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Chat: Scooter Hotz

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday February 13, 2017 8:00 PM ET chat session with Scooter Hotz.


Scooter Hotz is a writer on our fantasy team.

Scooter Hotz: Pitchers & catchers report tomorrow! Let's get at it.

Cream (Madison, WI): A penny for your thoughts on 2 Arizona pitchers with high K rates. In terms of Robbie Ray and Archie Bradley, who will have the better year in 2017 and which pitcher will have the better career?

Scooter Hotz: I like Ray more for 2017 because of the Ks, but you'd have to have a pitching staff structured to handle the hit in WHIP from all the walks. Not for everyone.

Long term, Bradley's the play. He didn't really deliver the Ks last year, barely striking out a batter per inning, but he's definitely more likely to still be a major league starter 4-5 years down the road.

Vic (Baltimore): Do you think that Profar and/or Mondesi get 500 + at bats with production that warrants starting in a 15 team 5 x 5 this year and/or 2018?

Scooter Hotz: If Mondesi gets 500+ at-bats for each of the next 10 years, I don't think he'll produce at a level that merits starting in a 5x5 in any of those years. Then again, Darin Erstad hit .355 one year, so miracles can happen.

Profar probably won't get 500 at-bats this year without a significant injury to someone else, but something's gotta give. Andrus and Odor are really good, but so is Profar, and it would be a shame if he wasted away in a utility role and the Rangers wasted an asset like that. By 2018, I expect that Andrus, Odor and Profar will all be full-time starters, I just don't know which team or which position. Any season in which Profar gets 500 at-bats will be one where he should be starting in a 15-team 5x5 league.

lipitorkid (costa mesa): Why do you hate having a Twitter bio and how long did it take you to get your dog to pose for that picture?

Scooter Hotz: Yeah, I set up that profile thinking I might have separate fantasy and personal accounts. Then I thought that would be woo much work and just went with my personal @wavingatyou account on Twitter.

Didn't pose the dog for that at all. Just a happy accident. I miss that guy. Lost him a little over a year ago.

The Banker (Philippines (temporary)): What kind of numbers can we expect from Keon Broxton this season? A real breakout or just a tease? Is he keepable over Michael Conforto who the Mets keep jerking around and may start the year in the minors?

Scooter Hotz: I think Broxton is a little bit scary as a proposition due to his contact and strikeout rate, which make him an average risk. That said, I like him a lot more than I like Conforto for 2017 because, as you noted, Broxton is going to play and Conforto probably won't unless the Mets experience multiple catastrophic injuries in the outfield.

M Bison (Spain): Anthony Desclafani. Yay or nay?

Scooter Hotz: Yay. I don't love him as much as Bret Sayre does, but I like him fine. I didn't think he'd be as good as he was last year, and I don't think it was a fluke. Last year definitely made me revise my outlook for him upwards.

FWIW, I just put up a post on the message board of one of my home leagues telling them I'm doing a chat now, so I expect to start getting clowned by league mates fairly soon.

bsgallo (Good evening): Thank you for your deligent work, can you please rank these players with highest out come for career; Victor Robles, Eloy Jimenez and Ronald Acuna. Thank you

Scooter Hotz: Robles, then Jimenez, then Acuna. Robles and Jimenez are very close in my mind, and I might flip-flop them a week from now if asked again. Acuna is a decent-sized step below those two.

PompeyCanuck (Ottawa): I can only keep one of Nomar Mazara or Jose Ramirez in a 5x5 league. I have this season and next season, before everyone goes back in the draft. I keep flipping back and forth on who I should keep. Any thoughts?

Scooter Hotz: Interesting. Ramirez might be the better bet for 2017 but Mazara's youth & potential mean he might be better by 2018. I lean slightly towards Mazara because of the upside but that's probably selling Ramirez's all-around production short. I'd probably base my decision on my roster, positional needs, and what will be available in the draft more than anything else.

Hank (ATL): IS Dansby Swanson pretty much Andrew Benentindi but a short stop?

Scooter Hotz: No, he isn't. Benintendi's bat looks like significantly better than Swanson's.

Billy (Philly): Dynasty league Q: Trevor May, JT Chargois, or Koda Glover?

