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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday July 31, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus and will be chatting throughout the trade deadline.

Craig Goldstein: I have acquired some leftover curry chicken salad with a side of cut fruit for lunch. Let's chat.

steelydanu (Los Angeles): What's your take on Stroman to Mets, even though it doesn't make sense, is Stroman a worthy pickup to help fantasy stats for the remaining year??

Craig Goldstein: I think at the price the Mets paid you make that move every day of the week. Stroman doesn't check off a ton of boxes for the pro-strikeout crowd but he does enough to remain good. The Jays defense wasn't good but the Mets is worse and that's going to have some effect on him. As for fantasy...It's hard to imagine he wasn't already owned? I think he's a little worse off now with the Mets than he was with the Jays from a fantasy perspective.

ironcityguys (urban area): Had you ever heard of Bryan Reynolds prior to 2019? If so, why wasn't he seemingly ever considered for a top 100 list? As of Tuesday, he was batting .326 with an OPS of .905 in 282 AB for Pittsburgh.

Craig Goldstein: Yes, he's been known about since he was at Vanderbilt. He was part of the return for McCutchen to SF and going off the top of my head was like a fourth round pick. Always had tools. Not being a top 100 prospect doesn't mean someone isn't known or isn't good. Basically he hadn't really been challenged based on his age/pedigree. He's always been old for his league and no one really projected this type of power for him.

Boz (Chicago): Did the Padres get enough back in last night's trade? Franmil Reyes is best suited for the AL,no doubt, but he has been a helluva hitter at the Major League level for about a full season now, and Logan Allen has value as well. Last I checked, Trammell was not lighting the AA world on fire. Just seems like the return was light, particularly since they don't seem to get much advantage in salary relief on this one...

Craig Goldstein: I think it's a dicey move on their part but as someone who called out GMs for being risk-averse babies, I can appreciate Preller's gamble. Trammell is having a bit of a down season but he's 21 and absolutely loaded with tools. Franmil has monster power but definite flaws to his game and while he's having a great year I can get behind someone thinking that he might not repeat this forever going forward. I'm not sure that the Padres need salary relief?

David (Atlantis): Recently got Jeter Downs probably because of the great first name. With the great first name aside what should we be expecting from him as a prospect?

Craig Goldstein: I'm not his biggest fan. A slew of average to above-average tools but nothing that really pops. I like to see a carrying tool, personally, so this does fall into the category of guy I underrate.

Mike (NY): Any crazy thought of Robles to Tigers for Greene, Castellanos, and a prospect...

Craig Goldstein: Victor Robles??? That is...no. Absolutely not.

Campbell (Unjustified): Mason Martin. Future middle of the order masher or AJ Reed 2.0?

Craig Goldstein: If I'm picking between those extremes I'll take Reed 2.0, but, as boring as it is the likelihood is between. I'd say a second-division first base type feels reasonable to me.

Dillon (Tallahassee): Is Evan White worth holding onto in a dynasty league format that holds 100 prospects?

Craig Goldstein: He's right on the fringe for me. Close enough that his limited upside doesn't hurt as much but depending on league size I'd be looking for more boom/bust types.

CyMature (Cooperstown Rest Home): Andrew Vaughn, Triston Casas, George Valera: three young hitters in the lower minors. Who has the highest ceiling? Who can reach his ceiling? ps Gooseberries under-rated. We grow them and raspberries. Mixing the two in jam, baking or syrup for yogurt or ice cream: high ceiling, high floor.

Craig Goldstein: Valera, Vaughn, Casas for me if you're talking real life and not fantasy and purely ceiling. Vaughn probably has the lowest gap between ceiling and current state just because his flaws aren't going anywhere and he really just has to hit (like hell) to do it.

Mickey Mantle (Under RF Bleachers): I have Justin Turner, Eugenio Suarez and Rafael Devers. I can only play two in a given week and lineups lock on a weekly basis. Which one would you try to trade and why? Or would you just hold the depth? Points league, FWIW.

Craig Goldstein: If this is a redraft, I'm trading Suarez, probably. I like Turner's contact ability even at the tradeoff for Suarez's home runs, especially in a points format.

