Fantasy questions? Prospect questions? Wilson will stay up late with you to answer them.
Wilson Karaman: [lifts the needle and drops it down reeeeal slow]
Apologies for the slight delay, my daughter wanted to join the party tonight. Let's roll, babies...
Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Wilson, Robles is more heralded, but Acuna is more than 6 mo younger and has comparable stats. How do the two compare and project? Thanks!
Wilson Karaman: There are approximately 14 Acuna questions in the queue, so let's get him out of the way first. David Lee's your man for all things Acuna, and he'll have a report on him soon. Cliff's notes version: five-tool guy, explosive hitter w/ raw power well above his frame, very potent power/speed potential down the line with a decent chance to stick in center as he refines. Legit player, you'll hear a lot about him over the next couple years I'm sure. He's on the DL right now, very likely related to dinging his hand on a slide. Unclear how much time he'll miss, hopefully not too much.
Ernie (Columbus, OH): Wilson,
Rookie Davis's numbers at AA are great except that he's striking out less than 5 per 9. What do you make of this, is he just pitching to contact more ?
Wilson Karaman: Certainly possible it's an org directive to work on two-seam command. He was generating more grounders and weaker contact in general. Also worth noting that his whiff numbers weren't *that* far off until his final three starts before hitting the DL with a strained groin, so entirely possible he wasn't quite getting standard finish on his pitches while battling an injury. Also possible it was just small sample noise from a few starts.
Craig (Arlington, VA): With Pedro Alvarez on a one year deal and stinking it up do you see Trey Mancini taking over either at 1B or DH next year ?
Wilson Karaman: Well, fact that the O's had Mancini and Walker in the high minors & went out and got Alvarez to begin with tells you something about where their confidence in either was as an internal option to start the year. He's held his own after the AAA bump, unclear if he's done enough to leapfrog Walker on the org depth chart. I'd imagine he gets a look at some point later this year/beginning of next though, yeah.
Todd (Miami): Hi Wilson,
Chih-Wei Hu has been putting up off the chart numbers in AA this year. Have you seen him and what are your thoughts on him being the next great starter developed by TB ?
Wilson Karaman: All about the command with him. He's got a deep arsenal (including a palm ball!) but none's a true plus/out pitch, so he needs to locate and sequence to succeed. So far so good in the high minors. I dunno about "great starter," but he can be a competent one.
neph27 (The cmbl): What to make of David Dahl's hot start? Statistically he was a bit of an undisciplined free swinger before, now the line looks like he's a three true outcomes guy with speed. What are scouts saying about him? Is this sustainable?
Wilson Karaman: I wrote about Dahl from a fantasy perspective with some notes from Adam Hayes on the prospect team last week. His take: the hit tool's not as strong as the early numbers suggest, as he struggles with lower half timing & keeping a consistent trigger. But he's got excellent bat speed and the power, while not *quite* to the level of early production, can be legit plus. He's one of the best outfield prospects in the game at this point.
Truganini (Co): Are Justin Upton and/or Jason Heyward top 30 OFers the rest of the season?
Wilson Karaman: Upton's track record is just too long and consistent (and full of streaky offensive performance) for me to expect anything less than that ultimate level for him. Heyward I still have absolutely no idea what to make of re: fantasy value. He's shown about 4 different profiles as a hitter, and while true talent probably suggests he's somewhere around that range as a solid 5 category guy (average AVG, 12-15 HR, 20 SB, lotta Runs, some RBI) I don't have as much confidence in him producing fantasy numbers at that level as I do Upton.
jdc1989 (MO): What is wrong with Sonny Gray?!?!?
Wilson Karaman: Velo's down a tick, two on his SL. Think he feels it, because he's going with a lot more four-seam/change, backing off the SL. And that's not great, because even with the diminished velo it's an above-average swing-and-miss pitch. He hasn't been good, no two ways about it.
BC (Urbandale): Few Cubs questions for you sir.
Will Jorge Soler ever mentally figure it out? We all know the huge potential thats there.
What is Javier Baez's best long term position?
If the Cubs and Jake Arrieta cant workout a deal by next trade deadline and they decide to deal him, what kind of haul could he return?
