Matt comes out of left field to answer your questions.
Matthew Kory: Let's thing this do! Wait no, actually, you know what? I'm going to own this one. 'Thing this do' it is! Also baseball chatting now!
Mitch (PA): If J.Bradley breaks camp with the Red Sox - what are the odds he sticks & see regular ab's once Big Papi returns?
Matthew Kory: Hi Mitch, thanks for the question. Bradley is intriguing, huh? He's looked big-league ready this spring, but it's only spring and I think that's what the WE NEED BRADLEY NOW folks might be missing. So I don't think, even with injuries (assuming no new ones pop up) that Bradley will start the year with Boston.
As to your question, I think the odds he sticks and sees regular ABs are slim, but I wouldn't bet against him coming up in a few months after Boston has his service time under control and he's got his feet wet in Triple-A a bit.
Frank (Singapore): Hi Matthew,
Is it too easy to say James MacDonald's end-of-season results this year will fall halfway between last years 1st and 2nd half stats? Or will we see something more than a "half-full" result for the year (or perhaps more like less than "half-empty").
Matthew Kory: Singapore? Wow. That's quite a ways off. How are things in Singapore?
He had a nice half season but was so bad in the second half that the totality of his contribution still ended up below average. I think McDonald is better than an ERA in the sevens, but how much better I'm not sure. I think somewhere around league average is a reasonable guess. I should note PECOTA seems to like him a bit more than I do.
Mike (NYC): Resign Wei-Yin Chen for $7 in 10-team AL only?
Matthew Kory: I'm not much of a fantasy guy, so I'll put it to you this way. If you think what Chen did last season is worth $7 then I'd pay it. I think it's a repeatable performance give or take a bit in either direction.
Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati): Why am I too stupid to realize how much more I can benefit my team and profit financially from being a starter? I'm an idiot, right?
Matthew Kory: Not necessarily. I think it comes down to player comfort. Put it this way: the best closer/reliever (which ever label you prefer) makes more than a back of the rotation guy. Also, not everything is a purely financial calculation. Maybe Chapman legitimately enjoys closing much more than starting. Maybe the potential hit to his wallet is worth the difference in quality of life.
Were I the Reds, I'd probably try to talk him out of it, or at least see if he could be persuaded to start, but I'm not the Reds so I don't get to do that. It's good for all concerned that I'm not the Reds.
Greg (H-Town): Top 3 best and worst current MLB uniforms are...?
Matthew Kory: I'm partial to the traditional uniforms, your Yankees, your Tigers, your Red Sox. How about you, BP readers? What uniforms do you like/dislike/detest/want to set on fire?
Brady Childs (Louisiana Tech (cafeteria)): Pat Venditte pitched at AAA last year. PLEASE TELL ME that the Yankees will get desperate and have a Pat Venditte night so his big league dreams can come true. If that doesn't happen, it's option B: Start a campaign to pressure the Marlins to trade for him and use him in their bullpen.
Matthew Kory: Venditte, for those who might not know, is a switch-pitcher. He pitched 13 innings last season for Scranton, the Yankees Triple-A club. It was only 13 innings because, a not-so-quick google search tells me, he has a torn labrum in his right shoulder. It looks like he may have been on the roster of Team Italy in the WBC, which is one of the odd things, in theory, about being ambidextrous: you can rehab one arm while still pitching with the other.
Still, my understanding of his stuff is that he's not much from either side of the plate so if he loses the platoon advantage, something he has all the time, then he's not major league material.
I wrote a piece a while back about him. You can read it here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16406
Bill K. (SoCal): Dodgers, Red Sox, Reds are the best. Padres, Marlins and the Indians are the worst.
Chief Wahoo has to go! It's just awkward.
Matthew Kory: I agree about Chief Wahoo. Honestly, it's probably just time to get rid of the Native American names altogether. I think we as a society can do better than that.
I'm not a fan of the Marlins uniforms either, but I do like that they use colors specific to the city of Miami. And the Dodgers are a good one. Classic.
laxtonto (in my cave): What is the most overhyped tool?
Matthew Kory: See, if you read that "what" as a "who" you can make lots of mean jokes. As to your question, I'd say speed. A player can be the best player in the game without speed. Hard to do that if you can't hit.
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): From the Red Sox offseason so far, I can't tell if they are rebuilding, punting, or going for it on 4th and 4 at the 50 yd line. What do you think they are doing?
