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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday December 18, 2014 3:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


The Craij is here.

Craig Goldstein: You've been generally warned, that's what the surgeon says. Welcome to the #converCraigtion

J (Middle America): What are your #hottakes on Viciedo possibly heading to Seattle?

Craig Goldstein: Anyone who has a hot take on Dayan Viciedo needs to be put down immediately.

dvanhait (Holland): What impact will Cespedes' trade have on Betts, Bradley, and Brock? Who might see more playing time as a result?

Craig Goldstein: Well, more playing time, obviously. I don't think Bradley starts the year in the majors though, and Holt is more of a supersub. You don't have to create time for him. Still have to figure out Allen Craig and Shane Victorino at some point though.

Julio (SanAnto): With Didi out of Arizona how much does this affect the stock of Chris Owings?

Craig Goldstein: It's good news, obviously but I don't think it's a big impact. Owings played over Gregorius when healthy anyway.

Hungry (Earth): What is Sandwich Prospectus and who is a part of it? Are there plans for expansion?

Craig Goldstein: A fine question. It's currently more of a concept than anything, but thanks to a generous benefactor we now have a domain name! We're working on a website (read: thinking about trying to plan for a website, if it were a baseball rumor) right now. Right now it's comprised of me and Ben Carsley

Chris (Baltimore): Any recent news on Profar? And if he needs a surgery, why wasn't it performed already to speed up his readiness timeline?

Craig Goldstein: Believe it or not, no one is throwing me breaking news on Profar, so I've only seen what you have. He didn't have surgery because he chose not to. Fortunately, we're not at the point where they can just decide to have surgery on someone who doesn't want it. Surgery can often slow down a timeline to getting back on the field. We always hope it's the final fix, but I don't think it's nearly as simple as people assume it to be.

Myrick (Charleston, SC): A couple breakout players are valued quite less than their 2014 performance, who is most likely to give us more of the same in 2015: Kluber, Mesoraco, JD Martinez or Steve Pierce?

Craig Goldstein: More of the same? JD-Mart. That doesn't mean he's a better value than Kluber or even Mesoraco though. Just means I think he was closer to his true talent level than the others. If I were ranking them I'd go Kluber, Mesoraco, JDMart, Pearce.

Gotribe31 (VA): In your (very) humble opinion, who's the most improved team so far this offseason?

Craig Goldstein: If the Kemp trade goes through, it's really hard for me not to pick the Padres. They've drastically remade their lineup while hardly affecting the major league roster. Other option would be the White Sox. I love the LaRoche signing and the Samardzija acquisition was a steal in my view. They've still got plenty of holes but they've made impact acquisitions in the bullpen (No, not Zach Duke), 1B/DH, and SP. That's a nice offseason.

Kalamazoo (Landshark): 1st overall pick in draft, mlb draftees of 14 and all post season signed foreign players available. Go Rodon?

Craig Goldstein: Rodon, Schwarber, and Tomas are all reasonable options here. I don't think there's a clear pick, to be honest. Might come down to your timeline, if you think Schwarber catches enough, and what your team needs.

Sandwich (Tucker's House): Prosciutto; Provolone; Italian Bread; all thinly sliced; drizzled with olive oil. Tell the world, Craij.

Craig Goldstein: This is an 80 sandwich. It's simple, but refined. Italian bread is a personal favorite, and the olive oil is just a nice touch. Hard to go wrong with Proscuitt'

username49 (Ohio): How does Bradley Zimmer compare to the other top CF prospects like Almora, Meadows, Margot, Nimmo? I know there is a chance he moves to RF, but he seems to have just as much or more offensive upside than the entire bunch. How would you rank these guys?

Craig Goldstein: He's competitive with them! I'm a big fan of Zimmer, and thought the Tribe made out well to get him where they did. He's got more offensive upside to me than Almora. I think he's right in that group, and I question whether his size pushes him to a corner, rather than anything really wrong with his defense. I'd rank em: Nimmo, Meadows, Zimmer, Margot, Almora right now, but it's pretty fluid. Margot is a sure thing to stick in CF and I think Meadows/Zimmer's bats play best if they're forced off.

Alex (Anaheim): Rarely have I seen as much mixed reaction to a trade as with Kemp to San Diego. Where on the spectrum do you fall?

Craig Goldstein: Mostly sad. I grew up a Dodgers fan and started getting interested in prospects around the time Kemp became one, so in a sense I grew up with him in terms of my baseball knowledge. I did my best to explain my rational in the Transaction Analysis I wrote, but basically I think it makes sense for both sides (hip arthritis pending). The Dodgers get better defensively in CF/RF/C by making the deal, and clear ~$75M in long-term obligations. The Padres, with the money they received turn Kemp into a profit-center, in terms of $/win if he's the productive guy he was last year, and get a profile they otherwise struggle to sign because of where they play, and get him long term, at reasonable dollars.

treynay3 (Milwaukee): Any chance for a Segura rebound?

Craig Goldstein: Sure why not? It's a broad set of parameters but there's a good chance he's not as bad as he was last year. I don't think we're going to see first half 2013 anytime soon though

Charles (NYC): Can I feel comfortable dropping Bubba Starling and DJ Davis in a 20 team dynasty?

Craig Goldstein: Godspeed, my fren'

John (CT): Who has better eyes, Ben or Matt Kemp? Also, what was the deal with Jose Castillo not pitching last year? Anything that harms his long term value?

Craig Goldstein: Look, I love Ben and I have to work with him, but this isn't a contest. They're both beautiful people though, I think we can all agree. Castillo's lack of pitching was due to some soreness but nothing structural (I asked Keith Law, but also received an answer from our own Tucker Blair). He threw in a Venezuelan League, but that doesn't seem to have been picked up by B-Ref.

JoJo (SD): I play in a dynasty league with no floor or ceiling on number of minor leaguers rostered - it's up to each owner's discretion. I have a contender - how do you decide between lower ceiling MLB guys and higher upside guys that may be years away? For example, Rubby de la Rosa versus Raimel Tapia? Matt Shoemaker versus Nomar Mazara?

Craig Goldstein: Tapia and Mazara are guys I'd definitely own but part of it depends on league depth. I'd have to assume you have worse guys than those two to drop, but if you don't, then I'd have to assume that the league is fairly shallow. If that's the case, you don't need to own RDLR, and Shoemaker is more borderline, though I'd make an effort to keep him. This is a great type of question for The Bat Signal, where you can drop your whole roster/league parameters and we can get a better sense of the situation.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): Profar has reportedly added 15-20 pounds of muscle in the off season. Do you think he bounces back this year and plays on par with xander bogaerts offensively? What slash line would you give each of them with 600 At bats?

Craig Goldstein: That is a lot of muscle. I don't know that adding muscle was his issue so much as staying healthy, but we'll see what it does for him. I think they can be comparable offensive players, though they go about it in different ways. I could see a .270/.320/.440 slash line out of Bogaerts but I'm generally optimistic on him. Profar is more of a needsto/stay/healthy type of player, but there's some wiggle room on that front. I don't think 600 at-bats is reasonable for Profar, as I believe they've said Odor will be the 2B (at least as of right now).