Wilson Karaman: Soler just turned 24 and has a bunch of work to do in ironing out his approach. I can't speak to his mental fortitude, but with guys who reach the major leagues I tend to assume it's a relative strength. Better question is whether effort to evolve his approach wins the day ultimately or not. Hasn't shown much progress this spring. Baez seems to be just fine in a utility capacity, I wouldn't go out of my way to settle him into one spot. And re: Arrieta, I can't see the Cubs being in the market of selling a dude like Arrieta given their competitive window. If he leaves, he leaves, but have to assume he'd do so after pitching post-season ball in Cub pinstripes.
Phanatic (NYC ):
With everyone focusing on stashing minor league players who could be promoted, in a redraft league how would you compare stashing someone like ryu to one of the top pitching prospects? How would you rank him vs the Dodgers or pirates prospects?
Wilson Karaman: I've always been a proponent of stashing dudes like Ryu who have a proven track record of pitching successfully in the majors over grabbing a shiny new prospect in most cases. There's added "value" in him being DL-eligible as opposed to taking up a bench slot as well.
Jeb (IC): What are the ceilings for Glasnow and Taillon? Any comps for them?
Wilson Karaman: Adam Hayes just saw Glasnow in his last start and slapped two 7's and a 5 on the stuff, with a #2 ceiling. Seems to be back t pre-surgery form, which is excellent news for Pirate fans. After a brief window of improved command early in the year Glasnow's settled into some old bad habits re: repeating and commanding recently, and there's still enough risk the command doesn't fully come around far enough to put him at the top of a rotation. They're both very, very good pitching prospects who should sit in rotations for a long time, health permitting.
Simple (World): What do you think the Pirates are going to do with their outfield in 2 years? I think they should trade McCutchen before the 2018 year, they could get a haul for him and plug Meadows in.
Wilson Karaman: That's reeeaaally a problem for another day. We are a long, long way away from Austin Meadows pushing a cost-controlled MVP out of town.
Jeffrey (Bloomington): Thanks for the chat Wilson! Could you name me a few deeper league prospects that you think have a chance to burst onto the scene by season end? In other words, who is this year's Victor Robles and Anderson Espinosa?
Wilson Karaman: Acuna's the early captain of the dreamboat, I think. Josh Ockimey has some pedigree and is tearing up the Sally. I'm still riding shotgun on the Basabe train despite his struggles in full-season ball. Christin Stewart's not exactly out of nowhere, he was a first-rounder last year. But his destruction of the pitching-friendly Florida State League has been something to behold early.
Eric (Boston): Is Anderson Espinoza the #1 pitching prospect next season?
Wilson Karaman: Certainly trying his best to force the issue, isn't he? He's been a little hittable, but obviously age-level his performance has been pretty supreme. As an 18-year-old in Low-A that's more aggressive than I'm certainly willing to be rankings-wise, but he'll climb some rungs on the BP101 ladder at this rate, I'm sure.
I'm rolling with unlimited love all night tonight, btw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKT39mKZzh4
Ben (DC): Victor Robles - a top 5 prospect now?
Wilson Karaman: Not yet, but cut and paste what I just wrote about Espinoza.
Tommy (Philly): Worried about JP CRawford? Can he better then Francisco Lindor?
Wilson Karaman: On my list of worries his early performance is...man, I can't even find it on there. I've got "groggily stepping out of bed onto a Lego" penciled in at #674, and that's the end of the list. He's the second-youngest playa in the Eastern League, he'll be fine. Lindor's the most common comp for the skill set. I don't love comps, but it's a reasonable facsimile of the skill set.
Tom (Nashville): What are your thoughts on the potential of Amed Rosario?
Wilson Karaman: Thomas Desmidt wrote him up extensively in a Ten Pack a couple weeks ago. Jives with other reports I've got on him showing significant physical and offensive growth in the early season. Potential first-division true SS.
Billy (Tucson,arizona): Any chances we see gilbert Lara at low a ball This year?
Wilson Karaman: I asked our Editor-In-Chief of BP Milwaukee, JP Breen, and he was all "unlikely he leaves Helena this summer unless he absolutely, positively rakes and forces the org's hand." JP's a good man. And thorough.
