Aaron Gleeman is the Editor-in-Chief of Baseball Prospectus.
Aaron Gleeman: Hi, everyone! This is my first ever BP chat. I've got Otis Redding playing as background music, a cat napping next to me, and enough Skittles to make it through the afternoon. Let's do this.
Eddy (Titusville): Hey Aaron,
How do you want to shape BP in the next year or two? Any major changes you want to implement?
Aaron Gleeman: This is my dream job, ever since I was printing out every BP article and saving them in three-ring binders as a kid. My goal, on the most basic level, is to simply do everything I can to maintain the BP standard that has been in place for two-plus decades. I grew up obsessed with the site and I want some 13-year-old kid out there to feel the same way now. I'm a huge fan of Sam Miller, as a writer/editor and as a person, so these shoes were very big, but I feel good about where we're at heading into the season. We just added David Brown and Zach Crizer to our lineup of regular writers and we'll be adding more new voices before Opening Day. Harry Pavlidis and our stats team has been doing amazing stuff, behind the scenes and in publishing ground-breaking work recently. Bret Sayre and our fantasy team is a well-oiled machine. Jeffrey Paternostro and Craig Goldstein lead what is an unbeatable prospect team. I love BP, I love what we're doing right now, and I'm excited for my first season on the job.
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?
Aaron Gleeman: I realize that's from "A Few Good Men," but it could also be from my inner monologue about the Twins deciding to retain Hector Santiago for $8 million. I'd like to transfer him off the base.
Guancous (Silver Spring, MD): Let's say Buxton and Sano top out at 3 WAR players. What is the Twins' rebuilding plan and when does their next competitive window open?
Aaron Gleeman: PECOTA projects both Buxton and Sano for 2.6 WARP in 2017, at age 23 and 24 respectively. I suppose it's possible that neither will improve a ton from that, particularly in Sano's case if his best position proves to be designated hitter. I'd bet on them combining for more than six WAR most years, certainly. But regardless of that, the Twins' biggest roadblock has been their main problem for nearly a decade now: developing quality pitching. I think their stockpile of position players is good enough and deep enough to open a competitive window for the next half-dozen years, but the new front office has to figure out pitching if they want it to matter at all.
BlueJay17 (Toronto, Ontario): Are you changing the web design of the BP site to something more modern?
Aaron Gleeman: Yes! I prefer to think of BP's current look at old-school or vintage, but very soon we'll be launching a large-scale redesign that I think everyone will like a lot. I'm hesitant to put a firm timetable on it, because projects like this tend to have delays, but we're getting close.
A Gleeful Man (AZ): With Eickhoff's late season adjustments projected out over a full 2017 season, does he put up 3+ WAR this year?
Aaron Gleeman: Jerad Eickhoff narrowly missed the cut for my recent article about PECOTA's favorite breakout bets among pitchers, but the system definitely likes him long term. He started 33 games, threw 197 innings, and posted 3.3 WARP last season, so I'll say he cracks 3.0 WARP again. I think he's legit as a quality rotation building block for the Phillies.
LenBarson (St. Paul): How many wins does Twins manager Paul Molitor need in 2017 to return in 2018? Or is it more approach/open mindedness that matters? Little of both?
Aaron Gleeman: Tough to say. The new front office retaining Molitor as manager, at least for one season, is interesting. They've talked a good game so far about being on the same page, but through his first two years on the job Molitor has been better in theory than in practice. He's a lot more old-school than I'd hoped when he replaced Gardenhire. Bullpen management, lineup construction, platooning, etc. Didn't impress in any of those areas. It's possible that his win total won't matter much, short of making the playoffs, if they simply want to bring in their own guy for 2018. It'll be an improved team, though, almost by default.
Dave (Cleveland): What should be the concern level with the Indians pitching staff? Klubers work load, Salazar and Carrasco injuries. Bauers inconsistencies. What gives?
