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Chat: Paul Sporer

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday March 12, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Paul Sporer.


The 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide is out, and Paul is here to take your questions.

Paul Sporer: Good afternoon, everyone! Welcome to my chat. I'll gladly field any questions on the newly released SP Guide, but of course on anything baseball-related as well. Gotta keep it to a tight 90 minutes today.

NightmareRec0n (Boston): How difficult would it be able to add a feature allowing our custom projections to be used in PFM? It is a great and unique feature, but there are often times when I feel PECOTA is too high on bullish on someone(If Josh Becket posts a 3.18 ERA, I'll be sure the apocalypse has come or A-Gons 28 HR 110 RBI season...) or is bearish on players like Votto or Samardzija. I'd like make some educated adjustments.

Paul Sporer: I'd have to send you Rob McQuown's way (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/contact.php) on that as he is the tech genius who could tackle that for you.

Dexter Mathorfann (Chicago ): Hey Paul, Love the podcast, just wish there were more of them! The set up: 10 team NL only auction keeper league, up to 15 keepers per team, minor leaguers kept separately. 3 year contract on players, can add years at 5 bucks per. Q: I have Beachy in his last year at $1. Should I add two years do he'd cost $11, or should I drop him and bid for him at the auction? In a keeper league what do you think his price would be? Thanks Paul! Dexter Mathorfann

Paul Sporer: I have a hard time condoning a 2-year contract on a healthy pitcher, so it's an easy no for the injured Beachy. Big fan long-term, but don't invest your money -and more importantly your years- in the injured.

Joey (Madison, WI): Paul, In a dynasty league who would you target 1st between Lucas Giolito, David Dahl or Javier Baez ? Thanks

Paul Sporer: Baez for me. Giolito intrigues me, but let's wait and see on him, so I'd even go Dahl over him for now.

Pauly (Stone Mountain, GA): Hey Paul, Your thoughts on JR Graham's future and when we might see him in Atlanta.

Paul Sporer: I like him. I listed him as a potential contributor in my SP Guide as opposed to a prospect meaning I could see him come up at some pt in 2013 toward the latter part. If that changeup comes along, he should be in Triple-A in no time then he's a step away.

NoahBraun (San Diego): thanks for the chat Paul, what level of production should we expect from Josh Beckett this year?

Paul Sporer: I'm one of the higher guys on Beckett. The "change of scenery" trope is thrown out too often, but I think it's applicable here. Going from intense Boston to mellow LA will help and that situation as a whole was just toxic. He looked great in his short time there, just lots of positive factors for me. Oh and he's cheap in drafts. I'm buying.

Gila Monster (Massachusetts): J. Upton, Bryce Harper, or Jason Heyward for 2013? They are all risky guys with huge upside.

Paul Sporer: I don't think Upton is all that risky. His 2012 was considered a "bad" year, if that's your downside, sign me up ALL day! He didn't meet expectations obviously, but he still played 150 games and produced. For the record, I like all three OFs.

tterry (Alexandria VA): I am enjoying the 2013 SPG . However., I am surprised to see that your analysis relies aimost entirely on "traditional " statistics, e.g. ERA, SO, W,....no use of the sabermetrics standards, WARP, FIP, FRA. Why ?

Paul Sporer: I can't recall using wins as a judge of talent or predictor of anything. The WAR composites don't do much by way of fantasy analysis. And strikeouts, walks, and home runs are what make up your FIPs, xFIPs, SIERAs, and FRAs. ERAs are important bc it's still what happened and then we look at the underlying numbers. I think it mixes traditional and next level stats quite nicely.

chopper (Indy): Thanks for the chat, Paul! Amongst the trio of A. Bradley, K. Gausman and K. Zimmer, who has the best career? Non-pitcher question: any possibility that A. Russell is next year's Profar?

Paul Sporer: I'd probably reverse order the pitchers maybe with Gausman *just* behind Zimm. Russell is probably the better fantasy asset, albeit the lesser prospect since Profar derives so much value from defense.

Zack (wisconsin): You are the pitching whisperer! Who's best to stash late in keeper league? Duffy,beachy,luebke,Paulino ? Other?

Paul Sporer: Haha, thanks! I should make business cards with that title. For me, it'd be Beachy then Luebke. Love Paulino, but he went out a good bit after them.

NightmareRec0n (RI): What are your thoughts on Trout's weight gain? Typically we assume to some extent that more weight = more power,less speed. But do you think he will be a 30/30 guy or will he still be a low 20s HR with 40 steals guy?