Pete (Ontario): After a staggering amount of trades, my fantasy team's farm system rests on the shoulders of Julio Rodriguez and Julio Rodriguez alone. I need you to say nice things about him. Please.

Craig Goldstein: We put him in our Midseason Top 50, which is pretty high praise I think. We did a
whole spotlight on him!

Dillon (PA): Any reports on Edward Cabrera? Seems like the control has taken a step forward this year. What kind of upside does he have?

Craig Goldstein: Keanan Lamb saw him for us two weeks ago. Sits int he mid 90s, bumped 98. Good breaker in the low/mid 80s and the change was firm. Definitely think he has taken a step forward this year. He's someone I really like. I think he could be better than a midrotation arm if it clicks.

Boz (Chicago): Is Francisco Mejia still worth dreaming on, and is his future as a catcher or another position?

Craig Goldstein: It's really easy to cash out on guys just because they're not the hot new thing. I still think he can catch and eventually can hit. It's going to take some patience and some work, though.

Jerry (Earth): Do you have any guiding principles that you have developed or followed over the years as a dynasty player? One of the most obvious examples is TNSTAAPP, but wasn’t sure if there are other core principles you seem to constantly refer back to?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know that I have a real rule of them. Discounting starters is just the way it has to work right now. I mostly target the guys I think are the most talented and then use the fringe area of my rosters to address specific category needs. Mostly I just want to have fun with it. It's fantasy.

Vladimir (Somewhere Red): It seems Tyler Freeman got an honorable mention by Bret & Ben. I came across his name elsewhere but don’t know much about him. Any chance you can shed some light on him as a prospect?

Craig Goldstein: High contact middle infielder with questions on the power. An intriguing guy for sure, but one I haven't been super high on to date.

Boz (Chicago): Just wondering how the 2019 season has effected your view of Dansby Swanson. Needle pointing up? Do you see continued growth, a plateau, or mirage? His infield buddy, Albies, seems to have proved a few things this year. Is he going to keep getting better? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: I think it's been really nice to see after his struggles. I don't think there's necessarily another gear for Swanson and frankly the change in the ball makes it really difficult to grasp what changes are internal to the player and what production is the result of the external ball change.

ironcityguys (urban area): Nick Madrigal is hitting much better at AA than he did in A-ball this season. Will the ChiSox give him a look before season's end? If not, is he top 10 on this upcoming offseason's top 100?

Craig Goldstein: He just got promoted to Triple-A, but my answer is still no. I think we see him after they get an extra year of control on him in April (which isn't condoning the practice of service time manipulation. We'll see how he does in Triple-A but he could well *earn* a call up in September and not receive it.

Jeb (Iowa): Chances Vazquez gets traded today?

Craig Goldstein: I'm gonna say 8.24 percent

Matt (Tampa): Sorry if this topic has been brought up before and if this is dumb, but do you see the possibility or a reason for coming up with a FIP-/ERA+ like stat for strikeouts or walks? Should we view pitchers who strikeout/walk batters during different eras differently? I only ask since strikeouts are continuously rising, is it different when a pitcher has a 11 K/9 when the league avg was 6 K/9 vs now when the league avg is around 8 K/9

Craig Goldstein: Not dumb! I believe indexed K% and BB% exist somewhere. Certainly guys who pitched in different types of strikeout eras would need those contextual changes accounted for.

Georgie (Bronx): The Steinbrenner boys are a disgrace and their father is rolling around in his grave.

Craig Goldstein: I'll be sure to pass along the message during our weekly call.

ironcityguys (urban area): What do you think of Acuna vs. Soto in 2019? Has either surprised you as sophomores in MLB? Is Acuna's fielding/baserunning advantage enough to make up for Soto's slightly better OPS?

Craig Goldstein: No, I pretty much expected both of them to be very good. I think I'd take the center fielder over the corner outfielder if that's what you're asking, but it's close. I've been a little surprised at Soto's weak defense because the tools are there for an average corner outfielder if not a bit better.

Byron Hauck (Portland): It's been two weeks: how's everyone doing?

