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Chat: NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday January 09, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris.

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Nick is here to answer all you lingering questions about the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies systems. See all the Top 10s here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: In '87, Huey Lewis and the News released "Fore", their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is "Hip to be Square", a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself.

DaleCoffin (Windsor ON): Can Touki Touisssant be as dominant as Urias in 2020.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think Touki's upside actually surpasses that of Urias, but he is a much, much, much riskier proposition. There really isn't a measuring stick for Urias because of his combination of age, refinement, quality of stuff, and the fact that he hasn't really been pushed to operate under strenuous physical conditions (i.e. his workload has been managed). Urias is a special talent with unknown risks, because we really haven't gotten an extended in-season look that involves the type of pitch count and innings workload he'll have to manage as a MLB starter.

Toussaint's risks are well known -- conversely, Toussaint's risks are well known. He needs uniformity in execution and to get a handle on his power repertoire. He's young, low-mileage, and athletic, so it's an incredibly interesting starting point for a dev staff.

Matt Y (Virginia beach): What is Urias' perfect world ceiling?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: His OFP in the BP Top 10s was listed as High 7 (no. 1/2 starter). In a perfect world the change-up emerges as a true plus offering, the fastball and breaking ball(s) get to consistent 6+/7s, and he competes for Cy Young Awards from the late 2010s through the 2020s. Needless to say, life doesn't usually line up with our "perfect world scenarios", but it's fun to dream on.

sykklone (IA): IN what order do you have Renfroe, Winker, M Taylor, T Taylor, McKinney, and Conforto? Thx.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I go Winker, Renfroe, Taylor, some space, then McKinney then Conforto.

Keith (Florida): I know it's the NL West top 10s, but I was wondering if you could answer a question about the Cubs top 10. My apologies for asking as it's in the wrong chat, but I missed the other one and didn't know how else to contact you guys. Quick question though, but why Addison Russell over Kris Bryant? I thought Bryant would be a lock for #1 on the Cubs stacked prospect list, but Russell was #1. I know Russell is great, but it sort of surprised me when Bryant wasn't #1. What's your reasoning for putting Russell over Bryant? Thanks guys, and sorry again about putting this in the wrong chat.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: No worries -- we lined these chats up to coincide with the completion of divisional lists, but anything and everything is fair game.

With regards to Bryant/Russell my ranking decision came down to my belief that Russell was a legit hit/power offensive threat and that he was going to produce while being able to stick at shortstop. Even with Bryant's massive power and capable glove, I think the profile is less dynamic and there is a greater risk that he falls a little short on the production side if the contact rate doesn't allow him to fully tap into the power. Now, his swing-and-miss is not the same beast as someone like Baez's. We are talking about long levels and the ability of advanced arms to move the ball around and widen coverage holes through sequencing. Bryant is a smart enough player, and hard enough worker, that my "concerns" could prove to be overblown, but as a snapshot of the two right now I like the foundational value inherent in Russell's profile a hair more. Both are top five prospects in the game and both are cornerstones of the next Cubs playoff club.

Grizzly (Chicago): Describe Corey Seager in 3 words. Go!

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Major. League. Bat.

Gravybill (The Bowery): Does Adalberto Mejia still project as an future #3 SP? How much does his suspension hurt his development?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think so, yes. We are talking about a fairly young talent with a good feel for his offerings, and his mechanical issues are of the type that provide two possible positive outcomes -- (1) with enough reps/instruction he can clean things up and see his stuff tick/command tick-up, or (2) with enough reps he can figure out how to make his quirks work for him pitch-to-pitch, and you have an effective mid-rotation arm wrapped in a non-traditional mechanical package.

The suspension hurts because more than anything he needs to just continue to throw. But as noted in his write-up, if he uses this time to improve conditioning, off-field work/prep, etc., it might be a nice reset before he begins the second half of his minor league development. The body and mechanics are big questions, but mid-rotation upside still a solid possible outcome for me.