Paul Sporer: I don't put much stock into it at all. As for his stat line, I honestly don't know what to think given the unprecedented rookie year, but it has nothing to do with the weight gain. I honestly don't factor it in at all.

Spirou (Montreal): Trevor Rosenthal.Long termer reliever or starter ?

Paul Sporer: I want so badly to say starter bc I'm such a huge fan. We'll see how this year goes. If he can pull some spot starts, I'll be heartened that they might Lance Lynn him next year. If he is a long term reliever, he succeeds Motte in 2015.

redguy12588 (Pittsburgh): Taillon or Cole, who has a better chance of becoming an ace?

Paul Sporer: Cole for me. I'm 100% aligned with Jason on him (he had him 3, whereas other outlets have him 2nd half of top 10). Saw Cole in the AFL in 2011 and while his results weren't awesome, I really liked what I saw.

cgraham73 (Charleston, SC): I am in a NL only 5x5 auction league and really debating my last carryover...I have Lance Lynn at $7, Paul Maholm at $1, Ian Stewart at $2 and Chris Nelson at $3....Considering their prices, what order would you put them in for terms of potential profit over their cost? Thanks! Chris PS--got the Starting Pitching Guide for the first time this year....WOW!!! incredible breadth of coverage and depth to the point I really feel like I have a unfair advantage going into drafting my pitchers this year...THANKS!!

Paul Sporer: Thanks so much, Chris. As you'll note in the said guide, I like Maholm a good bit with Atlanta, but I have to go Lynn because I think he can be special.

BStephen (The W ): Am I crazy to think of keeping Zach greinke @$30 In my AL 11 team 5x5 long term keeper? Usually 25% inflation, especially on the top players!

Paul Sporer: You're not *crazy*, but I wouldn't do it, especially in light of the elbow news.

Todd (City of Angels): haven't gotten much strong info about the import Hyun-Jin Ryu, whats your opinion of him?

Paul Sporer: I'm kind of with you re: firm news. From what I've gotten, I see him being a solid, but unspectacular starter this year in the vein Harang last year, but with more Ks. I just don't know enough to make a firm bet on something better.

Pronk (Gotham): Looking forward to the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium this year, but do you think I'll get enough p/t to be relevant in fantasy this year?

Paul Sporer: No, but that's just because it's the smart bet. I'd love to see you stay healthy, but you've given no reason to do so.

DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Hey Paul, just wondering when the closer rankings are coming out? Also wondering if the whole staff will identify sleepers/busts again for this year. If not, care to name a few of yours? Thanks

Paul Sporer: Coming and coming. Doesn't help you much today, but gives you something to look forward to! :)

Rhyno (Mass): Any idea if Machado will move back to SS at some point this year?

Paul Sporer: Only if Hardy is dealt

jmm102 (GA): Any concern on Halladay's velocity drop in his most recent start? Anxious to see how today's outing goes.

Paul Sporer: Not really, no. And the outing isn't going too well, command is shaky. He might need April to get right, but I think he will be fine.

Drew Stubbs (Cleveland): In the annual you guys said "landing in Cleveland was a godsend" for me, but then the Tribe went ahead and signed that Michael Bourn fellow. Where does that leave me in terms of playing time this year?

Paul Sporer: Struggling for it, if you hit like 2012. If the removal of your leg kick does something, you should get lots of time in right.

Jack (Tropicana): A.Cobb - I think he'll be a nice backend starter - agree, or disagree?

Paul Sporer: Very much agree.

Michael (Brooklyn): I heard a rumor about a 50-game PED suspension coming for Robinson Cano. Have you heard anything similar?

Paul Sporer: Seen the same stuff you have; I don't have anything substantiate or discount it, though.

dianagram (VORGville): Hi Paul ... thanks for the chat .... which of the young up-and-coming Padres pitchers are you most excited about ...

Paul Sporer: Robbie Erlin!!! Dude is going to get a restraining order out on me if I don't tone it the hell down, but I love this guy. Trade from Texas to SD gave him a shot at being a really strong asset despite his flyball tendencies. Elite control plays up modest stuff. Sit him in Colorado, but otherwise game on!

Derek (Reno, NV): Can you offer us any suggestions on how to spot when a pitcher is playing with an injury (as opposed to just going through a bad stretch)? Thanks.

