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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday June 26, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus and urges you not to ask questions about DSL guys.

Craig Goldstein: Alright everyone, strap in for some berry/drupe discussion and let's get going.

Brad (NJ): Craig, can you tell me more about a couple AAA SP, Connor Menez, so far in AA/AAA this year 2.84ERA 0.99 WHIP 7 IP 101K and good home park in SF. also Brandon Bielak AAA for Houston, struggling since promotion to AAA but both guys pitching in PCL and look like they are having break out years.

Craig Goldstein: We had Menez in a
Monday Morning Ten Pack from just two weeks ago! Strongly suggest you give it a read. Bielak is part of a contingent of tough to read guys in Houston because of how they tend to piggyback their starter arms. I was just discussing this with a scout recently, as it's tough to tell who is a starter long term. Some of that gets hedged with how quickly teams are pulling starters these days, but ultimately it's a tough scout. Bielak is in the low-90s most frequently with his fastball but it has some movement. Last year Kevin Carter tabbed him as a setup guy most likely.

ironcityguys (urban area): What do you make of Lourdes Gurriel's raking? Should the Blue Jays assume he's now a LF or should they reconsider playing him at multiple positions as they had planned prior to the season?

Craig Goldstein: There are some real changes in his batted ball profile that lend credence to buying into what the production has been of late. That doesn't mean it's a lock to continue going forward, but I can see reason for optimism there. I'd be fine moving him around. It's really helpful to have a guy that can give everyone else a rest and maintain a full slate of at-bats.

Ben (SF): Can Marco Luciano be this season’s Wander Franco - jump up in the rankings?

Craig Goldstein: Sure, he's a premium international signing with serious tools.

rkessl (San Diego): Let's get this out of the way early so we can all enjoy the rest of the chat.Tell Dusty that Wander Franco has been promoted to High A and he still has high upside.

Craig Goldstein: But Dusty (or maybe it's Fred from NY now), cares about Wander Javier, not Franco

TrackPhantom (Austin, TX): How predictable are umpire stats in determining the likelihood that pitchers or hitters will have an advantage when they are behind the plate? Are any specific stats more worthy of focus in trying to "label" an umpire with a wide or tight strike zone?

Craig Goldstein: Good question, Austin! I reached our to Harry Pavlidis, my strikezone guru and he pointed me to our
Umpire sortable. It's raw strikes/balls but you can get a sense of who has what kind of zone.

He also said that yes, umpires have specific types of zones and that every pitcher/catcher plans around the types of zones based on who is calling balls and strikes that day. It's tightened up since they've been getting graded on their calls but there is still some discrepancy between umps. We use this kind of information as part of our DRC/DRA metrics, as they of course factor into the outcomes of each plate appearance.

Cubbie Bear (Chi-Town): What’s your take on Grant Lavigne’s season so far. I’m surprised his offensive numbers are not greater given the band box he plays in. Has his approach changed or has he been dealing with injuries? Thanks.

Craig Goldstein: We had a Notes From the Field on Lavigne in April, and I'd make note of that comment on the uppercut swing. It explains the bump in strikeout rate and if he isn't making enough hard contact it doesn't much matter the park environment. I would definitely expect him to figure it out to some degree - failure is part of growth - but it's not the most encouraging when you see a guy is mostly a two true outcomes type, and is missing the home runs...

djbrown (Texas): What's the latest injury news on the Phillies' Spencer Howard? Sidelined two months now with 'shoulder soreness'

Craig Goldstein: It's been reported that he's throwing down in their complex so I wouldn't expect it to linger too too much longer.

ironcityguys (urban area): Will Nick Senzel ever see the infield again? At what position would he provide the most value?

Craig Goldstein: I'd like to see him at 3rd because I liked the glove there, but with Suarez in town it makes sense to have him where they do.

dan22ke9 (Calloway Bar and lounge): Do you think New Oriole #1 draft pick can make mlb roster out of ST next year?

Craig Goldstein: No, that's just not how things are done these days.

Nathan (Florida ): How would you rank these hitters in a dynasty format? Ronnie Mauricio, Kristian Robinson, Julio Rodriguez, Jasson Dominguez, Marco Luciano, and George Valera... thank you!

