Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus.
Craig Goldstein: Apologies if I type slowly today, I damaged my hand trying to replicate Ryan Feierabend's changeup grip. Let's get started.
RotoLando (Cloud City): This week's berry is just the good old blueberry. After the raspberries and blackberries, I needed a slump-buster. It turns out that, in order to make them last longer, my wife washed the blackberries with vinegar. That may have contributed to the extreme bitterness or not. I'll give them a try again next week and report back.
Craig Goldstein: Starting off with the only important thing that matters: #BerryChat
Blueberries are overrated. There, I said it. Subpar berry that is best served as part of a berry cocktail smoothie or some such. Quick story while we're here: My grandmother used to get FURIOUS with my grandfather because he'd take the plastic carton the blueberry came in and just kinda...shuffle it a bit until the smaller blueberries moved around and unearthed the larger ones. Then he'd eat all of those and leave the small ones. It was hilarious.
Steve (Philly): Lot of lunchtime chats lately. Did you bring a lunch with you today?
Craig Goldstein: Since we're on the subject of food: I'm snacking on some wheat thins and pepper boursin. Boursin doesn't get enough shine in the cheeseworld.
Scootim (Wendy's): Does Logan Gilbert seem liable/well-suited to be on a fast-track a la Griffin Canning? And has he looked better than expected in the pros or simply fully back to normal from his low-velo stretch after being overused at the end of college?
Craig Goldstein: We covered Gilbert in a Ten Pack earlier this year, and will have some updated notes on him coming on Friday. I don't think he'll move quite as fast as Canning, but Seattle isn't afraid to push guys and he has the polish to move faster than other 2018 first-rounders. His velocity has generally been 90-93, as you'll see from Brandon Williams' note at the end of the week.
captnamerca (America, dur): How close are we to droppable Joey Votto?
Craig Goldstein: depends quite a bit on league size and depth but if you're in a redraft 10-teamer I think you're damn close.
Matthew C. (Chesterfield): Is Dylan Carlson for real? Hit another #DylanDinger last night and has a .906 OPS. Is he a devil magic prospect?
Craig Goldstein: Carlson is for real. He hit a dinger last night and it was off Dustin May, no less. I don't think you can call a supplemental first a Devil Magic type. He's just plain good.
Allie (Bay Area): Nolan Gorman started hot to begin the year and then cooled off a little. Has his prospect value changed at all this year for you?
Craig Goldstein: Jeffrey wrote about this (concept, not Gorman), today, in a really good piece. Ultimately, we thought really highly of him coming into the year and I don't think that's changed at all.
Misty (Cedar Rapids): Thanks for the chat! Have anything on Leandro Cedeno with Peoria?
Craig Goldstein: He can hit and has power, but he's _really_ going to have to hit given that he's probably limited to LF or 1B
Jen (Albuquerque): When do we see the young pups play? Valera, Robinson, Luciano, etc.
Craig Goldstein: I'd expect to see them come out for short-season ball which gears up in a few weeks
balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Hi Craig: thanks for these chats. I'm in a 16 team 12 kpr. pts. league (very little deductions for Ks by a batter).
We have a shallow bench and Didi will be coming off the IL soon. My team has done surprisingly well. If I had to drop a prospect to add another batter to keep winning, which one would you choose? Pache, J.Sanchez or V. Brujan?
I'll be keeping Hiura and Kieboom, b/c 2B is a weakness. My only decent OFs are Hicks, Robles and Joc Pederson. My IF is solid with C. Seager, Chapman, Olson, Alonso and Voit.
Craig Goldstein: Probably Brujan given it is a points league and the speed is less meaningful.
Flipai (Maryland): Could you please wax poetic about Alex Verdugo? He should be an every day player even when everyone is healthy, right? Thanks for doing these weekly chats!
Craig Goldstein: Verdugo has been really good thus far, and obviously is doing some really interesting things, which I wrote about. Assuming the ball stays as it is, he could put up some really good numbers due to how much he makes contact while still retaining power. The Dodgers are so deep, I don't think he ends up an everyday guy, especially since it seems they're concerned about being lefty-heavy in the lineup.