Paul Sporer: Usually a velocity drop comes about, but we can't always assume that down velo = trouble. Also missing spots thus leaving pitches up and allowing homers can be something that happens.

Chris Tillman (Baltimore): Do you hear Collette's voice in your nightmares at this point?

Paul Sporer: His voice talking about YOU.

Scout (minor leagues): I love me some A.Russell. Would you favor him over Profar? Profar will arrive first, but I sense a huge jump in Russell love after this season.

Paul Sporer: See earlier in this chat.

Alex (Ontario): Please, please, please tell me C.Rasmus will blossom this year? So much potential - I was thrilled when we got him from the Cards. Is this the year he puts it all together?

Paul Sporer: Ooh, I wish I could, but I just don't see it. Even his "breakout" in StL wasn't all that breakouty. Young enough to improve, but I'm not betting on or planning for it.

John (Trenton): Do you expect continued growth from Cahill?

Paul Sporer: Yes, even if just incremental. Big fan of him.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Does Axford stick as closer for the Brewers and would Henderson take over?

Paul Sporer: Axford sticks. One of my favorite closer targets this year given his price.

Raul (Turning Stone Casino): Ivan Nova live up to some of the hype this year?

Paul Sporer: Has he been all that hyped? I thought he kinda popped up in '11 with the big Win-streak, but not many saw him as a stud. Then last year he showed better K & BB skills, but gave up far too many HRs. If he can combine the goods of 2011 and 2012, he could be huge. I'm always nervous with home run issues because they can lead to implosions very quickly.

thereddots (Austin): Hey Paul, I have the first pick in an AL only 4x4 Keeper league, who do I take?!?!

Paul Sporer: Jose Reyes, obv. His SB are amplified brilliantly in a 4x4.

Mike (Rhode Island): Would you rather keep Halladay at $14, Scherzer at $16, or Sale at $17 for this year? Standard Roto pitching categores

Paul Sporer: Scherzer

Dexter Mathorfann (Chicago): Hey Paul, Thanks for chatting. In s keeper league, what's your opinion on boing after the broken pitchers for value in 2014 and 2015? Beachy? Luebke? Daniel Hudson? Thanks Dexter

Paul Sporer: I prefer them in the order you list them. It's not a strategy I go for usually, because it saps my $ or roster spots for 2013, but if you're going to do it, go Beachy.

Raul (Turning Stone Casino): Which of the Oakland back of the rotation guys do you like best?

Paul Sporer: Jarrod Parker!

Tony Danza (China): Mike Minor have all star potential?

Paul Sporer: You're the boss, I should be asking you! Sure he can make an ASG or two. I don't think he's a consistent upper echelon All-Star.

ChoppertoChipper (Edmonton): The SP guide is really, really good. I'm really enjoying reading it. I haven't got to the Jays chapter yet and am wondering about Ricky Romero. Will he be bouncy bouncy bounceback this year? If I have a choice between him and Erasmo Ramirez-Collette in my Scoresheet keeper league, who wins?

Paul Sporer: Thanks so much, DS. I'd advise Ramirez. I said in the guide that I'm still on the Romero, but I understand if y'all don't wanna jump on board with me this time around.

MerleDixon (Fantasy prison): Dynasty league trade, my lineup: Arencibia, Frazier(1b), Espinosa(2b), Miggy(3b), Rutledge(SS), Cuddyer(OF), Melky(OF), Marte(OF), De Aza(OF), Moustakas(DH), Samardzija(SP), Lester(SP), Morrow(SP), Volquez(SP), Bauer(SP). I am looking to acquire a #1SP and this trade has been proposed to me: Felix Hernandez, Wil Myers and Billy Hamilton. Should I stand pat??? I also have Profar, Olt, Taveras and Zunino along with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Chris Archer and Kyle Zimmer waiting on the bench. Pull the trigger....I an torn.

Paul Sporer: So you give those two for Felix? It's completely fair and fits your desires for a #1. Try to give one of the SP prospects instead of Hamilton, but if s/he says no, then I'd do the proposed deal.

Abed (Greendale): Angela was the boss!

Paul Sporer: Samntuh was and still is my boss.

Bombo Rivera (Bloomington): Hey Paul, love the podcast. It's really helped with my auction prep this year. Would you trade Hosmer (keepable for 1-4 years after 2013) for Gallardo (not keepable after this year)? I also have Rizzo, Goldy and Pujols, so I have a 1B to spare. Would there be a better mid-range pitching target? Should I see if I can deal Rizzo instead? Thanks!

