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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday October 02, 2019 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the Managing Editor of Baseball Prospectus and is here to talk some playoffs.

Craig Goldstein: I'm mainlining coffee since I didn't get to bed til about 3 last night. Let's all mainline some chat.

Yuri (Israel): Let me be the first to congratulate you, Craig, on being named Editor-in-Chief of BP. What does this mean for your chats? Will you be doing less of them? Please oh please say yes. Fingers crossed! Anyway, congrats again.

Craig Goldstein: YURI. HELLO.

I will likely maintain my current level of chat, to the displeasure of all. Thank you for the congratulations. I look forward to hearing from you frequently.

Jon (DC): Between Spencer Howard and Brusdar Graterol, who is the better fantasy prospect and who is the better real life prospect? PS, congrats on the new job!

Craig Goldstein: okay, look, it's prrrrrobably Howard in fantasy and maybe real life, because he's got a better chance to start and a fuller arsenal of pitches but if I'm picking one of the two give me Graterol's gas. His fastball is an incredible building block for a rotation and I know he's had some hiccups and missed time but...that's the arm I want.

The Fonz (Milwaukee): Is Maddon to the Angels all but a done deal? If so, does Cole sign there? Ayyyyyyy!

Craig Goldstein: I think so. I don't think they make that move with Ausmus so quickly without knowing who is coming in behind him, and Maddon has a relationship with the organization. I don't know that Maddon has any bearing on Cole other than you might draw some connection between willingness to spend on a fancy manager and a fancy pitcher.

Patrick (MN): According to the final playoff odds report (9/30), the Twins have the third-highest chance of winning the World Series (12.2%). And yet, only one member of the BP staff picked them to do so. WHY DON'T YOU TRUST YOUR OWN NUMBERS?

Craig Goldstein: Arguably this IS the staff trusting the numbers, right? If the Astros are the prohibitive favorite to win the WS from the AL (and the Dodgers odds are 35%, too), then very few should be picking anyone else.

minor league collectible (Santa Rosa Ca): Has Bo Bichette used up his Rookie status by number of service days, it appears he’s one at bat below threshold?

Craig Goldstein: The rookie threshold is 130 at-bats and Bichette is up to 196, so he'll have lost it either way

Charlie (Bethesda): Strasburg threw 34 pitches yesterday. If he started Game 2 that would mean he would have 2 days rest afterwards. Realistic to treat last night like a bullpen session or too optimistic for the Nats?

Craig Goldstein: I think the stress of the game makes it unlikely that it gets treated like a bullpen session. Matt Trueblood wrote a great piece on why the Nats should piggyback Stras/Scherzer (which they did), and it involved Anibal Sanchez going as the G2 starter. That might be uncomfortable for some but he's good two times through the order, and you could potentially piggyback Strasburg again if you need to OR set up him for Game 3 and give Scherzer extra rest for 4 and have Corbin on extra rest for 5.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Who has a better bat, Will Smith or Austin Riley?

Craig Goldstein: pure bat? I'd go Riley despite the cratering in the second half. I think adjustments get made there.

Christina (Ft. Lauderdale): I was impressed by Matt Beaty's performance this year. He seems like someone who didn't stand out due to lack of explosive tools, but has just hit at every level he's played in, now including the majors. Do you have any sense of how LAD views him/his role with team?

Craig Goldstein: I think that's a good read on his history/outlook entering the season. The Dodgers have just seemed to churn these guys out and have them be better than anyone thought, for at least short periods of time (Edwin Rios, Kyle Garlick, etc.).

I don't think they view him as more than organizational depth, really. He's a useful piece for them but seems like the type of guy they'd move on from if he ever got expensive.

Rob (D.C.): Congratulations, Craig, and good luck! (1) Is there anything you think BP needs to change in order to prosper and grow? (2) Would you ever consider restoring formatting and up/downvoting to the comments? Things have gotten less lively in the reader-driven discussion boards and that makes me worry about readership.

Craig Goldstein: Thank you, Rob! Much appreciated. I'm of two minds on the first question. I think there is a lot here that can be taken advantage of without really changing so that we prosper and grow. There's an incredible talent base full of genuine, smart, hardworking people. There are SO many tools on this site that are incredibly valuable, but we don't always do the best job of making them available to people. We're going to start doing that. We've *already* started doing that, but we're going to keep it up.

