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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday January 14, 2016 8:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Mike Gianella: Let's Chat (sung to the tune of David Bowie's "Let's Dance")

Ron (Texarkana): Pick two players for the next three seasons: Hector Olivera, Kyle Seager, Jose Peraza, Steven Souza, Matt Duffy. It's a rebuilding season...

Mike Gianella: Seager and Souza. Duffy is steadier/less risky than Souza so if you don't want/need as much ceiling he's the better call.

Paul (DC): Raisel Iglesias or Lance McCullers?

Mike Gianella: Close call, but I'm leaning Iglesias since he gets to face the pitcher and the ERA will be a little nicer as a result.

BC (Urbandale): Are you a big believer in fan graphs accuracy? How close do you think they are with the Cubs at 97 wins? Also, are the Cubs done, or is another back of the rotation guy still a possibility?

Mike Gianella: I know this is a cop out, but projections and predictions aren't the same thing. Their model is likely fairly accurate but individual results are always going to skew things.

97 seems fairly close for the Cubs, assuming that Jake Arrieta doesn't take a big step back (I don't think he will). 91 seems like the win total if a lot goes wrong so 93-97 is a realistic possibility.

Barring something falling in the laps, I think the Cubs are done. Maybe a supplemental move to find a guy who could fill in innings if everything breaks right.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Divvy up the 600 ABs in LF for the Cincinnati Reds...

Mike Gianella: Winker 300, Schleber 200, Yorman 100, but you'll have to assume some kind of odd 50-75 mix and match as well.

Chris (Baltimore): What is the absolute earliest you draft Posey in a 2 catcher 15 team league? #15 too early?

Mike Gianella: We talked about this on the last podcast. 15 is a little early for me. Early to mid 20s. I like him but even factoring in the position scarcity, he didn't hit 20 HR last year and doesn't run.

misterbob (pa): Is H. Olivera good enough to start at a corner OF for the rebuilding Braves------I certainly see some upside but I also see a lot of swing and miss in his game so far. I'm not sure many have seen enough yet to make an informed opinion. Right now I'm a bit skeptical but what are your thoughts on his upside based on what you've seen or heard so far? Thx

Mike Gianella: He's good enough to start for them, but I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm not sure a contender would necessarily hand him a job. The upside is probably .280 with 18-20 home runs, but realistically I think .250 with 10-15 is probably what you're looking at. The caveats with him not playing, adjusting culturally, and all of that certainly apply.

caseyj15 (Medford, Or): What do you think of Odubel Herrera and his development short and long term ?

Mike Gianella: Herrera strikes me as a second division regular who will likely have to job share for a contender. He'd be a great utility guy but as he's shown he could certainly be a starter. I don't see a lot of ceiling beyond what he did last year and I think what you see is mostly what you get developmentally but he's got a good chance of repeating that or at least not falling off too much.

nerdlington (cubicle5280): I just looked at Adam Eaton's season as was shocked that he was productive. I've always mentally defecated on him from a fantasy perspective (points league). Can he retain the power our is he a prime overpay this year?

Mike Gianella: Yeah, I had the same reaction looking at his numbers (well, outside the defecation). He's always had strength that never necessarily translated to power so while I don't think he gets that much better I think he can keep the power he showed in 2015. He's going at the end of the 7th round on average in NFBC drafts, which seems like a slight bargain.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Standard 5x5 NL-only keeper league; $260 salary cap; keeper salaries increase by $2, $4, $8, $16. I have Arenado $15, Duda $9, Kang $3, Odubel $5, Inciarte $5, Corbin $3, Nola $5. Would I be crazy to keep Bryce Harper at $44? (Other options would be Cesar Hernandez $5, Realmuto $5, Piscotty $5, Heyward $28.)

Mike Gianella: It's not crazy depending on the inflation, and judging by the other prices in your league inflation is goin to be high. I'd keep him over those other guys.

Littleron (WV): Working to ID 12 Keepers in 5x5. Last pitching slot comes down to 2 rookies, Giolito or Urias. Whomever I choice I can keep for 2 years without penalty except use up 1 roster spot...Thanks

Mike Gianella: If it's only two years I want Lucas Giolito, even though I think Julio Urias has the higher ceiling and would be the play in dynasty.

