Jason Parks led a marathon chat over at Baseball Prospectus on Wednesday, and gave us a TON of great notes about prospects during it. Here's some of the better ones:
Xavier (Texas): Better career: Drew Pomeranz or Rubby de la Rosa?
Jason Parks: Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz has been getting an absolute ton of hype this season, and I'll be extremely interested to see what he can do after his call up. He's expected to make 1 start in the minors before getting that call.
Rob (Alaska): Hey, Jason. Thanks for the chat. So I've noticed a lot of similarities in what I'm hearing about Francisco Lindor relative to Jurickson Profar a year ago: does everything well, supremely polished for the age, lacks a huge offensive ceiling. This year Profar revised our expectations of him, particularly. I guess I'm trying to understand whether this well-rounded, extremely solid/polished skillset plays up (above expectations), or whether it was a true tools-based breakout. And of course I'm wondering whether the same might be expected of Lindor. Thanks for the chat and the dispatches from Arizona. I loved the bit about the dog.
Jason Parks: Here's the thing with Profar: I don't think his breakout season altered his ceiling, at least not in my mind. What it did was raise his floor, which was already very high. Profar is a first-division shortstop waiting to happen, and he might be an all-star shortstop before the music stops. His floor is basically a starting major leaguer at a premium defensive position. He is going to be very good. The only question is how good is how soon? Lindor is similar in the sense that his floor is remarkably high, and his current polish and maturity allows those that have seen him in person to paint an accurate picture of the type of player he is going to be. Like Profar, Lindor has everything you want to see in a starting SS at the major league level; instincts out the ass, + arm, + glove. Add to the mix a very good bat, a very mature approach, and some pop. It's a great combination. They are both going to play in the majors for over a decade. They are the shortstops of the future.
Lindor has been getting a ton of hype this spring as well, and the Indians gave him a bit of a challenge by sending him to a full season league to start the year. He seems like he will be given a path to get him to the Majors right around when Asdrubal Cabrera's extension expires.
sitdancer (DC): What are the chances we'll see Profar in the big leagues before 2014? And how do you see the Andrus / Profar situation play out? Is one of them going to switch position or will one of them be moved via trade?
Jason Parks: I think there is a good chance that Profar gets a cup of coffee at the major league level in 2012, with a good chance to be a feature player on the 25-man roster in 2013. Andrus is a great player, but he is going to be a very young man when he reaches free agency, and given his skill-set, set to receive a payday that will make him one of the highest paid players at his position. That's fantastic news for Elvis, and not a disaster for the Rangers, who have a player waiting in the wings that some believe will eclipse Elvis on the field. Right now the Rangers have a good problem. It's much easier to maneuver around too much talent than not enough talent. These things have a way of working out. Either Elvis gets traded after the season, or Profar and Elvis find homes on the same field. I'm hoping for the latter, because that would be a double-play duo people would pay money to see in action.
The more I keep hearing, the more it sounds like Profar will be up by the end of the season. THIS season. He's starting the season at AA this year, and could potentially force Ian Kinsler to left field long-term.
Fred (WI): How big a difference is there between Ronald Guzman and Jeimer Candelaria?
Jason Parks: I think there is a big difference between all the players in baseball; each is unique despite sharing similar skills. Guzman is younger and has a different body/athleticism. He could stand 6'6'' and it's unlikely he plays anywhere other than 1B. Candelaria is a better athlete, although he might grow into 1B as well. Both have mature approaches at the plate, with good contact and drive in their swings. Guzman has the higher ceiling in my opinion, with 6/7 on the hit/power tools. Candelaria has already produced in game action, and might be a step or two ahead in the developmental process. Both are high on my list, but I've seen a ton of Guzman and he is fantastic.
Parks raved about Guzman on the most recent Up-and-In podcast, and noted that his approach would fit with someone 3 years older than Guzman is right now. He also noted that Guzman is likely going to play stateside this year at the age of 17, another rare feat. I have a feeling that this time next year we could be talking about a top 20 prospect overall.
matt (fargo): Can Levi Michael make it to double A this year? And will he stick at short?
