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Chat: Wilson Karaman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday May 06, 2019 11:45 PM ET chat session with Wilson Karaman.


Wilson Karaman is a senior author at Baseball Prospectus and will never convince me (Craig) to trade Jo Adell.

Wilson Karaman: Yo. Yo! Let's go. Late night sound track cuz you gotta keep up when you hit this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ckZXY3pqEQ

Cousin Vinny (Two Youts): You guys posted a very optimistic eye witness account about Mariel Bautista - is this report an outlier, or is he a pop-up guy?

Wilson Karaman: We did! I don't know that he'd qualify as a pop-up guy; he didn't sign for a huge bonus, but he raked in the DOSL, he raked in the AZL, he raked in the Pioneer League, and now he's holding his own so far in full-season ball. The tools and physicality have been whispered about for a while, and he's starting to grow into his adult strength now. Keith's a very good evaluator who's been doing this for a while, so when he throws down on a dude it's noteworthy: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/49450/eyewitness-accounts-may-2-2019/

Danny (TX ): Kristian Robinson potential? Next big prospect?

Wilson Karaman: We won't learn a ton more about Robinson until after XST breaks, it appears, but the Dbacks' folks are way down and he turned heads in AZ last year. We ranked him aggressively as a 101er this winter, so yeah, there's some expectation to that effect around these parts.

Buff (Colorado): Time to get on the Lolo Sanchez train?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah, the talent has been evident for a while, just a question of whether he'll hit. Jarrett and others were no fans of his bat path last year, and while he's been producing this year the limited video I've seen doesn't look like much has changed on that front, so we'll see what's what. He's very fast and defensively tooled-up, and obviously if the production continues it's gonna force a revisit right quick. Definitely a dude to watch closely in the months ahead.

Adam (Durham): When's our boy Rogelio Armenteros finally going to get his shot?

Wilson Karaman: #FreeRogelio They appear to be grooming him to be one of those 3-inning guys - he's thrown 18 innings in 5 starts thus far - and that's a good way for him to work. He can be effective in that role.

This song is so fucking good I can't even: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oYzwUyy_LE

Vic (Baltimore): When do anticipate the Buccos will call up Keller?

Wilson Karaman: Soon? The control's been off a bit, but he seems to have found a next gear to put guys away in the early going, and Taillon's injury a) sucks a lot and b) opens the door that much wider

Carl (San Antonio): As a guy who covers the Dodgers very well, is there any new buzz on Omar Estevez? Has his sock rose a decent amount with his strong 2018 finish and 2019 start?

Wilson Karaman: Estevez is a nice little reminder of age-level development curves; he started in the Cal when he was pretty damn young and looked pretty stagnant offensively for literally a full season and a half before the approach finally started sneaking in the right direction last summer. I've always like the swing fundamentals - https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/31984/monday-morning-ten-pack-june-5-2017/ - and the early production at AA on the heels of last summer's evolution is starting to insist a little bit that the approach really is coming together. I'd like to see how he holds up as Texas League pitchers make their adjustments now, but I'm certainly encouraged if I'm the Dodgers

Freida (Paris): Michael Grove or Josiah Gray? Who is a better long term SP prospect for the Dodgers?

Wilson Karaman: Walker Buehler doin' *work* tonight, btw. Let's keep it blue for the west coast. I can't speak to Gray yet, though we should have eyes on him in Great Lakes shortly. Grove I wrote up here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/48702/notes-from-the-field-april-23rd-2019/

I didn't love the delivery, but it was like his third game back from a long TJ recovery, so realistically it's going to be a bit before we learn much substantively about him. Showed a quality deuce and okay velo in context, so it's a start!

Riley (Austin): How long until the Braves have to find a spot for him? He hasn't played any OF and it seems his 3B fielding development would be impacted if they called him now. What to do?

Wilson Karaman: Ha, and on cue Freddie Freeman absolutely obliterates a center-cut mistake. So goes baseball.

The Braves are awesome, let's talk about the Braves! Riley's a good problem to have, ain't he? He's absolutely killing the ball right now after making a couple mechanical tweaks, and there's not much else for him to show in AAA at this point. My guess is they find a way to get him at least some introductory big-league experience real soon, and then go from there. These problems tend to work themselves out, yunno?

randplaty (Hayward): Who wins the battle tonight between Peter Alonso and Chris Paddack? Who wins NLROY?