Ryan (Denver): Thoughts on Dickerson for 2015? He was crazy good in 2014 but can we reasonably expect any improvement areas (other than playing time)?

Craig Goldstein: Probably not, in terms of improvement. 2014 was probably on the higher end of expected production for him but playing time should help. He even hit lefties pretty well, and wasn't awful on the road (markedly worse than at home though, as most Rockies players are). I like Dickerson a lot and think he can sustain value thanks to the uptick in playing time even if he regresses in performance.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena): What are the odds these players have good careers? Jon Singleton, Domingo Santana, Chris Taylor, Yorman Rodriguez.

Craig Goldstein: 1/14, 1/16/, 1/9, 1/22, respectively

Angels Hound (LA): What's your take on Jung-Ho Kang? What is a reasonable timeline for his arrival at the ML level and what sort of production would you expect? Does he have the natural ability to stick at SS?

Craig Goldstein: I don't have one so I quickly demanded an answer from Bret Sayre. He said "Best case, he's a Jhonny Peralta type with decent average and 20 HR pop.
Maybe not a SS thiugh." Don't fault him for the misspelling though, I was yelling at him to hurry it up.

Isaac (Akron): What do you see as Clint Frazier's ceiling? Is this the breakout year or has the shine begun to diminish?

Craig Goldstein: Whoa, hey, Isaac, let's tone it down. Clint was pretty darn good for a 19-year-old in the midwest league, especially after he addressed a leak in his swing. The second half stats are impressive: .294/.386/.469 from July onwards. He's a very talented player, who is going to have to hit all the way up. The good news is that he can. There's still a ton to like here.

Charlie (Rockville): I would like to hear your effusive praise for Mike Rizzo. Thanks

Craig Goldstein: I've loved his offseason, and legitimately can't think of a trade that he's lost. I'm sure there's one in there, but it's not coming to mind, which says something. I love love loved the Bostick acquisition, and while he's not an impact talent, I think he's a starting caliber player on a good team. Maybe more 2nd division guy than first, but even good teams have those guys in starting spots. I haven't been the biggest Turner supporter, but then I saw him on a bad day. It was cold out, and it was early in the year and maybe he just didn't show it so I keep my mind open there, but I've long been a Joe Ross supporter. Really nice adds for the price of a talented guy in Souza, who just didn't have a spot on this team. he was a great 4th outfielder, but Michael Taylor can fill that role as well.

username49 (ohio): Bat Signal?

Craig Goldstein: The Bat Signal. If you look below the table, there's an explanation as to what it is!

LGBT (Evanston, Il): If you were the Cubs, would you sign Jonny Gomes? How do you quantify 'clubhouse leadership'? He's a bad player for a team riddled with outfield question marks.

Craig Goldstein: I'd definitely be open to it, but it depends a bit on the terms, of course. I don't know that you "quantify" clubhouse leadership because it can manifest itself in multiple ways, and we don't really know if there's a point of diminishing returns in terms of having "clubhouse guys." Or even if having a different mix of "clubhouse guys" is important (I'd assume it is, but that it can depend heavily on the group of players in question). I don't have an issue with trying to quantify it (trying is important!) but I'm not sure we're ever going to settle on a number, nor that we should. He's depth on a team riddled with outfield question marks, which hardly strikes me as a bad thing. He can mash left-handed pitching. Having those guys around isn't a bad thing, and they're usually trade-able. Also his name is Jonathan Johnson Gomes.

Ben's Eyes (smh): MaD

Craig Goldstein: Love you buddy.

JJ Hardy (Baltimore): Do you think Manny ever gets to play short? When?

Craig Goldstein: Nope. I think that ship has sailed, given the time away from the position, the knee injuries and the Hardy extension.

Nate (Indianapolis): Are you drafting Arrieta or staying away from him next season? Think either performance decline or injury are real possibilities?

Craig Goldstein: I'm buying him as a upper tier pitcher. I'm hesitant to assume he'll be as good as he was this year, but the improvements are real. Variation always plays a part though.

Katt Memp (Sorry for your loss): Thoughts, feelings? Who is the most handsome Dodger now?

Craig Goldstein: He's not gone yet, dammit!

James (Tulsa): Mark Reynolds says he doesn't care about strike outs. Mike Matheney wants guys to grind out at bats. Could we see a Billy Martin Reggie Jackson blowup? I hope so.

Craig Goldstein: I have a hard time believing anyone will get too worked up over Mark Reynolds' at-bats. Also, indifference to striking out and grinding out at-bats aren't mutually exclusive. Reynolds takes good PAs.

FreeBargs (32nd & 8th): Thoughts on Dee Gordon for the upcoming year/s? Safe to expect closer to a .250 hitter with a good number of steals, or is nothing safe at all? Would Maikel Franko and Jimmy Nelson be a good enough return for him in a dynasty league?

Craig Goldstein: I think the numbers you've thrown out are more realistic than what the Marlins see in him, but it just depends on if he can get back to making pitchers pay for challenging him in the zone, like he did in the first half. It's possible that was more fluke than performance, but as soon as pitchers realize they could attack him in the zone and he couldn't punish them for it, his walk rate plummeted and he became a significantly less effective player. I'm high on Nelson and don't mind Franco so I think that's a fine return, depending on what it does to your team speed wise, especially if it's roto.

Zach Duke's bruised ego (Jimbo's between 32nd & 33rd): I've only had the one year as a full-time MLB reliever, and it was excellent, and it doesn't seem all that unusual that an admittedly mediocre starting pitcher blossoms when shifted to the pen. (In fact it's fairly commonplace, isn't it?) Why dost thou doubt me so? Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Craig Goldstein: Well, you started one game in 31 innings in 2013, so I guess that's not full time, but you didn't miss any bats then either. And yes, an uptick in stuff isn't unexpected in a shift to the pen but this also isn't Duke's first time going to the pen, even though it was his first time having this type of success. Suffice it to say I'm not buying a 14 percent strikeout rate improvement out of Duke, and I don't think anyone needed to go three years to secure his services either. That was a terrible day on twitter.

Shawn (Cubicle): Cole Hamel's trade value is realistically somewhere in between what a certain baseball writer says it is and what Ruben Amaro wants? If he get's traded which side it is closer to?

Craig Goldstein: If he gets traded it's going to be closer to what Ruben wants because Ruben is the guy with the actual ability to trade him. The thing about Hamels is that he's basically worth what he's earning (perhaps a little more, possibly a little less going forward) which means he's more valuable to the Phillies than to anyone else, because they already have him. If he's worth exactly what you pay him, paying to acquire something on top of that doesn't make sense, and thus we end up in a stalemate. There's something to the notion that the shorter commitment (four or five years, rather than six+ for Lester/Scherzer) could push his value a little higher, but the Phillies shouldn't be in a rush to move him. They should get the deal they want (or close to it) by waiting out the market. Right now there are a ton of pitchers available (or were before the winter meetings) that won't be the case in February, or in May or in July. There's nothing saying Cole Hamels' value will never be higher. Or if there is, it's not a certainty.

