Bryan Grosnick: What's up, baseball friends? I'm Bryan, I analyze transactions and write here at Baseball Prospectus, I'm the Editor-in-Chief of the upcoming BP New York Mets site, and I'm a contributor to BP Boston. Not a fantasy or prospects expert, but will do my best to be helpful there. Shall we do this?
Jmax (Niagara, On): Astro's Matt Duffy: Does he win the 1B job out of camp? Will he be a seat warmer or does he stand a chance at performing and delaying AJ Reed's arrival?
Bryan Grosnick: He may win less than half the 1B job, but I think that Jon Singleton will get every opportunity to play the lion's share of games, especially before Evan Gattis comes back. I also think there's no chance he'll delay AJ's arrival ... since he's a righty and AJ's a lefty, I imagine the only thing that could slow AJ is Singleton really hitting the cover off the ball.
Alex (New York): Im trying to explore potential Matt Harvey trades for this offseason. I dont think the Mets will trade him within the NL, and I think it looks like the Rangers and Red sox make the most sense.
Do either/both of these trades make sense:
Harvey for Gallo, Tate & Martin
Harvey for Moncada, Kopech & Travis
Bryan Grosnick: My wheelhouse is, in fact, fictional Matt Harvey trades. I sincerely doubt the Mets have any interest in moving him either this (current) offseason or during this year. Too good, too young. Do the trades you projected make sense? Well ... sure, I suppose. The deal with Boston would be a huge win for the Mets in my opinion (Moncada's the game's #3 prospect here at BP). The Rangers I'd imagine would go nuts over the deal you proposed, but on the Mets side, I'd stay away. Gallo has great potential, but worries me, and pitchers are pitchers: never to be trusted.
Dan (DC): Drafting in a dynasty league right now - Shohei Otani or Anderson Espinoza?
Bryan Grosnick: Every BP chat is required to have Otani questions, and I think this one in particular shows up every time. Espinoza is the pick, in my book, as he's pretty much confirmed to show up some day, and he's hot fire. But yeah, not a prospect-y guy, so you may want to ask someone smarter. Like anyone else.
CharJaco (Bay Area): Who is a better Keeper this year and long term? Anthony DeSclafani or Eduardo Rodriguez?
Bryan Grosnick: Okay, this is fun. I'm a big Eduardo guy ... as a regular No. 3 starter. PECOTA favors ADS over #ED, but just slightly, as the two have similar last-season cFIPs. Parks aren't likely to help either one. Eduardo's dealing with a little bit of injury worries today, so maybe I'd ring up DeSclafani for this year, but Eduardo over the long haul.
mattstupp (NYC): Which two should I keep? Miguel Sano, Yasiel Puig, Rougned Odor, Jonathan Lucroy, Adam Wainwright, Marcus Stroman.
Incentives in my league are heavily in favor of keeping players who will have the most value this year.
Bryan Grosnick: This is tough, but I'd lean on Puig and Stroman as the guys who're most likely to raise the most WARP this year. Now, if we're talking your typical 5x5 fantasy numbers, I'd consider booting Stro and going Sano ... and that's not taking into account positional scarcity. But for me Odor's the only other contender other than those three. Puig for sure in my book.
Dan (LA): where would shohei otani rank in your prospect rankings if eligable?
Bryan Grosnick: Trust me, you don't care. Not to blow you off, but it's tough enough to project guys that far down the line, and I'm not a prospect expert.
Chris (Baltimore): Eric Hosmer is currently the 39th best player available in my keeper league draft based on ADP. I can keep him at #44 or throw him back and look for something better at #44 or even possibly redraft Hosmer with my #44 overall pick....should I keep Hosmer or throw him back? Or is it simply a coin toss type decision?
Bryan Grosnick: Depends on league specifics, but I would *not* keep Hoz at that spot. PECOTA projects him for a .274 TAv, and 15 dingers. Is that a fourth-rounder in your league? First basemen used to be pretty easy to pick up later on, don't know if that's still the case.
CJ (CA): Grichuk or Franco? Dynasty league. Can keep forever. Thx
Bryan Grosnick: I was never the high man on Grichuk's bat, so I guess I roll with Franco. I do think he'll eventually end up at a less valuable position, but he's projected a little better for next year and I think his skills belie a slightly higher ceiling. Plus a year younger.
