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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday November 11, 2016 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey is our lead prospect writer and he just started rolling out our Top 10 Prospect lists this week. Ask him about them! Or maybe about something else too!

Jeffrey Paternostro: The birds they sang at the break of day. Start again I heard them say Don't dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be

Harold (AZ): Where do you think the Mets farm ranks among the other teams. Middle of the pack? Is it possible that their farm system is a bit underrated? Guys like Lindsay, Carpio, Becerra, Gimenez and Szapucki all have breakout potential.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Middle of the pack feels about right. They thin out pretty quickly past the borderline top 101 guys like Smith, Dunn, and Lindsay. Some interesting guys 11-20, but most of the potential impact talent past Rosario and Gsellman are a long way off.

Dan (DC): Juan Soto's Potential?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I lurve Juan Soto. Your prototypical above-average right field profile is the OFP here at present. All depends on how the game power comes along.

Seth (Raleigh, NC): What chance do you give Sean Newcomb of reaching the ceiling the Braves saw when they traded for him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I assume the Braves saw the same stuff I saw when he was at University of Hartford. Easy left velocity, feel for the secondaries, ideal frame. He just hasn't thrown enough strikes, and at a certain point the whole "cold weather guy just in need of pro instruction" becomes "Command profile projects best in relief." He just has never sorted his delivery out. Lefties put it together late as they say, and I will probably be one of the last people to give up on him as a power lefty workhorse starter.

Reiss (NY): You're starting a team and get to choose and SS prospect from NL East: What would be your top 3, in order?

Jeffrey Paternostro: 1. Swanson
2. Crawford
3. Rosario

I am sure those are the top three, could be convinced of any order though.

Alex (NY): Is the Mets 1B of the future Dom Smith, Peter Alonso or both?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's gonna be Dom Smith in 2018 in all likelihood. Alonso is going to take some time, that swing has some big holes, and I don't know that he's more than a Quad-A type in the end.

Erick (Go NYGiants): I'm trying to get a gauge on Robert Gsellman's value. I do think there has to be somewhat of a gap between his value and perceived value being that his stuff seemed to change drastically, recently. Is it fair to say he's in the same tier of prospect as say, a Jose De Leon or Koby Allard?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I guarantee you I will have Gsellman higher than anyone else. This is not a function of my being a Mets fan (Mets fans will tell you that I hate Mets prospects), but it is a function of seeing a lot of Gsellman over the years and seeing the through line of his development path. He went from 88-91 last Summer to 91-93 this Spring, ticked up into mid-90s in Vegas, and now sits 93-95 with a plus slider, a pitch he didn't even throw until 2016 camp. The Mets do this, but even if it is only 70ish innings of this stuff. The stuff is the stuff.

De Leon is probably the better comp here as a guy that has shown you a bit in the majors. Gsellman has a better fastball though. that is 95 with wicked sink at the end.

Greg (NY): How would you rank the NL East shortstop youngsters (Turner, Crawford, Rosario, Albies and Swanson)? Does Rosario have a solid shot to be the best of the bunch?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Well Turner might actually be a better fit in CF looking at the overall profile. Nats will have an interesting decision to make there. Rosario has the highest upside, but maybe the lowest floor?

I'd go Swanson, Turner, Crawford, Rosario, Albies

I noticed you didn't include any of the Marlins shortstop prospects.

/looks at draft of Marlins list

Ah, right.

Carlo (Texas): What kind of future do you envision for Willy Adames? Future star, good player, average guy, bench/role player? Thanks!

Jeffrey Paternostro: Good everyday player. He seems like a guy that might be underrated because the numbers won't pop off the b-ref page. There is nothing spectacular there, but he should hit, get on base, and I could see Tampa moving him around the diamond a lot and getting some extra value out of him that way.

JT (Bronx): Can Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo hold down the 3-4 spots in pretty much any MLB rotation?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gsellman is just about ready for that. Lugo I don't know if he can actually start for a full season, and he started to get hard towards the end of 2016 once the book got out.

Nick (Long Island): This was discussed months ago but wanna get your take now that you've actually gone through the Mets and Marlins lists - how deep would you be able to go into a Mets list where that prospect would still make the Marlins top 10? Roughly which player would that be?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We are doing 11-30 for the BP Mets local. Skimming my draft, I think I could get into the low 20s. And this is just an average system. Could probably go 30 or deeper in Atlanta.

