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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday July 09, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey Paternostro is the Lead Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Back from a 17 hour round trip for Futures, wherein I managed to forget to pack my razor blade or socks, but I did remember I had a chat today.

Craig (Chicago ): If Shane Greene gets traded, do you anticipate him being a closer on new team, or pitching in a middle relief role?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So usually the way this works is a top team with a good closer brings him in to be a high end setup dude. Competing eams don't want to disrupt their veteran pens that much. He wouldn't close over Jansen in LA, Chapman in NY, or Osuna in HOU. Boston probably should trade for him to close, but I don't know if they have the prospect pieces. Generally I would guess he ends up an eighth inning guy somewhere if he's dealt.

Double J (The Jersey Shore): What's the best called shot the BP Prospect Team has had during your tenure?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably Juan Soto, although Jarrett is piping up in the back about Jeff McNeil I am sure.

Vic (Iowa): Adell, keller, madrigal, trammell. Least mlb impact over years 20 & 21? Who should I shop for this year improvements?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Keller or Trammell. Madrigal is close and will get you steals even if he isn't a star. I have my concerns about Keller's continued development in his org, although I can't really bake that into his ranking as much as you'd think. Trammell is in the process of unborking some swing stuff so that might take some time. Hold Jo Adell close and never let him go.

jimbo (Atlanta): How legit is Patino?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I knew he was very good, and expected to him to show very good, but even relative to that, he was the most impressive arm to me at Futures. That's not necessarily correlative to anything other than his being a very good prospect (which we already knew), and it might be a function of getting a longer showcase, but I didn't expect it. Keith Rader was less surprised than I was since he has been all in on him since last year.

Sammy (NY): Can the Mets get a C prospect for Frazier or will that be purely a salary dump? What about Vargas?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I would expect it's mostly salary relief and this year's version of Jacob Rhame, et. al. I'd be targeting a complex flyer, but the Mets never really do that.

Earl (NY): What did you think of Kay in futures game? Is it hard to evaluate him off that look because that's probably what he'd look like as a reliever and not a starter?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yeah, he'll hit 96 occasionally as a starter, but sits more 91-94. He also only threw eight pitches, which is the more confounding part of the eval.

Bort (Sprungfield): Seth Beer: is it unreasonable to expect an early(ish) 2020 debut?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's very possible he will be ready for the majors by then, but Kyle Tucker still hasn't gotten a long term look for the 'stros, as Wink wrote about today, so I don't know what Beer can do to really force the issue.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): With Corey Seager at SS, do you think Gavin Lux will ultimately play 3b or 2b?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Craig and I talked about this a fair bit Sunday. The Dodgers are his second favorite team after all. We'd both play Seager at third and Lux at SS in the post-Turner years, but think the Dodgers will play Lux at second. Could also be a scenario where they move them around some (more likely Lux), the days they want to get Muncy at second or whatever.

Craig (Chicago): Is Justin Smoak capable of playing 1B full time for an NL team? What teams do you expect to pursue him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Let's assume he is, I still don't know that any buyer at the deadline would see him as enough of a first base upgrade to give up much. I think it's more likely he's a Justin Bour type bench bat for a contender

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): What odds do you give for these prospects to debut THIS season: Jo Adell, Luis Robert, Casey Mize, Dustin May, Bo Bichette, Gavin Lux.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Best bets are probably Bichette as a September call up and May as a utility arm for the stretch run/playoffs. I imagine the Tigers are going to be very cautious with Mize after the shoulder issue. Robert and Lux could hypothetically be an injury away at some point though.

Dax (METS): Jacob DeGrom is a __, Pete Alonso is a __, Jeff McNeil is a __ and Michael Conforto is a __. (numerical grades)

Jeffrey Paternostro: So the position players are all 6s (Alonso has projection past that, but we'll see how it plays out) to me. deGrom is an interesting case and Jarrett and I have discussed this for a while. We both agree that he's an ace, so then it comes down to wear you draw the line for an 8. By any WAR metric he's been a top five pitcher since 2015, Scherzer is the only one clearly better, than it's usually a tier of him, Sale, Greinke, Kershaw, Verlander. So while I tend to be more conservative with 8s than Jarrett, I think it's tough not to argue all those arms aren't 8s. But if you want to ding deGrom some for occasional durability issues and call him a high end 7, I get it.

