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Mike Newman Prospects Chat – 5/10/13

11:33
Mike Newman: Hello all. Welcome to this week’s chat. We’ll get started at noon, but feel free to start posting questions.
12:01
Comment From Rags
I don’t have a question but my boss didn’t show up for work today. Hooray Friday!
12:01
Mike Newman: My kind of Friday! I’m sure every reader in here is in the same situation. Right?
12:01
Comment From Aaron
What are your feelings on Braves pitching prospects? Alex Wood has looked GREAT so far. Where do you rank him, Cabrera, Sims, Graham, and so on?
12:03
Mike Newman: I’ve seen all four. Graham and Wood are very good pitching prospects. Not elite, but mid-rotation/high leverage reliever types. As for Sims/Cabrera, I just submitted a piece with HD video on both to FanGraphs.
12:03
Comment From Guest
Who reaches the majors first, Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano?

12:04
Mike Newman: It’s hard to bet against Sano right now considering he’s a full year ahead of the development curve. Plus, Hicks is a rookie center fielder. There’s really no rush to move Buxton at this point — Even though Hicks has struggled to date.
12:06
Comment From JEB
The crop of talent in the Al Central is pretty good right now correct? Think we’ll see that become a pretty strong division in the coming years?
12:07
Mike Newman: If you mean in terms of prospect talent, I’m not sure they boast more big names than other divisions. Might they have three of the top five, yes, but it’s not as if they have 35 of the top-100 or anything.
12:07
Comment From Benny
Is it too much to ask for Zack Wheeler to do exactly what Matt Harvey is doing?
12:08
Mike Newman: Yes, because Harvey wasn’t supposed to be this good. At the same point in development, One could argue Wheeler was further along.
12:08
Comment From G-House
Zack Wheeler … early June call-up?
12:08
Mike Newman: I hope. I’d imagine he’s down for super-two at this point.
12:08
Comment From Frank
What’s the word on Puig? He’s been struggle city since the injury and drunk driving arrest.
12:10
Mike Newman: Just wrote an update on him in my newsletter today. Without rehashing the piece, Puig will need to work through maturity issues at the MILB level.
12:10
Comment From Ryan
Franciso Lindor — Is he the top prospect in all of baseball in 2014? I read that he added muscle in the offseason, would he still project to have a 40 power tool in peak years?
12:11
Mike Newman: My piece last Friday broke down my current top-5. Lindor was 3rd. Fellow FanGraphs writer JD Sussman discussed his off-season workout regimen in a recent piece on Lindor. At this point, he might develop into a 12-15 home run guy.
12:11
Comment From G-House
Tyler Skaggs seems to be having the same type of problems as Wheeler. Too dry to really rev the breaking balls. Which do you see having a better MLB career?
12:11
Mike Newman: Wheeler and it’s not close.
12:12
Comment From Izzy
What did scouts miss with Matt Harvey? Did his pitches just suddenly improve or something?
12:13
Mike Newman: I don’t think it’s a question of what did scout’s miss. Few doubted his ability to develop into a quality starting pitcher. Maybe we should instead look at how the Mets developed him and if any changes caused a huge step forward.
12:14
Comment From zack
Could you see any fringe contender/team to a hot start like Kansas City, Colorado, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore trying to deal for Cliff Lee? Do any of those teams have the prospects to do it?
12:15
Mike Newman: Pittsburgh definitely has the talent to swing a deal like that. Colorado might. Off the top of my head, Kansas City seems light on close to ready talent to make a big push unless Duffy/Lamb were considered fully healthy and productive.
12:15
Comment From Guest
What are you hearing about Aaron Sanchez (SP-TOR)?
12:16
Mike Newman: Still hearing extremely positive things. I’m not sure why he isn’t receiving more national prospect attention at this point.
12:16
Comment From Guest
Rather have Profar or Kimbrel in a dynasty league? Profar much higher upside but also risk.
12:16
Mike Newman: Profar without hesitation.
12:18
Comment From zack
What are the chances that Yu Darvish posts the first 300K season since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling? 20%?
