Rob is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
Rob Mains: Welcome to the official Flag Day chat! We're holding it this year on Flag Day. Apology in advance: my laptop's in the shop, and my substitute is slow, so this may be a little draggy. Let's go! It's Flag Day, after all!
Dusty (Colorado): Buy or sell Wander Javier as fantasy's top SS within 10 years from now.
Rob Mains: Dusty has a long and established history of asking Wander Javier questions. I have a long and established history of not knowing anything about prospects or fantasy. Sorry, Dusty! Besides, he's hurt, right? I think he is.
Brian (Chicago): Next best 2b and SS prospect?
Rob Mains: Brian, that is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
Ben (SD): Bobby Witt Jr the next can't miss prospect?
Rob Mains: OK, Ben, this is how inept I am at prospects: I had to look him up. I did not know Bobby Witt had a kid. Or one who played ball. And is still in HIGH SCHOOL, fer crying out loud. Anyway, that, too, is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
Eric (NYC): Bobby Witt JR - Special Talent?
Rob Mains: Same answer as for Ben.
Cameron (Denver): What low level DSL prospects do you have an eye on?
Rob Mains: You guys. I said in my tweets that I don't know from prospects. I write two-three articles per week here. None are ever about prospects. Cameron, that is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
John (California ): What do you expect from Gohara the rest of the year and next year?
Rob Mains: OK, gonna take a break from questions that I can't answer...Here's the thing about Gohara. He used to be a ground ball pitcher. He isn't anymore. GB% in Gwinnett 43% last year, 36% this year. GB% in Atlanta...yeah, small sample...37% last year, 20% this year. Yeah, you can get away with that if you keep the ball in the park, because all those air balls naturally suppress BABIP, but I have a hard time believing that low HR rates are sustainable in the game today. So for me to feel better about him, I'd want to see either more ground balls OR a lot more strikeouts. Balls that don't get hit don't leave the park. Oh, and walks! He has too many of those, too. To answer your question, FIP and DRA like him more than ERA so far this year. I'd expect 'em all to converge--better ERA, but higher FIP and DRA. I'm not sold him yet. Something's gotta get better.
Chad (CALI): Jo Adell the next Ronald Acuna?
Rob Mains: OK, true story. When Acuņa first got called up, I tried to convince somebody that there should be a tilde above the n. It doesn't show up that way here or at a lot of websites. Has to do with the limitations of various editors and search engines. But trust me, it's spelled A-c-u-n with a squiggly line above it-a. Anyway, I couldn't convince the person. Eventually, somebody else was able to do it. But I couldn't. Point is: I am so hopeless about prospects that I couldn't even get somebody to spell the guy's name right. Anyway, Chad, that is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
Sam (NJ): Next Big Prospect to make big jump like Acuna did last year?
Rob Mains: It may or may not be somebody with a ņ in his name. Incidentally, if you're on a Windows machine with a keypad, alt-164 will produce the n-with-a-tilde character for you. To your question, Sam, I assume you're asking what prospect can rocket from the low minors to a competent role in the majors? That is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
Max (Boston): Biggest prospect on the rise in rankings this year?
Rob Mains: I know I seem like a jerk, referring everyone to Jeffrey's chat tomorrow, but really, I don't know prospects, and that's almost everything that's in my queue, sorry. Max, that is a fantastic question to ask my pal Jeffrey Paternostro during his chat at 1 PM EDT tomorrow. Here's a link so you can submit the question to him: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1484
Rob (California ): In a keeper league, would you rather JesÃšs Luzardo or Casey Mize?
Rob Mains: Hello, fellow Rob. I really don't know fantasy either--I mean, I'm in a couple leagues, but let's say you would welcome me into your league given how well I'm doing this season--and I don't understand your question, I think. I mean, I know what a keeper league is. I'm in a couple. But why on earth would you keep guys who aren't in the majors? I don't know this well enough, I'm afraid. Let me say this about Luzardo--my friend Martin Alonso, who writes at BP and plays a big role in BP Espaņol, is Peruvian, so I like Luzardo. And hats off to you, Rob, for getting the accent right in his first name. But to answer your question--I am pretty sure that Mike Gianella has a chat coming up. This would be a good question for him.
Joe Joe (IA): 12tm Roto dynasty in 1st By a point right now but avg is terrible. Would you trade Harper and Story for Machado and Yelich? Worried about giving Harper away in a dynasty and his avg has to have positive regression coming right?
Rob Mains: Joe Joe, as I just said to Rob, asking me fantasy questions in fraught. Not my expertise at all. But as for Harper's BA: His BABIP is .213 so far this year. TWO FREAKIN THIRTEEN. Here are the guys with the eight lowest BABIPs, minimum 200 PA: Fowler, Sanchez, Brinson, Kinsler, Duvall, LoMo, Carlos Gomez, Harper. A few of those may be stick-a-fork-in-them candidates, but Harper's not one of them. Absolute regression candidate. Nothing in his past suggests a BABIP anywhere near that low. (This assumes health, of course.) Good question for Mike's chat, though.
Chansen8895 (San Jose): Is Ross Stripling for real?
Rob Mains: Dude, how'd they let you sneak in here with an actual current baseball question? When you see someone who's changed a lot, you have to ask, (1) what's changed and (2) is it sustainable. For Stripling, we're looking for nearly 2 more whiffs per nine, 0.7 fewer BB/9, and 0.4 fewer HR/9. What *hasn't* changed is is GB%, and his BABIP is a bit *higher.* So it's probably something to with his pitches. He's throwing his change a bit more, his slider a bit less, and that help; he's gotten a lot of whiffs and weak contact off the change. His curve has been fantastic; 17% whiff rate, almost no slug at all on contact (.152). My hesitation in calling him for real is a matter of workload. He pitched 74 1/3 last year, 100 the year before. He's already at 60, and he's had only 8 starts. I'd be surprised if he can keep up this sort of pace come September. But come September, the Dodgers will have fresh arms coming off their rotating DL, so it may not make a difference to the club. He's always had the potential to be a good pitcher. Great as this, though? Probably not sustainable.
