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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday May 17, 2019 4:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.


Mike Gianella is a Senior Fantasy Writer at Baseball Prospectus.

Mike Gianella: Friday is fantasy chat day at BP. Glad you're here.

Dusty (Colorado): Thoughts on Wander Javier? What's his upside?

Mike Gianella: His upside is a future first round pick. I'd like to see him get some reps on the field, though. He's only 20 so it's way too early to call him injury-prone, but we're looking at 50 professional games and he hasn't played in the minors since 2017.

Ullery (On the corner): Kyle Tucker has finally picked up his play but the start of his season was troubling. The Astros have no apparent openings for him right now; is he going to spend another season in minors? If so, I can't help but feel as though he just hasn't lived up to the promise he showed as recently as a year ago. Does a trade and fresh start with another team seem likely at this point?

Mike Gianella: I think Tucker will be up in June or July. A trade is possible, although given the Astros' (and other teams') m.o. as far as not giving up top prospects even in deals for studs I suspect that it would really have to fill a need for Houston in July for them to pull the trigger.

Matt (desk): As a Jose Ramirez owner in a 12-team roto dynasty league, what should I be looking to do with him, hold or trade? If trade, what would you be looking to move him for in terms of starting pitching?

Mike Gianella: What a conundrum. He's going to bounce back, but I'm starting to be skeptical he bounces all the way back. I'd sell if I can get a solid, second-tier SP for him but I'm wondering if anyone will even trade that for him right now.

Derek (MN): Which site is your preferred site to play on?

Mike Gianella: BP is working with Fanduel for DFS so I'm going to be a company man and say that if that's what you're asking. If you're asking about seasonal for Roto or points league I like the design of Fantrax, but CBS is best in terms of the FA pool and customization. On Roto is good for old school Roto leagues like the one I play in. FWIW, I have no financial affiliation with any of these sites. This isn't true for other fantasy analysts...be careful when someone online endorses a site...a lot of times they're on the payroll or receiving some kind of compensation.

Kalimantan G (as above): Is someone going to hit 70 homers this year? So many taters...

Mike Gianella: It's possible, although I'd bet against it. The juiced ball, non-PED (or reduced PED, possibly culture leads to a rising tide lifting all boats, not necessarily an outlier season.

Vic (Baltimore): Can you realistically win a league with 1 point for Saves?

Mike Gianella: Yes. It's easier in redraft where there aren't this year for next year trades, since dumping raises the overall point total for 1st place (generally speaking)

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Is Tommy La Stella on the Ivan Drago training program?

Mike Gianella: He reminds me more of Clubber Lang. I pity the fool who doubts Tommy La Stella.

The Fonz (Milwaukee): In case you didn't know, I'm pretty cool.

Mike Gianella: In some ways, yes. But it was kind of weird/creepy that you hung out with a bunch of teenagers and didn't seem to have a life of your own outside of that diner.

Frank (Brooklyn): who are you top 3 buy low hitters and SP?

Mike Gianella: hitters: Yasiel Puig, Jose Ramirez, and Jurickson Profar. pitchers: Darvish, Nola, JA Happ

happycamper (first place): In our 16 team league we used your bid values as the basis for our draft, adjusting the numbers to fit our roster rules. We revalued a few players to fit our preferences. I assumed that your bid values mean, "I'd be happy to get this player at this price." An alternative approach is that the bids are pure market valuation and for many players you are thinking,"I don't know why you would want this turkey, but expect to pay this much to get him." What is your attitude toward the bid values?

Mike Gianella: It's mostly market valuation. I'd say about 80-85 percent of my bids are agnostic; I'm trying to set a value where I'd be with the player at that price. 15-20 percent of the bids are me pushing to state a preference, to stand out from the market.

Vic (Baltimore): It makes me happy to see Bubba Starling do so well in 3A. Why not a Ryan Ludwick type career?

Mike Gianella: He needs a team to give him the opportunity. He'd have to get really lucky for two months to stick somewhere. I'm pulling for him too.

Jim (Kansas): 20 team, 40 man, 3 yr contract league... Is it time to pull the trigger on Josh Naylor? Thanks..

Mike Gianella: Yes

KC (Kaufman): Scenario: CWS trade Colome and Herrera (or he's just ineffective), who's your target? Where are you on Aaron Bummer? Cheers

Mike Gianella: Bummer's probably the arm I want by default, unless Nate Jones magically finds sustained health. I do wonder if Minaya gets the next shot though just because he's been the closer in some past White Sox iteration that I can't even remember anymore.

Vic (Baltimore): Mitch Keller have a value this season?

Mike Gianella: yes, but probably more deeper mixed/NL-only than anywhere else.

The Fonz (Milwaukee): Didn't have a life of my own? Incorrect-amundo. Let's look at the numbers... 1. Jumped 14 garbage cans on my motorcycle 2. Jumped over a shark on water skis 3. Rode a killer bull 4. Beat up like 1,000 dudes 5. Dated more women than you and I can count 6. Outdueled an alien and defeated Satan's nephew, both to save national treasure Ron Howard

Mike Gianella: now this is just getting sad, although mad props for dating Pinky Tuscadero..she was super cool, i'll give you that, fonz.