Gravybill (Santa's Lap): Does Alberto Tirado have any upside left or should we all just give up on him?

Craig Goldstein: Please don't give up on 19-year old kids who struggle in full season ball. It's not good for the heart.

username49 (Ohio): I'm in a pickle. 18 team league, 20 roster spots for prospects. I own 5 of the top 23 or so picks in our upcoming prospect draft, but my prospect list is very strong and I don't just want to drop anyone to roster one of my draft picks. Can you please rank these guys according to their trade value in my deep league. Hitters - Almora, Baretto, Devers, Frazier, Margot, Mondesi, Mejia, Phillips, Vogelbach. Pitchers - M Almonte, E Diaz, M Feliz, Gohara, Osuna, Hader, Lively. Which of these pitchers would you drop in order to roster someone like Tyler Beade, Grant Holmes, or other guys likely to be there in the 15-25 area of a draft?

Craig Goldstein: Another good question for the Bat Signal. I can't rank all of them without taking plenty of time, but the guys I'd drop in favor of Beede or Holmes are Hader and Lively. I'd probably dump Phillips for Holmes as well, but I like Phillips too.

Pelecos (Granville): Yo Craij what's up? My question for you is what active baseball player would you say is most similar to Todd Walker? My sister is looking for a new favorite player.

Craig Goldstein: Todd Walker expert Ben Carsley tells me it's Neil Walker. I don't know why but this whole discussion just makes me miss Mark Bellhorn and Bobby Hill.

Shawn (Cubicle): You know about sandwiches and scary sea creatures, but what about beer? Are you on the Tucker/Sahadev level?

Craig Goldstein: Not even close. I'm a total beer wuss. I know a little bit about them just so I can figure out what I like, but I'm not expert. I like Marzens and Berliner Weisses but neither of those are particularly strong beers, and I dislike the taste of hops for the most part. Bad aftertaste.

justarobert (Santa Clara): How much effort do you like a keeper/dynasty league to put towards competitive balance, and what measures to that effect do you like most and least? Tying finish to draft position is common, of course, and keeper limits have some impact here, but I'm not aware of anyone who tries to go as far as actual pro sports leagues do. I wonder whether the frequency of successful rebuilds has any real correlation with (losing) owner retention rates.

Craig Goldstein: I think the standard solutions are more than fine. I'm not a big proponent of competitive balance in general, unless it's a dire situation. I think slanting drafts and limiting keepers does more than enough to give an enterprising owner/manager the chance to compete. After that it's on them, and their own ingenuity.

Manny M (B'More): So then given the fact that you think I'll stay at third (and that I've had knee problems),what do you think my fantasy outlook is? Top 20 player possible?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, as bad as shortstop is, third base isn't significantly better. I think it just depends if Machado can stay on the field and produce. I don't think it much matters where that production comes from.

JoJo (SD): Brandon Phillips is your dynasty league 2b. You have no backup. How aggressive are you in trading for Odor as his backup/successor?

Craig Goldstein: The opening to this question was more depressing than The Road. Woof. I'm extremely aggressive in this scenario.

Steve (Long Beach): I'm in a 10 team 5x5 keeper and we redraft every 4 years. We get 7 keepers and this year we redraft. With my #7 keeper, should I be keeping Javier Baez over Julio Teheran, JD Martinez, Marcell Ozuna, and Alex Wood? I had originally reserved my #7 for Oscar Taveras, unfortunately. How would you rank those players?

Craig Goldstein: I think Baez is a fine option for that spot. He's boom/bust though, and you have to be comfortable with that level of risk. If you're not, I'd take Teheran or Ozuna with Wood and Martinez filling in behind them.

jeremykoo (SF, CA): What is the effect of moving a player from center field to left field, the "easier" position? The Oakland A's made Coco Crisp move to left in 2012, and he wasn't happy about it but primarily because he had been promised he would be the everyday center fielder before Cespedes signed. Things might be different now that, watching games, it seems his neck issue has caused him to lose a step or two in the outfield.

Craig Goldstein: Certainly, it depends on the player and their skillset. You can't hide a player in centerfield, but it's possible to do so in left, depending on who the centerfielder is. A neck issue is going to affect a guy no matter where he plays, but a simple deterioration of skills is a different thing altogether.

Will (Chicago): What do you think about Eaton in fantasy this upcoming season. I feel like he could hit .300 again but with more runs with a better lineup around him, and also hopefully experience an uptick in SB. I have a chance to acquire him in a dynasty league but he isn't cheap. Should I take a little bit of a risk or should I look elsewhere?

Craig Goldstein: Hard to say without knowing what "isn't cheap" actually means, and the context of your league, but I'm a big fan of Eaton in fantasy. And in real life. He's a good player.

George (Far Away): Can you rank the top Cubano sandwiches you've had in your life?

Craig Goldstein: 1) Basically everything I've had in Miami 2) Earl's in Arlington, VA. That's the list.

Nathan (West Lafayette): How do you feel about Posey in a dynasty league? Obviously he puts up great numbers, but I'm always weary of catchers wearing down over time. Would you stay away, or do you like him more than Hanley?

Craig Goldstein: I like him more than Hanley. By a decent margin too.

allangustafson (San Diego ): Just trying to sort through everything and cutting down to 12 keepers in a standard 12 team roto league. I have two spots available for these four players, Iwakuma, Arrieta, Wong, and Betts. Not caring about positions or scarcity, who performs better in 5x5 standard roto league? Can you rank them from best to worst?

Craig Goldstein: Iwakuma and Arrieta give you the most return in 2015.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Could you rank these bats for future careers: Christian Walker, Jake Lamb, CJ Cron, Rymer Liriano.

Craig Goldstein: Liriano, Cron, Lamb, Walker. I'll add that Liriano has the most beta in him and could absolutely flame out, but the blend of tools provides the highest ceiling as well. He's someone I'm willing to gamble on given his proven ability to respond to failure. That's something I like to see in a prospect.

mattymatty2000 (Portland): With the signing of Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have boxed themselves in on Hanley Ramirez as a shortstop. Considering the groundball heavy makeup of the starting staff right now, this could potentially be an issue. What's your opinion as to his defensive skills? Can he approach average defensively?

Craig Goldstein: No, he really can't, but he'll also be a left fielder with Bogaerts at short. Hanley just doesn't have the range and his arm is hit or miss from short because he waits on grounders and has to rush throws. We'll see if that problem alleviates itself in the outfield, or if dealing with walls is a detriment to his already brittle body.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): With offense at a premium, I went to spend as much money on hitters as possible in the auction this year. (8-team, NL-only, standard 5x5 keeper league, $260 auction budget.) With that in mind, I'm going to try to spend an average of $5 per pitcher. #1 - do you agree with that concept? #2 - Should I then try to target buy low guys coming off injuries, like Cliff Lee, Matt Cain, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, etc.?

