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Chat: George Bissell

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday February 21, 2017 1:00 PM ET chat session with George Bissell.


George Bissell is a writer on our fantasy team and the host of Flags Fly Forever, our fantasy podcast.

George Bissell: Hey everyone! Draft season is right around the corner, I'm fired up. Let's do this! We can probably get about two hours or so of questions, so get yours in right now. We'll get rolling in about five minutes. If I don't get to your question, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @GeorgeBissell (Yes, I just plugged my own Twitter...) Sad!

brianagler (NYC): I've got Alex Reyes in a dynasty league. This TJ news is brutal. Thoughts? Sit on him for the years? Give up the roster spot and hope no one snags him? I'm leaning towards the former...

George Bissell: I was hoping to start off on a more positive note, but we need to talk about Reyes. He's one of the few pitching prospects that I would hold onto in a dynasty league regardless of other factors. We've been through this before with other top prospects like Strasburg & Fernandez (just a few of the more prominent examples). If you own Reyes in a dynasty league, you're better off not trading him.

madsam99 (Columbus, OH): What level of impact do you see Cody Bellinger having in 2016? Could he possibly get enough time to be the next Dodger rookie of the year?

George Bissell: I really like Bellinger. The defense is spectacular. I don't think he's going to get enough playing time to warrant consideration for Rookie of the Year, especially given how crowded the Dodgers outfield is and the presence of Adrian Gonzalez (even if he's just platooning versus right-handed pitching). I'm not as optimistic on the batting average, but I think 25-30 home runs in a full-season is a realistic projection. I don't think he gets that opportunity until next year.

Dave (Canada ): Who has better offensive upside- ronald acuna or leody taveres?

George Bissell: It's Acuna for me. If he hadn't gotten hurt and missed most of the year, I think the hype would be much greater from a fantasy context. He's a five-tool kind of impact outfielder, who has tremendous power for his size. He's a proverbial jump to light speed away from the major leagues, but the time to invest is right now.

Daniel (Queens, NY): Who are your biggest injury concerns heading into the season?

George Bissell: That's a great question! Obviously, Michael Brantley. We have no idea what's going to happen there. Albert Pujols coming off foot surgery is a huge one for me too, especially at his age. Victor Martinez knees are always terrifying. Oh, and pitchers...All of them...

StarBoy (Wisconsin): Future grade on Seth Beer's hit tool? Any insights on him generally?

George Bissell: I'm not the best person to ask about collegiate baseball, but I got a few questions on Beer, so let's tackle that. He just had a huge weekend for Clemson. Was one of the best freshmen in the country last year. I think he's a first round talent, but I really don't want to be speculating fantasy-wise until he's drafted.

George (NY): Gleyber Torres or Amed Rosario and why?

George Bissell: I love this question. I'll go Rosario, simply because he's closer to the majors, probably has more stolen base upside, is a better defender (a surefire bet to stick at shortstop) and might have the better hit tool. I really like Rosario and I think the AFL performance is causing Torres to be slightly overrated.

touchstoneQu (Minneapolis): Scoresheet, 12-team AL-only league. Gun nowhere in sight, least of all pointed at your head, but an imploring look in your direction, which five do you keep? (Only two NLers.) Yu Darvish, Rich Hill, Jeff Samardjiza, John Lackey, Matt Shoemaker, James Paxton, Collin McHugh, Tyler Skaggs, Steven Wright, Jose Berrios

George Bissell: Darvish, Hill, Shark, Lackey, Paxton. I'd love to say Shoe or Skaggs, but they have major health question marks. If you wanted to be daring, Skaggs over Shark would be the way to go.

Rpo (Barcelona): Having a tough time with my last keeper- a Danny salazar or Edwin Diaz (same price)? P categories are Ks, QS, S, K:BB, ERA, WHIP

George Bissell: Without knowing the rest of your pitching staff, I always lean towards the starter, just because of the volume of innings. I'd probably go Salazar, but if you need the saves, Diaz is pretty great.

Stephen (Detroit): Why does Pecota hate Ryon Healy? He was great at all levels last year, and it seems he took a step forward. What am I missing?

George Bissell: This is a fun one. PECOTA is extremely skeptical when a hitter displays a skill that they had not previously in their career. Healy hit for more power at the major-league level than he had ever done before at any level. So, that probably has something to do with PECOTA being somewhat pessimistic from a power standpoint. As a fantasy analyst, I agree with that approach to Healy in 2017. He's one player that I'm consistently lower on than others within the industry.

CKnecht88 (Ohio): Which prospects this year have an 80 grade tool?

