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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday May 03, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus and foremost ignorer of Wander Javier questions.

Craig Goldstein: [Chatters] used to laugh like I tripped and fell / Cause I don't stunt a gold cross like I Christian Bale / Yeah, they starin' at me jealous cause I do [chats] bigger / But your [Qs] don't help, like an old gold digger / Uncool, but [answer like] I'm a stone cold killer

beringstorm (Tacoma, WA): Dynasty (keep forever) league, who is the odd man out: Vogelbach, Mountcastle, D. Waters, Graterol?

Craig Goldstein: Mountcastle

CubbieBear (Chi-Town): Jake Fraley is off to a strong start at AA. What can you tell us about his tools and his potential future upside?

Craig Goldstein: I talked to a scout in Spring Training who liked him a bit. Health has been the issue for him mostly, but when he's right he's a plus runner with a chance at moderate pop (who doesn't with the ball these days), and might be a solid platoon/4th OF type

Derek (Chicago): Is Oneil Cruz's defence improving at SS?

Craig Goldstein: He's currently laid up on the injured list, but we have a prospect team member in Bradenton who will report on this when he's active again

Rusty Montana (Billings): I saw your back and forth with Bret and Ben (and your receipts). If you had done a fantasy 101, where would you slot in Waters? Related, if I could trade Adames and Josh James for Waters, should I?

Craig Goldstein: It's a bit of an unfair situation since I've never done my own fantasy lists and have usually just picked at Bret and Ben's output, which they're kind enough to let me do. I probably would have had him around 30. I'm not sure I'd make that move just yet. Adames was a top 30 guy of his own not long ago.

Rickey H. (Las Vegas): Details of money and/or prospects also involved unclear but any chance Braves find some way to trade Inciarte to Giants for Will Smith?

Craig Goldstein: Any chance? I guess. Inciarte is pretty regularly a 3-win guy on the back of his defense, which would be useful in that Giants' outfield but I'm a little unsure why they'd be looking to get, as the basis for Smith's return, a guy who will be 29 next year and gets that much value from his defense. The $/WARP is worth it but my guess is they'd target someone with a different shape to their WARP production.

Ben (NYC ): George Velara or Kristian Robinson?

Craig Goldstein: Right now I'd go Kristian Robinson, but that doesn't speak to my appreciation of Valera.

Bread Savage (Wander Years): All time boy band draft: who goes number two?

Craig Goldstein: Menudo

mitchellkrall (Cleveland): So, what's the deal with Alexis Pantoja? Dude had a 19 wRC+ last year in Double-A and now he's raking.

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't quite encourage anyone to use wRC+ for the minor leagues for a variety of reasons. Also, it was 24 games. Also, it is 24 games this year and he's not even slugging .400 or hitting .300.

Paul (Dallas): Heliot Ramos start - real, Cal League-aided mirage, or something in between?

Craig Goldstein: Wilson Ten Packed him in April. We're optimistic.

jeremydneezy (Brooklyn): Any reason to panic about Walker Buehler? Velocity and FIP suggest he's ok, but not getting Ks at his usual clip.

Craig Goldstein: I've watched a few of his starts and he just hasn't been as sharp. I'm not worried about him though, he's the type of guy who should be able to iron out whatever isn't working.

Daniel (Ny): SS with most potential In minors not named Franco?

Craig Goldstein: Gotta be Royce Lewis, right? I know it's been a rough go at Double-A (dating back to last year) but if you're talking potential...it's the obvious answer.

Elton (Pacific Northwest): Carlos Rodon and Matt Shoemaker were the key to my dynasty league hopes this year. How f'ed am I?

Craig Goldstein: I would say that this would be a good example of begging the question, to begin with.

Flipai (Maryland): How has Trevor Larnach looked so far this season? I see he's around .250 with a sub-.300 obp, but beyond the statline how does he look as a prospect? Also, is there a chance Brusdar Graterol works his way up to Minny this season? I've been reading good things about him to start the season.

Craig Goldstein: I've heard "just okay" thus far but it's really early and no one is down on his abilities. We're going to catch him in the coming month and we'll be sure to have some writeups based on those live looks.

Graterol has a shot depending on how aggressive Minnesota wants to be. They obviously have a chance to make a stand here with Cleveland in the shape it is in, but they might be prioritizing his long-term outlook to a degree that prevents it from happening. He could at least be an impact bullpen arm later in the year, in my view.

