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Chat: Mark Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday November 04, 2014 6:00 PM ET chat session with Mark Anderson.

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Prospect team stalwart Mark Anderson has time to spare and opinions to share. Ask him anything.

Mark Anderson: Okay folks, thanks for coming out and chatting with me tonight! I've got about 2-3 hours of good ol' fashioned chatting in my system tonight, so come strong and let's talk prospects and anything else you've got on your mind!

TheKernel (Pasadena, CA): What do we have in Jesus Aguilar? 12.8% bb rate / 19% K rate in AAA. 31 doubles, 19 HRs in 427 ABs. 6'3" 250 lbs. Not highly touted but that's a solid year. Could he be a 25 HR guy who maybe has a couple of 30 HR seasons in him or should I put down the pipe?

Mark Anderson: I'm still pretty skeptical of Aguilar's big league future. I've had quite a bit of first hand exposure to him at the minor league level, and I just don't see the bat speed and feel for the barrel playing against MLB pitching. I think he's going to end up as more of a 4A type or maybe a bench bat if he adjusts reasonably well to the highest level.

Donovan (Socal): Zachary Bird snuck into the top 10 in 2013. The Dodgers have had a boost to their farm system since then. He had a strong finish to the 2014 season with a reported spike in velo into the upper 90s. Does he ever break into the Dodgers rotation?

Mark Anderson: Bird is going to be an interesting case. I'm liked what I heard toward the end of the season and there is certainly major league potential in the arm, but he's still a ways away for me. Outside of Julio Urias, it's not as though the Dodgers are flush with top-flight arms that project to stay in the starting rotation, so he may get ample opportunity to prove himself capable and get a true shot.

TheKernel (Chico, CA): Mark, why doesn't Jake Lamb get more love? He has put up good #s all along the way and is tapping in to his power now. He hit 43 doubles last year and 19 HRs. Really high BABIPs in the minors. Does he become a starting 3b and thrive in the bigs?

Mark Anderson: Lamb could very well be the starting third baseman in Arizona next year, but that will be more a product of organizational need than his true ability or long term projection. Lamb's that guy that puts up numbers against minor league arms and feasts on loose control and mistakes, but the scouting reports -- including bat speed, ability to truly drive the baseball with impressive impact, and overall offensive projection -- just don't match up that type of performance. He'll get a chance in the big leagues, possibly a lengthy chance in 2015, but I'm not expecting him to thrive and I'm expecting his duration as a consistent starter on an MLB club to be brief.

Jayson (Iowa): It's Election Day in the United States. Could you please remind everyone out there to vote? I know the choices are often terrible, but voting is our only say in the matter of who makes policy decisions.

Mark Anderson: I'll let you provide that reminder by yourself, Jayson, by including your request here. I've done my duty today and even used it as an excuse to run a couple miles back and forth to the polling location....

Chris (Boston): How good is Rafael Devers? Does he have the talent/tools to become a top 10 prospect down the road? Would he be a serious candidate for #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft if he were eligible?

Mark Anderson: Devers is really good, particularly for a player of his age. His offensive projection is mammoth and if the body develops in a positive way and he finds a solid defensive home, then he's a potential All-Star caliber bat. The internal discussions on the player were really strong in our Red Sox ranking debate, and he could be a guy that really flies up the prospect lists, peaking in the top 10-15 in baseball over the next couple of years. Devers is a name that is going to be really, really well known in a very short amount of time.

Nick (Colorado): Do you think Tapia will be a top 25 prospect by the end of the 2015 season?

Mark Anderson: I really like Tapia's hitting ability, but the 2015 campaign may be a bit early for him to make that type of leap. I think he'll be close, but it would take a pretty enormous season in 2015, and I expect him to get challenged with some time in Double-A if things go well in the first half, meaning there are likely to be some developmental bumps next year...all before he explodes in 2016; that's my call.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Mark, As an expansion team in a dynasty league I get to select one pitcher and one hitter off any current team's roster as long as the player has not reached AA ball, or I can get the first two picks of unrostered players. I am leaning towards taking Giolito and Correa off existing rosters, but international free agents are fair game too, and Maeda and Tomas are available. The best player not rostered yet is Devers. What would you advise?

