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Chat: Nick Schaefer

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday July 12, 2017 1:00 PM ET chat session with Nick Schaefer.


Nick is the co Editor-in-Chief of BP South Side, but he's not here just to talk about the White Sox.

Nick Schaefer: Summer afternoon, listening to Love Canon, it's chat time.

Gard dog (Clarinda ): How much salary would Detroit have to eat for Verlander if traded to Chicago?

Nick Schaefer: Good day, Mr. Dog!

Verlander is old and expensive, and it's hard to imagine he'd be more desirable than a Quintana / Archer type, to the extent they're available. If Detroit is interested in salary dumping they might get something back for him, but I have to imagine it's a sliding scale depending on how much Detroit values talent coming back v. getting out from under money.

BC (Urbandale): Do you think the Cubs should trade Schwarber for Michael Fulmer if the deal is possible?

Nick Schaefer: It would be a sell low / buy high situation, for sure, but there are reasons for concern on Schwarber. He's already a bad body type and now he has a devastating knee injury under his belt. He's super talented, but can't really play defense either.

Normally trading a bat for an arm feels risky but Fulmer is basically sitting 96 and has a DRA of 3.00. Given organizational needs, I think if I'm the Cubs I do that and I'm pretty thrilled to do it.

Darius (Crawford): What do you think of Meadows? Whats his ceiling?

Nick Schaefer: Pretty cool that we have questions from Persian emperors today.

Everything I've seen about Meadows is that he has the potential to be a classic, All Star corner outfielder type. Injuries seem to be the only thing holding him back, and that's pretty tricky to predict.

mattstupp (NYC): Rest of 2017: Hanley or Justin Bour?

Nick Schaefer: I'm surprised that I'm going with Bour here. He's significantly younger and with Hanley not running anymore that eliminates his biggest advantage. Unless the Marlins go back to using Bour as the big half of a platoon, I'd go that way.

AJ (Phoenix): Would you trade Kevin Maitan and Juan Soto for Wil Myers in a keep forever dynasty?

Nick Schaefer: Forgive me if it sounds like a copout but that really depends on your window. Myers has a pretty stable line of production at this point as long as he stays in San Diego--.260/.330/.450 with ~25 homers and ~20 steals. The steals are nice, but if he stops doing that he's a pretty unremarkable first baseman.

That said, for all that Soto and Maitan are tantalizing, they're both several years away--Maitan is 17 and in the Gulf league. So, are you contending this year or not? If not, I'd be fine with it unless you get a better offer...

Spencer Macklin (Downtown Des Moines, Iowa): What is the best, most reasonable comp for Eloy Jimenez?

Nick Schaefer: Eloy was our prospect team's highest rated position prospect who doesn't play an up-the-middle defensive position. Name your favorite bat-first RHB corner outfielder, I suspect. J.D. Martinez?

number1beepsfan (St. Louis): Who will finish with the better career: Gleyber Torres or Addison Russell?

Nick Schaefer: I'm going to proceed assuming Torres recovers from his non-throwing arm UCL tear for the purposes of this question. Russell is the safer bet, certainly, as he's already demonstrated that he can handle MLB pitching and I'm a little skeptical of Torres staying at short. Russell also got raced to the majors in part because of his defense and sometimes those guys can develop more with the bat after presenting a seemingly steady level of production--thinking of say, Adrian Beltre or Elvis Andrus.

I'm going to go with Gleyber just because he hasn't failed yet and he likely has a higher upside at the plate.

kjesanis (Maine): Do you think Moncada comes up before September?

Nick Schaefer: Before he hurt his thumb, it looked like Moncada was going to force the issue and get called up in like May. Since the injury he has also slumped a little bit. I think this depends on whether or not the White Sox are able to move Frazier and clear up some room on the infield. Unless Moncada goes nuclear again there's still enough of a good faith baseball reason to keep him down (contact rate). We talked a bit about this on our most recent podcast with Craig Goldstein if you're interested to hear more -- search The Catbird Speaks on iTunes / podcast app!

kjesanis (Maine): Do you think Charlie Tilson comes back this year?

