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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday July 19, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey Paternostro is the lead prospect writer for Baseball Prospectus and is getting excited about Sheffield Wednesday.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Very robust queue today, fortunately I have a big plate of pasta to carb load for chat.

Craig (Chicago): Every time Raimel Tapia seems to be out of starting opportunities in COL, he has a big game and keeps hope alive. What is his expectation for the rest of this season? Long term potential?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I was just talking about him with Craig some a month ago when it was like .310/.850 and thought he was finally going to win a job. Granted it's the nature of batting average driven dudes, but I do think it's probably not going to happen in Colorado for him, partially due to his own inconsistency and partially due to the Rockies being weird about their young players. I'm not giving up he can be a Role 5 somewhere, but it's really bat-only and he hasn't consistently hit yet even playing his home games in Coors.

cjbuettfr (Lyon, france): Thank you for your thoughtful chats. I finally saw video of Julio Rodriguez and thought it was striking how big and athletic he is. Caveats with how far away he is, does he have a Stanton starter kit for his potential toolbox?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He doesn't have Stanton's raw (and really you can count the guys that do on one hand), but Jarrett Seidler thought Marcell Ozuna might work as a high side outcome comp.

Salty MFer (Mom's Basement): I'm not ungrateful. I enjoyed the two year run that the Royals had. Flags fly forever. However, I feel as though it bought Dayton Moore as long of a leash as he desires. While I give him some credit for the good years, it felt like a lot of things just happened to come together at once and he found lightning in a bottle. I think he is a subpar executive and should be fired. Am I being to tough on him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: There's a large number of angry Royals fans in the queue today, so I dunno if Dayton said some stuff recently. I will say this is an interesting philosophical question. As a Mets fan on the other side of 2015, who also lived through a good two-year run and now looking at little hope in the medium term, I do wonder how I'd feel if Familia didn't quick pitch, Murphy could field, and Harvey didn't talk his way into the ninth (obviously some of those are paired outcomes). I'd feel a lot better obviously, because flags do fly forever, but the Mets continue to be maddening in particularly Mets ways and I imagine it would gnaw at me by now. I assume it is the same for Royals fans (and they are mucking up in very Royals ways). Bill Simmons used to talk about the five-year rule for not criticizing teams after a championship, and it's not a bad hard and fast delineation, but time's just about up in KC.

Craig (Chicago): Is Taylor Trammell blocked currently in CIN or is a matter of needing more time in the minors still?

Jeffrey Paternostro: There's a fair bit of moving parts here. Senzel probably moves back to the infield next year, opening a spot. Trammell is going to need to make some swing tweaks to unlock some stuff before he forces the issue. The timing could be fluid, injuries happen, but I'd expect him to be "ready" by midseason 2020.

Tank (LGM): Looks like FG just moved Mauricio into the top 30---can this guy be a top 10/15 guy soon?

Jeffrey Paternostro: "Soon" feels high given the uncertainty around the physical projection, but would I be shocked if he's in the Kieboom to Gorman range on next year's Midseason? I would not. He's a guy where one day the power could just click in games and off we go.

Arrgh (Matey): Any word on Tahnaj Thomas this year? He stumbled out of the gate, but in his last 3 starts, he's twirled 20 Ks in 14.2 IP with just 1 walk.

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's a big arm obviously, touches 99 with high spin, that's gonna kill the Appy League if you can get it even close to the plate with any sort of consistency, secondaries are more projectable than present. He's gonna shoot up the Pirates list, I'd expect, and not just because of the graduations in front of him. He's still quite raw in pitching terms so this might be a set and simmer for a while.

Sid (Long Island): Where would you rank the Mets system as a whole? Early on in the year it looked like it was trending in the wrong direction but it seems to have been turning around a bit in the second half especially in the lower levels.

Jeffrey Paternostro: The top three draft picks, plus good reports from the low minors on a few guys probably gets them closer to the median. They still really lacks for depth or upper minors arms, but it feels averagish now.