Rick (PSL): I know comps are difficult and almost always imperfect, but what do you think about Desmond Lindsay comp to (a righty) Denard Span? Span even has the hamstring issues as well

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't like left/right comps, but that isn't awful. I kind of like Young Austin Jackson (minus the +30 glove or whatever the advanced metrics spat out on him once upon a time)

Riley (NJ): Is it possible that Gavin Cecchini is really underrated? If he can play an at least average 2B with a 55 hit tool, that's a pretty good player.

Jeffrey Paternostro: That's Justin Turner.

Not the good Justin Turner.

Cecchini is a pain to evaluate because he so clearly isn't a shortstop, but Mets, and the throwing issues are bad enough that I worry they might continue to be an issue elsewhere. The reports from the AFL have not been encouraging either. I still think he has a major league role, but it's not one worthy of calling him underrated.

scottski45 (Detroit): Amed Rosario and Franklyn Kilome seemed to be two serious risers last year. Is that growth sustainable? Are these two guys we should be excited about?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Kilome will continue to have hiccups I'd imagine. It's the exact kind of profile I fall in love with and ignore that he may just end up a frustrating relief arm. But if he ever puts it together...look out.

Rosario is a top tier prospect now, and has a more balanced offensive and defensive skill set than he had at this time last year. This is what happens when it does click. I still need to see Rosario's swing work in a longer sample against better arms. The hand path is unorthodox and he struggles with fade at times..

Mallex (ATL): Who is more valuable- Kevin Maitain or Andres Gimenez?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Hell if I know.

You want to bet on the louder offensive tools, or the guy more likely to stick at shortstop? And those descriptions could be reversed in four years. Life comes at you fast at 17.

Liam (From the past 5 years): Thoughts on Braves signing colon? I could stop there but I also wanted to ask about prospects. Why is a curve so much harder to learn? If it is then why bother with a curve if you can just teach a slider, splitter, sinker or any other pitch?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Braves needed reliable innings eaters and Colon and Dickey both make sense for them. They have a ton of pitching on the farm, but most of it is 2+ years away. Gotta fill 324 starts in the interim. Also, if either or both has a good first half, they are flippable at the deadline.

There is a very long answer to your pitching question, but the short one is slider is a grip pitch, curveball is a feel/spin pitch. As for why teach a curveball: Clayton Kershaw.

Greg (NY): Saw two comps for Amed Rosario by a fangraphs writer- Brandon Crawford or Elvis Andrus. How do you feel about the accuracy of these?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I've used Crawford before. At least before Crawford became a 20 HR guy (although not out of the realm of possibility for Rosario, it's unlikely). I think Rosario is more likely to be a power over hit type than an Andrus type offensively. And I don't think he is as natural a shortstop as Andrus. He's good there, but he gets by more on athleticism. A comp I heard recently that I sort of like is Asdrubal Cabrera with a better glove.

Harvey (Queens): Dickey and Colon to the Braves on consecutive days. The world is not a just place, huh?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Leonard Cohen passing before the Nobel committee figured out he should have gotten Dylan's award blows too.

ssimon (Pelham, N.Y.): If #BigSexy were a 21-year-old in Double-A but had the same command and movement, where would he have ranked on the Braves' top 10?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So this is the ol' "you can't comp Greg Maddux" problem. "Good" command guys sitting 86-89 with no secondaries are not uncommon in the minors and usually don't even get to Double-A. So basically you need to be confident that your 21-year-old has elite command and two-seam movement. Bartolo wasn't even close to that guy at 21. There is an argument that kind of stuff only comes after twenty years.

Happy (Philly): What prospect do you think it would take to get Bruce from the mets if they sign cespedes? (in philly terms)

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think if Klentak picks up the Amtrak ticket, I'd be okay with it. Realistically, it's probably like someone on the level of like Bailey Falter

Sam (Pitt): Is Mitch Keller the next big time pitching prospect for the Pirates?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yep.

Jeb (Iowa): Where would you rank the Pirates farm system? Who would you be excited about if you were a Pirates fan?

Jeffrey Paternostro: NL Central is a ways away, so I have only sketched some stuff out, but it is very very good. Meadows could be a star, and Keller was wowing at the end of 2016. There is pretty good depth there as well.

