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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday September 13, 2019 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey Paternostro is the Lead Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus and co-host of the forthcoming Three Quarters Delivery Podcast.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Today's tea: Homemade Thai Iced Tea.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Any chance the Twins call up Alex Kirilloff after the AA playoffs to help their quickly-thinning OF depth?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The cubs did this with Hoerner because they had literally no other healthy internal options. The Twins have role 40 or 45 types available to fill in, so less need to rush Kirilloff here for questionable September upside.

Champdo (Sarasota ): Of Isaac Paredes, Daz Cameron, and Willi Castro who do you think is the most likely to be an above average regular?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm guessing Cameron ends up highest on the Tigers list, but I'm not super in on any of the three. Diaz and Paredes were both OFP 55s coming into the season, but I'm less bullish on Paredes, and Daz has gone through another of his "intermittently forgot how to hit" periods. I like Castro personally, but he's more of a good utility type.

Wesley (San Jose): Does Tahnaj Thomas have ace potential?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We've got good reports on Thomas from the Appy, but the number of dudes I'd throw "ace potential" on is in single digits most years. He might be a long list 101 candidate though.

Spotted cow (Rockford ): When a recent draft pick out of HS does as good as Cj Abrams has does any credit go to coaching/organizational development or is it just pretty much a litmus test to see where they want to start working in the players first full season? Also how does his performance move his stock compared to other recent picks? Such as pre draft we had everyone's evaluations and we wouldn't change anything yet or this pre bruise balling out has to be noticed

Jeffrey Paternostro: It depends on the prospect and the org. A lot of teams don't muck around with draftees and just let them get their feet wet as pros for that first summer. I think I am both less beholden to pre-draft big boards, and more willing to weight pro production than others, but I'm also not necessarily flipping Abrams over say Greene and Vaughn if I liked them more in July because of a good month in the AZL launching pad. Conversely if the reports shake out that way in November, I'm not overly interested in the pre-draft stuff.

OrioleDog (MD): Is the question of should the Nats use Scherzer or Strasburg for the wildcard game a little beer or tacos? Washington trending toward being locked in as 1st wildcard, so barring any radical standings changes in the next few days, they have 2 weeks plus to set calendars. A wildcard day Scherzer/Strasburg tandem probably takes that bullpen out of play.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I dunno about a tandem, I'd expect Scherzer to get the start and Strasburg to be a bridge to Doolittle if need be. Much like what the Mets did with deGrom and Syndergaard in NLDS Game 5 against the Dodgers a few years back. When you have a hall of fame pitcher in his peak lined up for a do or die game, you don't really need to overthink it.

Spotted cow (Rockford ): With J2's signed this year when would teams try and get them state side and comfortable?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Again, depends on the org and the prospect. Some of your top bonus guys will come over for instructs (especially ones you plan on starting in complex or rookie ball next Summer). Others won't come state side until they are ready to play here.

Spotted cow (Rockford ): Adley being the clear number 1 pick in the draft and last years Joey bart love, what is a reasonable time frame to expect an elite c prospect to find himself in the majors? Is adley also a top 10-25 fantasy prospect in your eyes or does him being a C scare you from valuing him that high

Jeffrey Paternostro: Generally speaking, even polished, high-pick catchers are gonna have the longest timeline of college bats. (Unless you are the Mariners rushing Mike Zunino, sorry Meg). I could actually see Rutschman beating Bart there, because he's that good already (And Bart had some injuries in 2019 which slowed his track). The question with Adley is going to be adjusting to game calling in the pros, but everything else defensively is so good I doubt it will take him that long to catch up with that. The dynasty question is a Bret or Ben one, and they hate all fantasy catchers, but Craig answered me first and said Top 20 easily. Sorry, Yuri.

Ryan (Chicago): How does Brennen Davis compare to the crop of OFs from the early first round this year (Bleday, Greene, Bishop)?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's easiest to compare prep OF to prep OF I think, and I'd take Davis slightly ahead of Greene based mostly on the pro production so far. It's not a wildly dissimilar tool set either. Bishop is more of a louder tools/boom or bust type profile. Bleday is the best overall of the group on balance.

