Jeff Nycz

Kyle Glaser gives MadFriars more detail on Baseball America's top-ten prospect list.

We at MadFriars released our Top-30 prospect lists earlier in the off-season, each with some similarities and just as many differences. This week Baseball America released their top tenprospect list for the Padres and MLB Pipeline will be updating their prospect lists at the end of January.

San Diego native Kyle Glaser did much of the work for this year’s version of the Top 10. Glaser has written for the Press-Enterprise in Riverside County and has seen many of the Padres’ top prospects while covering the Cal League over the last few years. Since moving to Baseball America, Glaser has observed the system’s top prospects firsthand, while gathering information via scouts and other evaluators throughout baseball. The whole top-ten list is worth a read and Kyle answered questions for MadFriars shortly after the list went live on Monday.

 

MadFriarsMost publications, including Baseball America, had RHP Anderson Espinoza as the consensus number one prospect in the organization. Personally, I gave a slight edge to Manuel Margot. How close did you have them ranked to each other? 

 

Glaser: It wasn’t that close. Espinoza was utterly dominant when I saw him at the Padres Futures Game in October. He was throwing his fastball 95-98 mph to both sides of the plate. His other pitches also have shown the ability to be above-average-to-plus. He is also intelligent and the has poise on the mound you look for out of a frontline starter.

 

Margot has a chance to be a very good center fielder, make a few All-Star teams and be a very good regular. There is inherently more risk with Espinoza but whenever the spotlight was on him he was the clear-cut, number one prospect in the Padres’ organization.

 

You had Cal Quantrill ranked #4, which is exactly where I ranked him. What were your impressions of him?

 

Glaser: All of Quantrill’s pitches were where they need to be. His command wasn’t as pinpoint as it could be but it was close. He has three pitches that can be above-average to plus and the progression of his slider was noticeable. At the Padres’ Future’s Game, it was his best pitch. He sat between 92-95 mph with his fastball. His command should firm up as he gets further away from the Tommy John surgery.

 

Adrian Morejon signed for big bucks but he has yet to pitch as a professional. You have him at #5. What can you tell us about him?

 

Glaser: He was in the Instructional League although he didn’t throw much. I talked to a lot of international scouts outside of the organization and they said he was the real deal. From his stuff -- a fastball that sits in the low 90’s but can hit 96 mph and looks to have the talent of a first-round pick. There is a general agreement with guys I talked to in and out of the organization that he could be an upper-tier pitcher for a long time.

 

We at MadFriars are big fans of Luis Urias and you seem to be too. What did he show you in 2016?

 

Glaser: What Urias can do with a bat is special. He is a guy that could develop into a 70-hit tool and if anyone could have a future 80-hit tool in the minors, the list starts with Urias. He has a rare skill set -- he should safely hit .300 and contend for batting titles at his peak. He is also underrated at second base. 

 

He is an above-average defender with an above-average arm. Almost every game he played, he was generally the best player on the field. He is a guy that can handle SS -- but not over 162 games. If a guy gets hurt, he can fill in there and be fine. I think he is strictly a second baseman, though.

 

Josh Naylor was ranked high on the MLB.com list and us at MadFriars were kind of mixed on him. You had him at #10. Is he anything more than a first baseman/DH?

 

Glaser: No. He is purely a first baseman. The Marlins started him high as an 18-year-old in Low-A and he didn’t put up big numbers in Greensboro, which is a pretty good place to hit.

 

When he came over to San Diego, the Padres jumped him up to Lake Elsinore. He is younger than Luis Urias, who was the youngest player in the Cal League for most of the season. He probably shouldn’t have played at those levels, so I am not sure if we have seen the best of him. He needs to be more competitive in the batter’s box and needs to be better at hitting the off-speed stuff.

 

I was the high-man on Gettys and you had him at #8. What steps did he take in 2016?

 

Glaser: Gettys showed that when it all clicks, he can be a game-changing talent. He looked awful in the Arizona Fall League but did dominate two levels. He is a much greater risk than a guy like Urias. He is not a top-tier talent but could develop into a good outfielder.

 

Jacob Nix was a bit higher on your list, placing at #7 overall. I was skeptical when I looked at his stats. What did he show you this year?

 

Glaser: I talked to a lot of people on Nix. In Fort Wayne, he played with a below-average defensive infield and his high hit total was a fluke as a result. Nix’s fastball and curve looked excellent and his curve was viewed as the best off-speed pitch in the Midwest League by opposing managers. He was strong throughout the year. Evaluators in the organization believe he progressed more than any other player in the organization last season. 

 

Were there any players outside of the top-ten that you were really high on?

 

Glaser: The top-nine selections were all pretty obvious and easy to make. We had some debate on the tenth guy -- LHP Eric Lauer and OF Jorge Ona got some consideration there as well.

 

Lauer looked exactly like you thought he would be -- not flashy but solid overall. Ona looked awful in the Future’s Game and Naylor actually looked better when compared side-by-side during instructs. 

 

We have heard nothing but good things about Fernando Tatis Jr. What were your impressions of him?

 

Glaser: Tatis is very talented. There is really something there – but he is still just 18 and has only 44 at-bats above rookie ball, so there’s a lot of development ahead. Scouts say that he can hit a fastball but not a breaking ball at this point, which is a major thing he’s going to have to work on. Still, in many systems, he’d be a top-ten guy, but the depth of the Padres’ system keeps him out of our top-ten. I still think he is the shortstop of the future.

 

Speaking of shortstops of the future -- what happened this season with Javier Guerra?

 

Glaser: Guerra was horrible offensively in 2016. His swing was out of line and looked so bad that some scouts questioned his eyesight. Players and managers I talked to in the Cal League described him as an “easy out”. He is a flashy defender -- but not a good defender. There’s a difference. He led the organization in errors and I saw seven to ten plays that could have been scored errors in addition to the ones he made. He’ll make some amazing plays that make you say wow, but not the consistently routine plays or the ones you have to make.

 

If you can’t hit and you can’t make the routine plays, you’re not a big leaguer. He wasn’t slacking off and he works hard -- he just needs to make the mental and physical fixes and perform. 

You can follow Kyle at @KyleAGlasser.

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