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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday February 14, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


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

Jeffrey Paternostro: Lists are done, the minor league season is...well crap, six weeks away, I have Better Oblivion Community Center in my ears, let's chat.

Michael (Oregon): Hearing that Miguel Sano is working hard this offseason on conditioning and such. Do you see a rebound? If so, what is his ceiling this season? Thanks.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Are you suggesting he might be in...the best shape of his life? I think continuing to play him at third is silly, but they've overloaded on 1B/DH in the offseason (hey, maybe they are another team that should have signed Machado). More broadly I don't put much stock into these stories until there's on field results, and I think the best the Twins can hope for is much less athletic Joey Gallo.

Sam (NY): Dom Smith looks like he's in the best shape I've seen him in. If this is the year it all comes together and he looks like a above average regular, what do the Mets do? Do they trade him or Alonso? Keep both?

Jeffrey Paternostro: My man Sam, much has been made of Smith's physique over the years, and yes, it's been a bad body at times, but he never really hit enough to carry a first base profile even when he's been in decent shape. The bat speed is the bat speed here. I don't think he's in the Mets plan.

Vic (Baltimore): If you are looking for value in a 5 x 5 within the window of 2019-2022, please rank Wander Franco, Adell, Gore, Kirilloff, Madrigal, Luzardo. Are any simply not worth drafting until next year due to proximity to making a meaningful impact?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd probably go with Luzardo or Adell here on proximity. Think they are probably both better fantasy assets than Madrigal. And those are the only three I could see having meaningful fantasy impact as soon as sometime this season.

Alex (FL): Do you think the Mets regret trading prospects for JD and Keon after seeing how this FA market played out

Jeffrey Paternostro: I suspect that the more likely scenario is that the Mets just really like Davis and Broxton and value them higher than the industry (and certainly the Astros or Brewers did). We discuss some of the reasons that might be the case for Davis on the pod (tl;dr probably for many of the same reasons PECOTA and DRC+ do) and their new analytics head has worked with the Brewers so...

Martin (Altoona): What's the state of the brand?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Let's see: Jeff McNeil changed his number to 6, The Mountain Goats are putting out a D+D themed album with a track entitled "Doc Gooden," Robert Gsellman is getting bandied about as starting pitching depth. The only issue I see is I have been reliably informed we are no longer the high source on Gingergaard.

baseballgurl (Philadelphia, PA): What do you predict for the Nats in this next season? What can they do to make it playoffs in the next 3 seasons?

Jeffrey Paternostro: They are in reasonably good shape barring the Phillies actually spending some of their stupid money, or the Mets starting pitching staying healthier than they have since 2015. They could also just sign Bryce Harper. That would help. I wouldn't call them the favorite, but I also don't really see a favorite in that division. They are gonna run into starting pitching depth issues soon though and the farm is pretty barren past Robles/Kieboom. They could flip Garcia for help if need be I suppose.

Buddy (Peoria): The last few chats I have visited included comments from readers about Bryce Harper being overrated. Are you kidding me?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So while I don't agree with this, I do think there is an interesting question in what to expect from Harper going forward. What's the baseline production going forward? PECOTA sees a 137 DRC+ and 4.6 WARP, which he's only beat twice in his career, but also feels low as a true talent play. I think they larger issue is we don't know exactly how to rate him at this exact moment. (I'd still back up the Brinks trunk for him mind you, as a 25-year-old 5-win projected player)

Dan (NY): Assuming Alonso and Gimenez graduate, what would be your breakdown of likelihood for mets top prospect in 2020 (ex: Mauricio 50%, Vientos 20%, Newton 20%, Other 10%)

Jeffrey Paternostro: That's probably a little low for Mauricio, but Newton is the kind of prospect I am gonna shove given any opportunity. I'd I'd go 60 Mauricio, 10 Vientos, 10 Field.

James (NYC): Can we have your hottest, spiciest take for the 2020 Mets top prospect? (My money for your pick here is Newton)

Jeffrey Paternostro: If I was gonna bet on one dude from the field it's probably Thomas Szapucki, whose shown Top 101 stuff before and could blitz three levels or so if fully healthy with the stuff back.