Jimmy (TX): The Brewers have a lot of MLB and near-MLB OF talent ... is it fair to say Braun and Santana are incumbents, with Liriano, M Reed, Broxton, Phillips, and Nieuwenheuis in the mix for the CF job and off-day OF at bats?
Bryan Grosnick: I wouldn't project anything about Domingo Santana as "safe" -- he's high-risk, and could fall out of favor in a hurry. Those strikeouts are something. Cap'n Kirk wins a lot of fans in Spring Training every year, so him starting with a premium role doesn't surprise me. Phillips has to be coming, but needs to get full-time PA when it's his turn. I like the starters as Braun, Santana, and Liriano in CF with CK as the big backup, and Phillips as the guy to come up and start when someone can't hack it or gets injured long-term.
LittleRon (WV): What do you think will be in the starting OF for Toronto?
Bryan Grosnick: Love me some outfielders. Bautista and Pillar have to be no-brainers, right? As much as I want to #freedaltonpompey, I think the team has to give Michael Saunders a crack to try and get some reps in, and if he succeeds they can either run with him or swap him to the Angels for a pros-, well, for something. Pompey will get his day soon, but gotta try out the lefty Saunders first.
Jmax (Niagara, On): Francis Martes over/under of 40IP in the show? Pick one!
Bryan Grosnick: Under! Always pick the under on pitchers! In truth, I think that he's still a little ways away, and with the Astros having a bit more structure to their rotation this year, they won't have the openings that they did for young guys like last season. Could still be special, but I'd advise patience until 2017-2018.
Chris (Baltimore): In a long term keeper league, where proximity to the majors isn't important, who do you prefer Sean Manaea or Taylor Guerreiri?
Bryan Grosnick: I'd prefer Manaea in any format, especially given that both are (so far) slated for pitcher-friendly parks. His strikeout rate is fire. #scoutingthestatline. Both have names that are tough to spell, losing points with me across the board.
CharJaco (SF): Just wanted to thank you for your efforts.
Bryan Grosnick: Effort is all I got. (You're welcome.)
John (Ft Worth): Seeing a lot of hot takes on the Rangers' signing of Ian Desmond ... my inclination is that the price is right: 50/50 proposition where the risk, reward, and price (including loss of the 19th pick) are balanced. I'd be curious for your perspective?
Bryan Grosnick: My take might be a little fire as well -- I don't like this deal for Texas. Sure, they paid little in terms of cash, but I love mid-first picks as long-term assets. Most critically, Desmond's bat seems to be declining, and a move to the outfield really hurts his overall value. Last, the Rangers are kinda stacked with depth in both the outfield (Mazara, Hamilton, maybe Gallo or Brinson?) and shortstop (Profar). Seems a little like gilding the lily, but I've been wrong about the Rangers before.
Chris (SF): What is your take on Hector Olivera? Will he be the power bat that he was projected to be? What is the word on him so far in camp? Thanks.
Bryan Grosnick: I'm not at all convinced that Olivera was ever projected to be a power bat, but after hitting four homers across all levels last year ... no. My long take is that left field is kind of a garbage dump, where you need to hit, and hit well, in order to really become a difference maker (some exceptions allowed). As a left fielder, Olivera's bat-to-ball and potential defense hardly thrill me. PECOTA sees a maybe one-win player, and that sounds about right: slightly below average. He's had some hits so far this Spring, but those stats aren't useful for nearly anything. We'll see.
Stonewall (Houston): Using what you know of team dynamics and organizational history etc. list these prospects in order of most time spent in majors for 2016 thx! Mallex smith Jesse Winker max Kepler Bradley Zimmer
Bryan Grosnick: I projected Zimmer as a dark horse RoY candidate in my awards-projection article at BP a couple of weeks ago (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=28468), and I think the Indians are going to end up desperate enough to push him early this year. So I go Zimmer, Winker, Kepler, Smith. But that's a tough thing to project.
Jack (Toronto): Can you see a scenario where Castillo struggles and Benintendi gets the call to the majors this year. Also, can he be the type of players who exhibits power and speed like he has so far in his brief career?