Mark Anderson: Dynasty league advice isn't really my area of expertise, so I would encourage you to reach out to folks like Bret Sayre, Craig Goldstein, Ben Carsley, etc., but I can try to give you some advice too. From a pure scouting standpoint, it's pretty hard to walk away from the raw potential of guys like Giolito and Correa. That's two of the top 5-10 prospects in the game with potential role 7 futures....Tomas and Maeda could both be really good players, but Giolito and Correa could be complete and utter superstars.

Chris (Baltimore): Stephenson or Appel? Who is more productive at the MLB level in 2015 and 2016?

Mark Anderson: This is an interesting question. Both have question marks right now and neither guy is a slam dunk to approach their ceiling in the next two years. There are still whispers that Stephenson ends up in the bullpen, though in my personal observations he has looked like a potential MLB starter. I also think that while Appel may come up short of the lofty expectations associated with his college hype and lofty draft status, he still ends up a solid MLB starter in pretty short order. I'd take Appel in 2015, but it becomes a lot tougher to discern once we get to 2016...

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): What is the outlook for Jacob deGrom? And can the mets compete for the second wild card without any outside additions?

Mark Anderson: I'll be honest, I was pretty shocked with his performance in 2014. I liked what I saw in the minor leagues prior to this year but I didn't see this coming. The stuff was impressive but it didn't scream front of the rotation starter to me this year, and I'm left wondering if he can replicate this type of performance. Let him settle into the middle of the rotation behind guys like Harvey, Wheeler, and maybe Syndergaard, and the Mets could have a dynamic rotation that can really push them toward the playoffs if the offense can keep pace.

Dave (Des Moines): Jorge Mateo was recently ranked the 3rd best prospect in the Yankees system by another prospect site. Do you believe in him as much as they apparently do??

Mark Anderson: I've gotten some intriguing reports on Mateo, but nothing that would lead me to believe he's an explosive prospect that warrants serious attention near the top of the Yankees list. That's just me though....

padremurph (Los Angeles): How does Trea Turner compare to Cory Spangenberg? He's better in the field and faster, right? Does he project better at the plate as well?

Mark Anderson: Speaking as a a guy that's not completely on the Trea Turner bandwagon, he's a considerably better prospect than Spangenberg overall. He is faster and has a legitimate defensive profile on the left side of the infield. I think he's going to make plenty of contact and there are some hints that he could find enough punch in the game to really keep pitchers honest. I don't see an impact profile, but I do think he can be a quality everyday player at the highest level; something I don't really see with Spangenberg.

Matt (Dallas): Can the Rangers count on rotation contributions from Jackson, Thompson, other farm players early in the season? I can't see them signing enough free agents to complete the rotation and I am searching for reasons for optimism.

Mark Anderson: They can certainly count on contributions, I'm just not sure of the quality of those contributions every time through the rotation. Both guys have the potential to be solid big league starters, but the developmental path is not complete for either player. That means you're going to have some bumps in the road, and the Rangers will need to have some backup plans in case those bumps become too frequent or severe.

Chris (Baltimore): Would Colby Rasmus to the Orioles be a good fit?

Mark Anderson: Rasmus would be a good fit for a lot of teams if he can keep him in a secondary role as a fourth outfielder or platoon player. The Orioles may be a team that could benefit from his services in a more limited capacity, but I think he'll end up getting a more regular role and more money from another team.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you believe Yasmani Thomas will ultimately get $100 million?

Mark Anderson: I've learned that we should never completely write off what appear to be insane contract demands in the current MLB environment. Given the rousing success of players like Puig and Abreu, and the contract Castillo just received, it's not out of the question that he reaches that type of contract figure. Ultimately I think he comes up short of that number a bit, splitting the difference between Castillo and $100M, but either way, he's getting a monster deal this winter.

