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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 08, 2019 3:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus

Craig Goldstein: Hey everyone, let's get started early since you're all so obliging with your questions.

Yuri (Israel): Is this chat going to be more about berries and reality TV shows and your own self-indulgent stuff or about baseball? I like chats on baseball websites to be predominantly about baseball.

Craig Goldstein: It's going to be about my own self-indulgent shit since I'm the once chatting. If you've read my other chats you'll note that they're like 95%+ about baseball.

You're welcome to use the articles and chats that I publish as a disposable resource to feed your interests, but I'm not going to pare down *my* interests or who I am as a person to suit your needs, and I wouldn't ask the other authors at this site to do so either. If you care enough to want my answers about baseball, you can sift through a couple questions about Vanderpump Rules. If you don't, the door is on your left.

Brent (PA): I was looking at low-level minor league stats earlier this week and found a player named D'Emigod Hernandez. 80 grade name?

Craig Goldstein: I did some digging and couldn't verify this. Come with the goods, Brent! Let us all bask in the light of our new (Demi)god. Don't be selfish!

PittsburghPerogies (Washington DC): Hi Craig! I am in a dynasty league keep 5 players no loss of draft pick-6x6 with OPS. What are your thoughts between Moncada and Jose Ramirez? Both would only be eligble for 3rd next year. On the fence on who to keep and who to try and move.

Craig Goldstein: If you're only keeping five players, I'd keep Ramirez. He's back on track and a better bet to be worth more next year, in my opinion. Keeping that few players is more about overall production and less about value to me.

Craig (Chicago ): Is Dylan Carlson playing OF any point next season?

Craig Goldstein: Yessir.

Matt (Boston): Is it possible teams just prefer contending consistently over pushing their chips in for a WS title? Teams used to trade away the farm at a chance to maybe win a World Series only to end up with no farm system and a roster of expensive veterans forcing them to burn it all down and embark on a 5+ year rebuild. It seems like teams would rather consistently have 90ish win team and hope things just break right for them to win a WS by maintaining a decent farm system and avoiding albatross contracts.

Craig Goldstein: This is in regards to my article this week, I am assuming.

The short answer to your question is "of course it is." The longer answer is many-fold. First of all, it's not a mutually exclusive choice to both pursue a championship in the here and now and also to contend consistently. That's a false choice.

Second, that preference, spread league wide, is part of my issue and I think it's a real problem for the league as a whole. If 90% of the league is behaving in that pattern, it really puts a damper on things, and my argument is that if there was a real market for competition, the prices at this point are low enough that more teams should be buying, given their playoff possibilities, but that the WC structure is complicating those efforts. It's something that needs to be fixed.

Sorry for the long delay on an answer, I had to kill a wasp in the middle of this.

steelydanu (Los Angeles): Hello...your thoughts on Dustin May's performance his 1st two outings and whether it warrants keeping him up the rest of the year. Would you project as a starter for 2020?

Craig Goldstein: I think he's looked really good especially since his curveball command hasn't really been there. The cutter/slider thing he throws looked better in the second outing and the 97 and arm-side run looks as effortless as ever. I think he should be up most of the time but might get optioned as Friedman likes to churn the bullpen roster and he's got options. Definitely a starter for 2020 in my view.

RotoLando (Cloud City): Just for fun, here are your Top Ten berries from a previous chat, translated into Finnish. Try guessing which is which! karhunvatukka Normaali kirsikka vadelma kiiltotuomi herukka vanhempi loganberry mustikka boysenmarjaa mansikka

Craig Goldstein: I feel good about identifying loganberry and boysenberry.

Blake (Paradise): Worse fall from grace: me from episode 1 to episode 2 or Rick Porcello from 2016 to present?

Craig Goldstein: So I don't watch the bachelor/ette anymore. I think it's become too self-aware as a franchise and is far too into itself. I also think they need to skew towards older contestants and start with someone outside the current bachelor/ette universe. It's too incestuous. That said, it hasn't been a fall from grace for me because he wasn't on a pedestal before, but I also think what he did wasn't that bad? If he's a single guy? I'll cop to not knowing all the details but I've also heard that a lot of texts came out recently and somewhat vindicated him? There's a lot going on there. Anyway, the answer is Rick Porcello who somehow is having a messier season than Blake.