Jared (NY): Michael Conforto: Trade, extend, or hold?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So what do you do with an established plus regular? It's a skill set that should age all right. You have zero outfield depth in the minors. I'd extend him now, and the perception of his being down a bit might even make the numbers work for both side. I doubt Boras makes it easy, but that's also his job. The Mets might just view the window as 2020-21, but even then he's going to get paid in arb because of the counting stats so I don't see the harm in extending.

Rico (Badlands): Thoughts on DL Hall. Elite prospect? Thanks for the chat!

Jeffrey Paternostro: The reports I've gotten on Hall this year haven't been superlative, but I was impressed with the fastball/breaker combo at Futures. I also kind of got an idea of why he might be walking 7 per 9 too. The slot and arm action are more relieverish than you'd like, but the stuff is good enough he would have made a Midseason 101 if such an abomination existed.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Royce Lewis took a tumble on the BP mid-season list. Any serious concerns about him on your end?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Keanan Lamb wrote an article about his (and broader scouts) concerns with Lewis's swing earlier in the season. And you could see the issues with it even in BP. He just wasn't consistently in sync. I also saw borderline elite hand speed and the athletic tools are obvious. So you don't want to give up on him putting it together. We also have almost a season's worth of poor production in A+. I think this ended up a bit of a compromise ranking. If we were really weighting the production and scouting report downturn he'd be lower, but that would be too reactive on July 8th. Essentially we still see the all-star upside, we are just more concerned about the floor/likely now.

Hefty Pastrami (Atlanta): Jordan Groshans has generated plenty of buzz, yet he hasn't played all that much pro ball thus far. Is he really the whole package in terms of tools + polish at the plate?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Nathan sure thought so.


Scott (Chi): Kristian Robinson - the next big prospect?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I would suggest by the time he's inside a top 50 he's already there. You probably want to look towards his org mate, Wilderd Patino.

Dave (CT): Where would you rank Jasson Dominguez in the prospect rankings?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So here's the thing. I haven't seen him play. Our staff hasn't seem him play. He hasn't really even been in showcases since he was 14. Teams have vested interest in hiding these dudes from other teams scouts after they agree to deals early. The Tigers admitted as much with Roberto Campos, for just one example. Could I or someone else on staff get a reasonably high-ranking Yankees PD person to give us useable info on background. Yeah, that's a thing that could happen. I don't see that by itself as enough to put a ranking down on a player. The backbone of our work is live looks. Now, sometimes we have to rank a guy we don't have a recent look at. Marco Luciano's blurb covers some of the pitfalls of that. But we didn't rank Luciano last year (despite strongly suspecting this outcome) for the same reason we won't rank Dominguez this year.

AJ (Boston): The comments in the articles/on the pod re Luciano, KRob, etc. were really interesting. Are you looking to expand your staff to include someone in ARI? Seems like good base location given the AFL, AZL, spring training, etc.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Along a similar line. For one, yes we are always looking to add coverage in places we don't have it (and frankly that includes the Dominican as well). With Arizona at least it is easier to get a variety of reliable industry sourced reports for extended, complex, instructs. There's a reason we have been namedropping Wilderd Patino the last couple weeks.

Babyfarts (Mckeezack): Would you feel confident enough in M Gore to trade Kershaw for him in a dynasty? I know there is risk in minor league pitchers but there is also major risk with Kershaw’s health.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I wouldn't feel *confident* about trading for any pitching prospect per se, but there's a decent chance that will be the cheapest you are ever able to acquire Gore. I suppose it also depends on your timeline for contention and what not.