12:20
Mike Newman: I’d say 35%. Why not? He’s dominating right now. If he can get to 230 innings pitched, it should happen. I always wonder how much the summers in Arlington affect guys though.
12:20
Comment From Kyle
Any thoughts on Wyatt Mathisen? He’s really struggling.
12:21
Mike Newman: I wrote at length about him on Monday.
12:21
Comment From CJ
Have you had a chance to scout Alex Wood? He moved up to AA and hasn’t missed a beat.
12:21
Mike Newman: I have. He was 91-93 with a nice breaking ball. He was the anti-Gilmartin — A little less refined, but better pure stuff. I’m a fan.
12:22
Mike Newman: Lots of questions coming in about players from coast-to-coast. Remember, I try to focus on players I’ve seen/scouts I’ve spoken to.
12:23
Comment From Django
True/False: Xander Bogaerts in his peak years-280, 80 Runs, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 10 SB. I’d roster that. What changes would you make and how long should we expect it to be until that peak?
12:23
Mike Newman: False. More power and run production.
12:23
Comment From @dcholcomb
What was your day job before you talked your wife into letting go full time to writing and scouting?
12:24
Mike Newman: I spent ten years in education. To this point, I’ve only talked my wife into letting me quit one day job to work on baseball, along with another part time job. I’m not fully in baseball yet. Still a long ways to go.
12:25
Comment From Guest
What’s the other, current day job? And what did you do in education? Thanks for the chat
12:26
Mike Newman: I did everything from teaching to coordinating technology. Now, I work part time for a contracting company in addition to baseball. it’s more flexible, and I’m able to travel more during the week for games.
12:26
Comment From G-House
I am heading to Asheville for a vacation this summer. Are the Tourists worth checking out?
12:27
Mike Newman: Absolutely. Asheville is a fantastic city. You’ll never want to leave. Just make sure you check out Green Man brewery. It’s literally across the street from Tourists stadium. A brewery across the street from a ballpark is pure magic.
12:29
Comment From Dewey
What differentiates me and a pro scout if we both watch the same amount of baseball and of the same intelligence?
12:31
Mike Newman: In general, a wealth of knowledge and experience. When I first started taking notes at the park nearly five years ago, I thought I knew a great deal about baseball. I played college ball, coached and grew up around the game. When I began talking with career scouts, I suddenly felt stupid. They viewed the game through a different lens and saw things I didn’t.
12:32
Comment From marichal
Do the dodgers get desperate, call up Zach Lee?
12:32
Mike Newman: Lee isn’t overpowering at all, but has been successful at limiting walks and has a four-pitch arsenal. If called up tomorrow, he could survive as a 4/5 starter. However, I don’t think it’s in his best interest.
12:33
Comment From Nate
What is your favorite minor league park?
12:33
Mike Newman: Right now it’s Fluor Field in Greenville. However, everybody I speak to touts Greensboro as the best.
12:33
Comment From zack
Do you ever go and scout college games?
12:34
Mike Newman: once in awhile. I couldn’t pass up a shot at Rodon. I’ll probably have a couple of draft type pieces go up prior to the draft.
12:34
Comment From Dale
I remember you liking Jose Vinicio last year. Have you seen/heard anything about him this year? What kind of prospect do you think he can become?
12:34
Mike Newman: I’ve seen him a couple of times.. Interviewed him too. Great kid and great defender. I’m still a big fan.
12:35
Comment From Guest
Nick Franklin is off to a nice start in AAA. Most scouts don’t think he can handle SS but would the bat make up for the defense? Brendan Ryan seems to be the exact opposite of Franklin.
12:36
Mike Newman: He’s off to a very nice start indeed. I don’t think he’s a shortstop either. In the end, I’ve always believed he’d develop into a .275 hitter with 15-18 home runs.
