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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday April 20, 2018 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey is the senior prospect writer at Baseball Prospectus, and co-host of the BP Mets podcast, For All You Kids Out There.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I went to Hampshire College so you'd think I'd have a seasonally appropriate greeting today, but instead I guess just smoke 'em if ya got 'em ('em being prospect questions)

Sammy (Trenton): Gun to your head—when does vladdy see the majors? (Sorry about the gun, it’s not loaded)

Jeffrey Paternostro: So there is absolutely a scenario where the Jays are in the midst of a Wild Card race on like July 20th. Vladito got promoted to AAA a few weeks earlier and is mashing there still. Donaldson's shoulder is still an issue. What would you do? This isn't dissimilar to what happened with the Sox and Devers last year, or the Mets with Michael Conforto in 2015. Guys like this can set their own timetable if you let them.

John Heyman (Blog): Is me saying realmuto for Conforto the craziest thing you’ve ever heard?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I mean it's a film no for me, but it's not like the worst trade proposal ever as some of #MetsTwitter seemed to think. The weird thing is it's probably a no-go for the Marlins because Conforto is gonna get expensive soon, and they likely aren't good before he's really expensive (and thus no longer a Marlin).

Jeff (California ): Who has a higher ceiling, Corbin Burnes or Mitch Keller?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Keller has a legit shot at being an ace (not saying that's my projection, mind you, but I wouldn't be shocked or anything). Burnes looks more a good #3.

Tim (GA): While you don't want to read too much into the first few weeks, is it fair to wonder if BP was a little too low on Austin Riley?

Jeffrey Paternostro: To be fair, that's me more than BP. He certainly had his boosters internally. I've been slow to warm on the swing, but if he makes it work, he makes it work.

Kieth (Netherlands): Reasons to be concerned about Sixto?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It was his first outing of the year and he was hitting 101 with a wipeout slider.

Max (Raleigh): Juan Lagares- good or flash in the pan?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's still Juan Lagares. Perfectly fine fourth outfielder, very good defender, fine to start against lefties. He's probably not going to continue to run a .420 BABIP.

Keith (Elm Street): Giolito just a middle reliever?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The "Giolito is putting it together" Spring stories were not very shelf stable.

Mike (PA): I've heard that Ranger Suarez' stuff has taken a step forward. What kind of reports have you gotten on him in the early going?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So general rule on questions like these (and there's a few in this genre). I generally don't start digging for early season reports on guys we haven't gotten looks at yet until about the beginning of May. That said even with the weird EL schedules, I imagine we will get a Suarez look by then.

Aron (NY): When does Justus Sheffield see the Bronx and what does it mean to work on command (as he is supposedly doing) just more reps?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I suspect Sheffield debuts in some sort of second-half pen role, given the issues there so far in the Bronx. "Working on command" can be a catch all for a lot of things. Mechanics repetition tends to be his specific issue though. As I've often said, if I could predict command jumps, I'd have a much better baseball job.

Leonard Cohen (Hell): Thoughts on Nick Pivetta?

Jeffrey Paternostro: See above.

Matt harvey (Ny): I would be great in the bullpen, right?

Jeffrey Paternostro: If anything the lack of an out pitch amongst the secondaries would be more of an issue. Maybe the FB is more 94-96 in short bursts, but that won't make it move, and that isn't even remotely special velocity for a reliever nowadays.

Shawn (Hip): What can ya tell me about daulton varsho, drop skaggs for him ya think?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Jen just saw him and thinks he has a better shot to stick at catcher, which makes the profile more fantasy relevant for sure. Hit over power guy at the plate.

dylanrox (St Pete): Your Pivetta thoughts don’t seem to have posted.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Blah. It was just another reference to not being able to predict command jumps. But it makes less sense here.

Dan (Jersey): Who is this edgardo Fermin guy and is he worth keeping an eye on?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Another in the line of low-six-figure polished Latin middle infielders the Mets have signed. He's a bit more athletic than the Carpios Tovars and Tejadas of the world, but also a bit rawer at the plate. They've given him reps in CF this year which is interesting. Probable utility guy long term but tools enough to beat that projection.

Fessi's back (SWFC): Any thoughts on the following guys who've got off to rough starts in the minors this year: Bauers, Bobby Bradley, Neuse, Isan Diaz, Hiura? On the MLB side - do you believe in Pivetta's improved start to the season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think it's a bit too early to move guys around, up or down. It's literally two weeks of baseball. I won't even kill Rodgers this early, as I wrote about today, and I personally saw him look incredibly rough. I think it's especially true of hitters. Pitchers you can see the regression or jump in the stuff earlier, see Peter Lambert going from 89-92 to 92-94.

