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Chat: Ben Carsley

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday July 31, 2014 7:30 PM ET chat session with Ben Carsley.


Ben cohosts the TINO podcast and passes the Turing test. Ask him anything.

Ben Carsley: Thank you for joining me today, one of the saddest days of my time as a baseball fan, as I say goodbye to one of my all-time favorites, Jon Lester. I will wash away my sadness with your queries. And wine.

scott (az): What was the best trade of the day and what was the worst trade of the day?

Ben Carsley: From a fantasy POV, getting Lester in O.co and Cespedes in Fenway is pretty great. Franklin getting PT is nice, too. Biggest downgrade is probably AJax going to Seattle.

Connor (AK): 16 team 35 man rosters, I'm not competing this year, might be able to next year. Was offered Alfaro and Scherzer for giolito, Stephenson, and Danny Salazar or yordano Ventura. What do you think?

Ben Carsley: I tried to answer this question a few different times, and I'm settling on this: as currently constructed, no. But if you can go with Salazar instead of Ventura and swap Alfaro to a safer prospect, maybe.

MRubio52 (Chicago): Can Allen Craig pitch tho?

Ben Carsley: He'd be the Cubs' best pitching prospect.

childgrambino (Richmond, VA): is the american league pennent now a battle between the a's and tigers?

Ben Carsley: That's the safe bet, sure. The Angels are still somewhat interesting, but hard to see any other team standing up to those pitching staffs.

Scott (Chucktown): 12 team roto dynasty. Standard 5x5. Keep everyone. Been offered Bogaerts or Russell for Baez. Already have Utley, Dozier, and D. Gordon and Hanley at SS. Would you make either deal?

Ben Carsley: I prefer Bogaerts to Baez, yes.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Mesoraco vs. Posey in OBP league for 2015?

Ben Carsley: I really like Mesoraco and am furious at myself for jumping off the bandwagon like six weeks too soon, but still Posey by a decent margin for me.

mdthomp (pooptown): Sad day for me. I miss Allen Craig :(

Ben Carsley: I promise we will treat him well. So long as he produces like an All-Star, is humble, says he wants to stay in Boston and will take less money to do so. That's really all Boston fans want.

Tim (TX): Hi Ben, what position do you see Asdrubal Cabrera playing next season? It seems like 2B or 3B most likely, especially if he's traded, but even wherever he signs in free agency. (I have Lindor on my farm team, just trying to plan infield positions next year). Thanks a lot -Tim

Ben Carsley: Can't really answer this question before we know where he ends up, but a team would have to be fairly desperate at SS to play him there, I think. 2B probably most likely, best fantasy days certainly behind him.

Chris (Baltimore): Fantasy writers opinions are really no better than anyone else's opinions? I was looking back at experts' preseason players to avoid....players like Jose Abreu, Devin Mesorasco, Jose Altuve and so many more. Seems like projection systems have value, but individual opinions are worthless. Do you agree?

Ben Carsley: I ... you know I can read this, right? Are you "Great Concept, Marginal Host" guy?

Kevin G (Minute Maid Park): So this Jake Marisnick fella, you like him at all?

Ben Carsley: I've been a Marisnick sucker for a long time. Top 50 fantasy prospect for me.

Nomar (Southie): Cespedes in Fenway...thoughts?

Ben Carsley: Happyface, for the most part. Let's not expect the change to be too dramatic, but he can challenge for 30 homers in Fenway for a full season.

scott (az): Who do like better out of Manuel Margot, Lewis Brinson and Teoscar Hernandez and why?

Ben Carsley: For fantasy purposes, the answer is Brinson. He oozes tools -- he's more than just speed.

James (Florida): Ok Ben, talk us Rays fans off the ledge. Give us something on Willy Adames.

