George is a fantasy writer at BP. You also may know him as the host of Flags Fly Forever, our fantasy podcast.
George Bissell: Hey everyone! We're going to get started in just a few minutes and go until around 9:00 so send in your questions now if you haven't already. In case you were wondering, Danny Valencia did not hit a home run off Martin Perez today (somehow). Let's do this!
Trent (Miami): What can you tell me about David Paulino? Top 100 guy? Higher? What type of ceiling are we looking at here if it all comes together?
George Bissell: He's going to be in the conversation for a Top-100 Prospect List by the end of the season if he continues on his current trajectory. He's pitched exceptionally well at Double-A so far (1.74 ERA in seven games, five starts). He's thrown only about 100 or so innings total in the last five years, so he still needs to build up innings for the next year or two potentially. He's got an upper-90's fastball, nice curveball and an average changeup. Stellar command and he's put up some solid strikeout rates too. I think his ceiling is somewhat similar to Lance McCullers both in the profile and arsenal.
RAP (NYC): Frazier/Hamels for Betts a fair deal?
George Bissell: In a re-draft, I'd rather have Frazier and Hamels, but for a dynasty I'm investing in Mookie Betts (if you haven't already, you should). He's a franchise cornerstone you build around.
Chris (Toronto): Devon Travis is going to AAA. Is he the spark this Jays offence needs? Please... we need a glimmer of hope...
George Bissell: I wouldn't be that worried about the Jays offense, it's the pitching that I think is going to be their biggest issue. I like what Devon Travis does, but I've been on record in the past saying that I don't think he's going to hit for a ton of power, especially coming off a shoulder injury. Still, he's an upgrade at least offensively over Goins and Barney.
rpo (LA): How would you rank Tomas, Reddick or Choo ROS? Need to drop one once Choo back from DL
George Bissell: Give me Reddick. I've been really impressed with him the past two seasons. I would prefer Choo over Tomas simply because we know what Choo can do (mash righties) so it's easier to pick your spots and plug him into your lineup.
AJ (Boston): Pick 2 (ROS): Khris Davis, Brandon Drury, Danny Valencia, and Yasmany Tomas
George Bissell: Danny Valencia and Khris Davis. It's funny Davis is tied for the AL lead in home runs. I've been in on Valencia all offseason, assuming that the hamstring doesn't flare up again, he's going to hit for a ton of power. The progress he's made against right-handed pitching isn't a fluke.
Angry Carl (Wisconsin): Does Javier Baez ever hit 30 hr in a season?
George Bissell: Yes. I think it could happen within the next two or three years. The crazy thing about Baez is that he's ONLY 23-YEARS-OLD. Once he gets comfortable against major-league pitching, which is starting to happen in my opinion, we will be looking at a special hitter.
Ernie (Midland, TX): Jason Parks was very high on Pedro Fernandez a couple of years ago and he now seems to be coming around. Thoughts on him ?
George Bissell: Hey Ernie! Parks is the man, but yea what's really encouraging about Fernandez is that the strikeouts appear to be back up and he's made some progress cutting back his walk rates. Only 22 I'm excited to see how he does after just getting promoted to Double-A.
Todd (Green Bay): Josh Nottingham got off to a horrendous
start this year but is turning it around somewhat. Is he still considered the heir to Lucroy and his timetable is what ?
George Bissell: Considering that he's 21-years-old, I wouldn't rush him to the Majors if I were the Brewers. He's certainly the next in line behind Lucroy once they move on from him. Don't expect him to be up in 2016 tho.
Jimmy (SF): Who do you like better ROS: Yunel Escobar or Steve Pearce?
George Bissell: I really value Pearce's versatility he's filled in admirably for an injured Logan Forsythe at second and he can play first and third as well. Pearce has also been hitting for power. We know pretty much what Escobar is going to do, he's a BABIP monster that will end up hitting .300 but the Angels offense isn't good (outside of Trout). I'd rather have Pearce hitting in the middle of that Rays lineup.
Dalton (Urbandale): I am new to baseball with no ties to any team, I am looking for a solid, not great team to start following with a decent farm system. I have it down to the Rockies and Indians. Thoughts?
George Bissell: I feel you. If you're looking for a young, up-and-coming team, honestly I'd start following the Red Sox minor league system. They're stacked to the rafters with toolsy, impact prospects like Benintendi, Moncada, Espinoza, Basabe, Devers and that's just the top half of the system. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch how those guys develop. Personally, I prefer to follow interesting individual players as opposed to teams. The Rangers young core is fascinating as well.
Lindirt (Bowling Green, KY): Rookie Davis is pitching really well in AA. Where does he fit in a very well stocked Cincinnati rotation ?
George Bissell: No kidding on the stocked part. He's going to have to leapfrog about five different arms in Triple-A and the majors just to crack that rotation in the next two seasons. I'm a huge Cody Reed believer and if you're looking for another deeper name to get into that rotation, my money is on Daniel Wright, a right-hander in Triple-A who has pitched well lately.
Ernesto (Reading, PA): Do you see Aaron Altherr giving Philly anything this year ? Do you see him claiming his starting job back in 2017 ?
