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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday April 06, 2015 8:15 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig will take you home tonight. Be his little baby, oh, ho, oh.

Craig Goldstein: I don't have a song reference to force [chat] into because I forgot my headphones today and thus am barely able to operate. Let's talk about Rick Porcello, though.

Ben Carsley (Boston): Craig, I'm a Red Sox fan but also a numbers guy. What should I make of this Porcello business?

Craig Goldstein: I'm sure as a numbers guy you have a better grip on this stuff than me, Mr. Miscellany, but I'll give it a shot.

I think ~$20M/year is a lot for Porcello. I know that baseball is awash in money and I get that the money has to go SOMEwhere, so if that's the angle to getting this deal, then so be it. Beyond that though, I'm struggling to understand it. Dude has two years with an ERA+ over 100 and one of those was last year. Wouldn't you make him repeat that success before paying him FA type money for shorter years?

Look at Porcello compared to Ervin Santana. Sure, they're different pitchers and Porcello has a huge youth advantage, but at 6 years into his career, is it really reasonable to expect that youth to matter beyond durability (and Ervin has been one of the most durable in the game prior to the suspension).

I don't know guys. I just don't get it.

cracker73 (Florida): What do you think is the BEST possible outcome for Lewis Brinson?

Craig Goldstein: Best possible? You're talking a superstar on the level of... I don't know... Andrew McCutchen (all due respect to Monte Harrison, of course)? That's irresponsible though. That'd be like a world without gravity. Possible? Maybe, but not worth wasting time on considering.

ssauve25 (Everywhere, at once): Hey Craig, 12 team Dynasty Keeper league. The trade as it stands right now is (Me) Arrieta, Nola, and Rua for Bruce, Glasnow, MCMahon. Fair trade or is there a clear winner? Thank you and god speed.

Craig Goldstein: This strikes me as pretty fair. I think I'm higher on Nola than most fantasy guys, but in a 12-team league he's not as valuable as he is elsewhere, and Glasnow's high-beta act is lessened because of the deeper FA pool available. Go for the upside.

Dylan (CT): Is there a sandwich spectrum? From like barely a 'wich, to sandwichy, to certainly boss man SANDWICH! Or is it just sandwich or not a sandwich?

Craig Goldstein: This is a good question! You don't know how many questions I get that are sandwich related and awful. I'm going to say no. It's a binary option of sandwich or not. There are things that blur the lines, most likely, but they either end up as sandwich or as not a sandwich. There's not a MOST SANDWICH title. Except for maybe a Monte Cristo.

Devon (Detroit): Hi Kevin, thanks for the late night chat. Give me your top 5 amateur players right now not affiliated with a MLB team.

Craig Goldstein: 1) Barry Bonds 2) Barry Bonds 3) Barry Bonds 4) Barry Bonds 5) Mike Mordecai

brian (boston): is rick porcello a sandwich

Craig Goldstein: See, Dylan? This is the crap I'm talking about. Obviously he is a sandwich (he's an Italian, if you were wondering).

Rick (Chicago): What's your opinion on Verlander. Is he a #3 SP or less these days?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's probably fair. But then again those are worth $20M+/year these days so he's only overpaid by... I'm not helping, am I?

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Craig, 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 acquire before their stock gains recognition this season, ex. Tapia last pre-season or Devers by its conclusion?

Craig Goldstein: Devers was less one of my low minors favorites than Bret or Ben. Yeyson Yrizarri fits the bill for me, less so for fantasy than real life, though. Some fantasy name to watch would be Wilmer Difo, Rob Kaminsky, Jorge Mateo, Chance Sisco and Magneuris Sierra.

Dylan (CT): Thanks for the clarification. So now that Porcello is a sandwich, irrevocably, do you think the Sox got a steal? No, but really, talk me through the thought process here. Gonna lock him up till he's 30? We have faith in our GB gameplan? We have to spend the money or the Nation will start asking questions?

Craig Goldstein: I answered some of this in the first question, but I think ultimately they're paying for age. He's so young and that's going to command some serious coin, but I question whether the typical trappings of youth apply to a guy who's thrown 1073 innings already. Is he more likely to reinvent himself than another pitcher? I don't think so, but I also can't be sure.

I get that putting him in front of a good defense is going to help him a bunch, but I'd be concerned about putting that much money into a guy who misses that few bats, no matter the defense or GB rate, on some level. I do think part of it is that there's just so much money and not that many guys to spend it on, plus bulk innings are worth a lot. I really believe in that last point.

