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Chat: Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 09, 2017 8:00 PM ET chat session with Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss.


Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss are the Three True Outcomes, of said podcast fame. They will answer all of your Scoresheet fantasy questions!

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Hi! We're all here and we are excited to be here chatting with you. We'll work on taking as many questions as we can for as long as we can

Craig (Rio): What is your outlook on Domingo Santana? Sleeper/someone to target?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Haha, well, do we ever have a podcast for you. Understandable, but we rarely miss an opportunity to jock Domingo Santana. The outlook has dimmed a little since 2016, now that he's a corner bat, and not a great one, but he still has a tremendous amount of potential, and should be receiving some of the same praise/consternation as the similar Michael Conforto.

Degromination (Bronx): I'm in a 10 team keeper league fantasy draft (league is pitching dominant). I will probably have a choice between Josh Hader or Michael Kopech. What arm should I target?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: You are asking us to choose between our left hand and our right. We love both players about as much as you can love pitching prospects, as they check all of our upper level performance prospect boxes. If pressed, we'd probably take Kopech, as it's a little more obvious how he does it, and I trust his ability not to be a knucklehead more than Hader's potential of cutting out one walk a start.

Cal Guy (Cal): Who would you keep for career, Bundy or Giolito?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss:
Ben: I mean, the right answer has to be the one that jinxes the Orioles, so I'm going to say Bundy. I guess I also think that Bundy is more likely to be the correct answer, too.
Ian: I am inclined to say Giolito because he has a stronger health record, personally. Neither of them are my favorite.
Jared: When you have a choice, don't take the Orioles pitcher.

JAS (MN): What are your thoughts on Ramon Laureano, OF, Houston and RP Jonathan Holder of NYY?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: For Scoresheet, we're targeting Laureano in a number of our drafts. We've discovered in the past that players like Laureano (international players who weren't bonus babies) tend to be undervalued by Scoresheet owners, and I think he's close enough to be a good buy opportunity. Holder, like a lot of "star" relief prospects, is off our board. He has options, which hurts him in 2017, and he's not protectable, so talent aside, he slides well down a list.

cgoble (KC): Have you guys ever experimented with pitchers who are coded as starting pitchers by Scoresheet but who will likely serve in relief roles in 2017? I am wondering if guys like David Phelps, Michael Lorenzen and Matt Strahm could be deployed as a sort of tandem fifth starter (with benefits such as switching handedness against a platoon-heavy team and potential lower ERAs). Does Scoresheet force you to start a pitcher with a game started that week if there's one on your roster?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: This is a fun strategy, and something we've done and heard others also advocate. Playing time restrictions get stricter come playoff time, so these guys aren't as likely to be starting playoff games unless they've started real life games, but during the regular season it's a fun trick to pull. In the regular season, the measurement for contribution from starters is just total innings pitched, so guys like the ones you mentioned can start for you and offer some opportunities for good draft value and stronger than expected run prevention in a starting role (since they don't face that challenge in real life).

Bubba Gump (Wisco): Who do you like more in the NL at 3B between T Shaw and E Nunez? The extra SS position for Nunez is an asset. Shaw can also play 1B too.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Well, Nunez can play 1B too, at least in our format. I think his shortstop ability is a weak asset at best, though, as you'd never want to play him there. I think they're fairly equivalent, but I'd line Nunez up slightly ahead of Shaw simply because I like his ability to stay healthy and above replacement level slightly more.

bowden21 (Atlanta): I have the number 4 pick in an 18 team BL snake draft. Anyone I should target here? If Goldy and Kershaw are both available which do you suggest taking?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: As always, the mock draft is a good place to start (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vFOFS25JaFadAg3iCHVZ8yi7I0guja1sge-kwTapDtU/edit#gid=0). You should have a lot of fun choices at #4. Not sure if this is a keeper league or not, but either way, we don't know if Goldy would be at the top of our list. A fine player to be sure, but you can grab someone just as valuable at a premium position. The #2 through #7 picks in the mock draft (Correa, Bryant, Seager, Machado, Harper, and Betts) all seem like fine plays, depending on who is left and what your preference is. Kershaw is an interesting pick. We're not sure we'd have the cojones to take a pitcher that early, but we'd applaud anyone who does, and Kershaw would definitely be the pitcher to take.

