Nick is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Nicolas Stellini: Hello everyone! Nice to be back doing this, it's been a while. We'll get started in a second.
George (Jungle): no one cares
Nicolas Stellini: We're off to a great start.
TrickDaddy14 (Japan ): Gun to your head, Shohei Otani signs with who?
Nicolas Stellini: This depends largely on the posting system rules. I've seen a report out of Japan that the Fighters may wind up making him a free agent, too. So who knows! I'm never going to count the Dodgers out of stuff like this. They'll always find a way.
Lauren (the internet): With Bellinger's jumping tag still fresh in my mind, what are the most impressive or important defensive plays at first you can think of?
Nicolas Stellini: The Bellinger play was nuts. That's probably the best I've seen in a while. Mark Teixeira made a bunch of great ones in his prime.
JP (Hartford): The player's breakout was the surprise of the team's season. He orchestrated his 2015 demotion to the California League to rework his swing and the results speak for themselves. Now with a bigger stride, The player raked across two levels before he earned a big-league cup of coffee and acquitted himself well with an average exit velocity well above average. He gets on base, can cover center field and projects as a plus defender in a corner. He's a late bloomer, but the player has the tools to be an average everyday player just a year after it appeared is career might be all but over.
No cheating, Nick.
Nicolas Stellini: Damn you, Jeffrey.
I'm gonna go with Mitch Haniger.
Guy Smiley (NS): Who has the best non-Vlad or Bichette bat in Jays' system?
Nicolas Stellini: So here's as good a place as any to get my I'M NOT A PROSPECT EXPERT disclaimer out of the way. So, keep that in mind.
So, errrr... Max Pentecost? Or maybe Logan Warmoth, but I'd like to see him play more pro ball before anointing him. I'll let you guys know how much Jeffrey yells at me.
Eoin Higgins (The Berkshires): Aaron Judge had a monster first half, and hit the skids after the ASG. Gary Sanchez was mediocre in the first half, then went on a tear after the ASG.
How much of that do you think is rookie talent? How much of that should Yankee fans expect in the future from the dynamic duo?
Nicolas Stellini: I think Sanchez may be a better pure hitter in the long run, but Judge is always going to be flashier and hit more dingers. Just by virtue of how big he is, there's always going to be more holes in Judge's swing. He's going to strike out, and he'll be streaky. That's just how it works. That being said, Judge is still going to settle in rather nicely as a well above-average hitter with monster OBP skills. Rumor on the street is that he was dealing with a shoulder thing for a while this year, so that'll partially explain his woes. They're both exceptional young talents to build around.
LucasDad (MPLS): Matt Olson? What is he and what will he be?
Nicolas Stellini: He's certainly not the dinger-every-day guy he is right now, but he could be a good-but-not-great every day first baseman. He should stick around.
Jquinton82 (NY): Rank these pitchers and if you keep two who do keep: Mitch Keller, Triston McKenzie, Chance Adams, Sixto Sanchez, Jason Groome? Thanks JP
Nicolas Stellini: Based on my very limited expertise in fantasy/prospect stuff: Sixto, Keller, Groome, McKenzie, Adams. Keep an eye on Groome's injury, though. Keep Sixto and Keller.
Earl (Ny): What do you make of what you've seen from Dom Smith And Amed Rosario so far? Dom Smith been heating up lately
Nicolas Stellini: They've only just had a cup of coffee so I wouldn't draw any major conclusions just yet. They're still finding their footing. Bet on the talent, but all prospects are far from sure things too. So, ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Dollar Sign on Ze Muscle (Old Town ): General questions for your consideration:
1) Why isn't there more socially conscious baseball longform, like there is with basketball?
2) Your five biggest baseball writing inspirations?
3) Would you work in a front office?
Nicolas Stellini: So this is probably a better topic for a full column, but a few thoughts.
1) Basketball players are generally more socially outspoken (the NBA actually encourages that!), which in turn leads to easier stuff for writers to latch on to. There's hardly a lack of social topics to tackle in baseball, but they're not bubbling over so they don't get talked about as much.
2) Geez, too many to list. Generally, people who take themselves seriously but not too seriously, and know how to have fun while also cutting into the deeper issues. Looking at you, Sam.