Nick Schaefer: The closest thing I know to a doctor is our Mark Primiano who has been deeply concerned about Tilson's prognosis even before his latest setback. Given the sudden and surprising logjam on the roster I can't imagine they rush him back. I'd be surprised to see him before September, and kind of surprised to see him at all, sadly.

Josh (Wisconsin): If Dayan Viciedo had been in this year's Home Run Derby, how many home runs would he have hit?

Nick Schaefer: I remember arguing on the internet about whether Dayan Viciedo would be better than Lars Anderson. I guess Viciedo was by default.

Dayan is slugging .439 in Japan as we speak so as much as I wanted to just grab this question and say 50 with caps lock and exclamation points, I have to imagine he'd hit like 3-5 and get knocked out.

Dj (SD): What do you see for DeJong. For real or will he come crashing down?

Nick Schaefer: You're asking me to figure out if a low-pedigree college bat on the Cardinals is going to keep hitting. This year, the Devil Magic seems to be a bit diminished and that 38:4 K:BB ratio seems like it's begging to be exploited. I would sell high if you have him in fantasy.

Jeremy (SD): Do you know anything about Michael Baez from SD? Been seeing his name pop up with more frequency over the last week.

Nick Schaefer: I did some searching for Michael Baez and learned it's Michel. That's a clue for how much I know about him. So far in 11 innings in Low-A as a 21-year-old he has not allowed a run and has a 16:1 K:BB ratio. So far so good, but I'd hope someone his age with pro experience in Cuba would excel there. Keep an eye on how they bring him along, for sure, though.

jfegan (Chicago): What would you do if you were running a team like the Royals or Twins, who are technically contending but don't look like the raw talent favorites to win their races? Buy aggressively to improve your odds or not waste resources? How does that decision swing if you're the Royals (last gasp) or the Twins (beginning of contention cycle)?

Nick Schaefer: If I were the Royals I'd definitely try to go for it this year. As you indicated, they have a ton of free agents leaving after this season and they already drained their farm system completely supporting their World Series run (and whiffing hideously on Top Ten draft picks).

They also have a bunch of dudes with an OPS below .600 (Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, Brandon Moss, etc.) so even a modest acquisition could represent a significant upgrade. They're going to be bad for a long time anyway, and they're like a game out of the Wild Card. Might as well go for it.

The Twins pitching is really, really bad and they don't have much help on the way. I think if I were running the Twins I'd hope they lose like 7 in a row so I have cover to deal Ervin Santana.

minoso (norwalk ct): *Will Buxton ever make it? *What sleeper team would you pick for the second half of the year? *WSox question. Why don't Danish and Spencer Adams get more love?

Nick Schaefer: Taking these in order:
1) From listening to our leader, Aaron Gleeman's podcast, evidently Buxton has changed his swing yet again, and he's back to the approach where he doesn't use his lower body and just hits the ball on the ground like a slap hitter. It's troubling to me that he's had to tinker so much with his mechanics so far. I don't want to bail out just yet but the front office might want to step in and get Buxton on a consistent plan that has a higher ceiling than praying he can leg out a bunch of infield hits. Don't want Buxton having to buck against his coaching if it's sabotaging him.

2) Is it cheating to pick the Cubs as a sleeper team? The starting rotation concerned me coming into the year anyway and their defense has clearly taken a step back but I have to imagine they go on a run at some point. I think the Rangers still have a run in them in the AL. I feel like Mazara could go nuclear at any point.

3) Danish and Adams don't strike people out. Adams is interesting as I know a lot of public evaluators loved him and thought he was good value where the White Sox got him in the second round due to his projection and athleticism. With his second go-round in Double-A he has a K% of 20 for the first time in his career, which is basically his only weakness--dude doesn't walk anybody ever. Danish has a low ceiling, due to his repertoire, and may not play up in the bullpen. So as much as I like him as fifth starter option, it's hard to imagine he's much more than that.