Craig Goldstein: Robinson, Luciano/Rodriguez, Valera, Dominguez, Mauricio. Couldn't choose between Luciano/Rodriguez.

jwdalton (SFG Doom and Gloom): Hi Craig! Have their been any reports/looks on Heliot Ramos on the site that I have missed? He seems to have turned a corner from his struggles last year (I know he missed some time with injury this year). I'm a Giants fan, but also wondering if I should make a push to trade for him in my dynasty league

Craig Goldstein: We talked Heliot twice recently! Once in our Cal League So Far, where Wilson called him positively electric when he saw
him in April.

Then again right after the California League ASG, in a Notes piece. .

In short: we still like him a lot.

rflippin (Lake Forest, CA): Hello Craig, I was wondering what you thought of Jarren Duran. He hasn't gotten much love in prospect talk despite crushing 3 levels of lower minor league pitching. He's currently working through his first challenge professionally in AA. Do you see him moving quickly from here and being an impact bat/base thief with Boston some time next year? Thanks for your thoughts!

Craig Goldstein: He's been brought up pretty consistently in chats, because as you said he's been performing. Jeffrey Paternostro caught him last year and there wasn't a ton to write home about at the time, but he might have just been flagging at the time. The contact is good overall but scouts have concerns about his strength holding up as he moves up the chain, and don't see a lot of projection remaining. He's a plus-plus runner though and can go and get it in center field. If he hits, he's really fun as a fantasy player but there are a lot of "4th outfielder" vibes too.

Nathan (Florida): How would you rank these pitchers in a dynasty format? Deivi Garcia, Ryan Weathers, Griffin Canning, Grayson Rodriguez, Jordan Balazovic, and Zac Gallen... thank you!

Craig Goldstein: Man the Garcia talk has been extreme. I prrrobably slot him over Canning and Gallen and have it like this:

Garcia, Gallen, Canning, Weathers, Rodriguez, Balazovic

Carl (SF): Alex Canario is beasting early this year. I've read numerous scouting reports that say his bat speed is elite. Is he a possible big time riser in 2019?

Craig Goldstein: Sure, he's been on my radar for a while now. It's definitely possible, but we're still talking about a 19-year-old in the complex leagues so there's a fair amount of risk baked into any assessment

djbrown (TExas): In this day and age, how is it still possible to have prospects out with 'unknown' injuries for a prolonged stretch? (Vidal Brujan, Spencer Howard etc..)

Craig Goldstein: Well, "unknown" is often just a side effect of "undisclosed." I don't know that it's our right to get into every players medicals anyway, but enough people usually know what the injuries are at the time. They're just not talking about it.

Jim H. (Queens): where would adbert rank on the cubs top 10 right now, after 2 mostly successful mlb outings? also, what to make of cole roederer's historic cycle? and finally, do you agree with other writers re: the cubs' farm system being loaded with mid ceiling guys-quality mid-tier prospect depth but no real studs?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think two MLB outings changes much, especially with yesterdays not even going five innings? I had to google the cycle you referenced but don't know what makes it historic. I don't make anything of cycles - they're fun but irrelevant. Yes, Hoerner has a chance to be a stud, I think and I like Brailyn Marquez a lot, though there is a bunch of reliever risk there too.

griffey012 (Indianapolis): Aristides Aquino is crushing it in AAA this year. He has always had loud tools but a lot of contact and consistency issues. It looks like he was re-tooled his stance into an open stance with a noticeable leg kick. Should Reds fan be getting excited about him?

Craig Goldstein: lord knows I love Aristides but he looks like mostly the same guy in terms of his peripherals, including batted ball stuff, with the exception of his BABIP and his HR/FB. That's paired with his exit velo going up too (both average and max). Whether that's because the MLB ball has made its way to Triple-A or a substantive change that will stick for him...it's hard to know.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Who do you think has the better offensive potential (park adjusted) -- Carter Kieboom, Brendan Rodgers or Nick Senzel?

