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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday May 25, 2018 12:15 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Minor League Editor at Baseball Prospectus

Craig Goldstein: Hey everyone, I just finished the episode of The Expanse where it ended with Katoa dismantling a body like he was Jeter taking over a baseball team. Not to get all Becca on you, but let's do the damn thing.

Jim (Dynasty League): Quien es mas macho- Fernando Tatis o Keibert Ruiz?

Craig Goldstein: Pure strength? I'll go with Keibert, but if we're talking who I'd rank higher, Tatio still has the edge.

Billy (Napping): Is jordon adell a top 10 prospect by seasons end??

Craig Goldstein: Wouldn't shock me. Have heard one scout say he should be Top 15 right now. I'll be bucking for him to move up on our midseason list for sure.

Jason (Chicago): In a time where it seems like so many players develop unexpected power in the pros is that one of the tools I should care least about for fantasy scouting purposes? I traded away Albies last year because I didnt want a 30 power bat, and now am seriously regretting it. Should I be assuming now that a projected 15/15 hr/sb projected prospect could be more of a 20/10 guy? Im thinking like a Taylor Trammell or Jesus Sanchez. Thanks.

Craig Goldstein: This is a fair question, and I'm not sure I have a completely fair answer. My best advice is to look at the text of the reports for context. Not every guy with a 15 hr likelihood is going to get the same bump. There are some who have a better chance of boosting their power output than others. My colleague Jarrett Seidler has a pet theory that the guys with premium contact skills can make that launch angle adjustment/tradeoff better than others, which makes some sense. I think Trammell is a guy who could have more power output because he's still growing into his body. Sanchez I haven't seen nearly enough of, but people speak highly to be ball coming off his bat. I get why the Albies thing hurts you, and I was way off on him too - which I've copped to. That said, I'm not sure the right adjustment is: assume everyone with that profile overperforms their anticipated power output.

JP (CT): Moscow Mule or Dark and Stormy?

Craig Goldstein: Mule all the way, but you're not gonna catch me bashing anything with ginger beer in it.

I Have a Problem (Yes): Is Max Muncy this year's Chris Taylor?

Craig Goldstein: No, I don't think so. I appreciate that Muncy went home and got back to basics, and think he's a useful player/depth type piece. Taylor was a star last year though, and I don't think Muncy has that type of ceiling.

Brandon (Chiraq): I dropped Andujar to pick up Vlad Jr. Good call?

Craig Goldstein: not one you'll regret

jmor1717 (Chicago): What do you expect from Forrest Whitley when he resumes pitching? You think he sees the majors this year?

Craig Goldstein: Studliness. I think the biggest loss with Whitley's suspension was the decreased likelihood we see him this year. It's not out of the question but it's also not like the 'stros need him and he's not on their 40-man, so that's another hurdle to overcome in this respect. I'd anticipate 2019 as more likely.

cracker73 (Florida): Are Cavan Biggio, and Kevin Smith (Blue Jays), prospects to get excited about or is their success simply due to them being old for their level?

Craig Goldstein: Can't it be a little of both? If you're old for your level you *have* to be doing this type of thing, and Smith especially is just blocked out by other prospects above him, so him languishing isn't a sign of the org's opinion on him. Biggio is definitely interesting and another one of these guys putting the ball in the air more often, so it's a plausible explanation for the power boost.

Jake L (LA): So...Jose Suarez might debut in 2018?

Craig Goldstein: Might could! I talked with Wilson Karaman who wrote him up way back when he was still in High-A in mid-April (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/39228/monday-morning-ten-pack-april-16-2018-heliot-ramos-sixto-sanchez-vladito/) and given the Angels context and need for stable arms, it wouldn't be a shock to see him rach the majors this year.

Robbie Lewis (Pittsburgh): Assuming Vladdy is in a league of his own... Please rank who has the best 5x5 fantasy career, in order: Acuna, Eloy, Soto, Tatis... thank you.

Craig Goldstein: I don't see Vlad as in a wholly separate league than Acuna in a 5x5 because Vlad doesn't run and Acuna does. And Tatis might edge in there too. But, to answer the guys you listed: Acuna, Soto, Tatis, Eloy. I love all these guys but don't underestimate the value of what the speed brings in a 5x5 (if you wanted to flip Soto and Tatis I wouldn't be mad at you)

uncasf1 (raleigh NC): Shane Bieber. Is it possible in today's game to have elite command and control with average to slightly above average stuff and be any more than a 3/4 innings eater?

Craig Goldstein: Is it possible? Sure. I think we've seen Kyle Hendricks do it pretty successfully for a few years there, though you might quibble with calling his stuff "slightly-above-average." In this situations, the pinpoint command (and Hendricks' tunneling) helps the stuff play up, so to speak. But the margin for error is really thin, and that's why with a lot of these types who are always around the plate with solid-but-not-great stuff, they struggle at higher levels. Major league hitters are really damn good. Some of them might need to follow the Keuchel outline and rarely throw strikes but always be around the edges of the zone. It's a tough life, though.

ssimon (Pelham): Given the disturbing velo/control trends for Kimbrel and Corbin, what's a fair return for them at this point? Do you hold and hope they maintain their level?