Pair that with guys like Giolito, Kopech, and Lopez in the system and it's hard for them to get much attention.

Abaseballnut (Illinois ): Aaron Judge was magnificent at the home run derby


Abaseballnut (Illinois ): How much does work ethic matter

Nick Schaefer: If you listen to evaluators, even with the best prospects they'll often talk about wanting to see them fail / see how they make adjustments as they face adversity or some new wrinkle pitchers / hitters are throwing them. I think it matters quite a bit.

Besides, if you're dogging it your organization is going to hate it and it makes them harder to promote you without insulting the guys who are putting in the effort.

Bill (Idaho): Views on Scott Kingery?

Nick Schaefer: Not sure I have too much to add above and beyond what our prospect team had on him in the recent midseason 50 where he weighed in at 50: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=32224

Second basemen can sometimes get overlooked, but if he keeps doing what he's doing--as indicated in that blurb--maybe he's underrated.

Skuggs (New York): Is JP Crawford's performance in AAA somehow the worst part about the Phillies' season?

Nick Schaefer: Hi Skuggs!

Has to be, right? I suppose reasons for optimism would be that his K:BB is still good, and I haven't heard anything bad about his defense at this point. Have to hope it's just a batting average driven aberration. Unless he's making the worst contact ever, I have to think a .242 BABIP is a bit unlucky.

Collin (ATX): Should the White Sox consider Tommy Kahnle a good future piece for their bullpen, or given the volatility of relievers, should they trade him while his value is at its highest?

Nick Schaefer: The nice thing about his breakout (well, beyond the fact that he throws 100 and has a 90-92 mph change that destroys people) is that they can let people know they're listening on offers and wait to get blown away. If they don't just enjoy having a cheap uber reliever.

The White Sox are pretty good with pitchers, so I guess if they see something in his delivery they hate they can be patient. They gave up a pretty decent arm to get him so I have a hard time thinking they are down on him at all.

Ernie (Denver): Who hangs up on Sonny Gray to Colorado for R. Tapia, Y. Almonte & C. Welker ?

Nick Schaefer: Speaking of that decent arm, Almonte was who the White Sox gave up for Kahnle!

As much as I think the Rockies should buy if they could--this is a super fun team and this is a great opportunity given the start they've gotten off to--Tapia is looking like a pretty important piece in terms of their ability to contend this year. Maybe see if they can get someone to bite on David Dahl instead?

I'm not sure Gray is the one I'd go for if I were Colorado, but the shape of this deal seems good to me.

Ryan (St. Louis): Rank the top 5 third basemen in baseball

Nick Schaefer: Is this just current performance level regardless of contract / years of control?

I'd probably go...
1. Bryant
2. Arenado
3. Donaldson
4. Rendon
5. ...Jose Ramirez, right?

Ah! Justin Turner too. This is too hard. I blame the question.

Ollie (OR): Once Moncada gets 2B and if Frazier is traded, does Sanchez or Davidson have the edge for 3B going forward?

Nick Schaefer: Saladino is coming back from injury as well, and he's certainly a better pure 3B than either Sanchez or Davidson. I'm a big Davidson fan but with Frazier gone I think you find him ~400 ABs a year spotting him by matchup at 3B/1B/DH as needed. Sanchez obviously has a lot of places to get playing time anywhere on the left side of the infield, and his destiny seems to be as a nice utility player rather than as a full-time starter.

May even be most advantageous to see what Saladino really has moving forward.

Abaseballnut (Illinois ): Does Nick Markakis have a shot at 3000 hits

Nick Schaefer: Huh! He's almost to 2,000 at age 33 and has been robotically repeating his contact-heavy production for years and years now. I'd still only put a 5-10% chance on this, as his current level of production is just barely good enough to maintain a full time job so any decline as he ages into his mid-30s should see a huge cut in playing time.

kjesanis (Maine): Any news on whats happening with Corey Zangari?

Nick Schaefer: I haven't seen anything but I pretty much wrote him off as soon as he got eviscerated in A-Ball last year.