George Bissell: This is my favorite question so far. Look, I'm not a scout. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women who can do it. I think as far as 80-grade goes, that's reserved for top of the scale #OffTheCharts tools like Billy Hamilton's speed, Joey Gallo's power, Miguel Cabrera's hit tool (and maybe Mookie Betts someday)...I think of the current crop of prospects, Alex Reyes & Michael Kopech have 80-grade fastballs. There are a few relievers with the velocity to put an 80 on their fastballs too. If you're looking for a fun one, I think Jharel Cotton's changeup is a potential one to get there. I have no idea how you grade a screwball but Brent Honeywell for me there.

Tony (Work): What do you make of Taijuan Walker for 2017?

George Bissell: First of all, thank you for taking the time out of work to join us! I'm not optimistic. Arizona is one of the most hitter-friendly venues in the game and for a fly ball pitcher who gave up nearly 2.0 HR/9 (1.8 to be exact) I'm terrified. He's had a DRA at or above 4.00 each of the last two years and doesn't strike out over a batter per inning. I don't want to draft Walker this season.

Chris (Washington, DC): What should I do with Jurickson Profar? Is he ever going to come close to reaching his ceiling? Would you keep him over Franklin Barreto in a dynasty league?

George Bissell: There's a lot we don't know about Profar because he hasn't gotten a true everyday opportunity at a fixed position defensively. How much of last season's performance had to do with the injury or the role he was in is purely speculation. I would rather have Barreto (mainly because of the stolen bases). I think the potential for a productive everyday player is still there for Profar, but it's a safe bet to assume that he's not going to be the player we all envisioned three or four years ago. I'd much rather roll the dice on Barreto.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): What do you expect from Wade Davis this year?

George Bissell: Is he healthy? Can he stay healthy? Those are the big questions. I was on record around this time a year ago touting Davis & Britton as the top fantasy (non-Jansen) closers in the game, so obviously I believe in the talent. I think banking on 30 saves is reasonable. You might get into trouble if you pay for 40+ on draft day.

Robert (Kentucky): I would imagine there were more top 101 snub emails about Vlad Jr. than anyone else huh?

George Bissell: I'm not a scout and I don't have any input on the prospect team. Jeff, Craig and the team do a fantastic job. I've talked with almost all of them about their process and I have a ton of respect for what they do (and how hard their job is). Guerrero is a corner bat, who might have issues defensively long-term regarding where he plays. We can all agree the profile is less interesting at first base. Also, he's 17-year-old. There's a wider range of outcomes than the Pacific Ocean.

Minty (Pittsburgh): OBP dynasty trade Springer for Buxton/Bellinger. Correa/Arenado/Rizzo/Bryant/Betts give me a Core that allow to extend my window.

George Bissell: There's a lot to unpack here. I'd rather have Springer just because you always take the sure thing, especially if you're contending in 2017. If I were willing to forget about 2017 and focus beyond the next year or two, I might gamble on Buxton and Bellinger instead.

Lt. Kaffee (Court Room): If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?

George Bissell: I'll answer the question. You want answers?!?

Dusty (Colorado): With a strong season, where would Wander Javier rank amongst Twins prospects next year?

George Bissell: I think he's a strong bet to remain in the top five or six on the Twins list. I don't envision guys like Gordon or Jay ascending to the big leagues this year. Javier is still a long way from the majors. If he sticks at short, it's a fun profile.

pfenn1tw (Michigan): Who has the greater fantasy upside? Rutherford or Leody Tavares? Also, on contending teams, do you see either of them being traded before they reach the bigs?

George Bissell: Upside: Taveras...Realistic Floor: Rutherford...I didn't think there was a chance the Red Sox traded Moncada, so anything is possible.

Henry (QUeens): Hate to say it, but it looks like at least (maybe both) one of Aaron Judge or Luis Severino will be a total bust. As a Yankee fan, I am tired of seeing this happen over and over again to Yankee prospects. Should I temper my expectations with their current farm? Yankee prospects are always so hyped and then let me down.

George Bissell: I disagree with this on Judge. He's always going to have contact issues, but if he can minimize those to an acceptable level, I think he will at least be able to hit for power. It's not a superstar type of profile, but he can be a useful outfielder with some value. I'm not as optimistic on Severino after seeing him a bunch in Triple-A.

