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Chat: Wilson Karaman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday November 29, 2018 11:00 PM ET chat session with Wilson Karaman.


Wilson is a senior member of both the Baseball Prospectus fantasy and prospect teams.

Wilson Karaman: Why, hello there. Let's get some proper beats going and doing this thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeTHUl8mAqE

TheKernel (Pasadena, CA): Whose bat do you like better for the future -- Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani?

Wilson Karaman: That's an interesting pairing. Give me Soto, though. It's easier'n it should be to lose sight of just how radically awesome Soto's debut was, and given the performance at *19* I'll willingly sacrifice the added value of Ohtani's eventual return to the bump for the extra 4+ years of age advantage for Childish Bambino. I might hedge and re-think a bit in daily lineup league, but don't see my answer ultimately changing. Bat only it's Soto for me, though.

Rickey H. (Vegas): Whither Raimel Tapia?

Wilson Karaman: Unclear! As of today he's probably the clubhouse leader to start in center next year, but it's a long offseason. He is still to this point who we thought he was: a really good pure hitter with a little pop, some speed, shaky but workable defense. There's really no reason to waste him in AAA again, so you have to figure he at least garners an extended look at some point in the year, even assuming they bring in a veteran timeshare to hedge (or show no mercy and persist with Blackmon out there).

Jimmy (STL): Any thoughts on Jhon Torres? One of my early picks to absolutely rocket up rankings next year.

Wilson Karaman: <3

Vic (Baltimore): I have too many SSs (Mondesi, Rosario, Story) and no 2Bs for this year. I do have Hiura, but when does he become the full time 2B?

Wilson Karaman: A lot will depend on whether they non-tender Schoop or not, so I'd sit tight 'til the weekend at least to see where that shakes out. Either way, it's hard to see Milwaukee calling him until after Super Two, but come that time there'll be at-bats to be taken if Hiura's hitting. In a best-case you probably get 400 PAs, in the less ideal scenario you get 200-250? I'd at least look to turn a minor asset of yours into a playable vet you can run to start the year, and then play it by ear whether you need to trade for a bigger keystone piece during the season.

sykklone (IA): What is your opinion of Joey Bart? Thinking of trading up to 1-1 in dynasty to take him.

Wilson Karaman: Unless you're in a pretty deep two-catcher league the +/- for rostering minor-league catchers is just really, really shitty, regardless of who that catcher is. They have weird offensive growth trajectories, and even when they work out and turn into Buster Posey there just isn't that much separation between those elite top 2-3 guys in the league at a given time and the catcher you can draft or trade for in February. There were 3 catchers with a VORP over 30 last year, 1 over 40 (12 and 8 for 3B, for context). There were *10* catchers between 20 and 28. In 2017 there were 9-basically-10 in that range, too. That 4-14 bloc of catcher is going to be there, and you can win titles with any of 'em. All of that said, I still encourage you to trade up to 1-1 and grab a Dude, because that's just an s-m-r-t play.

Luis Rengifo (Angels 40-man ): What am I?

Wilson Karaman: You're a really nice young player! I pegged you as a very good utility guy, and you might be a little better than that! You probably need to catch breath at Triple-A next year, but you should ride a blue wave on into Orange County and sweep up some playing time at some point. My notes from April: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/39296/notes-field-april-18-2018-blue-jays-dodgers-rockies-angels/

I always have a soft spot for funky house party banger tunes like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsJfFL9OuA0

Norm (Great Frozen North): In a 16 team rotisserie style league, which of these are top 100 players? Max Muncy Brandon Nimmo Matt Chapman Jesus Aguilar Tim Anderson Jose Peraza Chris Taylor . CBS projections like Taylor (#83), but hate the rest (all greater than 200).

Wilson Karaman: I'd probably put Peraza at the top of that pile, followed by Chapman, Anderson, Nimmo, Muncy, Aguilar, Taylor. On true talent Muncy might be at the top of that list, but it's hard to see him garnering more than 400-450 ABs in LA's system, and that's a frustrating reality for weekly lineup-setters. Peraza and Anderson both get big bumps for their speed, and in the former's case it's enough to carry the day of these rankings.

