ANAHEIM CA - JULY 11: U.S. Futures All-Star Zack Wheeler #45 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 11 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally held a chat over at Fangraphs on Thursday night, and talked prospects nearly the entire time. Here's some of the more interesting tidbits from that chat, along with my thoughts.
Comment From Guest: With the Zimmerman extension is there a danger that the Nats will trade Rendon at some point in the future, or is he good enough that they'll find a position for him? (2B maybe?)
Mike Newman: This question is a bit too early for my liking. First, the Nationals need to gauge Rendon's health which might affect the position(s) he can play. If Rendon is able to play an up-the-middle position, he will. If he's only capable of playing 3B, then the potential is there for either Zimmerman or Rendon to play 1B. They really don't have a definitive future there.
That seems to be the million dollar question right now, as the team has stated that they will play Rendon at 2B, 3B, and SS during Spring Training. Rendon pinch-hit for the designated hitter in today's game, but I'm inclined to agree with Mike. There's no reason for them NOT to try Rendon at shortstop and see what he can do. If he ends up at shortstop or 2B I'd be inclined to put him into the top 5 at either position after he acclimates to the big leagues.
Comment From Snoochies: any chance parker makes a big enough impression to land a job with the a's?
Mike Newman: Parker is 24 and had some success in double-A. I don't see why he wouldn't be allowed to compete, but projections are pretty brutal and he hasn't exactly torn up MILB levels as a prospect who was age appropriate at best for his level of competition. I'm not particularly hopeful.
Parker had an impressive debut today for Oakland, striking out 4 over 2 innings. But it was the Mariners. And it's Spring Training. Realistically, I think Parker will be up at some point during the season, but it may not be until midseason. There's definitely a financial incentive for the A's to keep him in Sacramento for at least a month or twoo, but it's kind of up in the air who they would have in the rotation to start the year in his place.
Comment From Ben: Why is Christian Villanueva not getting as much attention as Mike Olt? Shouldn't his athleticism boost his profile?
Mike Newman: For me, Villanueva and Olt are much different players whose strengths/weaknesses balance out. I'm honestly not sure why the chatter is so much stronger for Olt other than a continuation from his draft slot/prospect profile.
I honestly haven't read much about Christian Villanueva to this point, and was surprised to see him in BA's top 100 to begin with. Olt is a lot closer to the bigs than Villanueva, but it seems to be sounding more and more like Villanueva may have a higher offensive ceiling.
Comment From Rob: Texas seemingly has a stockpile of young, high-ceiling position players (Odor, Villanueva, Mazara, Guzman, Alfaro). Which, if any, do you see as the best bets to not only reach the big leagues but to maximize their talents?
Mike Newman: You are asking this question a couple of years too early. don't get too excited about IFA's and other young prospects until they reach full season baseball and have some success. Regardless of signing bonus, some of these guys will simply not be able to adjust to a decent breaking ball.
It's hard not to get excited sometimes when you hear about some of these very young international free agent signees, but it is still fun to watch. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus tweeted that he got to see Mazara, Guzman and Alfaro in BP today, and Guzman "won the cage." Not entirely sure what that shows, but thought it was an interesting tidbit.
Comment From Todd: Any guesses as to when Trevor Bauer breaks in to the AZ rotation? When should he?
Mike Newman: Bauer will probably be called up as soon as there's an injury in the DBacks rotation. I don't see why he would not be the equivalent to their 6th SP.
Bauer started the D'backs ST opener today, and while we don't have any Pitch fX data from the game, he recorded 4 straight outs on 1 pitch each, a 3 pitch called strikeout, and a 3 pitch swinging strikeout against a bunch of the Rockies' starters. If he pitches well enough during ST, I could honestly see him pitching in the bigs to start the year. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted that the only thing Bauer has been asked to change of his routine is "not to wear headphones out onto the field when he's warming up". He may honestly be draftable in nearly all formats depending on your bench.
Comment From Ben: When will Shelby Miller be ready for the show?
Mike Newman: His numbers say he's pretty much ready now.. Unfortunately the off-the-field issues may force the organization to treat him with kid gloves and hold him down a little longer.
I don't know if I was aware specifically of any maturity issues, but the bigger issue at the moment for him being in the rotation in St. Louis is that they couldn't seem to find room for Roy Oswalt. I would think Miller will be up at some point in 2012, but it may not be until September if none of the starters get hurt.
Comment From Guest: Wheeler or Harvey?
Mike Newman: Wheeler for me. Younger and similar stuff, so I see him as having a higher projection.
Harvey is a bit closer to the bigs, and it seems to be sounding more and more like these two will both be excellent starters for the Mets in the future. I'm not sure at the moment if there is a wrong answer to this question.
Comment From Ziggy: Pick one to build your team around: Sano or Bogaerts?
Mike Newman: I have to take Bogaerts - He has the best chance to remain on the infield AND he is already performing in full season baseball. I'm skeptical of Appy league numbers and need to see Sano produce in full season.
It seems like most of the reports I have read about Sano have serious concerns about whether or not he will be able to stay at 3B long term, or if he will have to go to either RF or possibly even 1B by the time he gets to the bigs. Bogaerts posted some ridiculous power numbers in the Sally League last year, and could be a top 10 prospect by this time next year if he can do it again in High-A Salem.