Pat G (Long Island): What do you do with honeywell in a dynasty league where you have 225 prospects rostered? I'm contending now and have a ton of young injuries or players limited because of recovery (Urias, Rodon, Taillon, Kopech, Puk, Reyes, Honeywell). Is it just a hold at this point?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Maaaaaaaan, I guess. Jarrett talked a bit about him in the supplemental piece on injured pitchers this morning. He name checks Jarrett Parker, who never came back from this. Believe this is similar to what ended Jeremy Hefner's career as well. That's probably enough prospects to hold for now, but the calculus on that could change soon.

Josh K (K Town): Alex Kirilloff stock has been more volatile this year than expected. Is it due to the new swing, a slightly more patient approach, just injuries, or a little bit of all 3 that have led to inferior reports? What do you now see his MLB role as?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So it hasn't really been for us, because as we discussed on the pod, we baked this outcome more into his preseason ranking because I was worried this would be what happened in the upper minors. He's also playing more first base and I didn't see a swing that would consistently get his raw power into games, at least enough to carry a cold corner outcome. Now the injuries are a mitigating factor here, and even I think he's better than his 2019 line, but we are probably holding him around a 50-55 likely outcome.

Elton (Pacific Northwest): Hi Jeff, it's me, Elton again. I was wondering if you could weigh in on my latest dynasty league tank/rebuild trade. Earlier this week, I sent a $9 Matt Chapman (we have $500 budgets and Chapman graduated from prospect status, so he's cost controlled and won't get a big raise for several more years) for Jared Kelenic. I figure Kelenic will be just as good as Chapman is now, but in two or three years, at which point he'll be like $20 cheaper. Did I do well here? Is my logic bulletproof?

Jeffrey Paternostro: That's probably fine for a rebuild move.

Joseph (Baltimore): Alek Thomas is a hitting machine. Yes or hell yes?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Love the frame, love the swing.

Patrick (San Antonio): How good is Jo Adell going to be? And are there anymore prospects in the pipeline that can help him and Trout in the next couple of seasons?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Angels system is sneaky good now, but some of the next couple of seasons help (Marsh, Jones) has stagnated a bit. Adell and Trout gives you a heckuva core though.

Vic (Iowa): Will Hampson prove the pre seasons projections true next year?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So there's two things too unpack here. First, the Rockies are not great at giving extended playing runs to any of their prospects, so Hampson really hasn't gotten a chance to adjust to the major league pitching yet. The other is well, there was always some hit tool risk because the swing has a lot of moving parts to it. He always barreled stuff when I saw him regardless, but Double-A arms aren't major league arms. I hope this is just an adjustment period though, because man he is fun when he's running good.

uncasf1 (Raleigh NC): How are BP writers adjusting their evaluations of AAA players given the superball? Jorge Mateo is a perfect example. Is the breakout real based on adjustments and maturity or is it more a function of LV and the superball? And if it is real, why haven't the A's called him up?

Jeffrey Paternostro: You have to bake some stuff in, yeah. If we thought Urias was really a 30-home run guy, he'd be up in the top three. Unless we hear/see a reason to think there is new power you just adjust for the level/clime. Seeing Mateo take BP, I do think there's a bit more loft/raw there now, which isn't really a shock for a player to add from 22 to 24. Vegas is the ideal park for him to hit in, not just because of the altitude, but its a high outfield, hence having as many triples as homers. I think there's MLB utility here, but I also don't know who you displace on a playoff-contending A's team. Profar I guess?

Chris (Philly): How good can Bohm really be? Does he have the potential of a Kris Bryant?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I've mentioned before how it can be hard at times to get off your old reports. I got bad ones about Bohm last year, but a few BP swings and yeah, I get it. It's easy 70 raw and a great frame, even if it isn't in games yet. Even in infield drills though he just looked awkward at third. Actions were stiff, he fields stuff off to the side, I didn't love the hands either. The Phillies seem fairly committed to him as a third baseman, but I think the defensive limitations will keep him from Kris Bryant type upside.

traindoggah (Maine): When looking for lotto-ticket upside, whom of the following would you say is *least* likely to deliver that return: Will Craig, Yadier Alvarez, Akil Badoo, Lewis Thorpe, Josh Green, Gilberto Celestino or Steve Jennings?