Scooter Hotz: May

DB (Pgh): Thoughts on value of guys affected by Phillips deal? (Peraza, Dilson, Jace, possibly Adonis) for NL only perspective

Scooter Hotz: Jace Peterson and Adonis Garcia get hurt due to diminished playing time. Peraza gets a bump up, not sure Dilson Herrera is impacted much. Dilson Herrera still probably won't be an everyday player without at least one more deal or injury, but he's closer to an everyday spot, I guess.

DB (Pgh): Keeper questions: Barraclough $5 D Phelps $5 Adonis Garcia $5 12tm NL only

Scooter Hotz: Of the 3, I'd keep Barraclough if I had to keep one. Not sure I'd keep any, though.

DB (Pgh): Do you see Dietrich having a big year? Backing up Bour, Dee, Prado who all inj prone. Miami w 4 man bench.

Scooter Hotz: I'm not a huge fan of betting on guys who need a domino or two to fall to get the playing time they'll need to be worthwhile. He can hit, though.

Db (Pgh): What settings do you use for PFM? How adjust for inflation?

Scooter Hotz: I set the PFM parameters as closely as I can to my leagues' settings, then download the results into Excel. From there, I have a spreadsheet I built that does a lot of different stuff, like project standings, manage budgets and positions, etc. I usually do my inflation calculations in the spreadsheet rather than in the PFM, but I'm kind of a hopeless DIY-er and Excel geek that way.

Auston (Boston): You buying Aledmys Diaz or sellin'?

Scooter Hotz: Not sure it's that binary, but if I had to pick one, I'd be selling. I don't think he'll be quite as good as last year, and I really don't think he'll be as good as the hot streak he had to start his career that sticks in people's minds so strongly. Thanks a lot, primacy effect.

DB (Pgh): You think teams like Mil, SD, Cin (and maybe other teams not in hunt) will continue to be SB sources?

Scooter Hotz: Great question. I've thought that the place to get steals in roto for the last few years is on teams that are out of contention. Teams scrapping for wins and trying to get into the playoffs are reluctant to run themselves out of games. Non-contending teams can run without worrying about that. 20+ games behind, don't care, we're running. My secret's out, I guess.

Alberto (Montreal): The fantasy community seems split on Dee Gordon. Does his lack of power take away from his potential on the bases?

Scooter Hotz: His lack of power hurts, sure. If anything, though, the fact that steals are becoming harder and harder to come by help his value rather than hurt it, even if his 1 home run is compared to guys hitting 15-20 homers rather than 10-15 homers.

Alex (Austin): With Gsellman ranked so high on the new prospect list, would you take him over a guy like Groome or even Zack Collins in a prospect draft?

Scooter Hotz: Depends on your team's needs and your league context. If you're in contention and just need an arm, and pitching prospects don't return a ton in your league, go with Gsellman since he's already arrived. With Groome and Collins, if you're rebuilding, they make a lot more sense. However, if you're expecting to contend in 2017 and pitching prospects can be traded for good current-year packages, maybe take one of them with an eye towards flipping them, but only if you can expect a 2017 return that's better than Gsellman.

Kevin (New York): How close or not close was Jesus Sanchez to making it in the top 100?

Scooter Hotz: I have no idea. I'm not a member of the prospect team at BP and I wasn't involved in the discussions. I'm sure one of the BP prospect team members would be happy to tell you in one of their chats.

Teddy (LA): Wavering on buying a subscription again. Do all the players have comps on their pages? I find comps the most entertaining and useful personally, as looking at numbers can get old. Any other places I can find player comps other than here and Baseball Reference?

Scooter Hotz: Re-up! It's a bargain and totally worth it.

The think the comps here at BP and at B-R are the best ones. Several other places do them, too, but you nailed the best ones.

db (Pgh): NL catchers or middle relievers you see w surprising value in 2017?

Scooter Hotz: At NL catcher, I like Andrew Susac and Devin Mesoraco, especially Mesoraco. I think a lot of other folks like Susac, too, so he might not end p being a bargain. Mesoraco is more likely to be available at a bargain price due to the ssignificant injury concerns.

As for NL middle relief, I like Edubray Ramos, who is so good that he might end up being promoted from middle relief to closer sooner rather than later. I also like Grant Dayton and Koji Uehara due to their K rates.

Trump (White House): Who is your breakout pick for a huuuuuuuge fantasy year this year?