Craig Goldstein: A little thrown off by this Q. Kimbrel isn't whiffing 50% of batters this year, but his velo is actually trending up by month (May was 97.8 on the heater) and he's not been really wild? Corbin is whiffing MORE guys than ever and his velo has seen a small change but it seems pretty marginal (and less of an issue given the uptick in breaking balls?).

Burt Reynolds (PGH): Dynasty 12 team H2H 30 players keep 25 - would you trade C Seager/Goldy/Eaton/Brinson L/Sixto S/Stroman/Roark/Hendricks and your first round pick for Trout? Competing this year but I want Trout

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't do this deal but I'd also add that Roark and Stroman (and probably Brinson here) are basically not worth mentioning given the shallow nature of the league (despite the deep benches). They're all pretty replaceable. Still, Seager and Goldy are first-round type talents, plus Sixto, Eaton, Hendricks, and the pick. There's gotta be a more even deal out there.

Iceberg (Right Ahead!): Peter Alonso is looking very 2017 Rhys-like. Do you see him making an impact with the Mets this summer?

Craig Goldstein: Well he's not 35 or recently cut by another team so it seems unlikely.

Tom (PA): What are your thoughts on Jose Suarez, LAA and Johnathan Hernandez, TEX? Possible top 101 guys in the future?

Craig Goldstein: I touched on Suarez above, but Hernandez has been a name to know for a little bit now and it's been fun seeing him carve up the Carolina League. The question has always been about the third pitch for him because the fastball and slider are legit. He'll need to keep his command more on the average side of fringe-average to stay in the rotation, but there's talent to mold there. If he gets bumped to Double-A Kevin Carter should be able to catch him.

Al (Ny): Brandon Nimmo with a 128 wrc+ through 400+ PA...so is he like a dude? 80 grade makeup too

Craig Goldstein: I was just talking about this during a break on TINO with Bret and George yesterday. He's legitimately good. I don't know if he's *this* good, and how he fits into a team probably depends a bit on how you like your offense generated (it's going to be on-base heavy), but...that's worth it. Nimmo is what Jesse Winker stans want Winker to be.

Lincoln (Vestibule ): Just heard brandon marsh got bumped up, whats his ceiling looking like?

Craig Goldstein: We gave him an OFP 55 in the offseason and I don't think that's changed much here. I'll be interested to see what Wilson gathers on Marsh in the Cal League. I do think it's encouraging he recovered from a rough start in full-season ball to produce the way he did and earn a bump. It's worth noting that Jeffrey saw the swing as a little stiff, and I don't know that that kind of thing really gets exploitable before Double-A. He has serious talent though.

leites (New York): Can you explain why prospects such as Dennis Santana with a cross-body delivery are generally expected to be relievers?

Craig Goldstein: Sure. Generally, it's a concern about the ability to repeat the mechanics over the course of the game, as the pitcher tires and finds it harder to repeat the same release points, etc., combined with some injury concerns built into those types of profiles. The cross-fire delivery makes for better deception and can sometimes add some movement, but that very movement can make it hard to hit spots consistently.

JPTX (TX): what do you do when you are competing but have two of your most expensive pitchers struggling? this example i have Archer $27 and Duffy $17 in my AL only with a in season $320 salary cap. I have a guy willing to give me Altuve and Trout for Judge, but i cant make the salary work without including or dropping both those pitchers. Archer is showing signs of life but is Duffy worth throwing away at this point?

Craig Goldstein: Buddy, you and me both. I have Archer and Duffy in like 3 of my leagues I'm last in pitching in em. Brutal. Obviously it's tough to know the mechanics of your budget based on this question but Altuve + Trout for Judge seems like an obvious move. I agree Archer has shown some rebound and it's worth looking into whether you can dump either/both and get *some*thing back? Re: Duffy, probably worth reading what's going on with his bouncing back and forth from windup to stretch in this piece https://theathletic.com/344596/2018/05/06/qa-royals-starter-danny-duffy-discusses-return-to-the-stretch-after-early-season-struggles/, before making a ton of decisions but I wouldn't blame you for cutting bait at this point.

Andrew (Boston): Telmito Agustin? I'll hang up and listen.

Craig Goldstein: Shouts to Mark Anderson for beginning to highlight him in the MLU early on last year. He's absolutely shredding High-A in a return engagement, but I'm not buying this power bump at all. He's definitely fun, and worth knowing for deep, deep leagues at this point, but I wouldn't be rushing to add him in most formats.

Robert (California): Who are a few prospects primed to rise up the prospect rankings. I’m thinking Luzardo and Luis robert are a few. Thoughts on them and any others in that category?

Craig Goldstein: Have a few variations of this question in the queue, and Bret and I talked about this very topic on this week's TINO, which should be out today/tomorrow, in the context of Jeffrey's article on updating the 101 (or, why we don't do that: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/40025/view-from-behind-backstop-straight-at-101-brendan-rodgers/):

Luzardo would definitely get a bump. We liked him a bunch coming into the season and between the list locking in December and publishing in February, we discussed how we'd have liked to have been more aggressive with him. Robert probably too, though the thumb injury is a downer, and I don't know that he'd fly intensely higher. Austin Riley, Alex Kirilloff re-establishing value, Luis Alexander Basabe (healthy knees again). I mentioned Jo Adell earlier. Those are the types of names that'd get a solid boost/be considered for the list now, at this point.

eamuscatuli15 (currently 5th but with a bullet): Based on the Cards ramping up of Reyes, obviously he's in the rotation on Tuesday, do you think he'll have many restrictions? I'm pretty hyped to be able to slot him in. Had him in dynasty league for about 3 years.

