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Chat: Ben Lindbergh

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday November 08, 2013 2:00 PM ET chat session with Ben Lindbergh.


Ask BP's E-in-C.

Ben Lindbergh: Hi everyone. We need to talk. No, you're not in trouble. We just have baseball to discuss.

Danny Salazar (Cleveland): Do you think I can become a solid 2 starter, possible ace for my squad?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes on the solid second starter. Your stuff is so nasty.

Christopher (TN): I enjoyed the MLBTV clips--very good. Funny thing--I can't listen to your podcast anymore without envisioning you earnestly perched on a stool. And did anyone ever mention you look like Dave Foley, from Kids in the Hall?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes, actually. I don't know if I like it, but I've gotten that comp before. Usually I get Broderick.

My gosh, so many prospect questions! Who do you guys think you're chatting with?

Snake Peavy (Pit): James Loney is not Casey Kotchman 2.0...because???

Ben Lindbergh: I like him a little bit better than I liked Kotchman after his surprising Rays season, but not that much more. He's probably a league-average hitter, as a first baseman. So.

fats (churrana): did you get a chance to see marcus stroman last night pitch in the AFL? stuff was filth

Ben Lindbergh: I did not. I was in New York, seeing Built to Spill and then recording a podcast. But so I've heard.

Reed (Texas): Which draft class has disappointed the most in the past decade?

Ben Lindbergh: Does 2003 still count? Because if so, it's that one, and I don't think it's particularly close.

Wesley (Utah): How long until BP hires Dave Cameron from fangraphs to work for you?

Ben Lindbergh: I think you have this sequence of events backwards.

Matt (MA): After the WS and taking into account his year in its entirety, did Xander do enough to become the #1 prospect in baseball?

Ben Lindbergh: Well, he was, what...third on our midseason list, behind Buxton and Taveras. That list came out on June 25th, which coincidentally was the day that Buxton played his first game for Fort Myers. He hit .326/.415/.472 after that as (still) a 19-year-old, so if he was the best at midseason, I don't know if Bogaerts did enough to overtake him.

Todd (MN): How do you go about becoming a BP intern (not on the prospect staff)?

Ben Lindbergh: Email jobs@baseballprospectus.com. Well, no, that's just how you'd send us your resume. How you'd get hired is, have some good writing samples, some special baseball- or publishing-related skill, work experience in the industry, etc.

Doris (LA): Who do you have winning the nba title this year?

Ben Lindbergh: I heard Kirk Goldsberry talk about basketball on Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast, and he said something about the Heat and the Spurs being good. That's the beginning and end of my NBA knowledge.

Spampagne Papi (Boom Boom Room): When did it become a requirement for all "good" deals to be extremely team friendly and anything close to market rate a bad contract?

Ben Lindbergh: When Andrew Friedman was hired?

Tim (NYC ): When is your next piece for grantland coming out?

Ben Lindbergh: I wrote one about robot umpires (whether we will have them, and whether we should) that's up today.

Andy (Chicago): How do you go about becoming a BP extern?

Ben Lindbergh: Same process, actually. We don't have an office, so all of our interns are externs. We're just like the Phillies, when you come right down to it.

Jon KK (Elkhart, IN): What's your stance on the serial/Oxford comma?

Ben Lindbergh: Pro

justarobert (Santa Clara): Having been an extern for six weeks, you're in Ruben Amaro Jr.'s office for your second 1-1 meeting with the GM. He asks you, "What have you been working on?" What do you tell him?

Ben Lindbergh: "You know, staying warm, finding food and water. That jug of water you left me last time is empty, and my last light bulb went out a while ago. Can I come out now?"

Saluki (Chicago): Granted, St. Louis has had a nice run on their minor league system the past couple of years, but isn't Tampa's past decade of player development more impressive?

Ben Lindbergh: It's been more than a couple of years of success for St. Louis. When you factor in where the Rays were drafting, and how little their system has produced since they stopped drafting so high, I don't think so. The Rays' record of acquisitions/transactions at the MLB level might be more impressive, though.