Re: the comments: +1. Yes, we're not satisfied with the comments as they are now either and I'd like to go back to the upvote/downvote system. We'll see if that's where we end up - I don't rule by fiat and I want to consider all the options, but it's going to change...eventually. Admittedly we have some big projects and comments are important to us, but not directly at the top of the list.

RotoLando (Meatspace): Is it too late to start calling Charlie Morton "Chuckmort"?

Craig Goldstein: All I can think of now is "Muckchort"

JP (CT): Does Sarte's "Hands don't catch thoughts" explain anything about the Hamburger Helper hand?

Craig Goldstein: Okay so I misread this at first and now I can't stop laughing because I had to picture Sartre saying "catch these hands." But no, I don't think nearly enough can be explained about the Hamburger Helper hand. I don't want to fight it though.

not Kendall Rogers (NCAA): With recent legislation from multiple states paving the way for student athletes to be paid, do you believe this will have a consequence of having more high school baseball players go to college instead of turning pro?

Craig Goldstein: That's a really good angle I hadn't much thought of. It could! It's definitely a selling point I'd use if I was a college coach. I'd have to think about it a little more but my gut reaction is that it could be a compelling point to go to school.

Jeff (Cambridge): I have a few super elite pitching prospects -- Gore, Whitley -- in a dynasty league where SPs have less value than usual due to category configuration. Would you sell them all for bats, given that pitching prospects find so many ways to break your heart, plus league factors? Or do you have to hold Gore and see what happens, since he could be a true #1?

Craig Goldstein: I'm basically willing to sell arms for bats in that situation whether they're a 1 or not. Depends on what you can get, obviously, but I'd be willing, at least.

James (Chicago): Would you give Tyler O'Neill a starting job next year, assuming Ozuna leaves? After performing midyear, he has gotten zero playing time. Hard to tell if the team lacks confidence in him, feels they have a better option with Edman, etc., crunching roster, or if he's just still somewhat injured.

Craig Goldstein: I think it's a little bit of much of what they said there, excepting lacking confidence. My understanding is that the org loved O'Neill on his way up, ever since acquiring him and I don't think they'd lose the faith that quickly. Edman showed out and is a great supersub type. I do think O'Neill gets a crack at starting (or mostly starting) if Ozuna doesn't come back to STL on some team-friendly deal or something.

Peter (Seattle): Any guess on JD Martinez's aging curve/value in, say, 2022? He's 32 now, DH, late bloomer, good on-base skills and work ethic. Nelson Cruz seems like a miracle exception for aged hitters, and I can't shake counter example of Votto.

Craig Goldstein: Yeah it's hard for me to predict exceptions. I hope he's one. He's an incredible guy to watch hit - an absolute joy. He's a better pure hitter than a lot of guys so there's some hope. He's got more power than Votto, for example, but the concern with the aging guys is something like what Matt Carpenter appears to be going through: a loss of bat speed just negates the whole profile. It's hard to know who is going to be affected in that particular way, though - at least from my vantage point.

mlbrandomfandom (Oxford, OH): Hello, Craig! My question: is the Pillsbury Dough Boy just the boy, or is the hat a part of him? Put another way: is he tethered to the hat?

Craig Goldstein: I've done some research and concluded that the hat is NOT part of the doughboy himself. I believe Poppin' Fresh to be the boy-shaped ball of dough with a hat rather than one unit together. It is true that Fresh is rarely if ever seen without the hat, BUT: the presence of Granpopper and Granmommer Fresh(his grandparents) and their utter lack of hats indicate a strong likelihood that Poppin's hat is just that - a hat.

Worryingly, there is a Poppie Fresh, and apparently "it is debated among collectors as to whether Poppie is Poppin's wife, girlfriend or sister." I demand clarity from the Pillsbury Company.

Steve (DC): What are your ideal categories to play with in Roto leagues?

Craig Goldstein: I don't mind the standard 5x5 at all but I like adding in OPS on the batting side and *something* else to balance the number on the pitching side. Sometimes Holds, even though people hate them. It broadens the reliever pool and further rewards elite non-closer relievers, albeit a bit randomly.

Benintended Consequences (Planning for 2020): Hi Craig! (Let me just take a quick moment to say that getting a BP subscription was an excellent decision, worth more than every penny, and everyone should do it -- also congrats on the EIC gig!) In my 15-team OBP dynasty league this year, I traded for Benny in April, feeling like he was a solid top 30 (or better) dynasty OBP asset, and he really disappointed. Every meaningful stat seemed to trend down from 2018 (avg, obp, woba, wRC+, BB%, ISO, HR, SB (and of course runs, RBI)). The only things that went up were his K rate and, amazingly, hisBABIP. Is there any reason for hope for 2020?

