Scooter is an author of Baseball Prospectus, and member of the BP Fantasy Team.
Scooter Hotz: Hey! Let's see how this goes with both cats staring at me because I haven't given them dinner yet.
Kevin (Minn): Thoughts on Alex Kirilloff?
Scooter Hotz: I wrote a brief thing on him in this column:
He seems to have as much or more helium than anyone. He's flying up prospect rankings compared to where he was before the season started. He's making contact, drawing walks and hitting for power. He should be in Double-A next season at age 21, which is excellent. If you're in a league with minor league rosters and you can pick him up now, do it and avoid the rush next spring.
ares1800jr (SanAntonio): Whats the likelihood that Bieber becomes a top 25 pitcher in the next 2-3 years?
Scooter Hotz: Certainly possible, but he'll probably have to increase his strikeout rate a bit without hurting his excellent control to get there. I like him a lot, though, especially in 4x4 leagues where K's don't matter.
Andrew (Springfield): Who is the prospect you love that people aren't talking enough about?
Scooter Hotz: Well, it can't be Alex Kirilloff because everyone's talking about him. I'm tempted to say Carter Kieboom, a guy I love, but I don't think he's much of a secret at this point either. I'll go with AJ Puk, a guy who was dazzling and knocking on the doors of the big leagues when he hit the sidelines for Tommy John surgery. If he comes back and is roughly the same pitcher, he could make an impact in the majors fairly quickly.
Adalberto Mondesi (KC): How much do you believe in me?
Scooter Hotz: Even though it seems like you've been around for a long time, you're still only 22, so you could still get better at the whole hitting thing. Your good defense will keep you in the lineup and get you a lot more chances than an average defender would get, which is also nice. And you steal bases, which is getting harder and harder to find in fantasy. But man, you strike out a lot for a guy with no power, and you don't draw walks, either.
Lou (Tacoma): Is Max Muncy for real? How would you value him in a dynasty league?
Scooter Hotz: He's mostly for real. He's obviously on the hot streak of his life and that won't continue, but you could say that about most players hitting at his current level. I think his defense will end up being the binding constraint on him. The Dodgers don't love playing him at third and like him at second even less. He's probably best at 1B defensively, which puts more pressure on his bat.
Carlito (Upper West Side): hey man why u gotta chat at 8 PM?!
Scooter Hotz: Why not? I have a day job, man. Gotta keep the house stocked with seltzer and cat food.
Actually (Atlanta): Okay but really, where did JB Wendelken find two full ticks on his fastball? He hasn't even thrown his change-up this year, and that was his best pitch before TJS.
Scooter Hotz: Pitchers can make these huge leaps forward when they find a mechanical change or a new pitch that just slaps. I'm not a scout, and I don't know what change Wendelken made (if any, besides having TJ surgery). Sometimes Rich Hill starts throwing his curve a lot more and becomes RICH HILL or Mike Scott learns a splitter and becomes MIKE SCOTT.
Granted, those are the exceptions. In Wendelken's case, his continued success probably relies on his ability to keep the walks down, which is no guarantee. Strikeout stuff is strikeout stuff, though, and he definitely has strikeout stuff.
Chansen8895 (San Jose): whats your opinion of Adam Haseley form a LT persepctive?
Scooter Hotz: Probably a fourth outfielder at the major league level. He's kind of a tweener offensively, not really a speed guy or a power guy. He could become a guy who consistently hits for average, but he's not there yet and that's a tough skill to bet on. Just ask Jeremy Reed and Sean Burroughs.
Rays Fan (Tampa, Florida): What can you say on Brent Honeywell right now? What does his future hold?
Scooter Hotz: I liked him a lot before he had Tommy John surgery in February, and as of last week, his recovery was going well. Tampa's unconventional starting pitcher deployments and the fact that he's coming off major surgery might keep his innings total in 2019 low enough to seriously limit his value, even if he's ready for Opening Day. I still like him a lot long term.