Joe Dirtè (Silvertown): Thoughts on Machado in a dynasty league? If you’re looking to move him, who are some guys you’d move him for and not feel like you’re giving up too much?

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't really be looking to move him right now. I'm still a believer (hot take, right?) and market value is probably a touch below where his actual value is.

Timmy (Flooded in IA): 10tm H2H dynasty guy offered me Matt Chapman for Buehler. I think it’s too much. I have Glasnow, Weaver and Musgrove. Would you move one of them for Chap?

Craig Goldstein: I'd rather have Buehler. Weaver and Musgrove would be easy moves to get Chapman for me, and I'd put them together to do it. I'd be shocked if someone is willing to take either one for Chapman if they're targeting Buehler. I'd probably do Glasnow too, if I were you.

nschaef (NYC): Of the players getting their first extended look at regular playing time who weren't huge prospects/names, are there any that you buy more than others? E.g. Voit, Christian Walker, Hunter Dozier, Yandy Diaz? Similarly, any of the hot start guys like Jorge Polanco, Josh Bell, or Max Kepler have you considering raising your idea of their "true talent" so to speak?

Craig Goldstein: I'm buying into Voit and Diaz to varying extents and still in wait and see on Dozier. I'm not buying Walker doing this for an extended period but he's probably better than I ever gave him credit for. Voit I think has been pretty well explained, and I'd encourage you to read Lindsey Adler's recent piece on him in The Athletic. Diaz has always had particular skills, but he really needs to continue to move that launch angle up for me to keep buying it as it has been going.

Aaron (Minnesota): In a dynasty league where I'm rebuilding and all my pitchers have been converted to relievers, I recently traded Yordan Alvarez for Trevor Williams. My second best hitter is either Byron Buxton or Avisail Garcia so Yordan seemed expendable to me. Did I do well here?

Craig Goldstein: I like Williams in deep leagues (it's not clear to me how deep the league is here), and uh, I'm not sure Avisail Garcia is a good reason to declare anyone expendable, so I'm not sure about the logic. It's fine, I guess. Alvarez has been a freak at the plate this year in Triple-A, and while I think it might be "fine" for you, I think there's more downside than upside going forward.

mitchellkrall (Cleveland): Steven Kwan seems to have the profile more and more sites are trying to include—bat first, chance to grow into power tool. Why haven't I heard more about him?

Craig Goldstein: Because he's pretty small and I'm not sure a BABIP that high is sustainable for a guy without much pop.

Flex (San Diego): Who is this year's George Valera?

Craig Goldstein: I honestly want to know what this even means. George Valera played six games of complex-league ball last year. He's toolsy and a really interesting guy who I obviously think is going to be very good but what on god's green earth does "this year's George Valera" even constitute?

Buddy (Peoria, IL): I know it wouldn't be a popular PR move, but if you're the Orioles why not take a swing at acquiring Addison Russell? I'll be they could get him for pennies on the dollar.

Craig Goldstein: Maybe because he hasn't really shown any contrition and has taken almost every opportunity to frame this around his struggles? That's not the answer you want but I'm also not going to entertain the notion of acquiring this guy as a positive just because you can leverage the fact that he's been a bad person in the past into some sort on-field surplus value crap.

It'd also be great if we didn't frame this around "PR." That distances it from the actual issues at hand. The "bad PR" is driven by the bad actions. Let's focus on those and in so doing, answer our own question.

RotoLando (Cloud City, Bespin): Why did I bring a cup of raspberries for an afternoon snack, when I really wanted donuts?

Craig Goldstein: Because you wanted to give your taste buds a treat. Raspberries are where it's at, dude!

Craig (Baltimore): What 3 prospects would you be targeting in 12-team rotisserie dynasty leagues?

Craig Goldstein: We have a prospect list for this!

Ben (Upstate ): Hi Craig! Why is Joe Kelly?

Craig Goldstein: Answer: He is a personal attack against my very being.

Colin (St. Louis): With Rqys seemingly setup to compete for a wild card the next few years, think there is a chance that Franvo comes up in 2020v

Craig Goldstein: If anyone can force the Rays to push their slow-and-low approach, it is Franco. That said, if they're going to be in competition anyway, they probably do their best to hold him past the service time date in April 2021. But is there a chance? Sure.

Kyle (Seattle): I'm in a dynasty league and my hitting is stacked but my pitching stinks. Which pitching prospects can you think of thatd be worth trading Taylor Trammell for straight up?