John (SF): Is Hunter Strickland capable of being the 8th IP guy behind Romo in 2015? Closer stuff?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Yes, he's certainly capable. But the command is a little loose and both the FB and the SL flatten out when he drops his slot. Lefty bats are an additional hurdle, because they don't seem to struggle so much picking the ball up, and he hasn't yet shown that "keep em honest" offering to stop lefties from sitting on FB/SL plane. I like Okert more for that role, but man having those two in line for innings and neither necessarily the clear option for the role tells you how well positioned San Francisco is in the pen.

feebish (California): Dahl vs Pederson by, say, 2017.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: 2017 might be a year early on Dahl, so I still go Pederson there. 2018 I might slide the other way. Two good talents but there is more potential impact with Dahl, both defensively and offensively.

Festivus313 (Pittsburgh): It seems like the Dbacks want to give Peter O'Brien a shot to be their starting C. Do you see that happening this year? Does he have a shotto stick at C or hit enough to be an everyday guy at another position?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think the Diamondbacks will have a nice test for him if he starts out in the minors working with the likes of Shipley/Bradley/Blair. Those are big time arms with explosive stuff, each with a slightly different look, and they are your arms of the future. I don't like O'Brien's chances handling them well enough to be an everyday catcher, and the bat isn't a sure enough thing for me to tolerate fringy to bad glovework/framing behind the plate. I think the profile is a little light elsewhere, especially with a pretty good stick already at 1B, but could be a useful reserve corner player that can catch a FEW innings and serve as a bat with some pop off the bench.

sykklone (IA): How about a pitching ranking order, Matz, Nola, Blair, and Wisler?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Matz, Blair, Wisler, Nola for me, but I'm tempted to push Nola as high as #2 in that grouping. I really like the way he handles his business on the bump.

Dustin Nosler (Stockton, Calif.): Where would Andrew Heaney, Tom Windle and Zach Eflin have ranked if they were still in the org?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Heaney would have slotted in behind Pederson and ahead of Holmes. Windle was a fringy back of the top ten guy that probably would have settled in the 11-15 range. Eflin as high as right after Holmes and low as after Anderson. So your top ten would have been:

1. Seager
2. Urias
3. Pederson
4. Heaney
5. Holmes
6. Eflin
7. Lee
8. Anderson
9. De Leon
10. Sweeney

Matt R (Albuquerque): As you said, Urias' workload has been managed. What is a reasonable expectation for innings this year?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Los Angeles will certainly have a specific game plan in mind, which I can't speak to -- my personal hope would be to see a level bump and around 125 successful innings or 110 innings if there are struggles.

kylanje (Florida): Which Rockies prospect bat has the highest ceiling, is the safest and which one is your favorite?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Dahl for both, but I really love the way Forrest Wall goes about the game in the box. I had him as the seventh most valuable high school bat in the class, and a few of the guys ahead of him were priced-up due to other profile characteristics. He can really swing it, and I expect him to step right in and establish himself as a producer on par with the trio at Asheville last summer.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): What happens to Rymer Liriano now that the Padres have acquired an entirely new trio of MLB outfielders?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Several Liriano questions bouncing around in the queue -- I think it's a fine situation for Liriano, as he now gets needed Tripe-A reps. Upton is only under contract for a year, so this isn't a long term block. He should be in a position to compete with Renfroe for major league time in2016, and both of those talents could make for a useful trade chip if Preller & Co. are so inclined.

Clark (Insurance Class): My fantasy league partner just add Rafael Devers.Much like most of our adds I have no idea who this guy is. Can you give me some info?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: One of the more exciting low-minors bats in the game. Natural hitter that could develop into an impact bat for average and power. Might not be a factor until 2019, and ultimate position is still up in the air, but it's a really fun profile and a really impressive offensive talent. Mellen's write-up more than did him justice:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25119

Terry (Oakland): Does Hunter Renfroe have the most power of all NL West prospects? Thoughts on his future?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: For playable power, I'd put Dahl/Seager/Renfroe all in the conversation. Renfroe probably the best raw out of those three, but I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them emerge as the most productive from a power perspective when all is said and done.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Nick, In Giants-land much is made of the fact that the farm system has not produced a star outfielder since Chili Davis way back in the early 80's. The Giants just won the WS with a completely home grown infield and a mostly home grown starting staff and bullpen. So why do you think it is that their OF prospects just don't match up... a flaw in philosophy, scouting, coaching, something else?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: To my eyes it looks like it might be as simple as not having OF as a particular focus on the acquisition side. Haven't really poured draft/int'l assets into that portion of the roster, whereas we've seen the org put an emphasis on acquiring arms and to a slightly lesser extent, infielders. Mac Williamson is an interesting stick, and once healthy in 2015 it will be a situation worth following closely as his stock could jump a great deal if he picks up where he left off in 2013/2014.