Jmax (Niagara, ON): I just traded for Francisco Lindor, and am looking to rebuild. I already roster Rosario, Eloy, Devers, Acuna, Robles, Tucker, Isan Diaz, Keller, Mendez, and Martes. I immediately put Lindor on the trade block thinking his value may never be higher, and also thinking I might be able to putt 2 top-20 prospects for him, to go with the rest of my super young core. How do you feel about Lindor's value going forward? Is he a guy I should be building around? I'm just not sold on the guy

George Bissell: I think Lindor is the safest shortstop in fantasy baseball to remain a shortstop for the next decade-plus. I think he's the best defensive shortstop in baseball. He's also going to bat third in arguably the best lineup in the game. I think Lindor is underrated because it's a five-category fantasy profile that maxes out at about .300 with 20 HR & 20-25 SB. That doesn't sound exciting but it is. I wouldn't trade Lindor. Yes, he's a core foundational piece and I'm not sure what else you would need to see to be sold that he's a top three-to-five shortstop. Sorry, I'm a Lindor guy.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Thinking the Pirates well be back in the postseason this year. What say you?

George Bissell: I have some concerns about the rotation and they're in the worst possible division for their contention window. I'd say no. A lot of this answer changing hinges on the performance of Taillon and Glasnow.

Tony (Work): Villar is a top ____ fantasy 2B over the next five years and why?

George Bissell: Three. He led the majors with 62 steals last year. Even if the power regresses, think 10-12 home runs, the steals are valuable enough that from a valuation standpoint he's a top five second baseman. With Trea Turner moving to shortstop full-time, I think Altuve is the only second baseman I can project having more value. There's a ton of risk in Villar, I won't deny that. However, I think he's morphed into a really valuable asset and if fantasy owners want to dismiss him, there's a buying opportunity in dynasty.

chrispetersen15 (IA): Pitching sleepers/breakouts for this year? If possible, geared to points leagues?

George Bissell: I'll give you a few deeper late-round mixed options: Garrett Richards, Robert Gsellman, Jharel Cotton and Zach Davies.
As far as "breakouts" go that's a broad term. Starters that I like better than the consensus: Julio Urias, Marcus Stroman, Jon Gray, James Paxton (is so obvious it's painful), and Frankie Liriano. I'm probably forgetting someone...Oh. Draft Rich Hill...

Andrew (Nebraska): Strategy question, 20 team, 25 player rosters, up to 13 keepers, do you keep outfielders like Josh Reddick or Jayson Werth or take your chances trying to get someone else.

George Bissell: I'd take my chances on someone else, but Reddick has value in the right format as a platoon option. I've had success doing that with guys like Matt Joyce, Brandon Guyer, Danny Valencia, Steve Pearce, etc...just mixing and matching based on daily lineups...It can work in a deeper league.

Anthony (Lunch): Following up on your Lindor love - who's the next Lindor? And by that I mean a prospect that's not the sexiest in terms of fantasy because they think he won't be an offensive stud, just a really good defensive MLBer.

George Bissell: Great question. I literally almost wrote a column after the World Series entitled "Finding The Next Lindor" doing this kind of experiment, but then came to my senses, because those types of guys don't just crop up out of nowhere. The obvious parallel is a "sum is greater than the whole of the parts" type of hitter that can stick defensively and produce fantasy-wise across five categories. The obvious name to me in that department (which I've written about extensively) is Dansby Swanson.

Nick (ATL): Which young Braves prospect should I be most excited about: Kevin Maitan or Ronald Acuna? Do they have similar offensive ceilings?

George Bissell: Maitan hasn't played a professional game yet, so I'm hesitant to speculate. However, if you read any of the things that have been reported on him, he sounds incredible. At this exact moment in time, I'd rather have Acuna. You should be more excited about Maitan because he's a shortstop, but Acuna is really good and we've seen him play.

misterbob (philly): Hey George, What are your thoughts on Alex Dickerson? What is his upside and do you think he gets regular AB's in the Padres OF. Would also appreciate your thoughts on Roman Quinn and his potential. Thanks.

George Bissell: My colleague Alex Chamberlain is the one to ask about Dickerson. My big concern is the playing time in San Diego. They need to find at-bats for guys like Margot, Renfroe and Jankowski. Someone is going to be the odd man out. I love Roman Quinn as a source of stolen bases. I think he can be an extremely valuable fantasy commodity, but playing time and injuries are huge variable that make him difficult to project long-term.

bryner99 (dogs): In an auction, do you a) generally target some players you're going to take more or less no matter what b) just go with the flow c) a little of both d) other? I mean, outside of the fact you did "a" in our league.

George Bissell: I believe it was Larry Schechter who wrote that nominating is an advantage. You always want to nominate players that you have an interest in buying in an auction. For example, I never throw out a player "just to get other owners to spend money" or anything like that. I like to have an idea ahead of time on which players, especially those in the lower dollar tiers at a position, I might be able to get for less than I project their value to be. I try to nominate those players early if possible. Obviously you're not going to buy every player you nominate, but I think it helps to be able to set the initial bid.

