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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday October 07, 2013 6:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Talk playoffs and fantasy with Mike.

Mike Gianella: Some great baseball so far today. A's took a 2-1 lead on the Tigers and Cardinals/Pirates was epic. Let's start chatting!

Cal Guy (Cal): In a standard roto league with OBP who projects to be more valuable, Correa or Russell? Russel seems to have more present power and more speed but Correa appears to have better plate discipline.

Mike Gianella: Hey Cal Guy.

Prospects are hard to project for Roto, but at this early point in their careers I don't look at stats as much as I look at scouting/projectability. Russell's Roto stats might be better now but Correa has the higher ceiling. Even if Correa's power doesn't fully develop, he's still going to have value. Given how many rungs both of them have to move up the ladder, I'd take Correa.

Joe (NYC): Would you rather have Tulo or Hanley next year in fantasy? Also, approximately where would you rank Everth Cabrera for next year, especially compared to guys like Reyes and Segura? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hey Joe.

I think I'd go with Hanley Ramirez. He earned $26 in 304 ABs to Troy Tulowitzki's $26 in 446 ABs. Even if you don't believe in Hanley maintaining that pace, the move to LA seems to have woken him up. Tulo could be traded, and while he's still a great player, a move to any non-Coors venue is going to have a negative impact. I like Hanley.

Hard to rank Cabrera coming off of his suspension. For all of the talk of how PEDs impact power, there is more of a proven connection to speed/endurance for players using PEDs. Jose Reyes and Jean Segura both have power and Cabrera doesn't. Even in a best case scenario for Cabrera, Reyes and Segura rank ahead of him.

Aceathon (TX): Why do the Rangers hurt me when I love them so much?

Mike Gianella: That's baseball. I'm a Mets fan and 2007 still stings and always will.

Brady (College Dorm Room): Have you read the story on Selig's goon squad?

Mike Gianella: The only goon squad story I have seen recently was about the Cleveland Indians. So, no. No, I have not.

Mitchell (IA): Are any AFL games televised or at least do any of them have an audio feed?

Mike Gianella: I don't know, but I would check MLB Network's web site. They have televised a handful of AFL games in the past and are probably your best bet.

Mitch (Iowa): Any under the radar catchers going into next year? I'm stuck with Wellington in a 20 teamer

Mike Gianella: Hi Mitch

In a 20-team league, probably not. Yan Gomes would be more of a sleeper if everyone would stop talking about him, but still might be in your format. If the Twins consider moving Joe Mauer to another position, Josmil Pinto is instantly intriguing.

Robert (California): Is it even worth trying to put projections on Mike Trout at this point?

Mike Gianella: Hi Robert:

My 2013 projection for Trout was fairly close except for the steals, which I thought would be higher. I see your point, though. Trout is the outlier of outliers, so it is hard to find comparable players for him that make real sense. He could put up slightly better numbers or he could have an off year that is still a $30 season. I'd just pick him early or put a $40+ price tag on him based on the certainty that you're going to get at least $30 worth of stats out of him and go from there.

James (Chicago): Hi Mike, rank the following outfielders for 2014: Avisail Garcia, Corey Dickerson, and Desmond Jennings. Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hey James.

Of those 3 OF, I would rank Jennings at the top. He is the most proven of the trio and most likely to get a full season's worth of playing time. Garcia is 2nd. He will probably play all season for the White Sox, and has enough speed to make him a slight sleeper candidate. Dickerson is at the bottom. His numbers for the Rockies weren't great, and I'm not convinced yet that he wasn't a product of hitter-friendly Colorado Springs. Maybe he gets a full season of AB for the Rockies, but maybe he doesn't. Josh Rutledge was considered a no-brainer $20 earner but had OBP issues and flopped. Dickerson has similar OBP issues. If you can't get on base, you're going to have problems, even in COL.

Cal Guy (Cal): Is it possible Matt Carpenter is going to be overrated next season? What stat line do you predict for him?

Mike Gianella: Hi Cal Guy.

Whether or not Carpenter is overrated probably depends on how savvy your league is. Oddly enough, the smarter the league the more likely Carpenter will be overrated. A lot of Carpenter's value is tied into his batting average, which makes him a bit of a risk in terms of overall value. He was a $30 hitter, but 35% of his value was tied into his 126 runs last year. If I had to guess, I'd say Carpenter is a 15 HR/90 RBI/90 runs/.290 BA guy next year. That makes him a $25 player. Overrated? Sure, if you're expecting a $30 season again. It's more likely that fantasy owners downgrade Carpenter the way I just did in my quick and dirty calculation and that he's valued properly.

