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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday June 08, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.


Christopher Crawford: Happy Draft Day, everyone! Just a warning, I got a new laptop last week with a trackpad mouse, so if I accidentally end the chat or turn it into a nuclear weapon, I apologize beforehand.

Ron (Texarkana): Is there any updates on Brady Aiken, and if he gets healthy, would you expect to see him back to his normal form around mid-late 2016?

Christopher Crawford: I've heard very little on the medicals, but I have heard they haven't been disastrous, so he will go today. It sounds like he could go anywhere from 7 to Boston to 35 to the Dodgers, with some other landing spots being San Francisco and St. Louis, among others.

Rob (Minnesota): If Vladimer Guerrero Jr. were in this draft where would he get picked based on his potential?

Christopher Crawford: Impossible to say for sure, but I know he'd go in the first round, and I'm pretty darn sure he'd go in the top 10. Super raw, but a ton of talent there.

sdsuphilip (San Diego ): what are some realistic names to watch for padres? Just guys that could go around the area without crazy bonus demands?

Christopher Crawford: Hard enough to say who will go No. 1, much less 51, but there's some prep pitchers who make sense in that range like Nolan Watson, Brady Singer and local boy Peter Lambert.

R.A. Wagman (Markham): Chris, Happy draft day. Are there any hitters this year for whom you project 6/6 (or above) in both hit and power tools? Thank you.

Christopher Crawford: It's a wonderful day, R.A. Just one, Brendan Rodgers, and that of course isn't a lock. The next closest are Daz Cameron and maybe Chris Betts.

sdsuphilip (San Diego ): Which player are you much higher than the industry on and which player are you much lower than the industry on? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Great question. The player I'm certainly higher on is Nick Plummer; an outfielder out of Michigan. I think the hit tool is borderline plus-plus, and even though he won't provide a ton of defensive value, I think he can hold his own in the corner.

On the other side of the spectrum, it's Carson Fulmer, and it's not close. Love the stuff, love the fire, hate the delivery and size.

Max (Philly): Best player that won't be drafted today?

Christopher Crawford: Well, it's Kyler Murray for sure, but since it's not possible for him to be drafted because of the steps he took, that feels like cheating. I'll say the next best player that won't go today is Chandler Day, a right-hander without elite stuff, but great feel for pitching and with some projection left.

Viktor (MD): Is it too early to know about the 2016 draft? Who is the biggest bat of that draft (collegiate or prep)?

Christopher Crawford: It's never too early, and yet it's way too early. That being said, the best bat to me is Blake Rutherford, an outfielder out of Chaminade HS in California. Borderline plus-plus runner with above-average pop and a plus hit tool from the left side. He's a good one.

Chris (Detroit): Tough to know at 22, but any late word on who the Tigers may be targeting?

Christopher Crawford: I've heard mostly college guys, but I heard mostly college guys when they took Derek Hill, so that doesn't mean a lot. Jon Harris, Kyle Funkhouser, and any college arm that slips makes sense here.

JoeRandom (san jose): Who are the kyle schwarbers of this draft class? The guys significantly higher in fantasy rankings than draft rankings.

Christopher Crawford: Hmm, good question. Not sure I really see a guy like that, maybe Ian Happ, just because he could move quickly, which bodes well for dynasty leagues, right?

Pelecos (Chicago): What can you tell me about Eric Jenkins? I feel like he has been climbing into the top 50 discussion

Christopher Crawford: Very interesting player. Plus-plus speed, a chance to hit for average, and there might be some power coming. Still very raw, but that's to be expected. He likely goes before the start of the second round today.

sir nerdlington (colorado): With some of the top arms falling due to injury, is there now some 'advantage' to picking in the 10-15 range versus, say 7,8,9 because the GM can more easily justify the risk to ownership by taking an injured guy who'd otherwise go 1.1 (Aiken, Hoffman, etc.)? Seems particularly apt this year given that this draft that is 'weaker' than normal and with so many injured wings.

