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Chat: World Series Chat

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday October 24, 2017 8:00 PM ET chat session with World Series Chat.


Rob Mains and others live chat during the first game of the 2017 World Series. There's only one October if you don't count all of the previous or future Octobers!

World Series Chat: Welcome to the 2017 World Series! I'm here with Scooter Hotz, Bryan Grosnick, Jarrett Seidler, Matt Trueblood, and maybe others to chat about the game, prospects, fantasy, bad announcing, the teams that are here and the 28 that aren't. Let's start!

Here Kitty Kitty (Youper): Sad that all-around good guy Curtis Granderson won't be in the Series. Assume that we'll see Brandon McCarthy only if a game's out of hand or deep into extra innings?

World Series Chat: Yes, Granderson is a truly class act. Joe Sheehan's newsletter today had a great line that sums it up: "McCarthy made just 16 starts this year around shoulder and knee injuries. Hes on the roster to pitch in noncompetitive situations, or in innings that end in 'teen.'"

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: I grew up a Mets fan, and my grandfather passed on his interest in his hometown Rays to me so ... nah, not really. I kind of want to see some of the players on each team grab a ring (Carlos Beltran, Clayton Kershaw, Curtis Granderson). As far as I'm concerned, I'm just rooting for awesome baseball.

? (?): Who responded to those last few questions?

World Series Chat: See below!

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: (that was Bryan--sorry, we forgot to sign these--I answered the first question) I have no strong interest, like both teams, just want to see the series last seven so I can delay having to deal with the world around us - Rob

? (?): Is this kind of a questionable way to do a chat?

World Series Chat: Yes, thanks for asking. - Bryan G.

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: I'd really like to see the Verlander/Kershaw postseason narratives die. Unfortunately, only one, at most, will - Rob M.

Dan (Ny): What does a Dee Gordon -> Mets trade look like. seems like it could make sense for both teams

World Series Chat: I dunno, maybe Dom Smith with the idea that the Mets can go out and sign better for the next year or two? It's a tough trade; I can't imagine that the Mets have much the Marlins want that they don't need themselves, and I can't imagine the Mets emptying out the farm for Dee Gordon. -- Jarrett

Dan (Ny): What does a Dee Gordon -> Mets trade look like. seems like it could make sense for both teams

World Series Chat: I'm with Jarrett ... the Marlins sure need some minor league depth, but the Mets don't have it. They could use a starting pitcher, but who knows how many the Mets have? Seth Lugo? I really don't know here. - Bryan G.

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: I'm rooting for Houston, because the Dodgers are basically the Yankees, and because my brother-in-law picked Houston as his team several years ago. To echo the others, though, just give me interesting, taut games, and I'm a happy guy. -MT

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: Not really. I like a lot of the individual players on each team, but have qualms about things the organizations and ownership groups have done, i.e. both of these teams have made it hard for their home fans to watch games on TV recently. So no particular laundry interests here. -- Jarrett

Jimmie (Mount Holly): Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?

World Series Chat: Not really. I like both teams. Houston's connection to BP via Kevin Goldstein is kinda cool, and I have a few good friends who are Dodgers fans that haven't seen a title for a long time. And I love Yasiel Puig #puigyourfriend & my dude Ian's band Puig Destroyer. - Scooter Hotz

Bernie (Purdue): What's more likely--Astros win but Verlander postseason narrative doesn't change, or Dodgers win but Kershaw postseason narrative doesn't change?

World Series Chat: I don't think Verlander has the same monkey on his back as Kershaw. Verlander's been not good in 3 World Series starts but pretty good in his other games--sub 2.50 ERA in the DS and CS. Kershaw has not only been mortal, but he's often been by far the most credible starter on the club, so the perception is that he's let them down. If Dodgers win and Kershaw has a 4-plus ERA I don't think anything changes, narrative-wise - Rob M.

answerdave (Prodigy): Proving why Clayton Kershaw has been mostly ineffective in the playoffs would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, based mostly on the small sample. However, in the name of speculation have any of you ever taken a close look, or read anyone who has, at his various starts, to see a pattern of perhaps why he has so often failed?

World Series Chat: Our esteemed minor-league editor Crake Goldstein did this last winter:


Crait's conclusion was that he's been somewhat hurt by poor managing and bullpen implosions behind him. Craij still found that he hadn't pitched as well, but it was closer to within the bounds of a reasonable variance from his regular season. It's an interesting piece. -- Jarrett

Rich R (O-hi-O): Dodgers have Kershaw, Hill, Darvish and Wood. Astros have Keuchel, Verlander...and then what?