Shawn (Cubicle): Would San Diego be happy if Austin Hedges became Mike Zunino-like at the plate ~ .200 avg 18-20 HR? If catchers (who are also generally not assets on the base paths) struggle to hit .230-.240 anyway, why not just have them sell out for power?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I don't like that line of thinking. One of Hedges's greatest assets in the box is his feel for the strike zone. Part of the problem in 2014 is he WAS selling out for power, and as a result his swing got out of whack and his contact wasn't clean. So, Double-A arms kept challenging him in the zone and his ability to work for walks was essentially negated. My humble opinion (and I'm not a pro dev guy, so what take it for the little that it's worth) his focus needs to be on getting his swing back to where it was circa acquisition and the early stages of his pro development. He's going to be a solid gap power guy if he can get back to that point, but it requires reps and reps and developmental focus to keep your swing in check for most players. That's one of the biggest issues with drafting and developing high school catchers -- both the defensive and offensive aspect of the game generally require a lot of attention, and a player only has so much developmental bandwidth. He is still highly ranked on the 101, and I'm very much a believer he will figure things out.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Best hit tool in the minors? I also asked Ryan Parker on twitter earlier and he said probably overall it's Byron Buxton, and best he's seen in person is Raimel Tapia

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Buxton, Correa, Seager probably top my list. Tapia, Dahl, Russell, also in the discussion.

George (Mission): How worrisome is Keury Mella's shoulder problem from last year? Is it truly a "let's see if he's durable" situation? I'm searching for reasons to be optimistic

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think San Francisco did the right thing acting conservatively with Mella. No reason to flip out yet, and I fully endorse being optimistic. This is a high-upside arm and if you're a Giants fan you should continue to be excited.

treynay3 (Indy): With Braden Shipley's late intro to pitching and subsequent quick development, do you think his ceiling could be that of a #2 if he keeps developing? I realize mid rotation arm is more realistic, but could a #2 be within reach or does he just lack the stuff to get there.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Shipley could reach no. 2 status without question. There were even early iterations of the rankings where I had him slotted as the top prospect in the system. His mechanics aren't yet second-nature for him, and he needs to iron that out before his arsenal makes the jump and becomes more dependable. But he has the characteristics I look for in trying to identify arms that will improve mechanically, and there's a lot of juice in the arm. Don't count on #2 production, but it's there for the taking.

Chris (Baltimore): Do think expect Trevor Story to be a regular MLB MI by 2016?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think it's much more likely he wets his feet in 2016, with 2017 providing an opportunity to compete for an everyday gig. All assuming 1) continued development, and 2) that there is an opening on the roster.

Pelecos (Chicago): What so you mean wheb you say "slow to adjust when being pitched to backwards? ie. What does being pitched backwards imply?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Pitching backwards is pitching off the secondaries, rather than the fastball. Drop an early curve/curve/change, then elevate a fastball. Reports had Pederson often sitting fastball early and continuing to do so in second and third ABs even when arms were starting off with off-speed stuff. So, he would work behind and a lot of times end up expanding the zone and striking out. Being able to make those in-game adjustments could 1) put him into favorable hitters counts more often, and 2) help tease out a little more playable power. It's a good stick, and at that point we are talking about the typical types of adjustments most bats have to make when they wade deeper into the waters of advanced arms.

Jeff (Lexington): David Dahl is the best OF prospect in the NL West and second overall position player to Seager, right?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I'd go Pederson ahead of Dahl due to proximity and probability, with Dahl neck and neck with Hedges thereafter as far as NL West positional prospects.

