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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday April 17, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor for Baseball Prospectus

Craig Goldstein: You, you got what I need but you say it's just a chat And you say it's just a chat, oh baby...

AJ (Boston): How big a joke are the Red Sox right now, and how badly have they screwed around with Swihart's career?

Craig Goldstein: We're going to have some content on the Swihart decision coming up, but I think the answer is that they detrimentally affected Swihart even if it isn't clear how he would have turned out anyway. Sometimes these guys just miss, even when they're consensus top-25 types. I liked the skillset Swihart had, though, and I think consistent playing time at the major league level would have benefited him greatly, especially since so much more development is happening in the majors these days.

Jeremiah (NJ): The Astros stole Luis Santana from the Mets, even with JD Davis' strong start. The kid is going to be special. The bat to ball skills are simply phenomenal. What say you, Craig?

Craig Goldstein: I think "stole" is a bit strong, especially while Davis is slugging .550. Santana has unique bat-to-ball ability, and while that skill set is certainly getting rewarded in this current space and time in the majors, I have some doubts about Santana's future power output. If you think he gets significantly stronger, maybe I can see it, but I'm not there quite yet. If I'm betting on an outcome, it's a Role 4 type.

The Champ (Parts Unknown): Ok but really though, was this just a 2011 CM Punk gimmick?

Craig Goldstein: Its more of a 2005 CM Punk gimmick

Charlie (San Jose): Is it time to adjust expectations for Carter Kieboom? I just want you to tell me he’s a future fantasy star

Craig Goldstein: I'm not ready to go to fantasy star just yet. The early returns are great and I've always been a fan of Kieboom, so I don't want to diminish his hype either. It's worth noting that the International League is now using the same balls that MLB is, and we've seen a resulting jump in home runs across the league. Now, perhaps that bodes well for Kieboom's power output in the league, but it does get a little complicated to know what the MLB balls are going to look like in any given year, and how that will affect the league.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Does Royce Lewis sniff the majors this year?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's aggressive. Ending the season in Double-A seems reasonable.

Vic (Baltimore): When is it time to believe in D Smith Jr?

Craig Goldstein: Late August at the earliest

Jacob (DC): Will you be bringing much Chad Magic to the day to day of Baseball Prospectus? How do you see him fitting in?

Craig Goldstein: Chad Magic is a phoenix who only rises from the ashes of a previous trip to Las Vegas

Mike (Ohio): I've been intrigued with Corbin Martin since early last year and his numbers continue to show progress. Is he a future starter?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, I think so. That Astros system is stocked with arms and it can be really hard to determine who is going to start based on how they're used in the minors, but Martin is one of the guys I feel a little more confident in. He's an underrated guy.

Kyle (Miami): I recently won a league for the first time ever and I've been super excited about it on slack, but my leaguemates don't care. Do I need to change my team name away from "Defending Champion" or is that a good gimmick?

Craig Goldstein: I think you gotta be more creative if you're going to be intentionally annoying, yeah.

Emily (Georgia): I've been arguing with my boyfriend about who the better prospect is: Christian Pache or Drew Waters. He says Pache, I say Waters. We keep settling on Pache as the better real life prospect and Waters for fantasy. Can you tie break this for us? Or can you at least concede for me that Waters is an easy top 20 prospect for at least fantasy so maybe he'll shut up? :)

Craig Goldstein: I'm a Waters guy, myself. I'll defer to our talented fantasy team on ranking him, but I definitely agitated to move him higher to Ben and Bret when they made their top 100 this offseason.

Esteban (New York): What do you make of Zac Gallen's torrid start to 2019? He's known for having four pitches and it looks like this year they're all at least plus. Ace in the making?

Craig Goldstein: I think saying they're "all at least plus" is a bit nuts. That doesn't happen often. He's always been a kitchen sink type with solid command and control, making him a fit for the back end of the rotation. This year it looks like player development has found a breakthrough in making his fastball spin more efficiently, essentially allowing him to get more "rise" on his fastball, and adding a little firmness. Pair that with his supplementary offerings and you could certainly see him being more mid-rotation than back-of-the-rotation. It's not a small grade jump.

