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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday November 18, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.


Christopher Crawford: Good day to you all. Thanks for coming to the chat. I always enjoy these, but today is obviously even more special.

JoshuaKusnick (agent): Jiwan James comeback?

Christopher Crawford: I will not call it a comeback.

Ryan (Detroit): Which prospects get flipped this offseason, which are "untouchable"?

Christopher Crawford: Well I personally feel like Javier Betancourt could be moved. Maybe for a reliever. Specifically one in the National League Central. Maybe he has a really cool nickname, maybe not.

Sorry, too easy. I think you could still see a few prospects moved, but the "big three" seems untouchable to me, unless they're getting an impact bat/starting pitcher.

Chingy (Right Therr): Settle this for me and a mate: who would rank higher on a top 10 list: a squirrel or a rat?

Christopher Crawford: Hi Chingy, big fan. I would say a squirrel because when I see a squirrel I don't scream and hide in a corner.

Pelecos (Granville): Hey chris, I had a chance to see the West michigan team a bit and came away intrigued with the catcher kade scivique. Thoughts on him

Christopher Crawford: I think he's interesting, showed a pretty good approach -- as many LSU hitters do -- and he should be able to stay behind the plate. Could be a nice backup catcher, tough to see him starting on a regular basis.

mattpander (OKC): For comparison purposes, do you have a general sense of where Javier Bethancourt will slot in Milwaukee's system. I assume out of the top-10. Does he make top-20?

Christopher Crawford: We don't wanna spoil things, but It's highly unlikely Betancourt makes the top ten for Milwaukee. If we did a top 20, he'd probably be in that. But we don't, so, he won't.

ProBeauNO (New Orleans): If I told I thought Dixon Machado could hit somewhere in the .270s over the course of a full season what level of crazy would you call me? And how valuable would Machado be if he could do that (not that .270 is all that great)?

Christopher Crawford: If Machado could hit .270 and get on base in the .300 to .320 range, he'd be enormously valuable. That isn't going to happen. Not on a consistent, non crazy lucky BABIP basis, anyway.

mattsussman (toledo): if Locke St. John doesn't make the big leagues, how many romance novels will he star in

Christopher Crawford: All of them. Lock St. John will star in all of the romance novels. His first erotic fan-fiction will pass a Gronking To Remember on the charts. I believe in him.

Tom (Marquette): Spencer Turnbull is large

Christopher Crawford: I will not debate this.

Jose (CA): Trying to evaluate the upside of a few low minors arms - any of these guys have top of the rotation potential: Franklyn Kilome, Dylan Cease, Oscar De La Cruz, Francis Martes, or Devin Williams?

Christopher Crawford: I think you could maybe argue Kilkome but even that seems like a reach. I'd say none of those guys pitches at the top of a big league rotation.

Bad (Idea): Change your profile picture each time a new top-10 is released

Christopher Crawford: Great idea. See what I did there?

Eric (DC): Thoughts on Victor Robles Potential?Where will he be ranked on updated prospect lists?

Christopher Crawford: I think I've done eight chats and I've gotten a question about Victor Robles in all of them. Thanks for keeping the streak alive. Potential is very high, he'll rank high in the Washington top 10, he'll rank in the top 101. Probably.

Albertkly (New York): Do you think Margot wins a job with the Padres this spring, or too soon?

Christopher Crawford: Way too soon, in my opinion. Maybe this summer. MAYBE. But I'd guess 2017.

Chingy (Right Therr): With Betancourt traded, who would move into the Tigers top 10?

Christopher Crawford: Great question Chingy. Big fan.

My guess is it'd either be Moya or Gerber. Moya still has an intriguing ceiling because of the power, but as low of a floor as you can get. Gerber much higher floor, nowhere close to the ceiling. I'd probably play it safe and go Gerber, though it could be recency bias.

Peter (NYC): In terms of power potential for international signees from past few years, are there other big names to keep an eye on besides Gilbert Laura and Jomar Reyes? (emphasis on potential, understood these guys are really far away)

Christopher Crawford: Mmm hmm. Dermis Garcia, Nelson Gomez, Vlad Guerrero, Jr. All guys who have a chance to possess big time power as they get stronger.

