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Chat: Nick Schaefer

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday September 21, 2017 1:00 PM ET chat session with Nick Schaefer.

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Nick is an author of Baseball Prospectus and co Editor-in-Chief of BP South Side. Ask him about Eloy. Over. And over.

Nick Schaefer: Sure, the Wild Card races are in the home stretch--but the real Wild Card here is clearly me.

matzabal (CO): I ended up with a 3 headed monster at 3B on my keeper team: Rafael Devers, Anthony Rendon, and Miguel Sano. Given they will all cost about the same to keep, how would you rank them?

Nick Schaefer: That's pretty impressive. Given that they're all really good it depends a lot on your scoring format--OBP league? Penalty for Ks? And how long do you get to keep them? Draft pick penalties attached? How many 3Bs can you start at once?

Rendon is probably the best all around player of the three, but you might need dingers more than his versatility, and he has the longest track record of injury. Then again, Rendon is also the most likely to stay at 3B in three years or so, as Sano and Devers seem like they'll be 1B eventually.

Dusty (Colorado): Should the Cubs or White Sox trade for Twins prospect Wander Javier? I think it would be foolish not to consider.

Nick Schaefer: According to Wilson Karaman he's a fan and thinks he's a Top 100 prospect type, although he's still in rookie ball. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1443

I mean...if the Twins are willing to part with a Top 100 prospect for some reason then...sure it'd be foolish not to consider, I just don't see why that would happen.

Dave (Williamsburg): Impossible to predict, but which prospect makes an Acuna type jump up next season?

Nick Schaefer: I'm glad you covered my hedge preemptively. In the sense that he's super young position player who rocketed up through multiple minor league levels? I suppose Vlad Jr. is a good bet to do something like that, but he's obviously a very different type of player than Acuna.

Brandon (Albuquerque): What can we take away from a player like Brinson who did great at AAA but bad at the MLB level this year? Is it just chalked up to youth and inconsistent playing time? Should we expect him to be much better in the bigs next year?

Nick Schaefer: It has only been 55 PAs, and he's drawing walks and hitting for power, he's just striking out a lot and has a low batting average at the moment. Like Moncada, this is a premier athlete whose ceiling will be dictated by how much contact he can make, and there are questions about his contact ability. That said, Moncada also had a rough batting average for his first ~150 PAs and has since starting annihilating the ball. Until you see a guy hitting for contact in the majors you can't be sure he will, but I'm willing to trust a global top ten prospect is going to be fine.

What's fun about Brinson is his non-contact skills are nice enough that he doesn't have to hit for a very high average to be a good player.

MatternK (Point Mugu, CA): Thank you for doing this chat Nick. I have to cut one of these three guys (Daniel Norris, Matt Harvey or Matt Strahm) to make my roster legal going into the off season. Who you cutting in preparation for next year? Your thoughts on the two guys you keep for the next year? Thank you!

Nick Schaefer: Thanks for your question, MatternK!

It's depressing, but I think I'm cutting Matt Harvey. At this point, I feel like we have to assume that thoracic outlet syndrome surgery is absolutely devastating, and Harvey's pitching since he developed TOS symptoms / post-surgery supports that position.

I've always been a Norris believer and think he could still figure things out, even if it is out of the bullpen. Strahm I don't know quite as well, and the knee injury isn't encouraging but...well, he has a chance to be good and I'm not sure Harvey does anymore.

McGoldrick (California): Would you keep or trade Avi Garcia in the offseason?

Nick Schaefer: Man...Avisail Garcia! As someone who would have non-tendered him if the White Sox hadn't decided to rebuild this year, I'm not sure I trust my evaluations on him anymore. It has only been one season, but really his only slump at all was when he was playing through some injuries heading into the All Star Break.

I think any team that's willing to give you a lot of value for him this offseason believes this is real, in which case if you're the White Sox do you disagree?

