Ask Sahadev where in Wrigley Field he has urinated. Or about anything else.
Sahadev Sharma: Alright, chat time. We have a Cubs team that's actually over .500 and we're more than three games into the season. It's a spring miracle!
Cal Guy (C): Hi Sahadev, Who would you rather have for an entire career, a healthy Lucas Giolito or a healthy Jeff Hoffman?
Sahadev Sharma: Giolito. We know what he's like after his return from surgery, and that's pretty damn special. Hoffman can be great, from what I've heard, but there are those who are convinced Giolito is destined to be a Cy contender year in and year out.
ramtax (Maryland): What's up with Wilin Rosario? Is his potential upside, what's left of it, worth holding onto him or do I cut bait and pick up Derek Norris?
Sahadev Sharma: I'm assuming this is a fantasy question? I usually gchat Mau or Craij with my fantasy questions, have you tried that?
Tyson Wirth (Hsinchu, Taiwan): What are the best/your favorite advanced statistics to learn? I'm familiar with basics like FIP, BABIP, and a few others, but thirst to learn new aspects of our Grand Ol' Game. Thank you Sahadev!
Sahadev Sharma: Shameless plug time! I actually love TAv that we have at BP. If you're a fan of wOBA or OPS+ or whatever, it's just as good if not better. I think you should keep an eye out for more from us, Harry Pavlidis is doing some great work in really getting our stats up to par with the rest of the what's out there. I am a fan of wRC+/wOBA and basic stuff like K% and BB%, which I don't feel is used enough, is great.
Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Sahadev, What odds do you place on Schwarber (a)Making it to the majors as a catcher (b)Sticking there for the first five years of his career?
Sahadev Sharma: a) full-time? Low... maybe 10%. Honestly, that's probably being a bit generous. He works his butt off and it won't be because he doesn't put in the time. He'd probably kick my butt if he found out I doubted him, so don't tell him that. Love the kid's passion and desire to improve and prove others wrong, but the bat may just be too good to hold back. b) obviously quite miniscule based on 'a'
Cal Guy (Cal): Sahadev, By this time next year the top five prospects will be: ?
Sahadev Sharma: Ok, that's tough... I'll say 1. Schwarber 2. Almora 3. Torres 4. Stinnett 5. Sands I may have missed someone obvious, but that's off the top of my head.
sdbaker2 (Gurnee): Wrigley has a pretty pitiful beer selection compared to just about any other ballpark - surprising for a place that has a reputation for heavy drinking. They added a couple Goose Island beers recently, but I'm not happy yet. If you could convince the Cubs to sell one additional beer, what would you choose?
Sahadev Sharma: Just one??? It has to be something flavorful, but also a summer-ish beer that appeals to the masses. Or at least the palately-enhanced masses. I'd choose from either Anti-Hero from Revolution or Daisy Cutter from Half Acre... probably go with DC. Akari Shogun from Half Acre would be the dark horse.
Rob (baltimore): What are your thoughts of Ubaldo's simplified delivery? Will it improve results enough to keep him in the rotation this year?
Sahadev Sharma: From Tucker Blair: I would say yes, to an extent (it's Ubaldo, let's be honest). But Ramon Martinez has helped him get back to the basics.
Asiancub (far east asia): Are you satisfied with Olt and Alcantara's play until now? I think the cubs have to give Olt more big league oppertunity until May at least. How about you?
Sahadev Sharma: I'm not one to get too jumpy on anything from the first week. I won't overreact to any good or bad stuff just yet. Both have looked fine at the plate, not swinging at anything awful, Olt has made some good contact at times. He's always gonna K a ton, it's just about getting that average to about .240-ish or so and keeping that eye solid. For a guy batting .000 I've liked what I've seen from Mendy. Seeing a ton of pitches, getting on base at a decent rate, and managing to score some runs. I'm very curious to see if he can build on the solid approach he's displayed.
Pelecos (Granville): Hey Sahadev, I was wondering if you could tell me what it meant when a pitch was casted? I always read it in BP's scouting reports but don't know what it entails. Thanks
Sahadev Sharma: From Mau: Think fishing. So the arm action is long and the pitch ends up loose.
msimotes (Kalamazoo): Could you make the argument Cubs fans should be more upset if Addison Russell isn't up by June, than Kris Bryant missing 7 games? He is clearly better defensively, and has more quality ABs in one game than Castro does all year...
