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Chat: Kate Morrison

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday February 16, 2017 8:00 PM ET chat session with Kate Morrison.

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Kate Morrison is an author of Baseball Prospectus, a SABR award finalist and contributor to the prospect team.

Kate Morrison: Welcome to another baseball chat, where we'll take on many questions with varying amounts of seriousness. Your chat tonight is powered by Thin Mints, and no beer. Let's go!

John (Bayside): How much wood would Yohander Mendez chuck if Yohander Mendez could chuck wood?

Kate Morrison: A decent amount, but not as much as someone like, say, Keone Kela.

phillipday (Los Cabos): Were they still eligible, where would Mazara and Odor rank?

Kate Morrison: One and two, probably. It's really difficult to answer these kind of questions for me, personally, because once a player's proven themselves in the majors - as Mazara and Odor have - then their value is realized value, rather than potential value, which is what I'm personally weighing when I consider prospects. The reason that Mazara and Odor are big leaguers at an age when many are still prospects is that - they've realized the beginnings of their potential.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Carter Capps has added yet another crow hop to his delivery. Pretty soon he will just hand the ball to the catcher. Do you or the other experts at BP have a comment on the legality of this?

Kate Morrison: Once he starts landing on the grass, we have a problem. I'm an aficionado, nay, a collector, of weird-ass deliveries, and so I'm always going to be a little biased in favor of guys like Capps.

David (Not Sure): Victor Robles was the helium name heading into last year and this year its Juan Soto. Who is someone you are looking to jump on the wagon with the start of this season who isn’t yet a name so this time next year you can say “I was there before the hype.”

Kate Morrison: Anderson Tejeda's a name with some lift in the Rangers org, and some people very hyped about his potential.
Here's a college name: Luken Baker. Sophomore, big kid, big arm, big bat.

Jojo (SD): I assume you've gotten some good looks at Yohander Mendez...think he'll be a solid mid-rotation guy for years? More? Less? Thanks!

Kate Morrison: Years, sure, just not next year immediately. Mendez needs a bit more development, but when it clicks for him, he'll hopefully be able to live up to his build and stuff and be yet another solid mid arm for Texas. The problem, though, is that Texas has some mid-rotation guys, but no potential top-end guys coming up through the system, thanks to both system attrition and drafting difficulties.

David (Colorado): Think Texas starts Leody Taveras in Hickory?

Kate Morrison: If he performs well in the spring, yes. Texas hasn't shown a hesitation to push their young position player prospects before, especially if they're confident in their ability to handle failure.

CyMature (Cooperstown Rest Home): Thanks, Kate. Does Francis Martes have two 70-grade pitches?

Kate Morrison: No. He's really exciting, one of the best pitchers I saw last year, but he doesn't currently have two 70-grades.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): I have to believe you have too much respect for the game to accept what he is doing. Have you seen Capps throw? He is three feet in front of the rubber with the ball in his hand.

Kate Morrison: I haven't seen any shaky beat reporter footage from the spring yet, due to my real life, but I'll make sure to look some up.

Lt. Kaffee (Court Room): If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?

Kate Morrison: The only Santiago I know of is Amy Santiago, one of the many delightful characters in the best comedy on TV right now, Brooklyn 99, which comes back on April 11, which is entirely too far away.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Please describe your Platonic ideal of a BP Annual drinking game.

Kate Morrison: 1) No shot questions.
2) Funny comments (not a problem, we're good at that here.)
3) Funny people playing.

I mean, it's a game, and it's going to depend on who can hold their alcohol in what way at what time, y'know?

Jerry (Earth): Hey Kate thanks for the chat. It seems Ronald Guzman has been a good example of a prospect journey not being linear. Do you think he will spend the entire 2017 season in AAA taking over 1B in 2018? Is it outrageous to think his potential is a role 6 player with a max output of 25-30 home runs? Thanks for your input

Kate Morrison: I think that's a likely landing space for him, even while we don't have much of a roadmap for where players will be assigned. His emergence through 2016 is exactly why we as evaluators shouldn't be overly quick to label any player "a bust," because while there's a general way that development goes, not every prospect is the same. There's ups and downs within the timeline of a career, and no two players will have the same struggles - and we have to be aware of that, and incorporate it into our thought processes when evaluating anyone.

Vic (Baltimore): What will Profar's results look like with 500 or 600 ABs?

Kate Morrison: Profar will finally be coming into a season with no health questions around him (cross your fingers), and so it's understandable to project something closer to what was expected when he was the best prospect in baseball - I'd not be surprised by ...hell, .280/.365/.400ish but don't hold me to it.