Aaron Gleeman: There's definitely reason to worry about Carrasco and Salazar from a durability standpoint, but if healthy I think they're each among the top 20 pitchers in the league. I've mostly given up on Bauer being in that same category, although he's not without upside still. Their rotation depth could be an issue, but that's not really unique to the Indians. As long as Kluber is making 30-plus starts and they get, say, 300 innings from the Carrasco/Salazar combo, it'll be one of the best rotations in the league. I can't see a bullpen with Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero, and Boone Logan for a full season being anything but excellent.
Al (NU): Hey Aaron, I asked this question to Jeff last week and am curious what you think. Michael Conforto has been a widely talked about player recently, but he is no longer prospect eligible. In an effort to gauge his value and standing relative to others, about where do you think he'd place on most top 100s if eligible?
Aaron Gleeman: I still like Conforto a lot, long term. Jeffrey would know way better in terms of his hypothetical prospect stock, but I'd speculate maybe somewhere in the 25-40 range?
JGG (MN): Will you be attending the SABR Convention this year?
Aaron Gleeman: I've missed a few SABR conventions in a row after going every year for almost a decade, but along those same lines: We'll soon be announcing a bunch of BP ballpark events, around the country. Good opportunity to get together, with special guests, and watch baseball this summer.
DJ (Mpls ): A Dozier trade for Baez specifically, or Happ to a lesser degree, would help boy teams, right? Baez could be moved to SS for the Twins and Polanco to 2B making the twins better defensively. While, Dozier would clearly be an affordable, and resifnanble, lineup improvement for the Cubs to try and repeat. Thoughts on a package that would make sense to help both teams?
Aaron Gleeman: There is zero chance the Cubs would trade Javier Baez for what is essentially two seasons of Brian Dozier. They might not even make that trade for 2017 alone. Ian Happ is more realistic, although the Cubs would have no real need for Dozier with Baez at second base. I think Jose De Leon (from the Dodgers, at the time) was a perfectly reasonable offer. Dozier's pre-2016 performance is good rather than great, he's a free agent in two years, and he's either not an option or not a big asset anywhere other than second base.
matt (st paul): In your opinion why are cats far superior to dogs?
Aaron Gleeman: Fake news! As a lifelong dog person who acquired a cat (along with a girlfriend) several years ago, I'll say this: It's nice not having to take a dog out every few hours, especially if you're living in an apartment that requires an elevator ride each time. Cats aren't so bad. They're cute, they're weird, and they like to watch late-night baseball and basketball games on the couch with me.
Manny (TX): Robert Gsellman would be the __ starter in most MLB rotations
Aaron Gleeman: So many Robert Gsellman questions submitted! PECOTA projects him for a 4.11 ERA, so I'll say no. 3-ish. Lotta long-term upside, obviously.
Craig (Fargo ND): Do you see Adalberto Mejia making the team and possibly as a 5th starter ?
Aaron Gleeman: Mejia will probably begin the season at Triple-A, but he's likely either first or second on the call-up list whenever the Twins need rotation help. I like him as a fourth-starter type, but he's no sure thing to be successful in the majors. Solid pickup in exchange for Eduardo Nunez, though.
Dave (Florida): Fantasy baseball dynasty league. I just got offered Carlos Carrasco for my Robert Gsellman, Have to accept that right?
Aaron Gleeman: Depends on the specifics of the league and your control over each player, I suppose, but I'd probably go with Carrasco all things being equal. Gsellman is a really good prospect, but Carrasco has a 3.22 ERA and 506 strikeouts in 464 innings over the past three seasons. He's great, if healthy.
Jceb (Grand Forks, ND): Is there cause for concern with the entire twins development system? Gordon moving positions, jay to the bullpen, etc.
Aaron Gleeman: There is, but that "cause for concern" led to the general manager being fired and quite a few changes being made throughout the organization. With that said, I was surprised that the Twins avoided a more thorough restructuring, retaining many more front office, scouting, and minor-league coaching staffers than I'd expected. They're betting everything on Derek Falvey and Thad Levine fixing things, because many of the other key places remain the same.
kjesanis (Boston): For fantasy leagues, lets say of average depth (12-14 teamers) do you tend to go for floor or upside in drafting/trades etc? Why?
