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Chat: JP Breen

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday August 21, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with JP Breen.


JP Breen is the Fantasy Editor for Baseball Prospectus and co-host of the rebooted TINO, now featuring even less offseason!

JP Breen: I finished the crossword this morning and got my coffee. That means I feel somewhat accomplished already. Let's change that.

Matt (Boston): Because of the bouncy ball, Are high groundball pitchers the new market inefficiency? Say someone unsexy like a Marcus Stroman or Wade Miley

JP Breen: It's an interesting idea. The weird thing about Miley, for example, is that he's found increased success due to his cutter (which gets a ton of ground balls). But he's taken a step forward in Houston by working his four-seamer higher, which plays off his changeup better. The result has been a higher swinging-strike rate and more strikeouts. I think the key to dealing with the rabbit ball will be missing bats, first and foremost.

Carl (San Antonio): As someone who is doing better than 19/20 in a dynasty league, do you think I'd be a better candidate to be on TINO regularly?

JP Breen: Early low-blow from Carl! Mark took over a team that was already stripped for parts, and it's difficult to rebuild in industry leagues (as no one wants to trade any prospects ever). He took on a tough job and is making the best of it. He's better than me at dynasty, if we're being truthful. You'll have to talk to Mark about taking my job.

Rickey H. (Las Vegas): Already have Freeman, can only keep two more for next year out of Goldy, J Bell and Rizzo. Who do I have to drop? Thanks.

JP Breen: That's a nice problem to have, Rickey. The safest bet is Bell, just because of track record. I'd probably drop Goldschmidt, though, as he's gone through extended fallow periods in each of the last two years and will be 32 years old next year. That has me a bit skittish.

Elton (Pacific Northwest): Dynasty question for you. After four years of rebuilding, I've committed to a fifth by announcing to my leaguemates that I'll be tanking in 2020. So given that, should I keep Byron Buxton at $47 pending arbitration? We have a $500 budget. I should note that we use a system similar to Ottoneu's so stolen bases are weighted down and so Buxton is worthless. Thanks!

JP Breen: The boring answer is that it completely depends on whether you'd have a better use of that money. If you're taking and will have money to spare, I don't think it's a terrible decision to roll the dice on Buxton to see if he breaks out in 2020 and you can flip him for future assets. But, no, I don't think you would feel bad about cutting Buxton at that price point. I wouldn't be holding onto him, if it were me, but there's an argument for it if you have money to burn.

Raymond (Washington D.C.): Liverpool. Can we actually win the Prem this year? I'm a bit worried about our keeper situation.

JP Breen: Ray. My man. I absolutely think Liverpool can with the Prem this year, but they're going to have to stay healthy across the front line and VVD can't get a significant injury. City's second-team squad would probably finish in the top-six, so everything will have to go right. But there's a chance! That's all you can ask for in August, imo.

Jim (Halifax): Trying to find the next big thing in the lower minors like Wander Franco, Marco Luciano, Julio Rodriguez. Any under the radar guys you think can make huge jumps that aren't well known?

JP Breen: Maybe someone like Noelvi Marte, if you're not looking at the current J2 class. I'm currently on Ezequiel Duran, who's an interesting second-base prospect with the Yankees. We talked about Johan Rojas on TINO recently, though he doesn't have the upside of guys like Franco, Luciano, or Rodriguez.

Jay (Washington, DC): How has this season changed your outlook on Brayan Rocchio?

JP Breen: It hasn't moved the needle much for me. He's still a very gifted hitter, and he's not dealing with massive strikeout numbers or anything of that sort. He'll be more hit over power, for me, so his fantasy value won't be massive unless he shows a willingness to steal bases a lot more than he has. But he's a better real-life prospect than fantasy prospect, for my money. For now.

Carl (San Antonio): Thanks. Will get in touch with Mark.

JP Breen: So will I.

Jessica (NYC): Is Nelson Cruz the most undervalued player in fantasy? Good grief.

JP Breen: He's definitely undervalued, probably due to his age, but I'd currently give that award to either DJ LeMahieu or Cruz's teammate Max Kepler.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Dustin May vs. Chris Paddack for career? Paddack has had TJ but May hasn't had any injuries yet (right?). Who's career would you rather have?

JP Breen: Paddack. May still has a bit left in the tank, I think, but I think Paddack has a better chance to miss bats going forward. May also might struggle with pretty big platoon splits (lefties currently hitting .370 off him in a small sample) unless his breaking ball is more consistent.

Spotted cow (Rockford ): In a dynasty league ed and it appears I'm out for this year. Do you think I should try and move muncy in the offseason because his value likely will never be higher or do you think holding him and a repeat season at these rates is possible? Thanks!!!