Scooter Hotz: Frederick Douglass. He is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.

William (Philly): Re: Trevor May. Is he returning to the rotation this year?

Scooter Hotz: I doubt it. They have a lot of young rotation candidates, and it seems like they like the way his stuff plays up in the pen. His ijury issues from the end of last year also probably point him towards the pen.

ARob (Wide open): How much credence or leeway do you give guys who are young for their level in minors, or early in majors career.

Scooter Hotz: A lot, especially if they make it to the majors young. John Sickels was the first writer to get that point through to me, and he's right about how much it matters.

Benni (....?): Will Rupp hold his spot all year? Was last year a fluke?

Scooter Hotz: I don't think last year was a fluke for Rupp. He hits the ball hard and his exit velocity stats show it. I don't think Rupp will lose the job to Andrew Knapp, his presumptive backup. Jorge Alfaro could take it if he dominates at Triple-A, but that seems unlikely. Alfaro has immense tools and ability but has taken a while to adjust at each level. I don't think Alfaro is seriously pushing for a major league job until 2018.

Stan (San Francisco): In a Score Sheet AL only league. Please rank the following Starting Pitchers: Pmeranz, Skaggs, Cotton, Cobb

Scooter Hotz: Cobb, Cotton, big dropoff, Pomeranz, Skaggs.

Bork (Houston): Brewers rotation... Any values for NL only?

Scooter Hotz: Certainly. If you have strikeouts elsewhere, I like Junior Guerra.

Choppers, (Thunder): Would you trade Moncada for Addison Russell?

Scooter Hotz: Probably not, only because I would expect at least one of the owners in my league to be enough of a prospect chaser to offer a lot more than that for Moncada.

Vin (LaLa land): Who do you see getting most ABs for Dodgers in OF this year? (Exclude Joc) Puig, Toles, Ethier, Trace Thompson, F Gutierez, Van Slyke, Ruf, Bellinger, Verdugo? Or will they acquire a stud for corner OF spot?

Scooter Hotz: Probably Ethier, Puig and Toles, in that order.

Ozzie (Sabbath ): Does Votto play all year in Cincy? If not... Who steps in there? Schebler, Mesoraco, ?

Scooter Hotz: If Votto gets hurt or traded, I have no idea who would play 1st base for them. Maybe Adam Duvall or Schebler? I'm just grabbing at thin air. :et's cross that bridge when we come to it. Trying to get inside the minds of a major league club and their internal depth charts is the way to madness. Well, one of them anyway.

Yazzy (Dulles ): Looking at NL landscape as a whole.... What teams have changed from 2016 that can impact player performance? Better lineup, defense, middle relief, etc. Any teams you see significant changes in runs scored ?

Scooter Hotz: I think the Brewers, Padres and Phillies could score more runs as their young players develop. The Nats will probably score a lot more if Harper returns to MVP form, which doesn't seem like a stretch. The Cubs won't have Chapman at the end but their bullpen got even deeper over the offseason. And the Padres bullpen has a bunch of interesting high strikeout guys, as Jeff Sullivan noted on the Effectively Wild podcast recently.

Truce (Southside): In a rebuild, is there a strategy you employ or do you just burn it all down and start from scratch?

Scooter Hotz: It's all contingent. Depends on the league's rules, the trading environment of the league, the dispositions of individual players, etc. I don't there's any such thing as a one-size-fits-all, always-do-this kind of strategy.

Guru (My castle): Thoughts on Stl rotation? Some good options: Wacha, Leake, Lynn, Weaver, Reyes for back end.

Scooter Hotz: I like Lynn a lot as a buy-low candidate. Not a big fan of Leake due to his subpar strikeout rate, although he is as steady as they come if you have a thing for consistency. Reyes looks like he'll be great, but so many people love him that I think he'll probably go earlier in drafts or for more money in auctions than he probably should. Irrational exuberance in roto is real.

DB (Pgh): How do you see Dodgers depth playing out? Tons of bench and rotation options. Any sleepers who can emerge w more playing time than currently projected?

Scooter Hotz: I like Toles a lot. Doesn't mean he'll get tons of playing time, but I like him. Beyond that, I think picking favorites now for playing time in the Dodgers lineup or rotation is a fool's errand. Pay close attention to how things develop in Spring Training and proceed cautiously from there.

