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Chat: Ryan Parker

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Sunday March 29, 2015 2:00 PM ET chat session with Ryan Parker.

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Ryan just got back from Spring Training. Ask him about the prospects he saw, about hitting, about baseball generally.

Ryan Parker: I spent a week watching backfield games with no shade under the blistering Arizona sun. It was a great week. Let's talk about prospects, hitting, or whatever y'all want!

RIP Jason (Chicago): What prospect(s) have surprised you the most this spring with their #rig?

Ryan Parker: I knew Mazara had #rig but he showed copious amounts of rig during the week. Michael Gettys showed flashes of rig. He chased after balls in center like he was angry the ball dare even think about landing in the outfield. Rangers camp in general showed #rig everywhere.

Alex (Anaheim): Is the AL East a total free-for-all at this point?

Ryan Parker: Yes but it's going to be a fun free-for-all. I think the Sox have a slight edge on other teams but every team will be fun to watch. The Orioles have guys who could bust out with great seasons like Davis, Gausman, Weiters, Machado but they are all liable to struggle in some capacity. How will Bundy be used? Can Pearce repeat? Tons of questions.

The Jays will hit dingers and their rookies will show equal parts awesome and equal parts "man the big leagues are tough". That middle of the lineup is going to be so fun to watch.

Yankees gonna Yankees

It'll be interesting how the Maddon-less Rays go about their season.

sportsguy21792 (Madison): So just how nice is the Cub complex in Mesa?

Ryan Parker: The backfields have bleachers and shade!! The weightroom ins't that nice... Then I realized I was comparing it to what I saw in my days at Oregon. In actuality it's a killer facility. When you are comparing minor league facilities to nike-u you know the set up is quality.

Brent (colorado): I've never seen a ball come off the bat like off Kris Bryant's. That said his stroke looks susceptible to heat generally up, but inside in particular. anything to that? What adjustments do you think pitchers will first make?

Ryan Parker: That's where the hole in his swing is. Very good call. I think Bryant might blow up his first time through the league. Before pitchers really have video and notes on him. Then pitchers will adjust and attack that hole and that's when Bryant's life as a big leaguer will truly begin.

John (Chicago ): Which prospect on the back half of the top 101 will be the first to have a 25 HR season?

Ryan Parker: Good question. I'll go with DJ Peterson.

Baseballfans11 (Michigan): What is the best way to get your name out to colleges today.

Ryan Parker: Play all the time. Talk to everyone. Physically talk, don't send a dvd or an email. Pick up a phone or talk to the coaches when you see them at a field. Even if its a college you don't want to attend still reach out. The baseball world is weirdly small so maybe the coach of that school is best friends with the coach at the school you are dying to attend.

Mike (NY): Based on what you saw with Dahl, McMahon, and Tapia do you think any of them start with New Britain AA or you think they all start in Hi-A?

Ryan Parker: Tapia could start at AA but I am about 99% sure the org will start that whole group from Ashville in Hi-a then promote one by one as the season goes on.

Philip (San Diego): What is Franchy flaw with the bat? Many thought he would be a breakout prospect last year, but he could not handle full season ball

Ryan Parker: He's inconsistent with how he sets up. Both in pacing and position. His bat can get very angled some times so it has a longer path to the ball when he does launch. Other times his lines up his body well but his pacing gets out of sync. When he moves slow and aligns himself the ball just explodes off his bat. I wouldn't give up on this kid.

Mike (Boulder, CO): Did you see Ryan McMahon? Can we expect him to shoot up prospect lists this season?

Ryan Parker: Yes and yes-ish. He's still got some work. Swing can get steep and can get awkward at 3rd base. His stock should rise this year but not how Gallo's did. Wouldn't surprise me if he was a top 75 prospect at season's end.

sportsguy21792 (Madison): Did J Gray lose his chance at rotation spot yesterday or was he never a real consideration? Who gets the #5 spot in CO?

Ryan Parker: No. One bad spring training start did not cost him. I have no clue who ends up with the spot. Just keep waiting for the days when the rotation is headed up by Gray and Butler and the lineup has Dahl, Tap, Mcmahon. CO's time is coming.

Ron (Texarkana): Did you get to see Kyle Schwarber, and how impressive is his bat in real life?

Ryan Parker: I did not. And it kills me. I've heard his bat is super impressive in real life. One scout remarked that Schawrber should be in the same conversation as Soler, Bryant, Russell, Baez, and not just an afterthought.