Perry (Braves): Braves fan here. So Zack Wheeler is from Atlanta and the Braves need some SP. Wheeler seems like the perfect guy for us to target- has a lot of upside and can be bought low as he hasn't pitched in two years. What would it take to get him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I have no idea if Wheeler even throws a pitch in 2017. Seems like an awful lot of risk to take on, and the Mets probably aren't in the mood to sell that low, especially since their starting pitching depth is a mess right now.

Alvin (AZ): Is Lucas Duda an accurate, optimistic or pessimistic projection for Greg Bird?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think if you get Duda's 2014/15 from Bird that's a good outcome. It isn't crazy optimistic, but above the median.

Jon (CA): How did Cecchini ever have a good glove rep? What the heck happened there? Is there any hope for a career as an average regular at 2B or something?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He wasn't awful in Savannah. A bit rough, but the kind of young shortstop problems you'd think he might outgrow. It just went downhill quickly.

Also he never had a "good glove rep." Just that he was polished and more likely to stick than your average prep SS. That's a world's away from actually being a slam dunk good major league shortstop. That shit is hard.

AJ (Texas): Could the Astros trade Bregman for a Mets SP? What would that deal look like?

Jeffrey Paternostro: They could, but it would probably be for like Steven Matz.

Harry (Boston): Boston seems poised to move some prospects for an upper-echelon pitcher with team control. Would the Mets move Syndergaard for Moncada and Ben/JBJ? Would boston?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think Syndergaard is basically untraceable at this point.

Dinger (RI): Where did BP have Seranthony Dominguez? Heard good stuff! Thanks!

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't think we charted it out quite that far, but somewhere between the group at 10 and 20. Have heard "like him better than Kilome" reports, but I can't quite get there yet. I like him, but he doesn't have Medina's polish or Sanchez's top end velo, and he's another shorter righty who is gonna be dogged by bullpen projections.

Rafeel (FL): So Andres Gimenez got 1.6 mil as an IFA in 2015. If GMs were somehow able to see how successful he was in the DSL in 2016, how much (more) money would he have gotten a year ago?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't know that DSL stats ever tell us anything new. Good production beats bad production of course. And the reports coming out of there are better. It's tough with the nature of the pools and caps, and which teams decide to blow out to say how much more he'd be worth.

Hank (Dc): Gilioto the next syndergaard?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Not unless he suddenly finds his missing velocity and takes a two-grade command jump.

j (OR): I really enjoy the BP Top 10's thus far, keep up the good work. After the NL East will you be doing the AL East?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Thanks. AL East is up next in a couple weeks. Yankees first.

Terry (NY): As a Mets fan, if I told you that I could guarantee 16 WAR, nothing more nothing less, for Amed Rosarios first 6 seasons would you take it? Or would you bet on Rosario getting more than that and not take it

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think you'd have to. That's a solid everyday guy, 55ish SS. I *think* he'll be better, but I don't know if I'd want to bet my money on the variance in his profile.

duncanf (In The Jacuzzi): Hey there. What's the likelihood of seeing Happ in the Cubs infield in 2017?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't know exactly where he fits with future MVP Javier Baez taking up his likely infield spot at 2B. Maybe a better chance you see him in the outfield, but the Cubs are spoiled for choice there as well. I guess he's close enough that an injury on the dirt or the grass might open a role for him. So 20%? Another full year in the minors isn't the end of the world there.

Jmax!! (Niagara Falls (the nice looking side)): My Jays signed Gurriel Jr!! What's his future looking like in your crystal ball?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm just glad they did this before I posted the Jays list.

Hector (Arizona): What are your thoughts on Kevin Newman and Austin Meadows?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Newman's hit tool is legit, I just don't know if he does enough else to be more than a solid everyday guy. Meadows is a stud. I keep coming back to Christian Yelich as a comp for him.

Brandon (Urbandale): What are your thoughts on Will Craig? I wasn't too excited about that pick by the Buccos.

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's not that exciting. He's a first baseman in the end, and I don't know if the swing works well enough against advanced arms to get the power to play.

