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Chat: Ben Carsley

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday September 15, 2014 7:30 PM ET chat session with Ben Carsley.


Ask Ben about your fantasy team's last-second Hail Mary options, about your keeper league decisions, about baseball in general.

Ben Carsley: Ever wondered what TINO would be like, but without any of my co-hosts and presented visually rather than audibly? Here we go.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers): Why don't you guys use this chat option for fielding podcast questions? Email is for my father.

Ben Carsley: This is not off to a good start.

DServi4 (North Carolina): I just picked up David Wright in my keeper league. Will he be a Top 75 player next year?

Ben Carsley: Yes. Wright's days of being a top-20 pick are over, but I can comfortably project him as a top-75 guy for the next few years. I'd probably even go top-50.

Luke (kansas city): which 2014 draft or interational signees make the biggest fantasy impact in 2015?

Ben Carsley: Forgive me if I'm missing someone obvious, but I think this has to be Rusney Castillo right now. He's one of the only guys who's basically guaranteed playing time right from the beginning of next season, and he has enough speed to be fantasy-relevant right away, even if the power/average take a bit to come. If you're looking for a draftee, I'll go with Carlos Rodon.

Cal Guy (Cal): Ben, Is Panik worth keeping in a 12 team OBP league? What kind of stats do you predict from him in a full season?

Ben Carsley: He is not, no. I know he's been good this year, but I think he's really just a guy with an empty .270-.280 average in the long run. I'm not worried about him unless we're in 16-plus team territory.

Colin (CT): Is Matt Barnes still a viable starter in the majors, or is he destined to be a AAAA/reliever?

Ben Carsley: His last 10-or-so starts in Triple-A were really damn good, even though the first half of his season was uninspiring. I'd give him another year in the rotation and see if he can start finishing his CB more. If not, he has upside as an eighth inning guy.

AJ (Phoenix): Raimel Tapia: When do we see him up, 2017? What's the upside (fantasy line)?

Ben Carsley: Sure, 2017 sounds about right. It's really, really hard to put statistical projections on a guy that far out, but he's someone who could hit .300-plus for several years in his prime.

Donald (Milwaukee): Who's the first big name prospect batter and prospect pitcher up next season (non-Maeda/non-Castillo division) that hasn't yet received a cup?

Ben Carsley: Lindor, Syndergaard

Yung Charcuterie (Your friendly neighborhood meat store): If we are to refer to good fastballs as "cheese", who throws cheddar, who throws blue, who throws pepperjack, and who throws the clearly inferior American cheese? Asking for a friend.

Ben Carsley: Cheddar would be Yordano Ventura (sharp, in your face). Blu would be Alex Cobb (best left as a complement to other ingredients). Pepperjack would be Tim Hudson (appears underwhelming but very effective). American Cheese would be Bud Norris, for sure.

Cal Guy (Cal): Ben, Aaron Sanchez has looked great out of the pen. With Janssen being a free agent after the season, what are the chances of the Jays handing the closer role over to Sanchez?

Ben Carsley: I think Sanchez could do the job as soon as next year, yeah, but I'd definitely still be trying him as a starter next year. As good as Stroman and Norris are, you can never have too many effective young starters, and Sanchez can still be a No. 3, even if he's erratic.

John Niggli (Lagos): Will Japhet Amador ever have a higher batting average than blood pressure?

Ben Carsley: This is unkind.

Gila Monster (Boston): I finished 3rd in my 20 team dynasty league this year. The odd part is that I was 7th in Runs an 8th in RBI's, despite being 1st in home runs and utter lack of SB and AVG. How do I deal with this? I counted on guys like Maybin and Lawrie, but they failed to get me SB. I'm unsure how to deal with this. Donaldson and Upton might be my only 100 RBIs guys for example

Ben Carsley: It's difficult to answer this without looking at a roster, but I'd expect lesser disparity between R/RBI and HR next year and focus on SB and AVG instead. Counting on Cameron Maybin and Brett Lawrie is not a good start, unless "days on DL" is a stat. Try to give up some prospect depth for a high-average, 20-plus SB guy if you're trying to compete next year.