Bryan Grosnick: No. Well, let me walk that back. I *definitely* see a scenario where Castillo struggles. I just don't see AB getting anything other than a September cup of coffee. The Sox can fall back on Chris Young and David Murphy in case of real struggles, but Castillo needs every scrap of MLB playing time in order to prove value, and he still gets paid if the team were to move him to the minors. I do have a lot of faith in Benintendi's offense and speed long-term, but I am outrageously wrong on OF prospects every once in a while. Does anyone have Fernando Martinez's phone number?
Patrick (Sarnia): Do you think Swihart can build on his strong second half and does he have all star potential in his future?
Bryan Grosnick: BACK-TO-BACK SOX QUESTIONS! Of course Swihart can build on that strong second half, and as a switch-hitting catcher who can, y'know, hit ... yep, there's ASG potential there. Brett Cowett did a nice Roster Recap writeup at BP Boston (http://boston.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2016/01/12/roster-recap-blake-swihart-hits-the-ground-running/) and I tend to agree with his thoughts. The platoon split may be an issue, and I'd like to see him improve his framing, but 20-25 teams would want him starting behind the plate, I think.
LittleRon (WV): Is Profar worth drafting in keeper league? What do you see as his role in 2016?
Bryan Grosnick: This is a tough question ... because you say keeper league, then I tentatively say yes. The problem is exactly that role in 2016. You can't play him over Odor regularly (he's too good!), and Andrus is still locked in at short. Unless they trade Andrus (to the Cardinals! to replace Peralta!), you've gotta figure that Profar sticks as the super-sub, with occasional playing time all over and pinch-hit appearances. There's always injury worries, but I see Profar as a play for 2017, not this year.
Zonk (Chi-Town): With the injury to Jhonny Peralta, what options do the Cardinals have? What do you think of the in-house options, Greg Garcia and Aledmys Diaz? Any SS available out there for trade?
Bryan Grosnick: Synergy! The best option might be the one floated by Dave Cameron at FanGraphs already: Erick Aybar. With Ozzie Albies already the talk of Braves camp, I could certainly see the Braves making this move, and Aybar feels like a very Cardinals ballplayer. I am not all in on Garcia or Diaz, and Gyorko at shortstop is cringe-inducing. They should make a move. They're not very exciting options, but I think the Cards could give the Mets a call about one of Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, or Dilson Herrera. Or maybe Arizona for Chris Owings or Nick Ahmed.
dylanrox (New Orleans ): After his miserable 2015 why are you still steadfast in your belief in Puig? I'm trying to decide whether to keep Yasiel in the 18th round forever or to keep JD Martinez in the 6th round for perpetuity. Thoughts on this decision? Thanks.
Bryan Grosnick: Yeah, let's not call it a "miserable" 2015. He had a .286 TAv in a season where he only played half a season due to injury. Sure, it's not the crazy lines of 13-14 Puig, but talent over everything. Always. That having been said, JD Martinez has become a premier power hitter, and I like him very much. But 18th round on Puig? That sounds pretty good to me.
Q-Ball (Chicago): If you re-drafted the 2014 draft right now, regardless of team need, what would the first 5 picks be in order? Schwarbs #1? Turner, Rodon, Conforto, Newcomb? Maybe Nola in there?
Bryan Grosnick: So many good options. I do probably go Kyle Schwarber at No. 1, but I'd probably lean on Michael Conforto at No. 2 before even Turner or Rodon. That dude can *hit*. I'm big on Bradley Zimmer, so definitely some combo of him, Carlos Rodon, Trea Turner to round out my five. Poor Tyler Kolek.
Silverback38 (VA): As a fellow mets fan, what are your thoughts on Amed Rosario?
If you need another mets fan to chat about on the new BP Mets' site, let me know.
Bryan Grosnick: I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up. (I hope he is peak Erick Aybar.)
Zonk (Chi Town): What contending team, in your opinion, failed to address a problem the most this offseason? I am thinking Angels, Indians, and Orioles all really need OF help and failed to get it. What is your thought on the biggest hole out there?