Tony (Work): Is Ivan Nova actually good?

George Bissell: Look. I think so. I'm not sure it's a controversial statement, but there's a reason Pittsburgh wanted to re-sign him. That's not foolproof logic, see: Nicaso, Juan or Happ, J.A. but I watched him a lot down the stretch and he was solid.

Anthony (Lunch): Who's your hitting and pitching deep sleepers for 2017 for deeper leagues - say 16 team or so - and why?

George Bissell: Whats for lunch? Seriously, I'm starving. Um...I'll give you one each. Robert Gsellman & Jharel Cotton on the pitching side. I keep coming back to Steve Pearce as a guy who is a lock to outperform where he's getting drafted. Same goes for Yulieski Gurriel & Asdrubal Cabrera.

Igor (At a Bar): What are your thoughts on Ronald Guzman? I need to add him to my 40 man but I have 3 other 1B in Pujols, AJ Reed, & Dan Vogelbach. Should I add him as I know depends on the player I would be dropping. Thanks

George Bissell: First, I'm not Craig Goldstein. He's our foremost expert on all things Guzman. I'd definitely keep Reed & Vogelbach for now. I gotta tell you, I'm terrified of Pujols. There's a chance he's just done at any point because of the foot.

David (Not Sure): Yo George. It seems a smart move is to draft low minor SS. Heading into this season some early targets on my list are Miguelangel Sierra and Fernando Tatis Jr. I am not sure how to interpret their performances from last year and what to expect. Care to hit us with some knowledge on these players to make a informed decision?

George Bissell: Hey there. Um. I have irrational love for Bo Bichette. It's always difficult to assess hitters in the low minors that are nearly half a decade away from the majors. I think you have to start off by gauging the defense. Can this hitter stick at shortstop? If yes, then it becomes about future projection, not necessarily scouting the stat-line. Park factors and environments matter too.

Ernie (LA): How early would you draft Andrew Heaney in a dynasty league ?

George Bissell: Is never an option, because I wouldn't draft him.

Tony (Work): Are you on the Blake Swihart's Going to be a Top 10 Fantasy Catcher After Memorial Day Train?

George Bissell: I have many thoughts on the Red Sox handling of the catching situation last year, but this is not the appropriate venue for me to lay out all of the facts. Just go ask anyone at my local Dunkin Donuts...I have no idea what to expect from Swihart. I think he starts the year at Triple-A (you can bet I'll be watching him in-person a bunch). I'm optimistic but cautious overall.

Kevin (Alexandria, VA): I could use some help with my last two keeper spots (10-team dynasty). I am currently deciding between Josh Bell, Franklin Barreto, Jurickson Profar, Reynaldo Lopez, and Michael Pineda. Which two will provide the most value over the next 5 years? Thanks!

George Bissell: Hey Kevin, I'd keep Bell and Barreto. In a 10-team dynasty, there is so much pitching available on the waiver wire that I wouldn't keep a non-ace level starter. I like Barreto's speed, even if he's not at shortstop long-term. Bell is the interesting one for me. Every time I saw him in person, I came away impressed.

jabloom (Ottawa): 12 team H2H 10x9 category "keep forever" league. We keep 20 MLB players and have a 12-round draft annually. My team is competing this year but I need pitching help. Would you do either of the following trades: (1) Pollock/14th pick FOR Price/Thames/55th pick, or (2) Murphy/pick 117+143 FOR GCole/pick 6+60 Would I be selling low on Pollock or Murphy in either deal? Which side would you want now and forever? or should I hold?

George Bissell: I wouldn't do either deal.

misterbob (pa): I'm thinking about keeping Folty at 10 chips but not sure if I might get him cheaeper if I throw him back------is he worth keeping at 10 (260-NL-23 man-auction keeper league)? I'm thinking he could be a possible breakout player this year, what do you think about him? Thx.

George Bissell: Nope.

David (Rochester, NY): How high should Kevin Maitan be drafted in first year player drafts? I have the 3rd overall pick, with Nick Senzel sure to go #1. Would I be crazy to take Maitan over Kyle Lewis and/or Corey Ray? Neither of those guys look like fantasy superstars, but it sounds like Maitan at least has that potential.

George Bissell: You would be crazy. I'd rather have Ray then Lewis. You should check out Bret Sayre's Top 50 2016 signee list that came out here at BP last month.

Ian (Canada): Drop one: Luke Weaver, Jose Berrios, or Reynaldo Lopez.

