Nathan Bishop is a long-serving member of Short Relief and host of the Dome and Bedlam podcast.
Nathan Bishop: Hello I am very grateful to be here representing the Short Relief Arm of the Baseball Prospectus Family of Subsites. Let us chat.
meswan (Rangers Land): Hi Nathan, thank you for taking my question. I seem to be waiting for Derek Fisher to find an opportunity to play either by trade, Astro circumstance, or other. If you look into your crystal ball do you see a productive full time Major League player in the future. Do you maybe see a platoon type player, other? Thanks in advance for your response.
Nathan Bishop: Well as a Mariners fan accustomed to being Wile E. Coyote to the Astros roadrunner for awhile now my assumption is all Astros prospects will either be traded for soon-to-add-2000 RPM-to-their-fastball SP or become superstars in their own right.
Still, Fisher's skillset really seems more inclined towards that of a utility/4th OF on a playoff contending team. He's the kind of guy you love having as depth, and I could see him putting up a few above average seasons on some losing team. But the bat, for me just doesn't profile as a regular starter on a first-division team.
Gomez (Bot Hell): With the DH seemingly coming to the National League, what are your thoughts on realignment/interleague play? What is your ideal League setup? Keep as is? Go to East/West like the NBA/NHL? Something completely different that only you can dream of?
Nathan Bishop: Baseball's a weird sport in that it likes to pretend to be this perfect time capsule to a bygone era, when everything was bathed in sepia and hard work was enough to win the day. The reality is the game's rules and alignments have always been in a constant tug and pull with whatever era they're in. I think the AL/NL rules split is a charming vestige of baseball's history, but that the logistics of today's game and modern times probably calls for a uniform ruleset, and expansion to 32 teams for an even 16 teams per league. But then, I do love dumb inefficiency, so maybe I want them to keep it as is?
charbowy1 (ohio): this website sucks, its awful, cant even pull up the articles, all clickbait, y does this website suck so bad?
Nathan Bishop: This is actually due to the legislated bandwidth limits in the state of Ohio. Please contact your local representative. Also if you read the first word of every paragraph of every article written between 2/5-2/12 there is a very special message in there, just for you.
P (MPLS): How much should I bump a player up my draft board if I can make a 70-grade team name from his name? What if it's only a 55-grade pun?
Nathan Bishop: This is baseball, and the internet. Fantasy championships fade, but a great pun lasts forever.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): I know it's beyond a long shot, but how great would it be if the Rays signed Kimbrel?
Nathan Bishop: Buddy let me tell you what, as a fan of ex-Mariners Mike Zunino & Guillermo Heredia and a proponent of the Great Boston Sport Championship Absence to extend to
45 days I think it would be awesome! I would also love to have Mike Trout declare himself a sovereign nation and establish his borders around the perimeters of T-Mobile Field's centerfield area, cloaked in Mariner teal. In some better universe both things are possible. In ours, they are equally unlikely.
Dusty (Colorado): I don't remember if I already submitted a Wander Javier question to this chat? Did I ?
Nathan Bishop: It doesn't look like it Dusty, no. Have you submitted to the retinal scan and supplied the flesh swatch, as per standard procedure?
JACkC6969 (Seattle): Is Jack Cust the greatest Mariner ever?
Nathan Bishop: If you want to rephrase it "Is Jack Cust the Most Mariner ever?" I am willing to hear your argument in his favor.
Nick (North Carolina): My favorite prospect is Red Sox wunderkind Trey Ball. Tell me more about TreyBae.
Nathan Bishop: Trey Ball is a 24 year old pitcher who posted a 7.58 ERA in AA last year. He has soft blue eyes, and a kind smile. I am told his mother is very proud of him, but wishes he would call more often.
Rocky Top (TN): Thoughts on Pete O’Brien getting regular AB’s for Miami this year? Potential for 30+ HR’s?
Nathan Bishop: Let me say first of all I, too, wish I were on ol' Rocky Top. Secondly O'Brien is well known for absurd power. Contact and strike zone command are the easy answer as to what holds him back from showing that more in the big leagues, but it's also the truth. He's 28, and given that he could actually hit 30 HR and still not be a particularly useful player given the rest of his skillset I think it's unlikely. But it would be fun and Lord knows Marlins fans could use some fun.
godsocks (Seattle): How excited are you for Ryon Healy: Thirdbaseman?
Nathan Bishop: On Monday I spent a good portion of my day finishing up a project I had worked on most of the weekend for work. When I went to save and submit it, I discovered that it had somehow erased all of my work, and I had to start from the beginning. As I loaded up the data to start again, I felt the exact same feeling I feel about Ryon Healy: Thirdbaseman (Go Mariners)
Cincy Sam (OH): I’m excited to see Nick Senzel & the improved Reds offense. Is it just lip service, or will Senzel actually be the starting CF on opening day??