All that being said though, I don't think Rick Porcello is the guy to spend it on. Next year's SP FA class is absolutely monstrous, and there's legitimate ceiling there that I'd rather pay for. I get there's comfort in Porcello, but he offers a lot more downside (sub-100 ERA+) than upside to me, and they paid a bunch for that.

Matt (Cambridge ): Based on pure stuff alone, where would a healthy Jeff Hoffman rank among pitching prospects? I personally see him the closest to Giolito in the minors. Both have potential plus-plus fastball and curveballs along with a potential plus change.

Craig Goldstein: I've only seen Hoffman live once, but that's not really what I saw from him (granted it was February last year, and so he might not have been at full speed quite yet). I would say it was a 60 fastball with a chance for more, 60 curveball (inconsistently though) and he flashed some really nice changes I'd put at 55 but was also quite firm (KCR 7th rounder Brandon Downes tagged one for a homer). And that's when they were good. Is there room to grow? You bet. But I probably would have him, completely healthy, in the 30-40 range. It's hard to separate that from his health though!

Devon (Detroi): Ok, take Bonds and Mordeci out of it

Craig Goldstein: Not really sure at this point. It's only April and there's still time left, but Tate, Rogers, Tucker, Funkhouser, Allard (when healthy), and Burrows are up there for me. Not sure what order.

Brett (MI): Hey Craig, do you think the artist formerly known as Bossman Jr has any value in the TDGX readers league? With the move to SD I'm struggling to see a path to playing time once he comes off the DL. However I'm currently starting Grady Sizemore in one of my OF slots so it wouldn't take much to hold value. Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: Sorry to say that I don't. I'm rooting for the guy because despite some reported issues/speculation on his work ethic in the past, Mel has seemed like he's tried EVERYthing. He's a defensive replacement right now, and San Diego is a rough as heck spot to work out of that role for him.

Guy Fieri (Flavor Town): Know anybody who needs a pitcher? Got a taste of the major leagues last year with the Reds and I've been cookin' up a pitch all offseason that I like to call a Donkeyball. It's like a spitball, but covered in Donkey Sauce.

Craig Goldstein: The Rangers are perpetually banged up in the rotation, plus I think Texans could appreciate your penchant for bold flavors. Also, you and Holly could be friends.

flashtheleather (in the hole): Give me a couple prospects outside the top 100 who will change the game, please. And thanks.

Craig Goldstein: Man, no pressure on this one, huh? I don't know about change the game, but I'll go back to the well on Honeywell. Bringing the screwball back could be something, plus there's no way that swagger doesn't cause a rift in the public. I'll also throw out Brinson again. He's that talented. I don't think it's going to happen at all, but he could be special.

Matt (Cambridge ): Fair. I saw Hoffman on the Cape when he was showing a 70 fastball and a 70 curve...that is why I am so high. The curve brought a tear to my eye.

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, that's fair. My understanding is he didn't show that type of stuff outside of the cape, but I might not be remembering that particularly accurately.

Chris (Craig's mom's house): If someone paid you $82.5 million to live in Boston for four years, would you take it? You have to live with both Ben and Collins.

Craig Goldstein: Man that's tough. I hate Ben and I hate what I assume Collins to be, but this also implies that they'd have to live with each other which *would* be entertaining to watch. Plus, I'm terrible at paying attention to when it's going to rain or whatever, and Collins would useful for that. And Carsley knows how to cook. Man, I think I'd do it. I would never drive there though. Screw driving in Boston.

Bart Bennison (The rivers): Everyone dogs the Brewers for having a weak system. Is it a case of bad depth, or not enough high-end talent? Seems some guys are emerging, like Taylor, Arcia, Harrison, Lara, Gatewood, etc

Craig Goldstein: I love this question. The answer is a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.

The guys you mentioned are mostly guys who are in the system just this past season, where they seemed to make investing in the farm a priority (Harrison, Lara, Gatewood, Medeiros). I think that's a great shift in strategy for them, but the question is whether it's a great concept with poor execution. For example - they signed Kodi Medeiros for $2.5M as the 12th overall pick, saving some slot money so they could spend on Harrison and Gatewood. Grant Holmes - once viewed as a possible top-10 selection slipped to 22nd-overall and *also* signed for $2.5M. Holmes is now viewed as a top-100 quality prospect while a lot of scouts view Medeiros as a LOOGY. Good idea, but was that executed ideally? I'll say no.