Mike (Orlando, Florida ): Whats Wrong With ruddy Girón? Slow Start due To cold weather or last season was a fluke?
Wilson Karaman: Short answer: nothing. Grant and James have both put eyes on Giron so far, and while there's some leak and length in the swing he hasn't been particularly overmatched. He was so young for the MWL last year (when he was fine in a full season) that he's *still* one of the youngest regulars in his second go. Guerra's clogging the pipeline at High-A, so assuming they're gonna keep him there regardless of how his numbers look to get regular SS reps for as long as Guerra needs at Elsinore. On his individual merits I know there were a lot of raised eyebrows that he hadn't earned himself a promotion after last year's efforts, though.
Jason (Nyc): Ariel Sandoval, how good Is he? He might be midwest League player of The week.
Wilson Karaman: From James Fisher on the scout team: "Only a one game look but lean bodied guy with plenty of room up top to fill out. Tough profile at the plate, swings a lot and doesn't leave the barrel in the zone long but presently makes enough contact. Will need to make adjustments to the swing. Runs well and should stick in CF." He's circled on my fingers-crossed-for-a-second-half-look watch list.
Bautista's Glasses (Space): What's up Wilson. Can you talk about roster construction throughout the season. Will you "Lose" a trade to shore up a hole of yours? Will accept a trade that you clearly win even though you don't have a positional need? When will you start making trades that will help your run to the title? Thanks!
Wilson Karaman: Yunno who's the real loser in the "Joey Bats got punched in the face" thing? His barber - which may very well be Joey Bats himself, I dunno. But whoever sculpts that facial hair clearly puts in the time, and to see it just get pounded like a pound a pizza dough...that's tough, man.
Short answers: 1) Not unless I'm *damn* sure it's a deadline deal that'll put me over the top, 2) Yes, absolutely every time, and 3) Always. I don't mean to oversimplify, but any time you have a chance to move assets for better assets you do it, just from the standpoint of value creation. You generate surplus value, then you can turn around and use it to more effectively plug the holes that need plugging. I'll geeeenerally wait out April until I start assessing my teams' strengths and weaknesses and make moves to address the latter, but that's by no means a hard and fast rule. If there are teams that are clearly in the tank out of the gate it pays to be earlier to the vulturing party than fashionably late.
Brent (OKC): Dynasty OBP league. How do you feel for me trading Altuve/Cody Reed (Cin) for Abreu/Rodon. Need power 1B and pitching, but is this to much in a dynasty format? Thanks!
Wilson Karaman: Man, that's decent value and all, but I dunno that Altuve's not in that Harper/Trout range of "yeeeaaah don't trade that guy" at this point. His relative value at second, particularly with Gordon on the shelf now, is just *so* much higher. I'd look to upgrade my 1B situation with another asset, I think.
It's okay though, baby. Because it's ecstasy when you lay down next to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk5WCc1iEwk
gaedel (San Diego): Hey Wilson, thanks for chatting. David Paulino keeps putting up really good numbers at AA Corpus Christi. Is it time to think of him as a top flight pitching prospect? How do you project his role in the MLB and how do you see his miniscule innings totals affecting his deployment in 2016 and beyond?
Wilson Karaman: You're welcome, thanks for chatting with me! I love Paulino, wrote about him in a Ten Pack last summer. He was a long TJ recovery but showed remarkable body control and repeatability given that and his long, gangly limbs. Stuff's excellent, gets absurd plane, and fact that he showed a baseline ability to harness everything in the context was very impressive. He'll be a slower build-up innings-wise, but he's far enough removed from the surgery that he should be able to log a solid increase this year.
Edward Scissorhands (Baltimore): Tell me about Kevin Maitan... Is he worth a stash in deeper dynasty leagues? Please compare him to someone or give me your future projections. It's early, I know, but it's also fun to speculate. Thank you.
Wilson Karaman: Maitan projects to be the man in the moon. He's Zuul with a better haircut. King Kong with softer, more tender hands. Probably worth a stash in very deep dynasties, literally no idea what his game looks like in 5 years when he's 21.
asarule (Lakewood CA): If you're Cleveland, does Mike Clevinger fit into your starting rotation at some point this year and going forward? He is pitching well in AAA.