Matthew Kory: I think they're building a bridge to their prospects, like Bradley, Bogaerts, Allen Webster, etc. They had a ton of holes on the roster because of the Nick Punto trade with the Dodgers and because they had a ton of holes on the roster. They brought in good players on short-term contracts to fill those holes. You may not like Shane Victorino on a three year deal, but before Bradleyapalooza this spring the Red Sox had spent two of the last three seasons without a center fielder due to Jacoby Ellsbury running into things or having pianos fall on him or what have you. If/when Ellsbury leaves as a free agent or they trade him at the deadline they have a major league ready CF to move there. Anyway, I'm off the point. You asked me what the Red Sox are doing and I think they're trying to win while not blocking or trading off their prospects. That's it in a nutshell.
Harry (Utah): If Winnipeg can get the Jets back, then I can hold out hope that the old brown and yellow Pardes unis will someday come back from the dead.
And where can I pick up the old AL umps red blazers?
Matthew Kory: Die die die old Padres uniforms. Yuck. Those were and remain awful. I don't even like them in an ironic way, though I admit they aren't the worst I've seen. That honor falls to the nuclear explosion Astros jerseys. Wow were they bad.
The old red ump uniforms though, I'm with you there. They need to bring those babies back pronto.
JK345 (NH): Over-under on Red Sox-Tribe games, 3 1/2 hours. What do you take?
Matthew Kory: No Josh Beckett so I'll go under.
Matt (PA): With the reduction of Napoli's deal to only one year, does the infield of the future have Middlebrooks at 1B and Bogaerts at 3B with Iglesias and Pedroia up the middle?
Matthew Kory: I'm not sure Middlebrooks is a first baseman. For that matter I'm not sure Bogaerts is a third baseman. For that matter I'm pretty sure the Red Sox aren't sure about this stuff either. The neat thing about the position they're in is that there are lots of moving parts, more moving parts than there are positions on the diamond. It's hardly a problem though. I think you have to wait and see how some of these guys do through the minors and then make decisions as you go, but I think Bogaerts' bat will play anywhere so if he can stay at short I think you keep him there and make decisions around that. Iglesias is a potentially above average player in totality but he'll never be much of a hitter so what happens to him depends in part on how the other shortstops in the system do behind him and how the Red Sox value defense. It'll be an interesting test case.
Bea (Port-O): Portland deserves a baseball team. If we got it, what other city should get a team to go to 32?
Matthew Kory: I'd love to have a team here in Portland but I don't see it happening for a long time. There's no political will to spend hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars to build a new major league stadium. Also, the NFL has 31 teams (right? I think they do?) so you can get away with an odd number. But, yet again, I'm off topic. If I had to put a major league team in a city, I'd put a third team in New York.
Harry (Utah): I hate people who pick the same 2 teams to make it back from the last season---but I think it will be the Giants and Tigers again. Opinion?
Matthew Kory: It always seems like a cop-out, doesn't it? But it's easy to understand why. Those two teams were just in the World Series.
I haven't given much thought to a World Series prediction, but I'm pretty sure that it won't be Giants/Tigers again. I'd put the Giants there before I put the Tigers though.
Alex (Anaheim): I'm not a fan of either team, but who wins an Angels/Dodgers World Series?
Matthew Kory: Do the Angels have the pitching to get to the Series? Weaver, Wilson, Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hunter? I guess if they're in the Series they had enough pitching to get there though. So I'll take the Angels!
Alex (Anaheim): There are 32 teams in the NFL, otherwise they would need byes every week.
Matthew Kory: See? I was right to put a question mark after 31! Oh, sure, I could've counted, but I'd have messed that up too and I knew you readers would be on top of it. Thanks.
Garcia (Houston): Do you think at some point this year we see Dee Gordon come around?
Matthew Kory: If by come around you mean show up at the park, yes. If you mean play baseball well, I'll go with no.
Justin (Chicago): I'm biased, but the current White Sox cap is perfect. Pair that with the home white pinstripe uniforms and you have gold. Also, the Cardinals uniforms with the birds on the bat is fantastic.
Matthew Kory: Two good options. The Cardinals uniform always makes me think of Stan Musial. Do you know how crazy good he was? In 1948 he had an OPS+ of 200. I mean, what?
dianagram (NYC): Its 31 ... and the Buffalo Bills.
Matthew Kory: I have a good friend who is a Bills fan. It's, I think, sadder than being a fan of any other team I can think of.
jharrison3 (Illinois): What do you think about the situation between the Cubs and the city of Chicago? I feel like the Cubs are getting screwed by the politics that go on in Chicago.