Craig Goldstein: Hey, thanks so much. We really appreciate the kind words and I'm thrilled you're finding the site a great value. I, of course, agree. Re: Benintendi, I think he mostly is what he is. Can he bounce back to his pre-2019 figures? Absolutely. Is the ceiling there we thought when he was a prospect? I'm less sure.

The worst part is he fits the profile of someone who should absolutely explode with this type of ball in terms of moderate power with a lot of bat to ball ability. It feels like something should be unlocked there, not trending backwards.

Matt (California): As a Dodger fan, how mad/annoyed am I allowed to get at Yasmani Grandal contributing more in the first 15 minutes of last nights game than over the course of the entire 2017-2018 playoffs (and also blocking pitches in the dirt?!?!) ? I'm definitely not salty at all. Definitely not.

Craig Goldstein: I mean look, I'm not going to tell you how to feel. Grandal was always a streaky guy and he was brutal those two playoff stretches but he was also a significant part of how they got to where they were as a team. It sucks he fell apart but I'm glad for the guy to get over the hump and hopefully not have it plague him anymore.

RotoLando (Cloud City): What is one thing about Bret Sayre that you just can't abide?

Craig Goldstein: He sends late-night pictures of brisket he's making and I don't get to have any. It's rude as hell.

NotChrisButCurious (SomeClassroom): Which team is most likely to hire Dusty Baker as their new manager?

Craig Goldstein: I honestly think Dusty is happy with what he's doing and unlikely to come back to the bench. That said, I think he'd be a really fun fit with San Diego.

Mel (Tempe): What's your favorite episode?

Craig Goldstein: S2. Ep 4.

What show are we talking about?

Charley (Toronto): Is Danny Jansen a weak-side platoon guy now? Is it reasonable to still hope for more?

Craig Goldstein: I think it's too early to close the book on Jansen the starter. He has the ability to be more, but the Toronto catching situation will be interesting to monitor as the corpse of Reese McGuire showed itself to be quite animated at the plate, and quite deft behind it (as he always was).

RotoLando (Meatspace): Google can't find any results for "Muckchort" so if "Childish Bambino" gets permanently Shanghai'd you have a fallback position. Incidentally, Chuck Mort is a branch manager at Motion Industries. *moreyouknowrainbow*

Craig Goldstein: Chalk another dynamic nickname up for me on the big board

ironcityguys (urban area): Sandy Alcantara was a horse this year. Too many IP for a young pitcher? What do you see as his future?

Craig Goldstein: Ehhh. He made 32 starts and was good enough to go deep enough into games and accumulate the innings. He had ~160 innings in 2018, so this doesn't seem like a drastic jump for someone who has the frame for it. I think he's a solid 3 most of the time, maybe a 3/4? He had some ugly outings but someone you close your eyes and at the end of the year, it is pretty good.

Rudy (Dayton): Thoughts on daulton varsho?

Craig Goldstein: I'm a fan. Really good year in Double-A, I think he sticks behind the plate, love the athleticism. I'm in.

ironcityguys (urban area): How would you rate these lefties in value going forward? Bumgarner, Hamels, Lester, Miley, Wood.

Craig Goldstein: Assuming the Wood is Alex?

Bumgarner, Hamels, Miley, Lester, Wood

Josh (NYC): Who of these relatively unheralded, defense-limited sluggers do you think has best chance to be an impact player in majors: Jared Walsh, Jaylin Davis, Sheldon Neuse, Pavin Smith, Luken Baker? I'm trying to predict an Aquino-like jump.

Craig Goldstein: I'm encouraged but the jump Smith has made, getting more balls in the air. His problem was always a flat bat path, to my eye. Second choice would be Davis.

Peter (Work): Just want to say thanks for taking our questions and that I'm really looking forward to your new ideas/continuing greatness for BP.

Craig Goldstein: Much appreciated, Peter. It's legitimately a dream come true for me. I love doing these chats with you all, so thank you for making them well attended!