John (Boston): Hey Nick,when will Archie Bradley and Jon Gray make there debuts????And can Eddie Bulter rebound??? Thanks John

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: 2015 for all three. I think Butler can rebound, certainly, but he looks much more the part of a late-inning arm to me. I'm not alone in that view, but there was also no shortage of opinions that he was still starter material. Though both he and Gray had less than flashy production in 2014, Gray was a clear step or two ahead of Butler for me, from an evaluative standpoint.

tlw08 (The Great White North): Which NL West 2014 Draft bat has the best fantasy baseball impact? Forrest Wall, Michael Gettys, Alex Verdugo, or Marcus Wilson?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Gettys is the biggest upside. Wall is the safest bet. Verdugo needs to be run through the full season gauntlet, because it's been a Jekyl & Hyde act over the last 18 months and we don't really know what we have here, yet. Wilson has five-tool potential, but is a slow developmental burn.

Sandy (Elsewhere): What's the 75th percentile outcome for Ryan McMahon? Are his struggles against lefties a cause for concern?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: They are for me. That was one of the larger flags holding back his ranking when I put together the Rockies list. Overall he had trouble identifying spin, but it markedly impacted his game coming out of same-side arms. Still a high impact bat, but that will be a developmental focus.

LE Storm Fan (Cali): How do you see the Trea Turner (PTBNL) situation playing out? If he's with the Padres how does that work and will he be in Lake Elsinore?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I would think Lake Elsinore, and that the Padres and Nationals will be on the same page as to the plan. Provided he does in fact stay in San Diego for the requisite time, I'd expect his workload/level are agreed upon ahead of time (e.g. shortstop at High A, two off days every three weeks, regular reports on health). With more time/space I could get into a deeper dive as to what that arrangement/reporting could look like -- lots of possibilities.

dvanhait (Holland): Who has the best upside? Springer (Houston), Soler or Baez (Cubs)

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Pure upside, Baez, Springer, Soler. Going to go into lightening round, as the afternoon schedule is jammed-up! Promise we'll get back to the long form chats after the AL West.

Grizzly (Chicago): Any chance of Joe Panik becoming a first-division player? I know his lack of power will hold him back, but he did put up a respectable .447 SLG and .126 ISO prior to being called up (although SSS). Is it possible some of that will transfer to his big league game as he gets acclimated or is the .305/.343/.368 slash line from '14 indicative of his OFP?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Solid second-division guy was my thought when I saw him in college, and I'll stick with that. Not quite enough "umph" defensively, or in the power department, but a very capable player.

Gravybill1 (Central ): Can Archie Bradley put it all together and be the star we all thought he could be?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Yup -- he's one loud April away from making everyone forget 2014.

Fred (Los Angeles): What is Austin Barnes' likely position going forward? Or will he be a Zobrist type?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Ben Zobrist "type" but don't go in expecting Ben Zobrist production. Versatility is the new black.

hdub (the bleachers): whats your take on gettys? u think he can get his hit tool up to a 5?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: 5 is pushing it, but he has the physical ability to get there. Tracking and some swing quirks are holding him back. Very good bat speed, power, and foot speed.

Marcus Wright (Delaware): Hunter Dozier. Impact bat?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Potential impact bat that could settle as a solid average bat for his position.

Sara (Tacoma): Lucas Giolito. ETA of June 2017?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: I think 2017 is what Mellen hung on him in our write-up. That seems reasonable, though end of 2016 isn't out of the question given quality of stuff.

Jose (Minneapolis ): BOS and NYY are said to be 'heavy favorites' for Moncada. Why wouldnt the Dodgers be expected to outspend these organizations for him?

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Sure LA can throw some money around. I guess it comes down to what limitations the front office place on themselves as far as money they are willing to spend for a particular profile. Is he populating a position of need or adding depth? Is there a plan/need to push that money elsewhere?

nate (pittsburgh): I've heard reports about Dodgers RHP Jose De Leon that he is the real deal. Can you touch base on his repertoire and if he could make an impact on the big league club in 2015 (fast track through AA/AAA).

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Seems questionably aggressive. 2017/2018 more likely for me, but it's a legit heater and the secondaries have progressed.

The Dude (Office): No question, just a thank you to you and the terrific BP prospect team for all the hard work so far! #flow

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Thanks! It's been a great ride these past two years, and running the Top 10s with Mellen has been a dream come true.

NL West Top 10s With Nick Faleris: Very sorry to cut short with lots and lots of excellent questions topics remaining in the queue. But, busy afternoon, so until next time all! Now, I've got to return some videotapes...


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