Sahadev Sharma: Nope. Too many assumptions being made here. I've talked to plenty of scouts who don't believe Russell sticks at short. I personally believe he does, but that doesn't mean he's "clearly better defensively." Not really sure how that narrative got started. Castro started slow last year - I mean he looked awful early on - and had a great season at the plate. Try not to overreact to the first year, Castro has established himself at the plate, we have no idea how Russell will do in the big. I'm optimistic, but that doesn't mean we should cast Castro aside and forget how good he's become.
Sean (Washington DC): Am I crazy for imagining Mike Cameron as the pretty much everything breaks right comp for Michael A. Taylor?
Sahadev Sharma: From my main man Craij (yes, I like utilizing my friends at BP via gchat or text, so sue me): Crazy? No. But I'd stay away from comps in general. Let's let Michael A. Taylor be Michael A. Taylor. He's got a common enough name that he gets confused for enough people as is.
Alex (Anaheim): When do you expect Rusney Castillo to be promoted or traded?
Sahadev Sharma: If he keeps hitting in the minors, they have to find room for him, right? I talked to Alex Speier when previewing Boston for Effectively Wild. He basically said the ideal scenario is for Victorino to get hot, then the Sox shop him to fill another hole and call Castillo up whenever that happens. That seems like it may be a slower process than some would like, though.
LucasDad (Mpls): Xander Bogaerts seems to be forgotten by everyone for some reason. A year ago he was 21, the #1 prospect in the game, coming off an already successful postseason, and he started hot. Then, he struggled mightily, but as a 21 year old in the major leagues. Never heard anything positive about him coming into this season, he's batting 8th, and gets no love. What say you of his hot start? Should be be moved up in the order and hype ramped up again? I think so at least.
Sahadev Sharma: Why bother with hype? He got hyped last year and didn't live up to it. We expect too much from the get go with these kids, Jose Fernandez, Mike Trout and other ruined us. I loved Xander coming into the year, sought him out in every fantasy league I'm in. I think he's going to be an MVP caliber bat, with questionable defense (but we'll live with because of said bat). I'm happy with the hot start and hope it continues, mainly because I like seeing stars develop and overcome hurdles early in their careers. It's just another player to point to as to why we can't give up on talented players after a year, a month, a week, whatever...
Grizz (Chi): Who's the first Cubs pitching prospect to reach the majors in a starting role?
Sahadev Sharma: Man, if Pierce Johnson wasn't hurt I'd say it was him with a bullet. I think it still is him, as far as legit prospects go. Unless we're talking guys like Beeler and Jokisch who have already tasted time in the bigs.
sdbaker2 (Gurnee): Jon Lester struggled a bit in his first start. Am I the only Cubs fan who isn't convinced he is as good as his 2014 stats? Also, why did the Cubs feel such an urgent need to sign him with so many quality pitchers hitting the free agent market after 2015?
Sahadev Sharma: Damn it, I answered this and the internet at starbucks went out after I submitted... Ok, a) don't judge him solely off his 2014, it was the best year of his career by far, one of the best walk years every for a pitcher who actually hit free agency. Theo said he believes Lester could age like Pettitte, if that's the case, this deal will look wonderful b) don't judge him off just one start in a Cubs uniform. Especially one in which it was pretty cold, he didn't have his best command, and he still performed semi-decently. c) They can still go and get someone like Zimmermann or Price this offseason. Adding Lester doesn't stop them from doing that. In fact, I'm quite sure that if an SP is still a need come November, they'll be quite aggressive in adding one of those top arms.
Kyle (IA): Everyone is talking about Bryant, but can you talk about Russell? What do you think his ETA with the Cubs will be and how do you think he will fair against MLB pitching?
Sahadev Sharma: Russell is still developing his power, but he's got a nice line-drive stroke and could end up as a 20+ homer guy when all is said and done. People are split on his D, but those who like it believe he gets knocked because of his odd body, which doesn't looks as athletic as the prototypical stud SS. He gets to almost everything and makes most plays, he just may not look the part. I'd guess July-ish if the Cubs brass can figure out the best way to configure their INF with him in their by then.
Cal Guy (Cal): Sahadev, Given his precocious development it is pretty obvious Urias has a pretty high floor, but what do you see as his ceiling?
Sahadev Sharma: From those I talk to they see a no. 2 at ceiling, with a mid-rotation arm likely. I try not to get too hyped by him, but it's hard because he's so young and performing so well.
md (chicago): will kris bryant come up in the next week or two, or do the cubs hold him in aaa until june/july to get *another* year of service?