Bryan Grosnick: I know (I think) why they didn't, but the Angels failed to address three problems: second base, left field, and rotation. And the way they addressed the third base problem in a very weird way in Yunel Escobar. This is a team that either needs to build their present-day push a lot, or start refreshing their hellscape system. I'm not sure what the plan is any more.
Q-Ball (Chicago): Theo Epstien stated in November that the Cubs offseason priorities were OF defense, improved contact hitting, and pitching depth. Zobrist, Heyward, Warren, Lackey, Fowler, these acquisitions seemingly ticked every box. Was the Cubs offseason damned near perfect? Is Theo a BOSS?
Bryan Grosnick: I mean, what else would you have wanted them to do? They could have signed David Price too, I guess. This team is terrifying.
Andrew (Minneapolis): Wondering if you have an opinion of how the Rollins signing in Chicago affects Tim Anderson's ETA. Some seem to think that he won't be a significant block if Anderson is ready past the super-2 deadline while others seem to be projecting a full-seasons worth of ABs at short for Rollins. Thanks very much!
Bryan Grosnick: Yeah, I'd hope that Rollins has absolutely no effect on Anderson's ETA. Jimmy Rollins shouldn't be blocking anyone at this stage of his career, and Anderson looks like a really nice young player. I could definitely see him taking almost a full season of plate appearances though, because I'm not sure how Chicago wants to push Anderson. No Triple-A appearances yet, so they may want him to simmer there for a minute.
Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh....For Now): Who needs me? Where am I a fit?
Bryan Grosnick: Lots of places! But Pedro is being wily, waiting out the Spring Training injury roulette. I like him in Baltimore as an upgrade at DH (h/t Brandon Warne), I like him in Toronto as a caddy to the righties there, and I like him Tampa as a replacement for James Loney or Logan Morrison if they could unload one of the two. Baltimore's my favorite spot. (And he *has* to go to an AL team.)
Q-Ball (Chicago): The D-Backs decision to trade Inciarte was bold...it means they really need Yasmany Tomas to not suck this year for that move to work. What is your take on Tomas? Will he improve, or is he just the 2nd coming of Damian Viciedo?
Bryan Grosnick: Calling anyone the second Dayan Viciedo is fightin' words, where I come from. I've never been high on Tomas, but the Diamondbacks need to have Shelby Miller not suck this year for that deal to pay off. It's a lot easier for the Snakes to find a new corner outfielder than to find a consistent No. 2 starter, that's why they dealt Inciarte.
madjockmcferson (Norton, ma): How much do teams think about whether a guy they are targeting to sign will like living in the area the team plays?
I can imagine a young guy in particular struggling if he is away from family and friends, or a veteran not settling in if he has played his whole career in one area.
Bryan Grosnick: Honestly? I'd guess this is not a consideration in the slightest for most teams. You see teams sign dudes with more pressing issues like substance abuse, performance-enhancing drugs, poor makeup, etc. Unless a guy is calling out "I don't want to play here", I bet front offices assume that these guys are professionals and will figure the rest out. I'm sure things like what you're saying do occasionally affect performance, but teams probably don't police it too much.
Q-Ball (Chicago): Be completely honest....what did you think of the Hanley and Panda signings at the time? Which one do you pick as more likely to bounce back this year?
Bryan Grosnick: From a Sox perspective, I loved the Hanley signing, hated the Pablo signing. Now, I also thought Pablo gets too much of a hard time over his physique and defense, I just didn't/don't love his contact-driven skill set moving forward. But I would've much rather seen the Sox attack a Chase Headley type, or roll with Garin Cecchini at the time. As for Hanley, I adored the deal and thought it was brilliant to put him in left. Oops.
Philly Phanatic (Philly): Is Ryan Howard even worth a roster spot at this point? Shouldn't the obviously rebuilding Phillies be using that position to take a flyer on someone they can trade later, like Pedro Alvarez?
Bryan Grosnick: Well ... no. If they platoon Howard, I can see him being worth a roster spot. But it's not like removing Howard from the roster would scratch the money they're spending on him. Okay, if a team is willing to eat a portion of his contract, sure, deal him and try something else. Just stop playing him against lefties! And for the record, Pedro Alvarez should not be allowed to play the field any more, so Philly is not a good fit.