Tom Hagen (The Hot Stove): In a keep forever dynasty league (20 teams), I've got a major trade brewing. Team A is a rebuilding/reloading team with Aroldis Chapman, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Hader. Team B is a perennial contender looking to plug some holes owning Nomar Mazara, Shohei Ohtani, and Casey Mize. Think these teams can line up with a fair deal, or is there two much value disparity?
Scooter Hotz: A lot of it depends on the trading culture in the league. Most leagues have an exchange rate that is the rough baseline for deals like this, and the exchange rate isn't just a function of the league's parameters. Something could probably get done, but Mize probably isn't a #1 and Mazara and Ohtani have a fair number of question marks. Team A could probably get a better keeper asset or two than anyone that Team B has.
bob m (philly): Can Garrett Cooper be a starting player when he comes off the DL----how high is his ceiling in your opinion?
Also, what are your thoughts on Nick Kingham and his potential? Thx.
Scooter Hotz: I'm not too optimistic about Garrett Cooper's outlook in fantasy. Given his re-injury, there's a good chance that he won't play in a major league game again until next season, when he'll be 28. Bat-only first baseman with 83 plate appearances under their belt at age 27 usually don't tur into anything useful in roto.
I like Nick Kingham. There's no obvious hole in his profile and he could be good in a great pitcher's park for several years.
Jim (Chicago): Is Luis Garcia the next great SS prospect that we are overlooking? He is performing well at high A at 18.
Scooter Hotz: I don't think anyone's overlooking him. He's having a great season and he isn't flying under the radar. The BP prospect team ranked him # 33 in their midseason prospect rankings. Most folks have noticed how good he has been in 2018.
Charlie (San Jose): What are you doing with Michael Conforto at this point in the season? Do you think his long term trajectory has substantially changed with his struggles?
Scooter Hotz: I think his struggles are entirely attributable to (1) not being fully healthy and (2) the way his organization has jerked him around. Those seem like problems which should get solved, but both issues are likely to prevent him from reaching his ceiling as long as he stays in the Mets organization. There might not be a player in the majors who would benefit more from a change of scenery than Conforto.
Mark (Chicago): Can Brent Rooker be Khris Davis?
Scooter Hotz: Probably not. Looks like he has less power but would hit for similarly low averages in the bigs.
Loria (Milwaukee): Who gets excess value in a dynasty league (keep forever)
Side A: Rosario (OF-Min), Dozier, McHugh
Side B: Starlin Castro, Mike Montgomery, Hirano and Seth Beer??
Scooter Hotz: Fair, yes. I like Side A more, though, and it's not particularly close.
Jimminy (Cricket Land): Thoughts on Gohara moving forward? I was so bummed with his diminished velocity and I wonder if I should lower my "high-end SP3" dreams.
Scooter Hotz: I'm worried about him. Pitchers can break your heart man. They take big steps back a lot more frequently than they take big steps forward. Sometimes it seems like we're torturing ourselves playing fantasy and/or caring about baseball.
Loria (Milwaukee): I have a plethora of OF in a league where promoted prospects are "free keepers" for 3 years after they lose status.... I will promote Soto and Acuna next year, so I have to move one of Trout, JDM, Upton, or Mazara (1 more free yr). I need to get upside pitching. What level SP is a fair ask for Upton or Mazara? Alternatively, shouldn't a free Soto or Acuna basically get me almost any Ace??
Scooter Hotz: For Upton or Mazara, maybe Marco Gonzales or, if you're lucky, Carlos Carrasco.
Soto or Acuna should get you a lot, but the paucity of true aces makes teams hang on to them more fiercely than a strict valuation would suggest. Which is fair - nothing wrong with boosting someone's value up a bit due to the scarcity of their skill set and their reliability.
AJ (Phoenix): 20-Team Keep Forever Dynasty: Bryce Harper, Carter Kieboom, Rd 1 pick, Rd 2 Pick (2-round draft, 40 picks total) for Juan Soto, Josh Hader, Shohei Ohtani (pitching version). Team getting Harper side is in the bottom 3, team getting Soto side is in top 5, fair deal?