Gerald (Canada): Stockton has two guys with crazy strikeout numbers, Lazarito and Austin Beck. Lazarito still producing walk and power numbers, Beck... not so much. Any concerns about Lazarito Ks despite production? Any insight into Beck's struggles?
Craig Goldstein: We actually have a Ten Pack on Lazarito from early May, but I also think this is an area that Jeffrey's article (linked to above) touches on too. Are the strikeouts due to a "fatal" flaw? Is it pitch recognition? Is it adjusting to a league? Is it something fixable and further, is it something that is likely to be fixed by the player? the org? what are the track records there? All of these are relevant. Beck was tabbed as an elite athlete coming out of the draft but I had scouts who were _very_ concerned about his contact skills, which makes his struggles more meaningful to me, despite the small sample.
Kalimantan (as above): Trying to get a handle on Trey Mancini, good '17, poor '18, doing very well this year. Babip swinging all over the place, launch angle is up. What do you think?
Craig Goldstein: Just scanned some numbers really quick, but his BABIP during the good years was/is .352 while the bad year was .285. I'd be looking at his exit velo numbers and trying to get a sense on whether that BABIP is sustainable or not. One difference, as you touched on is the batted ball profile. He was over 50% in terms of groundballs in both 17 and 18. Much more towards a fly ball guy now. That might affect BABIP but if he's hitting it hard consistently, it'll be worth the trade off.
bpalee (DC): It seems like a lot of young batters are making some unusual jumps in contact and power this year, like La Stella and Urshela (and VanMeter in the minors). Is there some new coaching technique driving this improvement?
Craig Goldstein: Tommy La Stella is young? Man, I'm _just_ passed young in that case (he's 30). Matt Trueblood had a nice article on La Stella, where interviewed him to see what was behind the change in production. Short answer is: there's no one philosophy that is going to underpin all of these guys' changes. Some of it is small sample variation. Some of it is adding some loft and uppercut to their swing - but that doesn't work for everyone either. You need to have some contact ability to trade off of to make that change, and enough raw power for the trade off to be worth it.
Andrew (Maryland): Josh Green still getting guys out - anything to see here?
Craig Goldstein: Depends how invested you are in seeing a guy beat up the Cal League while striking out 5.5 per nine. I think that's pretty fun if not someone I'd project long-term success for without some changes.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): If LeClerc regains the closer role and looks like his old self, do you see the Rangers dealing him? Seems like a nice fit for the Cubs or Braves.
Craig Goldstein: It's certainly possible, especially since his extension makes his contract an asset if he returns to form. That said he's so cheap, it doesn't really hurt Texas to retain him, if not as a building block, then as a stable piece in a time of transition.
Lou Seal (San Fran): What are your thoughts on Andrew Vaughn?
Craig Goldstein: They type of monster bat that could justify a top 5 selection despite the positional limitations.
shauncore (Great Midwest): Hi Craig. As an all around great guy, I have to get your opinion on the Royals farm system. It's my opinion that it should be ranked 35th or 40th in baseball, but I wanted to get your esteemed opinion on why Nick Pratto is so horrible and Chase Vallot is being robbed of a promotion in Lexington.
Craig Goldstein: I haven't seen Pratto and I've asked the team if we've caught him. It's hard to explain a 450 OPS given his pedigree even if a lot of 20 year olds aren't at High-A. I'll update if anyone has a good look at him. Re: Vallot, I think they want him playing everyday and Melendez is in Wilmington. Not a bad problem to have, unless you're Vallot.
cracker73 (Florida): What is the upside of D'Shawn Knowles? Does he have power potential? Is he comparable to George Valera?
Craig Goldstein: He's a guy that should be listed on all those "who is the next hot prospect" lists, if he's not already. He's a different profile of player than Valera and doesn't have the same power potential. He's a smaller guy but has the bat speed to make pitchers pay. More of a top of the order type than Valera looks to be.