Craig Goldstein: I don't think he'll have any restrictions. He's gonna be fun as hell.

Boricuan (DR): Trent Deveaux is a name I'm hearing some whispers about. Anything there? Also, can Canario please start playing??!

Craig Goldstein: Deveaux is one of the extended guys getting hype, along with Canario. Hard to have a *ton* to say about these guys until they see a little more action.

Steve (ATL): Jean Carlos Encarnacion has to be one of the most underrated prospects in baseball, right? He's showing some strong tools without the hype of a few dozen other Braves minors.

Craig Goldstein: He's a name I bandied about in the offseason as a potential riser type. I don't think the performance has proven me right, exactly, but it hasn't proven me wrong either. He's been fine, and at 20 and in Low-A, what he's doing is entirely reasonable. He's still got the tools to make some noise this season.

Dusty (Colorado): Where does Wander Javier rank among prospects with jacked up shoulders?

Craig Goldstein: Dusty...thank's,,

cowhitchurch (Austin): Is Luis Alexander Basabe making the leap to a Top 101 caliber prospect?

Craig Goldstein: Touched on this before, but yeah, I think he's in that mix (the back-end is always evolving). The tools have always been there and now that he's healthy, he's starting to produce. Complicating factor: He's repeating the level. Still, always a guy I liked and I'm thrilled to see him proving his talent.

Joe (KC): At least as far as catching prospects go, is MJ Melendez a legitimate dynasty prospect at this point?

Craig Goldstein: Absolutely. Ben Carsley and I just added him in RDI (20-team, 40-man rosters)

a.j. (las vegas): i'm a bigger fan of the detroit rebulid than most. their strength is young pitching (especially after they pick Mize) but a line-up of Cabrera (DH), Castellanos(RF), Candelario(1B) and Stewart(LF) as sluggers with defensive minded up the middle guys like Cameron, Rogers, Paredes, Alcantara, and Lugo seems like an above average line-up with plus defense. What am I seeing that is different from their low system ratings among the industry?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think Mize is necessarily a given based on the medicals at this point (though it's not out of the question either and could just be used as leverage to drive down his price). I'm not sure that what you posted is an above-average lineup, exactly. It would come down to how those defensive guys actually produced at the plate, and I don't even know if Candelario has the bat to justify a 1B defensive assignment despite the earlier success this year. Basically, the answer to your question is: what happens when 4 of the guys you mentioned don't pan out at all like you expect, because that's more of a reality than them all working out.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): Oakland's Tyler Ramirez and Ramon Laureano; are either likely to be more than 4th outfielders?

Craig Goldstein: I know we had some internal love for Laureano before the trade but I think that star has mostly dimmed to the range you're talking about. We don't have a ton on Ramirez, but I think based on what I know he fits into that mold as well, since he's not much of a power bat and doesn't have the speed you usually see in center.

nschaef (NYC): Dylan Cease has already logged his second highest innings total of any season and is holding his high-90s velocity deep into games. Potential fast mover both on lists and in reality?

Craig Goldstein: The innings thing is both a positive and a negative, right? There's another question in the queue about whether he's resolved any concerns about him starting, and I think the answers is a firm: Eh. Holding the velo is fantastic, but before making many proclamations about what he's proven...he's probably going to need to be able to show that he can hold his velo late into the season, much less late into games late in the season. Definitely has the potential to move up lists, and there's plenty of internal love on him for the team.

Dave (PA): Enyel De Los Santos is excelling this year at age 22 in AAA. How much has he improved his stock and what does he profile as long-term?

Craig Goldstein: He's been a fun arm for a long time. I think perception is catching up to his talent. I think he's a high-volatility starter or a really fun reliever. It's always dicey to predict how those guys turn out, but it wouldn't shock me if he was a guy who saw the back end of the rotation on a bunch of mediocre to bad teams looking for him to take a leap, before figuring it out for a random season or two.

Steve (Wilmington): Any reports on Mike Matuella and why he's scuffling?

Craig Goldstein: Matuella has been wild, both in the Online sense and the baseball sense. He popped 99 in Spring Training and we've heard it happen during the season too, but the fastball can be straight as an arrow and even High-A hitters can turn around straight heat. The curveball continues to flash but he'll also flash some about 56 feet, which is...problematic. There's no consistency at-bat to at-bat or even within at-bats for him right now.

Nick (KC): If you had the top pick in a draft of June picks, would the uncertainty of Casey Mize's medicals scare you off?

Craig Goldstein: This is a bit of an impossible question (not the fault of the asker) because if I had the top pick in the June draft I would have a better idea of where the uncertainties lie, exactly. As it is, all I know is that uncertainties *exist* and I don't know if they're the type I'm comfortable with, or not. I'd also be able to consult actual, y'know, doctors. Not to be too cynical, but this can also be leverage for the team to save some cash on Mize, as a lot of medicals are likely to turn up *something* to nitpick.

