Jeffrey Paternostro: Hello all, Jeffrey Paternostro here to take your questions before the mighty blue and white wizards of Sheffield Wednesday take on Arsenal this afternoon. Oh, there is also the World Series starting tonight. So I will take your questions on that, prospects, bourbon, and anything else that might strike your fancy.
Rich (NY): Do you agree with Terry Collins's decision to DH Kelly Johnson or should they have DH'd Conforto and let Lagares patrol center?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I think there is an argument for both. Johnson allows them to stack lefties against the Royals heavily right-handed staff, but Lagares in CF sliding Cespedes to left is a big defensive upgrade. Ultimately, Lagares has been so bad against right-handed pitching for his career (.254/.286/.340) that I think this is probably the right call.
Mike (Jersey): I haven't seen anyone pick the Mets to win this series despite the fact that they have vastly superior starting pitching. The Royals make contact, sure, and they play good defense. They also have a middle relief edge. I wouldn't say they have a hitting advantage so I just don't see how the defense and relief pitching adds up to them being the better team.
Jeffrey Paternostro: Hey, I picked them in my World Series Preview this morning! I don't feel that strongly about it though if I am honest. I think you underplay just how big the defense and relief edge is (and it isn't just middle relief. I love Familia, but Wade Davis is on another level). Mets will need length from their starters and need to get to KC pitching early. I think they have the guys to get that done, but it's a very close matchup.
Greg (NYC ): Is the Royals hitting against 95+ MPH pitches the most over talked about stat coming into this series?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably by default, yes. Look, it's a good offense, they probably hit a wide variety of pitches well, because good offenses do. That said, I think the specifics of their offensive approach may give the Mets starters fits at times. Even if they don't get big innings, they might force Collins to go to guys like Hansel Robles and Addison Reed early and more often than he'd like.
MikeM (New York): Who on the Royals throws the most dick high fastballs? Asking for my friend Wilmer.
Jeffrey Paternostro: Hah, Wilmer Flores' 2015 slugging heat map is a work of art I would like to hang in my living room, but this is not a great slate of pitchers for him to face. Your best hope is probably Edison Volquez hanging an *ahem* belt high curve.
BC (Urbandale): Do the Cubs go after back end rotation help or a 1 or 2?
Jeffrey Paternostro: A full year of Bryant, Russell and Schwarber plus one more top of the rotation starter makes the Cubbies pretty terrifying. I don't see why they could get one of each, but I would target one of the best available arms for sure. If the Price and Greinke contracts scare you off, I wonder if Jordan Zimmermann makes sense as a bit of a compromise. I know it wasn't the greatest contract year for him, but I've always really liked the arm.
holmesp2001 (St. Louis): DeGrom and Harvey are aces in their own right, but does Noah have the highest upside of these three? 98 mph fastball, curve, sinker, change, and warthen slider developing how good is this guy going to be and who do you compare him to long-term?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I see this idea bandied about a fair bit, and it's a tough sell for me. He has the best fastball of the three yes, but the command still hasn't quite gotten there, and the secondaries lag behind Harvey and deGrom's. I think both the curve and the change will improve and he is incredibly young, but we might be at the point where we are underrating Harvey and deGrom's offspeed pitches. They both have three solid-average or better offerings.
Nate (Loveland, CO): Your top five beers?
Jeffrey Paternostro: This is an appropriate question before I settle in for 8 hours or so of frankly terrifying sports viewing. For context, I drink mostly dark beers (especially this time of year) and don't care for over-hopped stuff.
1. Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
2. Left Hand Milk Stout (preferably Nitro)
3. Liefmans Goudenband (a Belgian sour from Brouwerij Liefmans)
4. Woodstock Inn Brewery Pig's Ear Brown Ale
5. Ommegang Hennepin
Brady (Home; in a bed): How do the Mets' pitchers stack up in terms of holding runners?
Jeffrey Paternostro: It's a subplot to watch. Harvey is generally tough to run on, but deGrom and Syndergaard have had problems holding guys, and Syndergaard has a history of issues out of the stretch generally.
Chris (New York): Have you tried any of the Tuthilltown products? If not, can you recommend a locally-produced whiskey that's any good?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I have had their baby bourbon and corn whiskey, I just can't really get into young bourbons and ryes. The corn sweetness is a bit too much for me. Really anything less than 10 years in the barrel is a very occasional sip for me, so that limits your New York area options.
J. Uribae (NYC): How many home runs will I hit in the World Series?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Like Lagares, Uribe isn't a great matchup against the power righties the Royals have in the offing. Add in the chest injury which is probably not 100% yet, and the stage is set for a ridiculously swaggy and unpredictable bomb off Wade Davis. Okay, maybe not. But I am excited to see how much chaw he can cram into his cheek on the national stage.