Sahadev Sharma: They don't get another year of service if they wait until june/july, just one less year of arbitration. That saving is minimal in the grand scheme of things. I expect him to be up before the end of the month. If he's not, something weird happened...
Jon (Oxford, OH): It's now July 1st, 2015. What does the Cubs infield look like?
Sahadev Sharma: This is such a hard question and I really have zero clue. But I'm gonna say 1B: Rizzo (pretty much the only guarantee, barring injury, right?) 2B: Alcantara SS: Castro 3B: Bryant. If you'd have said Aug. 1, maybe I have a different SS there... maybe.
wauzer (Right Here): Outpitching Clayton Kershaw in certainly a nice accomplishment, but it's only one game. What can we expect to see from Archie Bradley long-term through the rest of 2015?
Sahadev Sharma: I'd like to see him command his pitches and continue to develop into a solid top of the rotation arm. I'm not sure what to expect, but that's what I'll be watching for.
Boo Radley (Alabama): Are there any draft-eligible players that you like right now?
Sahadev Sharma: Kyle Funkhouser from Louisville. I'm an Illini guy, so I'm curious as to what Tyler Jay can be. Aiken being hurt makes the Cubs at 9 very interesting... Brendan Rodgers seems to be the consensus one at the moment. These things changes so quickly, though, so I'll just keep looking on from afar and watching how it all goes down.
justarobert (Santa Clara): Now that the team preview podcast series is over, what things are taking up the most of your time?
Sahadev Sharma: Editing and writing (and of course prior to that, preparing for the launch of) for the BP-Wrigleyville site has been taking up nearly all my time. My wife and kids can attest to that. My column, Daisy Cutter, should return this week. And look for a Cubs-centered podcast to come in the next few days, I'm really excited about it!
cowboy2024 (Chicago): Extremely SSS, but has the rise in Almora's walks due to a change in approach or just randomly taking all his walks early? Or we won't know until July?
Sahadev Sharma: Yeah, we won't know until later this season, but I'd be curious to hear from someone who has had eyes on Almora. He's already passed his walk total from AA last season, just randomness or something changed? If something has changed, then a) that's really rare b) watch out.
Rob (baltimore): Are the expectations of Gerrit Cole still that of a no crap # 1 starter? Or has that hype tapered off?
Sahadev Sharma: For me it hasn't tapered off. I had him second in my Cy Young predictions and he's a main reason I picked the Pirates to win it all. I love what he brings in all aspects, hopefully the swing and miss starts to pick up, because I like to look smart. It happens so rarely...
jaycon11 (here): Do you prefer scouting pitchers or position players?
Sahadev Sharma: I'm not a scout, I just try and gather information from FO members and scouts as frequently as possible and glean any amount of information I possibly can from them. I've learned a little and my eye has developed over the last couple seasons. But I really like looking at swings and seeing what's changed, what works, why and all that stuff.
Kyle (Chicago): Think there will be any interest from Cleveland on Beef Castillo? Cubs can't carry three catchers all season can they?
Sahadev Sharma: Not sure why Cleveland would give up anything of value for Castillo. They have Yan Gomes, one of the best in the business back there. But no, I don't think the Cubs can carry three Cs all season. They have to move Castillo and probably soon. Not sure who emerges as the right fit just yet.
Matt (Cambridge): It looks like Gerrit Cole decided to actually try to start striking guys out today. I hope he keeps that up.
Sahadev Sharma: Well there you go, he apparently read my chat and took my advice.
jimjames (Nortsider): Jorge Soler is receiving much love from fans, media, and baseball types. His manager compared him to Vlad. We've seen some good but also some bad from George Solar. His defensive play just last week raised a red flag.
Is he a legit potential all-star or merely a solid everyday player who moves down in a better lineup and replaced for better defense late in games?
Sahadev Sharma: I'm not sure if it was a red flag as much as something to keep an eye on. The wind was really messing with the ball in right, Maddon said after the game that those balls Soler misjudged in the opener was because the wind just slammed the ball down and he wasn't accustomed to it. Excuse? Possibly. But I hadn't gotten bad reports on Soler's D previously and I don't expect it to be a big concern going forward. I'd say he has the potential to be a perennial all star if he continues to adjust to how pitchers are working him (away, away, away)
LucasDad (MPLS): I think that Sano outperforms Bryant from July on, and that Gallo will be right with them- possibly. Obviously, the Twins will be even slower to promote, hence July on. I know the Gallo prediction is a stretch, but I feel like Sano could be even better than Bryant. Is this crazy to believe?