On top of that, Gatewood's consistency in selling out for power raised a lot of questions about his selection with that second 1st-rounder. It's too soon to tell whether that was a good selection or not (for most picks, anyway) and Gatewood looked good in BP in my viewing, but it raised some eyebrows at the time.

Harrison seems like a gem, at this point though!

Ultimately, they have some high-end talent but it's super far away and carries a lot of risk (Lara may not be an infielder), and the other talent just isn't very exciting (Taylor). Lot of good reports on Arcia though.

JJ (Madison): Kevin, do you get into international guys much? Any of those guys you'd put on that top 5 non MLB list?

Craig Goldstein: I continue to not be Kevin, thank you. I wish I had his dulcet tones, though.

It's even earlier for J2 guys than it is for draft guys, but I like the video I've seen on Alvarez a bunch, and Vlad Jr. makes me tingle inside.

Karen (Denver): May have missed it, but what happened in Houston?

Craig Goldstein: Urban sprawl, as is my understanding. (not sure what you're referencing)

D Brown (Da burgh): What is your favorite all-time baseball game/sim/video game to play? Partial to old NES Baseball Stars, Cadaco All Star baseball, and new MLB the Show

Craig Goldstein: MVP 95 and MLBPA Baseball

Jayson (Milwaukee): Not a fan of Lara?

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't say that. He's a really exciting power bat, and a worthy investment, but he also took him the highest signing bonus of the J2 period and *might* be a first baseman long term. That's not really ideal and he's REALLY going to have to hit if that's the case. It's less a referendum on Lara the player, than the profile and how much the Brewers paid for said profile.

Here's some video I got of Lara and his, let's say interesting swing

Happ (Baltimore): Do you consider yourself the worst evaluator on the prospect team? If not, is it Gorosh?

Craig Goldstein: Just based on overall lack of reps, it's probably me. I'd put a 5 on Gorosh.

Drunk Uncle Yark (Duke's bar): What's a good balance for bench in dynasty leagues? (Standard 23man active roster, 37 man roster) Some teams have mlb bench guys for depth, while others rely on AAA guys, and others have good hunk of true prospects.

Craig Goldstein: Sorry for the non-helpful answer, but so much depends on the size of said league. Hit me back if you want a more specific answer.

Mokajige (Sheboygan, WI): You mentioned Grant Holmes as the 22nd pick signing for around what Kodi Medeiros signed for as a reason why the plan might not have been executed as expertly as it could have been. However Holmes signed for over slot and Medeiros signed for underslot. Who's to say Holmes would have signed for underslot had he gone 12th? People always rave about Monte Harrison while questioning Medeiros going so high. I just tell them to pretend their draft position was switched.

Craig Goldstein: The point though is, they signed for the same amount of money. It's possible Holmes postured that he wouldn't sign for said amount and the Brewers believed him. I don't know that that's the case or not, but it would at least suggest that they didn't do enough homework then. Even so, it's possible they did their work and he just folded to LA where he wouldn't to MIL. Even if you want to play that game though, Brandon Finnegan (another possible LOOGY in the end) signed for even less than Medeiros ($2.206M), already reached the majors and might have a better shot at starting.

I'm not trying to take shots here, but hindsight being what it is, it looks like they could have come away with a better player at 12th overall, while still taking the shots they did on Harrison and Gatewood.

I don't think it's as simple as flipping their draft positions either. Harrison is a great prospect to have, but he's still extremely risky and even upon redraft, likely wouldn't go in the range you're talking about.

D-brizzle (All up in it): What is your favorite formats to play? Dynasty, keeper, redraft? Roto, H2H, daily? Mixed, NL, or AL? Standard categories, advanced? OBP or avg?

Craig Goldstein: Definitely dynasty or deep keeper. Big leagues, 16-20 teams. I like mixed, personally. I'll standard categories with add-ons. I like average and wins as categories. Wins for randomness, and average because it's a skill in and of itself, even if it's a flawed stat. I like to add OPS (or something else) plus QS (or something else).

Shawn (CT): Comparing Porcello to Santana deal- Porcello making $19M more...isn't that a fair enough deal to gamble there's more upside in his arm, especially for a team like Boston?

Craig Goldstein: It would be if that upside was there. What makes you think it is besides "he's young?" I'm willing to concede that point, but I'd like to know what's there that indicates he's got more upside than Santana (or a comparable pitcher). Again, after 1000 innings, I'm not sure why he'd all of a sudden be something else (or why that's more likely than another pitcher who would probably cost less).