Nick (Georgia): Is Pedro Alvarez the next Chris Davis?

Mike Gianella: Interesting question. It depends on the context in which you're asking. If you mean "can Pedro hit 50+ HR?" the answer is an emphatic yes. Alvarez's raw power tool is awe inspiring, and it's not hard to envision a significant HR boost next year. However, I'm not sure Pedro is going to ever hit for any kind of batting average. He is always going to have a high strikeout percentage and I have a hard time seeing Alvarez ever hitting .286. .260 seems like a far more realistic ceiling.

Aceathon (TX): Do you like baseball?

Mike Gianella: Like is too timid a word. I love baseball. Football, basketball and hockey keep me occupied in the winter but baseball is my passion.

Mitch (Again): Let's say CarGo gets traded. How about Shark, Vogelbach, and Alcantara as a starting offer. Close?

Mike Gianella: A lot depends on how the Rockies/Cubs value those guys, but I'd think that the Rockies would want more. Cargo is signed for four more years and while his contract gets expensive on the back end he is still a premier talent with a good deal of cost control in his prime. Vogelbach and Alcantara are strong prospects but not uber-elites and Shark is going to start getting expensive in his arbitration years. I'd want at least one more prospect or two more prospects minus Shark if it were me. But, again, I don't run the Rockies or the Cubs. Maybe the Rockies love those guys and would do that in a heartbeat.

Matt M (Ray Brook, NY): Sandy Alderson's seat is going to start getting warm this winter. Realistically, what can he do to improve that awful team?

Mike Gianella: A lot depends on how much money Alderson is going to be able to spend in the next couple of years. There have been rumors linking the Mets to Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, but it's hard to say how realistic this is given the Mets money problems. Mets fans and some Mets watchers don't like to hear this, but the Mets are on a five-year plan. An emergence of some of the arms the Mets have in their system would be a big help. Wheeler, Montero, Gee, and Niese isn't a bad rotation. The question is whether or not the team will be able to field a decent enough offense to run with the big boys. My suspicion is that 2015 is the year the Mets will start looking to contend again.

Jeff (IL): Who do you see closing for the Indians on opening day 2014?

Mike Gianella: This wouldn't be my choice, but I suspect the Tribe tenders Chris Perez a contract/offers him arbitration. My guess is Perez, even though I wouldn't like this decision.

Ben (Panama City): What are your thoughts on Christian Yelich? What is a realistic stat line for him in 2014? What about in his prime?

Mike Gianella: I saw Yelich at the Futures Game this year and couldn't believe how poised he looked for such a young player. I think some of the power comes next year and a 15 HR/15 SB line is entirely possible. In his prime, 25 HR/15 SB with a .280 BA is what I would be looking at. Yelich impressed me. He is still a work in progress, but I see good things in his future.

Brett (The Office): List 5 hitters and pitchers that you feel could be breakout players in 2014. Thanks for the chat, Mike!

Mike Gianella: Hi Brett.

Hitters: Christian Yelich, Billy Hamilton, Oscar Taveras, Avisail Garcia, Josmil Pinto.

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon, Rafael Montero, Drew Smyly, Jimmy Nelson, Taijuan Walker.

Kelly (Oakland): Was Josh Donaldson's season legit? How much regression do you see coming? Hopefully not too much!

Mike Gianella: Hi Kelly:

Josh Donaldson seemed like the real deal to me, although I wouldn't be surprised if the power slipped a little bit. His plate discipline and contact skills seem legit, though, so I wouldn't expect too much regression. One thing to keep in mind is that as great as Donaldson is in real life, this doesn't all translate to Roto. Miguel Cabrera blew him away, and Adrian Beltre outearned Donaldson in 5x5. If the price is too high - or if you can get a lot in trade - don't be afraid to sell high.

Trader Joe (Freeport, ME): On many levels, Noah Syndergaard for Javier Baez makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Mike Gianella: In real life or fantasy? In fantasy, I tend to default to the hitter over the pitcher, so I like Baez better at the moment. In reality, I'm not sure either team is going to make that deal. The Cubs love Baez (with good reason) while the Mets are also high on Syndergaard. The Mets are deep in pitching, but David Wright blocks Baez assuming Baez's future if at a corner. Maybe this is fair, but I think i'd rather have Baez and the hitter.