Wilson Karaman: Ah, Lakewood. The land where "times change, values don't"* (*this is not true). Howdy, county-mate!
Cleveland is one of those "good problem to have" teams re: pitching depth, and frankly your guess is as good as mine. Have to assume he's on the short list for guys to get the next call if/when a spot is available. Brendan tabbed him as his high ceiling guy outside the 101 earlier this spring, and aside from walking a few too many guys he hasn't done much to make me question that #hottake
asarule (Lakewood CA): Regarding the Oakland A's - they have Chapman, Healy (both AA) & Nunez (AAA) at the corner infield positions, all performing well. Thinking Chapman has the best glove and arm for 3B. Which one would seem to be the most likely future 1B at the major league level?
Wilson Karaman: Chapman's a no-doubt 3B far as I'm concerned, yeah. I was high on him last year and he appears to have gotten that much better since. My report's linked below, I was probably light by a half grade on the glove given the skills and improvement he showed look to look. Nunez is a prime candidate to migrate across the diamond, assuming the aggressive approach doesn't sap his power utility. Healy's spent the majority of his time at 1B so far this year, and that move seems something of a foregone conclusion at this point. He remains the fringiest of the three in terms of scouting consensus. Ravelo's probably somewhere in that depth chart mix as well, at least theoretically, though he's had a really rough start to the season and has precious little margin for error given the profile limitations.
rpo (LA): How would you rank these SPs ROS- Salazar, Hamels, Harvey, Quintana, Lester?
Wilson Karaman: I'm a big fan of Danny Salazar. Love the mechanics, solid progress refining the FB command. Been a big fan of Quintana's for a long time as well. Don't think he's as good as he showed in April, but he's just a really solid starter. Don't trust Harvey in Year 2 after his workload last year, sorry. I'll go Lester, Salazar, Hamels, Quintana, Harvey.
Leonard (None of Your Business): Mr. Karaman. 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?
Wilson Karaman: Progress noted in the scouting reports from the start of the season to the end, and at least some corresponding cues in the production, however minor. Both are relatively raw players playing 2+ years young for their level.
Halftime! I'll be back in a jiffy kids, mean time here's some mo' smoove grooves (the smoovest, in fact): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLdSYF0WxyE
sdsuphilip (San diego): Do you like Luis Urias? Dinelson lamet? Any thoughts on those padres prospects
Wilson Karaman: We're BACK, baby! Chris Crawford just wrote up Urias in today's Ten Pack & I'll have something up on him shortly as well. I'm not *quite* as bullish on the hit tool as Chris's write-up, but he's got a sound approach and good hand-eye. He deserves a spot on the radar as a keystone prospect, yeah. And then Lamet I wrote up after his first start of the year. Didn't show me a CH, but hear tell it's okay not great. Enough to keep him in the mix for a back-of-the-rotation trajectory for now, liked the feel of his FB-SL-size/presence for high-leverage work a good bit though.
Brett (Calgary): There has been a lot of chatter about Dylan Cozens lately. Do you have thoughts on his ceiling/likelihood of reaching it?
Wilson Karaman: Also covered in today's Ten Pack. Mark Anderson's seen him like 4 billion times, so I'll defer to every word of his writeup: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=29202
Lynn (Dallas): Got any reports on San Fran righty Jordan Johnson?
Wilson Karaman: Know a couple scouts who dig him a good bit, excellent CH, mid-90's FB with life. He had a complicated TJ recovery in college so sort of slid through the cracks come draft time, so didn't have a pedigreed head start. My fingers are crossed for a rainout or something this week, cuz as of right now it looks like he'll be the only SJ starter that won't line up for this weekend's 4-gamer at Rancho. Color me bummed if that ends up the case.
Justin (Bridgeport): Would you trade Giolito, Robert Stephenson, and Joey Gallo for Noah Syndergaard in a dynasty league?
Wilson Karaman: I reckon I would if you're in the middle of a competitive window, yes. I'd ask for a pick or low prospect or something with Thor, but that's an appropriate price tag.
Bob (Northern Hemisphere): Can we get your thoughts on some diverse group of prospects: Yohander Mendez, Ronald Guzman, Jacob Faria, Tyler O'Neill, & Max Fried? Can we see any of them this year in the show & should we be buying or concerned in there early season performance?