Also, I know I essentially host a Phillies podcast now, but man you guys have a lot of Nick Pivetta questions.

Keith (Tempe): Jeff Hoffman finished?

Jeffrey Paternostro: If I was a team that didn't play my home games in Coors, I'd at least want to take a shot on him as a change of scenery guy,

Jack (MS): You didn't write it but one of your colleagues wrote the other day there are "concerns" about Kyle Wright's "ultimate role." How widespread are those concerns? It's the first I've seen anyone suggest he might not be a starter of some kind.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't love the mechanics personally, but I wouldn't call those concerns widespread yet. He's a more divisive prospect than you'd expect from the top college arm in the draft.

Paul Sewald (Mets): Am I....really good?

Jeffrey Paternostro: You are probably gonna have nights where the slider isn't sharp and you get knocked around a bit, but you're a perfectly corpulent multi-inning middle reliever.

Rip Van Weedkle (Coors Field): Does the Mets rotation collapse if Vargas is terrible?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Eh, they can probably bump Lugo or Gsellman into the rotation, especially if they are committed to going five and dive with them when needed (and they've been so with everyone so far). I think the bigger issue is even if he is "fine," the rotation past deGrom/Syndergaard is still gonna be shaky and not able to consistently give you length. That means you will need to ride Lugo/Gsellman hard in the pen, and their stuff is already feeling the effects of the usage patterns.

Dave (Williamsburg): Thoughts on Juan Soto?

Jeffrey Paternostro: This is basically what I expected from healthy Juan Soto last year? Okay, maybe not the .800 slugging, but he's one of the top 10 prospects in baseball as soon as he's healthy for a whole season. And Top 10 might be light.

Liam (The Anti-Jeff) (The Bad Guys HQ): I am glad that you are being inundated with Pivetta questions. My question pivots towards the roster. Do you think that MLB needs to expand to a 30 man roster with guaranteed positional player spots?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think the more likely scenario out of the next CBA is 1-2 additional roster spots but no position player requirements.

Larry the Weed Guy (Bumblefuck Iowa): Is Paul Sewald Cliff Lee-Lite now?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The meme is "galaxy brain Andrew Miller"

terryallan (CO): I know its not a prospect question, but what's your take on Byron Buxton rest of this season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think we have enough info on him now to gauge that this is about what he is? Elite defense and run, medium pop, significant swing and miss that might cause his overall performance to yo-yo a bit season to season.

Junior (Chi): Is Seuly Matias a candidate to shoot up prospect rankings this year?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I am rarely afraid to double down on an aggressive ranking, so sure.

Shawn miller (Scrubbing shelves): Is senzel basically droppable with the reds moving him to second?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I mean even if this is a redraft league I'd probably hold onto him for a bit? I guess it depends on how many slots you have or whatever. Not a fantasy guy but he's like one of the ten best prospects in baseball.

Kevin (With Jesse in the basement): Snell an ace?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Eh, at least it isn't a Nick Pivetta question.

I would urge similar caution, but he always had TOR potential.

Dan (VT): If your fantasy league held its own June draft, where owners can select from the year's June draftees, is this a year you would want the top pick in the draft? I've read the only consensus towards the top is that there is none right now.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think the general consensus is Mize goes 1.1 because he is a big hard-throwing righty and its Detroit. I assume you would still want the first pick to grab Madrigal, but sure the drop off from him to the rest of the top tier college bats isn't super significant.

Lad (TE ): It’s way too early for this Ronny Mauricio hype right?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We can wait for his stateside debut, yeah. But it's a business where everyone wants to get their marker down early (I can be guilty of this too, of course).

Bill (MI): Speaking of Casey Mize, are the concerns about the health of his arm overstated?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Tough to say without seeing his medicals. Or I mean even seeing his medicals, I'm not a doctor. Anyway, without knowing more about the specific concern, I don't know. But if there are specific concerns, he is a pitcher after all.

Dave (NY): I believe the most important part about Edgardo Fermin is that his name is Edgardo Alfonzo Fermin, right? He must be good!

Jeffrey Paternostro: And his double play partner at times has been Fonzie's nephew

Mr. P (Nyc): Do we have to start taking peter Alonso more seriously each week? Dude has been mashing, is in better shape and the exit velos have been great. Obviously comparisons are imperfect and often unfair, but is he potentially of the Rhys Hoskins mold?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Rhys Hoskins is going to ruin people on R/R 1B for a decade. I will say that even the people who like Alonso tend to see him more as a solid regular than that level of star.

Keith (Denny's in Naperville): Jesus Sanchez is crushing the ball so far. Still just an OF 3 profile in fantasy?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's likely a guy that is a better fantasy prospect than real life prospect (and he's quite a good real life prospect). I also have no idea what an OF3 is.