Alfie (What it's all about): Can you update us on the state of the brand?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I just spent a few days in the Blue Ridge Mountains, drinking at altitude. The brand is doing well.

Sox Fan (Let's say Boston): Gilberto Jimenez is off to a nice start in low-A. Could he be mid-career Coco Crisp or is there more/less upside here?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The weather didn't cooperate when Lowell is in town so I only got a brief look. He's definitely a guy I want to run down before they come back around Labor Day. I get the comp, but the swing is so compact and flat now, I don't know if you even project Crisp's power yet. He lacks physicality generally too, although he certainly has some good weight to add. I did like the swing from both sides and there's some barrel control despite the aggression. Need to see him more in the outfield to get a better feel for the athletic tools, but he's a clear follow for me

Craig (Chicago): What does Drew Waters need to do to continue his rise through ATL system? What level player does he project out to be?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Keanan noted recently that he raked against Sixto, seeing three pitches and getting three hits. He is hyper aggressive, but so far the hand-eye is so good it doesn't matter. You have to really have elite bat control to make that work in the majors, but he will also have time to make adjustments. We like him a lot, putting him comfortably in our midseason 50. The way I described him recently was that he is more likely than Pache to be exactly a role 55 player, but Pache has more upside and a higher floor.

Craig (Chicago): Is there a starting position for Dee Gordon on any contending team (via trade)?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He feels extremely like the veteran bench piece the Yankees or Cubs add at the deadline. That usually doesn't get you a ton back, especially given what is left on the deal (although the Mariners have certainly been willing to eat money on these).

Turd Ferguson (Jeopardy): Sup Jeffrey

Jeffrey Paternostro: Sup, Turd

Luna1212 (LA area): Any chance Dustin May could help the big league club ( Dodgers ) later this season in short bullpen stints, or would that have a chance of hurting his development/health? Obviously there’s no guarantee he would necessarily do well in that role, but I’m more wondering if it’s risky to use a starting pitching prospect that way. Thanks

Jeffrey Paternostro: The Dodgers are going to have to manage his innings towards the end of the season anyway, and they could do worse than using him as a multi-inning fireman a la David Price's first callus with the Rays. There's health risks in almost anything pitching related, but assuming you have a proscribed role for him, and are comfortable with how often you can use him and how quickly he can get warm (And I'd expect the Dodgers to have a better notion of this than say, the Mets), he could be a weapon for a bullpen that badly needs another good right-handed option. I also wouldn't put it past the Dodgers to move Maeda or Stripling back to the pen and let him start. They tend to be more willing to push their young arms if they are the best option, and May might end up getting there by the end of the year. We talk a fair bit about this on the Midseason 50 pod, because we love talking about The Gingergaard.

Mark T (Annapolis MD): Luis Robert has obliterated each level he's played at this year. He also has the low BB rates that often signal trouble at the MLB level. Would you expect him to struggle a bit for a year or two before adjusting to the majors?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Is it time for me to give the grumpy KG bit about how everyone cares too much about minor league walk rates? Dude has a 1.050 OPS, swing my son. Also while his walk rate is below-average, it isn't disastrous. That all said, I expect even the best prospects to have a bit of an adjustment period against major league stuff. The Sotos and Acuas are the exceptions.

Ruptured Testicle (Mitch Haniger's Scrotum): Has Andrew Benintendi gone from budding star to just an okay baseball player? Good candidate to be sold in fantasy while his name still carries some weight?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Evaluating the hit tool is hard (1 extra Texas leaguer, or duck snort, or groundball with eyes a month and what not). On his last Red Sox list, we had a longer essay about whether or not it was an 8 hit tool. We decided it was a 7, it might be a 6. Given that he was a medium power corner guy, those extra 20 points of BA end up mattering a bit more than they might in a different profile. I also wouldn't be shocked if he puts up 3 or 4 more seasons like his 2018 across his prime, or has one year where he hits .320. That all happens to 6 hit tool guys too. You will have to decide for yourself if that is worth holding or selling.

