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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday June 19, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus and is being subjected to entirely too much Grace & Frankie.

Craig Goldstein: Listening to an NBA Draft podcast while chatting about baseball. Behold the duality of man.

Rich (New Jersey): What happened to Justus Sheffield this year? Granted he's pitching in the PCL, but it looks like he's taken a few steps back.

Craig Goldstein: This isn't really isolated to Sheffield, right? He's not the same level of prospect but DeJong also had to go back to Double-A in recent memory for the Mariners. I think it's a combination of the PCL, the ball, and a bad stretch and hopefully Sheffield can come out of it. He can still make an impact but there was always a bit of bust in the profile.

balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Craig: Love your chats! A guy in my fb keeper pts. league wants Dylan Carlson. But he only wants to give up Posey and Colome for him. Carlson would cost nothing to keep, but Posey would be $20 and Colome $3. I told him (he's a Cards fan) that if he wanted a top prospect, he'd better include one of his better players like Hoskins ($21 to keep). I offered him Bauers ($16) and Bassitt ($3) along with Carlson, but he said no. Am I wrong to ask for a player of Hoskins' ability? I really like Carlson for the future too. btw: It's a 12 tm. 16 kpr. pts. league. Thx!

Craig Goldstein: I'm a huge Carlson fan, but I don't think it's reasonable to ask for Hoskins unless you want to add to the deal to balance things out. Hoskins 2019 would be a good outcome for Carlson, so asking for him is just you getting present value while paying a future value with no discount for risk. Not gonna work.

Peter (Durham, NC): Mechanical question: I've been watching a lot of Ohtani lately, and I've been amazed at how much power he shows essentially w/o moving his lower half (other than a toe tap.) I was wondering whether this was a trait common to guys who hit most of their HR to the opposite field or whether he's just really, really, strong/unique. Follow up: Which power hitters have had the least movement in their lower body you can remember? Are they getting all their power from arms/torso?

Craig Goldstein: I'm no mechanics expert, but: He's strong and his bat speed helps generate significant power. How he does that without the big leg kick is through his hips and wrists. If you want a great example of a power hitter who didn't move their lower half, go look up a Piazza home run highlight vid. It's kinda laughable how strong he was.

Mike (Albany): There’s no way the Nats actually trade Scherzer, right?

Craig Goldstein: absolutely not

Flipai (Maryland): How is Leody Taveras looking this season? I see his numbers look better in his second season of A+ ball, is it him just being a year older or has he improved/made an adjustment? Does he still have the potential to be a helpful fantasy asset in the future?

Craig Goldstein: I got to see him for a few at-bats last night and all the tools (such that one could glean) looked right. He's walking more but also striking out more, I think as a byproduct of watching more pitches. The BABIP is a significant departure from his career levels, but he might be earning it through contact (despite the poor SLG). The only hit I had for him last night was a looper though, and one game is a small sample anyway.

Phillip (Arkansas): Hey Craig, hope everything is going well! If I'm interested in starting and learning some SQL over the summer, do you have any recommendations on websites to learn from, or those that are specifically baseball related as it could make the studying more interesting? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: Thanks Phillip! I checked with our resident SQL expert (well, one of, anyway) Rob McQuown. He said if you don't mind spending some money DataCamp has nothing but quality programs on all sorts of subjects. If you're looking to spend less (nothing), the suggestion was to get Retrosheet databases and then google around for SQL Pitch f/x. Perhaps other readers might have suggestions.

John (Philly): How would you stack up Nate Pearson, Shane McClanahan, and Grayson Rodriguez in terms of upside, risk, overall package? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: Pearson, Rodriguez, McClanahan. I think McClanahan might be underrated a touch but I'd still place him third here. We just had him in a Ten Pack last week, for subscribers.

Dustin (Illinois): The Braves got hot and signed a quality SP in Keuchel and now it seems like most of the talking heads have decided they're the favorite in the NL East ... but am I crazy to still be skeptical? Pretty much every pitcher on this staff, regardless of how good he's been to this point, gives me cause for concern in one way or another.

Craig Goldstein: I think skepticism is fair. I've been saying I think the Braves were the best team in that division since before the season based on depth. Now, I didn't foresee their rotation struggling this much either, and Keuchel is a nice attempt to staunch the bleeding. I think Atlanta needs another arm at least, but Philly and Atlanta probably battle this out into September.

Bob (Earth): For your money, who has the best/most appropriate column name at BP, i.e. Deep But Playable?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know if you mean current or encompassing all of BP but assuming the latter I'll go with Michael Baumann's Fifth Column

roarke (Inside a box with Schrodinger's Cat): Is Heliot Ramos a god or a demi-god?

Craig Goldstein: Heliot Ramos is a demi-god. Helios Ramos is a god.

Jonny (Los Angeles): I've been trying this new strategy in my dynasty league where when I post on our trade block, I refer to my broken players as "IL eligible" to make them sound attractive. As in like, "hey, this pitcher doesn't have an arm but he won't cost you a roster spot!" Do you think anyone will buy it? I'm trying to turn Taijuan Walker into a top-50 or so fantasy prospect. Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: I appreciate your positivity but no, I don't see you getting a top-50 guy for Walker at this stage.

berry mad (Calumet, Mi): I assume you deliberately choose not to rank thimbleberries due to their obvious superiority to all other berries. And don't say they are just a smaller raspberry, my grandmother would swat you on the behind.