Ryan (Center of attention): The BP prospect team (especially TINO team) seems to have a good mix of fantasy analysis, real prospect reviews, and scouting. Seems like other sites the prospect gurus despise fantasy geek's questions, or their fantasy guys have no scouting background. What kind of background does some of your team have to get into this spot with BP?

Craig Goldstein: Thanks for the kind words! I transitioned from fantasy to the prospect team, so I obviously have more background in the former than the latter, but everyone on the prospect team and in BP's management encouraged me whenever I wanted to go to games, and get my feet on the ground, so to speak.

Having that type of attitude toward guys on one team trying to embed themselves with another is a great sign and a great relief when you're trying to learn something new. I'll add in that, the fantasy team and the prospect team work really, really well together. I think this is very much the doing of Bret Sayre and Jason Parks, and has continued after Parks left. The fantasy team is often included on prospect list discussions and the MiLB guys have always been willing to at least listen to our input. So even those who might not have a prospect background are exposed to the discussion and can glean information that way.

Chris K (Cali): Dustin Driver? P.S. Fly out for a game in Stockton some time

Craig Goldstein: I'll admit to having no familiarity with Driver, but I bothered Chris Crawford and the basic gist seems to be huge command issues, but he'll also flash two plus pitches. Sounds like a fun (or frustrating) project.

Alex (Austin): Higher risk: Nick Williams, Tim Anderson, or Masahiro Tanaka?

Craig Goldstein: Well it's not Tanaka. I'll say Williams just because there's more pressure on him positionally, but both he and Anderson are still extremely raw for Double-A players. Anderson potentially sticking at SS/2B/CF means that he can have a few extra blemishes than Williams, though.

Rudy (Break from WoW): Pitchers clearly have more risk than hitters as prospects, and with potential injury. At what point in their development does their value begin to level out a bit compared to hitters? (Upper minors, develop 3rd pitch?)

Craig Goldstein: Begin to level out? Gosh, major leagues? There's always, always an edge, but basically at the major league level - or at the brink of the majors, there's less separation, especially for elite pitching prospects. The obvious caveat though, is that it really depends on the players in question.

The Dude (Couch): What's on the cover of the 1st Sandwich Prospectus Annual?

Craig Goldstein: Deconstructed sandwich with premium ingredients, laid out on a picnic-style wood table, with a baseball field/blue sky behind it

jonraypyle (Texas): So, Wandy huh? Best case scenario he has a better season than _____(insert names of Rangers rotation members here)____?

Craig Goldstein: I'm going to ignore this question (even though it's a good one) to say two things: 1) The best part about Wandy Rodriguez is that he's Randy Wandriguez when spoonerized and 2) I'd still rather have Guy Fieri on the bump.

El-Biro (Sand dunes): My league just changed to saves+(holds/2) instead of saves. (NL, 12tm, 3 keepers) Someone kept Tony Watson at $5. Good move based on holds and great era/whip? Or bad move on over-valuing holds?

Craig Goldstein: That seems ok to me. Not sure it's good or bad. Maybe a little expensive, assuming a standard $260 cap, but 12-team NL-Only is pretty deep. I'm fine with paying for the security, or at least as much as relievers can provide. There's an added bonus of his likely becoming the closer should something happen to Melancon, in which case it's a great move. More I think about it, the more I'm fine with it.

Sous Vide (Arizona): What are some fun things you learned in Arizona about TINO and the other cast of characters you were with?

Craig Goldstein: Jordan loves Ryan Tedder, Ben is wickedly funny even when he's mad at you in the middle of the night and sending you texts, Mau is in on salad, Quinton likes trolling people in the most subtle manner possible, Bret likes Pepsi more than I thought (which was more than is healthy), Tucker loves a good handshake, Gawlowski is quiet but the kid can scout/write, and Nick Wheatley-Schaller is a beast with tech, will openly curse at a computer, and disappear for hours on end. I think that was everyone?

Shawn (CT): Do you think Miguel Sano gets to Minnesota this year? Just noticed he has SS eligibility in Yahoo

Craig Goldstein: I think August or September is possible, but it's almost an impossible question because he's not even spent a ton of time at Double-A, and now had a year-long layoff. If he hits, he'll get there this year.

jonraypyle (Texas): OK better question, do you like spiced sandwich meats? Ex. Cajun turkey or lemon pepper chicken? Or do you stick with the basics?

Craig Goldstein: I do! I like pepper turkey and the like. Cajun turkey or chicken is a good one. Not big on lemon pepper though. I like tang and spice, but lemon just isn't what I'm looking for most of the time.

