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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday March 06, 2015 2:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.


Christopher Crawford is the Senior Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus. Welcome him aboard with insanely obscure prospect questions.

Christopher Crawford: Hello everyone. Opening this up a little early because I'm a "if you're not early you're late" kind of guy, and because I want you guys to be able to get as many questions in as possible.

Nelly (Ville): If peter piper picked peppers and run rocked rhymes what will Nick Frazoo Franklin do?

Christopher Crawford: Something about humpty dumpty falling, I was never really into Run DMC or fairy tales or Nick Franklin to be completely honest.

Chris (Wherever ): Are you going to be the Dwayne Wade to Kiley McDaniel's LeBron James and convince to join BP too, thus forming the 2010 Miami Heat of amateur scouting staffs?

Christopher Crawford: Wait, Kiley is LeBron? Kiley is Chris Bosh at best, and I might say he's more James Jones or Mario Chalmers.

I kid, I love Kiley.

John (Chicago): Are you buying the hype on Souza? Is 20/20 with a .340 OBP realistic?

Christopher Crawford: That's the ceiling, but I'm not sure he ever gets to that point. I think he can be a competent starter in a corner, but I prefer him more as a solid bench bat. The industry is very torn on him, however.

king kang (KBO): *IF* Hector Olivera has a balky UCL does anyone sign him? Not just this year, but ever. Given previous health, age questions, and at least 12-months rehab we are looking at a 31yo (at a min) MI when the age gremlins tend to sap MI goodness in the age 32/33 seasons.

Christopher Crawford: I still think someone gives him a chance. He's a potential first-division regular, and assuming he doesn't ask for the moon -- and there's no reason for anyone to give him the moon or for him to ask -- he'll sign at some point.

Jesse (NY): Do you think there is prospect fatigue with Carlos Rodon? He went from the best left hander since Price, and future stud, to fairly ordinary, relatively speaking, in short order.

Christopher Crawford: I don't know if it's so much fatigue as it is that he wasn't very good this spring. Based on what I saw this summer after signing, and what I saw from him as a freshman and sophomore, I think he's the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball.

Phil (Motor City): Fantasy Question.....said on Twitter we could ask you anything, hope you don't mind.....how should one approach an auction differently as a fantasy baseball league size increases from 10 to 12 or from 12 to 14 participants? Thanks for your advice!

Christopher Crawford: Boy I'm not good at the auction stuff. I'll just say my strategy is always to let people overpay for stars and trust that you'll get plenty of good players later when they have no cash left. Hope that helps.

Doug (St. Louis): Who's the top prospect in the 2015 draft?

Christopher Crawford: I still think it's Brady Aiken. Three 60 pitches, potentially 60 command, left-handed. He's really good.

Matt (Cambridge): I am feeling...things after watching Matt Harvey. Wonderful Things!

Christopher Crawford: Go with those feelings. Go with them.

Wrightfan (NY): The Savannah pitching staff was great for the Mets last year. Of Gsselman, Diaz, Whalen, Flexen (who was hurt), and Gant who do you feel has the most potential?

Christopher Crawford: To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of any of those guys, but if I'm icking one I go with Gant. That park is going to make a lot of pitchers look good and make guys like Dominic Smith look bad.

Paul (DC): Realmuto vs Susac, who's the better defensive catcher and who's the better hitter?

Christopher Crawford: That's really tough, and I really like both. I think Realmuto is more likely to get on base, Susac more likely to hit for power, and they both have a great chance to stick behind the plate. How's that for a non-answer?

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Chris, who do you have as some of your favorite Low Minor, high ceiling prospects to keep an eye on for 2015, and are looking to hop on their train before their stock gains recognition this season, ex. Tapia last pre-season or Devers by its conclusion?

Christopher Crawford: Hmm, that's a good question. The first name that pops in my mind is Amed Rosario, but maybe he's a little too famous now to qualify. I'd have to think on that one and give you a better answer in the next chat.

Matt (San Diego ): Who is your pick to win al west? Also will urias be better than Kershaw?

Christopher Crawford: I think Seattle is the most complete team, and good Lord no, but I love Urias.

Ronson (On the Scratches): What do you make of the Angels backup C situation? Would you go with Bandy or Perez or what?