edwardarthur (IL): I have a couple of questions about SSIM. 1. What assumptions does it make about CFs -- e.g., is a 2.16 OF treated as a +1.4 CF or a +6 generic OF, and how does that mean you should mentally tweak the SSIM number if you plan to use a CF in a corner? 2. How do you interpret it when comparing players with vastly different playing time? I would have assumed it would be much better to have Adeiny Hechavarria for the projected 547 PAs than Nick Ahmed for his projected 228 PAs if that means 300+ PAs of P-AAA. However, SSIM says it's about a wash (7.9 vs. 6.6). Is SSIM really saying the difference between the players is that small?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: 1. CF get a 1.4 multiplier boost; real life CFers are probably slightly less valuable to your Scoresheet team if you put them in a corner, but probably not by enough to drastically alter your rankings of them, draft positions for them, or deployment of them; 2) They'll both get compared to the woeful middle infielder AAA, so that's part of why their values are higher in general; TAv' will help you gauge their offensive output on a per PA basis; by that measure, Ahmed is probably ahead of Hechavarria by more than you might expect; overall, though, playing time of two players with similar output offensively and similar defense should be proportional to their SS/SIM; when you see inconsistencies like these, check the underlying components -- often there's a discrepancy in defense that you didn't expect.

jtwalsh (Northport, NY): Ian, among the White Sox young arms (excepting Rodin) which do you see making positive Scoresheet contributions in 2017? In 2018? What is Hahn's next move, and has he set the bar too high for himself?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Hi there! Ian here, ready as ever to be pessimistic about the Sox. I don't really love any young Sock's odds of being a great Scoresheet contributor in 2017 (Including Rodon, for that matter--I think he'll be fine). If pressed, I'd take Lopez for this year, because I think he's the most likely of any of the pitchers to become a young bullpen arm. I'd still have done the Sale and Eaton trades, because the team needed more variance, but I don't think that either trade has better than even odds of working out. 2018 and beyond? I think Kopech, barring dumb bar fights, is the best pitching prospect in baseball, we have drafted Alec Hansen on just about every team we have, and I'd say Dane Dunning is pretty well overlooked besides. Also, "has Rick Hahn set the bar too high for himself?" is like the ultimate celebrity profile question.

Byron Hauck (Portland): What's the best strategy when your league over-values pitching? Both by my values and SSSIM, pitchers are going rounds earlier than equivalently valuable hitters. I'm worried that if I draft for value, no one will trade pitching for my excess hitters because, again, they over-value pitching.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss:

Ian: I'd say to stay the course. It worked for the Chicago Cubs!
Jared: Get an amazing lineup and win games 10-9.
Ian: Yeah, you can reach a little to ensure you get enough innings. You can make a mental adjustment to ensure you're not going to run out of innings. Hitting is also a little bit more predictable/stable than pitching, so you've also got a better chance at a long term asset.
Ben: Sure. I agree with those thoughts. If that doesn't suit your style, or you're looking for another option, try using the PFM inflation feature (or cook up your own) to adjust relative draft value as the draft unfolds. You can setup the PFM with SS/SIM as a metric, build the lineup or roster construction you want to draft for (i.e. put in like 10 SP and 10 RP) and then enter in the picks as the draft happens and see if the relative rankings shift to suit your needs better.

Dusty (Colorado ): How do you think Wander Javier will rank as a scoresheet option down the line? Elite?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: A great question, and one we're terribly unequipped to answer from a scouting perspective! Let's take this from a Scoresheet perspective, though. Is Wander Javier a Scoresheet asset? Well, he's going to play this year in the GCL, and possibly jump to full season ball only by 2019. You're stuck with an asset that's not growing in value, and a player who's off the radar for most Scoresheet owners for at least a few years. This kind of thinking would have cost us Vlad Guerrero Jr, Fernando Tatis Jr, and maybe even players who weren't kids of big leaguers, but I'd rather have the pick to spend on a reliever or bench bat, at least for now.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Who do you think will get more saves this year - Shawn Kelly or Hector Neris?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: The best thing about Scoresheet? You never have to answer this question again.

