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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday September 25, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.

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Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus.

Craig Goldstein: Hey everyone, with the season winding down it's time to focus on the playoffs...or next year. Let's get started!

Spotted cow (Rockford ): With how the cubs have been playing the last 2 seasons and a distinct lack of mlb ready/difference makers in the minors how could one overhaul them into the contender they've been believed to be. Yu and Hendricks are great pieces but lester feels like he is on his way to innings eater and Q would be great as the sp4. Is it as easy as sign a sp and tweak the pen or do you think they trade one of their younger guys on an expiring deal (2021)to get more desirable cost controlled/younger peices. Contreras and Schwarbs seem like the easiest peices to move and replace

Craig Goldstein: Joe Sheehan was making this point on twitter the other day but I don't think there needs to be an overhaul. They're +104 in run differential, best in the division (one ahead of the Cards). They're a good team in a competitive division who definitely had some bad luck. I also think there are some depth issues at play, which you mention in terms of difference makers, but even just consistently solid guys. Hoerner will play a part but upgraded depth pieces over guys like Almora and Happ are probably necessary, and even more necessary is depth to the rotation.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Why does everyone like Cole Tucker so much? Callis had him in his top rookies and FG still gives him a 50. What has his lackluster year done for his value in your eyes?

Craig Goldstein: The tools are definitely there. I'm disappointed in the production so far, but given what he's shown prior I don't think it needs to impact the long-term outlook much. What it does do is allow for less rope going forward in regards to that long-term outlook. Overall though it's a (very) bad 56 games. Not the end of the guy's career.

The Fonz (Milwaukee): Two amazing Septembers in a row for the Brew Crew. Ayyyyyyy!

Craig Goldstein: Find a juke box to hit.

Luke (Denver): Do you even like prospects?

Craig Goldstein: I don't even care if they cancel prospects.

Sean (Boston): Is Joey Bart showing that he can be a Posey-type impact fantasy player or do you see him with similar pitfalls to so many other catcher prospects that have disappointed? How do you compare him to Rutschmann?

Craig Goldstein: I have him behind Rutschman. If you are referring to fantasy I have him behind Ruiz and probably Campusano, too? He's hit better than I anticipated, admittedly, but I think the swing can get long and it's going to be mostly a power profile from behind the plate. That's still valid, but he's not the pure hitter that Posey was. He's a terrific defender though.

Jacob (Dc): Do you think anybody can go 4-2 on season long over/under bets or would it take a pair of geniuses?

Craig Goldstein: You need to be overloaded in the brains department to get that type of success rate.

Eddie (Everywhere): Hi Craig, with the announcement of the BP Prospects Pod, can we expect you to make appearances talking about BIP prospects or Vanderpump prospects or berry prospects or Below Deck prospects? Thanks.

Craig Goldstein: Absolutely. I'm going to exert my editorial influence to compel Jeffrey to talk to me about the tough bind that Blake is in and how I don't get why everyone loves Demi. I think Hannah isn't coming back on Below Deck and Sandy is the best boss I've ever watched work? She should get Michael Scott's world's greatest boss mug.

Willie McGee (St. Louis): Can Tommy Edman be an everyday 2B?

Craig Goldstein: I don't know if he's every day at one spot, but I think he's a super-utility type that can pick up 500+ PA playing all over and resting regulars without much of a dropoff. I'm a fan.

Jarrett (The Jersey Shore): Favorite new TV show of the fall season?

Craig Goldstein: Honestly I haven't been watching a ton of new stuff. Mostly catching up on my trash shows and eagerly awaiting The Good Place's return. If anyone's got recs, I'm all ears.

Angela (Hair Salon): If someone tried to swindle you with cake, what would you do?

Craig Goldstein: SHOVE IT RIGHT IN THEIR DUMB, SWINDLING FACE

Rotolando (Cloud City): Excluding your family, who is the oldest person that you ever got in a heated argument with?

Craig Goldstein: Legitimately just got in a tiff last night with someone who had to be in their 70s.

Sean (Boston): What should I make of Hans Crouse? Did he progress this season?

Craig Goldstein: The reports are really pretty solid. I think it's encouraging that he walks so few guys despite everything going on in the delivery, but there are a lot of concerns, too. The delivery, for one, and then despite his slobber-worthy stuff, he's striking out under 8 per nine in Low-A. Guys with his level of stuff should be cleaning up a little bit more. I think it gives some credence to the people who eventually see a bullpen future, but there's no reason for Texas to make that call now or even soon.

Alex (Austin): Who is the better 2020 fantasy play, Trent Grisham or Austin Hays? 14-team dynasty with OPS added to standard 5x5 cats.

Craig Goldstein: Gimme Austin Hays, defensive highlights and all (I like his path to PT much better)

Rotolando (Cloud City): Craig, if you could be a centaur-like creature with your torso on top, what animal do you choose for the bottom? Also, what creature-bottom do you stick Ben with?

Craig Goldstein: Look, I'm not interesting. I love big cats, it'd probably just be a tiger or something like that. For Ben I'm going Coconut Crab so he'd have to halberd himself.

jgaztambide (Louisville): With the increase in both runs and HR, are you surprised that the RBI leaderboard isn't higher? I'd expect a handful of guys in the 130-140 range, but we might not get anyone! And yes, I know RBI are relatively meaningless, but still a part of how we talk about the game.

Craig Goldstein: Not exactly. Run scoring is up, but not even to levels that we've seen in the 2000s. Pitchers are still dominating, batters' only recourse is the long ball. Joe Sheehan (again) has hammered this, but if they de-juice the ball (or whatever you wanna call it), offense is probably going to collapse. I get this isn't everyone's favorite aesthetic (I'm indifferent), but it's necessary unless you want extremely limited offense.