Sahadev Sharma: Crazy? Nah, almost nothing's crazy when it comes to predictions in baseball. I think Sano has a lot to work on and a lot to prove (re-prove, maybe?), and I'm unreasonably high on Bryant. I'm the first to admit that. I love Gallo though. That BP show he put on prior to the Futures Game last summer will forever be etched in my memory, so fun.
Matt (Cambridge): Would it be crazy for the Cubs to keep Castro and shock the world and trade Russell again, perhaps at the deadline if contending? Castro is not expensive, still young, and quite good. While I think he will be better than Castro, I don't think he'll be substantially better. Wouldn't Russell provide a greater return anyways?
Sahadev Sharma: I think this would be the wrong move and it would shock me because I know how much this FO likes Russell. I'm not sure if Russell would return more, but I think that's a worthy debate... And Castro isn't expensive, but Russell is SUPER cheap due to the fact that he's gonna be on a rookie deal for three-plus years. Personally, I love Castro and have always been a fan, supporter and defender, but I think it makes the most sense to move him (his value is hard for me to judge, but I've gotten VERY varied opinions when talking to people outside the Cubs org) and get Russell in there as early as this July.
hdub (the bleachers): how do you feel about kang this year? i know, sss, but hsa the way he looked since spring began and the way pit has deployed him changed your outlook on him for 2015?
Sahadev Sharma: Hmm, I haven't followed him as closely as I'd hoped. Been so tangled up with Cubs stuff that I've only had other games on in the background this first week. Ask me on twitter (@sahadevsharma) and I'll ask get your question answered by someone smarter than I, perhaps Travis Sawchik has a good answer for us.
Kyle (Chicago): Starting infield for the Cubs on April 20th, 2016: 1B Rizzo 2B? SS? 3B?
Sahadev Sharma: Ok, this one is interesting... Let's say Rizzo at 1B, AA at 2B, Russell at SS, Bryant at 3B, Baez and Castro both out of the organization.
Griz (Chi): In regards to Russell and Castro, how often does it happen that a veteran SS is moved off his position midseason? I do think the best alignment is Russell at SS and Castro at 2B, but there certainly seems to be a risk of moving Castro to a new position while the Cubs are trying to contend.
Sahadev Sharma: I can't think of a scenario like this, at least where the player being moved is a three-time all star and just 24. It definitely deserves some research. Sounds like a column idea!
Scott (Da Burbs): Do you see the Cubs moving Coghlan, Olt or any of next years Rule 5 players at the deadline or wait til the off season?
Sahadev Sharma: I'm not sure it makes sense to move Coghlan since the team doesn't have a ton of depth in the OF. Not sure what his value would be on the open market. He's been great with the bat when healthy. The D is another question. Olt is an interesting possibility as far as a trade candidate. Does a hot start make him attractive to other teams? Would the Cubs want to move him though? He can play first and left as well, perhaps that versatility is valuable if the bat progresses. It really all depends on both of their health and if they produce, big questions of course. The Rule 5 guys, yeah, something may need to be done there, perhaps that's not a July issue, though.
Kyle (Chicago): Can we get a Professor Parks update? The only things he posts about on twitter these days are buying skin oils and misadventures at the airport.
Sahadev Sharma: I'm not at liberty to share what happens with those skin oils... In all seriousness, Jason is as busy as can be scouting for the Cubs, I'm thrilled for him that he's gotten this opportunity.
Nate (Indy): Comparing only the hit tool: Schwarber vs Vogelbach. Who would you rather have?
Sahadev Sharma: Oh man, from what I hear, Schwarber's hit tool is pretty special. I'd take him, but I think Vogelbach does go under the radar. It's nice to see that he's gotten off to a strong start, Aprils have been brutal for him as a pro.
Sahadev Sharma: Ok, time to wrap this up. Gotta pick up my son from school and get some more work done. Look for plenty of fun stuff on BP and the BP local sites, including BP-Wrigleyville. I'm working on stuff on both Chris Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara. I'll be at the ballpark tomorrow, Wednesday, and Friday. A podcast is coming soon and content is always coming your way. Hopefully we can make this chat a regular occurrence this summer. Thanks for all the questions!