George Bissell: I haven't been following the Altherr news closely, haven't seen any recent updates. I think he does get another shot next season, but it really comes down to whether or not Nick Williams is a centerfielder or not.
Justin (Iowa City): What do you think Gregory Polanco becomes? A Marte? A McCutchen? Something better? Something worse?
George Bissell: I don't think he's anything like McCutchen or Marte at all. He's going to walk a ton and if a pitcher makes a mistake, he's going to crush the ball on you. His game reminds me a lot of a guy like Anthony Rizzo but with less raw power.
AJ Preller (Catalina Wine Mixer): Matt Kemp @ 15M per year is worth a couple minor leaguers, no?
Would it be easier to trade Melvin Upton at this point?
George Bissell: ITS THE CATALINA WINE MIXER...I don't think you're going to find anyone to take Melvin, sorry. The "never count out Dave Stewart" caveat applies here tho. You never know with Arizona.
Truganini (Here): Justin Upton or Jason Heyward rest of season OBP league.
George Bissell: In an OBP league it's Heyward and it's not close for me. I'll be honest, I know there's a segment of the fantasy industry that thinks Upton turns it around, but I've watched the last two weeks or so of his plate appearances and I don't see it right now. He's getting pitches to hit and just missing the vast majority of them. The strikeouts are a huge concern.
Alexei (At Work): Am I crazy for thinking of dealing Pujols for Chris Carter in a Dynasty league?
George Bissell: I would rather have Chris Carter, especially considering their respective home ballpark situations.
Leonard (None of Your Business): Mr. Bissell. As someone who hoped on the pre-season bandwagon of Eloy Jimenez & Luis Alexander Basabe what should we be looking for from them this season as seems mixed results as of now?
George Bissell: Call me George. Mr. Bissell is my father. Literally, he's a high school teacher and everything. I wouldn't be concerned one bit about Basabe given his age and the league setting. He's going to be a dude as we like to say.
Cory (Ohio): Which teams will likely target Jurickson Profar via trade?
George Bissell: It's going to come down to which team has the prospects and the need to pull it off. The flip side of the coin would be, if you're the Rangers there's zero reason to trade him. I wouldn't trade him if I were the Rangers.
Kayla (Tennessee): Gallo gets called up by __________
George Bissell: September...Where would he play? They aren't moving him back to the outfield ever again, so barring an injury to Beltre or Fielder they're not going to rush him back. He's currently on the DL with a hamstring injury, so even when he comes back in a week or two, they want him to continue working on his approach (something he's made great strides with). He's still so young, you don't push it with a guy as talented as he is.
Nick (My Apartment): Are there any prospects you are keeping an eye on this season who you weren't getting any buzz but are looking to buy there stock before it blows up? Any personal favorite hitters & pitchers?
George Bissell: It's hard to find anyone who isn't generating any buzz, but if you're looking for a pitching prospect that will move quickly and could be up around this time next year if he continues to progress, it's Rays right-hander Brent Honeywell. We throw the word "unique" around a lot, but there's simply no other way to describe the guy. His best pitch is a screwball (and it's nasty). He throws a mid-90's heater, excellent command and he strikes out over a batter per inning. He's going to be up at Double-A shortly and I'm 1,000 percent in on him. I'm also in on Victor Robles. He's a beast. If you're looking for a sort of under the radar prospect I like that doesn't generate huge buzz, I'll go Joe Musgrave and Cody Reed.
Tommy (Texas): Any new reports on any progress made by Bubba Starling?
George Bissell: Not a whole lot, no. He's on the 40-man roster and at Double-A. His biggest problem is going to be that the Royals have a plethora of toolsy fourth outfielder types already, so I don't see how he breaks in anytime soon.
Jerry (Earth): Hey George. Was hoping to get your thoughts on some Low Minor Pitchers off to strong starts: Yohander Mendez & Pedro Payano? Should there strong start adjust our perspectives on them or too early?
George Bissell: I really like Mendez. He's striking out 12-per-nine at High-A right now. Always bet on a lefty.
Jim (North 40): Currently running a rotation with Arrieta, Chen, Karns, and pray for rain in a deep league (20 w/ 40 man) 5x5. Can you give me a list of 5 so SP trade targets that you see having value over cost ROS? Thanks...
George Bissell: Guy who won't break the bank: Rick Porcello, Rich Hill, Drew Pomeranz, J.A. Happ, Matt Andriese just to name a few.
Craig (Lowell, MA): Seemingly overshadowed by Espinoza, what are your thoughts on Roniel Raudes ?
George Bissell: I haven't seen Raudes pitch yet. It's on my to-do-list this summer.
Tom (Oakland): What kind of impact do you see Trey Mancini having at the major league level?
George Bissell: This is unrelated but I called New England Collegiate summer baseball games back like five years ago when Trey Mancini played for the Holyoke Blue Sox while he was at Notre Dame...Anyway...I don't see him having a huge impact. There's not a ton of power there for a corner infielder, which is why they went out and signed Pedro Alvarez and traded for Mark Trumbo.