Craig Goldstein: Thanks for asking, Byron. We're getting by. We have a lot of reminders and things that aren't up to their optimal condition because we're working a man down but I cannot speak more highly of our stats/tech team and the incredible amount of energy and work they've put in to keep the site where it needs to be, all while dealing with an emotional toll. They're really an impressive group of people and I couldn't be more proud to be associated with them.

Sidd (NJ): Thor is staying put, right? Any read on what actually happened there? (boxed in by Stroman return, got cold feet, etc)

Craig Goldstein: Yes, I think so. I think the Mets are just weird and didn't get what they wanted, though my secret hope is the Trammell to SD portion of that trade was SD loading up to make a run at Syndergaard.

Neil (The Moon): Ok so what should we think of Oneil Cruz? He was recently promoted to AA but am I wrong to still being skeptical because of his size? What are your thoughts on him?

Craig Goldstein: We're pretty high on him internally. He's probably not a shortstop but Jarrett Seidler just saw him this week and said he made some shortstop plays. I wouldn't be too skeptical. He's a player.

Jack (Illinois): If the Pirates get Ruiz and May for Felipe, how well did they do?

Craig Goldstein: I think that'd be pretty solid. He's really difficult to find fair value for because the contract is insanely cheap. I don't know that both of those guys are a reasonable expectation but it would all depend on how much you value how little he's paid versus the talent on the field.

Tim (Oklahoma): Who gets traded for the Pirates today?

Craig Goldstein: boy I would have said Kela, but good luck on that one now

Mike (Air): I picked up before the season Daulton Varsho, hoping for a breakout. He seems to be doing steady but nothing too special. Am I being too critical or should I just remember catchers take longer to develop?

Craig Goldstein: He's really doing quite well. The Southern League is not an easy place to hit, especially for power and he's doing a good job of that as a 22-year-old in his first taste of it. Hold the course.

Matt (Boston): Jesus Aguilar is now a Ray. Nate Lowe better no be going back down....

Craig Goldstein: We'll see. It seems like a fair deal for both teams. A worthwhile gamble for Tampa to get a guy back o track who can impact their lineup for a guy in Faria who it seemed like they'd soured on. Milwaukee gets another multi-inning/outgetter type arm for their pen.

Dylan (RI): What team could use Kole Calhoun? With Trout manning CF, Justin Upton solidly in LF, and Jo Adell loudly knocking on the door, Calhoun's 2020 option is reasonable, but not on the Angels. Why do we hear buzz about Castellanos, but not Calhoun?

Craig Goldstein: Easy answer used to be Cleveland but they just picked up two outfielders. Braves could maybe use him since they're playing a (hot, admittedly) Duvall right now? I think the Angels unload him in the offseason.

Babyfarts (Merica): In a dynasty league how would rank Julio Urias/Dustin May/AJ Puk? All 3 are available and I am stuck as May seems the safest/Urias has the best pedigree/Puk seems to have the highest ceiling.

Craig Goldstein: I'd probably go May/Urias/Puk but I'm amenable to flipping Puk and Urias. I just really worry about the innings issue with Urias at this point.

Chris (The Library): Any chance you can tell me about two low-level Cleveland prospects in Aaron Bracho & Brayan Rocchio?

Craig Goldstein: Lucky for you, Spring Marie Cullen just wrote up Rocchio for us in a
recent Ten Pack.

Matt (Boston): Whitley led package for Thor, who says no? Astros get a pitcher to slot in behind Verlander and Cole in the playoffs and a replaced for Cole if he walks via FA. Mets get a near major league ready starter with front-line potential to slot in next to DeGrom/Stroman next season, if not this season. It has been rumored Tucker is off the table, but I haven't heard that Whitley is.

Craig Goldstein: I would get why the Mets would ask for it even with Whitley's recent struggles (he looked good yesterday per BaseballHQ's Brent Hershey), but if Whitley is right enough for the Mets to acquire, why would the Astros trade him? He's on the verge of the majors and could step in pretty quick. It's not quite a catch-22 but and I'd rather have Syndergaard too, but I think this scenario is thornier than it might first appear.

ironcityguys (urban area): Still waiting for Isan Diaz to get the call? What are the Marlins waiting for? There can't be a market (trade) for Starlin Castro, right? Do you have any MLB (projection) comps for Isan Diaz?