Dan (Truckee): Hi Wilson, Tell me about a couple of young San Diego arms: Paddack and Patino.

Wilson Karaman: Luckily for you, we just wrote up both with extensive reports for our Padres Top 417 prospect list! My notes on Paddack are included, Jeffrey's got you on Patino: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/44557/2019-prospects-top-10-san-diego-padres-prospects/

randplaty (SD): Can you make a case for Tatis Jr above Vlad Jr due to defense? Or is Vlad's bat just that much better?

Wilson Karaman: I guess you could try, but no, Vlad's bat is just that. Straight up.

Jen dropped this into the BP Slack earlier, and I dig it. Sequined cowboy jackets FTW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUYaosyR4bE&feature=youtu.be

randplaty (SD): Is framing really worth much? If so, why are great pitch framers like Tyler Flowers signing for so little?

Wilson Karaman: Yes, flipping balls to strikes and ensuring marginal strikes are properly called significantly advantages pitchers within at-bats, and cumulatively adds a whole bunch of value to a team's likelihood of winning games over the long course of a season. Ben, as always, for a riveting testimonial: https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/9/21/17885820/pitch-framing-strike-zone-jorge-alfaro-tyler-flowers

martin r (Annapolis ): What kind of career do you project for Yusniel Diaz?

Wilson Karaman: I've long been a fan, wrote up his High-A adjustments in some depth a while back, and nothing's really changed in the profile since: solid all-around player, projects as a dependable regular, and particularly if you buy that there's some latent over-the-fence power to come it's a higher-likelihood 55 OFP.


Cubbie Bear (Chi-Town): Do you think MN is committed to moving Miguel Sano to 1B in the post Mauer era or is his defense so bad he’s possibly headed for a full time DH role?

Wilson Karaman: I'd pencil him in as their everyday 3B with 1B at-bats sprinkled in. It's his first year of arbitration, and while you figure the org has to be a lot lower on him now than they were, they might as well give it another go feeding him everyday reps at the hot corner before he starts costing real money.

Just...mmph. Yes please. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WEqr1zDq5s

RobertK (Los Angeles): What are your thoughts on prospects Jarred Kelenic and Luis Patino?

Wilson Karaman: See the Padres list for Patino, and Kelenic...well, he's apparently more popular with the Seattle front office than the new decision-makers in Queens, for one. I'm a fan, to the degree that I've never had a live look. He looks like a nice, well-rounded player from afar, and there are a lot of ingredients there that could come together and turn him into a really valuable player, potentially even a monster. He's young and extremely projectable, tools across the board. Everyone will learn a lot about him this year regardless of what franchise he plays his games for.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Andrew Miller to the Cubs seems like a no brainer, yes?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah Miller's one of the more interesting free agents for my money. Formerly elite reliever off a lost injury season into his Age 34 year. Should be something of a bellwether deal re: any recalibration of reliever values in this winter's market. Cubs make a lot of sense, Phillies'd make a lot of sense. Probably can't count the Cardinals out of the mix. This is, of course, all for-fun exercise, because the Yankees will of course inevitably swoop in and ink him to a 3-year low-AAV deal that everyone marvels at.

Rob (Alaska): Blatant fantasy question - had a good run with a dynasty squad that is showing some age. If I dangle Scherzer, what kind of prospect(s) package should I ask for in return?

Wilson Karaman: The best kind. Top ~7 prospect bat, top-35 or so sidekick, high-ceiling'd 3rd piece, solid draft pick is the formula for the floor you should be taking for a Scherzer over the winter.