Scooter Hotz: Fair, yes. I like the Harper side more despite my love of Juan Soto.
Chris L. (Oregon): Got to a sell high for the second half? And why?
Scooter Hotz: Nelson Cruz and Asdrubal Cabrera are both sell-high candidates. They both have hit well and there's no reason to think their performances are fluky. They're both older, though, and they've both dealt with a series of nagging injuries over the course of the season. Those nicks and knocks add up, especially for players on the wrong side of 30.
Loria (Milwaukee): I need a closer to go for a flag in a dynasty, 20 team league. I received Kimbrel on a sell low of Ozuna. (other OF are JDM, Nimmo, Eddie Rosario & Polanco).
Scooter Hotz: Yes, it seems fair. Nice job addressing a need from a position of strength.
Jeremy (SD): Thoughts on Jeff McNeil? How soon does he contribute and what do you expect from him?
Scooter Hotz: It's hard not to like his minor league stat line. His Triple-A numbers were inflated by the park and the league, but his Double-A numbers were great, too. He's old for a prospect at 26, but it seems like he can hit. The big question is whether the Mets will leave him alone and let him play to see what they have, or play him sporadically chasing matchups to try and catch the Marlins and move into fourth place in the NL East for some reason.
CJ (Boston): Heard any recent takes on Astros SP Tyler Ivey? He's had success everywhere he's pitched thus far. Any change in stuff or outlook from preseason?
Scooter Hotz: That's a question that BP's prospect staff could handle better than me. I'm not a scout. That said, he's 22, he's in Low-A and he tops out in the low 90s. That makes him a long shot, regardless of the stat lines he's putting up.
Dusty (Colorado): Can you give me a quick outlook on Twins superstar prospect Wander Javier, his timeline, upside, and profile?
Scooter Hotz: The error bars are too big right now to guess at that. He has played 41 games as a professional, all in rookie ball. He suffered a season-ending injury in May, so nobody will see him play in affiliated ball until next spring. He turns 20 this offseason. He's a wait-and-see guy for me.
Dustier (Oklahoma): Wander Franco is really gaining some helium. He's been compared to Juan Soto by some. What do you think his upside is?
Scooter Hotz: He's 17 and raking while playing SS, so I guess his ceiling is Xander Bogaerts. 17-year-olds in rookie ball have a long way to go before they become Xander Bogaerts, though. I like him more than Wander Javier, who you also asked about, FWIW. Scouts seem to think that there's a good chance he won't stick at SS, so don't count on him playing there in the majors. He's young enough that we're not even sure how tall he'll be or what his body will look like in the majors. The Juan Soto comp seems generous. And odd, since Soto was a lefty corner outfielder. It's usually not a great idea to make comps to guys like Soto who reach the majors as teenagers and seem like they belong from day one. That's just an unrealistic bar to set.
Loria (Milwaukee): 12 teamer where everyone keeps 7 and players are free keepers for 3 years after promotion.
I will be promoting Acuna and Soto next year and want to clear OF space. Is a swap of back end keepers JUpton (mine) for Donaldson a potential buy low for next year? Fair value?
Scooter Hotz: I'd prefer the Donaldson side to the Upton side since Donaldson has the potential to contend for an MVP award. Granted, he's a much bigger downside risk as well. It's fair, though.
Joe (AL): Who are the top 5 shortstops to you in a dynasty format?
Scooter Hotz: Lindor, Baez, Bregman (if he retains eligibility), Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner
On the prospect side, I love Carter Kieboom. I like Bo Bichette's bat a ton, but I think he'll end up at 2B. Wander Franco is interestig but very young and a ways away.
Scooter Hotz: We did it, everyone! The queue is empty. Thanks for all the questions - we had a great batch of them tonight. Time to give the cats their dinner.