Wilson Karaman: I've had High Desert come to town twice already and managed to miss both Mendez and Luis Ortiz both times. Very good reports on Mendez though, his performance has been legit. Guzman's doing things this year that I did not think he was going to get to a place to do. My report on him from last year is below. He spent most of his season lost last year, was tinkering with his setup every time I saw him & never showed any signs - in BP, in games - of an ability to turn on the ball with authority. O'Neill looks like Mr. Universe and has some requisite stiffness in his swing, but effort so far's confirming that it wasn't all Bakersfield's toy store dimensions last year. I don't have any updates on Fried from this spring, sorry. David Lee was lukewarm on Faria in a recent writeup.
Gregg (NYC): Saw a pic of Acuna with a cast on. What happened? Crawford mentioned, perhaps in jest, that his ceiling could be higher than Robles. Thoughts?
Wilson Karaman: Caught it up sliding into a base. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO SLIDE ON THEIR BUTTS.
Colin (San Diego): Is this the end of the Grandy-man? He's looked terrible for the Mets so far.
Wilson Karaman: Yeah he don't look good. Looks to be pressing. Whole ton of ground ball contact, elevated swing-and-miss. Just from the at-bats of his I've caught randomly (smallest of small sample size alert) he hasn't looked to have the same confidence in commanding the zone, spoiling pitches, and looking to drive the ball.
Rich (Elliott City): How much do you like Sean Newcomb? SP2?
Wilson Karaman: I liked Newcomb a lot when I saw him a couple times at the dawn of his High-A career last year. Cold weather lefty with some stiffness and size to the frame, so figured it may take him a while to tone down what I thought were fixable aspects of his delivery that were feeding the command issues. That doesn't sound like it's really happened yet though. Projection sounds a bit high given some stagnant progress at this point, but stuff- and body-wise he checks an awful lot of boxes.
Sam Dyson (Texas): Am i the guy now?
Wilson Karaman: I dunno, maybe? You get an awful lot of ground balls, but you get below-average swings and misses for a high leverage guy and you're pitching above your pay grade so far. You do seem to be most likely in line though.
dylanrox (New Orleans ): Which of these available bats can put a charge into my underachieving offense in a 14 team h2h weekly points league - Tomas, Drury, Suarez, Duvall, Holliday, or Carlos Santana? Thanks!
Wilson Karaman: Drury's my guy if the PT's there. Otherwise Holliday's boring but hits in the middle of a good lineup and plays every day.
Greg (KC): Is the Mondesi suspension a bad thing for him? I mean, it forces KC to slow it down a bit with their aggressive handling of him.
Wilson Karaman: Yes, missing developmental time is unequivocally a bad thing for a young player, especially one pushed as aggressively as Mondesi has been.
Kyle (Laredo): Is Mitch Keller worth the recent hype on him?
Wilson Karaman: I called in Adam McInturff on this one. Quick and dirty: "I've seen a start. It looked like a very promising mix of frame/fastball/breaking ball/delivery. There's a reason to let players of this demo prove it at higher levels, but he's been a 'step forward' guy."
Alex (NY): How many WAR/year will Michael Conforto average over the next 5 seasons?
Wilson Karaman: Wouldn't be shocked if he was averaged out to a 4 WARP player
Mook (Redwood): Are you buying Travis Shaw?
Wilson Karaman: Yes with a bullet. I think he's hitting over his head slightly, but the swing's perfect for Fenway and the doubles production is legit in that park. He's been a poor-but-valid defender at third, but he's one of those rat types that can play above his tools through force of will. Wouldn't be surprised if he can improve into average range with the glove over time. I've long been a fan from afar, digging that he's doing it now.
It's time to get serious now. Time to get down to bidniss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA1vYeK8Who
holmesp2001 (St. Louis): Alex Bregman is raking. What's the upside here? He walks, he doesn't strike out. He hits for average and is hitting for much more power than anyone expected. Are we looking at a mid-season top 10 prospect, or is he even going to be in the minors to qualify at this point?