Craig Goldstein: I consulted Bret Sayre regarding this and he said "none. None pitching prospects." I think by that he means go get an established guy who can help you immediately, not trade a safer bat type for a riskier pitching type. If you need it to be a prospect, the answer is probably Forrest Whitley, but even then...

Dave (AZ): The hype on Kristian Robinson real?

Craig Goldstein: Yep, we've been pushing him pretty consistently. He's a long way off and there are lots of paths open to him but we're buying the underlying skill set for sure.

The Champ (Parts Unknown): Craig - as the Reigning, Defending, Undisputed Champion of my dynasty league. H2H Categories, I'm struggling with Saves currently. Would you A) Keep Kimbrell at a league minimum on the bench and wait for him to help down the stretch at the cost of whatever he signs for, or B) Sell him now, which will get me more Saves over the course of the season, but likely have less of an impact on ratio stats than Kimbrell would?

Craig Goldstein: If you can guarantee more saves over the course of the season I'd go with that and worry less about reliever ratios impacting the whole of your team.

matt (texas): Saw an image of the balls being used this year versus last year with the seams looking considerably different. I know that we've established that this juices the ball for hitters, but is there any discussion about how changing the seams may affect the spin rate for pitchers or am I overthinking this?

Craig Goldstein: I'm not sure if it affects spin rates, though I'd imagine better grip makes it easier to spin a bit more - I do know it affects the drag on the pitches, which can effect pitch movement, etc.

cracker73 (Florida): I'm going to have to drop 1 or 2 of these prospects in my dynasty league, so could you rank them by upside? Jesus Sanchez, Drew Waters, O'Neil Cruz, Heliot Ramos, George Valera, Tirso Ornelas, Antonio Cabello. Thanks

Craig Goldstein: some of the upside factor depends on what your league has as categories. If it's a points league for examples steals don't matter as much and it changes the calculus because they're so hard to come by otherwise. I'd go: Valera, Ramos, Cruz, Waters, Cabello, Ornelas, Sanchez today but I'd probably give you a different answer next week.

No, You! (MLBHQ, NY): The balls are not different in any way! Maybe YOURS are the different balls! Have you ever thought of that, smart guy?

Craig Goldstein: Good one, sir.

Davido (Colorado): With all of his early season success where would you slot Yordan Alvarez in the top 101 now?

Craig Goldstein: I'm not making a big change based on one month of data. This isn't to say I'm ignoring it, but it also means I'd like to let things play out a bit further before making significant adjustments, generally. This is also why we don't do monthly lists.

Danny (Dd): Kristian Robinson the most potential besides Franco in minors?

Craig Goldstein: I...don't know exactly how to answer this. Do you want contextless upside without some basis of how likely it is to work? If so you're going to pick whoever 2019's Jordan Akins is (he's a tight end in the NFL now, btw).

Chris (Tx): Long-term - adell or k Robinson

Craig Goldstein: One ranked 2, one ranked 100

mitchellkrall (Cleveland): As far as I can tell, there isn't even a consensus on Michael/Scott Peoples's first name, let alone a scouting report. Is there anything notable in his profile I can't glean from his statline?

Craig Goldstein: He's an org arm, as far as I'm concerned. I saw him way back when he was in the Carolina League and it doesn't sound like much has changed. Big day for questions about fringe Cleveland guys though!

Mike (Poland): Does Nolan Gorman hit AA this year?

Craig Goldstein: I'm going to say "no," but there's an outside chance he forces the issue. He's really damn good.

Mike (Albany): How long would it take to turn an elite forward in soccer into an above-average center fielder? Assume you're using them purely as a defender and not as a hitter.

Craig Goldstein: I consulted Jeffrey Paternostro on this because he's my soccer guy. He pointed out, aptly, that the hands are gonna be an issue given that you don't use them as you do in baseball, for soccer. Plus, if you're looking for range, you're going to want a winger, probably. Still, it's great that a guy can run anything down but meaningless if he can't catch it.

Carl (NJ): In a 16 team dynasty league, how long should a rebuild take? I'm in my fourth year of one and still in the bottom quadrant of the standings. But I'm hoping that once my team actually is good, I'll be able to reel off several consecutive championships in order to break even.

Craig Goldstein: I think faster than this, but admit it depends on how people in your league operate. If there are others tanking and trying to scorched-earth rebuild, it's going to affect your ability to do the same.