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?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Santiago was a substandard...look, the only code red we could handle is a Mountain Dew.

JAS (MN): What is a reasonable expectation for Segura in Seattle? Is he a possible keeper at ss going forward?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Segura has fairly wide error bars on his projections because he's been all over the place historically. There are good reasons why he struggled, too, so you can pretty easily talk yourself into wanting to see him succeed and seeing reasons why it will happen. Obviously the ball park shift from Arizona to Seattle isn't good news for Scoresheet owners. Beyond that, some of the gains he showed in 2016 were superficially inflated by his 13.5% HR/FB (turned into a .181 ISO) and his .353 BABIP; those figures should regress and in addition to the ballpark change he's probably more like a 725 OPS player than an 867 OPS player, but that's probably still a keeper in most formats, but it's probably better if he's near the bottom of your protect list, and it's much easier to defend protecting him in a hard 13 format than, say, a soft 10.

RDBL2014 (San Francisco): How would you rank the following for their ultimate MLB value, and why? Mickey Moniak Ronald Acuna Jeren Kendall Royce Lewis Thank you!

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Okay, ultimate MLB value is a question better answered by our prospect team, but we'll give this question a Scoresheet-infused spin. We're pretty big fans of Jeren Kendall, mainly because swing-and-miss scares us a little less than it does most others. We'd line the rest up Acuna, Moniak, and Lewis in that order, mainly based on our beliefs that they can stick at a difficult position. I like Acuna's approach, and I think he's the most likely of the players mentioned here to not be overdrafted.

jtwalsh (Northport NY): TTO, Which of these would you bite on in a BL 18-20 team league as comeback potential for 2017: Wacha, Shelby Miller, Zack Wheeler, Luis Severino, Alex Wood? Any other once good/promising young SP that you see as a reasonable high variance target?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss:
Ian: Shelby Miller is probably where I'd start since his velocity is ticking back up and he was basically fine (if overrated) before his velo dipped; I'd probably put Severino next. We do tend to like this category of player and I have hope for all of them. Part of the departure from our Mock Draft pick (Wheeler ahead of all the others) is that Miller looks good in Spring Training and Wheeler seems actively hurt, which we'd like to avoid.
Ben: Yeah, these guys are totally my jam. I think I'd probably say Wheeler until Ian corrects me just because he seems like he had a bunch of talent before and I was thinking he was going to recover. Caveats apply wherein I am not as up to speed on the Spring Training happenings, so as with all things, trust Ian.

Cubs Fan 69 (Illinois): Who are a few deep league prospects that could really emerge and be top prospects in the next 2-3 years and be fantasy studs in there prime. You can include possible breakout prospects, international players, college & high school kids. Any of them hyped like Bryce Harper was in his early high school career?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Geez, so we're allowed to mention the entire Israeli national team? It's a tough question to answer from our perspective, because we're not out there every day on the back fields. Oh, lord, to be on the back fields. Tetsuto Yamada has gotten some Mock Draft love in the past, although his approach, height, and lack of position doesn't scream "stardom" to me. We're into Jeren Kendall, as mentioned earlier, and as anyone who's ever listened to us for more than about 20 minutes would suspect, we think J.J. Schwarz, a TTO-based catcher with defensive issues, is exactly our kind of Scoresheet prospect.

JAS (MN): Is Reynaldo Lopez a sound bet to finish the year in the White Sox rotation?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: What does sound bet mean to you? I wouldn't risk the college fund or anything; my guess is that even if he plays up, he's likely to get shut down early in the Scoresheet playoffs. It's another reason why we're never too crazy about taking young pitchers on bad teams--you can't guarantee that they'll be there when you need them most.

Accudart (VT): Going to draft Dominic Smith in an hour...3 years from now chances of .285/.350 and 25 home runs while plus d? Thank you.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: He definitely has a chance of that! I am one of those people who looks at Dom Smith and sees the James Loney starter kit (although word is he's in the best shape of his life). If you have other equivalent options, I'd look elsewhere, but I wish you the best of luck!

