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Chat: Adam McInturff

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 25, 2016 1:00 PM ET chat session with Adam McInturff.

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Adam is a senior member of our prospect team, with a focus on the Carolina League.

Adam McInturff: Alright everyone, this is a Thursday day game. Or the chat equivalent of 'getaway day.' I guess this is where I'm supposed to say 'I have a bird to catch after this game.' Jeff Bannister said that once...

jdc1989 (MO): Did you see any of Erick Fedde while he was at Potomac? What did you think of him, and what can he be in the majors?

Adam McInturff: Starting at the bottom of the quene and working my way up, all.

Yes, I saw Fedde quite a bit this year. Potomac is the affiliate I cover that's closest to my neck of the woods.

RE: 'What did you think of him?'...
I would describe him as a leaner-framed, athletic, fast-armed guy, with good velocity and a good fastball and slider combo. That's the basic toolset: wiry with twitch; lively swing-miss fastball and hard breaking ball that can get swings. The best outings I saw of his, a firm split-like changeup was a big third piece to the mix of stuff, one that if he can make it a consistent weapon (as he showed more feel to do as the season progressed) will really raise the ceiling for this guy.

RE: 'What can he be in the majors?'
I think the best case is a middle-rotation starter who has power stuff and racks up strikeouts, with fair enough overall control. There's risk here, though--there's a track record of injuries/durability concerns, and he's more of a stuff over pitchability guy right now. That said, I wouldn't say he's ALL stuff and NO pitchability...so long as he keeps two above-average pitches like he has today, I think he CAN start even without tons of precision.

Monty (Toronto): Can you compare Erick Fedde and Sean Reid-Foley? They seem very similar, but does either have a better upside, or a higher floor that they will hit?

Adam McInturff: Taking this question as it is a good followup to the previous Erick Fedde one.

I think that's a good point in terms of their similarities. The stuff is more the same to me than their frames and track records of durability, and it's for that reason that I think there's some difference in their respective floors.

They're both hard-throwing guys with heavy fastballs, who go to sliders as their primary out pitch. In those ways, they're similar--as are the sinker/slider mid-rotation profiles they both have in the best case.

I would say that Reid-Foley is the more durable frame, and though both guys have some funk to the arm-action in the back of the delivery, I'd probably say Reid-Foley gets through his mechanics with less noise overall. I love Fedde's stuff, when he's on, it is about as good as anyone in the minors. (about as good, note that I said 'about as good' please...)

But the durability questions and how that's impacted the amount of time Fedde has had to develop as a starter at the pro level likely give the 'floor' category to Reid-Foley for me, just because I think he might be the SAFER bet to remain a starter. That said, if Fedde clicks and is the more dynamic of the two in a big league rotation in the best case, don't be surprised. Fedde's stuff--from a 'raw pitches' standpoint--is really, really nasty on his best nights. Three definite 60 pitches, the fastball sometimes a little better when he's running it to 95-96 with above-average arm-side life.

cracker73 (Florida): What Michael Kopech is doing is amazing. What is his upside? In what range do you think he will be listed in next year's prospect lists?

Adam McInturff: Kopech has velocity you can't teach, and though the (sometimes three) digits on the radar gun get the attention, it should be noted how much explosion the pitch has as well. It's 80 velocity with life not too far behind.

He's been dominant--and he has a ton of attributes that you can't teach. He even has a lot of natural deception in his delivery, which kind of just makes you say 'good luck, guy...' to the batter when he's facing 100+ mph.

I'm sure the Player Development staff there is continuing to develop his overall pitchability, though, and helping develop finer aspects of pitching to augment Kopech's great natural stuff.

The upside could be a dominant upper-rotation starter, albeit one with a unique arsenal. He throws so hard, he might not need to rely on a full three or four pitch mix to have a disproportionate amount of success as a starting pitcher for a righty with just 2-3 pitches. Developing his arsenal and throwing more quality strikes are going to be keys for him moving forward. Clearly, envisioning a guy with this type of velo just letting it rip in the 'pen is always going to be an option as well.

Al (Queens): Are there any Mets prospects that you really like? Maybe more than the average prospect guy?

Adam McInturff: I'll go with Szapucki for now. Opened some eyes in the Appy League when he was there this summer. I'd heard about the raw stuff since he was an amateur as a Florida high schooler, but this summer I got my first looks at him directly.

Danny (Philly): Scooter Hotz said Isan Diaz would be the #1 prospect in 2020.....is he crazy or or on to something?

Adam McInturff: My question to your question is how much you really trust a man named Scooter....

Your answer should be 'a lot.' Scooter is an earnest name.