Craig (Chicago): Is Matt Carpenter’s prime officially over?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I assume he will bounce back from this, but he is 33 with old player skills and a weird background, so the All-star level production likely isn't coming back. Sometimes guys do fit that parabolic aging curve pretty well.

Dan (NY): Have you seen any recent (July?) reports on Newton or Vientos? Seems like each of them have seemed to hit their stride this month and am curious if its SSS noise or if they've made some tangible adjustments Newton in July: .361/.361/.623 (180 wRC+) Vientos in July: .352/.417/.630 (198 WRC+)

Jeffrey Paternostro: We do! Ben just wrote up Newton for NFTF and he saw him very good. The athletic tools are obvious, as is the rawness, and he's had fits and starts throughout his first full-season assignment. This is always a profile I will like a bit more than I maybe should, and I see his stock as more or less unchanged (I baked in some A-ball struggles to his preseason report/ranking). Vientos on the other hand I've generally liked less than maybe I should, but the Mets have tweaked some swing stuff that I think makes it more likely he will consistently get to his power.

JP (Green Bay): Dylan Cease appears to have excellent stuff, but how likely is is that his command will improve enough to realize his potential?

Jeffrey Paternostro: That has always been the question with Cease. I'd like to see the White Sox just commit to him for the rest of the season and let him work things out in the majors. He's not as young as you think (then again we have been talking about him forever) and it's not like Chicago can't open up a slot in the rotation. I'd bet on him figuring it out, but there's always been significant reliever risk in the profile. He could be a monster late-inning arm though, and that would be fine too.

Beef Lastname (Wellington): Thanks for chatting with us. What are your thoughts on Bryse Wilson? He's really fastball-heavy, but I think he shows poise and is aggressive in the zone, which seem great for a 21 year old. Could he possibly be the Braves' closer long term?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The Braves approach to their young arms this year has been a little confounding to me. I get that they have A LOT of them, and are also in a competition cycle, but one look at their Roster Resource page makes it pretty clear that it's a bit of a mess right now. They seem to be leaning on the hot hand (currently Kyle Wright), and have dealt with a fair bit of injuries, but we just don't have enough info about Wilson in the majors yet to move off what we have thought of him previously. That does carry a fair bit of reliever risk, but he's a guy I'd like to see them give 180 innings as a starter to see what they really have. Tough to do in a pennant race of course.

andy (fresno): Riley Greene looks awfully good, so far. Who would expect to move faster through the minors, Greene or George Valera?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Generally top prep picks move faster than top IFA guys, but Valera has a very advanced hit tool and either could set their own timetable more or less. Pretty hyped to get a full six games on Greene starting this weekend.

Danny (NY): % chance Syndergaard is a Met on OD this year? Also, is JD Davis even an average regular, or is the defense too poor to be considered average reg?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I assume this is for 2020. Oh let's say 40%. I think someone comes and gives them an offer they think they can sell even though it's unlikely to be equivalent value. They also tend to lack object permanence as an organization and may just decide he is integral to their competing in 2020. On Davis, He feels like the quintessential 45 to me. You don't really want him starting everyday, but he's fine if you need to cover a few weeks due to injuries. The bats above-average but he's bad enough in the field to bring the overall profile down. He's a useful major leaguer, but not a guy you want to be dealing prospects for. It's a profile you should be developing a couple of at any given time, or barring that, you can get as a priority NRI if you scout well.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Jeffrey, what does peak Carter Kieboom look like?

Jeffrey Paternostro: .290ish, 15-20 home runs, 40 doubles, good middle infield defense probably at second. Weirdly sounds like Whit Merrifield I know.

Craig (Chicago): Besides the Cubs, what other contenders would considering making a move for Merrifield?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Speaking of Whitt, I think he is borderline untradeable given what the Royals asking price is. I get it, he's very very good and it's exceptionally cheap years of control, but there's going to be a weird disconnect where your GM (or owner) is gonna ask themselves, "are we really giving up three top prospects for Whitt Merrifield?" This is a larger version of the problem the Phillies had with dealing Cesar Hernandez when they were in the down cycle. Based on what the Royals want back (which granted might be posturing) do the Cubs even have the pieces to make the deal happen without taking a chunk out of their major league team? He feels more like a guy that gets dealt in an offseason rather than the deadline too.

