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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday April 21, 2016 7:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Mike is our Senior Fantasy Writer and two-time expert league champion in 2015 (Tout NL and LABR Mixed).

Mike Gianella: Hey everyone, let's talk about baseball.

Moe (Ann Arbor): I'm in a dynasty league where I have to call minor leaguers up to the majors if they compile at least 300 at bats. I don't want to call Nomara Mazara up (in order to keep his price for next season down), but I think I might have to. What percent chance would you say Mazara is to end the season with more than 300 AB's? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Ninety percent. He looks legitimate, and even though there will be a logjam when Nomar Mazara returns, he adds something to the line-up even as a part-timer. It's hard to see him going down unless he really slumps.

Truganini (CO): It's still April, but a number of top 50 players have gotten off to particularly cold starts: Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Tulo, Votto, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward. Should we adjust our expectations for the rest of the season on any of these guys or just write it off to a small sample size in some cold weather?

Mike Gianella: I talked about this in an article last week, but most of this is due to small sample size. Jones' health concerns me a little bit: not because he's seriously hurt, but because he was banged up a lot last year and this tends to start repeating for players his age. Freeman worries me; I wonder if maybe there's a more serious injury lurking and the Braves would shut him down in July if they're out of contention. Heyward is a notorious slow starter. He should be fine.

dylanrox (New Orleans ): Gomes is my C but Grandal and D'Arnaud both available. 14 team H2H weekly points format, and we start one C. How do the 3 shake out ROS? Also my RP 3 is Strickland. Dyson Kela and Zych are available. Doolittle was dropped and clears overnight. Saves worth 8, holds 4, and K's are 2 points. Thoughts on best option there Mike? Thanks.

Mike Gianella: I would rank them Yasmani Grandal, Yan Gomes, and Travis D'Arnaud in that format. All three all close, but I give Grandal an edge over the other two. I would drop Hunter Strickland and take a chance that Sean Doolittle is still the closer, given the point structure there.

Frank (Brooklyn): 18 team mixed...i drafted 2 lemons at 3B (sandoval & chisenhall)..would you trade Madson to get Lamb? or stand pat and ride Lonnie the Loser?

Mike Gianella: I think that's a fair deal. A lot depends on how you're set up for saves without Ryan Madson.

Kristen (Canada): Which season would you take: 1. 2010 Josh Hamilton 2. 2012 Josh Hamilton - only 16th player in MLB history to hit 4 HR's in a game 3. 2016 Bryce Harper 4. 2016 Mike Trout

Mike Gianella: That's a really cool/intriguing question. I would rank them Harper, Trout, 2010 Hamilton, and 2012 Hamilton. There's a gap between the latter version of Hamilton and everyone else and I thought long and hard about flipping Trout and the 2010 Hamilton. I forgot how amazing he was on offense that year.

Cubbie Bear (CHI-TOWN): Can Ryan Madison close 35 or more games for A's. Do you think the wins and opportunities will be there. Will he lose opps to Doolittle?

Mike Gianella: He can, although I suspect that there's going to be a job split and unless Sean Doolittle gets hurt there's a ceiling on Ryan Madson of 25-30. Madson is also coming off of a season that was preceded by a long layoff due to health (or lack thereof) so the A's might not simply roll him out there given the investment.

asarule (Lakewood CA): Any idea what is going on with Toronto's top OF prospect Anthony Alford? Heard he hurt his leg sliding into home one of the first games of the season. Haven't really heard anything since. Been thinking we'd see this guy in Toronto in the next couple of years.

Mike Gianella: I haven't heard much more than you have on him regarding the injury. Sounds like the Jays are going to play it safe, and given that Alford hasn't seen the high minors it, it will likely be late 2017/early 2018 at the absolute earliest for him in the bigs.

JP (TX): Hey Mike thanks for the chat! I know its April and its stupid early! But I have Mike Trout in my AL only, and i currently have 35 Offensive category points and 11 pitching. If this trend continues and I feel confident in the rest of my offense what kind of pitching return could I expect from Trout if i flipped him in may or june. it is a keeper league and he would be $47 to keep next year.

