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Chat: Kate Morrison

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday July 05, 2016 7:00 PM ET chat session with Kate Morrison.

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Kate is a member of our prospect team, mainly covering the Texas League.

Kate Morrison: Hello, everyone! Kate here, let's talk about baseball!

brentdaily (Colorado): Enjoyed your article on the MiLB pay scale. Are the MiLBers with whom you interact aware of/following the class action case certified last December? How many are upset with the state of affairs? I'm imagining most toe the 'I'm just focused on baseball' line. How, if at all, do you think paying these guys a living wage would change their prospects?

Kate Morrison: It's really difficult to get any current minor leaguer to discuss this - partially because they don't have time, and partially because it could injure their standing with their team if a quote gets out. I imagine some of them are aware, and some of them aren't - and minor leaguers by no means all share the same opinions.

Even just being able to afford clean, healthy food would help. Being able to pay rent without splitting an apartment between four guys. Being able to put money away so that when they eventually have to leave baseball it's not as frightening a prospect. Some guys might even get a little bit further up the ladder than they would otherwise.

Niel (Dallas): Should we be worried about Tate's performance so far in his first full minor league season?

Kate Morrison: Yes. I've heard some murmurings from both BP prospect team members who have seen him and other sources that what they're seeing is not what you want to see from a top round pick. That's not to say that he doesn't eventually put it together, but the signs are not positive right now.

padremurph (Los Angeles): Is Austin Hedges the next Babe Ruth?

Kate Morrison: Hah! No, but he sure looks like he can hit some homers right now. Of course, the PCL is pretty darn power friendly, so that could just be the triple-A mirage.

Andrew (Granville): Hey Kate, I don't know how you do it but keep on fighting the haters. The things I see on social media directed towards you and other female writers is sickening, but just know you're making a positive impact on many females interested in baseball writing (including my sister.) My question is I'm due to graduate in May of 2017, and have been debating back and forth whether to pursue a career in baseball for at least a few years. What would you recommend my first step be if I want to work in baseball? I think there's a chance I could work for a minor league team in some capacity, is that what I should be aiming for? Thanks a million!

Kate Morrison: Thank you - and I hope your sister continues to pursue her interest in baseball!

This depends - are you looking to work on the business side or the baseball operations side? If you want to do business, a minor league team is a good place to start - you'll work really long hours, but it'll be good experience and in the right place, it can be a lot of fun. If you want to do baseball operations, you really need to try to find a spot with a major league team, either as a video intern or a analytics intern or in whatever specific thing you feel like. Make sure you have a plan, both financially and for what you'll do if you can't make your way into a permanent job.

cracker73 (Florida): When will mid-season top 50 prospects come out?

Kate Morrison: Go ask Craij.

Jerry (Earth): Hi Kate. Seems Ronald Guzman is starting to come along after everyone patiently waiting since he signed. Is his performance this season for real or should we still be reluctant? Am I crazy to put a ceiling of role 6 for him?

Kate Morrison: You're not crazy, as that's literally the grade I put on him in the stands in Frisco the other night. I think this is real improvement - some guys just are late bloomers. He's got a really good feel for the zone, and the power is developing. All in good time, with him.

Fred (NJ): I Know hes not texas league, but what do you make of dom smith and this recent hotstreak

Kate Morrison: All I know about Dom Smith I learned from Jeff Paternostro, so I should probably not answer this question.

Dan (California ): Are you concerned about Gallo's recent K% relapse?

Kate Morrison: A little bit, but not overly. Strikeouts are always and forever going to be a part of his game, and he'll have these slumps. He's still one of the top talents in minor league ball, though.

mcarso (scouting age): At what age do scouts really start looking at ballplayers? Sr. year?

Kate Morrison: Younger than that. I'm not a scout, so I can really only say what I've gathered, but there are definitely notes gathered on guys a year or two beforehand, even just on the public side. I mean, there are showcases for 11-year-olds, aren't there? Who are they showcasing for?

Dan (ATL): Mike Foltynewicz has really turned a corner with his command and secondary pitches this year. Any chance he becomes a #2 starter with a lot of strikeouts?

Kate Morrison: I always thought he'd be a reliever, but as a starter, I think he's a #3. #3s can masquerade as #2s occasionally, and this might be one of those cases. I never mind being proven wrong in these situations, though - guys improving beyond their projection is awesome.