Steve (Philly): Any predictions for the last season of the Good Place? And how often does BP consider reaching back out to Mike Schur for another piece?

Craig Goldstein: No predictions. I don't get invested on that level. I love the characters and their interactions so much, I just like to see what they do with it.

Lougle (San Diego): What are your thoughts on Elehuris Montero? Struggled this year but young for the league. Worth holding in a league with ~150 minor leaguers?

Craig Goldstein: Ehhh, I think you're right in the assessment but the ceiling isn't there for me to hold with that shallow a prospect pool I think.

Jon (MN): Royce Lewis or Nick Madrigal in a keep forever h2h points league. Who would you rather have long term?

Craig Goldstein: It doesn't look great right now, but I think Lewis makes the adjustments.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Do you prefer the stuff of Jesus Luzardo over Brendan McKay? How about Dustin May vs. McKay?

Craig Goldstein: I prefer both on stuff over McKay. McKay's value is his command and control of his repertoire. I probably take both pitchers over McKay in general but I've always been pretty low on him.

Sean (Boston): Thoughts on Luis Frias? Is he a guy that could emerge as a top SP prospect next year?

Craig Goldstein: I don't think he quite goes to the top tier of the lists but he's a really intriguing guy. Another arm I like that I don't see people talking about a ton is Hector Yan. 148 strikeouts in 109 IP in Low-A at 20 years old. He walks too many guys, but that's eyepopping in terms of Ks.

Sean (Boston): What is a reasonable expectation for Nico Hoerner next season given the Cubs depth chart and his tools?

Craig Goldstein: I think Hoerner is pretty good and that he reached the majors already is a testament to both his abilities and his polish (and the Cubs dire need at the position). I'm not expecting monster stats, though. I'm wary of projecting numbers because who knows with the ball but I'd say if he plays consistently he'd be like a top 12-18 2B type? That's off the top of my head.

Steve (Philly): Can we get a too-early Rule V mock draft? Who do you think the top unprotected prospect winds up being?

Craig Goldstein: Absolutely not, no.

Sean (Boston): How has Oneil Cruz looked in AFL so far? Whats his trajectory next year?

Craig Goldstein: I pinged Ricky Conti who was just in Arizona for us and he had this to say about Cruz:

"OíNeil put on an absolute show in BP from a low effort swing. Heís also a stick so a plus plus future raw grade isnít unreasonable. He actually handled SS just fine. The height thing doesnít seem to hold him back. He's exciting. I definitely left a lot higher on him than I was before."

Ricky will also have a detailed eyewitness account coming to the site soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Steve (Philly): How much do you suppose Front Offices are impacted by the Dunning-Kruger Effect? Where do you suppose this is most rampant?

Craig Goldstein: I think there are a lot of cases where their confidence is well-earned but as things evolve and move away from strengths of theirs that are already established, it can be easy to slide into DKE territory. But of course, that's just being human.

slappy123 (NC): Did Shed Long do enough for the M's to give him the 2B job next year? If so, what kind of numbers do you expect him to put up? thanks

Craig Goldstein: I think there's a decent shot, yeah, mostly because the other options aren't going to be very appealing and they don't have much to lose by running him out there. I would think he'll hit a bit less than the 850 OPS he's sporting now. Something in the 780-810 range, maybe? Ballparking it.

jgaztambide (Louisville): What's your earliest baseball memory? Mine is going to Puerto Rican Winter League ball and seeing Carlos Delgado hit a HR.

Craig Goldstein: Man that's a good question. Baseball broadly is probably playing little league as a 5-year-old. Ballpark is walking into Camden Yards and seeing all the brick. My parents took me to Memorial Stadium before OPACY was built (1992), but I don't remember it well, if at all.

Yuri (Israel): Crap. I thought Jeff was chatting today. Never mind.

Craig Goldstein: Friday, my friend.

Rotolando (Cloud City): Have you ever picked up a spot starter, just to jinx him? I'm picking up Frankie Montas in the championship round here, just to get The Rays into the Wild Card spot. I feel like my sacrifice should be recognized.

Craig Goldstein: I haven't but I love the idea.

Spotted cow (Rockford ): With the current youth movement in the mlb,teams tanking to fill up with gluts of highly rated minor leaguers, and the overall monetary health of the mlb is, if and or when would expansion make sense? And how would you go about expansion drafts in the minors and majors

Craig Goldstein: I think there's definitely room for expansion but it's a harder sell when attendance is dragging for franchises who aren't even trying right now. I don't know that MLB cares about that so much, but I do think, if there was a good-faith effort on owners' parts to compete, that there's enough talent in the majors/minors to support expansion.

Nina (Cincinnati ): Where do the pirates go from here ?

Craig Goldstein: It's hard to recommend any moves that would occur under this ownership and expect any differences in outcome. I don't think the FO is doing a good job with the resources they have, but they're also hamstrung by a stingy ownership that appears to care very little about the fanbase.

Rotolando (Cloud City): If you could swap in The Rock and Jeff Goldblum for the two main characters in any existing movie, what movie would it be?

Craig Goldstein: Scent of a Woman.

jgaztambide (Louisville): How high are you on Yordan Alvarez, on a scale of "He'll be an average DH and get non-tendered entering his 4th year of arbitration" to "He's the second coming of David Ortiz"

Craig Goldstein: More towards the higher end than the lower. I don't think he'll get non-tendered. He's not Chris Carter where there's no hit tool or anything. He'll be a very good hitter for a lot of years.

Craig Goldstein: Alright everyone, I appreciate your time and hopefully you had as much fun as I did. I'm going to get back to editing some articles and planning the playoff coverage. Join Jeffrey for his prospect chat on Friday!


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