Rich (NY): Who wins the MLS Cup and why? Use great detail.
Jeffrey Paternostro: I watch a fair amount of second-division soccer, yes. I even watch a bit of Swedish soccer (come on Goteborg!), I just can't get into the MLS.
OB1 (Tampa): Miguel Sano, what is his ceiling. I receive a lot off offers for him but have no clue as to what his true value will be.
Jeffrey Paternostro: I love Miguel Sano. He hit one of the longest home runs I have ever seen live, and it was off a major league arm (Erik Goeddel). As hard as he hits, well everything he actually hits, it's still tough to maintain a 35% K-rate and be a regular, especially if he's going to be a DH going forward. I haven't seen a ton of him post-TJ, but I thought he could handle third in the minors, and he is a better athlete than he looks. The approach and the recognition is the approach and recognition though. How do you feel about a healthier Russell Branyan?
holmesp2001 (St. Louis): Jurickson Profar. Please remind us all how good this guy is and why we should be paying attention to his 1.382 OPS in the Arizona Fall League. Does he fit into the Rangers plans or is he prime trade bait?
Jeffrey Paternostro: A couple Profar questions, remember him? Well, you really shouldn't pay attention to AFL boxcores, but for Profar the key is he's in the box score. If he comes back all the way from the shoulder issue the talent hasn't markedly changed. I don't want to just handwave two full missed seasons, that is an additional risk.
As far as his role with the Rangers, I think they'd love to get out from under the Andrus deal, but that is unlikely unless they are willing to basically eat it or view it as a sunk cost and have a very expensive utility infielder. You also don't know yet if Profar's arm is up for shortstop, and Rougie Odor has staked his claim on second base. Fortunately, you have some time to suss this all out, as I think Profar will need a half season or so in Triple-A to get his legs back under him.
AMetsGuy (NYC): I know you have been down on Dom Smith and so have I, but is it possible in this offensive era that he can be a great fit for the post-Duda Mets as someone who does not strikeout, hits for a good average, takes some more walks, and maybe develops some power with decent 1B defense? (Think Daniel Murphy trajectory with more patience and power than he ever showed before this year.)
Jeffrey Paternostro: Even more Dominic Smith questions though. I guess my reputation precedes me. If I could write him in for Murph's career line (.288/.331/.424) today with decent first base defense, yeah okay, that's a role 5ish guy in this era? That's a 60-65 hit tool. That's a big ask. Dom has good bat head control and feel, and he's very comfortable going the other way. He is also yet to see really good velocity in on his hands day in and day out. I think that will be the real test for him in Double-A, and it's not just a matter of does the power come then, it's does the hit tool hold up? I have my doubts.
Josh B (Long Island): On a scale of 1-Bartolo, how nervous are you right now? I'm at a Bartolo.
Jeffrey Paternostro: So full disclosure if you haven't figured it out already, I am a Mets fan. I have been terrified for every single playoff series though. So this is just the new normal now.
Jesse (Missouri): Is terry going to try something else if conforto stays cold :( ? This plus fielding plus not enough BART are my fears for the series
Jeffrey Paternostro: I think Conforto playing everyday will help. Mets saw an awful lot of lefties, especially against Los Angeles, and I think Conforto is a good matchup against the Royals startes. I don't see Terry giving Johnson or Cuddyer a shot in the corner, so it will be his gig until at least the seventh inning every game.
Kate (Jersey City): Which prospect are you most disappointed in (that you thought would excel but didn't) and which are you most proud of (that exceeded your expectations; Jacob deGrom doesn't count!?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I thought Alex Meyer would have put it together by now and at worst be a dominant late-inning arm with a shot to start. I don't know if the command profile works more than as a generic middle guy. I won't say I'm proud of this, because I horribly missed here, but Brian Dozier turning into a good regular I did not see coming at all. Looked like a grindy, but very Twins, utility guy to me. I missed on few guys on those Rock Cats team. Colabello had a similar power jump in the majors. At least Aaron Hicks looks more like the guy I saw in the Eastern League now.
GoTribe06 (Lynchburg): What does 2016 look like for Dylan Bundy. He's out of options. Do the Orioles use him in the pen to build up innings in 2016, with a return to the rotation in 2017 (assuming he stays healthy)?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Maybe the Cubs have found their next 1 or 2 starter!
Is that too mean, that might be too mean.