Adam (Philly): Should the new BP tagline be "We love making fun of the Phillies"?

Ben Lindbergh: The thing is, it's gotten much, much harder to be snarky about baseball teams since BP started, since they're all so smart now (and since they keep hiring all of our authors). So when an opportunity arises, we have to take it.

Quinn (Texas): What do you do outside of baseball for fun?

Ben Lindbergh: When I went to see Built to Spill last night, that was for fun. I like my job, so I don't really need to blow off that much steam when I'm not working. I just try to carve out time to read, watch TV and make sarcastic comments about it with my girlfriend, and play video games. I'm belatedly playing BioShock Infinite now. I also enjoy Astronomy blogs.

Bubba (St. Louis): Qualifying system better or worse than the type A or type B system?

Ben Lindbergh: Better because it's more limited and affects fewer players, but still fundamentally flawed. Sam and I talked about this on the podcast this week, and Sam subsequently wrote about it.

Christopher (TN): Would an increase in baseball's popularity among the youth (regardless of where you think that level is now) lead to an increase in overall quality of MLB play?

Ben Lindbergh: Sure. I don't know whether we'd notice, but whenever you expand the pool of potential talent, you should (theoretically) end up with superior players.

Christopher (TN): To be fair, when BP started, there was a lot of disdain about scouting and tools among the sabermetric set, so it's gone both ways.

Ben Lindbergh: That is fair!

David (Minnesota): Should mlb switch to a lottery style system for the draft? Would prevent Another Astros like season

Ben Lindbergh: Sam and I discussed this on Episodes 203 and 318. We were in favor of something more creative than the lottery system--make the worst and second-worst teams play a single game against each other before (or at some point during) the actual playoffs, with the winner picking 1-1 and the loser picking lower. The problem with that is that the players wouldn't want to do it. Another potential solution we discussed is having the team that wins the most games after being eliminated from playoff contention get to pick first.

Tim (NYC): How many BP hashtags shirts should I buy?

Ben Lindbergh: How much closet space do you have? You're in New York, so I'm guessing not much. But it's winter, so you can walk around wearing four or five at a time. It's called layering.

Dylan (AFL): What is your setup for recording podcasts? I'm guessing USB headsets, Skype, software to record Skype calls, and Audacity?

Ben Lindbergh: Right. Sam uses a headset, I think. I use a Yeti, because Kevin Goldstein told me to.

Rick (Idaho): Who do you talk to more on a daily basis, Sam or your gf?

Ben Lindbergh: This is something I've wondered about. It's probably pretty close on weekdays, actually, which is sort of scary. But my girlfriend takes a clear lead on the two days we don't do podcasts. I hope she's not reading this.

Nick (SF): I'm a big fan of the scout school articles and BP's work in general. Keep it up.

Ben Lindbergh: Thanks! We intend to.

Matt (Springfield): Wait, how did you do italics in your reply? like this? Hopefully HTML does work here or else this is going to look odd. oh well

Ben Lindbergh: You figured it out.

Mark (Bronx): Can the Yankees really not sign Robinson Cano?

Ben Lindbergh: Sure they can. Lots of salary coming off the books. And they're the Yankees. Makes sense for them to explore other options, though, if only for negotiating purposes.

Dennis (LA): Thank you for the chat, Ben. It looks like the Angels will be trading for a (presumably young, cost-controlled) starting pitcher. But they will probably have to pick up a free agent starter as well, probably a lower-cost one. If you were them, would you target Arroyo or Haren?

Ben Lindbergh: Probably Arroyo, since they need innings and they're more likely to get a lot of them from him. Plus, they've already had the Haren experience, and they decided not to keep him when they could have (admittedly, at a pretty steep salary).

Saluki (Chicago): Do you see an Alexi Rameriz for David Freese as a fair trade for both teams?

Ben Lindbergh: Sure, that might make sense.

Chris (Miami): With what's going on between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin in the NFL right now, what would happen in MLB if a similar situation happened

Ben Lindbergh: It's not so different from what happened with Mel Hall and Bernie Williams, is it? And I assume the same thing would happen: the young, talented player who's the target of the hazing stays, and the veteran who's not so good goes.