George Bissell: Weaver.

Shrimp Boat Cap'n (NOLA): Are people sleeping on Nick Williams and do you think he can get back to his successful approach from '15?

George Bissell: I don't think sleeping is the right word. He's an extremely aggressive hitter who needs the hit tool to max out in order to be an impact major leaguer. There are also some issues defensively. I wouldn't write him off, but I think pointing out the flaws in his game (and the risks in the profile) are warranted.

Todd (Green Bay): Who wins the Mil catching battle between Bandy & Susac for the majority of the playing time ?

George Bissell: Susac. Check out Flags Fly Forever, we spent like an eternity listening to Bret on Susac in our catcher preview. FWIW he also drafted him in LABR Mixed.

Baseballdeity (The Chi): The Dynasty 101 list. Can we expect it this week? The anticipation is growing out of control.

George Bissell: Yes. It's a Bret & Ben collaborative. Very exciting.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): So is this the year Sano really breaks out and approaches elite slugger status?

George Bissell: Can he be a four-category producer? Yes. We discussed him quite a bit on our third base preview show and on the LABR recap as well. I think not having to worry about playing the outfield will benefit Sano this year. There's still a ton of swing and miss, but it won't matter too much if he's hitting for the type of power he's capable of.

Franklin (Canada ): Thoughts on desmond lindsay?

George Bissell: I don't really have any. Sorry. I like that he's a centerfielder.

Noel (Atlanta): Thoughts on Shelby Miller ? Can't be as bad as last year can he be ?

George Bissell: I mean, he could. I'm not drafting Miller in any fantasy context. There are too many other options I like.

Minty (Pittsburgh): What do you realistically see from Bellinger in OBP league for a full season? 25-30 is a lot more valuable with a good OBP. I think that would ultimately settle my trade offer.

George Bissell: I mean like a .340-.350 OBP isn't crazy. It might not happen right away tho...

Charlie (San Francisco): What does it take you to trade away guys like Machado or Kris Bryant in dynasty leagues? I feel like there are just guys you don't trade away sometimes.

George Bissell: Sometimes in life, the best trades are the ones you don't make and don't even bother considering.

chrispetersen15 (IA): Any points league specific advanced stats to emphasize when evaluating SP?

George Bissell: I'm not a points league guy. I don't like them and you can't make me like them.

Jerry (Earth): Hey George. I may have a slight addiction for drafting very low minor OF's who could become names or just flame out. This pre-season I am looking to target Daniel Montano, Taylor Trammel, or Cristian Pache. I was wondering if you could provide your thoughts on these players. Thanks.

George Bissell: How big is your league? I don't know anything about those specific players. Just too far off the fantasy radar for me. Sorry.

beenjamin (SLC): Are we (BP staff I suppose) ranking Villar way too high? Seems to me he had a Segura-breakout-type of year after being terrible across the first months of the previous 2-3 seasons and yet we are believing in him more than Segura by a large degree. Is Villar *that* much safer than your average 1yr-breakout player?

George Bissell: Segura didn't steal 60-plus bases. Go back and read the scouting reports on Villar, he's always had the tools to be able to do this (especially the steals), he just finally got an opportunity in Milwaukee. It's a great park, he has a green light on the base paths. I'm not overthinking this one. The speed insulates a ton of risk. There were only five players in baseball who stole 40-plus bases last year. That matters.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): How healthy is Garret Richards, and what kind of numbers do you expect from him this year?

George Bissell: I really like Richards considering where he is going in drafts so far. I'll say 160 IP, 4.15 ERA, 155 K

Mateo (Ask Siri): I got a surplus of catchers having Brian McCann, Gomes, Susac, Zunino, & Messoraco. Its only a one ctacher league so who would you look to deal as trying to get that flag this year.

George Bissell: I'd keep McCann and trade literally everyone else.

Charlie (San Francisco ): 14 tm dynasty - I was offered Springer, Blackmon, Sherzer, Porcello, Eloy Jimenez & Carson Kelley for Machado + skaggs. To add context my OF is currently Polanco, Marte and Sano. Sano would take over at 3rd if i took it.

George Bissell: I'd take that. Wouldn't even have to think about it.

Terry (Lynchburg): Scoresheet AL only league. Thoughts on Giolito as a pick in the 14th round (first round of the draft)

George Bissell: I'm waiting to see what the velocity is, how his command and control look and whether or not his mechanics have been fixed/ironed out before I get excited.

George Bissell: Alright, Thank you to everyone for hanging out today. I've gotta run. This was great. Let's do it again soon.

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