This week on Big Hype Prospects, I play it fast and loose with “big hype” in order to focus on some Spring Training battles.
Five BHPs In The News
Will Brennan, 25, OF, CLE (MLB)
(AAA) 433 PA, 9 HR, 15 SB, .316/.367/.471
A favorite of mine and my main contact with Baseball America, Brennan is in a roster battle with Oscar Gonzalez and Myles Straw this spring. Between average discipline and a strong feel for contact, he’s the Guardians latest candidate to walk more than he strikes out. The left-handed hitter looks like a future doubles machine even if his home run output is a tad underwhelming. His defense is solid in the corners and passable in center. With Straw on the roster and a fly ball-oriented pitching staff, he’s not ideal for center field. The lack of home run potential is an odd look in an outfield corner, yet his feel for hard contact implies a three- or four-win player in a similar mold to teammate Steven Kwan. After Gonzalez shatter expectations last season, it will be interesting to see how the Guardians distribute playing time.
Cade Cavalli, 24, SP, WSH (MLB)
(AAA) 97 IP, 9.65 K/9, 3.62 BB/9, 3.71 ERA
Cavalli made his debut last fall and struggled in his only appearance. He flashed his impressive repertoire of four above average offerings, but his below average command was also on display. This is a profile that tends to experience success in the Majors after a sometimes lengthy adjustment period. The Nationals will be looking to build him up after throwing only 101.1 total innings last season. He’s expected to break camp with the club. Don’t be surprised if they take opportunities to give him extra rest or restrict his innings per start. The plan should look similar to the usage of Josiah Gray last season. He threw 148.2 innings across 28 starts. As a stuff-over-command starter, he has some of the same markers as Dylan Cease.
Justyn-Henry Malloy, 23, 3B, DET (AAA)
(A+/AA/AAA) 591 PA, 17 HR, 5 SB, .289/.408/.454
After lighting up three levels in 2022, the Braves included Malloy in the Joe Jimenez trade. Atlanta’s recent track record with prospect trades is rather incredible. For the most part, they’ve kept the winners and dealt away the laggards. Malloy’s inclusion in a trade for a reliever with a checkered past could be viewed as a negative mark. I polled two scouting contacts and received different takes. One doesn’t believe Malloy impacts the ball enough to be a high-probability regular. The other is more optimistic about the plate discipline carrying the profile. Malloy walked in 16.4 percent of plate appearances last season while keeping his swinging strike rate below 10 percent. He has an extreme pulled contact approach with a roughly balanced 20/40/40 blend of liners/grounders/flies. Malloy resembles a Max Muncy starter kit – just keep in mind Muncy finally broke out in his age 27 season. There’s no guarantee Malloy finds the barreled and hard contact rates that drive Muncy’s success. On the other hand, he has a decent shot to play his way onto the roster later this season.
Logan O’Hoppe, 23, C, LAA (MLB)
(AA) 447 PA, 26 HR, 7 SB, .283/.416/.544
Acquired in the Brandon Marsh trade, O’Hoppe is competing with Max Stassi and out-of-options Matt Thaiss for the Angels catching job. Aside from a brief 16 plate appearance debut, O’Hoppe spent all of last season in Double-A. This spring, he has neither thrived nor embarrassed himself to this point. His 2022 breakout seemed predicated on a surge of plate discipline. That he further improved upon joining the Angels affiliate, including a .306/.473/.673 line in 131 plate appearances, is a positive sign. Assuming the club avoids injury, it could be tempting to give O’Hoppe further seasoning in Triple-A. There seemingly isn’t room for all three of Stassi, Thaiss, and O’Hoppe on the roster. While he’s their catcher of the future, clinging to Thaiss in the short-term makes some sense.
Conner Capel, 25, OF, OAK (MLB)
(AAA) 409 PA, 20 HR, 21 SB, .264/.364/.422
A favorite of mine to earn an extended look at some point this season, Capel has already outlasted JJ Bleday this spring. Capel is performing well following a successful 2022 split between St. Louis and Oakland. There’s every chance Capel is the best outfielder in camp at this moment. He’s been inconsistent throughout his minor league assent, at times showing discipline or over-aggression, a feel for contact or a hefty whiff rate, and a power- or speed-based profile. Given his long and winding journey, it’s hard to pin down exactly who he’ll become in the future. That he’s experimented with so many modes of play suggests he’s highly adaptable, a trait which does well to predict Major League success. While other franchises would view Capel as a capable backup, the Athletics should have starting opportunities available throughout the season.