Phred (Indianapolis): Who has best stats ROS: Matt Adams, JD Davis, Tyler White or Garrett Cooper?
Craig Goldstein: Trick question, these are all the same person.
balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Craig: thanks again for these chats. I forgot to mention that in my 16 tm, 12 kpr. league, I also have Nate Pearson and F. Whitley on the SP side of my prospect bench.
Should I trade one of them to keep competing (I'm at 5-2)? Some teams are in full rebuild mode. I thought I was too, but I like to go for it in a very tough league with active owners.
Craig Goldstein: It depends what you can get, but if it can put me in contention I don't usually hesitate to deal arms. Too much variance. Whitley I might keep if I could though.
Barnold (USA): It's kind of weird how Game Of Thrones has faded away so quickly. I expected a solid week of think pieces. Is there nothing left unsaid?
Craig Goldstein: I can't tell if this is a joke. The Ringer (great website) is basically just a Game of Thrones content farm, for good and for ill and they're still pumping out some good work on it. But also, it was so analyzed during its run I think most people had gotten to where they were going to be by the finale which was f i n e as an episode but extremely mediocre in context of the story.
Let's hope Binge Mode takes on His Dark Materials next, since BBC/HBO are doing a series where the trailer looks fun as hell.
sykklone (IA): Zac Gallen or Anthony Kay??
Craig Goldstein: I'd take Gallen right now.
Barnold (USA): What platform do you use for fantasy? I'm annoyed with both FanTrax and ESPN this year. Especially, ESPN. Yeesh.
Craig Goldstein: I've never been on FanTrax so can't speak to it for good or ill. I have 4 dynasty leagues on CBS and one on Yahoo. I hate ESPN's format, personally. Yahoo is fine but I prefer CBS by and large. Best universe of players and easiest for me to navigate over offseasons where a lot of site shut down access.
The Pointy End (Somewhere): Thanks for the chat Craig. Has Nick Madrigal's season so far been a bit underwhelming?
Craig Goldstein: My pleasure! Yes, it has and I think those creeping doubts about how much power he has are resonating right now. It's still early, and we've cited the roundtable we did on Madrigal and the smaller-framed guys who trade off hit for power a lot (Jeffrey did it in his article today, even), but there has to be power to trade off for. Whether Madrigal has enough is going to be the question. That might also be the issue for Pratto, going back to before.
Mike (Albany): What do your cats think about Kyle Tucker's big league future
Craig Goldstein: Okay I asked and the orange one just gave me a death stare and the gray one appears to be hungry. Hope it helps.
Nickelback (Canada): Why isn't Cavan Biggio considered a bigger prospect?
Craig Goldstein: Well he's only 6-foot-2.
I think he gets overshadowed because both Vladito and Bichette are also sons of bigtime MLBers who have more prospect ceiling. Biggio is a real prospect, for sure. Don't go too crazy over those Triple-A numbers given the change in the ball, though.
Braun (NC): How many pitchers would you trade Juan Soto straight up for in a deep dynasty league?
Craig Goldstein: There was a variation of this in Jeffrey's chat (Tatis instead of Soto, I think), but the answer is largely the same. It depends a bit on context in terms of team needs, but I don't know that there's a combination of good enough and young enough and healthy enough that I would, in absence of context.
cracker73 (Florida): Do you think that Lewin Diaz is finally having a breakout? Will he possibly make mid-season top 100 lists?
Craig Goldstein: I'd say it's really nice to see him do this and show this kind of power in the FSL, but he is repeating the league a bit and he isn't exactly young for the level (in terms of being a prospect). First base profiles are tough sells in these parts, so I think it's unlikely he'd land on our midseason list (which is a top 50).
beringstorm (Tacoma): Kyle Freeland turn things around, or was 2018 an anomaly?
Craig Goldstein: I think he's better than this but he's also pitching in a way that is exacerbating the issue. He seems to nibble right now, scared that contact is going to result in damage. Pitching on the edges is great, but you can't be scared of contact on the mound and have success, imo.
