a Top 100 prospect at this point? With all the talk recently of Cubs' hitting prospects, is sure seems like Tseng is a forgotten man.
Mark Anderson: I certainly liked what I saw from him this spring, and I've heard good things out of the Midwest League this year, but he's not a Top 100 guy for me yet, and I don't anticipate he will seriously enter the conversation this winter.
Nick (New Britain CT): Jose Berrios makes his debut in AA tomorrow. What are your thoughts on him? One other prominent analyst isn't that high on him because of a lack of downward plane, iffy arm action, etc.
Mark Anderson: I really like what Berrios brings to the table, and I think some of the perceived warts have been blown out of proportion to date. I haven't had a huge issue with the arm action in the past, though I'm anxious to get another look at him in Double-A. I think he has enough life on his fastball to compensate for any lack of plane, and the fastball will still work as a really strong offering. All told, I think he's one of the better pitching prospects in the game and the larger concerns for me center on him demonstrating his ability to handle the workload over the course of a full season.
Jack (FLA): Have you heard anyone opine that Tyler Kolek might ultimately end up as a shut down late inning reliever?
Mark Anderson: Not with any seriousness. Any time you're dealing with a high-powered, raw high school arm, the idea of being a late inning reliever comes up, but nobody I have spoken with has suggested this as a likely outcome for Kolek. It's way too early in his development to be talking like that with any level of seriousness.
msloftus (Virginia): Allen Webster has posted great numbers at triple A this year. Is he finally putting it all together?
Mark Anderson: I'm not there on the "putting it all together" comment yet. I've seen a couple of starts and he still looks more like an inconsistent 4th starter than a future horse in Boston. The delivery still lacks consistency, and while he fights through it frequently, it prevents him from cruising through lineups for long stretches. I still think he ends up more of an enigmatic MLB starter than a consistent cog.
Bryan (Sacramento): What is Renato Nunez' ceiling? Is the power a byproduct of the Cal League, or is it legit?
Mark Anderson: The power is certainly real and has always been his calling card. That doesn't mean the Cal League isn't augmenting it a bit right now, but he has legitimate plus raw. The approach is better this year than last, which has allowed him to drive the ball more consistently. I still don't buy Nunez as a high-average hitter against better arms, but I give him a chance to be a low-average, strong power guy on the infield corners; possibly a solid MLB regular.
Jonathan (Syracuse, NY): Rafael Devers has mutilated every league he's been in so far, and today is his third straight multi-hit game in the Gulf Coast League. Is this a plausible Top 100 guy within a year's time, or is he still too far away?
Mark Anderson: Devers is the type of prospect that could be a Top 100 guy when he's 19 or after a full-season showing next summer. His offensive potential is incredible and his bat is developing rapidly. I'm not quite sold that he's in the discussion for this winter (though that could change), but I would be on him being a prominent face in the discussions following the 2015 season.
John (Toronto): Has the timeline for Addison Russell changed now that he's with the Cubs? Maybe late 2015? Which current SS do you best compare him with?
Mark Anderson: The timing of Russell's MLB readiness really hasn't changed, but his ability to reach the big leagues while blocked by someone like Castro has certainly changed. He may be ready on the same timeline as previously suggested, but he's going to have to wait until the Cubs decide they are ready to move Castro out of the organization or to another position to accommodate him.
scott (az): Better Texas of, Nick Williams or Lewis Brinson?
Mark Anderson: I love Brinson's athleticism and tools, but Williams' knack for getting the barrel on the ball is a difference maker. I'm going to side with the guy that has a natural feel for hitting, even though the rest of his game doesn't project to play as well as Brinson's could.
nottes (MD): What can we make of Eduardo Rodriguez's struggles this year? Does he still have the profile of a mid-rotation starter?
Mark Anderson: The only real takeaway for me with Rodriguez this year is that he's going through the developmental process and he's nearly four years younger than his competition in Double-A. Overall, the reports on the raw stuff have been strong and he still looks to have a #3 ceiling and likely role as a #4 starter. He's still just 21-years old and he needs to be given the time to develop consistency and confidence on the mound. I think it will come.
Jeff (Bay Area): What's your take on Jesse Hahn? Can he stick as a starter?
Mark Anderson: I'm coming around slowly, but I'm not quite there yet. His two-pitch combo fits better in relief for me but his ability to move the fastball around may allow him to carve out some time in the rotation.
I need to sign off for a bit, but I will log back in when I get home and do some bonus chatting later tonight. Feel free to pile the questions up in the queue and I'll tackle as many as I can later tonight.
Chris (Phoenix): Among the international signings who has the best chance of being a Sano type of mover on prospect rankings?
Mark Anderson: I haven't had any single player draw consensus as a Sano-type talent in this year's class. There are several potential high-impact prospects that have signed in the last week, but it's too early for me to ID a guy with that likelihood of moving up prospect charts.