JP Breen: A Spotted Cow reference from Illinois? Is that legal? I suppose that's not far from New Glarus... anyway, I think it's worth exploring a trade for him. I do think Maximum Muncy can repeat in 2020 -- so only trade him for a quality return -- but everyone should be available on your squad if the price is right.

easterbrook (ontario canada): thanks for the chat, As Luis Robert continues his torred pace would you please compare him to one of Soto, Acuna or another type of young hitter.

JP Breen: I'd probably put Robert closer to Acuña than Soto, just because Robert won't ever walk nearly as much as Soto currently does. But I'm skeptical that Robert will adjust to the majors as quickly as someone like Acuña, as the strikeouts could be a legitimate issue. Tools are massive, tho.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): I expected a nice breakout season for Nomar Mazara. Wrong again! Do you hold out any hope for him going forward, or is this what he is?

JP Breen: I'm worried about Mazara. The biggest problem has been a lack of power. This year, he's hitting the ball in the air more than ever, with the juiced ball, and his HR/FB has actually decreased from a year ago. And his swinging-strike rate is up. I'm not "out," I guess, but he won't be someone I'm targeting in re-draft leagues next year.

Propsect Hoarder (Florida): Of the following pitchers, which ones do you see as having potential front of rotation potential (SP1/2)? J. Balazovic, S.Baz, K.Bubic, E.Cabrera, J.Duran, T.Skubal

JP Breen: Only Baz, for me. I like Cabrera a lot, though, even if I don't think he's a potential fantasy ace. The remainder of those guys have pretty big holes in their profiles and would have to show significant improvement in control, secondary pitches, etc. for me to think they could be SP 1/2.

Marcus (Tampa, FL): J.P. thanks for the chat and taking my question. Kevin Cron has Kingman, Kittle, Deer, Ruthian power but do you foresee an MLB career or more of a 4A player that will still be playing in AAA in 2025?

JP Breen: I think he could legit hold down the weak side of the platoon, as he has historically crushed lefties. Those types of players find it hard to carve out a spot on major-league rosters, though. And to even get that role, he'll have to fix his massive strikeout issues. So I think he's more of a Quad-A guy.

Steve (Tacoma): Is the gap between Mize, Manning, and Tarik Skubal really all that big at this point? What Skubal has done this year across multiple levels has been absurd.

JP Breen: Skubal still has question marks surrounding his secondary pitches, and he's a fly-ball pitcher who hasn't faced the juiced ball as of yet. The numbers are incredible. But until he finds success at Triple-A, I'm worried that he's more Ben Lively than Chris Sale.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): What position do you think Nick Senzel plays next year? How about Carter Kieboom, Austin Riley and Brendan Rodgers?

JP Breen: I think he'll primarily play center field. I'll guess second base for Kieboom, outfield for Riley, and second base for Rodgers.

Groot (In orbit): Among these candidates for keepers in an NL only Scoresheet league, how would you rank the following; Matz, Quintana, Puig, Bryan Reynolds, Christian Walker and Kirby Yates? Thanks!

JP Breen: I'm not great with scoresheet, but I'd probably go Reynolds, Yates, Quintana, Matz, Puig (on the off-chance that he comes back to the NL), and then Walker.

Vic (Baltimore): Please rank for 2020 and beyond. Robles, Dahl, Conforto, Mazara, Hampson.

JP Breen: Flip Dahl and Robles in that list, and then I think it's good. Conforto gets a bump in OBP leagues.

ayzzya (Texas League): Any pitchers in the high minors that you’re interested to see debut or make their second or third major league starts after a call-up? A la Mitch Keller, Brock Burke, etc.

JP Breen: This year? Keller, for sure, and I'm still excited to see Brendan McKay continue to adjust to the big leagues. I'm not sure they'll debut this year, but I'm particularly excited to see guys like Graterol, Mize, and Ian Anderson.

Injured Pitchers (Sad): Between Brent Honeywell and Jameson Taillon who will have more success in the future once both are healthy?

JP Breen: Goodness, this is a downer. I guess I'll say Honeywell, just because he didn't actually injure his UCL in his most recent injury that needed surgery, but I don't feel confident in that answer. It's a coin flip.

Vic (Baltimore): Who do you expect out of a fully healthy 2020 and beyond J Up?

JP Breen: If he's truly healthy, I think 30-plus homers with the rabbit ball is a pretty sure bet. I'm not sure he's gonna hit more than .250-.260, but he'll still carry plenty of value. I'm not sure he'll steal more than a half-dozen bases anymore. He's more valuable in OBP leagues than AVG leagues, though.

Nick (Phoenix): Hi J.P., thanks for the chat. I’ve got my last couple picks coming up in a deep dynasty league draft and I’m considering the guys below. Anyone jump out from the group positively or negatively? They are: Jonathan Stiever, Randy Florentino, Ji-Hwan Bae, Cubs’ Pedro Martinez, Jacob Waguespack, and Sterling Sharp. Thanks.