I can't stress enough how much I enjoy this mix. One of my favorite songs of its day, and this is a spectacular riff on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LvHxd5n6O4

Derek (ATL): I realize the cost would be high, but so is JTR. I think the braves need a leadoff hitter that can play the OF. Instead of trading the prospects for JTR, I think trading for Marte in the OF would be great. lineup of Marte,ozzie,freeman,joshy D, Acuna would be amazing. Thoughts?

Wilson Karaman: The Braves *have* a leadoff hitter who plays in the outfield, and he happens to be one of the most dynamic and talented young players in recent baseball history. Marte's an interesting idea in theory, though you wind up with a lot of centerfielders (not the worst problem, but still) and 3-4 wins a year locked in at ~11 mil a year for the next three's not gonna come cheap for them to acquire, either. I'd expect pitching to be the focus if they go hard on the market from here. Bumgarner'd make some sense on the balance of his pretty dang affordable one remaining year, and would keep in kind with the Donaldson/McCann signings for '19.

Jose (St Paul): Thoughts on Connor Joe? Could the Dodgers regret not protecting him from rule 5 draft?

Wilson Karaman: I dig it, man, and TBD as to whether they'll regret it. I think he's a pretty attractive candidate for claim; he's been built in the image of Justin Turner and pulled it off with aplomb last year. Worth a shot for a second-division team to give it a shot and see what he's got at 26

Race Bannon (On the beach, with Jade): I've got a real good feeling about Jose Miranda, Mr. Karaman. Forget the High-A struggles at 19/20 years old. I believe he's going to hit the bejeezus out of the ball in another year or two. Good power/elite contact is a formula for success over the long haul. Might have some defensive value, too. Do you share my optimism? At least re the bat? Thanks for your time, sir!

Wilson Karaman: I can see it. It's more of a okay-across-the-board profile, and he's going to *have* to hit the bejeezus out of the ball to garner a look, cuz the glove's fine but not great. He'll be a guy to watch in that system, for sure.

Daaaaamn is this smoove: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyDpUhvZR5U

Jmor1717 (Right near da beach): Does Mejia play a full season behind the plate? If so, where does he fit in for fantasy catchers, top 5?

Wilson Karaman: Well, for one thing I'd caution against banking on "a full season" of at-bats from just about any catcher these days. I know Hedges has been bandied about as a trade candidate, but he's a Super 2 guy with 4 years of remaining control and a marginal arbitration number for at least the next two, so I'm not buying that scenario until it happens. Regardless, unless San Diego goes full Annie Wilkes and holds Mejia down in AAA for the vast majority of '19 a Super Two designation is more or less off the table for him, so they might as well see what they've got. I wouldn't expect more than a straight 50/50 split of playing time between the two in an absolute best-case scenario, and really Hedges has to be assumed as the majority guy. Maybe Mejia sneaks in a good number of at-bats from 3B/OF, but short of that his fantasy value isn't going to be the greatest unless his bat reeeaaally forces the issue. You can find plenty of comparable production off the wire in the meantime.

Dusty (Colorado): Thoughts on Wander Javier? What's his upside? 2018 Offseason edition (c)

Wilson Karaman: Yunno, I'm actually going to answer this earnestly for a change, and my answer is that none of us really know much more than we did this time last winter. Front shoulder surgery sucks for hitters, and so does an entire season of lost development.

Brandon (Mass): Will we see Dustin May in LA in 2019? Do you think he still has the potential to be a #2 or #3?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah, he should get to Chavez next year. I'm honestly not sure what to make of him as a starter longterm, but I buy it as long as it works. I think he's ideally suited for one of those soon-to-be-ubiquitous 2-3 innings 2-3 times a week roles teams are gravitating towards, but absolutely possible the stuff plays and holds to true starter caliber outcome.

Duhbear (VT): Any belief that Austin Meadows has turned a corner and the power surge in Tampa was real?

Wilson Karaman: It's never been about corner-turning with Meadows so much as staying on the field long enough to get down the block. He's always had decent (50 or 55) raw, and I wouldn't put *too* much stock into the results from a hot streak at Durham, but he's always had the talent to become a first-division player.