Paul Sporer: That's pretty fair. Maybe you can get Jordan Zimmermann? This might help, too http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19798

Bob (NY): As a yankee fan I'm going into 2013 with very low expectations - tell me I can be excited about seeing Pineda toe the rubber sometime this year & be effective as well this season?

Paul Sporer: He should pitch this year for sure. As long as he's getting through his allotment of innings and making progress from start to start, that's great. He is unlikely to go out and drop a 3.00 ERA on everyone's face.

Scott (Houston): Below AA, which Rangers prospects have the most upside? Luke Jackson and CJ Edwards?

Paul Sporer: Jackson for me.

Mike (Rhode Island): Are you concerned about Chris Sale's mechanics?

Paul Sporer: Shaggy from Scooby Doo has got some very negative indicators. Doug Thorburn does a great job discussing the mechanics in the SP Guide.

Raul (Turning Stone Casino): Wade Davis have a chance to bust out this year?

Paul Sporer: Yes, I believe so. Depends how his velocity transfers from the bullpen. I like him a bit.

Joe (Deptford, NJ): In a 12 tm mixed league with 8 mandatory keepers. I know you and Jason are high on Matt Moore. In keeper league format, how close is he to Hamels? Been offered Cole for Moore + pick upgrades.

Paul Sporer: As long as the pick upgrades weren't egregious, I'm still going Hamels. Unless you have a super-young team that won't contend in '13, go for Hamels.

Todd (SD): Enjoying the SP Guide so far, but I decided to completely skip the Colorado section. They don't have any SP worth drafting in a 15-team mixed league, right?

Paul Sporer: That's completely fair. There are some funny jokes, pics in the section though.

dhorrell1956 (Winston Salem, NC): I ordered the SPG but never received a link for the download. Any recourse other than filing a claim with the credit card company?

Paul Sporer: I see you just recently ordered. I'll get it out right now.

The Dude (Pikes Place): Do you like Iwakuma or Erasmo Ramirez better for 2013? Beyond?

Paul Sporer: Have 'em Iwakuma/Ramirez for 2013, but very close. Long-term (beyond 2014), lean the youngster (Ramirez).

Tim (SD): Paul, just catching up on podcasts... Love them... Have you changed your thinking on Ogando, vs a week or two ago?

Paul Sporer: I was just a little nervous. I didn't want to panic over an inning-plus, especially as a guy who bangs the "don't freak out on spring numbers" drum. His velo has been better since, tempering my worries. My biggest worry was just bc I love Ogando, so I had a heightened reaction to any negativity re: his 2013 outlook.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Hey Paul thanks for the chat and the SP Guide, it's terrific! In a Dynasty League, which Pitcher do you like better- Erasmo, Cobb, or Rosenthal (assuming at some point he ends up back as SP)?

Paul Sporer: Thank you so much! For me, I'd have to go in the order listed because Rosy is a reliever for 2013 (or at least the beginning of) and the other two will help you more this year. If they were all starts, I'd bring Rosy to the top. Even though it's a dynasty lg, you're still playing for now.

straymond (Mexico): any thoughts on the Archer demotion?

Paul Sporer: largely unsurprising, just makes him cheaper for us to put on our reserve rosters and wait.

dangor (New York): Paul, I'm in awe over the Starting Pitcher Guide. It's like "War and Peace"! With regard to your rankings, R.A. Dickey at #10 seemed high. You don't forsee more regression from last year and the switch of leagues? On the opposite end, Matt Garza doesn't crack the Top 80?

Paul Sporer: Thanks dangor. His NL to AL regression could be mitigated by the dome environment in Toronto which our own Dan Evans alluded to being a major plus for knuckleballers. Plus the AL East isn't quite the Beast of recent years. If he pitches near 2012 levels, the league won't matter.

Rick (Ottawa): Is Sergio Santos a good late round target given Janssen's health issues?

Paul Sporer: Absolutely.

Phil (Baltimore): Hey Paul, where would you have Price ranked among SP in a dynasty format? Is it wrong to predict a slight rise in his ERA/WHIP in future years when he won't be pitching at the Trop with a great defense behind him?