Dante (Ohio): What are your thoughts on Richie Shaffer?
George Bissell: Not someone I spend a ton of time thinking about. He's young enough where teams will continue to give him auditions, but really struggled last year in the majors.
Keith (Farmington, CT): Thanks George. Do you think Justin Smoak has taken a step forward this year, or is his OBP just due to small sample size?
George Bissell: I do. Here's whats crazy, Smoak has already walked 17 times in 100 PA. Last year, he walked just 29 times in 328 PA. I think the approach has improved, he's guaranteed at-bats with Colabello gone. I've always liked Smoak and it's a shame he got traded to Seattle all those years ago. Another hitting prospect the Mariners just failed miserably to develop.
Will (Maine): Eric Hosmer finally living up to the lofty goals?
George Bissell: I'm not sure, it depends on what your expectations were, but I'll just say winning a World Series, becoming the face of an iconic franchise and a celebrity who will never have to buy a drink (or BBQ) in Kansas City ever again is pretty darn awesome. That's just me.
Ner (West Des Moines): Pick two to be the most likely Hall-Of-Famers from this group: McCutchen, Marte, Cole, Polanco
George Bissell: You're not going to like this answer. I'm going to say none of them. You know how hard it is to make the Hall of Fame? Obviously Cutch has an outside shot, but I'm not close to putting that type of label on any of these guys at this point.
David (Atlantis): Trying not to scout stat lines but the start of the season so far for Franklyn Kilome, Francis Martes & Erick Fedde hasn't been what I expected. Any concerns or do I need to relax as still early in the season?
George Bissell: I'm a believer in Martes and Kilome who both took huge steps forward last season, I wouldn't be concerned because of their age relative to the league they're playing in. They're going to be fine. The stuff is too good.
Bob (Northern Hemisphere): Can we get your thoughts on some diverse group of prospects: Rowdy Tellez, Ronald Guzman, Jake Gatewood, Tyler O'Neill, & Ti'Quan Forbes? Should we be buying or concerned from there early season performance?
George Bissell: I'm a huge Tellez guy. He's 21 and I think the power is coming. I also like the approach at the plate, he's walked nearly as many times as he's struck out this season. Obviously he's a big dude, so that's going to be something to monitor but the swing and approach are there for me.
BC (Urbandale): What is Javier Baez's ceiling?
George Bissell: Something similar to what Manny Machado is doing right now in Baltimore. That's the pie in the sky, best-case scenario.
Truganini (Co): What's your level of concern with Matt Harvey? Is this fallout from the workload last year? Thanks for chatting!
George Bissell: I'm just happy to be here...#PostGameInterviewStatus...I would say 0.0 on the concern-o-meter. Look at his BABIP. It's currently .373. His career BABIP is like .280...So there's some regression coming there. The strikeouts are still there and by cFIP (our predictive pitching metric at BP) he's at 102, which is right around league average. It really comes down to what you're expectations were coming into the year. If you pegged him as one of the 10-20 best pitchers in the league, it's not happening.
Will (Daytona): I've got some old/slumping outfielders I wouldn't mind moving in my 12-team dynasty. So: (1) which guys are the best bet to bounce back, and (2) who represents the best flip/sell low candidate? Brett Gardner, Alex Gordon, Ender Inciarte, Carlos Gomez, and Michael Taylor
Second question (can I have two??): Drew Pomeranz - sell high or hang on?
George Bissell: Absolutely keep Drew Pomeranz. The knuckle curve is really something. I'm not really a huge fan of anyone in that group of outfielders, but I think I would keep Gardner, Gordon and Inciarte for now. I'm really out on Michael Taylor (was never really in there to be honest) and I'm really worried about Gomez. The injuries are one thing, but if he's struggling even when he's healthy and also getting hurt, it's a problem. It doesn't help that a lot of his value is built on a power/speed combo. If the speed declines due to age and injury, he's loses so much value it's scary. I'm out there.
Jimmy (Denver): Hi George,
Why aren't the Rockies giving Jordan Patterson a shot ? He can play all 3 OF positions so he's got to be better than Raburn.
George Bissell: Ryan Raburn hits lefties. What do CarGo, Blackmon and Parra have in common? They're all left-handed (and so is Patterson). You need to be able to roll a right-handed bat out there against southpaws.
GoTribe06 (Lynchburg): What should we expect from Matt Andriese in 2016 and what's his future look like?
George Bissell: I really like Andriese. He works quickly, throws strikes and is aggressive. The Rays moved him in between the rotation and the bullpen a number of times last season, so it's nice to see him taking advantage of an opportunity this year. The fact that he doesn't strike out a ton of batters obviously limits his upside, but the command is excellent and a 100 cFIP suggests that he's going to be a roughly league-average starter moving forward. The cutter and change are going to be the keys for him moving forward. What's interesting to me is that he's really excelled in the Trop. His career ERA at home is 3.06 (15 games, six starts) while his road ERA is 4.08 (12 games, four starts). He's only 26...I think the future is bright. If he's your fifth starter, then you're rotation is pretty good.
George Bissell: Thanks everyone for chatting tonight! Let's do this again real soon.