Wilson Karaman: When in doubt, bet on the electric hurler with the dope changeup. Or the guy who's whiffed you twice with 97s. Or the guy who shuts out ya squad, Queens.

This song is tantric. You keep waiting for that beat to drop...and...it's still wicked...and...yeah still wicked...and... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cENIOFk160c

Reggie (Cleveland): Hear any buzz on Edward cabrera?

Wilson Karaman: Two good pitches and room to grow: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/49467/minor-league-update-games-of-may-1-2/

I hope Sean Newcomb figures it out. I've never been able to quite understand why his command and control are as bad as they've always consistently been. He's a little rushed through his early progressions for my taste, and there's a lack of flow to his actions. It's a simple enough delivery tho to where it just seems like he should be able to figure it out.

bob (philly): Have you heard anything lately about Sixto Sanchez? Is he finally ready to go now or is there still a medical issue? Also, havent heard much lately about Franchy Cordero-----what is your long term feeling about him and his upside, , and what is his current situation health wise---is there a timetable for his return to the Padres? He's on my roster and I'm really hoping to get him back soon. Thx

Wilson Karaman: Sixto's back! Debuted for Jupiter the other day sitting 97-99 (t101), so just about par for his course. As for Franchy, the Padres have been coy with updates - as of a couple days ago he hadn't resumed baseball activities, which is troubling given it's an elbow injury and he's already been shut down for 3-4 weeks. So best-case you're probably looks at the end of this month, worst case considerably longer if it's a structural thing?

George (Earth): What do you think and thus by extension we should think of Brandon Lowe? Should we be plugging him in regularly at 2B or still play match ups?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah play him. He hits, man. He's a good player. The Rays don't just up and guarantee money, and when they do there's a reason.

Discomix! Discomix! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npBqETxvx4s

Mike (PA): Rodolfo Castro has a 1.082 OPS early on in the SAL. He's repeating but doesn't turn 20 until later this month. What have you heard about him?

Wilson Karaman: We were just talking about him in the BP Slack yesterday. Jarrett was a big fan last year, but he was even taken a little aback by that production. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/40051/monday-morning-ten-pack-may-21-seuly-matias-chris-paddack/

I jinxed Buehler, he's out of gas but so was Kenley after Saturday so it's time to go give the skip 7, kid.

Kkelly (Il): In a vacuum...if you were in a roster crunch and needed to free up space would you trade Fernando Tatis for Wander Franco straight up? Thanks

Wilson Karaman: Ehhhh. There's no vacuum there. I'd strongly prefer Tatis for present production - that value advantage is significant in this kind of scenario. Wander's...a year and a half away in a best-case scenario? Tatis is already doing work on big-league pitching. I'd look hard at other ways to resolve your crunch.

Ben (ATL): Top prospect in 2021?

Wilson Karaman: Well, Wander's probably still eligible then, so him

Joan Jett wailed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvoV2Lfk7Qg

Mike (Albany): Jazz Chisholm is doing the Just Dingers thing but literally. What the heck do you make of that?

Wilson Karaman: Sorry, my 6-year-old just came staggering out of his room in a fugue state and I had to pilot him to the toilet and back in for landing.

Well, he's very young for AA and already had an aggressive grip-and-rip approach last year when he was very young for High-A, so not entirely surprising to see that carry over. I broke down the pros and cons of the bat last summer, seems to still make sense: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/41658/monday-morning-ten-pack-the-july-promotions/

Dave (TX): What do you think the future holds for Josh James? So much helium going into the year. If he didn't injure his quad early in spring, odds are he breaks camp in the rotation. Instead of letting him start in AAA, they've put him in the big league pen where he's largely struggled. Whitley and Martin are both getting close to big league ready, possibly muddying the waters more.

Wilson Karaman: The Astros are grooming every high minors dude who's not Whitley level to work in chunks. Wave a the future, dude. James fits the bill perfectly. We talked a bunch about him in our preview pre-season. Any number of things could be going on with him right now, but the stuff and talent is there. He looked better over the weekend, and he's still whiffing a ton of dudes in spite of the struggles. I remain a fan.


stevegoz (Chicago): So, Corey Seager...how much of this is rust and how much of it is who he actually is!?!?

