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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 23, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey is the lead prospect writer at Baseball Prospectus, and co-host of For All You Kids Out There.

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's 101 SZN. We are at the top of Freytag's Pyramid, let's all enjoy the slow ride down to denoument

Dusty (Colorado): How close was Wander Javier to making the list?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Wander Javier Franco was right there at #10.

Tony (Wisconsin): No Gavin Lux in the Top 101 or honorable mention?

Jeffrey Paternostro: If we went to like 125, he'd make it. If you want to weight surety over upside he'd be a perfectly cromulent backend of the 101 choice. We just don't see any standout carrying tools here, and while we're more confident he sticks at short, it isn't a lock.

Dan (NY): Interesting to see Newton on the next 10 and not Mauricio. Is this because you think Newton has a better shot for the 2020 101, or because Mauricio is already on most peoples' radar?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Mostly the latter. Mauricio would have been in the 110s somewhere and you'd expect him to make the list next year just on attrition if he even holds serve. Also Newtown is more interesting to write about, because I can say more than "let's run back the Wilmer Flores prospect profile with a touch more athleticism."

Lougle (West Milford): Daz Cameron had a strong year across two levels this season. How close was he to the 101 and what was the biggest factor in keeping him off?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd guess he'd be top 150. He's a good fit with Lux actually, better shot to stick at a premium defensive position (and be above-average there), larger lingering questions about the hit tool. Again, more of a surety over upside play.

Justin (Cincinnati): What are you thoughts on David Paulino? His prospect intrigue has kind of faded, but still technically a prospect I believe. Do you see him become a dominant bullpen arm in Toronto, or just a guy with a big curve who never really puts it all together?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's over for us on service time, so I didn't have to think too hard about it this offseason. He might be a good change of scenery guy, so let's go with him having a season or two where he flashes dominant bullpen arm, but more where it's big stuff and poorer results.

Elle (Rochester): Gun to your head--how many of Newton, Mauricio, Vientos, SWR, Szapucki are on the 2019 101?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I guess I already wrote up Newton as jumping so I should stick with that for at least 24 hours. Mauricio is a good bet barring injury, past that I'd be stretching. Jarrett's article does lay out how arms like Szapucki make it, but he's significantly older than a lot of the Post-TJ/general injury jumps.

Jeff (Miami): Holy Nick Madrigal. Does Bret have a gun pointed to your head right now?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We really, really, really think he will hit. We talk a fair bit about him on the companion podcast, and Jarrett would have him top ten overall right now for one. You can also tell that Bret provides no editorial leverage because of the lack of big beefy corner bats on the list.

Matthew (STL): Sometimes when ranking there's a balance between what a guy has done and what he should do. BP has always been the high man on Dustin May. Where does he fall on that balance?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The reality caught up to the projection in 2018. It's sit mid-90s touch upper now, the breaking ball jumped, there's some positive markers in the change, and he added a cutter, cause why not. I think there's still a bit more to come, so he's not all the way to the "what he's done" side, but closer than you might otherwise think.

James (NY): Is this Kyler Murray ranking including risk he goes to FB or is it assuming 100% he's playing baseball? In other words, if he said tomorrow I'm playing with the A's, does he stay there?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So we locked the list a little over a month ago. At the time, there were rumblings that he might go with football so that is baked in a little bit. We discussed it again on the podcast, but we think he'd be a touch higher than this if we knew he was going to show up in A's camp in February and commit to baseball. It's a very weird profile though given the lack of baseball game reps. I should add that 101 is not strictly speaking the 101st best prospect in baseball (which is why I had to listen Jarrett try to get me to put Willans there for a week.)

John (New York City): Jonathan Loaisiga is aggressively ranked and i love it. I guess this ranking means the BP crew is confident in his ability to stick as a starter?