Lewis (LA): Who are some trade chips the Angels can offer to try and get some SP?
Mark Anderson: There isn't much in the system to be completely honest. Taylor Lindsey will have some value to teams, but he's more of a secondary prospect for a top pitcher, than a center piece guy. Kaleb Cowart has his believers in the industry, but again, not likely to be a center piece to any deal. Jose Rondon could be a piece as well. The Angels are going to have to attempt to compensate for lack of quality with quantity if they really want to get something done.
scott (az): Which prospect has surprised you the most this season and made you a believer in his skill set?
Mark Anderson: Daniel Norris has impressed me, but I'm not quite there yet. There are serious believers among the BP Prospect Team, but I have not traditionally been one of them. I'm getting there but still not on the bandwagon.
scott (az): Any word on CJ Edwards injury? Is he planning on pitching again this season?
Mark Anderson: I haven't heard anything specific, but I haven't really started asking around lately. I'll make a point to ask some questions as I make calls over the next few weeks and see if I can dig something up before my next chat.
mbovie (Baltimore): Who are a few of your favorite non-first round prospects from this years draft? What makes them stand out?
Mark Anderson: I really love Nick Burdi in the second round. I know people generally hate first round relievers, but his talent fit in the first round in most drafts. In the second round he's an excellent get.
I was a believer in Pat Connaughton in high school and think the Orioles getting him to focus on baseball could really allow him to begin putting things together.
Eighth rounder Artie Lewicki is a fantastic senior sign for the Tigers, particularly for only $60k. He was one of the CWS studs and moving another year away from Tommy John surgery as he heads into his first full season in 2015, he could be a really fast mover as a sinker/slider/cutter guy with solid potential.
Brett (New Jersey): Mark, where do you see the ETA for Diamondback hurlers Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair? Also, are the mid rotation to back end guys or a chance for more?
Mark Anderson: Shipley is showing the stuff and enough polish to move very quickly through the system and could reach the big leagues late next year, though 2016 is more likely. Blair is squarely in the 2016 time frame for me. Shipley has a much higher ceiling and be a #2 if he can put it all together; Blair has the type of ceiling you noted.
John (Chicago): How worried should Cubs fans be about Almora's sub .300 OBP?
Mark Anderson: I wouldn't be worried yet. He's 20-years old in High-A and still loaded with first-division potential. Be patient.
LoyalRoyal (Kansas): How strong is the Royals crop of young arms including Kyle Zimmer, Miguel Almonte, Jason Adam, Christian Binford, Sam Selman, and new acquisitions Brandon Finnegan and Foster Griffin? BTW, what can you tell me about Selman as he doesn't seem to get as much press as the others? Cheers
Mark Anderson: it's very strong. I really like Almonte and believe Adam will continue to progress. I like Finnegan quite a bit too. if Zimmer could prove healthy, then the crop would be even stronger. Given the control problems, I am not convinced Selman is a starter long term, and that's the biggest reason you don't hear more about him nationally.
Dave (Baltimore): Gausman still doesn't seem to have much faith in his slider... he threw it all of 3x vs Boston the other day. With just two reliable offerings, is he better off in the pen?
Mark Anderson: I'm nowhere near putting Gausman in the bullpen. He's shown flashes of figuring out the slider in the past and I still believe he can develop it into an average offering over time. He's still a front of the rotation arm for me.
Matt (Concord, NH): The Michael Conforto deal is supposedly "done" but not finalized. What are the odds that "done" ends up not happening at all?
Mark Anderson: I don't see that happening. Conforto -- even if he takes below "slot" value -- is getting more money picked where he was than he was slated to get and more than he'll get if he goes back to school. I think that deal gets done; just like almost every first rounder.
Jivas (formerly Chicago): Has your projection for Kris Bryant's *defense* changed since the offseason? I've heard some interesting reports about his work at 3B....
Mark Anderson: I've heard some positive things as well, and all indications are he's been willing to put the work in. I think the odds of him staying at third base hinge more on the other players in the Cubs system than they do on him actually improving.
Larry (IL): Beane compared Addison Russell to Barry Larkin. Is that all realistic?
Mark Anderson: it's a risky business comparing prospects to Hall of Fame players, but I can see the similarities and why Beane would throw such a comp out there.
nottes (MD): With J.J. Hardy's pending free agency, could the Cubs look to move Castro for one of the Orioles' top arms?
Mark Anderson: Anything is possible. Part of me would like to believe the Orioles would entertain moving Machado back to third base, but I know that's unlikely.
Dave (Pittsburgh): Thoughts on JaCoby Jones? Any chance of making the 101 next season?
Mark Anderson: I don't see him as a Top 101 talent at this point.