Ruben Amaro (Philly): Well I wanted to hire Colin Wyers but that didn't work out...so this was the next best thing

Ben Lindbergh: Colin becoming an extern for the Phillies is my new favorite sitcom scenario.

izzy2112 (New York): How long will the Wilpons maintain ownership of the Mets? What do they need to do to be forced out?

Ben Lindbergh: Howard Megdal has done the best reporting on this story from the start, and he could give you a much more informed answer than I. He's @howardmegdal on Twitter.

Robert (California): If the Angels actually wanted to rebuild, and went with the shock therapy approach and traded everyone besides Trout and the four guys with no trade-clauses(Pujols, Hamilton, Weaver, Willson), that would be a funny team to watch.

Ben Lindbergh: The sad thing is that the Angels will owe those four guys alone $98.1 million in 2016. And by then, Trout will be in his second season of arbitration eligibility, so he'll be making plenty, too.

Mark L (Henderson NV): Since baseball teams are taking away so many of BP's very fine authors, what strategies are you pursuing to push back and snag some of their talent? Is BP making offers to the Astro's amateur scouting staff? or to any free agent pitchers?

Ben Lindbergh: I like this idea. The A's topped our offer for Philip Humber, which made Sam sad. In all seriousness, while it's never fun to lose talent, losing talent to teams makes it easier to attract more.

justarobert (Santa Clara): What is the future of PECOTA? I assume it is more maintainable now than when it was a tangled mess of Excel macros, but Colin's departure will presumably have some impact. Also, will anyone be building on Colin's ongoing defensive metric work?

Ben Lindbergh: Yeah, the PECOTA process was streamlined significantly during Colin's time at BP, so this isn't really like when Nate left and no one knew what to do with the giant, computer-killing spreadsheet. It's all coded now. As for defense, I don't know. We'd welcome further research in that area, but haven't assigned anyone to defense specifically.

Yudaman (TO): Is the Fantasy Subscription no longer available? I only see Premium listed

Ben Lindbergh: Correct, fantasy-only sub isn't available over the offseason.

Todd (MN): What did you think of Eddie Rosario when you saw him? I was quite underwhelmed.

Ben Lindbergh: I put a 52 on him, I think. He didn't have a great game for me--looked a little raw around second, flubbed an opportunity there. I liked his hit tool, but he seemed like a guy who's more interested in hitting for power, which doesn't seem like the best fit for his skills and body type. Lots of hand movement and big load. Think he could be a useful player if he tweaks his approach a bit.

Cal Guy (Cali): Hi Ben, Anyone in the minors with #1 starter potential?

Ben Lindbergh: Archie Bradley would be the best bet.

Matt (Chicago): Rumors percolating that Theo/Jed might be opening to moving Castro. Depsite his horrific past season, does he still hold a lot of value due to positional scarcity, contract, and strong first few seasons?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes.

flip coleman (Clearwater): New Recurring Podcast Segment Idea: "Imagine A World Where . . . " featuring the very best/worst of the rule change emails that Sam seems to love and hate simultaneously.

Ben Lindbergh: This essentially describes the listener email shows, no?

Matt (Chicago): How was Built to Spill show?

Ben Lindbergh: Great. First time seeing them live, and they lived up to the billing. One of the rare bands that's achieved full shuffle status for me--I can lump all of their albums together and let 'em rip at random, and I'll never have to hit skip.

MetsFaithful5 (SYR): What do you think the mets could get if they traded both Syndergaard and d'Arnaud in the same trade? An elite type player? I know that wouldn't happen. But just want to see what type of player they could get.

Ben Lindbergh: Sure. The Mets traded a reigning Cy Young Award winner for those guys, and their stock hasn't declined since.

Todd (MN): What are the biggest behind the scenes challenges of your job?

