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Chat: James Fisher

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday May 31, 2016 7:00 PM ET chat session with James Fisher.

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James is a prospect team member at BP, so ask him about your favorite teenagers.

James Fisher: As the Midwest League games get going here let's chat about some prospects!

David (Atlantis): James as a member of a prospect team is there a specific type of player you seem to be more inclined to? Some former members have been more inclined towards Dominican hitters & some other with pitchers with good change ups.

James Fisher: The Dominican hitters and change ups seem to be quite popular with BP scouts and I must say that I enjoy a good change up but my background is in catching and I always gravitate towards the catching position.

Keith (Farmington, CT): Thanks James. Could you rank these Low-A starters in terms of ceiling? Cody Reed (Ariz), Mitch Keller and Phil Bickford...

James Fisher: Lots of questions on the D-Backs Cody Reed so far so I'll start off by saying I think he's legit and will touch on him in more depth later on but give me Bickford, Reed, then Keller.

Yuri (CA): What type of future does Brendan Rodgers have? Can he really be a 30 home run bat at Coors field that possibly moves to 2B because of Trevor Story?

James Fisher: Brendan Rodgers is an impact talent but the Rockies have significant time before they have to worry about moving him to second because of Trevor Story. That being said Rodgers will be a first-division regular at the ML level. The bat has a chance to be special with plenty of power and in Coors 30 homers is definitely possible. In the field, he has plenty of arm at short but the question will be how the feet play and how the body fills out. There were plenty of scouts talking about 3B down the road when he was in HS.

James (PA): How long is Kevin Newman out for and what type of future do you see him having now?

James Fisher: Newman went down with an orbital bone fracture and while I don't have a timeline on his recovery I would point to other guys like Giancarlo Stanton who had similar injuries. As for his future, he's shown an advanced approach at the plate with some pop. The glove is the question mark here with somewhat limited range at SS and hands that get a touch hard at times. I'm a believer in the arm and the work ethic so I would give him a chance to be a regular but most likely a backup.

Ron (Texarkana): Tell me about Trent Clark. Do you like him?

James Fisher: I wrote up Clark for a ten pack and an eyewitness report and I'll let those speak for me but I'm all in on Clark. The bat is special with feel to hit and barrel awareness. He's going through a rough patch at the moment but that's more of pitchers making an adjustment with him. He has the ability to make adjustments and I expect him to get back on track soon.

Dan (OR): Some of the Beloit SP are tearing it up. Even though they are college guys, any of them have a legit shot at the majors?

James Fisher: Good question, I've seen all of their starters and most of them are relying on pitchability to carve up the rest of the league. The sinker seems to be a point of emphasis with them and it's really working for them now. I'm going to hold off on saying any of them will be big league starters because of the lack of velocity but the A's know what they are doing and I trust their process.

Frank (Chi Town): What is Eloy Jimenez's potential? how good can he be?

James Fisher: Lot's of Eloy Jimenez questions in the queue so I guess it's time to ride the Cubs hype train. Jimenez has plenty of bat speed and power to go along with it but the strikeouts are troubling. He really likes to swing and will have to reign in the discipline if he wants to realize his immense potential. There is a lot to like in this profile and I could see him being a top 10 prospect in the future, maybe not this year but soon.

BC (Urbandale): I'm all about the Cubs. Great team. So deep. So much potential hehehe

James Fisher: Man o' man are they fun to watch. Hell of an organization at the moment.

Jabs (WI): What's the latest word on Monte Harrison? He's striking out a third of the time in Appleton. Is the process good, just with no results yet... or what's the deal?

James Fisher: Lots to talk about with Harrison but lets start with the fact that he's fully recovered from the leg injury from last year and the athletic ability is still there which is great. That being said, the strikeouts are troubling. He has shown the ability to make adjustments which is good. The swing and miss is coming in the zone rather than out more and more which gives me hope. The physical tools will give him ample opportunity to succeed but he will have to start making contact to have a shot.

reedjohnson (Greenfield): Which player on the Quad Cities River Bandits has the best individual tool to watch?