Chris (Tampa): How good is Willy Adames? Having hard time sorting out his talent and attention he's getting against lack of depth in the Ray's system

Mark Anderson: It was even harder to sort out just how good Adames was when compared to the complete absence of depth in the Tigers system. I like Adames. I've seen him a fair bit, both right when he arrived in the States and a little bit in West Michigan this year. The defensive profile sits around average if the body matures as you'd expect from an athlete of his caliber, and I think he sticks at the position for a while, at least. I think the bat is going to play but he's going to have to evolve the approach a bit to really see his raw power manifest in games. I like Adames a lot but I'm not convinced he's a budding star quite yet. I've talked to scouts that turned him in as everything from a utility player to a high-6 talent; that's a wide gap and one that should narrow as he faces a little stiffer competition in the FSL in 2015.

Nick (London, UK): John Gibbons said yesterday that, if the Blue Jays roster remained unchanged between now and the start of the season, he'd love to see Dalton Pompey out there in CF. Let's assume that only one OF is signed to replace Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera (assuming he doesn't return): is there any realistic chance of Pompey making the Opening Day roster and playing CF/LF ahead of both Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar?

Mark Anderson: There's absolutely a chance of that. Pompey impressed a ton this year and the offensive/defensive potential projects to play in a big way at the MLB level. He's got the all-around skills to be a far better player than Gose or Pillar, and if he shows even reasonably well in spring training, he could walk away with the Opening Day job and never look back. Pompey's real....very real and he's going to be a factor in Toronto sooner than people realize.

Kevin (Mizzora): Jose Peraza... what do you think? Does his talent level translate to a level-5 player, or does he ride the trend of recent Barves middle-infield guys (minus A. Simmons)?

Mark Anderson: Peraza has to prove he can hit consistently when challenged with the best stuff in the world every night out. There is absolutely zero power in that bat and I don't see any coming, and without any ability to drive the baseball with regularity, I fear he's going to get blown away at the plate. The glove works well at second base and the speed can play well if he can get on base. He's going to make contact, but I don't see that contact mattering much because it will be soft. Best case scenario, he's a hit-tool/glove driven second baseman....more likely scenario, he's a fine utility player.

Mike (Utica): Margot or Devers, who do you take?

Mark Anderson: This is tough. I really think I flip-flop on this every time I am asked. Right now I tend to be biased toward Margot because I have first-hand experience with the player, and I'm a sucker for an up the middle profile defensively. It is really close, but right now I lean Margot over Devers....and if Devers starts to realize the monstrous offensive potential he has, then I reserve the right to change my mind!

TylerDurden (Paper St. ): Any thoughts on the Angels signing 20 year old Cuban Roberto Boldoquin? Is he instantly their top prospect? Chance he's up in 2015?

Mark Anderson: Admittedly, I don't have a ton of information on Baldoquin, but with a thin system, he certainly has to be discussed as one of the better prospects in the system. Of the little I've heard from some international scouts, he sounds like an intriguing prospect, though there's some question of his ability to truly stay up the middle. I think it would be a stretch to expect him to be up in 2015.

Dave (Des Moines): The Eyewitness Reports on Braden Shipley are encouraging, but I was wondering if you could fill us in a little more on him. Thanks.

Mark Anderson: I haven't seen Shipley since college, and while I've talked to people about him this year, I think the best information you're going to get are the Eyewitness Reports we have here on the site (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=156 and http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=163). Those are two really well-written reports that represent a strong picture of what Shipley brings to the table and can be going forward.

Geoff (Kansas City): Austin Wilson has long been a favorite of mine. Has he caught the attention of anyone in your business, or is he just another guy?