Ben Carsley: Jordon Gorosh told me he likes him earlier today, and he's definitely the man to ask for this. In terms of talking you off the ledge ... I really can't, sorry. I like Franklin as a starter and I like Smyly as a fine No. 4, but that's not enough for Price. I sincerely think the Rays could've and should've done better. Nice to see Franklin freed from a fantasy POV, though.

Lots of "wtf Rays" questions, I'll knock a few of them out here.

Matt (Cambridge): In looking at the return for Price, All I can can wonder why didn't the Cardinals package Joe Kelly and say Piscotty for David Price? Is it crazy that the return for David Price is about the same as that for John Lackey?

Ben Carsley: I think Franklin/Smyly is significantly better than Piscotty/Kelly, but not SO significantly that a third decent piece wouldn't have tilted the deal in St. Louis' favor. Maybe they just don't want to pay Price $20M next year, or maybe they never thought the Rays would go for such a small return.

Dale (Detroit): What do you make of Nick Franklin after the trade? How do you value him and Wilmer Flores now, and if Jesse Chavez moves to the pen is he worth dropping in deep fantasy leagues

Ben Carsley: This is a big help for Franklin, obviously, though he's still going to have to earn his playing time. I'd rank him above Flores, who I don't hate. Yes, Chavez is worth dropping in 16-or fewer-team leagues. Hold on to him in super deep, but that IP count is scary.

Lee Tunnell (PA): I was offered T. Walker (6 dollar keeper) for B. Moss (11 dollar keeper) in a 12 team 5x5 (obp) league. I turned it down. Was I wrong? Can Moss keep doing this? Is Walker's shoulder scary? Thanks!

Ben Carsley: If you're trying to win now, you weren't wrong. Moss is good and Walker's shoulder merits some concern. If you're rebuilding, this is the type of deal you should maybe take.

Louis E. Ana (Bayou): Fantasy question: A lion and a shark battle in a best of three duel. One round on land. One at sea. One on space mountain. Who wins? And what is your reasoning

Ben Carsley: Sharks don't even have bones and therefore can't be sandwiches, so I'll go with the lion as long as he has three plus off-speed pitches. I don't really know though, could go either way. #thatsthedraft

NightmareRec0n (Boston): In 2015,The Red Sox top 2 starters are: ______ and _______?

Ben Carsley: Jon Lester and Justin Masterson la la la la la I can't hear you telling me that's unrealistic

scott (az): Dan Vogelbach, legit prospect who can play 1B/DH or just a big boy who never makes it because of size?

Ben Carsley: Not a 1B but the dude can hit. He'll have an MLB career. (I'm required to say this or Bret will fire me)

pat the bat (Tinosphere): I've personally listened to all Tino episodes and listen to other industry podcasts and I would like to say Mr. Carsley, that you are one helluva host. My ideal podcast would be you, Parks (real-life baseball guy), and Sarris (fantasy baseball guy) from Fangraphs. Would spend buku buck on that auditory menage. It would be called "Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?". Cheers, Mate!

Ben Carsley: I needed this. Thank you for disputing the "marginal" in "marginal host."

Alex (Atlanta): Is Taijuan Walker still considered a top 5 SP prospect? or has his 2014 dropped him out of that consideration?

Ben Carsley: Yes, still Top 5 for me. I actually had him ahead of Thor and Bradley coming into the year, though Thor's surpassed him.

Thomas (NY): Should we expect Betts to come up soon?

Ben Carsley: Nope. September call-up after these recent moves, won't see much more time in 2014.

Silverback38 (VA): When Jameson Taillon does return, what are your expectations? What is his expectations/ceiling in dynasty league?

Ben Carsley: I'm not as crazy high on Taillon as some others. No. 3/4 fantasy starter early in his career, a peak as a No. 2. That sounds bad, but it's really good.

Chris (ATL): Thoughts on Daz Cameron? Next Byron Buxton?

Ben Carsley: Cameron is worth keeping an eye on, but he's not in Buxton's league, from what I understand. I don't see many (any) amateur guys, though.