Ben Lindbergh: I spend a lot of time answering emails and scheduling/editing articles. I suppose all of that qualifies as behind the scenes.

flip coleman (Still in Clearwater): I think soccer is the only other (major) sport with no return after a substitution, and they are limited to just 2 or maybe 3. What if managers could only make 3 subs per game?

Ben Lindbergh: This would probably be bad news for Randy Choate.

justarobert (Santa Clara): How do major league teams approach budgeting? For example, at what point in the year does a GM know what his payroll limit will be? Do owners let GMs save money one year to spend it in another?

Ben Lindbergh: I assume most GMs and owners are in regular contact about spending, so there's probably no particular point at which the GM goes from not knowing anything to knowing everything. The big organizational meetings to plan offseason strategy and such are held in the fall, so that's probably when the specifics are clarified.

Jordan (FLA): How much editing do you do with a typical article? Is it large, directional stuff or a lot of small line by line changes. I imagine you just leave Jason's stuff alone.

Ben Lindbergh: It can be both, though obviously we try to recruit authors who don't require major rewrites on a regular basis.

stewbies (Rochester): Can you put up a chart/family tree type of thing that shows all of the BP personnel links to MLB teams, past and present?

Ben Lindbergh: Thought about it before, might be a fun thing to do over the winter. Will keep it in mind.

stewbies (Rochester): Which artist sang the song about Dollar Signs that opened yesterday's podcast? My kids want to know. And who selects the opening bits, you or an intern? Before or after the podcast?

Ben Lindbergh: Three 6 Mafia. We (usually I) pick the opening sounds after recording. The intern idea made me chuckle.

DetroitDale (Tallahassee (eternal spring training)): I understand no qualifying offer for Jhonny Peralta, but Omar Infante and Joaquin Benoit? They need both guys and now if they don't sign they don't get a draft pick either.

Ben Lindbergh: What relievers have ever made qualifying offer money? Rivera, and...Rivera. Papelbon, almost. Benoit is good, but he's not going to get that on the open market. I agree that there was a more compelling case to make for extending the QO to Infante.

Matt (Chicago): Is this the year that CHW's "rob Peter to pay Paul" strategy finally bottoms out? At some point they have to develop some talent in-house, no? It seems their business model wont allow them to be awful.

Ben Lindbergh: I think 2013 may have been the bottom, at least where the overall health of the organization is concerned. Things aren't going to be great this year, either, but the system has gotten a little bit better.

MetsFaithful5 (SYR): Having asked you the previous question, hasn't Syndergaards stock risen? Or still the same?

Ben Lindbergh: Risen since the trade.

stewbies (Rochester): Thanks for answering my questions. Please tell Sam that Veteran's Day does not qualify as a reason to skip the podcast. Because inquiring minds want to know: how old are you, where did you go to college and what time do you usually go to sleep at night?

Ben Lindbergh: I will tell him. I'm 26, went to Georgetown, and often go to sleep after the sun comes up.

Dylan (AFL): Podcast intern? Podcast intern.

Ben Lindbergh: The only thing we could really use a podcast intern for is to type up show notes for the blog posts at BP. Like, timestamps when we switch topics, links to any articles we discuss, that kind of thing. Something to read along with while listening. BP VP Dave Pease used to do this for us sometimes early in the show, but he has no time now. It would be a thankless task, but if anyone's up for it, feel free to get in touch.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Jason and company have built the beginnings of something like a major league scouting department. When will BP have its own groundscrew? I am looking forward to many articles about mowing patterns and chalk.

Ben Lindbergh: I have a robot vacuum named Roomben. I guess you could call that the BP grounds crew.

Jake (LA): Tell us a situation that will improve the Angels farm system from worst to first

Ben Lindbergh: Probably the one that was proposed earlier in the chat, where they trade everyone who isn't tied down. It's tough, as Sam and I have discussed on the podcast. Not a lot of roster room to maneuver, and not bad enough at the major-league level to get high picks.

Bill (New Mexico): On the Incognito/Martin mess as it applies to baseball: MLB managers seem to spend much more time close to their players than NFL coaches, which may help fend off things like what happened to Martin. But are there any managers whose people skills you think are deficient enough to risk something like that happening? Not asking you to name names, just whether they currently exist or not.