Not Dad Joke (Too Soon): Wouldn't by that definition, Michael Fiers be cheddar?

Ben Carsley: I would think the holes created by Fiers would make him swiss.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): ROY: deGrom or Hamilton? And is deGrom for real? Is he a number 2 or just a 3 on a team with a bad rotation?

Ben Carsley: Hamilton for me, but I don't think deGrom is a ridiculous choice. And I think he's moderately for real -- No. 3 starter on a good team, which is a compliment. He'll probably be under-drafted next year.

DServi4 (North Carolina): What are we to expect of Jason Kipnis next year?

Ben Carsley: .270 with 15 homers and 20-plus steals? Third-most valuable second baseman, behind Cano and Altuve. I still prefer him to Pedroia.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you have a good Jason Parks story for us?

Ben Carsley: Not that I can print. He's inspired me to work out my core more.

Jay (PHX): What do you think of the new, jacked version of Jurickson Profar?

Ben Carsley: Unless he's worked on hardening his "stay on the field" muscle, it doesn't do much for me. He'll be underrated in redraft leagues headed into 2015 for sure, though.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, Who do you suggest keeping in a dynasty league between Cole and Gausman?

Ben Carsley: Cole. Can't stop won't stop loving Cole. Think he's gonna be a No. 2 fantasy starter for a decade.

Bart (New Jersey): Does Brandon Finnegan have any fantasy value in the next 2 years? SP or Bullpen arm?

Ben Carsley: I think he'll have value in 2016 as a starter, yes. Don't count on him for a ton next year, though. I think he goes back to the minors and starts.

First Time Long Time (Boston): Hi Ben I got lost in your eyes and Mapquest can't seem to help me find a way out. Any advice?

Ben Carsley: Why would you want to find a way out? Just enjoy the ride.

MRubio52 (Chicago): It says on the SidsGraphs banner displayed above the chatbox that their exclusive clients include Byron Buxton, Taijuan Walker and Robert Stephenson. Can you please rank them in order of exclusivity?

Ben Carsley: Still can't believe how much BP is selling out these days. I feel you.

Chris (Baltimore): For MLB season 2014, please rank in terms of 5 x 5 fantasy value- Duffy, Jose Fernandez, Rodon, Stephenson, Syndergaard.

Ben Carsley: Hmm. Let's go Duffy, Syndergaard, Fernandez, giant gap, Rodon, Stephenson. That's not as much a vote of confidence for Duffy as you may think -- I just don't see Thor or Fernandez pitching more than half-a-season in the majors, while Duffy should at least be able to go 150 innings.

John Niggli (Lagos): Which MLB division has the greatest collection of minor league talent? NL Central and it ain't even close right?

Ben Carsley: Losing Taveras, Polanco and Baez (eligibility-wise) hurts a whole lot. I'm still tempted to agree with you, though, which is pretty nuts.

Paul (DC): What's the most likely resolution of the Cub's infield talent jam?

Ben Carsley: I think Baez is at 2B for good now, with Bryant at 3B. One of Castro or Russell will change organizations, and I think it will be Castro. They'll probably be able to get a decent young pitcher or two for him. Total speculation on my part, though.

Allen Craig (Fenway): Am I a big rebound candidate of next year? .300/30/80 out of the question?

Ben Carsley: Yes, that's out of the question. I'm not sure you're still a Red Sox next year, and if you are, I think hoping for something along the lines of .285/18/80 is more realistic.

Allen Craig (Fenway): Am I a big rebound candidate of next year? .300/30/80 out of the question?

Ben Carsley: Yes, that's out of the question. I'm not sure you're still a Red Sox next year, and if you are, I think hoping for something along the lines of .285/18/80 is more realistic.

Mr (Met): Does Wilmer Flores make a fantasy impact next year? He's hit a few home runs past few weeks, but is next year too soon for league-average production?

Ben Carsley: I like Flores and have for a while. If you want to tell me he can serve as a league-average offensive second baseman next year, I'd listen. Could be a sneaky decent MI option in 14+ team leagues next year.

Jonah (Redwood): While this is probably a question for the recently AWOL Mau, what the forecast for Addison Russell (position, ETA, playing time, etc.)?

