Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus. It is his birthday and he'll chat if he wants to.
Craig Goldstein: Hey everyone, thanks for taking part in this chat. I hope you'll understand if this one isn't necessarily as festive as the others. I'll do my best though.
Dan (SD): What kind of potential does CJ Abrams have? future top prospect?
Craig Goldstein: He has that potential because of his athleticism, but I did hear some doubts about his ability to consistently make contact heading into the draft. That's obviously not been an issue thus far in the AZL though.
Jordan (South Dakota): In my H2H dynasty league, I went all-in by trading for Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard. I haven't won a week since. Now I've got nothing to sell to improve. Should I just re-sell them and give up on 2019?
Craig Goldstein: I don't know when you made that trade but it kind of depends on where you sit currently and your upcoming schedule. It's not like they'll be useless next year either.
Raymond (Washington DC): What are the Pirates chances the rest of the season? It seems like if they add a solid starting pitcher, they should have a chance at above .500, right?
Craig Goldstein: Our playoff odds have them at 4.5% right now and that feels right. It's a jumbled division but they're in a bit of a freefall and we have their expected winning percentage at .466 from this point forward. Another arm might get them to .500, the question is whether that juice is worth the squeeze.
Ben (TX ): #1 Prospect in 2021 and 2022?
Craig Goldstein: I think Wander Franco still qualifies in 2021. I'll say Luciano for 2022 (it's a blind guess)
captnamerca (America): How "Fo Real" is Daniel Ponce De Leon? Can I rely on him for the rest of the year in a 16 team dynasty? As much as anyone can rely on a pitcher, or the Cardinals, this year anyways.
Craig Goldstein: With your qualification...sure. But I wouldn't really be counting on this level of success (or this high a strikeout rate) going forward. It seems aberrant.
Chance the Snapper (Humboldt Park): I know you guys don't pay attention to other prospect rankings, but I've seen two others that have Marco Luciano in the top 20 already. Are you guys not as bullish because of some short sample policy or do you think this is a little too optimistic?
Craig Goldstein: We're generally not opposed to sticking a rocket up someone's ass in terms of rankings if we like the tools, but we also haven't seen him live as a team. We have live reports from scouts we trust and we think it's pretty aggressive to have a teenager in the AZL in our Top 50. Others might have a different risk tolerance or approach to risk that enables them to push a little harder. I think the ranking is a lot less important than the evaluation, and in that sense almost everyone I've talked to agrees he has a chance to be a special player.
Dylan (Providence): Is Griffin Canning just Kyle Gibson 2.0? He generates a ton of whiffs on multiple pitches, but it seems to be a side effect of pitching outside the zone too often.
Craig Goldstein: This seems overly kind to Gibson's ability to miss bats? Canning already generates a better K% than Gibson ever has.
Bobby (SF): Luisangel Acuna- Potential like his brother?
Craig Goldstein: No, not from what I've heard.
treacy19 (Cody Ponce fans Clubhouse): Is this the year of the Trent Grisham breakout? The PCL is an absolute launching pad this year, but he's managing a 104 DRC+ at San Antonio, after posting 165 at AA. I'm curious if he's raised his profile from possible 4th OF to a MLB regular.
Craig Goldstein: It's been quite a road for Grisham, hasn't it? It's great to see him having success. I still think he's more in the fourth outfielder category, but the line between that role and second-division starter isn't that different. It's possible his ability to make contact helps his power play up with the new ball, though.
Matt (Boston): Should we be slightly concerned about Vlad Jr? Vlad is hitting the ball with just a 6.2° launch angle, which is ranked 204 of 214 of players with a minimum 150 batted balls. He has a 50% groundball rate and no qualified player has a lower launch angle against fastballs inside the strike zone. I'm worried that it is a bit of the Eric Hosmer profile(who also had incredible grades on his hit and power tools if I remember correctly). Is there something up with his swing?(I get he is 20, but he shouldn't be struggling to launch fastballs down the middle)
Craig Goldstein: These are good things to keep track of but none of them indicate he's likely to continue doing the things that generate these results going forward. If you believe in the talent and the ability to implement changes, there's really no reason to be concerned. But also, sure, go ahead and be concerned. It won't change much either way.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Love the bounceback season by Carlos Santana!