Pete (Quebec): I know Mauricio is a good prospect... But is he the kind of pop-up guy that blows up and makes the majors at 20, or a raw slow-burn kind of guy?
Craig Goldstein: Neither? Can I say neither? He's going to blow up on account of his talent in terms of recognition, but he's probably not a Soto type in terms of progression through the minors. He's also not a slow-burn guy, but more of a level per year type.
Joe (Long Beach): Which comes first, Bellinger hits HR no. 30 or Goldstein tweets no. 200,000?
Craig Goldstein: You ever get a question that makes you reconsider your whole life?
Jarrett (The Jersey Shore): Craig, can you think of a better baseball diss than “pay off your mortgage,” because I cannot. M
Craig Goldstein: This is quite possibly the dumbest fight in the history of baseball and I do not say that with the admiration that many would these days.
Marcolio (Gallipoli, Italy): Dynasty league question please - when it comes to bats, list the top three that you see as having the best chance to land on the top 20 prospect list for 2020?
How about for 2021 please?
Craig Goldstein: A good place to start is our top 101 this year. Wander Franco, Jo Adell, Taylor Trammell, etc.
Shaun (Florida): How do you value older pitchers in dynasty leagues? Think guys like Charlie Morton, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels? Obviously league context is different but, in general, these guys are worth how many "top 100 prospects", if any at all? Is it wiser to try and pay lower for these pitchers and their present day production than larger prices for younger pitchers who may or may not break?
Craig Goldstein: I tend to like to acquire these types as I think they're undervalued but it really depends on the behaviors of those in your leagues. I tend to play in deep leagues where owners bottom out hard and the market for these types is limited because there are only so many competing teams (sound familiar?). I don't mind trading top 100 types for them if I think they're going to put me or keep me in contention, but it also depends on how good you are at getting guys before they hit top 100 status and how good the rest of your league is at doing the same.
Bubic Hair (In your soup): Sources say the Royals soured on Vaughn after they checked his browsing history. What does the organization have against porn? Shouldn't it be seen as a good thing since it promotes strong wrists and hand speed?
Craig Goldstein: Using this to add to the Pratto question before after hearing from the team: Pratto seems to struggle with recognizing spin, which could explain his strikeout rate and dismal performance.
I'm sorry you all had to see the Name/Location but if I had to see it, so did you.
Scott (Toronto): I play in a deep dynasty where typically the offers I get are old guys for prospects or vice versa. Just got an interesting young guy offer: Verdugo for Chavis. Thoughts?
Craig Goldstein: I think I buy Verdugo a little more generally, but Chavis has a much higher power ceiling and less of a playing time issue. Also plays a more useful position for fantasy. I think I might go Chavis.
Fernando (80's): Is Verdugo an everyday player long term?
Craig Goldstein: Lots of Verdugo today. Yeah, barring health or off field stuff there's no reason he couldn't be. He hits lefties well enough to stay in the lineup.
Jeffrey Two Bags (Doublestown): Is Trevor Bauer overrated or is it just me?
Craig Goldstein: He's certainly not doing what people expected coming off of last year. The stuff is there to justify the hype (on the field).
Felix (Boston): Is Trevor Rogers turning a corner?
Craig Goldstein: It's a pitcher-friendly league but I think overreacting to a first-rounders first foray into pro ball (as last year was) can be dangerous. Also, the guy's middle name is J'Daniel. Don't bet against that.
Jon (California): Is Trey Supak doing anything worth noticing?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah, he's not missing enough bats.
Carl (Oakland): Nick Allen just keeps hitting!
Craig Goldstein: Yes he does, and we covered him in this week's loaded Ten Pack !
Craig Goldstein: Alright, that's just about an hour so let's call it a day before I finish this Boursin. Thanks for the great questions everyone.
Any questions I didn't get to, leave for Jon Hegglund who is chatting at 3 pm eastern on Friday.