Craig Goldstein: If we're just picking offensive talent in a neutral field, I'll take Senzel.

balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Hi Craig: With Montas gone for the rest of the season, my pitching staff in a 16 team 12 keeper pts league is in disarray. Would you make him one of your keepers? A league mate is interested in Bassitt and I'm wondering what kind of draft pick I should ask for. Or should I keep him with Montas and Chirinos? Thanks for these chats.

Craig Goldstein: I'd hold on to Montas, yeah, and I'd be okay dealing Bassitt. Honestly I don't have a good feel for what he'd command right now, but it's a good Bat Signal question if you're subscribed to that. One of our fantasy teamers who has more knowledge than I would be able to handle it.

rflippin (Lake Forest, CA): Thanks in advance Craig, I was expecting Braves Ian Anderson to get the big league call by now, I've had him stashed on my bench waiting patiently. Do you think he gets the call this year, and do you think he's worth rostering in a 14 team 38 man roster. (My team is loaded with high end SP prospects but light on quality MLB SP's)

Craig Goldstein: I would expect Anderson to get a bump to Triple-A soonish, but wouldn't expect to see him in the majors this year barring more injuries from Atlanta, especially with Keuchel around now. Yes he's worth rostering there but I wouldn't be rostering a ton of pitching prospects generally -- too much attrition.

Jim (Chicago): My wife picks our movies, my job is to steer her choice to those I can tolerate. It was between "Late Night" or "Booksmart". We went with Booksmart, which had a higher review and was a strong female response to "Superbad". So here's my question- should there be any ballpark-like adjustments for Rotten Tomato scores?

Craig Goldstein: I want to see Booksmart, but I saw Late Night with my mother who I don't think would have gone for Booksmart. Late Night was fine, but I think uneven and seemed a little unsure of it was going to be serious or a comedy (I know things can be both, but there were pace/tone points that seemed...off to me). Still worth seeing, I think, especially on netflix or tv. Kaling and Thompson are phenomenal.

Merlin (Camelot): Craig, 2019 has been uneven for Kyle Tucker, who doesn't get called up even with injuries to Astro's outfield. It has been worse than uneven for Forest Whitley. How has your prospect rankings for these two changed, if at all? What is a reasonable ETA for each of them? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: It's been a rough year for Whitley and I'm basically in a holding pattern until I can get a sense of what exactly is going on. I'm basically where I was before on Tucker with him rebounding after a horrific first month. I'd expect to see Tucker this year, and hopefully we can see Whitley get back on track and up this season too.

Emily (Wisconsin): Aaron Ashby's numbers last year were great across two levels. Same story so far this year. Where's his stock stand today? Can he be a "list prospect" in 2019?

Craig Goldstein: Likely on the team list for sure (just off the top of my head), but less sure about a top 101. He's notable for the quality curve, and you can dominate the lower minors with one really good offspeed pitch pretty easily. The fastball is 91-94 though, and I'm less confident he'll play this way as he moves up the chain. Probably slots in the "off the top 101 but still pretty good" segment, which is fairly large. Back-end starter type, I think.

Alex (Austin): What do we do with Buster Posey at this point? I've started Mitch Garver over him every game I could to this point, should Posey just be dropped? I will need the roster spot when Caleb Smith comes back. 1 catcher dynasty league, if that helps.

Craig Goldstein: It depends a bit on league size and I don't think I'm to the point of dropping Posey yet, but it's getting uncomfortably close.

sportsguy21792 (madison): At what point does Milwaukee pull the plug on Shaw and give the 2B job FT to Huira? Feels like the all star break it the right time to make this move unless Shaw shows major sign of life.

Craig Goldstein: Not soon enough for my taste. I agree with you.

kylebarrett (Texas): I'm looking to trade a number of hitting prospects in exchange for one great pitching prospect. Who is the pitching prospect I'm looking for?

Craig Goldstein: MacKenzie Gore

doog7642 (Blaine. MN): Dynasty points league: Brendan Rodgers or Paul DeJong?

Craig Goldstein: man, I think I'll go with DeJong at this point.

Alberto (Mexico): After the recent graduations of Urías and Verdugo to MLB, who's the best Mexican prospect in the minors right now?