It depends on the offer, but I might wait and see what he does in the first half of next season before I make any long term decisions on him.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Nick, Besides Otani, are there any other international players with any potential impact rumored to be coming to MLB in 2018?

Nick Schaefer: Hello!

This is not my area of expertise, but having asked Sung Min Kim, who knows what he's talking about, I am told Yuseu Kikuchi of the Seibu Lions is a good bet. Another very good pitcher who may get posted following 2018, and has expressed interest in pitching in the majors for a long time.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): What do you think of Giolitto's big league performance so far this year?

Nick Schaefer: I take comfort in the fact that I have heard prospect evaluators express confusion as to what Giolito may ultimately be. DRA doesn't love what he's done, but I am encouraged by his intelligence / creativity on the mound, and the improvements in his change up. I think the ace talk should be put to bed, but I don't see why he couldn't settle in as a #3 type.

Ryan (Class): White Sox 2020 rotation. Give it to me

Nick Schaefer: I'll go...

Rodon / Kopech / Giolito / Lopez / Dunning with Spencer Adams ready to take starts when someone inevitably gets hurt.

Nick (NJ): Who is the best NFL player Avi could beat in a cage match

Nick Schaefer: My concern is that Avisail would injure a hand early in the fight and not be able to continue. I'd definitely take Avi over kickers / punters now that Sauerbrun is out of the league. I also think I'd take him against most slot receivers and corners. Not sure he beats anyone bigger than that. So like, "best" would probably be what, Brandin Cooks? But biggest...

Liana (Boston): What is the updated scouting report on Kevin Maitan after his first year?

Nick Schaefer: The one thing I've heard is that he's looking really big, which makes it less likely he'll stick up the middle as a general principle, but I haven't really heard anything else to change the general excitement / mystery around him.

Bob G. (Chicago): It seems like the young contributors have clicked in the last month. Am I crazy for thinking that, even if the White Sox make no changes other than promoting Kopech and Jimenez next year, they could be legitimate second wild card contenders?

Nick Schaefer: I am generally more optimistic than the consensus about how soon this team could contend, and it is worth pointing out that the Angels and Twins hardly inspire a ton of confidence and here they are duking it out for a playoff spot.

That said, this is still a ~100 loss team that is being buoyed by having had a really, really good bullpen coming into the season. I think they'd need to add in free agency and continue to see super precocious growth from their elite prospects like Moncada and Eloy and Kopech. But if you take the hundreds of innings that are being covered by the Mike Pelfrey / Derek Holland types and replace them with anything resembling major league quality pitching you're looking at a big improvement already. I think 2019 is the year where you can start thinking about contention.

Brandon (Albuquerque): How high is Eloy on your personal prospect list?

Nick Schaefer: Jimenez was 8th on our midseason list which you can check out here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=32224

Since then, he got promoted to Double-A and annihilated it for 18 games, and a number of guys ahead of him have graduated or are looking to graduate off the list -- Moncada, Rosario, and Devers to name a few. I'm wouldn't be surprised if some players beneath him had jumped him when our excellent prospect team rolls out their next list, but I feel pretty comfortable just screaming that Eloy is the best player in the minors at anybody who will listen because even if I'm not sure it's true, I think it's close enough that people will chalk it up to me being an ebullient White Sox fan.

edwardarthur (Illinois): Do you think Alec Hansen ends up both a starter and on the South Side?

Nick Schaefer: The White Sox have so many arms I legitimately forgot Hansen when answering the question about the 2020 rotation. Even so, there's risk in the profile and it felt lame just rattling off the pitching prospects in order of their ranking, so I made sure to include safer guys like Dunning and Adams.

Still, Hansen is really exciting, and unless like...everything works out perfectly for Rodon / Kopech / Giolito / Lopez (which it won't) it's hard to imagine he'd be blocked. That leaves chance he becomes a reliever on merit weighed with probability of him being traded, the former is still possible, the latter would be pure speculation on my part.