Craig Goldstein: If I had to guess I bet he comes up in September.

Steve (Philly): If you could combine the tools of any three prospects to create someone who exceeds peak Trout in WAR, which prospects/tools would you mash-up?

Craig Goldstein: This is a fun one. I mentioned it to Jeffrey Paternostro and he said Madrigal's contact, Adell's power, and Pache's glove. I don't know if I have a better trio than that.

Craig (Chicago): Marco Luciano or Kristian Robinson #1 Overall Prospect once Franco graduates?

Craig Goldstein: If you're asking me if it is one of them or the field, I'll take the field.

Gila Monster (MA): How does AJ Preller system in San Diego compare to the one he built in Texas? I'm taking when Profar was suppose to be a 70-grade player, Mazara's 80-grade power had a chance to show up,Nick Williams hit tool was considered elite, when #TheLegend was still a Legend, and before Lewis Brinson broke my heart.

Craig Goldstein: I might prefer the Texas system in its heyday because it was built mostly on bats. The Padres system has a ton of talent in arms, which just generally see a higher attrition rate, I think. (This isn't to knock the positional talent for San Diego which is obviously quite high too).

Matt (Boston): I know I don't know as much as their FO especially considering medicals. But why does Boston prefer starting Cashner over Eovaldi? Eovaldi obviously throws gas, but really lacks the wipeout secondary pitch to be an elite reliever. Cashner on the other hand has had "elite reliever" written all over him since his time in SD, but has miraculously managed to avoid the bullpen(seriously, how?)

Craig Goldstein: Well, consider it this way: If Eovaldi doesn't have the secondary to be a top reliever, do you think him facing the lineup more times is something you want from him as a starter? Also, Cashner is a fairly different pitcher than when he was drafted and converted to a starter. I don't think anyone thinks he'd be an elite reliever right now.

Tom (Training Camp): These questions I bet are annoying but who would you rather have and why: Brennen Davis or D'Shawn Knowles?

Craig Goldstein: I think I'd take Knowles right now, but I've heard a lot of very positive stuff on Davis recently and my answer as to why is probably "familiarity" which isn't a great answer as to why.

DJ (Madison, WI): If you were a seller which outfielder would you value more as a trade return, the Yankees Estevan Florial or the Brewers Trent Grisham?

Craig Goldstein: I think I might gamble on Grisham at this point.

Sidd (NJ): GMs should be less fearful of perception and do more Boras-speak about their players at the deadline, agree or disagree? Bolsters their bargaining position in some small way, has positive effect in their own club house, provides coverage if no deal happens... the only downside is fans get a little more angry about return if you do make a deal. And fans are always angry anyway.

Craig Goldstein: I don't think GMs should really talk about their players much in general publicly, as it pertains to trade talks, honestly. Handle that s*** in house.

ironcityguys (urban area): Who's the first of Bichette, Biggio, Guerrero, Gurriel, or Jansen to make an All-Star team? Who will make the most All-Star teams? Which player has surprised you the most so far (in a positive way) in 2019?

Craig Goldstein: Guerrero is the first, imo, and the most. Gurriel has been the biggest surprise for me. I thought he was more of an "eh" type and he's really popped.

Nick (Maine): Thoughts on Grant Lavigne? Do you think he's a future major league regular or more of a bench bat?

Craig Goldstein: It's a long ways off and I'd rather show some patience before declaring him a bench bat but I worry about guys with that much uppercut to their swing and if you were forcing me to choose right now I'd say bench bat.

Mike (NY): Is Soto going to make a run at .300 .400 .500 with maybe up to 20 SB this year and 100 walks?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's optimistic on stolen bases and probably walks a bit too. Make a run at the rest? sure.

Gonna take a few minutes to refresh my iced coffee and make a call and see if any more questions come in. We've gotten to 40+ already.

Holly (Standing Beside A Poster Of Myself): Who will be the RHONY Barbara of the trade deadline? Allegedly part of the show but rarely seen, doesn't get invited to go out with the other teams.

Craig Goldstein: GOD I LOVE THIS QUESTION. For a player, it needs to be someone who is ancillary to a larger trade, so that when the chyron comes up it will say "Acquired along with" like it always said "Luann's friend" for Barbara even though she was clearly shot as a full-on housewife. So in this case, like, Logan Allen.