Vic (Baltimore): Why not Posey at #20 overall in a 15 team league 2 catchers?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: I think we'd give our collective blessing to Posey at #20 overall or higher in basically any format at this point. He's not young enough to go notably higher in a dynasty format, but he went 28th in the Mock Draft and he may have lasted a little longer than some of us expected. Fair warning: if you're playing in a 2 catcher format, it seems like it might not be Scoresheet, so that's outside of our expertise.

sportsguy21792 (Madison, WI): Last keeper in a NL league. A Cabrera, Ju Chacin or J Harrison. Have starters in front of Harrison and Cabrera and Chacin would be 5th starter.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Great news, you're asking people who have drafted Jhoulys Chacin to be their actual 5th starter! This is not a hypothetical situation for us. We do like Chacin some, mainly because he'd have to be horrendous to be replaced, and Scoresheet replacement level is a lot lower than it is in real life. If you're in a league format where innings can be hard to come by, I'd suggest keeping Chacin, otherwise, we'd probably just lean towards the always underrated Asdrubal Cabrera and shoring up middle infield.

Vic (Baltimore): Please rank the top 5 defenses which will elevate a SPs stats the most.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Caveats apply about defensive metrics and such (we still haven't gotten as much as we could out of the stat cast data!), but our rankings are something like: CHN, SFN, LAD, CLE, TOR

Steven Mauney (Seattle): Been having a hard time ranking pitchers in the thin NL draft pool this year. Assuming Walker, Moore, and Hill are off the board. How would be your top 7 of these pitchers. Nova, Finnegan, Garcia, Gsellman, Bradley, Foltynewicz, Guerra, Kazmir, Buchholz, Colon, and Ryu (if healthy).

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: I love the hidden optimism and desperation behind "Ryu (if healthy)." It's a tough year, we know. We'd probably be happiest with Nova, Gsellman, Guerra, and Folty. I'd finish out with Buchholz, Colon, and Finnegan, probably, more out of health than performance.

mark (michigan): how would you rank the following prospects in a dynasty league draft? - Gleyber, Bellinger, Eloy, Margot and Senzel?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: We build from the inside out in our format, so consider that accordingly: Torres, Senzel, Bellinger, Eloy, and Margot would be our order. Eloy's the shiniest gem, but Scoresheet doesn't reward corner greatness, and I think people are underpricing his downside risk.

We are nearing the end of the questions in our queue, so if there's anything else you'd like to ask, now's the time. Otherwise we'll be wrapping up soon.

Accudart (VT): I know he might have a small injury today but that said...what do you make of Austin Hedges? 10 team NL league under big time rebuild with plenty of picks. What does he look like in 4 years? .260/330 15 HR. Again big rebuild and I have Murphy and Alfrao...again thanks

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: We didn't even hear about the injury! It's definitely just about time to wrap this chat up and watch some baseball. From our perspective, he's never been able to hit, but the scouty people are saying positive scouty things, and he wouldn't be the first catcher whose bat broke out at a late age. You're welcome to take the risk, but he's not a player we'd ever go out to grab. As One True Outcome said, consider this answer as a way to Hedges our bet.

Accudart (VT): Cease, Morejon, szapucki and Kilome long term ceiling

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: They all have them! Mamas, don't let your babies draft low-A pitchers in Scoresheet.

Steve (PHL): Do you have any thoughts on how to estimate extra errors caused by a player out of position in Scoresheet?

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Thanks for the question. We do! You can hear our thoughts on the subject in episode 95 of our podcast: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=31225, which is up weeklyish on BP and your favorite podcast repository.

Lagniappe (LA): Thanks guys

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Thank you! We appreciate all the questions and hope we were of some help. Feel free to write us at scoresheet@baseballprospectus.com with any additional scoresheet questions. And have a great night.

Ben Murphy, Ian Lefkowitz and Jared Weiss: Our sincere thanks to BP for hosting us and to all of our listeners. It has been a blast!

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