Ben Lindbergh: I don't know anything about football, so I can't speak to which coaches spend more time with their players. If it's something that takes place via texts/voicemails, I don't know that either a coach or a manager could police it properly. I know nothing like this ever would've been allowed to continue on the Dillon Panthers.

DetroitDale (Tallahassee (eternal spring training)): Ben, in answer to your question of my question.. Rafael Soriano last year. I still concede your point re: Benoit :-) So, if you're Dave Dombrowski, how do you fix this pen?

Ben Lindbergh: Even Soriano didn't get an AAV that high, and at Benoit's age, I doubt he gets a big multi-year deal (maybe two years). I don't have Tigers-specific bullpen recommendations at the moment, but Sam has written a couple excellent articles on how you build a good bullpen on the cheap (or how the A's did, specifically) and how inconsistent bullpen performance is from season to season.

Hess (NA): Does your mother understand what you do for a living?

Ben Lindbergh: Sort of. Mostly. I think she thinks the podcast is a live broadcast, and she still seems to think the site is some sort of magazine. (She calls publishing each day's articles "putting an issue out.) But yeah, as much as any parent knows what their child actually does, probably. She definitely knows more about what I do than Kevin Goldstein's mom knows about what he does.

stewbies (Rochester): Another random Friday statement - I listen to your podcast when I drive my kids to school every morning, and they always comment how you sound like the voice from the game Mindcraft. I don't play video games so I don't know what they mean. Perhaps you do? On another note, is it possible to raise the volume levels of the podcast, especially of the guests?

Ben Lindbergh: Minecraft, right? It is probably possible to raise the volume level, though it would worry me because we don't get many complaints about it, and if we make it loud enough for you, someone else might say it's too loud. Occasionally the guests are harder to hear because we can't call them on Skype.

Hess (NA): What did you think of the idea that pitchers don't actually throw harder these days? I noticed you didn't respond to that idea on the podcast, but I find it intriguing.

Ben Lindbergh: I tend to think that what Kevin suggested (that we're measuring velocity at a different point between the pitcher and home plate, which changes the readings) is true, but that they're also throwing harder on the whole.

stewbies (Rochester): Yes, minecraft. I have a hard time listening on my Android phone even with volume turned all the way up, so maybe a little raise would be welcomed by others too? We can always turn down our volume if it's too loud. Thanks for considering it.

Ben Lindbergh: I'll survey the Facebook group.

R.A.Wagman (markham): Happy offseason, Ben. It's not so bad, really. Without it, the "on" season would lose value. My question to you is, do you have any plans to utilize your newfound scouting acumen in the coming season(s)? If so, how?

Ben Lindbergh: I don't know, really. Scout School gave me a basic grounding, but not so much that I would really be comfortable going to a game and writing scouting reports for BP. To get to that point, I'd really have to devote myself to it and see a ton of games to build a mental library of players, which would mean a lot less time for the kind of work I do now. I hope I'll be able to make use of what I learned there in my writing (and not just my writing about being there), but at the very least, I hope it will make me better equipped to talk to scouts and other front-office sources, and to edit our scouting content.

BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): Thanks for doing these chats during my class times, makes sitting through class much more enjoyable knowing that one of y'all are chatting baseball.

Ben Lindbergh: Been there.

Bob (Tampa): How do we know this is actually Ben Lindbergh talking to us on the chat and not actually Sam Miller?

Ben Lindbergh: You don't, not for sure, so you'll have to take my word for it. Sam will be chatting next Tuesday. Someday maybe we'll switch just to see if anyone notices.

Christopher (TN): Can you reveal which team sponsored you in Scout School? And why?

Ben Lindbergh: I'd sort of rather not say outright, though they probably wouldn't mind if I did. It's a team I used to intern for, and I still have friends there who were happy to help. If you go back and read some other stuff I've written, you can figure out which team it was. Not that that would be a great use of your time.

Ian (St. Louis ): Your only 26? You haven't even hit your prime yet (in baseball)! As you enter your prime what should we see new?

