Baseball America is in the middle of publishing their Top 20 Prospects for each league, and held their Eastern League Top 20 chat on Tuesday. Before I get to some of the chat excerpts, here are the Top 5 prospects in the league:
1. Bryce Harper, WAS
2. Travis d'Arnaud, TOR
3. Anthony Gose, TOR
4. Brad Peacock, WAS
5. Jacob Turner, DET
John Manuel ranked Brad Peacock ahead of Jacob Turner and Manny Baunuelos. Surprised or no?
Before I get to the chat excerpts, Minor League Ball's John Sickels reviewed his preseason Top 50 pitching prospects yesterday, and here is an excerpt:
9) Jacob Turner, RHP, Detroit Tigers, Grade A-: Posted 3.44 ERA with 110/35 K/BB in 131 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Gave up 13 runs in 13 major league innings, but remains an elite prospect.
Chat excerpts after the jump:
Commish (NY): Gose potential - greater than, equal to, or less than Carl Crawford and what are the chances he reaches that potential. ETA?
John Manuel: I don't think it's instructive to use Crawford as a comp right now for anybody. Nevertheless, you asked, so let's talk about what Gose does. He's a good defender in CF; Crawford never was. His arm is a weapon; never true of Crawford. Gose's bat has a long way to go; I saw Crawford in Triple-A and don't recall thinking his approach was as raw as Gose's is. I think Gose will need a full Triple-A year, but he'll be an asset on defense as soon as he gets to Toronto, so he might get there sooner. There's a pretty defined trio of top prospects in Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Matt Moore. Outside of those guys, I might pick Gose as the most exciting player in the minors. He's not Jurickson Profar good as a prospect but he's thrilling to watch. Managers didn't even really like him because of his, shall we say, exuberant playing style, but grudgingly agreed he's a significant prospect.
Very interesting response from Manuel. Gose hit .253-.349-.415 with 16 HRs, 59 RBI, 87 runs and 70 stolen bases in 85 attempts in AA this season. He's been traded twice and is now flashing power along with excellent speed.
@Jaypers413 (IL): If you're Nats management, do you start Harper back at Harrisburg come April, or bump him to Syracuse?
John Manuel: I'm not sure why you wouldn't include Washington as an option there. He's probably the best CF in the organization, and I bet they are tempted to put him there. More likely they get a CF this offseason (they made a run at Denard Span in July), keep Harper on the corners and start him back at Harrisburg. If you haven't seen the video of the home run he hit off Ryan Pope on Aug. 12, I encourage you to go to YouTube for the Harrisburg Senators' game recap of that. It's an impressive piece of hitting.
I can see Harper up in June, but not out of spring training. But, 2012 will be another year where the Nats take another step forward in the NL East. The Phillies are getting old and Howard and Utley are trending down offensively. Nats battle the Braves in 2013?
Matt (West Chester, PA): I was surprised to see Peacock get grouped together with Turner and Banuelos, let alone rank ahead of both. Considering Peacock's year and development, has his ceiling jumped from #3 to #2? And how do all three stack up against the top non-Moore/Teheran SP prospects like Shelby, Perez, Taillon, Pomeranz, Harvey, Skaggs? Thanks.
John Manuel: I really like Peacock a lot, and gave him the edge because of my single-minded (probably to a fault) emphasis of guys pitching off their fastball. Peacock went through lineups three times using mostly his heater. I like his fastball command best of that group, his fastball is as electric as any of them, and he's a good athlete. I like him as a future No. 3 starter, which is convenient as he slots in behind Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman. I like most of the pitchers you listed better than Peacock other than Matt Harvey, and I'd like to talk to scouts who saw Pomeranz and Peacock, if anyone did. Pomeranz is really interesting, but he doesn't exactly command the strike zone. Peacock actually has average fastball command.
The Nationals will have a rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Peacock 1-3.....is that better than the Braves 1-3 in 2012? I think it might be.