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Chat: Kevin Jebens

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday February 18, 2019 4:00 PM ET chat session with Kevin Jebens.


Kevin is a fantasy writer at Baseball Prospectus.

Kevin Jebens: Howdy, all. Is your spring fever as bad as mine? Let's get to the good stuff.

kalimantan (as above): Are any of the Reds new crop of starters likely to be worth rostering this season?

Kevin Jebens: If you're talking solely about new acquisitions, then Alex Wood is the most obvious choice. He's not done yet if healthy, and the 50% grounders will help. Sonny Gray could rebound some, but don't look to 2017 or 2015. That said, if he's available in the endgame of a shallow or medium league, absolutely pull the trigger. Deeper leagues, it's more risky. Roark would've been an okay option for deep leagues before he started seeing his HR/9 and BB/9 rise in 2016-17. The walks got better last year, but the HR/9 hasn't, and in that bandbox his soft-tossing ways may be problematic--especially after a career high FB% in 2018.

Bk (Toronto): Breakout relief pitcher who isn't the current closer but will become one and hold the job?

Kevin Jebens: This used to be an easier question, with so many teams set on a true closer. The good setup guys gave me plenty to choose from. But now, so many teams have a duo who may have a 60/40 split, so I have to go deeper. I can't say he'll close right away, but look at Fernando Romero in Minnesota. Started in 2018 but moving to the pen, has a solid heater, and there's no star closer on the team.

Buddy (Peoria): True or False...Harper and Machado both sign this week.

Kevin Jebens: False. Maybe one, but both would surprise me.

Mark (Green Bay): Five guys that have the chance to be the #1 prospect at the start of next season...

Kevin Jebens: I'm assuming Jordon Adell doesn't make it to the bigs this year, so he'd be my choice. Next obvious options are Trammell, Royce Lewis, Wander Franco, and Alex Kirilloff. All these guys are already top-20 prospects but aren't likely to get called up in 2019.

PM (Detroit): Who is number 1 prospect next year?

Kevin Jebens: See previous answer, but if you mean the 2019 Draft, early favorites are Bobby Witt Jr. and Adley Rutschman.

Turd Ferguson (Jeopardy): The Royals' slogan for the year should be "Can't steal first"

Kevin Jebens: You're preaching to the choir. I'm one of the most pessimistic at BP on Adalberto, and if you've read anything I've written about outfielders, you'll know I don't like/trust Hamilton.

Jizz Chasm (Arizona): Does the k rate for Jazz concern you, or does the upside warrant a pass for now?

Kevin Jebens: Yes, absolutely, the strikeouts are worrisome. Very low contact and very high strikeout rates are immediate repellant to me personally. That said, he's got top-10 SS upside in the long term. In deep leagues where you have a lot of minors and can take on the risk, by all means target him. But if you have a super shallow minors system of 3-5 guys, I'm not gambling.

Mgordo (Denver ): Potential keeper (Tanked last September) can keep 3 Eloy Jimenez Fernando Tatis Jr Vlad Jr. all $5. Rendon $18 Corbin $8

Kevin Jebens: Ooh, tough call. If you want to mix in 2019 production, then I'd go Eloy and Vlad, who should get their chances in 2019, plus Corbin for that price. Rendon's not bat either, so if you're like some managers and are against keeping SP with so few keepers, I'd take Rendon over Tatis, who isn't a sure thing for 2019 and may have early batting average and strikeout issues.

Turd Ferguson (Jeopardy): Chisholm or Brujan in dynasty?

Kevin Jebens: Brujan has higher upside in SB, and I don't love the strikeouts from Jazz. Brujan for me, and it's not that close.

Scatman (KCK): Jesus Aguilar @ $25+ or a $1 flier on Voigt?

Kevin Jebens: I'm a big fan of Aguilar and think he can come close to a repeat. That said, MIL may have a crowded infield with the Moose signing. Of course, there are TONS of dollar catchers out there. You may as well go for someone who can provide fantasy value. Unless you really want to save cash for the auction, go Aguilar.

The Jman (Polish Hill Pittsburgh): Can the Ms just let Vogey play already. Or just trade him?