Wilson Karaman: Not worried yet, he missed all of last year with two injuries and surgeries that affect different but equally critical components of the swing. It's gonna take some time to rebuild that expert-level muscle memory that big-league hitters have to have to survive big-league stuff. He's still working his counts and flashing his oppo bat path - just did it again with a pretty swing earlier against Gausman for a knock to left. Patience!

Loria (Milwaukee): I need to move 1 of Kieboom, Hiura, or Rodgers to get help in RF. For fantasy, which ends up the best MI? And is David Dahl a sufficient return?

Wilson Karaman: I'd move Rodgers for Dahl.

Lee Moses. The energy of this cut...my kids on a sugar high in a bounce castle at Chuck the Cheese's can't touch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lxp7WVXiXU

randplaty (San Diego): Are the Dbacks legit?

Wilson Karaman: PECOTA sees a more-or-less .500 team the rest of the way, on the back of a solid if unspectacular pitching staff and in spite of one of the worst-projected offenses in the majors. I'm skeptical, though I can see a path; their bullpen has been the second worst in baseball by DRA, and that's *with* Greg Holland turning back the clock. But there's some rotation depth coming into focus over the summer - Duplantier and Clarke are right there, maybe you get something out of Tai Walker down the stretch. Widener's there in AAA too. Offense just doesn't look like it, and there's less reinforcement coming up in house on that side.

Chris (NJ): You can thank HBO's "Girls" for introducing Lee Moses to another generation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvZig60T8h4

Wilson Karaman: Man I gotta say, the television revolution has brought great music to the world. You can get rich on sounds from a given well-produced show nowadays.

David (Atlantis): Are there certain prospect profiles you are just a sucker for and continue to go after? This leads to a more specific question on OF prospects: Drew Waters, Khalil Lee, Jordyn Adams & Calvin Mitchell. What order would you rank them and why?

Wilson Karaman: Fat guys, hulking unathletic types in general, left-handers with changeups, sick-gloved undersized middle infielders, pitchers with limited stuff but organic mound moxie because they grew up around high-level baseball from an early age, insane quick-twitch athletes who destroy everything in their paths, guys who pitch-backwards the first time through then burn everyone with heaters for the next 4 innings, really fast guys with sprinter frames, whatever Enrique Hernandez is, and funky-delivery relievers who'll never make it out of A ball. Waters/Adams/Mitchell/Lee

Tom (MD): If you were in a dynasty points league with no salaries/contracts to worry about, would you trade Yandy Diaz for Tyler Freeman and Ryan Rolison? Doesn't look like I'll contend this year.

Wilson Karaman: No, I think I'd look for a bigger bat than Freeman to come back, with a second teenaged flier. Diaz has always had an approach and dude's runnin' on Magnus Ver Magnusson now, don't undersell him.

nschaef (NYC): It's early, but if Luis Robert just keeps hitting like this in Double-A too when does he make it to the majors? It feels odd to gauge a player with his tools and pro experience, but with so few reps in the last couple of years.

Wilson Karaman: Why, glad you asked, we just 10 Packed him today! https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/49523/monday-morning-ten-pack-may-6-2019/

I am HERE for Julio Urias against Acuna in a 9th inning Save situation. The future is now.

Ricky (18 and life): Is Giolito worth keeping an eye on in fantasy?

Wilson Karaman: Sure! We literally put an 80 on the dude back in the day. Anyone with that level of talent's always worth taking peeks at.

Acuna juuuust missed that 97, bwoy. That shit was 97 with life, bwoy.

Burlin White (The southwestern tip of a big sandbar): Thanks for doing this. With the changes in pitcher usage over the last couple of decades really coming to a head in the last few years, do you think any of the standard 5X5 fantasy categories will be altered or changed across the board? We've seen an increase in OBP leagues, will Saves and/or Wins begin to be phased out for more relevant stats? Toss on a tune to help keep the East Coast awake, eh Homey?

Wilson Karaman: Standard league scoring has been obsolete for a long time now, yet they've generally survived the OBP/advanced metric revolution to this point, to where there's some kitchy value in trying to predict batting average performers and adjust player valuations to account for speed scarcity, etc. I'd assume the utter and complete uselessness of pitcher Wins continues to torment standard-league players for years to come, right alongside Saves, even as those stats get increasingly even MORE useless as usage patterns evolve as you say.