Ji-Hwan Bae, PIT (23): In the mix for the Pirates starting second base job, Bae is off to a slow start this spring. So too is his competition. When Bae is on, he shows an above average eye with feel for contact. While he doesn’t produce much power, he should reach base enough to disrupt pitchers with his speed.
Jo Adell, LAA (23): Adell is expected to begin the season in Triple-A in deference to the Angels outfield veterans. That will trigger his final minor league option. It’s his last chance for regular playing time before playing waiver roulette. Adell can still put a charge in the ball, but it does seem like he would benefit from joining a non-contender willing to set him loose without restriction. His spring stats to date don’t suggest he’ll upset Taylor Ward or Hunter Renfroe for playing time.
Yainer Diaz, HOU (24): An aggressive free-swinger with thump, Diaz draws half-hearted comps to Salvador Perez. In the minors, he’s shown a capacity for making high-quality contact despite an expansive approach. He appears to be susceptible to breaking balls. Diaz is making a bid to join the Astros as their backup catcher – one who could offer more thump than defense-first Martin Maldonado.
Jo Adell should be like 30 with how much/long people have spoken about him. He’s like Lewis Brinson. Sent down to mash then brought back up to blow dogs for quarters.
But, I digress. The purpose of this comment is repeat that Ji Hwan Bae should be a brave. The angels can keep Kevin Maitan, but Bae should be a brave.
Blow dogs for quarters!!??
From ‘Detroit Rock City’.
I believe a reference to ‘disco’…
Pretty sure the best OF in A’s camp is Lawrence Butler.
I feel like Brennan gets traded if they truly believe in Valera and Gonzalez. Whoever said Yainer Diaz is the next Salvy needs to take a long walk and clear their head because it’s full of gunk. I still think Rodolfo Castro wins the 2B job and Bae will be the utility guy.
I genuinely don’t get the Valera hype. Reminds me of Bobby Bradley with slightly better plate discipline. I’ve got zero faith in Cleveland’s ability to develop hitters with that kind of profile
It’s fair if you don’t love him as a prospect, but you have no clue what you’re talking about if you’re comparing him to Bobby Bradley.
Yeah they’re not similar at all except for the fact that have essentially the same K%, wOBA, batted ball tendencies, scouting grades, build, and production at the same levels and ages. Have fun when he gets DFA’d after not making the 2025 squad out of camp tho
The scouting reports for the big slow guy limited to first base and the player with average speed and athleticism who can play all three outfield spots are essentially the same? Their body types really aren’t similar too. They’re close in height but Bradley has at least 30 pounds on him and moved like it too. Not every “big power, iffy contact” player is the same. The batted ball profiles you mention will also show that Valera made big improvements in using the whole field last year as a 21 year old in AA/AAA. He at least has feel for hitting but sells out for power and needs work on the approach. Bradley couldn’t hit to begin with.
Like I said, I don’t have an issue with you not liking Valera. It’s definitely a risky profile, and I’ll agree that hitters of his type aren’t usually the type that Cleveland excels at developing. But you’re comparing apples to oranges by lumping him with Bradley. Have fun when Ohtani leaves the Angels next year tho
So you’re saying their offensive profiles are completely different because they play different defensive positions? Real smart cookie you are. Sounds like you’ve been drinking that East Palestine water.
Some more data points: Valera had a 73% in-zone contact rate last year while Bradley is at 72.4% in his MLB career. Valera’s overall contact rate last year was better than Bradley’s career rate, but it was still below 70% (~AAA average is 73%, ~MLB average is 78%.) There are too many similarities with among their publicly available metrics to simply dismiss all comparisons between them.
Ohtani leaving Anaheim won’t change the fact that the Cleveland GuarIndians haven’t won a chip in 80 years
C Yards Jeff
Looks like Brennan’s style of offense fits in nicely with the Guardians approach to offensive play. IE get on base and next up guy up tries to move you along the base path. Love that they are not dinger eccentric. Old school ball play. Cool.
O’Hoppe can go to the minors. That’s is out if options so he will stick. He can also play 3rd.
Thaiss plays 3b in the same way IKF is a catcher.
How much more of a non-contender could Adell join than the Angels? They have made the playoffs just once in 13 years. Just because they spend money and have two big name players does not make them contenders.