Mike (NY): Is Franmill Reyes a Non Prospect if you saw him this spring?

Ryan Parker: He's big. Moves kinda awkwardly but got the bat on the ball better than I remember. There is strength in his swing that's for sure. I wouldn't go full on NP with Franmil but I don't think he has a first division profile.

Brian (FL): How do you know when a player has legit bat speed instead of just having a swing where all of the bat speed is out in front of him?

Ryan Parker: Great question. Let me think about this because the answer is fun. Might be enough to do a whole Going Yard over. Yeah I want to craft this answer and dig up some visuals. Again awesome question!!

WickedCurve26 (Austin): Has Nick Williams adjusted his approach enough to handle big league pitching?

Ryan Parker: His approach is getting better. It's not good but it's getting better. Saw him work a 3 ball count and a walk!!!! And he would get absolutely wrecked by big league arms right now. Maybe down the road he could but it would be a long road.

Philip (San Diego): Could hedges have a career similar to pre great bat yadier Molina

Ryan Parker: That is such a dangerous comp. I like it but the second somebody writes Hedges and Molina in the same sentence the world goes bonkers.

Hedges could, could, COULD, have that path. That being said Yadi hit 50 points higher than Hedges did as a minor leaguer. So I don't think the bat reaches Yadi heights. Even if the bat takes time the glove and the arm and the whole defensive thing is so damn good.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Ryan, who do you have as some of your favorite Low Minor, high ceiling prospects to keep an eye on for 2015, and are looking to jump on before their stock gains recognition this season, ex. Tapia last pre-season or Devers by its conclusion?

Ryan Parker: Forrest Wall and Michael Gettys.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Ryan, who do you have as some of your favorite Low Minor, high ceiling prospects to keep an eye on for 2015, and are looking to jump on before their stock gains recognition this season, ex. Tapia last pre-season or Devers by its conclusion?

Ryan Parker: Forrest Wall and Michael Gettys.

Rich (Maryland): Show me some Love!!! Talk Devers to me!!!

Ryan Parker: That's a question for Chris Mellen or one of our Florida based guys.

Basil (Central Tx): Does Daz Cameron live up to the enormous hype that has mounted for him?

Ryan Parker: He's a 5 tool player but none of the tools are elite. He doesn't have the ceiling typical of hyped HS hitters but his floor is much higher. I think this is a kid who finds his way to the big leagues.

Kyle Dougherty (New Jersey): Is there an explanation for the ridiculous post-prime career that Adrian Beltre is having? Like why he just seems to be getting better as he ages?

Ryan Parker: Because Don Welke signed him so naturally he's ageless like Welke. In reality I have no clue but it's so awesome to watch. I've never seen a big leaguer have more fun playing the game than Beltre.

Matt (San Diego): Does wisler throw harder than gerrit cole?

Ryan Parker: No. Fastball is at least 2 grades lower than Coles. The velo is solid and it moves but he gives hitters a long look at the ball and catches the white of the plate more often than he would like.

kcshankd (Washington): Which of the Zimmers has the better career?

Ryan Parker: Kyle. The pitcher Zimmer. More physical tools even if it hasn't looked good early.

Festivus (Phoenix): Favorite bats of the 2015 draft class (ignoring defense and arm)?

Ryan Parker: Kyle Tucker, B-Rod, Luken Baker.

Musial6 (STL): Hit me with some non-Mazara/Tapia OF prospects that can rake.

Ryan Parker: Dahl, Judge, Renfroe, Brinson,

All 4 of these guys could have monster years.

Tex2045 (Augusta, GA): What does Brinson need to do to have a breakout this year? Will we really know anything while he is in high desert or we will have to wait for him to get to Frisco?

Ryan Parker: Frisco will be the test. He's going to feast on fastballs in the cal league. If he is around 265 in frisco I would ecstatic. I still think next year is his breakout but this year will fun nonetheless

Pablo (Milwaukee): Did you get a chance to see Arcia or any other Brewer prospects? If so, what are your thoughts on them?

Ryan Parker: I did not. Al Skorupa did I believe. Also I think the BP team was in Brewers camp a week before I got down. I know they would be happy to answer any questions.

Mike (NY): How weak is this upcoming draft, been hearing it's a disaster.