Not Triston Casas (Sheboygan): After a rough April, Triston Casas has mashed the ball and struck out 22% of the time. Is he ripe to rocket up offseason lists (at least in terms of fantasy value)?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Casas shows the benefits of getting looks throughout the year. Forest saw him in both April and June, and it was two different players. The glove at first improved, as did the pitch recognition and approach. He's gone from a one-tool raw power guy to a more well-rounded player (granted, it's still a first baseman). There's an upper limit of how hard I will push this profile, but I think he's clearly the best prospect in the Boston system now and certainly a 101 candidate.

Salty MFer (Mom's Basement): Instead of the Royals spending twenty million a year on a handful of do nothing players like Duda, Owings, Diekman, Gore, Hamilton, Bailey, etc..why don't they just sign ONE friggin' guy that knows how to play baseball and then fill in the gaps with AAA players? As a fan, I would have rather watched one good player than watch six terrible players. And fans would get to see some young new blood.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Let me say something nice about the Royals, since I do like their system. Kris Bubic has been a nice surprise this year. I liked him the least of the four draft arms last year, but the velocity has popped and now is average or a tick above from the left side. It's a really good present change and easy plus at maturity and the breaker has jumped as well.

Mr. Fister (Arlington): When Dayton Moore says that he expects a "quick rebuild" is it because HE is stupid, or is it because he thinks all of the FANS are stupid?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I mean it could be, they have arms coming and potentially coming "quickly." The division is pretty winnable with some good luck and the odd career year. It *could* happen, but you know, you'd probably want to hear a more thorough plan on the how of it.

Marcus (KB): Did Mets hit on another bonus baby in Francisco Alvarez?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Maybe! The body is already high maintenance, and it's not amazing bat speed (although he's 17 so whatever), so he's going to need to stick behind the plate. The trouble with catching prospects. I really do like the swing and the offensive profile overall though.

Dan (Chicago): Marco Luciano - Future #1 prospect?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Maybe! There's probably seven or eight dudes (not in our current top three) right now that fit the "future #1 prospect mold" and he might combine the best present performance with future projection.

Rob (D.C.): What are a few little things that you watch for when you watch a game -- subtle things that aren't immediately apparent but, once you noticed them or were told to observe them, helped you appreciate the game and unlock its secrets?

Jeffrey Paternostro: One of the mistakes I made when first starting out was just writing too damn much while the game was going on. I felt like I needed to chronicle every running thought. Even if you have good shorthand, you are gonna miss some stuff, and even if you don't miss it, you aren't gonna be fully present. Notes can always wait for in between innings or even after the outing/game. Just watch and the important stuff reveals itself. I still probably take too many notes, but I've paired back dramatically over the last nine seasons.

bpalee (DC): 3 decent starts now for Alex Young...FIP shows he’s obviously getting lucky, but it’s not bad (3.8) his K/9 and BB/9 is roughly in line with his minor league record. Is this just a case of “no book” or is this maybe real?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I dunno yet. Remains to be seen if he can get away with throwing his fastball as little as he does. It's a good slider, but I like to see these guys go through the league twice before I really buy in. He always had backend starter potential though, and the advanced metrics are more in line with that potential outcome.

Matt (Boston): Forrest Whitley for Thor, who says no? Gives the Astros a “sure thing” front line starter for a few seasons if Cole leaves. Mets get a close to the majors top of the rotation arm.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably the Mets for a couple reasons. One Whitely's meds are worrisome, and two they are going to want to use Syndergaard to fill "multiple holes" even if the individual pieces coming back aren't as good as Whitley. And before you ask, no we aren't doing phrasing anymore.