James T. Kirk (Space): Khaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn!

Mike Gianella: Thank you for saving the universe, Captain Kirk.

KG (NYC): Just acquired La Stella and Riley. Now have to rotate Sano, Carpenter, B. Lowe and those two through 1B/2B/3B (more or less). OBP keeper league (only 4 keepers tho). Which ones do you think I should hang on to?

Mike Gianella: Sano is probably the one you want to drop, but that's an impossible choice. It would take guts to drop Carpenter, and in an OBP I don't want to.

AJ (Boston): ROS: Hiura or Chavis? How much of what Chavis is doing do you believe in?

Mike Gianella: Chavis for fantasy (I like Hiura better irl). I mostly believe in Chavis...I do foresee a second time through the league adjustment coming where he slumps somewhat.

Alex (BMore): What is your favorite trade you've ever made, and how long did those negotiations last?

Mike Gianella: this might be my favorite question ever.

In an NL-only in the mid-1990s, I spent at least an hour on the phone trying to coax a trading partner to give me Curt Schilling for John Franco. The guy was clearly getting high on the phone (I could hear the gurgling of his bong) and there were these incredibly long pauses. I was getting impatient but I could tell he was going to eventually agree so I just sat through these long silences and finally got him to do the deal.

Potsie Weber (Milwaukee): For what it's worth, I think that Fonz guy is the greatest!

Mike Gianella: I really like when you performed that song about how blood goes through the body in your college classroom. The 50s seemed so quaint compared to what's going on now.

Rick (New Lenox): Is Juan Soto a bust?

Mike Gianella: Nope. He's a 20-year-old hitter who is struggling somewhat after the book came out on him. He will bounce back. I trust the talent.

Alejandro (Lulu): Would you rather have Ozzie Albies or chavis in a keep forever league?

Mike Gianella: I want Albies.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Nice to see Hewyard crashing back to Earth. Actually, not so nice, but predictable.

Mike Gianella: Yeah.

jenny (from the block): Do you know of any research surrounding top prospects and their slash lines as they age? For fantasy purposes it'd be interesting to see what the correlation is, if any, between slash lines year 1,2,3 etc. and ranking.

Mike Gianella: I wish I did, jenny. Sounds like a future article/research piece but it's not something I have a handle on right now.

Tom Hanks (Hollywood): Just to follow up on the Fonz discussion...He also withstood my ferocious karate attack back in the day.

Mike Gianella: Is that why you went into hiding as a woman in the early 80s?

Six callers ahead (of us, Jimmy): In a roto league where I'm leading the world in saves but my offense is struggling. If I were to offer up, say, Josh Hader, what kind of offensive player should I be looking for in return?

Mike Gianella: You should want to get someone who is a top 30 player (not hitter, player). I don't think you can trade that combination of saves/strikeouts away without at least getting a near-elite talent in return.

Collin (Austin): Which recently-promoted prospect has the most fantasy value specific to the rest of 2019? Riley, Rodgers, Hiura, someone else?

Mike Gianella: It's probably Riley. Mercado could get there if he gets the playing time in Roto (speed/steals are at a premium) but I don't know if he does enough everywhere else for it to work.

Lonnie (Haddonfield): Is it safe to say that Machado is not a .275 30 HR type now in San Diego?

Mike Gianella: I could see more power than that with the juiced ball.

Bob (Oakland): Is Nick Allen's offensive breakout for real? First division regular?

Mike Gianella: I don't know. I haven't seen film on him yet. The numbers look great, and even if it doesn't develop into over-the-fence power the defense would allow him to play as a starter.

Officer Kirk (Retired): Arthur Fonzerelli was nothing but a common hood.

Mike Gianella: shut up, crossing guard.

The Malachi Brothers (Prison): We hated the Fonz.

Mike Gianella: did you guys kill Chuck?

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Does Rogers stick all year in Colorado, or is this some sort of odd temporary thing?

Mike Gianella: He sticks if he hits, although the Rockies are so bad when it comes to getting a vibe on their prospects.

Rick (Carlsbad): Is Tyler Ivey a future mid rotation starter?

Mike Gianella: ah, i remember Ivy. The year was 2000 and the executive Vice President took me and a colleague there for dinner. I was right out of college and thought this meant big things were coming for me down at the ol' widget factory. Alas, nothing happened for me at that job and it's been a string of corporate and personal failures for me ever since (except for my kids, they're wonderful and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise).

Oh, TYLER Ivey. #3 is probably the ceiling. He profiles more as a 4/5, although never underestimate the Astros' ability to maximize their prospects.

AJ (Boston): Thoughts on Max Kepler in a dynasty league? *Great article today, btw*

Mike Gianella: thanks for the kind words!

There's a little more room for growth but I feel like what you see is mostly what you're going to get.

