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Chat: Wilson Karaman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday July 11, 2019 11:00 PM ET chat session with Wilson Karaman.

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Wilson Karaman is a Senior Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus.

Wilson Karaman: Hellooooooo everyone. Sorry I'm a few minutes late tonight, my daughter insisted on a detailed reading of her favorite book, "Stop That Pickle" by Peter Armour, and I'm powerless to resist any and all opportunities to run through that shit with proper voices. Nina Simone! Lead us to a better future! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da-0jVMj3mE

beringstorm (Tacoma): In a 20 team, keep forever dynasty league with an outfield of Yelich, Acuna, Juan Soto, Schwarber, and Jo Adell. I have been trying to move Adell for pitching (active or prospect), but I am getting little reasonable interest. Am I overvaluing? What pitchers should I target?

Wilson Karaman: Nice disguise, Craig. You are not overvaluing, he's the #2 prospect in all of baseball. In a 20-team I would require a top-10 starter as the starting point of a package if'n I were to move Adell (which you should only do right now if the arm you acquire is going to chase a title for you this year)

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Who would you rather have for the future (if their parks were neutral): Brendan Rodgers at 2B or Austin Riley at 3B?

Wilson Karaman: Probably Riley, though his sophomore slump's gonna be a doozy. I remain slightly surprised/somewhat leary that Rodgers hasn't developed a better approach

slappy123 (NC): Looking for holds. Choices are Bradley, Brice, Cimber, Hammer, Hirano, Suero, Soria & Drake. Any jewels in here? thanks

Wilson Karaman: Man, predicting Holds is just really difficult, especially this time of year, because a bunch of those dudes will be on the trade block and bullpens are going to shuffle all over the place and managers develop weird preferences that sometimes run random and counter to the weird preferences they showed last year or earlier this season. Play the hot hand, rotate liberally, privilege dominant whiff-inducing pitches and 7-game schedules when you're searching for what's next

Craig (Chicagol): Do you foresee any top 100 prospect changes teams at the deadline?

Wilson Karaman: Yes, definitely. It is as inevitable Dan Vogelbach, Perennial All Star.

This beat gets stuck in yer craw and it don't leave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVvQadT8IEI

Craig (Chicago ): What level is Dylan Carlson by end of next season if you had to guess?

Wilson Karaman: The one in St. Louis. He's already tearing up Double-A as a 20-year-old. I wouldn't blame the Cardinals for waiting to see if he runs into trouble and how he adjusts, but he's forcing the issue at this rate

mevans93308 (California): I hear rave reviews of all of Dustin Mays' stuff, but still seems like he's going to need something else besides 2-seam/Cutter/Curve to get major league hitters out. Do you agree with this assessment, and think he still needs to bring the change along (or something else), or am I just worrying about nothing?

Wilson Karaman: When you've got two 70-grade offerings and unusual length and delivery, it's more than enough of a foundation, and he'll throw an ill cut on the heater that works as a stand-alone plus third pitch. There's an average cambio there, too, it's not like he doesn't have one in the tank. Jeff just wrote a long and poetic thing about him that gets to a lot of it. The tl;dr is that he's looked like a lights-out arm for a long time and has done nothing to dissuade any of the many folks on staff who've seen him over the past several years that he is, in fact, a lights-out arm: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/51476/top-50-spotlight-dustin-may/

GerardoReyes (SoCal): MiLB blah, blah, blah... Wilson, who you lovin' on the JUCO circuit in SoCal this year?

Wilson Karaman: Hmmm I think there's a Guy out there somewhere covering it all. Next time you see Bobby DeMuro you should ask him who that Guy is...

I can't really convey how here I am for Daddy Yankee resurrecting Snow with this ill-ass reboot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiItGE3eAyQ

Craig (Chicago): How do you compare Brian Anderson (MIA) as a prospect with what he has been in the last year?