Jeff (Inland empire): What would you do if you're the white sox. Sign a big name to plug in the holes or a smaller name or stand pat and hope guys like Tim Anderson and Carson fulmer can contribute in 2016 or a combination of the above? As they stand now they seem unlikely to make the postseason, what should they do to get there?

Mike Gianella: I'd take the middle road, sign one big bat like Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton and then hope that Anderson and others can make an impact. They seem unlikely to make the postseason but they also look a lot like the Mets did entering 2015, with a staff that has the potential to be great and an offense that falls a little short. Of course they're not in the NL East so they can't just beat up on their division and hope to get lucky. But that would be my path for the White Sox.

JQ (NJ): stats or scouts, who ya got?

Mike Gianella: I'm a stats guy but that's all the more reason I need scouts to help me understand what I don't understand in terms of analyzing an 18-year-old's performance and picking the "right" guys. (The answer is both, of course).

Dewey (Charleston): I have Lucas Giolito in contract year at $15 NL only league. Do I keep him at that price and only enjoy this partial year or buy him 1 extra year for $20,or 2 years at $25? Thank you!

Mike Gianella: What's your cap? In a $260 league that sounds like too much, I'm risk averse, and I don't like the idea of risking $20 on a pitcher who hasn't even pitched in the majors. So I'd go $15 but that assumes a $260 cap.

LittleRon (W): Giolito or Urias in 5x5 keeper lg?

Mike Gianella: I think I answered this earlier, but Giolito if it's limited window and Urias if keep forever.

AlbertKly (Radburn, NJ): Who would you rather have in a keeper league that use OBP instead of AVG - Puig $10 or Corey Seager $8?

Mike Gianella: Puig gets a bump but I'm still taking the risk on Seager's ceiling, even in OBP.

Jason (Fort Worth): What kind of power/avg numbers do you see out of Suarez and where do you envision him batting?

Mike Gianella: Eugenio? Probably 15 home runs and a .260 batting average. He'll probably bat 6th or 7th, which could crimp his value if the Reds bat the pitcher eighth and Billy Hamilton ninth.

Shane (Miami): Any concern about King Felix's 2h from last year?

Mike Gianella: I have my concerns and his overall numbers certainly weren't good. Felix has somehow survived despite velocity that has diminished for years but last year may have been a tipping point. I have him a few ticks lower than I have in years past, which means I probably won't get him in most leagues.

Yancy Eaton (Fort Myers): What are your thoughts on eating a post-dinner bowl of cereal as a pseudo-dessert?

Mike Gianella: I mean I'll do it if there's nothing else in the house but that's a pretty weak move for what I'd call a 30 dessert.

LittleRon (WV): What do you expect out of Brantley this year?

Mike Gianella: I'd expect him to be fairly productive when he's healthy, with maybe a 2-4 week adjustment period when he sees live pitching.

AlbertKly (Radburn, NJ): Are you expecting a bounce back from Puig this year? Do you think the injury hurt him last year and should he recover, can be still be an offensive star?

Mike Gianella: I think Yasiel Puig bounces back, he should recover, but I think he'll be more of a 1B/second tier type hitter and not particularly a star. Keep in mind this is still very, very good; I just don't see him being a Bryce Harper/Andrew McCutchen type "star"

holmesp2001 (St. Louis): What is your projection for Domingo Santana? I know many are concerned about his Zone Contact rates, but this is a guy that raked in the minors, and his profile seems somewhat similar to George Springer and even Kris Bryant who both have Zone Contact Rate concerns.

Mike Gianella: Probably a low batting average (.230) with a lot of home runs. George Springer's rookie year minus the hot start is probably a solid comp. I do wonder if they'll platoon Kirk Nieuwenhuis with Santana early to ease Santana into the role.

Myrick (charleston): Chances Anthony Rendon is best 2B for dynasty after this year?

Mike Gianella: 70%? A lot depends on whether or not his health is sustainable. I've never been a big believer in the "health is a skill" idea but I would like to see him on the field for a second full season before being more excited here.