Cassie (NJ): Simeon Woods Richrdson since June: 2.37 ERA, 38 IP: 28H 10BB 46 Ks 5.3 K/BB ratio on the season-- What do the Mets have here?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Okay, I have to clear out a bunch of Mets questions now, so these will be quick.

I don't think he's a radically different guy than he was in April, just some better batted ball stuff, maybe a smidge more command. He's been sitting more 91-94 as a starter. The body is athletic but not projectable. The breaker is way ahead of the change. He's on the shorter side. The delivery is uptempo and relieverish although he repeats fine. This is probably a late-inning bullpen profile long term? He'll have plenty of time to prove that wrong.

Jeff (Trentton): Can you please tell me what to think of Amed Rosario..I keep going back and forth I wish there wasn't this voice in my head telling me he's gonna be a 5 WAR CF for some other team next year

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I don't know if this actually matters but Rosario clearly needed to make adjustments against major league stuff and he has worked with three different hitting coaches across three seasons. You get flashes, and he's on a good run now, so I don't blame anyone for wanting to keep hoping on the next 1000 MLB plate appearances. I don't think he gets dealt before he gets a run in CF, just because there are basically no center field FA options and he's still pre-arb.

Sammy (NYC): Any Brett Baty reports? Is he a better version of the Mark Vientos the Mets drafted a couple years ago?

Jeffrey Paternostro: That's a little lazy but not an inaccurate comp.

Ben (Edison): Who's this Junior Santos guy everyone is talking about

Jeffrey Paternostro: 6'8" six-figure IFA with a mid-90s fastball and projectable breaker. Incredibly raw and doesn't turn 18 for another month. Have I been pestering Ben Spanier to drive and see him? Yes. Did I consider trying to get my poor car down the blue ridge mountains and four hours to Kingsport to see him? Yes. Is he a top ten prospect in this system? Maybe.

GO YANKS (NY): Who can we get Wheeler for?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I mean obviously Deivi Garcia, since the Mets are scouting him heavily.

I don't even know how healthy Wheeler is, the Mets are being circumspect (shocking, I know) and Wheeler's description of the issue (impingement) sounds more long term than the Mets (soreness). I'd put the odds he even pitches before the deadline at worse than 50/50, but god knows the Yanks have the kind of upper minors, probably relief arms that the Mets crave. Nick Nelson seems very on brand here. But you could go. Rony Garcia, Michael King, Frank German. The possibilities are endless.

Dan (California): Given that the Wilpons prioritize their bank accounts in deadline deals, should Met fans give a rip whether they sell or not?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Zach Braziller made this point well recently, and I don't really disagree with it. I'm not writing TAs for cash considerations so it's no more work for me either way.

Xavier (NYC): If David Peterson becomes a solid 4 starter (and is that what you think he will be?), is that a good outcome considering where/when he was drafted?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's probably roughly in that range (although those dudes often have lower floors than you think). Tyler Anderson has always sort of been a comp here due to the handedness and college. He's very number fourish and is the 12th most valuable 20th overall pick already. Eric Milton fits this description too and is top ten, so yeah, it's a good outcome.

OrioleDog (MD): Do you see a smooth path to a MLB job for Andres Gimenez given defense now? After Cano trade, he seemed fairly blocked behind Rosario/Cano long term, but the team seems so disappointed in those guys fielding, I'm curious your perspective.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I honestly think if they hadn't tweaked his swing for more power and created a bit of a mess, he'd already be in consideration for the reason you outlined. The glove/speed still gives him a major league floor (it might just look a little like Hechavarriaish now) but he/they are going to have to fix the bat before that happens.

Chooof (NY): Saw the updated Mets top 30 is out. Kevin Smith top 10 stuck out to me, what is his profile? Also any names that missed the cut that we should be keeping an eye on?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I stared at this in the queue for an hour and still can't decide if it is the most audacious attempt to get me to comment on another site's list ever, or if he just misread BA as BP.