Mark Anderson: Wilson is a physical specimen, so he certainly catches the eye of onlookers and scouts. After my exposure to him in college and on the Cape, I have to say his early professional production has surprised me a bit. In reality, he should be able to hit Low-A pitching, and in some of the reports I received this year, there were concerns from pro scouts over how the hit tool would play; the same concerns that plagued him as an amateur. When that same noise is still bouncing around 500+ plate appearances into a the career of a college product, that's not necessarily the best sign. I'm skeptical moving forward, but given his raw physical gifts, I'll have a hard time completely writing him off.

Chris (Baltimore): B. Drury and T. Story-which one would you dream on to become a productive MLB in the next 4 years?

Mark Anderson: I think Drury is the safer bet to reach some type of reasonable MLB production, and I might suggest that Story has a slightly higher ceiling, but a riskier overall profile. I've always been a fan of Drury and felt that he was a little underrated the last couple of years, so I'm partial to his ability to produce in the short term.

whoisthedrizzle (Michigan): Is there any legitimate help coming for the Tigers bullpen depth from the minors? Any guys they might switch from starter to reliever?

Mark Anderson: The Tigers always have hard-throwing arms coming through the system, but the guys that are on the immediate horizon right now aren't necessarily impact arms that are going to help salvage the late innings right away. They will have Bruce Rondon coming back from TJ surgery, and I'm still high on him as a potential closer long term. He likely fits better in the 7th inning in 2015 but if his recovery keeps moving along smoothly, he could be an impact arm for them. Jose Valdez is a AA closer that has massive control concerns, but he has plenty of raw stuff and a little bit of FU on the bump. He could help at some point this season. Angel Nesbitt made huge strides in 2014 and has mostly a 7th inning projection, but he lights up the radar gun and can throw enough strikes to be a factor. One guy I'd keep an eye on as a bit of a sleeper in the bullpen race for the Tigers is Edgar De La Rosa. He's a massive dude with an equally massive fastball, a changeup that can play, and a slider that's slowly coming along. I've always projected him to the bullpen, and if they opt to make that move, he could blow up a bit....he'll get added to the 40-man roster this winter, so his name should start bouncing around a bit.

scott (az): What can you tell me about Braves ss Ozhaino Albies and where might he rank among other ss prospects?

Mark Anderson: I think Albies is a guy to keep an eye on, but he's not a guy I'm prepared to really start pumping quite yet. He's drastically undersized and lacks strength of any kind right now. I like the profile of the glove at shortstop and believe he can make that work, but I'm still concerned that the bat is going to end up light because he just doesn't have the size and strength to swing it with anything resembling authority.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): Say the mets made a trade for Alex Gordon, and Murphy and Montero went back to KC (written in Andy Martinos article), would they be a lock for WC contention?

Mark Anderson: Any discussion of the Mets contending for a playoff spot begins and ends with how the rotation plays out in 2015. If Harvey comes back healthy, Wheeler continues to evolve, DeGrom remains at least reasonably effective, Syndergaard arrives and has some success, then you have the makings of a potential playoff team. the club needs to upgrade the offense, but without the pitching staff maturing and coming together, offensive upgrades alone aren't going to push them there. The entire team needs to come together and take a step forward, and then the Mets are going to be an exciting club.

Mike (Utica): Think Redsox and Yankees say screw the penalty for signing international prospects and go for broke with Moncada?

Mark Anderson: As far as I am aware, the Red Sox and Yankees have both already blown past the spending restrictions and are already facing penalties....if you're going to spend in a given year and have greater restrictions the following two years, you might as well really blow it out in that year. I would expect both to be players in the bidding for his services.

Marcus (London): What are your thoughts on Matt Olson? This might sound nerdy, but from the video I've seen, I'm most excited about him defensively

Mark Anderson: Well, if Olson is going to have long-term success, it isn't going to be because of his glove; it's going to be because he realized the full potential in his bat. Olson has power and an ability to hit, and that could carry him to the big leagues. Because the glove can be unimpressive at times, he's going to have to rake to get his full compliment of chances and secure a job, but he has the raw ingredients to do just that.