Nathan Bishop: I too am excited for the Reds! I've long been of the belief that Cincinnati is actually a fictional city made up by Big Midwest, so any evidence to the contrary is welcome. I won't claim any special insight into the inner-workings of the Reds' front office, but given Senzel's skillset and where the Reds are at as an organization, I sure think they'd do well to let him try and earn the position.
Closer carousel (Michigan): Best stash for saves - Buttrey, J.Hughes, or Pressly?
Nathan Bishop: Give me Pressly.
Nick (North Carolina): My favorite prospect is Red Sox wunderkind Trey Ball. Tell me more about TreyBae.
Nathan Bishop: I've already answered this question Mr. Ball. Please tell your son good luck this year.
Padre Pete (San Diego): A couple of questions surrounding my Padres - can Francisco Mejia get enough playing time to be fantasy relevant? Also, do you feel both Paddack & Strahm can produce quality starts in a 12-team league?
Nathan Bishop: Pete congrats on the franchise relevance! It was fun being in Peoria and seeing one of the team's occupying it abuzz with hope for actual major league success. I'd love to say yes to your Mejia question but my cynicism about the state of the game wrt how we treat young players makes me lean towards no. I sure hope the team plays well enough to force their hand though.
The Old Professor (The Dugout in Heaven): Standard 6x5 h2h w/ strikeouts and OBP on the offensive side, keep 4, no costs or limits.. do i trade Lindor, Conforto and Brad Hand for Stanton , Wheeler and Segura?.. Thinking Lindor may be slow out of the gate, Wheeler continues his breakout and Stanton shows improvement in his 2nd year in the Bronx.. am I missing the mark here?
Nathan Bishop: I blacked out at getting Stanton so I say go for it. Also Segura will hit like crazy in Philly.
Gomez (Bothell): What movie would best be suited by inserting Ichiro as the protagonist?
Nathan Bishop: I'm imagining him in the Tom Cruise role in any Mission Impossible film. Additionally, put him in the role of Scott Pilgrim.
Youth served (CA): Both Julio Urias & Alex Reyes can be considered important RP’s in fantasy land right? With both possibly starting as the season progresses? You’d figure solid WHIP/ERA/K9 await anyone who owns them
Nathan Bishop: You certainly would think, barring injury.
Buff (Colorado): How worried should the Reds be about Alex Wood’s sore back?
Nathan Bishop: Well backs are scary stuff so, at minimum, moderately? I'm always amazed that the things that baseball players struggle through to play high-level athletics would be sufficient for me to struggle to, I dunno, mow my yard. Still, he's only 28 and has access to, presumably, exceptional medical care. It's nothing skyline chili can't fix.
DG (Kitsap County): What do you look for in an MLB Manager? How do we know if anyone is any good at the job?
Nathan Bishop: Serious answer? Given the shifting roles of analytics at practically every level of the game right now I think the manager's primary and most valuable skill is in keeping a clubhouse together. That includes the ability to get player's to accept new/diminished roles, juggling player health/playing time, and a strong ability to manage the media in a way that most effectively fosters a positive atmosphere among the players.
Non-serious answer? Give me the dude that can chuck his hat the farthest.
Doody (Peppertown): I play in an auction dynasty league that obviously values youth and promising youngsters. I won last year and am trying to repeat this year. Picked up aging stars like Cano, McCutchen and Miggy at good prices to go with my Soto, Judge and Mondesi. Tell me I'm doing it right?
Nathan Bishop: This is a great question that in many way mirrors the struggle going on with the real sport right now. How much do we weigh a single championship? How much of our future are we willing to sacrifice to give ourselves the greatest chance of present day success?
It would be good here to remind everyone that we all die, and we know not the hour, and well it looks like I just did that. You should chase that repeat title. Flags fly forever.
Abel Archer (Norad): Out of the following potential 3/4 starters, what order would your top 3 be based on upside and potential to actually achieve it? T. Santillan, L. Patino, E. Pardinho, A. Medina, S. Howard, B. Graterol, G. Canning, B. Wilson, and L. Oviedo.
Nathan Bishop: Abel this is a really good question, so I don't want to lie to you. Baseball Prospectus has many highly knowledgeable analysts and writers. I write for Short Relief, and my last three articles were about force-feeding New Yorkers Pizza, a piano concerto, and a small bronze statue given to me at a minor league game 14 years ago.
I am afraid I can't answer that.
A-Rod (Miami): Besides being busy with planning the wedding I’m also torn between what Marlins SP to add in the late rounds of fantasy - Alcantara or Caleb Smith?
Nathan Bishop: AROD congrats on the engagement, and please come on my podcast. Give me Alcantara for the upside, and let me know where you register so I can send you something thoughtful.
jgaztambide (Louisville): How excited are you for Chris Paddack? What's a realistic ceiling assuming the breaking ball doesn't develop further? Also, how hard is it to develop an effective breaking pitch, and what are the parts of that process that are intrinsic vs those that are learnable/teachable?
