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Chat: Paul Sporer

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday January 14, 2014 1:00 PM ET chat session with Paul Sporer.


Talk pitching and fantasy planning with Paul.

Paul Sporer: I had a dream that I woke up at 3PM and missed this entirely, but alas I'm here and ready to talk baseball!

Alex (Anaheim): What round is appropriate for taking Mark Teixeira in a 12-team mixed redraft league?

Paul Sporer: The last one? OK, maybe not that bad, but he's just not special and the batting average isn't coming back. He's in that giant cluster of "whatever" corners with some good pop and little else.

Matty Y (OBX): Is it really worth holding on to guys like Mondesi and Odor in 12 team points leagues where middle infield isn't that valuable anyway? I'm thinkin of replacing them with some high upside fast moving SP "prospects". Know any?

Paul Sporer: Just a keeper league and not dynasty? You can definitely move on, especially because neither will really do much in 2014. There are plenty of high upside SP prospects, but if you have Odor/Mondesi then most are probably on rosters. I'd have to know who is available on your radar to make a decision.

ChoppertoChipper (St. Albert): Is it worth stashing Derek Holland for what he may provide when he returns?

Paul Sporer: Yeah. He's looking at half a season and a lower-body injury, so I could definitely see him doing some good things in the summer and down the stretch. Don't overpay for injured guys, though.

Ben (Chicago): Dream on J. Baez - what do you see?

Paul Sporer: 40 HR from 3B. #swoon

Tim (Seattle): I enjoyed the TINSTAAPP podcast. Will TINSTAAPP be back?

Paul Sporer: recorded a new one last night. out today or tomorrow!

John (CT): Two quick pitching questions please, who do you think will close for the Chisox and can Zach Britten be fixed? Thanks

Paul Sporer: I'm a big Nate Jones fan. And I sure hope re: Britton. I love his stuff, but he has zero command right now.

Rob (Baltimore): What does Kevin Gausman have to do this year to get back to the possible ace projection he once had?

Paul Sporer: I think most prospect mavens still see that kind of long-term projection. Those overreacting to his small sample last year will lose out. Keep the faith as a fan for sure, but don't go crazy as a fantasy owner because it might still be more 2015 than 2014

captnamerca (FLA): Ervin Santana - what do you do with him? Wait to see what team signs him, or trade him away before he ends up in Colorado or something?

Paul Sporer: I'd sell high just in general. I've always liked him and he was one of my better calls last year (#backpat), but I'll let someone else deal with him in new (and currently unknown) environs and a fat contract.

chaneyhey (St. Louis): Who do you prefer long-term? Nolan Arenado or Jedd Gyorko?

Paul Sporer: Ooh that's tough. I have them close so I have to give Arenado the edge because of his setting.

fishersehorn31 (VA - The 540): How much will C Austin Hedges hit? Realistic MLB slash line & how many HRs per year? Thanks!

Paul Sporer: At his best, something like .270/.350/.460 with mid-teens homers. More likely: .250/.320/.420 w/10-13 HRs and amazing work behind the plate (Sal Perez's 2013 without the AVG).

Statmagician (Orlando): Hey, Paul, it's Joe from Twitter. What's up?

Paul Sporer: Hey Joe!!

Micah Johnson (stealing 3rd): I was the Minor League stolen base champ last year. Even made Billy Hamilton look like a little punk. Also, unlike him, I can hit. Why do I get no love? Am I legit?

Paul Sporer: Not sure how much you can hit. let's see you at AAA before saying you made BHam look like a punk. He owned your line at those levels in 2012.

Jim (Tampa): What can we expect from Tyson Ross where do you see him peaking at?

Paul Sporer: Very intrigued - http://painttheblack.com/2014/01/tyson-ross-a-rising-star/ ... I think he can be a fantasy stud mixing both real talent and a tremendous home ballpark. His mechanics aren't great, but they are improving (particularly a higher leg lift per Doug).

Rayn S. (Louisiana ): who would be the top 5 prospects for fantasy in 2015(opening of my competition window), excluding Abreu and Tanaka? Why has Dylan Bundy been forgotten? It's not like his timetable is any further out than a guy like Buxton, or Giolito, or even Bradley if Diamondbacks decide to take it slow.

Paul Sporer: He hasn't really been forgotten, but you don't get to stay at the top when you miss an entire season. He's 21 with 17 IP at Double-A. There's time, his timeline should be behind those others. Looking for guys who likely won't graduate: Buxton, Bryant, Correa, Stephenson, and J.Gray

Dallas (Toronto, Canada): Your top international prospects NOT including Tanaka?