Craig Goldstein: I think it's fine to target hitters, but I hesitate to endorse the idea of strict limits on pitching totals. I tend to play a little looser in auctions and see what comes to me in terms of value, because it helps to be able to pivot if things don't play out the way you foresaw. That said I think targeting injured players is a fine strategy but I'd be especially careful with guys coming off their second TJ

fabiopao (Italy): your thoughts on Giolito, please. Strasburg 2.0?

Craig Goldstein: He's a few years away from even being that but he's got the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the league. The stuff is extremely good, and could get better.

Dennis (LA): Hi Craig, what are some of your favorite baseball books?

Craig Goldstein: I'm not a voracious reader of baseball books, but I tore through Dollar Sign on the Muscle. I also enjoyed Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin, but that could be because of my Dodgers fan roots. The Art of Fielding was a nice fiction baseball book.

Chris (Seattle): Craig, do you think we've run into an issue where teams are overvaluing years of control when making deals? The A's dealt Samardijza and Moss for underwhelming returns, but the Dodgers shipped out Heaney for Kendrick. What gives?

Craig Goldstein: I do think years of control are playing a big part in the valuation of players, and I do think it's potentially being overvalued. I love Dee Gordon and he's a nice player, but getting more for four years of him than what a guy like Brandon Moss or Jeff Samardzija brought back strikes me as odd (and don't tell me Miguel Rojas was the key there). I know Dan Haren was in that mix as well, but I do think Gordon was the piece Miami focused on.

I know people are thinking that the prospect market is just pretty dry right now with teams wanting to hold on to what they have, and I don't doubt that's the case, but I am surprised a bit at some teams' willingness to give into that market and just sell for what's being offered, especially this early in the offseason.

mattymatty2000 (Portland): Sorry, Craig! I wrote my question wrong. I meant to ask about Bogaerts defensive skills.

Craig Goldstein: Ah, that makes more sense, but I didn't wanna snark you. I think Bogaerts can approach average defensively in these next few years. It wasn't a promising go of it last season, but he's extremely young. I do think as he fills out and slows down that he will play himself off of the position, due to range, but for the time being, if he can slow the game down and avoid mental mistakes, his fringy range won't hurt the club like people think.

Matt (Cambridge): Is Marcos Molina going to blow up this year? He absolutely demolished the NYPL at 19. He seems to have good stuff and the Jason Parks pitching build of 6'3" 180. I could only find one video of him...interestingly enough it was of him striking out a kid I went to high school with(It helps getting drafted when your uncle is Senior Advisor of Baseball Projects for a big team)

Craig Goldstein: I'm of that mind, yes. I think Marcos Molina is a really nifty prospect who people aren't aware of right now, who could fly up lists by seasons end. Of course I thought the same thing about Alberto Tirado last year (although he had more publicity), and he imploded in full-season ball. It's a big jump, to be sure, and risk is inherent there, but Molina has the tools to do it.

jbenkard (Madison, Wi.): Hey Craig, what factor do you think the cut fastball has had on the decrease in offense in general? It seems to me that pitch is being called more and more. It was hardly thrown 20-30 years ago, and now nearly everyone throws it. Seems like umpires love to call it. More players are being thrown out for arguing calls, too. Thoughts?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know about that last claim, and if it's more anecdotal than actually the case, but I also think baseball goes in cycles a bit. The sinker was all the rage for a bit, and now it's the cutter. It helps when you've got guys like Don Cooper who know how to teach it really well, but I do think these trends come and go in some sense. I wouldn't put the offensive decline in baseball the shoulders of the cutter, no.

Bo Knows (In your heart): You have to be careful about buying Prosciutto. Quality greatly varies by brand/source.

Craig Goldstein: I buy prosciutto willy-nilly. What do you think about that?

DanDaMan (Gotham): Hey Craig, happy holiday's! I'm looking to get as much feedback as possible for a fantasy keeper question I have. What would be the best way to go about doing this? I don't want to be that guy who asks the same question in every chat. And when do you suggest doing this? Now, when things have died down and the season is still somewhat fresh, or wait a couple of months when the BP fantasy team has rankings together (obviously a busier time though)? Thanks

Craig Goldstein: I recommend the bat signal, linked to before. You can also feel free to ask it anytime, but if you think the rankings will answer your question and it's not pressing, waiting for those isn't a bad idea either! Feel free to reach out!

Enya (Eynaville): Please compare each member of TINO to a bird of prey.

Craig Goldstein: Bret is an owl, because he is wise but also a silent killer. Ben is a Peregrine Falcon, one of the fastest and deadliest guys in terms of wit around. Mau is a vulture, too kind to kill you, but not above picking at your dead carcass. I posed the question to someone else for my own evaluation, and they shot back "Turkey" with no hesitation. It hurt.

Chris (Seattle): Craig, I'm a fan of both baseball and Guy Fieri. As you know, Guy likes to compare food to things in Flavortown. I'm wondering what you would compare a Clayton Kershaw curveball to in Flavortown?

Craig Goldstein: Donkey Sauce, amigo.

Ronson (The Bass): two questions 1) 6x6 keeper league (errors and wild pitches) should I consider trading BYRON BUXTON for immediate help .... someone like BRAD MILLER? 2) who was your favorite TEENAGE MUTTANT NINJA TURTLE (tm)?

Craig Goldstein: Good god no, do not do that. Brad Miller might not even start for the Mariners. Donatello was my dude. Bo staff ftw, though I respect Rafael's surliness. That was high quality surl.

Stevie (Los Angeles): Rusney Castillo or Yasmani Tomas a better grab with the #1 pick in a dynasty rookie draft?

Craig Goldstein: Ugh. Look man, I just... I don't know. I like Tomas' power potential, but I don't think he's a gamechanger in that respect and I'm not as high as Bret is that he's a 25 homer guy right off the bat. Castillo is older and I'm not convinced he's the bee's knees either but I guess I'll opt for him because his skillset is a little more diversified and so even if he sucks in some respects he could at least swipe you some bags.

Ben (New York): How much hope should we have for Nick Williams to refine his approach? I'm not expecting any huge changes, but even a small gain could reap huge rewards. Considering how young he is, how optimistic are you?

Craig Goldstein: Oh man. Tough question. I think there's some hope here. He's a young kid with focus issues, but I know from my own experience and that of my friends that those issues can decrease as you grow up. That's not a guarantee of course, but it's not out of the question either. More focus in general could help him at the plate, but I'm not surprised he loves to swing either. If I was that good at something I'd want to do it all the time too. I'm optimistic on him as a whole even if the plate discipline never completely comes through. He can make good contact on good pitches and that speaks volumes to me. He'll never walk a lot, but if he can just put himself in better counts, the payoff could be massive.