Matthew Kory: Everyone gets screwed by the politics that go on in Chicago! It's Chicago!
Gobucs (Phoenix ): I'm partial to the older uniforms that have the pin stripes on them. In reference above to the uniforms.
Matthew Kory: Pinstripes are slimming so that can be nice if you are a baseball writer who lives off garbage. Talking hypothetically of course.
Frahm (The Hills): What do you think are the most interesting story lines heading into the season?
Matthew Kory: Mike Trout is always an amazing storyline. PECOTA has him taking a sizable step back yet still being (I think) the fifth best player in baseball by WARP. That's how nuts he was last season. Can he do it, or realistically, some large portion of it, again? I can't wait to find out.
The other one is obvious too, but I think Bryce Harper is going to get serious MVP consideration this season. Can Justin Verlander do it again? Are the Yankees finally done? Can the Dodgers add more talent (and payroll) at the deadline? Can the Dodgers win or are they some bloated mess? (I'm rooting for both.) Will the Astros lose 110? 120? 206?
dhorrell1956 (Winston Salem, NC): Hey Matt,
Enjoy the chats alot. Who do you consider the best choice in a dynasty league without regard to position. Lance Lynn, Trevor Cahill or Starling Marte.
Matthew Kory: Thanks, I enjoy the questions a lot. I'm really not a fantasy guy, but I do like me some Starling Marte. So take that for what it's worth. Also I'd think in dynasty you'd be concerned with injuries and so I'd suggest staying away from pitching prospects.
Mark (Lexington): I think Aroldis Chapman is more effective as a closer because he will affect twice as many games as he would as a starter. Then there is the injury risk of asking a guy who dials up every pitch at 97 mph plus to throw 300% more innings. Why am I wrong?
Matthew Kory: I'm not sure you're wrong. I mean, I'd disagree. I think affecting games is the wrong way to look at it. As a starter Chapman would throw far more innings and face far more batters than he would as a reliever. This is why starters are worth so much more, because their impact is so much greater. As for the injury risk, there are some starters who throw really hard. I'm not sure throwing hard makes you more of an injury risk anyway. Pitchers who throw in the 80s and low 90s get hurt all the time too.
SC (Humboldt County): Bills fans are still happier than Expos fans.
Matthew Kory: Are there any Expos fans anymore? Other than Jonah Keri I mean?
dianagram (NYC): Jeffrey Loria is allowed to own a baseball team. Mark Cuban is not.
Baseball isn't fair.
Matthew Kory: Truth. I'd love to see Cuban take over a team. Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and give him the Marlins. They already have a crazy home run statue thing so they're already on a Cuban-esque path there.
BRG (Tx): The Rangers are not dead. Please tell everyone.
Matthew Kory: The Rangers are not dead.
laxtonto (locked in my cave): I would expect the Upton duo will be a major storyline as well
Matthew Kory: Absolutely. I make no claims to have covered every single storyline. Just hit a few off the top of my head that I'm exited about. I'm interested to see if the A's and O's can do it again too.
Chooch (Darby): If the Phillies win, they can't use the Wheez Kids nickname, that was the '83 Phils. What old guy reference can we attached to this jurassic brood?
Matthew Kory: The broken hip gang? Eh... I don't know? What do you all say?
Corey (NYC): Just drafted Lewis Brinson over Adelberto Mondesi in Keeper league minor league draft. Will I regret this? Parks article today is making me have 2nd thoughts
Matthew Kory: Parks knows better than me. If he says you've made a horrible life-altering decision then I guess you have.
Big Tex (Dallas): What's your projection for Berkman for 2013 playing at DH & 81 games in Arlington? Too optimistic to say he reaches near 2011 numbers if healthy?
Matthew Kory: Berkman can hit. With one exception, his time on the bench as a Yankee, he's hit every year of his career. Yeah, I think there's a good chance he hits and gets hurt. Which one of those he'll do more of I'm not sure. If it's just nagging injuries then maybe he can play in 110 games or so. PECOTA is giving him 510 plate appearances which sounds about right if his knee doesn't fall off. It's Berkman though so who knows.
Tibetan Monk (Tibet. Duh!): I have a haiku for you.
Billy Beane, genius.
The A's will see October.
The ballpark is crap.
Matthew Kory: I'm buying two of those.
Bryan (MI): Which backend starting pitcher would you prefer? Maholm, Strailey, or Kazmir?