I like that the Pirates are giving him a shot at playing shortstop, with center field as a backup option, but he's a ways from making that type of prospect leap.
Steve (PHI): Who has the better long term ceiling: Dalton Pompey or Michael Taylor? Lower floor?
Mark Anderson: Taylor's floor is lower and I suppose if everything clicks, his ceiling is higher as well. The odds of that ceiling coming together for Taylor are slim though. I'll take Pompey.
ryan (montreal): What can we expect from Austin Wilson longterm? I know he's a little old for his league, but coming from Stanford, wouldn't he benefit from working on his swing at a lower level??
Mark Anderson: It would be really concerning if Wilson wasn't doing this in the Midwest League. That said, I'm a sucker for a big, physical athlete like Wilson. I'm highly skeptical that he puts it together enough to even develop into an average regular, but a guy can dream, can't he?
scott (az): Do you think Dan Vogelbach can play 1B in the big leagues and if not can he hit enough to be a DH only?
Mark Anderson: I don't think he's a reliable first base defender long term, and while there are few prospects with the legitimate potential to hit enough to DH on an everyday basis, Vogelbach is one of those guys.
Ryan (Montreal): What are your thoughts on SD's Dustin Peterson? Lots of k's, but the bat looks legit.
Mark Anderson: Peterson is definitely a legitimate talent, but I do think the bat will take some time to fully develop as he moves up the ladder. I've been impressed with what he's done to this point, though.
scott (az): Any concerns about Clint Frazier performance this year?
Mark Anderson: You never want to see a top prospect struggle, but Frazier was also never expected to be a fast mover, so hiccups were expected. If he doesn't show some signs of improvement in the second half -- which we've already seen hints of -- then I may start to wonder.
Ryan (Montreal): This is basically a lost season for Kyle Zimmer. Should the Royals just shut him down and have him hit the ground running next year?
Mark Anderson: If he's not going to actually do any harm to his arm, then I could understand them wanting him to get some innings in. If there are any lingering questions about his healthy, then just wait until next year.
Ryan (Montreal): Could you please rank the following guys in terms of potential, despite the lost year for each - ZImmer, Fried, CJ Edwards. Thanks.
Mark Anderson: I'll stick with that order, though I'm higher on Fried than most at this point.
Ace (PA): Could I request future eyewitness reports on RHP Luis Diaz and C Elias Diaz?
Mark Anderson: If any of our teams put eyes on them, then I'm sure they'll write them up. If I see either player enough in the second half to write a report, I know I will.
Isaac (Akron): Have you heard anything new on Ricardo Sanchez, or is it way to early to look into?
Mark Anderson: I haven't heard anything new to this point. Reports out of his first few innings in the AZL are largely similar to what Parks and I saw during spring training.
Ed (Cleveland): Is the Cord Sandberg hype legit? Does he have a "top prospect" future?
Mark Anderson: I liked Sandberg as a borderline first round talent in last year's draft, and that was admittedly higher than most people I spoke with. I've seen him for one game so far this year and still love the athleticism. I want to see more this year before passing judgment on his prospect future.
Fred (Here): Justin Williams or Harold Ramirez?
Mark Anderson: Give me Justin Williams, but reports on Harold Ramirez this year have started to shift me away from my lower view of him after watching him last season in the NYPL.
johnd311 (Tucson): Can Marcus Stroman sustain this level of performance as a starter? The kid looks like he has been in the bigs for years.
Mark Anderson: He's proving me wrong with every start. I was a staunch believer in his future as a reliever. I still want to see how the league handles him a second and third time around, but he's doing things I didn't think he could do the first time through.
Steve (NJ): Heading to Arizona this week and have a chance to see some rookie league games. Who are the most promising guys to take a look at out there?
Mark Anderson: If you can manage to catch a Ricardo Sanchez start, do yourself a favor and make it happen. Other names to look for are Alex Jackson, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Gettys, Gleybar Torres, Luiz Gohara, and just have some fun looking around at young guys you've never heard of and may see something interesting with.
Todd (NY): Is Garrett Richards for real? Will he regress in the 2nd half or will his breakout continue? Thanks Mark for the chat. These things are awesome. Look forward to every single one. Keep up the great work!
Mark Anderson: Thanks for the kind words. I enjoy doing these!
It's hard to expect anyone to continue what Richards has been doing, so a regression may seem logical. His stuff is more consistent and he's shown an improved feel for pitching that I hadn't seen previously. He's got a chance to remain an impact arm in the second half, even if he can't sustain this level of performance.
zukows10 (Detroit): Jon Gray has been more hitable this year than would be expected, any concern or is there something specific he is working on?
Mark Anderson: Gray has been working on multiple things, including fastball command, changeup development, and other items at the direction of the Rockies. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet. He could still be up before the end of the season.
