Baseball America's Jim Callis held a baseball chat yesterday afternoon and here are a few excerpts:
Cy (Cooperstown): Gary Sanchez' first year in full-season ball: Ups, downs, suspension and now an injury. What's your assessment? Seems like he was hitting well just before he got hurt. What is his injury?
Jim Callis: When he got off to a slow start, I wondered if maybe we had hyped him too much, too soon. Then he found his groove and started hitting like he was one of the elite prospects in the game. The obvious comparison is Jesus Montero: exciting bat, questions about whether he can stay behind the plate. He has a hand injury, I believe, and is done for the year.
Sanchez was hitting .256-.335-.485 with 17 HRs, 52 RBI, and a 93-36K/BB rate in 301 at bats at Low A Charleston. Sanchez has dropped on many prospect lists, and I expect to see him much lower come 2012, but he is very young, so that could all change with a good year in High A next season.
Brad (MO): What infield would you rather have for the next 5 years: C. Santana, LaPorta, Kipnis, A. Cabrera, and Chisenhall or S. Perez, Hosmer, Giavotella, A. Escobar, and Moustakas? What group has the higher offensive ceiling?
Jim Callis: If we're counting catchers as infielders, I'd take the Indians crew. Position by position, I prefer Santana, Hosmer, Kipnis and Cabrera, and Moustakas vs. Chisenhall is going to be close. I don't think LaPorta is going to be anything special, but the other four Indians all could be well above-average offensively for their positions, so they get the higher combined ceiling.
I like the Indians quintet for fantasy purposes as Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis could be top 10 hitters at their positions in the next 5 years, especially Santana. Eric Hosmer will probably be the best of all the prospects mentioned, and the Indians have to be disappointed with Matt Laporta at this point.
More excerpts after the jump:
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Christian Yelich was drafted as a first baseman, but lately he has been playing left field and even centerfield occasionally. If Yelich were to be moved to CF full time, with his hitting ability, would that propel him into a top 100 prospect?
Jim Callis: His bat might put him in the Top 100 regardless. That said, I don't think he runs well enough to play center on a full-time basis.
Yelich is all of 19 years old playing in Low A Greensboro this season, and is hitting .311-.383-.475 with 12 HRs, 65 RBI, 64 runs, 30 SBs in 35 attempts, and a 92-46 K/BB rate in 415 at bats this season. He was the Marlins first round pick in 2010, and ESPN's Keith Law recently ranked him as his 41st best prospect in his midseason Top 50, and here is what he had to say about him back in mid-July:
Analysis: Yelich is more than holding his own as a true 19-year-old in low A with some pop, some plate discipline and 19 steals in 23 attempts. He's even played some center field, although left is his probable destination. Preseason Ranking: 79
Jason (Tampa): What do you see as Will Middlebrooks ceiling at the next level—-from a glove standpoint and his bat? Is he an elite prospect? Will he stay at 3rd? What about Xander Bogaerts?
Jim Callis: Wouldn't call him an elite prospect, but the ceiling is there for him to be an above-average hitter and defender. Bogaerts has a huge ceiling too. I'd give Middlebrooks the edge as a prospect because he has proven himself in Double-A, but Bogaerts may develop more rapidly than Middlebrooks has.
Middlebrooks is a candidate to be traded, I think, as the Red Sox have Kevin Youkilis at third base. Middlebrooks, who was recently promoted to AAA, hit .302-.345-.520 with 18 HRs, 80 RBI, 54 runs and a 95-21 K/BB rate in 371 at bats in AA this season.