Nick (Ottawa): I saw that Baty got some comparisons to Nolan Gorman, do you think his performance this year justifies that comp?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Setting aside that Baty is actually six months older than Gorman (which does matter a bit), Gorman has a little more present strength and pop. He's just a bit more physically developed. Not to say Bats won't get there, but you are also making a bet on Mets hitting development against the Cardinals. Baty is a tier down for me as far as "prep draftees making pro debuts" go.

mikewilsonelgin (Illinois): Luis Oviedo Cleveland. Still improving or was 2019 a step back?

Jeffrey Paternostro: The performance wasn't great, and I heard the velocity was down as well. It happens. Perhaps should be a cautionary tale for me about leaning in too hard on Penn League arms, but it's likely one I will continue to be resistant to learning.

Jemil (Pickering): Is Darryl Collins the next George Valera?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Probably not, although I didn't hate the comp as much as I thought I would.

Brian (Brooklyn): Wouldn't you bet on the org that has developed Nimmo, Conforto, McNeil, Alonso over the org that has arguably only developed one bat (DeJong) in the past 5 or 6 years?

Jeffrey Paternostro: They didn't honestly do much with Conforto who was up within a year. Nimmo took six years and three swing changes, McNeil was just elite hand-eye, and they didn't even protect him from Rule 5 two years ago. I'll give you Alonso, but the Mets track record isn't all that good given the amount of high picks they have spent on bats. They don't really hit on their Tommy Edmans or Dylan Carsons either.

Doug (NY): How would you rate the Mauricio, Alvarez and Baty in terms of overall future potential as well as likelihood to get reasonably close to that?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Mauricio is the best combo of upside and likely here, which is why he's also clearly the best prospect in the system. Past that Alvarez and Baty are fairly close, different shapes to the risk though. If Alvarez can't catch long term the bat doesn't matter. If Baty can't hit enough, the power doesn't matter.

Flex (San Diego): What is CJ Abrams power projection? Something like Royce Lewis?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Both Keanan pre-draft and some of the scouts Lefko talked to post-draft think he can get to average pop as he fills out. Probably more to a top of the order table-setter though. Lewis has a bit more power projection than that if he can smooth out the swing path issues. Those are very, very quick hands.

Jeffrey (Detroit): Is Alexander Mojica comparable to Malcom Nunez?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Given the concerns about Nunez's body and the production downturn stateside, I might aim higher here now.

Max (Toronto): Andy Pages raked this year, is he a guy?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's interesting. Going to be way more polished than your average 18 year old in short-season given his background. It's a good, strong frame, but not a ton of projection, and it's a power corner profile, so he's going to have to hit a lot, and I'm not sure he will. More of a follow than a guy I'm gonna strap a rocket to at the moment.

Tim (NJ): A few months ago, this site rated Andrew Vaughn the best dynasty prospect in the 2019 draft class. Now that we have at least a little pro data on most of these guys, does that assessment change 3 months later?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Again, I don't want to speak for Bret and Ben, but I don't feel dinging him for a just okay couple pro months at the end of a long year is necessarily warranted.

Doug (NY): What are the specific concerns for Alvarez and catching? Or is it just “catchers are weird, man”?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's uh a high maintenance physique for a 17 year old. The defensive reports have been generally fine so far though.

Alex (Staten Island): Regarding the point on Mcneil.....it feels weird to say that it was just elite hand-to-eye and that development had nothing to do with it when he underwent a radical change in his profile from a rando slap hitter to what he is now? I don’t see how you can hand waive the player dev aspect on that?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Sure, sussing out responsibility for player dev gains in general will send you down a rabbit hole, but the Mets really haven't been a stomp-and-lift org generally (although they tried it with Gimenez this year and oof). I know The Athletic or somebody wrote vaguely that he was a "devotee of the Mets program" but I'm not sure what that is after nine years following their org, and there's very little evidence he was an org priority at all from about May 2016 until June 2018. Sometimes there's luck involved in all of this and that's fine. .