Mike Gianella: You should be able to get an elite arm like Chris Sale for Trout. Obviously, there are a lot of variables in keeper (like contracts and keeper salaries). But shoot for the moon.

Brien Taylor (Mikes House): Hey Mike, would you move Profar for Joc? 12 team dynasty league, OBP and SLG as categories. Thanks!

Mike Gianella: If you're playing for this year you could do that, but in that format I prefer Jurickson Profar slightly.

Ron (Texarkana): Does Trevor Story and/or Eugenio Suarez stay fantasy relevant throughout this season, or will they most likely be on/off the waiver wire?

Mike Gianella: They'll both be fantasy relevant, even if/when they do slip later this year. Shortstop is a fairly thin position, and while I expect both of them to slump, both should do enough in the power/speed department to maintain fantasy value even if the batting average falls. Maybe in 10-team mixed you might be able to eventually do better.

Sam Miller (The Basement): [Editor's Note: Mr. Gianella's concluding statements in today's BP piece, "The Things We Believe", had been prepared for print but remain unpublished. They are as follows: "I believe love is the answer. I believe love will find a way." We at BP acknowledge and apologize for our omission.]

Mike Gianella: This does not sound like me.

Red Phil (Closer to you): Have one slot available to go dumpster diving for future saves. Who would you pickup: Andrew Bailey or Caleb Cotham? Any other dark horses you like out there? Cheers

Mike Gianella: I took Bailey in the one 12-team mixed I do, but this is because it's first come/first serve and Cotham was gone. I like Cotham better. The free agent pool in all of my leagues looks pretty dire, and most of the alluring names have already been taken. You can try Neftali Feliz if he's there, even though I believe in Mark Melancon and think he'll be fine.

steve (Little red corvette): Hello Michael, What do you think about moving Altuve for Price and Yelich. 12 team keeper. Thanks for all your moderate amount of work!

Mike Gianella: It's fair, although in that format you're definitely giving up the best player relative to replacement level.

hey...wait a minute!

Vic (Baltimore): Should I drop Kela in a keeper league? Pick up Cotham, Lowe, Blake Wood?

Mike Gianella: Hey Vic.

Of those three, Cotham is the guy you want right now.

Prince Magic (Land of Purple Sanoooo): Worried about Felix? What number SP in your rankings would you be okay trading Him for in yearly and dynasty leagues? Had an offer of Stras for my Felix and Berrios in 12tm roto dynasty.

Mike Gianella: I'm not worried exactly, but I believe that Felix Hernandez is going to be more of what he was last year and not the shutdown ace he was in his prime. I could see moving him for a Top 20 guy. In dynasty, I'd rather give up someone with less of a ceiling than Jose Berrios in that deal.

Sky (The Roc): Any tips for helping along trades in leagues with uninvolved/super biased owners?

Mike Gianella: The best thing to do is be in a league with/find people who are as enthusiastic as you are. It's difficult to get people to make trades and there's no kind of rules that will help this along. You want to be in a league with people who are constantly looking at their rosters. Beyond that, try to socialize with your league. This doesn't mean you have to constantly be talking trade, but I've found in leagues where I see people/talk to people, trades are more likely to happen organically.

Ed! (Seattle): Hi Mike! Who do you prefer over the next 3-4 years: Smyly or Severino? (Same price, standard cats). Smyly seems like he has the K's, but also the injury risk.

Mike Gianella: Definitely Smyly, and it's not close for me. Severino is safer for the reasons you point out. But the ceiling with Smyly is way too much to pass up on.

Amy (Michigan): Does James McCann reclaim the starting job once he's off of the DL?