The Dude (Office): Please rank your top 10 sandwiches by OFP (doesn't matter what you choose to define a sandwich as)

Craig Goldstein: This is a sandwich prospectus article that I'll hopefully get to

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Craig, what are your thoughts on Ryan McMahon and Nomar Mazara heading into 2015 & beyond? Think both can become role 6 type players?

Craig Goldstein: I think they can both do that yes, but I'll stop short of saying they will. I like Mazara more than McMahon, though I think both could raise their prospect stock throughout 2015. Mazara merely has to survive to prove his worth in Double-A at his age, really. Without saying it's likely for either player, I like Mazara's odds a little better, though both rank among my personal favorites in the game.

Will (Chicago): "Isn't cheap" in this scenario means trading my Sean Doolittle (I also have Kimbrel) for Eaton straight up. It's a 20 team dynasty league, 6x6 with OPS and holds. Too much to give up?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's probably about right. Doolittle is a big deal but closers are generally pretty iffy, and he's not in that top echelon that makes me hesitate on something like this. It's a gamble, and while you can't lose what you don't put in the middle, you can't win either.

JQ (previously): 1. Disagree re Ben/Kemp (might have some gold glove voting type bias here) 2. thoughts on egg nog? 3. hope the cats are doing well

Craig Goldstein: I'd love to dismiss this opinion but this is a guy who knows beautiful eyes. Fine, maybe it's not "no contest" but Kemp still comes out on top. I've never had egg nog and I find it a bit horrifying. The cats are awesome, if not fat.

Ziggy (Van Nuys): What's your drink of choice? We're changing lives here, people.

Craig Goldstein: Moscow Mule. It has been for a while and will be til someone finds something better. If we're going straight liquor then I'm a tequila man.

AJ Preller (San Diego ): I once made fun of you. To your face.

Craig Goldstein: Both true, but you did it with love.

(let me have this)

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Craig, With McGee needing surgery, who closes in Tampa Bay? Any chance that Boxberger gets first crack at the job?

Craig Goldstein: Boxberger gets a chance but first crack is likely to be decided over some small sample size spring performance because that's how these things tend to work out. It's not worth getting worked up over though, because who closes isn't really important to fantasy owners as long as somebody does, and it's not that vital in real life as long as whoever is back there is capable of doing it, no matter the means they acquired the job. It'll be a mixture of Boxberger, Frieri, Balfour and possibly Jepsen, I'd guess.

Airborne (Above WI): Tell us about the Birdman of NY? Does greg Bird have what it takes to be a regular? Give us an idea of what his offensive profile may look like. Thanks.

Craig Goldstein: I think he's a second division player who can hit a little (.250s?), get on base (.340s?) and has power but has it play below peak (.450s?) because he is passive and the swing can be exploited at the big league level. My concern is that the player I just described might be a role 55 player in today's game and I'm just not adjusting my internal barometer ("it's pronounced thermometer") enough. I'm a little torn on Bird, if you couldn't tell. I know some people I respect a lot are big believers.

Dennis (LA): Who are some of your favorite writers (fiction and non-fiction? Also, who do you like better in a keeper format with OBP instead of BA - Shin Soo Choo or Josh Hamilton?

Craig Goldstein: I think Choo bounces back in a big way. I really enjoyed a trilogy I just read by Laini Taylor (first book is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone). I love love love Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, which I know Keith Law has mentioned multiple times. I'm not the reader he is and I tend not to read non-fiction, so I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I tend to like YA novels more than most other genre's which might be less of a surprise than I think. I honestly spend most of my time reading baseball articles online rather than books, and if I'm going to name someone there, my favorite writer is Sam Miller. Yes, it's a total brown-nose move, but I honestly think he's one of the best baseball writers on the planet, so, it is what it is.

kkronstadt (LA): As a Dodger fan, I kind of want the Dodgers to say f* you to the Padres, take Kemp back, undo that deal and work out a revised deal for Rollins. Not because I want Kemp as much as I feel like the Padres are now jerking the Dodgers around. On a 20-80 scale, how much havoc would that wreak?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think it's that much to be honest. There'd be damage control to deal with in terms of the players involved, and dealing with bruised egos, but I do think it's a livable, if tenuous situation. I think the bigger issue would be with payroll, which of course the Dodgers can deal with but seem to prefer not to. The Rollins deal could be worked out (I like Eflin, but there are comparable players around) anyway. In terms of damage done, I think the worst of it is out there in terms of violating HIPAA and then other clubs knowing about Kemp's hips. Then again, most clubs would require a physical so it would have been discovered anyway.

The biggest thing to me is that we don't know the severity of the arthritis. If it's nascent, it might not affect Kemp significantly over the next five years, especially if the club is aware of it and can respond. On top of that, the info could have been leaked as a negotiating ploy. Leverage is everything and this could be a play at some. Those are all optimistic viewpoints from a Dodgers perspective, and it could be that the arthritis is bad and everything the Padres have done (aside from leak info) has been reasonable, but the point is there's a ton we don't know and we should stop pretending that we do.

Gammons (Boston): Never let stupidity hold back a chat, Craij.

Craig Goldstein: If it's not clear already, I've taken this advice quite seriously.

Justin (Bridgeport): 20 team dynasty. Both teams have had 3 straight losing seasons. Team 1 gives Giolito and Kris Bryant. Team 2 gives Bryce Harper. Which do you like better?

Craig Goldstein: Ugh. That seems fair to be honest. I'd probably roll with Harper and take the now value but it depends on a bit on roster construction/timetable to competition.

Gotribe31 (VA): OSU-UNC this weekend in a top-25 showdown...who ya got?

Craig Goldstein: I've got OSU because Marcus Paige is the only perimeter threat and he isn't running the point like he's capable of. He's deferring too much on the ball, and shooting too much when he's not running the point. He needs to be assertive and get to the rim, which should open up shots for some of their mid-range shooters like Jackson. Plus, he's always been good at passing on the interior after penetrating the first level of the defense. The UNC bigs have good hands and are usually good in those situations. Unless or until that happens though, I'm taking quality opponents over UNC.

Gravybill (Cow Town): What's with the odd rumor that Kaleb Cowart is going to become a pitcher? Have you heard anything?

Craig Goldstein: Is it that odd? Position players become pitchers a decent amount and while Cowart is a higher profile prospect than most, it's worth noting that part of that was the barren Angels farm system. He's stagnated for two years now, and always had a strong arm. Makes sense to me.

Charlie (Rockville): I had a breaded chicken sandwich with swiss cheese, bacon and honey mustard today. Please rate that, and Rizzo's ability as a GM.

Craig Goldstein: It's a 55 sandwich, potentially playing up to a 6 depending on the quality of the ingredients. A little heavy for my tastes, but good flavor profile overall.

JoJo (SD): Mark Anderson recent threw some cold water on the flame Bret Sayre ignited on TINO for Jesse Winker. Which side of the coin do you fall on, particularly for a contending dynasty team?