#CubsTwitter (CHITOWN): Ben can you rank the following: Yordannny Ventura, Yoanus Cespades, Marlin Brando, deep dish pizza, Hot Dougs, Jeff Samarja and patrick Dennehy thanks


Holly (Dallas): More valuable in a trade package: Allen Craig or Craig Goldstein?

Ben Carsley: I prefer the Goldstein package.

rbtp82 (dallas): looking to pick a prospect to round out a deep dynasty trade offer. thinking of victor arano, devin williams, tyler danish and josh hader...looking to maximize offseason hype and value so i'm leaning towards danish. thoughts?

Ben Carsley: I'd take Hader, probably, but Danish is defensible.

scott (az): Any of these pitchers jump out to you that could have some mlb value: Christen Binford, Tyler Danish, Mike Feliz, Mike Lorenzen or Austin Voth?

Ben Carsley: It's the Tyler Danish hour, apparently. Lorenzen has the most fantasy value right now.

Guy Fieri (FlavorTown): Can you ask Yoenis Cespedes if he likes his roasted pork with or without donkey sauce?

Ben Carsley: He's with me in Boston now, so I can ask him, yes. That makes me happy.

SBP (Indiana): Francisco Lindor's timetable moved up at all?

Ben Carsley: Sure. I'd assume he's up sometime soon. Better MLB prospect than a fantasy one, but still a good fantasy prospect.

NightmareRec0n (Boston): You are being completely realistic. Jon Lester will be back in Boston on opening day***Grabs bottle of whisky and goes to order A's Lester shirsey***

Ben Carsley: This is what I am saying, thank you. And I really am getting an As Lester shirsey. We should all wear them around Kenmore with pride.

mshopoff (Houston): Ben, do you think this trading deadline represents a shift in teams' thinking about prospects?

Ben Carsley: Yes, I do. Teams are unwilling to give up the farm for rentals, and teams who want to compete quickly won't give up their good players for unproven guys. I think we're entering a time when every team values their own prospects so highly, fewer prospects are traded overall. Should be interesting, and could lead to a lot of average MLBers being dealt during the offseason.

maxpowers (Chicago): What happened to Cliff Lee? 2.2 innings! ?!

Ben Carsley: Twitter tells me his elbow is caput. And Twitter is never wrong!

Shawnykid23 (CT): Trade Machado or Heyward for Buxton in a dynasty?

Ben Carsley: Nope. Two good young players entering their primes who've already proven they can hit ML pitching. Keep Machado/Heyward and build around them.

Joe (Iowa): Who do you like better in a dynasty? Machado and Strasburg or Bogaerts and Teheran? I have the latter pair, but another owner is trying to get them. Would you do it for those two? 10 team H2H, standard 5x5. Out of it this year.

Ben Carsley: That's really tough because Xander and Teheran are two personal favorites of mine. It's fairly even, but I think I go with Manny and Strasburg, gun to my head.

Andy Singleton (@PeoplezPen) (Brooklyn, NY): I have two for you Ben... 1) just now far has Rafael Montero buried himself in the Mets organization? Has deGrom's emergence almost sealed his fate? 2) Now that the Cubs have acquired Addison Russell, is either he, Javier Baez, or Kris Bryant trade bait? Is there a way for all three, as well as Arismendy Alcantara to remain in the Cubs future lineup? Thanks, and it's awesome to see your continued success in the field you love. Congrats

Ben Carsley: Montero certainly isn't done, no. He has higher upside than deGrom in the long run, and injury/attrition always present opportunities for pitchers. Bryant at 3B, Russell at SS, Baez at 2B and Alcantara in CF with Castro the odd man out is one way to get that done. Could also move Castro to 3B and put Bryant in LF and keep them all. Thanks for the kind words!