Ben Carsley: He'll either be the Cubs' everyday shortstop or in a different organization by mid-2016.

MRubio52 (Chicago): Why?

Ben Carsley: Well, you haven't given me a reason not to.

Paul (DC): Which MLB ready talent from BP's Top 20 Prospect List yet to make an appearance in the Show this year is most likely to make a 2015 starting roster?

Ben Carsley: If the Mets are serious about competing, I could see Thor in the starting rotation on Opening Day next year. Depending on what the Indians do, Lindor could be their shortstop come opening day. If the Twins lose their minds, maybe Sano could win a spot with a huge spring. Kris Bryant will start on opening day and hit .300/.400/.600 if you ask Cubs Twitter.

Holly (Dallas): Please assign each member of TINO a sexy Halloween costume from the following list: sexy lobster, sexy mime, sexy corn, sexy Cap'n Crunch.

Ben Carsley: This is a really good and really important question. I'll say Bret is sexy Capn' Crunch because he is our captain and because he doesn't hold up well in milk. Mau is sexy corn because he'll probably claim it's racist for white people to be corn if I go with anyone else. Craig is sexy mine because it lets me fantasize about him shutting up for once. I am sexy lobster because I am from New England and because I'm pretty overrated unless I come with garlic and butter.

Shawn (House): When does the Bret Sayre line of audio books come out?

Ben Carsley: We're still trying to get him to join the podcast on time. It's going to be a while.

Silverback38 (VA): Yasmani Tomas...what's his potential? Would you draft Tomas, Rusney Castillo, or Mike Matuella in 14 tm dynasty league? (Rodgers & Cameron already taken)

Ben Carsley: I think it's Tomas, significant gap, Castillo, significant gap, Matuella. If you're going for it all in 2015 and need to play it safe, you could go with Castillo.

Cal Guy (Cal): Ben, Who are some non-closers who could be closing at or near the start of 2015?

Ben Carsley: Mike Foltynewicz, Ken Giles, Delin Betances.

BFPMPC (Boston): If a hot dog is not a sandwich, what does that make an italian sausage and peppers on a roll? Plz answer this is really bugging me.

Ben Carsley: Here is your guide: if you would say "sandwich" as part of your order, it's a sandwich. If you wouldn't, it's not. Would you ask for an "italian sausage and pepper sandwich" and expect it to be on a sub roll? I didn't think so.

Cal Guy (Cal): Ben, What do you expect OT to produce in 2015 now that he's gotten a taste of the majors?

Ben Carsley: Maybe .280/.325/.400 next year, with 12-15 homers and a lot of runs scored? I don't think he'll explode yet, but he'll be good.

Addison Russell (Lurking): Am I the next Ian Desmond?

Ben Carsley: It's not an awful comp from a statistical standpoint, though I think you'll hit for a higher average and have slightly more muted power/speed outputs.

Paul (DC): With most of the 2014 MLB season now in the books, how good or bad does my pre-season trade in a keeper league of Robinson Cano for Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, and Javier Baez now appear?

Ben Carsley: Depends entirely on how many players you keep. If your league keeps 50, give me Cano. If it keeps 100, give me Pujols and Baez.

Billy (Dallas): Thanks for the chat, Ben!! Is Rougned Odor a keeper?? I see him batting third now against RHP and wondered if he's really that good (at age 20!) or if the new manager is just goofing around.

Ben Carsley: You're welcome! He's done a nice job holding his own as a 20-year-old in the big leagues, but a .253/.293/.389 line isn't super impressive. He's a future top-10 fantasy second baseman, but I don't think he comes anywhere close to performing as such in 2015. He's batting third against LHP because we're basically down to him, Beltre and Non-Prospect Daniel Robertson in Texas.

Commish (The War Room): I have a guy in my 20-team dynasty league who is active, and has a father in said league who is also active. They never cause trouble, and are well liked, but the son flat out refuses to answer trade inquiries. I propose a deal, 10 days go by, nothing. Deal "expires." This happened repeatedly this season. And when the trade deadline approached I emailed him asking if there was any chance... no response. I want to be a fair commish, but this guy is in dick-move mode all season long. Is it wrong if I boot him?