Gabe (MO): Speaking of Dylan Cease, I traded him before the year for Jose Albertos, who has been a complete trainwreck with 32 walks in 13 innings. Is that a good trade gone wrong or a bad move to begin with?

Craig Goldstein: Couple questions on Albertos in the queue right now. I think it was probably an even trade at the time in terms of talent and it's gone wrong in both ways for you, sure. That said if it's a mechanical issue or a health issue, Albertos could get right pretty quickly. It's obviously highly abnormal, what's going on, and that's always a concern but I don't have any real insight into the actual issues there.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): Your thought on picking up Vlad G jr .For Gleyber Torres one yr league h2h.Thanks

Craig Goldstein: This year alone? Stick with Gleyber, I think. We don't know if/when Toronto promotes him (it's not causing ANY issues for the mid-season list thanks for asking) and Gleyber is damn good on his own, plus even if Vlad comes up it's not like you're regretting it forever. It's a re-draft.

Steve (Philly): So do you take a day off from your other job just to chat? Or is it something you do over a lunch break? Or just a fan of multitasking?

Craig Goldstein: Day off, today.

currents (florida): Ever find yourself burnt out on fantasy baseball really early in a season? My teams aren't even that bad, I'm just losing interest in it overall. Any advice for re-discovering the fun in fantasy baseball or have I just arrived at the final evolution of fantasy baseball nihilism?

Craig Goldstein: Sure do. I think changing up the formats can help. I used to be a daily only guy because I had free time and loved maximizing my advantage of knowing what was going on. As that free time ebbed, I was getting too burnt out keeping up with it all and once you can't keep up it's hard to care. Switching to weeklies (and having a couple leagues with no bench) was a nice way for me to stay engaged while not committing as much time.

As to interest in fantasy overall...I don't know. I don't love it like I used to, because I don't like seeing the players as commodities all the time and having people interpret them as that can be exhausting. I won't assume that's your issue, though, and to better answer the question I'd probably have to know exactly what's not fun anymore for you. Feel free to drop me an email.

Mike (Phoenix): How do William Contreras and Miguel Amaya compare to MJ Melendez as far as catching prospects are concerned?

Craig Goldstein: I like Melendez, Contreras, and Amaya in that order. It's obviously early days for all of them, but the tools are just so loud with Melendez. None of that should be construed as being down on the other two, especially considering Amaya's defense. I'm just holding off on buying into the offensive profile there, as I don't think he has the ceiling of the other two just yet.

Steve (Philly): Ronaldo Hernandez hit some dingers this week. Want to tell everyone how right you are/were?

Craig Goldstein: Hey it's catcher hour here, I guess. Hernandez was a great find by former BP Prospect Teamer John Eshleman, and when I backchecked with a few sources they all validated his initial look. Given the amount that we're wrong in this line of work, it's nice to get a few right (at least at this point, things can always change).

gfhyde (Toronto): What's your assessment of Taylor Trammell so far this year? Already about half way to last year's HR totals but also only 5/10 in SB's. Think they stick him in AA soon and let him stay there for the rest of the season?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah I'm not going to stress about the distribution of his output at this point. We know he's fast and that he knows how to run. The power addition is a nice little thing, and we'll keep an eye on if/how it continues. I am always a fan of getting aggressive with strong natural talents, so I'd advocate for a bump, but the FSL is no joke in terms of hitting and the Reds have been pretty steady with other top prospects, so I wouldn't anticipate a promotion before mid-season.

Keith (Vacationing): What would a ceiling of brusdar grateral look like? Means a lot

Craig Goldstein: We put a 55 OFP on Brusdar in the offseason and I think the ceiling is probably a touch higher than that. He's been good in all the ways we'd expect, but the questions on his frame/longevity aren't going to be addressed by mid-May.

Steve (NJ): Have you reached the point of marriage where people bring up having babies the way someone brings up bunting to Joey Gallo?

Craig Goldstein: I have a jewish mother who was bringing up babies within the first year my wife and I were dating. I don't have a baseball comparison to this, but let's just say it's not new for us.

Dusty (Colorado): That wasn't even me who asked that. I'm too sad to actually ask questions at the moment.

Craig Goldstein: I need some weird Zapruder film of people asking chat questions. There wasn't a second Dusty on the grassy knoll!

Sixto (Clearwater, FL): It seems that I'm getting stretched out a bit more, and my command is way past A Ball. Any chance I get the call in 2019?

Craig Goldstein: It's tough to answer questions like this reasonably. If I said I thought there was 5% chance you see the majors in 2019 but it's likely in September, does that qualify as "any chance you get the call" or are you shorthanding for "meaningful time in the majors?" Honest question from me, because I don't know how to answer these types of Qs is a way that helps the person asking the question

Ben (Denver): Ryan Vilade seems to have taken a huge step back so far this year after an impressive breakout. He's at .220/.354/.280 in Asheville. Any concern with the slow start? I thought he might be a guy who really shot up lists this year if he built on his debut.

Craig Goldstein: Admittedly haven't gotten a look at Vilade in 2018 but the walks are still there and the BABIP is about normal. It's not encouraging because Asheville is already a great place to hit overall. I think there's some concern with the slow start with the acknowledgement that it's still only May and if he hit's like he's capable of the rest of the year, no one is going to put much of a weight into a slow couple of months.