Kyle (SD): Buxton or Dahl to keep? What do you think their final lines are in 2017?

Scooter Hotz: Dahl in the short term, Buxton in the long term. Dahl maybe .270/.345/.500, Buxton .240/.310/.490.

Dutch (Pushing too many pencils): Is there gonna be much of a difference between catchers after the top 5 or 6? Am i better off waiting and picking up Rupp or d'Arnaud late?

Scooter Hotz: I think there's a big dropoff after the top 3 (Posey, Lucroy, Gary Sanchez), then another big drop after Grandal, WIllson Contreras and maybe Sal Perez. After that, I think you're right, there's a huge mass of undifferentiated interchangeable catchers.

Ozzie (World of Warcraft): Will Joe Panik and B Crawford rebound? Do you see Nunez, Korean guy cutting into their ABs?

Scooter Hotz: Nunez won't cut into Panik or Crawford's ABs. I have more faith in Crawford than Panik. As for the Korean guy (I assume you mean Jae-Gyun Hwang), I have no idea. I've seen him listed as a 1B some places, 3B others and floated as someone who can maybe play 2B, too. I'm not even sure which positions he can play credibly.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Your colleagues in the Flags Fly Forever podcast are eyeballing Tommy Joseph as a 30 HR player without killing your average. Given the shallowness of the position do you believe he will sneak his way into the top 10 of 1B? Who would you rather for the next 3 years: Joseph or Greg Bird?

Scooter Hotz: I'd prefer Joseph to Bird due to Bird's health concerns. I liked Bird a lot before the injury, though. Not sure Joseph will quite sneak into the Top 10, but it's certainly possible, and I do like him for 30 HR and a .250+ average if he's healthy.

Old man (Cheerleaders): Do you see Aaron Blair or Jake Thompson having value in 2017, or in future years?

Scooter Hotz: I like Thompson more than Blair. Hard to see tons of value from Blair given his pedestrian stuff. Thompson's stuff and upside are better than Blair's but he's no sure thing, either.

Chubbypitcher (Your neighborhood ): Hey guy I wont bother with the details but I can keep mike fulmer or han ram.Fulmer would be a last rnd pick Hanley a 9th. What do you think about fulmer going forward potential ace one day?

Scooter Hotz: I don't think Fulmer is a future ace. I'd keep Hanley in that context.

Bork (Houston): Bets for NL setup men who could close? (This year or 2018) Via established guy injury, performance, trade, contract expiring after this year, etc

Scooter Hotz: Said it earlier, but Edubray Ramos. great stuff.

Matt Wieters (dive bar with Scott Boras): Who do I sign with and what's a good projection for me?

Scooter Hotz: I'm a Phillies fan and I just had a crazy idea that the Phillies sign him if no market develops and he'll take a pillow contract. Flip him midseason, let the perfectly serviceable Rupp play. That's not what will happen, though.

I don't know what will happen. Nobody does. Guessing is fairly pointless. Just let him be a FA and see where he lands. There's no value in making a pick now that's likely to be wrong. Just roll with the uncertainty. Fantasy baseball is a game with stochastic elements. Where players land is one of those elements that for our purposes is essentially stochastic.

Ian (Denver): Hi Scooter - how would you rank these SPs for 2017? - thanks! Nova Folty Jaime Garcia Tyler Anderson Kuhl Mike Montgomery

Scooter Hotz: Nova, Montgomery (will pitch a fair amount out of the pen, too), Folty, Garcia, Anderson, Kuhl.

Davey Boy Smith (London): I was able to snag Paxton off waivers last season. Will he make me look like a genius this year?

Scooter Hotz: Well, you've probably done plenty of others things that have made your friends rule out the possibility that you're a genius. But yeah, that was a good move, one that I made in my AL-only league, too.

Really want your league to think you're a genius? Subscribe to BP using the package that best fits your lifestyle!


Tim (NY): Robert Gsellman 17 overall? Please explain.

Scooter Hotz: I'm not a prospect ranker, so I didn't put him there. It's pretty easy to see the case for him, though: there's virtually no uncertainty. He's already performed well in the majors. No matter how good someone looks like A-ball or even Double-A, they still have to get to the majors. Gsellman got there and is there now, something a lot of High-A and even Double-A pitching prospects will never be able to say.

caseyj15 (Medford, OR): How do you see Javier Baez's career turning out?