Ben Carsley: Is he still actively setting his lineup, making add/drops, fielding a competitive team, etc? If so, you don't have the right to boot him just because he won't trade/is possibly mute.

prophet (Undisclosed): Brock Holt versus Jackie Bradley Jr. versus XB versus Mookie Betts. I see three spots at best for them (although I suppose that Napoli, Victorino, Ortiz, Cespedes and Vazquez could round out a lineup, squeezing out Craig, Middlebrooks, etc.) Who do you see missing the cut?

Ben Carsley: Bogaerts isn't sitting for anyone, and Bradley isn't starting over anyone. Betts is either going to start in RF next year, start in Pawtucket and wait for someone to get hurt or get shipped off for pitching this off-season. The guess here is Victorino or Craig gets moved, Betts starts in RF and Bogaerts at SS, with Holt on the bench and Bradley in Triple-A.

Shaun (Denver): Votto/Tulo/Lynn/Ryu for Rizzo/Desmond/Felix/W. Davis. Better end?

Ben Carsley: Wow, that's tough. I can't believe I'm picking against Votto/Tulo, but in a dynasty league I think I'm taking Door No. 2

The Dude (Couch): You said Craig is "sexy mine"...a Freudian slip??

Ben Carsley: Craig is a great hugger. Let's leave it at that.

maxthom91 (NY): Think Betances gets closer gig next year or do Yanks stick with Robertson? Also 2015 value ranks for D. Norris, J Nelson, A Heaney, R Stephenson? Thanks!

Ben Carsley: Robertson is a FA after the season ends. I could certainly see the Yankees bringing him back, but if they decided to allocate their resources elsewhere and go with Betances, it would be a reasonable decision. For 2015 only, let's go Nelson, Heaney, Norris, Stephenson. Long-term, I'm going in the exact opposite order.

Shawnykid23 (CT): How can I improve my chat awareness?

Ben Carsley: Your chat awareness doesn't need to improve. It's perfect.

John Niggli (Lagos): Honest question: Is there a science behind the projections you guys do? How does this work? Do you go off what similar guys have done at the major league level or base it on their achievements in the minors? Or do you throw darts at a picture of Dallas McPherson and hope to appease the baseball gods, similar in fashion to what the Mayans did?

Ben Carsley: I think that was the Incans.

Matt (Cambridge): What have you heard on Franklin Barreto? He is 18 year old shortstop, in low A, and hit .311 with 6 HR and stole 29 bases in 79 games. Also is JaCoby Jones a guy to keep an eye on? I mean he is college guy in A, but 23 HR and 17 SB ca't be ignored. But A seems low for a college guy and he hasn't exact moved fast. Thanks Ben.

Ben Carsley: Both are legit fantasy prospects at this point, to be sure. Jones is probably the safer bet to reach the majors, but Barreto has the higher upside, and that's who I prefer. You're going to have to wait a while, but you could be left with a quality starting fantasy shortstop.

Ben Carsley (The Future): Hey Past Ben, want to guess what the top five names on the MLB home run leaderboard in 2018 look like? Also, congrats on the upcoming five-year anniversary of TINO. The show got much better in year three after Craig was replaced with Hank the Dog.

Ben Carsley: Giancarlo Stanton. Joey Gallo. Kris Bryant. Miguel Cabrera. Raul Ibanez.

Kate (Texas): What is your favorite esoteric part of the game of baseball?

Ben Carsley: Not entirely sure this qualifies as esoteric, but I love that the more you watch, the deeper an appreciation you gain for the unusual. If you show a casual fan a Jackie Bradley Jr. catch or a Billy Hamilton steal or a Giancarlo homer, they can appreciate that it's "cool." But they don't get that same "wow, what?" feeling that comes from a play or player breaking your internal expectation for what can and can't be done on a baseball diamond. It keeps the game endlessly entertaining to me, and gives me a reason to watch even when Bobby Valentine is my favorite team's head coach.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Does Rusney Castillo play everyday for the Sox?

Ben Carsley: Yes, probably starting later this week.