Christopher Crawford: That's an interesting take. I would say the advantage is there's less pressure on if you screw that pick up than if you get it wrong in the top five. At the same time, I still say the "advantage" goes to those who get first cracks on the best players. This is a good theory, though.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Is Garin Cecchini a bust? His #s in AAA are horrible this year. Any word on what it could be or is he just overmatched?

Christopher Crawford: I wouldn't call him a bust just yet, but time is definitely running out. The approach has gone backwards, the power was never there, and the feel for hitting can only take you so far.

username49 (ohio): What kind of music do you enjoy? Any particular bands or artists? I have no scouting experience, so my level of trust towards scouts is based on this answer. Someone with poor tastes in music can't possibly be a talented scout.

Christopher Crawford: I am a hip-hop head, my favorite group being the Beastie Boys, as I mentioned in my mock draft. But I also like Kendrick Lamar, ATCQ, and the usual suspects of old-school hip hop. Really though I can dig anything but country. Sorry, country fans.

Rudy (Memphis ): Hear a lot about effort with regards to Fulmer and Harris ..... can you explain what that means? What to look for to see it?

Christopher Crawford: It's a couple of things, and I'll readily admit that some people use it as a lazy way to say they don't understand the delivery. With Fulmer though, we're talking about the entire delivery involving a lot of effort, the arm, the legs, the hips, everything. The more effort, the more risk, and the more difficult to project command. Fulmer could be an exception to the rule -- they do happen -- but you are taking an awful lot of risk.

John (CT ): Your opinion please of Twins prospect Alex Meyer. The next Andrew Miller type transformation to closer?

Christopher Crawford: The stuff plays awful well in the bullpen, but you still have to throw strikes. That's not impossible, but man, at some point you gotta actually do it, ya know?

ColeWhittier (Pasadena): Rymer Liriano seems to have a good eye (12% bb / 21% K rate) and is hitting pretty well .284/.391/.460. Do you see him as a starting OF for the Padres next year or is he more of a 4th OF in the future?

Christopher Crawford: Approach has been fantastic this year, but I can't see him breaking into that outfield. Potentially an interesting trade candidate for them, though, a lot of people have been very impressed.

Draft for need (Seattle): Anything on what Seattle could do?

Christopher Crawford: Haven't heard any players specifically attached, but they likely take a college arm and a prep bat with 60 and 72. There's not a lot of financial room to go too crazy, but this draft doesn't really have anything to make you go crazy with, anyway.

Cooper (Chicago): Any idea why Naylor is suddenly flying up the boards? Best power in the class? How would you grade his tools?

Christopher Crawford: Here's the thing about "flying up boards." No one is flying up boards today. It's a case of 1. the boards being different (they all are) and 2. Agents pushing their player.

That being said, I like Naylor. He's got 60-65 power, and the hit too should be at least average. Prep first baseman are a HUGE risk, but he's worth taking a shot on today in that supplemental round range.

keith (lancaster, PA): If Tucker and Happ are available at 10, who would you take?

Christopher Crawford: Happ. I just think the hit tool is more advanced, and there's a lot less risk. Tucker has more upside, but too much volatility for me to pass on Happ.

Pelecos (chicago): Rank the best fits for White Sox at 8? How would you rank the college pitchers?

Christopher Crawford: I would take the best player available. The White Sox are probably not going to take the best player available (to me). It's looking like they're going to take Fulmer or Jay, with Fulmer being the most likely selection. I personally would be looking at guys like Happ Whitley and Tucker, but, I'm not the White Sox. I don't think I am the White Sox, anyway.

John2015 (OKC): Where do you see the Michael Freeman going in this draft? Also, where do you see Mitchell Traver going?

Christopher Crawford: Traver probably goes in the first four rounds, Freeman more of a round 6-10 type talent. They'll both play professional baseball and like it.

John (CT): Should the Twins be concerned about Byron Buxton's relatively slow start? Remember just last year he was being compared to Willie Mays and Mike Trout.

Christopher Crawford: Well, he shouldn't have been compared to those guys anyway, because...well...those are hall-of-famers and you shouldn't compare prospects to hall-of-famers. I'm a little disappointed, but I still think he's the best prospect in baseball. Have patience.

Josh (Boston): Who's the best prop OFer and who goes first? Tucker, Whitley, Cameron, Clark, Plummer?

