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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday May 26, 2015 7:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Mike Gianella: George Springer leading off...and away we go, with a night chock full of baseball, and an old fashioned BP baseball chat. By gar, it has been awhile.

John Carter (Great Lakes region): Three questions about Joey Butler: how long can he keep up his .400 BABiP (It's been more or less that for his four seasons in AAA.) Why don't the Rays play him more often? We would assume he'll be returned to AAA when Jennings comes back, right?

Mike Gianella: It is extremely unlikely anyone can keep a BABIP that high in the majors; barely any one ever does it for one year, let alone for multiple years. It's easier to get higher quality contact in the minors against weaker pitchers, poorer arsenals, and particularly the back end of bullpens that are organizational depth. Nearly everyone you're facing in the majors has a high end out pitch.

He probably should be getting a few more at bats than Brandon Guyer, but when you factor the high whiff rate in, the Rays are probably figuring that he is a BABIP fluke.

Yes, he seems like the guy who would go down when Desmond Jennings comes off of the DL.

Colin (WI): How's life Mike?

Mike Gianella: Fitter, happier, more productive
Comfortable, not drinking too much
Regular exercise at the gym 3 days a week
Getting on better with my associate employee contemporaries

At ease, eating well
No more microwave dinners and saturated fats
A patient better driver, a safer car, baby smiling in back seat
Sleeping well, no bad dreams, no paranoia
Careful to all animals, never washing spiders down the plughole...

james421 (Houston): Now that he is on the brink of a callup, Where would Carlos correa be on a dynasty list?

Mike Gianella: For dynasty? I would have him somewhere around the bottom of the Top 100. I'm not sure which side I'd have him on, but it would be close either way.

moehk21 (Ann Arbor): How worried are you about Christian Yelich? How does he rank in dynasty leagues among outfielders? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: I'm not particularly worried. He missed some time due to injury and should be fine with some reps. I'd probably have him in the top 20, maybe top 25.

Ron (Texarkana): Is there another MiLB ace-in-waiting, beyond Giolito?

Mike Gianella: Julio Urias if he shows the endurance and Dylan Bundy if he can ever stay healthy. That's pretty much it; ace is such a tough thing to project. Some other "aces" will certainly emerge from the minors, but trying to figure it out based on the numbers/scouting is a guessing game.

chunkstyle (Toronto): One of the most impressive batting lines in the high minors is Peter O'Brien, a threat to win the triple crown with a 346/383/660/1.043. You would think a 24-year-old putting these kind of numbers up would generate at least SOME buzz, but no....if you answer this question, it will mark the first time his name has been mentioned in a BP chat or article. I know the D'Backs were trying him in the OF, but recently he's been back at catcher as well. Any chance he sees the majors to improve the D'Backs wretched catching situation? Surely, there must be a future for him.....?

Mike Gianella: I think the questions about his defense have obfuscated his value. It seems likely that he will wind up in the OF, which certainly still gives him value but it doesn't quite make him the stud he was be in fantasy as a catcher. My thinking is that he'll wind up in left or at first base. There's obviously no future for him at first in Arizona, and left could also be a stretch. There aren't questions about the bat. It's just where the glove plays. He isn't going to catch.

Cal Guy (Cal): A lot of players seem to be coming out of Cuba these days, but when do you think the truly elite players such as Despainge and the Gourriel brothers come to MLB?

Mike Gianella: It's really hard to say, because a lot of it depends on the political situation there and here, which I am most definitely NOT an expert on. I think there's a possibility that the floodgates open in 3-5 years, but that's just me guessing.

Bronx Cheer (Hanover PA): What is your all time favorite fantasy team name?

Mike Gianella: The Defenestrators. Cracks me up every time.

DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): Mike, who are some of the guys that you might target to trade for who got off to slow starts but you expect to turn it around (or have started to recently)? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Two White Sox - Alexei Ramirez and Melky Cabrera - jump out as players who just have to turn it around. Neither one of them is this bad, and the White Sox in general are a much better team than they have shown so far. Nick Castellanos is another guy who I have seen some signs will get better; he is more of a player than this and should improve. If you're looking for a bigger name, Matt Kemp started out slow last year before going nuts. If you have an owner with an itchy trigger finger, he's the guy to go after on that "buy low" proposition.

jonraypyle (tx): so i have seen you and that one guy from that one site (half-hartedly) discussing a Kershaw trade. what is (are) the biggest trade(s) that have gone down in a Tout or Labr league?