Wilson Karaman: He's pretty much been who we thought he was? The power's been a little slower to come than may have been anticipated, but he's shown himself consistently to kind of be the hitter he is. I wouldn't be remotely surprised if he went off and did a .275/.350/.475 kinda thing with 25 dingers at some point in the next few seasons through his prime

Craig (Chicago): Does Connor Menez project to be a back of the rotation starter? Or more likely a long relief guy?

Wilson Karaman: Alexis just wrote up Menez a few weeks ago, which you can find here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/50561/monday-morning-ten-pack-june-10-2019/

She preferred him as a potential multi-inning guy, as the stuff has its limitations once he turns the lineup over. That pretty much jives with what I saw two years ago when he was in San Jose: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/31775/monday-morning-ten-pack-may-8-2017/

It's that fuzzy area between 4- or 5-inning fringy starter and multi-inning guy-who-follows-an-opener kind of projection, yes

Clearly Not Samuel Hale (What are you, a cop?): Hi Wilson, first time long time. Two questions, feel free to choose which you want to answer. 1. With the current unrest in the Democratic party based around inaction, how do you feel about the growing divide among traditionalist white Dems and a growing number of younger People of Color who want more radical and immediate action on multiple fronts? 2. Why is Nick Margevicius? Thanks love you mean it <3

Wilson Karaman: That split is inherent and healthy to the primary process. And I am of the strong opinion that the bums need to win this time; young people, POC, generally oppressed/unpowerful people must drive the bus, and that the Democratic nominee and agenda that emerges from this coming primary process needs to be bold, ambitious, forward-thinking, staunchly progressive, and argued for tenaciously unapologetically. And then it's your - er, Sam's - job to tell us all why Nick Margevicius is in next Monday's Ten Pack, because honestly I have absolutely no clue

Craig (Chicago ): What have your thoughts been on Alex Verdugo’s first full season up? Is there more power there?

Wilson Karaman: I'm a longtime fan and have been of the opinion for some time that more power will show up eventually, yes. He doesn't need it to produce well above-average offensive value, but the peak's gonna include some above-average HR seasons.

We keeps it en espaol ahora, si? Claro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pusUeOZ_CXA

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Any concerns about Royce Lewis?

Wilson Karaman: Sure, to the degree that any time a prospect's swing is as messy as Lewis' is right now - and Keanan Lamb wrote in great depth about that mess a few weeks ago: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/50435/is-it-time-to-worry-about-royce-lewis/ - there's some concern. We went back and forth a bunch on where to slot him for the Midseason 50, and ultimately his extreme athleticism and elite bat speed kept him really, really highly ranked despite the earned struggles. We remain bullish that he has the freak-of-nature qualities to solve his current issues with continued development. If you're looking at him as a dynasty league asset, this is probably going to be just about your last window for acquisition

Warren (Australia): Are you buying Sonny Gray’s re-emergence this year? If contending would you think he is worth a a late first round pick (ie. pick 12-15) in next years FYPD i

Wilson Karaman: I caught Gray at Dodger Stadium back in April and noted then that he looked much better, yeah: https://twitter.com/vocaljavelins/status/1118603959814344704

Stuff's playing crisper, he's locating much better, the grounders are there ...yeah, I buy it. Smart to price in some regression off his obscene 60 or whatever DRA-, but he's earned a good chunk of his improvement.

Jerry (Charleston): Thoughts on George Valera?

Wilson Karaman: Valera's just got a sweet, SWEET swing from the left side. He's the moneyline bet to wind up with the best hit tool of the bunch, and the frame should add plenty of pop to take full advantage of it

Roots! Teacher, teacher. The Tubby's workover on the back end of this cut is freakin' murdah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q-iHwjRQWk

Pete (Illinois): I've noticed that across a number of midseason lists including BP's, three outfielders from the 2017 J2 signing period are pretty consistently being lumped closely together: Julio Rodriguez, Kristian Robinson, and George Valera. If you had to identify something about each player that stands apart the other two, what would you say?