Sheldon (Tenn.): Pure strategy question - I joined a H2H points league mid-season (18 teams, 20 keepers, 25-man rosters with up to 15 MiLB spots who only need to be called up when the lose rookie status) and we can trade both MLB and MiLB picks. Would you rather trade from your MLB picks or trade from your MiLB picks if you had to trade from one of them? Thanks for your insight, I know this is fairly league specific.

Craig Goldstein: With that type of depth, I'd probably be holding MiLB picks and trading major league picks.

ironcityguys (urban area): Do you think Nick Senzel's rookie year was a success or do the continued injuries make his future cloudy? Also, might it not be best to get his glove back to the infield? 2B seems open.

Craig Goldstein: Good question. I think it's a little cloudy. To my recollection the injuries are mostly not lower-body injuries which seems like a benefit, overall. I do think it'd be good to get him in the infield, but I don't know his level of comfort at 2B instead of the outfield, and second does expose him to potential lower body damage on double play turns and the like, if you're worried about injury. I'm just hoping for health because the rest will flow from there.

Ghost of Jason Parks (~~~): What is Jordan Yamamoto's ceiling? Strong finish!

Craig Goldstein: Pure ceiling? I'd say is like a high three, but I might be underestimating the damage he can do in a five and dive type role.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): The odds of Dylan Cease and Mitch Keller becoming: a #2 / #3 / back-end guy / RP?

Craig Goldstein: Oof, I don't know. Off the top of my head:

Cease: 15%/40%/20%/25%
Keller: 5%/35%/25%/35%

I might feel differently a week from now.

Scott (Mass.): Who are some standout bounce-back candidates for 2020? Guys who you like long-term but whose value dropped due to injury or performance in 2019.

Craig Goldstein: I continue to like Haniger's tools, Gregory Polanco probably has people worried a bit right now, Justin Upton, perhaps? I think Cease, who I just mentioned is a good one too. Guys who struggle in initial exposure always lose some sheen.

Jon (WA): How do you rate Jake Fraley after his poor 12-game stint with the Mariners this season?

Craig Goldstein: Everyone I talked to all year raved about him. A bad 12-game stint doesn't mean anything in the scheme of things.

Peters (Rhode Island): Hey Craig! Congratulations. I'm really looking forward to BP under your navigation. About the late Brewers, do you think they give Corbin Burnes a chance to start next year? The org was super high on him, and he has the pieces, but 2019 was a lost year. I'm not sure if the team views it as a temporary setback, though, or a real change in potential.

Craig Goldstein: Thanks Peters! I do think they give him a chance. They have a lot of potential spots open, and I think they need to give people opportunities to claim them. Burnes has the raw stuff to do it. It was definitely a lost year, but I assume he'll work on it in the offseason and they'd give him a chance early on.

Frank (Utah): Did Connor Wong figure anything out this year? He exploded when promoted to AA, albeit with a 30% k rate.

Craig Goldstein: I checked with the Prospect Team and will update something if I hear back from our Texas guys next week. Wilson saw him in the Cal League where he was much less impressive (offensively), but Will Smith also exploded in Tulsa, so it's possible the Dodgers just have a development plan that gets implemented there rather than in Rancho, where the focus might be elsewhere. The Dodgers catching depth is, to quote Wilson, "just stupid."

ironcityguys (urban area): Do you have concern that Rhys Hoskins does not rebound to his previous level in 2018? And, if he doesn't, doesn't that cause severe problems for the Phillies' lineup going forward?

Craig Goldstein: No, not really. From a brief look just now it looks like everything was basically the same with a few ticks more IFFB from Hoskins, and I don't think that's going to be something that's super stable going forward. I don't think he'll do 2017 again, but 2018 seems eminently reachable.

D.J. (The Show): D.J. 9 - Keaton 7 The title stayed home.

Craig Goldstein: Congrats to the OG TINO Listener's League Champ

Elgin (MA): Which current MLB player would you most like to see become a professional wrestler and why?

Craig Goldstein: Hard to argue that Pete Alonso wouldn't make a great face.

Tim (NC): How do you rank Yu Darvish next season with how he performed in the second half of the season?

Craig Goldstein: I'm going to be pretty high on him going into next year. He's a tinkerer, so I don't assume he'll remain as good as he was in the second half going forward, but...I think the broad strokes view is going to be pretty valuable.

Craig Goldstein: Alright that's just about 40 questions and an hour. It was fun, thank you so much for coming out and remember to come back Friday at noon for Jeffrey Paternostro's chat!

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