Mike Gianella: It's really hard to trade in expert leagues, in part because nobody wants to be seen as losing on a deal. I traded Hanley Ramirez in 2013 for two starting pitchers. Fred Zinkie of MLB is the big wheeler dealer in LABR, and he made a big deal this year where he traded Andrew McCutchen, Stephen Strasburg, Asdrubal Cabrera and R.A. Dickey for Michael Brantley and Madison Bumgarner.

Cal Guy (Cal): Mike, what percentage of his big league career do you see Schwarber spending as a full time catcher?

Mike Gianella: Under 5%. I just don't see it for him behind the dish.

MP (Bluegrass State): Mike, I'm eyeballing Ketel Marte for a spot on my roster. Roughly 100 minor leaguers are owned. What says you? Does he stick at SS or slide to 2B? Offensive upside worth it?

Mike Gianella: I think he can play a passable short, so he'll probably stick. The offensive upside makes him kind of borderline here. He's really a BABIP fueled player, and a lot of Mariners prospects don't seem to translate well to the bigs early on due to the tough park (think Dustin Ackley). So while Marte is worth owning here, he is borderline based on your question.

Jeff (Chicago): 14 team dynasty league, who has the higher upside? 5-tool Bradley Zimmer or Alex Reyes?

Mike Gianella: I like them both and it's close, but I generally tend to default to the hitter. So Zimmer for me, but as I said it's close.

fightingmoose (Manitoba, Canada): Anthony Alford, the former college quarterback and defensive lineman, has an astounding 13 walks in his last 21 plate appearances in Low A for Lansing Lugnuts including 4 in 5 PA's last night. He has only been issued 1 intentional walk all season. Do you think Alford can carry over his solid on base average to higher levels of baseball? Is there any untapped power potential here? Will strikeouts always be a concern? Thank you from the great white north.

Mike Gianella: Plate discipline generally doesn't disintegrate when a player moves up unless the coaching staff encourages it, so the walks probably will continue. Everything else is really hard to predict becasue he's so raw and there is such a wide range of outcomes. Based on his current profile, he is always going to strikeout a lot, but in this day and age a 30% K rate can play in the bigs.

Tim (Indiana): Hey Mike, I'm rebuilding in dynasty, would you trade Shields for Alfaro, Nick Williams, and Berrios? I'm rebuilding, but concerned about catching prospects and I already have Sal Perez. Thanks!

Mike Gianella: In a rebuild, I'd do that. I think you're getting a lot of future value back, and even though it's painful to give up Shields, I think two of of those guys are likely to stick and produce.

Billy (Houston): Thanks for the chat, Mike. When will we get to see Carlos Correa here in Houston?? Any concerns on your part about whether he's being rushed??

Mike Gianella: Mid-July, but as we saw with a stud like Addison Russell, the top guys force the timetable. I'm not too concerned. He might not hit a ton right away, but he'll hold his own. I think the Astros know what they're doing on this one.

Shawn (Couch): Are you concerned about Tulo at all? If you could get 90% back would you take it or do you think he'll rebound?

Mike Gianella: Bret Sayre and I have him in LABR. I'm concerned, but I think he will eventually bounce back and be fairly valuable. I would take that 90% back just because I'm always concerned the inevitable injury will come.

Shawn Tolleson (Arlington, TX): After 4 saves in the last week, do you think I'll have the most saves going forward for the Rangers? If not, who?

Mike Gianella: It's always impossible to predict, but your stuff is solid and I think that if you inspire the manager's confidence you should be able to run with the job.

navarra (Ukraine): Would you trade Derek Norris for Paxton straight up? League parameters: dynasty standart roto categories 17 teams 40-man roster (10 minor slots) 1 active catcher slot, I have Salvador Perez and Swihart too.

Mike Gianella: I wouldn't, although it seems that you have the need so it's OK from that standpoint. Can you possibly aim a little higher?

Big Tex (Houston): Where would you rank Correa for the ROS compared to other SS's once he comes up? And in terms of his value next season, what are the chances he would be a top 30 pick in a new keeper league? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Bottom of the top half, so maybe 15th or so or a little higher. And in a keeper league, that's probably fine depending on how many guys are kept/not kept. It seems reasonable though in a league with a lot of freezes.

Mark83 (SF): Have you heard anything new about Mac Williamson this season in AA that would change his projection? He kind of reminds me of Mike Morse at the plate. Is that a fair comparison?

Mike Gianella: I haven't heard anything different in terms of his projection. Morse is probably the ceiling, but Williamson has to start making more contact.

Brad (Troy, MI): Who do you think has the higher upside W. Difo or O. Arcia ?