Acuna with a nice spoil on the backdoor 2-2 pitch, then Urias got too quick humping up on that next 2-2 fastball. Acuna an even better spoil on first full-count pitch. 98!

FUCKING PAINT to kill that AB. That AB was the most fun thing I've seen on a baseball field in a minute.

Kurt (New Lenox): Nomar Mazara is a bust isn't he?

Wilson Karaman: Nomar Mazara's swing is too pretty to be a bust

This dude can drop verses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpVxEvCu0xE

nschaef (NYC): If the juiced ball is the new normal, as a prospect evaluator do you start giving an edge to hit-first guys whose power is in doubt?

Wilson Karaman: We actually did a whole roundtable thing on this very topic last summer: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/40340/prospectus-roundtable-nick-madrigal-jose-altuve-and-the-short-hitter-stigma/

Kevin (Chanahon): Is Zac Gallen a mid rotation guy?

Wilson Karaman: Lotta Gallen questions tonight, and with merit given his sick start. I saw him throw a spectacular game in college - https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/28514/notes-from-the-field-unc-vs-ucla-219-221/ - and have paid attention to him ever since. Guys who know how to manipulate deep arsenals and pitch without pattern are always worth paying attention to. We haven't gotten eyes on him yet to confirm any stuff jumps, but it's been a projectable profile for a long time. His under-the-hood numbers are all manner of wack that you'd expect with those toplines, but he's pitched well and is a big-league arm.

Teddy (Atlanta): Is Griffin Canning a starter long term?

Wilson Karaman: He's another guy I saw do good things a bunch of times in college, and he was mid-90s with four pitches last year while speeding through Orange County's entire minor league system. Yeah he's a rotation guy, but for the cursed mound a full-traffic hour-and-a-half from the east side of Los Angeles.

Kevin (New Lenox): What kind of big league pitcher with Brent Honeywell turn out to be?

Wilson Karaman: We think he can be a No. 2 Starter: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/46283/2019-prospects-tampa-bay-rays-top-10-prospects/

Highland PaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyDfgMOUjCI

Igor (America): Hello Wilson. Just finishing my first Five-Year Plan from entering as a first-time dynasty player starting a team from scratch. My question is for you looking back at the past five years in what ways have you seen the way you approach in playing dynasty stay the same or change? Do you still like some prospect profiles more than others or has that changed a lot? Have there been certain moves or outcomes that you look back on and see as something you would still do now or as something done by a different type of player? Thanks.

Wilson Karaman: Yeah, there are always lessons to be learned and gleaned from the past, but don't dwell on them. Use them for information, incorporate it into evaluating your current options, and do the best you can to make good decisions. You like the players you like, go out and get the players you like so you can root for them. If the players you like don't turn out to play like champions in your league, then figure out your weak spots and address them. Try not to get stuck evaluating players in one way.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): I got pounded on another chat recently for suggesting that the Orioles might be able to buy low and acquire Addison Russell for their talent-starved roster. Please note, I am not defending anything Russell has done. His behavior has been disgusting on every level. However, he won't be kicked out of the league, even if we think he should be. So, if we can agree on that point...the Cubs don't need him (probably don't even want him) and the Orioles are desperate for young talent. Maybe Givens for Russell?

Wilson Karaman: On a sheet of notebook paper that looks all well and good and sure, yeah, those mutual needs make sense. But there are (rightly) auxiliary considerations and fallout for making moves in the real world, and the Orioles would (rightly) get killed for making that deal. You don't do what Addison Russell did. If you do, you gotta run through a fuckin' *much* more vigorous penance process than that dude has to date. It would be a really shitty thing for baseball if someone went out and paid for that dude. And the 26th-ranked motley crew of diehards still turning out to attend Orioles games shouldn't have to justify rooting for that shit, that's really unfair to them.

Wilson Karaman: King Tubby gonna take us home now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGV7lcujksM That's a version of Jackie Edwards' "Invasion," and that shit was a Sonia Pottinger joint with Tubby's house band the Aggravators laying the track and Burning Spear on studio production. Sonia Pottinger was one of a real small handful of boss ladies producing studio records in Jamaica when she dropped this cut. And Tubby...man he did some peak work on her High Note catalog. Thank you for asking questions tonight. A bunch of really smart people also host these on the regular here. A bunch of really smart people write here. Keep reading what they write here!

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