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Chat: Kevin Jebens

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday June 28, 2018 1:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Jebens.


Kevin is an author of Baseball Prospectus, and member of the BP Fantasy Team.

Kevin Jebens: Hi, all. I should be tackling a long, intensive project for work. So naturally, let's talk baseball instead!

Kevin (NYC): Dynasty thoughts on Nimmo?

Kevin Jebens: Yeah, he's solid enough. He always had at least some talent, particularly in taking walks. The surge in home runs is a bit surprising, and if that fades, then he's not as valuable. But I say he'd be in my top-50 for my three-year rankings come next year. I gave up a little too early on Conforto and don’t want to do the same with Nimmo.

giventofly1980 (Terre Haute, Indiana): Should we assume Nick Kingham is back up if Chad Kuhl hits the DL? Expectations for him for rest of season if he's able to stick ?

Kevin Jebens: Yeah, that makes sense. I'd like to see Glasnow in the rotation again, because of the strikeout upside, and at least Glasnow's improving his BB/9 from past years. But Kingham has had a nice handful of starts this season, and his ratios are good. If he sticks, maybe his ERA nudges up to above 4.00, but the SwStr% and first pitch strikes help his chances of keeping his K/9 gains.

Chansen8895 (San Jose): Do you have any thoughts on Mondesi from a LT aspect? Is there just fatigue because we saw him so young and hasn’t don’t much or are the tools just not what we’re expected?

Kevin Jebens: In terms of power and speed, those are still legit, with 15/35 upside. But contact and plate discipline issues are going to cap him in the short term, and maybe forever. He can't swing and miss as much as he does and still be successful. If you have very deep rosters and can stash him for a long time, I wouldn't write him off yet. But I really don't see any short-term value anytime soon.

Joey (CT): How would you rank Muncy in a keeper/dynasty league?

Kevin Jebens: Whether it's a legit breakout is always an issue in redraft leagues. For dynasty it's a whole new level. I'm buying on Muncy and throwing caution to the wind. His metrics mostly support the power production, even if he can't maintain a 30% HR/FB all year. His plate discipline is solid, and he gets a huge bump if you're in an OBP league. Do you give up a very reliable, known commodity for a potential star who may just as easily bust? Depends on your team needs and where your window of competition is, but I'll put him in the top-15 third basemen for next year, at least.

GFC (LA): I kept Encarnacion in a shallow keeper league last year, felt like an idiot early on, and now feel vindicated. Do I risk keeping him again if I don't find an obvious better pick?

Kevin Jebens: Well, he still has the power, sure, and RBI will always be there. But at age 36 next season, and with the average in decline, I'd definitely be looking to get younger. That is, unless you have 4 amazing long-term keepers, and he's the best “win now” piece you have for 2019.

beringstorm (Tacoma, WA): In a 20 team keep forever dynasty league: Juan Soto for Jake Snell and Jesus Luzardo. Currently have rights to the following outfielders Yelich, Schwarber, Acuna, Soto, Buxton, Robles, Adell, and L. Robert.

Kevin Jebens: I am a huge fan of Soto, and some of the BP staff wrote at the beginning of the season that they could see him jumping to the very top of a 2019 prospect list. Well, he is in the bigs now, and I am still very high on him. I realize you're dealing from depth in outfield, but I have a hard time moving him right now. Luzardo has nice upside, sure. I’m not familiar with a Jake Snell. Do you mean Blake Snell? It seems you need pitching help, and Snell seems capable of doing that. But I still don't love his walks (4.9 BB/9 in June). I would probably want a better established SP, if possible.

AJ (Boise): Even though Goldy's bouncing back, you'd still put Freeman at the top of the 1B next year, right?

Kevin Jebens: Absolutely. And if it's coming from me, an early doubter of Freeman reaching this level, then you know it's legit. He's established the .300 average, he's set a nice HR/FB (though the FB% is down a bit this year), and he's in his prime. It's not that often that you can bank on .300/100/30/100/10 from a first baseman these days.

Whit Merrifield (KC): How's my fantasy value now that I don't hit HR anymore?

Kevin Jebens: It takes a hit, sure. But he's on pace for maybe .280/10/35, and that's still valuable enough. His overall hard hit rate is up, though not on fly balls. He's making tons of line drive contact. So he's not a top-5 second baseman in 2018, but his floor is still pretty solid.