Jeffrey Paternostro: "Confident" might be a bit strong. But reliever risk is baked in to most of the prospect arms in the back half of the 101 (sans maybe like Logan Allen). Loaisiga also has very high end starter and reliever outcomes that the arms around him maybe don't, but also there's significant risk he's just never healthy enough to reach the more boring role 5 outcome a lot of those same arms have. It's a very bifurcated profile that doesn't fit neatly into OFP/Likely.

Jiminy (Cricketland): 10HR/35SB and a .275/.350/.420 line. What's too high and too low for Vidal Brujan's future slash line and numbers?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm guessing a little less on the OBP and steals. But steals patterns can be very team-dictated. He's certainly, uh aggressive in his game.

Tom (NC): Whom are you already regretting?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Wrote a whole article about it for later this week. There's fewer than in the past, but I don't know if that means I am actually getting better at this.

Ryan (Milwaukee): I assume you guys didn't consider Burnes a prospect anymore due to days in the majors, and not because he's fallen out?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Correct. I am guessing he'd be like in the James/Sheffield/Soroka/Pearson area.

Jay (Couch): Many of us in the Baseball 365 Facebook group are curious as to the placement of Kirilloff ranking. I know these rankings are fluid, and a lot of the time there might not be much of a difference between 20 & 30, but he seems to be in or around 10. What was the reasoning to have placed him down there?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We spent a chunk of the podcast on Kiriloff because we kinda saw this coming. The short answer is I am not a fan of the bat speed or swing and would have had him lower, others on staff would have had him much higher. This was a compromise. You can argue it's a dumb compromise because it doesn't really accurately represent any of our views on the player, but this is more art than science and art can be messy.

Sam (SEA): Yusei Kikuchi?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's 27, has thrown 1000+ in innings in a non-developmental league and won't spend a day in the minors. We don't consider him a prospect.

Mike (Trenton): Generally, if a prospect maintains level of performance as he rises through minors, he becomes a better prospect because he is closer to the majors and therefore less risky. If Andres Gimenez goes .280/.370/.400 in AAA this year, does he rise up rankings? Or because he has a limited ceiling, is #38 about as high as he can top out?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I suspect if Gimenez does that he won't be prospect-eligible. But this isn't all that different from what happened with Willy Adames and he made the top 20. I'd expect that's about where Giminez would "top out."

Jash (TB): You all seem to be the highest in the industry on Dustin May and Brusdar - what is about these profiles that you all like so much?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Covered May above, but on Brusdar, It's 102 with movement when he's more high-90s and a flash 7 hard slider. The change and curve aren't great, but there's average projection. That'd be a helluva starter, and while there is significant pen risk, the fastball/slider reliever version is potentially elite.

Vick (Atlanta): I understand Gohara and Allard stock has fallen quite a bit, but are they still in the top 150? What about William Contreras? Thanks

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gohara isn't eligible on days of service anymore, but proooooooobably (I'm gonna end up telling you about 80 guys are in the next 50 because it gets extremely fuzzy by then). I'm off Allard at this point. David Lee had Contreras as a next year's 101 guy and he argued for him this year.

Squirtle (Toronto): Not enough of a sample to rank George Valera?

Jeffrey Paternostro: If we were doing a pref list of swings he'd have made it easily. Yeah. I expected him to torch the complex, get to Mahoning where I'd make a point to catch him and he'd get on. Didn't happen. I expect it just delayed the inevitable.

ppppfffft (Toronto): How far away was Akil Baddoo?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably closer to top 200 than top 150. He needs a consolidation year, and we are a bit concerned about his ability to handle spin. Was an aggressive assignment though.

Joe (Bangkok): How close were AA/AAA pitchers like Santillan, Muller, and Jose Suarez to making the list

Jeffrey Paternostro: Santillan made out just missed. Suarez was a next year's 101 candidate, and Muller would have been a good fit for that too. Another one where David Lee is a big fan.

DeMarcus (Detroit): Was Isaac Paredes close to making the top 101. Was surprised to see him so high in the minors as a teenager

Jeffrey Paternostro: Sure, he was on the long list and like Cameron probably would have been 125 +/- a few spots.