Stan (Baltimore): AL East, what minor league pitchers will get the call in the second half? Chance Adams, Brent Honeywell? How do you think they do?

Nick Schaefer: Those are good bets, I'd think we'd see Adams sooner rather than later, although I'm not sure if they have him on an innings limit. I think he will hold his own. Honeywell is super fun and his K:BB is great, but he's still getting hit around a bit in AAA. I'd guess he appears as a reliever in September and excels in that role and auditions for a rotation spot next spring.

Limiting it to the AL East...Justus Sheffield could also survive at the back of the rotation maybe?

Ryan (St. Louis): You travel to the future and find out that one of the White Sox top 5 prospects was a bust. Who would you guess that prospect was? Yes, I asked this in the most annoying possible way.

Nick Schaefer: Assuming the top 5 are currently Moncada, Kopech, Robert, Giolito, and Hansen you have to vote Robert, no? Kopech, Giolito, and Hansen would all likely have the fallback proposition of being good relievers if they can't start. Moncada is knocking at the door. Robert is a big ol' mystery box.

Dr. 100 (Las Vegas): In the vein of Avisail Garcia's magical 2017, what post-hype failed prospect do you think will break out and have an All-Star season next year?

Nick Schaefer: It's not just Avisail either--Smoak, Morrison, Cozart, Alonso all fit this description as well. Almost makes me want to say Pedro Alvarez. Given his speed and glove, if Cameron Maybin gets lucky on health and balls in play he could do it.

If Mike Zunino hits .250 he's an All Star candidate too, I would think.

Rick (South Side): Any updates on Lucas Giolito? He's put up some pretty awesome starts of late but I've been stuck scouring Twitter for radar readings and the like.

Nick Schaefer: Giolito has been better of late. Even coming into the season the front office was pretty candid about the extent they were resetting his mechanics and it sounded like it would be a full-year project. Sadly, it seems like his velo is permanently going to be in the 91-95 band rather than the 94-99 it was years ago. That means his success is going to hinge almost entirely on his command of his fastball and curve.

To that end, though, I haven't heard anything like, "Oh he's figured out his command now." I feel like that has been to be something he shows for an extended period of time before we get excited again. Another guy we discussed with Craig on our podcast!

Brendan (Chicago): Say the White Sox trade for a prospect or young MLB outfielder already in the majors, like Clint Frazier. Who gets booted from the 25-man to make room?

Nick Schaefer: As discussed a bit above, the White Sox have a weird logjam at the moment as they suddenly have serviceable major leaguers on their bench--which, y'know, wasn't true when they were purportedly trying to make the playoffs.

They have a 13-man pitching staff, currently, so one imagines they could send down someone like Juan Minaya to clear one spot. Adam Engel would also have options, even if he has performed well to date.

Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier have both rallied from bad starts and may wind up being traded, which would free up plenty of space too.

Abaseballnut (Illinois ): Do you think the brewers should buy

Nick Schaefer: They have so much depth and a lot of the pitchers on the market like Quintana and Gray are under control for multiple years. I think they should.

ironcityguys (home): What is taking the Sox so long to call up Reynaldo Lopez? Why do they enjoy trotting out Holland, Gonzalez, Pelfrey and Shields so much? Yuck!!

Nick Schaefer: Lopez is certainly ahead of say, Giolito as discussed above, and Carson Fulmer who's pitched so badly of late.

Holland and Gonzalez have collapsed in dramatic fashion, although they once looked like they might even be tradable if you go back to say, May. Of those guys I'd say Pelfrey is the first who'd get booted out of the rotation.

But Lopez is still giving up a lot of homers and walks at AAA, which he shouldn't be doing with the stuff he has. He hasn't pitched so well that he's forcing the issue or proved he's learned all he needs to learn down there, and the White Sox don't really care about wins and losses this season.

kjesanis (Maine): Do you think Zack Collins sticks behind the plate?