Max B (Brooklyn, NY): Hi Jeffrey, I was just wondering if you had any idea where some of the mets top pitching prospects would start the season at. Szapucki, Dunn, Molina. Do you expect Gsellman or Lugo to stay with the big league club entering the 2017 season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: With my usual caveat that I am terrible at this game:

Szapucki- Columbia
Molina, Dunn- St. Lucie (though Molina could move up to Bingo quickly if healthy and effective)

I expect Gsellman will be in the starting rotation now because one of the young incumbent arms won't be fully healthy for Opening Day. Lugo I think they will sit in the major league pen until a spot opens up.

Juan (Ohio): Do you think Bradley Zimmer could do a decent Joc Pederson impression (lots of walks, Ks, low average with solid speed/power in a platoon role)? Is that aiming high or low? Thanks in advance!

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think you would want higher, but that's not a bad outcome at this point.

Nolan (Wisconsin): What's one Brewers prospect you can see breaking out in 2017?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Believe I am obligated to say Isan Diaz at this point.

Cole (Ibiza): How is Steve Matz as a comp for Thomas Szapucki?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Lofty, but not impossible. And he already has durability concerns.

Jeff (Ny): Hey Jeff, I'm also Jeff. What do you make of Champ Stuart? Sure has some tools. Hit tool *seems* to be coming around in AFL? Is this a guy that might have a lot of success, a guy we might look back on in a few years and say "maybe, we could've seen this coming"

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's still whiffing in a third of his PA, right in line with what he did in Double-A. His pitch recognition has just never come along against better arms and he just turned 24. I think he can have a major league role (Jarrett and I have discussed that he easily could have been the Mets Terrence Gore the last two Falls), but I don't think it's an impact one.

Tad (Alabama): Anyone you see having a break out year for the Angels in Double-A Mobile?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I have some bad news about the Angels system...

Leon Durham (Chicago): What grades would you now give Schwarber for his hit & power tools?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't think that ten World Series at-bats changed how I felt at the beginning of the season. Still like 55/70

Geoff (NY): Any players in Mets farm system that you think could be above average MLB relievers? Oswalt? Sewald?

Jeffrey Paternostro: You are best off looking at the 91-94 with a slider dudes, and the Mets have a few. Andrew Church, Merandy Gonzalez (though he has a curve), Luis Silva come to mind off the top of my head. Dunn could of course be an impact relief arm if it breaks that way. Sewald is more 87-90 with a slider, but he deserves a shot. Certainly proved me wrong every step of the way. Oswalt's fastball has just been too hittable despite flashing plus velo. Don't know if the pen helps there.

Gary (Suffern): Am I crazy for thinking Brandon Nimmo can be more of a 4th Ofer? Also, god I love that guy's attitude

Jeffrey Paternostro: As my good friend Toby Hyde used to say, "If he hits as good as he interviews, he'll be an all-star." Hasn't happened yet though.

Jose (Troy): Did TJ Rivera's success at the MLB level make you more optimistic about his future? Or is it not sustainable/SSS? Something in the middle?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I write about this in Rivera's blurb on the Mets list (he didn't make the top ten FTR). I think the difference between him and Gsellman is it didn't "look right." Too overmatched against quality veto and breaking stuff. I am more convinced he can be a useful bench bat I guess, but he's limited defensively, and you really want your fifth infielder to be a bit better defender. Or have Flores' pop.

Andrew (DC): Speaking of NL East shortstops, do you have any insight on Carter Kieboom? It seemed like no one thought he would stick at short pre-draft.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't know that 40 games in the complex changes the long term profile much. I like him, love the swing, think he can get to double-digit home runs, but that's not amazing if he ends up at third. If I was more certain he was a shortstop long term, he'd be higher on the Nats list, but these things take time to sort out. (see Cecchini, Gavin).

DTH (SF): If reports are right that NYY got to choose between Torres and Jimenez from the Cubs, would you have also chosen Torres? and what's your FV on both those guys? Thanks!

Jeffrey Paternostro: Would have been a tough decision at the time, maybe looks more like it should have been Jimenez now, but I also assume the Yanks have maybe a few more looks at both guys. I think Jimenez has an all-star ceiling that I don't know if Gleyber quite matches.

Tim (NY): So what is Keller's upside? A good #2?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't know if I can go there until he does it for a full season, but the reports late in the year pointed in that direction.