World Series Chat: Lance Freaking McCullers. I know he's not reliable, but at this point in the season, I think that the right-handed master of the curveball (McCullers) might actually be a better postseason starter than the left-handed master of the curveball (Rich Hill). No, he's not likely to make it past Inning Five in his start, but he's proven pretty freaking great recently. (But yeah, the Dodgers have a pitching advantage.) - Bryan G.

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): It's so hot. Prospects, what can you tell us about Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler?

World Series Chat: They're both top 25 global type guys, and they're both very close to ready. Verdugo could be a tremendous defender who also hits for average, Buehler has some of the best stuff of anyone around but significant health/durability questions. I'd expect both to be in the mix for full-time gigs by next summer. -- Jarrett

answerdave (2400 baud): Similarly to Kershaw, has anyone ever looked into why Willie Mays was so bad in the postseason? And why does no one seem to care, except for the '73 Series?

World Series Chat: Everybody who played prior to 1969 (beginning of the multi-level postseason), the numbers for everybody who didn't play for the Yankees has small-sample-size warnings. Mays had 99 postseason plate appearances in his career. That's not enough to be able to say anything about. He had an .802 OPS in the 1954 Series (to go with The Catch) and .989 in the 1972 NLCS (when he was 40!). He was bad in 1951 and not good in '62. And yeah, in '73 he was like AARP eligible. So ignore that one, and say he had two good postseasons and two that weren't good. That doesn't say "chokes under pressure" to me - Rob M

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): What are your thoughts on Derek Fisher? Can he be an above-average starting OF? How many jacks do you see him hitting at peak?

World Series Chat: The old Astros MILB affiliates made guys like this hard to evaluate. He's never really shown the tools as a pro that he was advertised for in college, but he *has* hit everywhere he's went up to the majors, granting that a lot of that is in launching pads. This isn't going to be the easiest COF situation to break into, but sure, he could hit 20 or 25 given semi-regular playing time. -- Jarrett

cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Are the White Sox winning the World Series in 2020, 2021, 2022, or all three years?

World Series Chat: Well, a great farm system isn't quite a guarantee of World Series glory. I'm extremely skeptical that the Sox would be ready to make a big splash as early as 2020 for sure ... if they followed the best-case (read: Houston Astros) tank scenario, that'd be more in line with a World Series entry around 2021 or 2022, and they could need more than just a little good luck to get there. I'll go with the wet blanket answer of "none of the above." - Bryan G.

Not Bryan (Not In This Chat): Hey Jarrett! I have a BP Annual-related question. Does Dylan Cozens rate a full comment or a lineout? In a greater sense ... what is he?

World Series Chat: Full comment. There's still a huge delta in his outcomes in my opinion, because I'm not giving up on a plus-plus power guy with that athletic ability off one bad year. He could still be anything from Mike Hessman to 2017 Joey Gallo. -- Jarrett

Bryan G. (Rhode Island): Hey Rob and friends! If you had your druthers, where would you place two MLB expansion teams?

World Series Chat: Timely question. After this year's Saberseminar in Boston, I hung out at dinner with Kate Morrison and Martin Alonso from BP and some other folks. We figured out expansion and realignment a lot better than in Nightengale's article IMO. 32 teams makes a lot of sense. One sort of needs to be in Montreal. The other--Nightengale suggested Portland, we came up with Las Vegas, I think you can make an argument for San Antonio (Texas has a lot of big cities). We kept the AL/NL split. We came up with eight four-team divisions: AL East BAL-BOS-NYA-TAM AL Mideast DET-CHA-TOR-CLE AL Midwest TEX-HOU-KC-MIN AL West SEA-LAA-OAK-LV (or Portland or SA) NL East NYM-WAS-PHI-MON NL Mideast MIA-ATL-CIN-PIT NL Midwest SL-CHN-MIL-COL NL West LAN-SD-SF-ARI - Rob M

Dusty (Colorado): Is Wander Javier a potential top 100 prospect down the line?

World Series Chat: Today is gonna be the day that they're gonna ask this to you
By now you should've somehow realized what you gotta do
I don't believe that anybody feels the way our chatters do, about this prospect

Back beat, the word was on the street that the prospect hype in your heart is out
I'm sure you've heard the scouting report before but you never really had a doubt
I don't believe that anybody feels the way our chatters do about him now

Dusty (Colorado): One day we see Wander Javier play in the World Series. Until then, can you update me on his prospect development?