LittleRon (WV): Who are a couple of catcher sleepers to take late in 5x5 keeper league?

Mike Gianella: Assuming a 15-team, one catcher mixer I like Wilson Ramos (people are suddenly shying away from him) and Robinson Chirinos. In a two catcher format, Geovany Soto and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are backups who could push their way into enough time to be better than the bottom end guys who are playing every day.

Ron (Texarkana): Can Lazarito garner as much hype and IFA money as Yoan Moncada did last season?

Mike Gianella: I doubt it but then I have no inside information and don't know if any front offices or scouting departments are as hyped about him as they were about Moncada.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Jorge Lopez looks like he's put it together for the Brewers. What adjustments did he make this past season and how good can he be? Is that funky arms over his head something he will stick with or will he simplify his mechanics?

Mike Gianella: A large part of Lopez's success has been attributed to the good news on the health of his young son, which I'm sure took a load off of his mind. The tough thing about his mechanics is his killer curve seems to rely a lot on them, and I'm not sure how much the Brewers can "clean" up Lopez's mechanics without having an impact on his best pitch.

Chris (Baltimore): What do you think is the obtainable best case scenario for Buxton in 2016?

Mike Gianella: An obtainable best case would probably be 10 home runs, 30 steals and a .260 batting average. I think a lot of the offense comes later but he does enough with his defense and speed to stay in there.

Kingping (Grinnell, IA): What do you expect from Strasburg this year? I know the whole contract year drive hasn't been proven, but he did have a tumor removed from his back...will he return to being a top-tier pitcher in the same category with Scherzer, Kershaw, Mad Bum, and Greinke?

Mike Gianella: If he's healthy he'll be very good. He was solid down the stretch, and a lot of his injuries of late have been non-arm related. I could easily see him being a Top 10 guy in mixed if everything breaks right, and he'd be just below the guys you mentioned.

Ryan (Huddled by the hot stove): What are your expectations for the new international imports, such as Maeda, Byung ho Park, Hyun Soo Kim, and Yasiel Sierra?

Mike Gianella: Maeda strikes me as a #5 or a middle reliever, Park is likely a .260 hitter with 20 home runs, Kim is likely a .270 10-15 home run guy while Sierra likely a serviceable bullpen arm.

Chuck (Denver): Any updates on Omar Carrizales? I remember his AVG being in the .330 range during last year, but a rough final month (fatigue maybe?) saw his AVG plunge below the .300 mark on the season. What's his potential in your opinion? 15 HR power or less? What do you think of him? Thanks for doing this chat Mike!

Mike Gianella: Outside of his winter ball stats I haven't seen or heard much about him of late. That power estimate seems about right, and I think he's probably has the ceiling of a solid regular, but not a star. Coors will obviously help.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena): Can Elias Diaz be a major league starting catcher? Will he be given the opp in Pitt over the next few years?

Mike Gianella: His defense means he'll get a shot to make the team, and the multi-year commitment to Chris Stewart makes me think that if Francisco Cervelli gets too expensive that Diaz will at least get an opportunity.

Jarrett (Gainesville): Any thoughts on Logan Moon? He seems pretty underdiscussed for a polished? outfielder that's hit ~.300 at every level he's played

Mike Gianella: There probably hasn't bene much talk on him yet because he hasn't done much yet outside of a really strong season in rookie ball. He's also 23 years old and was kind of old for his level. He held his own but will have to do more this year to get into more of our discussions.

Bologna Boy (Bed): 20 team dynasty, 7x7 w/OBP & SLG looking toward future. Solid at OF, SS could be sketchy. Trade Derek Fisher for Nick Gordon?

Mike Gianella: I think that's fair if you have the need.

cracker73 (Florida): Considering just future offensive production, how would you rank these four outfielders: Clint Frazier, Nick Williams, Nomar Mazara, Lewis Brinson?

Mike Gianella: Frazier, Brinson, Mazara, Williams

cracker73 (Florida): Considering just future offensive production, how would you rank these four outfielders: Clint Frazier, Nick Williams, Nomar Mazara, Lewis Brinson?