Andre (San Diego): Joey Cantillo is dominating. He's a surefire top 100 guy, right?

Craig Goldstein: I'm going to pass on that one. He's having a great year but I'm going to want to see more velo before putting him in the top 100.

Trent (Bronx): Isn't the fallacy of dynasty leagues this mentality where teams don't try to win every single season? Seems like everyone wants to build a magical superteam that reels off a decade of unchecked dominance. Shouldn't goal one be to compete in the current/next season, regardless if you do it with 20 year olds or 30 year olds, and then once you're competitive tackle how you're going to prolong it?

Craig Goldstein: I think you asked this in Jeff's chat and I pretty much agree with him. Yes that is the goal, and I don't mind a short-term rebuild or attempting to attain decades long dominance but I also think it's insanely un-fun to suck for three years and essentially sabotaging the framework of the system by fielding a team full of players who aren't even eligible. But some people find that entertaining. /Shrug.

mordecofe1 (NYC): Would the Giants push Marco Luciano to A ball at all this year due to performance, or does he stay where he is to acclimate a bit more to pro ball?

Craig Goldstein: I think Jeff addressed this too. He might get a peek at the end of the season to make next year a little easier of a transition but I'd suspect he'd start at Augusta either way.

Tim (Alabama): When are you going on hiatus again?

Craig Goldstein: When you ask a good question

Karl (Detroit): So uh... Tarik Skubal is something, huh?

Craig Goldstein: He's pretty good! We finally caught him and Spring covered him quite nicely in this Monday's Ten Pack.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): How serious is the Cano injury this time around?

Craig Goldstein: Jeff answered this two days ago. It's a torn hamstring. "Torn" usually implies a fair bit of severity.

bgawlowski14 (901 5th Ave): As the season has gone on, and we've seen the ball play out for a year, what do you think would be best aesthetically going forward? Keep the same ball? Use the moderately juicier one from 2016-2018? Back to the pre-2015 model?

Craig Goldstein: I am not sure I have a strong preference on the aesthetics of it all. I'd probably go for something in the 2016-18 range but it also varied within that a little bit. I would prefer that but I also think we generally have aesthetic preferences for how things were with things like this.

dgalloway15fish (Da Moon): Aquino right handed Joc Pederson?

Craig Goldstein: I don't hate the comp. Jeff thinks he won't be that good. I have always liked the tools and this ball might allow him to raw-strength enough over the fence to justify his other deficiencies. Plus he changed his swing and as we all know, that's foolproof.

sportsguy21792 (madison): How much trouble is Milwaukee in with 3/5 of the starting rotation down? Was letting Smyly get away just before the injuries hit just bad timing or an organizational misjudgment? Will they continue to use Pomeranz as an opener since he can go longer at the start than other options?

Craig Goldstein: It's generally an issue when 60% of your rotation is down, yeah. I think that's bad timing more than anything. I don't have a strong answer re: Pomeranz but my hunch is that we're close enough to the end of the season and they're competitive enough that they're just going to try and optimize the pitching staff for every game and have guys get the outs available to them without worrying about labeling things.

Walker Steele (Steeletown): Fan of Steele Walker? Worth picking-up to replace Gilberto Jimenez in a dynasty league?

Craig Goldstein: He's interesting to me as more of a novelty. He's got some skills but I think ultimately is more of a fourth outfielder than anything else. If that's what you want to replace Gilberto Jimenez, then by all means.

JD Davis (NY): Do you think I can learn to be competent defensively at any position? Also, if you could go back, you’d still do that trade, right?

Craig Goldstein: Why does everyone ask the same questions that were answered two days ago?

Rob (Alaska): Recognizing that real life scouts and evaluators are more patient with prospects than fans or fantasy players, do you have a rule of thumb for when a down season is more of a 'it's going to be a slower burn than we thought' versus 'he's been exposed'?

Craig Goldstein: I love this question and it's one I grapple with a lot. I think I suggested that Jeff write about it because he's a better thinker/writer than I am. He (kinda) followed through (it's the third question in this piece.