Joe (Cincinnati): Trade proposal.. Mark Appel and Dererk Fisher for Chapman ! Thoughts ??

Christopher Crawford: Love Appel. Love Fischer. Can't help but think the Reds can do better. Maybe I'm nuts.

Aaron (San Diego ): Best prospect you saw at the AFL?

Christopher Crawford: Alex Reyes, and I'm not sure if it was close. J.P. Crawford was the best position player I saw, followed by Austin Meadows. It was kinda a weak year, but, those guys are legit.

Gary (Beantown): Curious as to what minor league level GMs start forecasting MLB players. When a player produces at AA, do GMs no longer sign a free agent or a trade to block that player? At what level are they comfortable that a prospect can produce at the MLB level?

Christopher Crawford: Great question. Of course you have to keep in mind that GM's are still going by talent and not stats, but once they start producing at the upper-levels, I think they start taking these things into consideration. If I feel like Lucas Giolito is my best pitching prospect, and I see him dominating in Double-A, I take that into consideration for my rotation next year. Maybe that's Captain Obvious, but yeah, Double-A and up.

rcon14 (WI): Elevator pitch on Javier Betancourt?

Christopher Crawford: I would not trade an elevator for Javier Betancourt.

There's absolutely nothing sexy about the profile. 50 hit at best, can't play shortstop. But he can really play second base, and look, a potential middle infield starter is a nice thing to have, even if it's hitting eighth or ninth in your lineup.

cowboy2024 (Chicago): Crazy November trade question: If the Cubs decided that Schwarber is expendable because of his defensive profile and maxed out body, do you think he would be a starting point in a discussion for either Archer or Gray?

Christopher Crawford: I think an offensive talent like Schwarber would get a lot of discussions started. I don't think the Cubs are trading Schwarber, though.

Mike (Ohio): Ive read conflicting reports on Clint Frazier's ability to pick up spin. Would it be fair to say that it may not be possible to judge if he will be able to let his power play in the show until next year when he faces AA pitching?

Christopher Crawford: Kinda goes with the "projecting big league" thing we just talked about, so yeah, that's going to be a big test for him. I just have a lot of doubts about the profile.

Steve (Texas): Derek Fisher had a good OBP but bad batting average in the Arizona Fall League ... Any big takeaways from his hitting performance, or will it be more about seeing how he performs in AA next year?

Christopher Crawford: Saw Fisher hit the ball hard about six times and not get rewarded in the AFL. Always loved the bat, still not in love with the glove.

Festivus313 (Phoenix): I see that Zach Shepherd didn't make the Tigers article. Thoughts on him? Any shot as a everyday MLB player?

Christopher Crawford: He received Top 10 talks from a few guys. Lot of 45's on his 20-80 and no 55's, so tough to project him as more than a backup corner infielder. Very young developmentally, though, so he could be a riser in 2016/beyond.

GoTribe06 (Lynchburg): I realize he didn't play in the field, but your thoughts on Profar in the AFL.

Christopher Crawford: Loved what I saw. Bat speed, same sweet swing, hit everything hard. I still think he's got a chance to be a star -- if he can throw, that is.

Albertkly (New York): Kris Bryant had a ridiculous babip last year. Do you expect to see some regression there this year, or will his other stats (e.g. BB%) improve to make up for that?

Christopher Crawford: He's had a ridiculous BABIP at every level, and I think he's just one of those guys who is always going to have a higher one because he hits everything so dang hard. The walk rate should go up too, but Kris Bryant is for real. I know that's a very hot take.

Tony (Escanaba): Happy to see y'all stuck with Derek Hill near the top. He could still be an impact top of the order talent if he stays healthy.

Christopher Crawford: This is correct. Hill was really figuring things out before the injury, and even if the bat is only a 45, he's going to be a really good player because of the speed/defense. There's no other non-pitching prospect that's even close to his ceiling.

sbnbaseball (NJ): Chris - what are the ceilings for Dodgers outfield prospect Alex Verdugo and first baseman Cody Bellinger. Either make the Top 101 list? Bother performed very well in High-A.