Mike Gianella: a question so nice you asked it twice.

Bob (Ohio): Overall thoughts on the Reds rebuild ? I know issues with Chapman and Frazier's poor second half didn't help trade demands.. But do you feel it's as bad as people are making it out to be ? Seems like they have a very good (top 5-10) farm system. Thanks

Mike Gianella: Seems like they're going the route of really looking at the long term and trying to fill out what was once a very thin system at the low levels. It doesn't seem as bad as some are making it out to be, but I also would say a top 5-10 system is a high estimate.

WisBrave99 (WI): Any of the top 2nd yr guys you worried about having one of those sophomore slumps?

Mike Gianella: Miguel Sano and Kyle Schwarber jump out at me, and generally speaking they fit the profile of the type of second year players I wprry about: hitters with a high whiff profile who I could see getting exposed/attacked differently their second year in the league.

Yancy Eaton (Fort Myers): Are you one of those people that creeps up inch by inch towards a red light, as if in doing so you'll make it to your destination faster?

Mike Gianella: I am not. I am a very patient driver who knows he will get there when he gets there, and that the drive makes the arrival worth the journey.

Corey (The Bronx): Do you expect a rebound from Ian Desmond? Now that the Pads have signed Ramirez, any guess where he lands?

Mike Gianella: Yes, I would expect him to come much closer to 2014 than to 2015. No idea, especially given how weird this market has been. The White Sox make some sense, especially since their pick is protected.

holmesp2001 (St. Louis): Do you think Dalton Pompey will grab the starting LF spot in Toronto from Michael Saunders and if he does are we looking at a .275/.330/.400 hitter with 30+ steals or do you project more?

Mike Gianella: I think he will eventually, but it might not be on Opening Day. For his rookie year, that actually seems ambitious to me, although given the home park that's certainly possible.

WisBrave99 (Wisconsin): Think B.Burns takes another step forward this year?

Mike Gianella: I think what you see is mostly what you get.

LittleRon (WV): Chapman trade potentially hurts value of A. Miller & Betances. Do you see one of these guys getting traded?

Mike Gianella: It doesn't just potentially hurt their value, it most definitely does. I doubt the Yankees trade either one of those guys unless they're bowled over.

holmesp2001 (St. Louis): Did Rich Hill make any mechanical adjustments last year or is his breakout more of an extremely small sample size? I know it was only 4 starts, but he looked good against some very good offenses (Toronto, Baltimore)

Mike Gianella: No, he did make some mechanical adjustments that I believe had an impact both on the sharpness and the location of his breaking ball.

Greg32 (Tacoma): Where does Lorenzo Cain rank for you among OFers? He's seemed to show that he's for real, do you think he can come close to his numbers from last year?

Mike Gianella: I'm a big fan of his and have been taking him fairly early in both mock drafts I've done so far. I have him in my Top 10, which is way more aggressive than his NFBC ranking (17 among OF) but I think Cain will maintain his steals and even if he hits 10 home runs, that's great for fantasy.

WisBrave99 (Wisconsin): Arenado or Rizzo as a keeper for standard Roto?

Mike Gianella: In standard Roto Nolan Arenado.

Matt (Chicago ): Mike can you help w keepers? Pick 5 conforto, grichuk, Cesar Hernandez, parra, Sano, am Ramos, severino, stroman. All last round except Ramos (16). 5x5 roto. Thanks!!!

Mike Gianella: I would go Michael Conforto, Miguel Sano, Marcus Stroman, Luis Severino, and Grichuk.

krrtaa (Jersey): What are your thoughts on Will Myers this year? What would you put his value in NL only, $260 cap?

Mike Gianella: I like him as a bounce back guy, although his health is obviously a concern. My early NL-only bid is $17, although I haven't finalized my bids yet so it could drop if I'm over the cap.

Matt (Chicago): Projections for Cesar Hernandez? Thx.

Mike Gianella: .250 batting average, two home runs, 45 RBI, 25 steals.

WisBrave99 (Wisconsin): You think freeman gets traded by the trade deadline?