World Series Chat: And all four balls we have to walk are winding
And all the stadium lights that there are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say about him, but I don't know how

Because maybe, this prospect is gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, he's Wander Javier

MartnAR (Peru): Given the depth of both clubs analytics department, what are the chances that they're actually "game-theorizing" each other out? i.e. Keuchel knows that the Dodgers won't chase, and they know that Keuchel knows, so will they chase and will he throw in the strike-zone...ad infinitum

World Series Chat: This has been happening on a pitcher/catcher vs. batter level since they started throwing overhand, hasn't it? I don't know if it's been posited as game theory per se, but I also don't know that baseball is so precise that you need or even want to have "unbeatable" game theory in your pitch sequencing. This is a great topic that I'd be interested to hear smarter people talk about, though. -- Jarrett

answerdave (SnapChat): What do you think of the World Series being a best-of-nine event like it has on occasion in history? What about a best-of-seven LDS? Should we extend the season into December? Kidding on the last part, but what about any of this?

World Series Chat: No.

I mean, no.

I guess a more full and useful answer is this: I like that playoff baseball is this kind of accelerated, push-hard-and-leave-nothing-on-the-field type of game that is different than the long marathon that is the 162-game season. I like the way the playoffs are, and I'm not sure there's anything more fun or telling about extending the series a little longer. I do kind of think we should recognize the best regular season teams with a trophy of their own, but this one doesn't seem broken. - Bryan G.

Not Bryan (Not In This Chat): Hey Rob ... (and also maybe Matt)! Tell me a little about the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates, and what makes for a compelling story about such a, well, lackluster season.

World Series Chat: Well, they had things go wrong in a kind of interesting way. Cutch was awful, then fantastic, then awful. Marte did a Dee Gordon suspension season impersonation. The Juan Nicasio transaction--put him on revocable waivers, pulled waivers so he wouldn't go to an NL Central foe, where he wound up anyway--was arguably the inscrutable/idiotic transaction of the year. (Bryan, who is BP's transactions expert, had to take off; he probably could list half a dozen more inscrutable/idiotic transactions.) So they were mediocre, though in an arguably interesting way - Rob M

cowhitchurch (Austin, TX): Saw a tweet that said there were 16 "home grown" players in the World Series, but those 16 included Gurriel, Maeda, and Puig. Where do you draw the line in terms of "home grown" players. Gurriel and Maeda obviously weren't, but Puig did at least START his career in the LAD's farm system. Is it just "most of his development came under our watch?" And if that's the case, Puig probably isn't home grown, right? Even though he was so young when he came over. I've clearly thought too much about this.

World Series Chat: I'll say this: if Yuli Gurriel isn't, I don't think Puig is either. Puig was the second best player (behind Jose Abreu) on the best team in Serie Nacional two years before he made the American majors, and his experience in the American minors really amounted to an extended cameo to get in baseball shape after a very long time off because he kept trying to defect. They should get an enormous amount of credit for believing in the player, because none of the usual sources thought Puig was worth even half of what they paid. -- Jarrett

Lougle (Queens ): Has Kopech demonstrated enough command this year in the minors to convince you that he's a starter long-term?

World Series Chat: It's not *just* command, there's also injury/stamina risk, lack of a third pitch risk, and risk that the stuff just plays better for 70 innings. He definitely has a better chance but we're still likely years from this being a binary yes/no question. -- Jarrett

k3o3r9n0 (Boston): Who are your World Series MVP picks for each team?

World Series Chat: Houston: Yuli Gurriel. LA: Justin Turner.

k3o3r9n0 (Boson): Who are your World Series MVP picks for each team?

World Series Chat: If I were really clever I'd say somebody who unexpectedly gets hot. Like Charlie Morton or Josh Reddick or Alex Wood or Austin Barnes. But I'll go the easy route: If the Dodgers win, I could see Jansen getting four saves with something like 8 Ks, 2 H, no walks in 6 IP. If the Astros win, doesn't it seem like it'll be because Verlander gets two (three?) wins, 15-20 IP? - Rob M

Mark (San Antonio): What kind of power upside do you see for Monte Harrison and Peter Alonso. Thanks!

World Series Chat: John Eshleman is *all over* Monte Harrison, like potential future star type all over, and he's seen him a lot and knows what he's doing. He gave him future 6 power a few months ago, so let's go with that.

Peter Alonso looked like a totally different hitter from 2016 to 2017. Right/right college 1B/DH is an awful profile, so the problem is that he very well might have 25-30 home run power and never get a chance to show it. I like him despite the profile issues. -- Jarrett

k3o3r9n0 (Boston): Who are your World Series MVP picks for each team?