Wilson Karaman: Ah, bunch of Valera in the queue, I meant to answer this one. Re: the other two, Robinson's just a straight-up physical monster, and he's shown an advanced ability to bring well-advanced power into games already in the NW League. If it all comes together his is probably the highest ceiling of the three. Rodriguez we just ran a piece on a few days ago, so I'll point you to Keanan and Ben's work on him: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/51409/top-50-spotlight-julio-rodriguez/

Alex (Austin): We shouldn't worry about Casey Mize's first 2/3 IP back from injury right? ...RIGHT?!

Wilson Karaman: He's another guy we twisted a bit on where to slot him, as there's been injury concern there for a minute now. The talent's the talent, though, and no, 2/3 of an inning does not a career make (most of the time, hopefully). I'll also use this opportunity to plug Spring's muy bueno piece on Mize from May: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/49736/what-like-its-hard-casey-mize-makes-an-entrance-at-double-a/

Douglas (San Bernadino): I wasn't expecting to see Luis Patino so high on the list. What's the difference between him and any other short hard throwing right-hander in A-ball?

Wilson Karaman: Perfect timing, as I have a long piece on him going up tomorrow morning, including a full scouting report which, since y'all were nice enough to kick it with me tonight, I'll offer up here sneak peak style: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=609

It's Potter Stewart porn style: you just kinda know it when you see it with some kids, and Patino's got that kind of quality in the way he carries himself and attacks his craft. The stuff's a LOT deeper and more projectable than the overwhelming majority of "A-ball dudes who throw hard," to boot. Four-pitch mix and he'll flash command when he throws a cut on the heater, too. There's just a lot to work with there.

Kkelly (Il): In a keeper crunch. All of my minor leaguers got brought up this year and are producing Can keep all of these players in rounds 1-8 and have 2 8th rounders. They move up one spot each year so trying to put the high end talent at the back end. Where would you keep the following players next year....Acuna, Soto, Tatis, Y Alvarez, Hiura, Bieber, J Polanco, and Meijia. It’s a nice problem to have but also stressful. Thanks for any help

Wilson Karaman: Can't answer definitively without knowing the league size, but it's tough to envision a format in which those first 7 aren't no-shit keepers. Mejia might be on the bubble depending on context.

This rock and roll song is a good rock and roll song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQYgcc02m5c

terps993 (MD): Have you seen Niko Holsizer? Worth pursuing in a dynasty?

Wilson Karaman: Hulsizer's a guy we'll have a bunch of notes on here very shortly. Between the MWL and now the Cal several of us have seen a little of him now, and he's not a dude you really feel comfortable projecting on until you've seen him a lot. Jacob Bickman's first impressions are here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/51080/notes-from-the-field-june-25-2019/

It's just a ton of power - according to Tremor he drilled one 116 the other night. It's also a ton of (aggressive) swing-and-miss. Sometimes those dudes turn into something like Wily Mo Pena, and many more times they have the same career trajectory in Japan minus the 8-year MLB career

Jake Fraley (Tacoma ): When do you expect me to reach MLB? What type of ceiling do I have as a player? Will Jerry trade me?

Wilson Karaman: Kevin Carter just wrote you up in yesterday's "first half risers" Ten Pack, suggesting you're close but not quite there with spin recognition yet. I'd wager we'll see you in September at least, but a heater could force you up sooner. Here's Kevin's report, which you should read before Jerry trades you: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/51457/wednesday-morning-ten-pack-the-first-half-risers/

cowhitchurch (Austin): Are you gonna message me at 2 a.m. CT asking for my help getting something up on the site tonight?

Wilson Karaman: Yes we have 6 articles going up tomorrow to close out our Midseason 50 Spectacular (laser show) week here, so I'm definitely going to do that. And you better do a good job, cuz our team's been busting ASS over here to drop this insane volume of ill content!