Craig Goldstein: Likewise! Really great to see him flourishing again.
Gerald (Bama): Please rank for dynasty purposes: Julio Rodriguez, Kristian Robinson, Marco Luciano, Jasson Dominguez, Ronny Mauricio, George Valera. Thank you!
Craig Goldstein: Look, we can put these guys in an order now that's probably different next week or in the next hour because they're generally of the same ilk. Uber talented, far from the majors, high tools, with a billion different paths to success or failure. It's hubris.
Also Ben and Bret did it already: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/article/51490/the-midseason-top-50-dynasty-prospects/
someguynamedkenn (New Jersey): Have you heard anything about Francisco Alvarez? Any word on his ability to stick at catcher?
Craig Goldstein: I talked with our lead prospect writer Jeffrey Paternostro about him and he said the bat is very good, but not so good as to carry a short first baseman profile. He's 17 and the body is already high-maintenance so sticking at catcher is going to be a roll of the dice.
Marco (queens, ny): What are your thoughts on Tarik Skubal? The k rates certainly catch the eye.
Craig Goldstein: He's someone we're excited to get our eyes on in the second half of the season, thanks to his promotion. Unfortunately didn't catch him prior.
RotoLando (Cloud City): Happy Birthday, man. Got any plans tonight?
Craig Goldstein: Trying a new restaurant for dinner with my wife and my mother.
Kenny (Nebraskee): Craig, dude, buddy...will you pop this thing on my back?
Craig Goldstein: what do I look like Dr. Pimple Popper or something?
Greg (Skokie, IL): How many chips should Minnesota bet on this season, and related to that what kind of bids should they be making for bullpen help before the deadline?
Craig Goldstein: Cleveland already got within five games once and while I don't think they're a budding dynasty because of their unwillingness to add budget, I do think Minnesota should be willing to push some of their chips to the middle here. They should be talking to San Francisco about basically everyone in their bullpen (Dyson, Smith, Watson), and probably be looking into what KC is offering in terms of Kennedy and Diekman.
Ricky Bones (NYC/NJ area): Hey is uhhh Cesar Hernandez good?
Craig Goldstein: I'm wondering where the walks have gone. He is also someone who made enough contact and had a little more pop than I expected generally and so to see him fade a bit even with the rabbit ball is a bit of a surprise. He's fine, but not someone you need to make room for in that lineup, I don't think.
CuccumberParty (Phoenix): What do you think of Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas? They're very similar, so could you compare and contrast them? Thank you!
Craig Goldstein: Maybe I'm crazy but aside from being in Arizona and being short...I'm not sure I see them as super similar. Thomas has a ton of feel for the game and is an absolute physical specimen (his father is the White Sox Director of Conditioning). Carroll is a pure hitter. I like both a lot (and generally really liked Arizona's draft last year and this year).
Buddy (Peoria, IL): What did you think of Marisnick getting drilled last night?
Craig Goldstein: I actually didn't see it. I assume it's retribution for the Lucroy trucking? Someone fill me in on the details.
Eddie the Mug (Cottonton): Tell me I'm pretty.
Craig Goldstein: You're not pretty Eddie, you're gorgeous.
RotoLando (Cloud City): This week we got a bag of grapes that claimed to taste like cotton candy. I was skeptical, but I have to admit they were right. They do taste like cotton candy. They were really good...for about 5 grapes, then I was pretty disgusted. Oh well. Berry (tangent) Life is a wild ride.
Craig Goldstein: Finally some Berry Chat. Cotton candy grapes are...not something I find appealing. That seems like entirely too much, but good on them for replicating the real life experience of cotton candy which is good for 2-3 bites and then exhausting.
dzemens (Toledo): What are your thoughts on Seth Beer going forward with Astros? Is the bat good enough to force the playing time despite defensive limitations, and also do you think he's an attractive trade piece for other AL teams?
Craig Goldstein: Beer was a tough one for me in the offseason. Obviously he had a lot of track record as an amateur but I was worried about the combination of his struggles against lefties and his lack of a real defensive home. He's put to bed any concerns about lefties this season, and I don't think it's a small sample or talent issue. I've only seen video but I think he's looked more comfortable and closed some gaps that were previously exploited. I do think he's someone that can probably be pried away, but I also think Houston could find space for him at 1B/DH if needed. I don't see another superstar but I think the bat will play just fine.