Matt (Nashville): What do you make of Matt Chapman's numbers at the plate? His power seems real, but the strikeouts.

Kate Morrison: The strikeouts are concerning. Very concerning. I hadn't realized how many there were this year (107 in 79 games), and while he isn't yet old for double-A, he's older than you'd like to see having to make that kind of adjustment. If he can cut them down, the power will definitely play.

Niel (Dallas): Do you think JD is more likely to upgrade the Rangers' starting rotation or bullpen before the trading deadline? Which would you focus on?

Kate Morrison: If they can get Darvish back, and they feel he'll be back consistently, then the bullpen. Of course, last year he did both, so you can never count Jon Daniels out.

BC (Urbandale): Who is your dream home run derby roster? Current players.

Kate Morrison: Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon.

John (Seattle): Best song in Hamilton? Most devastating? Just listened to "It's Quiet Uptown" and I'm having trouble recovering.

Kate Morrison: I'm a big fan of "Hurricane" into "Reynolds Pamphlet," but "Wait For It" gets me every damn time.

Laura (Tacoma): Joey Gallo, when?

Kate Morrison: Whenever he forces the front office's hand - either hits his way to the bigs, or gets traded to a team that he'll have a clear positional advantage.

Brad (Denver): Have their been any studies refarding the nutrition of minor league players and how beneficial it would be for teams to invest in better nutrition for minor leaguers? Are any teams currently trying this?

Kate Morrison: BP's own Russell Carleton took a look at this back in 2012: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18777 and again in 2014. http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/why-don-t-minor-leaguers-get-paid-enough-071714

CUBBIE BEAR (CHI-TOWN): Has Franklin Barreto been over-hyped? His TL numbers are mediocre. Has he been battling nagging injuries or are TL scouts still bullish on him?

Kate Morrison: I don't have any specifics on Barreto, but he's young enough that it's definitely too early to write him off.

Steve (Colorado): Next BIG prospect nobody is talking about?

Kate Morrison: The difficult thing about this is that I talk about a lot of prospects with a lot of people, so I don't know who is under the radar. Yohander Mendez? He's pretty cool.

justarobert (Santa Clara): What do you make of Brinson's rather odd season in Frisco? The strikeout rate took a big step forward, but a bunch of hits disappeared, too. Just getting unlucky with balls in play, or is something else going on?

Kate Morrison: He was making a lot of weak contact before he went down with injury, and and some of that was bad luck, too. It'll really be what he does after he returns from his rehab stint that determines his status going into 2017.

Personally, I think he's going to be fine. He's an incredibly gifted player who is a treat to watch field.

Jason (FL): Brendan Rodgers or Yoan Moncada? Pick one and why?

Kate Morrison: They're both top prospects, but I haven't seen either one so it's difficult for me to answer, sorry!

Sam (TX): Anderson Espinoza - #1 Pitching Prospect in 2018?

Kate Morrison: This kind of question is really frustrating - he could be! He couldn't be! It's two years down the line and if I had a crystal ball, I'd be making a heck of a lot more money.

Really, though, while TINSTAPP is overblown these days, some small part of it rings true. He's the highest ranked pitcher that should still be eligible in 2018...but you never know. It's a long way from 18 in low-A to the major leagues (Julio Urias aside).

Niel (Dallas): Your favorite sleeper prospect in the Rangers' system?

Kate Morrison: Erik Swanson's apparently found some velo, reportedly as high as 98, and has some nice looking numbers. He is 22 in low-A, but he missed a lot of time in 2015, so he could jump through the level if the results are real.

Steve (Philly): Which minor league players that you've seen come closest to a 7 for a hit tool?

Kate Morrison: Mazara, Bregman...Correa made hitting look ridiculously easy, too.

Todd (San Francisco): What kind of deal do you think Josh Reddick gets? Good defense, good power, some issues staying healthy, and he still struggles mightily with lefties.

Kate Morrison: That's an interesting question. He might get qualified, but he could also be one of the top free agents of this class...which makes him difficult to predict. Comp wise, he's close to Colby Rasmus, who took the qualifying offer. Alex Gordon took a 4 year, 72 MM deal. Reddick possibly ends up between them, both on years and cash.

Frankstuff16 (NJ): Who's the top five prospects in 2017 for pitchers and non-pitchers?

Kate Morrison: I'd basically be guessing who of our current top fives does and doesn't graduate, and that's difficult to do.

Kate Morrison: Thanks, everyone, for your questions!


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