Bill (New Mexico): Any info on the Cardinals' attempts to develop an in-house catching backup for Yadier Molina who's better than Tony Cruz (which isn't a very high bar)? Does Carson Kelly have a realistic chance of becoming adequate? Are there others I don't know about? Yadi isn't going to last forever...

Mark Anderson: I do think Kelly has some potential to help at the MLB level, but it could still take a while for him to get there. I've heard encouraging reports on the early progress he's made behind the plate, and I there is hope for the bat. Kelly may arrive in time to help the transition from Molina, but I'm not sure he's going to be ready in time to be a viable backup instead of Cruz in the short term.

Matt (UNLV): WHat are you expecting out of Ryne Stanek next year?

Mark Anderson: Honestly, I'm not really sure. The Rays are going to take their time with him and he's likely going to get more chances in the rotation, but ultimately, he's a reliever for me. A move to the bullpen in the short term may allow him to move more quickly through the system, but I'm not sure some additional innings in a starting role wouldn't ultimately allow him to be a more complete and dominating relief pitcher. The 2015 season is going to be an interesting one for Stanek, and I'm actually curious to see what comes of it.

whoisthedrizzle (Michigan): Castellanos + defense = ? Is he as bad as the numbers say? How much room for improvement? Can/should he play any other position?

Mark Anderson: Castellanos is never going to contribute a ton with the glove, and I think talent evaluators knew that at least a couple of years ago. He has natural gifts in the batter's box, but he doesn't have those same gifts in the field. Even with additional time at third base, I think Castellanos ends up a below-average defender, and frankly, I was never encouraged with his "progress" in the outfield. He's going to be a questionable defender no matter where he plays, but I do believe the bat projects to such a level that it won't really matter in the end.

Scott (AZ): Orlando Arcia or Nick Gordon?

Mark Anderson: I really like Arcia, but I think I have to go with Gordon's overall upside.

Mike (Utica): What did you think of the Dodgers 1st two picks Grant Holmes and Alex Verdugo?

Mark Anderson: I don't have a lot of experience with Verdugo, so I'm not the best to ask there, but I love Holmes. I saw him quite a bit at the prep ranks and I love the profile and think he's pretty easily a mid-rotation starter and possibly as strong as a #2 type.

Greg (Toronto): Will Clint Coulter's bat play above average if he has to move to say first base or the outfield?

Mark Anderson: I think the bat can work in the outfield, but I'm not sure it will be so impactful that it will play if he ends up at first base. Coulter has plenty of pop in the bat to support a corner outfield position, and I've liked what I've seen in terms of his feel for finding the barrel and driving the ball. That gives me hope that he can withstand the move offensively.

RTG (DC): Jason Heyward isn't a prospect, but his youth and ever-changing approach at the plate make him seem like he could still evolve like a prospect. Any thoughts on whether he'll ever be the power hitter people thought he would be?

Mark Anderson: I'm still fascinated by Heyward, and I'm still a giant sucker for what he can provide over the long term. The power is in there and every so often you really get to see the ball just explode off his bat. I still think the power is going to play in the form of 15-20 home runs and a ton of doubles, to go along with a solid average and good OBP skills....that's a monster player if it clicks, and with his youth, I'm still holding out hope for quite a while.

GrinnellSteve (Grinnell): What's your opinion of Frank Montas? Starter or reliever? Could he be a back end option for the Sox this year? Do you think the Sox might peddle him for a piece who can definitely help them this year? Lots of questions there. Thanks.

Mark Anderson: Montas is a reliever for me, but a tremendous one when all is said and done. I won't be shocked if he gets some starts along the way in 2015 but I do think he'll settle into a relief role sooner than later. He's the type of arm that could move in a deal, but I do think it would have to be a pretty impressive deal to ship him out.

Jon (Illinois): In keeping with my Gleyber Torres fascination, how well-equipped is he for full season ball?