Kevin Jebens: I hear you. During my 3-year fantasy rankings, many at BP got mad that I originally left Vogelbach off the 1B list. But I figure they're going to give Healy plenty of a chance in 2019 to prove he can repeat 2016-17, and with Encarnacion at DH for now, there's nowhere for Vogey to play. I wouldn't be surprise if he's prospect list eligible yet again in 2020...

Salty MFer (Mom's Basement): Who is the best saves sleeper who ISN'T being talked about as a sleeper? (Meaning no Jimenez, Strop, or Red Sox)

Kevin Jebens: Does Brad Boxberger in KC count? Closer experience, and Wily Peralta was crap in ERA last year from July on, especially in August.

Salty MFer (Mom's Basement): Raise Iglesias will still be the closer for the Reds, won't he?

Kevin Jebens: Yep. Stranger things have happened, and you know how volatile it is, but my money's on Iglesias closing while he's on the Reds.

Matt Damon (Film Actor's Guild): MATT. DAMON.

Kevin Jebens: I loved "The Martian" and "Good Will Hunting." Not a fan of the Bourne movies.

hoppy303 (Scotland): How much of a hit does Manny Machado take in productivity if he moves to the Padres? Thanks in advance!

Kevin Jebens: Don't discount him for power. LAD and SD home parks play pretty similar for righty homers, and he did just fine, hitting 6 of his 11 home runs in Aug-Sept at home. As for runs and RBI, his projections do see a slight decrease outside of LAD. But overall you're still going to get a top SS/3B option for years to come.

Jevin Kebens (BP): Assuming the Yanks don't sign BH or MM, who gets the lion's share of abs at 1B this year?

Kevin Jebens: My long lost cousin, Jevin! All my money is on Luke Voit. His 41% HR/FB from 2018 won't stick, but he's a legit bat and power source. Does Bird stay healthy? Does Bird manage to hit above .200? The Yanks may give Bird a chance early, but Voit is the better play based on overall skills.

Mr. Fister (Arlington): Should Peter Alonso get a bump up my dynasty farm rankings simply due to the overall weakness of the position? Would you take him over guys like Chisholm, Brujan, and Kelenic?

Kevin Jebens: Yes, Alonso is the better fantasy prospect compared to those guys, unless you really need Brujan's speed for a roto league. As for 1B weakness, bear in mind that many prospects get moved around. It's just like how there are 30 SS prospects out there, but many will end up at 2B, 3B, or OF by the time they reach the majors.

Moose (Milwaukee): I'm set to make less in two seasons than I would have made if I would've just taken the QO that KC offered me. Why haven't I fired Boras?

Kevin Jebens: The players and agents aren't really at fault here. It's silly how this spending and seeming collusion is going down for the last two years. You'd have to assume that Moose, a not-old veteran coming off a solid year, would have gotten some good offers last offseason. I'm as baffled and annoyed as any fan about how this is playing out.

Mr. Fister (Arlington): Adley Rutschman or Riley Greene, who would you draft?

Kevin Jebens: High school and college players aren't my strong suit, but I'm always a bit wary of catcher prospects. Do they get moved off the position, hurting their fantasy value? Greene seems the safer play with the better bat. But outside of fantasy context, I suppose a potential star catcher has more value, so if I was an MLB team, Rutschman.

Ric Flair (Atlanta ICU): Wooooooo!

Kevin Jebens: I was more a Macho Man guy myself. OOH YEAH!

Dave (Pittsburgh): Think he meant Voit, not Vogt :)

Kevin Jebens: Ahhh. In that case, I'm all in on Luke Voit for a buck. I'm a fan of Aguilar of course, but the upside is nearly the same for me long term, so even if Voit splits time with Bird early on, you're almost guaranteed profit.

Mac (NYC): How do you see the Astros corner OF playing time working out this year? How bullish are you on Tucker?

Kevin Jebens: I LOVE Tucker. But yes, the playing time is an issue. Springer of course. A healthy Reddick gets a lot of AB. Brantley can DH, but so will Tyler White. When Tucker gets full AB, it's a 25/15 upside with a solid average. But for 2019 alone, it's more risky for his value.

djdj (house): Hey Kevin thanks for chattin! I have my choice between Nate Lowe, Vidal Brujan, Gavin Lux, Nick Madrigal, Yusniel Diaz, and Ke'Bryan Hayes, in a draft coming up for 12-t keep-forever dynasty. I'm in the position to win now coming off a 1st place finish last year. Which of these TWO do you like most for offensive output?