Beck The Musician (Motown): How close was Austin Beck to making the list? Heard his hitting was coming around later in the season.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gonna need to see some of that raw power actually get into games first. But I do love tools bets,

Cpwood (DE): How much consideration did Tony Gonsolin get for the top 101? Personal cheesball of mine, I get DeGrom-lite vibes from him. P.S. Hope Wednesday is ready to get dunked on by CHO and Ampadu next week.

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's also a personal cheeseball of Wilson. He wasn't really on the 101 radar but he places pretty high on tomorrow's Dodgers list all things considered.

P.S. I'm extremely prepared for a hammering. Willian versus Morgan Fox is not, uh, ideal.

joseconsuervo (Detroit): How mad should I be for Kyle Tucker about the Astros signing Brantley? Am I wrong to think he just needs more adjustment time against major league pitching?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The Astros are fairly good at getting playing time for everyone they want to. I'm just not entirely sure Tucker is a guy they want to at this exact moment.

Vandall (South Bend): Couple Dodgers questions: Does Verdugo see success with regular playing time somewhere this year? Secondly, what is Dustin May's projection - #2 or #3?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Man, I will be honest I am extremely bored with Verdugo the prospect and have to be re-talked into him every list season. It usually happens though. I just want to see him get the regular playing time already. I think he'll be above-average, but not spectacular. We have May as OFP #2, likely #3/4, but he's one where I don't feel great about the grading system capturing how I feel here.

Dustin May (Rancho Cucamonga): You like me! You really, really, like me!

Jeffrey Paternostro: BREAKING

James (Detroit): No Matt Manning? Give me a reason. Thanks!

Jeffrey Paternostro: Manning would be in 111-120. He would be lower on my pref list. The stuff has never popped for me, and while the reports were better this year, I don't see the same third pitch and command projections as the 6/5 type starters in the back quarter of the 101.

brad (NJ): Most lists have Rodgers in the 11-14 range, Do you adjust prospects for the home park? in Colorado, he should be a middle of the order bat at 2b/SS/3B. He is a better prospect than Trevor story ever was and he just put up a monster year.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I grade Rodgers out as if he was playing in a neutral park. I've seen a lot of him the last two seasons and this was somewhat another compromise grade. There's stiffness in the swing and some issues with spin. He's still a very good prospect, I just am a little less sure about the ultimate hit tool here. Granted, as you said in Coors that doesn't really matter.

Jefferson Airplane (In the sky): Who were the guys you were individually much higher on that were moved notably down (or off) the list? And the reverse, who was bumped up that you had lower?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I've gotten pretty good at getting "my guys" on the list where I want them. For the reverse, I got talked into Rodgers, Kirilloff, and Verdugo. Probably Kyle Wright as well.

someguynamedkenn (someplaceinNJ): What percent chance would you put on Shervyn Newton or Mark Vientos cracking next year's 101?

Jeffrey Paternostro: 40% for Newton, 20% for Vientos. This is clearly the science part of the exercise.

brad (NJ): What players on this list do you see having the most potential to make a big leap in ranking next year? Thank you

Jeffrey Paternostro: Back of the napkin: Kristian Robinson, Luis Oviedo, Julio Pablo Martinez, Travis Swaggerty, Jordyn Adams. Drew Waters, Bubba Thompson.

Bring back Carlos (SWFC): Disaster of a football season aside, how enjoyable has the offseason been in coming up with this years lists? Seems a pretty deep crop of guys that could carve out good ML careers. Noticed Vientos missed the 101 and next 10. How close was he?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Honestly it's more of a "job" than you'd think. I've got a pretty good process at this point, but it's not the most stimulating writing I do throughout the year. There's a few dozen guys I get a good hook for and enjoy writing, but it's 600ish blurbs in the end, a lot of it is make work. Vientos was in the discussion, but I want to see the swing work against full-season arms first.