Scooter Hotz: This question is basically unanswerable. His error bars are wider than Eric Gregg's strike zone. He's really damn fun, though.

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?

Scooter Hotz: I have never seen this movie. No idea why, but now it seems like something I should continue avoiding just so I can sincerely get that "Really?" reaction I usually get.

Mike (Chicago): I have the second pick in my draft this year. Do I take Bryant with the positional versatility he provides, or look elsewhere? H2H league on yahoo with R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP as categories.

Scooter Hotz: Gotta consider Betts, too, although adding OBP as a category helps Bryant over Betts in two ways, first because Bryant is great in OBP and second because the addition of any category diminishes Betts' edge in SB.

Matt (PA): What kind of years can we expect from Springer and Bregman?

Scooter Hotz: Big ones. I like both a lot. I worry a little about Springer staying on the field, but both are headed towards studliness.

Blaze (Denver): Is Desmond really gonna play first base? Do you think Coors extends his fantasy usefulness?

Scooter Hotz: Yes, I think Coors extends his fantasy usefulness. No, I don't think he'll play first base unless the Rockies really get stubborn about moving someone else.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Please go into painfully descriptive detail describing the near certainty that Tom Murphy will best Gary Sanchez in fantasy production this year.

Scooter Hotz: Well, you see,

Lightning Len (Uh, no): Give me a guy who will steal 20+ bases that didn't last year? Or a few guys :)

Scooter Hotz: Manny Margot, Aaron Altherr, Billy Burns.

Bork (Houston): If your a big Phillies fan... Does Quinn turn into an everyday player? Does Kingery get an everyday shot someday? Does Galvis or Caesar lose the most ABs when Crawford called up? Eickoff have more to show, or is this who he is?

Scooter Hotz: I'm not convinced Quinn is an everyday player in the majors. Maybe a 30-40 percent chance he is. I'd say Kingery has a 10-20 percent chance of keeping an everyday spot if he gets a chance and slightly better odds that he gets that shot. I think Cesar will lose more ABs when Crawford is called up since the Phils seem to love Galvis and his bat. Eickhoff might have a little room to grow, but what he is now is pretty good, so if that's all there is, that's more than OK.

Martin (NY): Dahl or Benintendi in a keeper OBP league (cost the same).

Scooter Hotz: Benintendi

Alex (Austin): Who do you like more this year and long term, Danny Salazar or Joe Ross?

Scooter Hotz: Salazar

Matt (ATL): Is it reasonable to say Freeman's production will go up this year with a full year of Swanson in front of him and Kemp behind him since he didn't have any true protection last year?

Scooter Hotz: No, since last year's performance for Freeman was significantly better than his last couple of years. Freeman has posted lines that good twice in his six full seasons. Plus, protection itself doesn't seem to do much in terms of moving a guy's line. He should have more guys on base to drive in, though, and more guys behind him who could drive him in. That impact on RBI and R is real.

Muto (France): What positions you see as shallow or deep in NL this year? Closers seem shallow. Lots of middle infield options. Thoughts?

Scooter Hotz: I think that's a good assessment. A lot of NL closing situations look pretty fluid right now. Middle infield in the NL doesn't quite have the high-end that the AL does, but it's quite deep compared to what's usually seen there. Everybody hits 20 HR now.

OK, it's been more than two hours, I'm hungry and I'd like to crack open a beer. One more question.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): What's considered a peak year for Joc Pederson? Has he earned the right to avoid being platooned?

Scooter Hotz: A career year for Pederson would probably be around .280/.380/.550. Not sure if there's such a thing as a right to avoid being platooned. We'll have to take that to the Supreme Court. I'm usually in favor of letting young guys like Pederson play against everybody since they won't develop the ability to hit same-handed pitching if they never face it. That said, it's hard for a contending team like the Dodgers to sacrifice wins by playing a guy with severe current platoon splits when they have platoon options. It's a pickle.

Thanks, everybody. This was fun. Apologies if I didn't get to your question. It wasn't personal, and at 2+ hours, I think it's fair to say I put in the effort.

Scooter Hotz: Thanks again, everyone. That was fun. And long. And tomorrow, our long national nightmare comes to a close. Pitchers & catchers report!

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