Craig Goldstein: Without knowing exactly what he said, I'm with Mark. I like Winker as a second division outfielder but I see the pop settling in closer to 20 than 25 home runs.

Gravybill1 (PA): Is it time we all gave up on Alberto Tirado? Is Duane Underwood legit coming off a solid season in A ball?

Craig Goldstein: I've address Tirado already, but I'll take Underwood. Is he a legitimately interesting prospect? Sure, but I'm not thinking of him as anything more than a potential back end guy right now. He's not likely to be a fast mover, either. He's a name to know, but not someone worth frothing at the mouth over.

Kyle (New York): Where does Jesse Winker rank among dynasty prospects? Did his AFL performance start to answer some of the questions about his ability to handle advanced pitching?

Craig Goldstein: I probably would have him right around 50 in my personal list, but my guess is that I'm lower on him than others. He's probably a top 40 guy in most lists.

Colin (WI): Will TINO (or at least the fun half ie you and Mal) be making an appearance at the Milwaukee BP event?

Craig Goldstein: Mal has a better chance than I do since he's in the Chicago area, and I'm out in DC. We'll see what my schedule looks like a little close to that date. This is was so so so cold to Ben and Bret.

Gotribe31 (VA): if you had to give up either pie or sandwiches for the rest of your life, which would you pick and why?

Craig Goldstein: I'd rather give up my life

John (Columbus): Are Joe Mauer or Billy Butler still relevant in fantasy?

Craig Goldstein: PUT DOWN THE SHOVELS. No need to bury a guy after a bad season. Yes, both are still relevant, and I think Mauer is pretty underrated. Go look at 2013. He was pretty dang good.

BravesFan (Atlanta): Will BJ Upton ever not suck again? How much longer can the Braves deal with his mediocrity before they eat that contract? No one's stupid enough to trade for this tool. Are they?

Craig Goldstein: First off - not a fan of calling a player a tool, unless they earn it off the field. By all accounts BJ is a really outgoing likable guy. I'm sorry he hasn't performed for your favorite team, but we're still talking about people here, not commodities.

As far as performance, I'm not anticipating a drastic uptick. He's lost and I'm not sure he finds his way out. There's no one quick fix. It's likely a series of fixes, and a long, hard road to get there. I guarantee he wants to be good again as much or more than you want him to be good again. He can still be a decent defender, so if Atlanta is willing to eat the majority of his deal, I'm sure he's movable. Then again, if they're willing to eat that much, they might as well hold him.

tbwhite (Heaven): Pulled pork, extra sharp provolone, broccoli rabe, and crusty yet chewy italian roll.

Craig Goldstein: Man. Depends on the pork, and the sauce to be honest. I'm not a big "sauce" guy so BBQ can be hit or miss with me, but this has all the workings of a great sandwich. I'm going to call it an easy 50, with a 70 OFP

Sean (Los Angeles): If you were in a dynasty points league and needed an SP, who is an undervalued veteran arm that you'd go hard after?

Craig Goldstein: I think Jason Hammel is gonna be pretty good back with the Cubs.

John (Col): Is Travis d'Arnaud a top 10 fantasy catcher in 2015?

Craig Goldstein: If he can stay healthy, yes. The production will be there.

Alex (Anaheim): Are there any more BP Spring Training events in the future? My sister won't stop talking about the one we went to in 2007.

Craig Goldstein: The honest answer here is I don't know. The only set event right now is in Milwaukee. BP should have a big presence out in Arizona though, so event or not, we'll be out there.

Shawn (Cubicle): Assuming Mike Trout is #1, who are picks #2-5 this year?

Craig Goldstein: Cabrera, Abreu, McCutchen, Stanton? Goldschmidt is probably in there too.

kate (texas): Is a poptart a sandwich?

Craig Goldstein: Poptarts are barely even food.

AJ (Phoenix): My wallet has a snap button pouch for change. No question here. Just rubbing it in.

Craig Goldstein: I understand your temptation to brag, but I've had these. The snap button makes the wallet unnecessarily bulky to me, and the pouches are never big enough to carry a serious amount of change. I'm happy to throw my change in with the bills.

Gotribe31 (VA): What do you expect out of Joey Votto next year and long-term? More/less value than Jose Abreu in a keeper league that uses OBP?

Craig Goldstein: I think Votto bounces back. The injuries are an obvious concern, but I like Votto a healthy amount, especially in OBP leagues. Long-term I'm less optimistic because power was never a strongsuit and I don't see that changing anytime soon. He was able to supplement his value through stolen bases, but if the injuries sap his speed or willingness to run, he loses substantial value. I'll be rolling with Abreu. Votto might outperform him here or there over the years, but Abreu is the more consistent presence, I'd guess.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): True or False. John Daniels screwed the pooch for 2015 so its better just to sit tight and wait for Gallo, Profar, Perez, Alfaro etc and start the dynasty in 2016?

Craig Goldstein: False? I don't think waiting around for prospects is a useful or viable strategy, really. This underrates the risks inherent in prospects themselves. I feel like Texas fans should especially understand this given what Profar has been through. Texas' farm is one of the deeper ones around and given some teams' reluctance to move quality prospects, there is likely some value to be had if Texas decides to dip into their depth. I don't know that they're a competitive team in 2015, but I don't know that that's Daniels "screwing the pooch" either. You can not make the playoffs and still not be a total screw up.

My Name Is Nobody (Wild West): Bit of an abstract question, but I'll try not to make it too dry. Two minor league bats, both slightly above avg. ISO, but one gets many XBH's on liners/grounders to left & right field. The other has his XBH's almost exclusively on deep fly balls to CF, with a few liners mixed in. How would you project the power for each? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: It's an interesting scenario but it's hard to answer with just the location of the hits paires with flies/liners. I guess I'd question how those batted ball profiles came to be? Are the deep fly balls with an occasional liner because the player has an elongated swing, which grants him the extra power, but makes contact less likely, which can be exploited at the upper levels? Or is it generated by batspeed and the ability to backspin the ball, with fewer holes? Is the guy hitting grounders and line drives out in front of those pitches and eating up lots of mistake pitches or is he doing it against premium velocity?

There are a lot of factors involved, and if I was going to bank on one thing to portend power I guess I'd choose the deep fly ball player, but I don't think stripping the other factors out of the equation is particularly productive or educational.

Evil Twin Spotter (secret lair): Is Kevin your evil twin? Orrr are you HIS? Also, could you name 3 or 4 rookieball guys who could break out in 2015? (Okay to cite guys we've all heard of, like Devers for instance.) Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: Kevin and I aren't related but if we're going in this direction, I'm the fourth clone from Multiplicity who puts pizza in his wallet.

Devers is a good one, and I've already mentioned Molina. I like Barreto and Grant Holmes too.