Adam (Los Angeles): In an emergency situation, who'd you like to see most at SS? KJ or Uribe? Wright? Lagares? deGrom?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I assume it will be Kelly Johnson, though the DH may make that tricky in a game or two. Wright loves playing shortstop, and he has experience there in an emergency (seems to happen every other year to the Mets), but Lagares would be amusing. Hey, Flores got moved off shortstop in A-ball too.
Steve S (SI): What four MLB pitcher pitches do you give yourself in your baseball video game of choice create-a-player?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Sticking with the standard four-pitch mix and only active guys, let's go deGrom's fastball, Kershaw's curve, Arrieta's slutter thing, and Hamels change. Looking at it, that is about the most cliche answer I could give. Ah well.
GoTribe06 (Lynchburg): So that would make Hunter Harvey the Cub's future #3?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Checks out.
OB1 (Tampa): Which of the following will make an impact this year above and beyond what they have done to this point Marcus Semien, Steven Souza Jr., Eddie Rosario C.J. Cron,
Jeffrey Paternostro: All those guys are giving you about what you'd expect, no? None were huge upside guys as prospects, and all have been usefulish major league pieces. Semien might benefit from moving off shortstop, but I don't see a huge offensive step forward. Cron is well on his way to being suitably Trumboish, and Souza is an example of the dangers of the 35% K guys I mentioned above. Rosario is another guy I saw a fair bit of on those Rock Cats teams, and he is playing more or less to what I saw. I guess if I had to pick one I'd take Rosario because maybe he can make some marginal approach gains to let the power play a bit more.
Greg (nyc): What's the proper beverage for watching your team in the World Series? I think you start with beer and save the hard stuff for the later innings if need be. Thoughts?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Isn't there a rhyme about that? I am locked into beer today because of the Wednesday game, assuming I just don't show up and there are shots laid out for us, which may happen. I can't blame anyone that accompanies a Tyler Clippard outing in a close game with a large pour of Wild Turkey 101 though.
Billy (KC ): I see Raul Mondesi made our WS roster. When should we expect to see him in KC (during the regular season!).
Jeffrey Paternostro: Well, this starts the options clock, but I don't see that becoming an issue. He probably repeats the Texas League as a 20-year-old which is fine. You'd like to see him really put his stamp on a league, but it's tough with these age-relative-to-league guys to get a feel for the timetable sometimes. Let's say after Super 2 in 2017.
Alex (Queens): If Largares never recoups his Gold Glove defense, is Nimmo in CF a possibility moving forward?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I think the Lagares defensive downturn was *slightly* overblown, but I also don't know that he (or anybody) is a 30 run center fielder. The bigger concern has been the bat stagnating. He is going to be a batting average dependent guy, sure, but you'd like to see some approach gains after three seasons of major league reps. I am not the biggest Nimmo fan nowadays, but if the Mets don't re-sign Cespedes, I could see some sort of platoon in center eventually. That's not a great solution for a team at this point on the win curve, but it will be inexpensive.
Mike Francesca (Lawng Beach): Who is better all time? Kierkegaard or John Donne. I would go with Kierkegaard. Donne to me is a compiler.
Also people always talk about a prospect's body having projectabity. What does that mean? Like is it just "dude is tall so he will eventually throw faster." If that's the case why do we bother with it?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I am a Camus guy myself. But I always liked big peaks.
As for projection, it does probably get used too often and too generically by people of our ilk. It helps to meet the parents for example before you try and figure out just how much mass that string bean Dominican kid will add. Not a coincidence that Bartolo now looks exactly like Papa Bartolo.
Aidan (Providence): With Wheeler out next year, and Niese kind of meh, should the Mets bring back everyone's favorite, Bartolo Colon?
Also, prediction for Wednesday-Arsenal?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I am in favor of being able to watch Bartolo as much as possible, so I would sign on for this. A one year deal where he can start until the break and then slide into Fireman Bart when Wheeler is ready would be ideal, but I wonder if there isn't a bigger and better deal out for him this offseason.
Heart says Wednesday 3-2 after extra time. Head says Arsenal a comfortable 3-1.
mikewilsonelgin (South elgin): Is there an organizational reason that the Cards can't develop a shortstop or have they just been unlucky for a few decades?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I always wonder about these sort of things. You see it in different organizations at different positions at different times. There is definitely something to organizations being good or bad at developing types of players (see all the Orioles pitching prospect quips I have made, or the Cards with polished college bats), but as far as not being able to develop a particular position, I don't know. That said, declining major league shortstops is hard, because it is hard to be a major league shortstop.
Jeffrey Paternostro: Okay folks, I am off to a dark pub to watch soccer, but I hope you all enjoy the last week of baseball season (sheds tear). Up the owls!