Wally (D.C.): Is Jon Schoop a good stash candidate in a dynasty league? He's super young and Orioles have obviously called him up too early. Does the premature call-up hamper his overall development? Thanks.

Ben Carsley: He was too young to be in the majors this year, yeah. I think he's a good stash candidate for sure, but I'm not sure he pays a tons of dividends in 2015. But eventually, I think he can hit .260 with 20 homers, which is nifty from second base in today's game.

John Niggli (Lagos): Who will be more missed by the Yankees in 5 years: Peter O'Brien, or Rafael De Paula?

Ben Carsley: My answer forever and always is Eric Duncan.

Max (Reno): What SS should I start buying in spades in my deep dynasty league?

Ben Carsley: If someone is down on Xander, I'd buy like crazy. If you're looking for a pre-hype prospect, check out Orlando Arcia.

Nick Williams (AA): When do I debut?

Ben Carsley: Mid-2016. You'll get called up in April but it will take you until June to find the park.

Cinco bros (AZ): Which minor league players are most likely to start in the American League in 2015 that are either flying under the radar or have not been brought up. Thanks!

Ben Carsley: For players who haven't come up yet, how about Rusney Castillo, Francisco Lindor, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Miguel Sano and Kyle Zimmer. For guys who are just under the radar, let's go with Nick Franklin, Mike Foltynewicz, Dylan Bundy, Drew Pomeranz, Daniel Norris and Oswaldo Arcia.

Jason (Las Vegas): Per your team name format instructions, what the most offensive team name you'd suggest for 2015?

Ben Carsley: BP has been good to me. I'm not going to habitually line-step here.

Max (Btown): Hellickson, Cosart or Peavy for 2015 and beyond? Also what is a reasonable trade value or expectation for Tanaka

Ben Carsley: Hellickson, for me. No real way for me to answer the Tanaka question - I know as much about his health as you do.

Dr. Mike (Green Bay): While some depends on who he signs with, what can we expect from Yasmani Tomas next year?

Ben Carsley: Lots of Tomas questions tonight, but I can't really throw projections on him until we know where he signs/if he's going to start 2015 in the majors for sure. He's an interesting player, yes, but it's my understanding that we shouldn't be expecting another Puig or anything.

BomboRiviera (St. Paul): How do you feel about Ian Desmond in OBP keeper leagues (10 and 12 teams)? His OBP is lousy, but he's solid in the other four categories. Given the state of the position, how high would you go on him with a $260 cap? Let's say in a 10-teamer, is $25 too high?

Ben Carsley: I don't think that's too high, but I probably wouldn't go a lot higher. You might not get a ton of excess value there, but I bet he's worth it. 20/20 from SS ain't no joke.

Greg Holland (KC): Next year I am closing for ___(insert team here)___.

Ben Carsley: You seem gritty. The Diamondbacks will probably trade Archie Bradley and Chris Owings for you in December.

Jay (Boston): Hi Ben, thanks for doing a chat today. I really enjoy the TINO podcast. As a fellow Red Sox fan, I'm sure you're looking out at the next several years and considering AL teams that could prove to be a big obstacle to the Sox getting back to the World Series, just as I do. As often as I do that, I also think about certain NL teams that would beat them if they did make it back. Of course the Dodgers have Kershaw and they'll be a force, but the Cubs actually worry me the most. Thoughts on their potential dominance for the next 10 years?

Ben Carsley: The Cubs are building a nice core, but I'm certainly not worried about them being dominant. They don't have any pitching yet, and not all of those bats are going to work out. Even if everything goes perfectly for them, I'm not expecting much until 2016, and by then who knows what anyone's roster will look like. Thanks for the kind words re: TINO!

John (Milwaukee ): What are the cheese comps for the members of TINO? Bret as an aged Gouda? Also, congrats on the launch of Sandwich Prospectus!

Ben Carsley: Thank you. Sandwich Prospectus was Craig's idea, but he needed my leadership and vision to get the project off the ground. Bret would be Havardi and Dill because I like Havardi and Dill. Mau would be cojita because then he could sprinkle himself on his sexy corn costume. Craig would be a really intense goat cheese that comes on too strong but actually ends up being ok in the right setting. I would be brie because I think I'm smooth but I'm really a pain in the ass to deal with.