Paul Sporer: I mean, I guess you could, but you'd have to know where he's going. I still have him no worse than top 3.

nictaclacta (phoenix): Enjoying SP Guide--great material. 5x5 ten team dynasty: 15 keeper and 10 minors. Spent couple years prospecting: who are the gold nuggets and who are the fool's gold? Jose Fernandez, Jameson Taillon, Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer, Max Fried, Lucas Giolito. Thank you

Paul Sporer: You've got lots of potential gold. If I **knew** who was fool's gold out of that, I'd have a much different job. I can tell you who I love from that group and it's Fernandez. I've always been a Taillon guy. Very excited to see full seasons out of Gausman and Zimmer. Btw, no mention of Bundy isn't because of any dislike, but rather bc he speaks for himself. He looks like a future star.

edwardarthur (Illinois): Hey, Paul, love the book (and want the Relief Pitcher Guide next)! Is there any precedent for pitchers like Martin Perez and Henderson Alvarez -- high-end stuff, low-end strikeouts -- pulling it together to become stars, or does the track-record of not missing bats promise a low ceiling?

Paul Sporer: Thanks. I'm not sure those two are the same as Alvarez never really fanned guys whereas Perez has. My guess is there are tons of guys like that through history. I'm struggling to come up with some off-hand, but I doubt it's terribly uncommon.

Chesty (Boston): Paul 12 team hr,RBI,ave,x-by,sb,runs.Your pick in the 4th position? Thanks

Paul Sporer: I took Stanton in a league earlier this winter in that position. I think any of the major group around that area are defensible. Get your favorite of that group whether it's someone like Stanton/Bautista who usually track lower in 1st rd or Votto, Cano, Pujols who are higher up.

Dave (Boston): What do you think of Tommy Hanson's chance to rebound in '13?

Paul Sporer: Not awesome. I like the kid, hate the mechanics. --- I haaate leaving questions in queue, but I could only go 90 today, so I'll do two more.

EvanS (Sunny F-L-A): Paul, I just wanted to give you a shout out for the SP Guide. Not only is it packed with info that helps us win leagues, but it is an absolute pleasure to read. Really appreciate the high quality and easy flowing writing style you employ. Quick question. Judging by keepers in my 12 team mixed, which to my eye are heavy overbids, a large percentage of the league is going to go Stars and Scrubs. How do you avoid getting into bidding wars for the top tier guys and/or purchasing the second tier guys at values so close to the top, that the elite guys are cheap by comparison?

Paul Sporer: It's hard to give a specific auction dynamics answer because every auction is a unique snowflake. Thanks for the kind words.

Tom (GA): Best career value: Felix Doubront, Martin Perez, or Kyle Gibson?

Paul Sporer: Very tough. I'll say Gibson, but man that is difficult.

Ozzie Guillen (Unknown): Chris Yelich - think he'll start the year with Miami? If not, if and when do you think he sees the big show this year?

Paul Sporer: No. Maybe August unless he just DOMINATES and forces his way up.

Rob (SF): Would you take Votto,Pujols, or Stanton in an OPS league? What if you added Trout in there?

Paul Sporer: Stanton or Votto for me personally. If Trout is there, he's more than reasonable of course.

Jim (Chicago): Lots of exciting young outfielders getting a shot this year. Of this group who do you like best for 2013 and beyond?: Lorenzo Cain, Leonys Martin, and Aaron Hicks.

Paul Sporer: I like 'em in that order.

Mark (Seattle): What are the odds that the Mariners call up all three of their big pitching prospects (Hultzen/Walker/Paxton) this year? Does the team have a shot to compete in that tough division?

Paul Sporer: It would take some major collapsing for all three to make the rotation. Saunders and Beavan have collapse potential, but I really like the other three (Felix, Iwakuma, Eraser). --- Email me any unanswered questions if you still want them answered. fantasyhour@baseballprospectus.com

Joboo (NoHo, MA): Rank these SS in order for a Dynasty Keeper. Desmond, Simmons, Rutlidge and Segura? Thanks a bunch!

Paul Sporer: Simmons bc Desmond is nicked so I'll take the '13 hit a bit to play for the long-term.

Jason Pennini (Denver): Have you thought about having more listener involvement with the Towers of Power podcast? (in addition to emails) I am not sure how this would work, but I think it could add another element to the podcast.

Paul Sporer: If you have ideas, let us know. Definitely open!

Paul Sporer: OK, that was way more than 2 more questions. Again, email fantasyhour@baseballprospectus.com if you want unanswered questions fielded. Take care!! SP Guide available at paulsporer.com and full team sample coming to BP this week!!

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