Nick (New Jersey): What kind of power potential does Juan Soto have? Will he develop into a 6 hit/6 power player?

Nick Schaefer: I understand wanting to collect lots of opinions about someone, and being excited to ask about your favorite prospects (and appreciate anybody willing to submit a question!), but I don't have much to add here--he was #12 on our midseason list and there isn't really anything that's changed since then, as far as I know. Classic power hitting corner outfielder type, which probably means yes to the second question, barring incident.

Stpnat (Washington DC): Hello the NATS have been tagged as franchise laboring under the self imposed handicap of always offering deferred compensation to prospective FAs. How do they use it? How do they compare to other clubs? What resources could I use to get a better hand on this form of compensation? THX!

Nick Schaefer: I think the only way you really can use it is to offer a player a dollar amount that sounds bigger than it effectively is. e.g. "Sure, they're offering you $75 million over the next 3 years, but I'll give you $100 million paid over the next 10 years!" sounds like a competitive offer, but given the present value of money being greater than the value of money later, it isn't as great as it sounds. I have heard the same general rumblings that the Nationals have been offering deferred compensation to players, and given the high profile nature of some of those failed FA pursuits (Cespedes comes to mind), it doesn't seem to be fooling anybody.

The only other high profile FA I can think of who has gotten deferred compensation is Chris Davis' deal with the Orioles. I would think there would be stories around the effective value of that deal might illustrate just how much deferring comp can diminish real value of the contract.

Also, I know our Rob Mains knows things about numbers that have $$ in front, so tweeting at him might get you some better answers: @Cran_Boy

Ryan (Best Baseball Fan City): Who wins the AL Wild Card? Will they inevitably win the World Series? Just give your entire postseason prediction thanks

Nick Schaefer: As a White Sox fan, I want the Angels to beat the Twins out for that spot. I think I will predict that the Twins will win the Wild Card and inevitably win the World Series because that way I'll either be right, or thrilled to be wrong.

As for the postseason, before the Dodgers went on their losing streak and Cleveland went on their winning streak, I think people were still overestimating the stacked teams' chances of winning. (e.g. "It's inevitable that it's going to be Houston and L.A. in the World Series!")

THAT SAID, at the risk of getting the first round match ups wrong, I'll say Nationals v. Dodgers in the NLCS, Dodgers win, Astros v. Red Sox in the ALCS, Astros win, and then flip your favorite coin.

LucasDad (MPLS): Can you talk about Hoskins and M. Olson for me? How do they compare to each other and what can we expect from them next season?

Nick Schaefer: They're probably great examples of why trying to rank 1B prospects is so frustrating. You're operating from core truth that in order to be a good player at first base you have to absolutely rake, and just assuming pretty much anyone in the minors will hit to THAT level is very dangerous. Then you have Hoskins and Olson go out and hit basically at their 90th percentile outcomes and people yell at you for being "too low" on them.

Hoskins is a year older than Olson and hits in a much better place to hit. I've also seen it thrown around on Twitter that he has faced a lot of really weak pitching. Olson has the handedness advantage...

I think Olson settles in as a roughly league average first baseman, and Hoskins as a bit better than that? It sounds like faint praise, but first baseman hit so, so, so well these days.

Kevin (Chicago): With It being reported that Nicky Delmonico is getting cortisone shots in his wrist, why not just shut him down for the year?

Nick Schaefer: I'm comfortable deferring to the White Sox' medical / training staff. If they don't think it's going to make the injury worse, then he might as well get the reps while it's September rosters and guys like Avisail and Leury Garcia are on the DL and there are plenty of OF at bats to go around. I suspect more players are getting cortisone shots than we hear about.

Nick Schaefer: That seems to be what I have in the queue, so if this were a Bob Ross episode, this is the part where I sign the painting and the soothing music plays over the credits. Thanks for your questions!


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