I'll give you a good soundtrack as penance. First though I...I need to admit how embarrassed I am to admit how good-ass a cheeseball rock and roll song this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s93NCuXt7x4

This Guy (Da Bahamas): Lucius Fox seems to be doing everything right at AA. Defense, speed, great plate discipline, 24 XBHs in 78 games. Should we be worried that he can't hit above .220 at the level?

Wilson Karaman: We were very much on Fox in the off-season, but noted carefully in his writeup that guys like him who lack pretty much all semblance of power projection can take a minute to suss their hit tools out in the high minors: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/46283/2019-prospects-tampa-bay-rays-top-10-prospects/

We're sort of seeing that right now, though he's embraced the kind of deep-count approach he needs to make it work, and the giant leap in walk rate is one for mankind. If he's getting on base at a league-average rate it doesn't matter if he's hitting .220 as a component of that, so it's been a valuable season for him at the dish so far. A 110 DRC+ in AA at 22 is nothing to sneeze at.

Jeter Downs (Rancho ): What’s my outlook, at this point? Has this season elevated my ceiling? Am I a trade chip this month?

Wilson Karaman: Brandon put a 55 on you a few weeks back: https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=549

I'm a tick lower, but you're a good player who does a lot of things well and has a a high likelihood of generating MLB value on account of that skill set. And yes, there's been a bunch of heat in Rancho recently, as should be expected. I'd imagine you're on the short list of priority evaluation.

Peter (Durham, NC): Is Varsho a catcher long term?

Wilson Karaman: Scott Delp's got the most recent looks, and he thinks the glove will be good enough given the bat. That seemed like a realistic possibility when he was out here last year and Scott's good at evaluating these kinds of things, so I'll run with that. Here's his report: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/50881/prospectus-feature-the-southern-league-so-far/

Paul (Baton Rouge): Thoughts on Andy Pages? Sub 30 GB rate since entering pro ball. Shown pop across 3 levels. Was hurt by BABiP last year, numbers look real good this year.

Wilson Karaman: We should have a look at him pretty soon. I'd caution against putting any weight whatsoever behind statistical output so far, the DOSL, AZL, and NWL are all a) full of super young people at wildly divergent moments of development, b) not necessarily accurately ledgered on batted ball events, and c) offensively-inclined hitting environments. Certainly better than starting poorly, mind you, but we'll know more in a few months. If he keeps doin' it he's gonna jump quick though.

Talkin' earlier about songs that get up in your head, this'n sticks too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETxuFyAL1RU

Jeremy (NYC): I’m curious about the ceiling of two pop-up guys who play different positions, Cal Raleigh and Tarik Skubal. Does Raleigh project as anything more than a regular? Is Skubal a SP 4-5 kind of guy or can he be more now?

Wilson Karaman: Raleigh's on some kinda run right now, bwoy. And what's crazy is that it kinda started right around his impressive display at the Cal League HR Derby. Jacob Bickman wrote up his performance that day here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/50926/notes-from-the-field-the-california-league-all-star-game/

Power-hitting back-up/second-division type's the profile, but hey, power plays these days, so...

Skubal's one of those guys we just haven't caught lately but very probably will in the next few weeks, so I'll leave him lingering for now.

Holding A Mirror (Up To Life): What's your biggest weakness as an evaluator? Any particular profile you have to fight yourself from going nuts over?

Wilson Karaman: Predicting the future and yes, fat guys.

And with that, I gotta be jetty to the gym, cuz we've been too busy on the mind for me to spend time on the body this week and my old ass is feelin' it. Karen O's dominating every turn like MacKenzie Gore these days and this is an excellent workout mix cut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKzPrlKtuP8

Wilson Karaman: There's a LOT of midseason content here for your viewing pleasure: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/ More tomorrow, and then on to second-half sessions next week. Thanks for kickin' it, y'all.


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