12:36
Comment From brian
I’m in a dynasty league, in rebuild mode, deep in young pitching with Harvey, Teheran, Minor, Fernandez, Guerrieri, Gausman, Zimmer, Straily. Is it worth trading from depth for offense? Feel like the depth will help when some of these guys don’t pan out. What prospect bats would you targer? I already have Sano, Myers, Yelich, Rendon and Bogaerts.
12:37
Mike Newman: You seem pretty balanced, but I’d be fine dealing more arms for bats. One can always find decent, cheap arms. Finding bats is much more difficult.
12:38
Comment From Nate
Do you think the Yankees will finish the year with a top 10 farm system?
12:40
Mike Newman: I don’t think so. It seems like their top guys are just plugging along right now, while others are under performing.
12:40
Comment From hzzzy
Your thoughts on James Paxton — starter or not?
12:40
Mike Newman: I thought he was a reliever in spring training.
12:41
Comment From Alexeis Gold Medal
T Walker or A Bradley?
12:41
Mike Newman: I’d call it a draw right now. Unfortunately, Bradley only threw two innings on Wednesday, but I was impressed nonetheless.
12:41
Comment From Carson
How good was Trea Turner?
12:42
Mike Newman: Fantastic. Loved him.
12:42
Comment From zack
Did the Diamondbacks come out on top in the three way deal with the Indians and Reds? Bauer still can’t throw strikes and Gregorious can help them this year.
12:42
Mike Newman: It’s too early to tell, but I always believed this wasn’t the lopsided deal others made it out to be. Shortstops are just too hard to find.
12:43
Comment From Denis
Have you seen/heard anything about Christian Villanueva since the move to the Cubs? I remember you liked him a lot when he was with Texas, do you still like him as an above-avg bat and plus defender at 3B?
12:44
Mike Newman: I’ll probably follow up towards the end of the month. Tennessee make a trip to Chattanooga. I also want to see more of Alcantara.
12:45
Comment From Dewey
Can you give a little more detail on the things you didn’t see at first? Thanks!
12:47
Mike Newman: When I first started, I thought 93 was impressive velocity. It’s good for Single-A, but most guys can throw 93 at will in Double-A. Plus, movement was more important than I thought. Now, I also pay more attention to situations and counts. I know it seems simple, but one can get lost, or bored at the park pretty easily. For example, a curveball for a strikeout on 2-2 shows more confidence in the pitch than on 1-2. Stuff like that.
12:47
Comment From The Mess
Bogaerts seems to have righted himself in Portland. BABIP is coming down, but so is the K%. If he performs well over the summer is he looking at a call to AAA or will the Sox bring him all the way up to MLB?
12:49
Mike Newman: I’m 50/50 on this. My gut tells me 2014 is the first we’ll see him. However, if he’s raking and it’s a close division race in August/September, the Red Sox could push. I think it depends on how the left side of the infield is hitting at the time.
12:50
Comment From Guest
Think Stetson Allie hits enough to be a ML 1B?
12:51
Mike Newman: It’s really too early to tell. Personally, I’d like to see the K’s come down, but those may be a product of the way he’s being developed. I’m pretty sure he’s ahead of where the Pirates thought he’d be at this point.
12:51
Comment From Guest
Would you want to see draft pick trades?
12:51
Mike Newman: Yes, definitely.
12:51
Comment From LarryA
Is there anyway to “scout” intellegence? Do you look at High School GPA and such?
12:53
Mike Newman: Scout intelligence? At times, it becomes easy to spot a player like Profar who has a crazy high baseball IQ. Or, one can speak with Hultzen who’s extremely bright. I think it comes down to a familiarity with the player.
12:53
Comment From Dan
May be moving to Knoxville later this summer – ever been to the Smokies’ ballpark?
12:53
Mike Newman: Yes, I was the public address announcer when they opened the stadium.
12:54
Comment From Galvin
What are your thoughts on Keith Law and his scouting. I think he’s wonderful, and you too
12:56
Mike Newman: Keith has been nothing but kind to me. To be honest, I don’t have the opportunity to read the scouting work of others. Plus, I always worry another prospect writers thoughts will influence mine and cause me to hedge bets.