Shawn (CT): In leagues with IP limits do you have a strategy for when you stream SPs? For example in Apr when pitching is said to be ahead of hitting and it's cold or in Sept when some teams have mailed it in and are running out a Quad A lineup?

Craig Goldstein: My strategy is generally not to play in those leagues, if I can avoid it. If I can't, I value SP a little higher at the top of the draft, so I can have flexibility on streaming pitchers a little less often, and thus pick better matchups throughout the year. I don't value April over any other month - though September is a good time to stream, given all the weak lineups.

Curt (Curtland): Are there any current prospects that you would say have 70 grade plate discipline?

Craig Goldstein: Great question. I couldn't think of any, and when I asked around the only name someone gave me was Casey Gillaspie... which... blegh.

The Dude (Couch): Forget sandwich or not- what goes on your hot dog?

Craig Goldstein: if it's a good dog, I'll go without anything. I'm a purist of sorts in that sense. If there's going to be a topping it's mustard. If it's a horrible dog (or burger) ketchup and mustard works. Never ketchup alone, because if I did that, I'd just as soon have a packet of ketchup and not buy a hot dog.

Sandwich (Question): Is prosciutto an 80 grade sandwich meat?

Craig Goldstein: Does Giancarlo have 80-grade power?

Drunk uncle Yark (Dukes bar): NL only, 12 tm, 23 active, 37 man roster. Good balance for bench? Major league bench guys vs AAA depth vs true prospects?

Craig Goldstein: 12-team NL only, I'll take a mix of bench guys and true prospects. No need for the AAA depth. The impact just isn't worth it.

Dylan (CT): Just have seen the Dahl news. Give a prediction to how he'll adapt to the Eastern League. More importantly, should I make the trip down to New Britain to see him and against which Eastern League rotation?

Craig Goldstein: I think he's a natural enough hitter to produce quite nicely, and that even if he struggles this is a good move for a guy who is still playing some catchup after missing so much time with a hamstring strain. Definitely go see him, and I'd target a series with Altoona (if Glasnow is throwing) or, if you want a better shot of seeing several decent arms - Reading who should at least have Lively, Windle, and Eflin, if not one of Nola/Biddle early on.

Harold (The Studio): Nomar Mazara vs Rafael Devers, who would you rather. For fantasy purposes of course.

Craig Goldstein: Mazara by 3 Gallo home runs laid end to end.

Matt (Cambridge): By MVP 95, you meant MVP 2005, right? The one with Manny of the cover and the pinnacle of baseball games.

Craig Goldstein: Shit. yes. Yes I did.

D brown (The moon): As someone fairly new to reading up on prospects (to help my fantasy team) I struggle with the fantasy downside to prospects who get down-graded due to being potential 1B someday. I've seen lowly regarded guys like Duda and Goldy explode in majors without minors hype, and numerous guys with gaudy AAA and AA stats who never get a shot. Fantasy leagues (with CI and UT slots) aren't nearly as worried about defensive profiles. Thoughts?

Craig Goldstein: I think the rate of those guys turning into Goldschmidts is low enough that they're valued accurately. The idea of devaluing those guys isn't to say they're not worth something but that that position is generally so deep that relative to other first baseman, they're not different enough to matter as much as say, a decent SS prospect. I wouldn't go about valuing those types more - but I would also make sure to read fantasy prospect lists, rather than adapting actual prospect lists, if you're new to the game.

D Brown (Da burgh): How many leagues are you in? Actively play? And do you ever get tired of the grind in so many leagues? Other than draft day, what are the highlights on your fantasy calendar? (J2 signees, MLB draft, pennant race, deciding keepers, offseason research)

Craig Goldstein: I'm in 9 this year. Active in 9. I hate it. I wish I was in two. I just want to pay more attention than I realistically have time for with that many leagues. I wouldn't say I have a particular highlight. I actually love a slow draft over email more than any other draft day. I guess minor league drafts are my favorite part of the offseason though.

Gabe (The quickening): Daily leagues are surging in popularity, and so are dynasty leagues. What developments do you see gaining traction in coming years? (Metric based categories, more NL/AL leagues, flexible rosters, defense, etc)

Craig Goldstein: I think defense, if it can be quantified at a reasonable level is the next step. We are already seeing Scoresheet get some traction here, and I think that only continues. Flexible rosters is another aspect I think could see some rise in popularity, mimicking perhaps the decision whether to carry a certain number of pitchers/hitters in the real game. Maybe have a P/Util option depending on how you want to approach a given game.