Jim Humdingding (Keenesburg, CO): How about the season Willy Adames is putting together at West Michigan. How has his stock changed so far this season? Very impressed with his performance for his age. Any increase in projected upside now?
Mark Anderson: Adames has one of the highest raw ceilings in the Tigers system. He always had the raw ceiling, but even the Tigers didn't expect him to put things together this quickly. His approach at the plate has been vastly improved over last year in the DSL. His defense has been solid and the raw power is playing very well. He's a Top 10 guy in that system right now in my opinion.
Steve (Vermont): What kind of prospect is BJ Boyd? Does he have a future in the Majors?
Mark Anderson: I struggled with Boyd when he was in the NYPL. I didn't see they type of offensive potential that he had been billed for, and he's a corner outfielder for me. There might be a fringe MLB future there but I'm still not convinced of that.
Steve (New York ): Ever see Oscar Hernandez in person? Was that one summer league an aberration or is there potential to be a high level catcher down the line?
Mark Anderson: I saw Hernandez at least ten games last season. I really like his long term potential and believe he can be an everyday catcher down the line. He's been quite good for a 20-year old in the Midwest League.
Steve (Philly ): Any players that you really want to get a look at from short season ball?
Mark Anderson: Too many to list here. I really want a more extensive look at Ricardo Sanchez, and I want to see more of Gleybar Torres. I can't wait to get my first look at Derek Hill as a professional, as well.
GrinnellSteve (Grinnell): Rangel Ravelo is putting together a fine season. Does he have a future as a DH in Chicago?
Mark Anderson: He's not a guy I project as an MLB regular at any position, including DH; more of a fringe guy for me.
hotstatrat / John Carter (beautiful Tuesday evening): What's your take on Gabriel Guerrero and Domingo Santana? GG didn't make BP's top 50 or even honourable mention and Santana wasn't eligible. Is the top 50 extra strong this year? Are their strikeouts going to prevent them from being stars?
Mark Anderson: Guererro just isn't there yet. He's a really talented player that I know many on the BP team like, but he's not quite Top 50 material yet. I can see him entering into the discussion for the back of the Top 101 this off-season.
As for Santana, I think there are pretty big questions surrounding the hit tool and just how much of an impact bat he will have long term. I know people like him and with good reason, but liking him doesn't always equate to Top 50 or Top 101 status.
Jesse (L.A.): What's your thoughts on the Yankees spending spree on the international signings this year? I imagine the strategy hinges on the quality of the players available. Is this a smartly calculated move to accept the penalties for the next few years in exchange for dominating a strong international crop, or a misguided potential mistake to hamstring themselves for two years getting a bunch of guys in a normal or below average year?
Mark Anderson: I like the move by both the Yankees and Rays, and to a lesser extent, some other clubs. If your scouts believe this is a strong class, then get aggressive and try to ink as many as you can. They can still sign guys next year, just for lower values, which can still generate quality prospects. I don't think you can consistently succeed on the international market by sticking to the pool values; sometimes you have to get a little aggressive with a lot of guys or even just a couple guys that you really believe in.
J (Youngstown): Thanks for answering more questions. Aaron Judge has put solid numbers, albeit has an older player in A ball. Does his improved contact enhance his prospect rankings. How Do you see him project to the the major league level when that time comes.
Mark Anderson: The swing and miss has still been prevalent, and I think you'll see it come back to life in a big way at Double-A. Despite the appearance of lower strikeout rates, I have still had numerous scouts indicate he's struggled with some stuff in the zone because he's got a longer swing. I want to see how he adjusts to improved arms before I really marry myself to a projection for him, but he's more solid player than star.
Fred (Still here): if you had to try to pick one lottery ticket....Francisco Mejia, Ricardo Sanchez, Luiz Gohara, Jose Martinez, Franchy Cordero or Rafael Devers? Sanchez looks good but there can be some many variables from then till now, or can he take the Urias track?
Mark Anderson: Sanchez isn't going to be on the Urias track. he's not nearly polished enough to make those kinds of moves over the next year.
Of that group, I'd hang my hat on Devers as the one lottery ticket to pay off. He could be a complete beast.
Nick (MA): Have you seen Brian Johnson live this year? Obviously the stat line is really impressive and his pedigree as a 1st round pick makes me wonder if he is now a legit possible #3 starter.
Mark Anderson: I haven't seen Johnson this year but I have talked to quite a few people that have. He's always had a #3 ceiling, but most of the scouts that I've spoken with believe he ends up as more of a #4 in the big leagues.
Mark Anderson: I hate to end the chat with 20-30 questions still in the queue, but it's time for me to sign off for the night.
Thanks so much to all of you for coming out and asking such great questions. If you ever have other questions, don't hesitate to catch me on Twitter (@ProspectMark) and make sure you check back for my next chat!