Brandon (Missouri ): Do you have any good under the radar/ bounceback SPs to target in keeper leagues?

Mike Gianella: R.A. Dickey had a stronger second half and seemed to adjust to the American League Post All Star. He won't do what he did with the Mets, but is a decent option next year. Ian Kennedy struggled all year, but a full year at Petco will definitely help. Ryan Dempster was terrible for the Red Sox, but a change of scenery could help. His high whiff rate makes him valuable in fantasy even if the other stats don't coalesce.

marjinwalker (Baltimore, MD): Does the retirement of Helton mean the Rockies might give Wheeler a shot at a full time gig?

Mike Gianella: It looks like he has an open opportunity to compete for the job, but this is the kind of thing that we'll know more about as we get closer to Spring Training. It's possible the Rockies bring in a free agent, even if it isn't a high profile guy.

Justin (LA): What do you think Danny Salazar's ceiling is and what kind of season do you see him having next year? Thanks for the chat!

Mike Gianella: Salazar could be an ace, although looking at him as a #2 seems more realistic. Next year, I think he will earn as a mid-tier pitcher but watch to see if there any potential inning limits.

Derek (St. Louis): I own Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Domonic Brown and Matt Kemp in a dynasty league. Can I count on either of them to make a huge step forward next year to elite status? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hi Derek:

I wouldn't think any of them are big "huge step forward" guys, but Brown and Kemp are probably your best bets. Kemp will bounce back assuming health (a big if, though) while Brown is still young enough that he could maintain or get a little better.

Dan (Kansas City): Do you predict Jimmy Nelson and/or Erik Johnson as a viable fantasy option next year?

Mike Gianella: Nelson is the guy I like between Nelson and Johnson. Nelson has a good shot to crack the Brewers rotation and I could see him delivering #3 SP value. Johnson is more of an uncertainty and while he could put up 180-200 decent innings, there is enough variability in his projection that I could also see him bottoming out as a #5. Nelson is the pitcher I'd go with if you're playing for 2014 only.

Jim (The couch): Brandon Belt's second half seemed very promising. Do you think he can finally climb over the hump and become a solid fantasy first basemen? What kind of stat line can do you predict next year? Thanks for the chat!

Mike Gianella: I've always liked Belt. He was a $22 hitter in NL-only, earning $3 less than Adrian Gonzalez and Allen Craig. He's already solid, the question for me is how much further can he climb. At one time, I thought Belt would develop into a 30 HR hitter, but his minor league track record combined with his Major League performance make this seem unlikely. Still, a 20-25 HR hitter in his prime with some speed and solid batting averages can't be overlooked.

Nick (Texas): Once signed, could Masahiro Tanaka be a beast?

Mike Gianella: Hi Nick:

Sure, although that's a better question for the BP scouting team. I dig the numbers but freely admit I have not seen Tanaka pitch.

Cal Guy (Cal): Do you think T. Walker makes the M's rotation out of spring training? What is your ETA for A. Bradley?

Mike Gianella: Kind of hard to predict in October, but I do think Taijuan Walker has the inside track..

I anticipate seeing Bradley in late 2014 in a best case scenario but wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come up until 2015.

Yudaman (TX): Donaldson or Lawrie in a keeper league

Mike Gianella: Hi Yudaman.

In a keeper, I'd lean Lawrie. The power/speed combo is waiting to emerge and you have a significant age advantage with Lawrie in a keeper. Assuming a BA bounce back, you will have a leg up with Lawrie. 2014 only, Donaldson. Long term in a keeper, Lawrie.

Jose (Boston): Romo Murray/Cobb I get Peyton. My rb1 AP/gd depth at rb. My wr dez/Thomas/Nelson/Gordon.kc def

Mike Gianella: Hi Jose:

I'm not a fantasy football guy. Like football, enjoy watching it once the World Series is done, but do not play fantasy football. I need some down time during the winter where I can just be a casual, uninformed lunkhead of a fan.

Confirm/Deny (Watching the game): Confirm/Deny: It's the changeup's world and we are just living in it.

Mike Gianella: The change-up is an underrated asset. Johan Santana opened my eyes to this reality in his all-too-short prime. Confirmed.

Mike Gianella: Thanks for joining everyone. Amazed at how many fantasy, non-playoff questions I got. You guys are die hards! See you next time.

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