Steve (Philly): Can we get another Parks and recreation time jump theme day?

Craig Goldstein: because it went over SO WELL the first time

Peter (Denver): What do you see the long term roles for Erik Swanson and Ryan Helsley who are impressing in AAA?

Craig Goldstein: Relief for both. Not to say they can't be more (I'd bank on Helsley maintaining a SP role before Swanson, but neither is impossible) but the likelihood is relief for both, for me.

Chesty (New Bern NC): Thanks Craig.Your Bosox might be getting ready for a a major move

Craig Goldstein: How many favorite teams do people think I have?

Keith (Scranton): Jonathan Loaisiga an emerging starting pitching prospect?

Craig Goldstein: Yep! Former BP Prospect Teamer Erich Rothmann highlighted him last season as a guy who's stuff was really popping. There are still some obstacles in his way, but he's got the raw stuff to do it for sure.

jpeterhobbs (Northeast): Maitan still a possible stud just young and adjusting or are you more concerned?

Craig Goldstein: I'm more concerned at this point. Again: "still a possible stud?" Sure. But I assume we're talking about if the likelihood of his outcome on his talent distribution has shifted, at this point in time, and I think the answer has to be yes, because of conditioning at the very least -- he's not a shortstop at this point, which is only part of the profile change. There's still a boatload of talent in there, but this is why the Miggy comps on 15-year-olds are dangerous.

To make a larger point here, this is why BP doesn't tend to get into ranking guys we haven't see stateside in our offseason Top 10s or the 101 and it's why we're cautious about it when we do. Sometimes that goes wrong (Vladito not on the 101 entering last year) but we were also more cautious than most with Maitan's ranking on the 101 then (100th overall), and someone like Robert entering this year. We see and hear as much as we can, but we're also going to be honest about it when we don't have the goods on a guy just yet.

Your Friend, D.J. (Boston): Craig, I'm moving soon, want to give my friends dibs on any belongings before I sell them to strangers on the internet. Is there anything you'd like? Maybe the Keurig?

Craig Goldstein: I'm a freshly ground coffee guy, myself Deej. And shouts to our reader who shipped the fantasy team some Intelligentsia. That is the top-notch stuff and it is powering me through this chat.

Ryan (Pittsburgh): Lolo Sanchez's numbers look... awful. Conceding that "giving up" on a prospect can always look bad later, is he the type of player you churn off your roster in dynasty in favor of someone whose stock is trending upward?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, absolutely. I think you can always keep in mind what made a guy interesting in the first place, but in terms of fantasy, the tail end roster spots should absolutely be open to churn.

John (CA): I've heard a lot about Nick Madrigal as the top fantasy prospect in the class. But I'm finding it hard to get TOO excited about him from a fantasy angle, especially in a points league where his steals might not be quite as valuable. I kind of get a Dansby Swanson vibe with Madrigal. Am I missing the boat on Madrigal?

Craig Goldstein: excellent hitter with gap power and plus speed. I think he is a better speed guy than Swanson but if you're in a league that doesn't value that then I guess I can see where you're coming from. I think he's a better pure hitter than Swanson was considered, though.

Martin Gardner (The Abyss): n Englishman (Mr Salmon), a Welshman (Mr Green), and a Scotsman (Mr Brown) met for lunch one day. One man was wearing a salmon tie, another was wearing a green tie and the third was wearing a brown tie. "Isn't it funny," said Mr Brown to the others, "that not one of us is wearing a tie which matches our name?" "That's true," agreed the man wearing the green tie. Can you now say what colour tie each man was wearing?

Craig Goldstein: Sure. Mr. Salmon is wearing the green tie because the guy answering Mr. Brown IS wearing the green tie and we know Mr. Green isn't wearing it. From there Mr. Green has to be wearing the brown tie, because we know Mr. Salmon and Mr. Brown aren't, leaving Mr. Brown to wear the salmon tie. Fun!

Keith (Buffalo): Keury Mella regaining his starting potential in the majors?

Craig Goldstein: The numbers are better but I'm still not really in on the profile. Seems like a nice groundball reliever to me.

Sean99 (Cincinnati): Should I be concerned about Francisco Mejia's rough start?

Craig Goldstein: Sure! Everyone who wants to be concerned can be concerned, but what're you gonna do with it, I ask you? It's a putrid start to a season from a consensus Top 20 prospect (we were the high guys at no. 5), but the talent didn't just evaporate. Maybe the playing all over the place is affecting his bat and maybe that's worth it to CLE because they know he'll get right once he gets comfortable elsewhere. Unfortunately for Mejia, Yan Gomes has been good enough to be playable with his defense, I guess.

Joey (Albany): What exactly is up with Chance Adams? He seems really out of whack.

Craig Goldstein: We've heard he's back into the mid-90s and the change is making incremental improvements. There was some elbow trouble that lingered into the season but he should be rounding into form here soon.

Sean99 (Portland): Is Jeff Hoffman finished? I see his K numbers are pretty robust this year.

Craig Goldstein: I'm not prepared to say finished, no. I'd like to see him walk fewer guys though, and it's disconcerting that given the success that Colorado has had with guys like Marquez, Freeland, and Gray, something hasn't clicked for Hoffman (yet).