Steve (Houston): You didn't spend a lot of time talking about Kyle Tucker on the pod. Where did you have him ranked vs the consensus and are you concerned about his hit tool against MLB pitching?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So to be clear, I do my best to actively avoid other lists (only BA is out anyway AFAIK). So I usually have no idea what the consensus is, but know that we usually rank as an "outlier" against it or whatever. I barely have time to do more than read over my own stuff this time of year anyway. I think you can have some concern about Tucker's hit tool, but I wouldn't base that on his 2018 playing time which was sporadic. He's hit literally everywhere else.

Matthew (Albuquerque): How soon will Will Smith be ready for the Dodgers? September cup of coffee?

Jeffrey Paternostro: If not before, yeah.

Selig (CA): What is the argument for keeping Leody Taveras in the top 50 solely on the basis of being young and toolsey with so many young, toolsey guys behind him who also put up numbers?

Jeffrey Paternostro: "I've gotten pretty good at getting "my guys" on the list where I want them."

Steve (NJ): Jazz Chisholm had 28.4% and 32.5% K rates over two A ball levels last season. Though his ranking is nice why is he a better bet than Isaac Paredes (understand Paredes might/will move off SS) or O'Neil Cruz?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Chisholm is a much much better defensive shortstop than either and those K-rates came with .513 slugging.

pmammino (NJ): Who made the biggest jump in yours/the teams eyes? As in who was furthest from being 101 worthy this time last year that made it this time around and why

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think the answer to both of these is Josh James, which is something that is nearly impossible to predict.

Gotta take a brief intermission, but I'll be back to the queue in a bit, so fire away.

Steve (KC): Seuly Matias has the big power, but unlike the comp in his top 10 profile, he hasn't shown the OBP/BB skills that Joey Gallo has. What are you all seeing that suggests he could get to some of his power in games, hence his ranking? Thanks!

Jeffrey Paternostro: Well, he's gotten it into minor league games, so this isn't an Austin Beck or Leody Taveras type situation, but I get what you mean. It's an athleticism and swing bet, as he isn't as yolked up or long as your typical elite power guy and it's not an awful approach, perhaps just a bit raw for full season. We think it will come with more reps, but...

Steve (Philly): I know those organizational rankings went back a while, so there may be a player that you were tempted to move ahead of his teammate. Was there anyone in particular that you found were considered to be higher on the 101 than their teammate who was higher in the org rankings?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I'd probably reorder the Royals a bit with Melendez 1, Matias 2, Lee 3, it wouldn't significantly alter their 101 rankings given how closely they are bunched, and I don't count them as rankings I "regret," it would have to be a bigger drop/jump. I'd probably rejigger the Braves 3-8 a bit too.

jon (westville): Florial among those with the biggest potential skyrocket to midseason list? He looks to be among the upsidiest in that "Acuna-was-there-once" range right in the middle...

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yeah, I missed him in potential risers. I suspect he won't be in the 60s next year one way or the other let's say. It's moving day.

Jeff (Bay Area): What would it take for the Padres to pry Senzel from the Reds?

Jeffrey Paternostro: These prospect challenge trades never happen, and while the rumored three-way Kluber deal would be a heckuva transaction analysis, the Padres have been linked to a series of much, much bigger moves than they have actually made. They have the pieces to get him of course, but given their posturing about who has been off limits for established plus major league talent, I don't see them parting with said pieces in this kind of deal.

Selig (CA): How would you rank my didn’t-make-the-list-all-stars: Xavier Edwards, Gavin Lux, Alec Bohm, Colten Welker, Luis Garcia (Phi), and Corey Ray?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Bohm, Garcia, Lux, Welker, Ray, Edwards. Welker and Lux are very close.

brad (NJ): Do you plan on putting out a Fantasy based rankings, ie, taking out the defense factor and maybe factoring in park adjustments? Many of us follow prospects to help our dynasty leagues. So I guy who is valuable based on defense doesn't help us other than maybe positional ranking, ie can he stick at CF or SS.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Literally Bret and Ben's Dynasty 101, which comes out in two weeks. Second door on your left for the fantasy department.