Mike Gianella: I think so. Despite the fact that the defensive/framing metrics are negative, the Tigers like his defense and the way he handles the staff. I could see a scenario where Salty finds his way into a little more palyin time, but I think McCann's the starter.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): Mike thanks for helping out so early in the year. I am in need of stolen bases.Available are R.Davis,B.Burns,M.Taylor,B.Hamilton. Nobody can get on base and may hurt my team in other areas.Categories are Hr,RBI,Ave,Sb,Xbh,Runs. Thanks for any input

Mike Gianella: I'd take Taylor in that format, but if you're strong in other areas, Hamilton is the obvious swing-for-the-fences play. Sounds like you don't want to hurt your team elsewhere, though.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers): What did you have for the dinner?

Mike Gianella: Pierogies and vegetables.

Tony (Rochester): % chance Joey Gallo gets traded this year _____

Mike Gianella: 20-25%. I suspect Jurickson Profar is going to be everyone's favorite target. Doesn't mean that Gallo doesn't get moved though.

Eddy (Ohio): Is Oswaldo Arcia finally going to pan out?

Mike Gianella: He could, but I still believe he needs a change of scenery. The Twins don't believe in his defense and aren't enamored with his lack of patience at the plate. I could see him panning out as a poor man's Khris Davis somewhere, but with the Twins locked up at DH with Mauer/Park, he's going to have a hard time getting a fair shot imo.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers): Is there a conspiracy theory out there (big or small) that you are 100% convinced is true?

Mike Gianella: Life is a sim. None of this is real (cue spooky music).

Prince Magic (Purple Sanoooo!): Worried about Felix? What number SP in your rankings would you be okay trading Him for in yearly and dynasty leagues? Had an offer of Stras for my Felix and Berrios in 12tm roto dynasty.

Mike Gianella: I think I answered this already.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): Mike ,SP 12 team H2H league w,era.k,whip,k/9. Wire pickups Phelps (Mia),R.Porcello,P.HughesChase Anderson. One or two possible that you may take. Thanks,

Mike Gianella: I agree with my colleague Bret Sayre that Rick Porcello is the guy to go after. Solid numbers at the end of last year, has built on his success, doing a better job with sequencing once again in 2016.

utdavidson (Austin): Any concern with Rendon?

Mike Gianella: My concern with Anthony Rendon is that he didn't perform when he was on the field last year and 2014 is the only healthy year he has ever had anywhere as a professional. He will always show flashes of the brilliant hitter that he is, but I'm not incredibly convinced that this will carry over across 600 plate appearances in any given season even if he does stay on the field.

utdavidson (Austin): If he continues to hit well, any chance for Moncada to come up in September?

Mike Gianella: 5% maybe. I just don't see why the Red Sox would rush him unless they have a need. That being said, talented players like this have a way of destroying timetables and proving us wrong.

Kristen (Canada): How is it possible for the Angels to be putting this horrible of a roster out there despite having a $140 million payroll and emptying out the last of their farm system for Simmons?

Mike Gianella: $140 million isn't really a lot in this day and age, and they have such big chunks invested in players like Albert Pujols, who is still solid but not the superstar he was, and C.J. Wilson on the DL. They simply couldn't spend anything this winter on even marginal upgrades like Howie Kendrick over Johnny Giavotella and it shows on the active roster. They overpaid for Andrelton Simmons but even before that trade their farm system was just so bad. They are at the end of a success cycle that didn't offer a lot of success and likely have to consider rebuilding if they can't spend more money.

Kristen (Canada): Any idea what's wrong with Chris Archer? Really not looking like himself so far.

Mike Gianella: He is having all sort of trouble with his command and his slider simply isn't moving at all. Why this is happening I have no idea. He's getting strikeouts and the velocity seems to be there, which makes me believe it's not an injury and it's a mechanical issue. But I have no way of knowing if this is true.

Cory (Ohio): Think any less of Byron Buxton?

Mike Gianella: A little bit, although in the long term I think he'll be fine. With all of the injuries he's had, I do wonder if he hasn't quite had enough time in the minors. In redraft leagues, you have to knock him down at this point.