Basically the answer is an unsatisfying one because there isn't a good rule of thumb. It's always going to be dependent on the circumstances. How is the prospect failing? Is that flaw generally fixable? Is it fatal? Have we seen others overcome it and how does their profile compare to the one who is currently struggling? Are they healthy? How does the injury impact what might be causing the issue? Are they in a new culture? First time in cold weather? Did they have a baby this offseason? In-season? There are a million questions and a lot of it boils down to our team members getting to the park and staking out a claim on exactly what the issue is and whether we think that issue is just adversity or something more serious.

Craig (Chicago): What do you suspect MIL infield to be in 2020? Braun / Hiura / Arica / Moustakous?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think Moustakas stays unless they give him another, different deal.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Any change in Eloy Jimenez's outlook from pre-season? Still on target?

Craig Goldstein: No, I still think he's a star.

Dylan (MA): What is wrong with Corey Seager? He has barely been above league average(101 DRC+) this season after putting up MVP type seasons in '16-'17. He is hitting a career high amount of fly balls, but the thump just isn't there. His exit velocity is substantially down to 88.2mph, which puts him in the 34th percentile(he has been in the 87th in the past). Is he still hurt or something?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah, I think he's been fighting a few different injuries on top of coming back from a serious one. It looked like he was getting going right before his last injury, and he's been swinging it a bit better the last few games.

Theo Epstein (Wrigleyville): Next time I have a bunch of guys in my bullpen get hurt, could you please let me know before the trade deadline? Also, would it be a dumb idea to pull Brailyn Marquez out of A-Ball to use as a mid to late innings arm?

Craig Goldstein: You got it, Theo. I don't know if it would be dumb, but I don't think it would be a benefit to him in the short or medium term, and there's a good chance it puts him in a spot to fail rather than succeed.

Craig (Chciago): Is Nolan Gorman the starting 3B for STL next season? Is he a 3B long term in the majors?

Craig Goldstein: Next season? no. Yes I think he can stick for at least the bulk of his 0-6 years there.

ironcityguys (urban area): Ian Anderson just promoted to AAA. What are the reports of him in 2019? What do you see as his ceiling?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think much has changed. I liked what I saw in the Futures Game, but he also doesn't pop in that environment like some other guys do. I think he's a strong No. 3 starter with a chance for more.

Edditer (PNW): Will you admit that Castillo is a No. 2 now?

Craig Goldstein: He (Luis, to be clear) has been (if not more than that) this year. I don't know if I'm ready to do that because I'm stubborn, but I'll add that I'm a really big fan of their pitching coach and what he's done with that entire staff. Makes me more likely to buy in, certainly.

Cliff (DC): I agree with you that the current WC structure leads to an anti-competitive nature. I do think the crux of it is that teams are no longer guaranteed anything beyond a coin-flip unless you win the division, and with the vast disparity in resources between some of the perennial division leaders and the perennial WC contenders... What do you think the chances are that MLB/MLBPA expands the playoffs even more, and makes the WC games into 3-game WC series or some variation thereof? That would probably require that the regular season go back to 154 games, yeah?

Craig Goldstein: The chances I really have no idea on. I don't know that the league sees this as a serious problem (it lets teams back into playoff spots without spending as much money), so I'd guess it's pretty slim. I think expanding the playoffs and watering down the pool to get in is a bad idea, personally. A three-game series is probably the compromise solution but I'll admit that I don't find it compelling either, and I don't think it would change the incentives for teams much. I really think those changes need to come from changing the draft order and finding a way to provide value to regular season finishes.

Craig (Chicago): Surprised by the type of hitting season Carson Kelly has had? Can he be a .260 and 20 HR type hitting catcher?

Craig Goldstein: Yes, and yes.

Yuri (Israel): Happy to hear you're going to answer baseball questions in your baseball chat on this baseball website! How close to Ezekiel Duran to being a top 100 prospect?

Craig Goldstein: Jeffrey wrote an article about him not even two weeks ago. Given the OFP listed and the distance from the majors, he is probably not quite there yet but you could make the argument and he'll probably on the long list.