Jeffrey Paternostro: What an interesting hodge podge. Alvarez has been a mess for long enough we are at the point where his 75th percentile outcome might not even be a major leaguer, yet you could still argue he has more upside than like Will Craig. Nevertheless, I'd still probably be okay cutting him out of that group.

Slippery Pete (The barge): Isan Diaz: has he made meaningful improvements this year or is it just ball magic? Both Alzolay and Harold Reynolds sung his praises at the Futures Game.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Nah, it's pretty good now. He was one of the last cuts for the Midseason 50.

Riley (Hoboken): Can the Mets get Kyle Tucker + JBB for Noah?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I would guess Houston holds the line and doesn't give up both, but even so I'm not sure where the Mets are playing Tucker, and I'm not really a JBB guy. In a vacuum it's probably not an awful deal, but I think we both suspect what happens with Syndergaard in Houston.

Ali Sanchez (Mets): Am I a prospect again?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I will always have a soft spot for you, but there was nothing in this year's look that makes me think the huge BABIP jump is real.

Ron (Texarkana): Can you go a little more in depth on what you like about Wilderd Patino? Being that he's so young, what are you able to project of him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's less tools'd up than Robinson was, but he's a more physical player at present. Up-the-middle guy with good speed and potential above-average hit/power combo.

Randy (Queens): It seems like Wheeler should be in high demand at the deadline..what kind of prospect do you think they could get for him? I've seen people speculate a prospect in the top 125-175 range. Could they get Albert Abreu from NYY or Koby Allard from ATL?

Jeffrey Paternostro: 150ish guy feels a smidge high to me for a number three starter rental nowadays, but Franklyn Kilome got dealt for eight weeks of Asdrubal Cabrera so it just takes the right combo of team and prospect I suppose. Abreu feels like way too much to me. Allard actually isn't an awful shout, as the Braves don't have a spot for him, and the stuff is down, but the Mets can sell him as a major-league-ready former Top 50 prospect.

Milky Manchester (Brooklyn): Is it just injuries, or is Jose Altuve already on the downside of his career?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He was a five-win player last year so I'm gonna give him a pass for a bad (by his standards) 200 PA, but the fact that it was a back issue and that the aging curve for second baseman can be steep would concern me a little, yeah.

Eric (New York): Where would you rank the Mets top 2019 picks (Baty, Wolf, Allan) in their system today?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Baty and Allen in a tier behind Mauricio along with Alvarez, Gimenez and Kay (the long list and possible actual 101 guys) Wolf in the tier below that with SWR, Newton, Vientos, Santos, maybe Jaylen Palmer if I am feeling frisky. There's a lot of volatility given the sheer amount of short-season dudes here though.

Craig (Chicago): If Clint Frazier were to be traded and given a shot at a full time job, what does he project to for the rest of this season? Future?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's hit .283/.330/.513 this year, and I mean that doesn't feel too far off from his true talent level. You will have to adjust for the new home park, but 20% better than league average corner outfield bat feels about right.

Carl (SF): I know it's early, but is this a breakout season for Alex Canario? That elite bat speed mentioned in all of the scouting reports has really been doing damage so far.

Jeffrey Paternostro: He tends to get forgotten since he started his season after Marco Luciano's and didn't get the same XST hype, but none of these dudes stay under the radar for long anymore.

Jared (NY): What is Dom Smiths true talent level now? Do you notice any adjustments, or is he the kind of guy that would really benefit from juiced ball?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So he looks more or less like the guy I saw every year as a prospect. That's not a bad thing per se, he looked like a much worse guy in the majors in 2017-18, trying to pull side lift everything. That said, he's not gonna run a .366 BABIP all year, and as he's started more, pitchers have figured out how to attack him (velo around the hands or inside where he can't get extended, then dump off speed down and out of the zone) and the K-rate has also gone up over the last month or so. You really shouldn't keep running him out in LF, and he isn't playing first. Maybe he's an everyday guy for a second division team for a few years, but it's just not going to be the Mets.

Jeffrey Paternostro: All right, I have to deal with my lawn again. Wilson will pick up the slack on Thursday for more of your prospect questions.

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