Mark Anderson: Get him to full-season ball! I think he's going to be the type of player that needs that level of challenge and I won't be surprised at all if he shows well in the Midwest League next year. I'm very high on Torres.

Drew (Washington, DC): Of the young hitters in the low minors, who has the highest ceiling? Are there any "franchise" type players with elite ceilings?

Mark Anderson: I won't suggest there are elite ceilings out there among the hitters in the lowest levels of the minors, as that's a pretty special player, but there are some really incredible players at the lowest levels....a guy like Rafael Devers has game-changing potential. Someone like Alex Jackson could be a beast. Eloy Jimenez carries a ton of risk but is really talented and could be the type of power prospect that is rare in today's game.

Chris (Baltimore): Bret tweeted that Rafael Devers may be the best J2 bat since Sano. Does Devers have that type of offensive potential?

Mark Anderson: I've touched on Devers a couple of times tonight....bottom line, yes, he does have that type of potential.

Ben (Manhattan): Are there any updates on Hunter Harvey?

Mark Anderson: I don't have any kind of scoop on his status. My expectation is that he'll be back in the mix next spring, but he should be watched with a close eye by prospect hounds.

Scott (Saint Louis): Max Kepler has some of physical tools and seems to have good bat to ball skills. Do you think he can develop more power so that he be a starter somewhere? Thanks!

Mark Anderson: Kepler is going to have a tough road as a prospect. I'm not positive where he fits defensively, and if he slides down the defensive spectrum, then the power is really going to have to step forward. The strength and bat speed are there, but he doesn't lift the ball as much as you'd like and the hard contact isn't as frequent as I want to see. Kepler is still quite raw and could take years to reach his developmental peak, so don't lose hope...be patient.

mbeemsterboer (Madison): What are your thoughts on Devon Travis? Is his ceiling anywhere near someone like Kolten Wong or is he going to be more of a weak bat like Tommy LaStella?

Mark Anderson: Travis is a second division player for me. I've seen a ton of him in both college and since being drafted, and while the numbers have been really fun to see, I don't see it translating at the highest level. He's got great hands at second base but the range is a little light for my liking. There's surprising strength and pop in the swing, but I think that will come back some against MLB pitching. He can get the barrel on the ball with some regularity, but its not the profile of a .300 hitter. I think it all adds up to a difficult profile that ends up in the second division range; leaving him quite a ways from Kolten Wong.

Oh, don't sell LaStella's bat short long term. I'm the resident high man on LaStella's offensive potential and think it will play better in 2015.

Dave (Des Moines): Can we get your take on Sean Coyle? A certain snarky ESPN contributor gave his hit tool an above average grade. Can he be a first-division regular?

Mark Anderson: I struggle with Coyle. I've seen him good and I've seen him bad. I can't get myself to give him a robust MLB projection, and admittedly that may be some bizarre personal or scouting bias getting in the way. All he does is hit and play well at every level....at some point the performance matters more than the scouting bias or the questions about production, and if he keeps doing this, I'm going to have come around and adjust my perception of him. For the time being, he's more of a fringe MLB player for me.

Tom (Michigan): Is Jose De Leon a sleeper prospect or just an older guy dominating younger compettition?

Mark Anderson: He's a bit of a sleeper. I want to see the secondary pitches come along a little more before I really start to push him, but he had enough to get by and beat up the Pioneer and Midwest Leagues a bit this year. If the secondary pitches come a little bit, he gets more intriguing. If they don't, he's a reliever that lacks dominating stuff.

Kevin (NY): What is your take on Blue Jays pitcher Miguel Castro? What is his extreme vs. realistic upside?

Mark Anderson: Castro is impressive, if very raw. I know our own Chris King has gotten some looks at him and has been impressive. The secondary stuff needs to come and the pitchability is developing -- though promising for his age -- and if it does, you could be looking at a #2/#3 type. Realistically, I'd say there's a decent chance he moves forward as a #4 starter or impact reliever, but the ceiling is considerable and he's early enough in his developmental path that you need to keep talking about and thinking about the ceiling, as opposed to just focusing on the realistic role.