James Fisher: Sticking with the Midwest League for a bit, Tucker is the toolsiest player on that team. He combines feel to hit with plenty of pop and surprising speed for a larger framed player. Sit on a series and you'll see him do plenty of good things in CF and RF.

Bob (Northern Hemisphere): Are there any prospects you are higher on then your colleagues? Also are there prospects we aren't aware of that you think will be getting buzz by this time next year?

James Fisher: I am the high man on the A's toolsy CF Skye Bolt at the moment. He combines three well above-average tools (Arm, Defense, Speed) and the bat has a chance to play. He has shown a more disciplined approach so far this year and he has bat speed.
As for players you may want to keep an eye on; LaMonte Wade for the Twins, Anthony Hermelyn for the Astros and Carlos Belonis for the Brewers.

Dalty (Cleveland): Im a big indians fan. i say we trade carlos carassco and francisco lindor for david ross and justin grimm. thoughts?

James Fisher: No way.

sdsuphilip (San Diego): If you had to guess (or with help of sources), who do you think 3 most likely selections are by the Padres at 8?

James Fisher: I cut my teeth in the amateur ranks so lets tackle some draft questions... Preller wants to make his mark on the farm system and they seem to be linked to every toolsy high schooler in the draft and if Delvin Perez is here at #8 I think its a slam dunk.

Joe (Ohio): As a Reds fan with #2 pick, who do you like more, Kyle Lewis, Nick Senzel, or Delvin Perez ?

James Fisher: I'm the low guy on Nick Senzel and I may end up eating my hat with that but at #2 give me Kyle Lewis. The power is real and his performance on the Cape last year should clear up any questions on whether he can handle more advanced competition.

Matt (LA ): Could you see someone drafting Zack Collins surprisingly high (maybe A's at 6) for an under slot deal?

James Fisher: That's definitely in the realm of possibility in regards to Collins. The bat and power are real but the question mark lies in his defense. The arm is a touch short but his feet aren't too heavy to think that he could make some improvements in the foundation and make himself into an OK catcher.

Kevin (CA): Any idea what position the A's will target at 37 or 47? Or particular players, if you have heard any connections there.

James Fisher: The draft is still pretty muddy at this point with teams getting last looks on guys but if someone like a Cal Quantrill or Keegan Akin is here I think they would be ecstatic.

sdsuphilip (San Diego ): Have to pick a projected first round player, which player do you think is most underrated by the industry in this years draft?

James Fisher: Cody Sedlock out of Illinois is someone that gets lost in the back half of the first round a little bit but the combination of fresh Northern arm and feel for his arsenal make me feel like he's underrated going into the draft.

Anonymous (Texas): Have there been any changes to Kyle Muller's draft outlook?

James Fisher: I haven't heard anything but positive movement for Muller going into the draft. Think he goes in the back half of the 1st or supplemental round at this point. Could be a nice second pick for teams that have two picks in the 1st too.

Bob (Cincy): Who are your top 5 prospects in this draft ? Thanks

James Fisher: In no particular order; AJ Puk, Blake Rutherford, Corey Ray, Delvin Perez and Jason Groome.

Brian (NE): Another two home runs, if Mookie Betts keeps this up does he belong in the Trout/Harper discussion? I understand they are the two best players in baseball but Mookie should be right there with them, at least from a fantasy stand point.

James Fisher: Alright, back to the pros for a bit... I'm not a huge fantasy guy so take these words with a grain of salt but what Betts is doing is impressive. All he does is hit and the power is something I didn't think would be part of his game. I think he's a tier behind those two at this point but he sure is forcing his way into the conversation.

Brad14 (NJ): What do you think is the long term projection for Travis Demeritte? Best case utility player or just an "org guy"?

James Fisher: Best case for me is a utility player projection on Travis Demeritte. The strikeouts are troubling though (70 in around 200 plate apperances) and you just don't see many utility guys in the bigs that strike out that much.

