Minor League Mailbag – 7/8/09

Q: Big fan and would love to hear any feedback on who has the higher upside in the future, Brett Wallace or Mat Gamel? Also, who will “stick” at third?

— Neven

A: The Brett Wallace versus Mat Gamel battle is a hot topic in many prospect circles. If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season, I would have said Gamel hands down. But you’re asking me today. I would still take Gamel, but there is cause for concern. At the plate Gamel has looked lost at times against good major league pitching. But Gamel’s professional career has consisted of one tremendous building block after another. He has made huge adjustments at each level he has passed through and become a better hitter because of it. I think he will adjust once again to the best that the big leagues can throw at him. Gamel’s bat has a chance to be truly dynamic in the majors. Wallace’s bat, to me, doesn’t hint toward great things, merely good things. Wallace is a tad overrated by many, as I don’t see the big-time upside that others do.

At one point I had my doubts as to either one sticking at third base, but both are making strides and both project to be competent major league defenders at the hot corner.

Q: I know he may not have rookie status anymore, but do you foresee Joel Guzman ever returning to the majors? What would it take for him to get back there with the Nationals in the next year or two?

— Corey

A: Guzman certainly has a chance to be an average major league third baseman, or at least a good utility man, in another year or two. He’s only 24 years old and his plate discipline is coming along. If you can stash him in your farm system it’s definitely worth the gamble.

Q: Who would you take and in what order: Ike Davis, Logan Forsythe or James Darnell? I’m looking at both proximity to the big leagues and ceiling.

— Marc

A: All three players are approximately the same age, and all three players will be a part of the bubble watch list when I next update the Top 100 list. With Darnell’s early struggles in the Cal League, and the fact that both Davis and Forsythe are looking solid at the Double-A level, I would put Darnell at the bottom of the list. If you prefer upside, Davis should be at the top. But if you need a third baseman and a safe bet, San Diego has high hopes for Forsythe’s ability to become a solid big leaguer. If they both continue on their current path they will both make their initial marks in the majors sometime in 2010.

Q: When you say “Hanson is the best pitching prospect in baseball,” are you suggesting he is better than Price, or is he not eligible?

— Posted by EDUB in the comments section on 05/29 at 11:55 AM.

A: To hear my thoughts on both Hanson and Price check out THT’s Top 100 Prospect List. Basically, the fact that Price plays in the AL East combined with his infuriating control issues has me a bit leery of his future.

Q: It may be early to jump on Strasburg, but many of us fantasy players may be able to do just that and want to know how to compare him to others in this list. We are looking for help in valuing Strasburg now (in my keeper league he was available in reserve) and certainly feel he already belongs in top 100 (feel free to asterix him).

— Posted by Corey in the comments section on 05/28 at 11:02 PM.

A: I have decided to add this year’s draft class to the the Top 100 Prospect List as they sign. As you can see I have added players like Eric Arnett and Tony Sanchez to the watch list already. Go with your gut on Strasburg, fellas. If I had to add him to the list today he would be in the top 10.

Retroactive Review: Ace
Looking back at some of Justin Verlander's most interesting moments.

Q:It looks like Boston is moving Casey Kelly back to shortstop. Any thoughts?


A: That is the way it looks. Apparently Kelly has his heart set on shortstop. Unfortunately, his bat isn’t doing him any favors. I don’t foresee the move working for Kelly. His future is as a pitcher. Moving him off the mound for the remainder of the season doesn’t hurt his long-term prospects. It’s a decent way for Boston to limit his innings while keeping the young man happy and working hard.

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