Kalau jeff (Edmonton ): Are you expecting big things from Yusniel Diaz this season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd expect close to a full year in Norfolk, although I suppose the Orioles have incentive to get him to the majors somewhat quickly for PR reasons (although this isn't an FO I'd expect to worry too much about that stuff). The thing about Diaz is he is much more of a Steady Eddie than a breakout candidate. I think he will continue to be solid all around, and kinda boring to write about.

benrosenberg02 (my desk): Why do you think the Pecota on Albies's batting average is so low? In nearly 1,000 PAs, he's hit .268, Pecota predicts a .243 for 2019. What am I missing in the underlying numbers?

Jeffrey Paternostro: This is probably a better question for the stats team, I know DRC+ doesn't love "doubles" hitters, but I don't know if that would effect the underlying batting average

Andy (PA): I ruthlessly cut Dylan Bundy months ago as soon as our dynasty league rolled over without making him publicly available or anything. I had him since we started the league. Ever since, numerous other owners have come forward saying they would have gladly traded real assets for him. He's now the speculative #1 overall pick in our upcoming free agent draft. Console me, please.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think in one of my recent chats we had a bunch of Dylan Bundy fantasy questions. The only consolation I can offer is he probably won't stay healthy, because it is still Dylan Bundy.

zeeksam (Canada): Hi, What are your thoughts on Grandal for 2019. Given the limited stats for catcher in 12 team head2head format. Would you consider him a keeper in 8-10 keeper leagues. Thanks.

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's a top five catcher at worst on just the bat probably? I don't know how much that would matter to you, but it depends on your other options and the shape of your roster I guess. All I know is our fantasy team hates all catchers.

Tony (Spring Training!): Dynasty league I just traded Rodgers for Yordan Alvarez. I already have Correa, Lindor, Tatis, Bo, Whit, and Odor as MI options. 1B is pretty bare (Jose Martinez & Nate Lowe). Categories are HR, non-HR TB's, wOBA, AVG, SB-CS. Grade the trade?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think you got the "worse" fantasy asset but given the depth you were trading from it's probably fine. I wonder if you could have done better than Alvarez who doesn't have a huge offensive upside, but should be a steady performer.

Vladito (Tor): How long till a GM/Team Exec responds to a service time question with “We want our fans in (Insert AAA City) to enjoy the young talent (Insert Organization) is producing before we call them up”?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I suppose that might actually be less disingenuous than "we need him to work on his defense for 11 days."

sailenac (SD): Hey Jeff. Thanks for chattin! Do you think Nick Madrigal can be a 300/350/450 guy with 30 SB a year when he is fully matured, say 2 or 3 years into the majors? or is that SLUG% too high? He seems very advanced with the stick and scouts are always talking about "power comes later".

Jeffrey Paternostro: That's in the general vicinity of the "lesser Jose Altuve seasons" which is a comp we've used around here. And yeah, I'm somewhat bullish on the swing generating at least 40 game pop once he's fully healthy, It's not like it's a Ben Revere hack.

Charlie (Santa Clara): Could you name a few of your favorite non-top 100 guys?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Sure. Off the top of my head, D'Shawn Knowles, Cole Winn, Daniel Lynch, George Valera, Roasny Contreras, Blaze Alexander, Lazarito,

Chad (DE): General question I'm sure you've answered a bunch of times, but is your OFP something like a prospect's 75th percentile outcome, while likely is 50th?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yep. Jarrett's "True Outcomes" article goes more into detail in this. (And full disclosure, we are tweaking how we express this a bit for next year)

Sari (NJ): Do you really believe that the Mets could've subbed McNeil for Kelenic in that trade?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I doubt it for a few reasons, partially due to the Mariners trying to open a window for when McNeil would be basically 30, but mostly because Kelenic is a better "trade asset" and a far easier sell to your fans as a recent top 10 pick.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): After the spectacular flops that the Red Sox have had trying to buy a bullpen piece, Hanrahan, Melancon awful with the Sox, Smith and Thornburg, is it any surprise that Dombrowski isn't drinking more Kool-Aid? Following up, is it really possible that Feltman is on the Sox radar?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Feltman definitely should be on their radar, he's literally the last type of prospect you should care about service time concerns with and might already be a top four arm in the pen, maybe more if the college velo shows up more consistently this year.