Craig Goldstein: Unclear which Urias you mean, but assuming you're excluding Luis (he's still a prospect), probably...Isaac Paredes?

Ryan (MD): As always, there are surprising pitcher performances in A Ball. Yerry Rodriguez, Cody Bolton, Joe Ryan, Tarik Skubal, Aaron Ashby and Joey Cantillo come to mind. Have you identified any as real steps forward? Any as a mirage? It's a great outcome for the team for them to now project as back of the rotation guys, but do any project as more? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: I'm buying a bit on Bolton who we've talked about in recent chats (and was mentioned in a What Scouts Are Saying earlier this season), Skubal, and Ashby as discussed above. Less so on Cantillo and Ryan. I have to dig in on Rodriguez further.

Graeme Lloyd (Australia): Finding it laborious to trawl through MILB pages to track how a minor league player is performing (especially hard for pitchers when probable starts are fluid). Is there a tool/website where you can flag select minor league players and it will email you their boxscore results after each appearance?

Craig Goldstein: Hey Graeme, thanks for joining us from Australia! I highly recommend you make use of the Baseball Prospectus Team Tracker. You can enter the guys you want to follow and then just check in on them the next morning. It's a really useful tool.

Bobby (Chi): Jasson Dominguez a better prospect than anyone listed here - Robinson, Luciano/Rodriguez, Valera, Dominguez, Mauricio?

Craig Goldstein: HOW COME YOU GUYS CAN'T STOP ASKING ABOUT DSL GUYS? Is this some sort of weird loophole because he hasn't even signed yet, so he's not a DSL guy? The reports I got on Dominguez are that he's legit, but it's also really, REALLY, premature to be making definitive judgements on these kinds of players. You're talking about really young kids with a lot of development and growth ahead of them, and you're selecting guys that have already shown a lot of aptitude within that. It's too far away to be worried about stuff like this. I like literally all of the names mentioned. It's hard to go wrong.

Scott (NYC): Luciano/Kristian Robinson - Biggest Upside of guys in low minors?

Craig Goldstein: They're in the mix, sure. I think some people would put Julio Rodriguez squarely in that mix. There are some other names, too.

John (Hollywood): Is Robinson Cano finished?

Craig Goldstein: I think he's got a bounce back in there somewhere but not a long-term one

Steve (Yonkers): Luis Gil: top 100 prospect by season's end? How high can he get?

Craig Goldstein: He'll be in consideration for sure.

Bsg (Tucson): Will Benson was having a breakout year before promotion. Was that cause of repeating league or is he figuring out how to hit? Thank You

Craig Goldstein: I'm leaning more towards being a 21-year-old repeating the league.

Bsg (Tucson): Will Benson was having a breakout year before promotion. Was that cause of repeating league or is he figuring out how to hit? Thank You

Craig Goldstein: I'm leaning more towards being a 21-year-old repeating the league.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Are you on board with, e.g., "Blackmon unleashes a kraken of a home run?"

Craig Goldstein: No, that's absolutely terrible.

uptownfunk (NY): If you were ranking dynasty prospects, roughly where would you have Jasson Dominguez and Robert Puason?

Craig Goldstein: I wouldn't rank them because they're not, uh, well, they're not _officially_ signed with teams.

Chris (DC): How would you rank these young pitchers: Ryan Weathers, Cole Winn, Ethan Hankins, Shane Baz? Are any of them "must-adds" in 10-team dynasty leagues at this point in time?

Craig Goldstein: Baz, Hankins, Winn, Weather for me. They're far enough away you could convince me not to bother with any arms that far off in a ten teamer but if I'm picking one it is Baz.

Chris (DC): Where do Jordyn Adams and Brennen Davis fit on that list of young prospects that you ranked earlier (Robinson, Luciano/Rodriguez, Valera, Dominguez, Mauricio).

Craig Goldstein: I don't have a great feel for Davis right now, honestly. Check back with me next week or so. Adams is a favorite of mine. Probably would put him in with Valera despite the rough start.

Craig Goldstein: Alright we got 40 questions in an hour, I think that's a good place to stop. As always if you have additional questions, please pop over to Mark Barry's queue for another midday chat on Friday!

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