Christopher Crawford: I think Verdugo can be an average starter in a corning outfielder, and Bellinger an above-average first baseman. I don't think either makes the top 101, but it's early in discussions there.

Daniel (Detroit): Hey Chris thanks for the chat! I was just curios, how do Derek Hill's long limbs help him stay short to the ball? That seems odd but I wanted to hear your thoughts. Thanks again!

Christopher Crawford: Hi Daniel, thanks for stopping by. Hill's limbs don't help him stay short to the ball, his swing path and keeping his hands in on the swing do. The long limbs help him get extension on pitches on the outer half, certainly, but it's not a "long limbs help him do this" thing.

Majortom (IL): How much of a concern are Bobby Bradley's strikeouts? Seems like he has a great swing, but can't imagine 30% k rate will cut it as he moves up the ranks

Christopher Crawford: Always gonna be a lot of swing and miss from guys who are willing to get into two strike counts and have long swings -- even when the swing is pretty like Bradley's is. Always gonna be some concern about guys who strikeout that much, but Bradley is still a guy who can get on base and hit dingers, with or without a high k rate.

Jesse (Ohio): You were at the Fall Stars game right? What did you think about 100 mph Ray Black? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: I was. I got to see a lot of Ray Black. While mooching off scouts guns I got a couple of 101's, second hardest thrower I saw there after Mauricio Cabrera. I didn't see a competent breaking ball and the command is worlds away, but man when you throw that hard and it's not straight you can't help but come away intrigued.

Matt (Virginia): What is Shelby Miller's value? Is he worth Dansby Swanson?

Christopher Crawford: i assume this is a fantasy question. I'd rather have Swanson. In real life? Nope.

Dave (CT): Is Alcantara hopeless?

Christopher Crawford: Nope. And I'm not even sure which Alcantara you mean.

Flow DiMaggio (Clouds): Zach Davies a future #3?

Christopher Crawford: I don't think Davies is a No.3 in a good rotation, as good as the change is I would want someone a little more durable who misses more bats. A very nice backend starter, but I think that's a stretch.

Ben (Texas): Doesn't seem like there's a prospect with a bigger difference in evaluations than Luke Weaver. I've seen middle relievers and number 2's. What do you think?

Christopher Crawford: Well he certainly isn't a middle reliever, in my humble estimation anyway. I think he's a solid mid-rotation starter when all is said and done.

Ben (Chicago): Eddy Julio Martinez-will he be ranked in the top 20 on prospect lists? If not, where?

Christopher Crawford: Top 20 overall? No. Top 20 for the Cubs? Of course.

Bob (Cincy): Overall thoughts on the Reds farm system ?? Thanks !

Christopher Crawford: Without spoiling things, very much improved, some really interesting pitching.

Albertkly (New York): Have you heard anything about Julio Urias since the end of last season, when he had several bad starts in a row? I haven't heard anything, so just hoping there was no injury there. And when do you think we'll see him called up?

Christopher Crawford: No injury as far as I know, just struggled in arguably the toughest league for young pitchers to pitch in. I think he helps the Dodgers in 2016, joins the rotation in 2017.

Will (MI): I gather from the tigers Top 10 - you would not be optimistic about Matt Boyd's ability to stick in an MLB rotation? (If not, bullpen?)

Christopher Crawford: Boyd was not eligible for the top 10, he would have gone somewhere in the middle if so. I think he can be a No 4 or 5 starter, or a very competent reliever.

Joel Irvine (Los Angeles ): What is a realistic return for Ken Giles?

Christopher Crawford: A couple of B prospects, but no idea why the Phillies would want to move him. He's cheap and good.

MickeyRivers (Trenton): Mazara/Devers/Reed... top 3 bat-only prospects in the minors?

Christopher Crawford: I'd have to look, but these are certainly three of the best. Moncada would be up there for me, as well.

Mike (Chicago): Javier Betancourt moved for K-Rod - You can see the future!!!

Christopher Crawford: That's why they call me NotradamChris.


Christopher Crawford: And with that perfect pun, I will bid you all adieu. Thanks for coming out. We will do this again real, real soon.

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