Nick (AZ): I read that the D-Backs tried Brandon Drury at second base in the AFL? How did he look, and what is the possibility he can play there. The bat would play elite at that position I would imagine.

Mark Anderson: I didn't hear good things about the limited experiment, and given my past experience with the player, that's not terribly surprising. He's going to be a corner infielder from start to finish and the bat should play just fine for him to be an above-average player.

Max (MD): Realistic projection for Kyle Schwarber at the big league level? .270-.290 AVG, .350-375 OBP, 25-30 homeruns?

Mark Anderson: I have a little reminder on my board in my office at work that asks me and my staff to be a "prudent risk taker." That hints at some of the conservatism present in both my full-time job and in what I do as a scout. Any time you're saying that type of production is a realistic projection for a player, that's a ballsy statement and one with a considerable amount of risk. That said, I have a hard time saying what you're suggesting doesn't have a reasonable chance of coming to fruition. Schwarber's bat is impressive and he might just reach those heights, though I think it will be more of a peak output than a typical output.

Bill (Detroit Rock City): Matt Wisler. Go.

Mark Anderson: #4 starter after a little more polishing in the minor leagues.

Dave (Des Moines): Who are some guys that you seem to be more excited about than most?

Mark Anderson: I'm the resident high man on Steven Moya. I don't think I'm on an island with my adoration for Miguel Margot, but I do think I project at the higher end of the range among scouts. I still hang on to some hope for Caleb Kowart while I think he has fallen very far for most.

Jim (KC): Can you give us a scouting report on Jack Flaherty? I recently saw some video and was impressed by his size, feel for his breaking ball, and his free and easy delivery.

Mark Anderson: I haven't seen Flaherty in person, but what I'm hearing from industry folks and our internal team suggests he could be a guy that blows up a bit in 2015. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for with early feel for a broad arsenal and good athleticism. I think there's a lot to like here.

Chet (Mizzou): Nick Longhi seems to be getting some attention from the Red Sox brass. Did you, or anyone you work with, get to see him this year?

Mark Anderson: I saw Longhi quite a bit this summer and I remain mixed on him. I saw him selling out for power a lot and stepping out. When he stayed in and wore out the middle of the diamond it was a lot better and you could see what people liked. I need to see some consistency from him before I jump on the bandwagon, but I acknowledge that at his age there's plenty of room for growth and he could very well overcome my concerns about the hit tool playing.

Jay (S IN): What is a realistic role for Albert Almora? Does he have the upside to supplant Arismendy Alcantara (all things considered)?

Mark Anderson: Almora could be a Role 6 player at his peak. the Defensive profile is going to be impressive in the middle of the diamond, and while the offensive approach is aggressive, I think he has the chops to hit and hit for some good gap power long term. I think he'll be a better player overall than Alcantara.

Jon (Illinois): As a follow up on Torres, how is the power going to play, and how soon could we see the future projection fulfilled?

Mark Anderson: The power is going to take some time for Gleyber Torres. There's strength in the swing but it doesn't always come through when he swings the stick and makes contact. I think it can play to an average level if things click developmentally, but that won't happen until he's much closer to the big leagues.

jean (Brooklyn): Im loving the way Willy Garcia is playing in winter league against much older competition. sadly hes blocked in his organization could be a good trade chip?

Mark Anderson: Don't read too much into winter (or fall) league numbers. They are rarely that valuable. That said, Garcia has some intriguing potential and he merits plenty of attention. I wouldn't worry too much about him being blocked; these things have a way of working themselves out. If he ends up not having a place to play and proves worthy of a spot, they can always deal him or deal someone else to clear room. For now, sit back and enjoy the developmental ride until he forces the hand of the Pirates.