Paul Sporer: I'm not well-versed in that avenue, I get my knowledge by reading voraciously after the signing period.

JoJo (SD): RE: Tyson Ross...For a contending dynasty team with an immediate SP need, do you take Ross over prospects like Stroman and Butler who could be up this year?

Paul Sporer: Yes.

Oliver (Boston): Does the price paid by Detroit lead you to believe they see Robbie Ray as an important piece of their future rotation? Also, will Eraser deliver the kind of season you were anticipating 12 months ago?

Paul Sporer: Absolutely. They have to view him as a potential 3. I trust their ability to identify talent, but I really believe Fister should've netted more.

Aidan (SoCal): Hey Paul! I know you love talking Tigers and I'm a fan myself. My question is what do you think the backup plan is in the event that Nick Castellanos fails or gets hurt playing third base? Will it be an internal replacement or will they be forced to go out and sign or trade for someone?

Paul Sporer: They'd probably just rotate some D-first (D-only?) guys like Kelly, Lombo, and Worth. They might get into the trade market if it really failed miserably and they needed the offense.

Paul (DC): What can we expect out of the Blue Jays rotation in 2014? It can't possibly be as bad as last season, can it? There can'd be much room for improvement left in the aged veterans Dickey and Buehrle, so where will it most likely come from?

Paul Sporer: Marcus Stroman! I'm chugging the Kool-Aid. Wouldn't be surprised if we saw Drabek do something of note, too.

RotoLando (Cloud City): In a fit of off-season boredom, I traded Marcell Ozuna for Brad Peacock. Now, I'm trying to remember why I did it. Help me out here, I don't want to sound like an idiot when the rest of the league comes back.

Paul Sporer: That's a sharp deal. Look at Peacock from August on when he added a slider. He was very good. Small sample, but there was a discernible change.

Parker11 (Texas): Is Anibal Sanchez going to disappoint this year?

Paul Sporer: Depends on your expectations. Pay for a 3.30 ERA in 190 IP and you could be pleasantly surprised by something closer to last year. He is for real, though, so no I don't think he will disappoint.

Dennis (LA): Thanks for the chat, Paul. Do you think the Angels would be better off not overpaying the likes of Matt Garza and focusing on acquiring cheap starting rotation depth (e.g. Capuano, Jeff Francis) and more pen arms (Balfour, etc)? Or is that important to have a decent #3 starter, even if you have to overpay?

Paul Sporer: No, I think they need a big arm. I'm advocating them for Tanaka heavily. I think it'd be the perfect move. In the absence of that, Garza is a nice fallback. They're trying to buy the key wins, so overpaying a bit is OK. They were near .500 in a disaster season, they'll be better this year.

Dennis (LA): Sorry, Paul, for my previous question, I meant to ask Jonathan Gray (not Sonny) vs. Kris Bryant.

Paul Sporer: Bryant! Not just bc he's the safer hitter, but just has a much higher fantasy ceiling.

Dennis (LA): In a fantasy league where you control players until they accrue 6 years of service time, would you draft Sonny Gray or Kris Bryant? Just safer to go with the hitter?

Paul Sporer: Just clearing this out of the queue, but the answer is directly above with Dennis's correction to Jonathan Gray.

Pope of Chili Town (Chili Town): Hey Paul - Happy holidays! Who are your top 5 fantasy options (long term or otherwise) out of the 2013 draft class and international FA's?

Paul Sporer: Bryant, Tanaka, Frazier, Abreu, Gray

Matt (Home): Odarizzi. Just what should/could I expect from him this year.

Paul Sporer: He looks like a 4, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just not special so people discount it. The trick from a fantasy standpoint will be how many strikeouts he can really net to go with middling ERA/WHIP. He has fantasy value, but it's mostly tied up in AL-only and deep mixers.

pat (phx): Better for 2014 and long-term, Hosmer or Rizzo?

Paul Sporer: They're close, but I lean toward Hosmer. Not just bc he's already done it, but I've just always been high on him and preferred him to Riz.

Earl (The Present): What do you think Harvey should go for in an NL-only keeper auction?

Paul Sporer: Maybe $8-10? That's on the aggressive end, too. I'm not sinking a bunch of 2014 capital into a dead asset. I might go a little higher if I was completely dead for '14, but I never think you're dead in March regardless of your keeper list.

Rob (Alaska): Dynasty team in contending position this year. Homer Bailey or Shelby Miller? Weird playoff absence and whispers of injury re: Shelby make me nervous for 2014 though he's seemingly the obvious long-term choice of the two. Thanks!

Paul Sporer: Bailey easily even without paying mind to the playoff stuff with Miller.