JP Breen: Stiever is interesting due to his velo jump, so I think I like him best out of anyone listed here. Bae could carry some trade value in deeper leagues due to his gaudy stolen-base numbers. I wouldn't be drafting Florentino above anyone else on this list, as that burn is just too slow and abstract.

Mike (The Good Land): How is west coast living so far? I was just out in Portland for a wedding and came back rather impressed with how the climate is around there. As for a fantasy dynasty baseball question, I have a glut of high upside outfielders on my roster (including Jo Adell), would I be wise to try and shop around Max Keplar this offseason to try and sell high on him?

JP Breen: The West Coast is a different world, man. It's the dry season now, so it's like 80 degrees, sunny, and not humid every single day. Then it's a gorgeous 60 degrees every night. No wonder everyone is outside all the time here! As for Kepler, I like him a lot, as long as the rabbit ball stays in place. He's got a bit of BABIP movement that could see him hit .275, too. But, yes, if you have a lot of outfielders, you should be shopping him.

John (The Land): Any concern with George Valera's L/L splits? A bit worried that he's already having trouble at such a low level.

JP Breen: No, not at all. He's only 18 years old and should be expected to, and allowed, to struggle a bit in his development. If he's still struggling against lefties in a couple years, then we should talk.

Tom (Vegas): What do you realistically expect from Corey Kluber moving forward? How much of a drop off should we expect in 2020?

JP Breen: I'm not worried about Kluber at all. His swinging-strike rate was still above-average, and his cutter/slider combo was still excellent. If he comes back and there's a noticeable velo decline (more than a half mph), then maybe we'll have to talk about a bigger drop-off, but I think he'll be a top-20 starter next year.

Eric the Red (San Diego): Is Chris Paddack becoming what we originally thought he was or just adjusting to this new higher workload.

JP Breen: I still love Paddack. Even in his down second half, he's still missing bats, posting good WHIP ratios, and doesn't have a platoon split at all. The home runs are a problem, yeah, but every pitcher is going to go through stretches where that's an issue in this run environment. Plus, Paddack has a beneficial home park. I'm still very in on Paddack.

Homer (Nashville): Will Touki Toussaint ever be able to hold down a starting pitcher spot on the braves?

JP Breen: Not if he can't throw strikes consistently. The likes of Ian Anderson coming up behind him also make it more unlikely. I think he'll primarily be a reliever in the bigs.

Ron (Viriginia): Are you in or are you out on Rhys Hoskins moving forward?

JP Breen: I'm in on him being exactly what he's been the past two years. Hit about .240, hit 30-plus bombs, and collect RBI/run totals. I'm not expecting him to be the next Paul Goldschmidt, which seems to have been what people expected after his 2017 debut.

Mike (Houston): In dynasty leagues, isn't it easy to just trade for new old dudes every year using fringe prospects than it is to dedicate years and years to try building up an equally good team of 24 year olds?

JP Breen: I've wondered this myself, though I think you have to have an existing core to be able to employ this strategy consistently. Plus, you've got to have the ability to regularly acquire the new hot prospects that you can flip before people sour on them.

Scott (MIllersville): Is Joe Ross finally putting it all together?

JP Breen: I think he's just on a hot stretch in which he's pitching a bit over his head. He's still walking too many batters and his strikeout totals are pedestrian. In other words, he's walking a tight rope.

Johnny (Philly): Will Nick Pivetta ever be a thing? He was so hyped coming into this year.

JP Breen: Not unless his control tightens up. His fastball generates a ton of fly balls and doesn't miss many bats, and that four-seamer has just gotten annihilated this year. The HR/FB percentage is north of 30%. The new ball has killed him, as it has many fringy starters who rely on a high fastball that generates fly balls.

Aaron (PA): Spencer Howard has been electric. What are you expectations for him moving forward?

JP Breen: Howard is someone I wish I would've been higher on prior to the season. I think he could be a legit SP2, and the stuff has seriously spiked in the past calendar year. He's currently profiling as a guy who can rack up strikeouts with quality ratios, and that's crazy-valuable as a starter right now.

Sam (Baltimore): JP, if no one in your industry leagues wants to trade their prospects, isn't the market inefficiency in those leagues being the guy willing to do so? Seems like you could quickly ascend the standings just by being willing to deal precious prospects.

JP Breen: It's a good question. The problem is that no one wants to trade hitting prospects OR young position prospects. You can get a stellar pitching staff all day by moving prospects. You could potentially trade quality prospects and get a bevy of old guys, who could buoy your squad for a year or two, but you've gotta have a strong core for that to be worthwhile. The market inefficiency, at the moment, appears to be getting the hottest young prospect before anyone else in the league.