Gretchen & Jimmy (Los Angeles): Re: Madrigal and the belief that he is really going to hit. Are we just talking about a guy who regularly hits above .300 with ease? Is there the expectation that his crazy contact skills develop into 20 HR power?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Can we first talk about how Jimmy clearly has a southern English accent and is supposedly a Man City fan?

Anyway, yeah we are projecting him to be a regular .300+ hitter. Maybe not quite that much power, but the "injury-compromised 2018 Altuve" came up as a comp. That's still a borderline all star.

Steve (Houston): Re: Kyle Tucker when I mentioned the consensus I meant the BP list and not other sources. My fault for not being clear on that.

Jeffrey Paternostro: No worries. I don't think Tucker is particularly contentious internally. I think some like the upside more than I do, but I believe we'd all have him the general next tier down from the top guys somewhere.

David (Atlanta, GA): Since your Brew Crew list isn't out yet, can you share thoughts on Keston Hiura? BA cited "best 2B in baseball" upside - are you guys similarly high on him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We ranked him sixth on the national list, in between Victor Robles and Forrest Whitley, and he's getting written as a 7/6 on the Brewers list, probably low risk. So yep.

Vandall (South Bend): Are there any guys out there so good that they make early splashes into the majors at 19/20? (Think Harper/Soto)

Jeffrey Paternostro: Believe the top three there are all 20 next year. They also will all start in Double-A and higher and have the tools to adapt quickly in the majors.

someguynamedkenn (someplaceinNJ): Have you heard anything about Szapucki's road back from TJ? Any word on if the stuff has generally bounced back?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I haven't heard anything negative which is basically the best you can hope for before they step back into live game action.

Josh (DC): Sounds like you're lower on Kyle Wright than the others. Why?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm not a huge fan of the delivery and thus don't think command ever reallllly gets good enough to let the stuff play up past "mid-rotationish." He's clearly a 101 guy and I wouldn't have him THAT much lower than we have him just because of proximity and present polish.

Ted (Ohio): How good can Nate Pearson be, is there a comp you think is somewhat in the ballpark?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's a tough comp (which can make him a tougher ranking). It's. bit of the Michael Kopech problem where literally nt starting pitcher in MLB actually throws this hard, so you end up with like Jordan Hicks or Edwin Diaz. (And hey, if he turns into Edwin Diaz, that's a great outcome). He's also JuCo guy so a little bit older than you think, and hasn't pitched significant time in even A-ball yet. So this is a long way of saying, there isn't really a comp but he could be extremely good.

Jonathan (LA): Zack Collins was a top-90 prospect for BP entering last year, and put up a very solid .380+ OBP in AA. Why the snub this year? When do you forecast he makes the show and what kind of forecast do you see for him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Less confidence in his ability to stick as a catcher basically.

Drew (Baltimore): BP sure loves Mountcastle. You think he'll show enough power to be a regular at 3b? Or is he still being looked at as a possible SS?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yes, because he is extremely not a shortstop (might not make it at third either).

Steve (SD): Who would be closer to the 101: The Padres 15th prospect or the Giants' 3rd best prospect?

Jeffrey Paternostro: This is literally Shaun Anderson against Buddy Reed which I find amusing. I'd say Anderson's "likely" keeps him ahead on a big board, but you uh don't have to go much further up the Padres list.

Corey (NYC): Was surprised to see Alec Bohm excluded from the list. Concern he will need to move to 1B?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The reports we got were bad enough that I had to suspend my usual free pass for post-draft performance and I wasn't super into it before the draft honestly. Defense is part of it for sure.

Frank (Ny): How high up this list can Calvin Mitchell move? Nice to see him sneak in the back end.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I don't see him as a huge breakout guy, since we might be a year early and it's a right field profile in the end. More of a year-over-year progressor if that bat continues to play.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Okay, I do have to actually write more stuff, so I will sign off for now. As always thanks for reading, and we'll have more supplemental content the next two days.

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