Jacques Du Bois (France): I have nothing but respect for the Fonz. After crushing me in fencing, he was still kind enough to invite me to Arnold's.

Mike Gianella: the joke's on you, Arnold's served rat meat to their customers.

Cameron (South Dakota): Is Alejandro Kirk a potential Astudillo who can take a walk? Wouldn't that make him a top tier catcher if he makes it?

Mike Gianella: That's a tough comp to put on anyone...Astudillo's particular hit tool is almost a unicorn. Sure, if Kirk could maintain a whiff rate that low I'd tag him with that. I'd like to see him at Double-A and see if that BB/SO holds.

Alex (Austin): How do you balance having bench bats and filling your bench with extra starters/RPs? My league has a very large bench, 9 P slots, and has QS and SV+HD as counting categories. Does it make more sense to fill the bench with starters to rotate in as opposed to bats (assuming you have a solid starting lineup)? Or spend more bench slots on hitters to play the hot bat?

Mike Gianella: In that format, I'd prefer 6 pitchers and three hitters. I mostly want to maximize the pitching matchups and have a solid lineup and worry less about match-ups. However, if you do have someone who is really strong with a platoon then, yes, you obviously want a compliment.

Coach Roger Phillips (Milwaukee): When I first met the Fonz, I thought he was going to kill me. Then, we became close friends. Very hard person to understand sometimes.

Mike Gianella: You were extremely handsome and the aging Fonz was threatened by that. Toxic masculinity is a cross we all bear.

Freddy (Elm Street): It seems BP was the biggest on Griffin Canning. What are your impressions of him?

Mike Gianella: I like him as a solid SP long term. He seems to be struggling at times with location and going through that thing where hitters really tee off after they get a good look. Canning has a .494 OPS the first time through the order, and an 1060 the second time through (yes, these are tiny sample sizes). I see a mid-tier arm eventually.

Lonnie (Reginald): Why hasn't anyone come out with a new report on Zac Gallen? Everyone just kinda say small sample and backened without putting eyes on him this year. Is 8 starts of dominance small sample?

Mike Gianella: I think you answered your own question...lots of digging into the numbers but without a scouting report we really don't know. To answer your second question, it is a small sample but it could mean a lot for a developing arm.

k3nd477 (Portland OR): I am in a dynasty league (hold onto guys forever) where I've built a really deep and strong squad. I'm currently leading and have no reason to believe I will somehow tank. I'm starting to feel the need to tinker and make marginal improvements to mitigate any potential injuries. What should I do?

Mike Gianella: Hold unless someone overwhelms you with an offer. You're in the driver's seat.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Is Justin Upton close to returning? That must be some toe injury.

Mike Gianella: He "resumed baseball activities" two days ago. He hasn't run though so until he does, he has no timetable.

Yants (Fort Myers): Say you killed everyone and they out you on death row. What would your last meal? I WANT DETAILS.

Mike Gianella: I'm a lover, not a fighter, Yants.

Bill Lee (North Country): Is Steve Pearce done?

Mike Gianella: Probably? He's gone through stretches like this before though.

Buff (Colorado): Eflin, Gausman, or Fried ROS?

Mike Gianella: Fried.

Jerry Fletcher (buying The Catcher in the Rye (Again)): Incriminating pictures of Jeff Luhnow? Threats from the Dirección de Inteligencia? Other??? What is best Conspiracy Theory as to why Tyler White is still blocking Yordan Alvarez from hitting bombs in Minute Maid? ;)

Mike Gianella: He was eaten by a tiger.

Ralph (MA): Expectations for Caleb Smith moving forward? 3.5 ERA with 10 K/9?

Mike Gianella: 3.25 with 10.5 K/9

Vic (Baltimore): Any starters which an owner percent less than a Tyler Mahle worth considering?

Mike Gianella: Shaun Anderson would be the one I like

Jim (Kansas): 20 team, 40 man, 5x5 OBP league: Need an OF: Rank Carlos Gomez, Jordan Luplow, Nicky Delmonico? Do you feel Gomez still has potential upside? Thanks..

Mike Gianella: Gomez, Delmonico, Luplow. Yeah, take a chance on a dead cat bounce from Gomez.

Mike Gianella: We spent a lot of time today talking about Arthur Fonzarelli. We had a few laughs, but I feel like we need to clear the air here about what is a very serious topic. It was a very literal discussion, but it's important to remember that "the Fonz" said less about the 1950s and more about the 1970s and early 80s, the era when "Happy Days" was set. The nostalgia for the 50s was due to America's uncertain sense of itself, after Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement roiled the country, making people feel uncertain about the present as well as what was to come. The Fonz was a false symbol of an era that never really existed, a chimera that said more about America's foibles than it did about it's strengths. This fiction ignored the problems of the 1950s and created an absurd illusion that America was a shining city on the hill when in reality it is what it always was: what author Amy Goodman so aptly referred to as "the sword and the shield" in her 2004 book "The Exception to the Rulers." Let us consider this complexity before we elevate an imperfect television character like the Fonz in a fantasy baseball chat.

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