I do think that fantasy sites are going to have to develop a better system to keep track of minor leagues (as CBS does) and be open year round, so that owners can access their league/team throughout the offseason.

Eric (LA): Can the Orioles just trade Gausman already? I'm tired of him being yanked around between AAA,the bullpen, and the rotation. I mean Ubaldo....

Craig Goldstein: I'll admit to not quite understanding it. I get that there are other decent options, but Miguel Gonzalez seems like the perfect type of arm to shuttle between the pen/rotation when someone needs a break. Even if Gausman isn't ready, I think he needs that development time at the major league level. All that said, the Orioles won 96 games last year... so what the heck do I know

gerrybraun (san diego): Imagine a world ... in which each team decides each season whether its home games that year would be played with or without the DH. How many teams would have Designated Hitters after five years of this experiment?

Craig Goldstein: 30. There's a clear advantage to having a DH. I'm ambivalent to whether there is one in both leagues. I kind of enjoy that there's a difference between em, and that I get to enjoy both. That said, if equality is the goal both leagues should be the same, and if that's the case both should have DHs because they help keep players healthy and help employ David Ortiz and those of his ilk. That's a good thing.

justarobert (Santa Clara): On the Sandwich Prospectus cover, six sandwiches get pictured in boxes with catchy captions. Which six sandwiches help sell the book?

Craig Goldstein: God I love this question. Debated it with SP COO Ben Carsley. Here's where we landed: Cuban, Grilled Cheese, Italian, Turkey Bacon Avocado, Brisket Sandwich, Hot Dog

D Brown (Da burgh): The DH is evil. They are only slightly more "real players" than punters or long snappers in football.

Craig Goldstein: I don't believe this type of prejudice is helpful. I am a Dodgers fan and love the National League, but if you really think about it, there's not a huge value to have pitchers hitting. If you wanted to invest big money into making two-way players a thing again, starting at the amateur ranks, I could see it. But as it stands, it's a hindrance. I don't think there's *more* strategy in the AL or anything, but just on the merits of extending the careers of good hitters, I can't see the argument against it.

Drunk Uncle Yark (Dukes bar): What % of those employed at BP have baseball related stuff as their primary job/income? We've seen several go onto MLB jobs in scouting or analytics, and some are true journalists (Perrotto)

Craig Goldstein: Somewhere between 5-20 percent based on what you might consider staff. It's not as many as you think, I'd bet. Very few do it full-time.

Dennis (LA): Who do you like better this year, Eric Young or Cameron Maybin (cats being OBP, R, HR, RBI, SB)?

Craig Goldstein: I choose death

Cykid10 (Texas): What is your take on the current direction of the Astros? I like some of the young arms the have, but haven't really seen what they have on the farm. Also, "The Kluber" is a great name for a sandwich

Craig Goldstein: I like that they made steps toward competitiveness this offseason, even if it might not have been the most efficient means of doing so. I understand the strip down/rebuild method, but I'm always about improving the team to the point that playing in FA or making a trade really helps you. Sometimes this means incremental steps forward rather than that D-Rays-esque, lose for several years and then BOOM become a perennial contender. I think it's easier to push your team to the middle and then make the big jumps from there than to do it all at once.

Bart Bennison (The rivers): How many games you attend a year? In how many cities?

Craig Goldstein: Last year was around 20-30, which was disappointingly low. Going for a lot more this year. Mostly Bowie, Frederick, and Potomac (Woodbridge). And AZ, of course.

MLB, I hit the Nats and Orioles probably 15-20 games a year.

D Brown (Da burgh): Does your employer (BP) look at, judge you, or considers your performance in fantasy leagues iin any way when reviewing your job performance? I've wondered if sites discouraged their writers from participating in expert leagues if they suck.

Craig Goldstein: Not to my knowledge, no. Everyone has to lose at some point, I think the members of those leagues all have a mutual respect for one another.

D Brown (Da burgh ): Liriano walking Cueto was the key in the Reds win. Caused the fielders choice leading to Hamilton getting on, then 1st to 3rd, then balk. Dodgers fan? Sure you'd love the DH, they'd employ one for $20mil Bob Lemon, Carlos Zambrano, and Rick Rhoden scorn you

Craig Goldstein: Johnny Cueto is a career .101/.128/.132/.104 hitter. Bob Lemon was .232/.288/.386 and was the best of the players you mentioned with a 676 OPS. Jose Iglesias has a career 678 OPS. This isn't a winning argument.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Followup question: which of those six sandwiches gets the blurb of doubt? (See Verlander, "Bounceback candidate or worst contract in baseball?" and Ortiz, "How much longer can he be Papi?")