Nathan Bishop: As already stated earlier in this Baseball Prospectus Chat I am very excited about the Padres this year, and thus very excited for Chris Paddack. San Diego should be a huge baseball town, and is easily the best city in California.
That said, the development of an effective breaking pitch is a fun insight into the inner guts of the game. The short answer to your question, and the one that will sound like a cop out but is the truth: The process is as unique as the pitcher in question. Some pitchers learn pitches from a conversation with a teammate and a few months practice (a la Eddie Guardado teaching JJ Putz his death splitter while teammates in Seattle). For others, an extreme case being Trevor Bauer, pitch refinement and advancement is a science and data-specific process that involves hours and hours looking at numbers and slow motion video. While current trends are definitely going towards the latter model, baseball is a human sport, and that means the former will always be at least a sizable part of the equation.
matt.merry (please dont publish): I actually think the user interface on the site could be refreshed. It can be pretty difficult to find things. I love love love the content though.
Nathan Bishop: Thank you for your question, and glad you love the content!
San Diego Chicken (Chicken Coop): So excited for the young Padres. Which OF do you prefer? Reyes, or Renfroe? Both have 25+ HR potential, if not more...
Nathan Bishop: More Padres! This is now a Padres Chat, and we are all now sipping a delicious craft beer while eating good burritos, not that trash they make in the Bay.
Whenever we are comparing young position players I like to go with two loose principles: 1) who can thwock the ball the farthest? and 2) who looks less like me? Given these factors the easy answer is Reyes. Thank you for joining Padres Chat.
Willie Boom-Boom (Port Orchard): Now that I've been retired for a few years, who has taken the mantle as the GRIT LORD of MLB?
Nathan Bishop: Hello Boom. Unfortunately grit died with your career, and now all players are entitled millenials who have wild expectations like "not being ruthlessly exploited for billion-dollar enterprises" and "being paid more the $.25/hr before they make the majors."
It's terrible. Please come back.
The Fonz (Milwaukee): Ayyyyyyyy!
Nathan Bishop: I agree. Brewers win the Central.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Does Nico Hoerner have chops, or is he just another over-hyped Cub prospect?
Nathan Bishop: I'm gonna go with yes he's over-hyped, he's still better than Daniel Descalso, and congratulate Theo on the third place finish.
airmud (Indiana): Is the Futures Guide coming out tomorrow as scheduled? What about Diamond Insights? Can't wait for Opening Day!
Nathan Bishop: Airmud as far as I know (and please keep in mind I am practically not even ON the totem pole, let alone the low man upon it) the Futures Guide is on schedule. I haven't been told about Diamond Insights. I'm glad you are excited about Opening Day but now that you've said so here you are verbally contracted to watch every second of the Mariners-A's games in Japan live. I'm sorry, but these are the rules.
Buddy (Peoria,IL): Keeping with the Padres theme...Who would have won a fight between Champ Summers and Steve Garvey?
Nathan Bishop: Thank you again for joining Padres chat. Always back the guy with the better facial hair, especially if winning is an inherent part of his name. Give me Summers.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): If the Cubs finish third I will eat my keyboard.
Nathan Bishop: Please note here at Baseball Prospectus we do not condone, recommend, or otherwise encourage this action.
Danny Valencia (Smiling into a mirror): Why did the Mariners, upon entering the rebuild window, pull out and use the garage door? They had every right to:
1) slash payroll;
2) collect more prospects;
3) lose all the games.
Cold feet? Cold market? Why is everything cold?
Nathan Bishop: Seattle is very far from New York, which is the center of the universe. As such, things out here get pretty cold. Also, as the moon and sun forever chase each other across our skies, so the Mariners and mediocrity are locked in a perpetual, circular arc. Forever chasing, never catching, never arriving. Forever and ever, amen.
Gomez (Bot Hell): If you could unilaterally make changes to MLB, what changes would you make?
Nathan Bishop: Baseball needs to fully blow up the postseason model and go to a full EPL-style relegation/promotion model. Additionally, copy the model of the Champions league and make the playoffs a collection of the top teams from baseball leagues across the world.
Dan (Seattle): Why do we baseball?
Nathan Bishop: Dan, thank you for logging into Padres Chat. I think we baseball because there is a very real part of us, something we sometimes acknowledge overtly but often lies in our subconscious, that is deeply aware of the largely meaningless and futile nature of our lives. Baseball's insistence, not just that we waste time with it, but that we do so EVERY DAY for months at a time holds a unique appeal in this space within us. It is here we play, we laugh, we cheer, and we mourn; but we do so together, and it become a ritualistic comfort for us, a salve, a guiding star to seek, and to aim for.
It's also just fun as hell to swing a stick at a ball as hard as you can and see how far you can hit it.
Nathan Bishop: Thank you all for participating in Padres Chat with the Short Relief Arm of Baseball Prospectus. Please do not adjust your monitor. Your typical, insightful analysis and commentary will resume in 3.....2.....1.....