Aaron Gleeman: Upside, without question. You certainly need some stability, but swing for as many fences as possible. It's important to understand the replacement level for any league you're in.
Brad (nj): What are your thoughts on Mike Clevinger? He is a little old for a spect, but headed to AAA. What do you think is his most likely outcome and his upside?
Aaron Gleeman: Back-end starter or middle reliever. Good depth to have around, for sure.
Justin (MN): What are your expectations on Jose berrios
Aaron Gleeman: I think a successful 2017 season for Jose Berrios would be performing well enough to stick in the majors, avoiding blowup starts in which he's knocked out in the first few innings, and showing enough improvement with his command to take advantage of what is very good raw stuff. He's no longer technically a prospect, but he's far from an established big leaguer and the Twins desperately need him to become an impact starter. PECOTA pegs him for a 4.29 ERA, with 7.6 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine innings. Obviously the Twins would want to see a walk rate in the twos, not the threes, but in general that would be a solid age-23 season.
Rick (NY): With Tyler Jay moved to the pen, does this put him on the fast track to Minny ala Edwin Diaz last yr for Seattle?
Aaron Gleeman: It puts him on a much faster track, but Jay still needs to show that the velocity and raw stuff he had in college remains. He's had durability and injury issues already. Moving to the bullpen is a way to potentially address that, but he also needs the velocity to return. I think Edwin Diaz is a truly special talent, so Jay isn't in that realm, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Minnesota within a few months.
2002MinnesotaTwins (Judy's Basement): Seriously, how great were the 2002 Minnesota Twins?
Aaron Gleeman: So great that the team has chosen to preserve their memory by not winning another playoff series since. (If anyone sees Adam Kennedy, give him the stink eye for me, please.)
Brian (St Michael ): Any chance we see zack granite before the second half of the season or at all? I'm burnt out on Santana and jb shuck won't be here when we are realavent again. Mine as well get him some experience and see what he can do
Aaron Gleeman: I like Granite as a future fourth outfielder, but the Twins don't have a great need for a speed/defense center fielder as long as Byron Buxton is around. He'll probably debut this year, though.
Michael (Cambridge): What do you think of the strategy of not drafting a pitcher in the top 20 picks of a fantasy draft?
Aaron Gleeman: I usually try to avoid a specific pre-draft strategy, because you could miss out on value by being too rigid and not snatching up players who've dropped. I do tend to go much heavier on hitting early on and then try to pinpoint some late-round pitching sleepers with strikeout upside.
Cubs Fan (Midwest): How come effectively wild is on fangraphs now?
I thought that was a BP podcast ?
Aaron Gleeman: Sam and Ben are no longer at BP, and Ben is now co-hosting his podcast with a FanGraphs writer (Jeff Sullivan), so that's why it moved. I'll be launching a new BP podcast before Opening Day, so I hope everyone will give it a try.
Sammy (NY): More wins during next 5 seasons- Mets or Yanks
Aaron Gleeman: I'll go with the Yankees, because they have the payroll advantage and the farm system advantage, but I absolutely think the Mets will be consistent contenders during that time as well.
Phil (Chicago): Who's the Twins starter at SS this year, Polanco ?
Aaron Gleeman: Jorge Polanco to begin the season. My guess it that they won't want to live with his defense there long term, so eventually he'll go to second base. Could happen midseason if Dozier is traded.
grimoren189 (Houston): Expected production from prime Rafael Devers?
Aaron Gleeman: A good-hitting third baseman who produces enough offensively to be fine living with less than stellar defense. Long way to go still.
Brian (St. Michael ): Let's say dozier continues on his 2016 second half tear to start the year and the twins aren't near contention again this July what/who are the possibly trades/trade partners?
Aaron Gleeman: I mean, if Dozier hits early in 2017 like he did late in 2016, there will be plenty of suitors because he'll be one of the best players in baseball. I just don't think it's very likely. Trade partners for a more human-like Dozier? Basically any contending team with an opening at second base and at least one top-100 prospect they're willing to deal.