Matt (Cambridge): Hey Craig. I'm curious on your thoughts on Jon Lester in 2015. I recently wrote a piece suggesting that he found a release point for the curveball that was more consistent with his other pitches that provided greater deception vs. RHH. It was similar in 2009-2010, but fell apart in 2011-2013. It generated 41% whiffs/swing vs. RHH compared to just 25% in previous years and slugging just .151 compared to .338 in 2013. His strikeout rate vs. righties rose from league average to above a batter per inning. Why has this been lost on people? Are you buying that the changes are sustainable?

Craig Goldstein: This is a good, in depth question, but I'd caution against assuming anything is "lost on people." The vast majority of people don't give a flying **** about Jon Lester's whiff rate on his curve, so it's not lost on them so much as they're not analysts who are trying to explain what's going on. I think the release point is a nice find, to be honest and likely has some truth to it, but more than anything you're correlating things, which doesn't necessarily denote causation.

I also would not that the emphasis on the curveball is a bit surprising to me. Yes it took a huge jump but he also about 600 of them, compared to 1100 cutters, which your article noted a jump in whiff/swing too. Given the volume difference, I think the cutter had at least as much of an impact on his season than did the curve. This is before we even get to sequencing or anything like that. Again, it's a good find, in terms of release point and the effects that it may of have on Lester's season, but it's not a complete picture in terms of *how* that whiff/swing changed.

I'd also caution going all in on rate stats without providing the frame of reference that is the raw pitch count data. We're talking a 41% whiff/swing rate on the curve, but the actuality of that is 111 swings and misses over the course of a whole season. The other issue to me with whiff/swing is it discounts the called strike to a degree. I don't know if that degree is correct or not, but I'd think it was worth finding out.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): I've heard Kris Bryant is a Jeff Bagwell type ceiling with the bat. Do you ever see .300 averages to go along with the 40homerun power? Where have all the thumping 1b gone? Goldschmidt is the only dude.

Craig Goldstein: Dude, Jose Abreu is right over there, and Miguel Cabrera is right behind him. I wouldn't put the expectation of a .300 average on Bryant but I'm not going to tell you it's impossible.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Which are your favorite Twitter pets?

Craig Goldstein: Pearl, Ernie, Archer Cat, Tammi Cat, Joey Cat, Oscar, Carsley's dog whose name I don't know but is beautiful and full of himself, aaaaaand I think that's it. It being all the pets I know on twitter. I love all the pets. Tweet more pictures of your pets, people.

Sheldon Leonard Little Debbie Allen Craig Goldstei (Shangri-La): The last six World Series champs missed the playoffs the preceding season. Other than Boston, who's your best bet to do so in 2015? (I say Toronto. Love that Donaldson theft.) Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: Oh man, that's a pretty fun question. I'll take the Marlins, with a backup choice for the Tribe.

The Dude (Couch ): Forget the wallet, a money clip (with space for debit card/license) is a game changer

Craig Goldstein: what do you do with your change though? this isn't a solution, this just causes more problems.

LGBT (Evanston, Il): Please rank: Chicago Italian Beef Maryland pit beef Philly cheesesteak.

Craig Goldstein: Some one wants to start a fight. Cheesesteak, Pit Beef, Italian Beef for me, but I love them all.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): Does Bryce Harper produce MVP discussion worthy numbers this year?

Craig Goldstein: Sure why not. I thought he would last year and I likely will think so every year for the foreseeable future.

Bill (New Mexico): Speaking of Molinas, Yadier M was starting to show some wear and tear this past year, and he won't last forever. Any ideas what the Cardinals do to prepare for a post-Molina future? There isn't much catching talent in their farm system, as far as I can see.

Craig Goldstein: I don't know that they have to address it. Lining up future options isn't always the best use of your assets. Impact catchers are hard to find, but you can live with a fair number of guys behind the plate, especially if you truly value defense. Carson Kelly converted from 3B to catcher and while the numbers aren't eyepopping, scouts tend to like him a little bit. They'll probably cross that bridge when they get closer to it, if not when they come to it.

tbwhite (Heaven): There's no sauce, other than delicious pork juice and lots of italian herbs and spices....

Craig Goldstein: This is a right and good statement, and you should all learn from it.

bgrosnick (Ann Arbor): Please pick a favorite baseball move of the offseason, based on any criteria you deem acceptable, or aesthetics.

Craig Goldstein: Hard for me to top Turner/Ross for Souza, but I'll put getting Brandon Moss for Joe Wendle up against anything. I like Joe Wendle a bit, but I'm a huge Moss fan, and pending the condition of his hip after surgery, think that's a big, big addition to Cleveland's lineup.

Colin (WI): Ben is a Red Sox fan. By definition he cannot be fun. Bret is fun, but he's probably busy scouring the globe for Pepsi One. As an actual question, what do you see Jimmy Nelson producing this year? Top 30 pitcher?

Craig Goldstein: I was once like you, surrounded by Red Sox fans and full of anger, but Ben can be pretty fun. You're 100% right about Bret though. No where close to top 30. I like Nelson, but I think top 50 SP is more the ceiling for 2015

Myrick (Charleston, SC): Project Harpers HR totals next 3 years?

Craig Goldstein: 31, 38, 33. I'm in the tank for Bryce.

tomshipley75 (Underneath the Florescent Lights): How much does the AL/NL switch bump Lester's value? Is he a top-10 SP?

Craig Goldstein: It helps. He's right around that back group there. Probably in my 8-12 range, but I haven't planned it all out yet.

John (Boston): What do you expect from Hanley in Boston this year with the move to LF? The same sometimes spectacular but wholly inconsistent production? Or do you think with the move to LF that he can stay healthier and maybe produce better? What's your gut feeling on that?

Craig Goldstein: Gut feeling is that he's mostly the same guy. Better hitting environment helps, but switching leagues hurts, and being on the field is the biggest issue. Special talent though.

Matt (MD): What are your thoughts on Aristides Aquino? I was a little surprised not to see him crack the Reds top 10 prospects list.

Craig Goldstein: He's a high risk investment at present. He was in the On The Rise section, so it's not like we're not keyed in on the guy. He fills out the uniform beautifully, and is a pleasure to dream on, but I felt we were realistic in factoring in the potential pitfalls along the way. There are lots of guys with his profile that have failed to progress upon hitting the upper levels of the minors (or took time to figure it out). That puts his timetable sufficiently far enough from the big leagues that I don't think excluding him from the 10 ranked guys was unreasonable. I'd like to see what he does in full-season ball before putting too much expectation on him. He's a nice slow-and-low type prospect though. Could pop up in a big way a few years down the line.

R.A.Wagman (Hannukah): Are two latkahs a sandwich?

Craig Goldstein: Nope. They're two latkes. Think it through.

R.A. Wagman (Hannukah): Is a sufganiyah a sandwich?

Craig Goldstein: No, it's a donut, come on.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): Billy Hamilton, on his way up or on his way out after this year?

Craig Goldstein: Seriously?

KLaw (AZ): Still hate you.