Paolo (South Beach): Edward Cabrera has been flat out dominant this year. Are we witnessing a breakout?

Craig Goldstein: Definitely possible. He's been 95-97 with a plus slider. That's a good basis for a breakout season.

mikewilsonelgin (Illinois): Assuming the Avengers are wrong about time travel, if you personally went back to the early 1960's with enough gold to buy a franchise and a complete team of analysts, could you buy a weak franchise and quickly get it to the World Series using modern techniques: 3rd time through order, 12-man bullpens, shifting, etc?

Craig Goldstein: I think some of those tactics and strategies have evolved because the arms have also evolved into specialists, and the strategies are adjustments to that that take advantage of them, so they might not be effective immediately. That said, I think you could start that process sooner, or more readily identify guys that fit into those roles, and take advantage. So sure, but maybe not as quickly as you think,

Steve (Haiku): Is Jarren Duran A breakout prospect akin To Garrett Hampson?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know about the comp and I prefer to let guys be their own thing - but I like Duran for sure. Think he's moderately underrated right now.

Vernon Duke (Taking a Chance): Have you noticed Eric Sogard's DRC+? What do you think?

Craig Goldstein: Sure. Have you noticed his PA?

RotoLando (Cloud City, Bespin): You got a soccer guy? Good, I've been trying to get this question answered for years: If a player grew his or her hair really really long, braided it, then layered it on top of their heads like a basket, could they catch the ball in it, and haul ass down field to dump it in the goal?

Craig Goldstein: Jeff says "yeah but they're all required to have the same high and tight haircut"

Joey (Staten Island): Is Deivi Garcia real? Is there a greater than 50% chance we see him in the show next year?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah he's real. I wanna see more innings and how the stuff holds up under a significant workload. There are some divergent opinions on the team on him, but the baseline is still solid rotation piece, so definitely real.

FW Kekionga (Chicago): Thoughts on Simeon Woods...a month's worth of good starts, but only pitching around 3 innings/start. Too small a sample or impressive for an 18 year old in the SAL (or both)?

Craig Goldstein: Both. It's nice to see, but lets see more IP and what it looks like then.

Jefferson Airplane (Boston): Who do you prefer long-term: Keston Hiura or Kyle Tucker (5x5 roto, OBP)? Both seem to have shown worrying signs so far this year. Do either have you more worried than the other?

Craig Goldstein: I'm more worried about Tucker than I am Hiura.

Landon (CT ): Most potential of the prospects ranked outside top 75?

Craig Goldstein: Let's throw it back to Kristian Robinson. I think he's pretty special.

Alonzo Mourning (Miami): You get to pick five MLB players to help you fight your way out of a zombie apocalypse. Who you taking?

Craig Goldstein: Aaron Judge (Brienne)
Keone Kela (The Hound)
Rougned Odor (Arya Stark)
Cody Bellinger (Gendry)
Justin Turner (Tormund, duh)

Gyan Rarton (Quadapolis): Why would teams want Mychael Givens when Craig Kimbrel is still available?

Craig Goldstein: The guy is good and maybe you can get him cheap but I honestly don't know because if you can get him that cheap I can't say why the O's would trade him.

boatman44 (Liverpool): Hey Craig , given a healthy season with no barking shoulder is Caleb Smith a legit 1/2 fantasy pitcher, a 10 team league must own, if you will ?

Craig Goldstein: No, I don't think he's quite at that level, even if I do buy the talent overall. Sure with health you should own him in a 10-teamer but I'd have him more towards a 3/4 I think.

Freida (Louisville): Anything on Omar Estevez and his hot start this year as well as finish last year? Has he leapfrogged Lux?

Craig Goldstein: There's a change to his batted ball profile, however much credence you give that at MiLB levels. That said, no he's not leapfrogged Lux at all. I think it's more hot start than substantial change at this point.

nschaef (NYC): Do you have a personal favorite of the mid-to-back end starter type prospects that tend to get lumped together so heavily? Let's say Double-A or above.

Craig Goldstein: Really like Morejon and Patino of the Padres coming into the year. Both have walked a ton of guys so far, but I still like them long term.

Craig Goldstein: Alright, I need to grab a late lunch and I got to 50 questions. Thanks everyone for showing up. Wilson Karaman will be chatting at 9 PM Pacific next Monday, for you late-folks!

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