Ben (CT): How would you rank these prospects on possible 2020 major league impact? May, McKay, Pearson, D.Garcia, Mize, Gilbert, Adell?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Adell (gap) Healthy Mize, May (smaller gap) Deivi, Pearson, Maybe not so healthy Mize, McKay, Gilbert

Doug (NY): Oh no. Is this implying Dom Smith flashbacks for Alvarez?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He's just a thick kid. It's not bad for a catcher at present, you do just worry how it might change in the next five years.

LJ (Brooklyn): What do you make of Anthony Kay’s comments about the Mets vs Jays AAA approaches to him?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's a good reminder that a lot of player dev is getting the player on board by communicating the why.

Tony (KC): What are the odds that Mize shows up to spring training and the shoulder just completely gives out? His performance after returning certainly raises some red flags. As does his arm health history as an ameteur.

Jeffrey Paternostro: If I could get away with it, I'd rank three different versions of Mize at three different spots in our 101. But in the end you just have to bake in the risk, which is higher than most pitching prospects, and pitching prospects are volatile generally.

John (PA): Are you concerned about Austin Riley? Another evaluator keeps mentioning his questionable bat speed and poor walk and strikeout rates. And honestly, am I nuts to get a Will Middlebrooks vibe with Riley?

Jeffrey Paternostro: As we head into list season, good time for a reminder that I am not gonna comment on other's evals. As for Riley, he's dealt with injury issues and is going to have to make secondary adjustments now like every other dude who the league adjusts to. I'm going to give his some time to do it.

ironcityguys (urban area): Should the Mets accomodate Syndergaard's request to pitch to catchers other than Ramos? The numbers reflect his concerns.

Jeffrey Paternostro: There's two separate issues to unpack here. One is Ramos really can't catch well anymore. He boxes even basic fastballs in the zone at times. There was always risk that the defensive profile would collapse quickly due to his age and injury history, and welp, here we are. You can also argue the Mets have overplayed him, and he might be better off at this point in his career as more of a 110 game a year guy. The problem is they shipped off both the good backups, and they need every bat they can get in the lineup as they chase.

The second issue is this getting leaked as a way to turn the fanbase on Syndergaard to smooth over an offseason deal. But that's just the Mets S.O.P. anyway.

ironcityguys (urban area): Top 3 FAs for this offseason among starting pitchers? Any particular dark horse ideas?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Cole and Stras (if he opts out) are the obvious top two, Keuchel might have pitched his way into the third spot, although you could make a case for Bumgarner there as well. I think Tanner Roark could be a nice arm for someone on a shorter term deal. He's fairly reliable 180 inning guy. It's not a strong market overall though.

Nicole (OR): Look into a crystal ball: Who is ranked higher going into the 2021 season? Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Brennen Davis or Jeremiah Jackson?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Thomas, but it's a fairly low confidence interval.

Matt (IL): How would you assess Brayan Rocchio's season? He came into the year with a lot of hype in some circles as a potential big riser.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think Spring's report from earlier this Summer is pretty spot on. He's very advanced but it's more polish than big offensive tools. His performance in the NYPL is good given his age and experience. I think his stock is up some, but it's more of a glove-first profile with a longer lead time on the bat.

ironcityguys (urban area): Who are the top 5 guys in the Padres' farm system for 2020? Are any of them ready to help for next year at the ML level? What is your early prediction on games the Padres will win in 2020?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Extremely River Song voice: Spoilers

I think the main thing the Padres need to do is sort out their five best starters for 2020 and roll with them. Depth is good, and god knows they have plenty, but it feels like outside of Paddack, they have been shuttling guys a bit too much. Assuming they don't do anything too wild (trade for Syndergaard, sign Cole) I'd peg them for low-80s, but pretty high delta given the variance in youth.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Gotta keep it to 90 minutes this week. I may move the chat next week as I have some stuff to do next Friday, but I'll be back in some form as we head into list season proper.

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