John Niggli (Lagos): Which organization has risen the most in your rankings this year? Which has fallen the greatest?

Ben Carsley: I feel better about some of the young talent in the Jays, Mets, Dodgers and Rangers systems.

Teams like the Red Sox, Cubs and Cardinals are going to fall a bit because of the talent they've graduated to the majors, but I don't think that should really serve as an indictment. So if we approach this from a "which organizations have seen their prospects regress/stagnate or have traded away talent" point-of-view, I think we need to look at the Marlins, Braves, Twins, Phillies and Padres, to name a few. Feels like it wasn't a terrific year for prospects overall.

Chris (Washington, DC): I just picked up Chris Owings in my 10-team dynasty league with 40 man rosters. I know he was ranked highly (#28 I think?) in the preseason 101. Where does he rank in comparison to other young shortstops in a dynasty league? Does he have as much (or more) fantasy value as guys like Lindor, Anderson, Crawford, Mondesi, and Gordon?

Ben Carsley: I'd rank him behind Lindor and above the rest. He's not flashy, but he'll do a little bit of everything for you 5x5 wise.

Jeff (Tampa): I'm starting a baseball podcast with two of my buddies. The issue is, I'm am easily the most knowledgeable about the sport. I don't want to hijack the podcast by carrying it too much. As someone who has to deal with Craig on a regular basis, what advice can you give?

Ben Carsley: This is my favorite question ever.

Bill (DC): Does Michael Taylor make a fantasy impact next year or year after? (Does he hit well enough to start in 2015 or 2016?)

Ben Carsley: It's going to be tough for him to fit in that outfield, with Harper/Werth/Zimmerman/Span all in front of him right now. I don't think he'll be much of a factor next season.

Mitch (Scottsdale): Not sure where in AZ the Professor is moving, but my son is 14 and plays a slick SS... should I be worried/get a restraining order?

Ben Carsley: Mitch doesn't seem like a Dominican name so I think your son is safe. But yes, get one anyway just to be sure.

Matt (Wisconsin): I've been sitting atop my 12-team roto leagues all season but have started losing points in batting average. In order to keep my batting average where it is/not keep going down, would I be smart to bench players and keep high batting average guys as the starters? I have hefty leads in Runs, Home runs and RBI where I could not worry about losing potential counting stats like that.

Ben Carsley: Yes. And from the way you asked, I think you already knew, Matt.

Slevin (Brooklyn): Dynasty: Tulo/Gallo/Ryu for Bryant/Cole/Segura... how close to fair

Ben Carsley: It's fair very fair. So fair that I don't know what side I'd take and since you didn't ask I'm not gonna strain my brain over it.

eamuscatuli15 (nebraska): 12 team/dynasty league/6x6 with ops holds...If Rusney Castillo comes up as planned on Tuesday he'll be available to be bid on the following night in our league. His price tag would be good for the final few days of this year and next year as well. What amount of FAAB would you be comfortable spending on him?

Ben Carsley: If you can get him for 2015, too, use the rest of your FAAB. No one else is going to come up who's worth it.

Redacted (Redacted, RD): If Jason Heyward was an alcoholic drink, what kind of drink would he be? Also, same question but for both Chris Young the pitcher and Chris Young the outfielder.

Ben Carsley: Heyward would be a scotch and ginger. Not flashy and not everything you'd have hoped for in a drink, but also never a bad choice. Chris Young the outfielder would be house tequila because it's usually a bad choice, but can sometimes lead to fun. Chris Young the pitcher would be mid-grade warm white wine.

Jesse (San Fran): Dinner time for me. What sandwich should I go out and get?

Ben Carsley: I've been hardcore craving a Cuban since the debut of Sandwich Prospectus.

The Dude (Couch): What is the meaning of life?

Ben Carsley: Your life is like the meat of a sandwich and the great beyond from which we call came and to which we will all return is the bread. Life is not a hot dog.

Ben Carsley: Thanks for all the questions, boys and girls. Enjoy the last few weeks of the regular season, and always know that I am proud of you.

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