Common hiflew L for forgetting the Rockies and Pirates exist
I would it was a common response from you, but I have no clue who you are nor any desire to learn. Besides, the Rockies have been to the playoffs 2 times in that same 13 year period and the Pirates have been three times in that same 13 year period.
We’ve literally interacted many times on this site before. So sad to see another soul be taken by the uncaring grip of dementia 🙁
(Yet another hiflew L btw)
And yet I don’t remember you. Says a lot about you I guess. Oh well at least you seem to think highly of your opinion, so you have that.
My opinion is a whole lot more valuable than yours. That should be a poll in the next chat, I reckon I would win by a landslide because I’m highly influential and don’t post a constant stream of Ls like you.
I would ask you to meet me in Temecula tomorrow at 6pm so we can hash this out like men, but I get the feeling you would forget that too. Please see a doctor
Not worth my time anymore. Have a good life.
If I’m being honest, I would rather keep being a Pirates fan than to become an Angel fan. Yes, there is Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but that only makes finishing below .500 even more painful. At least when the Pirates suck, they don’t do it with two MVP candidates. There’s probably some bias in there, but I do love Trout and Ohtani.
You mean 3 MVP candidates. It’s like you’re forgetting David Fletcher exists
FYI, Pirates have 2 more playoff appearances in last 10 years than Angels, with 1/3 the payroll, and only trail in collective wins by 5. Yea, who is mismanaged?
Flether taking the L. Worst. Managed. Franchise. In. Sports.
The nation will tune in to watch the Angels. I’m not gonna pick on the Pirates, but put them in there with about a dozen unwatchable teams. At the end of the day, Baseball is just entertainment just like movies, you pay to see the stars.
Anyway, catch y’all in October for some Angels baseball you haters 😉
i like al conin
Is this post pasted from March 2022?
How much more of a non-contender could Adell join than the Angels?
He’s probably the most mishandled player I’ve seen since David Clyde.
Adell might’ve been the worst player in AAA in 2019, with a 43/10 K/W and -0- HRs in 121 ABs. In the PCL.that’s almost impossibly bad. So they promoted him to predictably disastrous results.
He was bad in 2021 in AAA with a 99/22 K/W, albeit more power, and they promoted him to predictably bad results.
Even in 2022, his third partial year in the MLB, he had a 107/11 K/W.
They should put him in AA and completely rebuild him. The dude is still only 23.
Capel and Pache platoon in CF
Hope to see Brennan get more ABs this season, looked like the real deal all last year.
Nice to see Capel getting a shot- Cleveland traded him for Oscar Mercado a while back. Didn’t realize Oscar is back with the Cards now. Hope he finds his confidence again.
Diaz was part of the Myles Straw trade. This could be the year that decides who won that deal. Seemed like a steal for the Guards a year ago, not so sure now.
I think some “s”‘s should be distributed from Stassi and Thaiss to O’Hoppe..it’s not fair that some have ssso many while others go without 😛
In the spirit of March Madness, if your wish was granted, and a “p” and an “e” were traded for another “o”, O’Hoppe could be O’Hoops. I don’t think I could pick against a team in my bracket with a guy named O’Hoops…
Motor City Beach Bum
Malloy looks like he will be a future mainstay in the Tigers OF, but I doubt he’s their 3B. Looking forward to him being called up later in the year.
Man I hope The Tigers give Justin Henry malloy A shot early Gotta feeling He could be decent his 1st year I think He could pull off a batting Line of around 265-270ish ba 360-370obp 420ish slug 760-780ops Plus he has some speed But anyways Yeah I can’t wait to see what hes got
The former BHP making waves for the Angels right now is Mickey Moniak.
Kid looks good this Spring.
I don’t think Justyn-Henry Malloy is a “laggard”. To me, it appears that “There’s no room at the inn” in Atlanta. Is he really a “Big Hype Prospect”?
Some interesting takes but Brennan is in no way, shape or form in a position battle with Oscar Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a key part of their lineup and crushed the ball in both the Minors and Majors last year.
Maybe a battle with Straw who quickly went down hill after interacting with angry fans, but NOT with Gonzalez.
Kwan would have to fill in at center when Brennan plays because Gonzalez isn’t going anywhere.
I know few like grammar enthusiasts, but I do hope they fix the spelling error in “He’s been inconsistent throughout his minor league assent” by using “ascent” instead!