Christopher Crawford: Boy that's umm, not a great group. Pass. Nah I probably go with Bandy or Butera.

Pkumar (Houston): Expectations for Bundy this year? Doesn't seem to be room in the Orioles rotation, esp if Gausman develops as expected. Maybe a relief role later in the season?

Christopher Crawford: Tempered. Bundy when healthy is as good as any pitching prospect in baseball including Giolito. There's no reason to rush him, so I'd see if I could get 140-150 innings out of him in Double/Triple A.

Pelecos (granville): Hey Chris, so glad to see You in this new role. I was wondering what is your advice for a 20 year old looking to get inTo scouting? Also, any possible 2015 draftees in the central Ohio area? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: DON'T DO IT.

Kidding. My advice would be to go to as many games as possible, talk to scouts before games (not during) and work your butt off.

As for Ohio, the only guy in Ohio I can think of off the top of the head is Chandler Day, but he's in Cincinnati, and while I'm bad at geography I do believe that's not central Ohio.

Matt (San Diego): Does mike zunino remind you of buster posey?

Christopher Crawford: In that they're both catchers who bat right-handed and were drafted early out of schools from Florida? Yes. In skill-set? Not really, no.

Swamp Gator (Jacksonville): Mikey Mahtook = or > Brandon Guyer?

Christopher Crawford: I would go with >. I'm still high on him, and while I doubt he ever ends up a starter, I actually think there's more upside in his bat than Souza. Call me crazy. Actually don't.

Paul (DC): Jace (Peterson) or Jake (Lamb)? Who plays more with the Big Club in 2015? Who plays better?

Christopher Crawford: Lamb, and Lamb is the better prospect.

Philip (San Diego ): Any padres sleeper prospect you like?

Christopher Crawford: Good question. I'm never really sure what qualifies as a sleeper prospect, but I really like Jordan Paroubeck still. Switch hitter with a chance to hit for power and he can run. Light years away but very intriguing athlete.

Matt (San Diego): Around what round do you see bubba derby drafted? Size working against him?

Christopher Crawford: He goes somewhere in the first eight rounds, but the fact he's only 5'11" definitely works against him. Very interesting relief prospect though, I think he can miss bats out of the bullpen.

Swamp Gator (Jacksonville): How good is Kyle Freeland?

Christopher Crawford: Very good. Two 60 pitches and a potential 50. I don't love the arm-slot, but this isn't a Medeiros situation, in my opinion. I think he'll be a top of the rotation starter.

Steve (Seattle): Are you worried about Gareth Morgan's potential based on his performance in the AZL last year? Do you think his power ever plays up or is he just the next Larry Greene?

Christopher Crawford: I was worried about Gareth Morgan before his performance in AZL, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask. That being said, that sample size is pretty darn small. The Larry Greene comp is interesting, but he's a lot better athlete. I think he becomes a contributor on a big league club in the next three-four years.

The Replacement Level Frazoo (Cali): Scott Schebler - legit 1st division type or just Dodgers hype machine?

Christopher Crawford: Is he getting that kind of hype? He shouldn't be getting that kind of hype. I think he's a solid bench bat, nothing more.

Julio Urias (Spring Training): I am hurt that you like Rodon more than me.

Christopher Crawford: Baby I, apologize, for all the things that I just said about Rodon.

Bet you guys didn't know you'd get some K-CI & JoJo today did ya?

Silverback38 (Va beach): What are your thoughts on Gilberto Lara?

Christopher Crawford: I haven't seen Lara in person? But based on the tape/the scouts I spoke with about him, I think he's the Brewers best prospect. Three potential plus tools in the hit, ower and arm and I think he can be an elite third baseman. Just a little too big right now for me to project at shortstop.

Steve (Minnesota): Let's get insanely obscure. What are your thoughts on Lewin Diaz? Where do you think he'll start the year and where do you think he finishes?

Christopher Crawford: YOU CAN'T STUMP ME!

Another guy I haven't seen in person, but reports are that he has above-average pop and he has an advanced feel at the plate. Many, many years away from contributing, but that'd qualify as a sleeper prospect.

Prich (Teaching Class): Any reason to think Patrick Kivlehan is not just the redeux of Vinny Catricalla and Stefen Romero?

Christopher Crawford: Yes. Kivlehan is good at playing baseball. Those other guys aren't.