Ryan Parker: Most years a team would be happy to have a top 5 pick. This year the happiest teams are the ones picking after the 15th or so. There is decent depth in the back half of the first round. It's not a disaster but it's a very weird draft I'll grant you that.

Greg (Virginia Beach): Isn't Zach Lee in the mix if the Dodgers need pitching help? If so, why only 4 IP in S.T.?

Ryan Parker: Zach Lee should be. I faced him in high school and he gave me the worst at bat of my life. For some reason I got ahead 3-0. He then blew 3 fastballs by me on the black. Anecdotes aside I have no clue why the Dodgers have only thrown him that much. Maybe he's injured, maybe he's been throwing backfield games, maybe he's been in the bullpen trying to find a better secondary pitch.

Lee won't be spectacular at the big league level but he might be the Mitch Moreland of the Dodgers rotation. A guy who comes up and a year later it seems like he's been a staple in the org for the last 5. Hope that made sense haha.

Victor (Dumfries): Does Michael Chavis have enough elite bat speed and hit tool to rocket up the prospect lists this year?

Ryan Parker: He does but I haven't seen him live. Didn't hit as well his first year in pro ball but again some HS hitters need those first few months just to get used to being a pro. His first year was just weird. I really want to keep an eye on him this year.

Basil (Central Tx): Can Clint Frazier be anything more than a big time strikeout machine with elite bat speed?

Ryan Parker: Yes. Even if the bat is frustrating we can't forget baseball isn't played in a batting cage. Frazier runs well and has a hose. Clint has tools for days. Bet on the tools. Strikeouts will always be a factor.

Silverback38 (VA): With Josh Bell moving to 1B, does that slow down his development process and elongate his arrival to the big league club?

Ryan Parker: I don't think so. Josh can hit. Bats always find a way into the lineup.

Fun story. Josh Bell inadvertently trucked my best friend on a play at first in HS. My buddy ran to cover the bag. The ball, Josh, and my buddy all got there at the same time. When asked if he was alright my friend said "At least I didn't give up a homer".

Rick (NYC): Any hitters yet unknown to general public catch your eye this spring which will soon be well known?

Ryan Parker: Define public. If you mean this ESPN crowd then Tapia and Mazara.

If you mean the BP crowd then Forest Wall and Michael Gettys

Here's some real unknowns that I saw and just kept writing things like "kid is a ballplayer, all he does is hit, love how he plays, etc..."
Josh Van Meter- Padres
Austin Cousino- Mariners
(Not Junior) Spivey- Rangers

Tex2045 (Augusta, GA): Any thoughts on Keona Kela?

Ryan Parker: Stud. Maybe won't close this year but closer in the near future.

Love the makeup. Makeup isn't just being a good teammate, hustle, etc... It's about behaving in a way that maximizes your skills and the teams chance to win and Kela has that.

Grew up in a very tough setting and got through it.
Has no fear on the mound
Throws 100 with a filthy slider but still is learning a changeup that has flashed plus. Love Kela!!!

Kyle Dougherty (New Jersey): Every year it seems a small group of Rangers Beat writers and fans get behind the idea that Mitch Moreland is going to have a good year, and every year they're disappointed. will he ever become anything more than an oft injured .260 hitter with a little pop?

Ryan Parker: Why would you be disappointed? Mitch will hit 260 with 20. It's not sexy but he is a productive big leaguer. Maybe it's not what some first basemen are putting up stats wise but it's not like he's a blackhole in the lineup. And injuries... yeah those suck. Hope he can stay healthy.

Not Pain Guy (USA): How do you think the internet and the huge expansion of hitting knowledge will effect the next generation of coaches? For instance, will incorrect cliches like "swing down" "knob/hands to the ball" "linear/rotational" die out, and be replaced with mechanical terms and ideas that match what elite hitters are doing?

Ryan Parker: Ha!! Your username wins.

Cliches will always be a thing. Older cliches were all about feel. The new ones will be all about what we can see. "slight uppercut bat plane" "Driving back foot forward" etc... So these aren't mechanically wrong and that's good but integrating them into a swing will be the struggle. The problem is sometimes matching what we see and what we feel isn't a 1:1 science.

For every Donaldson who talks about exactly what he does we have guys like Pujols who talks knob to ball.

TLDR: Hitting is tough and there will always be cliches.

Nate (Florida): Who do you have higher actual realizable prospects for….Michael Chavis or Michael Gettys?