Go Giants (SF): Mac Williamson will be back this year, right? Will he pick it up again?

Kevin Jebens: I mean, he had a hot two weeks where he hit for average and hit a few homers. But his ground ball rate is going to cap any upside that his HR/FB seems to indicate is there. It was a flash in the pan, not even a Chris Shelton hot start to the year. Time to move on.

Hank (Portland): Trea Turner was supposed to be a superstar and often went in the first round for 2018 redraft. Am I crazy for feeling disappointed this year? What about his 2019 redraft value?

Kevin Jebens: There's still half a season to play, but yeah, if you expected a .300 average, 20 homers, and 60 steals, then you're going to be let down. That said, with Billy Hamilton collapsing this year, there's one fewer steals guy out there. Turner doesn't need a high BA to be valuable when he can steal 45+ bases. June has been disappointing, with a lower hard hit rate as he's lofted the ball more. But I wouldn't be surprised if Turner has a hot month and does flirt with 20 home runs. Next year, maybe he won't go in the first round, or at least the first half. But he'll be 25 with the potential for a 20/50 season, and that still means he should go within the top-20.

Brian Dozier (Min): I may not reach 25 HR this year, and my BA sucks again. Am I finished as a top 2B keeper?

Kevin Jebens: He's only 31 this year. His hard hit rate is up from last year. He's making more contact and not swinging out of the zone. But he's hitting more grounders, and his hard hit rate on fly balls (HHFB%) is down a lot, which may explain the lower BABIP and average. I'm more willing to say it's an off year for Dozier and not a "give up on him as a keeper," at least depending on your format and how many keepres you get. Given how many other question marks there are among the top preseason 2B (Cano, Murphy, Chris Taylor, Schoop), I'll stick with him a bit longer.

OAK fan (California): Khris Davis? Yay or nay moving forward?

Kevin Jebens: Legit 40-homer guy. The lower average hurts, but with a low LD% and so lower BABIP, that's to be expected. His HR/FB is down (27% to 22%), as is his HHFB% (54% to 45%). But he put up a .247 average for three seasons, so give him a mulligan if he is below that in 2018. He still helps a lot in the three roto counting categories.

Nats (DC): When does Strasburg end a season as the #1 SP?

Kevin Jebens: Never? Like Bryce Harper, it's safe to say that Stras has talent, and his floor may be high. But he has to stay healthy, and I just don't see this ever happening for him. He's not a bum, but I'll never pick him to go #1.

GoCubsGo (CHC): Is Hendricks likely to bounce back after an awful June?

Kevin Jebens: He doesn't have velocity, so he can't afford to have a walk rate over 5.0 and give up so many home runs. This is the third year where his K/9 and BB/9 are trending in the wrong direction. His BABIP says he's even been a bit lucky there. If -- a big if -- he solves the gopheritis and the walk issue, he can get back to being serviceable. But you definitely can't expect a return to 2017 form moving forward.

Ryan (WI): I remember when the fantasy magazines debated Johan Santana as the #1 overall pick. Now we're in an age of pitchers, with many going in the first round. Would you take Scherzer or Verlander as #1 next year?

Kevin Jebens: I'm still not sold on Verlander fully keeping this up. I'll take the guy who's been more consistently elite for the last several years. But would I take Scherzer over Trout? Not quite. Give me Trout and the #5 or #6 SP (Sale, Cole?), versus Scherzer and, say, Springer or Blackmon.

Jim (NY): 12 teams, 15 keepers, points, pitching important, at least 1 RP usually kept. It's safe to keep Kenley Jansen for another year, right? Next best RP is Ryan Tepera.

Kevin Jebens: Yeah, Jansen has been back to his old self for two solid months. I wouldn't worry at all for 2019 unless something else awful happens. But Tepera may be an interesting guy to keep too, if you need another RP. Rising GB% each month, and he's had a 1.5 BB/9 in 2 of 3 months. I wouldn't keep him over a really good SP, but definitely keep an eye on the rest of his season.

Kevin Jebens: Bit of a light week, questions wise. Guess I'm starting that long project after all... Thanks to those who participated!

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