Craig Goldstein: Grilled Cheese, for sure. How much longer can it stay at the top of it's game?

Ti'Quan23 (Italia): Craig, if everything goes right, Ti'Quan Forbes turns into (insert mlb comp here).

Craig Goldstein: Man, this is tough. I don't loooove making comps, especially this far out. Maybe Brett Lawrie?

Dylan (RI): How much are you throwing out in FAAB for Grilli in a 15 team redraft league?

Craig Goldstein: I'm a big fan of the "don't pay for saves" theory, because of this type of thing. It's so early in the season, and Grilli is decent enough to hold on to it, that I'd be comfortable in the 30 dollar range.

Mike (NY): Do you think Derek Hill could be someone who could become a top 50 prospect this year?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's aggressive because I think he could struggle to get the bat going immediately. He's still someone I'm quite high on, but there are going to be flashier guys that push him outside of the top 50. Doesn't mean he's not just as good, he might just not show it yet.

Bart (The curve): You gotta make it out to Altoona if your based in MD. Glasnow, Josh Bell, and there is a dancing fish that appears thru the wall in CF when they score! Al- Tuna Roller coaster in backdrop. Make the trip dude

Craig Goldstein: The thing for me is that I get Altoona in Bowie, so it doesn't always make sense. Might have to do it at some point though.

Blue (Glencoe): Hows my dynasty pitching (16 tm): Kershaw, Cashner, Latos, Car Mart, Fister, Morrow, Warren, Syndergaard, Stephenson, Reynaldo Lopez, Holmes

Craig Goldstein: Rosterbation is best done in private, Blue.

Fidel (Youknowwhere ): Which of the 2 Cubanfree agent pitchers do you like better and why?

Craig Goldstein: Yadiel Alvarez because I've seen footage of him. (copout, I know)

Steve McEwen (Winnipeg): Who is your favourite middle reliever prospect that will debut in 2018.

Craig Goldstein: I know where you live on twitter, Steve. Don't make me come over there.

Rick (Chicago): Matt Moore should be coming back in June. How valuable in a deep keeper league?

Craig Goldstein: 42

The Dude (Couch): I walk into a deli and order a "Craig Goldstein." What's on it?

Craig Goldstein: Italian Bread, olive oil, sprinkle of italian seasoning, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, fresh lettuce (not much though). Finito.

D brown (Da burgh): Rhoden was once used as a DH by the Yankees. He hit over .300 in seasons 9years apart. How many hitters can say that. Craig.... I could see if you were blinded by AL fandom. I'll end my side of this spat by saying that Ray Kinsella from Field of Dreams would side with me on this.

Craig Goldstein: You're talking about samples of under 100 PA. And he was Jose Iglesias level at the plate over his whole career, so it still doesn't carry weight. Also, the guy you're closing with is a made up character, so I'm not sure that's your best angle, either.

Dylan (CT): Who has the best socks in the MLB? Seeing Sonny Gray's right now and they are niiiiiice. But Scooter Gennett's this afternoon were on point as well. Thoughts?

Craig Goldstein: I *LOVE* this question. Gray and Gennett are REALLY strong plays. I love Chris Archer's sock game too. I consulted with style-expert Woj, and he said Archer too. I should mention Brad Miller for his stirrup game, too.

Spim Tooneyberger (Spoonerville): more likely to reach the majors this year: glasnow or kingham? thanks kg.

Craig Goldstein: Kingham

Charles (NYC): I realized I have the same issues as Brett. I still like Edwin Jackson. I invested my heart in a Jamie Garcia comeback. What is the best way to seek help for Sayre Syndrome? It is only a matter of time before I sell everything for Schwarber.

Craig Goldstein: immediately cut all pepsi products out of your life, and check back in 4-6 weeks. DO NOT INGEST DOM SMITH-RELATED PRODUCTS OR INFORMATION.

Thoughts and prayers, Charles. Thoughts and prayers.

username49 (ohio): Bradley Zimmer had 6 hrs in a 179 AB's last year, and cracked 4 hrs this spring (MiLB games) in 32 AB's. I trust the industries concern about whether his swing will prevent more than average power, but that stats are interesting. Could he perhaps just be a lot stronger than people think? Could he still hit 20-25 bombs a year with his swing?