Christopher Crawford: The best to me is Whitley; I think he's the one who has the chance to be a star as a plus-plus runner in centerfield with a chance to hit for both power and average. The one who goes first though is probably Tucker, because of the pretty swing and because of some concerns with the other outfielders you mentioned.

Mark (Emmitsburg): What's with the sudden dropping of Tucker? Phillies should be ecstatic.

Christopher Crawford: I just think there's some team need stuff that's going on, and some questions about what the Cubs are going to do at 9. I don't know if the Phillies sould be "ecstatic" if he's there, but there's a good chance he's the best player on the board, and he wouldn't be terrible value.

JoeRandom (san jose): Whose your personal favorite bat first prospect on the draft?

Christopher Crawford: Brendan Rodgers is technically bat first, so him. But if you're talking about bat being much more advanced than defensively, it's either Happ or Plummer. I lean Happ just because of the advancement and I have an affinity for switch-hitters.

Tim (AZ): Does Juan Hillman last to pick 41? Do the Braves concentrate of LH pitchers?

Christopher Crawford: I think he probably does, just because of the concerns over the upside. He's sort of the "Justus Sheffield" of the draft, and he'd be very nice value. I've heard the Braves more on college pitchers and the Atlanta preps than LHP.

JoeRandom (san jose): What is your opinion jose de leon? Is he in your top 100? Ultimate upside, strong #3?

Christopher Crawford: I think there's a chance he's a No. 2, actually. He'll be in our mid-season top 50 for sure. Really impressed with his improvement.

Alex (Anaheim): What do you expect the Rangers to do with Joey Gallo when Beltre returns?

Christopher Crawford: Probably send him to Frisco or Triple-A, but if he hits and the Rangers are still in the playoff push (note: the American League is terrible), maybe they find a way to get him at-bats in LF and 1B.

phanatic (pa): how much of dom browns struggles do you think can be attributed to his makeup? from where i sit, it seems like he isnt the most coachable guy around. does he need a change of scenery to have a shot at a productive career?

Christopher Crawford: I haven't heard anything along those lines. I think it's mostly just that the tools haven't played. At all. I'm still cautiously optimistic, but it'd be nice to see some semblance of pop and the plus hit tool he showed in high school.

Eric (NY): Who not in this draft is the next big thing? Vlad Guerrero Jr? Someone else?

Christopher Crawford: Eddy Julio Martinez. The kid is a special, special, special talent. Note that I usually only use two specials for the really special ones. He has a chance to be...well...special.

Matt (Kentucky): Who has the higher offensive upside, Braxton Davidson or Derek Fisher?

Christopher Crawford: I'd have to say Fisher, but this was a fun question. I think both have a chance to hit for both average and power. I'm just a little bit more sold on Fisher.

jonraypyle (TX): I feel like last year this was the Daz Cameron draft, what happend to make him slide, i have seen him anywhere between 5-15 now?

Christopher Crawford: Well, unfortunately for him, he was vastly overrated based on the fact that he was in every summer showcase since 2004 (slight hyperbole). He's still a nice player, and I think he goes in the top 15 today, but there's no standout tool here, and the upside is actually somewhat limited.

Festivus313 (Phoenix): Where would Eddy Julio Martinez, Yadier Alcarez, Norge Ruiz and Lucius Fix rank for you in this draft if eligible?

Christopher Crawford: Martinez would be at 1, Fox would be in the top 10, I don't have enough on the other two to give a concrete answer. Sorry.

Daniel (Colorado): What do you think the Royals should do/look for tonight with 21 and 33?

Christopher Crawford: The best players on their board. It looks like that could be Cornelius Randolph and Phil Bickford, but we'll have to see what the failed drug test does to his stock.

Silverback38 (VA): Is Lourdes Gourriel the best international hitting prospect or can you think of someone better?

Christopher Crawford: Martinez to me has more upside offensively, but Gourriel is also awful good.

Basil (CC, TX): You mentioned Blake Rutherford earlier, does he have a higher ceiling than the advanced bats of Nick Banks, Kel Johnson, and Ryan Boldt?