Craig Goldstein: I've never had a thimbleberry but taking a look...they are just a smaller raspberry.

Ronald (Atl): I know he is two years away from being two years away, but what are your thoughts on Luisangel Acuña?

Craig Goldstein: Good athlete, smaller body, not a shortstop. Could end up at second or third. This is not an endorsement of asking questions about DSL guys.

roarke (The Twitterverse): Is it possible that the aliens from Space Jam went to Cleveland and stole Jose Ramirez' talent?

Craig Goldstein: I'd say it's not only possibly but likely. WE NEED TO OPEN AN INVESTIGATION INTO THIS MATTER.

roarke (Salisbury, eating steak): Shervyn Newton's stats are quite unimpressive so far - is this something to actually worry about or is this a case of "don't scout the statline" for a 20 year old at low A?

Craig Goldstein: The latter. He's a raw, toolsy kid.

For subscribers, David Lee just wrote him up in an early June Ten Pack entry.

RotoLando (Cloud City): I'm back on the raspberries, and I like them, but this feels like a berry funk. I'm stuck in the cycle of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. How do I break out of the berry doldrums?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think there's anything wrong with consistency, but it is easy to fall into a rut. I forget, are you out on strawberries? I know they're not berries but I suggest a swap to black cherries. They'll hit the spot if you don't mind dealing with the pits.

Juice (Philly): Hey Craig. What should we make of Damon Jones? He was old for A ball, but came out and dominated his first AA start. Has his stuff ticked up?

Craig Goldstein: Lucky for you, Matt Winkelman just wrote an entire article with Damon Jones as the centerpiece.

captnamerca (USA): What is your preferred brand of toothpaste?

Craig Goldstein: I buy whatever is on sale, honestly. I have no brand loyalty when it comes to toothpaste. Is that weird?

Haddy (Minnesota): Not a question, just wanted to share a cold hard lesson in trash talk. Last week I threatened to "stomp" the first place team in my league. I was joking, but having just stolen Miles Mikolas and Max Fried from another owner, I felt confident. Anyway, he blasted me by 250 points, dropped me to 5-6, and ended my season. Oh and to make matters worse, he won't even trade me good players for my awesome prospects, like Austin Beck. Sigh. The lesson here is, just don't talk trash, I guess.

Craig Goldstein: Since this isn't a question I will add some notes to my response to Phillip earlier:

I was told David Roher's Boxball project might be a good start, as well. Rob McQuown also said to feel free to use the contact form and send him a message if you're looking for advice on SQLing and other tasks like that.

Peter (Durham, NC): Am I crazy for thinking both George Valera and Kristian Robinson are going to be top 10 prospects? I know it's low A, but they are destroying the competition in a small sample.

Craig Goldstein: Yeah I think getting them to the Top 10 by the end of this year is a bit of a stretch, at this point. It is short-season ball and a week of it at that.

Bleriana (Kukes): Why you no put spotlight on traditional Albanian cuisine, like Tave Kosi or Byrek? Is not all baklava every day here, American smart guy.

Craig Goldstein: Emphatically wrong. It is Baklava every day here.

Stephen (Spokane): Joey Votto has a .367 wOBA this month. It's not quite vintage Votto, but still obviously quite good. Were we too quick to bury him?

Craig Goldstein: I think we're all prone to being a little reactionary and I don't think Votto is dead, but it does seem unlikely he's going to approach the heights we previously considered routine.

Bring Back Trevor Strunk (Online): What should Cleveland's strategy going forward be, besides the obvious of "spend money to build around your superstar talent" that they of course won't do

Craig Goldstein: They're in a bit of a weird spot. As much as we've railed on them (myself included), they're four games over .500! They're probably not catching the Twins, but that's more about how good Minnesota's been. I don't know that supplementing with useful retreads like Adam Jones or even taking a flier on Derek Dietrich stops them from being behind Minnesota, but they'd be closer, right?

Long term, you mean, they have to execute what they've done in the past to compete. They were in the World Series in very recent memory! I don't think that they are unwilling to spend and I actually don't really doubt that the Dolans have operated at a loss some years because of Cleveland's market and size. I just think they should be willing to run it at a loss because, as Rob Mains has argued, it's not a normal business or investment. It's fine to run losses and then sell the team for a massive profit down the line.

Matt (Boston): When will Brandon McKay get the call? The Rays are only 2.5 games back and his arm looks ready. He could be wasting innings in AAA. I know his bat isn't ready, could that be holding him back if they are really in on him as a two-way player?