Sam (NY): Marlins would say no to Conforto for Realmuto? Cmon, even if they didn’t want his expensive arb years, I feel like teams would trade more of a haul for Conforto than realmuto

Jeffrey Paternostro: Sure, you could buy and flip in two years, but so far they have targeted quantity of prospects/years of control. The other issue is the Mets don't really have the quality at the top of the system right now to put together a commensurate quantity package.

Jon (NY): How are the early reports on Anthony Kay? How quickly can he move through the system?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Up to the mid-90s, looks fine. I don't know why he started in the Sally for a variety of reasons. But I expect he will be in St. Lucie before long and could end the season in Bingo.

Dave (MI): I've read Twitter reports having Faedo's fastball at 89-91, a little lower than widely reported over the winter. Is this a concern at all? One evaluator only has 6-7 MPH of separation in Faedo's entire arsenal.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd be worried if it's still there in a month, sure. There's a reason he dropped in the draft, and we had concerns about him internally, which kept him out of the 101.

Jordan Hicks (STL): Will I be given a chance to be a starter, or am I destined for the pen?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Pen only for me, could close with that stuff though.

terryallan (CO): Is Colton Welker the future of 3B in the Rockies organization? I will be surprised if they can resign Arenado after keeping Blackmon, and Welker is tearing it up in Lancaster.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I would guess that is the plan. Honestly they really should extend Arenado though. As much as we like Welker, Arenado is like one of the 20 best position players in baseball.

Chris (OH): Bryan Price indicated Amir Garrett was going to stay in the pen. He's had success there early on but shouldn't Riggleman give him another go in the rotation? He was awful last year but I understand he had a hip issue most of the season.

Jeffrey Paternostro: The Reds pitching is just a mess in general, and spending the rest of the year sorting it out some would be a step in some sort of direction. That said, if they commit to using Garrett in a multi-inning structured pen role, that might be best for all involved.

Brian (CO): Sam Hilliard has impressive tools. Does he become at least an MLB regular? If not, what holds him back?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Like what I have seen from Hillard so far, but it's a tough profile. That home park is basically built for his swing too. But that swing can get a little grooved, and I'd like to see him more extensively against Double-A arms before I throw a grade on him. Ultimately like most corner dudes, swing and miss would be his eventual undoing if it goes bad.

Sadvi (Nimmo): Brandon Nimmo with the quietest ever career 120 wrc+? 320+ PA too

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think we are at least at the point where they realistically have to find 3-4 starts a week for him. Shouldn't be too hard since you'll want to hide him against lefties anyway. Problem is OF/1B leans very LH as well.

Pardinme (PA): Eric Pardinho was said to be significantly developed for his age. How long before he starts showing up on top 100s and making some noise in the higher levels of the minors? Thanks in advance.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I am moving towards being more conservative with IFAs making their stateside debuts, but if he shows up in the GCL killing it, he'll have a shot. It's rare for arms like this to move quickly just because of how slowly they tend to ramp up young arms now.

John (MA): What - if anything - do you make of Josh Naylor's strong start to the sesaon?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Naylor has long been very divisive internally. I've generally been a proponent, but I am a couple years removed from a look now, and the body isn't great. I don't think we can make anything of it yet, but if the power spike continues, we'll definitely revisit.

Big Cat (Sup): If someone told you 3 Mets will be on the top 100 prospect list at the end of the season, who would you guess?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gimenez, Alonso, Peterson's the chalk. Outside shot betting odds in order for Vientos, Mauricio, Kay, Dunn (if he proves to be actually fixed)

Sal (Nj): Does Conforto look healthy to you?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't know if he is 100%, but I think rust and a shortened Spring explains at least some of the early swing-and-miss issues.

Gerry (Pa): Is Quinn Brody maybe good or too early to tell ?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's a third round Pac-12 bat in the Sally, doing about what he should.

Charlie (FLA): Josh Lowe is off to a big start in Hi-A but I've read other evaluators put him in the Brandon Nimmo category. You agree with that?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Apparently Brandon Nimmo isn't a bad thing to be nowadays.

Cal (Ny): Are you buying these Todd Frazier approach adjustments ? If so, major surplus value here

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't think he's gonna hit .300, but he's been a 3-4 win player for years and is only 32. He's also a serious student of his swing, so it wouldn't be shocking if he's actually found something.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Oh hey, the Futures Guide is available in both print and digital formats now. I should probably plug that. https://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Prospectus-Futures-Guide-2018/dp/1986902846/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524245536&sr=8-1&keywords=futures+guide+2018 See you next wek.

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