That's my first snarky comment as a member of BP. Hope you're proud of me, Keith.

In all seriousness the industry is higher on Kivlehan than I am, but he's a quality athlete and he gets better each year. He's a potential regular. Those other guys never were.

Bill Clinton (Las Vegas): Who are some prospects that you are personally higher on than others? Who are some you're lower on than others too? Thanks Chris and welcome to BP.

Christopher Crawford: Dang, the president is congratulating me. This truly is the greatest day!

I feel like I'm a lot higher on Austin Meadows than everyone else. I see a ton of plus tools, and I think he could win a batting title someday while playing a quality centerfield. That's pretty good, right?

Couple guys I'm lower on are Clint Frazier, Nomar Mazara and Matz. I say Matz because I can't recall if it's Stephen or Steven. Sorry, Matz.

Victor (Maryland): Will Magneuris Sierra separate himself and skyrocket up prospect lists this year? ( or at least get on it since he's so young)

Christopher Crawford: Now THERE'S a sleeper prospect. In fact, I had never heard of Sierra until Keith brought him to my attention last fall. Plus speed, lus hit tool and as he gets stronger I think he'll turn some of those doubles into triples. Long way to go, but talent is immense.

Sammy (Salem): Are you as high on Rafael Devers as everyone else in the industry?

Christopher Crawford: Oh yes. Very much so. Bat speed is impressive, and he could have a few 60's when it's all said and done. It wouldn't shock me if he rose fast through the system, too. The Red Sox have no reason to rush him, though.

Paul (DC): Dilson Herrara, is he the new Luis Castillo (minus a fair number of steals, but with maybe a little more pop) of second basemen?

Christopher Crawford: As in is he a starting second baseman for the Mets? I think so. I am still stunned the Pirates gave him and Black up in that Marlon Byrd trade. That was one of the rare moves made by that front office that I questioned immediately. I think he'll be a regular for a long time.

Basil (San Angelo): A lot of people are hyped on Brett Phillips while others say he is just a guy? Your opinion?

Christopher Crawford: I gotta be honest, when I did my list for Draft To The Show, I didn't have Phillips in my top 10. That was really, really stupid. I don't think he's a top 100 prospect, but I do think he's got enough athleticism and offensive firepower to be a quality regular in 2016.

Josh Staumont (Pacific): Hey CC, I'm big with an ideal pitcher's frame and throw fastballs in the upper 90s like I'm playing catch. I'll admit I could use some help with command but I also have a pretty nasty curveball. What round do you see me getting drafted this June?

Christopher Crawford: Hi Josh! Well, you throw really, really hard. And you've got a pretty good yacker too. Nothing you've said is incorrect. You're underselling your bad command though. I think you go in the first three rounds, but you're a reliever. You'll make a lot of money though playing a game. So you got that going for you. Which is nice.

Emmanuel Goldstein (The Party Headquarters): 2015 draft prospects people are sleeping on right now?

Christopher Crawford: I was going to make a snarky answer about literally sleeping on top of them and using them as pillows, but I didn't. Hope you're proud of me, Keith. I think people still are underselling just how good Dillon Tate could be. Yes the delivery is bad, but he's so athletic and the arm is so strong it may not matter. He's the only guy in this class that I see with two plus-plus pitches, and if he falls out of the top 10 -- assuming he's healthy -- it's a mistake. Also Nick Plummer. Nick Plummer can really, really hit.

Joe (Milwaukee): Any Brewers sleeper prospect you like?

Christopher Crawford: The Brewers have other prospects?

That's a really bad system, but Michael Reed is sort of interesting. Plus speed and very good approach at the plate. Could be a nice fourth outfielder.

Dante Terrell Smith (Brooklyn): Everybody fair-minded and sensible hates the international draft, but for your job is it secretly going to be a boon? Readers will all of a sudden be interested in international draft prospects as they are about Texas high schools, right?

Christopher Crawford: You're absolutely right. People would pay far more attention to it, and I'm sure it would help with page views.

Every draft should be abolished though.

Daniel (Ohio): Is Aaron Sanchez more a #2 starter with high strikeout totals, a #3 or 4 starter with poor ratios or an elite closer in 2-3 years?

Christopher Crawford: Yes.