Exur Kun (Unknown): What are a few guys you've bet on prior the season that haven't failed you? Which were to totally wrong on? Personally I was offered Sano for Kluber on Day 1 and rejected it. I also drafted Cameron Maybin betting on a 12HR/30SB season

Ben Carsley: Oh, plenty. Hosmer, Sabathia, Choo, Bogaerts (takes drink), Nathan, Verlander, Cain ... hasn't been my strongest year, in all honesty.

Larry David (Toronto): What in the world are the Phillies thinking? TRADE BYRD.

Ben Carsley: Lolol "Phillies thinking"

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Who will be better in 2015, Tavares or Myers? How about 2016 and beyond?

Ben Carsley: Taveras, easy call for me. Myers is a good young player, but I think Taveras can be Special with a capital S.

Pirate Captain (Boston): Is it possible that the pirates just didn't match up well in the Lester/Price trades? They clearly didn't want to give up Polanco

Ben Carsley: Not just "possible," but "likely." Polanco was never going to happen for Lester -- you wouldn't expect the Sox to give up Bogaerts for a rental if they'd been competitive this year -- but Bell and Glasnow or Kingham sounded like a reasonable start. That being said, I'll take Cespedes all day from a fantasy POV and as a Sox fan.

Rich (Baltimore): What are your feelings on Lonnie Chisenhall….in a rut or showing exactly what he is?

Ben Carsley: He's definitely not the .400 hitter we saw earlier in the year, but he's not quite this bad, either. Second-division starter at 3B for me, or a good strong-side platoon bat on a competitive club.

Steve (Los Angeles): Hey Ben, I have a rut at the corner infield spot in my 12 team H2H league. Specifically, I'm finding myself not starting Pedro Alvarez and needing an outfielder. What are your thoughts on him for the rest of the season and as a keeper? If he starts producing, I'll consider trading Adrian Beltre or Adrian Gonzalez instead because I expect them to return more value.

Ben Carsley: I think this is who Alvarez is -- he can mash, but he's not going to hit above .250. I wouldn't expect much change moving forward in his career.

bb10kbb10k ((not baltimore)): WHERE THE HELL HAS JJ HARDY GONE???


Tyson Ross (San Diego): In your 5/29 chat, you said "I think [Tyson] Ross is poop". Since then: 79 IP, 2.28 ERA, 85 Ks. Got any other feculent pitchers I can add for the stretch run?

Ben Carsley: I'm sorry, Mr. Ross. You are not poop. You are better than poop. I was incorrect.

Matt (WI): Who has a better ROS, Justin Masterson now that he has been traded or Yordano Ventura?

Ben Carsley: Gimme Ventura, though I think Masterson is a great buy-low candidate.

maxpowers (chicago ): "Yoanus" is the best misspelling ever.

Ben Carsley: You haven't seen the bat signals I've seen, son.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Ben whats your thoughts on Nomar Mazara? Do you see him moving into the Fantasy Prospects Top 100 in 2015?

Ben Carsley: He could, sure. Performing pretty well as a 19-year-old in Single-A and he's another Texas tool shed. Craig loves him, though, which is a red flag.

Alex (Anaheim): I understand Cespedes was a free agent after 2015, but was it worth shedding him now when Oakland has a shot at the title?

Ben Carsley: You know they got Jon Lester in return, right?

Wil Myers (Tampa Bay): How are you valuing me in dynasty leagues with my injury woes? Am I still a top 50 keeper?

Ben Carsley: Top 50 is a good handicap. Bret had him at No. 43 coming into the season, but obviously he has to drop some. Let's say still Top 75 but maybe not Top 50.

Rich (DC): I'm a simple man that gets confused. Some reports on Nick Williams are that "hitters can just hit" yet there are others that are really worried about his ability to be a star player because he swings at ghost balls and Ks a lot. What is the truth?

Ben Carsley: That his hit tool is really, really good and his approach needs work. They're both true. But gimme the physical ability over the advanced approach at his age. You can learn approach. Can't learn his batspeed or hand-eye.

Victor (Dumfries): Why was Josh Bell the main prospect in the Lester trade gossip? He isn't that impactful type of fantasy player, is he?