Ryan Parker: Chavis likely Gettys is making the right improvements so far.

So it's like a race, Chavis got the head start but Gettys just realized he was running with a boulder tied to his feet.

Team Theo (Cubdom): Best of the bunch - Addison Russell, Dahl, or Clint Frazier?

Ryan Parker: Likely Russell. I love Dahl but Addi has a higher floor. Hard to best against a sure-fire big leaguer when the other two guys you listed will start the year in A ball. Dahl does have a higher ceiling but not by a ton.

Ben (Tampa): Tell me more about Renfroe - why is he a good candidate to blow up this year?

Ryan Parker: Yes. Love Renfore. What really sells me on Renfore is when I've seen him against good arms. His approach is aggressive and he will chase out of the zone but against better arms (when I've seen him anyways) he refines that zone. 87 3 inches off the plate, he cuts it loose. 94 an inch off the plate, let it go.

I know the AA numbers from last year aren't mind blowing but I really dig this kid.

Tex2045 (Augusta, GA): Thoughts on Ryan Cordell as a hitter? Think he can play SS at the highest level?

Ryan Parker: Love him as a hitter. He will take a bad swing or miss the barrel and the ball still comes off hard. Not a SS. I like the trial but he is a big dude who just doesn't have a feel for the spot.

Chipshot212 (ma): How do you rate Joe Kelly's mechanics? And thoughts on Cahill's new mechanics this spring? Thanks

Ryan Parker: Ask Doug Throburn. I defer all pitching mechanics questions to him. He loves to break down pitchers like I do hitters. I won't step into his territory on this one.

Hal (Seattle ): What are you hearing/seeing on DJ Peterson? Can he hit enough to stick at 1B?

Ryan Parker: Nothing but good things. I think the bat will be enough for 1b. He's not a 3b I can tell you that.

Nicholas (MIN): Have you seen Nick Burdi? Thoughts?

Ryan Parker: No but I know a handful of guys that had to face him or catch him. They were thankful when it was over. Batters talk about his filth and the catcher talked about how Burdi's fastball just wrecked his thumb trying to catch it.

thresh50 (Boston): Did you get to see Gallo? Did he surprise you in any way? And when do expect to see him in the majors?

Ryan Parker: I did not. I thought I was going to but missed him on my Rangers camp days. And his time in the majors is all dictated by the front office. Could be a cup of coffee this year to get ready for 2016.

Steve (Milwaukee ): Sounds like the glove is great, but what kind of hitter do you see in Orlando Arcia?

Ryan Parker: Ask Al Skorupa. I didn't get to brewers camp but Al did.

Greg (Charlotte ): What are the chances Carlos Correa is called up this year and what do you want to see from him this year?

Ryan Parker: No clue on the call up. It's all front office dictated. I just want to see him be healthy. Kills me that I haven't Correa in person because all the video, notes from other scouts, etc... points to Correa being legit.

Corey (sd): Was there a pitcher in padres camp that impressed you?

Ryan Parker: Not overly. Wilser has the ingredients but didn't knock my socks off. I will say the padres had the best run camp and if you told me player X was going to turn some heads (and player X was a padres guy) I would say "yeah that's not crazy". Padres are going to surprise some people.

lawmaker (Dc): Thoughts on Royals prospects?

Ryan Parker: Starling- Still major concerns about the bat but can do the job in CF and was better on bases than I expected. Obviously he moves fast but he doing the smaller things like reading the ball off the bat and getting good jumps.

Dozier- kid will find his way to the show. Best approach to the game I've ever seen from a younger guy. Bat wasn't as loud as last spring and he didn't make some mechanical changes I would have liked but it was a small sample. Maybe the bat isn't middle of the order but Dozier is a future big leaguer.

Almonte- Good but weird. Thrown off rhythm very easily and telegraphs pitches. In a vaccum he is filthy but doesn't always translate over to games. FB and cambio still very real.

Daniel Rockett- I know he's not a prospect but he is something crazy like 7 for 8 at the plate whenever I watch him. Every time he comes up I'll ask somebody if they like him. They say no. boom he hits a line drive.

Jason Parks' Bodega Cat (Brooklyn): Is it unreasonable to think Gallo, Alfaro and Mazara could all be in the Rangers 2016 Opening Day lineup?

Ryan Parker: Opening day... that's heavy. I think all 3 see big league action in 2016 but not opening day.