The safe thing is to pick the No. 3 or No. 4, but I'd probably go with the closer. I think he's a victim of his success last year.

James (Alcorn St): Can you name some prospects outside of most top 50 rankings that may jump into the top 10-15 tier by this time next year?

Christopher Crawford: Obviously not a lock that this will happen, but Margot, Devers, Tapia, Reynaldo Lopez, Alex Reyes, Grant Holmes

Brandon (Connecticut): Who do you like better long term: Alex Jackson or David Dahl?

Christopher Crawford: Don't make me choose Brandon!

Okay I will. I choose Dahl, just because of the positional value. They're both top 40 prospects, though.

WIlliam (New YOrk): Feels to me like there was more disagreement about prospects on various top 100 and top 200 lists this winter (BP, Keith, BA, Kiley) than I recall. Did you notice this, do you think I'm imagining it, is there a reason, is it a good thing?

Christopher Crawford: I think there was a little more than previous years, yes. I think that's just because there are so many volatile prospects, but a little disagreement never hurt. Life would be boring if everyone agreed with everything. I do sometimes see lists and have thoughts pop in my head like "what the heck is that guy/girl thinking????" but at the end of the day these are all good lists. Look at me being anti-confrontation. Hope you're proud of me, Keith.

Paul (DC): When (if ever) does Domingo Santana push himself into the very crowded Astro's outfield mix?

Christopher Crawford: Boy he was bad in his time with the Astros, but that was such a SSS. I think if he hits in Triple-A like he did last year he gets another shot, and it wouldn't shock me. There's talent there.

Matthew (San Diego): Tell me about Giovanny Urshela? Solid potential with what kind of upside?

Christopher Crawford: I can. And I will. He's one of the best defensive 3B prospects I've seen in quite some time, and he's got quality bat-to-barrel skills. I think he's a starter, maybe even an above-average one.

Artemis (Philadelphia): Matz or Syndergaard?

Christopher Crawford: Syndergaard, by a lot. Syndergaard would have to eat an awful lot of sandwiches in the clubhouse for me to change my mind.

Boy was that whole thing stupid or what?

Mike (Boston): Triple slash line for Rafael Devers at his peak?

Christopher Crawford: At his very best? 300/350/470.

John (Chicago): Is Mark Appel anything more than a #3 starter? If that is where he ends up, would you consider him a bust considering where he was drafted?

Christopher Crawford: I think he's a potential ace, more than likely a No. 2. I don't think a mid-rotation starter would make him a "bust?" But, it would be a slight disappointment.

Thief (Your Truck): Thanks for the opportunity!

Christopher Crawford: DON'T TOUCH MY TRUCK, BRUH.

Prich (On Break): Assuming the shoulder holds up (HUGE if, I know), Hultzen still have #4 starter 'not-laughable' upside?

Christopher Crawford: The biggest if's in the history of if's, but absolutely. There are three 55 pitches and he throws em for strikes. There's just a heck of a lot more questions than answers there right now.

Steve (PHILLY): I'll still try to stump you. How come Gabriel Mejia from the Indians never seems to get mentioned as a prospect down the line? His stolen base numbers in the DSL seem to indicate he has at least 70 Speed...

Christopher Crawford: It's a good question. He was fantastic in the DOSL and he can fly, but I think outside of the patience at the plate everything else is below-average.

Tim (Maryland): OBP keeper league, Yasel Puig or Corey Dickerson? Or are they pretty close?

Christopher Crawford: Only reason it's close is because it's OBP. I can't say no to Puig though. It could be an AL-Only, Pitcher-Only no players with the initials YP league, and I'd still find a way to get him on my roster.

Gee (Alameda): Joe Panik strike you as a guy who can be a full-time, league-average 2B?

Christopher Crawford: Yep. I think that's exactly what he is. It's funny, I thought Panik was my favorite "sleeper" going into that draft, and then he ended up going a round too high. Now I think it was a fine pick. In other words, I don't know what I'm talking about. Don't tell Sam.

Victor (Dumfries): Do you think Jorge Mateo is truly 80 speed? and does he have any other plus tricks?

Christopher Crawford: EASY 80. If you could give him a 90 or 100 on the 20-80 scale you would. And yes. He's got a 50 hit tool and a 50+ glove. He's a good one, but many, many years away from contributing, in my humble estimation.

kylanje (FL): Tell us about Tim Anderson, can he really become a fantasy force at SS if he can stick there defensively? Is he a young Ian Desmond?