Ben Carsley: Yeah he is, even if he moves to 1B. Could be a .280/25 homer-type bat in time. Those are rare today.

mdthomp (St. Louis): Care to guess how Oscar does now that he is freed? Top 20 OF the rest of the way? 30? Also, do you sense a rift between Matheny/Mozeliak? Almost like Craig was included to force Matheny to play Oscar

Ben Carsley: I think that's putting it a bit harshly -- let's not act like John Lackey isn't a nice get for them. But if it opens up more playing time for Taveras (and it will), that's a good thing.

This brings me back to what I was talking about with the Red Sox and prospect valuation before, though. Isn't it better to have to move the veteran than to assume the prospect can hit right away and be let down? Teams should be emulating how the Cards handled this, not freaking out over a ~200 lost Taveras PA.

Steve (Philly): What are the odds that the Cardinals GM traded Craig to force Matheny to play Taveras?

Ben Carsley: Top 30 is feasible, though as we've seen with many prospects this year, we can't assume instant success.

Looks like I mixed up Steve's and mdthomp's questions, for those of you scoring at home. Both about Taveras. I blame the US public education system.

The Dude (Home): Who cares if it's a sandwich or not, what are you putting on your hot dog?

Ben Carsley: Mustard is most important, and oftentimes a reasonable amount of ketchup, too. Relish is what I thought Tyson Ross was.

Mike83 (NC): Hey Ben, What can we expect from Anthony Ranaudo fantasy-wise the rest of the season? Does he have a spot in the rotation locked up this year or is Friday's call up just a spot start? Thanks.

Ben Carsley: Buchholz, RDLR and Kelly are probably the only locks, with Ranaudo, Webster and Workman battling it out for spots 4-5. I just threw up in my mouth. I think Ranaudo is the most ready to pitch as a starter in the majors now, even if Webster has the higher upside and Workman has more experience. Ranaudo's an ok add in deep mixed or AL-only leagues, but he's a back-end starter for sure.

graham (Richmond, VA): Please rank these pitchers in terms of best fantasy career prospects: Taijuan Walker, C.J. Edwards, Lucas Giolito, Hunter Harvey, James Paxton, Kohl Stewart, Carlos Rodon. Thanks.

Ben Carsley: Hmm. Let's go Walker, Rodon, Giolito, Harvey, Stewart, Paxton, Edwards

Dave (MD): The Twins called up Kennys Vargas today straight from AA. Why didn't they promote him to AAA earlier on to give him that experience? Are they going to be yo-yoing him back and forth from the minors like they did with Polanco or can we expect him to get an extended look?

Ben Carsley: I think we'll see him get a good amount of playing time unless he struggles. He's interesting, but not a savior and not a big part of the Twins future. Nice add if you're desperate for power in deep leagues, though.

James (SC): Still believe in Harper? In 2nd place in a 10tm H2H. Keep 15 for as long as you want. Could move him for 2 of Bryant, Taveras, and Baez. Would probably keep both prospects because my hitting keepers aren't great. Make the move?

Ben Carsley: This is honestly one of the most difficult questions I've answered. Could I say no to a package of Bryant and Taveras? I still think I would, but it would absolutely kill me to do so.

Spencer Steel (Detroit, MI): Do people understand that, weighed against the gain of Price over Porcello, that there is the cost of the downgrade from Austin Jackson to ?????? AJ is no star, but he is a competent CF with an average bat. Also, the Tigers have lost a guy in Smyly who could be a terrific LOOGY in the playoffs.

Ben Carsley: Price could be a great LOOGY in the playoffs, too.

SBP (Indiana): When do you think the Cubs are going to finally get a top of the rotation pitching prospect? Edwin Jackson can only pitch four innings a start so many times before they cut him loose.