Mark (Ohio): Is Bobby Bradley going to be up this year? Seems like he's off to a decent start in AAA. Is he still a dude?

Craig Goldstein: He could certainly see some time, as he's repeating Triple-A. He's a dude but not a Dude at this point. Only 22, there's time for changes, but he doesn't offer much in the field and is really going to have to mash to be relevant.

Rob Mains (BP): Can you recommend any good decathlons? Is there a wine you think worth training for?

Craig Goldstein: The best decathlon is the decathlon never run. I'm no sommelier but I enjoyed the Argyle Nuthouse Riesling (it's a dry riesling) when I was in Willamette Valley.

Buff (Colorado): Despite the nice surface stats and the glowing reviews, how concerning is Keston Hiura’s 25/1 K/BB ratio?

Craig Goldstein: Not. It's something to keep in mind going forward but we're talking 14 games here and he's never shown this type of impatience before, and when you're hitting as well as he is, well...I can't blame him for swinging.

Vic (Baltimore): I drafted Trevor last month hoping he'd be the Twinkies closer. It's April and he's not? Should I wait until next month to drop him or can I do it now? I really need to drop a player and he may be the most droppable. Ooooh, see what I did there?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah I think it's fine to churn relievers who aren't actively adding value.

Too ashamed to use my name (Shame): Who is your most hated VPR cast member?

Craig Goldstein: First of all, don't be ashamed. This is a safe space. Secondly, it's Kristen and it's not close. I actively get upset when good things happen for her. It gives me heartburn.

Rickey H. (Vegas): If MLB deadened the ball by about 15% and most importantly, announced it so everyone knew, in about 5 years this ear constant "pace-of-play" discussion would largely be gone. True? There's virtually no chance MLB would do that? Also true?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know that the juiced ball is the source of the pace of play problems. I think there are a lot of factors there and keeping batters in the box and having a pitch clock would help more than most anything else. MLB isn't going to announce they're deadening the ball (they won't even admit that they change it now), though. That is true.

Elcarlson (Connecticut): Pancakes or Waffles?

Craig Goldstein: I'm a pancake guy, but I'm not going to pretend that a good waffle isn't sublime

Don the Legend (St. Louis): Is Jesus Cruz a real prospect or just a flash in the pan? Strikeout numbers are otherworldly, tho based on a very small sample.

Craig Goldstein: 96-98 with an average slider

Andy (PA): Kyle Muller is looking like the real deal. Top 100 spec?

Craig Goldstein: Early reports had the velocity ticking up to the upper 90s and that is certainly relevant. The thing about asking whether a guy is a top 100 guy is that at any given time there are about 150 or so top 100 type guys. So sure, you can put him in that mix, but it's also April 17 and that'll change. But he has the ingredients.

Mark (Marlins Park): Zac Gallen. Jordan Yamamoto. Braxton Garrett. This future Marlins rotation is going to be dangerous before long.

Craig Goldstein: I discussed Gallen already and I've heard positive things on Yamamoto, but I don't think this is exactly a three-headed monster. If you buy the changes on Gallen are lasting ones, you could *maybe* squint and see a 2. Garrett has a long way to go and injuries in his past, and Yamamoto is more of a back-end five-and-dive type to me, even with the good reports.

Also, the current Marlins rotation is dangerous, they're just a danger to their fielders is all.

Jeanette (Aspen): I'm new to prospecting. I have been reading LOTS about Juan Guerrero of the Rockies, all good. He is young and I have read raw but everything else is just gushing. Is he going to be a fast riser? I'm EXCITED for him!

Craig Goldstein: I don't have any inside info here, but I'd bet not. There's a bunch to like with Guerrero, but he hasn't played organized ball even, and he's pretty raw from the video I've seen. He's a blank canvas on which to paint your hopes and dreams, but blank canvases aren't *that* hard to come by.