Todd (Cleveland): Thoughts on Kohl Stewart and his very poor K/9 average in 2016 ?
Aaron Gleeman: I think he's another data point for why drafting high school pitchers with top-10 picks is incredibly risky. Stewart shouldn't be written off yet, but he's currently not an especially promising prospect.
andy cason (arlington heights): dear len kasper and jim dashaies sometime you should come and see supper club too cooking class at the rolling medows committty center in rolling medows your friend andy
Aaron Gleeman: Thanks, I'll let them know.
Chansen8895 (San Jose): Who is the Giants come out of nowhere everyday player this year?
Aaron Gleeman: Jarrett Parker? Yeah, why not.
grimoren189 (Houston): Any expectations for Mondesi for this season after his big spring? (I know, I know spring training is useless, but he's only struck out 6 times in 33 AB's. )
Aaron Gleeman: Mondesi was pretty overmatched as a rookie. Strong spring or not, it'd probably be best to let him reset a bit before throwing him into the fire again.
Andy (Tacoma, WA): Do you think Justin Haley will be anything more than a middle reliever or is he a legitimate starter ?
Aaron Gleeman: Not impossible that he'll get some starts, but most likely role (if he sticks with the Twins) is low-leverage relief for now and maybe mid-leverage relief later.
Stan (White Plains): Are you conducting this chat from Stella's?
Aaron Gleeman: No. They won't let me bring my cat in for 2-for-1 happy hours.
Bennie (Ohio): What do you expect from Fernando Romero this year ? Thanks
Aaron Gleeman: Biggest key for Romero in 2017 is staying healthy. His role and workload are to be determined, but the raw stuff will play somewhere as long as his arm holds up. Given their lack of high-upside starter prospects, especially after moving Tyler Jay to the bullpen, the Twins will probably give Romero plenty of time to work toward being a starter.
Jim (Other side of the pillow): Very happy to hear you'll be doing a BP podcast, but please don't leave Gleeman and the Geek!
Aaron Gleeman: I will always need a place to complain about the Twins and there's only so much of that I'm willing to force upon the fine people who'll listen to a BP podcast.
Jesse (New jersey): If Gavin Cecchini end up with a 6 hit tool and can play average to above average 2B (which seems pretty plausible), is it possible the scouting community is underratig him a bit ?
Aaron Gleeman: I don't have a strong take on Cecchini one way or another, but certainly an above-average defensive second baseman with a six hit tool would be a really solid player. We ranked him ninth in a pretty good Mets farm system and that was under the assumption that he'll be moving from shortstop.
Steve (Dallas): It was referenced in Matt's chat last week that he asked you about the 2017 Futures Guide and you said "soon, very soon!" As a huge BP and prospects hound, the follow-up question must be asked. How soon, very soon?
Aaron Gleeman: Next week. We're going through the final review process right now.
Jimmy (Atlanta): Mike Andriese or Chase Whitley for TB 5th starter spot ? Thank you
Aaron Gleeman: I'd like to see Matt Andriese get the first shot. There's some reason to think he'll be better off as a reliever, because he struggles to go through a lineup multiple times, but it's worth investing another 15-20 starts to find out for sure.
The stoned Limp Bizkit guy (Duluth, Minnesota): What happens to Mauer after his big contact is up? I think I'm one of the few Mauer fans left, but I would like to see him stay with the team. He's the hometown hero, he has to suck around!
Aaron Gleeman: Mauer is currently 34 years old and has been an average all-around first baseman since suffering a concussion in mid-2013. He's under contract for this season and next season, so simply calling it a career at that point is plausible. Maybe he sticks around as a bench bat in the National League or as a part-timer somewhere, but at age 36 it's tough to see him being an above-average regular.
Aaron Gleeman: Thanks for all the questions. This was fun. And thanks for supporting BP in 2017 and beyond. We'll do another one of these soon and I'm pretty easy to get in touch with via e-mail or Twitter or messages in a bottle.