Ben Carsley: It's all currency. The Cubs are going about it the right way, just adding talent and worrying about team needs later. I promise, at some point in time, they will get some pitchers.

pat the bat (s&m): While the dust settles and you keep your eye on the horizon, where do you see Mookie Betts fitting-in positionally in 2014 and beyond?

Ben Carsley: He's clearly an OF with the Red Sox. I think they either use him as trade bait -- his best position is 2B, if he goes elsewhere -- or they keep him as a handicap for a Craig/JBJ/Cespedes OF with Victorino as the odd man out.

Thomas (Staten Island): I'm keeping Rendon, Longoria, Rizzo, Scherzer, and Sonny Gray. I have 2 more keeper slots. Who would you keep out of Alcantara, Garrett Richards, Stroman, Arrieta, and Wil Myers? It's a 12 tm 6x6 with tbs and qs as the extra cats. Thanks.

Ben Carsley: Myers and Stroman, though Alcantara is not a bad option.

graham (Richmond, VA): what do you think will be the most entertaining World Series matchup? Which matchup do you want?

Ben Carsley: Rooting for the As in the AL and the Brewers in the NL. Most entertaining would probably be some combo of LAD/WAS vs DET/OAK

scott (az): With all the TJS this year I was wondering who has come back from TJS and has had a good long career?

Ben Carsley: Tons of examples here, that's why so many people are willing to discount a lot of the risk that comes with TJS right now -- Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, AJ Burnett, Jamie Moyer, John Smoltz, Tommy John himself, etc

Baub (Fenix): Redraft keeper league, 12 teams, h2h 5x5, auction. Competing team that is well balanced. Trade Beltre ($38) for Machado (13) and Taveras (8)? Currently starting Jennings and Seth Smith in OF.

Ben Carsley: Wow. If you can take the hit this year, yes, adding Machado and Taveras is an outstanding long-term play if inflation isn't out of control.

Hoppy (Scotland): So Ben, how's your new boyfriend gonna get on at Fenway?

Ben Carsley: I hope really well, because I'm certainly not over my ex in Oakland.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Who would you rather have as your 3b in a dynasty league that uses OBP, Gallo or Sano?

Ben Carsley: This is basically a push, but give me Sano, I guess.

Billy (Burritos): 10 team re-draft keeper (keep 7)...keep Altuve or trade for Taveras and redraft picks?

Ben Carsley: I'm not as low on Altuve moving forward as some, but I'd definitely trade him for Taveras.

GoTribe06 (VA): Is Ventura, Moore, Walker, Frazier Altuve, Middlebrooks and Arcia overpaying for Trout and Lackey?

Ben Carsley: If you keep a lot of players, yes. If you keep only a few players, no. You gotta go all out to get Trout if the league keeps less than, say, 150.

Chris (DC): I just dropped Lewis Brinson for Rymer Liranio in my 10 team dynasty league. Was that a mistake? I'm rebuilding and I like Brinson's tools, but Liriano has 20-20 potential and could be in the Majors later this season. Which of those two is the better keeper option?

Ben Carsley: Liriano if you're competing soon. Brinson has the higher upside, but like you said, he's much, much farther away.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): Ben,thanks for the long chat.My outfield has Gardner,Beltran,Taveras,Polanco,Springer.I have a week to cut one It is a one yr. H2H league,R,Hr,RBI,Sb,Ave,Xbh.I only need 4.

Ben Carsley: If it's just for this year, I'd cut Polanco, probably. You could make a serious argument for Springer or Beltran, though.

Shawnykid23 (CT): How do you think the Sox fill out top of rotation next year? Sign Lester, trade for Hamels?

Ben Carsley: Finally, a Red Sox question! I certainly don't see them ending up with both. I'd rather just pony up the money to get Lester rather than give away a ton of young talent for Hamels. And to tie this back into fantasy baseball ... fantasy baseball is fun.

Ben Carsley: Alright, that seems as good a point as any to take my leave and prep for TINO. Thanks as always, you guys are great, and I hope you had a very merry Trade Deadline Day.

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