Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus.
Craig Goldstein: I hope you're ready to talk about berries.
pats1124 (Durham, NC): Hi Craig. 2 Things: First, I'm a new subscriber and I am LOVING BP. Thank you guys for all the hard work. Second a quick question: I'm in full rebuild mode in a dynasty league, heavily tilted towards SP, and I've never had more fun. I'm stacked with prospects on the hitting side, and have some solid SP prospects. I was wondering if you had any under the radar names in the high minors with fantasy SP 2/3 upside. Already have Gallen. Cats are Ks, K/9, QS, BAA, WHIP, HLD, SV.
Craig Goldstein: Let's start with something nice. Thank you! Tell your friends.
Two names that came to mind that fit this profile (loosely) in addition to Gallen: Joe Palumbo and Deivi Garcia.
AJ (Boston): I like lists. Please list the top 10 berries for 2019. Will this list be the same for 2020, or is some movement expected?
Craig Goldstein: Okay, look, I'm going to go by what are functionally referred to as berries for this (yes strawberries, no grapes, yes I'm including currants). I am also making this a berry/cherry (yes, they are stone fruits) list because I'm going with a theme and I think cherries apply:
These are my list of snacking berries. Not encompassing like, baking berries, etc. Some move down/up based on how you're employing them.
Beano (CA): Who is most exciting out of Zack Brown, Will Crowe, Sean Hjelle, and Sam Hentges?
Craig Goldstein: What color is most exciting: Egg Shell, Off-white, Cream, Ivory
Billy (Squier): Why do teams wait so long to put a guy on the IL? It's only ten days, and clubs are waiting five days to make decisions.
Craig Goldstein: I agree Billy. It's literally a ten-day IL.
RotoLando (Cloud City): Dude, you were totally right about the blackberries! I got a different batch, and the difference was night and day. These were ripe and delicious, the old were hard and bitter. I almost didn't give them a second chance. Thanks BerryTalk.
Craig Goldstein: We're changing lives here with BerryTalk. Tell your friends!
jwise224 (PDX): The best way to use relief pitchers today is...?
Craig Goldstein: Leave the best ones unsigned as a way to neg your team into performing better, obviously
Yankee (Charlotte ): Please give me 5 A-Ball prospects to target in my dynasty league, not named Wander.
Craig Goldstein: Shervyen Newton, Geraldo Perdomo, D'Shawn Knowles, Alek Thomas, Antoni Flores (I went with A-Ball or lower, hope that's alright)
Jim (Chicago): Can BP develop a weekly planning tool for determining which Sandy Alcantara will show up?
Craig Goldstein: If only. I saw him in person in DC last week and he was really good...until he wasn't. I don't think he's consistent inning to inning, much less on a weekly basis.
matzabal (xcountry): What's up with Chris Archer? Is he still a top 50 starter? His 4.75 SIERA ranks 103 of 144 pitchers with 30 IP.
Craig Goldstein: I don't care about SIERA in the slightest, but I think he's using an inopportune pitch mix at present. I don't think that's the whole issue, but he's turning to a sinker that was re-introduced last year and it isn't particularly good at missing bats. I think he's got the profile to benefit from throwing the slider/fastball more heavily and only sprinkling in the rest.
Elton (Pacific Northwest): I'm in my fourth year of a dynasty league. Earlier this season, I was third in points for a week. It was the highest I've ever been in the standings. Anyway, should I trade Forrest Whitley? I was banking on him being better than prime Kershaw to finally get over the hump.
Craig Goldstein: Congrats on your brief foray into relevancy. That is not a good thing to bank on. No, trading guys at their nadir isn't usually an advisable strategy.
Lennie ( East coast): Has Isan Diaz resurfaced as a top 100 type?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah I think he's in range.
Reggie (San Diego): Will Luis Patino be on the midseason 50?
Craig Goldstein: I think he's got a good shot. Walks seem to be under control after a couple off games early. I had a scout rave to me about him in Spring Training. He's really good.
captnamerca (USA): Keston Hiura can hit...so what's he doing on the bottom of the lineup every day? Is this a veteran/rookie thing? If he lingers all season, is he a drop in a redraft league?