12:56
Comment From Dewey
Who don’t you love? Seems like you like everybody!
12:57
Mike Newman: I’m actually quite the opposite. My reputation is as somebody who is too negative and doesn’t really like anybody. For example, I loved Turner, but came away wondering why Rodon is receiving so much press. Was he good, sure, but he was selling out for K’s. It wasn’t a professional approach to pitching.
12:58
Comment From Guest
Do you like DePaula?
12:58
Mike Newman: Charleston comes to Rome later this month. I hope to see him then.
1:00
Comment From LarryA
What do you listen to on your long car rides to parks?
1:01
Mike Newman: Lately, it has been plenty of The Lone Bellow and Black Keys. To be honest, I try to catch up on phone calls while in the car. Some of my best conversations with contacts happen on longer trips.
1:01
Comment From Michael
Rockies have any pitching prospects you like?
1:01
Mike Newman: Yes, Eddie Butler is a good one. One of the best pitchers I’ve seen this year.
1:01
Comment From @dcholcomb
When I come to Atlanta in June, let’s go grab a beer, Doc!
1:02
Mike Newman: I’m there as long as you are buying. I’m notoriously cheap.
1:05
Comment From Doctor Met
how many friday warrior chatters are there today?
1:06
Mike Newman: Slow Friday. Only about 400 in the room right now.
1:06
Comment From LaLoosh
think Puello is on way to legit breakout season?
1:07
Mike Newman: I thought Puello was a breakout candidate entering 2011. It’s a couple of years too late. He has big tools and scouts always wondered when his power start showing up.
1:08
Comment From Steve
Do you think it makes sense for the Twins to keep Hicks up while he struggles, given they don’t really have better options? Or would it be better for Hicks’ development to go back to AAA?
1:09
Mike Newman: If you notice, Hicks has played much better as of late. He’s hiting his weight at least.
1:09
Comment From redbeard
Whats your opinion of Dilson Herrera?
1:10
Mike Newman: Quality prospect, but people keep mentioning him as a SS. He’s a 2B and hasn’t played SS as a pro. Good approach, average power. I can’t think of a real weakness other than he’s a bit undersized.
1:10
Comment From JDog
Black Keys fan? Have you heard of the Sheep Dogs?
1:10
Mike Newman: I’m relatively new to them honestly. We saw them in concert last week with friends and they were great.
1:11
Comment From Guest
What do you make of Castellanos’ slow start at Toledo? Cause for concern, or expected given the aggressive promotion? Also, how measured should Tigers’ fans excitement be about Hernan Perez’s solid start in Erie?
1:11
Mike Newman: Toledo comes to Gwinnett in a week or so. If Casey Crosby pitches and Castellanos is in the lineup, I’m there.
1:12
Comment From Cliff
How do you feel about the Red Sox handling of Webster? Seems like they are headed down a slippery slope. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just bring the kid up and let him stay in the rotation for an extended period? And if not, leave him in AAA rather than this back and forth business?
1:13
Mike Newman: For selfish reasons, I wish they wouldn’t call him up the night before I’m scheduled to watch him pitch. Look, Webster had a bad outing. However, reports on him are still glowing and he had pitched well. I don’t think one bad outing is enough to consider it slippery slope time.
1:13
Comment From Steve
ETA for Rubby in the Red Sox rotation?
1:13
Mike Newman: 2014, but I’m thinking he’ll be up in the bullpen at some point this season.
1:15
Comment From Luke J..
I know you are an Arenado fan…what do you expect from him for the rest of this year and what do you see him doing in peak years?
1:15
Mike Newman: I’ve been saying projection systems seem pretty accurate in terms of what Arenado should do the rest of the year. At his peak, I can see Arenado as a .285-.300 hitter with 22-25 HR.
1:16
Comment From Guinea
What is your strategy in Ottoneu?
1:18
Mike Newman: Winning. That’s my strategy. Honestly, it’s something I write about all the time in my newsletter. I try a number of things in the hope of gaining an edge. It has worked so far. To sum it up in a chat blurb is not possible.