Vic (Baltimore): Does Jordan Lyles have staying power as a 4th starter in a 15 team league?

Craig Goldstein: I am not sure he has staying power as a 4th starter in a 30 team league

Paul (Pittsburgh): Is Tahnaj Thomas the best Pirates pitching prospect since guys like Taillon? Mitch Keller had hype for a while but he stinks. Too hittable. Tahnaj Thomas seems legitimate. Stuff is filthy. Future SP1 in The 'Burgh?

Craig Goldstein: I've heard a bit of negativity on Keller from scouts recently, but I think Thomas has a ways to go before even getting to Keller's point. The stuff is exciting as is the body, but it's early days for him. I like your instincts because he's someone to follow, but let's let him get out of the complex before annointing him, huh?

jgaztambide (Matthew Boyd's heart): How real is Matt Boyd's start? That slider looks good, and his tunneling looks legit. You buying that there's been a real improvement?

Craig Goldstein: These are always moderately tricky. The slider does look good, and he's throwing it a ton. "Throw your best pitch more often" has been a driving force behind a bunch of breakouts, so I do buy it on that level. My question is whether the league adjusts and starts to sit on the slider, with more success eventually, and how Boyd reacts to that.

Chadwick IV (DE): Is Dylan Carson a DUDE?

Craig Goldstein: I think he's really undervalued right now. Definitely has that potential.

Chris (DC): I know that I'm not supposed to scout the stat line, but Heliot Ramos has 4 home runs, a bunch of walks, and not very many strikeouts. What are your thoughts on him at this point? Is he going to shoot up prospect lists this season?

Craig Goldstein: Here's the thing about scouting the statline: it's fine...as a starting point. Ramos has the pedigree and is someone I've liked prior. I'm going to wait to get some actual reports on what he's looking like and how it differs from last year, but I think it's fine to be cautiously optimistic. If the improvements are legit, I wouldn't be afraid to get aggressive with him.

Charlie (San Jose): There is a lot of Julio Rodriguez hype out there at the moment. Is it time to start pushing him aggressively up rankings?

Craig Goldstein: I really like Rodriguez and have gotten strong reports on him for over a year now. As to the actual question here, we're not running rankings in the short term, so...no. The frustrating part of producing lists is that they're a snapshot in time and often get outdated between finalization and publication, but the other side of that is that constantly changing lists are overly reactive (in my view). I prefer to work with larger samples in terms of both stats but also looks, before making big changes.

jgaztambide (Louisville): What kind of power ceiling does Ronny Mauricio have? He's advanced for someone his age and seems to have a nice hit tool. Will the power come with maturation, or is the swing not geared for it?

Craig Goldstein: Mauricio is a popular name, and I defer to our Prospect Lead Jeffrey Paternostro on all things Mets, so I asked him:

"Hes basically trying to hold his own right now and sacrificing pop for bat control, but its plus raw with loft when he zones one or in BP. Hes also got a thicker lower half than upper and Id expect him to get stronger. This was a very aggressive assignment for him and I expect some struggles honestly but the early reports have been really good."

Roger (Baltimore): Happy Hump Day! I’m seeking 5 of your best low-level bets to become stars... The Ronny Mauricio’s of the world. Who you got?

Craig Goldstein: Speaking of Mauricio, we're always looking for our next fix, huh? Just to throw some names out there, I like Jhon Torres, George Valera, D'Shawn Knowles, Shervyen Newton, and Sherten Apostel. I don't know if they're my "best bets" but definitely guys I'm following. If you want a fun name to track, try Darling Florentino. He's a baby and in full-season, so struggling but a toolsy 3B with flashes of power and hit. Plus his name is Darling Florentino.

GB (WA): What are your thoughts on Luis Castillo going forward?

Craig Goldstein: I love the ingredients but I've never been the high guy on the final package. It's hard for changeup-first guys to dominate, in my experience and I don't love any of the breakers he's shown. The velocity is great, and the changeup and made me laugh at times, but I think command and lack of a third pitch conspire to consign him to the back-end starter who flashes better at times.