Craig Goldstein: Do you only use players in the top half of lineups? I assume if he continues to hit he won't stay at the bottom, but it's probably just a lower-pressure way to work his bat into the lineup as he adjusts to the majors. I can't imagine dropping a guy you think can hit just because he's lower in the order than you like.
Kenny (Cleveland): Everyone here is raving about Zach Plesac. Breaking ball is fringy but it's a crossfire delivery with plus command. Thoughts?
Craig Goldstein: ENOUGH already with this Funke! I mean Plesac. I'm not expecting anything special. No. 5/6 starter maybe. Fits in the mold that Cleveland has with Bieber and Civale of rarely walking anyone. The question for me with that profile is whether they can miss bats and be around the zone that frequently. Bieber has made that adjustment. Not sure if Plesac's stuff works on the same level, personally.
Pancake Dan (Dancake Pan): Better stove-top pancake vessel, the cast-iron pan, ceramic/teflon coated pan, or one of those add-on griddle things?
Craig Goldstein: I'm a fan of the flat-top griddle type deals
Phil (Colorado): How long before Giolito turns into a pumpkin?
Craig Goldstein: I'm watching his start from last night during the chat and the change in arm action is really notable and the velocity is different. He might not be doing this all season but I don't think he's necessarily a pumpkin either.
Charlie (Davey Martinez ): I know the Nats have had some injuries and their bullpen wasn’t constructed well, but since Davey’s joined as manager, they’ve underperformed. Is it time for him to go? Should they wait any longer, or start a long tryout for some guy in the org now?
Craig Goldstein: I'd move on. I get that it's not a huge trial and there are a bunch of things beyond his control, but it's hard for me to see what's been in his control that have gone well either. I get the org isn't going to want to pay multiple guys at a time, but running out the string with someone you don't want to keep has never made a ton of sense to me. Even if the interim guy is only a marginal improvement, wouldn't you want them to be the ones making the decision?
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Any updates on when Ben Zobrist might return?
Craig Goldstein: I don't have that type of insight into Zobrist's personal life, no.
Slappy (NC): In a salary cap dynasty league, with a middle infield roster crunch. I have Segura, Tim Anderson & Villar as MI starters, all on long-term contracts, and Kingery on the bench. But Cole Tucker and Nicky Lopez are going to hit their 100-AB minimums, and i don't have spots for all 5. Who is/are odd man/men out? Thanks
Craig Goldstein: Lopez easily. Probably Tucker as the other guy, assuming you're in a roto and steals are a category. Villar is a big value there and less so in points league and the like.
captnamerca (USA): What is the opposite of pancakes?
Craig Goldstein: an empty stomach
Keith (Tampa Bay): I'm in the Bay, but I'm a Marlins fan. I've been impressed with Harold Ramirez. I looked him up and he was once a top 100 prospect. Somebody told me he has Starling Marte type qualities. What say you?
Craig Goldstein: Qualities like arms and legs and ability to hold a bat? Sure. They're not in the same stratosphere. Ramirez can hit a little bit and was able to run on the lower minors but doesn't have the type of speed to be an impact in the majors, in my opinion, much less be the threat that Marte is. Ben Carsley covered Ramirez a bit here.
Nonnie (Elm Street): Will Jordan Holloway appear on some top 100 lists at the end of the season?
Craig Goldstein: 22 years old and walking over 15 percent of guys in High-A. Doesn't seem likely unless he makes some changes.
justarobert (Santa Clara): Berry-adjacent question: what's your grade on Kirschwasser? It was terrible in a Black Forest cake I tried, but that was just one look.
Craig Goldstein: I'm all about sour cherries so I don't hate it but I actually tend to think liquor in cakes is a net negative, for the most part. It never does what you want it to do. Also, stop putting alcohol in milkshakes. It's not adding anything to something that is already perfect.
tallahassee (Chatham, NJ): How do you think Keuchel is going to do? Is he going to be great or would someone be lucky to trade him now?