Willy (Under the Christmas tree): On the NL side, who are some of the closers that are a year a way?

Paul Sporer: Rex Brothers, unfortunately since they're going with Hawkins. Mark Melancon, Tyler Clippard, too.. but most of the closer volatility is in the AL. Nick Vincent is a super-sleeper in SD if he can figure out lefties again like he did in 2012.

caseyj15 (Homer Bailey): How do you see the short and long range future of Homer Bailey? Do you see continued development or consolidation at his existing level...

Paul Sporer: I think we can definitely see even more improvement to where he has a run of low-3.00s seasons. I see nothing fluky about his 2013 season and believe he could live at that level for a few years.

ChoppertoChipper (St. Albert): Office etiquette question: If someone is chewing carrots two offices over and I can hear them, what is an appropriate action I can take to get them to close their mouth when they chew so it doesn't sound like a woodchipper at work. Also, if you get diarrhea from undercooked skittles, can you call them shittles?

Paul Sporer: Neck punches; yes.

Jon (Chicago): Who are your top 5 prospects for the upcoming MLB draft?

Paul Sporer: You mean for the 2015 June Draft? I honestly have no idea. Not my field of expertise. Carlos Rodon is about all I know right now.

Jennifer Lawrence (Being Awesome): How's the SP Guide coming along? Will Doug (you?) being doing mechanics grades for prospects again?

Paul Sporer: It's coming. News on it this week at PaintTheBlack.com and PaulSporer.com. Doug is back again!

Ryan (New Orleans): Thoughts on Stephen Piscotty?

Paul Sporer: Seems to be another in the line of flat-out quality hitters, although this one wasn't drafted super-late like Carp, Craig, and Adams. He doesn't have a carrying fantasy tool, but rather appears to be a guy who can do a bit of everything. Not sure where's going to play, though.

Max (LA): Do you trust Mauer to come back from his concussion and perform to Mauer-levels?

Paul Sporer: He's been there the last two years. 2009 is the outlier, it almost certainly isn't coming back. I LOVE him this year for fantasy bc he's still C-elig. but playing 1B!

Jon (Chicago): That would be the 2014 MLB draft ;)

Paul Sporer: Oh yeah, my b! But still... I don't know those players unfortunately. I rely on others. I've only recently (last 3-4 years) become someone who REALLY gets into prospects and even that is a growth area for me. I may eventually get to amateurs, but for now it's MLB first with more and more time getting devoted to minors.

Matt (NJ): Tyson Ross or Danny Salazar this year? either a top 30 guy for you?

Paul Sporer: Ross - http://painttheblack.com/2014/01/tyson-ross-a-rising-star/ ; but no on top 30 if I'm betting. CAN they? Sure, both have the talent. But it'd be their peak, breakout kind of year to do it.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): What are the chances Gibson wins that fifth spot in MN? What's he got to improve to leave Rochester?

Paul Sporer: It's definitely possible with Worley & Pelf occupying the last two right now. Command, command, command! Had trouble locating much of anything last year in the majors.

nictaclacta (Glendale): Hey Paul, Any value in keeping Brandon Beachy over Corey Kluber in a dynasty league? Thank you.

Paul Sporer: They're close, but I'd lean the healthier guy in Kluber. If costs are equal (and I believe they are in dynasty lgs) then lean health.

TheKernel (Pasadena): Hi Paul, Who do you see as the next 2 Red Sox starters joining the future rotation from the group of Workman, Webster, Rubby, Ranuado, Barnes, Wright, Owens, etc.

Paul Sporer: I'm a huge Rubby fan so I'm pulling for him. I also like Webster, but he's got some work to do, so I'd probably lean Barnes as the best bet (even ahead of Rubby).

Dave (Chicago): Is the A's rotation good, or just a product of the Coliseum?

Paul Sporer: It's good, but the park helps for sure. They have plenty of real talent. Griffin and Straily definitely leverage the home park most, particularly the former with his home runs. If Griffin can hone his command a bit and cut those homers, he can be damn good. I like him in 2014.

RotoLando (Cloud City): Who would you rather have for a dynasty league next year and beyond: Tyson Ross or James Paxton?

Paul Sporer: Ross! http://painttheblack.com/2014/01/tyson-ross-a-rising-star/ :)

allangustafson (San Diego ): Can see Ian Kennedy getting his HR/9 until 1.10 for the year?

Paul Sporer: He's got the right ballpark for it. Hell, he went 0.8 one year in AZ, so yeah he definitely can. I'm relatively high on him this year particularly bc of the park fit.

allangustafson (San Diego ): Can see Ian Kennedy getting his HR/9 until 1.10 for the year?