Steve (Philly): Dynasty league. Tulo for Puig and Dillon Tate. Thoughts?
Bryan Grosnick: Depends on who your new shortstop is, but the Puig side all day.
Nude Pablo Sandoval (Boston): It seems like the Cardinals have had a terrible last few months; lose to the Cubs, top prospect suspended 80 games, Molina and Peralta go down with major thumb injuries, and the only free agent that took their money was Mike Leake, while Lackey and Heyward go to the Cubs. Am I right that this is not going well for the Redbirds?
Bryan Grosnick: That's a bad username. I'm tempted to not answer your question, but it is an easy one. Yeah, things are looking dark in St. Louis. That means that Adam Wainwright will win 22 games and Greg Garcia will turn into Brandon Crawford.
Q-Ball (Chicago): For a team with limited financial resources, haven't the White Sox had a good offseason? They had stars and gaping holes, and they have successfully filled their gaping holes (2B, 3B, OF Defense) fairly cheaply. If Jimmy Rollins hits much, SS is also solved. What is your take?
Bryan Grosnick: I'm not as psyched as Craig Goldstein, but sure, I'm buying. The big problem on this team is that they're relying on a lot of folks who had down years last year ... they've bought low on a bunch of guys. I like the moves in aggregate, and I feel like it pays to be aggressive in the AL Central, but the roster reads like a litany of late-'15 disappointments. With Austin Jackson, I now like them over the Twins in the division, don't know about the rest.
Andrew (MInneapolis): Where do you see the ceiling for the Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco? It seems like the biggest knocks against him are a low HR/FB% (which seems like it might improve as he adds strength and refines his approach) and difficulties with LHP (though that didn't seem to be as much of a problem in the minors and homering off of Kershaw seems like a good sign). Appreciate it!
Bryan Grosnick: To me, he still has the ceiling he had as a top prospect: All-Star right fielder with power. FRAA lurrrves his defense, which is very nice, but I think this is the year where he starts leveraging his strength in games just a bit more. PECOTA gives him a 51% Improve rate, which is a very nice sign.
Terry (Toronto): How good can Marcus Stroman be?
Bryan Grosnick: Very good. You should probably ask the new BP Toronto (http://toronto.locals.baseballprospectus.com), but I like him as a guy in that tier just below the Cy Young scrum this year. Would love to see him model his work after Dallas Keuchel's 2015, then start amping up the Ks.
Zonk (Chi Town): The Pirates had a brilliant last offseason; Kang, Liriano, Burnett, Cervelli. This offseason? Very meh, don't you think? As a Cubs fan, I still respect the Pirates, but don't fear them as much. Are they just relying on help from the farm now?
Bryan Grosnick: I really like adding John Jason (as I wrote in his TA), but yeah, the pitching rotation is very sketchy beyond the top two. Tyler Glasnow could be a difference-maker, but this is one of those teams that can and will compete, and never count out that lineup. However, Cubs fans should only fear goats and injuries.
Chief Wahoo (Cleveland): Looks like the Tribe is going to roll with an initial OF of Cowgill-Davis-Chisenhall. Yeesh. Why weren't they willing to outbid the White Sox for Austin Jackson? Are they that optimistic on Brantley's return? I fear the Tribe are going to waste some really good pitching.....
Bryan Grosnick: That is horrible. Just horrible. I wrote the Indians comments for the BP Annual this year (the editorial staff greatly improved them), and I was feeling pretty good. This, however? This is not good. Davis should not be a regular center fielder, and I think the team may be better served with Naquin there. They should have gotten Jackson, or traded for Khris Davis, or signed Rymer Liriano, or re-signed Ryan Raburn, or any of a dozen other things. The only saving grace is that I do think they think that Brantley will be back sooner rather than later.
Nude Pablo Sandoval (Boston): Speaking of the scrum that is the AL Central, how would you currently rank it?
Bryan Grosnick: Yikes. It would've been the Indians first, if not for the Brantley/Almonte/no one else in the OF issues. I guess I'm Royals-Indians-White Sox-Tigers-Twins today. Expect that to change by tomorrow, depending on the wind.
Bryan Grosnick: And that will do it for me today! Thank you all for the great questions, and hope you're as excited as I am for the season to start. Go baseball!