Kevin Kelsey (Chanahon): Is Kyle Freeland for real?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah, sure seems like it. The stuff/projection/pedigree's always been there, came together last year off a couple adjustments and a run of good health. Solidly above-average by cFIP and DRA, and that cutter's a gnarly anchor pitch. If he can figure out how to tease more empty swings out of the slider like he did in 2017 he can take a next step in 2019, too. I dig it, ballpark notwithstanding.

I can't stop with this track. Take a couple spins to really plant itself on your brain, and then it's there for months. Old Rhythm & Sound meets Wackies vibe but maybe even awesomer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRXxziE4zjE

Bearry (Woods): Talk to me about the Rays' many Lowes...

Wilson Karaman: Nathaniel's my kinda #beefy guy and was one of the best hitters in the minors last year (he was 5th by our shiny new dRC+ metric among all 776 High-A hitters, then 2nd at AA). I like Brandon a lot as both a real player in a perfect organizational context and as a sneaky AL-only/very deep mixed league play for 2019 fantasy leagues. Joshua's probably got the highest ceiling of them all, but offensive development is always tough to parse in the FSL. Wouldn't be surprised to see him jump more firmly onto radars this year, as there are a lot of nice tools there as well.

Mark (Los Angeles): Since you're a Dodgers fan. Is Connor Wong anything for a dynasty league? What under the radar prospects do you like in their system? Thanks.

Wilson Karaman: See my earlier answers re: catching prospects in dynasty leagues. I like Wong a decent amount as an IRL prospect. I'm a long-established Edwin Rios fan, I just can't help loving his bat despite its profile warts. Miguel Vargas is a guy I'm excited to see in a longer look at full-season pitching next year. Errol Robinson's a random guy with a weird swing who makes it work and seems to max out his physical talents. Might force his way into big-league utility reps with up-the-middle viability at some point. I always like those kinds of guys.

Dave (Springfield): Thanks for the chat, Wilson! I've seen a fair bit of ink spilled about Julio Rodriguez and Malcom Nunez in the DSL this year, and understandably so. The former is a great athlete, excellent bat, and the latter a good athlete, with maybe an otherworldly stick. But it feels like Joerlin De Los Santos is being overlooked. Stole 30 bases in 64 games while posting a 174 wRC+, and was young for his league at just 17. The only site where I've seen a scouting report, was critical of him for being too strong and having too much speed. (Yeah, I can't wrap my head around that critique either. Trout and Harper were like linebackers coming out of high school, and that didn't seem to bother anyone.) Do you have any De.L.S. insights? Thanks much!

Wilson Karaman: Honestly, not really. DSL stats'll get a guy marginally on my radar, but they're honestly pretty useless for predictive purposes. My interest is piqued by the physicality, but until outside of the deepest, darkest dynasty leagues around there's no reason to get your hackles up without stateside reporting for guys like him.

Angelfan114 (SoCal ): What players you most looking forward to seeing in the cal league next season? Which team is expected to have the best prospects?

Wilson Karaman: Lake Elsinore. Rinse and repeat, apparently in perpetuity. Arias, Campusano, Ornelas, Rosario, Ruiz, Gore, and Patino should all hit the coast during the course of the season. That system is absurd.

Also absurd: this tight-ass mix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xt8Mp8oWzc

Chasson (Moon): Austin Riley has to be pretty miffed about the Braves signing Donaldson, eh? Do we have to expect him to spend 2019 in AAA? Thanks1

Wilson Karaman: Eh, he could use the extra AAA time, it alleviates a super two crunch, and Donaldson's an elite but fragile player. There should be plenty of opportunity to get Riley his debut at-bats, keep JD fresh, and have everybody win. JD's one-year deal is kinda perfect, really.

Duhbear (VT): Peter Maris is a guy that I've been quite interested in recently. He's an undrafted MIF that's been old for his competition, but he's a LHH with developing power, speed, adequate defense, fly ball tendencies, and seemingly plus zone control. That feels like a major league profile. What's the catch?