Craig Goldstein: I'd expect him to get plenty of more run at Triple-A, just because the Rays tend to move slower than everyone wants them to on these types of moves. I don't think it's the two-way thing, he's mostly been going as a pitcher of late.

balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Hi Craig: My team in a 16 tm. 12 kpr. pts. league is doing unexpectedly well. But I need another decent SP to compete in the playoffs. If I had to part with one of these prospects to get one, which one should it be: Dylan Carlson, Jesus Sanchez, Nate Pearson, Carter Kieboom or K. Hiura? Very low deduction for Ks by a batter in this pts. league. I should note: that Ketel Marte is having a surprisingly good season for me at 2B. Thx!

Craig Goldstein: of those names I'd go with Jesus Sanchez at the moment.

Adam (Durham): What's an inappropriate length of time to hold on when hugging an acquaintance? Also, who are you higher on from a fantasy perspective: Shed Long or Nicky Lopez?

Craig Goldstein: if you have to ask, it's too long. Not particularly high on either from a fantasy angle.

BG (Sand Point): Craig, how long does a starter have to pitch before you'd reevaluate your priors? i.e., if you thought a guy was going to be a No. 4 starter coming up, how long does he have to pitch like a No. 2 before he's a No. 2 in your eyes? Thinking of someone like Hendricks, who was thought of as a backend coming up and is now obviously not.

Craig Goldstein: I've said before I'm pretty slow to adjust in these situations. Probably two seasons unless there's something tangibly different that explains the change in performance (new pitch, more velo, new mechanics = better control, etc)

Andrew (Boston): How and why has former pun-inspired draft pick Trey Turner struck out half the batters he's faced at Low A?

Craig Goldstein: I don't have an answer to this beyond he's like, 23 at this point but I also legitimately forgot the Nats have a Trea Turner and a Trey Turner.

Jordan (South Dakota): Finally going to crack my dynasty league's playoffs this year. Go me! However, I'm only 10th/16 in points scored and my leaguemates are giving me a hard time because we have a scheduling system that's based on the previous year's standings, so my schedule has been super easy. But I'm 8-3! I even got my biggest win ever against the back-to-back league points champion. How do I get them to respect my path to the playoffs?

Craig Goldstein: You're not going to get them to respect your path to the playoffs if you played an easy schedule. There is no win, there. But it also doesn't matter. You're in the playoffs and every time they say something just say "scoreboard" until they stop being your friend or something.

sykklone (IA): Anything special about these Marlin pitchers Lopez, Smith, Richards, Yamamoto, Hernandez, or Gallen??

Craig Goldstein: Kind of a broad question about some very different guys?

roarke (Down in a Hole): Do you think Bo Naylor sticks at catcher long term?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, I like him and think he sticks.

Clint (Michigan): Ever had golden berries? They're... interesting, but good.

Craig Goldstein: I haven't. I had to google them and google is telling me they're also called Peruvian Groundcherries and I'm laughing at that and I don't know why.

Chansen8895 (San Jose ): Has Garrett hampson fallen that far due to his poor MLB stint? People in my dynasty league don’t even want to roster him As a throw in in trades. Or are my league mates just being ridiculous?

Craig Goldstein: I think it's less about his talent and more about his path to playing time. Murphy is back, McMahon is around, Rodgers is up. Hard to put a lot of stock into Hampson between all that and the poor play. This makes him a good buy low but it completely depends on your roster situation as to whether you can carry a non-contributor. Sounds like a good post-prospect guy people will write about this offseason to me.

Homer (Springfield): This past offseason, Franklin Barreto seemed to have done everything which was asked of him - draw more walks, hit for more power. His staggering June stats have "fixed" his AAA season stats (okay, okay - it's probably not as if a 900 OPS is even "good" in AAA in 2019, is it?) and I noticed he played ss yesterday with Mateo at 2b - surprising to me. What sort of chance he could be an impact fantasy player?

Craig Goldstein: He's another tough one. He's just never really put it together at the major league level and I have concerns about his ability to hit consistently there. He's got some boom/bust to him because if he _can_ hit, all the other tools are going to play up.

Kyle (Florida): In my primary dynasty league, we have unlimited IL slots and so I just pick up every free agent player on the IL. Another owner has been doing it for years and has never won anything, so I'm copying him in order to grandstand. I have 69 IL players total. Seriously. Not even going for a "nice." Do you think this strategy will pay dividends for me? I think stashing Anthony Bemboom and Sam Tuivailala could really help me out down the stretch.

Craig Goldstein: Kyle, I really do not think it will pay off for you.

AJ (Boston): Despite your "This is not an endorsement of asking questions about DSL guys" comment, here is my question about DSL guys: Can you name a couple of interesting guys in the DSL who you think could make it stateside in the coming months?

Craig Goldstein: AJ what the hell man. I thought we were cool.

Ben (NY): Who jumps up in the rankings like Wander Franco did last year?

Craig Goldstein: We're getting there.

Dan (Ct): Kristian Robinson the next big prospect? If not him, who?

Craig Goldstein: Close, but not quite.

Carl (St Louis): In a Dynasty league, if you're not competing this year do you think it's wise to target prospects for your rebuild. This is just my way of asking what are your thoughts on Wander Javier? What's his upside?

Craig Goldstein: Ah, yes. These are my readers.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks everyone for the chat today. Let's get back to it next week. Any other fantasy questions can be directed towards Friday's chat with Jon Hegglund!

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