Christopher Crawford: I think he's a fantasy stalwart. Guy who can hit for average, steal plenty of bases and play a premium position? Yes please. There's some sneaky power there, too.

GI JIM (Uranus): Which of these "fringe" prospects can you see playing beyond this label and their division 2 projections and being above average regulars some day? Mac Williamson, Preston Tucker, Darnell Sweeney, Tony Kemp, Devon Travis?

Christopher Crawford: Do you remember the seen in 30 rock when Kenneth is Tracey's work wife and he gives him the plan for the day and then Tracey says "I'M NOT DOING ANY OF THAT!" ?

That's how I feel about the names you just mentioned. Sweeney and Kemp the best of the bunch though.

johnburkland (Nyc): Patrick Kivelhan a major league regular?

Christopher Crawford: Potentially, yes. I think I answered a question about him earlier but I can't remember. Today has been a bit crazy.

Gee (Alameda): Does Aiken take less to sign because of everything that happened last year, or will whichever team drafts him not care/not use that as leverage?

Christopher Crawford: I think he's still got leverage, because he's the best prospect in the class. The best player in the class is going to get paid. Last year being the weird exception to the rule, of course.

William (New York): How tall would a prospect have to be for you to hold it against him? For hitters, and for pitchers. I think a 6-11 hitter and a 7-3 pitcher would be too scary to invest in.

Christopher Crawford: Oh this is a great question. For a hitter? Anything over 6-7 would be tough for me. In fact, Judge concerned me being 6-7. For a pitcher, I'm not so sure. Probably anything over 7. That's a fun one. I would love to see a 6-8 shortstop someday. I just think that'd be fun.

JamesCybulski (Toronto): Daniel Norris looked pretty good last night in his spring debut against the Orioles. If he wins the fifth starter job out of camp can you see him winning the rookie of the year? What kind of numbers would you project him for? 10+ wins with a sub 4 era, and an 8+/K9 realistic?

Christopher Crawford: Absolutely think he'd be a candidate for ROY. He's going to miss bats, and though the command isn't quite there yet, it's good enough to keep the ERA quality. He's one of the 20 best prospects in baseball and he's pretty close to being ready.

John (NYC): I know he is not a prospect anymore, but Does Travis d'Arnaud still have the hit tool. 2 years ago everybody said his bat would get him in the lineup everyday. Now, I cant find a projection that gives him an OBP over .320

Christopher Crawford: I actually like what I saw from d'Arnaud in the last few months. It wouldn't shock me if he was a solid regular this year, and I still think there's a chance he's an all-star. Time is running out though.

C.J. (Villa Park): What are your thoughts on Alex Yarbrough? Angels seem to be preparing him for a substantial big-league role.

Christopher Crawford: I think he can be a solid utility guy, one that can play LF and a not abhorrent 2B and the hit tool is above-average. Not a regular, but a guy who can give you 200-250 at bats off the bench isn't anything to sneeze at.

Prich (On Break): K Marte or C Taylor?

Christopher Crawford: Right now? Taylor, I think Taylor should be Seattle's everyday second baseman. Future? Marte, but I'm not as high on Marte as the industry just yet. I think he's more of a backup middle infielder than regular, but lots of scouts disagree.

Victor (Dumfries): Describe the degree of obscurity…….Amir Garrett, does he have "special" anywhere in his prospectus? If he is just a guy, do you think Lewis Thorpe is "guy" better than him?

Christopher Crawford: At one point, I thought he was going to be a solid mid-rotation starter. Now, probably nothing more than a reliever. Basketball hurt his development quite a bit. I like Thorpe substantially more.

Rich (Ellicott): Hows this for obscurity? Give me your thoughts on the Nationals' Wilmer Difo? Any amount of elite-ness there?

Christopher Crawford: Pssh, that's not osbscure. YOU'RE NOT OBSCURE.

No elite-ness, and he was old for the level, but he was really impressive in the Sally League and he can fly. A potential regular at second base.

And on that note, I'm gonna go ahead and call the chat done. Again, I wanna thank everyone for their support today, and I really look forward to talking with you guys very soon. Enjoy the weekend!

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