Jason Parks: Yes; I'm not sold that he can. I think he ends up at 2B, and becomes a solid-average type at the position. He's a total gamer and he gets the most of his tools, but he's not a player I see excelling on the left-side of the diamond.
Michael was the Twins' top draft pick last year, and there hasn't been a ton written about him to this point honestly. Sounds like he will be a fast mover, although with a lower ceiling than some of the other draft picks.
sportspopery (cubicle hell): If you had to choose for a trade-preference list, would you prefer Tyler Skaggs, Archie Bradley, or Trevor Bauer?
Jason Parks: Bradley. He could be very special. He has the highest ceiling on that list.
Parks and Kevin Goldstein both gushed about Bradley on the podcast, and he didn't disappoint on Thursday night as he went 5 innings, struck out 7 and walked just 1 for Low-A South Bend. I own Bradley in one keeper league, and I am extremely excited to see how his year progresses.
thebeej21 (Houston): Who should the Astros take with the number 1 pick Appell, Gausman, Zunino, Buxton, Giolito?
Jason Parks: Appell
It's early still, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus #1 pick in this draft. Buxton and Appel's names both keep coming up on a lot of boards at #1, but there's definitely not a Harper or Strasburg that clearly defines the class at #1 this year. Which is too bad for the Astros.
stevenpsu78 (York pa): What are you hearing about Oscar Taveras? Potential stud or lack of #want?
Jason Parks: Potential stud. His swing is going to bother scouts up the chain, and he's also going to hit all the way up the chain. It's not always pretty, and he swings the bat like he's trying to kill someone breaking into his home, but it works.
The Cardinals jumped Taveras from Low-A all the way to AA, so clearly they believe he can handle the challenge somewhat. I think he could very well continue to crush there all year long. I really liked Parks' quote on the podcast that Taveras swings his bat "like he is being robbed by someone with a chain-saw".
ttt (Manhattan): Any thoughts on Luis Heredia? Reports seem to be that he's really showing something despite only being 17. Where do you think he will start the season?
Jason Parks: He could be a special arm; a legit number 1. He still has to learn how to actually pitch, using a diverse arsenal in sequence. The fastball is already quite good, and the secs will get there. The Pirates will probably take it slow with Heredia, as the arm is very young and the arsenal still immature. He will be worth the patience.
An extremely raw prospect in the Pirates' system, Heredia debuted in one of the rookie leagues last year at age 16, and didn't fall completely on his face. It seems like he will be on the same path again this year, and it will be interesting to see if he can build on his performance last year.
Jordan Akins Dad (USA): Jordan Akins. What up?
Jason Parks: Great user name. Great athlete that has started taking the steps to be a great baseball player. Long way to go, but damn that ceiling is high. It's Matt Kemp high
Akins' name comes up a lot as a big tools, not great performance prospect as of yet. I can't say I've heard of anyone's ceiling being Matt Kemp high lately, and I need to do more research on him and see how much of a chance there is of him getting there.
Mike (Utica, NY): What's your take on Eddie Rosario, can he make it at 2nd and what is his ceiling?
Jason Parks: I think he can handle 2B; athleticism is present/enough arm/awareness. I think his ceiling is probably a solid-average regular with a chance for more if the bat reaches its potential. Not a superstar.
Rosario is moving to 2B this season, and this is after he hit 20+ home runs in the short season Gulf Coast League last year. He would likely vault to the top 3 or 4 on my 2B prospect list if he shows he can survive there, with the potential to be the top prospect at that position.
Mike (Utica, NY): Does the power begin to develop this year for Nick Castellanos?
Jason Parks: I think it will start to tease, but it won't fully erupt until Castellanos reaches Double-A
Castellanos was sent to High-A to start the year, and to me he still seems like he will eventually be trade bait for the Tigers if they need something specific this year. While the experiment of keeping Miguel Cabrera at 3B continues, Castellanos will be blocked once he's ready. It's a good problem to have though.