Tommy (Tampa): Thanks for the chat!! These things are great!! I know he's a kid, but do you have any thoughts on Adrian Rondon of the Rays??

Mark Anderson: Rondon is an exciting player and one that I am really eager to see when I get a chance. It's hard to come to grips with 15-16-17 year olds with the type of potential Rondon -- and others like Jimenez, Devers, etc. -- offer. If the bat advances like some scouts in the industry believe, he could be a serious impact offensive player that stays at a premium defensive position; that's a huge talent.

Mike (Utica): Is next year the year Lucas Giolito take off?

Mark Anderson: I would argue Giolito has already taken off and the 2015 season will represent something more than that where Giolito announces to the world that he may be the best prospect in baseball.

Jeff (St. Pete): Last year at this time, the hype was about Cleveland's Francisco Mejia. Who is gonna be that guy this offseason?

Mark Anderson: He's been talked about more than Mejia had at this same stage last year, but give me Amed Rosario....I'm a huge fan and think he's ready to take off.

Brett (Calgary): Reynaldo Lopez got some serious love from your team last year. Realistically, what does Washington have there?

Mark Anderson: I saw Lopez once this year and it was legitimately impressive. At a minimum they have a huge arm that has a chance to be an impact relieve. Best case scenario, if the secondary stuff and command come along, he's a monster starting pitcher prospect with front line potential

Dave (Des Moines): Speaking of Margot, any concern that he's blocked in CF by either Betts or Castillo?

Mark Anderson: Not at this point. He needs more developmental time and these things always work themselves out.

Pizzy (Pittsburgh): How would you rank Bradley/Thor/Zimmer/Norris in terms of ceiling/floor?

Mark Anderson: Ceiling - Bradley, Syndergaard, Zimmer, Norris

Floor - Syndergaard, Norris, Bradley, Zimmer (injury a big factor here)

Cal Guy (Cal): Mark, Looking into your crystal ball, what do you see Glasnow developing into? Seems like the ingredients are there for him to be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball or he could never quite put it together and end up a bullpen guy.

Mark Anderson: I think Glasnow works as a starter long term, though ultimately as more of a #3 starter with some seasons where he looks like a #2 starter.

Ryan (MTL): I know you aren't a fantasy guy, but I just traded Margot for Braden Shipley. Do you see Shipley as more of a safer bet to realize his potential?

Mark Anderson: Margot isn't as risky as most guys his age and with his experience level, but Shipley is probably a more stable prospect with a greater likelihood of success.

Mike (Utica): Gut feeling, who are the top 5 prospects after the 2015 season?

Mark Anderson: Giolito, Buxton, Correa, Urias, Russell.

Pelecos (Granville): Hey Mark, hope you're well. What would be the best way for me to understand and get into scouting? How do you determine what the ideal swing path and pitching mechanics are and what not? Thanks

Mark Anderson: This may prove to be a daunting start to this chat, but it is one of the most frequent questions I think all of us on the scouting staff get.

In the end, I wish I had an easy answer. The best avenue to begin understanding the art of scouting and get into it deeper is simply going to be start going to games and sitting in and around the scouts behind home plate. Go get yourself a stop watch and start with the basics, and eventually that will lead to some conversations where you can learn more and expand your knowledge base. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of practice to truly understand and squeeze your way into the game, and even then, you're still learning every single day.

As for ideal swing paths and pitching mechanics, despite the spectacular work of some of our own here at BP, I'm not convinced their are universal ideals in either area. Every scout develops things they look for and prefer in prospects and things they despise or shy away from. It's all about identifying the guy with the innate ability to repeat what he's doing on a consistent basis, at a very high level.

Mark Anderson: Alright gang, I hate to run, but it's time for me to bow out and slide back to reality. Thanks again for coming with strong questions and I'll be sure to get on a more regular cycle of doing these chats! In the interim, any time you have questions, hit me up on Twitter (@ProspectMark).


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