Craig Goldstein: I didn't get to view Zimmer in AZ, but from everything I heard from each individual evaluator who saw him... no, not as currently constituted. He definitely is a strong kid, and I think that power is there if he can leverage the swing a bit more, but as he's currently constructed, he'd struggle to attain those totals.

The voice (Iowa cornfields): (whispering) If you ban it...... They will hit .... Or maybe sac bunt.... Or at least poorly wear warmup jackets on the field. I mean jeeze, what other sport allows players in the game to wear warmup jackets on the field!?! Bob Walk's career highlight is his lone HR. Just ask him. You want to take away Bob's homer? Boooooo the DH!

Craig Goldstein: I think the NBA would let players wear windbreakers on the court if it helped em sell some product

Eric (LA): Can Micheal Gettys be a star with a ceiling of something similar to Carlos Gomez?

Craig Goldstein: He could definitely be a star, but he's super raw and is a long ways away from even considering who he compares to

Mike (NY): What do you think of Richard Urena going to full season ball. Do you think him and Gordon could be the best low-A short stops in the minors?

Craig Goldstein: I don't have a firm read on Urena beyond that he's interesting and I plan on finding out more. I still think he's behind guys like Amed Rosario and Franklin Barreto, though Gordon definitely factors in quite highly, there.

Steve McEwen (Winnipeg): Any thoughts on Zach McAllister this season?

Craig Goldstein: The same kind of thoughts generated by doing taxes, or listening to a story about a friend of a friend, I suppose.

JoJo (SD): I have Braun's injury to deal with and Victorino's chronic woes as my lone backup OF in a 16-team dynasty h2h points where sp are king. Seth Smith is available - which of these sp is the best to trade for him - colon, dickey, peavy, morrow? Wins are overvalued and morrow has some added value as he's sp/rp eligible. Thanks.

Craig Goldstein: I don't love Morrow, but given that information, I'll say Peavy.

username49 (Ohio): How bout this...Could you see Zimmer ending up with a fantasy profile similar to Alex Rios? I know their swings don't match, but it seems like a really good strong hitter with a line drive stroke could just be really difficult to project as far as power goes. It seems like a lot of it could end up luck, but he could have his year where he drops 20-25, and then his years when he sits around 12-15.

Craig Goldstein: Sure, but that's power profile, more than fantasy profile. I'd be shocked if Zimmer has a 40 steal season on his resume.

Nick (Los Angeles): End of my minor league draft, I took Monte Harrison instead of Magneuris Sierra... mistake? Lottery tickets either way?

Craig Goldstein: Moreso lottery tickets either way. Just depends where you like you "security." Speed (Harrison) or hit tool (Sierra). I'd probably take Harrison.

jim (milwaukee): As someone who generally loves baseball I honestly see no attraction in the pitchers spot in the lineup. Do NL fans not comprehend that the subtle dread of a black hole ruining an inning around the corner isn't a necessary feeling? The sooner the NL adopts the DH the better for everyone. How long before it happens in your estimation?

Craig Goldstein: I think this presupposes that the purpose is attractiveness and not a desire for a more well-rounded skillset, be it hitters who can field or pitchers who can hit. I'm not saying that's a correct philosophy, but that seems more to be what the NL is about than any sort of desire to see the current crop of pitchers hit the way they do.

JoJo (SD): Just wanted to say congrats on your #brand explosion and selfishly I hope your stardom doesn't breakup the TINO band. It's truly gold what you guys have going.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks much, Jojo! That said, you don't have to download the pod as often as you do. We're really happy with just the one fan, and appreciate your use of multiple pseudonyms on your emails.

username49 (Ohio): That 40 steal season for Rios was crazy. I don't think anyone was expecting that at 32 YO. If you take that anomaly out, he average 22 SB's a year in his 7 fully healthy years. I like my Rios/Zimmer comp. Don't take this from me Craig.

Craig Goldstein: He also had 2 30+ steal seasons. I don't think it's a good comp in terms of fantasy profile.

Nick (Los Angeles): Which player best personifies my favorite sandwich, the muffuletta? Also, if Mike Trout were a sandwich, what would he be?

Craig Goldstein: I'll go with Mike Cameron. Just tremendous all-around tools and still a really good player, but brought down several notches by one fatal flaw (hit tool/olive salad).

Mike Trout, ironically enough, is a Cuban.

Craig Goldstein: Ok, well it looks like the questions have dried up. Thanks for sticking around and letting me keep you company on Opening Day. We should do this again soon. Next time, let's hope Duke loses.

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