Seth (NYC): Top 2019 Dynasty prospect for next year's draft?
Rob Mains: Seth, this is a good question for Jeffrey's chat OR Mike's! It is truly pathetic that my managing editor, Bret Sayre, is the founder of The Dynasty Guru, and I, one of his writers, literally does not know how Dynasty works.
Angry Mets Fan (Citi Field): What does Alonso have to do get a call up? Sheesh.
Rob Mains: First, let's see how he does at AAA. Second, a callup now would effectively be throwing in the towel on Dominic Smith, who (1) is younger and (2) has had only 190 (admittedly pretty ineffective) MLB plate appearances. Third, it ain't like the Metropolitans need him for the pennant drive. All that being said, the "no way will he play in the majors in 2018" talk is pretty dumb. If he puts up TAv in Las Vegas similar to what he did in Binghamton (and I'd focus on TAv, since you have to park adjust the snot out of anything in the PCL), he would at least warrant a September callup, right?
Mark (San Antonio): What prospect not yet in AA is best to stash in a dynasty league? Thank you!
Rob Mains: OK, you guys are trolling me now. Ask me about the 1968 season, or whether I prefer TAv to wRC+, or the proper serving temperature for red wine (probably cooler than you're used to)!
Ask Jeff (Tomorrow): How do you think this chat is going so far? Also, who is your favorite prospect? For fantasy purposes, of course.
Rob Mains: Honestly, Jeff, I enjoy these even when the questions illustrate my ignorance. Fun to hear from everybody, even if I can't answer your questions. (Here's one I can answer: Yes, definitely, buy a well-diversified no-load index fund rather than an individual stock unless it's absolute play money. And max out your 401K before you do anything else.)
Mike (Sacramento): Khalil Lee or Seuly Matias? Which prospect is better for a standard keeper league?
Rob Mains: You are kidding, right? If not, ask Jeffrey or Mike.
Montecristo409 (Michigan): Does anything in Scooter Gennet's history point to this level of production as being sustainable?
Rob Mains: Gennett's TAvs, starting in 2013: .308, .269, .233, .262, .299, .327. We can attribute some of the improvement to the air ball revolution; he's hitting fewer grounders than at any time since his rookie year. With good results, of course. And he's still only 28. (Doesn't he seem older?) His .397 BABIP is a red flag, though. That's not sustainable. But coming up on a year and half in Cincinnati, I think he's established himself as an above-average hitter at a middle infield position worth maybe three wins a year. That's not nothing. It's just not .341/.378/.550
svan (columbus, oh): you've posted about it several times and have me interested (although not interested enough to train for triathlons and find out in person) -- what does your suit look like? my mental image is a custom BP job, perhaps in cranberry.
Rob Mains: What svan is referring to a tweet I do the day before and the day of my races, in which I'll say, "If you're going to be at the [name of the race] triathlon, say hi. You will know me by my trisuit." Let's just say this--the reason I like Flag Day (I really do) is that I like to be able to wear flag-themed clothes without making a political statement. There was a time when wearing something flag-themed was way for left-leaning folks to poke a finger in the eye of right-leaning folks. Now it's turned the other way. On Flag Day, I can go for a ride in my flag jersey and a run in my flag shorts and not poke a finger in anybody's eye. That's good! Anyway, you can probably surmise from that discussion that I like logos. BP's, I think, is pretty cool. And it's a good color scheme! But like most trisuits, the dominant color's black.
Carl (Fresno): Do you see Kyle Tucker getting a call up soon? Should I be stashing him in my league? Once he graduates, who replaces him in the Astros top 10?
Rob Mains: Carl, I think you've gotten the drift that I'm not an prospects guy. But I do kinda know the Astros. Not enough to be able to help you with the Top 10--that's a Jeffrey question, ask him tomorrow at 1 PM--but I do at least know who Tucker is. I would not rule out a callup--when your second best OF is Tony Kemp, you have an issue, and that's nothing against Kemp--but Derek Fisher's been better in Fresno (granted, he didn't do so well in Houston), so I'd expect him to get called up next.
Uri (Israel): Great to know there's more triathlon dialogue than prospect dialogue on baseball PROSPECTus.
Rob Mains: See, Uri, my background's in finance, so I always viewed Prospectus in the financial sense, i.e., laying out a company's current operations, not where it'll be down the road. Some of BP's founders were notably, and admittedly, bad at prospects. I'm carrying on that tradition; my baseball strengths lie elsewhere. But between Jeffrey and Craig Goldstein, there's a prospects-oriented chat every week or two, and we have great prospects content on the site pretty much daily. Me, though, yeah, I know about triathlons, wine, and personal finance than I do about prospects. Y'all should ask me about baseball history, though. I'm really good at the 20th century game.
Felix (South Dakota): Who out of the last week's draft is going to be fast tracked to the majors? Preferably someone you think can hold fantasy value in a 14 team league.
Rob Mains: I'm going to give you what sounds like a flippant answer but is actually somewhat serious: Nobody's gonna be fast-tracked, because the most MLB-ready prospect, Mize, got picked by a team that absolutely positively has no use for him this year. As for holding fantasy value, you win.
Rob Mains: OK, with that, it's a wrap. Seriously, tune in tomorrow, same time, same station, for answers to all those prospects questions with Jeffrey, who really knows his stuff. Until then, celebrate Flag Day, don't poke anybody in the eye, and for crying out loud, walk/run on the left side of the road, not the right.