Matt (Boston): I'm sorry for your loss Craig. I only interacted with Rob once or twice over the internet, but he was incredibly kind to help someone like me. His family, friends, the BP family, and the whole baseball internet have my utmost sympathy at the loss of a titan of the industry.
Craig Goldstein: Thanks, Matt. The thing is, an interaction or two over the internet gave you the exact experience we all got every day. Generous with his time and encouragement. Always caring, always kind. He was the type of person you build a community around, and we did. And we're sure going to miss him. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's nice to know how many people he connected with.
Dylan (Providence): Kyle Gibson has a 13.4% SwgStk and 23.7% K-rate, 35.5% Zone rate. Canning has a 14.0% SwgStk, 25.3% K-rate, 38.4% Zone rate. Most other pitchers with Zone% that low are changeup artists(Castillo,Vargas,Davies,E-Rod)
Craig Goldstein: Good to know - but Gibson has also evolved a lot over the years, and I don't think his current iteration of stuff is quite as good as Canning's is right now. That zone percentage is something to look into in terms of if he's living on the edge (and failing) or just not controlling the ball well enough.
Dave (AZ): Kristian Robinson - about to jump up in the rankings?
Craig Goldstein: Well we just ranked him like a week ago, so probably he's going to be around there for a little bit.
Craig (Chicago): From Aug 1 to end of season, how do you expect SD’s starting rotation to look? Who makes up the back half of it? Lamet? Trade?
Craig Goldstein: I don't see it much different than it is now. Paddack, Lamet, Quantrill, Allen, Lucchesi (not in any order). Lauer mixed in.
aj (Lawrence): Luis Robert is posting ridiculous numbers, but do you have any concerns about his plate discipline?
Craig Goldstein: Sure, I'd love to see a little bit of a better approach but when you're doing what he's doing to the balls he's hitting...I'm not sure I have a strong issue with being aggressive. I suspect he'll make some necessary adjustments against some higher quality stuff when the time comes.
balticwolf (Bethesda MD): Craig:
Love your chats. I'm in a kpr. pts. league and decided to become a seller at the trade deadline (7/15). I acquired Mauricio Dubon along with my trade partner's #1 in next year's draft.
It's a 12 keeper league, so I traded Didi to clear out some of my MI types. I still have K. Marte, K. Hiura, C. Seager and C. Kieboom on my prospect bench.
I have N. Pearson on my prospect bench. With Montas's suspension, I'm probably only keeping two SPs. Is there any young starter that's flying under the radar right now that you'd recommend for deep leagues? Thanks!
Craig Goldstein: I don't think Dubon should be cracking a top 12 keepers especially with those guys ahead of him. As far as starters, I'm not sure if you mean prospects or MLB starters but assuming the former, I am coming around on Edward Cabrera for Miami. Sean Hjelle is a lower profile name that is closer to the majors.
Craig (Chicago): Do you anticipate any contender stepping up to the KC demands and making a trade for W Merrifield? What teams most likely?
Craig Goldstein: Probably not what they're listing right now, because if a team has that they probably get worse by dealing it away. Doesn't mean a deal won't get done though. It's fine to start with a big asking price.
someguynamedkenn (New Jersey): Please rank: Craij, Crait, Crag, Craige, and Crake
Craig Goldstein: Oh man, great question. Some of these go back so long, I guess if I'm choosing in terms of personal favorites:
Crait, Craij, Crake, Craige, Crag.
But Crake probably has the best origin story.
Rickey H. (Las Vegas): I hate those "who says no" trade proposals you see in chats this time of year. But I hate even more the typical answer that tries to have it both ways. As in, "the Pirates will ask for Lux in any Vasquez deal and LA will never agree to that" or "the Indians will insist on McCaky and Wander Franco for LIndor and the Rays won't do that" kind of answers. I mean, one of the teams has to be making a mistake -- and it would be cool to see real analysis from an expert saying Dodgers would be making a mistake by not giving up Lux for Vasquez because flags fly forever and Lux is gonna be superfluous to that team for quite a while. Get the word out and the ball rolling that critical analysis is what those questions need -- thanks.