It isn't guaranteed that he'll get that much time, though, because the Rangers have an excess of infielders and nowhere to put them.

Alex (Austin): Are there any lesser known guys I should be looking for on my trips up to Round Rock this season?

Kate Morrison: I assume you're just talking about on the Express, and one of the annoying things about the depletion of the Rangers system is that there's not really that much between GOOD and career minor leaguer - and towards the end of the year, Frisco was genuinely a terrible team, so there's not anything exciting or interesting close.

sdsuphilip (San Diego): Any thoughts on Mason Thompson or Jacob Nix?

Kate Morrison: Not really, no.

Noah (Nj): How would you grade Noah Syndergaard's pitches and command? I imagine it'd look pretty silly

Kate Morrison: one cannot grade something that is both ephemeral and eternal, like lightning or the myths that surround it

it's good in that it exists, and gives us something to wonder at

Dave (FL): So no power from Profar anytime soon?

Kate Morrison: Until I see proof of it, consistently, it's safer to project him as a doubles dude. I'd be happy to be wrong, of course.

Kgraveman (Mississippi ): Hey Kate hope you're having a swell day. I was curious is there anything not to like about Tyler Beede and do you expect him to be the first SP call up for the Giants this year? Thanks for all your hard work and everyone else at BP.

Kate Morrison: He's developed enough to probably be at the top of their list, and his profile makes him a good gap-filler starter. The only thing to not like is that he's not better - there's not really an extreme drawback, just a lack of ceiling.

Craig (Green Bay, WI): Assuming you saw Brinson last year do you think he has or will develop the required plate discipline necessary to hit for a decent average or will he turn into a current day Matt Kemp type ?

Kate Morrison: I think developing it is definitely within his capabilities - he's never going to have the best control of the zone, but he's already a better hitter than some with similar profiles.

Marty (tampa): What to make of the Alex Reyes TJS? Are the Cards cooked?

Kate Morrison: It'll definitely be a harder road for the Cardinals now, but this stuff happens. There's been no proven mechanical or physical factors that contribute towards Tommy John, other than the sheer fact that pitchers throw baseballs very hard. It's part of the risk calculus, and sometimes the talent outweighs that.

I will say that the year I saw Alex Reyes in Double-A was also the year I saw Julio Urias, and I walked away thinking that Reyes was the better prospect. If you'd told me I could trade highly-rated prospect x, y, z for him, I probably would have. I hope for all of baseball that he comes back with his stuff intact, because baseball's better with a talent like Reyes.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Several somewhat similar OF prospects are moving up to the higher levels this year. Meadows, Zimmer, Robles, Brinson and Frazier come to mind. How do you rank them?

Kate Morrison: Meadows, Robles, Binson, Frazier, Zimmer

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Dominic Smith might be the most divisive prospect in the game. Does he or does he not have power?

Kate Morrison: _(ツ)_/

Igor (At a Bar): Mazara had a pretty good rookie season as only just being able to legally buy a beer. My question is I know there are some concerned about him struggling against lefties. Do you think the Rangers will let him get reps against lefties or are they gonna stick him in a platoon even though he will just be 22 this season?

Kate Morrison: I think the Rangers are dedicated to whatever will help his development - he's a big part of their future plans for years to come, and while he struggled against lefties last year, he has the potential to be a solid hitter against all hands, if he's given time to develop. Of course, with Mazara, he could show up to spring training having solved that issue. Exciting times, for sure.

Hope you're having a good beer at that bar you're at.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Following up on your answer to Marty. There has yet to be shown that anything can predict or prevent TJS. The coddling of Joba Chamberlain, a big horse, was a fiasco and everybody predicted that 6'6" bean pole, Chris Sale, and his funny motion, would fall apart. I watched Bob Lemon and Allie Reynolds throw in relief between their starts and go on for years. The question of how much exertion went into the deliveries then versus now is legitimate but it really just looks like luck. The arm falls off or it doesn't.

Kate Morrison: It's almost as if there's no "good" mechanics, only aesthetically pleasing ones and aesthetically unpleasing ones.

Knock on wood for your favorite pitcher, friends.

Mike (Chicago): What's a good current player comp for Lewis Brinson's ceiling? I just want to know how worried to be as a Cubs fan.

Kate Morrison: I can't think of a comp (they've never been my strong suit), but his ceiling is very very high. He's got the potential to be a smooth-fielding centerfielder with legit power and a decent hit tool. It's the kind of profile that is the ideal from a CF, especially in a time where, because of defense, that position is trending light on power.

Kate Morrison: It's always great to talk baseball, especially when we're finally getting close to the beginning of the season. We can make it, everyone. Here's to another great year.


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