Ryan (Upstate NY): Thanks Jeff! Provided the FO starts to recognize what they have in A-ball (SWR, Vientos, Maucario, Newton, Baty, Allen, Santos), seems like 2021-2022 could be fun if things pan out. Are there enough pieces already in place to justify the optimism?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Never be optimistic about the Mets. For example, the last time I saw this kind of glut of low minors talent for them it was Becerra, Guillorme, Carpio, Raphael Ramirez, Ali Sanchez, Desmond Lindsay and Ricardo Cespedes. This group is better, but...

spwood (DE): Andres Gimenez fix his swing yet?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Not to my knowledge, Bingo comes back around next month, and while I don't really need any looks at them, barring an interesting promotion of...uh...well...anyway I'm gonna drop in to check on Gimenez.

The Fonz (Milwaukee): Ayyy! What the hell is Gavin Lux?

Jeffrey Paternostro: True talent .500 hitter.

Also, maybe a cautionary tale to actually listen to my Texas League guys next time.

luna1212 (LA Area): Do you think teams are taking the possibility of an electronic strike zone in the majors into account when valuing catcher prospect defense? Or is it way too early for that?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think we are way too early for that.

Mark (Greater Idaho): Fair to hope that Trevor Larnach will demonstrate more pop now that he's free of the FSL?

Jeffrey Paternostro: This is also my hope, so yeah.

bulls2327 (Btown): contract keeper lg. been offered Benintendi at 4/13 and dustin may for snell at 3/22. Who says no? Looks close to me, but comes down to positional needs maybe?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Yeah seems fairish, but I'm obviously a big believer in May.

Roman Bellic (GTA IV (I got it right this time)): Do you have any notes on Alec Bettinger? He has seemingly improved each year as a pro and is now striking out 28% of AA batters while maintaining his typically good walk rate.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Overage deception guy.

Craig (Chicago): What do you expect SD to do with Wil Myers for the rest of this season and then into next season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's got 3/67.5 left on the deal, so it really depends on their FO/ownership's view on sunk costs. He has enough positional flexibility to be useful if he can get back to the +10% bat, and there isn't that much pressure on him from farm guys yet.

Larry (NY): Could Mets get Deivi Garcia for Edwin *covers eyes*?

Jeffrey Paternostro: For 2018 Edwin yes, 2019...probably not.

Mark (Greater Idaho): James Karinchak: Destroyer of Late Inning Bats?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Jarrett sure thought so in April. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/48838/guarding-the-lines-grading-on-a-fastball-and-a-curve/

Dan (California): Alejandro Kirk is fun, right?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Fun is exactly the word I would use.

Roman Bellic (GTV IV): In a really deep (24+ team) dynasty league, how do you weigh prospects' upsides against their risk? Do you mainly want the highest upside guys regardless of risk because prospects burn out all the time or the highest floor possibly for the same reason? Totally unrelated: Rank these toolsy OFs? Parker Meadows, Cole Roederer, Nick Schnell.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Personally I would always bet on the upside guys, because high floor doesn't really exist for 99% of dudes. And if the upside guys fall short you sometimes get major league pieces anyway.

Man, I don't feel great about ranking those three but probably Schnell, Meadows, Roederer.

Chino5 (Somers, CT): Should I be worried about Vladito?

Jeffrey Paternostro: This sort of brings us full circle on guys adjusting. Did I think Vlad would be better for his first three months in the majors. Yeah, a fair bit better than this. I'm not worried though, because the underlying tools are all still present and flashing. Our lists are long term value lists that try and capture three year peak (this is not a defense of his ranking per se, just an explanation). Major league baseball is really hard. I'm confident he will adjust.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gotta keep it to two hours today, but if you have some extra time I encourage all of you to read the tributes to Rob McQuown from Craig, Wilson, and others at the site today. I was looking at out last Slack chat recently. I had bugged him about an e-mail list issue, because like almost everything at Baseball Prospectus, that was a "Rob question." He fixed it quickly and ended our conversation telling me how much he enjoyed my and the prospect team's work. He was a lovely man and I will miss him greatly.

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