Nick Schaefer: Catchers are weird. The organization did succeed in turning Flowers from a butcher to a plus defender back there, and they may have gotten Kevan Smith from terrible to adequate as well. The White Sox' scouting director, Nick Hostetler, feels very strongly about his ability to stick back there, and Collins has had great results throwing out baserunners. One last thing working in his favor is his work ethic, as he seems just as determined as the White Sox in staying back there.

I think we'll know a lot more when he gets promoted to a level where we can track FRAA, but I'm more optimistic than I was when he was drafted, and think there's a decent shot he can hang there.

MatternK (Point Mugu): If you had to give up on two of these SP in a dynasty league full keeper who would it be, Vargas, Musgrove, Clevinger, Daniel Norris, Luke Weaver, Patrick Corbin or Blake Snell?

Nick Schaefer: When you say "give up on" do you mean trade or release? Vargas and Clevinger both appear to be pitching above their talent level and peripherals, so if you can trade them they seem like good picks. If it's straight up "abandon in a roster crunch" I think I'd drop Corbin and then one of either Musgrove or Clevinger.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Think the Brewers would trade Brinson for a starter, or is he off limits?

Nick Schaefer: That's hard to say. With a prospect like Brinson--high upside, some risk on the hit tool--the fact that the Brewers traded FOR him last year indicates to me they like his chances of hitting on his potential. But guessing behaviors for individual orgs is tough. After all, the White Sox publicly declared Quintana as untradable/off limits years ago and people thought they were crazy.

The Brewers can certainly afford to trade Brinson--they have so many crazy tooled up outfielders in their system. Still, it would take a lot to pry him away. He weighed in at 10 on our midseason Top 50.

The Brewers also have such a deep system it probably obviates the need to trade Brinson, even if they want to buy something substantial, which I think could be a very good idea.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Can't imagine the Tigers would be willing to move Fulmer for Schwarber. What am I missing?

Nick Schaefer: I don't see why they would either.

Piazza Fan (Bronx): I've been hearing great things about Mets pitcher Daison Acosta. What can you tell me about him in terms of his velocity and quality of his other offerings?

Nick Schaefer: All I know is that he's in the GCL and that he's done well so far and that he's worth keeping an eye on. I would definitely follow-up with Jarrett Siedler or Jeff Paternostro--our prospect guys happen to be Mets guys as well.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): How soon before the Red Sox decide Devers is their man for 3B?

Nick Schaefer: Devers is really good, their current 3B options are really bad, and this is the organization that shoved a less-experienced Moncada there last fall with almost no experience at the position, so it's possible at any time. Still, I'd think they at least see what they can find on the trade market first before resorting to this, while using Devers as leverage while shopping.

(I.e. "You're desperate" "Eh, we can use Rafael there if we need to.")

Ryan (St. Louis): Could you see the White Sox trying to package players in order to get better deals. Frazier and Quintana to New York or multiple relievers to the Nationals? Something of that vein in order to get quality talent in return rather than a multitude of meh dudes

Nick Schaefer: It's something I would try, particularly if they're willing to eat salary on someone like Frazier to help bring back more talent in return. The White Sox' track record is that they prefer to save money than get talent back, but they're operating differently this year than they have in the past.

In that same vein, Anthony Swarzak has pitched really well this year, while being cheap and a free agent at the end of the season. The Nationals need more than one reliever and I would try to use Swarzak to get over any impasses in a Robertson deal.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Have you seen Addision Russell throw this year? He has to be injured, right?

Nick Schaefer: I actually haven't gotten my eyes on a lot of Cubs games this year. They have enough options that if he's injured they wouldn't have a hard time covering for him, and it's not like he's playing so well that they're forcing them to have him play through an injury.

MatternK (Point Mugu): I forgot to say thank you to you for my question.... Thank you!

Nick Schaefer: I think I'll end on this one--I want to thank you guys for all of the great questions and I hope my answers were helpful!

Nick Schaefer: Come on back tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. where the formidable Mark Berry will be ready to talk even more baseball!

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