Also, to be clear: this is a baseball website and I'll be answering whatever questions I want during my chat, which can be about whatever I want it to be.

Craig (Chicago): If Clint Frazier is traded to NL team in the offseason, is he most likely an everyday starter? Platoon hitter? 4th OF?

Craig Goldstein: Everyday player with, apparently, defensive issues.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Do you prefer Carter Kieboom or Brendan Rodgers if both wind up at 2B (park neutral)? Also, what overall grade would you give Luis Arraez after what he has shown?

Craig Goldstein: I think I'd prefer Rodgers but that's close. I'm still not very in on Arraez, though his contact ability and this ball will conspire to prove me wrong.

Chris (DC): What do you think of Aristides Aquino? The power is obviously real, but will he hit enough to be an everyday player in the Majors?

Craig Goldstein: Touched on Aquino before but I think he'll hit enough to be a second-division regular. Of course I thought the same about Jorge Bonifacio.

Alex (Austin): Who's worth more next year in a h2h categories with OPS added, Nick Castellanos or Trent Grisham?

Craig Goldstein: I'll take Castellanos for next year.

ironcityguys (urban area): Why is Rowdy Tellez still hitting in Buffalo? He's killing it there, and Smoak has no future in Toronto. At the least, shouldn't he be grabbing ML DH AB?

Craig Goldstein: I mean sure, you can make that argument but also the answer is because he's not very good. If your argument is that he should get the chance to prove that in the majors right now, I'm sympathetic to it.

Babyfart (IUP): How much of a difference do you see between Gore and May in a dynasty league? Both are highly rated by BP but 1 is much more easily obtainable in my league.

Craig Goldstein: Not a ton. Gore has more of a complete arsenal if it all bears out but the gap between May being here now and Gore...not, is also relevant.

Craig (Chicago): How does this play out in ATL in the closer role? Greene keeps getting chances? Luke Jackson? Melancon?

Craig Goldstein: I'd bet on Greene in the short-term and Jackson by the end of the season, of those options. I also think the real answer is probably Chris Martin.

flynn (Philadelphia): If you could replace cornfields in the outfield with any other crops/trees/environment, what would it be?

Craig Goldstein: Watermelons.

Trent (Trenton): At this point, do you find all rebuilds at least a little bit odious? Do you think there are circumstances where an Astros-style teardown would still be appropriate? Is the issue less that the Astros and Cubs did something like that then that too many teams are now interested in that model? (i.e., one does it and it's fine, five do it and it's annoying/destroys the league's compensation model)

Craig Goldstein: I think there are logical reasons to go into a rebuild and that it can be the case for multiple teams at one time. I also think that operating in good faith as it pertains to the labor consequences of making organizational decisions is utterly crucial. This means promoting prospects based on merit, and not sketching out years-long plans to make sure you don't get put in the position of obviously not calling them up when they're otherwise ready because it would cost you a year of control. Or, if you don't engage in a plan to avoid being put in that situation, it also means promoting them to the majors at the cost of that year of control because it's the right way to treat your employees regardless of your overall organizational scheme.

I said this in my Pete Alonso article last offseason, but not everything that is acceptable in moderation should be tolerated in the extreme. This practice of not just exploiting every possible loophole, but doing so to the extreme is a significant issue not just in baseball, but in society at large, and we need good-faith actors to be in charge of the organizations that are responsible for making these decisions, not people looking to raze what's in front of them and salt the earth behind.

Gila Monster (Boston ): Thoughts on Luis Campusano? Sure he is a 20-year old catcher, but he has been raking in A+. Could he move up some lists?

Craig Goldstein: Got a couple Campusano questions that I'll answer together. Yes, but those Cal League environs can be tricky. That said, we did put in our first-half risers (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/51457/wednesday-morning-ten-pack-the-first-half-risers/), and the writeup is quite strong. I think he'll definitely move up some lists.

For the other question: I don't have a top-five list off the top of my head but my general sense is that he'd be right on the outside of it, but could be argued to be on the back of it. He's right in the mix for sure.

Craig Goldstein: Okay we got through 40 questions in that hour. I've gotta pack for SaberSeminar. Thanks again for coming by and I'll see you next week.

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