Gauging him by Middle Infielders/Berries is a neat way to do it. Would he be worth a Trevor Story (Strawberry), an Ozzie Albies (Black Cherry), or a Swanson (Blueberry)?
Craig Goldstein: Probably Swanson. On the one hand he's great at generating ground balls which is a nice counteraction to the home run trend, and Zach Crizer made the point that home runs have the highest correlation to ERA- right now. So maybe he's good at that. But he also really needs the umps to be calling strikes in the bottom of the zone and it feels like (I should look this up) the trend is towards higher strikes right now. That could be an issue. Plus he needs to ramp up to MLB quality, etc. I'd be a little nervous.
RotoLando (Cloud City): How much candy do you have to put into a pancake, which is awesome, before it crosses the line into a fruitcake, which is terrible?
Craig Goldstein: Hot Take: I don't want stuff in my pancakes. Chocolate chips. Berries. Anything really. Just gimme that batter on a griddle and leave it alone.
Pancake Dan (Dancake Pan): Fine, I'll be the guy....where would grapes rank if we considered them berries (which they are)?
Craig Goldstein: I already forgot the order I said earlier. Above blueberries for sure. probably fourth or fifth right around logan berries
NotDustyfrom Colorado (Springfield ): Cards are known for developing pitchers, but there have been few impact bats in the system for years. Do you see any potential boppers in their organization?
Craig Goldstein: Start paying more attention to Dylan Carlson
justarobert (Santa Clara): How many times do you lift your writing implement when printing a capital E? I did not realize this was a controversial question until recently.
Craig Goldstein: I do a straight line down and then lift three times. One each for the horizontal lines of the E. I can easily see people only lifting once though, if they do a bracket and then lift for the middle horizontal line.
Tony (Alsip): I'm thinking of dealing Dustin May for Spencer Turnbull. Thoughts? When will May actually be a fantasy starter of note after the growing pains/dodgers screw with him? 2022?
Craig Goldstein: I think you're turning a ton of upside into a back-end starter who can miss bats but has struggled to stay healthy or consistent. May should be up next year, I think. Possibly relief this year. I wouldn't do this deal.
Luke (San Francisco): Is Machado just a .265 25HR top 12ish 3b now due to being in that cavernous park?
Craig Goldstein: I think he's better than that. It's only been a couple months, guys.
Felix (Charlotte): My dynasty league will draft from this upcoming draft on Monday. Who would you target as the best fantasy pick?
Craig Goldstein: It's a tough call. I asked Bret who is better with draft stuff than I am and he is leaning Witt right now.
Flipai (Maryland): How real is Brandon Woodruff? I mean, I know he's a real person, but how real is this version of him? I just the trigger on a trade for him this week in a dynasty league.
Craig Goldstein: Moderately. I have been surprised he's averaging close to six innings per start more than anything maybe. I think given his fly ball rate and the rabbit ball, we might see some regression on home runs and that could lead to shorter starts and less effectiveness. His stuff is good, though.
Alex (Alaska): Josiah Gray has gotten bombed in Hi A. Should I drop him for Ljay Newsome? I want guys who produce.
Craig Goldstein: Are you in a minor league fantasy league or something? Gray got bombed in one start out of three. Others haven't been great but they're more than fine for a guy in his first taste of the Cal League.
RotoLando (Cloud City): When you are in the chat, are you aware of what is going on outside, or are you laser-focused on our problems?
Craig Goldstein: I tend to lose sight of other things for extended periods, honestly.
Chansen8895 (San jose): Is it still a bit early to jump in on Alex Thomas in dynasty leagues? I’m startling to get concerned about both the Luis Garcia’s on my minors.
Craig Goldstein: Alek Thomas? I've been pushing him since last June, so no. Re: the Garcias - it's two months and these are babies. One of them is 19 and in Double-A. Try to be less reactionary.
Kelly (Jacksonville): Is Honeywell finished?