Boris (Moscow): What does Kyle Tucker's ceiling look like?

Craig Goldstein: minor league apartments are usually pretty generic

Chris (MA): Here's another trade question like the other person asked. Before the year, I moved Tatis for Wright, Florial and Baz in a league where pitching can be very hard to acquire. Wright's numbers leave something to be desired and Florial's stats were down from last year in the FSL and then he got hurt. Was that a bad deal to begin with or a solid move gone awry?

Craig Goldstein: Nah I don't think you can make a statement like "gone awry" at this point. It's MAY. I know people get tired of hearing that but it's a long-ass season, people. Florial looked basically exactly like he was described heading into the season and that was toolsy with some notable flaws. Comparing the numbers from a partial season last year to a partial season this year isn't going to get us anywhere. He had 19 games in High-A last year. That cannot be any reasonable sort of benchmark to use as a comparison. Don't fall into these traps!

jwise224 (All Over the Place): Do you think there will ever be a time when Statcast data becomes available for the minors? I believe in MLB the data is owned by MLB, but in the minors, is the data owned by the affiliated organization?

Craig Goldstein: Hmmm. That's a tough one. I think we're going to get SOME information that statcast/other tracking systems record into the public view, yes, but probably NOT full data sets that can be parsed and manipulated. Even what we get from Statcast now is cordoned off in a lot of ways, and I don't really see the league trending towards more transparency in this effect, unfortunately. Given that MiLB data is team owned (though the league might have some rights, I don't know), I struggle to see a scenario where MLB teams are going to open up their data to the public. They're extremely private as it is.

Boris (Moscow ): last time I pop in here, thanks.

Craig Goldstein: Hey, come on, it's a long chat and we're just having some fun. Tucker has the ceiling of a first-division corner outfielder who can hit and hit for power. We wrote him up as such in the offseason Top 10s and the Astros entry is free for all to read: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/36096/houston-astros-top-10-prospects-forrest-whitley-kyle-tucker/

Kurt (Grissom WiFi): Lewis Thorpe a number 3?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think I'm ready to go there, no.

Kevin (Channahon): I'm really excited about Logan Allen. Should I be?

Craig Goldstein: Heck yeah. The Padres are so deep that it's easily to get lost in the shuffle over there but Allen is a talented arm who is doing a great job of missing bats as a 21-year-old in Double-A. He needs to rein in the walks a bit before he gets more recognition, but he's got the raw stuff for sure.

Mike (Ct): What's the right time to start worrying about a slow start for a prospect?

Craig Goldstein: A fair question given my rants from earlier, and the answer is likely to be a little frustrating, so I apologize but: it depends on how/why the struggles are taking place. We talk about the shape of production or outcomes, but there's a shape to struggling, too, and that matters when we're trying to determine a root cause. I think 3 months into the season is a good time to take stock and dive into the guys who are struggling to figure out where they're struggling and if there's a good reason for why it's happening.

Butch (Bronx): Clint Frazier hits 100 career homeruns in New York. True or False?

Craig Goldstein: I think he gets squeezed out, and ends up somewhere else, to be honest.

Catcher McCatchington (Behind Home Plate): Okay, since we're talking fantasy and catchers and catchers for fantasy, rank these non-Mejia prospects for dynasty purposes: Ronaldo, Knizner, Will Smith, Murphy, Melendez, Contreras, Collins, Nottingham, Varsho. Go, go, go!

Craig Goldstein: okay so some of this valuation depends on how soon you need the help, etc. but in a contextless environment: Melendez, Ronaldo, Varsho, Contreras, Collins, Knizner, Smith, Nottingham

Holly (Dallas): Fuck/Marry/Kill House Hunters edition: hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances

Craig Goldstein: NOW we're getting somewhere:

F: Granite Countertops
M: Stainless Steel Appliances
K: Hardwood floors

Jack (Los Angeles): I call Seranthony Dominguez "Sir Tony" - I think it's a good nickname. That's all.

Craig Goldstein: It's no Childish Bambino, Jack.

jd (somewhere): 15 team, keep forever (40 man rosters), with escalating salaries each year. 6x6 roto (BBs and Holds extra cats). With Hanley getting DFA'd, should I drop Dexter Fowler ($21) for Mitch Moreland ($1)? Fowler has been atrocious and is my 7th best OF (Betts, Soto, Cutch, Peralta, Ozuna, Kepler), and I need AVG.

Craig Goldstein: Sure that seems fine given the price disparity, though I can't really imagine you holding onto either guy for an extended period of time.

Tom (GA): Buy or sell: Riley is the 3B for Atlanta by the ASB?

Craig Goldstein: Man. I don't think I'll go by the ASB, but 2H wouldn't surprise me.

Ben (MN): He was repeating AA but has Nick Gordon exceeded expectations this year?

Craig Goldstein: Absolutely. He actually displayed an ISO for once in his life, and he didn't while chopping his whiff rate a ton. That's a combination that is sure to grab your attention. I don't know that it has *moved* expectations significantly just yet (the "it's May" corollary applies to guys performing well, too) but to say he's exceeded them is just a factual statement.