Mike Gianella: 40% chance. I really think the Braves do want to keep him but wonder if there will be a push to move him like there was with Cole Hamels in Philadelphia.

LittleRon (WV): First time on your chat and well worth my time. Are they held regularly?

Mike Gianella: I usually do anywhere from 4-6 chats a year, but Baseball Prospectus holds a lot of chats - both fantasy and otherwise - throughout the year. Check here for updates: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/

sitaman1 (Chicago): Keep Jorge Soler or pursue a trade for a defensive CF to replace him with?

Mike Gianella: I'd prefer to keep Soler and gamble on his not-too-shabby ceiling rather than make a trade, but as with anything else if the price is right, why not?

Nomar (Newmarket): When does Gallo get a call up from the Rangers, given that many of the spots he can play are filled and the Rangers are trying to contend?

Mike Gianella: May? June? It depends on his performance I'd imagine but since they are trying to contend he's probably the first guy up and if there's an injury and he is hitting. They could also go the route that the Cubs did with Javier Baez and promote him to have him on the bench. If they are contending, service time won't matter as much as having a superior bench bat (perhaps).

Thomas (Toronto): Is it realistic to expect that Valencia keep hitting like he did last year? If not, how do you see him doing?

Mike Gianella: It is not realistic. He put up a .271 ISO against RHP last year versus a 160 versus LHP. For his career he has a 172 vs LHP and a 152 vs RHP. Unless he figured something out and we all missed it, cut the home runs in half. I still am skeptical that Valencia will be more than a guy on the wrong side of a platoon, but he certainly was more than that last year.

Slinkey1998 (California): At what point is Sonny Gray traded? Is the return for Miller a reasonable expectation for the A's, or will they get even more? Some package around Joc Pederson and Jose De Leon should be enticing.

Mike Gianella: Gray likely gets moved this July. They should get more than that although trying to guess what the market is going to look like months from now is a fool's errrand.

GoTribe06 (Lynchburg): Keeper league, last two spots: Matt Moore, Clay Buchholz, Trevor Bauer, or Nate Eovaldi

Mike Gianella: Bauer and Eovaldi although they're all pretty close.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): What can you tell us about Socrates Brito? Is he more than a 4th OF?

Mike Gianella: He had a strong second half and has enough going on defensively that he could work his way into a starting role.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): What do you make of Randal Grichuk? WIll he be able to make enough contact to stay in the lineup and let his power play?

Mike Gianella: I'm a fan of Grichuk's so I'm a little biased, but I think he will make enough contact to survive as an everyday player and perhaps be a regular 20-25 home run guy. That batting average from last year isn't going to hold, though.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): I'm considering offering my Jung-Ho Kang ($3 in '16, then $7 then $15) for Marcel Ozuna ($9/$17/$33)...standard 5x5 NL-only 8-team keeper league - fair offer? Would I be better off to just hold on to Kang?

Mike Gianella: I'd hold onto Kang. I like Ozuna, but he's never going to get to that $33 level and he needs a change of scenery.

Yancy Eaton (Fort Myers): If someone told you you had a nice body, would you hold it against them?

Mike Gianella: I would not.

Chester (Lynchburg): Are you a believer in Dan Vogelbach?

Mike Gianella: Yes, although there isn't much room for error given his lack of a glove.

LittleRon (WV): What do you expect from Profar & J. Reyes this yr?

Mike Gianella: I think Jurickson Profar eventually finds his way to the majors and has 400 productive at bats as a super utility guy. Jose Reyes is tougher to project thanks to his potential suspension, but he'll probably play 2/3rd of the games where he is available and see a power boost in Colorado.

WisBrave99 (Wisconsin): Mallex Smith looks like a 4th OF type of guy to me with questionable routes and weak arm but has a Jaun Pierre upside, your thoughts?

Mike Gianella: He'd really have to elevate his game to get to Pierre, and he's going to have to do more than the .339 OBP he put up in half a season in Triple-A to get that chance.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Who are some young RP prospects that make an impact in the majors this season?