Mike Gianella: For fantasy, Difo gets the edge because of a higher power ceiling. They're both really good future plays though.

Shawn (Couch): Jesse Hahn, Alex Wood, or Drew Hutchison?

Mike Gianella: Hutchison for me. I really like that kid.

Bob (Philly): Do you think Sean O'Sullivan has a chance to be serviceable ?

Mike Gianella: No. I get to more than a few Lehigh Valley games (they're about an hour from me, and there's a Waffle House near there, which is pretty much living the dream in all sorts of ways) and I've seen plenty of O'Sullivan. He throws hard. But he has almost no movement, and eventually you can just sit on that fastball. He doesn't have much else. He really should be a middle reliever somewhere, but the Phillies, um, have more than a few needs right now so O'Sullivan has to start. He has been really lucky so far this year. Don't add him in fantasy if you can avoid it.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers): Describe, in detail, the products you use on your hair.

Mike Gianella: I'm a middle aged man who mostly works from home so I pretty much just grab whatever the hell is in the house. Right now I'm using a strawberry shampoo that the kids are supposed to be using but no one has had time to buy new shampoo because everyone is sick. My wife is the one with the 80 hair in the family. She chopped it off recently and I got all kinds of sad.

ganz1080 (CT): Hey mike, 8 team NL only league, 5x5 roto. I'm in last place and struggling with injuries. I have an offer where I would get Jhonny Peralta and Jay Bruce for pence. My shortstops are either Owings or Addison Russell, neither has been very good. Is it worth giving up Pence for those 2 guys? Bruce has been pretty bad too. Thanks

Mike Gianella: I'd do that. I like Pence, but I think you're getting a lot of value back. Bruce will hit enough to make it worth it in that format.

JaceP (Nevada): Just got offered the following in a dynasty league for Edwin Encarnacion: Greg Polanco, Miguel Sano, Jen-Ho Tseng, Michael Feliz/Chi Chi Gonzalez. Enough value coming back or should IU be looking for a different return?

Mike Gianella: That's fair if you can take the power hit this year.

Matt (Virginia): If you had to choose one SP for long-term success, who would you want on your team: Carlos Rodon or Lucas Giolito?

Mike Gianella: Giolito. Rodon is going to be really good, but I see him more as a solid #2 down the road. Giolito can be an ace with all sorts of #swagger

Hawk (Illinois): Travis, Phillips or Murphy at 2B for ROS?

Mike Gianella: Travis. He'll fade, but Phillips is at the age where the injuries like the turf toe he now will linger. And Murphy even at his best won't match Travis.

DJ (Dallas): Mike, What are your thoughts about Rougned Odor? Thanks for sharing your outlook.

Mike Gianella: He had some success when he was really young but it wasn't the kind of success that suggested he was a lock to stick. Sure enough, he struggled this year and needs more seasoning. He should be a solid all around middle infield contributor but just needs more time to get it all together.

Shawn (Couch ): More value ROS - Choo or J. Hamilton? Seem pretty similar (AVG lg) with Choo not running. Both over Heyward?

Mike Gianella: I prefer Choo to Hamilton just because of the rust, and Choo's overall numbers look worse after a slow start. No, I'd take Heyward over them.

Hawk (Illinois): Where do you see Tanaka ranking ROS? Reports seem positive on recovery.

Mike Gianella: He'll probably be OK, but I still think it's just a matter of time before he has to get the surgery. Top 40? I know that's low, but I'm not a fan.

navarra (Ukraine): Re Norris for Paxton. I don't have a need for pitching. In fact I don't have need for anything, because half of my team is injured now (Swihart is my 2nd UT now, no alternatives) and I have no chance to win this year. So I was asking purely from the value standpoint, plus little consideration of my C depth.

Mike Gianella: Purely from a valuation standpoint, no, don't do it.

Steve (Pittsburgh ): Harold Ramirez is making his debut tonight. On a league with 400+ prospects rostered, is he someone who owners could cut bait on? Or are the early career injuries an anomaly?

Mike Gianella: Just seems too early to tell. Commenting less on Ramirez and more on injuries, it's hard enough to gauge injury prone with years of MLB data, let alone a little bit of minor league data.

Steve (Seattle): Tyler O'Neill has flashed some power. Is he someone we should have on the fantasy radar?

Mike Gianella: In deeper dynasty formats, sure. I'd hold off in more standard Roto leagues.

Mike Gianella: Thanks a lot for all of your questions. Except for the hair question. That was just weird and icky, Yancy.

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