YourJewishMom (Herethereandeverywhere): Still wondering but not asking...often.

Craig Goldstein: My mother is far too Online.

Tom (NY ): Do you think we are seeing the real Brandon Nimmo right now, and should I be excited?

Craig Goldstein: Addressed Nimmo earlier on in the convo, but didn't want you to feel ignored. Ctl+f and you should find your answer.

Ned (Florida): What the heck happened to Lucas Giolito?

Craig Goldstein: Last year was smoke and mirrors. The stuff hasn't been there for a while now, and never got back to what it was pre-surgery. BP's reports in the minors built in some of the pre-surgery quality with the assumption he could get back there, because it looked like that's where it was progressing, but he never quite did. The curveball still looked nasty and was getting swings and misses in Double-A when I saw him, but the fastball was topping out at 94 even then, and he was spiking the curveball when getting those whiffs, without locating in the zone. It can be dangerous to make firm judgments off of one look like that, but looking back the lack of being able to throw the breaker consistently for strikes should have been a tip off, and the fastball was no longer elite enough to miss bats consistently at the highest level. You have to have something to keep hitters honest with, and right now he doesn't.

John (Oakland): Jorge Mateo still a top fantasy prospect? How about for Ottoneu, points style leagues (iow, is he going to offer more than steals)?

Craig Goldstein: I'd give him some time to adjust to Triple-A before panicking, but his main value is in steals and he's not going to be very valuable in that type of format.

Graph Fan (Reddit): Actually, Craig, the ASB isn't the start of the true seco *STABBED TO DEATH*

Craig Goldstein: Hey man we're just at the quarterpole of the season, let's all take a breath

Ashley (NH): If not Madrigal who is the top fantasy hitter in this year's class? Bohm?

Craig Goldstein: Probably Bohm, with Gorman and maybe Kelenic and Swaggerty in the mix? if you want an off-board answer, Jenista might be end up there.

Alex (Pilsen): Were we all a bit too high on Michel Baez?

Craig Goldstein: Nah, he's a beast in my opinion. The stuff plays, but the Cal League is tough and it's early days. I think he adjusts.

bg (Seattle): Which Reds pitcher do you like most going forward?

Craig Goldstein: "Which neurotoxin do you most enjoy?"

Tyler Mahle, I guess at the MLB level. I've never been a Castillo guy (the stuff is great but the command worries me, and I think it's tough when your swing-and-miss pitch is the changeup).

Minors? I like Tony Santillan a bit.

Nick (ME): When should we expect Brett Sayre's fantasy rankings for the draft?

Craig Goldstein: When you spell his name with one t.

But a week after the draft, per the man himself.

Jack (Los Angeles): I know the Morales vs Vlad debate is very in right now, but how about Danny Jansen vs Russell Martin? Do you think there's any way the Jays start playing Jansen close to everyday before the end of Russ's deal?

Craig Goldstein: Yep. I think they're going to have to, because I'm skeptical Martin remains on the team if he's not willing to take a hit to his playing time heading into next year. There's no reason to make this a Yadi/Carson Kelly sitch (especially since Yadi can still hit)

Jeffery (Wisconsin): I'm worried about Nick Senzel. Where does he play in Cincinnati and will Vertigo plague him forever?

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't worry about finding him a position. Either he or Suarez can shift to 2B and the Reds would live with it. I can't answer the vertigo question from afar, unfortunately.

John (ID): You said it's May but I always thought Memorial Day was the earliest time to start worrying or getting truly excited about a spects start?

Craig Goldstein: Addressed this a little earlier but there's no set date for when you can start to worry or get excited. Sometimes the context dates back to a change that started last season, and an early start can credibly inform those insights. Sometimes it's variance. There's no magic bullet here, and I suggest we as a community stop searching for one.

Tom (NY ): Thank you, I did realized this after I submitted my question. The response is appreciated. Another question for you. With the way Gsellman has looked so far this year, and taking into account his injury last year, would you say what he has shown so far helps justify his spot as the 17th best prospect on the 2017 101 list?

Craig Goldstein: Ha, I'm not sure anything is really going to go about justifying that unless he starts flashing no. 2 starter ability again, but yeah, it's nice to see he's not the guy he was last year, if that's what you mean.

It's the nature of the game but this is a good example of why lists are tough. They're snapshots of where prospects are at a given time. Gsellman close 2016 with more velocity and an amped up breaking ball than he had shown before, and it had been a steady increase in terms of quality on those pitches over time, so it was easier to buy into, and also fit an organizational mold in that sense. None of that is going to make us right, in retrospect, but if you're wondering how a seemingly out-there ranking happens, there's usually some solid context to it all (and yes all the things I've said about sample size and things bearing out apply to situations like this too, but sometimes you have to make a call, and sometimes that call is wrong).

justarobert (Santa Clara): Do we have a coherent narrative behind Brinson's dreadful start, beyond "232 MLB PAs...he'll adjust eventually?"

Craig Goldstein: Well, I'm going to say that striking out 32% of the time and walking 4% of the time is a "problem." I don't think it's a given he adjusts eventually. This was always the concern about Brinson, and one he had done a good job allaying on his way up the chain, but one that would make us all uncomfortable when it came to ranking season. He is still the boom/bust type and I think his previous adjustments can lend some hope to the idea he rebounds, but he's swinging at pitches out of the zone 7 percentage points more than the league average and his z-swing% is 12 percentage points UNDER the league average. That's an absolutely brutal combination.