1:18
Comment From Questions
A chat designed for baseball, and “so many” in the queue, why put up so many beer, songs, movie questions (in all chats)? Isn’t that best left for facebook? Curious, because I love your thoughts on players… not so much with the interest in material crap.
1:18
Mike Newman: Because there’s more to me than just being a baseball robot….
1:19
Comment From Guest
Give Questions guy a 100% refund and coupon for his next chatting experience.
1:19
Mike Newman: THIS!
1:19
Comment From Steve
Will Roman Quinn hit enough to be an above average SS in the bigs? SSS, but not looking so good…
1:21
Mike Newman: Quinn has been disappointing so far, but I’ve learned not to give up on guys I really like. Something about him struck a chord with me last summer. If I gave up on players the second they hit a cold spell, I’d torpedo my own credibility more than I would going down with the ship.
1:21
Comment From Mookie Betts
What is Ranaudo’s ceiling? Frontline starter? Number 3?
1:22
Mike Newman: I’m honestly not sure, but I couldn’t pass up something from Mookie Betts. He’s actually a super nice kid. I spoke with him in Greenville recently. I hope he starts hitting.
1:22
Comment From Ray
Is it fair to say Sano’s proven his bat at this level by now, or is a month and a half of complete domination not enough? Also, do you think the Twins will hold him down longer than normal because of lingering defense issues?
1:23
Mike Newman: If anything, they should hold him down because of swing-and-miss issues. Double-A pitching is a huge step forward from High-A. The breaking pitches are better and pitchers throw harder in general. There’s a chance for exposure there and the Twins would need to feel comfortable with the risk.
1:24
Comment From Ringo
You ever seen Schoop play? what can I expect as an O’s fan
1:25
Mike Newman: I have. I’m enamored with the bat speed, but am confused by the Orioles approach with him. They have pushed sooooooo hard.
1:25
Comment From jda
You wrote this back in February re: Henry Owens (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/henry-owens-stat-line-with-silver-linings/): “After scouting Owens, envisioning a scenario where the he gains forty pounds, along with increased athleticism at full physical maturity is possible. However, expecting him to add size, velocity, movement and command is asking quite a bit. If he improves in two areas, Owens moves from borderline top-100 prospect to top-50 status. If marked gains are made in all four, then Owens becomes one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.” So – multiple sources have claimed he’s added strength this off-season. His velocity is up. His control is greatly improved (although I have no idea whether he’s also commanding his pitches better). Long question made shorter: how do you feel about Owens at this point?
1:26
Mike Newman: I haven’t seen him again, but he seems to have taken a big step forward. the Red Sox are having quite a bit of success with their arms this spring.
1:27
Comment From dude
Some teams seem to be really limiting innings early on for their minor league players, such as the astros. I noticed some of their starters, like nick tropeano are coming in relief and sometimes only throwing 4 innings at a time. Thoughts on this process?
1:28
Mike Newman: If it’s a true piggyback scenario, then a pitcher can plan to pitch every fifth day for a certain number of innings. I’m fine with this. It would be another story if Tropeano was pitching on some weird schedule as a true relief pitcher. Sometimes, a team will have 6 starters and one pair will pitch together to form a 9 inning tandem.
1:28
Comment From Nate
Are pitcher promotions as much about workloads as results?
1:29
Mike Newman: As much? probably not, but it is something to consider.
1:29
Comment From Pinstripe Wizard
Thoughts on Bichette, Jr? GCL stats don’t mean anything, but he tore it up his first season. I was sadly hoping last season was caused by some nagging injury. This year doesn’t seem to be any better though.
1:30
Mike Newman: I’ll get another look in a couple of weeks. I really thought he’d be a better hitter at this point.
1:32
Mike Newman: Alright all, that’s all we have time for today. I have two screaming, piano playing daughters in the other room.

Please check out ROTOscouting.com for information on my newsletter and and join me again next week.

I also turn 36 tomorrow, so big, expensive presents are always welcomed.