Craig Goldstein: No. He's 24 and he might start throwing next week.
Carls (St Louis): All Alejandro Kirk does is hit.
Craig Goldstein: It's true because he sure doesn't field or run.
Ryan (Chicago): One of the things I always find hardest is putting minor league stats into the context of ballpark. Forgive my ignorance, but have you guys ever put together a look at the toughest/easiest minor league ballparks to pitch/hit in?
Craig Goldstein: As much as I hesitate to endorse any advanced metrics usage in evaluating minor league hitters, we will be rolling out DRC+ that covers the minor leagues and reflects park factors (not just league factors, as some other advanced metrics do). There is a handful of salt to take in all of those, though. We can certainly look at providing a table that reflects the park factors though.
Ricky (Minnesota): I generally eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches everyday for lunch and a whole lot of chips. What's an alternative for me to switch things up and maybe eat more healthy. What do you eat for lunch? I assume it's the same everyday.
Craig Goldstein: Thank you for assuming my inability to handle change, but for once, you are wrong. I'm not the guy to turn to for healthy eating, either. Sorry to disappoint.
mshopoff (Houston ): At what point do we start hearing the Astros’ injuries mentioned as often as the Yankees’?
Craig Goldstein: It's not a competition? Four of the five non-pitchers on their disabled list happened in the last 5 days. The Yankees have been short-handed basically since the season started, which is probably why you've heard more about it.
Aaron (Minnesota): Who would you rather have in a dynasty league: Mike Trout that costs 20% of your team's budget or Cody Bellinger that costs less than 2%?
Craig Goldstein: Really depends a lot on the rest of the roster but in absence of all other information I'll take Bellinger. Mike Trout is still the guy I'd want more in general.
Will (Indy): Any ideas to fix the Cubs bullpen besides signing Kimbrel?
Craig Goldstein: Make Carl Edwards Jr. Great Again?
Ellen (Asheville): Is Syndergaard a good buy low in dynasty?
Craig Goldstein: Absolutely, assuming you can buy low.
Ron (texarkana): Can a whole season be an anomaly for so many guys? So many starting pitchers still look off. We've read about the baseballs being a bit different, but why doesn't a guy like Scherzer ever experience the same troubles Aaron Nola is seeming to have?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah, there can be single-season anomalies, sure. I think Scherzer generally has better pure stuff and can live in the zone a bit better than Nola. This is borne out in their HR/FB rates, imo, as Nola does a better job of keeping the ball on the ground, generally (they're very close this year), but Scherzer has done a better job of keeping the ball in the park. Which goes back to the article I linked to before about HRs explaining so much of ERA-
Steve (Philly): Do you guys just ignore that Dusty guy's questions now or did he just quit asking about Wander Javier every damn chat?
Craig Goldstein: I ignore them, yeah.
Elton (Pacific Northwest): In a league with 2 UTIL spots, how many 1bman is too many 1bman?
Craig Goldstein: Four, unless you also have a CI in which case five.
Eddie (Atlanta): I don't play fantasy, but I like prospects and keep hearing about Jasseel De la Cruz on our local radio farm updates. Is he any good?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah, really interesting arm. Mid-90s heater, potential plus slider, and a firm change right now.
Alice (Number 4): Is Daniel Lynch worth monitoring in a deep dynasty? He looks good after a rough start. He was dropped in April
Craig Goldstein: Yeah, definitely someone worth keeping tabs on.
Scott (TX): Who jumps the prospect rankings big time by the end of the season?
Craig Goldstein: I'll go back to Carlson on this one. I think he's really underrated right now.
Bailey (Maryland): If picking up Derek Dietrich is one of my all-time great moves in fantasy baseball (and trading him right away). How good am I?
Craig Goldstein: Depends what you got for him, imo...but...probably not that great (sorry!)
Craig Goldstein: Alright. Going to shut it down a little early today as I've got some things to get to, and we tackled 50 questions anyway. Thanks everyone and see you in two weeks (Bret is doing a post-draft chat in my stead on Wednesday next week!)