Jordan Clark (Milwaukee): Out of the three pitchers the Brewers acquired in trades last year (Freddy Peralta, Marcos Diplan, and Bubba Derby) which one is most likely to contribute at the major league level and what does that pitcher need to work on?

James Fisher: Freddy Peralta has really made strides since the beginning of the year so give me him over Diplan. He's most likely a bullpen arm but it has a chance to be a good one. I haven't seen Derby yet this year so I don't feel comfortable talking about his projection.

misterbob (pa): Hello, How would you compare and contrast Roman Quinn and a younger Billy Hamilton at similar points in their careers? They seem to be very similar players from a tools standpoint (speed) )but I think Quinn can become a better overall offensive player----what are your thoughts about that?

James Fisher: That's not a bad comp for Quinn and I agree that the bat has a chance to be better than Hamilton's with a touch more pop and fewer strikeouts.

misterbob (brookhaven pa): What are your thoughts on David Dahl------can he be a solid 5 tool player at some point for the Rockies? He finally seems to be healthy now and putting it all together at Hartford! Thx.

James Fisher: The key for Dahl will always be health but he has the ability and tools to get to that mythical 5-tool ceiling. The swing can get long at times and I would like to see some adjustments made but the defensive profile will give him all the opportunities for the bat to develop further.

padremurph (Los Angeles): Thoughts on Hunter Renfroe? Will the power play at the big league level?

James Fisher: I've liked the power profile since his time in college and it will definitely play at the big league level. The strength and leverage in the swing will allow the power to emerge.

Jamie (Boston): What type of hitter can Blake Swihart be? Can he stay at catcher, at least part time?

James Fisher: Swihart has popped up quite a few times here so I'll address him now. The bat will take some time to come along at the major league level because he will be forced to handle a big league staff and that is a really hard thing to do. He will be able to stay at catcher because he continues to improve his footwork and his hands are soft enough to become an average receiver. The thing to keep in mind is just how hard catching is and having to learn a new staff on the fly makes it even more difficult.

brad14 (NJ): How is Mazara doing compared to his scouting report/projection? Has his current .309/.355/.491 as a 21 year old raised his ceiling since he is doing it at such a young age?

James Fisher: There are some large numbers on his scouting reports and he's living up to them at present. We shall see how pitchers start to make adjustments on him the second time through the league but to do what he is doing at his age is impressive. I see him a little lighter in the BA category, around .280, but the power is real.

muwasser (Washington, DC): How far away is Lucas Giolito for the Nats? What does he need to accomplish before making the leap to the bigs?

James Fisher: Giolito is refining his command at this point and all signs point to a late season call up for the stretch run. You would like to see some more consistency with the breaking ball but when it's on it's one of the best pitches in the minor leagues.

Ben (FL): No question, no need to reply. Just wanted to thank you for your time, excellent stuff.

James Fisher: Thanks Ben, first chat and I'm really enjoying it. Hope y'all are getting some enjoyment out of it as well.

Leonard (None of Your Business): Could you tell us what should we think about the performance of Cody Reed so far this season? (I refer to the Arizona one) Is his performance something we should be paying attention to as legitimate or is it more smoke & mirrors?

James Fisher: Cody Reed is a tough guy to nail down. He relies on deception and a heavy fastball to get outs while the breaking ball is his strikeout pitch. I wouldn't count on the strikout numbers to continue but the profile is solid. The deliver is unorthodox but it works for him and it really throws hitters off.

Ron (Cali): Ariel sandoval. Does he make to the top 10 dodgers prospect list next year? Which Mlb player you can compare him too?

James Fisher: I have to admit that I didn't see him very well. Two game look and while he did hit some balls hard, he swung at everything. I mean everything. He will need to refine his approach but the power is real. I don't have a good enough feel to throw a comp on him at this point... Sorry.

ZT (Milwaukee): What in the world is going on with Isan Diaz? Slash line is atrocious and he didn't pass the eye test he looked lost at the plate when I saw him last week. Should we be worried?