Frank (Charleston ): Does Colton Welker's hit tool translate to the majors, can he be a regular for the Rockies down the line?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, I'm in on Welker as a hitter and a regular. Dude knows what he's doing with the stick.

Alex (Austin): Who do you like more, George Valera or Julio Rodriguez? Seem fairly similar and big potential helium guys for this season.

Craig Goldstein: I've changed my mind a few times just considering this question, if that tells you anything. I think I'd go with Rodriguez right now, but that might be recency bias since we haven't seen Valera this year yet.

The Mountain (King's Landing): When does Ryan Mountcastle see the majors and at what position?

Craig Goldstein: I think they're going to make him force the issue and I wouldn't be surprised if it was in the second half of the years. He'll be playing 5th in the lineup, eventually.

Jordan (Dakota): I'm convinced Oneil Cruz has fantasy superstar potential. What say you?

Craig Goldstein: Potential is a tricky word. Does that outcome exist in the spectrum of possibilities? Sure. I think he's intriguing and is likely to be fun and useful but not a superstar.

Jason (Arizona): So I'm a bit of an amateur baseball scout. I got to see a lot of Jhon Torres last year and fell in love. He's one of the best under the radar prospects I've seen in... well, years. Incredible athlete, huge frame, prodigious power and bat control. Curious if you've heard anything about him since he's yet to debut in 2019.

Craig Goldstein: I mentioned Torres earlier, and I agree he's a great under-the-radar name right now. Big time power prospect with a chance to hit. I've heard they really like him in St. Louis and he's looked good in Spring and EST. Nothing specific, but nothing to deter our dreams, either.

Elmer (Williamsportburg): What can you tell me about draft prospects Rece Hinds and Brett Baty? I've looked but the only scouting reports I've seen for either player are just the words "grown ass man power." While accurate, I was really hoping to read some new superlatives about these two mashers. THANKS!

Craig Goldstein: Big time power for both. Recent notes I've gotten on Hinds have questioned his ability to make contact, to the point it's a concern about whether he'll be able to access that power. Baty is more athletic than you might think and I've heard plus on his arm. Big-time strength and, in contrast to Hinds, I've heard he might have a chance to hit.

Nick Stellini (New Jersey): Hi Craig, first time long time. Which position would each of the Stark children play and where in the order would you hit them? Thanks, I'll hang up and listen.

Craig Goldstein: Okay, so I've run this by my Small Council and determined:

Arya - 2b/Leadoff (sneaky power, great adjustments, size limits her to the keystone)
Bran - DH/5th (baseclogger, but great ability to control the zone)
Rickon - Left Field/8th (good straightline speed, but poor instincts)
Robb - Catcher/2-hole (leader, have to make the most of him early because he'll fade hard)
Jon - SS, 4th (infield leader, can't use him higher in the lineup because he'll attempt to sacrifice himself too often)
Sansa - probably a situational reliever who wants to retire. she's never been the sports type.

Alex (Austin): Who Is worth more at the end of the season, Austin Barnes or Mitch Garver?

Craig Goldstein: The change in my wallet.

If I have to bet I'll take Barnes, but I would also not bet on guys who should be backup catcher if I could avoid it.

Steve (Philly): What did you miss most in your absence and what sort of weapon is Arya Stark having Gendry make?

Craig Goldstein: If you catch a good freeze frame on what her design is, it's some sort of spear (Carsley would almost certainly call it a Halberd) that can separate if necessary. I assume so she can whip the bottom portion around and release the dragon-glass tipped top portion so it flies off and kills something.

Cranky Yankee (One bite only): Where is my guy Antonio Cabello?

Craig Goldstein: Cabello definitely falls into the low-minors/high-potential types.

Bailey (Maryland): Hey Craig. I play in a 16 team auction league. My best prospect is currently Zac Gallen. Is that reasonable? Or do I need to work harder at adding guys?