Justin (Chicago): Do you think Tim Anderson has enough to put it together at the plate?

Ryan Parker: Yes he just needs at bats. He's got the tools and the swing.

Jim (St. Louis): What's your take on Domingo Santana? His first 20 PA's have been atrocious, but he did mash in AAA at a young age. Glass half-empty or full?

Ryan Parker: He's big, he's young and he hit at some point. So I'll say half full.

DC80 (Oklahoma): Any thoughts on what you've seen from Nomar Mazara?

Ryan Parker: Stud. When I wasn't seeing him do crazy things people we're going out of their way to tell me about how good he is. This is the guy everyone was talking about. His swing got better, he got stronger, he must have dominated the offseason. This kid left my jaw on the floor.

MonkeyEpoxy (Texas): *Insert gushing about Mazara, ChiChi, Gallo, and Alfaro below*

Ryan Parker: Mazara dominated games like Bo Jackson dominated Tecmo Bowl

ChiChi made Joey Votto look bad.

We all know what Alfaro can be.

wavid (the CMBL): which is a more likely outcome, raimel tapia as a generational talent in the mold of a dominican ichiro, or merely a first ballot 15x all star starter lock?

Ryan Parker: Yes.

Kidding but Tapia will be fun to watch. I like the enthusiasm!

TPX2 (Taiwan): Oh man did you see Mazara do XYZ.....

Ryan Parker: Yes. He did all the XYZ and did it better than anybody else.

Philip (San Diego): Will Michael Gettys be Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, or just Carlos Gomez?

Ryan Parker: When is "just Carlos Gomez" a bad thing?

Mike (NY): Do you see Luis Ortiz at all when you were out there and what do you think the utility of Mazara's power will be?

Ryan Parker: I did not see Ortiz but Skorupa did. Maz will actually be able to use his power in game. I saw him go oppo taco on a pitch he didn't really square up. He just hits balls that keep going. Maz has a chance to be a 6 hit and 6 power bat.

Hemmo (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): What is Raimel Tapia ceiling? Who does he compare to in the MLB?

Ryan Parker: Ceiling... batting champ. think of the numbers Jeter was putting up in his best years.

Comp- at full maturity Howie Kendick for batting profile.

frozenrope8 (Alaska): I have seen comments from guys that say Tapia rarely swings and misses, but he struck out 90 times last season. Seems awfully high for a guy with limited power. Why the high K total?

Ryan Parker: Great question. Tapia strikes out because the one time he will swing and miss is 0-2 after like 3 foul balls. That's not always the case but I've seen many at bats where he battles and k's. I'd be curious to see how many of his K's were looking because Tapia won't expand his zone to the degree most young hitters do.

I wouldn't call his power limited. Tapia drives the ball. Not a purely slap hitter.

James (Piscataway ): Who's the best hitter in the minors right now not named Raimel?

Ryan Parker: That I've seen- Mazara

Overall- Buxton

Festivus313 (Phoenix): Why is Tapia so divisive? I've seen some rate him as a role 50?

Ryan Parker: Because it's not the easy aesthetic that somebody like Lindor or Buxton gives off. Tapia is rail thin and hits from an uncomfortable looking stance that only gets weirder when he gets behind in the count. Honestly I took me 3 separate viewings to "get" Tapia.

Everything is there in Tapia. It just comes with a weird presentation.

Ryan Parker (March 17, 2015): Mazara is another guy who I saw in spring training last year and again during the 2014 season and thought what I was seeing was pretty good but not excellent. Then he went and reached Double-A as a 19-year-old. Mazara has a chance to have double 6s on the hit and power tool. He’s a bit of a mystery to me because everything says I should be hyping this guy, but I haven’t taken that leap yet. What are your thoughts now, Ryan-Parker-closer-to-the-spectre-of-death?

Ryan Parker: I'm taking the leap. Geronimo!!

Matt (Cambridge): Other than stay healthy, what does Harper need to do to transform into the monster that will hit 35 HR a year for the next decade?

Ryan Parker: Not too much. If he can stay healthy and find a consistent pattern at the plate he will be fine. Harp is one of those guys that good enough isn't ever good enough so he tinkers. Once he gets locked in... look out.

Ryan Parker: Gotta call it a day! You guys were awesome. Tons of good questions as always. I enjoyed this chat as much as Tapia and Mazara enjoy 2-0 fastballs!


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