Kevin Jebens: Long term, Madrigal for sure. Next, it's between Yusniel and Brujan. Brujan has more SB upside, Yusniel a safer floor and less speed. However, if you want specific help for the short term, Hayes and Yusniel your best bets. I'd still go Yusniel over Hayes for 2019 help--but take Madrigal even if he doesn't help this year.

6'11" Bottom (Getting butt surgery): Am I crazy for preferring Daniel Lynch to higher ranked lefties like Logan Allen and Ryan Weathers? Seems like he has a wider arsenal and if velocity gains stick around, he could be top 5ish.

Kevin Jebens: You're not crazy. I do think Lynch has the higher ceiling. He's just a higher risk too. Allen closest to the bigs, maybe #3-4 SP stuff. Lynch ceiling more #2 SP at peak. Weathers a solid #3 guy. But then ask again next year, and see how the SP prospects move around--and who avoids major injury.

Salty MFer (Mom's Basement): How does Alcides Escobar continue getting contracts?

Kevin Jebens: There seemed to have been some bad BABIP luck last year, but he's beyond helping most fantasy teams. For real MLB teams, his defense isn't bad. And let's be clear: He's on Baltimore. Not like the Yankees were making room for him. He's joined a team that would be lucky to reach 65 wins. They have to put warm bodies on the field, and Alcides can move around if needed.

Turd Ferguson (Jeopardy): Please rank these long term dynasty upside prospects...Kristian Robinson, George Valera, Luis Garcia (Was), Luis Garcia (Phi), Julio Rodriguez, Marco Luciano, Nolan Jones. Thanks a bunch!

Kevin Jebens: I'd probably go Garcia (WAS), Valera, Robinson, Luciano, Garcia (PHI), Jones, Rodriguez. The first Garcia is ahead by quite a bit. The last four are pretty closely grouped, and I wouldn't complain if you flip-flopped them.

Stringer (Baltimore): In Nl only, 10 team keeper OBP,k9 league that counts net steals and holds, Need to drop one of : B Dozier, K Marte, J Hicks

Kevin Jebens: Dozier gets a boost in OBP leagues, but Marte has SB upside he hasn't tapped into yet, plus he will qualify for 3 positions. Jordan Hicks throws hard, which is nice, but he walks too many, which is bad. He's risky if he doesn't figure out how to miss more bats and walk fewer batters, but because of SV+HD, he's enticing. Depends on how much you want to gamble on Dozier rebounding well and Marte actually taking that step forward. If you think you could get one of them cheap in the draft because others aren't believers, then that's the one I'd drop. If you want to force an answer from me, kick Marte for the tiniest playing time risk compared to Dozier.

Jamie Lee Curtis' Diarrhea (At your door): May I have ten minutes of your time to talk to you about my lord and savior, pro-biotics? Also, may I use your bathroom?

Kevin Jebens: Maybe, if I was still in my last apartment with two bathrooms. But now I have just one, so hit the road, solicitor!

Kalen (Detroit): Two questions: Who has higher ceiling in your opinion? Madrigal or Brujan. Which SS prospect was hyped up more; Correa or Tatis Jr?

Kevin Jebens: Madrigal overall, but Brujan if you need truly elite speed. As for hype, Correa was solid but not elite for 2 years, then was going to be great until the injury in 2017. Tatis has a legit ceiling he can reach, but as with any prospect, it's not a sure thing. It's interesting to note that they both were pretty top options at the shortstop position with a lot of other elite talent. The depth is crazy at that position, and fantay owners will have their pick of cornerstone shortstops under 30 for years to come.

feldman (Ft. Myers): Hi Kevin, with speed a rare commodity these days, who in the minor leagues not named Brujan and Wes Rogers can you see impacting the game on the basepaths in 2019 and beyond? Thanks for taking my question!

Kevin Jebens: I mean, plenty of guys have 25+ SB upside. Madrigal is someone outside our top-20 prospects who could do it. Garrett Hampson this year has long-term upside of .300 and 30+ SB. Andres Gimenez isn't bad. Victor Victor Mesa. Jordyn Adams has 20/40 upside.

Carlos Danger (Out on bail): How does service time work when it comes to the Japan series? Do players in those games acquire "days of service" and then have the clock shut off until opening day?