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think so. Banks is the safer player who many prefer, but not quite as much upside. Same with Boldt. Johnson doesn't belong in this conversation, in my opinion.

JoeRandom (san jose): Do you think Alonzo jones signs with with a team or goes to school?

Christopher Crawford: Totally depends on where he gets drafted. If he goes in the first three rounds, I think he signs. If not, 50/50 proposition.

Peter (Delaware): Xander Bogaert vs Carlos Correa, who's the better player in 3 years?

Christopher Crawford: Don't make me choose. DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE.

I choose Correa.

grizz (chi): what separates Kyle Schwarber from Chris Betts? The profiles sound at least a bit similar

Christopher Crawford: Schwarber more polished with a better track-record, and slightly more power. It's not a horrible comp, though.

Pelecos (Chicago): Which college pitcher would you trust the White Sox player dev. to develop into a starter? Fulmer, Jay, Tate, etc.

Christopher Crawford: If Tate got there, him. Because he won't, I'd say Jay, just because of the cleanness of the delivery.

jonraypyle (TX): Assuming the 3 SS go in the top 3 who do you like for the Rangers at 4?

Christopher Crawford: I'd go with Tate, because he'd be the highest player left on my board. They are rumored to take all sorts of guys though -- including Trenton Clark -- but Tate would be outstanding value at pick 4, I think.

sdsuphilip (San diego): More overrated: Avocados or Steak?

Christopher Crawford: Well, I wouldn't call either overrated, but definitely not avocados. Avocado might be my favorite food, and certainly my favorite fruit.

hmegdal (New York): Hi Chris, where do you expect Georgia Tech C/1B A.J. Murray to get drafted? Wrote about him in Cape League last summer, hoping for the best for him.

Christopher Crawford: Hey Howard! Very late, assuming he's not a senior sign. Probably not until day three.

Jquinton82 (NY): Most interesting name that could drop to the Yankees?

Christopher Crawford: I would say it's Whitley, just because he's the one guy in my top 8 who has a chance to fall that far. He'd be an absolute steal.

Mokajige (Sheboygan): Most of the final mocks I've seen have Brewers taking a college pitcher, usually Funkhouser. Law was the only I saw to have them taking a bat. Have you any last minute thoughts on their direction?

Christopher Crawford: If Walker Buehler is still there, he's the pick. If he's not, I think they could go in a lot of directions like Harris, Plummer and maybe Funkhouser.

Tommy (Boston): Would Yoan Moncada be the first pick if he was in this draft?

Christopher Crawford: Assuming the bonus demands weren't for say....a small country...yes.

Steve (Milwaukee): Could you name the top 3 yet for 2016?

Christopher Crawford: Keeping in mind that this is stupid early. 1. Riley Pint 2. AJ Puk 3. Blake Rutherford.

Trey Cabbage (Your heart): Do you take my name to mean "very cabbage" or is it more of a "three cabbages" situation?

Christopher Crawford: Is this Craig or is this Ben? Either way the answer is yes.

John2015 (OKC): How much does this positive marijuana test hurt Bickford-Some/none? I have read the make-up piece is a concern for some-really curious if teams look past that for a guy who taps 97.

Christopher Crawford: I don't think it helps, anyway. I think there are a lot of concerns about Bickford though beyond "makeup," and really if he hadn't have been taken way too early two years ago, I don't know if we're even talking about the guy.

Pelecos (312): Ashe Russell intrigues me. Why?

Christopher Crawford: Because the stuff is very good. Two 60 pitches, a solid average change and he throws strikes with all three pitches. His delivery is awful though -- he throws across the body -- and results have been inconsistent. He goes today though, probably before round two.

TimmyBall (Chicago): How much has Team USA taken away from the competitiveness and draft relevance of the Cape Cod League and will you be making a trip to the Cape this summer?

Christopher Crawford: A substantial amount, and probably not. It just isn't a destination trip anymore.

John (CT): Francisco Lindor, since it appears he is about to be called up, what should we expect and to what current or recent shortstop would you compare his offensive skill set?