Stellini (Jersey): What is the best cocktail analogue for Wander Franco, and where would he slot in Wednesday's starting lineup?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I guess this technically isn't a question about Wednesday's recent form so fair enough. I'm trying to think of a cocktail that I love but has become way more of a recent popular trend in the industry than I expected. And I'll be honest I don't keep super up to date on the latest trends, but it would have been something like fat-washed liquor, sherry cocktails, or Dead Rabbit large form punches in recent years. And given Franco's blockish body I'd stick him in a holding midfielder role. Can't be worse than Pelupessy.

Lougle ((NY)): Was Trevor Larnach left off the 101 because of his poor defense or because you don't think he's going to hit enough for a corner bat?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He just missed and it's more because I need to see him hit at higher levels first, but I believe in the bat and fully expect him to get there, even if the corner profile is gonna limit his "prospect list upside."

Kobe (LA): In a win now mode, would you trade Francisco Mejia, Bo Bichette, Jeurys Familia, and Elvis Andrus all for a still productive, yet declining Blackmon?

Jeffrey Paternostro: That still feels like too much to me. I'd try to swap one of the prospects for a lesser piece at least.

djdj (house): Hot take! Who has best offensive career? Ke'Bryan Hayes, Yusniel Diaz, Nick Madrigal, Nate Lowe, Garrett Hampson. Do any of them really stand out as definitively the best of this group or are they all close? And yes, this is an altered fantasy question. Thanks, Jeff.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably Madrigal who gives you Hayes' batting average with Hampson's steals, but Hayes could also have a power breakout and be a fantasy monster. I don't know that I'd BET on that, but I would not be surprised certainly.

Chad (DE): Are there any top 100 guys who you wouldn't rank anywhere near the top 100, but did because of your team's consensus?

Jeffrey Paternostro: There are guys I got talked into being higher than I would have ranked them. Some significantly so, but I can't think of anyone on the list that I wouldn't have had anywhere near it, no.

Charlie (Santa Clara): What prospects are you most excited to go watch this season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The EL doesn't project amazing on paper, although that can certainly change by April, and it could be quite good by the second half. I imagine I will be making a fair amount of trips down to Lakewood to catch the Sally and Hickory, Charleston, and Columbia should all be worth seeking out.

Chad (DE): Zero chance Freddy Coupons allows Alonso to start on opening day, so who's playing First for the first 2 weeks of the season? Fat Dom? Frazier/ Lowrie? Davis?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I suspect it's Frazier.

Toby (Philly): Hey Jeff, what do you think of Austin Hays? Saw him a couple years ago and loved what I saw, but haven’t heard much since and seems like he’s struggled with injuries and what not.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Man, I don't have a great feel here and he bounced around a lot on drafts of the Orioles list (which feels to me like it was written three years ago at this point). The injuries played a part, and I believe he also had his detractors within the organization. 2019 might give him a fresh start on a number of levels.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Francisco Mejia seems to be gradually leaking oil. Is he no longer seen as a top prospect and has he been written off as a catcher?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Certainly by some, and not entirely unfairly I suppose. I'm gonna be the guy by the side of the road pouring in more 10W30 though.

Just a guy (Boston): Can Brandon Nimmo play a competent Center Field this season? He's seemed surprisingly shaky to me. Also, is Flexen anything anymore?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Define competent? I think Conforto is the slightly better center fielder, despite giving away a grade and a half or so of footspeed, but neither is better than playably below-average I'd suspect. Jarrett would yell at me if I didn't mention the galaxy brain option, which is Jeff McNeil. I liked Flexen well enough in the EL a couple years ago, and Vegas was a disaster for arms of his ilk, but the stuff has never been that that good, and he's had durability problems generally. He also might be their sixth starter at this point so we might find out for sure relatively soon.

trookie83 (Spring Training!): Catchers! Which catching prospect is your favorite? Which catching prospect will have the longest MLB career? And which catching prospect will have the single best MLB season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Francisco Mejia / Sean Murphy / oh let's say William Contreras

Obligatory reminder that catchers are weird.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Thanks for reading during another busy list season, a lot more to come in 2019, including more chats.

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