Paul Sporer: He's got the right ballpark for it. Hell, he went 0.8 one year in AZ, so yeah he definitely can. I'm relatively high on him this year particularly bc of the park fit.

InternetBullies (Bing): Gausman, Sonny Gray, Pineda... Please rank for this year and for the future

Paul Sporer: You just did!

Tom (Dallas): Do you think what we saw out of Chris Tillman in 2013 is legit? Or do you think he will regress?

Paul Sporer: I'll reference myself on that one - http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22482 and http://painttheblack.com/2013/09/have-you-noticed-chris-tillman/ Tl;dr - I'm a fan.

Josh (Boston): Please rank the following starters for next season: Nova, Cashner, Strailey, Garza, Sabathia, Ubaldo, Haren, Lirano

Paul Sporer: Cashner -- CC - Liriano - Nova - Garza - Ubaldo -- Haren - Straily

JoJo (SD): All due respect, Ross over Salazar seems bananas. I'm baffled why Salazar isn't getting more helium. He was basically Harvey '12 - both had 10 starts: Harvey - 59.1 ip, 28.6% k, 10.6% bb, 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP. Salazar - 52 ip, 30.8% k, 7.1% bb, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.

Paul Sporer: It's kinda bananas to make that comp to Harvey based on 10 starts, too. He's getting plenty of helium, but you really have to be careful not to overdo it. He's 24 with 52 MLB IP under his belt. He also allowed 1.2 HR/9. His 145 last year was a career-high.

Rotolando (Florida): What do you see in the flight of the Peacock this year?

Paul Sporer: Ctrl-F Peacock... discussed him earlier.

JoJo (SD): Can you give us a few SP and hitting prospects you like better than the prospect mavens?

Paul Sporer: Wong, Seager, Bradley Jr., Springer, Almora, Goodwin; Stephenson, Stroman, Erlin, Webster, Z.Lee

Sean (Gettysburg): Gregory Polanco tearing up winter ball. Parks seems mixed on him and the hit tool. What do you see and hear from scouts?

Paul Sporer: I'm a big fan. I've heard nothing but good things from firsthand accounts, but I have read some of the mixed reviews, too. The speed/avg combo is very appetizing from a fantasy standpoint and if the emerging pop is anything close to real, then look out!

Steve (Chicago): Thoughts on Alex Avila in 2014? Can he return to his 2011 form?

Paul Sporer: He can, but he really needs to stay healthy. Could be bias of watching EVERY day, but I feel like he gets beat up more than any other catcher. Balls off of his body, off of the mask, bats swung around to hit in the back of the head. Just ALWAYS something. I know it happens to all Cs, but I really feel he gets a percentage more than most.

Jon (Chicago): What are your thoughts on Jeff Samardzija? No 2 pitcher or good no 3?

Paul Sporer: I think good 3, but with potential to have some 2-level seasons. There's a reason he was so highly sought after in this trade market.

Jon (Chicago): How good can Kris Bryant be?

Paul Sporer: Excellent. He can be first round fantasy-good at his peak.

Justin (Bridgeport): Hey Paul - I'm in a 20 team dynasty league and holding Sergio Santos. I have had a few trade offers (nothing that blew me away though). Am I crazy to still be buying even if his shot to close is somewhat small?

Paul Sporer: I would definitely be holding. Writing a potential closer piece for PaintTheBlack.com today and he's on it.

spartan (anytime usa): I hate this 3B class but some catchers I like would it ever make sense to draft Carlos Santana and place him at 3rd assuming he v has the eligibility soon or is not using him at catcher just crazy

Paul Sporer: I don't follow. Is Santana maybe moving to 3B?

Johnny (West Chester): Team A has Sano, Lawrie, and will have Bryant, and has no 2B. Team B has Profar, Gyorko, and has no 3B (other than hoping Gyorko moves back). Is Sano for Profar a fair swap?

Paul Sporer: I'd much prefer to get Profar because of proximity to paying off, but it's not a bad offer.

Darryl232 (SC): A Eaton had many of us excited last spring. What does he do for the Sox this season & going fwd?

Paul Sporer: An opportunity and speed... which is fantasy gold!

Paul Sporer: I totally hate to leave so many questions queued, but I can't do a marathon session today as I'm working on the Starting Pitching Guide around the clock. If you still want your question answered, please hit me up on twitter @sporer or email me at psporer@baseballprospectus.com and I WILL answer it. Stay tuned to @sporer, paulsporer.com, and painttheblack.com for SP Guide details! Thanks so much.

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