Christopher Crawford: We'll definitely have a call-up piece if/when it happens, but I'm a huge fan. Plus hit tool, and plus-plus defense = prettay, prettay good.

guest (internet): Thanks for fielding all of these questions? While we're prematurely talking 2016 and 2017 draftees, where would you put JJ Schwarz amidst all those other bats?

Christopher Crawford: The early favorite to be the first pick in 2017.

Andy W (IL): Will the Cubs do what I think they should do and draft Aiken at 9?

Christopher Crawford: It's actually not out of the question, but I wouldn't bet on it. I wouldn't bet on any of this stuff though.

Craig (New Jersey): Eddy Julio Martinez or Yoan Moncada

Christopher Crawford: Moncada, but just barely.

Justin (Washington): I've seen mock drafts that have the Astros trying to save money with their first few picks. Why would they want to save money? They have $17 million, and there isn't the best draft to say the least.

Christopher Crawford: Boy, it's a good question. Look, if it works ut that they get Alex Bregman, Carson Fulmer and Daz Cameron in the same draft -- yes, that's possible -- then great. But I'd say that's a less than 25 percent chance. If Cameron doesn't make it to them at 37, I don't see another player that makes not taking Bregman or Tucker at pick five worth it. But that's just me.

The Dude (Office): Are you looking forward to your car smelling like Chipotle and Dr. Pepper when you get it back from the Cespedes BBQ guys?

Christopher Crawford: I'm actually selling the car to my sister. Their problem now!

On a serious tip, the reports back from my sister who picked up the car are that it was in great shape. I give them a hard time, but they're great kids.

Mike (Cali): Is Eddy Julio Martinez the next Puig?

Christopher Crawford: Maybe, the centerfield version though. I've heard Andruw Jones comps, and those make a lot of sense.

Pelecos (Chicago): Cole sands? Drafted late today? How is he in comparison to his brother and is there a higher chance the cubs grab him?

Christopher Crawford: Could go today, I think his brother has more upside but Sands isn't a slouch himself with a plus fastball and above-average change. Haven't heard him mentioned to Chicago, but doesn't mean he isn't in play.

Kevin Brown (NY): How's it going bud?

Christopher Crawford: I'm sleepy.

Keith (pa): happ or whitley if he falls to 10?

Christopher Crawford: So close, but I'd go with Happ, just because I believe in the bat a little more.

Rich (Ellicott City): If we are talking stupid early, how would you rank Robert Tyler, Cal Quantrill, and Alec Hansen? Any of them have SP1/SP2 upside?

Christopher Crawford: If Quantrill was healthy I think I'd put him ahead of all three. As is, I'd go Hanson, Tyler, Quantrill.

Jquinton82 (NY): Looking at the results thus far for gray, is it a problem of him working on things or are the Rockies just horrible at developing pitchers?

Christopher Crawford: Yes.

I'm not really sure to be honest, there's certainly some stuff he's working on, but there's also some real concern about the inconsistent velocity and slider downgrade. Whether that's the Rockies struggling with development or Gray just not being as good as we thought he would be, I don't know. I sort of lean the latter.

Alex (Hawaii): Why are people talking about all these 2016 guys? Isn't guys like Whitley, Tucker and Benintendi better than Rutherford, Banks or Boldt. etc?

Christopher Crawford: Well in someways yes, because they're real. They're here right now. But in terms of upside, I actually prefer the '16 group.

The Dude (Office): Do you think teams know right now who they want, if their best player available is available when they are on the clock? Or does the decision making go right up until the pick is in? Also, Isn't Byron Buxton leading the league in Runs and 3Bs and close in SBs? I wouldn't consider that a "slow start".

Christopher Crawford: I think teams have a pretty good idea who they want to take, but I do think there's some debate in the draft room (no, it's not like Draft Day, nothing is like Draft Day). For instance, I think the Diamondbacks absolutely know who they want to take, and they've known for a bit. Teams like the Mariners and Nationals though can't possibly have any idea, there's just too long until their selections.

Christopher Crawford: And on that note, I have some real world responsibilities to take care of. Reminder that Al Skuropa and David Lee will be chatting live today, and I'll be doing live pick-by-pick analysis tonight. Thanks for coming out, everyone!

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