Craig Goldstein: Well I guess it always depends about the question actually being asked. Do you want to know whether someone _should_ do something or whether something is _likely_ to happen. Saying the Pirates will make a big ask and the Dodgers won't do it can be entirely true from both sides, as I just said about the Royals.
As for this specific example, I don't know that Vazquez for Lux is an unfair offer on talent. I do know that it's unlikely that the Dodgers will deal someone as highly valued as Lux, a potential up-the-middle star for a reliever, and that they tend to go lower profile when addressing the bullpen.
Craig's bestie (Parts unknown): Please rank all wing sauces.
Craig Goldstein: yeah, here you go: Outback's ranch sauce is the alpha and omega sauce. It is the only thing you ever need. Bow before it.
AJ (Boston): Any names to consider as the next helium "guy" (ala Kristian Robinson) coming out of the DSL?
Craig Goldstein: No.
Craij (Strong Opinions): Can we ever get a TINO reunion podcast on special occasions?.......like a top 50 dynasty prospects edition. I get it is a ton of work, but a quarterly discussion of rankings would be fun.
Craig Goldstein: We're actually making some moves to get TINO back as a podcast, but we're likely to have different hosts. It's not just the amount of work, but Bret, Ben, and my schedules just became more difficult to match up while also delivering a decent product. That said, our fantasy team's prospect-focused people are dynamite and I'm really excited to see what they do with TINO. I know it's going to be great, and they might even let me guest on occasion. :)
Eric (Chicago): Marco Luciano - MUST OWN in Dynasty?
Craig Goldstein: yeah man, he was my guess at the no. 1 prospect for 2022, that's probably a guy you want to own.
Jeb (Iowa): What are the chances Felipe Vazquez or Starling Marte get traded by the deadline? Would you trade them? What could each fetch in a return?
Craig Goldstein: Trying to understand what the Pirates front office is going to do at any given time is a fools errand. They should have put chips in a couple times and didn't. They should have pulled back last year and made one of the worst trades of all time, in all likelihood. I have no idea what they're doing.
I would probably market both for massive returns and see if someone was willing to bite (or come close). I don't think there's a problem holding either and they'll both be tradeable in the future. Marte especially has incredibly cheap options the next two years. If you don't get want you want now, you have options in the offseason.
The Fonz (Milwaukee): Is Mad Bum coming to my town? Ayyyyyy!
Craig Goldstein: It's very Milwaukee to jump on assets people are otherwise passing on (LoCain, Grandal), but this doesn't feel like their type of move to me.
Gabe (Texas): Hey is uhhh Byron Buxton good (offensively)?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah if this is what he's doing it's pretty good (when healthy), especially when paired with that defense. From a fantasy perspective, it's less so and well below our expectations of him as a prospect.
roxfan12 (ChiTown): Craig, what the deal with Willie Calhoun? Are the Rangers taking a page out of the Rockies book when it comes to jerking their young talent around?
Craig Goldstein: I don't think they're quite that bad, and I'd assume there are reasons behind their moves (which I haven't always assumed with Colorado), but I also can't see those reasons from my point of view. Basically, I grant them a bit more leeway on this stuff than I would Colorado.
Dan (California): I can't say how sorry I am to hear the news about Rob McQuown. My best to his family and to the whole BP family.
Craig Goldstein: Thank you, Dan. One way to look at it was that we were extremely fortunate to have him as long as we did, because he no doubt could have gone on to incredible success elsewhere if he chose. He was a special guy, and we will not be able to replace him. For anyone who listens, or might want to, Ben Lindbergh gave a stirring and pitch perfect tribute to Rob on today's Effectively Wild. I couldn't say it better than he did, and I encourage you to give it a listen, and keep Rob's family in your thoughts.
Craig Goldstein: Thanks for the questions everyone. It felt good to get out of my feelings (for the most part) and talk about some baseball. I'm off next week, but Ginny Searle will be filling in for me on Wednesday. We've also got Jeffrey Paternostro chatting on Friday for your prospect questions.