Wilson Karaman: No catch. Those guys litter the minors and just have to keep on hittin' and doin' it on the field to force their way into PT. Lacking pedigree doesn't mean you can't do it, just means you gotta work that much harder for the chance to. He's a UC-Santa Barbara guy tho, so assume he'll get there.

Kurt (New Lenox): Is Freudis Nova worth a long term dynasty investment?

Wilson Karaman: Very much so, yes. He's a figment of your imagination right now and will be for a while, but he's a dude that could really take off dynasty value-wise next year.

Dreamy and delicious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8hUmNn9mQw

Chansen8895 (Santa clara): I know you’re just at the beginning of your offseason work but who are your favorite prospects to climb in 2019 for dynasty?

Wilson Karaman: Piggybacking, have touched on a couple already, but those big pop, flash-of-hit Low-A and Rk guys are my sweet spot: Jhon Torres, Julio Rodriguez, Kristian Robinson. I like Rocchio a lot in Cleveland, Wenceel in Detroit...among more established guys who may have flown under the radar a bit last year, I think Tristen Lutz has explosion in him, and Rooker will burn out the sun and kick the moon out the back door.

pro golfer Nacho Elvira (Montevideo): Not physically, but just in terms of offense/defense production, will Ke'Bryan Hayes be the next (1)Bill Mueller, (2)Clete Boyer, or (3)Brooks Robinson? Love that glove, and the bat looks just fine, too. Thanks, Wilson!

Wilson Karaman: Man, Bill Mueller's a great call there. One of my favorite little secret squirrel players of the era. I'll go with him on principle, also because it's an excuse to drop this sweet, sweet swing into the mix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlrlQ4qkZJ8

Sam (Lakewood): Thanks for the chat, Wilson. Am I crazy to think Gavin Lux is a top 12-15 overall prospect? Even if he moves off shortstop, the bat looks borderline elite to me.

Wilson Karaman: I'd temper that enthusiasm a bit, but I am also a big fan. I think he's much better suited to second, but that that's okay, he can be good there, and it won't ultimately matter too much because the bat is going to be very good.

Chansen8895 (Santa Clara ): Could you give us your thoughts on Brandon Marsh, Taylor Trammel and Ryan Mountcastle?

Wilson Karaman: Love Marsh, wrote about a bunch of adjustments he made in his time at High A here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/42239/notes-from-the-field-august-23/

Trammel's an awesome physical specimen, everything you want is there, now he's just gotta put it together. Mountcastle I have nothing clear-headed or rational to say about, mostly because he's an Orioles prospect and as an aficionado of #sensualbaseball I am overwhelmed by his name.

dtothew (Atlanta ): Just dealt Ozzie Albies for Adalberto Mondesi in a 14 tm h2h keeper. Thoughts?

Wilson Karaman: Mondesi's always been a tough guy to evaluate in terms of fantasy value because he was SO aggressively pushed throughout his minor-league career, and last year's explosion swung the pendulum that much further in the other direction. I think I like him more than Albies longterm, particularly if you've got another decent 2B option and needed 6-spot value? If what he showed last year holds, he's a superstar. If 60% of it holds, he's a very good fantasy asset for a very long time.

Flutie's Flakes (Cereal box in the basement): Why is your chat sooooooo late?

Wilson Karaman: Because when you live on the right coast, which is the left coast, it ain't late, it's riiiight on time. Plus when you talk about Dan Vogelbach as often as I do in these chats, you kinda have to wait until #afterdark

Wilson Karaman: And with that, I bid y'all later player. Important news: we're unveiling our new topline offensive metric dRC+ next week, and it is wonderfully all-encompassing and spectacular, and you should be sure to tune in for that. Also Jeffrey's chatting tomorrow, so be here, or be a rhombus. I'm on Twitter @vocaljavelins, holler at me there if you asked a question I didn't get to. Okay thank you and good night!

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