Ben Lindbergh: Some studies have put the baseball prime at 26, though I'd like to think the prime for writers comes later. Either way, I hope to have a productive age-27 season.

Becky (New Jersey): It's winter! You know what that means right?

Ben Lindbergh: Well, it's not winter yet. But it is fall, which means I can wear my pea coat again. I've missed my pea coat.

Mike (CA): Colin was in the middle of a very interesting attempt to re-work WARP. I'm afraid that effort will end with his departure. Is that correct? Would love to hear either you or Joe Hamrahi address how the statistical research function of BP will change with his departure.

Ben Lindbergh: We (and Harry Pavlidis, and others) are working on it. We may change things up a bit, but statistical research is still a priority.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Would you write a video game whose protagonist is Colin Wyers as an extern for the Phillies? Would it be interactive fiction, real-time strategy, first-person shooter, or dating sim?

Ben Lindbergh: Probably a The Sims-style life simulator. But it might be better as a graphic novel.

Wesley (Utah): Who was your favorite author growing up? Grisham? Rowling? Steinbeck?

Ben Lindbergh: King, Clarke, Asimov, Wodehouse

Reed (Texas): What's the over under on Sam Miller's recent re-reading Nate Silver article count? I say he doesn't get past 100

Ben Lindbergh: Been wondering that myself. This past season, I started doing weekly articles on the best catcher frames and the longest plate appearances, and after months of that, I sort of lost steam and regretted making the commitment. Those took a lot longer to do, though. I'd put the over/under at 50 before he starts condensing them or fast-forwarding somehow.

Tim (NYC): What's the Lindbergh household get when they are feeling like something fancy for dinner

Ben Lindbergh: Half-sour pickles are a prized delicacy.

Nick (SF): Ben, do you have any thoughts on what makes the Cardinal's player development system so effective? Better coaches? Nicer post-game spreads? A mystical Cardinal Way that is both unknowable and omnipresent?

Ben Lindbergh: The consensus is that it's a consistent philosophy from level to level, and an emphasis on making rookies/minor leaguers feel like an important part of the whole. But we shouldn't discount good, analytically-oriented drafting. Finding talent comes first.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Bundy and Giolito both have huge ceilings but are both equally "tainted" by TJ surgery. Who would you rather have in a dynasty league?

Ben Lindbergh: From Mark Anderson, the member of the prospect staff who had the misfortune of being listed as available on my Gchat list:

"I'm not sure I would say 'tainted,' but they both have an injury history that has to be recognized as they are projected forward. Both have the physical frames, work ethic and the raw stuff to come back from the injury. Long term, I prefer Giolito and think he could end up being a complete monster."

John (Texas): Is there any chance that Profar spends half the season not getting atbats again?

Ben Lindbergh: Something's gotta give, right? Another season of part-time play can't be good for his development. Wouldn't be surprised to see a trade.

Sam (The Couch): What do you expect from Taijuan Walker next year? Thanks Ben!

Ben Lindbergh: The Mariners Top 10 list came out on Wednesday--Who cares what I think? Care what Jason thinks. (Jason thinks he's going to be a no. 2-type starter.)

Slim Dunking (The Way): Batting average is flawed. We get that. Small sample sizes are bad. We get that too. But why is it acceptable for some proponents sabermetrics to cite things like "average against on well-hit balls" or things of that nature where it is averaged based on an even smaller scale?

Ben Lindbergh: I think there are times when it's okay to cite stats like that in a descriptive sense. Even batting average has its uses.

Tim (Toronto): Do you think the power Phillip Ervin showed during his first pro season stint is for real or an aberration? Thanks for the chat!

Ben Lindbergh: Another answer from Mark Anderson, because going to Scout School didn't make me know much about Phillip Ervin: "I certainly don't buy the power surge in the rookie-level Pioneer League, but there's a little more juice in the bat than I think he was given credit for entering the draft. I think there's a chance he ends up with average power that manifests in a pile of doubles and 15 home runs a year, which makes him an extremely useful player if he can stick in the middle of the outfield."