Sky (The Roc): Any minor leaguers who have seen their expected 2016 MLB production rise through the first three weeks, either due to high performance or changes in MLB opportunities?

Mike Gianella: Jesse Winker is the guy who looks like he'll be up earlier based on early performance. Jorge Alfaro has been great, but I can't see the Phillies rushing him based on early performance. J.P. Crawford's walk rate is encouraging, and could push him up a little earlier if the Phils aren't worried about service time.

utdavidson (Austin): thoughts on Rodon in redraft and keeper?

Mike Gianella: Love him in keeper (he's going to be a strikeout machine), see him struggling this year and having some shaky outings like the one he just had against the Angels. I can see him as a Top 10-15 guy long term (the WHIP may keep him from going higher than that) but this year I'd cool my jets.

Jim (LV): How many AB's do you see in Javier Baez's future this year and how well will he produce (5x5 OBP)? Thanks...

Mike Gianella: 350? I think he'll be solid but we're all still going off of ideas about what he'll do without a lot of major league success. He's deep mixed/and NL-only worthy (duh) but in standard mixed I still see him as iffy.

Ron (Texarkana): A little off-topic, but does Kevin Maitan definitely sign on J2? I haven't heard/read any news recently.

Mike Gianella: Sorry, I haven't heard anything definitive either.

Jeff (Tampa, Florida): What kind of upside could Willy Adames have? does he stick at shortstop?

Mike Gianella: You're probably looking at a $15-20 earner on the high end, with maybe one of those surprising $25 seasons. I think he sticks at short; he has the athleticism for it even if he'll never profile as a great option out there.

Vic (Baltimore): Do you think Kendall Graveman is a smart weekly play in a 15 team mixer, or only when starting twice/favorable single match-up?

Mike Gianella: I like him more as a streamer in that format. Home matchups, pitcher's parks, weaker lineups. In AL East parks on the road for example I could see him having a bad time.

Sky (The Roc): What are some good league parameters/rules for encouraging year-long involvement? This is a fun league with college friends and it's just more fun when people are participating.

Mike Gianella: You could have a second half prize or weekly prizes. Keeper rules help, but if people aren't interested they could just quit anyway. You really want friends who are passionate about this and don't need to be prodded to be interested.

Fishinrob (Key West): Has Alex Bregman changed his approach at the plate? The power is more than everyone expected and he's doing it in AA. Just curious if you've seen or heard anything.

Mike Gianella: I haven't. To be honest, it's difficult enough to identify tangible changes in MLB players where I have data and video clips to look at; in the case of someone like Bregman who I haven't seen before, it's next to impossible.

Sarah (Houston): Thoughts on Trey Mancini?

Mike Gianella: Solid hitter, I don't see a very high ceiling, but I could see an Adam Lind/Mitch Moreland kind of career, which is pretty decent.

Dan (New Orleans): Who has more raw power: Stanton or Joey Gallo?

Mike Gianella: This seems like one of those stock BP chat questions that we always get. It's still Giancarlo Stanton for me, though I could see why Gallo is in the conversation.

Will (Gainesville): What's Shelby Miller's value look like now? I'm starting to fear this is worse than just a SSS blip and am thinking about jumping ship.

Mike Gianella: It slips because I'm a little worried that he's going to wind up on the DL. He seems healthy based on the velocity but I don't know why he is having problems keeping upright with his delivery. I have my own shares of Miller and am hoping this isn't a control/command issue that will linger. I think you have to knock Miller down a tier at this point in a redraft.

Frank (Brooklyn): thanks for Madson response...if i deal him, i have Cody Allen, Colome, Dyson, Ken Giles. that ok in deep mixed? odds Giles overtakes Gregorson?

Mike Gianella: I think that's enough for a bullpen in that format.