Jason (St. Charles): Is Aaron Sanchez a reliever eventually?

Craig Goldstein: I'll go with yes, and I don't mean in 8 years, but probably more in the context of say... the next 3.

cracker73 (Heliot Ramos): Heading into this season Heliot Ramos was compared to Jo Adell by some. So far this season Adell looks like the better prospect. Is Ramos still highly thought of by scouts?

Craig Goldstein: I'll link to this very ten pack for the second time in this chat, but I think David Lee did a great job of summing Ramos up at this point: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/39228/monday-morning-ten-pack-april-16-2018-heliot-ramos-sixto-sanchez-vladito/

I don't think the comparisons to Adell were really in earnest, but they were the most tools-laden hitters out of the draft at that point, so I get why they were made. Ramos is definitely still well-liked, but he was always considered fairly raw.

Full Monte (UK): I know you have been a Monte Harrison guy for a while now. You still believe in him as a OF3 or so in a 15 teamer?

Craig Goldstein: Sure do. I think Double-A was always going to be a stumbling block for him to engage with, and why the missed dev time because of injuries was always a downer. He can't continue swing and missing this much, but I also think he's got a chance to figure it out. It is just gonna take a little time.

It’s me it’s me it’s DDP (The Jersey Shore): Why is everyone going all diamond cutter about Kyle Wright? He’s an above-average Double-A pitcher less than a year into his pro career? FEEL THE BANG

Craig Goldstein: well, because "above-average in Double-A" doesn't really cover the same ground for different pitchers. He was a no. 5 overall pick and people are going to put certain expectations on that. That said, one gets the sense that if he was torching High-A instead of being merely solid at Double-A, I wouldn't be receiving these same questions.

Tom (NY ): Okay, I'd say that is plenty fair to say. A follow up question. Would you share your thoughts on the nickname, The Childish Bambino?

Craig Goldstein: As it's progenitor I'd say it's fantastic and we should all be using it all the time, especially to Jeffrey Paternostro.

nschaef (NYC): Have you seen anything to explain Stripling's improvement this year or is it just decent pitcher doing well over a few starts?

Craig Goldstein: The overall numbers are a little skewed because he had some good relief outings too, but he's still be really impressive as a starter. I think the curve has looked pretty sharp, but overall it's probably more the decent pitcher doing well over some starts than something substantial. He's a solid back-end rotation piece, and is generating great value for a former fifth-round selection.


Craig Goldstein: Hi Liam

Christin Stewart (Not-yet-Detroit): Saw a Khris Davis comp for myself recently. Does that fit?

Craig Goldstein: Hmm. I don't hate it from a statline production standpoint though I don't think he'll be the OBP drag that Davis was for a bit there. I am also curious to see how this reduction in strikeouts continues to play out, because it's a fair explanation for the better batting average thus far this year (and encouraging that his walk rates have remained stable thus far).

chansen8895 (San Jose): Who are your favorite non top 101 prospects so far this season? Arm and a Bat?

Craig Goldstein: I've loved what I've heard on Paddack as an arm (he's kinda re-emerging more than pop up, but still) and I've been into Calvin Mitchell on the bat side.

Charlie (Sunnyvale): Who are your favorite pop up arms so far this season? Jalen Beeks and Denis Santana come to mind.

Craig Goldstein: I mentioned Paddack just before, but guys like Suarez who was mentioned earlier in the chat...Francisco Morales and Spencer Howard from Philly. Bryse Wilson in Atlanta. Oh and speaking of Atlanta, we need to be talking about Touki Toussaint like we used to.

Eric (Atlanta): I'm baffled by Akil Baddoo. A strikeout rate above 30% and a walk rate above 20% puts his three-true outcome rate in Joey Gallo territory, but he's doing it without much power. What do you make of his unique prospect?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah it's been a real weird situation for Baddoo, and I'm not sure I'd qualify it as a positive despite the uh, healthy, walk rate. I expect things to normalize going forward.

Mark (San Antonio): Has Corbin Martin changed his stock enough with his performance so far this year to be a top 101 consideration next year?

Craig Goldstein: I haven't really heard significant buzz beyond the results. I think he was pretty well liked out of the draft and this only secures that viewpoint a bit, but nothing specifically has been mentioned in terms of adjusting his ceiling just yet. Or if it has, I haven't heard it, which doesn't mean it hasn't been mentioned.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Will the next episode of TINO feature a Mazara or Ma Online segment? (As an aside, I had no idea that Mookie is Markus Lynn Betts.)

Craig Goldstein: I will probably endeavor to mention my Mom and her Online-ness less often going forward, and mention Mazara more, but I suppose anything is possible.

cracker73 (Florida): Thanks for the GREAT and LONG chat!,,

Craig Goldstein: Glad you've enjoyed it, but we're running up on 3 hours and 100 questions, and I need to get some tacos in my life. So let's call it an afternoon, shall we? There's baseball on anyway.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks for joining me for the chat everyone, hope you all have a great holiday weekend. Let's do this again soon.

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