I don't know if #1 prospect means '#1 in baseball' or top Brewers prospect. Either way, I will vote for the side that says Mr. Hotz is on to something. I saw Diaz this spring quite a bit in the Cactus League, and wrote about him then. Our excellent Midwest League crew has stayed all over this guy in 2016. Serious offensive upside here, even if he moves off the position.

Dan (Yankee Farm): Big Yankee fan here. My friend who is a Mets fan is trying to tell me Amed Rosario is better and will be better in MLB than Gleyber Torres. Tell him that hes wrong please

Adam McInturff: Eeeeeeesh. Just agree with your Metsfan friend to both be happy your respective New York team has a quality shortstop prospect in the pipeline.

Ades (Michigan): How many mets prospects do you think make top 100s this offseason? Rosario, Smith and Szapucki feel like locks. Do Dunn, Lindsay, Nimmo or Cecchini have a chance to sneak in?

Adam McInturff: Lots of Mets questions. I was up at Citi Field for MetsBall Classic, a great tournament the organization hosts every summer. Absolutely beautiful park, it was a terrific time. 2017 All Americans Jordon Adell (OF), Garrett Hunter Ruth (RHP), and Ricardo De La Torre (SS) were in attendance.

Tangent aside, to answer your question, I think that Rosario, Smith, and Dunn are the locks...I can see Szapucki making it, I can see him bordering as well given the proximity to the big leagues and the risk historically associated with his profile. I can see all four of them in, though...

From the other guys you mentioned, I guess I'd say Nimmo is the best best, if only *because* he's so close--and that gets valued later on the list at the end of the day. Or to me it does, anyway. This is presuming he doesn't exceed rookie limits.

tarheel_fan (chapel thrill): What do you think of the addition of Kinston for the Rangers organization? Do you think Fayetteville will also get a team?

Adam McInturff: Is it as humid in Chapel Thrill today as it is up here? One of my favorite areas to be in. Love DiamondHeels' stadium...

Addition of Kinston for Texas is great. The Player Development staff there is top notch, and getting back to the Carolina League (they had Myrtle Beach before) will put their pitching prospects in a more reasonable hitting environment. At some point, you have to wonder if playing in such extreme conditions as they were in the Cal League has an impact on the mentalities of the guys on the hill.

Greg (NY): Dom Smith. Is this guy finally gonna get some prospect love this offseason? .305/.370/.465 in AA as a 21 y/o. what kind of big leaguer do you see him becoming and where do you think he will be placed on prospect lists this offseason? Thank you!

Adam McInturff: Yeah, I think this is the year he gets prospect love. Even from me. I might have undercut the offensive upside, I had questions about how much power was going to develop, despite the sweet left-handed swing and the fluid hitting tools. Seeing him answer some questions this year--while also now doing it at AA--is going to push him over the edge. He'll be ranked as one of the better first base prospects in the game I'm sure.

Keith (Farmington, CT): Thanks Adam. Rafael Devers has had a great 2nd half and is still young (turns 20 in October) for Hi A. Do you see him as a big impact bat, or just an average or slightly above average player?

Adam McInturff: I can see both happening, actually, and the variable it comes down to is how well he develops the mental aspect of his approach. He's got all the hitting tools in the world in terms of bat-speed and size, ability to still drive the ball with power even if he's working inside out. There's no question that he'll put swings on the ball sometimes that are very impressive for his age and level of the minors. It's been enthusing to see him continue to get better as the year has progressed going up against older guys.

If the bat holds up a little bit, it will be because of an over-aggressive approach that gets itself out with inability to track secondary pitches. I've also seen some struggles against lefties all season long, though overall he's kept his strikeout rates fairly low.

Ian (Brooklyn): Hey Adam, I live in Brooklyn and am a Mets fan and have had the pleasure of watching a very talented Cyclones team this year. Specifically, Justin Dunn, Thomas Szapucki and Desmond Lindsay (.308/.444./.514 jump out at me. How do you project those three guys?

Adam McInturff: I like something (or a lot of things) about all three of those players, respectively. I think Dunn could be very good, Szapucki I can see in the big leagues in some capacity. Maybe as a starter, though I can see his angle and mix of stuff playing well in shorter stints. Desmond Lindsay's ability to hit and stay through the ball to all fields really jumped out at me as an amateur. He's been a nice boost for the system.

Francisco (Georgetown): What do you see in Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo for the Mets?

Adam McInturff: Conforto I see being a lot more impactful, though I don't think that is news at this point. Conforto I believe is really a player, I think in a 'long game' type of way he'll be fine.

Marlinsmanfan (NC): What prospects are notable that are left in Class A Greensboro? Seems like the team deflated after the Naylor and Seymour trades.

Adam McInturff: The team was gutted, but that's only because the Marlins got back plenty of talent for Chris Paddack, Naylor, Seymour, and others. I don't really know what the dog that goes and picks up the bats really has to live for anymore. Ah, competing at the big league level. Rarely do we think of its ramifications on the animals of Low-A.