I think Luke Gregerson holds the job if he performs. 35 percent chance Giles takes the job by year's end.

madjockmcferson (Norton, ma): The Astros are employing Giles as a high leverage 6/7/8 inning guy, presumably under the idea that that's where they can use him most effectively....i.e. by preventing games from being lost in those innings they can win more games. Is this a trend you see continuing? Teams trying to ensure they use their best relieves in the 6/7/8 in inning, rather than waiting for a save opportunity that may never come.

Mike Gianella: I'd love to see it, but it's hard to do because so many relievers are "conditioned" to want the ball in the ninth, get the saves. There is also a big money component to it as well. It is the difference in millions of dollars in arbitration and free agency. Some teams will try it, but I believe in the idea that it impacts some relievers negatively if they're not closing, getting the last three outs.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers): Who is your MLB doppelgänger?

Mike Gianella: I'm too old to have one. I used to get Kevin McHale in the NBA when I was younger, but never anyone in MLB.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): I have the room thinking of stashing Trea Turner for June.

Mike Gianella: Oh, do that if you have the space.

Dan (New Orleans): Any chance Lewis Brinson turns out be a better ML'er than Buxton? Seems like Brinson has a more complete game with his power-speed combo.

Mike Gianella: There's certainly a chance. But Buxton is one of those players who "only" needs to hit 15 home runs because of the speed potential in fantasy to be better.

tomshipley75 (Chicago): You're Theo Hoyer. If Albert Almora proves he can hit in AAA this year and Fowler has a year like last year (or better given his hot start), what's your move?

Mike Gianella: Give Dexter a QO, negotiate with him in free agency, but assume that Almora's your guy unless you can get another discount on Fowler.

Colin (Austin): In regards to Trea Turner, what is his ceiling? How shallow of a league should he be grabbed in?

Mike Gianella: I could see a 30-35 steal guy with a .280 BA and a smattering of power. You want him everywhere except for 10-team mixed if he's starting.

Hector Neris (Philly): any chance I can get some saves this year?

Mike Gianella: The bullpen is bad enough that I wouldn't rule it out if you keep pitching this well.

Colin (Austin): Odor a top 5 2b? Also, what is profar's likely ceiling?

Mike Gianella: He's just outside of the Top 5 for me. If he's healthy, Profar could be a four-category guy minus the steals. Such a big question, obviously.

Ron (Texarkana ): This may be jumping the gun, but who becomes the better fantasy player: Groome or Maitan?

Mike Gianella: Groome, but yes, this is such guesswork right now.

Snowborne (Pittsburgh): What are your expectations for Zach wheeler when he returns this season and for the future going forward

Mike Gianella: I think he'll put up a 3.5 or so but the Mets will be extremely cautious with him. Long term I see him as a solid #3 with a ceiling as a #2. This all assumes the health holds up.

The dude (Couch): The wife is at a school function. Toddler is asleep. Just you and me Mike. Tell me about Matt Moore. Don't skip the details.

Mike Gianella: Moore is someone I thought would struggle a little bit out of the gate but has looked better than I would have expected thus far. I thought the command would be an issue post-recovery but thus far not so much. I could see him emerging as a solid #2 with some pretty strong strikeout potential. I liked him back in 2014 pre-injury and am getting a warm and fuzzy again. Don't tell your wife what we talked about when she gets home. There's some #filth involved with Moore.

Shawn (CT): Buying Matt Harvey? Yasiel Puig or Starling Marte too much?

Mike Gianella: It seems to be a mechanical, fixable issue but I worry that it will take another 1-3 starts to fix this. Puig is fair, but I'm not the biggest Puig fan.

rick (Scrant'in): An 15 team OPS league with 8 keeper farm spots per- do you prefer David Dahl or Brendan Rodgers?

Mike Gianella: Lean Rodgers because of the position.

Ron (Texarkana): Hey Mike- I work at the Floral Vale complex in the healthcare field. I read so much more of this stuff than I should ever care to admit to. I admire a lot of what you do. Keep it up.

Mike Gianella: Thanks.

Mike Gianella: Thanks everyone for coming out. See you next time.

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