Kevin Jebens: I will admit to knowing nothing about Japan service time. I'll ask the BP staff and tweet about it if I find out anything! You can follow me at the obvious @KevinJebens

Jenn (Athens GA): You like Sandy Alcantara and Jonathan Loaisiga in a dynasty?

Kevin Jebens: It's relatively close, but I'll take Loaisiga. Seems to have three pitches well above average. His walk rate at the MLB level wasn't good, but Alcantara's been worse, above 6.0 BB/9. They're both young enough to figure that out, though.

Gary Mack (In the back): First Year Player Draft, I have the first pick - All 2018 draftees and J2 guys, also noticed Paddock is available. Who do you take?

Kevin Jebens: Chris Paddack may just edge out Mize for me in the SP market. For hitters, Madrigal an obvious choice, and I like Bohm a lot too if you can stomach a lower average. If I have to choose one, Paddack if you're risk tolerant, otherwise Mize for safer floor.

Yusei Tomato (I say Tomahto): Rank these three late round outfielders in traditional 5x5 Rotisserie...Laureano, Bader, Mullins. Thanks!

Kevin Jebens: I had Bader and Laureano back-to-back in my 3-year rankings. It's essentially a toss-up between them, followed by Mullins. Gun to my head, go Bader, Laureano, Mullins.

sportsguy21792 (Madison): Any sneaky sleepers from the Marlins rotation to pay attention to in a deeper league? Pablo Lopez or Caleb Smith good examples?

Kevin Jebens: Yeah, they're not bad for endgame speculation in case one of them pans out this year. Smith improved his BB/9 as season went on, Lopez improved his HR/FB. I'd go for Smith simply for the strikeout upside.

Teresa (In a woman's place (kitchen)): Are you taking a flier on Posey or just picking one of the glob of $1 catchers?

Kevin Jebens: I mean, define flier for him. Would I pay at a top-3 or top-5 rate? Not personally, though many on the BP staff would. Would I take him for under $5 or even $10? Of course, because he is still capable of producing a profit even under 150 games.

DJ Khaled (Another One): Is the 70/30 rule for spending on offense over pitching becoming more obsolete due to the utter lack of quality starting pitching in fantasy? Seems to be easier to field a quality offense than pitching staff. Shouldn't it be closer to 50/50?

Kevin Jebens: Probably. Last year in a CBS league, I saw a few teams spend tons of their budget on acquiring as many SP1 and SP2 arms as they could. Of course, this was H2H points, so it made even more sense. There's simply higher risk the more you spend on pitching. There are only a few "safe and reliable" arms, but any pitcher can go down with a serious injury, and the odds are higher than they are for hitters. For years I've found myself more at the 65/35 or even 60/40 level. I probably won't go all the way to 50/50.

Turd Ferguson (Jeopardy): Who do you prefer in 5x5 Roto out of Josh James, Touki, Lucchesi, and Kikuchi?

Kevin Jebens: James has a lot of talent but uncertain rotation spot in HOU right now. I'd lean Lucchesi and Kikuchi for more certain playing time. I'm not a fan of Touki for 2019.

Jays Fan (Toronto): Can teams please stop blatantly lying about prospects needing 11 days to shore up their defense as a defense for manipulating service time? I can at least respect them if they were honest about wanting an extra year of control. Or at least come up with something more believable like "Vladito is fat, and we want him to work with a trainer and dietician for a couple weeks before bringing him up."

Kevin Jebens: Hey, as a Cubs fan who watched Kris Bryant go through the same thing, I'm with you. It's silly, but you can't blame teams for doing it while the rules are how they are. It's like complaining that fantasy owners can keep rookies down in the minors all season long even after they've come up to the MLB level--if that's the league rules, there's nothing you can do.

Dusty (Colorado): Thoughts on Twins prospect Wander Javier? What's his upside?

Kevin Jebens: Who is this Wander Javier? Never heard of him. Or Dusty. Or Colorado.

George Brett (Throwback Monday): During the 2012 ASG in KC, I said "prospects in my day came up with poopies in their pants" on live tv.

Kevin Jebens: So that's why Steve Lyons started undressing at first base. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLIpmACBq1g

Kevin Jebens: Thanks for the great chat, guys. Now maybe I don't have to annoy the fiancee for hours on end about how baseball is just around the corner. This talk may have bought her 2 days...

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