Elton (Pacific NorthWest): As someone who aspires to be in 19th place in a dynast industry league one day, what advice do you have?

JP Breen: You could try not posing as someone in your dynasty league to make fun of them cuz it makes you look like an ass?

AJ (Tampa, FL): Dinelson Lamet: 2020 multi-inning electric reliever or SP3 with a lotta Ks?

JP Breen: I've been trying to get Lamet in a couple of dynasty leagues over the past couple of weeks. I think the Padres will let him start, which would point toward the latter. He has some platoon issues, as one would expect without a third pitch, but the strikeouts are real. If he can keep his head above water against lefties, he'll be a sleeper for 2020.

Yuri (Israel): Pumped to see you're chatting today, JP! Big fan of your writing and especially your chats. Thanks for taking the time out for us. Anyway... trade question for you. Tarik Skubal and Luis Medina or AJ Pollock in a dynasty league? I feel like it's the two pitchers by far, but curious of your opinion.

JP Breen: Yuri, you're too kind. Also, it's late in Israel right now! Thanks for staying up. I'd rather have Pollock, actually. He's a five-category contributor on an excellent team, if healthy, and Skubal/Medina are a pair of lottery tickets -- as is Pollock. I'd rather take the lottery ticket that is already in the big leagues and has shown it at the highest level.

Miller (NY): Amed Rosario has been on fire, does he take the next step even further next year?

JP Breen: I'm not sure what the "next step" for him would be. Maybe more power? Only eight players have a batting average above .290 and have stolen at least 15 bases. To take the next step, I think he'd have to hit 20-plus homers, and I just don't think that's there.

Vladimir (Somewhere Red): Is there a certain type of prospect profile you seem to be always leaning toward?

JP Breen: I've been thinking a lot about this with the new baseball. I wonder if the hit-over-power guys become more valuable in an offensive environment, in which power isn't at such a premium. That is, do your Trent Grishams become more valuable in this type of environment? Hell, should you target more guys like Tommy Edman? I think I'd be leaning to more guys with high-end hit tools and plate discipline, assuming that the rabbit ball will help the power manifest on the field in the higher levels.

Raymond (Washington DC): JP, thanks for the chat and for talking Liverpool with me earlier! Also wanted to ask what kind of Pirates pitching prospects are in the pipeline? They definitely need help and I don't know if there's enough internally.

JP Breen: There's not a ton, to be honest, but Tahnaj Thomas is one of my favorite under-the-radar sleepers in the low minors. He's a slow burn, but could be a mid-rotation guy with nice strikeout numbers if everything clicks.

Eddie (SC): Are Hunter Dozier and JD Davis having the quietest "breakout" seasons of anyone? Both Statcast and actual numbers looking beastly.

JP Breen: I'm not sure that Davis' breakout has been all that quiet, but the point is taken. Davis' defensive issues are going to limit his upside. Dozier has flown under the radar because no one in the mainstream media cares about KC these days. I'd argue that Ketel Marte's breakout has been even more overlooked.

Gabe (Texas): My pitching staff is pretty thin. Any names come to mind for pitchers I can pick up and keep for 2020? (Top prospects probably aren't available, so thinking bounce-back candidates.)

JP Breen: I'm still big on Pablo López, if you're looking in the big leagues. Someone like Corbin Burnes is probably an unpopular bounce-back candidate, but he still has an elite pitch in his slider. Lamet is a good shout. If you're looking in the minors, someone like Kyle Wright is maybe worth a gamble. Jimmy Nelson, too.

Jett (ChiTown): Thanks for the chat, JP. I tuned in to watch Quintana pitch at the Little League Classic on Sunday. He looked solid IMO. Can he be a reliable SP3 over the next few years in a 20-teamer?

JP Breen: I'm not sure he strikes out enough guys to be a sure-fire SP3 each year, but in a 20-teamer, he'll be more than solid. His DRA remains better-than-average this year, too.

Gila Monster (MA): Sano has quietly picked up where Gallo left off. Why has nobody really noticed his quietly amazing season? Who do you prefer for 2020 between the two?

JP Breen: I'd rather have Gallo. Still not sure that Sanó doesn't get eaten up by righties next year. If Gallo hits .260-.270, he's a fantasy monster.

Festivus (AZ): Any concerns with Jhon Torres after his early struggles?

JP Breen: The strikeout numbers are concerning, I guess, but nothing out of place for a 19-year-old. He still put up solid numbers in rookie ball. I still like him.

JP Breen: Alright, y'all. That was two hours of chatting. My apologies to everyone whose questions I didn't get to, but we'll do this again sometime, yeah? Yeah. Take care of yourselves in the meantime.

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