Mike Gianella: I hate this question, just because this is a guessing game that has as much to do with opportunity and the ineffectiveness of others in a bullpen as it does with any prospect relievers. Corey Knebel in Milwaukee interests me because the opportunity is there, and by law we have to root for Kyle Barraclough because George Bissell likes him

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): With Upton gone and Myers supposedly moving to 1B, do the Pds give Rymwer Liriano a legit chance to earn a starting job?

Mike Gianella: I think he gets a legitimate opportunity, as Jon Jay is his primary competition.

majortom (Mn): Park with the Twins - how many HRs would you expect? (I know playing time is a big uncertainty)

Mike Gianella: 20 home runs is a median assuming he starts.

holmesp2001 (St. Louis): What is a good comp for AJ Reed? His stats say premier prospect but I remeber Matt Adams putting up a couple of ridiculous minor league seasons and not being that type of player.

Mike Gianella: I'm not the best at comps but assuming 550 plate appearances 20 home runs with a .260 batting average would be my guess as a rookie.

LittleRon (WV): Ops, my bad. I meant Jose Reyes the SP for Stl....Thanks, Ron

Mike Gianella: Do you mean Alex? His 50 game suspension pushes him back this year, but long term he looks like a solid #2 SP with an outside chance of being an ace.

holmesp2001 (St. Louis): If Carlos Gonzales does indeed finally get traded is it not the funeral that some are projecting by analyzing his splits if he goes to a hitters park like Baltimore or Texas?

Mike Gianella: It's not the end of the world but if you look at his TAv he's a slightly above average hitter at this point. Moving to a hitters' park certainly would help, but he's probably going to be "only" a 25-30 home run guy. That being said, when Cargo was hot last year he was hitting home runs everywhere.

Kylan (Florida): What are the realistic expectations for Joc Pederson/Joey Gallo for the next handful of years? Which would you prefer? Thanks

Mike Gianella: Pederson should bump up his average a little bit and a lot of that power is sustainable, so I'd say 30 home runs with a .240 BA. Gallo has a lot more variability in his projection, and could be anywhere from a .220 hitter to a .250 hitter. He's going to mash and has an outside chance of getting to a 40 HR year. I want Pederson because of the steals in fantasy and in real life I want him too becaue I'll always take the guy who has the full year under his belt and has survived.

Brandon (Oklahoma): DO you see Carlos Gomez or Jay Bruce coming back strong in 2016? Both have the talent but struggle with minor injuries and inconsistencies.

Mike Gianella: Both should bounce back somewhat, Gomez's bounce back is almost entirely predicated on health, and I do wonder if he'll play a full season. Bruce should be OK but he hasn't been quite the same the last two years and I suspect he may have found a new level.

CVC (O): How much are you expecting David Peralta to regress next year?

Mike Gianella: Somewhat, but he's a solid all around player and should be able to be good enough to still be viable for the Diamondbacks.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): How much does moving from pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine to very hitter-friendly Chase Field affect Greinke's production and value?

Mike Gianella: It impacts him for sure, but keep in mind that while Chavez Ravine is pitcher friendly it is actually a home run park. Greinke stays in the National League, doesn't have to face the Diamondbacks potent lineup, and still gets to go to Petco and whatever the heck they're calling the park in San Francisco these days. Expect an ERA increase but not a spike.

Trevor (Baltimore): I'm having a hard time trying to determine what to expect from Jacoby Ellsbury. Think his bad 2h had more to do with the knee injury/time off or a prediction of things to come?

Mike Gianella: It was injury related but the problem is that players with Ellsbury's injury history and speed/defense profile tend to have more of these problems as they get into their 30s. I see a bounce back but I also don't quite see him being the elite option that he has been in the past.

Trevor (Baltimore): Thanks Mike, really enjoyed this chat, as a follow-up to your answer on Ellsbury. Assuming some missed time for him, do you think in a 5x5, that .275 avg. 12-15hrs and 22-25 steals is a fair prediction?

Mike Gianella: That seems realistic, with maybe a few more steals.

Mike Gianella: Thanks so much for the questions. Pitchers and catchers are a little over a month away. Keep. Hope. Alive.

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