Craig Goldstein: That Gallen appears new and improved makes it a little easier to stomach, but yeah you gotta do better an unearthing gems. That's not going to work over the long haul.

Chavez Young (Toronto (one day!)): 2019 my breakout year?

Craig Goldstein: I honestly expect more of the same from Young this year, and that keeps him an interesting guy to follow. Not exactly expecting a monster line from him though.

Antoni Flores (Boston): By which year/month am I a consensus top 100 prospect?

Craig Goldstein: If he proves it in 2019, I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the back end of lists. He's another good name for the high potential types.

J.P. (A fancy bar): Will you finally come out for karaoke with us now?

Craig Goldstein: You always bring up karaoke and then never go. This is on you at this point.

Phil (Washington): Logan Gilbert's velocity is where many of us expected and he's carving hitters up. He's a top 100 prospect for sure now yes?

Craig Goldstein: This goes back to the Kyle Muller answer, btw. Sure, he's in that mix, but let's collect some more data points before annointing anyone.

Jessica (New Hampshire): Is the Astros Bryan Abreu the real deal? He was making hitters look a tad bit foolish in his last start on Monday.

Craig Goldstein: Abreu is certainly talented, but has an injury history. Our reports had him as a likely reliever and the early success notwithstanding, I'd stand by that until I hear he's a different guy than he was previously.

Elton (Pacific Northwest): I'm trying to learn every day and improve my fantasy baseball skills. I know this is just for fun, but do you have any advice?

Craig Goldstein: Read our fantasy coverage, and others. Depends what type of league you're in and how much time you plan to sink into it, but nothing ends on draft day. What you do in terms of roster churn has always mattered more to championships than draft day alone, in my opinion.

Josh (Missouri): What's better strategically for fantasy: benching hitters against good pitchers and leaving empty roster spots, or starting a full lineup every day?

Craig Goldstein: Honestly, I defer to our excellent fantasy team on this but my guess is that it's pretty situationally dependent. I like to gamble on playing guys though, as a default because accumulation matters too.

Joey Jo Jo (The Internet): I thought you left?

Craig Goldstein: Dude I was here the whole time. Maybe you left?

Tommy Milone (Tacoma): Do you think they will de-juice the ball eventually? It was already juicier -- this year almost seems like a mistake was made.

Craig Goldstein: I think the best way to answer this is that I think, eventually, they will tighten the acceptable standards under which the ball is produced. As to whether that will be deadened or consistent with how it is now, I'm not sure.

Phil (Houston): Yordan Alvarez is leading the minors in home runs and hitting shots to all fields. Is he the real deal? Are we looking at a future top 5-10 fantasy 1b? Higher?

Craig Goldstein: He's a big, strong guy with some length to his swing. Perhaps it's an unfair comparison point, but even in BP he didn't stand out at last year's futures game. Not to make too much of a BP session, I think he's certainly talented enough to land in that top 5-10 fantasy 1B tier, with potential for more, but it's also a clouded prognostication point since so many guys filter in at first throughout a season that it kind of depends if you're discussing year-end lists or pre-season lists.

Sandra (Hollywood): How freaking good is Josiah Gray? What a steal for my beloved Dodgers!

Craig Goldstein: I like Josiah Gray, maybe a little too much. I think I stated I preferred him to Jeter Downs at the time of the deal. That might be stating things a little too much, that said I don't think trading Puig, Wood, and Kemp for Homer Bailey's contract and prospects on the tier of Gray or Downs can be qualified a steal in any sense.

Carl (Stanford): I've been intrigued by reports of Kevin Alcantara's exit velocity readings last year. Is he a high upside guy in the Yankees system?

Craig Goldstein: He's more of a vague image for me right now, but I'll try and track down some info. The bat I hear about the most in that system in the lower levels is the aforementioned Antonio Cabello

Craig Goldstein: Alright everyone, We've gone for a bit over an hour. Seems like a good stopping point, since I need some lunch. Weird that no one asked about Wander Javier. Dusty, are you out there?

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