Intern (TBD): How can I differentiate myself as an intern applying for a spot in baseball ops?

Ben Lindbergh: It's difficult. Do some original research and communicate your findings clearly. And learn how to code.

Cal Guy (Cali): Ben, How do the top two draft prospects for '14, Rodon and Hoffman, compare to the top pitchers drafted in recent years? Thanks!

Ben Lindbergh: Another pinch hitting appearance for Mark Anderson: "Rodon is right there with just about any pitcher drafted in recent years. He may not be on par with someone like Strasburg, but he's very legitimate in his own right. Hoffman isn't quite on that level for me, but he's a very nice prospect in his own right."

John (LA): How in the hell is Bobby Grich not in the HOF?

Ben Lindbergh: Voters thought walks were for sissies.

Ryan (Cincy): Any of these prospects jump off the board for you? Rosell Herrera, Nick Williams, Ryan McMahon, Arismendy Alcantara, and Jesse Winker. What are your thoughts? Thanks Ben!

Ben Lindbergh: Last pinch hitting appearance from Mark Anderson: "The two that jump out the most to me are Williams and Alcantara. Williams is a gifted natural hitter and he could be an impact bat at the highest level. Alcantara can contribute in all phases of the game and he has some thump in his bat as well. I really like what Alcantara brings to the table. I've always been partial to Herrera and think he may have finally turned a corner in 2013, but I'm still a little skeptical of him."

Mark will be chatting at BP at 1 PM ET next Thursday, so show up then to get prospect questions answered without an intermediary.

Frank (Cincy): You lose your phone for the day and don't get a replacement until tomorrow. What are you going to miss that day?

Ben Lindbergh: A call from my mom, maybe. And the podcasts I won't be listening to while working out.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Should my last keeper spot go to Price or Carpenter? I figure more people lean batter over pitcher but I can't help think Carp regresses a bit. On the other hand Price's best years could be behind him. Please advise!

Ben Lindbergh: Really tough one, and I agree with your reasoning. It's questions like this that make me glad I gave up fantasy. Going to say Price, but don't feel great about it.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Could you see yourself going through (and writing articles about) something akin to Decision Scientist School? I am guessing that writing about learning to query databases or make visualizations is less entertaining than writing about learning how to gauge arm action, but I would gladly be proven wrong.

Ben Lindbergh: I kind of tried to put myself through that school, but it's hard. Colin Wyers wrote some great baseball-flavored "Intro to SQL" articles, and Max Marchi just put out a book about baseball and R. I guess those are what articles about Decision Science School would look like.

stewbies (Rochester): What podcasts do you listen to? I need some new ones (car radio is broken).

Ben Lindbergh: I need some new ones too, now that the sports ones I listen to are on hiatus or no longer about baseball. As far as non-sports goes, I listen to Hollywood Prospectus, the Adam and Dr. Drew show, and StarTalk, and dabble in some others, but I could use some recommendations. Going to try Welcome to Night Vale.

BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): I bought dollar sign on the muscle through E-Book, when will it be available?

Ben Lindbergh: Now! Click the "manage your profile" link at BP and you'll see it. Enjoy, and thanks for purchasing.

George (Queens): Jay Buhner or Ken Phelps?

Ben Lindbergh: Buhner.

Hess (NA): Free Roberto Petagine?

Ben Lindbergh: He's only 42!

Stephen (Jackson, TN): Outside of BP, of course, what are your top 3 to 8 sources for baseball news and articles?

Ben Lindbergh: I think I have something like 100 baseball sources in my RSS reader. I read all the other notable sabermetric sites, of course, and MLBTR, and probably all the other major sites you already know about. The more interesting question is who my top 3 to 8 baseball writers are, and that's one I'd rather not answer, for fear of offending the ones who aren't among them.

Ben Lindbergh: Okay, I answered 90 questions, which means that this chat was off the 20-80 scale. Sorry I couldn't get to the rest--let's do it again soon. Thanks for reading, listening, and subscribing.

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