If we're talking a team in this role...maybe the Cardinals. I feel like people don't realize how close they are to winning that division and I don't think they do anything, or anything big today to make a move to stay there. But they ARE there. But no one talks about them. It's all Cubs/Brewers in the central. Wear less spray tan St. Louis.

Colin (CA): Bobby Witt Jr or Marco Luciano - Fantasy wise long term?

Craig Goldstein: Man. I think I'd take Luciano but I don't feel great about it.

dzemens (Toledo): Why do the Rays seem to hate a productive Nate Lowe?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think they do. This is about improving the lineup and Aguilar can be a useful right-handed complement to Choi and Lowe, potentially.

justarobert (Santa Clara): Patrick Dubuque wrote up K%+ in 2016, and I don't think he was the first one to suggest it... https://tht.fangraphs.com/league-adjusted-strikeouts/

Craig Goldstein: Ah, thanks! So please, if you're interested in K%+ and the like, check that out. Who is Patrick and what happened to that guy anyway, amirite?

Steve (Arizona): Any more sweet Wildred Patino nuggets for us?

Craig Goldstein: These things don't change on a dime, so...no? He's a physical guy who has a shot to stick in center. really good baseline of tools to work with.

Jake (SD): Do you think Adrian Morejon still has a shot at TOR kind of guy? His stuff doesn't seem to be playing up yet. On another note, any underrated pitching prospects you can think of?

Craig Goldstein: Yes, I think he has that kind of stuff and has showed it throughout this year. Bigger question to me is whether he will hold it deep into games/deep into seasons. I talked about Edward Cabrera earlier and I don't think he gets enough national shine.

Craig (Chicago): Should we officially be worried about Matt Carpenter’s ability to make an impact this season?

Craig Goldstein: Yes.

Craig (Chicago): What’s your thoughts on the year Ryan McMahon has had? Does he have another gear he can take this to next season?

Craig Goldstein: Well, a below-average bat doesn't make me think it's a great one! I'd love to see him get consistent playing time but that's a crowded infield and I don't know that he's really done enough to earn it thus far. I do think there's another gear there, but it will take development to get to.

Craig (Chicago): Thames or McMahon for rest of season?

Craig Goldstein: Gimme Thames

justarobert (Santa Clara): Which pitching prospects are your favorites to hit 200 IP/season consistently? I realize this is about usage as much as durability or quality, and only thirteen pitchers got there last year, so feel free to adjust down to 190 or 180 if you prefer.

Craig Goldstein: Gore, May, McKay are probably my top 3? I would still probably have Whitley there, though I think many on the team would disagree with me (and if you look at his milb innings, you'd understand their point). I just think the overall frame can handle that workload.

Steve (Philly): How deep is your deepest dynasty league? How many prospects does each team have, and is there a prospect that you personally keep out of some twisted nostalgia or yearning even though you probably should have by now?

Craig Goldstein: My shallowest is a 15-teamer with 20 minor league roster spots (I think I counted right). I have two 20-teamers, one with 15 roster spots and one with 20. And I have an AL Only and an NL Only, 10-team each with 30 minor leaguers per team. I guess that makes the only leagues the deepest. I have Stone Garrett in my NL and Eric Jenkins still rostered in my AL.

Fredo (Lake Tahoe): What are your (and the greater team's) thoughts on some of the second tier Dodger arms: Carillo Andre Jackson Rooney White Last night's 4-inning-save me, Gonsolin

Craig Goldstein: This is a good question to follow up on later, especially if Wilson Karaman is having a chat, as he's head honcho for the Cal League contingent of the prospect team. I think Gonsolin works best as a reliever (and maybe a trade chit), and am just happy to see White healthy again.

Craig Goldstein: Alright, we got to 50+ questions and went 90 minutes. Just not a ton going on despite some small movement on the trade market right now. We've got Jon Hegglund around at 4 PM on Friday to break down the fantasy ramification of any trades, as well as our Transaction Analysis, which includes input from the Prospect Team and the Fantasy Team on every trade. If you're not a subscriber you can test us out for a month for under $5: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/subscriptions/

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