Wilson Karaman: I loved him last year, one of the best, most polished players to roll through the Cal. Biggest improvement has been his ability to turn on pitches he can drive on the inner third, and I kick myself for not being more aggressive with his power grade last year given his intelligence at the plate. Otherwise I feel pretty good about the eval. He's as well-rounded a player as you'll see. Just made his first start at third the other night, and given the org context that's very definitely his easiest path to the bigs. And he can handle it with the glove.
OddBall Herrera (At a Computer): Looking at Swanson's skill set and minor league stats, am I crazy to think that we have a potential A.J. Pollock? Average power and above average speed with that strikeout rate sounds familiar.
Wilson Karaman: Swanson's another one I loved last year and will forever be linked to Bregman in my head. They're similar in their polish and general ability to max out their (extremely impressive) natural talent. He's done nothing but improve, most notably in extracting more power out of his swing. It's not easy to make on-the-fly adjustments like that, and he hasn't missed a beat in the last two years I've watched him progress. Offensively I can see some of that comp, though I don't see quite as many bags.
Arty (MI): I know hypothetical trout trades can get annoying, but I dont see anywhere where the mets are listed as potential buyers (and I think they should be). Conforto, Matz, Lagares + about enough to get it done?
Wilson Karaman: No. The plus'd need to be another 60+ bat to even start this conversation, far as I'm concerned.
Ed (Heartland ): Hey Wilson! Is the "sophomore slump" that announcers like to talk about real?
Wilson Karaman: Absolutely. From the standpoint that teams have had an entire off-season to pour over video, compile reports and date, etc., and figure out plans of attack. When you hear people talking about players needing to "make adjustments," this is what they're talking about. Some players are better at reacting to new patterns, sequencing, etc. and figuring out how to counter it than others. The ones that can't as quickly, well they're your candidates to suffer some peg-knocking-down in Year Two.
TJ (DC): Anything interesting happening with Jordan Patterson? Might they call him up sooner than expected, especially with his ability to play some first base?
Wilson Karaman: Yeah, I'd be very surprised if we didn't see him this summer. I liked him last year, natural strength and bat-to-ball ability. Very aggressive hitter in-zone, and there's some stiffness in the swing. Not an unfamiliar profile for Rockies fans, but he's got an idea about how to hit. He's the kind of guy I'll be really interested to watch against big league pitching.
Alex (CA): Assuming both keep their rookie status, could Urias leap Giolito in the rankings next year. Kid is unbelievable. No doubt he's behind Gio in terms of "stuff", but being 3 years younger + no past TJ + his AAA results? I could see it.
Wilson Karaman: There isn't a ton of precedent for what Urias is doing right now, he's unbelievable. I was fortunate to watch a couple starts of his at Rancho a couple years ago, and it was plainly evident then that this was a uniquely advanced talent. They're the two best pitching prospects in baseball right now far as I'm concerned.
Dakk (NYC): Whats your take on Dom Smith? Seems to be one of those guys who people are always split on.
Wilson Karaman: Yeah, Jeff Paternostro's seen a ton of him and has discussed him at length. Just wrote him up again in last week's Ten Pack. Some progress this year, not enough to bump the OFP into uncharted territory: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=29133
Ed (Heartland): Thanks for the chat Wilson! In an AL only with a $260 budget, who would you prefer for the next 2 years (through 2018): Semien ($15), Severino ($12), or Forsythe ($6)?
Wilson Karaman: Semien!
Fantasyman (NJ): can you rank the top 5 SPs in the mlb?
Wilson Karaman: Kershaw, Kershaw, Kershaw, Thor, Kershaw
holmesp2001 (St Louis): What are your thoughts on Steven Moya? I know it's a SSS but the K's are down and he's been hitting for average and power.
Wilson Karaman: Wrote about him recently in the Minor League Update. He'd be treading in some uncharted waters if he just up and stabilized his whiff rate all of a sudden at Triple-A, but there does seem to be some undeniable progress to that end early on - at least to where he's earned himself the opportunity to prove he hasn't made sustainable improvements at the big league level.
Wilson Karaman: Alright y'all, it's been real, but now it's really late. Thanks for kicking it with me and Barry, apologies to the still-hefty queue of folks whose inquiries I was not able to field. Nicholas Stellini'll be with you tomorrow afternoon. Catch you on down the trail...