Matthew Kory: How could you not prefer Scott Kazmir? I'm super intrigued by him. Somehow he got his velocity back and has thrown very well in Spring Training. If he can be anything close to his old self, which I don't see how it's possible but whatever, then the Indians could actually have some pitching in their rotation.
dianagram (VORGville): What percentage of the Padres Opening Day rotation will still be starting as of August 1? In other words, when will we see those hyped arms from the minors?
Matthew Kory: Because I care, chatters, I asked BP alum and Padres fan Marc Normandin. Here's what he said:
Wieland should be there by the end of the year. Cashner, Luebke, and Erlin could all be there by August 1 for sure. Kelly, well, it all depends on whether he has TJ or rehab but he's likely having TJ so really OD 2014 is the day when things should be happy.
Harry (Utah): I count 4 teams with a legit chance at 100 losses. The Fish, the Astros, the Rox and the Twinkies.
I think this is a case of small market teams that do not adapt to the changing game. Opinion?
Matthew Kory: You can make a good case that the Rockies, Twins, and Astros are where they are because of bad management. Now the Astros are under new management and I'm optimistic about their direction. The Marlins? Anytime I start thinking about them I get a migraine.
Sweet Lou (Pittsburgh): Matthew,
Is it reasonable for the Bucs to expect better-than-average results from what looks to be a platoon at 1B (Jones/Sanchez) and RF (Snider/Tabata)? And if that's reasonable, can you quantify - maybe say 1 more win per platoon?
Matthew Kory: That's the magic of platoons, that you can take two below average guys, add them together, and get one above average guy. That said I don't see either of those working out brilliantly. Snider looks mess-ful and Tabata did just about everything he could production-wise last season to make his extension look like a mistake. Jones has some power but he had a spotty career up until last season. Maybe I'm selling Gaby Sanchez short but I kinda doubt it.
Steve (Bayshore): I think I saw Javier Baez hit one over the scoreboard during a Cactus League game this past weekend. Is he going to be another power hitting Cubs prospect that fizzles... or is he as beastly as he appears.
Matthew Kory: Spring Training is so much fun.
I don't think there's much reason to ding Baez just because the Cubs historically haven't been able to develop good baseball players. Theo Epstein knows what he's doing even if he wasn't the one who drafted him.
Chester Trout (Dallas): Tommy Hanson, not Tommy Hunter. Hanson = talented but broken. Hunter (BAL) = healthy as a horse, pitches like one.
Matthew Kory: Yes. This.
Justin (Chicago): Would you rather have Leonys Martin or Lance Lynn in a dynasty league?
Matthew Kory: As is traditional when about to close up shop (ha HA!) we'll do a lightning round which is fun to shout if you over-pronounce "round."
I'll take Lynn.
cracker73 (Florida): Can you give me the name of one pitcher, that is flying under the radar, who you think may have a breakout season this year?
Matthew Kory: Allen Webster
Chester Trout (Dallas): Cleveland Browns fans would beg to differ with your Buffalo Bills comments.
The NFL Network doc "Cleveland Browns 1995" is very much worth watching, by the way.
Matthew Kory: Oh, the Browns are a perpetual mess. That's true. In my defense they're easy to forget about.
Donald Loria (Milwaukee): Trade proposed to me, I have extra closers on my squad & wanted a pitching upgrade.
What side you want: J. Zimmerman for Ed. Volquez + Grilli???
Matthew Kory: Zimmermann
aschauer (LA): Thanks for the chat, Matt! I was wondering, when we say a guy has a long swing, is that the opposite of having fast hands or is there more to it than that?
Matthew Kory: Not a scout, but it's more than that.
Chester Trout (Dallas): Also regarding Los Anaheim, is it fair to expect their offense to improve with Hamilton in RF, even if Trout remains superheroic? I don't think people realize how good Torii Hunter was last year because, y'know, he's old.
Matthew Kory: Hamilton may step back and likely will due to the park if nothing else. I think the Angels come down to pitching. Beyond the mid to back end of their rotation they're pretty stacked, even if you don't love the Hamilton contract.
Alyssa (Akron): I throw like a girl. Can I make the Indian's rotation? But seriously, I am a Reds fan and I think we got this division wrapped up by mid-September.
Matthew Kory: Maybe!
Matthew Kory: OK, gang. I'm calling this one. Thanks for the many questions and apologies to the ones I didn't get to answer. I have family in town and need to be the dutiful son. Have a great week, thanks for reading BP and I look forward to doing this again soon. Maybe when we start up the Hit List in a few weeks. Cheers!