Eckstein (Nh ): You said Rosario and Gsellman have impact talent. Rosario I totally understand and that seems widely accepted. But Gsellman? Can you explain why he's an impact talent- just curious

Jeffrey Paternostro: Potential 70 FB, 60 SL, 55 CU. Not a lot of those kicking around right now. Needs to shore up the fastball command at the new veto band, and I want to see him go through a lineup multiple times (especially against lefties) before I fully buy in, but I'm definitely leading the bandwagon.

Harrison (Brooklyn): I feel like, as a Mets fan, not enough has been said about Tomas Nido over the last 6 or so months. Can this guy be an MLB caliber catcher? If so, that's quite a valuable piece

Jeffrey Paternostro: Nido was definitely in consideration for a spot on the top ten, but catchers are so weird, and he popped up as a very different prospect than what you would have expected (was a power bat/catch and throw guy). Also, no one sees St. Lucie. But yeah, OFP 50 seems fair to me at present.

DTH (SF): Since you just did the NL East: can you build a Mike trout or Chris Sale trade from any NL East team, then stick a number on how likely you think it is to actually happen?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Braves are probably the only team that can do it. I don't think the Phillies have enough arms to deal here.

Swanson/Acuna/Newcomb/Allard probably doesn't get you hung up on (at least for Sale). But Braves aren't really in a position to do this, and probably not interested.

Randy (NYC): Is being drafted by the Mets the best thing that could have happened to Justin Dunn and his development as a pitcher?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I am writing about this for the Mets essay. He is the kind of arm they have had some success with, but we do tend to forget the ones that don't get the Warthen bump. Generally I would say being a rawer college arm getting drafted by an org with a good track record of developing arm strength guys is good though.

Ryne (Waco, TX): Who are some of the short-season prospects you are most excited about? Any under-the-radar, deep sleepers worth mentioning? Thanks.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Avoiding some of the more obvious ones already discussed: Anderson Tejeda,, Christin Pache, Miguelangel Sierra, Jahmai Jones,

Earl of Sandwich (Brooklyn): Got to watch a lot of Brooklyn Cyclones this year- can honestly say I don't remember watching a minor league team with that much talent. Justin Dunn, Desmond Lindsay, Thomas Szapucki and Peter Alonso all look like they have a chance at becoming solid major leaguers, right?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm lower on Alonso than most, but yeah, it was a fun little squad, especially after last year's being pretty barren. I'd throw in Merandy Gonzalez too, raw and probably a reliever, but potential major league arm for sure.

Glenn (NJ): Who has the 3 highest ceilings in the Mets system?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The three highest ceilings are the top three prospects, and you will have to wait until Monday for that, but if you want some higher upside guys among those not in consideration for the list, Jake Simon, Cameron Planck, and Gregory Guerrero come to mind.

Jim (cali): What prospect package could McCutchen return for the Bucs? Also, what are the actual chances he gets traded this offseason? 25%?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think the odds might be even a bit higher than that, but it's tough to figure out how to get value. Only two years left on the deal, and while he wasn't an offensive black hole, he might need to move to a corner at this stage in his career, so you really have to count on the bat bouncing back. I think you could probably still nab a top 50 type at the front of the deal, but you might not get a second impact name past that. But honestly I have no idea on this one. If a team still likes him in CF, FA options are limited.

Austin (hoboken): Ender Inciarte makes some sense for the Mets. Who would they have to trade to get him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Devil's advocate: Is he that much of an upgrade over Lagares that it is worth meeting the Braves asking price? He is a bit better at everything, but it is the same skill set.

Terry F (New Jersey): Is it possible that the Mets farm system is underrated? They seem like they have a couple guys in the top 75-125 range that could skyrocket up prospect lists by midseason next year (Dunn, Szapucki, Gimenez, Lindsay, Molina)

Jeffrey Paternostro: It will be an interesting transition year. Gsellman is the only likely above-average regular to graduate, and they will have somewhere between 1 and 3 top 50 picks in the draft. Guys like Szapucki, Lindsay, Carpio, Sanchez will get full-season ball tests and we will probably know a lot more about them the time next year. We will definitely know a lot more about Molina and how the stuff has come back. I don't think it is underrated yet for the reasons I outlined earlier, but it could be outright good by 2018.

Jeffrey Paternostro: And I thank you, I thank you for doing your duty. You keepers of truth, you guardians of beauty Your vision is right, my vision is wrong I am sorry for smudging the air with my song. (we'll do this again in a couple weeks)

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