World Series Chat: Los Angeles: Kershaw is going to be a strong narrative choice if he pitches well and the Dodgers win, and he's pitching well so far
Houston: Altuve, because he's Altuve and he's hot -- Jarrett

Pete (Boston): Prediction on highest pitch count this series for 1) a start and 2) a relief appearance. Bonus points if you pick a name for each.

World Series Chat: Start: Verlander, 118. Relief: McHugh, 76. - Scooter Hotz

k3o3r9n0 (Boston): Asked in a previous chat, but curious your thoughts: O/U 32 total innings pitched between Kershaw and Verlander?

World Series Chat: I'll take the under. Unlike the prior postseasons, the Dodgers rotation isn't Kershaw and a pick 'em. So he probably starts only two games, even if it goes seven. That's maybe 14 innings max? So the Stros would have to get 18 from Verlander and I just don't see him getting two CGs, so even if he starts Game 5 on short rest, he'd have to pitch relief too...just a lot of ifs - Rob M

Jim P (NC): McCullers getting the last six outs of Game 6 by throwing nothing but curveballs--reminiscent of Rivera? Batters knew what was coming on every pitch but were helpless?

World Series Chat: Rivera or a knuckleballer are the pitchers that come to mind when you think of a one-pitch pitcher, and with good reason. McCullers didn't quite do a Rivera impression in the ALCS because he varied the speed, movement and location of his "one pitch" a lot more that Rivera did. Rivera mostly threw the same pitch to the same spot, altering his approach slightly depending on the batter's handedness. McCullers had a decent amount of variation in terms of speed, movement and location of his one pitch. Moving one pitch up and down, in and out, and varying the speed and movement on it reminded me more of Maddux than Rivera. - Scooter H

oprieto9 (Miami): Does Altuve has any flaws? Now that he mastered hitting breaking pitches?

World Series Chat: On defense, he struggles with line drives hit 9.5 feet off the ground or higher. (In case it's not obvious, that's not based on advanced defensive metrics or Statcast data. It's just a cheap short joke.) Besides that, nope, not really. I don't think anyone can credibly contain about his low-ish walk rate considering the superb results he has been getting on balls in play for several years now. - Scooter Hotz

Colin (San Diego): How long into the broadcast before Christopher Correa gets sick of all the other inmates badgering him to recite the internal scouting reports on the Astros' players as they come up?

World Series Chat: Hahaha. Best prison baseball movie scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwwPUtz1el8, esp. starting at 1:23 - Rob M

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): Can you rank these SP for future: Junis, Freeland, Senzatela, Newcombe, Fedde, Banda

World Series Chat: I don't feel strongly about any of these guys and this is one of those questions that would really require an hour of research. I would still take Newcomb and Fedde over the rest of the group, probably, but Fedde's usage worries me and Newcomb still could go a lot of different ways. -- Jarrett

Pete (Boston): How many at bats will Astros pitchers take over the series?

World Series Chat: 12. (2 today, 3 in G2, 1 in G3, 1 in G4, 2 in G5, 3 in G6)

LA in 6. -- Scooter Hotz

Rich R (O-hi-O): And does Hinch trust ANYONE in his bullpen? Giles has allowed 8 H, 2 HR, 2 UBB in 6 IP; Devo, Harris, and Musgrove all lit up by Yankees.

World Series Chat: I think the management of ALCS Games 6 and 7 pretty affirmatively answered this as no. And I'm not sure I blame him; he's got a group of guys that are good to great, but look completely gassed, and a second group of guys that just aren't that good. Of course, you can really shorten your pitching staff usage in the postseason if you so desire by doing things like piggybacking Morton and McCullers or inserting Verlander on his throw day. -- Jarrett

Andy (New Jersey): This is going to be an exciting series I think. I was just curious which player on each team is their Michael Conforto

World Series Chat: It's Springer and Puig, right?

On a related note, Justin Turner turning into not only one of the best couple dozen players in the game but one of the great postseason players ever is so amazing. -- Jarrett

Sandy V (Havana): Worst commercial of the postseason?

World Series Chat: The YouTube TV integrated commercial that led into this game was pretty confusing and weird.

I'm definitely jinxing this, but this game is on pace for like 2:30 given how fast these two guys are working. Refreshing. -- Jarrett

Sandy V (Havana): Worst commercial of the postseason?