3) I mean, sure, why not? I don't know that I have the real skillset necessary to do that, though. I'm not a math expert and I'm still learning how to do proper player evaluation/scouting. If someone wants to throw that job my way I won't say no, but yeah.
Patrick (Yonkers): Besides Soto... What group of youngins do you see making the leap like Acuna, Vlad, Bo, Tatis, etc. this upcoming season?
Nicolas Stellini: Keep an eye on Estevan Florial.
Jquinton82 (NY): For fantasy leagues, will Otani be a hitter or pitcher or if does both, is there a way for him gain eligibility for both?
Nicolas Stellini: This is a very good question, and I have no idea. I know a lot of the major fantasy formats don't count any ABs by pitchers, but Otani does play OF/DH on days he doesn't pitch in Japan. I have no idea if that'll happen here. If it does, there will probably be demand for him to be eligible all around and I imagine the major formats may make changes accordingly. We'll see!
Cal Guy (Cal): How do we know Forrest Whitley isn't just Tyler Glasnow 2.0?
Nicolas Stellini: I mean, we don't, but I also wouldn't call Glasnow a bust yet. Way too soon.
BennyBXB (Twitter): Can you rank these arguments based on how stupid they are: DH/non-DH, hot dog sandwich status, batting around definition, Fahrenheit/Celsius, The Dress?
Nicolas Stellini: 1. DH/non-DH (The universal DH is the only just answer)
2. Batting around (it's 10)
3. Hot dogs (They're sandwiches0
4. The Dress (who cares)
Dex (Nj): About where on top 100s would you place Amed Rosario and Dom Smith if they were still eligible?
Nicolas Stellini: You'd have to consider gains/losses by other prospects and other graduations, but I personally don't think that their status has changed all that much. Maybe down a peg or two each? I dunno. They're both still really talented.
Radioactive man (Springfield): Any case for either Arizona or Colorado to possibly win the NL, or even, the World Series this year?
Nicolas Stellini: Sure. I actually really like the Diamondbacks. They don't quite have the bullpen you'd like to see for a deep playoff run since Archie Bradley can't pitch every single inning, but that's mitigated in part by a strong rotation. Greinke is exactly the kind of dude you want on the hill in a WCG, and Ray/Godley/Walker is more than enough for the rest. And, as you know, they can hit the snot out of the ball.
The Rockies are also good but they're in a weird place with their pitching that I don't love. You know that [Insert Wild Card Game Starter Here] probably won't out-pitch Greinke in a vacuum so they'll need to bludgeon the DBacks to death to advance. They can do that for sure. I just like Arizona better to make a deep run. They can beat the Dodgers in a series.
JudgeHeart42 (SFBay): Judge's OBP is literally insane. Given he already strikes out a ton, are there any ways for opposing pitchers to try and limit his onbaseability?
Nicolas Stellini: Pitching to Judge is a fun little problem. For a while this year they were getting him to bite on down-and-away breaking balls, but he's gotten better about that of late. Basically you have to either bust him inside, do the aforementioned down-and-away breaking balls, and get him to chase fastballs up. He's got good enough plate discipline to not always swing at that stuff, but he does strike out looking on fastballs over the inside corner sometimes. Just don't miss, because he'll either be on first base or the ball will be in the next state.
Dinger (Inside your closet): If I were to be put on the roster, at what position would I best be able to contribute enough to overtake the Diamondbacks?
Nicolas Stellini: DInger is a stocky dude and I assume he can't run very fast, except for when he's doing his Freddy Krueger thing in the dreamscape. That limits him to an outfield corner or first base. He's got short stubby arms, which means he's probably not much of a thrower. So no right field. That means LF or 1B, and they're pretty set at both right now. So either coming off the bench, or inside the other team's clubhouse to feast on their souls before game time.
Jane (WA): What's the best (for your definition of best) wild card games you can imagine right now?
Nicolas Stellini: Gimme DBacks/Rockies and Yankees/Angels
Evankid33 (ohio): Assuming Brandon Finnegan is healthy 2018 do the Reds still have a mid rotation starter with hopes for more?
Nicolas Stellini: If he's healthy, maybe. Labrums are tricky things though.
Nicolas Stellini: Alright folks, I gotta run. This was fun! Thanks for your questions, and if I didn't answer yours, know it's only because I'm woefully incompetent and have a deep personal loathing for your favorite team. Have a good one.