James Fisher: This is a case of the league making an adjustment on Diaz and he just hasn't made an adjustment to what they are doing to him. He still has the batspeed and pop that made me so high on him to begin with but the strikeouts are troubling. Let's give him another month and check back on him.

Joe (Ohio): Thoughts on Jesse Winker as a prospect? Started off slow last year also and then hit for more power. Do you like him as middle of the order hitter ?

James Fisher: Jesse Winker is a guy I've liked since his amateur days. The bat is legit and while middle of the order hitter may be a touch high, it wouldn't surprise me if he replaces Bruce when he gets traded eventually.

Raleigh Fingers (Handlebar Mustache, FL): Any thoughts on what's wrong with Francis Martes? He's struggled big time ever since moving up to AA late last season. Has his prospect stock dropped?

James Fisher: There are a couple of things that Francis Martes is struggling with at the moment, most of which is fastball command. You can blow A-ball guys away with pure velocity but the AA level is a large jump. There are some issues on the backside of his delivery which give me concern to his overall command profile so lets let him have the chance to make an adjustment at AA and we can revisit him.

Ner (West Des Moines): What do you think of Austin Meadows and Josh Bell?

James Fisher: Austin Meadows has done a good job since being drafted in 2013 but the strikeouts are troubling. As long as the power continues to come he will has a chance to be an everyday regular. Josh Bell is a tough profile at first base because he really doesn't hit for power and the glove doesn't exactly bring on gold glove comps.

Jim (Denver): Brendan Rodgers has been playing 2B quite a bit this year. With Arenado and Story on the left, are they already moving Rodgers?

James Fisher: Good point Jim, I must admit that I didn't know just how much 2B he has been playing this year. Based on that, the Rockies must have evaluated him as a 2B coming out with a well above-average bat.

Ron (Texarkana): Does Dillon Tate become a starter or reliever?

James Fisher: I'll go with starter because of the arm action and delivery. It's relatively clean with no outstanding issues.

Matt (San Diego ): Highest upside below AA, non Espinosa/Brendan Rodgers category

James Fisher: There's a ton of guys below AA that I could go with here but I Sandy Alcantara has a chance to be a monster for the Cardinals. He's long, lean and still growing. The delivery is clean and he has a plus plus fastball with secondary offerings that grade out above average.

Prroscher (Minneapolis ): Lamonte Wade got off to a fast start. How does his age match up in high A ball? How does he grade out as a prospect?

James Fisher: He's right in line age wise for the league and brings a nice approach at the plate. He's most likely a fourth outfielder but the pop in the bat gives me pause on that forecast.

Jake (State Farm): Well if Brendan Rodgers is indeed playing more 2B which bat do you like better as a future 2B, him or Moncada?

James Fisher: Give me Yoan Moncada if he stays long-term at 2B.

Greg (Colorado): Is Wilson Contreras bat for real?

James Fisher: Yes. Think .280 with 10-15 homers. I like him a lot.

sdsuphilip (San Diego ): What have you heard on Jacob Nix/Enyel De Los Santos? Both are having very good seasons statistically. On a totally different not why do people like Avocados? They are very bad

James Fisher: I haven't seen Nix this year because I jumped on an amateur game instead but Grant Jones saw him and had positive things to say regarding his pitchability since the last time he saw him. I haven't seen De Los Santos yet... I like avocados so we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

Justin (Milwaukee): Where's the best place to catch a ballgame in the Midwest League and the Northwoods League this year? Both from a cool stadium/fan perspective, and the young talent to watch that might be taking the field.

James Fisher: Appleton is a great place to watch a ballgame as well as South Bend. Try to catch them when Peoria, Quad Cities or Fort Wayne is in town and you won't be disappointed with the prospects on the field. As for the Northwoods leagues, Lakeshore and Madison are the cream of the crop.

James Fisher: Alright it's time for me to get some other work done. Look for some more Eyewitness Reports and some great draft coverage coming out soon. Follow me on twitter @JWalkerFisher and don't hesitate to reach out to me through BP with any questions. Thanks!!!


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