World Series Chat: Meg Rowley had a nice Short Relief entry on the Amazon ad about the baby who doesn't like the family dog. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/32928/short-relief-bad-babies-and-good-olds/

I'd take it way, way farther. That commercial--thankfully, I don't recall seeing it past the DS--is seriously screwed up. That is an extreme dysfunctional family. Look, I've had both babies and a dog in my house at the same time. You know what makes human babies different from those of most species? Human babies are really stupid. I mean, baby rabbits know instinctively to run away from coyotes. Baby horses can walk, in what, 20-40 minutes? Our babies are clueless.

Point being, when the baby comes home, it doesn't know the family dog from the other people in the family. Well, it knows one of them is a 24-hour lunch counter. But to my kids, the difference between me and the dog was that I walked on two legs and had less hair.

So babies have no reason to fear or feel at all uncomfortable around the family dog unless (1) the kid has some serious problems relating to his/her environment--trust me, normal babies like the family dog, just like they like their parents--or (2) the parents are so pathologically protective that they're not allowing the kid to interact with the dog, preventing the normal bonds from being formed.

Either way, the kid's screwed up, it's nothing that one-click's gonna fix, and Amazon is trying to cash in on it.

OK, I'll exhale now - Rob M

Hay (Ny): Should met fans be pleased about what they saw from Amed Rosario in brief stint? Is he still a better prospect than acuna/Robles/Torres?

World Series Chat: I think so on both accounts. He looked like an immense talent that still needs to figure out what he can and can't hit. The defense and speed give him *such* a high floor. -- Jarrett

David (New haven ): Think David Peterson finds his way into any top 100s this season?

World Series Chat: We've got over 150 guys on the consideration list for the 101 at this point in the process, and Peterson's on the long list. The grade that I expect him to be written up at would put him right on the bubble of making the list, and I expect he'll be discussed. He only pitched a couple short stints as a pro around a minor injury, and they weren't at full effort, so wherever you're ranking him is based mostly on amateur reports, honestly. -- Jarrett

Robin (Wolf hill ): Have you heard any reports on Greg Guerrero? Seems that he’s been kind of a disappointment

World Series Chat: Javier Barragan wrote him up as a second-division regular based on complex looks this summer, and that's in line with other things I've heard, granting that it's complex baseball which complicates things. He'll probably show up in Kingsport or Brooklyn this year and we'll have a better idea then. Certainly looks like they signed the wrong cousin, though. -- Jarrett

Sandy V (Havana): Worst commercial of the postseason?

World Series Chat: I haven't picked my winner yet, but my buddy Luke nominated the Geico He-Man one because it's such a lazy play on nostalgia. Pretty solid nomination. - Scooter Hotz

Meg (Altoona): Should I be more down on Justin Dunn or Desmond Lindsay?

World Series Chat: We can't even agree *internally* on how messed up Dunn is right now, which is itself not the world's greatest sign. Lindsay looked fine on a healthy series look, but when is he ever healthy? They're going to rank right around each other on the Mets list, but at least they're probably still going to make the list... -- Jarrett

Not Bryan (Not In This Chat): Hey there, Matt -- during your research and writing for the Annual this year, what's your favorite fun fact you've discovered that you'd like to share?

World Series Chat: Something I learned about Blake Snell:

Only one starting LHP has a higher average perceived velocity on his four-seamer than Snell, and only one has a higher average spin rate. The guy who throws harder is James Paxton and the guy with more spin is Rich Hill. Snell is going to be good eventually. -MT

k3o3r9n0 (Boston): Who are your World Series MVP picks for each team?

World Series Chat: If LA wins, Chris Taylor will deserve the award and Justin Turner will win it. If Houston wins, Alex Bregman will deserve the award and Jose Altuve will win it. -MT

Sandy V (Havana): Worst commercial of the postseason?

World Series Chat: They're all an unconscionable assault on our morality and good judgment. Screw capitalism. -MT

Tony (St. Paul): Smoltz suggested that Correa and Seager may be too large to stick at shortstop. Do you agree?

World Series Chat: Correa is 6'4"
Seager is 6'4"
Cal Ripken Jr. is 6'4" He seemed to last a while.

Correa and Seager are 15-20 pounds heavier than Ripken (to the degree you can trust listed weights), so in theory they could wear down. And when the Astros drafted Bregman, there was talk that optimally he's play short and Correa would move over to third. But I think (1) Ripken proved that a guy doesn't need to move off short just because he's tall, and (2) The traditional rationale for moving a tall guy off short--need a smaller guy who may be rangier--is negated somewhat by contemporary positioning - Rob M

World Series Chat: Thanks for hanging out with us! Enjoy the rest of the Series, and be sure to check in at our redesigned site for great content every day.

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