Craig Goldstein: Right there with ya, buddy

Chris (Baltimore): Last year in a super deep league I drafted Urias with my last pick. Who might I target this year? Tapia?

Craig Goldstein: I'm superconfused how this is a super deep league but these guys are available with your last pick, unless you mean there's no minor league roster. Yeah Tapia is a fine option if you're willing to waste 2-3+ years of a bench spot on a guy who won't contribute. That's not my preferred way of doing things.

ProBeauNO (New Orleans): Thoughts on Cory Spangenberg this year and longterm? Ceiling - probability?

Craig Goldstein: Ceiling of a starter on a bad team, likelihood of of a superutility type. Can play 2B/3B/OF and make decent contact. Nice little bench guy to have until he gets expensive.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): Chris Davis with prescribed Adderall hits 35 homers this year?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think 35 homers is out of the question, adderall or not.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Is this year too early to grab Giolito or Trea Turner if they can be had for $1 in the auction? (8-team, NL-only, standard 5x5 keeper league where each team gets 8 keepers. Salary would be $1 in '15, then $3, $7, $15 over the next 3.)

Craig Goldstein: Yes and Yes. Too early for both.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you know of anywhere to look to join competitive dynasty leagues (with farm systems)? Can't seem to find anyone I know interested

Craig Goldstein: I'm so wonderfully popular people just invite me to things. No but seriously I have no idea, I'm only in two dynasty leagues and was invited randomly both times. Can anyone help Shawn out?

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): You can pick one of the following pitchers to win a game with your life depending on it, the kicker is you get their career best stuff that day: Big Unit, Pedro, Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Kerry Wood, Maddux, Doc Gooden, Gibson, Koufax Who do you choose and why?

Craig Goldstein: Pedro because he's Pedro.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Any pitchers you see taking a Kluber/Arrieta type leap this year? Gerritt Cole maybe?

Craig Goldstein: Cole can definitely take a leap, but the Kluber/Arrieta types are harder to predict (hats off to those who did so though). I think Carrasco could be that guy this year, but he's already hinted at it. Once he got going from the stretch instead of the windup, he was much more under control and in command of his pitches.

Grimace (Chicago): Should average with RISP be naturally higher because sac flies don't count against that stat? So fly ball hitters should have a more positive difference. Just a thought for the "clutch" argument, I guess.

Craig Goldstein: It's an interesting point, and one that I can't see a flaw with at present. Then again, if what you need is a run, then the sac fly can be considered clutch, to an extent.

Tee Tee (Floor Floor): 1-10 odds of Moncada signing before March? If so, where is he drafted in minor/rookie dynasty drafts?

Craig Goldstein: I'll go 8. I think he gets cleared by OFAC before then, and after that I think he signs pretty quickly. Completely gut feels on my part on both of those, though.

Torch02 (Langwieden, Germany): Would you rather "not fight a coconut crab" or "eat a sandwich"?

Craig Goldstein: I'll take on a Coco Crab if I get to eat a sandwich first.

The Dude (Office): Re: Lucas Giolito- people (not necessarily here at BP, but some writers at other sites) are tempering expectations on him, but if we can't get excited about him, then who can we get excited about? If it clicks, then in the words of the Professor, "FUUUUCKKK."

Craig Goldstein: We're far enough into the chat that I can probably sneak this obscenity in, since I don't know how to edit it out of the question. Yeah, of course get excited. But being annoyed at someone for tempering expectations is silly too. They're doing their best job to be accurate about a player. If that doesn't jive with your highest hopes, that's ok, but not something that they did wrong.

And in the words of the Professor: "get excited about Swayze"

Kevin (DC): If Rafael Devers, Eloy Jimenez, and Gleyber Torres were available in the 2015 draft, how high would they be ranked? How do they compare with recent high schools draftees (Jackson, Frazier, Meadows, etc.)?

Craig Goldstein: It's a good question I can't really answer right now. I don't think they'd top the lists, exactly but it's hard to say since they've also had the benefit of pro ball. Devers or Torres would rank highest, based on polish and positional value, I'd guess, but I'd still be looking at guys like Matuella above them. Still, we're so far out from the draft, that I don't think it's particularly useful to rank draft guys at present.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): a 13 man staff made up of 1 true Ace for the must win games, 3 Knucklers that can eat innings and 9 stud RP would be both cheaper and potentially more effective than a traditional staff? #thinkaboutit

Craig Goldstein: This seems like a better question for Effectively Wild, but I'd be pretty concerned about the nights that the hypothetical knuckleballers can't eat innings or just get worn out. I'd also be concerned about the knuckleball losing effectiveness the more hitters are able to see it. It's not something I know would be the case, but I'd posit that the more knuckleballers there are in the majors, the less effective the pitch becomes in general.

Greenie (Takoma Park): Best sandwich in DC area?

Craig Goldstein: Oh man, might be the Cuban from Earl's in Arlington, VA. Not sure if you count that as the DC area or not. DC isn't the best spot for sandwiches. I'm also partial to a place called The Market on Boulevard off macarthur boulevard in Maryland. Really nice club sandwich.

Joc Pederson (Not AAA): Am I a lock to be a starter in LA now? Or at least to break camp with the big club? Any reason the Dodgers would delay my service clock now, despite calling me up last year?

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't say a lock just yet, but assuming Kemp gets dealt, and Ethier goes away somehow, I think Pederson is a platoon guy with Heisey at least. I don't *think* they'd play service time games, but I wouldn't say Pederson looked like a world-beater either, and surviving with Heisey in CF while Pederson gets on track in Triple-a and getting another year of control isn't a stupid thing to do either.

rangerfans2 (Fort Worth): 95 MPH and a knuckleball for a change. Would the mechanics of throwing a knuckleball telegraph the pitch, or could a pitcher throw it hard like R.A. Dickey and become an impossible match-up?

Craig Goldstein: Why not just throw a 95 MPH knuckle ball? Why not make the whole plane out of the knuckleball?

But seriously, Charlie Haeger proved that 94 MPH fastball and a knuckleball isn't a lock to work.

Brisbee the Frisbee (Up in the Air): Can this be my nickname from now on?

Craig Goldstein: You can call yourself whatever you want, we're throwing down when next we meet.

Gotribe31 (VA): Marry/F/Kill; Mike Ferrin, CJ Witt, Mort

Craig Goldstein: Ok. Now it's time to go.

BomboRiviera (TX): Could you rank Nick Williams, Manuel Margot and Ryan McMahon? Thanks for the chat!

Craig Goldstein: Ok fine, a quick two more before I go: I'd swap McMahon in front of Margot, but otherwise that's the order for fantasy.

Greenie (Takoma Park): Awesome. Those count as DC area for sure. Check out the Carving Room at 4th and G NW -- the roast pork and roast turkey sandwiches are outstanding.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks! I'll definitely hit it up.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks for the questions, suggestions, and getting me in trouble with twitter over pets. Feel free to continue the #converCraigtion over there.

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