I'd still tab Stone Garrett, Isael Soto, and Kyle Barrett as prospects of some notoriety at Greensboro. They're all longer-shot types of guys for various reasons.

Frank (GA): Aaron Judge or Michael Conforto? How many WAR do you see each averaging over 2017-2020?

Adam McInturff: Not answering in strict WAR, but that's still a tough question. I keep almost just typing Conforto and then coming up with points in Judge's favor. A big reason behind the pro-Judge stuff is playing in that park, and how many more short-porch hooks I think he can drive out of there.

Reese (GA): Feels like a lot of these Yankee prospects are being overhyped. Aaron Judge I dont think will ever be much better than the average regular. And I really dont understand why Jorge Mateo is ranked so high. I get it, hes fast but that's really it

Adam McInturff: Not speaking specifically to either player when I say this, but remember two things:
1. Players from teams like the Yankees will always have very hyped prospects, moreso than the aggregate. In the internet age, remember how much name-recognition can drive public opinion on players. That's why it is so important to have prospect watchers actually get out to games and evaluate these guys live like we do our best to provide our readers here at Baseball Prospectus.

2. Remember how much any shortstop prospect's value is also inflated. Simply by playing shortstop or catcher--let alone playing those positions in the minor league system of a large-market team--a guy is going to get talked about with an above-average level of buzz.

BC (Urbandale): Would you be okay with a Bryzzo MVP?

Adam McInturff: Would you be okay with an entire year more of adorable commercials of them having the best time evar as bros? Your call Urbandale.

Dan (DC): Thoughts on Isan Diaz? What kind of potential does he have? Top prospect in a couple of years?

Adam McInturff: I think he will be the type of prospect who will out-play his projections a little bit once he gets to the mid-high minors. He isn't going to be billed as a 'super tools' guy, but the hitting ability is going to play, I think. There's going to be some pop for a middle infielder, too. He was leading the Midwest League in dingers going into the league's All-Star break.

Dan (DC): Thoughts on Isan Diaz? What kind of potential does he have? Top prospect in a couple of years?

Adam McInturff: I think he will be the type of prospect who will out-play his projections a little bit once he gets to the mid-high minors. He isn't going to be billed as a 'super tools' guy, but the hitting ability is going to play, I think. There's going to be some pop for a middle infielder, too. He was leading the Midwest League in dingers going into the league's All-Star break.

Chris (Texas): First pick in 2017 MLB draft? 2018?

Adam McInturff: If Jordon Adell continues to quiet doubters about the hit tool, he could be the most toolsy guy in this class. It's a very deep year for college pitching as well.

Pete B (Ocean City, NJ): Thanks for putting in the time for these chats Adam. I went to HS with TJ Rivera and have been following him since his days at Troy and now to the MLB. Guy hit A TON in the minors and his hit tool looked great in the majors. Assuming he finally gets a real chance to get regular playing time eventually, can you see him as a Martin Prado type?

Adam McInturff: He and a guy like Matt Reynolds are two young, team-controllable infielders who can slot in all over the infield. Good players to have.

Ralph (Bronx): Thanks for the chat. Please rank these starting pitchers in terms of stuff: Dillon Cease, Thomas Szapucki, Alec Hanson, Cal Quantril, Luiz Gohara, Ian Anderson, Justin Dunn, Michael Kopech.

Adam McInturff: Hmmm...pure stuff. This is a great question.

Lets go...Alec Hanson first maybe? He doesn't throw as hard as Kopech but I think he has a better breaking ball right now in its pure form. Then Kopech, I suppose, just because of the velo. Let's say Cease third, Dunn fourth? Those guys could be reversed, too. Quantrill fifth, Ian Anderson, then Gohara, then Szapucki. All these guys have great stuff though.

Jquinton82 (Ny): Best pitcher and hitter in the draft class as well as first one to the majors?

Adam McInturff: The closest to the big leagues is going to be one of the SEC college pitcher studs. Faedo, Kyle Wright, etc. There are others too. Lots of depth in the college pitching class, with impact, too.

Jacob (Kansas): Vlad Guerrero Jr - Future top 10 prospect?

Adam McInturff: I think he could be a Top 10 guy in Toronto's system, yeah. Curious to see if he moves off of third base and goes to an outfield corner. Very similar raw tools to his dad.

Drake (Tempe): I'm in love with Andres Gimenez

Adam McInturff: I hope he's fond of you as well man.

Adam McInturff: Alright, that's it for me today all. Thanks for all the great questions as always, and apologies for those I didn't get to! Email me at AMcInturff@BaseballProspectus.com with prospect questions.


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